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Kevin’s NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 26 Night Fourteen Review

June 3, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
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Kevin’s NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 26 Night Fourteen Review  

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 26 Night Fourteen
June 3rd, 2019 | ZIP Arena Okayama in Kita Ward, Okayama | Attendance: 1,773

Shingo Takagi has swept through the A Block and awaits the winner of the B Block. That was determined today by this show. As I’ve noted, Gedo’s predictable booking led us to a show where only the main event matters.

Another quick review today due to being pretty busy.

B Block: BUSHI [10] vs. Ren Narita [0]
Following an 0-3 start, BUSHI has reeled off 5 straight victories. The best Ren Narita stuff this tournament has been the matches where an upset feels real. A night like this was poised for that kind of thing. A hot BUSHI slipping up on the final night to ensure Narita didn’t finish winless was a great story to tell. If that’s not the story you’re going with, you could still get the fans to believe in it and lead to some great Narita close calls. They never made me feel that way, so it lacked that fire form the best Narita stuff. BUSHI won with MX at 9:08 in a match that was fine. [**¾]

B Block: Bandido [8] vs. Rocky Romero [6]
Nothing on the line here and not much in the way of a story to work with. Still, these are two guys who have worked hard in pretty much every match so far. They did that again in this one. It led to a match filled with some solid back and forth action. Nothing they did in the early stages stood out, but as this progressed it got more and more interesting. It just lacked the drama to make it something worth going out of your way to see. Bandido won with the 21 Plex in 11:30. Good, but not great. [***¼]

B Block: Robbie Eagles [10] vs. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion YOH [10]
Two of the MVPs of this block. Honestly, I’d say the top two wrestlers of the block. Thankfully, their match together delivered. Again, I sound like a broken record, but not having anything to fight for takes away from some of these matches. Robbie Eagles continued to bring his strategy of working the leg. It helped to take away some of YOH’s quickness and explosiveness. YOH fought from behind and overcame the leg issues to bring some big offense late. Eagles missed his signature 450 splash and the door was open. YOH won a final exchange to get the three count on a Dragon Suplex in 11:45. Best match on the show to this point. I liked the simple story they told and found it effective. [***½]

B Block: DOUKI [2] vs. El Phantasmo [10]
ELP started 5-0 but dropped three straight due to being a cocky SOB. DOUKI started 1-0 and lost every match since. He’s been one of the worst tournament performers, though he improved after a dreadful start. Either way, ELP wasn’t the right guy for him to face. They didn’t exactly click and some of the stuff they tried could’ve gone badly. Like, I was scared for them at times. ELP ended with a win after hitting CR2 at the 13:13 mark. Like the opener, this was relatively fine and nothing more. [**½]

B Block: Ryusuke Taguchi [12] vs. Will Ospreay [12]
A rematch of the BOSJ Finals in 2016 (****), which Ospreay won. This was the only match with something on the line. And yet, it still felt like a forgone conclusion. Ospreay/Shingo always felt like the finals and Gedo wasn’t going to stray. The key was if they could make me buy into Taguchi winning, similar to how Ishimori made me believe he’d upset Shingo. They didn’t. That’s not to say this wasn’t good. Like the 2016 match, it started with some comedy but quickly got into serious territory considering what was on the line. The finishing stretch was certainly the highlight, nailing the trademark NJPW series of close calls and counters. Ospreay finally picked up the win with Storm Breaker after 22:18. This was a very good main event that never really sniffed being great. [***½]

Shingo Takagi 18 (9-0) Will Ospreay 14 (7-2)
Taiji Ishimori 14 (7-2) BUSHI 12 (6-3)
Dragon Lee 14 (7-2) YOH 12 (6-3)
Marty Scurll 10 (5-4) Ryusuke Taguchi 12 (6-3)
SHO 10 (5-4) El Phantasmo 12 (6-3)
Jonathan Gresham 8 (4-5) Robbie Eagles 10 (5-4)
Titan 6 (3-6) Bandido 10 (5-4)
Yoshinobu Kanemaru 6 (3-6) Rocky Romero 6 (3-6)
Tiger Mask IV 4 (2-7) DOUKI 2 (1-8)
TAKA Michinoku 0 (0-9) Ren Narita 0 (0-9)
The final score: review Average
The 411
An average way to end the B Block. There were some good matches that felt hollow. Nothing was flat out bad and nothing was “go out of your way to see” levels either. Shingo vs. Ospreay is the right finals and should be great.