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

May 24, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
Rocky Romero
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Kevin’s NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 26 Night Nine Review  

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 26 Night Nine
May 24th, 2019 | Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan | Attendance: 1,722

We’ve got another full night of BOSJ action. Night eight was very good and featured two of the best matches in the entire tournament. Can night nine follow suit?

Remember, you can follow me on Twitter (@The_Kevstaaa) and support my writing over at https://patreon.com/the_kevstaaa, where you can find my exclusive predictions for Money in the Bank, as well as my ranking of the top 10 Best of the Super Juniors matches during the NJPW World era..

A Block: IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion SHO [4] vs. Tiger Mask IV [4]
Like yesterday’s show, Tiger Mask came in as the angry junior veteran. He was more aggressive than usual and there was something extra behind his strikes. I love when the New Japan Dads get pissed at their bratty kids. SHO had the upper hand in almost every situation, but then Tiger Mask would just throw a kick to the head or something and stop him. SHO hit the Shock Arrow, but was too woozy to go for the pin. Tiger Mask’s strategy was passing off. When he used a crucifix pin, the fans bought that as the finish. A second Shock Arrow kept Tiger Mask down after 8:14. A very good sprint. This tournament thrives on these short burst matches. SHO continues to be one of the best going today and Tiger Mask is having the best tournament I think I’ve ever seen him have. [***¼]

B Block: Ren Narita [0] vs. Will Ospreay [8]
On paper, this is a mismatch. But as Juice Robinson said during Narita’s entrance, “GET IN THERE SON, YOU GOT NOTHING TO LOSE!” Right off the bat, he showed no fear of Ospreay and took it right to him. As always, the crowd just rallied behind him. They love their Young Lions. Once David Finlay beat Gedo a few years ago, it opened the door for a Young Lion upset in the BOSJ. When Narita nearly won by countout, the fans were way into it. Ospreay has come in with damage on his back and neck, so it made him vulnerable. The fight for the Cloverleaf was fantastic. Narita pulled him to the middle of the ring, rolled around, slapped him, and did everything to apply it. What a moment. Ospreay survived and kicked out of a backslide before winning with the Oscutter in 8:45. Again, when Ospreay keeps it short, he’s at his best. This was such a great sprint with the fans totally into this. Props to Will for selling the idea of a defeat here very well. [***½]

A Block: Marty Scurll [4] vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru [4]
Two dastardly guys going at it. It was about who could out heel the other. They fought into the stands of Korakuen Hall. Kanemaru has done that in all three matches in this building. The most fun we got from this was when they brought their trademark items into play. Kanemaru went to spit the whiskey but Scurll blocked it with his umbrella. They took each other’s weapons but the referee stopped them. Scurll still spit the whiskey and won with the Black Plague in 5:02. A decent amount of fun here. Their shenanigans made for something entertaining. [**½]

B Block: DOUKI [2] vs. Robbie Eagles [6]
New gear for DOUKI. Maybe it’s an effort to not suck. It gave me Sub-Zero vibes. Eagle was prepared for the DOUKI pre-match attack. Someone did his homework. Still, DOUKI was a bit more violent than Eagles may have prepared for. He got beat up with a chair and took a DDT onto one, resulting in him getting busted open. Despite this, Eagles kept to his strategy of working the leg. It set him up nicely for a finishing stretch. He hit the 450 splash onto the leg and then locked in the Ron Miller Special to make DOUKI tap out in 8:11. Solid stuff with Eagles fighting hard to overcome DOUKI’s dirty tactics. [**¾]

A Block: Shingo Takagi [10] vs. TAKA Michinoku [0]
There may not be many matches in this tournament that end up worked smarter than this one. As dominant as Shingo has been, he’s had some physical wars. Dragon Lee and SHO have especially been problematic for him. TAKA isn’t of that vein, but he’s crafty. He raked Shingo’s eyes, took him outside and used pretty much every little underhanded tactic he knew. They made it believable that he could pull off the miracle. His flash pins and even the Crossface attempt had the fans buying into this. Of course, Shingo was too much and put him down with Last of the Dragons in 7:23. So well done. [***]

Knife Pervert video time!

