wrestling / TV Reports

Hamilton’s New Japan Best of the Super Junior 30 – Night Six 05.18.2023 Review

May 18, 2023 | Posted by Ian Hamilton
NJPW Best of the Super Junior 30 - KUSHIDA vs. Hiromu Takahashi Image Credit: NJPW
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Hamilton’s New Japan Best of the Super Junior 30 – Night Six 05.18.2023 Review  

Quick Results
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Mike Bailey pinned DOUKI in 9:46 (***½)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: BUSHI pinned Yoshinobu Kanemaru in 1:46 (NR)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: TJP submitted Ryusuke Taguchi in 10:44 (***½)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Kevin Knight pinned Dan Moloney in 8:15 (***¼)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: SHO pinned Taiji Ishimori in 5:48 (**¼)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: El Desperado pinned Clark Connors in 11:21 (**¾)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Titan pinned Lio Rush in 10:23 (***¾)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: YOH pinned Francesco Akira in 1:34 (NR)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Hiromu Takahashi defeated KUSHIDA via count-out in 16:06 (***¾)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Master Wato pinned Robbie Eagles in 19:37 (***½)

— If you’re on Twitter, give me a follow over on @IanWrestling. I’m also over on Mastodon, for those of you preparing for a post-Twitter world… catch me here… and check out the GoFundMe that’s still open for Larry’s family.

Three years on, and we’ll always miss you Larry.

Coming from the Iwate Prefectural Gymnasium… we’ve got English commentary from Kevin Kelly, with Mike Bailey joining later. Apparently yesterday’s show, or at least parts thereof, were pretty good, so I’ll be going back after the fact to review those.

Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: DOUKI vs. Mike Bailey
DOUKI’s coming from a shock win over Lio Rush yesterday… can he get two scalps in as many days?

Bailey had the better of the early going, taking down DOUKI with a kick as he came off the ropes, while the scissor kicks took DOUKI outside, where he blocked a couple of dives, countering with a neckbreaker coming back into the ring. Bailey’s able to get back into it with a diving kick, as DOUKI threatened to cause the upset as he turned a standing shooting star press into the DOUKI CHOKEY.

That ended in the ropes, as Bailey looked to hit back with an Ultima Weapon… instead landing the standing moonsault knees before DOUKI went back to the DOUKI CHOKEY, forcing Bailey to roll through and kick him away to break the hold. On the side of the apron, DOUKI teases a Suplex de la Luna, but it doesn’t come off… nor does Bailey’s second set of moonsault knees.

Daybreak follows from DOUKI, but Bailey’s able to kick out at two, before Bailey tried his luck on a Magistral cradle. From there, the corkscrew kick into the corner, then the Ultima Weapon lays out DOUKI, and that’s all! ***½

Taguchi’s officially eliminated with that result, while SHO and KUSHIDA inch closer to a similar fate…

Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: BUSHI vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
BUSHI’s on the bubble, having not won a match yet in the tournament…

BUSHI enjoyed the early going, but we get a ref bump when Kanemaru nudged BUSHI into the official. Cue Kanemaru going for the whiskey, but it’s BUSHI who intercepts and hits the whiskey mist… before the MX got the closest thing to a squash we’ve had this year. Blink and miss it!

Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: TJP vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
Taguchi’s tournament is already over, but TJP’s going to need a good run to claim a spot in the semis given how the likes of Mike Bailey and Lio Rush are going.

The early going has TJP looking comfortable, but Taguchi head-stands out of some headscissors before Taguchi took him outside for a plancha. Back inside, TJP hit an armbreaker for a two-count, then some face-washing boots as Taguchi was left on his rear in the corner. Taguchi’s able to take TJP outside with hip attacks, while a diving Bummer-Ye nearly gave Taguchi his first points.

A tornado DDT from TJP manages to turn things around though, before a Mamba splash off the top drew a near-fall… while a follow-up Pinoy Stretch ended in the ropes. Another hip attack looked to stop TJP, as the back-and-forth led to TJP’s roll-up getting turned into Oh My & Garankle, before a Dodon almost got the win. It’s back to the ankle lock from the kick-out as TJP almost taps… but ends up finagling his way back into the Pinoy Stretch for the submission. Taguchi so close to breaking his duck, but it’s TJP who keeps his faint chances alive. ***½

Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Dan Moloney vs. Kevin Knight
Somewhere in this entrance, Andy Quildan was cursing Kevin Kelly for plugging the old Rev Pro VOD service…

Moloney charges out of the blocks here, but he’s quickly taken down as Knight’s standing frog splash drew a one-count. In response, Knight’s lifted up and dumped to the floor, but he beats the count-out, only to be met with a suplex after returning. Moloney grounds Knight with bodyscissors, but those end in the ropes as the pair proceeded to trade chops.

Knight crashes and burns on a springboard crossbody, but has more luck with a dropkick, then with a Stinger splash as a diving shoulder tackle crashes into Dan for a two-count. Moloney’s caught up top, but manages to return with a short spear for a near-fall, before a deadlift Fisherman buster almost picked up the win for the new United Empire man.

