NJPW Best Of The Super Jr. 26 (16/5/19) Review

Taguchi is fired up! Credit: NJPW

Night three of Best Of The Super Juniors was a bit of a wet fart as the two big matches fell flat. That leaves B Block with the job of picking up the scraps. We’re heading into the grind of the tournament now, and this might give us an indication of how much effort we can expect to see going forward.

Robbie Eagles (2-0) defeated Ren Narita (0-2)

Ren Narita is 21 and wasn’t even supposed to be wrestling in this year’s Super Juniors. Yet, this show saw him run out in front of his home town crowd as seemingly everyone in the room held aloft signs for him. That’s got to be some moment for the lad, and he’s earned it with his recent performances.

Not that Robbie Eagles gave a shit. He was more interested in pulling that leg apart and ensuring that Ren would be limping out to see his parents after the show. I’m a massive fan of the way he targets his offence as even his Springboard Dropkicks zoned in on the injury.

Perhaps Eagles should have cared about Ren coming home, though. For in front of his family and friends that kid was fired up to impress. Once again he hit the Belly to Belly only to be too beat up to bridge. He then followed up with his Modified Scorpion Death Lock, forcing Eagles to drag himself across the ring to the ropes. It was a blood and thunder performance from him, a desperate attempt to show that he belongs at this level.

It was an attempt he was successful in, even as he eventually fell victim to the Turbo Backpack (which is a dumbass move). It doesn’t matter that Narita is going to lose every match in this tournament because he’s proving he is ready to compete at this level. Good on you, son.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

YOH (1-1) defeated Bandido (0-2)

I feel like I’m forming the YOH fan club, but it’s underrated how over he is. Aomori was delighted to see him, and the high-pitched tone of the shouts tells you that he’s at least working in one target demographic.

Bandido, meanwhile, is trying to wow Japan into loving him. He hit an incredible Moonsault to the floor, leaping to the top rope, hesitating and then flying backwards with insane height. It was beautiful. While I do think he needs to tone back on the indie movefest sensibility (YOH went after his leg for a bit in this one, but Bandido had no interest in selling it), if he’s pulling shit like that off, I’m not going to complain.

YOH, meanwhile, looked like he’d gone out there intending to get Bandido over. He bumped around for him, taking move after move and making the newbie look like a million bucks. It was a ridiculously unselfish performance from him, particularly as he went over. Do you see SHO doing that? No, I don’t think so.

Jokes aside, this breezed by as they kept the pace up and never stopped being entertaining. YOH is having an excellent start to the tour while Bandido is impressing too. Lovely stuff.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

El Phantasmo (2-0) defeated BUSHI (0-2)

Why must wrestlers spit so much? I’d like it if they stopped, thanks. While we’re in that wheelhouse, Phantasmo doing the frat boy gimmick is not for me. I know it’s Bullet Club, and that’s what they are, but the childish humour doesn’t produce heel heat from me, it makes me want him to go away. It also makes Red Shoes look like an idiot while he stands to the side watching ELP bounce up and down on BUSHI’s balls.

Anyway, this was a decent match. BUSHI and Phantasmo followed Bandido’s example by focusing on moves over storytelling. They were quite entertaining moves, though, so once again I won’t complain too much. I will, however, say that it’s hard to get emotionally invested in these matches when you’re not a massive fan of those involved. I watched it, but I never connected with it.

Throw in a screwy finish where Phantasmo shoved BUSHI into Red Shoes before punching him in the balls, and I find it hard to get too enthusiastic about this one. It was entertaining enough, but nothing you need to see.

Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars

Will Ospreay (2-0) defeated Rocky Romero (0-2)

Rocky Romero might not have any points on the board, but he is bringing it in-ring. He was fantastic in this match playing the crafty veteran trying to take down the young stud. Romero went after Ospreay’s arm, working it over and setting it up so that when the opportunity came for the Armbar, he was ready. Sadly, the two times that Rocky managed to lock that move on, Will’s superior power came to the fore. He was able to scramble to the ropes or hoist Romero up for a Powerbomb, keeping himself alive.

However, it wasn’t only Rocky’s guile that helped him shine in this match. He was right there with Ospreay, trading moves and raising his game to match him. Romero rolled back the years and was working a top level Junior Heavyweight match while showing all the heart in the world. They went over twenty-five minutes, and there must have been three or four moments where I was sure Will was about to win, but Rocky Romero kept battling on. It was the story of how his heart is so much bigger than his body.

Credit to Ospreay too. I wasn’t impressed by his performance in the match with BUSHI, but he stepped up here, reminding me why he’s one of the best in the world. He played the Heavyweight to Rocky’s Junior, using the bulk he’s put on to outmuscle Romero, beating him in the striking game and controlling the action. If he’d heeled it up, it would have been an excellent big bad performance, but it was still a great showing even without that.

I’ve seen a few people question why Will is taking twenty-five minutes to beat Rocky, and I get that, but it doesn’t bother me. For me, this was the story of Rocky giving everything to beat his stablemate and a man that is held up as one of the best in the company. It was one hell of a match.

Verdict: Four And A Quarter Stars

Ryusuke Taguchi (2-0) defeated DOUKI (0-2)

If we are to believe Kevin Kelly working the Mexican indie scene is hell on Earth and DOUKI has had to scratch tooth and nail to escape the very depths of depravity. It can’t be that bad, can it? Although with the way he wrestles, perhaps it is? He’s making Taka and Kanemaru look like nice boys.

The scumbag style did have the advantage of forcing Taguchi into a serious match. He didn’t get a chance to piss around as DOUKI attacked him before he’d got his scrum cap off. By the time he was able to go on the offensive, he’d taken a bit of a beating, and was in no mood for comedy.

Sadly, just as these two were taking off, fucking Taichi got involved. With Red Shoes taking a bump he snuck up from behind and Backdrop Suplexed Taguchi into next week. Remind me again why people are desperate to see him in the G1? It would be nice to have a New Japan tournament without this shite.

It did get the crowd firmly in Taguchi’s corner, and they got all hot and fiery when he fought off Taichi’s second attempt at interference before using the chair the singing ballbag had brought with him to his advantage. That would set-up the finish as Taguchi connected with a Bumaye followed by the Dodon before forcing DOUKI to tap out with Oh My and Garankle.

You know, I’m still not sure what I think of DOUKI. So far he’s all shortcuts and very little end product which has failed to impress, but hasn’t put me off either. This was alright. They had a tough match to follow, and I can’t imagine DOUKI would have been placed in this spot if he hadn’t replaced Despy, but they at least got the crowd onboard. While it’s not anything I’ll think of again – and I wish they’d cut the interference shite – it was fun enough while it lasted.

Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars

Overall Show

That was an improvement on yesterday’s show as even a slightly lower quality main event didn’t take away from what was a very solid card. Any show that has Rocky Romero pulling out a big match is alright by me.

BOSJ Best Matches So Far

  1. Shingo Takagi vs SHO (13/5/19) – Four And Three Quarter Stars
  2. Will Ospreay vs Rocky Romero (16/5/19) – Four And A Quarter Stars
  3. YOH vs Ryusuke Taguchi (14/5/19) – Four Stars

Watch New Japan: https://njpwworld.com/

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