El Desperado continues his push to make the Best of the Super Junior finals, as he takes on BUSHI in today’s main event.

Quick Results
Yuto Nakashima and Ryohei Oiwa went to a draw in 10:00 (**¾)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – Taiji Ishimori submitted DOUKI in 10:23 (***¼)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – YOH pinned Yoshinobu Kanemaru in 12:11 (***½)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – El Phantasmo submitted Ryusuke Taguchi in 15:12 (***½)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – Robbie Eagles submitted SHO in 14:06 (***¾)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – Hiromu Takahashi pinned Master Wato in 16:30 (****)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – El Desperado pinned BUSHI in 21:08 (****)

We’re in the Twin Messe Shizuoka South Hall for this latest stop on the tour… oh my God, it’s the venue where they literally park the bus opposite the hard cam!

Ryohei Oiwa vs. Yuto Nakashima
Nakashima’s got his left elbow taped up, with that old injury being a recurring target throughout these matches.

When we get going, the Young Lions lock up into the ropes before Oiwa double-legs Nakashima. A wristlock puts Nakashima ahead as they trade holds, with a long side headlock from Nakashima being countered into a headlock takedown. A cross armbreaker to the bad arm ends in the ropes, as Oiwa then rolled Nakashima down in search of a Kimura, with the hold also ending in the ropes.

A Fujiwara-ish armbar’s next from Oiwa, before elbows looked to wear down Oiwa as Nakashima found a second wind. Oiwa rolled to the ropes to break a sleeperhold, only to get caught in a chinlock, then a head and arm choke, which Oiwa eventually broke via the ropes. Stomps and elbows keep Oiwa on the back foot, at least until he hit a dropkick, then a back body drop, before he rode out the clock with a Boston crab attempt… which he gave up on so he could try and elbow Nakashima into submission, but to no avail. Some good fire on display here, as the Young Lions continue their run of draws. **¾

Best of the Super Junior 28: Taiji Ishimori vs. DOUKI
After starting out strong, DOUKI’s sunk to the bottom of the table…

Ishimori catches DOUKI at the bell, but ended up taking a springboard armdrag to the outside, before pulling DOUKI away from an Asai moonsault. Instead, DOUKI’s thrown into the rails, then posted as Ishimori looked to be targeting that shoulder for later. Away goes a corner pad as the ref checks on DOUKI, before DOUKI got thrown into the exposed corner as Ishimori continued to work on the arm with a levering armbar. A dropkick from DOUKI buys him time, as did a wheelbarrow armdrag and a springboard back elbow, before a running stomp splatted Ishimori for a two-count.

A handspring enziguiri gives Ishimori an opening, which he added to with a baseball slide German suplex. DOUKI’s thrown back into the ring post from there, shoulder-first of course, but managed to hit the backsliding Widow’s Peak and the DOUKI CHOKI to turn things around… even if DOUKI could only use one arm. DOUKI’s forced to break in the ropes, then countered out of a Cipher UTAKI as an enziguiri had the Bone Soldier down. DOUKI heads outside to go for Daybreak, landing the slingshot DDT for a near-fall… only for Ishimori to hit back quickly with a Bone Lock, rolling DOUKI back into the middle of the ring… only to get caught with a roll-up.

Another DOUKI CHOKI has Ishimori panicked, before a Mistica and a Bone Lock eventually forced the stoppage. A decent outing for DOUKI, but he was picked apart from start to end as Ishimori keeps his late challenge alive. ***¼

Best of the Super Junior 28: Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. YOH
Both men entered as part of the eight-pointer logjam – can YOH continue his comeback story with a win here?

Kanemaru jumped YOH in the aisle and gave him some free trips into the guard rails – right as the bell rang – but YOH manages to get free and scored with a plancha to cut off Kanemaru. A drop toe hold and a low dropkick gets YOH an early two-count, before a knee breaker from Kanemaru broke a side headlock.

Kanemaru works over the leg for a while, including by drilling it into the floor as part of another trip outside, before a half crab back inside ended in the ropes. A spinning forearm from YOH buys him time, before a backflip away from Kanemaru looked to tweak the knee… but a neckbreaker and a Falcon arrow gets YOH a near-fall for his efforts. YOH tries for a Dragon suplex, but it’s fought out of as Kanemaru goes back to the knee, trapping YOH in a Figure Four that ends in the ropes. The British Fall reverse DDT’s next from Kanemaru for a near-fall, then a crotch-lift facebuster, before an attempt at Deep Impact was pushed away.

