Quick recommendation guide for 2019 Best of the Super Juniors (Halfway Point)
by WH Park
After wrapping up an epic 3-day stint at Korakuen Hall I think now would be a good time to give some quick recommendations for the matches to see from this year’s BOSJ tournament put on by New Japan Pro Wrestling.
These are spoiler-free so no results just recommendations and some quick blurbs of some of the matches.
All recommended will be 3.5* to 5.0*
I’ll also list the top 5 performers up to this point.
Day 1 – 5/13 Sendai Sunplaza Hall
Marty Scurll v Jonathan Gresham – 3.5*
Shingo Takagi v SHO – 4.75*
– An excellent payoff to months and months of build-up in multiple tag matches.
Dragon Lee v Taji Ishimori – 3.75*
Day 2 – 5/14 Sendai Sunplaza Hall
Rocky Romero v Robbie Eagles – 3.5*
Bandido v El Phantasmo – 4.0*
Will Ospreay v BUSHI – 4.25*
– This match was given time to breathe and benefited from its length. – Best BUSHI singles match in a long time.
Day 3 – 5/15 Aomori Martial Arts Hall
TAKA Michinoku v Jonathan Gresham – 3.5*
Yoshinobu Kanemaru v Tiger Mask IV – 4.0*
– These two surly veterans have excellent chemistry with one another.
Shingo Takagi v Titán – 4.0*
SHO v Dragon Lee – 4.5*
Day 4 – 5/16 Aomori Industrial Exhibition Concourse
Robbie Eagles v Ren Narita – 3.5*
– Eagles didn’t take Narita seriously at first but over the course of the match, he slowly realized this Young Lion was a threat to his possible victory. – Narita looked very good in this match.
Will Ospreay v Rocky Romero – 4.5*
– Romero proved he is still a great wrestler. – Ospreay is one of the most unselfish in-ring workers today.
– Excellent chemistry with one another.
Day 5 – 5/18 Yamagata Big Wing
SHO v TAKA Michinoku – 3.5* Marty Scurll v Tiger Mask IV – 3.5*
– This started as a fun technical wrestling match with Scurll gradually becoming more and more heelish throughout. Taji Ishimori v Titán – 3.5*
– Excellent chemistry between these two. – Both have Lucha backgrounds. – Lots of high-flying, dives, and stunts. Jonathan Gresham v Dragon Lee – 4.25*
– A great showcase of two wrestlers with different styles blending themselves into one match.
Yoshinobu Kanemaru v Shingo Takagi – 4.5*
– Played off of an injury angle in an undercard tag match on the 5/16 show where Kanemaru injured Takagi’s knee. – Great storytelling revolving Takagi’s knee and Kanemaru’s whiskey spots.
Day 6 – 5/19 Yamagata Big Wing
DOUKI v Bandio – 3.75*
– DOUKI, the replacement for El Desperado had been unimpressive in his previous matches but thanks to his history with Bandido working in Mexico he was finally able to get on the recommended match list. – Bandido also benefited from working someone he was very familiar with. El Phantasmo v Robbie Eagles – 3.75*
– Bullet Club members face off against each other. – ELP went full heel on Eagles who worked as a babyface in this match. Eagles is much better in that role.
YOH v Will Ospreay – 4.75*
– The story was YOH working over Ospreay’s leg and Ospreay did a stellar job selling it over the course of the match. – Quite possibly the best singles match of YOH’s career.
BUSHI v Ryusuke Taguchi – 3.5*
– A fun mix of comedy and a straight wrestling match.
**All the Korakuen shows are worth a watch as entire shows thanks to the always electric crowd in this building. That being said these are the recommendations from each of the 3 nights**
Day 7 – 5/22 Korakuen Hall
Taiji Ishimori v TAKA Michinoku – 3.5*
Ren Narita v Bandido – 4.0*
Jonathan Gresham v Titán – 4.5*
– Great display of chain wrestling from both of these guys.
YOH v Rocky Romero – 3.5*
– Student v Mentor story – Rocky targeted YOH’s arm while YOH went after Rocky’s knee.
Tiger Mask IV v Dragon Lee – 3.5*
Robbie Eagles v Ryusuke Taguchi – 3.75*
Marty Scurll v Shingo Takagi – 4.0*
– Despite a lot of the “sports entertainment” nonsense, this was still an intense and exciting match.
Will Ospreay v El Phantasmo – 4.0* (4.75* for most of the match – see below)
– This was well on it’s way to reaching 5.0* but too much nonsense in the closing stretch hurt it for me and my tastes thus a 4.0* rating. – To be fair I think most people will not be bothered by those aspects of the match as much as me. – Still exceptional performances from Ospreay and Phantasmo and still worth watching.
Day 8 – 5/23 Korakuen Hall
Robbie Eagles v BUSHI – 3.5*
Tiger Mask IV v Jonathan Gresham – 3.5*
DOUKI v YOH – 3.5*
– DOUKI is good when his character works against an excellent babyface like YOH. Marty Scurll v SHO – 4.25* Rocky Romero v Ryusuke Taguchi – 3.75*
– Coach v Coach was the underlying story in this match. – A perfect blend of comedy and serious wrestling. – Taguchi is probably the best in wrestling in doing this hybrid of comedy & wrestling. Bandido v Will Ospreay – 4.75*
– An amazing back and forth battle of big moves and aerial maneuvers
Dragon Lee v Shingo Takagi – 5.0*
– My favorite match of the tournament so far. – A masterpiece of Jr heavyweight pro wrestling.
Day 9 – 5/24 Korakuen Hall
SHO v Tiger Mask IV – 3.5*
Ren Narita v Will Ospreay – 4.0*
– Ospreay elevated Narita to another level in this match. – Narita did his part to keep up with Ospreay. Yoshinobu Kanemaru v Marty Scurll – 3.5*
– A fun comedy match. DOUKI v Robbie Eagles – 3.75*
– There is a hardway cut on Eagle’s head that added a ton of drama to this match.
Shingo Takagi v TAKA Michinoku – 3.75*
– TAKA brought it to Shingo and didn’t make this match easy for him.
Bandido v Ryusuke Taguchi – 3.75*
– Another fun comedy hybrid match from Taguchi with Bandido being equally as
entertaining with the comedy.
Dragon Lee v Titán – 3.75*
– Two CMLL Lucha natives facing off with one another. – Their familiarity with one another shined through in their performances and they had a very fun match.
El Phantastmo v Rocky Romero – 4.75*
– The best singles match (maybe best match) of Rocky’s career. – This was beautiful pro wrestling and I thought the post-match was just as good.
Top 5 wrestlers so far are –
1) Will Ospreay 2) Shingo Takagi 3) Rocky Romero 4) Dragon Lee 5) SHO
That brings us to the end of this recommendation list but I’ll be back with another one covering the second half of the BOSJ including the finals.
The rest of the tour looks like this – May 26 – Makuhari Messe International Conference Hall 7 May 29 – Nagoya Congress Center Event Hall May 30 – Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium May 31 – Item Ehime June 3 – ZIP Arena Okayama June 5 – Ryogoku Kokugikan (Sumo Hall)
WH Park is the Japanese correspondent for POST Wrestling and can be heard every month on POST Puroresu with John Pollock at https://www.postwrestling.com You can follow him on Twitter @whpark9