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NJPW ‘Best of the Super Juniors 25’ 5.30.18 Results & Review

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The B block heads into their fifth day of competition of the ‘Best of the Super Juniors’ tournament from Fukushima. This is the first B block night which doesn’t feature Hiromu Takahashi in the main event. Instead, KUSHIDA takes on El Desperado who is looking to rebound from two consecutive losses after a strong opening to the tournament.

Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match
Marty Scurll def. Dragon Lee @ 16:02 via Crossface Chickenwing – **3/4

Two men trending in different directions as Scurll picks up his third consecutive win after dropping his first two and Lee loses his second in a row. The maniacal villain came out tonight. He tied Lee’s mask to the ropes and gave him some stomps for good measure. For the first six minutes Scurll had control until Lee caught him with a Hurricanrana, topé con hilo and rolling dropkick combination. Lee looked to continue the flurry but Scurll backed his way out of a Rana attempt and landed an enziguri before taking Lee to the top rope. Lee tried fighting out but Scurll threw him off the top yet was unable to follow up with a Moonsault. Scurll managed to get out of the Desnucadora twice. Once by snapping Lee’s fingers and countering another into a DDT which lead to a Ghostbuster but Lee fired back with a standing Spanish Fly. Lee climbed to the top but had his leg kicked out from under him and was driven down with an inverted suplex before Scurll locked in the Chickenwing. This wasn’t the smoothest match but Dragon Lee’s comebacks are always exciting and they played off their characters well. I’d really like to see them in another match because they can definitely do better.

Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match
Ryusuke Taguchi def. SHO @ 13:09 via Half and Half Suplex Hold – **1/4

Taguchi came into the night in desperate need of a win. If he were to lose to SHO, that’d be the end of him in the tournament. SHO refused the fist bump before the bell and evaded all of Taguchi’s hip attacks. They got a little goofy where SHO did his signature archery pose and Taguchi pretended to dodge the invisible arrows. SHO dominated Taguchi on the mat early but Taguchi wound up bumping SHO out of the ring and hitting his signature springboard plancha + topé con hilo combination yet missed the follow up springboard hip attack. They traded suplexes and forearm battles back and forth before SHO nailed Taguchi with a huge lariat. He deadlifted Taguchi, looking for a German but Taguchi rolled through and applied an ankle lock. SHO transitioned into a cross armbreaker but Taguchi broke it up and they began countering one another’s finishers. Taguchi finally lands a Dodon but SHO kicks out, leading to Taguchi reaching into his bag of unused moves and beats SHO in surprising fashion with a bridging half and half suplex. This was pretty good but felt as if they could do better. Both have had some very strong matches in the tournament and this wasn’t one of them.

Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match
Hiromu Takahashi def. Chris Sabin @ 13:36 via D – ***

Stumbling a bit after the opening night, Hiromu is back on the right page, winning another match with the Triangle Choke. He has yet to use Time Bomb to put anyone away, instead deciding to use his submission finisher. With his next opponents (SHO and KUSHIDA) being submission specialists, this is a good game plan. He and Sabin shook hands before the bell but Hiromu refused to let go of the hand and delivered a nasty forearm to start off the match. Sabin took control with a monkey flip followed by a dive off the apron and brought Hiromu back in for a top rope dropkick. Hiromu slid under the ropes, Sabin followed but was caught with a boot and an attempted Sunset Bomb to the outside. He fought out but Hiromu still managed to powerbomb him on the apron and dropped him with a facebuster on the floor, leading to a dropkick off the apron and finishing the sequence off with a top rope senton. Sabin punched his way out of a Dynamite Plunge and hit his own sequence, starting with a DDT, both a top rope dropkick and Hurricanrana, another DDT and finishes with a running kick from the apron. They begin trading shots back and forth before Sabin grounds Hiromu with an enziguri and lands Cradle Shock for a two count. He immediately follows with All Hail Sabin but Hiromu transitions into the Triangle Choke, forcing Sabin to tap. My favorite performance so far from Sabin. Put Hiromu in the ring with anybody and it’s bound to be good at worst. He’s on such a high level right now and has been the highlight of the tournament.

Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match
KUSHIDA def. El Desperado @ 18:33 via Back to the Future – ***1/4

The streaks continue for both men as KUSHIDA picks up his third win in a row and Desperado drops his third in a row. Desperado looked to jump KUSHIDA to gain an edge early but KUSHIDA is ready and dropkicks Desperado out of the ring. KUSHIDA follows him outside and sets up two chairs, sitting Desperado on one of them and springing off the other with a senton. Back in the ring Desperado throws the referee into KUSHIDA to buy recovery time. He takes KUSHIDA back outside and slams a chair into his knee before throwing him into a sea of chairs and applying Numero Dos to the injured leg. Desperado finds a cart under the ring and sits KUSHIDA down, wheeling him around the arena and crashing him into chairs. When they go back to the ring, KUSHIDA makes an attempt to come back with a handspring back elbow but is cut off seconds later with another Numero Dos. KUSHIDA fights out of a Guitarra de Muerta attempt and applies the Hoverboard Lock but Desperado knocks the referee down and grabs a chair, nails KUSHIDA and drives him into the mat with a Guitarra de Angel for only a two count. They slide out of each other’s finishers until KUSHIDA lands a reverse STO into the turnbuckle and hoists Desperado up only to drive him back down for a Back to the Future. Strong main event. The crowd really got behind KUSHIDA in the closing moments and did not want to see him stoop to Desperado’s tactics in order to win. He thanks the fans for their support, telling them that in the tournament’s past, the juniors were in the opening matches but thanks to them, they can now main event shows on the tour.

The B block continues to be the standout block of the tournament. Each show they deliver at least one match that’s worth watching despite the hard camera set up. I will give them props for the extra angles they’ve been adding the last several nights. That has definitely helped bring more life to these shows. Taguchi and SHO was underwhelming. I didn’t think they were bad but definitely not at the level of anyone else tonight. Chris Sabin had his best outing up against Hiromu. It seems unlikely to have a bad match with Hiromu right now. He’s on a completely different level than anyone else in the block. Him using the triangle rather than Time Bomb has fallen flat a couple of times but hopefully that finish catches on as time goes on. I liked that Desperado gave us something different with the goofy cart push so I’ll recommend checking that one out. Aside from the main event everything else can be skipped. Bad reaction to Hiromu/Sabin finish hurt the match, Scurll/Lee did great things but had some sloppy moments and Taguchi/SHO clicked even less than those two. Like every night, I found all the matches to be enjoyable but there was only one match I recommend going out of your way to see if you weren’t going to watch already.

Standings
Hiromu Takahashi (3-2)
Marty Scurll (3-2)
KUSHIDA (3-2)
Dragon Lee (3-2)
SHO (2-3)
Chris Sabin (2-3)
El Desperado (2-3)
Ryusuke Taguchi (2-3)

Recommended Match
KUSHIDA vs El Desperado

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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