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

May 22, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
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Kevin’s NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 26 Night Seven Review  

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 26 Night Seven
May 22nd, 2019 | Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan | Attendance: 1,679

After a few days off, the Best of the Super Juniors has returned. Interesting, this special show featured both blocks in action, giving us a full ten matches instead of five. This kind of show has rarely happened for these tournaments since 2014 when it was the norm. The main event doesn’t sound all that appealing, but there are some interesting matchups on paper this time.

A Block: Taiji Ishimori [6] vs. TAKA Michinoku [0]
Total opposites on the scoreboard so far. Ishimori is unbeaten, while TAKA is winless. TAKA came in with a plan and like his previous three matches, it was a good one. He grounded Ishimori, slowed the pace, and worked on his injured back. Unfortunately for him, he hasn’t been able to capitalize and put anyone away with this plan. From almost out of nowhere, Ishimori hit a handspring kick, DDT, and Bloody Cross to move to 4-0 after 4:56. Short and sweet. With ten matches, matches like this are needed. Simple and to the point. [**½]

B Block: Bandido [2] vs. Ren Narita [0]
Bandido came out with a Silver King mask to honor the recently deceased luchador. Nobody expects Narita to get any wins in this tournament, so it felt like an obvious win for Bandido, who started 0-2. Thankfully, Narita is all about throwing himself into matches in an effort to impress. He and Bandido put on a show and gave us one hell of a sprint. Narita using his now signature belly to belly suplex on the apron was awesome, as was the apron powerbomb spot that followed. Narita got a few near falls inside on flash pins before Bandido won with the awesome 21 Plex in 6:19. Exactly the kind of sprint I want from this tournament. I can’t stress enough how much I love when guys get their point across with no fluff. [***½]

A Block: Jonathan Gresham [2] vs. Titan [2]
The interesting clash of styles that I’ve come to enjoy from Gresham. He’s like when Sabre is in the G1 and wrestles such a different style from everyone else that it makes all his matches interesting. Surprisingly, it was Titan who grounded Gresham. He threw in some kicks and strikes to keep Gresham of balance. Gresham stayed strong and gave it right back. From there, we got a back and forth encounter filled with smooth transitions from both men. The Korakuen crowd was wowed by some of the stuff Gresham pulled out. He slapped on the Octopus and rolled into a cradle. Though Titan kicked out, Gresham held him in a tough looking submission to win in 10:58. Another good match from two of the most consistently good wrestlers in this tournament. [***¼]

B Block: Rocky Romero [2] vs. IWGP Jr. Tag Team Champion YOH [2]
The teacher against the student. Their relationship makes this one of the most interesting dynamics of the whole tournament. That was the main focus of the match. YOH was clearly the quicker wrestler, but Rocky knew how to take all the things he’s learned over the years to combat it. It also helps that he manages YOH, so he knew a lot of what his young counterpart was going to throw at him. YOH ended up working the knee, which we don’t see often from him. It’s like he knew he had to try something different against Rocky. YOH kept resorting to the Calf Crusher, making Rocky tap in 13:29. I liked that. It was smartly worked and really cool to see YOH wrestle a different style when it made sense. [***¼]

We got another vignette for Knife Pervert II: Electric Boogaloo. Juice Robinson on commentary was not feeling this.

A Block: IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Dragon Lee [4] vs. Tiger Mask IV [4]
Poor Dragon Lee. He’s the Jr. Champion and he’s stuck in the midcard on a night like this. The disrespect. This made for a case of different styles not meshing too well. The thing is, while Tiger Mask can still have good matches, he’s nowhere near as quick as Lee. It meant Lee had to slow the pace considerably and that’s not his strongest suit. Tiger Mask did his best to keep up and he showed off some resilient babyface fire. He’s done that well in the tournament so far. He found ways to come close to winning a match nobody thought he had a chance in. Tiger Mask survived an STF but lost when hit with Desnucadora at the 8:59 mark. A fine match but nothing more. [**½]

B Block: BUSHI [0] vs. DOUKI [2]
A battle of ALL CAPS BOIS. DOUKI jumped BUSHI before the bell. No need for that. BUSHI is doing terribly in this tournament, even by his low standards. That’s not a knock on the wrestler, just that he usually scores low in BOSJ. They brawled through the crowd, a staple of Korakuen shows. The pre-match attack and underhanded tactics of DOUKI made it so BUSHI had to fight from behind. It was the kind of babyface stuff we don’t often get from him and I appreciated this being different in that way. He ultimately got on the board with MX in 7:13. DOUKI stepped up in his last match, but this one just felt like typical Suzuki-Gun shenanigans other than being a lot of interference. [**]

