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NJPW ‘Best of the Super Juniors 26’ (5.18.19) Results & Review

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The A Block’s third night, and the fifth night overall of the Best of the Super Juniors 26, takes place in front of 1,213 fans at the Yamagata Big Wing. The night’s main event sees the undefeated Shingo Takagi take on the winless Yoshinobu Kanemaru. Let’s get started!

SHO (0-2) def. TAKA Michinoku (0-2) @ 10:02 via Shock Arrow – **1/4
They lock up and head to the ropes where TAKA gives a clean break. SHO takes the wrist, TAKA spins through and takes the headlock. SHO tries rolling through but TAKA takes the arm, forcing SHO to find the ropes. TAKA stays on the arm, SHO fires forearms, TAKA boots the arm and applies an armbar. SHO finds the ropes and quickly finds himself back in an armbar. He again gets to the ropes to break the hold and TAKA is quick to land a knee lift in the corner. SHO lands a vertical suplex, boots TAKA to the corner and follows with a spear for a two count. TAKA blocks a German suplex and slides into a crossface, SHO makes his way again to the ropes. SHO slides through the Michinoku Driver, lands two Germans, TAKA flips through a third but SHO is quick to put him down with a lariat.

TAKA transitions a Shock Arrow attempt into a jackknife pin for two and applies a crossface. Another rope break for SHO, he blocks a Michinoku Driver and fires off combination forearms. SHO charges in with a lariat, TAKA blocks it and traps SHO back into a crossface. SHO struggles but finds the ropes. TAKA tries the crossface again, SHO slides through into a cross armbreaker, picks TAKA up and gives a series of shoulder breakers before going back to the armbar. TAKA gets the ropes, they trade knee lifts and TAKA puts show down with a thrust kick for a two count. TAKA boots one lariat, can’t a second or third and SHO follows with a running lariat that only gets him a two count. SHO immediately gets back on TAKA and finishes him with a Shock Arrow.

Marty Scurll (1-1) def. Tiger Mask IV (2-0) @ 13:01 via Black Plague – **1/4
Tiger offers his hand and Scurll accepts. They lock up and Scurll backs Tiger to the ropes but gives a clean break. They trade wristlocks and Tiger backs Scurll to the corner, gives a clean break and hits Scurll’s pose. Hammerlocks are traded, Tiger pulls Scurll into a headscissors, they stalemate and Scurll hits his own pose. He lands a kick and hits the ropes where Tiger lands a monkey flip. Tiger sends Scurll to the ropes , Scurll puts on the breaks and stomps the hand. Each grab the other’s hand but agree to let go. Scurll offers a handshake, takes Tiger’s hand and does the finger break. He keeps the attack on the hand, stomping it to the apron, Tiger bails outside and Scurll follows. Scurll puts Tiger’s fingers inside the turnbuckle and Brody King pulls a wrench out from under the ring.

Tiger is able to avoid their plans, ducks a Scurll chop into the post and Scurll ducks Tiger’s kick into the post. Brody King slides Scurll in the ring behind the referee’s back while Tiger struggles to break the count. Scurll boots Tiger while he’s still outside but Tiger is able to make him way back in. Tiger catches Scurll running in with a spinning backbreaker followed by a knee bar, Scurll finds the ropes. Scurll sits on a sunset flp for two followed by a stomp and a kick. He catches Tiger running in with an uppercut followed by a lariat for two and goes back to the hand. Tiger slides to the ropes for the break, catches Scurll running in with a spinning tombstone followed up with a Tiger Driver for two. He follows Scurll to the corner and delivers a headkick before taking him to the top rope for a butterfly suplex. Scurll kicks out at two but Tiger is quick to apply the armbar. Scurll finds the ropes, blocks the Tiger Suplex into the Chickenwing. Tiger rolls the Chickenwing up for two and ducks kick into a backslide for another two. Tiger fires up, meets a right hand from Scurll followed by Black Plague for a Scurll win.

Taiji Ishimori (2-0) def. Titán (1-1) @ 11:43 via Bloody Cross – **
They lock up and trade wristlocks before hitting the ropes. Titán sends Ishimori outside, looks to follow with an asai moonsault, Ishimori pulls him down and drives him into the time keeper’s table before bringing him back inside. Ishimori takes Titán to the top rope where he attempts to unmask the luchador but the referee stops him. Ishimori takes Titán to the mat and continues trying to remove the mask. He boots Titán over the second rope before applying a chinlock and pulling him into a pin attempt for two. Ishimori stays to the attack, booting the neck and sending Titán to the corner. Titán hits a boot, follows with a lariat and dropkicks Ishimori outside. He follows Ishimori out, catches him with a backbreaker and delivers a kick to the back before sending Ishimori back inside.

Ishimori blocks German and hits the ropes. Titán stays on him and gets an O’Connor Roll for two before heading to the top rope in hopes for a moonsault. Ishimori gets his boots up, avoids Titán’s corner attack and lands a springboard attack for two. He again avoids a corner attack, drapes Titán’s legs over the second rope and hits a sliding German suplex. The two trade overhand chops, Ishimori lands a boots, Titán ducks lariat and follows with a thrust kick. Ishimori blocks La Mistica but is taken down into a cross armbreaker and into the triangle. Ishimori muscles Titán to the corner and takes him to the top where Titán catches him running in with a dropkick and an armbar. Ishimori breaks free, lands a kneelift followed by a lariat that turns Titán inside out. He stays on the attack and finishes Titán with the Bloody Cross.

