New Japan Pro Wrestling
BEST OF THE SUPER JUNIORS 26
Day 5 – A Block
Yamagata Big Wing
Kevin Kelly and Caprice Coleman on commentary.
TAKA MICHINOKU vs SHO
They feel each other out to begin, trading control and mat work. Nice headscissors Fujiwara by TAKA on Sho’s injured elbow, which he injured on a suicide dive by Dragon Lee. TAKA starts focusing on the arm and toying with Sho. Sho tries throwing shots with the bad elbow and cant put full power behind it but TAKA pump kicks the arm and keeps working. TAKA is channeling ZSJ with the submission work on the arm, but Sho gets a break in the ropes. Corner high knee by TAKA but Sho fires back with a suplex. Nice spear by Sho gets 2. Sho looks for the deadlift but TAKA counters and hooks Just Facelock but Sho is too close to the ropes, but gets it again closer to center and Sho again gets the ropes. Double German suplexes by Sho but TAKA flips out of the 3rd, fires back but Sho floors TAKA with a lariat. Sho looks for Shock Arrow but TAKA gets a rollup for 2, follows with a knee to the back of the head for another 2 and a magistral for another 2 and looks for Just Facelock again and tries to hook to arm to prevent the rope break. TAKA looks for the Driver, Sho fights out but TAKA gets ANOTHER Just Facelock, and now traps both arms nicely so Sho has to swing his legs around for the ropes. Sho blocks another Just Facelock into the cross armbar but TAKA makes the ropes and Sho now keeps on TAKA’s arm. Backstabber and the cross armbar by Sho but TAKA makes the ropes again. They trade knees and TAKA gets a thrust kick and covers but only gets 2. Sho hits big lariats, then hits a big one off the ropes and covers but TAKA is out at 2. Sho fires up and lands Shock Arrow, covers and thats the WIN.
Sho defeats TAKA Michinoku by pinfall via Shock Arrow
JAY’S RATING: 2.5 out of 5
This was a good match that followed a simple formula well enough, and Sho is now on the board. A good showing, if a little held back, as both of these two are capable of far more. But Sho has had a big opening couple of matches, so a breather probably isnt a bad idea here.
MARTY SCURLL vs TIGER MASK IV
Tiger extends the hand, and Marty accepts. Lockup and feeling out begins things. Nice counterwork by Marty, Tiger counters back and we get a standoff, and Marty struts. Tiger with a monkey flip off the ropes but Marty gets a stomp to the hand and looks for the fingers early, but Tiger gets Marty’s fingers too, and they seem to agree to let each other go, and they do. But then Marty goes right back to it and snaps the fingers. Marty now works the hand and arm to wear down and ground Tiger. Stomp the arm on the apron by Marty, and they both head outside. Marty now sticks Tiger’s fingers through the metal turnbuckle to work the hand and Brody King gives him a turnbuckle wrench and the ref intervenes. Marty now looks for a chop but Tiger ducks and Marty hits the corner post, then Tiger looks for a kick but then HE kicks the post too. Both are down and the ref begins the count. Brody helps put Marty back inside, then distracts the ref to interrupt the count allowing Marty to cut of Tiger with the apron superkick, and then the ref turns back around and KEEPS COUNTING. Tiger barely makes it back in at 19. Thats a great interference spot.
Tiger hits a big tilt-a-whirl backbreaker to stop Marty’s momentum, Marty hits a boot and looks for Chickenwing Crossface but Tiger gets a rollup for 2 and immediately transitions into a kneebar, but Marty (with Brody’s help) gets the ropes. Kicks by Tiger, looks for the Tiger Driver, Marty counters into a cover for 2, gets Just Kidding, stomps the hand and hits a low enziguri. Tiger cuts off the lariat but Marty gets the 2nd one and covers for 2. Marty snaps the fingers again and uses them to help torque the arm, but Tiger makes the ropes to break. Spinning tombstone by Tiger connects followed by a Tiger Driver, cover but Marty kicks out at 2. Tiger keeps the pressure on, sits Marty on top and looks for either the butterfly superplex or a Super Tiger Driver, hits the butterfly superplex and covers but only gets 2, but transitions right into a kimura, and then changes that to a hammerlock Fujiwara, but Marty finally makes the ropes. Tiger Suplex is blocked and Marty gets the Chickenwing Crossface and drops down, Tiger rolls into a cover for 2 and gets a backslide for another 2, but Marty cracks off a forearm and pulls out Black Plague quickly and covers and thats the 3 and the WIN.