B Block: Bandido [4] vs. Ryusuke Taguchi [8]
Fresh off his best NJPW match so far, Bandido looked to stay alive with a big win here. I appreciated this simply being a match between two good guys looking to pick up points. It was like the total opposite of Scurll/Kanemaru earlier. They had some very good exchanges throughout and most of the work was crisp. After his performance against Ospreay, the crowd was more invested in Bandido than ever before. They really wanted him to win despite Taguchi being a popular guy. Taguchi nearly won the same way he beat Romero yesterday but Bandido kicked out. Bandido hit the 21 Plex to win, thought it came off awkwardly at the 10:50 mark. Just good old fashioned solid pro wrestling between two likable babyfaces. [***¼]

A Block: Jonathan Gresham [6] vs. Taiji Ishimori [8]
After a 4-0 start, Ishimori lost to his old rival Kanemaru yesterday. Ishimori wasn’t about to looks past anyone. Though he may have made a mistake when he spat at Gresham. That fired up Gresham who returned the favor a bit and kept up an intensity throughout this short contest. Watching Gresham twist and bend Ishimori in strange ways was cool, especially when you consider how banged up Ishimori has been for most of the tournament. With his arms and legs trapped in the Octopus, Ishimori simply dropped backwards onto Gresham to break the hold. Once he got past that, Ishimori used a flurry of moves capped with Bloody Cross to move to 10 points in 6:50. Another sprint that worked. It didn’t have a great story or anything, but featured good action. [***¼]

B Block: BUSHI [4] vs. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion YOH [6]
YOH won their meeting last year (***). Lots of experience against each other from tags. BUSHI jumped YOH before the bell. That made sense given he’s done it on the other two Korakuen shows and won those matches. Despite the fast start and their knowledge of one another, this didn’t click the way I hoped it would. It was the first thing on the show to feel like it dragged and it didn’t even go that long. YOH hitting a dive to the outside was the first time it felt like the crowd had woken up. BUSHI survived the Calf Crusher and won with MX in 11:46 to put both men at 3-3. A solid match but nothing more. Felt like filler. [**¾]

A Block: IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Dragon Lee [6] vs. Titan [4]
These guys used to be a team. They never met in NJPW, but Lee is 2-0 against Titan in their careers. Red Shoes was given a Kamaitachi mask and he started to officiate the match with it but gave up quickly. As for the match itself, it was filled with the high octane energy you’d expect from these two. They know each other well, so their offense was smooth. Though they are friends who shook hands, ,this was vicious. There were several points where they just slapped each other over and over. The exchange on the top rope was brutal. Once Titan went for Lee’s signature double stomp, the champion seemed to get pissed. He hit some snap Germans and a sick knee strike. Titan kept coming at him with aerial stuff and countering Desnucadora. After a Brainbuster, he was finally able to succeed on Desnucadora to win in 14:01. Better than I expected. Hard hitting, some good aerial stuff, and some good drama down the stretch. [***¾]

B Block: El Phantasmo [10] vs. Rocky Romero [2]
Originally, this wasn’t the main event. That was supposed to be Ospreay/Gordon (yuck) but things got reshuffled so Narita didn’t have the pressure of going on last. That set up Rocky Romero to get his first Korakuen main event and his first main event in general in 13 years. Rocky came out firing, hyped up for this spot. I liked when they fought into the crowd and Rocky went to dive off something only to remember he’s old and instead chose to leap from a shorter place. As they got back to the ring, ELP’s cockiness was evident. He is undefeated, beat Ospreay, and Rocky has just two points. It cost him until Rocky missed a knee and hit the post. You would think that would mark the end for Rocky but he drove ELP’s shoulder into the post and was still alive. The closing stretch here was great. Fans desperately wanted Rocky to win and his close calls with the Cross Armbreaker were well done. ELP went to use his RevPro title as a weapon and Rocky pulled an Eddie Guerrero to try and get him DQed. When that didn’t work, he went for all sorts of flash pins as the clock ticked towards the time limit draw. With under two minutes left, ELP kicked out of a small package, but Rocky immediately pulled him into the Cross Armbreaker. As he added stomps, ELP tapped out at 28:38. That had no business being as good as it was. That was a case where going over 25 minutes worked. It added to the desperation of it all. Could the veteran overcome and do the unthinkable? Yup. The crowd, commentators, and overall atmosphere added to this. Rocky, a guy I watched live at ROH shows in 2007, can still go. [****]

Shingo Takagi 12 (6-0) El Phantasmo 10 (5-1)
Taiji Ishimori 10 (5-1) Will Ospreay 10 (5-1)
Dragon Lee 8 (4-2) Robbie Eagles 8 (4-2)
SHO 6 (3-3) Ryusuke Taguchi 8 (4-2)
Marty Scurll 6 (3-3) BUSHI 6 (3-3)
Jonathan Gresham 6 (3-3) YOH 6 (3-3)
Tiger Mask IV 4 (2-4) Bandido 6 (3-3)
Titan 4 (2-4) Rocky Romero 4 (2-4)
Yoshinobu Kanemaru 4 (2-4) DOUKI 2 (1-5)
TAKA Michinoku 0 (0-6) Ren Narita 0 (0-6)
The final score: review Good
The 411
Another good edition of the BOSJ. Nothing was as good as the last two matches from night eight, but things were consistently solid and capped by one hell of a story.