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

May 15, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 26 Night 3
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Kevin’s NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 26 Night Three Review  

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 26 Night Three
May 15th, 2019 | Aomori Martial Arts Hall in Hirosaki, Aomori | Attendance: 1,293

A Block was awesome on night one. B Block was good on night two. My kind of start to the tournament. We’re back to the A Block, headlined by a rematch of one of my favorite matches in last year’s BOSJ. Hype for it.

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A Block: Jonathan Gresham [0] vs. TAKA Michinoku [0]
An intriguing matchup. TAKA busted out some Zack Sabre Jr. style offense on night one, while Jonathan Gresham was a master on the mat. Gresham came in with his hand taped after Marty Scurll snapped his fingers. This match was a case of TAKA being a wily veteran and Gresham doing his homework. He stopped things like TAKA’s eye poke because he knew it was coming. Like TAKA going after Tiger Mask’s knee, he targeted Gresham’s injured hand. It’s so simple, yet so effective. Gresham combated it by also going after the arm and finding unique ways to get his offense in without using his damaged hand. He slapped on an Octopus Hold to gain his first points in 9:28. A competently told story with some smart selling and very good mat work. My kind of match. [***¼]

A Block: Tiger Mask IV [2] vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru [0]
They met in last year’s BOSJ (**) and Tiger Mask won. Picking up where TAKA left off, Kanemaru focused on Tiger Mask’s knee. I like the idea of the Suzuki-Gun guys sharing ideas when they face someone so soon after each other. This was a weird match. Not because it was bad or anything. I was just surprised at how hard they went. Like, they kicked out of each other’s finishers, which is usually reserved for matches that attempt to be epics. The leg work continued to be a trend and Tiger Mask had to find a way to be resilient and overcome the odds. He made the ropes to break a Figure Four and avoided a moonsault. Then he used a cradle to move to 2-0 after 11:14. Another better than expected outing from Tiger Mask. It wasn’t anything special, but his resiliency and selling were well done. [***]

Post-match, Kanemaru attacked and unmasked Tiger Mask.

A Block: Shingo Takagi [2] vs. Titan [2]
Though Shingo had the more impressive night one win, it hurt him. He came in with his arm taped up. To be fair, it was a war. I was excited for this one. Titan did well early due to his speed. But once Shingo got a hold of him, he was in control. He’s just a heavy hitter compared to everyone else in the tournament. SHO felt like the only true test. Any opening Titan found came from using his evasiveness and speed. It was his only advantage from a physical standpoint. He picked up some near falls using flash pins and surprise things like that. That included his almost inescapable Titan X. Shingo found a way out and that was it for Titan. Shingo hit a series of moves, capped by Last of the Dragon, to win in 10:26. One hell of a sprint. Titan gave Shingo his best shot but just didn’t have enough. Great action, I liked the simple story, and a good showing for both guys. [***½]

A Block: Marty Scurll [2] vs. Taiji Ishimori [2]
Former Bullet Club against current Bullet Club. Something about this match felt off. The stuff they did was mostly fine, but they just seemed to lack chemistry. It never clicked and the timing just wasn’t working. Ishimori, as good as he is, slipped on the ropes and also botched a Tombstone. There were plenty of good ideas in this one. I don’t even have much more to say because I was just so underwhelmed. Two good wrestlers having a lackluster match. Ishimori survived the Chicken Wing and kicked out of a cradle. From there, he won a final exchange by hitting the Black Plague and moving to 2-0 in 22:21. This felt overly long and had some serious chemistry issues. There was still some stuff to like though, making it decent viewing. [**¾]

A Block: IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Dragon Lee [0] vs. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion SHO [0]
Their match in last year’s tournament was a favorite of mine (****) and I’m stoked for this rematch. SHO didn’t only save his best strikes for Shingo. He hit the Jr. Champion with stiff shots right out of the gate and Lee returned the favor. Everything they hit each other with had a little something extra behind it. Even Lee’s tope suicida sent SHO flying back a few rows into the crowd. Both men were battered within out ten minutes and their arms took the biggest brunt of it all. SHO’s strength, even with the bad arm, was a difference maker for several big spots. For Dragon Lee, it was how he kept taking SHO down to the mat. Down the stretch, they started throwing their best at one another. You could sense the desperation to not fall to 0-2, especially after both lost such hard fought matches on night one. Lee finally hit Desnucadora to score the win in 27:10. A banger of a main event. SHO continues to shine and is off to a better start than last year, when I said he had a breakout tournament. This was hard hitting, competitive, and exactly what I wanted. I may give a slight edge to last year’s match, but this ruled. [****]

Taiji Ishimori 4 (2-0) Ryusuke Taguchi 2 (1-0)
Shingo Takagi 4 (2-0) Will Ospreay 2 (1-0)
Tiger Mask IV 4 (2-0) El Phantasmo 2 (1-0)
Dragon Lee 2 (1-1) Robbie Eagles 2 (1-0)
Titan 2 (1-1) DOUKI 2 (1-0)
Marty Scurll 2 (1-1) YOH 0 (0-1)
Jonathan Gresham 2 (1-1) BUSHI 0 (0-1)
SHO 0 (0-2) Bandido 0 (0-1)
Yoshinobu Kanemaru 0 (0-2) Rocky Romero 0 (0-1)
TAKA Michinoku 0 (0-2) Ren Narita 0 (0-1)
The final score: review Very Good
The 411
We’re 3-3 in terms of good BOSJ shows. I liked this less than night one and more than night two. I was let down by Ishimori/Scurll, but I wouldn’t call it bad. Everything else was good, with Shingo/Titan being very good and the main event being great.