[New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual light heavyweight tournament continues. In this tournament, 20 competitors are split into two even blocks of 10. Each competitor faces the other in their block once, earning 2 points for any win, 1 for a draw, and 0 for any loss (and both wrestlers get 0 if there is no clear winner, such as a double countout). The overall winners of each block will go on to face each other in the final, and the winner there will receive an IWGP Championship match against the defending champion, Taiji Ishimori at Dominion.]
Night four means it’s the second round of action for the B Block, including the United Empire’s TJP facing El Desperado of Suzuki-gun in the main event in a battle of as yet undefeated competitors. In the semi main event, Master Wato seeks to get his tournament back on track when he faces El Phantasmo of the Bullet Club, while BUSHI will do the same against Robbie Eagles. Finally, Titan will battle El Lindaman, the latter of which is fresh of a defence of his G-Rex Championship outside of this BOSJ tournament, and kicking things off will be DOUKI battling Wheeler Yuta of AEW’s Blackpool Combat Club.
+ TJP (2 points) vs El Desperado (2 points) (B Block Match): this may not have been quite as dangerous looking as Titan/Lindaman, or a rapid fire as BUSHI/Eagles, but it was the absolute definition of a main event wrestling match. Despy is such a fantastic wrestler, and able to go from tag to big singles matches at the drop of a hat. TJP meanwhile can seemingly switch between underdog hero and cocky douchebag at that same speed, and it really did make for a great way to finish the show
+ BUSHI (0 points) vs Robbie Eagles (2 points) (B Block Match): I’m not surprised to say this was a really good back and forth match. Eagles is so quick and can go from 0-100 seemingly instantaneously, but BUSHI is my boy for a reason, because everything he does looks great. I really liked this match, and it’s great proof of why there are no barricades for the BOSJ tour
+ Titan (0 points) vs El Lindaman (0 points) (B Block Match): you all know I love meaty men wailing on each other. But in a tournament like this, two absolute mad lads trying to kill each other or themselves for tournament glory is the next best thing. Titan has been hella impressive across two matches, and this has made me change my tune, if ever slightly, on Lindaman. It’s always a plus when the crowd can’t help but gasp
+ DOUKI (2 points) vs Wheeler Yuta (0 points) (B Block Match): this was a good match, with a really nice finishing stretch. DOUKI is underrated, and Yuta is already good and only going to get better as the influences from Danielson, Moxley and especially Regal take hold
+ Ace Austin & Tiger Mask vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (Hiromu Takahashi & Shingo Takagi): Hiromu/Austin absolutely should have been the main event, and their brief moments here proved it. Shingo and Tiger also had a few really solid moments, and I dare say it has even sold me on Ace/Shingo, were they ever to dare. This was a good preview
– El Phantasmo (2 points) vs Master Wato (0 points) (B Block Match): I was strangely excited coming into this one, but I was mistaken. ELP was good, but Wato was about as average as ever and the match never seemed to click the way the matches before it did
– Alex Zayne, Clark Connors, Jado & Ryusuke Taguchi vs BULLET CLUB (Dick Togo, El Phantasmo, Gedo & SHO): just from their short interactions, it’s clear that Zayne/Ishimori could be a low key show stealer. Clark Connors is growing on me, and both Taguchi and ELP are as they will be, for better or worse. The old man trio did bring the wrestling itself down
– Hiroyoshi Tenzan & YOH vs Suzuki-gun (TAKA Michinoku & Yoshinobu Kanemaru): YOH and Kanemaru are up next, but this didn’t really do anything for me. I’m not feeling underdog YOH, even as much as I enjoy angry old guy Kanemaru. Tenzan and TAKA don’t add much in these matches
Should you watch this event: After two rounds for the B Block it is a bit easier to gauge where the good and the bad rank; Wato is standing out at the bottom of that pile. This was a good show, with Despy, Eagles, ELP and Ace Austin proving themselves real standouts.