NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors Night Five (24/5/18) Review

Sneaky foot. Credit: NJPW

Night five of Super Juniors is a mixed bag. No-one is getting pumped about Bushi vs Tiger Mask, while Ishimori vs Flip could go either way. The most intriguing contest going in was Will Ospreay vs YOH, which will mark YOH’s first ever main event. It’s a chance for the youngster to build on the promise of his opening performances and prove he’s the real deal as a singles wrestler.

Tiger Mask (3-0) defeated Bushi (0-3)

Is Tiger Mask going to win the Super Juniors? The moody feline keeps picking up results!

Sadly, this was the end of his run of surprisingly good performances. It wasn’t horrible there just wasn’t much to it. I watched it all of two hours ago, and without my notes, I doubt I’d remember a single spot. They didn’t even bother going after each other’s masks which was the story they set up on the previous show.

Instead, both men went through the motions without ever getting out of second gear, right up until Tiger Mask turned an attempted Frankensteiner into a Powerbomb. He then followed up with a Tiger Driver, Double Underhook Superplex and the Millenium Suplex for the win. A remarkably straightforward finish to a mediocre match.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Yoshinobu Kanemaru (1-2) defeated ACH (1-2)

ACH has been selling his shoulder since night one, and it took centre stage here. In the early going, he attempted to cartwheel over Kanemaru only for his arm to give out as he collapsed to the mat.

If you give Kanemaru a target like that you better believe he is going to take it, like a grumpy veteran he scented blood and before long Yoshinobu was wrenching on that arm at every chance he got. It defined the entire match as ACH was continually slowed down or outright brought to a stop by the pain in his shoulder. That would play into the finish as he took too long to hit a 450 Splash and allowed Kanemaru to get out of the way.

Kanemaru would then dive into his bag of tricks, spraying whiskey into ACH’s eyes before following up with Deep Impact for the win. This was a perfectly serviceable yet uneventful performance. ACH did a great job selling that arm and Kanemaru is the perfect guy to take advantage of that. Sadly, it never hit a high enough gear to make it anything better than alright.

Verdict: Three Stars

Flip Gordon (2-1) defeated Taiji Ishimori (2-1)

A massive win for Flip Gordon as he beats the shiny new toy in the Junior Division. You could argue it makes sense as Ishimori needs to lose somewhere and it was presented as a shock (the finish came off a roll-up with a bridge), but I’m sure Flip is not going to let that dampen his enthusiasm.

It’s just a shame that it lacked the substance required to be something special. While there were a handful of cool moments, I don’t think they came together to create magic. Ishimori is still working like a killer, grinding his opponents to the mat and then bursting out that lightning quick offence at critical moments. The problem was that they only went around ten minutes and the grinding took up quite a lot of that.

None of which means this was a bad performance because it wasn’t. When Flip is purring, he’s great, and in a longer contest, I think this combination would be perfect. However, with the time constraints they had, they might have been better going all out and blowing the roof of the place rather than trying to working to get Ishimori’s character over.

Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars

Will Ospreay (2-1) defeated YOH (2-1)

There was an interesting dynamic to this one. Will Ospreay wrestled like a Heavyweight taking on a Junior, dominating extended portions of the match only for YOH’s explosive offence to give him a sniff of a chance. He was working the more aggressive style that he’s been cultivating, mixing in stiff kicks and chops with his high flying attacks.

I’ll keep the Ospreay praise short because I’m doing it in every review and I don’t want his ego to get out of hand. In saying that, he was once again tremendous. Treating a match against a young wrestler in the Ukaru Chan Arena like he would the main event of the Tokyo Dome, bouncing around and selling his neck like a superstar. At some point, he is going to have to slow down, but it might take someone pointing a gun at his head to make him do so.

Let’s look at YOH, though, because this was his best performance yet. He’s flourishing away from SHO as he’s allowed to show his own personality. His attacks are like little bursts of joy, as he seamlessly flows between thrilling moves to build momentum. We also saw a slightly different side to him here, as he made sure to focus some of that offence on Ospreay’s neck, taking advantage of his recurring injury.

Sadly, while I’m sure his time will come, it isn’t quite yet. Ospreay flipped out of a Dragon Suplex to set himself up for a Standing Spanish Fly. One Stormbreaker later (which no-one has kicked out of yet) and it was over. Despite that, YOH can be proud of his performance, and people can probably stop worrying about him being the Jannetty of Roppongi 3K.

Verdict: Four Stars

Overall Show

Probably the weakest Super Junior show yet as most of the matches merely got to decent. In saying that, we still got a four-star main event and at no point was anything a disaster. Ospreay and YOH went out there with the clear intent of stealing the show and pulled it off. If you’re in a rush, you can skip the others, but make sure and watch that.

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