The B Block took a hit this morning when it was announced both El Desperado and Flip Gordon would be unable to compete in this year’s tournament. El Desperado suffered a broken jaw earlier this week in a match with Jun Kasai and Flip Gordon had visa trouble so both are out and will be replaced by DOUKI and Ren Narita. The cards have been shuffled but there will still be 45 matches from the B Block and here are the five I have the most faith will deliver.
1. Will Ospreay vs Bandido
The match that jumped off the screen when the blocks were announced. These two had a match during Mania Weekend that blew fans minds and they can now work off that experience to give the fans something even better. This not receiving a main event spot is baffling but I’m confident they’ll give us a special match that will have the potential top whatever Shingo Takagi and Dragon Lee are planning for the main event. If Ospreay is moving to the heavyweight division this could be the last time we see this match for a long time. This will be special.
2. Will Ospreay vs Ryusuke Taguchi
A rematch of the 2016 Best of the Super Juniors Final. If any part of you doubts Taguchi you need to see that match. When he wants to bring it, Taguchi is one of the best on the roster. This match being on the final day of the B Block further helps my confidence that they’ll be going all out. Now that Desperado will be missing the tournament this could very well be the B Block decider. You should never doubt big match Taguchi, you always end up with egg on your face.
3. Will Ospreay vs El Phantasmo
These two had a series in the UK that’s now being brought to Japan and is sure to blow the roof off Korakuen Hall. ELP’s first time in Korakuen will be in a main event where all the rules can go out the window as he’ll be out to impress the home base as the Bullet Club’s newest member. He pinned Ospreay in his New Japan debut and, like the matches above, these guys have wrestled before so I expect a smooth match without any kinks. This is definitely one to have circled.
4. El Phantasmo vs Ryusuke Taguchi
The show was originally scheduled to have Ospreay and Desperado in the main event but the injury to Desperado caused a change in the card. Now it’ll be ELP and Taguchi in the main and you should be excited. I had this match listed in my under the radar article earlier in the week but now that it’s been bumped up, no one should be overlooking this match. They were always going to have a really good match but Taguchi doesn’t let you down in the main events so expect this to be even better than you had originally thought.
5. El Phantasmo vs Robbie Eagles
A rare Bullet Club clash as its two newest members collide. ELP has seemingly leapfrogged Eagles in the Bullet Club pecking order but an Eagles win would certainly muddy the waters. Both these guys are super athletic and would have been able to have a great match without the Bullet Club story but the story will help the fans who aren’t familiar with either guy and I think we’re in for something special here.