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

May 31, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
NJPW Shingo Takagi
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Kevin’s NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 26 Night Thirteen Review  

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 26 Night Thirteen
May 31st, 2019 | Ehime World Trade Center in Matsuyama, Ehime | Attendance: N/A

It’s the final night for the A Block. It all comes down to Shingo Takagi vs. Taiji Ishimori. The rest of the card has no meaning or anything on the line, but it should make for some good wrestling. Yoshinobu Kanemaru gets a forfeit win over the injured TAKA Michinoku.

It’s a busy Friday for me, so I’ll try to make these reviews shorter than usual.

A Block: Tiger Mask IV [4] vs. Titan [4]
Tiger Mask has dropped six straight after starting 2-0, while Titan has a hugely disappointing place in the standings. Both men have worked best in this tournament as underdog babyfaces. So having this be babyface against babyface, with nothing on the line, meant it felt hollow. It was a relatively fine back and forth match that had no heat. Titan won with an awkward rollup that got a three count that came across like a botched finish at the 8:10 mark. This happened. [**]

A Block: Jonathan Gresham [8] vs. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion SHO [8]
One of my most anticipated matches of the tournament. Behind Shingo, they’re probably my #2 and #3 favorite guys to watch, with Dragon Lee and Robbie Eagles probably rounding out the top five. What we got here was the kind of match I wanted from them. Gresham went after the leg because he had to find a way to take out a more powerful opponent. His ribs were still badly damaged, so he needed any advantage he could get. His Figure Four attempts worked well and slowed SHO down, even almost getting him a countout victory. However, SHO was too much for him and bested him with the Shock Arrow in 10:27. I liked a lot of that but really wish it happened earlier in the tournament. By now, there were no stakes and guys tend to be worn down by this point. Still a lot of fun though. [***½]

A Block: IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Dragon Lee [12] vs. Marty Scurll [10]
This is more I like it. While neither man has a chance to win the block, when a champion is involved something is always on the line. A win for Scurll would theoretically put him in line for a title shot. Scurll won their meeting in last year’s BOSJ (***¼). Scurll brought all his underhanded tactics here, including using Brody King for assistance. However, unlike a Kanemaru or a DOUKI, his stuff is entertaining. Lee is great at fighting from behind, so he made for a great foil. The closing stretch here was pretty fantastic, with some outstanding counters and exchanges. Lee won with Desnucadora in 14:12 to cap a great tournament run. [***½]

A Block: Shingo Takagi [16] vs. Taiji Ishimori [14]
Ishimori must win to take the bloc, while Shingo can do it with a draw. I liked how this had a different feel from the usual match with everything on the line in a tournament. Shingo dominated. And that made sense. He’s been dominant since he arrived in NJPW and Ishimori came in dealing with a lot of real life injuries. Despite that, you did get the sense that Ishimori did his fair share of damage. He fought as the underdog and made it work despite being a Bullet Club boy. He found ways to get in hope spots and actually picked up a few near falls that made me believe he might do the impossible. This was laid out in a really smart way that somehow allowed Ishimori to be competitive, yet still ensure Shingo felt like he was a level above his opponent. That’s a tough balancing act. When Shingo won with Last of the Dragon at 20:51, it felt like a foregone conclusion and yet it wrapped up a great match. An intriguing match that went a different route to give us something great. [****]

Shingo Takagi 18 (9-0) Ryusuke Taguchi 12 (6-2)
Taiji Ishimori 14 (7-2) Will Ospreay 12 (6-2)
Dragon Lee 14 (7-2) Robbie Eagles 10 (5-3)
Marty Scurll 10 (5-4) El Phantasmo 10 (5-3)
SHO 10 (5-4) BUSHI 10 (5-3)
Jonathan Gresham 8 (4-5) YOH 10 (5-3)
Titan 6 (3-6) Bandido 8 (4-4)
Yoshinobu Kanemaru 6 (3-6) Rocky Romero 6 (3-5)
Tiger Mask IV 4 (2-7) DOUKI 2 (1-7)
TAKA Michinoku 0 (0-9) Ren Narita 0 (0-8)
The final score: review Good
The 411
The A Block ends on a high note. Outside of the opener, everything was good and it capped with a great match. Throw in that Gedo did the right thing and had Shingo run the table and you’ve got a winner. Whoever takes the B Block needs to be run over by Shingo.