El Desperado looks to keep his push for this month’s finals going as he faces YOH in today’s Best of the Super Junior main event.

Quick Results
Kosei Fujita and Ryohei Oiwa went to a draw in 10:00 (**½)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – Master Wato pinned Yoshinobu Kanemaru in 10:28 (***¼)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – Robbie Eagles submitted DOUKI in 11:53 (***½)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – BUSHI pinned Taiji Ishimori in 13:35 (***¼)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – El Phantasmo submitted SHO in 11:46 (***)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – Hiromu Takahashi pinned Ryusuke Taguchi in 8:56 (***½)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – YOH pinned El Desperado in 18:29 (***¼)

We’re in the main arena of Saitama’s Gymnasium of Tokorozawa Citizen today… and for those wondering, yes, I’m watching this before the World Tag League show that dropped on-demand from Thursday.

Kosei Fujita vs. Ryohei Oiwa
This’ll be the last of the Young Lion matches for now – tomorrow in Yamanashi, Oiwa’s got Shingo Takagi before the Young Lion “cub cup” resumes…

We start with a search for a waistlock as Oiwa’s taken to the mat in a side headlock instead… he gets to the ropes, but we’re back on the mat as Fujita’s instantly taken down in another side headlock. A cravat followed, but Oiwa gets back up out of the snapmare, only to get trapped in headscissors and a hammerlock before he fought back with a heel hook that forced Fujita to drag himself to the ropes for a break.

Oiwa stomps away on Fujita to break that grip on the ropes, so he could go back in with a leg lock, before a bloodied Fujita looked to fight back with elbows. Eventually a dropkick gets Fujita back in it, as he fires off some more elbows ahead of a double wristlock and a Fujiwara armbar that ended in the ropes.

Fujita keeps going with a cross armbar, but that’s right by the ropes as Oiwa manages to build back with a bodyslam and a dropkick. A shoulder tackle gets a two-count as we hit the final minute of the time limit, ahead of the typical Boston crab that Fujita managed to break in the ropes. Oiwa almost gets caught with a roll-up, but kicks out at two just before the time limit expired. They’re getting there, but we’re still dealing with draws… **½

Best of the Super Junior 28: Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Master Wato
Kanemaru beat Wato in Jingu last year in what was Wato’s first big singles match after his return…

Kanemaru jumped Wato before the bell, having had Taichi accompany him to ringside to, err, do commentary. Wato shrugged it off and headed for the apron, but his springboard uppercut came up short as a flurry of kicks ends up taking Kanemaru to the outside. A low dropkick in return stops Wato’s dreams of diving, and gave Kanemaru a clear point of attack.

Wrenching back on the leg, Kanemaru keeps Wato grounded, as did another low dropkick, which then set up for a low dropkick as Kanemaru continued to dominate. Wato tries to fight back, but his eyes get raked before Wato found a way through with a leg lariat. Some headscissors take Kanemaru outside as a corkscrew tornillo followed, with another flurry of kicks coming from Wato back inside.

Wato can only get a two-count over Kanemaru there, before his attempt at Recientemente was blocked as Kanemaru went back to the low dropkicks. A snap Dragon screw sets up Kanemaru for a Figure Four, but Wato rolls into the ropes to break the hold, before Kanemaru nearly ended things with a moonsault.

Wato escapes a suplex, but eats an enziguiri before that darned low dropkick again set up for a Figure Four… but this time Wato cradled Kanemaru for a near-fall. A corkscrew roundhouse takes Kanemaru down as Recientemente followed, then a Tenzan Tombstone Driver as Kanemaru was left laying in the corner… allowing Wato to hit RPP for the win. A decent opener, but that loss may well end Kanemaru’s realistic chances of making the finals as inconsistency in results bites him at the worst time. ***¼

Best of the Super Junior 28: DOUKI vs. Robbie Eagles
Eagles has won their two prior meetings – both in the Best of the Super Junior tournament – but DOUKI needs a win to stay alive here…

Once we get going, DOUKI and Eagles try some of their big stuff early, with Eagles going for the Ron Miller Special in the opening minute, only for DOUKI to push him away. A tijeras takes DOUKI down, as does a spinning heel kick as DOUKI was sent outside for an aborted dive… only for a switcheroo to lead to DOUKI landing a dive, then an Asai moonsault.

