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NJPW ‘Best of the Super Juniors 26’ (5.31.19) Results & Review

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The thirteenth night of the Best of the Super Juniors 26 sees the A Block in their final night of block action at Item Ehime. Taiji Ishimori is looking to slay the dragon, Shingo Takagi, in tonight’s main event. The winner will take the block and advance to the final. Let’s get started!

Titán (2-6) def. Tiger Mask IV (2-6) @ 8:10 via Pin – *1/2
They lock up, Tiger backs Titán to the ropes and gives a clean break. They lock up again, Tiger takes the head, Titán sends him off but gets shouldered down. He ducks Tiger’s kick, hits one of his own, takes to the top, Tiger avoids the attack and catches Titán with a backbreaker. Tiger keeps Titán grounded with a headscissors until he manages to find the ropes but Tiger is quick to apply a double armbar. He lets go of the hold and lays in forearms, slaps the kicks to the grounded Titán. Titán catches a kick, turns it into a dragon screw, hits a springboard crossbody and dropkicks Tiger out of the ring.

Titán follows Tiger out and catches him charging in with a backbreaker and waits for Tiger to come back in, hitting him with a springboard dropkick. Titán takes to the top, looks for a moonsault but Tiger gets the boots up. Tiger wants the Tiger Driver, Titán blocks it to Tiger drops him on his knee, connects with a headkick, gets the Tiger Driver and applies a cross armbreaker. Titán tries turning but Tiger transitions to an armbar, Titán manages to make the ropes. Tiger lands a series of kicks, catches Titán on the head, wants the Tiger Suplex but Titán backs him into the corner and brings Tiger down with an armdrag and covers him for the win.

SHO (4-4) def. Jonathan Gresham (4-4) @ 10:27 via Shock Arrow – ***1/4
The two shake before they start. Gresham takes SHO down, they fight for position and end up in a stalemate. SHO takes the waist and brings Gresham down into a cross armbreaker but Gresham is quick to the ropes. Gresham rolls to the apron and SHO brings his arm over the top rope and dropkicks Gresham to the floor. He follows Gresham out with a PK to the arm and brings him back inside. SHO looks to stay on the attack, Gresham takes the leg and brings SHO down. They briefly trade forearms before Gresham dropkicks the knee and follows with a dragon screw to the mat. SHO wants a forearm exchange, Gresham chops the knee instead, SHO sends him off and hip tosses Gresham into a cross armbreaker.

Gresham gets the ropes, kicks the knee to escape a suplex, SHO’s knee buckles and he bails. Gresham follows him out with a dive, sends SHO back in and hits a shooting star press for two, immediately going into a figure four. SHO gets the ropes but Gresham refuses to break the hold, he instead rolls them to the floor and keeps the hold until fourteen. SHO follows him in at nineteen and they trade forearms. One takes Gresham down, he nips up and hits an enziguri, SHO catches him in a small package for two, follows with a knee and a German suplex for another two count. SHO catches Gresham with a lariat and powerbomb lungblower for two, muscles him up and finishes Gresham with Shock Arrow. SHO offers a handshake and a frustrated Gresham accepts.

Dragon Lee (6-2) def. Marty Scurll (5-3) @ 16:12 via Desnucadora – ***1/4
They lock up and Scurll backs Lee to the ropes, giving a clean break. Lee catches Scurll in a waistlock, Scurll escapes into a double armbar, takes the wrist and Lee rolls through and takes the head. They roll into a stalemate and decide to knuckle lock. Scurll takes Lee down and looks to stomp the arm, Lee rolls away but is brought back down and both arms are stomped followed by both knees. Scurll chops him into the ropes, Lee comes off with a hurricanrana that sends Scurll out of the ring. Lee hits the ropes but Brody King is there for the trip and Scurll sends Lee out, connects with a superkick and throws Lee into the crowd. Lee makes his way back in before the count out but Scurll is there to follow up with stomps to the neck and hammerlocks the arm, bringing the legs into a cloverleaf.

Lee makes the ropes, Scurll stays on him with chops, Lee fires back with forearms and catches Scurll running in with a hurricanrana. Scurll bails and Lee follows him out with another hurricanrana before sending him back in the ring. Lee hits a dropkick, chops Scurll into the corner and hits another dropkick followed by a double underhook backbreaker and a running knee for a two count. Scurll slides out of Desnucadora and turns it into a chickenwing. Lee fights free but Scurll catches him running in with a half and half suplex followed by a fisherman’s buster on the knee for a two count. He takes Lee to the top rope where they trade forearms. Scurll snaps the finger, Lee fights him off into a tree of woe, Scurll grabs the referee and Brody King interferes with Lee’s stomp, allowing Scurll to regroup and drop Lee off the top with a vertical suplex for two.