A satellite DDT keeps Kanemaru in it, at least until he ate a superkick. See-saw roll-ups see them trade near-falls, before YOH countered another Figure Four attempt into a Five Star Clutch for the win. He’s gone from “can’t win for losing” to sneaking out wins, has YOH, and I have to believe he’s making the finals based on the story alone… ***½

Best of the Super Junior 28: El Phantasmo vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
After beating SHO via verbal submission last time out, ELP’s suddenly back in the hunt…

Taguchi acted like he’d tweaked his foot during his pre-match warmup, but we get going with some shucking and jiving that gave way to Taguchi and ELP exchanging wristlocks. Taguchi struggles to kip up, so the ref helps, only to get scalded by ELP like he was a puppy. Can relate.

Rope running catches Taguchi out as ELP dropped down endlessly, eventually tripping up Taguchi for a two-count. ELP shows off with cartwheels and the like as Taguchi was getting his breath back, only for Taguchi to repeat the trick with some shuffles of his own. We eventually resume with some slow-mo wrestling (even at 1.5x), with Orange Cassidy-ish shin kicks and ELP-like nipple slaps, before he stomped on Taguchi’s foot. Nipple twisters from Phantasmo have Taguchi in the corner, before Taguchi tried some rope walking… only to get talked into crotching himself as he went for a springboard. Taguchi’s laid out flat on the floor, but Phantasmo takes him back inside as he looked to force a submission with a… wrist lock?

Taguchi breaks it but misses a hip attack as Phantasmo went back to the wrist, only to get taken into the ropes as Taguchi found form with his arse. The Three Amigos follow, as did some roll-ups, which led to the ref-trolling rolling inside cradle, which dizzied Taguchi into throwing an enziguiri at thin air. Phantasmo takes advantage with a whirlibird, but couldn’t do the neckbreaker as he sailed outside, while Taguchi fell between the ropes, and almost fell to a Sudden Death. ELP crotches himself in the ropes, so Taguchi goes for a pin, only for ELP to crotch him on the kick out… then feign vomiting. As the ref checks on the dry heaves, ELP Sudden Death’s Taguchi’s balls, then forced a submission to a wristlock? This was a riot – ELP getting wins with the basics (albeit with huge asterisks) is surely going to wind some up, even if many don’t rate his chances of making the finals. ***½

Best of the Super Junior 28: SHO vs. Robbie Eagles
Much like how his former tag partner’s found form, SHO’s really been teasing hitting a rocky patch. Perhaps the Murder Machine already needs repairs?

Eagles kicks away a handshake from his former CHAOS bud, as SHO did a Yano and started by hiding between the ropes. We’ve a lot of wristlocks and hammerlocks to start, before Eagles looked for an early Ron Miller Special, forcing SHO to scramble to the ropes. Eagles stays a step ahead with a ‘rana out of the corner, before he took SHO outside for an aborted dive… Eagles tries again, but SHO had grabbed one of the Young Lions and used him as cannon fodder to absorb the impact. With everyone checking, SHO chokes Eagles with a bandanna, then took things back inside for some choking as he looked to wear down Eagles wrist, funnily enough. Eagles slips out of a suplex and chops out SHO’s knee, taking him outside for a tope con giro that didn’t wipe out Milano this time, but my God, I’m always fearful when someone lands that dive with the backs of their knees into the railings.

Chops keep SHO down as Eagles pushes on back in the ring, landing a 619 in the corner and some more double knees for a two-count. An enziguiri has SHO down as Eagles ends up having to take a spear as SHO used the referee for cover. SHO’s clutching his knee as he gets back up, but pulls Eagles into a Snake Bite… Eagles gets to the ropes as he couldn’t roll up SHO for a pin, but couldn’t avoid a litany of kicks as SHO stayed on him. A Turbo Backpack gets Eagles a two-count, but he misses a 450 splash to the leg. SHO pushes out of an Asai DDT as we get a ref bump, and you know what that means! Spanner time…

SHO wields the tool, but Eagles ducks and hits a low dropkick to disarm SHO. The ref spots Eagles with the spanner, before SHO went for a low blow. It’s caught and turned into an Asai DDT as Eagles pushes on with roll-ups, leading to a Ron Miller Special for the submission. I enjoyed that one – SHO’s starting to find that his shenanigans aren’t even a guarantee of victory, which at least excuses his badly-timed slump as his stay at the top of the table comes under threat towards these final few rounds. ***¾

Best of the Super Junior 28: Master Wato vs. Hiromu Takahashi
No, I have no idea why Master Wato’s new entrance video is sorta showing a hacker…

Hiromu starts off by taking Wato into the ropes, only to get caught with some kicks as Hiromu’s early offence was getting countered. Elbows and uppercuts have Hiromu down, only for him to catch Wato in the ropes with some hanging headscissors before we headed outside, with Wato deftly avoiding a throw into the rails as he headed back inside… and missed a plancha, so Hiromu could just toss him into the rails anyway. A Drive By dropkick has Hiromu ahead, before he slingshotted Wato into a backbreaker as the former champion was easing ahead. A wacky modified Octopus stretch rolled into a pinning attempt on Wato, who then replies with a tijeras to take Hiromu outside… with a corkscrew tornillo following as Wato spared commentary.

