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NJPW ‘Best of the Super Juniors 26’ (5.22.19) Results & Review

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The seventh night of the Best of the Super Juniors 26 sees both blocks in action in front of 1,679 fans at Korakuen Hall. All twenty competitors have a match but the main event sees a battle of the undefeated as Will Ospreay takes on El Phantasmo. Let’s get started!

Taiji Ishimori (3-0) def. TAKA Michinoku (0-3) @ 4:56 via Bloody Cross – ***1/4
They lock up, TAKA backs Ishimori to the ropes and gives an eye poke. He catches Ishimori running in with a crossface but Ishimori quickly finds the ropes. TAKA applies a headlock and then transitions to a headscissors. He brings Ishimori to the corner where he hits a pair of running knees and applies an armbar. Ishimori finds the ropes, evades TAKA’s corner attacks, TAKA ducks a springboard senton and hits a springboard spinning heel kick of his own before locking in a crossface. TAKA rolls Ishimori from the rope and Indian Death Locks the legs while applying a headscissors. Ishimori again finds the ropes and lands a handspring enziguri. TAKA blocks the Bloody Cross, eats a knee lift, responds with a jumping thrust kick followed by another for a two count. TAKA looks for the Michinoku Driver but Ishimori counters him into a DDT and follows with Bloody Cross to pick up the win.

Bandido (1-2) def. Ren Narita (0-3) @ 6:20 via 21-plex – ***1/2
Bandido offers his hand and the two shake. Narita takes a knee to the gut, avoids Bandido running in and takes him down with two amateur takeovers. He sends Bandido to the corner, runs in and is caught by a pair of Bandido’s boots. Bandido takes Narita down with a running elbow followed by a low dropkick. He charges in where Narita catches him and drops Bandido with a scoop slam. Bandido blocks a vertical suplex, Narita slides out of one of Bandido’s and catches Bandido running in with a belly-to-belly suplex. Bandido blocks a second, boots Narita to the corner, looks for a springboard attack but Narita catches him in position for a belly-to-belly.

Bandido escapes his hold, brings Narita to the apron with him and they trade forearms. Bandido charges in, Narita catches him with a belly-to-belly on the apron and Bandido collapses to the floor. Narita looks for a plancha, Bandido catches him and powerbombs Narita on the apron. Narita makes it in at the count of nineteen but Bandido is quick on the attack and lands a flurry of kicks, looks for a standing shooting star press but Narita gets his knees up and rolls Bandido into a pin for a two count. Narita catches Bandido in a backslide for another two, hits the ropes but is taken down by a lariat. He kicks out at two and Bandido pulls him up into a modified Go 2 Sleep followed by the 21-plex for the win.

Jonathan Gresham (1-2) def. Titán (1-2) @ 10:55 via Grounded Octopus Hold – ***1/4
Gresham offers his hand and Titán accepts. Titán kicks away a knuckle lock and they collar and elbow. Titán takes the wrist and they counter one other’s hold until a stalemate is reached. He takes Gresham down, ties up his legs, rolls through and they have an upside down slap exchange. Gresham bridges out of a trio of pin attempts, catches Titán running in and sweeps the legs for another stalemate. Titán offers his hand, gives Gresham a boot and rolls him up for a two count. He backs Gresham to the ropes and gives a chop. The two trade chops before Titán kicks out the leg and applies a headlock. A headbutt takes Gresham down, Titán sends him to the corner for a lariat, Gresham responds with a running shoulder tackle, catches Titán with boots before being taken down by an enziguri by Titán.

Titán applies the Romero Special, Gresham breaks free and kicks out the arm of Titán before following with La Mistica. Gresham takes the wrist, Titán tries fighting free, Gresham traps the arm between his boots and snaps the arm. Titán catches Gresham running in with a Japanese leg clutch for two, Gresham bails to the apron and eats an overhead kick. Gresham drives Titán to the corner, climbs the top but Titán catches him up there and drops Gresham chest first over the top. Gresham tries to escape to the floor, Titán pulls him back in but gets caught in a series of pins for two. Titán catches Gresham in La Mistica and a leg clutch pin for two. Gresham is quickly back up, catches Titán in an Octopus Hold, pulls Titán from the rope and takes him to the ground where Titán is forced to submit. Gresham ices Titán’s shoulder for him after the match and the two shake hands.