Dragon Lee (1-1) def. Jonathan Gresham (1-1) @ 9:42 via Desnucadora – **3/4
They shake hands and point to the other’s injuries in agreement not to exploit them. Starting off with a knucklelock and then a collar and elbow, they make their way to the corner where Lee ducks a chops but is taken down and his arm is kicked out from under him. Gresham traps on arm and pulls down the other for a two count. He armdrags Lee back to the mat and keeps the attack on the non-injured arm with a hammerlock. Lee sends him off, Gresham catches him back in the hammerlock but Lee backs to the ropes for a break. They trade armdrags, Lee looks for a double underhook, Gresham breaks free, Lee boots him into the corner and follows with a corner dropkick. Gresham blocks Desnucadora into another hammerlock and they trade strikes while Gresham has control of the wrist.

Lee kicks the leg out from under Gresham to end the exchange, follows with a boot and they trade waistlocks until Gresham catches Lee in La Magistral for a two count. Lee blocks the Octopus Hold, slams Gresham to the mat followed by a PK for two. Gresham catches him running in with a kick and rolls Lee up for two, kicks the arm and applies the Octopus Hold. Lee powers out into Denucadora, Gresham turns it into a frankensteiner pin, Lee escapes, lands a thrust kick and ducks an enziguri. He looks for a German, Gresham rolls through for a two count but Lee buries a knee into Gresham’s face followed by Denucadora for the win.

Shingo Takagi (2-0) def. Yoshinobu Kanemaru (0-2) @ 15:21 via Last of the Dragon – ***1/4
They lock up and make their way to the ropes. Kanemaru attacks the knee and applies a headlock. Shingo sends him off and Kanemaru charges in with shoulders. He urges Shingo to do the same, pulls Shingo’s hair on his way to the ropes followed by a boot. Shingo slams Kanemaru to the mat, Kanemaru bails but Shingo stays on the chase. He looks to send Kanemaru into the post, Kanemaru reverses and sends Shingo through the time keeper’s table knees first. Shingo breaks the countout at sixteen, Kanemaru sends him to the ropes, lands a dropkick to the knee and stays on the attack. He stands on Shingo’s knee while stomping his face and drives his knee into Shingo’s knee.

Kanemaru pulls back on the leg, Shingo finds the ropes but Kanemaru keeps his focus, driving the knee into the post. He slides his bottle of whiskey into the ring to distract the referee so he can slam a chair into the knee and apply the figure four outside. Kanemaru runs in the ring looking for a countout victory, Shingo follows him in to avoids the loss. Hobbled, Shingo fires off chops, Kanemaru kicks the knee and hits the ropes. Shingo catches the satellite DDT into a vertical suplex followed by a backdrop suplex for a two count. Kanemaru blocks a waistlock, kicks out Shingo’s knee on a Noshigami, lands the satellite DDT, charges in and gets caught with a pop up DVD from Shingo. Shingo catches Kanemaru with a corner lariat, looks for another but Kaenmaru is there to kick out the knee and applies the figure four.

Shingo rolls his way to the ropes to break the count, Kanemaru sends him to the corner and follows him in with a boot. He sets up for Deep Impact but Shingo catches him into a suplex. Kanemaru blocks Noshigami, Shingo shoves Kanemaru into the referee and Taichi comes to the apron with a chair. Kanemaru attack the knee with the chair, the referee pulls the chair from Kanemaru who then shoves the referee aside. He fills his mouth with whiskey, Shingo blocks the spray with the chair and drops Kanemaru with a lariat. Shingo then fills his own mouth with the whiskey, sprays Kanemaru, lands Noshigami and turns Kanemaru inside out with a Pumping Bomber for two. Taichi tries rushing the ring but the young lions hold him back while Shingo finishes Kanemaru with Last of the Dragon.

Shingo takes the mic and says both he and Kanemaru are from Yamanashi and he proved tonight that he’s Yamanashi’s best. He’s still unbeaten and is planning to sweep the block on his way to winning the tournament.

The weakest show to date but also the shortest so it all evens out. The main event was the show’s highlight which has been a rare occurrence five nights in but it’s always appreciated to end the show on a high note. Shingo and Kanemaru had a simple but effective main event. Kanemaru often gets overlooked because of his formulaic matches but they always work when you care about his opponent. Lee and Gresham had a nice enough match that I hope we see again at some point. They can expand on that, gain more chemistry and have something special. Ishimori and Titán basically revolved around Ishimori trying to unmask Titán with little flashes here and there but nothing major. Scurll and Tiger was fine and the match between SHO and TAKA lacked any sort of heat. Their exchanges were fluid but lacked intensity. The main event is the match to watch.

Recommended Match
Shingo vs Kanemaru

Standings
Shingo Takagi (3-0)
Taiji Ishimori (3-0)
Marty Scurll (2-1)
Tiger Mask IV (2-1)
Dragon Lee (2-1)
Titán (1-2)
Jonathan Gresham (1-2)
SHO (1-2)
Yoshinobu Kanemaru (0-3)
TAKA Michinoku (0-3)

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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