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

May 19, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
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Kevin’s NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 26 Night Six Review  

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 26 Night Six
May 19th, 2019 | Yamagata Big Wing in Hirakubo, Yamagata | Attendance: N/A

Our first A Block show to not have something great on it came yesterday. If there was ever a chance for the B Block to strike, it is now. Staying at Yamagata Big Wing, could the B Block have their first big night of the tournament? There’s potential on this card, so let’s find out.

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B Block: Ren Narita [0] vs. Rocky Romero [0]
Both guys come in 0-2, yet have both been among the better wrestlers of the tournament. You got the sense watching this that Romero is a big fan of Narita. He was very giving throughout, making sure that Narita looked great. Rocky focused on the left arm. The work on it was smart and Rocky would go to it whenever Narita found an opening. Narita was great at finding ways to rack up the near falls. The fans bit on some of his flash pins. He ultimately fired up and dared Rocky to hit him in the arm before slapping him. Rocky was able to catch him in an armbar and Narita had no choice but to submit in 12:28. A very good start to the show. Narita continues to be impressive and Rocky delivered again. I liked the arm work and the wily veteran vs. tough youngster dynamic. [***½]

B Block: Bandido [0] vs. DOUKI [2]
According to commentary, Bandido helped DOUKI get settled in Mexico a few years ago. Now, DOUKI has changed and disrespected Bandido by unmasking him last night. Due to that, Bandido came out firing and hit a tope suicida in the opening seconds. They kept up that aggressive tone of a grudge match. It gave us something different from DOUKI which was desperately needed. He didn’t resort to a ton of underhanded tactics and there were no Suzuki-Gun guys at ringside. Instead, they just had an intense back and forth. Commentary hyped the fact that the 0-2 Bandido had yet to hit his signature 21-plex on the tour. He finally did so here, picking up the win in 9:55. Easily the best work we’ve seen from DOUKI. They wrestled the kind of aggressive match we don’t often get in a tournament like this. [***¼]

B Block: El Phantasmo [4] vs. Robbie Eagles [4]
Two Bullet Club members and one will take their first loss here. So far, Eagles has been more impressive to me. They started this with a “too sweet.” Man, the whole Bullet Club thing sure is tired. Anyway, That respect didn’t last long as El Phantasmo got in the first cheap shot while they fought outside. ELP is the high flyer of the two, while Eagles has used more of a mat based game during the tournament. Eagles went a different route, using a Spider German, springboard offense, diving rana, and a 450 splash. Since he couldn’t start the way he normally would, he took the skies for his comeback. It showcased the kind of versatility I like from a wrestler. ELP put Eagles’ bandana over his eyes and won with CR2 in 10:20. An enjoyable match. Phantasmo may be 3-0, but Eagles felt like the real star here and of the tournament between the two. His versatility was great and he was the better performer here. [***]

B Block: Will Ospreay [4] vs. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion YOH [2]
These two met in last year’s tournament (***¼), with Ospreay winning. This was given way more time and as usual with Ospreay, that turned out to be a problem. As noted previous, I think he’s at his best working 15-20 minutes. That’s not a knock against him, it’s just who he is. Plus, I prefer matches in that length range. I liked a lot of what they did here. Ospreay continued to show that his time wrestling the likes of Cobb and Ibushi have made him stronger and tougher. He’s bulked up and it shows. YOH took to Ospreay’s leg to chop him down and ground him. That was all smartly done. I didn’t like Ospreay doing the thing where he “sells” by just beating on his leg as if to wake it up and then hitting his offense like nothing anyway. For example, he hit his leg and then did a springboard move. In the past, I’ve seen him do that springboard on one leg to sell it. I believe he did it in the BOSJ Finals 2016. Little things like that is what I’ve seen him do before that lacked here. It felt like a lazy performance. I’m not saying this was bad, because the match turned out very well. Ospreay won with Storm Breaker after 24:43. It just didn’t need to go this long and needed better selling from Ospreay to be great, rather than just good. [***¼]

B Block: BUSHI [0] vs. Ryusuke Taguchi [4]
BUSHI beat Taguchi in BOSJ 2016 (**¾) and 2017 (***). Considering their current standings, you’d think that trend continued. However, BUSHI has notoriously gotten off to slow starts in this tournament each year. What did go as expected was the match itself. BUSHI used a chair, Taguchi used ass attacks, there were submissions, etc. This was a technically fine match, it just never felt like it got going to the level they probably wanted. That’s been the case with BUSHI vs. Taguchi since I first saw them against each other. Both guys picked up near falls late before Taguchi won with the Ankle Lock in 14:56. Solid, yet unspectacular. Taguchi’s main events have continually been overshadowed by stuff that comes before. A fine, formulaic main event. [**¾]

Taiji Ishimori 6 (3-0) Ryusuke Taguchi 6 (3-0)
Shingo Takagi 6 (3-0) Will Ospreay 6 (3-0)
Dragon Lee 4 (2-1) El Phantasmo 6 (3-0)
Marty Scurll 4 (2-1) Robbie Eagles 4 (2-1)
Tiger Mask IV 4 (2-1) YOH 2 (1-2)
Titan 2 (1-2) Bandido 2 (1-2)
Jonathan Gresham 2 (1-2) Rocky Romero 2 (1-2)
SHO 2 (1-2) DOUKI 2 (1-2)
Yoshinobu Kanemaru 0 (0-3) BUSHI 0 (0-3)
TAKA Michinoku 0 (0-3) Ren Narita 0 (0-3)
The final score: review Average
The 411
B Block doesn’t step up too much, giving us an average show. Narita/Romero was the best thing on the show and it started off. The rest of the card was solid, but nothing stood out as being must watch. I believe they move to Korakuen next, so that should be a step up.