Hiromu Takahashi and Taiji Ishimori main event in the latest round of the Best of the Super Junior tournament.
Yuto Nakashima and Ryohei Oiwa went to a draw in 10:00 (**½)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – Ryusuke Taguchi pinned Yoshinobu Kanemaru in 10:13 (***¼)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – SHO defeated DOUKI via referee stoppage in 11:37 (***¼)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – YOH pinned Master Wato in 14:58 (***½)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – BUSHI pinned El Phantasmo in 13:45 (***)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – El Desperado pinned Robbie Eagles in 18:26 (***¾)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – Taiji Ishimori submitted Hiromu Takahashi in 25:36 (***¾)
We’ve got another Best of the Super Junior card here, as we’re coming from Kanagawa’s Fujisawa City Akibadai Cultural Gymnasium…
Ryohei Oiwa vs. Yuto Nakashima
The new crop of Young Lions surely aren’t looking to continue their run of draws, are they? The Artist title’s in STARDOM, not New Japan…
We’ve a tentative start as Nakashima’s defending on the mat, as Oiwa pulled ahead with a trip up and a side headlock, powering out so he could try and work a wristlock. Oiwa defends it, reversing the hold, eventually going back to the mat with headscissors that forced Nakashima to bridge out into a brief deathlock. Nakashima leaps in with a side headlock next, switching it to a cross armbreaker that’s rolled out of for a quick two-count, before Nakashima grabbed a leg lock. Stomps to Oiwa’s leg exacerbates things. Oiwa gets back in it with a double wristlock that forces Nakashima into the ropes, and it’s Nakashima who’s on the defensive as we head into the final two minutes, at least until he uncorked a back body drop.
Oiwa takes bodyslams as Nakashima rolled him for a half crab, but Oiwa rides out the remaining seconds as we get – yep – a draw! **½
Best of the Super Junior 28: Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
Kanemaru starts the day at the top of the block, and jump starts the match as he stomped Taguchi amid an oh-yai…
Taguchi gets lost running the ropes, and is literally helped by Kanemaru who helped tire him out ahead of a low dropkick to the knee. Kanemaru works the leg, then stomped Taguchi into the corner before a hip attack gets Taguchi free. More of those follow in the ropes before a gamengiri from the floor connected, as Taguchi pushed on with the Three Amigos for a near-fall. Kanemaru goes back to the knee, but Taguchi goes back to the hip attacks, only to get taken down with another low dropkick. A Figure Four follows, but Taguchi breaks it via the ropes before he took the scooping reverse DDT – which I swear commentary’s calling the British Fall.
Taguchi tries to get up, over-selling his knee as Kanemaru gave up on a Deep Impact and got rolled up for it… then was forced to defend an ankle lock. Kanemaru makes it to the ropes, before he rolled up Taguchi out of a Bummer-Ye, then had to kick out from a Tiger suplex as Taguchi switches up a Dodon attempt. Dodon to the Throne catches Kanemaru after he went for a low blow… and with the referee having missed that, its a simple roll-up for knobbly-knees Taguchi for the win. ***¼
Best of the Super Junior 28: SHO vs. DOUKI
Does SHO go back to shenanigans, or does he find a way to win without them today?
SHO complains about DOUKI having a pipe, but that’s a ruse as he jumped DOUKI before the bell, only to take a couple of dropkicks in return. Things head outside, but SHO pulls a Young Lion into the path of a DOUKI plancha, before DOUKI gets thrown into the familiar railings.
Back inside, eye rakes take DOUKI into the corner, as did some boot chokes, before an enziguiri from DOUKI bought him time. On the outside, an Asai moonsault drops SHO, while a springboard stomp back into the ring gets DOUKI a two-count. A misdirection spear takes DOUKI down after SHO grabbed the ref… but DOUKI’s able to counter a cross-armed piledriver into the DOUKI CHOKI, which DOUKI rolled into the middle of the ring to avoid any rope breaks. Taking the hold to the mat nearly has SHO out of it, but he lifts a foot to the rope just in time, before DOUKI returned to plant him with a Daybreak DDT for a near-fall. DOUKI calls for a Suplex de la Luna, only for SHO to push free and squash the referee into the corner. SHO goes to his coat and grabs the spanner, which DOUKI swats away with his pipe before SHO grabbed the ref to stop another Suplex de la Luna.
