The fourteenth night of the Best of the Super Juniors 26 sees the B Block in their final night of block action in front of 1,773 fans at the ZIP Arena Okayama. The block has come down to Will Ospreay and Ryusuke Taguchi. The winner will advance to the final where they will face off with Shingo Takagi in a match to crown the Best of the Super Juniors. Let’s get started!
BUSHI (5-3) def. Ren Narita (0-8) @ 9:09 via MX – ***
Narita sweeps the leg, BUSHI gets the waist, Narita slides through and they stalemate. They lock up and Narita takes BUSHI down before applying a wristlock. BUSHI chops his way free and the two exchange strikes before BUSHI grounds the young lion. He takes Narita to the corner for stomps and a swinging neckbreaker for a two count. More stomps, takes Narita over and applies a camel clutch. BUSHI lets go of the hold and scoop slams Narita for another two count. Narita fires forearms, sends BUSHI to the ropes in hopes for a dropkick but BUSHI hangs on and Narita crashes to the mat. BUSHI rushes in and is caught in a release belly-to-belly.
Narita follows him in the corner and drops BUSHI with a vertical suplex for two. BUSHI blocks a second belly-to-belly but Narita sweeps his legs and locks in a Texas Cloverleaf. Narita pulls BUSHI from the ropes but he still manages to find the ropes. BUSHI again blocks a belly-to-belly and the two trade forearms, the exchange leading to slaps and BUSHI coming out on top. He puts the young lion in a Boston Crab, pulls him from the ropes and Narita struggles but manages to find them. Narita spins out of a fisherman’s screw and rolls BUSHI into a small package for two. BUSHI regroups and hits the fisherman’s screw, charges in with a codebreaker and finishes Narita with MX.
Bandido (4-4) def. Rocky Romero (3-5) @ 11:30 via 21-plex – ***
They stare each other down before locking up. Romero backs Bandido to the ropes and gives a clean break before hitting his pose. Bandido returns the pose, takes the leg and goes to drop his elbow on the knee but Romero begs him off. Bandido accepts the request, shakes Romero’s hand and they lock up. They trade monkey flips into two double pins for near falls and make it back to their feet where Bandido shoulders Romero down. Romero turns Bandido’s chinlock into a take over, they trade strikes and Romero catches Bandido running in with a cross armbreaker but Bandido quickly finds the ropes. Romero stays on the arm, climbs to the second and drops his knee over Bandido’s arm. He sends Bandido to the ropes, charges in and eats a pair of boots, misses a series of lariats and Bandido dropkicks his knee out from under Romero.
Bandido wants a springboard, Romero shoves him off but is caught with a hurricanrana followed by a reverse brainbuster and a running knee for a two count. Bandido muscles Romero up, Romero slides through and catches Bandido running in with a knee followed up by Sliced Rocky for a two count. Romero delivers a series of kicks to Bandido’s arm, Bandido returns with a pump kick and charges in for a leg sweep. Bandido is caught running into a cross armbreaker, Romero transitions into a triangle, Bandido muscles Romero up and drops him with a Go 2 Sleep. Both are down, Romero wants Sliced Rocky but Bandido catches him and drops the knee over his own, catches Romero running in again and turns him into a moonsault bodypress for a two count. Bandido picks Romero up, hits a modified Go 2 Sleep and finishes him with the 21-plex.
YOH (5-3) def. Robbie Eagles (5-3) @ 11:46 via Dragon Suplex – ***
They lock up and trade wrist locks. YOH takes the leg, Eagles looks for a hammerlock, YOH transitions to a cross armbreaker but Eagles makes it to the ropes. They lock up again, Eagles gets the headlock, YOH sends him off and gets an armdrag followed by two dropkicks that send Eagles to the floor. YOH fakes out a dive, lands on the apron and hit a senton off the apron onto Eagles. He brings Eagles back in, Eagles rolls to the opposite apron, kicks out YOH’s knee followed by a springboard dropkick to the knee and a lariat from behind for a two count. Eagles stays on the knee, YOH fires back with forearms and catches Eagles in position for a dragon suplex but Eagles drapes YOH’s leg over the rope and kicks the other out from under him, getting a two count.
