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NJPW ‘Best of the Super Juniors 25’ 5.22.18 Results & Review

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The second night of B block action, and the fourth night overall, for this year’s ‘Best of the Super Juniors’ took place at a sold out Korakuen Hall with 1,720 in attendance. Tonight’s show is back to a multiple camera production with the NJPW World commentary team. Naito makes his first appearance since he was attacked by Chris Jericho at Wrestling Dontaku and the main event features a heated rivalry between Hiromu Takahashi and El Desperado. This is surely going to be an exciting show so let’s go!

Taiji Ishimori & Chase Owens def. Flip Gordon & Tomoyuki Oka @ 7:29 via Owens Package Piledriver on Oka – **
Solid heel work from Owens and Ishimori. They exploited Oka’s eagerness into making mistakes. Flip and Taiji no doubt will have an exciting match. There wasn’t much here aside from Bullet Club cut offs but it was a surprise seeing how in sync Owens and Ishimori are already.

Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru def. ACH & Shota Umino @ 9:44 via Kanemaru Boston Crab on Umino – **1/2
Suzuki-Gun tried keeping ACH on the outside as much as possible in order to isolate Umino. There were some great exchanges between Umino and Suzuki but of course Suzuki came out on top each time. Umino’s one bright spot over Suzuki was a dropkick to the outside. Also of note were the ACH and Suzuki exchanges but ACH faired no better than Umino. This was a lot of fun and you can tell how motivated Suzuki is facing off against these guys he doesn’t normally get to wrestle.

YOH & YOSHI-HASHI def. Will Ospreay & Gedo @ 8:59 via Y-H Butterfly Lock on Gedo – *3/4
Chaos was set on a collision course but both Ospreay and YOH started off respectful. Gedo and Y-H on the other hand had no problems laying into each other. By the end, YOH seemed to have forgotten Ospreay is his stablemate because he suplexed Ospreay on the apron. A little too friendly to open up but as the match went on things got better. I’m not sold on YOH but Ospreay isn’t capable of a bad match so I’m convinced he’ll bring the best out of YOH in their tournament meeting.

Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI def. Tiger Mask IV & Henare @ 9:58 via Naito Destino on Henare – **
BUSHI poked the Tiger enough times that he began ripping at BUSHI’s mask. Tiger got so heated that Henare had to remind him that it’s not worth stooping to BUSHI’s level. This was Naito’s first appearance since he was attacked by Chris Jericho on the fourth. The fans rallied behind Henare to give his best to Naito but their support wasn’t enough and Henare ultimately fell to the Destino.

Post-match, just as Naito and BUSHI are about to make their exits, the lights go out. Chris Jericho appears on the screen and tells Naito that he’s great but unlike Naito, he’s not too tranquilo for the IC title. He said he wants that title and will make Naito famous because of their match. After the video ends, Naito scolds Jericho’s language and says this is about the juniors, not Chris Jericho.

Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match
SHO def. Chris Sabin @ 15:09 via Shock Arrow – ***

Coming off a career performance against Dragon Lee in the B block opener, SHO was tasked with facing the man who beat KUSHIDA in the opener, Chris Sabin. They traded holds to start and Sabin made the mistake of letting SHO go and allowing him to regroup. They had a good back and forth but SHO didn’t allow Sabin to sustain much offense, blocking many moves and transitioning into one of his own. SHO did not look outclassed once, he hung with Sabin from beginning to end and had the crowd rallying behind him in the closing stretch. No one knows the future of SHO but these first two tournament matches have both been great with two different style opponents. I can’t help but to get excited thinking about where his career is headed. Crowd engagement wasn’t as bad as Sabin’s match against KUSHIDA. About nine minutes in, Korakuen began feeling the end was near and started biting on finishes for the remaining six minutes. Another really strong outing for SHO. The two shake hands after the match.

Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match
Dragon Lee def. Ryusuke Taguchi @ 11:15 via Desnucadora – ***1/4

Taguchi has been feeling insecure about his weight and conditioning lately. When the referee pointed out the differences in Taguchi and Lee’s physiques before the match, Lee made sure Taguchi didn’t get too discouraged. The two showed respect before the bell and the respect remained throughout the match. Taguchi tried keeping up with Lee in his own way. Lee would handspring out of a wristlock and Taguchi would roll through a wristlock. Typical goofy stuff from Taguchi but it was endearing because Lee would sympathize with Taguchi’s struggles. He was able to fire up, hitting his second rope springboard inside out plancha + springboard hip attack combo but Lee would counter further attempted hip attacks into a German before finishing with the Desnucadora. Really fun match. Dragon Lee is one of the most exciting wrestlers to watch. The two hug and Taguchi raises Lee’s hand before heading to the back.

Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match
KUSHIDA def. Marty Scurll @ 19:22 via Back to the Future – ***3/4

I can watch these two wrestle all day. Two of the absolute best technical wrestlers on the planet showcasing their supreme abilities. Before the bell, KUSHIDA tossed his necklace into the crowd and Scurll ran out to steal it back from the fan. KUSHIDA chased Scurll away from the fan and back into the ring for the start of the match. The first seven minutes was a lot of British counter wrestling back and forth before KUSHIDA landed a handspring dropkick. Now, all bets were off as Scurll began attacking the arm and shoulder but KUSHIDA got the best of that exchange when he dropped Scurll from the top, shoulder first. Scurll gave a disrespectful sign to Liger, who was on commentary, before locking in the Romero Special. KUSHIDA gets out by capturing the fingers of Scurll and attempts Back to the Future but is countered into a cradle. Scurll spins out of a Hoverboard Lock and snaps KUSHIDA’s fingers but KUSHIDA fires up and plants Scurll with a rolling DDT off the top. He’s unable to transition into another Hoverboard Lock thanks to the snapped fingers but managed to hoist Scurll up and drop him with Back to the Future. Great showcase from both men. Scurll has had two incredible outings to kick off the tournament despite both being losing efforts.

Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match
El Desperado def. Hiromu Takahashi @ 22:48 via Pinche Loco – ****1/2

Possibly my favorite match this year but if not, definitely in my top five. Super heated rivalry between the two and kicked off hot right away with Hiromu attacking Desperado before the bell. After all the Suzuki-Gun shenanigans Hiromu has had to go through, he snapped and returned the favor to Desperado in Suzuki-Gun fashion. He drove Desperado into a sea of chairs before taking him up the stairs into the crowd where he sprinted and launched himself into Desperado with a dropkick. He proceeded to drag Desperado down the stairs face first and back into the ring. That was just the opening three minutes.

Back in the ring, Hiromu stayed aggressive, stomping on Desperado’s neck and pulling at his mask. He misses a dropkick, Desperado tackles and chokes him, stomping on his neck and dumping him to the outside before diving through the ropes. A fired up Desperado smashes a can of beer over his head and throws Hiromu into the barricades, hits him with several chairs and slides him back into the ring where he whips Hiromu into the exposed turnbuckle. The animosity was at a boiling point and the speed remained high from beginning to end. Desperado kept Hiromu grounded for a while until he hit his comeback of a running Hurricanrana, corner lariat, running dropkick, facebuster to the floor, apron dropkick and ending with a top rope senton. Believe me when I say, this is a match to show your friends.

Hiromu had Desperado on the ropes so in usual Desperado fashion, he resorts to underhanded tactics. When up on Hiromu’s shoulders, about to be dropped with Time Bomb, Desperado grabs the referee to get out of the hold, grabs his championship, swings and misses Hiromu who superkicks the belt into Desperado’s face. The referee comes to and fights for control of the title belt. Desperado lets go and the referee goes flying, giving Desperado the opportunity to low blow Hiromu and finish him with Pinche Loco. This is a top tier MOTY caliber match. Make sure to watch this one. Post-match, Desperado teases unmasking himself but laughs and says the fans don’t deserve to get what they want and that’s how the night ends.

This was an excellent night of tournament matches. Each of them were great and consistently got better as the show went on. You should definitely make time to watch all four of them. On the undercard we had an inspired Suzuki tag match and a Naito appearance with a Chris Jericho video promo so there is a lot to see here. The night was capped off with an incredible main event that I’m for sure placing inside of my top three New Japan matches of the year. I could not have expected anything better than what was delivered here tonight. Excellent show all-around.

Standings
El Desperado (2-0)
Dragon Lee (2-0)
KUSHIDA (1-1)
Hiromu Takahashi (1-1)
SHO (1-1)
Chris Sabin (1-1)
Marty Scurll (0-2)
Ryusuke Taguchi (0-2)

Recommended Matches
Hiromu vs Desperado
KUSHIDA vs Scurll
Lee vs Taguchi
SHO vs Sabin

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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