The following eight matches were available on demand via NJPW World, presented in single-camera format without commentary (some matched in the A Block do have handheld camera footage). Each of the four Block B matches on Day 3 were filmed at the Matsusaka City Gymnasium in Mie, Japan whilst the matches in Block A were filmed in the Kira Messe Numazu exhibition center in Shizuoka for all the action of Day 4.
+ Hiromu Takahashi vs Ricochet (Block A Match): this was the best match of the eight, hands down. Ricochet is so good I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t win the thing, and earn another shot at Takahashi. The strikes, dives and power moves here were all fantastic, especially that bloody axe kick Ricochet makes look so damn deadly. Simply fantastic, this may have been the match of the tournament so far
+ Dragon Lee (w/ El Desperado) vs Taichi (Block A Match): This was really good, and probably would have been the best match of the eight over these two days had it not been right before Takahashi/Ricochet. Taichi is such a slimy guy, and Lee is such a good high flyer it was easy to get behind one guy in particular, similar to the Desperado/BUSHI match. This also made me really want a Dragon Lee/El Desperado match
+ BUSHI vs El Desperado (Block B Match): some really crisp high flying and some brutal usage of chairs made for a really entertaining match up between two masked wrestlers (which is an important note, nudge nudge). Despite both Suzuki-gun and Los Ingobernables de Japon being made of ‘bad guys’, there was a very clear hero/villain dynamic at play, which also added to the match
+ KUSHIDA vs Tiger Mask (Block B Match): I liked this match. It was a straight forward, no nonsense wrestling match between two fantastic junior heavyweights (one of which is the current champion, no less). My only complaint would be that it was too bread-and-butter, but after the bad Volador match and the shenanigans-heavy Desperado/BUSHI match, this was a nice change of pace
+ TAKA Michinoku vs Will Ospreay (Block A Match): I never realised how much Ospreay talks until this match, without commentary to distract me. Some really good minor changes to established spots from both guys made this fun, and some small comedy moments were genuinely funny. This was very short, but still very entertaining
+ Jushin Liger vs Marty Scurll (Block A Match): since the blocks were announced, this was the match I was most interested in- not for quality, but as to how it would go. The crowd barely knew Scurll, but were hugely behind the legendary Liger, all the way up until a surprising ending. This was another good-not-great match
– ACH vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru (Block B Match): due to the camera format, a fair bit of action was difficult to make out, as it occured otuside/”behind” the ring. The in-ring work was fine, though nothing spectacular, though the ending was quite sudden. ACH seems to be getting quite popular with the crowd. I just expected a bit more
– Ryusuke Taguchi vs Volador Jr. (Block B Match): as always, this had lots of ass-based offence from Taguchi and some sloppy work from Volador. I am sure Volador is considered good by most, or he wouldn’t be in this tournament, but damn if he is not showing it here. This was simply not a good match
– the single-camera format really did take lots out of the matches, with several moments in Volador/Taguchi and ACH/Kanemaru being all but unwatchable as they were out of frame. Goes to show just how important competent camera work is (cough cough, looking at you Kevin Dunn in WWE)
> I really, really love Marty Scurll but the finger break move either, a) needs to be sold properly, especially in these match-every-day-tournament or b) it needs to go altogether
> it was interesting to watch from a fixed angle, as there was limited depth perception, so it always appeared as if someone was in the others’ line of sight. It made for a few referee moments, and sneak attacks, which didn’t make much visual sense
Should you watch this event: Of the eight matches over these two days, two were great, four were good and two were not good. Go out of your way to see Ricochet/Takahashi and Lee/Taichi, but only seek out the others if you are a particular fan of them.