The Best of the Super Juniors entered into its final phase as blocks tightened and competitors were eliminated in Chiba. The fourth night of all-tournament match competition ended in spectacular fashion as the wrestlers desperately attempted to get another few points to challenge for the right to fight in the final at Ryogoku Sumo Hall. Unfortunately TAKA Michinoku and Dragon Lee were unable to compete due to TAKA’s injury, but the other matches proceeded as normal much to the delight of the assembled crowd.
Match 9 – Taiji Ishimori vs SHO
Taiji Ishimori came into the match with a solid game-plan; target SHO’s elbow. The source of SHO’s famous striking ability would prove a prime place to try and weaken as SHO was forced to look to other means to gain an advantage. The fight accelerated in intensity and it looked like SHO would be able to conquer the former IWGP Jr. Heavyweight champion by the 15-minute mark, but Ishimori prevailed and was able to pin the high voltage one. After his match he called out Shingo Takagi, the only man who had more points than him and his final opponent in the tour. Calling him a giant in English, he wondered, coyly, who was going to stop this “beast.” Ishimori is now the only competitor in A Block with a chance of stopping Takagi going to the finals.
Match 8 – Robbie Eagles defeated Will Ospreay with a Ron Miller Special
In a match weighted with history and personal connections, both men came into the match desperate to win. Ospreay was looking to go top of B Block, whilst an Eagles victory would put him on parity with the other 3 leaders on points, if not on tie-breakers. Both men displayed a lot of character and integrity, surprisingly so for the BULLET CLUB member who seems to be trying to forge his own identity within the group. Towards the end of the match, Ospreay tried to finish-off his rival with an OsCutter, but El Phantasmo, who was seconding for Eagles ringside hit him with a chair, damaging Ospreay and stopping the attack. Reluctantly, Eagles hit his 450 splash and ended the match with a Ron Miller Special. Eagles smiled sadly as he left the ring, bickering with his second on the way out. Both men ended the night on 10 points.
Match 7 – YOH defeated El Phantasmo with a Five-star clutch
Phantasmo, as per usual, decided to turn the match dirty early-on. The headbanger in chief of BULLET CLUB sought to provoke YOH with a series of provocative taunts, trying to get YOH to lower his guard in a fit of rage as many of his opponents have done before. YOH however was able to keep his cool and weather the storm of offense from ELP and broke out another new finishing move in his arsenal in the form of a five-star clutch. The match ended-up being a contest of skill rather than the dirty fight Phantasmo expected and he fell short, losing two matches in a row. YOH is still able to top the B-Block, although his path is difficult.
Match 6 – Shingo Takagi defeated Tiger Mask with a Last of the Dragon
Tiger Mask has had a tournament fairly typical of his recent output – starting strong but ultimately unable to keep up with the youngsters as the gruelling tournament continues. Takagi however, has had the best tournament of any wrestler since Prince Devitt in 2013, who won all of his matches. Takagi is looking to do the same. The match started with a series of strong strikes and brutal kicks from the Golden Tiger, but Takagi’s stamina and power proved too much and the tiger was unable to stop the dragon. Takagi remains unbeaten and top of A-Block. Tiger Mask is now no longer in contention to win the tournament.
Match 5 – BUSHI defeated Bandido with an MX
Having seen BUSHI’s recent strategy that had lead to him having 3 wins on the bounce, Bandido decided to start the match with a furious assault. The strategy seemed to work as BUSHI was thrown-off his game-plan and it seemed like Bandido would be able to record a win. However, BUSHI’s momentum was not to be deterred and he came back with a dangerous DDT on the ring apron winning the match. Bandido is now out of contention for the finals. BUSHI has a slim chance to make it, but with the tie-breakers in place, it seems unlikely.
Match 4 – Marty Scurll defeated Titan with a Black Plague
Despite Scurll’s ambitions earlier in the tournament, he could not keep pace with Titan’s Lucha stylings. Titan proved dominant during his match and Scurll had to revert to his usual strategy when attacking and the match swung back in Scurll’s favour. In the end, Scurll used his final move to destroy the Luchadore. Neither man is in competition for the finals.
Match 3 – Rocky Romero defeated DOUKI with a cross arm-bar
Romero rather foolishly turned his back on DOUKI, perhaps betraying a lack of research into his opponent’s likely strategy, which DOUKI took advantage of to spring Romero before the bell. DOUKI successfully turned the match into a brawl, but Romero had a few tricks of his own up his sleeve. DOUKI has never been particularly resilient against submission moves and again the point was proved as Romero was able to secure the victory. Neither man is in contention for the finals in Ryogoku.
Match 2 – Jonathan Gresham defeated Yoshinobu Kanemaru with an Octopus clutch
Gresham proved that he was able to take veteran grapplers on at their own game as he immediately brought the fight to Kanemaru and successfully defeated the Heel Master to take the initiative in their fight. At the match’s conclusion, Kanemaru attempted to pounce with his whisky bottle, but Gresham was able to dodge and tapped out the heel master. Neither man is in contention for the finals in Ryogoku.
Match 1 – Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Ren Narita with an Oh My & Garankle
Despite Narita’s fire and passion, he was unable to best the Funky Weapon. As his “sempai”, Taguchi was quite familiar with Young Lion-style of wrestling and Narita proved no exception. If Narita hopes to pull off a single victory and be invited back next year, he will need to pull out something special.
TAKA Michinoku and Dragon Lee’s match was cancelled due to forfeiture from TAKA. Lee will pick-up the three points. Despite having 10 points, Lee is no longer in contention for the final due to the run-away performance from Shingo Takagi. He is expected to face a title challenge against the winner of the finals in Ryogoku.