Eagles sends YOH to the corner, YOH avoids the corner knees and pulls Eagles into a vertical suplex. YOH follows with a forearm, back elbow and a running forearm. He charges in but is caught in the Ron Miller Special. YOH manages to make it to the ropes, sends Eagles off his knee and catches a kick into a dragon screw. Eagles catches YOH running in with a leg lariat, a 619 to the back of YOH’s knee and running knees in the corner for a two count. YOH sends Eagles off on a sliced bread, rolls him into position for a dragon suplex, Eagles counters into the Turbo Backpack but only gets two. Eagles takes to the top, wants a 450 but holds his knee before the jump, allowing YOH time to roll out of the way.
Eagles lands on his feet the rolls through, avoids YOH’s dropkick to the knee and lands a series of kicks. YOH blocks an enziguri, hits one of his own, wants the dragon suplex but Eagles kicks the knee out. Before Eagles can hit the ropes, YOH pulls him back in for a bridging German suplex for two. Eagles floats through a dragon suplex, YOH boots him to the ropes, rolls him through and hits an enziguri. YOH hit the ropes, Eagles catches him with an enziguri, YOH holds onto the ropes and pulls himself back in, lands a thrust kick and finishes Eagles with the dragon suplex.
El Phantasmo (5-3) def. DOUKI (1-7) @ 13:13 via CR II – ***
DOUKI rushes ELP before he can make it in the ring and hits him with a chair. DOUKI comes back in, wants a dive but crashes through a chair instead of ELP. ELP comes off the apron with a senton to the floor and brings DOUKI back inside. He sends DOUKI to the corner and stomps him into the ropes before bringing him to the top and putting DOUKI in the tree of woe. ELP stomps DOUKI low, brings him out of the tree of woe and gouges the eyes. He charges in, DOUKI does the splits and ELP crashes outside. DOUKI follows him out with a tope suicida, sends ELP back in, ELP rolls out but DOUKI is there for a senton off the top to the floor.
ELP makes it in at fifteen and DOUKI is there for a running double stomp that gets him a two count. He chops ELP in the corner, sends him off and catches ELP’s lionsault into a double wrist clutch triangle. ELP works his way out of the hold and takes DOUKI down with an enziguri for a two count. DOUKI blocks the spinning neckbreaker and hits the apron where he catches ELP with a slingshot DDT for a two. He takes to the top where ELP catches him with a gamengiri, DOUKI sends him off the top but ELP lands on his feet and hits an enziguri. ELP brings DOUKI down throat first over the top rope on a frankensteiner, brings him back in and hits a frog splash off the top. ELP sets up for CR II, DOUKI counters into a Gory Special and brings ELP down into a pin for two.
DOUKI looks for Suplex De La Luna, ELP elbows free and they trade jackknife pins for two before ELP puts DOUKI down with a thrust kick for another two count. He brings DOUKI up for CR II, DOUKI turns it into a frankensteiner pin for two and transitions the hold into a double wrist clutch triangle. ELP finds the ropes, catches DOUKI running in with a dropkick, drops him with a spinning neckbreaker for two and the crowd begins to rally for DOUKI. He fights back and unloads a series of forearms to ELP before ELP pulls down his mask and finishes DOUKI with CR II. ELP puts his RevPro Crusierweight title on Liger’s desk and spits water in his face. Liger grabs a chair but the two are held back before anything physical breaks out.
Will Ospreay (6-2) def. Ryusuke Taguchi (6-2) @ 22:19 via Stormbreaker – ****
They circle before Taguchi goes for the leg and takes the head. Ospreay slides through and hammerlocks the arm, Taguchi slides through and grabs the leg, Ospreay makes it to the ropes. They lock up and trade waistlocks before Ospreay gets the head, Taguchi grabs the wrist and they hit the ropes where they trade running the ropes. Taguchi catches Ospreay with a hip attack, Ospreay bails and Taguchi fakes out a dive. Ospreay comes back in where Taguchi is waiting with a dropkick and boots Ospreay into the corner. Ospreay fires up and grounds Taguchi repeatedly with a series of chops. He goes to send Taguchi to the ropes, Taguchi slides through and Ospreay’s knee buckles. Taguchi dropkicks the knee but gets caught in a monkey flip, bails to the outside and Ospreay follows him out with a plancha.
Ospreay drives Taguchi back first into the apron before sending him back in for a backbreaker that gets him a two count. Ospreay applies a double arm bar, bridges and figure fours the legs but Taguchi finds the ropes. He stays on Taguchi wth chops, Taguchi fires back ones of his own but his hip attack is blocked and comes up empty. Ospreay hits his own hip attacks before hitting the ropes and being dropped by one of Taguchi’s followed by two vertical suplexes. Ospreay slides through a third but eats a dropkick, bails and Taguchi follows him out with a plancha. Taguchi sends him in and lands a springboard hip attack for a two count. He charges in for hip attacks, Ospreay catches Taguchi with a chop and a handspring enziguri. Ospreay wants the corner dropkick, comes up empty but catches himself, wants the top rope 619 but Taguchi catches him in an ankle lock.