Staying outside, Eagles gets taken into the barriers before a chinlock back inside had to be fought out of. DOUKI dumps Eagles ahead of a stomp, before a roll-up from Eagles looked to nick a win. Kicks from Eagles are stopped with an eye rake as DOUKI then eats a leaping leg lariat before a 619 in the corner set up for some running double knees.

A springboard dropkick to the knee spins DOUKI down, as a diving kick again gets a near-fall, before a Ron Miller Special’s countered into the DOUKI CHOKI! DOUKI lets go so he can roll back into the middle of the ring to reapply the hold, but Eagles gets to the rope to force a break.

DOUKI keeps going with a swinging Northern Lights for a near-fall, but misses a Daybreak DDT and looked to jam up his knee on the landing. Eagles heads ot the apron and teed up for another dropkick to the knee, but DOUKI avoids it, to miss an enziguiri as Eagles keeps trying for a Turbo Backpack. Instead, a TKO side slam drops Eagles for a near-fall, before Eagles flipped out of a Suplex de la Luna and hits a Turbo Backpack instead.

Eagles followed up with a 450 splash to the leg, and you know what that means. Ron Miller Special, submission, Eagles wins – and that all but eliminates DOUKI from contention as his stellar start just petered out in this tournament. ***½

Best of the Super Junior 28: Taiji Ishimori vs. BUSHI
This one started out quickly with BUSHI taking Ishimori outside, teasing a dive, only for Ishimori to hang up BUSHI in the ropes instead.

On the outside, BUSHI’s thrown into the rails as Ishimori then removed a corner pad while the ref wasn’t looking. Back inside, a chinlock keeps BUSHI down, before BUSHI got thrown shoulder-first into the exposed corner. An armbar followed from Ishimori, before BUSHI gets free and takes down Ishimori with headscissors.

A missile dropkick follows from BUSHI, taking Ishimori outside for a tope suicida, before a DDT back inside gets a near-fall. Ishimori returns with a handspring enziguiri before he countered an MX into a Cipher UTAKI. A Fisherman Screw’s blocked as BUSHI’s thrown into the corner, then pulled up for a shoulder breaker to the targeted arm, as a Yes Lock then ended in the ropes.

Out of nowhere, BUSHI tries for a BUSHI roll, but Ishimori countered out into a Bone Lock, stopping to roll back into the middle of the ring as a Bloody Cross gets escaped. A dropkick dumps Ishimori by the ropes, before a Destroyer bought BUSHI some more time. A Codebreaker followed for a near-fall, before BUSHI headed up top and planted Ishimori with the MX for the pin. ***¼

Best of the Super Junior 28: El Phantasmo vs. SHO
We kick off the second half with a Bullet Club bonanza, as El Phantasmo’s looking to stay in the hunt with a win here…

The crowd applauded Phantasmo for calling SHO “shit” and “fake Bullet Club.” SHO rants, but Phantasmo can’t understand… so he gets a translator at ringside to interpret, as SHO apparently wants a Fingerpoke of Doom win. ELP tells him to kiss his ass, which gets translated, as we learn that “too sweet” survives the Japanese translation.

We start with that, but SHO just suckers Phantasmo into a Snake Bite as the Canadian scrambled for the ropes for a break. ELP manages to recover, taking things into the corners for some mounted punches to the tune of the “New… Day rocks” chant. Huh.

Things head outside with ELP having his wrist torqued on around the turnbuckle irons, before some boot chokes from SHO wore down Phantasmo back inside the ring. ELP recovers with a springboard crossbody and a Quebrada for a pair of two-counts, before an elbow drop off the middle rope looked to set up for Sudden Death… which gets blocked.

SHO goes back to the arm as he held Phantasmo for a series of kicks for a near-fall, before some inside cradles and backslides looked to nick the win for ELP… SHO’s spear gets him a two-count, but ELP goes back to Bullet Club past… then sits out on a Styles Clash for a near-fall. Dean Allmark and Jaxon Stone say hi…

One Clashing Styles later, and ELP’s quickly pulled into the Snake Bite again as the ropes save him. The referee has to float over ELP as SHO tried to force a ref bump, ending with a spear from ELP for a near-fall. SHO back body drops out of a CR2, only to hit back with a knee to the gut as ELP poked SHO in the eyes.

