Best of the Super Junior 28 rumbled into Nagano as Master Wato took on El Desperado in the latest main event…

Quick Results
Yuto Nakashima and Kosei Fujita went to a draw in 10:00
Best of the Super Junior 28 – El Phantasmo pinned DOUKI in 9:40 (***)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – BUSHI pinned YOH in 10:32 (***)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – SHO pinned Ryusuke Taguchi in 14:42 (***¼)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – Taiji Ishimori submitted Robbie Eagles in 13:26 (***½)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – Hiromu Takahashi pinned Yoshinobu Kanemaru in 14:24 (***½)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – El Desperado submitted Master Wato in 20:10 (***½)

We’re live on tape from the Nagano Athletic Park Gymnasium for this – and like the olden days, we’re rolling without commentary…

Yuto Nakashima vs. Kosei Fujita
This match – which ended as a draw – wasn’t included as part of the VOD release, so we’ll move on…

Best of the Super Junior 28: El Phantasmo vs. DOUKI
ELP’s still looking for his first win in the tournament, while DOUKI surprisingly came in as one of the early front runners… We start with back-and-forth wristlocks as Phantasmo took DOUKI down early, before some hair pulling neutralised a fightback attempt as ELP returned with a shoulder tackle. Phantasmo cartwheels out of some headscissors, but couldn’t avoid them at the second attempt as he’s taken outside for a tope.

DOUKI returns to look for his take on the Widow’s Peak, but Phantasmo pushes free, only to get caught with a throat thrust as he countered a Daybreak DDT with a Sudden Death to the gut. ELP stretches DOUKI with a backbreaker, then flipped him over for a gutbuster for a two-count, before we ended up back outside as an Asai moonsault misses into the aisle. DOUKI’s lands though, crashing into ELP before they returned to the ring with a springboard stomp. ELP’s up at two from that, but blocks the follow-up Daybreak DDT… only to get rolled into a DOUKI CHOKI. I can hear Gino from here. We’ve a nice swinging overhead Northern Lights as DOUKI keeps pushing on, before ELP elbowed out of a Suplex de la Luna and rolled up DOUKI for a near-fall.

Phantasmo’s not out of the woods yet though, as he took an enziguiri, before he crotched DOUKI in the ropes. A gamengiri follows, as did a whirlibird neckbreaker, before the CR2 dispatched DOUKI. A decent enough match, with Phantasmo shedding the dodgy decision making that’s plagued his 2021. ***

Best of the Super Junior 28: BUSHI vs. YOH
After two rounds, it’s clear the story for YOH’s tournament is “he just can’t find any form since the Roppongi 3K split…”

BUSHI takes things to the outside early, as YOH became familiar with the guard rails, before some t-shirt choking kept YOH in the ropes. A neckbreaker gets an early two-count, as BUSHI dominated the early going, but a dropkick from YOH bought him time, while an elbow shot gets YOH a two-count of his own. YOH’s uppercuts take BUSHI outside for a plancha, before he needed to take over from BUSHI again back inside, only for BUSHI to hit a DDT for a near-fall. A running Codebreaker’s blocked by YOH, who came back with a Dragon screw and a Star Gazer calf slicer, eventually forcing BUSHI into the ropes.

BUSHI recovered with the Fisherman screw for a near-fall, before the MX was superkicked out of mid air. YOH fights back, but again his Direct Drive is rolled out of, as a BUSHI roll snatches the win. Might want to try another finish there pal, as all three matches so far have seen the Direct Drive attempt directly drive YOH to the loss. ***

Best of the Super Junior 28: SHO vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
Come on, let’s get the fun with the garotte over with…

Taguchi’s got a head lantern for Yuto Nakashima, presumably so he can look under the ring for any goodies left behind? Problem was, Taguchi was so distracted by the threat of interference, he got attacked by SHO from behind, before hip attacks took SHO into the ropes. A missed hip attack on the apron gives SHO an opening, as he went for the eyes and took Taguchi back outside. SHO chops Taguchi in time to the ref’s count, then took things back inside as he pushed Taguchi away before Taguchi retaliates with, yes, a hip attack. A body press to the outside followed, before Taguchi, erm, spanked SHO in time to the ref’s count. He’s a naughty boy.

Back inside, another hip attack dropped SHO for a two-count, while the Three Amigos were blocked as SHO went for the fingers. A spear drops Taguchi after SHO’d grabbed the ref, before SHO pulled ahead, kicking the arm out and rolling Taguchi down into a Kimura. The ropes save Taguchi, but SHO stays on top with some elbows, before a front suplex from Taguchi set up for the Bummer Ye… which connects for a near-fall. SHO retaliates with a clothesline, then a cross-armed piledriver, before Taguchi escapes a Shock Arrow. The Oh My Garankle lock’s escaped as SHO tries to mule kick Taguchi, but he ends up back in it before SHO rolled Taguchi into the ref. With no ref, Taguchi’s watching for interference like a hawk, but SHO’s got his spanner out and tries to cheapshot Taguchi with it. A low blow, then a spanner shot lands, before SHO pulled out the win with a needless Shock Arrow. Hey, they kept the shenanigans to a minimum, and it made for a more entertaining match, as SHO keeps his 100% run going. ***¼

Best of the Super Junior 28: Taiji Ishimori vs. Robbie Eagles
A battle of former junior champions kicks off the second half of the show, as Robbie Eagles looks to stay on track after going 1-1 so far.

