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Pantoja’s NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 30 Night 7 Review

May 20, 2023 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
NJPW Best of the Super Junior 30 - El Desperado vs. Dan Moloney Image Credit: NJPW
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Pantoja’s NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 30 Night 7 Review  

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 30 Night 7

May 19th, 2023 |  Sub Arena in Miyata, Aomori | Attendance: 1,196

I’ve enjoyed this tournament so far so let’s keep it rolling. Even with me liking it, four nights in a row is a lot. I know I’ve said it in recent reviews but this will for real likely be my shortest coverage as I am super pressed for time today.

B Block: Clark Connors [6] vs. Master Wato [8]

After being a standout last year, Connors has been kind of a drag this year. It’s almost as if joining the Bullet Club is a curse and never really makes anyone better. This followed the same formula as Connors’ other matches in this tournament. He used his power and underhanded tactics while his opponent fought from beneath. Then, when he had things in hand, Gedo gave him bad advice that opened the door for Wato to trip him after multiple Spear attempts. That set up the German Suplex and another Wato win in 6:10. Wildly average. [**½]

A Block: DOUKI [4] vs. Ryusuke Taguchi [0]

DOUKI has never beaten Taguchi, losing in the 2019 BOSJ (a 21 minute DUD), the 2020 BOSJ (**¾) and the 2021 BOSJ (**¾). Another relatively simple match here as they did fine stuff but they don’t have the strongest chemistry. Taguchi continued the trend of not doing goofy antics and wrestling a solid match. DOUKI applied the DOUKI CHOUKI but it broken up due to the ropes. The late exchanges saw them trade submissions, countering from the choke to the ankle lock before DOUKI won with Suplex de la Luna, which he has struggled to hit all tournament. This went 7:46 and was fine grappling. [**¾]

B Block: Kevin Knight [6] vs. Robbie Eagles [8]

Eagles has to win to keep pace with Wato, who currently leads B Block. I’ve enjoyed both guys so far in this tournament. Knight went after the arm while Eagles attacked the knee. Simple, yet effective concept. I like that Knight is gaining confidence with three wins in the BOSJ and a title around his waist and that it cost him early as Eagles pulled his taunting into the Ron Miller Special. Lots of quality leg work from Eagles here including a goddamn Stump Puller. The inexperienced Knight did things like a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on that bad leg, hurting himself more in the process. Eagles pounced and won with the Ron Miller Special in 8:45, possibly earning a tag title shot with someone soon. [***]

A Block: SHO [4] vs. Titán [8]

They met in the 2019 BOSJ (***). Titán needs a win and help from others to keep the pace atop the A Block. SHO did his usual House of Torture shit like going after the mask and things like that. They keep teasing SHO splitting from the group so here, it was EVIL who in a pissy mood, just staring down Titán instead of helping SHO. It took a while before EVIL actually got involved and he eventually used a chair on Titán. That wasn’t the finish but a Shock Arrow soon after was at the 7:38 mark. Ho-hum. [**¼]

B Block: Francesco Akira [6] vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru [4]

Their lone meeting was last year (**¾). Kanemaru started this tournament hot but has quickly fallen into typical Kanemaru standings. Meanwhile, Akira has been a consistently solid player. He was out with Great-O-Khan here too. This was kept very short at just 4:09 with some decent action during the bout. A series of rollups saw Akira get the last laugh and victory, overcoming some leg work to get two more points. [**]

A Block: KUSHIDA [2] vs. Lio Rush [8]

Now we’re cooking. The surprising struggles of KUSHIDA against a guy looking to make the final four, Lio Rush. Despite his terrible record, KUSHIDA was still kind of joking around and not taking things seriously. He took Lio to the mat early but Lio was too quick for him and taunted him back. That became the story of the match as it was KUSHIDA’s technical prowess against Lio’s quickness. KUSHIDA worked the arm with some pretty vicious looking stuff. Lio survived it all and ultimately proved to just be too much for KUSHIDA. This wasn’t a case where he just survived the former champion or won via countout. He got going and hit Final Hour to win in a really fun 8:38. One of the better sprints of the tournament. [***½]

B Block: BUSHI [2] vs. YOH [8]

Several meetings here including the BOSJ from 2018 (***), 2019 (**¾), and 2021 (***), and the 2020 New Japan Cup (***). You basically know what you’re going to get from these two. YOH continued his thing of acting like other wrestlers and it remains a fun little change of pace for him. The issue here is that while he’s looked good this year, BUSHI looks like he gives zero fucks. YOH managed to avoid some of BUSHI’s best bits of offense before stealing MX for himself and winning with Direct Drive in an average 8:02. B Block is kind of just there, isn’t it? [**½]

A Block: Mike Bailey [10] vs. Taiji Ishimori [8]

Their only previous match was in 2017 and I didn’t see it. Bailey came in here with a broken toenail which adds to the logical conclusion of WEAR SOME SHOES, MATE. Anyway, this kind of had everything you’d expect from these two from Bailey throwing his kicks to Taiji using his speed and making things more technical. He also avoided doing too many underhanded tactics, allowing this to be more of a straight-up wrestling match without shenanigans. Taiji worked the arm and Bailey had fight from beneath. You could sense his desperation as a win would basically cement his spot in the semifinals but Taiji came across as the more reserved, calm wrestler. Bailey accidentally kicked the exposed buckle before taking Bloody Sunday, La Mistica, and the Bone Lock to lose in 10:27. A hell of a match here. [***¾]

B Block: Dan Moloney [4] vs. El Desperado [8]

This was kind of the Moloney special in the tournament. Not too long, solid throughout but never wowing. The standout moment saw Desperado take a ROUGH bump into the ring post. That gave Dan the upper hand for a while though you never got the feeling that he could win. Their exchanges were good and I like Dan’s double stomp/back senton combo. It’s a simple yet effective move. He survived stuff like Guitarra de Angel but the taped up shoulder proved to be too much of a problem. Desperado targeted it when he could and used a submission to make him tap in 9:35. That was good stuff. [***¼]

A Block: Hiromu Takahashi [8] vs. TJP [8]

The winner here moves into a tie with Bailey, Ishimori, and Lio for the top of the block not counting tiebreakers. Surprisingly, they haven’t met in this tournament before. This was worked at a slower pace early on, with the two men going through a feeling out process. You could tell they don’t have a ton of history and that played into the match. Not knowing each other meant not wanting to make the first mistake. It also let me know that this would be one of the longer matches of the tournament. As they crossed the 10 minute mark, things picked up and TJP started in with spin kicks and a modified Mamba Splash. I really dug TJP busting out Akira’s Fireball for a near fall. Might as well pull out your teammate’s stuff against a new opponent. Hiromu teased a suplex to the outside and he’s just enough of a madman for me to believe he’d do it though it didn’t happen. The closing stretch saw TJP try the Pinoy Stretch and a triangle armbar only for Hiromu to counter and powerbomb his way free. He kept up his offense and won with the Time Bomb in 20:46. A really good main event but something early on was lacking to make this stand out as great to me. [***¾]

The final score: review Good
The 411
This feels about in line with most of the tournament. A good show mostly from top to bottom without anything that really stood out.

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