It sometimes feels like I’m the only person watching this tournament. That can’t be true, however, there is zero hype around it. People are much more interested in the various end of year awards and Observer Hall of Fame nominations. To be honest, I don’t blame them.
At least we’re hanging with the better block on this show, and that always makes my job a bit easier. Let’s dish out some stars.
Michael Elgin and Jeff Cobb (4) defeated David Finlay and Katsuya Kitamura (0)
This flipped the formula a bit as we saw a Young Lion hot tag. Before we got there, poor David faced an extended beatdown from Cobb and Elgin. It was a lot of fun and the moment where they passed him between them during a delayed vertical suplex was incredible. Finlay is not a small man, and they made it look easy.
The Kitamura hot tag did see a rare mistake from the Young Lion, however, as he came very close to dropping Elgin on his head. It was a bit scary for a second. Thankfully, Elgin is a pro and disaster was averted. It was one of Kitamura’s weaker performances and yet he still held his own in the big man battles with Cobb and Elgin.
For all my moaning about this tournament, these two teams have been highlights. Kitamura and Finlay are fun to watch and Elgin and Cobb like to chuck people about. What more could you need?
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
The Best Friends (Chuck Taylor and Beretta) (4) defeated Togi Makabe and Henare (0)
I feel my mood in these reviews fluctuates depending on the block. A Block sad, B Block happy. We’ve got some more Best Friend antics here, and that’s always going to put a smile on my face.
Unsurprisingly, Henare wasn’t getting the same treatment as Kitamura as he started us off against Beretta. Makabe wouldn’t want to work too hard (sorry, Togi). The Young Lion started off well as he dealt out shoulder blocks to everyone. That would come to an end when he’d sell tweaking his previously injured leg, which gave Best Friends the chance to take control.
This tour hasn’t seen Henare doing anything spectacular, but he’s been doing all the basics right. He sold that leg well, and it allowed Greg and Dustin to display a more vicious side to their personality as they went after it. It’s pro wrestling 101 and, for a trainee, that stuffs important.
The rest of the match continued the 101 formula and was perfectly fine. We got a Makabe hot tag (he managed about two minutes with one bump) before Henare came back in and took the pin. It was basic stuff and yet was entertaining while it lasted.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith Jr) (6) defeated CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano) (2)
Ishii and Yano are not getting a lot of love in this tournament. I understand it because Yano. I don’t like it because Ishii.
Of course, there’s no denying that they can only have a very particular style of match. Yano does some comedy stuff, and then Ishii comes in and deals out a beating. The Ishii bit is the fun part. In this one, he and Davey Boy had a good old game of run as fast as you can at each other and see who survives. It was lovely. In fact, everything with Ishii was lovely because he’s Ishii and he’s the boy.
While Yano and Ishii are being kept away from the love Killer Elite Squad are getting all of it. New Japan is booking their champs strong in this one, and they looked it again. They did a decent job of isolating the Pitbull and trying to work down that brick wall of a man. You could question the intelligence behind that move, but when you’re as big as those fuckers, you can get away with that shit. It also makes you look like a total badass when you work over Ishii because everyone knows he’s nails.
In the end, Killer Elite Squad hit the Killer Bomb and picked up the pin. Once again, though, it was Ishii who took the fall. I really hope this is going somewhere because protecting Yano over Ishii strikes me as a damn strange choice. In a perfect world, there will be big old chop to the throat coming the Master Thief’s way somewhere down the line. (Let me dream).
Verdict: Three Stars
Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) (4) defeated War Machine (Raymond Rowe and Hanson) (4)
Gedo mate, you’re great. You have proven yourself to be pretty decent at this booking stuff. You’re undeniably better than I am. All those tickets you are selling? Top notch stuff. It’s super impressive. However, do you not think we’ve seen this a few too many times? Could you perhaps have kept them apart? Just for a few weeks.
Look, I get it, it’s a tournament, certain teams are going to have to face off. I’m just bored of this. I was bored of it months ago. It’s probably not fair either because they’ve definitely got better as they’ve gone along. The chemistry and improved and with it the performances. Sadly, that’s not enough to get past the fact that we’ve seen it twenty million times.
This was another decent match between two talented teams. Now, let’s not see it again for at least another year.
Verdict: Three Stars
I veer between thinking this tournament is utter balls and a solid distraction depending on the shows I’ve just watched. This was a solid distraction. B Block is so far ahead of A that they might as well just forget that A exists. It would certainly make my life easier.