The B Block is back at it again and making their presence felt in Korakuen Hall this time around. On tap is the highly anticipated match between Ricochet and Will Ospreay, as well as Jushin Thunder Liger and Volador Jr. squaring off and Bobby Fish vs. Beretta. Elsewhere, the CHAOS vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon feuds revs up as Gedo and BUSHI join the fun for multi-man action. This is the B Block’s first big show of the tour.

New Japan Pro Wrestling
Best of the Super Juniors Night 6
May 27, 2016
Korakuen Hall
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: NJPW World

YOSHI-HASHI & Rocky Romero def. Michael Elgin & Matt Sydal

The oddest CHAOS tandem imaginable, Romero and Tacos, were actually quite the fun pairing. Elgin and Sydal, for their first time teaming, actually had some decent chemistry. This went long for what I’m used to with New Japan openers, but the action here was really, really fun. Elgin nailing a Jushin Thunder Liger-like, rolling senton off the apron onto YOSHI-HASHI was a spectacle. Romero and Sydal, who will meet on 5/31 in a singles match, had a handful of really fun sequences down the stretch. Romero caught Sydal with a rollup and put him away. Really fun opener. ***1/4

Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi, David Finlay & Kyle O’Reilly def. Katsuyori Shibata, KUSHIDA, Juice Robinson, Ryusuke Taguchi & Jay White

Oh boy, these are once-in-a-lifetime pairings. Taguchi and O’Reilly square off on 5/31, while Finlay recently submitted to KUSHIDA. Those were secondary focuses in this match, as Shibata and Nagata once again took the next step in their feud. That, and, well, Juice Robinson vs. Manabu Nakanishi. A fun collection of spots and a hot pull-apart brawl at the end of the match between Nagata and Shibata makes this worth watching. ***

Best of the Super Jr. XXIII B Block
Tiger Mask def. Chase Owens

Tiger Mask comes into this match at the bottom of his block with an 0-2 record, while Owens finds himself in the middle of the pack with a 1-1 record and 2 points.

This was the weakest tournament match I’ve seen thus far. Tiger Mask was kidnapped at the start of the match by Yujiro, and after a heroic comeback to avoid being counted out, he proceeded to have a very mediocre match with Owens. I like Owens, and Tiger Mask is bearable, but this was no good. Too many shenanigans, including a second run-in by Takahashi, along with the lack of heat, really hurt this match for me. Finish saw Tiger Mask counter the Package Piledriver with a rollup. Skippable. **

Best of the Super Jr. XXIII B Block
Bobby Fish def. Beretta

Fish is off to a slow start in this year’s tournament as he sits at an 0-2 record coming into this match, while Beretta is at the top of his block, tied with Liger and Ricochet with 4 points and a subsequent 2-0 record.

Fish gets on the board here as he and Beretta tore down the house. Coming in, I was expecting an average match – something two pros like this, in the middle of the card, would produce. They overdelivered here as both men continue to put on strong outings in this tournament. Fish worked over Beretta’s leg in a beautifully brutal fashion. Every time there was an opening, Beretta’s leg would seemingly be wrapped up in some submission or attack with a sharp pair of kicks. This was a lot of fun. Both guys showed how good they are. Fish won’t win his block, but I hope he closes out the tournament with some momentum, because he’s had a very under the radar 2016. Highly recommended. ***3/4

Kenny Omega, Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi def. Satoshi Kojima, Yoshitatsu & Captain New Japan

This was admittedly better than I thought it was going to be, but that’s not saying much. The interactions between Kojima and Omega were a lot of fun, to a point that I now really want to a singles match between the two. One flaw Omega had during this match was that he gave Captain New Japan a lot towards the end, a little more than a hope spot. It just seemed silly. On the bright side, he did use a series of Tanahashi classics, first the Slingblade, then the High Fly Flow, to pin Captain New Japan.

Yoshitatsu now has go-away heat with me. I don’t care about him, I don’t like his Triple H dollar store act, and I don’t like how he’s supposedly one of the Bullet Club’s toughest opponents. Skippable, but not as bad as it could’ve been. **1/2

Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, EVIL & BUSHI def. Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & Gedo

Multi-man matches between Bullet Club and CHAOS or the NJPW Sekigun have gotten so stale and repetitive that it has made the new trend of multi-man matches between CHAOS and Los Ingobernables incredibly appealing, and with the additions of the juniors in this match, it became a real hoot. Everyone worked hard in this match. Okada looked hungry. He acted like a guy that had a point to prove and a title to win back. Ishii and Goto bumped around and took beatings from EVIL and SANADA. I think this was maybe the first time that I’ve seen Goto look comfortable in CHAOS. He was enjoyable here.

