The ‘Best of the Super Juniors’ concludes with a first time ever match between Hiromu Takahashi and Taiji Ishimori in front of a sold out crowd at Korakuen Hall, 1,740 in attendance. The heavyweights return and are featured in tag team matches which is a breath of fresh air after a night consisting of eight singles matches. There is only one singles tonight and it’s the highlighted match of the tour. The first time clash between Hiromu and Ishimori.
Chris Sabin & Flip Gordon def. Tiger Mask IV & Shota Umino @ 6:32 via Four Flippy Splash – **1/4
I was happy to be back in tag team matches after an overwhelming night of eight consecutive singles matches. All three of these juniors had really solid tournaments. Flip had the highlights but Tiger showed he’s still good enough to keep his place.
Ishii, Yano & HASHI def. Suzuki, Iizuka & TAKA @ 10:02 via Yano Schoolboy on TAKA – **1/4
After a month off, it was nice to see the gang back together, even Iizuka. Ishii and Suzuki had a fun exchange which hopefully leads to a singles match considering Ishii has a belt right now. Any other night I’d be down on this but I was still riding the high of the tag team matches.
Goto, YOH & SHO def. Taichi, Desperado & Kanemaru @ 11:44 via YOH Five Star Clutch on Kanemaru – **1/2
YOH gets another win over Kanemaru, all but sealing up the chances of 3K being the next junior tag challengers. All four of these guys had strong showings in the tournament and feel more interesting than before. Again, still riding that high so much that I enjoyed both Goto and Taichi. Really feeling this show so far.
Marty Scurll & Yujiro Takahashi def. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare @ 13:17 via Yujiro Pimp Juice on Henare – **
Alright so my excitement came down a little bit here. It was pretty long and the only standout moments were Yujiro and Scurll double teaming Tanahashi’s hands.
Post-match was a lot of fun. Scurll continued beating down Henare, forcing Tanahashi to come make the save but Scurll put him in the Chickenwing. Liger came out from behind the announce table and sent Scurll running with his tail between his legs. Both Liger and Tanahashi are still upset over Scurll’s actions at Long Beach and want a piece of the villain.
Naito, EVIL, SANADA & BUSHI def. KUSHIDA, Taguchi, Lee & ACH @ 8:10 via SANADA Skull End on ACH – **3/4
The excitement picked back up, triggered by an ACH dance party. Naito seemed very amused to be in the ring with the juniors and everyone had fun goofing on each other. KUSHIDA and Taguchi clowned on EVIL’s trademark pose, Lee hit Naito’s signatures and SANADA no-sold a Taguchi hip attack. An all around fun, lighthearted affair.
Post-match, Jericho appears on screen saying that he knows his Wrestle Kingdom appearance annoyed Naito but not to worry because he’ll make him famous at Dominion. Naito no-sold everything from Jericho’s video and said that Jericho must have a lot of time on his hands to be making all these videos. Great stuff from both guys.
Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay def. Kota Ibushi & Chase Owens @ 13:02 via Okada Rainmaker on Owens – ***
Everyone was just waiting for the interaction between Ospreay and Ibushi. They made us wait but when they finally touched, it was magic. I think a lot of people would really get behind seeing these two in a singles match. I’d like to see it happening at the Cow Palace show but I won’t get my hopes up. Before finishing Owens with a Rainmaker, Okada sent a message to Omega by hitting a V-Trigger.
Post-match, Okada said that Omega wasn’t here tonight but wishes him luck and after he beats Omega, instead of celebrating, he’ll just go home. He is fully confident in defeating Omega.
Best of the Super Juniors Finals
Hiromu Takahashi def. Taiji Ishimori @ 34:02 via Time Bomb – ****3/4
I’m not afraid to say it; this is my favorite match of the year. The match wasn’t just about the insane moves, fans who took time to keep track of every tournament match were rewarded for their dedication. Both Hiromu and Ishimori, but especially Hiromu, had spent the entire tour establishing their submissions so that when they locked them in, they were a credible finish. There was emotion throughout the match from the very start and all the way to the finish, giving a satisfying conclusion. Matches like these are why wrestling is so special.
Let’s get into some of the amazing moments. They started slow with Ishimori backflipping out of a Sunset Bomb but built up soon after. They brawled up the stairs and Hiromu mirrored the balcony dropkick he landed on Desperado during night four and then attempted to powerbomb Ishimori onto the cement stairs but Ishimori rolled through with a Hurricanrana, sending Hiromu tumbling down the stairs. Later, Hiromu pushed Ishimori off the top rope and hit the Sunset Bomb onto the floor and after an extended forearm exchange, Ishimori drove Hiromu down with a headscissors directly into the crossface he’d been using to win matches throughout the tournament. He rolled Hiromu away from the ropes and trapped his arm but Hiromu’s leg slid through for the break. They traded poison ranas back to back and then laid in some forearms which lead to an Ishimori advantage, running in with a knee and lariat combo but Hiromu kicked out at one.
Hiromu arm dragged his way out of a Bloody Cross and turned an Ishimori powerbomb into a triangle choke. Ishimori was forced to deadlift Hiromu and deliver a powerbomb into the corner and he followed with his first 450 Splash attempt of the tournament but ate Hiromu’s knee instead. Hiromu turns a Hurricanrana into another triangle and when Ishimori tried powering out, dropped him with a D Driver and locked the triangle back on, forcing Ishimori to work his way to the ropes. Ishimori manages to lock in a Bloody Cross, or so he thinks, but Hiromu floats through and Death Valley drives Ishimori into the corner and uses Time Bomb to become the Best of the Super Juniors winner. Insane match, filled from great moments start to finish but those were the highlights.
The absolute best match I’ve seen this year. Everything was played up so smart throughout the tournament and they mixed in some next level athleticism on top of an incredible story. Even those who missed out on much of the tournament are likely going to be blown away by this match.
Hiromu takes the microphone and says this win is for everyone and that they all did this together. Ospreay comes out after and the two jaw jack over who the best junior heavyweight is and we’ll be able to find that out on Saturday at Dominion. If you weren’t sold on Dominion before this match, how can you not be sold now? Dominion goes from great to excellent with the addition of Ospreay versus Hiromu.
All of LIJ come out to congratulate Hiromu’s victory and Korakuen goes wild for the Ticking Time Bomb. Naito hands the Super Junior trophy to Hiromu as LIJ all raise their fists in the air. The show ends with Hiromu accidentally breaking the trophy and apologizing to the fans.
After how quickly he’s won the hearts of New Japan fans, Hiromu was unquestionably the right call to be this year’s winner and although it had its ups and downs, Hiromu winning made the tournament worth watching.
Hiromu vs Ishimori
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