Back inside, Wato tries for Recientemente, but Hiromu blocks it ahead of a low dropkick before he pulled Wato into the D. Wato’s pulled away from the ropes, but manages to power out before an exchange ended with a head kick to leave Hiromu laying. Recientemente followed for a two-count, before a flying stomp off the top nearly put Hiromu away. Wato pushes on, but misses RPP before he avoided the belly-to-belly into the corner. More kicks are answered, but a German suplex planted Hiromu for a near-fall, before Wato’s headscissors get countered into a Dynamite Plunger. A clothesline from Hiromu, then a German suplex sees him pull ahead, before a flash cradle from Wato nearly won it…

Slaps keep Hiromu dazed, but he snaps back with a Victory Royal for a near-fall, before a Hiromu-Chan Bomber stopped Wato’s dreams of a comeback, as Wato’s then pulled up into Time Bomb II for the win. This was a blast – despite being increasingly consistent across the tour, Wato’s loss eliminates him, but the win for Hiromu pushes him into second place as he looks to fight back into title contention. ****

Best of the Super Junior 28: BUSHI vs. El Desperado
With SHO having lost, BUSHI’s part of that group of guys who wouldn’t technically be eliminated if he lost here, but realistically he’s only around to play the spoiler today.

BUSHI jumps Desperado at the bell, taking him outside with a tijeras before a missed dive saw BUSHI get charged into the railings. Desperado gets a chair out, but BUSHI dropkicks it away as he proceeded to beat Desperado around ringside, then back into the ring for some stomping. Some t-shirt choking and a neckbreaker keep BUSHI ahead, as did a dropkick to Desperado in the ropes, before a seesaw DDT was pushed away as Desperado followed out with a tope con giro. Desperado goes back to the chairs, throwing one into BUSHI’s knee, before a chinlock back inside wore down BUSHI some more.

Desperado stomps on BUSHI’s leg in the ropes before a Deathlock looked to force a stoppage, which ended in the ropes as it seemed to remove BUSHI’s vertical base. He crumbles to the mat as he’s sent into the corner, before Desperado kicked out the knee again… only to get shoved into the guard rails as BUSHI followed him outside for a plancha ‘rana. A tope suicida followed as Desperado’s sent back into the rails, but BUSHI opts not to go for the count-out as he rolls Desperado back inside for a missile dropkick. From there, Desperado fought back, rolling in for a Numero Dos that ended in the ropes, before a knee breaker sets him up for another crack at Numero Dos.

The ropes save BUSHI as Desperado hits a big splash for a two-count, before BUSHI tried to cradle his way out of another Numero Dos. It allowed him to hang up Despy in the ropes for a back cracker, before landing a see-saw DDT onto the apron for a near-fall. BUSHI then aborts a MX, seemingly tweaking his knee on the landing as Desperado instantly leaps in with a low dropkick before the pair traded elbows. BUSHI fights out of a spinebuster, but his knee’s kicked again… a dropkick stops Despy, as did a Destroyer, before a Codebreaker’s turned into a spinebuster by Desperado. Guitarra de Angel followed for a near-fall, as BUSHI needed to fight back once more, only to get caught with a punch and a Pinche Loco for the win. Desperado moves into second with the win, and with two matches to go, Desperado’s got every shot of making the finals at this stage. ****

We’re down to the final two matches in Best of the Super Junior… and while it’ll take a lot of good fortune for some to make it to the final two, shockingly we only have two names eliminated, as that draw earlier in the tournament could leave us open for a possible three-way finale…

SHO (6-3 / 12pts)
El Desperado, Hiromu Takahashi (5-3-1 / 11pts)
Robbie Eagles, Taiji Ishimori, El Phantasmo, YOH (5-4 / 10pts)
BUSHI, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Ryusuke Taguchi (4-5 / 8pts)
Master Wato (3-6 / 6pts) – Eliminated
DOUKI (2-7 / 4pts) – Eliminated

Tuesday’s a World Tag League show… so Best of the Super Junior hits the road again on Wednesday in Ehime for a VOD-only show, with DOUKI vs. Hiromu Takahashi on top. The next live BOSJ show is the final round in the tournament, coming from Hyogo on Saturday with the match orders to be confirmed. Robbie Eagles vs. Hiromu Takahashi and El Desperado vs. El Phantasmo sure look to be spotlight matches, as does that SHO vs. YOH match that curiously (at time of writing) is only on the New Japan English website as Vacant vs. Vacant…

An enjoyable show as we get to the business end of the Best of the Super Junior tournament – and with the tournament this year leading to a finals match, all’s still to play for among a field that largely would be in or around the title picture usually.