A second spear’s countered as Knight leaps over for a roll-up, before he countered out of a Drilla Killa to hit a Sky High powerbomb. Knight doesn’t go for the cover, instead opting to leap in for a DDT… and that’s the win! Nice and even stuff, but in the end Knight avoids another loss – and another potential challenger for the junior tag titles. ***¼

Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: SHO vs. Taiji Ishimori
Ah, a match that even Speedball might struggle to be upbeat for, as we have a Bullet Club Derby. Of course, SHO’s out with Evil and his trusty wrench, Bobo…

SHO takes the mic after the bell, but a combination of an echoey room and me not knowing Japanese (mostly the latter!) meant I didn’t get what was being said. Where’s Chris Charlton when you need him?! It seems the pair agreed to just walk out and take a double count-out… but of course it’s a ruse as EVIL restrains Ishimori as SHO sprinted back to the ring.

Luckily, Ishimori broke free and beat the count, as SHO then remonstrated with EVIL for another fine mess he’d gotten him into. Ishimori capitalises by going after SHO’s arm… before EVIL switched corners and offered his services to Ishimori. What is this, SummerSlam 92? And just HOW SHORT IS YOUR MEMORY, ISHIMORI?

Anyway, a Mistica and a Bone Lock has SHO in trouble, but SHO’s able to work his way into the Snakebite. Except EVIL threw in the towel for Ishimori… which caused confusion, so SHO just rolls up Ishimori for the win. Serves you right for trusting EVIL, I guess. Not horrific, but you can definitely skip past this one. **¼

Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Clark Connors vs. El Desperado
Connors’ record hasn’t been that great, thanks to self-inflicted errors, but he’s still got a shout of making the semi-finals in a tight block.

The pair go toe-to-toe at the bell, with Connors hitting a pounce early on before things spilled outside, where Connors Irish whipped Desperado into rows of chairs. Back inside, Connors looked to tee up for a Trophy Kill spear, but it’s countered into a spinebuster, before Desperado threw Connors outside to get some revenge for earlier.

The Young Lions clear the crowd as Connors is chopped into the front row as you got to spy Mike and his GoPro for a future vlog. Desperado has more fans scatter as they brawled around the building, eventually opting to hurl Connors through three rows of folding chairs. Connors heads back though, but gets suplexed on the floor as the count-out rolled on..

Connors beat the 20-count, but couldn’t avoid an Angle Slam-like back suplex… nor a pair of Guittara de Angels. Connors kicks out at one from those, and gets thrown outside again. This time, Clark’s been given a chair, but Desperado is wise to it as they duelled with them on the outside. It ends with Connors laying waste to Desperado with a series of chair shots, none of which yielded a DQ, nor was a chair-assisted stretch on the floor.

Desperado’s posted by Connors as we passed the ten-minute mark, as a pile of chairs were laid out for Desperado to get suplexed into. That led to another count-out tease, but Desperado returns into the path of a powerslam and a Trophy Kill spear, only for a No Chaser to get countered into El Es Claro… and once again Clark’s wasteful ways cost him big time! This didn’t do it for me, with the match being a little too slow… and Connors’ post-match attacks are a little hollow given how often he’s losing due to his own errors. **¾

Post-match, Connors hits a German suplex to Oskar Leube… then tried to spear Desperado out of a chair, only to get tripped into it as Despy hit his take on a Conchairto.

Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Titan vs. Lio Rush
Rush’s loss to DOUKI yesterday was undoubtedly an upset – but another loss here would make him part of a logjam for second place in the block…

A pacey start’s thwarted when Titan and Rush went for armdrags at the same time, before an enziguiri from Rush took Titan down. Rush stays ahead with a low-pe that clipped Titan, before Titan took over with a Trailer Hitch back inside… Rush manages to find a way through after escaping the hold, pushing away a swinging DDT before scoring a Rush Hour springboard stunner.

A one-man standing Spanish Fly gets Rush a near-fall from there, before Titan avoided a Final Hour splash, returning with a superkick. Titan misses a double stomp from there, then scored with a flurry of kicks, following through with a through-the-corner clothesline. That left Rush laying as the double stomp off the top finds its mark… and that’s enough to put Lio away. Rush has gone from a share of the lead to having to fight for second place as we’ve got a real pile-up… ***¾

Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Francesco Akira vs. YOH
YOH scores with a jump start as I guess we play “which wrestler is he going to spoof today?”

Akira manages a switcheroo and sends himself into YOH – and the crowd – with a tope… my feed drops out, and recovers just in time for YOH to grab the win with a Five Star Clutch. Two quick matches in one card, eh?

Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: KUSHIDA vs. Hiromu Takahashi
Just over six years ago, Hiromu shocked us – and KUSHIDA – by beating him in under two minutes at Sakura Genesis… and given KUSHIDA’s iffy run this year, that may not be too far-fetched today.

