Best of the Super Junior resumes in Aichi as El Desperado headlines against Hiromu Takahashi.

Quick Results
Yuto Nakashima and Ryohei Oiwa went to a draw in 10:00 (**¾)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – Yoshinobu Kanemaru pinned DOUKI in 10:35 (***¼)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – Taiji Ishimori submitted Master Wato in 11:21 (***¼)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – Ryusuke Taguchi pinned YOH in 14:36 (***)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – SHO defeated BUSHI via referee stoppage in 12:59 (***¼)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – Robbie Eagles pinned El Phantasmo in 19:03 (****)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – Hiromu Takahashi and El Desperado went to a draw in 30:00 (****¼)

We’re live again, with Aichi’s Dolphin’s Arena the site of today’s action…

Ryohei Oiwa vs. Yuto Nakashima
Let’s see if I tempted fate by listing “they went to a draw” before the show started…

We open with a tie-up into the ropes as Oiwa and Nakashima switched around before throwing chops. They head to the mat with Oiwa grabbing a side headlock, before the pair traded wristlocks and arm wringers. Nakashima trips Oiwa to the mat, but has to block a cross armbreaker attempt, before he was able to return with a side headlock. Oiwa goes back to the arm, going once more for a cross armbreaker as Nakashima squirmed into the ropes. Trading elbows sees Nakashima pull ahead as his chest’s gotten really marked up, while a leg lock forced Oiwa to the ropes as the tables turned. Stomps from Nakashima lead to a half crab attempt, but that too ends in the ropes as we’re back to strikes, ending with a nice dropkick that saw Oiwa came down on top of Nakashima.

A second one goes for the head, getting Oiwa a bunch of two-counts as we hit the final minute, before a hiptoss and a Boston crab forced Nakashima to hang on as he teased tapping… but he gritted his teeth and managed to ride out the final seconds as we get another draw. A good finishing stretch here, as Oiwa came close to breaking the streak, but it’s the same old result… **¾

Best of the Super Junior 28: DOUKI vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
This Suzuki-gun showdown is a first-time meeting, but may be the acid test of DOUKI’s tournament after his opening two wins were met with a loss last time out.

After complaining about DOUKI’s new pipe, Kanemaru went for it at the bell before we broke out with wristlocks and lofty armdrags, taking Kanemaru outside… only for him to vault the rails to avoid a dive. Back inside, the pair raked each other’s eyes, before a chinlock forced DOUKI into the ropes for a break. DOUKI has better luck on a plancha as they’re sent back outside, but a shotgun dropkick from Kanemaru bought him time as he went back to DOUKI’s pipe… so DOUKI threatens to steal his whiskey. I think one of those things may be more valuable. Kanemaru cheapshots DOUKI on the exchange, so gets an enziguri and a clothesline for his troubles, ahead of a swinging Northern Lights for a near-fall.

Daybreak lands for another neat-fall, before Kanemaru’s swinging DDT put him back in it… an attempt at Deep Impact’s countered nicely into the DOUKI CHOKI, which ends in the ropes… before Kanemaru hit back with a brainbuster. An inside cradle from DOUKI gets another near-fall, only for another brainbuster from Kanemaru to quickly follow as Kanemaru pulled ahead of the two in the standings. An enjoyable match, with DOUKI holding his own, but it’s Kanemaru’s experience that looked to be the difference from the off. ***¼

Best of the Super Junior 28: Taiji Ishimori vs. Master Wato
We’ve only one prior meeting, with Ishimori winning in last year’s BOSJ tournament in a shade over a quarter of an hour.

This one starts quickly on the mat with headlocks and headscissors as we reached a stand-off, before leapfrogs, roll through and a rear spin kick had Wato ahead. Ishimori’s cobra clutch gives him a window, before he looked to pull Wato’s shoulder from its socket, only for Wato to get to the ropes for a break. Wato tries to fight back, but gets taken down as Ishimori wrenches back on the arm, before Ishimori’s taken outside for the corkscrew tornillo. Back inside, a springboard uppercut lands, but Ishimori’s handspring enziguiri counters back ahead of the baseball slide German suplex.

An old-school shoulder breaker has Wato down for a two-count, before an Octopus hold turned into Recientemente for Wato for a near-fall. Cipher UTAKI gets Ishimori back in it, before an inside cradle NEARLY upsets Ishimori… only for a Mistica to put Wato into a Bone Lock for the submission. A good showing for Ishimori, who had a few scares but ultimately blitzed Wato, who’ll be facing his sometime-tag partner next time out. ***¼

Best of the Super Junior 28: YOH vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
Maybe don’t go for the Direct Drive today, YOH?

Taguchi goes for the ankle early, but YOH counters back with a wristlock as they went back-and-forth with holds early on. A side headlock from YOH is pushed off as Taguchi makes him run the ropes… only for the tables to turn ahead of a drop toe hold and a YOH dropkick to the arse. Stomps barely register as Taguchi’s motionless, holding his arse… forcing the referee to start a standing ten count that YOH looked sad that he was unable to get the win from. YOH continues to push on, catching Taguchi with an atomic drop before he ran into a hip attack. More of those culminate in a springboard arse attack for a two-count, before the Three Amigos were finally rounded off. Taguchi’s roll-up gets a two-count, as did YOH’s answer, before a dropsault took Taguchi outside ahead of a tope con giro.