A Block: IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion SHO [2] vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru [0]
SHO came in with a taped up ear. Not the kind of thing you see often. Kanemaru, desperate to pick up his first win, jumped SHO before the bell. Kind of weird to do after DOUKI did it, though it made more sense here. They fought into the crowd where Kanemaru hit a suplex. SHO nearly beat the count, but the smart Kanemaru waited by the ring and shoved a Young Lion into him at 18. Kanemaru beat the count himself and won via countout in 4:01. Countout wins are needed in these tournaments because it makes the teases believable. There wasn’t much to the match, but the idea of it all was fine. [*¾]

B Block: Robbie Eagles [4] vs. Ryusuke Taguchi [6]
Unbeaten BOSJ veteran Taguchi against the very impressive BOSJ rookie Eagles. They opened this by exchanging some basic chain wrestling. It wasn’t until Taguchi busted out one of his ass attacks that Eagles found himself in a bit of trouble. Eagles went back to what has worked during this tournament, which is grounding his opponent and targeting the knee. Taguchi was in trouble but found flashes of hope with things like flying ass attacks. I liked how even when Taguchi got going, Eagles had a good counter ready. The way he turned Dodon into the Ron Miller Special was probably the best moment of a very good match. Taguchi tried it again in the end, only for Eagles to pull him into a cradle that got the 1-2-3 in 11:13. Very good stuff. Eagles continues to be a highlight of this tournament. The B Block MVP has to be either him, Narita, or Romero. [***½]

A Block: Marty Scurll [4] vs. Shingo Takagi [6]
The unstoppable Shingo Takagi against former Jr. Heavyweight Champion Marty Scurll. They did a good job in making it feel like Shingo might be in jeopardy. As strong as he is, he’s been in some tough matches so far. It has taken its toll. Scurll is smart and wily enough to find openings to take advantage of that. Building a whole match around that idea was actually really good. Unfortunately, it went a little too far late. I didn’t mind the ref bump and Brody King run in because Shingo has been that dominant. I could see Marty trying that. But doing another ref bump right after for some failed Brody King stuff kind of killed it. We went from something that made sense to something that came off as cheap. The finish exchange following all of that kind of lacked and never had a sense of urgency, despite how commentary tried to sell it. Shingo won with Last of the Dragon in 14:07. A good match that was on pace to become something great before the lame finish. [***¼]

B Block: El Phantasmo [6] vs. Will Ospreay [6]
Gedo keeps doing the one thing I don’t think he should do with Will Ospreay. He keeps booking him in 25 or so minute matches. That’s just not what he’s best at and that’s not me trying to bash him. His 15-20 minute stuff is usually much better and I’ve loved some of it. Anyway, the Phantasmo entrance looks cool in a dark arena like this. Similar to Devitt’s. Phantasmo came in with a strategy focused on Ospreay’s neck. It’s something almost everyone has tried so far. It makes sense but with Ospreay bulking up to face heavyweights, he can withstand it. They built things up over time, leading to some strong near falls late. Fans bought into the finish several times from both men. The closing stretch saw Ospreay kick out from a bunch of Phantasmo’s offense before finally falling to the CR2 in 26:40. Like most of Will’s stuff in this tourney, this was good but got kept from being great because it went too long. This dragged in the middle and cutting about five minutes would’ve probably pushed it over the top. [***½]

Taiji Ishimori 8 (4-0) El Phantasmo 8 (4-0)
Shingo Takagi 8 (4-0) Will Ospreay 6 (3-1)
Dragon Lee 6 (3-1) Robbie Eagles 6 (3-1)
Marty Scurll 4 (2-2) Ryusuke Taguchi 6 (3-1)
Jonathan Gresham 4 (2-2) YOH 4 (2-2)
Tiger Mask IV 4 (2-2) Bandido 4 (2-2)
Titan 2 (1-3) Rocky Romero 2 (1-3)
Yoshinobu Kanemaru 2 (1-3) BUSHI 2 (1-3)
SHO 2 (1-3) DOUKI 2 (1-3)
TAKA Michinoku 0 (0-4) Ren Narita 0 (0-4)
The final score: review Average
The 411
Nothing on this show touched greatness, but most of it was good. The lull between the BUSHI/DOUKI and SHO/Kanemaru matches brought this down, while the Lee/Mask and Ishimori/TAKA matches weren’t anything special. The rest of the show is solid.