With the ref having taken down DOUKI, SHO hits a low blow, then uses the spanner, before he pulled a lifeless DOUKI into the Snake Bite for the stoppage. Well, SHO needed his toys, but at least the match was alright until we hit that stretch… and why wasn’t SHO shoving the ref an instant DQ? ***¼
Best of the Super Junior 28: YOH vs. Master Wato
Wato’s gotten a new entrance video for this tour – no more is he roaming the woods…
Wato tries to keep YOH close early on, taking him to the mat as he tied up the legs, forcing YOH into the ropes. Forearms have YOH in the corner, while elbows and an uppercut snuffed out a brief comeback attempt as Wato peppers YOH with kicks. A dropkick from YOH takes Wato outside for a plancha, following it up with a neckbreaker back inside for a two-count, then some figure four headscissors to keep Wato on the deck. The ropes save Wato, who comes back with headscissors to take YOH outside, with a corkscrew tornillo following to the outside.
Returning to the ring, a springboard uppercut has YOH down, as did some kicks as Wato looked to build up to Recientemente… before opting to kick YOH in the back. A roundhouse’s countered into a Dragon Screw, before the Star Gazer calf slicer had Wato in trouble. YOH pounces on Wato after the rope break, but a series of roll-ups nearly nicks it for Wato, before he sat down on a Dragon screw to get a two-count. More people should steal that one. The pair trade elbows from there, before YOH backflipped away from a kick and hit a German suplex for a near-fall. My feed craps out for a bit, returning with Wato landing Recientemente for a near-fall, before a YOH superplex looked to lead to a Falcon arrow… but Wato slips out.
A gamengiri drops YOH… who superkicks Wato away in mid air a la Shawn Michaels/Shelton Benjamin, before the Direct Drive finally gets YOH the win! A nice little match this, with YOH looking to get back in groove – but he took his time getting there. ***½
Best of the Super Junior 28: El Phantasmo vs. BUSHI
BUSHI’s got a new mosaic-of-his-masks tee, which looks gorgeous…
We get going with ELP taking BUSHI into the ropes, before a switcheroo forces BUSHI to break. Phantasmo gets a little carried away after a shoulder tackle, then when he countered out of headscissors… but hurt his foot backflipping out of the corner as BUSHI decided not to follow up with a dive. Headscissors take ELP outside again as a tope suicida followed, before some t-shirt choking forced the referee to separate the pair. A neckbreaker follows for a two-count, before ELP’s Sudden Death kick dropped him and BUSH. It’s Phantasmo who pulls ahead with an abdominal stretch, but he teases grabbing the rope in full view of the ref as BUSHI just hiptosses his way free.
Phantasmo goes all Ron Garvin on us with stomps, using the loaded boot, before some rope-walking culminated in BUSHI just kicking the rope away as ELP crashes to the floor. Back inside, BUSHI’s taken down as ELP hits a forearm off the middle rope a la Bret Hart, then went all Shawn Michaels on us, tuning up the band before he got hung up in the ropes for a Codebreaker. BUSHI tees up for a MX, but Phantasmo rolls through in for a Styles Clash for a near-fall, before BUSHI’s roll-up nicked a two-count… Phantasmo goes back to the Sudden Death, but changes his mind and lands a V-Trigger as BUSHI was still in the ropes. A One Winged Angel gets countered into a back cracker from there, before BUSHI nearly wins with a Terrible.
From there, BUSHI goes back up for the MX, landing it flush for the win as ELP’s decision making again costs him. A perfectly fine match that just seemed to be lacking spark. ***
Best of the Super Junior 28: Robbie Eagles vs. El Desperado
A rematch from Power Struggle three weeks ago, where Eagles lost his IWGP junior title to Desperado…
We start with Eagles taking things to the mat as he used headscissors to subdue Desperado, while a side headlock kept the current champion at bay. They break in the ropes, as we then break out with leap frogs, roll throughs and low dropkicks from Eagles. An eye rake has the Aussie down, before Eagles took Desperado outside… then somehow wiped out Milano Collection AT on commentary (and himself) with a tope. Back inside, Eagles began to stomp over Desperado’s knee – hoping to set up the Ron Miller Special later – before we’re back outside and in the aisle. A knee drop gets Eagles a two-count, before Desperado tried to retaliate with a spinebuster… eventually doing so with a spear.