SHO returns the favour, as we then trade hair pulls and nipple twisters, which the referee broke up. ELP goes a little more orthodox with some rope walking… SHO tries to pull ELP down into the ref, then went for the spanner, but ELP hits Sudden Death in the gut to counter it, and that leads to the stoppage as SHO gets a big taste of his own medicine, and ends up submitting to it?! Yep, that’s a verbal stoppage as SHO seems to be struggling against dirtier bad guys… ***

Best of the Super Junior 28: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Hiromu Takahashi
With that big group developing on eight points, Hiromu really needs a win if he’s to stay in the chase…

Taguchi looks for a roll-up early, then a crucifix and a series of backslides as he tried to smother Hiromu out of the gate. A minute of pinning attempts from Taguchi give way to see-saw pins, forcing Hiromu to bail outside as Taguchi almost nicked the win. Hiromu wants some space, which Taguchi eventually gives him, before an attempted hip attack’s rolled through as Hiromu again was frustrated.

Oh My Garankle’s rolled out of as Taguchi again keeps going for roll-ups, before a Hiromu-Chan Bomber’s countered into a ‘rana for a near-fall. We’re back to the ankle lock, then a rolling cradle to dizzy Hiromu, but it dizzied Taguchi too, who stumbled back for the ankle lock. That’s switched up into a grounded Octopus, then back to the ankle lock, before a rolling cradle nearly puts Hiromu away.

Taguchi keeps flipping between pins and ankle locks, as I pity any statistician who’s counting pinning attempts here… as we end with the pair teasing Time Bombs and Dodons, before Hiromu finally snatched the win with the as-yet-apologetically-unnamed roll-up. Of course. This was completely different than I expected, with the pair doing a LOT with a very limited mindset, which made for a hell of a workout for the ref as well! ***½

Best of the Super Junior 28: YOH vs. El Desperado
A win for Desperado will eliminate DOUKI, whereas a win for YOH means we’ll have a seven-way tie on eight points in the middle of the table.

We start this one off slowly as they exchange side headlocks and wristlocks amid buffering, returning with YOH working a hammerlock on the champion. An overhead armbar keeps Desperado down, but the ropes force a break before YOH dropkicked Desperado to the outside.

An elbow knocked Desperado back in the ring, but a low dropkick catches YOH in the ropes as we go outside, with Desperado controlling the pace with a series of stomps. YOH beats the count-out tease, but Desperado stayed on him with whips into the corner, leading to a clothesline for a rather nonchalant two-count.

YOH’s trapped in the middle of the ring with a Deathlock, but after getting a rope break he tried his luck with a roll-up, getting a two-count out of it. A leaping forearm keeps Desperado down, before YOH low bridged him to the outside for a plancha.

Back inside, YOH keeps the pressure on, only to get backed into the corner for some elbows, as Desperado again focused on the knee with a dropkick. YOH scrambles to the ropes to avoid Numero Dos, only to walk into a spinebuster as Desperado then applied the Numero Dos.

Another rope break sees Desperado head up top to hit a big splash for a near-fall, before he attempted a Guitarra de Angel. YOH escapes and returned with a dropkick, before an over-the-knee Falcon arrow landed for a near-fall. An inside cradle nearly nicks it for Desperado, before he countered a Five Star Clutch into Numero Dos… with YOH rolling through for a near-fall.

Desperado goes for Pinche Loco, but YOH throws his way free, then hit a superkick and a Dragon suplex for a near-fall. The Direct Drive follows… and that’s the win for YOH, whose rags to riches tournament continues with a match that almost surely will earn him a title match down the line. As for the match, it was keenly contested but the finish seemed to come out of nowhere as they looked to build the Direct Drive as a big finisher – as opposed to the liability it was earlier in the tournament. ***¼

There’s just three matches left in Best of the Super Junior now… and there’s a real logjam building up at eight points. DOUKI’s holding in it by the skin of his teeth – mathematically alive, but needing a LOT of unlikely no-contests to go his way.

SHO (6-2 / 12pts)
El Desperado, Hiromu Takahashi (4-3-1 / 9pts)
BUSHI, Robbie Eagles, Taiji Ishimori, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Phantasmo, Ryusuke Taguchi, YOH (4-4 / 8pts)
Master Wato (3-5 / 6pts)
DOUKI (2-6 / 4pts)

Saturday’s show in Yamanashi is in the World Tag League, so it’s a (ridiculously) early Sunday in Shizuoka as we have BUSHI and El Desperado headlining the next round of Best of the Super Junior.

Another good night on the Best of the Super Junior tour looked to keep things interesting as we head into the final three matches with SHO still atop of the block but not quite home and dry, as everything is still to play for for that second spot in the final.