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

Working the arse. Credit: NJPW

After this show, Super Juniors is set to take a two-day break before doing three straight at Korakuen with ten matches on each. If you’ve been enjoying the fast and breezy watches, then appreciate this one because we’re about to get hardcore. Also, DDT has run a parody of New Japan’s Time’s Up video which revealed that Chris Brookes is doing a tour with them. I want to point out that I said from day one that it made no sense for him to join New Japan, so I’m giving myself two points.

Rocky Romero (1-2) defeated Ren Narita (0-3)

Night six kicked off with a battle of the underdogs. Of course, Narita is a much smaller dog than Rocky and was never going to win, but it was still interesting to see how they’d work together.

Well, it turns out that Rocky remembers how to lead a match. While he didn’t go after the already strapped arm of Narita, he had no qualms about attacking the other. It was a chance for the veteran to take the rookie to school, and the master of sneaky style gave the impression that he was enjoying himself.

Narita doesn’t go down easy, though. That kid is all heart, and he threw everything he could at Rocky, screaming at him to bring it. It was only when Rocky slapped an Armbar on that already beat-up arm that he was forced to tap. These two are proving to be highlights of this tournament so far, and this was no exception.

Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars

Bandido (1-2) defeated DOUKI (1-2)

Bandido helped DOUKI settle in when he first moved to Mexico, but the grimy fuck has no love for that. Saturday’s show saw him rip off Bandido’s mask before attacking him during his post-match interview. He is an angry young lad that DOUKI.

You’d think all that would lead to a heated match, but you’d be wrong. Sadly, that’s because DOUKI (and I’m finally willing to commit to this) sucks. He’s just bad. I quite like his scummy indie look and even the story they’re telling with him, but in the ring, there is nothing there. I wanted him to throw himself at Bandido like a wild animal unleashed. Instead, he went through the motions.

At least Bandido continues to be spectacular, and while he’s yet to have a great match (this certainly wasn’t one), there have been enough moments where he has shown what he can do. With the likes of Ospreay in his future, there is more to come from that particular luchador.

Verdict: Two Stars

El Phantasmo (3-0) defeated Robbie Eagles (2-1)

The Bullet Club’s generic white guys got a chance to face off as New Japan presented their version of the Spiderman meme.

Early on Eagles was set-up as the babyface when he stopped Phantasmo from going after Kevin Kelly. It was a move that seemed to benefit Robbie as I’ve yet to buy into either of their Bullet Club personas. Letting him move away from that and work as a battling babyface was no bad thing.

They then went on to have an entertaining showing where Phantasmo’s cheating proved decisive when he pulled his stablemate’s bandana over his eyes to set-up the finish. Both these guys are great athletes, and it’s fun watching them flip around the ring, but I think they need to step up and show a bit more than that. I’ve seen hints of it from Robbie, but ELP hasn’t convinced yet. That’s not to say they’re bad. I’m just looking for more. Still, this was fun enough while it lasted.

Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars

Will Ospreay (3-0) defeated YOH (1-2)

It’s time for today’s meeting of the YOH fan club. The topic of conversation: why that bastard SHO continues to get all the attention? What is so special about him?

YOH came into this knowing that he was outmatched. Will is stronger than him, faster than him and has the more decorated CV. If he was going to win, he needed to do something to counteract Ospreay’s physical gifts. It turned out that the plan was to destroy Billy’s knee. If he can’t walk, he’s going to struggle.

That set-up a fascinating battle between these two as Will had to grit his teeth through a relentlessly focused attack from YOH. Time after time he’d focus in on that leg, rolling into Calf Crushers or dropkicking it out from under Ospreay. There were one or two moment where it seemed like YOH had The Aerial Assassin’s number, so effective was his attack. The best of which was Will landing on his feet after coming off the top, jerking that knee before YOH slipped in from behind, transitioning seamlessly into the Calf Crusher. It was a perfectly executed moment.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. Our boy gave it his all, and this was another huge performance from him, but he eventually ran into a Spanish Fly before being dumped with a Stormbreaker for the three. However, once again, YOH looked like a guy who belongs at the upper end of the card. In a world where Will, SHO and Shingo are potentially destined for the heavyweight division, there is going to be a big gap in the Junior ranks. If YOH keeps going like this, would you bet against him being the one to fill it?

Verdict: Four Stars

Ryusuke Taguchi (3-0) defeated BUSHI (0-3)

Taguchi wrestled his third B block main event in a row, and after an underwhelming tournament last year, The Coach has come out all guns blazing.

However, a Taguchi is going to Taguchi, and he couldn’t resist starting the match with some antics. That would come back to bite him on the arse, literally, as BUSHI decided to attack that area, slamming a steel chair into it. It set the LIJ man up to control the action which was, well, about as exciting as you’d expect a BUSHI control period where he’s working over a man’s arse to be.

Sadly, they never recovered from that. It became a perfectly serviceable three-star match which passed the time but had me itching to pick up my phone and see what was going on in the world. While both Taguchi and BUSHI are popular, so perhaps it made sense to have this as the main event, it was never going to be better than YOH vs Ospreay and suffered in comparison. Still, The Coach goes to 3-0 while BUSHI goes to 0-3. I predicted neither of those things on day one.

Verdict: Three Stars

Overall Show

Swap the main event and the semi-main around and I’m probably in a lovely old mood coming out of this show. Instead, I feel like it ended on a bit of a downer. However, the quality of wrestling was still good to great throughout (with a slight dip in the case of our grimy indie pal), and I don’t think you can count it as a slip up for the tournament. All is still good in New Japan world. Now, onto Korakuen!

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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