May 17th, 2022
Sakata, Yamagata, Japan
At the Sakata City Gymnasium for the first night of B Block action. This is a little nostalgic cause it instantly reminds me of 2018-19 when I watched the BOSJ shows as they happened.
1) Hiroyoshi Tenzan, YOH, & Yuto Nakashima vs. Clark Connors, Kosei Fujita, & Ryohei Oiwa
YOH and Connors begin. They face on night three so it’s an understandable way to start this off by teasing that match. They’re the real focus and story of this similar to how Yuta/Eagles was last night in the opening eight man except it’s not nearly as good. Sorta lifeless. Connors gets the pin in 10 minutes or so.
Match rating - **
2) Ace Austin & Tiger Mask vs. Taka Michinoku & Yoshinobu Kanemaru (Suzuki-gun)
Kanemaru charges Austin at the bell. They face off in singles tomorrow so naturally that’s the whole reason this is happening. This was just like the opener.. fine, but just a house show effort for six minutes. Austin gets the pin on Taka for the victory for he & Tiger Mask.
Match rating - *3/4
3) Dick Togo, SHO, & Taiji Ishimori (BULLET CLUB) vs. Alex Zayne, Ryusuke Taguchi, & Jado
It sucks that everything House of Torture almost has a **1/4 ceiling because of the incessant foul play. This had some good action in its short time with Alex Zayne hitting his first exciting move of the tournament. But they still had to go the weapons route for SHO to tap out Jado. Sigh. Fun while it lasted before that, atleast.
Match rating - **
4) DOUKI (Suzuki-gun) vs. El Lindaman (STRONGHEARTS) - Block B Tournament Match
DOUKI reaaaaally won me over in the 2020 BOSJ so ever since then, getting a bunch of singles matches from him is a highlight of the tournament every year. His opponent is another favorite of mine as I’m a STRONGHEARTS NERD. Lindaman is one day away from his G-Rex title defense and brings the belt with him to the ring. This started a little slow, but turned into a hot ass closing stretch. They run through flash pins and trade suplexes before DOUKI catches Lindaman and bridging suplex for the win. This was just about better than anything in Block A Night One and it wasn’t even THAT amazing. Just more urgency and better action than any of those other matches. I imagine the match quality is only going to build as night goes on.
Match rating - **3/4
5) El Phantasmo (BULLET CLUB) vs. BUSHI (LIJ) - Block B Tournament Match
This is BUSHI’s TENTH BOSJ. Phantasmo’s third. He had a good run in 2019. After that, I began to despise him so I don’t have high hopes for this one. And yeaaaah. Remember when I said the match quality is gonna build through the night.. Um. I forgot about this match being on here and I was wrong because this sucked. Routine, boring stuff from two largely uninteresting individuals. BUSHI can have a solid match sometimes and Phantasmo can too, but not regularly. So, this was routine stuff with nothing particularly focused or good or exciting. Just standard stuff from them and as a result, it’s below average and bland. Phantasmo wins.
Match rating - *3/4
6) Robbie Eagles (CHAOS) vs. Wheeler Yuta (Blackpool Combat Club) - Block B Tournament Match
I had been looking forward to this one since we got some build for it in the opener of night one. This was very good. They trade holds early then delve into striking and moves. The first real advantage goes to Eagles off Yuta having some issues with his leg which Eagles begins working on. Yuta’s new intense demeanor and selling is just on such a different level right now and it enhances all of his performances. Naturally, it did the same here as the story in the middle-second half is his leg and with the new intense style he works, there are several moments where he just resorts to slapping Eagles or throwing forearm shivers. They have a great high drama final few minutes, but Yoots never forgets to sell the leg. After several close falls and a moment where Eagles had Yuta’s legs tied up and I thought the finish was coming, it’s a pinning combo / roll up thing that gives Eagles victory. This just left me wanting more of these two. Yuta looks so shocked and frustrated that he lost and sells the leg more on his way out. Great stuff.
Match rating - ***1/4
7) TJP (w/ Francesca Akira) (United Empire) vs. Master Wato (Six or Nine) - Block B Tournament Match
TJP is still a real life dummy with bad tattoos, but he is a competent wrestler. And most of the time a fun wrestler to watch. Wato has been in two BOSJ’s prior, I think. But this is his biggest yet and Kevin’s commentary made me feel like it’s a thread to watch here. TJP is the veteran by a large margin and really dominates this. He charges Wato at the bell with a dropkick before either man can get their gear off. Wato fires back and hits a dive. Nice flurry before we settle into TJP keeping things on the mat. Wato has a nice comeback attempt, but he’s just totally out worked by the far more experienced TJP and is forced to tap around 12 minutes in to an STF. This felt slow at times, but was extremely sound and a good match. I hope they continue building this Wato story. Kevin’s call saying Wato is gonna have to tighten up/step up or get eaten alive in this tournament made me feel so much sympathy as he was walking toward the back. He’s one half of the Jr tag champs now with a veteran in Taguchi.. the pressure is on for him to deliver in this tourney now more than ever and he just got ate up by TJP on the first night of his block. Things won’t get any easier.. can he overcome?
Match rating - ***
8) El Desperado (Suzuki-gun) vs. Titan - Block B Tournament Match
Titan is here representing CMLL. It’s far from his first BOSJ though, as he’s been in a couple.. even dating back to 2013. Despy just lost his junior title, but has been at the head of the division for the last two years and has the most main events coming up in this year’s tournament and it all begins here! This is great main event to cap off the show. Despy’s matches always feel like a big deal and Titan brings a new flavor to things. It grabs your attention immediately with his flurry of crazy shit early on. They settle in, though, and make this more than just a spotfest. Despy tears at the mask of Titan which is always the most disrespectful shit. And this turns into quite the stiff back and forth contest with a good sense of determination & urgency from both guys down the stretch. So much more to this than the Block A main between YOH & Ishimori. Despy gets the win, but not after a struggle.
Match rating - ***1/4