A brainbusters’s next from Desperado for a two-count, as was a grounded Dragon screw as he looked to weaken up Eagles for his own finisher. Numero Dos follows, but Eagles is able to get to the ropes before he wheelbarrowed Despy into the Ron Miller Special. Desperado looked to tap, but instead clawed his way to the ropes for the break as Eagles looked to pick up the pace. A 619 to the back of the knee drops Desperado, with running knees following, then a kneedrop to the back of Desperado’s knee as Eagles smelled blood. Another Ron Miller’s rolled up out of into a Numero Dos, but Eagles cradles his way free as the pair counter each other’s big stuff, leading to some see-saw pins for near-falls, before an elbow and an enziguiri left both men down.
Eagles pops up first, and lands an Asai DDT… but his follow-up’s swiftly cut off with the El Es Claro roll-up… and Desperado escapes with the win! A very even match, but Eagles has hit a bad run of form at the worst possible moment, it seems. ***¾
Best of the Super Junior 28: Taiji Ishimori vs. Hiromu Takahashi
Hiromu has a 3-1 record in singles matches here against the man he’d dubbed a “muscle chihuahua,” with his only loss being last summer when he dropped the junior title in Jingu Stadium.
We start this one off hot, with strikes, headscissors and escapes as an attempted handspring nearly got Ishimori a German suplex just thirty seconds in. Hiromu has to escape a baseball slide German as he charged Ishimori to the outside, before an arm whip had Hiromu bailing to the outside, fearful that he’d reinjured his shoulder. Kicks to the shoulder don’t help, nor did getting thrown into the ring post, before Ishimori grabbed a chair… which was taken away by the ref. So Ishimori just grabs a second one from under the ring and throws it into the shoulder instead. Back inside, a Codebreaker to the arm gets a two-count, which remained the focus, at least until Hiromu found a way through with headscissors.
Some hanging headscissors in the ropes choked out Ishimori, while a low dropkick took him outside for a shotgun dropkick into the rails. A Falcon arrow back inside gets a two-count, before Ishimori caught him with the baseball slide German suplex. Staying outside, Hiromu’s dropped chest-first across the rails, before he was met back inside with a low dropkick to the shoulder as Ishimori tees up for the Yes Lock. After a rope break, Hiromu spikes back with some headscissors that took Ishimori into the D, which is kept on as Hiromu ‘rana’s away a break attempt, before a buckle bomb finally broke it up. Hiromu pops up onto the apron as Ishimori looked to be going for a triangle moonsault, eventually landing an apron death valley driver onto the Bone Soldier instead.
Back inside, Ishimori counters out of moves as he shoves away a corner death valley driver, before leaping over an overhead belly-to-belly attempt… then spun Hiromu into Cipher UTAKI. The pair trade elbows from there, but it’s Ishimori who pulls ahead with a long unanswered series, before he took a shotgun dropkick into the corner. An overhead belly-to-belly takes Ishimori back into the corner as Hiromu looks to finish things off, but Ishimori throws Hiromu into the exposed corner, shoulder-first. Hiromu tries to return fire with a Time Bomb as my feed picks the best moments to crap out, returning with Ishimori landing a leaping knee for good measure.
A Bloody Cross from Ishimori’s escaped as Hiromu lands Victory Royal instead, before Ishimori tried to sneak out with a Yes Lock. Hiromu rolls him up for a near-fall, then scooped him up for an attempt at Time Bomb II, before the roll throughs lead to another death valley driver in the corner. Ishimori slithers out of another Time Bomb attempt, before he got met with a “Hiromu-chan Bomber,” as we crossed the 25-minute mark. From there though, Ishimori snaps back in with a Mistica into a Bone Lock, rolling Hiromu away from the ropes as Ishimori gets the flash submission – and just rewards for his match-long game plan of working the shoulder. ***¾
We’re past the halfway mark in the Best of the Super Junior tournament, and here’s how things stand…
SHO (5-1 / 10pts)
Taji Ishimori, Yoshinobu Kanemaru (4-2 / 8pts)
El Desperado, Hiromu Takahashi (3-2-1 / 7pts)
BUSHI, Ryusuke Taguchi (3-3 / 6pts)
DOUKI, Robbie Eagles, El Phantasmo, Master Wato, YOH (2-4 / 4pts)
Sunday takes us to Togane for a night in the World Tag League (one I’ll not be getting up early for!) – BOSJ is back on Monday from Korakuen Hall, headlined by El Phantasmo vs. Hiromu Takahashi. Today though was a decent, but strangely subdued show as nothing really poked through that glass ceiling until we got through to the top two matches.