YOH (1-2) def. Rocky Romero (1-2) @ 13:29 via Stargazer – ***1/4
The two hit the 3K pose before they start. They lock up and trade wristclutches. Romero backs YOH to the ropes, gives a clean break and poses. YOH responds with his own pose and they trade headscissors for a stalemate. YOH takes the hammerlock, Romero takes him over and hits the ropes. Romero blocks a dragon screw, YOH avoids an armdrag and dropkicks Romero down. He follows with more dropkicks and boots Romero to the back of the knee. YOH drops an elbow on the knee, brings Romero to his feet and Romero tries fighting back but YOH keeps on the knee attack. He catches Romero’s boot looking for a Dragon Screw, Romero puts the breaks on an applies a cross armbreaker, YOH quickly finds the ropes.

Romero stays on the arm, takes YOH to the corner and climbs to the second rope where he drops a knee over YOH’s arm. Romero loads up for the forever clotheslines, too much damage to his arm, YOH hits a boot but Romero catches him running in with a flatliner. YOH is hung up over the top rope, Romero looks for a springboard dropkick but YOH moves and catches Romero’s boot with a dragon screw over the top rope. Romero bails outside, YOH quickly sends him back in and lands a springboard dropkick to the knee. Romero gets an elbow up on a corner attack, heads to the top but YOH is right back to the corner and dragon screws Romero to the mat, followed by a calf crusher. Rolling his way free, Romero applies a cross armbreaker out of the hold, YOH is fast to the ropes.

They trade forearms, YOH using his left and Romero kicking the right. YOH kicks out the knee, Romero lands a flurry of slaps, YOH a running knee lift and Romero one of his own. Romero runs in and catches YOH with Sliced Rocky for a two count, looks for a second but YOH transitions into the final cut for two. YOH sets up for a dragon suplex, Romero elbows out of the hold so YOH decides on a German suplex instead. He pulls Romero up for another attempted dragon suplex, Romero again breaks free. YOH looks for a Japanese leg clutch, Romero transitions the pin into a cross armbreaker but YOH makes it to the ropes. Romero slaps YOH back to the mat, charges in for Sliced Rocky but YOH catches him into a rolling calf crusher and Romero is forced to tap out. They embrace after the match.

Dragon Lee (2-1) def. Tiger Mask IV (2-1) @ 9:00 via Desnucadora – ***1/4
Lee takes the waistlock, Tiger is quick on the wrist and Lee forces the rope break. Lee sweeps the leg, Tiger transitions to a cross armbreaker, takes the wrist and Lee cartwheels free. Tiger takes the headlock, Lee sends him off, gets shoulders but nips up and lands a rolling back kick. Tiger turns a hurricanrana into a powerbomb, Lee bails to the follow and Tiger follows him out with a crossbody from the top to the floor. Lee breaks the count at thirteen, Tiger looks to stay on the attack with another crossbody but Lee rolls through. Tiger catches Lee running in with a spinning backbreaker followed by a corner headkick and takes Lee to the top rope. Lee sweeps the leg and they trade forearms on the top. Tiger collapses, hung up in the ropes.

Tiger avoids a double stomp from Lee but Lee rolls through and lands a dropkick while Tiger is still caught followed by forearms and another dropkick. A double underhook backbreaker gets Lee a two count, Tiger fights out of Desnucadora and hits a tombstone followed by a Tiger Driver for a two count. Lee fights out of the Tiger Suplex but Tiger sits on his rolls through for his own two count and applies an armbar, Lee makes it to the ropes. Lee forces a rope break on another Tiger Suplex attempt, catches Tiger’s headkick and applies an STF. Tiger makes it to the ropes, holds on when Lee looks for a German, Lee kicks the arm out and hits the ropes. Tiger ducks a lariat and backslides Lee who quickly escapes and lands a knee to the face for a two count. Lee plants Tiger with another knee and finishes him with Desnucadora. Lee checks on Tiger after the match, pulls him to his feet and they embrace before taking turns bowing to one another and the crowd.