We’ve a slow start here as KUSHIDA powdered outside in a bid to control the tempo. An early hiptoss and cartwheel dropkick takes Hiromu outside, where he’s forced to fight off KUSHIDA some more, as KUSHIDA was focusing on Hiromu’s left arm in the early going. Hiromu’s tied up in a Delfin clutch for a two-count (thanks for the name, Speedball!), then targeted with an overhead wristlock before a bid to break free ended with him eating a handspring kick by the ropes.

Hiromu heads outside, but couldn’t avoid a flip senton off the top rope, nor another kick to the arm before finally finding an opening with a tijeras. A Falcon arrow got Hiromu a two-count,but KUSHIDA’s able to lock in a standing version of the Hoverboard lock… only for Hiromu to fight it off.

Back-and-forth strikes lead to the match spilling outside, as KUSHIDA ripped apart the few crowd barriers they had as the crowd came into play once more… before the pair fight outside the venue and by the ring truck. Bloody hell lads, this isn’t falls count anywhere! They’re fighting in the grass, where KUSHIDA’s Hoverboard lock’s broken up as Hiromu threw him into the side of the tour bus.

The ref’s had enough of this and heads back to the ring to start a count-out, but the pair make it back in time… where we get more of the same as we’re back to the pair trading blows. A Sunset Bomb from Hiromu punched away as KUSHIDA instead scores with a slip ‘n’ slide sunset bomb of his own. Hiromu tries a cannonball senton off the apron, but lands in a cross armbar from KUSHIDA… only to break it with a powerbomb as another count-out tease finally paid off, with Hiromu barely beating the count as KUSHIDA ended up not making it back in in time. Nice they switched up the style as we get our first count-out of the tournament… and a match that’ll live on in B-roll footage at the very least! ***¾

Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Robbie Eagles vs. Master Wato
Eagles lost to Wato almost a year ago in this tournament – a loss that the Aussie took rather personally…

Eagles goes for a Ron Miller Special early on, before the pair exchanged armdrags and dropkicks en-route to a stand-off. Heading outside, Eagles pulls ahead, chopping Wato around ringside, before an exchange of shots back inside led to Eagles catching Wato in a leg lock… forcing him into the ropes for a break.

Eagles punts Wato’s leg in the ropes, as it becomes clear he’s working the leg… but a Dragon screw from Wato looked to buy him some time. The springboard uppercut finds a way through for Wato, who followed through with a tope con giro to Eagles on the outside. A missile dropkick back inside’s good for a near-fall, before Wato moved through to Recientemente for a near-fall.

Vendeval’s next from Wato as he looked to force a submission, before he rolled Eagles away from the ropes and back into the hold as we crossed the ten-minute marker. Eagles tries again to cradle his way free, but instead he’s able to make it to the ropes as he began to make a comeback with the running knees to Wato in the corner. Going back to the knees, Eagles hits a missile dropkick to Wato, then rolled him back into a Ron Miller Special… only for Wato to crawl to the ropes to keep the match alive.

The pair are back to exchanging strikes before duelling head kicks affected Wato more… an Asai DDT quickly follows for a near-fall, but Wato counters a Turbo Backpack neatly into a Tenzan Tombstone Driver as the two-counts kept racking up. Wato looks to follow up with RPP – a decision that had Kevin Kelly cringing – and he’s cut-off as Eagles instead brings him down with a top rope ‘rana.

Eagles looked to be on the home stretch, but his 450 splash lands in Wato’s knees… Eagles flips out of a German suplex as he then missed a Trigger Knee… only to get caught with Wato’s O’Connor roll German suplex for the win! This loss perhaps not as embarrassing as last year, but still just as painful as Eagles’ loss now created a four-way tie at the top. ***½

We’re now six matches deep, and with everyone only having nine matches, we’re starting to get eliminations. I’m only listing mathematical eliminations, even if KUSHIDA’s realistically not coming back from his spot to sneak into 2nd place (which would require a bunch of injury drop-outs!) Don’t forget, it’s the top two from each block going through to the semis – first place in block A facing runner up in block B, in May 26 in Yoyogi, and vice versa.

Block A
Mike Bailey (5-1 / 10pts)
Lio Rush, Taiji Ishimori, Hiromu Takahashi, Titan, TJP (4-2 / 8pts)
DOUKI, SHO (2-4 / 6pts)
KUSHIDA (1-5 / 2pts)
Ryusuke Taguchi (0-6 / 0pts) * eliminated

Block B
El Desperado, Robbie Eagles, Master Wato, YOH (4-2 / 8pts)
Francesco Akira, Clark Connors, Kevin Knight (3-3 / 6pts)
Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Dan Moloney (2-4 / 4pts)
BUSHI (1-5 / 2pts)

The tournament moves to Aomori on Friday, with TJP and Hiromu Takahashi main eventing the final “all block matches card” before we’ve a day off… and return to Korakuen Hall on Sunday for five block A matches.

The final score: review Good
The 411
With two matches here going under two minutes, you could easily surmise that this tour is taking its toll on folks - with off-days at a premium. We’re two-thirds of the way through, and firmly about to hit the business end of things as everyone prepares for their final two block matches…