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NJPW ‘Best of the Super Juniors 25’ 6.3.18 Results & Review

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A rare show featuring eight singles matches to determine the block finals of this year’s ‘Best of the Super Juniors’. Korakuen Hall sells out with an attendance of 1,714 for a show featuring juniors and juniors only. A great feat for a division that’s widely considered to have been marginalized as less than the heavyweights. Good on New Japan for giving this division a chance to shine on their own. Let’s get into this show.

Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match
ACH def. Tiger Mask IV via Small Package @ 8:28 – **1/2

To both honor Tiger and harken back to his days as Tiger the Dark, ACH opened the show by coming out wearing a Tiger mask. They shook hands both before and after the match but laid into each other in between the handshakes. The bigger ACH’s chops, the harder Tiger’s kicks. Each of them landed a Tiger Driver on the other but when Tiger attempted the Tiger Suplex, ACH trapped him into a roll up and scored the win. Fun opener between two who share mutual respect. A good way to open the show.

Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match
Yoshinobu Kanemaru def. BUSHI @ 9:24 via Deep Impact – **1/2

In atypical fashion, Kanemaru was beat to the punch by BUSHI, who landed a dropkick before the bell. Kanemaru recovered quickly by pulling young lions in the way, having them eat a topé suicida and spear BUSHI. He wouldn’t hold the advantage long though as BUSHI would hit an enziguri, topé suicida and a neckbreaker but was shoved into the referee and allowed Kanemaru a chance to use the whiskey. BUSHI avoided the whiskey and used his own mist for a two count. He went up for an MX but Kanemaru pulled the referee between them, sprayed the whiskey and landed Deep Impact. Two fun matches to kick off the show.

Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match
Ryusuke Taguchi def. Chris Sabin @ 10:57 via Oh My & Garankle – **

The show slowed down a little bit here. After two fast-paced openers there was the always exciting abdominal stretch in a match between two eliminated wrestlers. Fun. They ended up picking it up at the end though when trading forearm strikes and Sabin struggling to find ways out of the ankle lock. He dodged one Dodon and kicked out of another but once Taguchi locked in that hold and laid in an elbow to the back of the knee, it was over. Not bad but longer than the others and not as fast-paced.

Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match
El Desperado def. Dragon Lee @ 12:18 via Schoolboy – **3/4

The two masked men had a very heated battle. Lee came out in both a Shibata shirt and kick pads, hitting various signature moves of his friend’s, including the penalty kick and corner dropkick. A fired up Desperado began ripping at Lee’s mask but got more than he bargained for as Lee basically unmasked Desperado in return. Desperado struggled to keep his identity a secret as well as stay alive in the match. The task was too difficult so he hit Lee low and rolled him up to core the cheap win. After the match he tears Lee’s mask off for good measure. More heated than expected and likely not entirely how the match was planned which was cool.

Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match
Will Ospreay def. Flip Gordon @ 19:36 via Storm Breaker – ***1/2

One of the matches many people circled when the blocks were announced. Everyone went in knowing they were about to see stuff they’d never seen before. While maybe some were expecting something similar to the classic Ricochet matches, that’s not what ended up happening. Instead the match was really well paced, they picked the right spots to go big and had a nice flow. Flip’s slingshot spear is out of this world and Ospreay upkicking his way out of the Four Flippy was so clever. They battled on the top rope where Flip gave a nasty headbutt, Ospreay crumpled but fired up in time to counter a springboard into an Oscutter and followed with a Storm Breaker. Really creative match that didn’t go all out and lift you satisfied but itching for more.

Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match
Taiji Ishimori def. YOH @ 14:56 via Omoplata Crossface – ***1/4

YOH got the jump early with a topé con hilo and began raining forearms onto Ishimori but wasn’t quick enough to keep Ishimori from regrouping with a flurry, ending in a springboard sitout dive. Ospreay was watching at ringside rooting on his stablemate YOH, who if had won, would have advanced Ospreay to the finals. That didn’t happen but Ospreay helped add drama to the closing stretch. The crowd began to get behind YOH in the final moments. He had three consecutive roll ups, including his Five Star Cluth but Ishimori was able to roll through into a crossface and pull out the victory, winning the A block. YOH’s tournament had its ups and downs and this was one of his better outings. The crowd really seemed to get behind him, urging him to pull off the upset.

Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match
SHO def. Marty Scurll @ 20:40 via Shock Arrow – ***1/4

SHO has by far been the breakout star of the tournament and a physical war with Scurll to close it out. Scurll was relentlessly vicious on the youngster. Stomping on his unprotected head repeatedly, slapping him across the face over and over. SHO would fire back with vicious lariats and powerbombs. Strong stuff from both guys. SHO applied a sleeper which Scurll countered by climbing and jumping off the second rope in order to force SHO into letting go. Scurll tried for the Chickenwing but SHO powered through, holding both hands and bringing him down with Shock Arrow. A big surprise win to close out SHO’s impressive BOSJ debut.

Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match
Hiromu Takahashi def. KUSHIDA @ 24:16 via D – ***1/2

The two men who spent the first half of 2017 battling for the title met in the main event to see who would win the opportunity to represent the B block in the finals. After their hellacious wars against one another, both have failed in the quest to dethrone Ospreay of the title this year. Very physical match, just like the previous one between SHO and Scurll. They waited and waited for their chance to exploit the other’s misstep, even staying in a collar-elbow lock up for five minutes. Just waiting for the other to slip. KUSHIDA took advantage of an opening first and landed a senton from the top rope to the floor but Hiromu was quick to regroup and transitioned his Hurricanrana into a triangle choke but KUSHIDA had an answer. He cartwheeled out of the hold and locked in a cross armbreaker. Hiromu was quick to find the ropes but couldn’t regroup quick enough. KUSHIDA drove him shoulder first off the top and applied the Hoverboard Lock but like KUSHIDA, Hiromu had an answer and turned it into a Dynamite Plunge. They begun trading shots and once again Hiromu took advantage. He grabbed KUSHIDA’s arm and drove him down with the triangle and this time when KUSHIDA cartwheeled out, Hiromu hung on and drilled him with a double underhook piledriver and locking on the triangle to defeat KUSHIDA and win the block. Equally physical as it was smart. Each match between these two has been so different that you are always left guessing what’s next. Hiromu celebrates but Ishimori comes out for an unsuccessful sneak attack. The celebration continues as everyone goes home happy with the results.

While this wasn’t a blow away show, it was certainly strong. The top half of the card featured four great matches worth checking out and aside from the match between Taguchi and Sabin, I thought the show a breeze and a joy to watch. It’s nice that the juniors received a bigger platform this year and overall I thought they succeeded. Tournaments can be tough to get through but this never felt tedious and I’m surprised it’s over already. Bring on the finals!

A Block Winner: Taiji Ishimori
B Block Winner: Hiromu Takahashi

Recommended Matches
Ospreay vs Flip
Hiromu vs KUSHIDA
SHO vs Scurll
Ishimori vs YOH

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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