On the second night of the Best of the Super Juniors, the tournament made its way to Miyagi for the first B Block matches.
Coming off a match-of-the-year caliber match between Shingo Takagi and SHO, the bar has been set exceedingly high right out of the gate. While there was nothing on Tuesday’s card that hit that level, all five tournament matches had something to offer and were good showcases for the participants.
In the first tournament match, Douki defeated Ren Narita in 10:16 with his Suplex de La Luna. The announcers did a good job of explaining Douki’s background and his opposition to New Japan’s young lion system and using Mexico as an excursion destination before returning to Japan as stars. Douki was accompanied by Taichi for the match. Douki used a cross-legged choked that Narita escaped from twice. Narita applied a modified Sasori-Gatame (Scorpion Death Lock or Sharpshooter) and hit a belly-to-belly without the bridge for a two-count. Prior to the finish, Douki messed up a springboard facebuster coming into the ring before hitting his finisher, which is a wheelbarrow into a bridging German to win the match.
After the match, Douki and Taichi beat down Narita with a microphone stand.
Next, it was Robbie Eagles submitting Rocky Romero 13:55 using the Ron Miller Special, which is an inverted figure-four type of submission. Eagles worked on Romero’s knee and set up the finish throughout. By the ten-minute mark, the crowd was getting into it as it turned into a kickboxing fight with exchanges. Eagles tried the Ron Miller Special several times, he hit the Pulse Drop (a Shiranui), and the Turbo Backpack. Eagles came off the top with a 450 splash onto the injured knee and applied the submission to get the tap. This turned into a good match by the end.
El Phantasmo won his BOSJ debut match over Bandido in 12:12 after hitting Greetings from Chasewood Park. Bandido tried to shake hands at the start and was met with the middle finger. Phantasmo’s mouth was busted open at the mid-point. Bandido got a ton of height on a tope con giro to the floor. Phantasmo did the tight-rope walk but was stopped in the corner, allowing Bandido to hit his fallaway slam moonsault for a two-count. Bandido set up for the 21 Plex when Phantasmo used Red Shoes as a distraction, adjusted the mask of Bandido and hit the finish to win. It wasn’t as strong as Phantasmo’s debut last week, but he should have a good showing and I would keep him unbeaten until the Will Ospreay match.
To following that match, Will Ospreay defeated Bushi in 15:36. It started a bit slow as Bushi had the advantage by Ospreay’s neck, following a spot from Monday’s undercard where Ospreay took a DDT onto the floor. The OsCutter and MX were stopped on their first attempts by each. In the “GIF spot” of the night, Ospreay stood on the middle turnbuckle with Bushi on his shoulders, Bushi turned around to execute a super ‘rana and Ospreay landed on his feet. There was a big tease of a countout when Ospreay took a DDT onto the edge of the apron and the audience bought it. Ospreay stopped the MX with a kick to the body and hit the Robinson Special, avoided the mist and landed the Hidden Blade and Storm Breaker to win. A very good match from the two. Between this tournament and the expected G1 appearance, Ospreay is going to have two incredible platforms this year to put on some of the best matches this year.
The main event saw Ryusuke Taguchi defeat YOH in 20:38 after a modified version of the Dodon. Taguchi and YOH were wrestling in their home Prefecture of Miyagi and therefore, was the main event. YOH controlled the first half of the match until Taguchi fought back with a hip attack off the apron to the floor. He called for the Bom a Ye and YOH countered into a half crab. YOH attacked Taguchi’s knees and applied a figure-four. YOH bridged out when Taguchi successfully hit the Bom a Ye. After a Tiger Suplex kick out by YOH, the crowd heated up and Taguchi lifted YOH onto his shoulders and spun him around into the Dodon to win the match.
Chris Charlton noted that version of the Dodon was used by Taguchi to defeat Prince Devitt in his final match with New Japan in April 2014.
Again, nothing was at the level of Takagi-SHO, but that’s a ridiculous marker to attempt to hit each night. I enjoyed all five matches for different reasons, but I don’t see any standing out as top matches by the end of this tournament.
The A Block continues Wednesday’s show from Aomori at 5:30 am Eastern on New Japan World with the following tournament matches:
*Jonathan Gresham (0-1) vs. Taka Michinoku (0-1)
*Tiger Mask (1-0) vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru (0-1)
*Titan (1-0) vs. Shingo Takagi (1-0)
*Marty Scurll (1-0) vs. Taiji Ishimori (1-0)
*Dragon Lee (0-1) vs. SHO (0-1)