The Best of the Super Juniors field continues to shrink as the tournament enters its final week.
The BOSJ returned to Korakuen Hall on Sunday featuring the penultimate block matches for all twenty competitors with everyone wrapping up their round-robin matches over the next two shows.
*BLOCK B: El Desperado over Francesco Akira in 25:13
*BLOCK A: Hiromu Takahashi over Taiji Ishimori in 10:31
*BLOCK B: YOH over Kevin Knight in 8:57
*BLOCK A: Lio Rush over TJP in 12:49
*BLOCK B: Dan Moloney over Robbie Eagles in 11:26
*BLOCK A: Speedball Mike Bailey over Ryusuke Taguchi in 10:20
*BLOCK B: Master Wato over BUSHI in 8:01
*BLOCK A: KUSHIDA over SHO in 6:54
*BLOCK B: Clark Connors over Yoshinobu Kanemaru in 6:19
*BLOCK A: Titan over DOUKI in 6:21
The biggest news on Sunday was an apparent injury sustained by Taiji Ishimori that led to his match with Hiromu Takahashi being called off and Takahashi being awarded the victory.
Takahashi and Ishimori came into their match with ten points each with both alive in the A Block.
It appears to be a shoulder injury after Ishimori took a pop-up powerbomb with two follow-up lariats from Takahashi. The referee immediately called for the bell which led to the anticlimactic ending.
The NJPW site suspects it’s a shoulder injury and appeared legitimate on the broadcast, although New Japan has not issued an apology update regarding Ishimori, and whether he will forfeit his final match of the tournament against TJP this week.
The main event at Korakuen Hall was an excellent match between El Desperado and Francesco Akira with the latter having arguably the best singles performance of his career in the headlining position.
With TJP at ringside, Akira used the Pinoy Stretch as his partner cheered him on. Desperado attacked the knee, beginning with a chair placed on the body part and smashing it with another chair while on the floor.
This was the story throughout the match as Akira sold the injured body part, which was weakened for Numero Dos. Desperado applied the submission multiple times as Akira screamed with the tease of TJP throwing in the towel, which Desperado would not allow. After multiple forearm strikes, Numero Dos was applied one last time and Akira submitted after twenty-five minutes in one of the best matches of the tournament.
Lio Rush pinned TJP on Sunday’s show after the Final Hour, and Bailey pinned Ryusuke Taguchi after a series of cradles and catching Taguhci, who is now 0-8.
The A Block features a three-way tie between Hiromu Takahashi, Lio Rush & Speedball Mike Bailey at twelve points each. The winner of the block will be determined on Tuesday when Takahashi faces Titan, and Rush meets Bailey.
Titan could beat Takahashi but would require Rush vs. Bailey to end in a draw, so he is essentially out of the tournament.
Takahashi lost to Rush and Bailey, so his only way to win the block is to beat Titan and the other two have a draw.
The B Block is led by El Desperado, YOH, and Master Wato at twelve points each.
On Sunday, YOH defeated Kevin Knight with the Direct Drive and Master Wato pinned BUSHI with the Tsutenkaku German Suplex Hold as they are alive with Desperado.
The B Block will be sorted on Wednesday’s show when Desperado takes on Robbie Eagles, Master Wato faces Kevin Knight, and YOH takes on Yoshinobu Kanemaru.
Eagles has ten points and could create a four-way tie if the leaders lose their three matches, although is highly unlikely.
If all three win their matches, YOH has wins against both and would win a tiebreaker. Desperado would win a tiebreaker with Wato while Wato can only win the block if he wins his match and the other lose theirs.
A BLOCK: Hiromu Takahashi (12), Speedball Mike Bailey (12), Lio Rush (12), Taiji Ishimori (10), Titan (10), TJP (8), DOUKI (6), SHO (6), KUSHIDA (4), Ryusuke Taguchi (0)
B BLOCK: El Desperado (12), YOH (12), Master Wato (12), Robbie Eagles (10), Francesco Akira (8), Clark Connors (8), Kevin Knight (6), Dan Moloney (6), Yoshinobu Kanemaru (4), BUSHI (2)
Below are the cards for Tuesday & Wednesday:
Tuesday, May 23 in Osaka:
*A BLOCK: TJP vs. Taiji Ishimori
*A BLOCK: Speedball Mike Bailey v. Lio Rush
*A BLOCK: SHO vs. DOUKI
*A BLOCK: Hiromu Takahashi vs. Titan
*A BLOCK: KUSHIDA vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
Wednesday, May 24 in Osaka:
*B BLOCK: El Desperado vs. Robbie Eagles
*B BLOCK: Master Wato vs. Kevin Knight
*B BLOCK: YOH vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
*B BLOCK: Clark Connors vs. Dan Moloney
*B BLOCK: BUSHI vs. Francesco Akira