BUSHI (0-3) def. DOUKI (1-2) @ 7:13 via MX – ***1/4
DOUKI rushes BUSHI before the bell and stomps him into the mat. He sends BUSHI to the ropes, BUSHI lands a hurricanrana and DOUKI bails. BUSHI follows him out with a slingshot hurricanrana to the floor, takes his belt off and whips DOUKI. Back in the ring, BUSHI chokes DOUKI with his shirt and charges in but DOUKI does the splits and BUSHI shoots through the ropes outside. DOUKI sends BUSHI into the post, bleaches and west sign before bringing him back inside. He slaps and stomps BUSHI, brings him to his feet and slams him followed by a running double stomp for a two count. DOUKI sends BUSHI to the corner. BUSHI gets his boots up and lands a hurricanrana off the second.

He blocks a DOUKI lariat, DOUKI does the same and drops BUSHI with a vertical suplex. Double wristclutch triangle from DOUKI, BUSHI gets the ropes but he refuses to let go of the hold. He finally does, shoves the referee and looks for a springboard dropkick but BUSHI dropkicks him off the ropes. They trade forearms, BUSHI lands an enziguri, DOUI catches him running in with a lariat for a two count. BUSHI rolls through the Lunar De La Suplex, hits an enziguri followed by a dropkick. Staying on the attack, BUSHI drops DOUKI with a DDT on the apron, a spinning neckbreaker, a codebreaker and finishes DOUKI with MX.

Yoshinobu Kanemaru (0-3) def. SHO (1-2) @ 4:00 via Count Out – **
Kanemaru boots SHO before the bell and stomps him into the mat. He pulls on the bandaged ear of SHO, hits the ropes and is taken down with a dropkick. SHO forearms Kanemaru into the corner, sends him over the top, sweeps the leg and dropkicks Kanemaru off the apron to the floor. He follows Kanemaru out with a PK from the apron before sending him back inside. Kanemaru rolls back on and SHO goes on the chase but Kanemaru again goes after the ear and takes SHO up the stairs to the second level. He looks for a vertical suplex, SHO slides through and drops Kanemaru with a lariat. He tries powerbombing Kanemaru on the concrete, Kanemaru blocks and sends SHO into the wall followed by a vertical suplex. The referee starts the count and Kanemaru make his way down. He hovers by the apron and as SHO makes his way down, Kanemaru shoves a young lion into SHO and rolls into the ring at the count of nineteen. SHO cannot make it in before the referee calls twenty.

Robbie Eagles (2-1) def. Ryusuke Taguchi (3-0) @ 11:13 via Seatbelt – ***1/4
They lock up and trade wristlocks. Taguchi takes the headlock and takes Eagles over. Eagles applies a headscissors, Taguchi headstands free and reapplies the headlock. Eagles takes the wrist, steps on the knee and takes the head. Taguchi sends him off, avoids Eagles low dropkick and gives a series of hip attacks. He sends Eagles over the top, blocks an enziguri, lands a forearm, Eagles falls outside. Eagles makes his way back in, lands a 619 to Taguchi’s butt followed by a springboard dropkick to Taguchi’s knee. He stays on the knee, kicking it out from under Taguchi and getting a two count. Eagles sends Taguchi to the corner for chops, Taguchi sidesteps his attack and catches Eagles on the second rope for a blue thunder bomb.

Eagles bails, Taguchi follows him out with a plancha, sends Eagles in and lands a springboard hip attack. Taguchi hits three amigos, a front suplex and sets up for Bummer Ye. Eagles kicks the butt out and follows with sliced bread for a two count. He stays on the knee, Taguchi sends Eagles off into a quick roll up and Oh My & Garankle. Eagles breaks the hold, Taguchi looks for Dodon, Eagles slides through into the Ron Miller Special. Taguchi gets the ropes, Eagles sends him into the corner for a pair of running knees for a two count. Taguchi rolls out of the way of Eagles’ 450 on the knee and applies the Oh My & Garankle. Eagles rolls free and drops Taguchi with the Turbo Backpack for two. A series of kicks from Eagles, Taguchi responds with one of his own and Dodon for two. Taguchi looks for a tiger suplex, Eagles breaks free and traps Taguchi in a pin for the win.

