Last night of league action in Hyogo
After a long grueling month of league action, we will have a top two confirmed for Best of the Super Jr. 28 this Saturday night in Hyogo. Those top two point scorers will advance to the final in Ryogoku Sumo Hall on December 15!
7th Match: Hiromu Takahashi (6-3-1) vs Robbie Eagles (6-4)
Singles record: 1-1
A Hiromu win guarantees a spot in the finals
Eagles must win to have a chance
After their 2020 Best of the Super Jr. meeting saw Hiromu victorious, and Robbie Eagles got his win back in convincing form, defending IWGP Junior Heavyweight gold in the MetLife Dome, a rubber match in Hyogo will determine their Ryogoku fates. With Hiromu at 13 points, he controls his own destiny, while Eagles must win and gain some help from the other participants on the card. The single point lead the Time Bomb has is advantageous indeed, but all for nought if he is caught in the Ron Miller Special.
6th Match: El Desperado (6-3-1) vs El Phantasmo (5-5)
Singles record: 1-0 El Phantasmo
A Desperado win guarantees a final spot
Phantasmo is mathematically eliminated
El Desperado and El Phantasmo might only be facing one another one on one for the second time, a UK encounter in 2018 seeing ELP defeat the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion before his NJPW debut the following May, the two know one another considerably better. Between Phantasmo and Desperado’s collisions over IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team gold, and ELP being a part of the three way match that saw Desperado awarded his first singles title earlier in February, Desperado knows just how dangerous a competitor his opponent tonight is. Indeed the champion has confessed to ‘really not knowing if I can beat (Phantasmo)’ in acknowledgement of his considerable ability, and dangerous knack for rule breaking that matches the champion’s.
After a difficult start, ELP put together a solid closing stretch to reach ten points, but after falling in defeat to YOH, his chances of making the finals have evaporated. With Desperado at points though, Phasntasmo can still spoil the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, and with the wins he amassed over current front runners in Taiji Ishimori, SHO and Hiromu, he could easily have his pick of potential future champions to challenge down the line.
5th match: SHO (6-4) vs YOH (6-4)
Singles record: 18-11-22 YOH
Both men must win for a chance
Three months removed from a physically and mentally devastating loss to his former partner in MetLife Dome this past September, YOH meets SHO with everything at stake. The former Roppongi 3K teammates have had vastly contrasting tournament campaigns; YOH started with an 0-4 deficit as many doubted he would even score any points in Best of the Super Jr. 28, but he’s rallied to a six win streak to put him at 12 points. SHO has the same point total, but after an early streak that has seen a late campaign collapse, is 0-3 in his last three matches.
Now then, in their 52nd singles encounter if their early Young Lion encounters are to be counted the stakes are higher than ever, certainly when it comes to their singles careers. A chance for revenge for YOH after MetLife, this bout could well determine our final in Ryogoku on Wednesday.
4th Match: Ryusuke Taguchi (4-6) vs Taiji Ishimori (6-4)
Singles record: 3-1 Ishimori BOSJ record: 2-0 Ishimori
Taguchi is mathematically eliminated
Ishimori must win to have a chance
Sendai natives Ryusuke Taguchi and Taiji Ishimori will face off in another key league match Saturday night. The Coach has needled Ishimori several times over the years, most notably en route to an IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Challenge at New Beginning in 2019, and with each successive encounter that ensued, came close to defeating the BULLET CLUB member as ‘Big Match Taguch’ would make his presence felt despite any fun loving pre-match antics. It wasn’t until this past summer though that Taguchi finally beat Ishimori one on one, while he and partner Rocky Romero were pursuing the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag team Championships. Now though, it’s all about the singles gold, and the best chance of achieving that goal for Ishimori will be to make and win the BoSJ final. Will the King of Coach prevent Ishimori’s first class ticket to the Tokyo Dome from being punched?
3rd Match: BUSHI (4-6) vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru (4-6)
Singles record: 2-1 Kanemaru BOSJ record: 1-1
Both BUSHI and Kanemaru are mathematically eliminated
Yoshinobu Kanemaru got off to a hot start in this year’s BoSJ, but now at eight points, Robbie Eagles putting him at a 4-6 record, the Heel Master’s collapse has left him without the chance of a finals placement. Meanwhile BUSHI’s own respectable, but not front running eight point run comes to a close with a clash against the Heel Master. Can he bring a 2-1 career record to an even two each, and beat Kanemaru in the standings, or will it be ‘Nobu at ten?
2nd Match: Master Wato (4-6) vs DOUKI (-)
Singles record: 2-0 Wato
Both Wato and DOUKI are mathematically eliminated
While both combatants are mathematically eliminated, pride in ending the tournament strong will be key to both men in the first league match tonight. In 2020, Wato reached eight points, and with a win over BUSHI this week, has already worked his way to the same total this year. Meanwhile DOUKI matched his 2020 total of four right out the gate this year, but hasn’t been able to buy a win since, and wants one more to continue his steady path of year on year improvement. Who will have their best career point total to date?
1st match: Yuto Nakashima (0-0-12 this tour) vs Ryohei Oiwa (0-0-12 this tour)
After two hours of ring time across the dual tournament tour, Nakashima and Oiwa collide one more time tonight. Can the long, long deadlock finally be broken tonight?