Back inside, a Falcon arrow nearly wins it for YOH, before he took things up top looking for a superplex, but he’s taken down with an avalanche gourdbuster as Taguchi opts to hit a hip attack off the middle rope, before YOH backflipped away from another hip attack and tried to win with a German suplex. In the end, Taguchi dropped down into an ankle lock, before YOH got free and retaliates with a Dragon suplex. Taguchi counters a suplex and hits a leaping enziguiri, then went back for a Dodon to the Throne for a near-fall… then a regular Dodon to end it. Poor YOH. ***

Best of the Super Junior 28: SHO vs. BUSHI
SHO won their meeting in the tournament last year – which began to offset the losses he took against BUSHI as a Young Lion…

BUSHI takes an early lead, dropkicking SHO in the ropes before a see-saw DDT onto the apron was stopped as SHO went for the wrists, leading to a dropkick that took BUSHI off the apron. The guard rails await BUSHI, as did more small joint manipulation as SHO wrapped BUSHI’s arm around those rails. Back inside, BUSHI’s choked with his own t-shirt, then had his eyes raked (impressive aim through the mask) before he caught out SHO with a DDT. An overhead kick through the ropes, then a missile dropkick has SHO down, with a tope suicida knocking SHO into the railings.

SHO uses the ref and some misdirection to catch BUSHI with a spear back inside, before a double wristlock looked to have BUSHI in trouble. The ropes save BUSHI, who swats away a clothesline only to get taken down in return, with a cross-armed piledriver almost getting the win for SHO. Shock Arrow looks to follow, but BUSHI floats out and hits an enziguiri, before his Codebreaker was countered into the Snake Bite (modified omoplata)… but that ends in the ropes. BUSHI back body drops his way free again as the pair trades kicks, leading to the Codebreaker from BUSHI for a near-fall, before a ref bump gives SHO the chance to use his toys.

Out comes the spanner, but BUSHI countered… only for the ref to be down. SHO hits a low blow, then the spanner, before he pulled the ref over to make the needless call from the Snake Bite as SHO extended his 100% run. At least they’ve reined in the shenanigans in these matches, but we’re still very much in the “can’t buy anything until the toys come out” stages. ***¼

Best of the Super Junior 28: El Phantasmo vs. Robbie Eagles
ELP’s got a new light up jacket, which had “ROBBIE EAGLES SUCKS” scrolling on the back. Phantasmo’s 2-0 in his prior singles meetings, both of which have come in tournaments…

Phantasmo looked annoyed that Eagles had the crowd on his side, as he started by taking Eagles into the ropes for some slaps. A trip has Phantasmo down as Eagles struts back, then went for a tijeras that ELP couldn’t cartwheel out of, as a spinning heel kick took the Canadian outside. Back inside, the pace quickens as the pair trade see-saw pins, before a pair of missed dropkicks lead to a stand-off. Elbows follow, as did some windmilling blows as my feed dropped out. Phantasmo stomps on Eagles’ hand and begins to wrench away on it, before a Tree of Woe led to the Gas Pedal in the corner.

A chinlock keeps Eagles down, while a cravat’s fought out of… with Eagles rolling his way up into a low dropkick. Phantasmo’s Sudden Death kick to the gut has Eagles rolling outside in agony, before he pulled a page out of ELP’s book with a back rake. Kicks wear down ELP, as running double knees took ELP out of the corner for a near-fall. Eagles gets pushed outside as he looked for a Figure Four of some sort, with ELP ending up getting his legs swept via a 619 from the floor. A springboard missile dropkick to the knee has him down for a near-fall, as the Ron Miller Special awaited, but that ends up in the ropes.

The pair trade German suplexes as Eagles then spiked Phantasmo with a reverse ‘rana, sending him to the outside. Eagles eventually followed with a wild tope con giro into the guard rails… before he got crotched as ELP pushed the ref into the ropes as Eagles was perched on the top. Eagles gets poked in the eye for good measure after that as Phantasmo brings him down with a top rope ‘rana, before a Thunderkiss ‘86 splash off the top nearly won it. Sitting down on a sunset flip nearly wins it for Eagles, who then got headbutted as ELP blocks a Turbo Backpack, countering instead with a wrist-clutch Burning Hammer that planted Robbie on his forehead for a near-fall.

Phantasmo tries to tee up for a Sudden Death, but has to pull Eagles up… only for him to fall down like a tree before ELP could hit the kick. Instead, a V-Trigger follows in the ropes, but Eagles sunset flips out of a One Winged Angel for a near-fall as he turned up the pace, only to get his hands stomped on. A buzzsaw kick is next, then CR2, but Eagles ‘rana’s his way out, planting Phantasmo on his head to snatch the win. Bloody hell lads, that was a bit tasty – Eagles finally gets a singles win over Phantasmo, and probably has a bit of a sore head afterwards. Get this on your watchlists for the tournament! ****

Best of the Super Junior 28: Hiromu Takahashi vs. El Desperado
Of course, we’re not going to get the wild, all-over-the-arena brawling we’ve seen before, with their 23 prior singles matches seeing Desperado winning 18 (albeit the majority as the pair were Young Lions), to Hiromu’s four (with one draw thrown in there too.)