Shingo Takagi (3-0) def. Marty Scurll (2-1) @ 14:08 via Last of the Dragon – ***1/4
They stare each other down before locking up. Shingo backs Scurll to the ropes, Scurll ducks a chop and they knuckle lock. Scurll takes Shingo down with boots, Shingo powers Scurll down, Scurll rolls through and looks to stomp the arm but Shingo moves and shoulders Scurll to the mat. Shingo takes Scurll to the corner, catches Scurll’s boot and lands a lariat. Scurll catches Shingo coming in with a back elbow, Shingo bails and Scurll follows him out with a thrust kick. He traps Shingo’s arm on the apron and gives it a stomp before sending him back inside. Scurll keeps focus on the arm, giving another stomp. He brings Shingo to his feet and chops his throat followed by chops and forearms in the corner. He asks Shingo to bring it, so Shingo takes Scurll to the corner for chops and punches. Scurll puts the end to his flurry with a tornado DDT. Shingo ducks a lariat, hits a back elbow, punch and lariat of his own. He takes Scurll down with a suplex followed by a sliding lariat for a two count. Scurll fights out of a waistlock and lands a half and half suplex followed by a corner elbow and takes Shingo to the top.

Shingo forearms Scurll off, Scurll climbs again and Shingo headbutts him off. Scurll again follows him up, hitting a chop and superplexing Shingo to the mat. Scurll powers up, gets backdropped out of a powerbomb attempt, they collide with lariats, hits Superkick, Just Kidding, Shingo catches a knee, Scurll puts him down with a thrust kick. They trade forearms, Shingo unloads combination forearms, Scurll an uppercut, Shingo hits the ropes and Brody King is there for the trip. While the referee admonishes King, Scurll enters with his umbrella and hits Shingo for a two count. Scurll sends Shingo into the referee, King comes in with a Black Hole Slam on Shingo, Scurll follows with a powerbomb for two. Scurll again backs Shingo into the referee and King makes his way back in. This time Shingo puts him down with a Pumping Bomber, looks to do with same to Scurll but is caught in a pin for two. Scurll is caught running in with Noshigami and Pumping Bomber for two. Shingo pulls Scurll up and finishes him with Last of the Dragon. Shingo breaks Scurll’s umbrella over his knee before making his way to the back.

El Phantasmo (3-0) def. Will Ospreay (3-0) @ 26:40 via CR II – ****
Ospreay charges in with a John Woo as the bells rings and ELP bails. Ospreay follows him out and throws ELP into the crowd before sending him back in. ELP bails again, Ospreay follows him out with a tope suicida into the fans. He grabs ELP by the throat and punches him to the mat. Ospreay looks for an apron PK, ELP catches the kick and drops Ospreay to the apron. ELP grabs an icepack from under the ring, looks to teabag Ospreay but eats a pair of boots and Ospreay follows up with a senton from the apron to the floor. ELP takes off up the stairs, Ospreay goes on the chase, ELP begs him off and sends Ospreay into the concrete overhang. ELP climbs the overhang and hits a moonsault, slams fans beers cans over his head and hits a jumping forearm off the barrier to Ospreay on the floor.

He brings Ospreay in, lays in forearms and boots in the corner, charges in with other but Ospreay catches the boot and chops ELP down. ELP slides out of a slam, hits his own chop and flurry of strikes, blocks Ospreay return and takes the arm and walks the ropes for Old School, finished by a springboard hurricanrana for a two count. He applies a chinlock, Ospreay breaks free but is quickly taken back down with a dropkick. ELP stands on Ospreay’s neck, Ospreay fights up and they trade forearms before an Ospreay springboard enziguri takes ELP down. Ospreay catches ELP coming in with another enziguri followed by a top rope 619. ELP avoids the springboard hurricanrana, Ospreay sweeps the leg and hits the corner dropkick followed by a standing shooting star press for a two count. ELP fights off a reverse Bloody Sunday, catches Ospreay’s handspring with a crossbody followed by a lionsault.