Ishimori tried for a Yes Lock early on as both men looked for an opening… Eagles hits a low dropkick to take things outside, but Ishimori walks out of the proverbial splash zone in case the Aussie went for a dive. Instead, Eagles slides outside and chops him around ringside, before Ishimori blocked a springboard armdrag back inside. A chinlock from Ishimori’s fought out of by Eagles, who then avoided a springboard senton and took Ishimori outside with a spinning heel kick, following him outside with a tope con giro. Eagles followed up with a leaping kick for a two-count, before a shotgun dropkick took him back into the corner.

Eagles returned by going for the knee of Ishimori, landing a springboard missile dropkick to it as the Ron Miller Special was quickly applied… Ishimori clings on, but eventually breaks it in the ropes as Eagles tried to follow up… going up top for a 450 splash that he has to roll through. An Asai DDT attempt’s countered nicely into a shoulder breaker by Ishimori, getting a delayed two-count before Eagles hit a backslide to counter out of a Mistica attempt. The pace quickens a little as a roundhouse enziguiri dropped Ishimori ahead of an Asai DDT for a near-fall, before Ishimori went for Cipher UTAKI.

Eagles blocks it, but quickly gets spun down into a Yes Lock… and when Ishimori rolled him away from the ropes, the Aussie was left with no choice but to tap. Even without commentary or an atmosphere, this was a pretty damn good outing as Ishimori pulled into joint second place in the table. ***½

Best of the Super Junior 28: Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Hiromu Takahashi
Hiromu’s still carrying his leather jacket in addition to his big furry coat… and gets jumped by Kanemaru in the aisle for doing so.

Stomps from Kanemaru wear down Hiromu – as he danced away in his still-playing entrance video – and we begin with Kanemaru wearing down the knee with more stomps. Back on the outside, Kanemaru tries to wear down Hiromu with a Figure Four as part of a cheap count-out, but Hiromu makes it back in at 19 to keep things moving. Kanemaru stays on the leg, with a toe hold forcing Hiromu to the ropes, while a sorta calf slicer wore down Hiromu as the ropes again saved him. A knee breaker looked to be next, but Kanemaru just raked the eyes before he took a tijeras, as Hiromu needed to take his time to hit a low dropkick to take things outside.

A shotgun dropkick off the apron knocks Kanemaru down as Hiromu’s still hobbling. Back inside, a Falcon arrow lands for a two-count, as did a death valley driver into the corner… only for Hiromu to get powerbombed out of another tijeras attempt. Hiromu has more luck with a pop-up powerbomb, but Kanemaru blocks the Time Bombs and hits a low dropkick to the back of the leg to get free. Another dropkick from Kanemaru just earns him a suplex, before Kanemaru grabbed the ref to avoid the Time Bomb. He drags down Hiromu with a Dragon screw as a Figure Four looked to cause a stoppage, but Hiromu gets to the ropes before he ate a brainbuster. A slam leads to a moonsault from Kanemaru, but Hiromu gets the knees up and cradled him for the win. Zack Sabre Jr. gives his moves wacky names… at least on the Japanese results site, via auto-translate, Hiromu’s finisher here had the more polite “I didn’t decide on a name because I was wondering if it would come out anymore. I am terribly sorry.” Which could be used in a whole variety of situations. ***½

Best of the Super Junior 28: Master Wato vs. El Desperado
Desperado’s music sure is a trip when you’re watching this at a faster speed to compensate for how wonky the NJPW World player is at skipping ahead…

Wato and Desperado start with standing switches as they looked for an early advantage. Desperado takes things to the mat as he grabs a chinlock, then stretched Wato in a surfboard, before headlocks and headscissors kept Desperado ahead. Wato returned with a side headlock of his own, then with a shoulder tackle, before he flew over Desperado’s dropdown as a rear spin kick had the champion laying. Desperado tries to roll out of a scissored armbar, but ended up shuffling to the ropes for the break, before things headed outside with Wato getting hurled into the guard rails. Back inside, Wato’s forced to fight back, only to get chopped down for a two-count, while a half crab forces him into the ropes.

Wato manages to fight back in with a tiltawhirl backbreaker, before he took Desperado outside for a tope con giro. A missile dropkick off the middle rope gets Wato a near-fall, before a low dropkick took Wato back down. Dragon screws keep him there as Desperado locks in the Numero Dos, but that instantly ends in the ropes. An Anaconda Vise from Wato looks to give him a stoppage, but Desperado’s able to shuffle back into the ropes, before Wato hit the ropes for a springboard uppercut. Recientemente’s next for a near-fall as he looked to be coasting to an unexpected win, but Desperado rolled Wato back into Numero Dos… only for Wato to escape and hit a head kick.

Pushing on, Wato ends up getting caught in a spinebuster as Desperado pulled ahead with Guitarra de Angel for a near-fall, before a Pinche Loco gets countered out of with a roll-up… that segues into a see-saw sunset flip before Desperado made him submit to the Numero Dos, having rolling Wato back into the middle of the ring. ***½

After a third round of the Best of the Super Junior, here’s your standings…

SHO (3-0 / 6pts)
BUSHI, DOUKI, Taiji Ishimori, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Hiromu Takahashi (2-1 / 4pts)
Robbie Eagles, El Desperado, El Phantasmo, Ryusuke Taguchi, Master Wato (1-2 / 2pts)
YOH (0-3 / 0pts)

Friday’s show – in the World Tag League – was also a VOD-only affair… meanwhile live streams return on Sunday as Aichi holds a Best of the Super Junior card topped with El Desperado vs. Hiromu Takahashi. That’ll be worth the 7am alarm!

A decent start, with the tournament matches picking up in the second half of the show… but I’m not sure I’d have run these shows without any sort of commentary on the VOD, given that New Japan’s still running with clap crowds, so we’re devoid of any kind of atmosphere here. The toughest of tough watches, and we’re going to have several more of these shows on this tour.