As you’d expect, they start out all guns blazing, charging and chopping each other like this had a three-minute time limit, not 30. Desperado double-legs Hiromu as the elbows continue to rain down… but it’s Hiromu who’s rocked first before he took Desperado into the corner for another barrage of elbows. A shotgun dropkick has Desperado down, before Hiromu countered a misdirection spear by pulling Despy into the D, which ended in the ropes as Desperado looked to be out. On the floor, Hiromu throws Desperado into the rails, with Desperado spilling over them each time, before he hooked Desperado in the ropes for a Drive By dropkick on the apron.

Returning to the ring, chops from Hiromu just earned him a spear takedown, before a suplex ended up taking Hiromu outside as he ended up being used to rearrange the guard rails. Hiromu beats the count-out, but is instantly dropped with a knee breaker and a grounded Dragon screw as Desperado started to pick apart his target, going more and more for that knee with each stomp that followed. Hiromu tries to chop back, but he’s instantly decked and softened up for a half crab. That ends in the ropes, so Desperado posts Hiromu, then went into the aisle with a chair… he slammed Hiromu onto the ramp, then ripped the already-broken seat out of the chair so he could waffle Hiromu’s knee with the skeleton of the chair.

Desperado returned to the ring in the hopes of getting a count-out, but Red Shoes Unno stayed with Hiromu, who dragged his own way to the ring. Of course, the ref refuses to count a pinfall attempt as Hiromu tries to fight back, only to have his knee kicked out for a two-count. A whip into the ropes sees Hiromu stumble, but it’s a fake out as he returned with a tijeras to Desperado, following with a shotgun dropkick off the apron, then a Falcon arrow back inside for a near-fall. Desperado pushed out of a death valley driver, taking Hiromu into the corner as a dropkick to the leg resets things, then a splash to the knee for another two-count.

Desperado goes for Guitarra de Angel, but Hiromu jarred his knee escaping it, then low bridged Despy to the outside. An attempted sunset bomb just worsened Hiromu’s knee… while Desperado nearly lopped off his own knees with a wild tope con giro that saw him crash into the barriers. Holy hell…

Somehow, Hiromu’s the one who needs to beat the count-out, and does so as Desperado followed quickly with Guitarra de Angel for a near-fall, before Hiromu manages to find his way with a flurry of shots, leading to a death valley driver into the corner. Almost an Angle Slam gets Desperado back in it for a near-fall, while Hiromu went back to the D, which Desperado tried in vain to powerbomb his way out of. Twice, in fact. Third time’s the charm, but only because Hiromu got thrown over the top rope, taking Desperado with him, before Hiromu finally landed that sunset bomb. Back inside, we’re hitting the final five minutes of the match with Hiromu and Desperado throwing more chops, including one that I think forced part of Desperado’s soul out of his body, before Hiromu’s ‘rana got countered into a Numero Dos.

Cradling his way free nearly gets Hiromu the win, before he pulled Desperado back into the D. Breaking free, Desperado tries to block a sunset flip, as Hiromu began to pull out the flash pins from the Young Lion playbook, before he nailed a clothesline for a near-fall. We’re into the final minute with Desperado looking to finish things, but his Pinche Loco’s countered… as was a Time Bomb, before Desperado ran into an overhead belly-to-belly into the corner. Time ticks away, as Hiromu dropped him with Victory Royale for a near-fall, before Time Bomb 2 was blocked, just as the time ran out. Turned out, the real time bomb was that thirty-minute limit, as these two couldn’t find a way through in a match that really flew by – with the ante being upped at just the right time at the end. If we’re getting a rematch, you’d have to think it’ll be by way of Hiromu winning the tournament given how far behind Desperado now is from the top two, but weirder things have happened. The story is a long way from being over… ****¼

We’re four matches deep into Best of the Super Junior, and this is how things stand:

SHO (4-0 / 8pts)
Taiji Ishimori, Yoshinobu Kanemaru (3-1 / 6pts)
Hiromu Takahashi (2-1-1 / 5pts)
BUSHI, DOUKI, Robbie Eagles, Ryusuke Taguchi (2-2 / 4pts)
El Desperado (1-2-1 / 3pts)
El Phantasmo, Master Wato (1-3 / 2pts)
YOH (0-4 / 0pts)

The next stop on the tournament is on Tuesday – a World Tag League show in Kanagawa, headlined by Naito & SANADA vs. Tanahashi & Yano. Best of the Super Junior resumes back at Korakuen Hall on Wednesday, with Hiromu Takahashi vs. BUSHI headlining.

Perhaps the BOSJ show I’ve enjoyed most so far, we’re still dealing with a largely even field – with perhaps only YOH truly out of the running (if not mathematically) given that the top two in the table head into the finals. Yeah, that’s going to be headache-inducing with tie-breakers isn’t it…