Marty Scurll defeats Tiger Mask IV by pinfall via Black Plague
JAY’S RATING: 2.75 out of 5
This was another good match by two good competitors, but is also the 2nd match that feels a little tired compared to the first two matches theyve had. But, at the end of the day, #LongLiveTheVillain.
TAIJI ISHIMORI vs TITAN
They lock up and trade to start. Armdrag by Titan, they run the ropes and Titan gets a rana that sends Taiji outside, Taiji evades the baseball slide and puts Titan face first into the apron. Taiji keeps the pressure on at ringside, then rolls him back in and covers for only 1. Taiji is moving distinctly slowly. Taiji now loosens Titan’s mask and pulls it halfway off, the ref warns the DQ and Taiji releases and boots Titan, then goes back to the mask again. The red (Red Shoes) warns the DQ, Taiji looks to cover but Red Shoes won’t count it, so Taiji chokes Titan instead. Choke over the middle rope and more mask work by Taiji, followed by a grounded stretch, transition into a cover but only 2. Titan comes back with the thru-the-ropes corner clothesline, lands a spring crossbody and dropkick that sends Taiji outside, Taiji evades a dive but Titan gets a backbreaker on the outside instead. Titan sends Taiji back inside and lines him up, gets a waistlock and a bridging O’Connor Roll but only gets 2. PK by Titan followed by strikes, then lines Taiji up and climbs the corner but Taiji counters the moonsault with boots up. Ishimori is favoring the neck, and given how slow this has been overall, he seems genuinely hurt and careful. Taiji gets his corner evade and hits Bombs Away into a cover but only gets 2. Sliding German suplex by Taiji gets 2. Shots traded, Titan matrixes to evade a lariat and hits a jumping heel kick, cover but only 2. Titan gets a cross armbar and wrenches, Taiji stacks him up, lifts him and gets a buckle bomb. Taiji sits Titan up top but Titan comes off with a missile dropkick for 2. Titan looks for Titanics and gets it locked in and looks for the cover, Taiji rolls out of it and takes Titan’s head off with a lariat and covers for 2. Taiji follows up fast, Bloody Cross lands and thats the 3 count for Taiji.
Taiji Ishimori defeats Titan by pinfall via Bloody Cross
JAY’S RATING: 2.75 out of 5
This was the best it could be with Taiji favoring the neck pretty intensely. They worked a different kind of match for both of these as a result, and it hurt the action a little bit because when these two move fast its when I’m most drawn in, and they just couldnt hit that gear here. The right person won, Titan still looks competitive, and I just hope Taiji can get some rest (though with the tournament, its doubtful…).
JONATHAN GRESHAM vs DRAGON LEE
We get a handshake to begin. Nice pop for Lee. Lockup and they trade control. They work quick with Gresham kicking Lee’s arm and getting an armdrag. Gresham forces a cover for 2, and again, but Lee bridges up each time. Crucifix rollup gets 2 for Gresham who follows with another armdrag. Gresham keeps on Lee’s good arm, hitting a harmmerlock drop and getting a 1 count, and looks for a kimura. Gresham stays a step ahead of Lee and keeps working the arm. Lee evades an armdrag and they trade until Lee gets a quick STO to stop the momentum. Gresham blocks a forearm but Lee fires up and stomps a mudhole and follows with a hesitation dropkick. Lee looks for Desnucadora early but Gresham goes back to the arm, they trade shots with Lee getting the advantage, but Gresham with great mat work, they quick trade waistlocks and Gresham gets back on the arm and gets a Magistral for 2.
The Octopus attempted by Gresham but Lee reverses into a rollup for 2, then lifts Gresham into a sitout bomb and a running knee, covers but only 2. Gresham evades a knee strike and hits a German, Lee gets a knee strike but Gresham hits a quebrada and a stomp to the arm, transitions into a stacking powerbomb for 2 and then stays on the arm BRILLIANTLY, into a rollup for another 2. Gresham is good at wrestling. The Octopus is attempted again, Lee walks toward the ropes so Gresham hooks an arm with his leg, but Lee counters and looks for Desnucadora, Gresham turns it into a rana pin for 2 and then eats a Lee superkick. Gresham pops up and misses a kick, Lee tries a German, Gresham gets a rollup for 2 and Lee follows with a hard knee, and then another GREAT one. Lee keeps on Gresham and looks for Desnucadora again, hits it and covers and thats the 3 count and the WIN.