Scurll hammers Lee into the corner, Lee pops up and catches him with a dropkick, sidesteps Scurll’s attack and hits him with a German followed by a destroyer DDT and a knee for two. He sends Scurll to the top rope, lands the double stomp followed by Desnucadora. Brody pulls the referee out at two, Lee hits him with a dive, brings the referee in and looks for Desnucadora again but Scurll turns it into a DDT. Lee counters the chickenwing, hits a knee, Scurll follows with a lariat and a second that turns Lee inside out for a two count. He brings Lee back up for a package piledriver and gets another two, looks for Black Plague but Lee escapes and hits a knee. Lee ducks a lariat, lands a suplex and drills Scurll with another knee strike for a two count. He removes his knee pad and connects with a knee before finishing Scurll with Desnucadora.

Shingo Takagi (8-0) def. Taiji Ishimori (7-1) @ 20:59 via Last of the Dragon – ****
They lock up, Ishimori takes the arm, Shingo slides through, Ishimori sweeps the leg and goes to take the head but Shingo grabs the arm. Ishimori looks for an armdrag, Shingo puts the brakes on but misses a senton and they stalemate. They lock up, Shingo backs Ishimori to the ropes and sends him to the ropes, shoulders him down and catches Ishimori’s crossbody, backing him to the corner. Shingo sends Ishimori to the opposite corner, catches his dive and drops him with a DDT. Ishimori tries to bail, Shingo cuts him off and slams Ishimori into the mat before hammering elbows into the neck followed by a knee drop on the back. Shingo stomps on Ishimori’s chest, brings him back up and delivers back elbows in the corner. He catches Ishimori’s boot, Ishimori sends him off and catches Shingo in a neck crank.

Ishimori charges in the corner, catches Shingo’s boots, throws them over the second and lands a sliding German suplex. Shingo bails and Ishimori follows, driving Shingo into the announce table and ring post before sending him back inside. He hits his springboard senton and chokes Shingo over the second rope. Ishimori delivers a chop, Shingo fires back with forearms but the chops take him down. Ishimori drives Shingo head first into the corner and gets a two count, stays on the neck but Shingo fires back with a back elbow, punch and lariat. Shingo wants a powerbomb, Ishimori backdrops out and drops him with a handspring enziguri. Shingo bails, Ishimori looks to follow him out with a moonsault but Shingo cuts him off and drops Ishimori with a DVD on the apron.

Shingo sends Ishimori in and hits a sliding lariat for a two count, wants Noshigami but Ishimori escapes. Ishimori plants Shingo with a DDT but Shingo powers back up and drops Ishimori with a vertical suplex. He follows Ishimori into the corner with lariats, Ishimori fights back with lariats of his own, runs in and connects with a destroyer but Shingo pops back up and levels him with a lariat. Shingo hits a lariat, catches Ishimori’s lariat and hooks him into Noshigami for a two count, follows with another lariat and a pumping bomber for another two. He brings Ishimori up for Last of the Dragon, Ishimori escapes, hits the ropes, Shingo catches him on his shoulders but Ishimori drops him in a crucifix bomb for two. Shingo again catches Ishimori running in but this time is caught in a frankensteiner pin for a two count.

Ishimori sets up for Cipher UTAKI, Shingo fights it off into a wheelbarrow suplex, sends Ishimori to the ropes and is again caught, this time in La Mistica followed by the Yes Lock. He rolls Shingo from the ropes but Shingo still manages to find them and force the break. Ishimori grounds Shingo with a series of knees, they trade forearms and again Shingo collapses. He powers back up, hits a headbutt followed by combination forearms. Ishimori comes back with a knee lift, ducks a Shingo lariat and takes him down with one of his own. A John Woo, running corner knees and Cipher UTAKI combination scores Ishimori a two count. Shingo fights out of Bloody Cross, muscles Ishimori to his shoulders and finishes him with Last of the Dragon.

Shingo takes the mic and says he’s perfect just like he promised. There’s only one man who will be the first BOSJ of the Reiwa era and it’s him.

The result was what everyone expected but the match delivered in a big way. Ishimori was on fire, hitting the ropes and catching Shingo off guard at every opportunity until Shingo managed to use his strength to catch him, muscle Ishimori up and finish him. Big time match to conclude the block. Shingo Takagi advances to the final.

Titán got screwed out of another finish due to a referee error. That’s the second time this has happened, it’s not Titán’s fault but it’s put a damper on his tournament. Gresham and SHO finished their tournament with a strong limb-based match. The style benefits both guys and you could see how much fun they had telling their story. Scurll and Lee had a strong match as well. Both guys were really fluid in their exchanges. Again, the main event delivered big. It’s always a little disappointing when a block final doesn’t reach the highs of other tournament matches we saw along the way but in a vacuum this was a great match and a fitting conclusion to the block.

Recommended Matches
Shingo vs Ishimori
Lee vs Scurll
SHO vs Gresham

Final Standings
Shingo Takagi (9-0) – WINNER
Taiji Ishimori (7-2)
Dragon Lee (7-2)
SHO (5-4)
Marty Scurll (5-4)
Jonathan Gresham (4-5)
Titán (3-6)
Yoshinobu Kanemaru (3-6)
Tiger Mask IV (2-7)
TAKA Michinoku (0-9)

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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