As you read this, Super Juniors is drawing to a close. However, I’ve reviewed most of these damn shows, so I’m going to battle onto the end. Let’s hope you’re all interested in lukewarm takes.
Marty Scurll (3-2) defeated Dragon Lee (3-2)
There was nothing fundamentally wrong with the action in this match, but it never grabbed me. It didn’t feel like these two men went out there with a story to tell. Instead, they went back and forth, providing decent wrestling without a purpose.
Of course, Dragon Lee was involved so there was always going to be a touch of magic. That man can do incredible things. I feel it’s only right that I watch him do them at every chance I get. Scurll, meanwhile, was trying to ramp up the aggression. While he stuck to his formula, we got a few added flashes thrown in there. He hit an almost Ospreay like Flipping DDT and a Fisherman Neckbreaker.
It would all prove successful in getting him the victory as he eventually tapped Lee out with the Chickenwing. This was perfectly enjoyable when it was on just don’t expect to remember it in a month.
Verdict: Three Stars
Ryusuke Taguchi (2-3) defeated SHO (2-3)
There was an interesting dynamic at play between SHO and Taguchi. We started off with some comedy as SHO pulled out an invisible bow and arrow. Unsurprisingly, one of the ‘arrows’ ended up in Taguchi’s butt.
Once that was all done, SHO took control and almost looked like the veteran. He was wrestling smart, predicting what Taguchi was set to do next and countering it before he did. It was a nice twist on the formula as Taguchi’s silliness allowed SHO to show off everything he’s learnt.
However, as time went on, the Wielder of the Funky Weapon got professional. He realised he couldn’t muck around and expect to get the win. Taguchi started working harder and pulling out the big guns. It proved to be a smart decision as he’d eventually get the win with the Kooriyama Suplex into a bridge, a move I don’t think I’ve ever seen him use and certainly not to win a match.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Hiromu Takahashi (3-2) defeated Chris Sabin (2-3)
Coming into the closing stretch of the tournament our boy Takahashi is upping the aggression. He used a handshake to cheap shot Sabin and from there seemed intent on trying to put away poor Chris quickly. Sabin tried to dictate the tempo and get down to doing some stretching. However, he couldn’t get a handle on the Time Bomb, and things took off.
It all led to some bumps that I would not be taking on a show this small. I appreciate that the likes of Takahashi are willing to put their bodies on the line for their craft, but sometimes they might be better taking it easy. Do we really need John Woos off the apron on a single-cam Super Junior show? Probably not.
Not that I should complain. It would be churlish to moan that the wrestling was too good. New Japan continues to put over Takahashi new Triangle Choke finish. I believe he’s calling it D. I don’t know if that’s a tribute to his crotch or not. Whatever the reason, a legitimate second finisher adds another string to his bow and should be celebrated.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
KUSHIDA (3-2) defeated El Desperado (2-3)
KUSHIDA and Desperado came really close to having a great match. Sadly, there were a few small issues that kept them back. Let’s start with the positives, though.
The main one being that Despy is bringing it. As a general rule, brawls bore me. They too often get down to two men throwing punches at each other which there’s nothing fun about. El Desperado makes them fun. Within seconds they went to the outside with KUSHIDA sitting Despy down on a chair before leaping off another one with a Cannonball. El Desperado got revenge by putting KUSHIDA on a trolley and driving him through the crowd.
Sadly, after that madness, their return to the ring was a bit of an anti-climax as everything slowed down. I understand the need to pace the action, but they could have easily cut this section. Thankfully, they got back to the good stuff with KUSHI aiming for the Hoverboard Lock and Despy for Numero Dos. At one point, they even managed to have both moves on simultaneously.
It all broke down into a fun finishing sequence that was let down by a sloppy West Coast Pop from KUSHIDA. He struggled to get Desperado over which took the wind out of their sails as he set-up for Back To The Future. Despite that, this was easily the best bout on the show, and El Desperado is still my tournament MVP.
Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars
Super Juniors has slowed down over the last few shows which I don’t blame the wrestlers for at all. It’s a long tour with most of the talent working a style that is hard on their bodies. Even with that, they’re still producing entertaining shows that are easy to watch. We can’t complain.