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NJPW ‘Best of the Super Juniors 25’ 5.18.18 Results & Review

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We start off this year’s ‘Best of the Super Juniors’ with A Block action coming from a sold out Korakuen Hall. 1,691 were in attendance to see their favorite junior heavyweights clash in singles matches on the road to determining who is the best junior heavyweight in New Japan. Tonight was capped off by the first ever singles match between IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion, Will Ospreay, taking on the newest member of Bullet Club, Taiji Ishimori. Let’s get this started!

Chris Sabin & Ren Narita def. KUSHIDA & Shota Umino @ 9:41 via All Hail Sabin on Umino – **
Small teaser for tomorrow’s clash between KUSHIDA and Sabin. KUSHIDA mixed it up with Narita more than you’d expect and Umino looked to prove himself to KUSHIDA by taking on Sabin. He seemed to have Sabin beat with a Boston Crab but Narita made the save and allowed Sabin to regroup and drop Umino with the All Hail Sabin. Post-match, Sabin raises Narita’s hand in appreciation.

YOSHI-HASHI & SHO def. Dragon Lee & Tomoyuki Oka @ 11:48 via Y-H Butterfly Lock on Oka – **
The aggression in SHO has extended beyond the Suzuki-Gun feud. There was no wasted motion, he was ultra precise and was dismissive of Oka. Lee displayed his power with a huge German suplex but SHO popped right up and landed a lariat which turned Lee inside out. Y-H spoiled a dive from Lee and received a chorus of boos from the crowd which he seemed to enjoy. After the match both SHO and Lee stared each other down on the outside.

Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado def. Toa Henare & Ryusuke Taguchi @ 8:12 via Suzuki Gotch-Style Piledriver on Henare – *3/4
In typical Suzuki-Gun fashion, they attacked their opponents from behind and dumped them to the outside before throwing them into the chairs. The usual Suzuki-Gun stuff but it was nice to see Henare mix it up with someone other than Ishii. Still, at the end of the day, it was Henare who ate the pin.

EVIL & Hiromu Takahashi def. Chase Owens & Marty Scurll @ 9:20 via EVIL Banshee Muzzle on Owens – *3/4
We start off by seeing the return of Hiromu’s BOSJ yearbook. The first page had Scurll labeled as “Umbrella Man” and Dragon Lee as “Love”. Scurll had a woman shrieking in terror when he stole her Daryl and proceeded to attack the stuffed cat. Hiromu came in for the save to a big reaction. The chemistry between Hiromu and Scurll is on point but other than the crazy cat lady, there wasn’t much here that stood out. Both Hiromu and Scurll taunt each other before heading to the back.

Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match
Tiger Mask IV def. Yoshinobu Kanemaru @ 10:17 via Clutch Hold – ***

Great old school flavor from the two elder statesmen of the tournament. Kanemaru attempts to ground Tiger early and grind on the weathered knees of the forty-seven year old junior. Tiger fired back and used the same approach on the forty-one year old. The mean streak of Tiger is unleashed once Kanemaru tries to remove his mask. He cuts Kanemaru off with a big Roundhouse kick, followed by a Tiger Driver and concludes the flurry with a top rope Tiger Suplex. In desperation, Kanemaru grabs the referee, low blows Tiger and slams young lion, Uemura, on top of him. He then grabs Narita and throws him through the ropes onto Tiger in sort of a dive fashion. Looking to finish the match, Kanemaru takes Tiger to the top and lands a Brainbuster but Tiger manages to trap Kanemaru’s legs on impact and pull out the win with a cradle. Strong start to the tournament and everyone is happy with a fan favorite coming out on top.

Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match
ACH def. Flip Gordon @ 15:27 via ACH’s Big Bang Attack – ***1/2

Speaking of Tiger’s mean streak, ACH came out looking to put a hole into Flip’s chest. Throughout the match ACH made several attempts to cave in the chest of Flip. This was Flip’s first appearance in New Japan since February’s ROH crossover show where he wowed everyone with his acrobatics. Flip extended upon that with an amazing showcase of next level high flying, including, but not limited to, a second rope springboard Slingblade, a top rope springboard 180 degree Frog Splash and a top rope double jump dive to the outside. They battled into the crowd where ACH continued to turn Flip’s chest red but Flip powered through and landed a crossbody dive off the balcony, over the stairs and onto ACH. Ultimately, Flip’s showboating cost him as ACH managed to regroup, kick Flip off the top rope, land a one-armed deadlift German suplex and finished Flip with his Big Bang Attack. Excellent display of athleticism from both men.

Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match
YOH def. BUSHI @ 15:19 via Five Star Clutch – **3/4

BUSHI looked to get the advantage early by attacking YOH before the bell. YOH was able to use his speed and cartwheel away from further attacks. Since YOH has been a tag team wrestler upon his return late last year, he has yet to showcase anything major. Tonight with all eyes on him, we were able to see a new and exciting side of YOH. He hit a beautiful second rope inside out dropkick to the floor and multiple big dives. BUSHI was BUSHI here. Nothing more, nothing less. Solid wrestler but you already know what you’re going to get from him. YOH came out on the losing end of each strike exchange but was able to use his quickness to evade BUSHI and roll him up for the surprise win. I’m still not completely sold on YOH just yet but saw enough that it made me optimistic going forward.

Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match
Taiji Ishimori def. Will Ospreay @ 13:48 via Bloody Cross – ***3/4

Ospreay is looking to get revenge for Ishimori’s sneak attack at Dontaku. He starts off with a John Woo dropkick and lays forearms into the grounded Ishimori. After taking a corner dropkick, Ishimori bails to the outside where he planned to throw Ospreay into the chairs but the elusive Ospreay hopped over the chairs, onto the platform and dove onto Ishimori. That was the first minute of the match. Ishimori gained the advantage by grinding on the weakened neck of Ospreay which continues to be a target his opponents exploit. Ospreay couldn’t land anything without attending to his neck either before or after the move. A desperate Ospreay looked to end the match early with the Oscutter but was caught and fell victim once again to Ishimori’s Bloody Cross. Excellent showcase from both men. A fresh match but they saved a lot, deciding to keep you wanting more rather than putting everything out there in the first match.

Strong start to this year’s tournament. The undercard was filled with fresh matches which were well-needed after the grueling Dontaku tour and nearly every tournament matches was a hit. I fail to call the match between BUSHI and YOH great because they went a little too long. BUSHI isn’t someone who raises anyone’s performance level and YOH still has to prove himself. The other three tournament matches were all great and well worth taking the time to watch. I really appreciated that Ospreay and Ishimori left a lot on the table while still managing to put on stellar performances. Imagine what these two could do when going all out. That’s the match I want to see.

Standings
Taiji Ishimori (1-0)
YOH (1-0)
ACH (1-0)
Tiger Mask IV (1-0)
Will Ospreay (0-1)
BUSHI (0-1)
Flip Gordon (0-1)
Yoshinobu Kanemaru (0-1)

Recommended Matches
Ospreay vs Ishimori
ACH vs Flip
Tiger vs Kanemaru

Robert McCauley hasn't missed an NJPW show since the launch of NJPW World. Always be on the look out for his reviews where he shares results and gives his honest opinions on the goings-on of New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

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