For the second night in a row, there were a plethora of empty seats in Korakuen Hall which has been a rare sight at New Japan shows in recent years. It’s not a great sign for the Super Junior Tag League as it’s clearly not proving strong enough to draw fans on its own, and it will be interesting to see if New Japan react to that issue in the future.
Super Coach (Ryusuke Taguchi and Rocky Romero) (2-0) defeated Tiger Mask and Yuya Uemura (0-2)
Tiger Mask is an underrated comedy foil. His nonplussed no-selling of Taguchi’s nonsense made me laugh all the way through this, as he proved to be a step ahead of the Master of the Funky Weapon on more than one occasion. It got to be such a problem that Rocky gave his partner a few kicks out of frustration, leading to Taguchi getting a few stomps in for revenge.
Outside of that, this was an enjoyable match as Uemura continues to be a joy to watch. There was an accidentally amusing moment where he proved to be too enthusiastic/quick on his feet while going for a Double Shoulder Block with Tiger and got there a good second ahead of his veteran partner. I’m sure he got a tongue lashing and a few squats for that backstage, but he’d make up for it with an enjoyable final sequence against Taguchi before falling victim to the Dodon.
Verdict: Three Stars
Titan and Volador Jr (2-0) defeated TJP and Clark Connors (0-2)
TJP is forcing me to say nice things about him as I have to admit he’s looked great in New Japan so far. I still dislike his face, but watching him flow through matches and have great interesting sequences with the likes of Volador (who was rocking a sparkly Aquaman number) is a lot of fun.
The real star of this match was Titan, though, who was brilliant. Just the way he moved around the ring was cool, and with Volador spending a lot of time chilling on the apron, he is going to be the star of that team. He had good interactions with both Connors and TJP before getting the win, and if he keeps that up, my opinion of him shall only grow.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Suzuki-gun (El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (2-0) defeated The Bullet Club (1-1)
Despy and Uncle Nobu have gained my utmost respect for being the first people to respond to ELP’s rope walking in the right way. Shake the damn thing and then push him off, it ain’t complicated.
This was obviously going to be a battle of the trolls, and you know what, I enjoyed it because of that. If one of these teams pulled out this much bullshit in a different match, it would drive me insane. However, when you go in expecting the bullshit, it makes it a lot easier to stomach it when you get it. Lean into it and slather it all over each other. Wait, did that just get weird?
Ishimori and ELP might believe themselves expert scumbags, but they were in there with two of Suzuki-gun’s best, and you can’t outdo those fuckers. El Desperado and Kanemaru know what they are, and they relish it, dragging Bullet Club into the crowd to beat them with chairs. Then, when the match broke down it was the masters who got the better of a series of low blows, Despy blocking one from Ishimori with the aid of a tag belt before getting the win with Pinche Loco.
I’m not going to lie. I got a lot of pleasure out of watching ELP being out-bullshitted. Bless you, Suzuki-gun.
Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars
Roppongi 3K (SHO and YOH) (1-1) defeated CHAOS (Will Ospreay and Robbie Eagles) (0-2)
Ospreay came into this match with food poisoning, so there is an alternate reality where it went horribly (and disgustingly) wrong. Thankfully, the action was built around SHO’s back injury from Suzuki-gun’s tickling on the first night rather than anything exploding out of Will’s arse.
To be fair to Ospreay, you couldn’t tell he was under the weather. In fact, I felt like this match was the match everyone else watched the night before. It did, at times, feel like two pairings taking it in turns to fight, but they were great pairings, so I didn’t care. We got Will and SHO doing their power junior thing, and if his Super Junior performance didn’t convince you already, SHO bruising it out with Will is proof he’s a future singles star.
Then there were our technical juniors, as Robbie vs YOH was a perfect combination of high flying and great wrestling. They’re two men who might not be featured players but have built themselves impressive fanbases, with Eagles now being fully embraced by the Korakuen faithful. Sure, when they all came together, it was great, but I was mainly left craving those singles matches.
The finish saw poor Robbie once again take the fall for his team as he escaped an attempt at a 3K to hit a vicious looking Turbo Backpack only for the frantic final sequence to see YOH pull out some flash pin magic for the three. That was a fantastic match and a huge step-up from the first night’s main event.
Verdict: Four And A Quarter Stars
For the second night in a row, the Super Junior Tag League was a breeze to watch and delivered some fun matches. The difference this time was that the main event delivered for me (I do accept that the previous night’s worked for plenty of people), which elevated it just that little bit higher. If they keep this up, the tour won’t be a slog after all.
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