Ospreay elbows free of ELP’s hold, runs in with a chop, ELP blocks Stormbreaker and catches Ospreay with a thrust kick. Ospreay responds quickly with a wallflip enziguri and ELP bails outside. Ospreay follows him out with a Cancun Tornado from the top rope to the floor, sends ELP in and hits a springboard forearm followed by the Robinson Special. He sets up for Oscutter, ELP catches him and looks for a swinging neckbreaker but Ospreay breaks out. ELP backslides Ospreay, eats a hook kick, Ospreays sets up for the Stormbreaker, ELP hits Code Red followed by a top rope moonsault for a two count. ELP tries CR II, Ospreay escapes and nails a headkick, both collapse. ELP catches Ospreay coming in with an elbow, Ospreay catches him in position for Cheeky Nandos, ELP boots free, charges Ospreay but is caught with the Essex Destroyer. Ospreay traps ELP in a series of Cheeky Nandos, takes him to the second rope on his shoulders and drops ELP with a double wristclutch overhead slam for a two count.

Ospreay singals for Hidden Blade, ELP ducks, Ospreay blocks the low blow and lands a series of kicks. ELP spits at Ospreay, Ospreay lands more kicks and holds ELP up from collapses. Ospreay looks for Oscutter, ELP charges the ropes and sends Ospreay over the top. The two trade forearms on the apron, Ospreay looks Stormbreaker but ELP hooks his foot over the ropes. Ospreay then looks for a Splanish Fly off the apron but ELP blocks and catches Ospreay with a forearm and tries the CR II, can’t get Ospteay up so decide for a piledriver on the apron instead. Ospreay breaks the count out at ninteen but ELP is waiting for him with a frog splash that gets a two count. ELP hits the Rainmaker pose, Ospreay ducks and drops him with a sitout powerbomb for two. ELP catches the Oscutter into a spinning neckbreaker for a two of his own and shoves the referee in the corner. The referee shoves ELP back, ELP takes a swing, the referee shoves him into an Ospreay Spanish Fly for two followed by a top rope Shooting Star Press for two. Ospreay sets up for the Stormbreaker, ELP traps the referees head between his legs, shoves off the referee to roll out of the hold, low blows Ospreay and rolls him up for two. Another spinning neckbreaker for two and ELP finishes Ospreay with CR II.

ELP tells the fans to buy Bullet Club hats because BOSJ is going to the Headbang Club. He throws fans hats into the crowd, spits water in Liger’s face and pours water on Chris Charlton before making his way to the back.

Everything about this show screams classic. All ten matches hit their mark perfectly. The short matches were all wrestled with a great sense of urgency and the only match to eclipse the fifteen minute mark was the main event. There’s so much re-watchability in a show like this because at no point did the show take a dip. The shortest match was a count out win by Kanemaru and even the pacing there was great and never dragged. Really, this was a near flawless show. The best match outside of the main event was between Bandido and Narita. The young lion is showing a lot. I’m ready for him to ditch the young lion phase, skip excursion and be this wrestler for the rest of his career. Pick any match from this show and it was great. I don’t think anything is worth skipping. It’s fine if you want to skip the count out match but it only went five minutes and it was still a lot of fun all things considered. Maybe there weren’t the incredible highs you think of when considering a show a classic but it’s not often that every match hits its mark. This is undoubtedly a classic.

Recommended Matches
Entire Show

Standings
A Block
Shingo Takagi (4-0)
Taiji Ishimori (4-0)
Dragon Lee (3-1)
Marty Scurll (2-2)
Tiger Mask IV (2-2)
Jonathan Gresham (2-2)
Titán (1-3)
SHO (1-3)
Yoshinobu Kanemaru (1-3)
TAKA Michinoku (0-4)

B Block
El Phantasmo (4-0)
Will Ospreay (3-1)
Ryusuke Taguchi (3-1)
Robbie Eagles (3-1)
YOH (2-2)
Bandido (2-2)
BUSHI (1-3)
DOUKI (1-3)
Rocky Romero (1-3)
Ren Narita (0-4)

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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