Dragon Lee defeats Jonathan Gresham by pinfall via Desnucadora
JAY’S RATING: 3.25 out of 5
This was a very good match, with Gresham really outshining Dragon Lee if I’m being honest. Gresham could do well in Japan, though I really want him to start taking over ROH soon. His mat work, counter work and smoothness are just ABSURD in how good he is. Lee looked good, especially his strike game, and I’ll be curious to see how they book him the deeper we get into the tournament.
YOSHINOBU KANEMARU vs SHINGO TAKAGI
They lock up to begin. YK keeps some aggression on, looks for tackle but no one budges. Shingo absorbs another one, looks to run the ropes but YK grabs the hair. They trade boots and Shingo gets a tackle and a slam, and YK bails. Shingo squeezes YK’s head against the ringpost, but YK gets a whip on Shingo into the post. YK looks to work Shingo’s hurt knee and drops him knee first through a table at ringside, and then heads back into the ring. The ref begins to count, and Shingo rolls himself back in. YK with a nice dropkick to the knee, and keeps on it with a ton of knee-based offense. Lasso-style knee wrench hold by YK, but Shingo makes the ropes. YK works the knee around the corner ringpost, and grabs his whiskey bottle which distracts the ref and allows him to hit a chair shot to the knee around the ringpost, then locks in a Figure Four in the entrance-way. The ref begins counting both out, which YK asks for as he continues wrenching the hold. He lets go at 13 and runs into the ring, Shingo scrambles and barely makes it back inside in time. YK now in firm control and toys with Shingo, which fires him up. Shingo with big chops and a nice vertical suplex, but Shingo tends to the knee and cant follow up. Nice back suplex by Shingo connects for 2.
YK counters a wheelbarrow, Shingo looks for Noshigami but cant hit it, but hits a straight right, though YK follows with a tornado DDT. Shingo comes back with a pop up into a DVD and both are down. Chants for Shingo. They get to opposite corners, Shingo with a corner clotheslines but YK goes back to the leg and locks in a Figure Four, which gets a nearfall. Shingo tries to roll and does, getting the ropes, but is limping hard. YK looks for Deep Impact but Shingo catches him and tosses him, but then starts favoring the knee again. Noshigami is blocked, elbows instead and a chop by Shingo, YK uses the ref to halt Shingo and goes back to the knee. Shingo pushes YK off but he knocks down the ref, and Taichi springs up immediately and hands YK a chair, which YK uses to attack the knee. The ref back up now and grabs the chair, but gets knocked down again. YK gets the Suntori but Shingo has the chair and uses it to block the whiskey and hits a lariat. Now Shingo gets some Suntori and blinds YK! Noshigami connects nicely (great sell by YK), and the crowd fires up. Pumping Bomber connects hard, cover by Shingo but only 2. The Lions keep Taichi tied up so he cant interfere, Shingo is fired up, hits Last of the Dragon and covers for the 3.
Shingo Takagi defeats Yoshinobu Kanemaru by pinfall via Last of the Dragon
JAY’S RATING: 4 out of 5
A very good match with Shingo delivering yet again. YK told a great story here and the action was paced out extremely well, but the right person won. Shingo could be an upcoming breakout star if he continues this kind of work, because he is pretty exceptional. His fire and aggression in particular are just unmatched, I feel, in NJPW at the moment, and it makes his matches consistently exciting. Becoming a bigger and bigger Shingo fan every day.
A good day of tournament action here. Glad to see Shingo gain another 2 points, Gresham was awesome as usual, and I’m keeping an eye on Taiji’s neck as it really is holding him back from delivering fully at the moment. The standings after Day 5:
Taiji Ishimori: (3-0) 6pts.
Shingo Takagi: (3-0) 6pts.
Dragon Lee: (2-1) 4pts.
Marty Scurll: (2-1) 4pts.
Tiger Mask: (2-1) 4pts.
Jonathan Gresham: (1-2) 2pts
Titan: (1-2) 2pts.
Sho: (1-2) 2pts.
Yoshinobu Kanemaru: (0-3) 0pts.
TAKA Michinoku: (0-3) 0pts.
Robbie Eagles: (2-0) 4pts.
El Phantasmo: (2-0) 4pts.
Will Ospreay: (2-0) 4pts.
Ryusuke Taguchi: (2-0) 4pts.
Yoh: (1-1) 2pts.
DOUKI: (1-1) 2pts.
Rocky Romero: (0-2) 0pts.
BUSHI: (0-2) 0pts.
Bandido: (0-2) 0pts.
Ren Narita: (0-2) 0pts.