BUSHI and Gedo added an extra layer to this match. Seeing Gedo mix it up with SANADA is something that I want to see more of now because it was a blast. BUSHI, despite his terrible win-loss record in the tournament this year, has been outstanding and here was no different. Very rarely does New Japan put on multi-man matches that are this enjoyable, but they went all-out here and I very much approve. Highly recommended. ****

Best of the Super Jr. XXIII B Block
Volador Jr. def. Jushin Thunder Liger

Liger, at the ripe age of 51, is off to a hot start this year with a 2-0 record and 4 points. CMLL’s import sits with Chase Owens in the middle of the block with a 1-1 record.

This was wild on so many levels. First off, Volador is so quick. Not on the same level as Masato Yoshino, but he’s damn close. On top of that, Liger is 51 and Liger kept up with him, hold for hold, move for move, for the entire match. This wasn’t just a one-man stunt show, however. Liger took risks! Liger took a dive from the top rope to the floor! I am blown away by how good Liger still is to this day. This was fun. Very much a sprint, but if you like movez with a Z, this is the match for you. ***1/2

Best of the Super Jr. XXIII B Block
Will Ospreay def. Ricochet

Ricochet is on the same level as both Liger and Beretta with a 2-0 record and 4 points, while UK prodigy Ospreay, a favorite to win the entire tournament, has gotten off to a rough 0-2 start. These two met at EVOLVE 59 over Wrestlemania weekend in a match that Ricochet ended up winning.

I have never seen a match like this before, and there’s a good chance that unless these two meet again, I never will. This was state-of-the-art innovation in terms of what two humans are capable of doing inside of a wrestling ring. The two gaijin, one from Kentucky, the other from England, invoked “This is awesome!” and “holy shit!” chants from the Korakuen faithful. There was a universal connection here. While watching it, it felt like something truly special; something different.

Ospreay is a prodigy and an elite, world class talent at this point.  A candidate for Most Outstanding Wrestling this year and I’m sure he will be for many more years to come. His body control is unmatched and to go along with his flips, he delivered strikes in this match that looked so, so great — most notably a headbutt to Ricochet that made me jump off of my couch.

Ricochet has come such a long way and this was the pinnacle of his evolution. He can do so much. He’s so gifted from an athletic standpoint, as well as the insane amount of charisma he’s picked up over the years. I can’t say he lead Ospreay in this match, as it takes two to tango and they were evenly matched throughout, but he came across like a veteran in this match and that’s really cool to see. He’s come such a long way and I don’t know of a wrestler that we’ve seen progress so much on tape throughout the years.

There will be complaints of this being a mindless spotfest, a psychology void, and a black hole of movez, and I will be incredibly annoyed when those complaints start pouring in. This was THE FUTURE OF FLIGHT vs. THE ARIEL ASSASSIN – what did you expect? The tried to out-fly each other. That was the psychology. That’s how they tried to prove how the better man was. In Memphis they traded punches, here they traded flips. There was still an edge of violence and hatred that both men portrayed that made this feel nothing like an exhibition, but rather an actual fight. It just so happens that these men are pushing the limits of innovation and flight in wrestling and I think that’s a beautiful thing. If anyone criticizes either man’s selling, they’re lost. Even on this spot,

Look, Ospreay took a huge apron bump, and then God forbid he got back to his feet. In fairness, Ricochet picked him up and tried to throw him into the ring, and this is how Ospreay countered and the two sold by barely making it back in the ring before the 20 count and then spent another moment on the mat before resuming the action.

If you have a mental block between psychology and flips and how the two, in your mind, can’t correlate, don’t bother watching this match. It’s not for you. You won’t like it. Go do something else for 16 minutes. I thought this match was beautifully constructed with state-of-the-art wrestling and it’s a glimpse into the future of the New Japan juniors division as sooner rather than later, Will Ospreay will be atop the division and I expect him to be for years to come. A match of the year candidate and a spectacle. ****3/4

Final Thoughts: 

Overall, I don’t think this show was as strong as the first Korakuen Show of the tour, but I enjoyed the main event more and Fish/Beretta, the CHAOS six-man, and Volador vs. Liger were great companions to the MOTYC main event. Another very enjoyable outing for Block B and another strong show on what has been the most enjoyable BOSJ in recent memory.