Taguchi lets go of the hold, Ospreay bails to the floor and cuts off Taguchi’s dive, follows up with a corkscrew moonsault off the top rope to the floor and brings Taguchi back inside. Taguchi slides out of a reverse Bloody Sunday, dropkicks the knee and drops Ospreay with a suplex. Taguchi wants the Bummer Ye, Ospreay wallflips through, Taguchi ducks the enziguri, hooks Ospreay up for Dodon but Ospreay rolls through for a two count. He ducks a Taguchi lariat, Taguchi ducks the hook kick, comes up empty on the enziguri and eats one from Ospreay but bounces off the ropes and lands the Bummer Ye. They trade forearms on their knees and fight up to their feet where Ospreay plants Taguchi with a kick. He wants the Oscutter, Taguchi pulls him back and hook the arms for Dodon but Ospreay blocks so Taguchi hits a Tiger Suplex for two instead.
Taguchi hooks in for Dodon again, Ospreay gets the ropes, Taguchi kicks the knee out but eats a series of kicks from Ospreay. Ospreay hoists Taguchi up for Stormbreaker, Taguchi slides through and applies Oh My & Garankle. Ospreays escapes the hold and powers Taguchi up into a sitout powerbomb followed by the Robinson Special. Taguchi ducks the Oscutter, locks in Oh My & Garankle, pulls Ospreay up into Dodon for two and immediately pulls him back into Oh My & Garankle. Ospreay slides through, hits a standing Spanish Fly, takes to the top and lands a shooting star press but only get a two count. Taguchi catches the Oscutter and pulls Ospreay into a backslide for two but Ospreay quickly recovers, hits Taguchi with a series of kicks and finishes him with the Stormbreaker.
Shingo Takagi comes out after the match to congratulate Ospreay on the win. He says Ospreay has it all but that he’s stronger than Ospreay and doesn’t plan on losing to him. Ospreay says that if Shingo thinks he’s afraid of him, he’s wrong. What Ospreay is afraid of is letting down the fans. He loves being a junior heavyweight and plans to slay the dragon.
Very solid night of wrestling. All five matches were quality but the main event is the one to focus on. Ospreay’s run is only rivaled by Shingo’s and it’s fitting the two will be meeting in the final. I’ve pumped up main event Taguchi and all throughout the tournament he’s left me with egg on my face but not tonight. This was quality main event Taguchi. His counters out of the Oscutter, his transitions in and out of the ankle lock, everything was very fluid. Ospreay was on fire as always, their chemistry is strong, this was a great main event.
BUSHI had a nice grapple with Narita to start off the night. When you strip all the dumb shenanigans from BUSHI he’s a solid wrestler. Narita was impressive all tournament long, his future is very bright. Romero turned heads these last three weeks. The question coming in was his motivation level and that turned out to be very high. Like Narita, he was a joy the entire tournament. Speaking of joy, Bandido consistently wowed audiences with this strength and agility. He’ll be back without a doubt. Eagles is another guy who had a strong tournament. If you enjoy a more limb-focused style, he was a lot of fun to watch. YOH had a mixed bag tournament but when he was on it was clear to see the potential. ELP was another guy who was a mixed bag. This was his first tour of Japan and there are tweaks to be made. His heel shtick will not get him far and he’s already got go away heat from many. He’s got the athletic ability but Bullet Club seems to be a bad fit for him. Coming in, almost no one knew about DOUKI and coming out of the tournament, everyone seems impressed. He’s a more than welcome addition to Suzuki-Gun as far am I’m concerned. And again, what a main event. When Taguchi is on, he’s a top tier wrestler and when isn’t Ospreay on? All tournament he’s been delivering the goods and even when his matches have gone longer than the ideal, he was the standout match every single night. How can anyone not be excited for Ospreay versus Shingo? Incredible.
Ospreay vs Taguchi
Will Ospreay (7-2) – WINNER
Ryusuke Taguchi (6-3)
El Phantasmo (6-3)
Robbie Eagles (5-4)
Rocky Romero (3-6)
Ren Narita (0-9)