It’s a thrilling final round in Best of the Super Junior as Hiromu Takahashi and El Desperado control their own destiny.

Quick Results
Yuto Nakashima and Ryohei Oiwa went to a draw in 10:00 (**¾)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – DOUKI pinned Master Wato in 11:49 (***¼)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – BUSHI pinned Yoshinobu Kanemaru in 9:09 (***)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – Ryusuke Taguchi pinned Taiji Ishimori in 12:45 (***½)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – YOH pinned SHO in 15:30 (***½)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – El Phantasmo pinned El Desperado in 21:11 (***¾)
Best of the Super Junior 28 – Hiromu Takahashi pinned Robbie Eagles in 28:01 (***¾)

We’re back to live shows as the Arcrea Himeji in Hiyogo hosts today’s action. El Desperado, Hiromu Takahashi, Robbie Eagles, Taiji Ishimori, SHO and YOH all have a chance – but those last four need a lot of luck…

Ryohei Oiwa vs. Yuto Nakashima
So, how do they get to a draw today then?

We start with the usual scramble for a waistlock, as Oiwa took down Nakashima for a side headlock, before the pair trade wristlocks en route to Oiwa trying a cross armbreaker. Nakashima escapes and tries a side headlock on the mat, then spun around into a deathlock for a brief moment. Nakashima torques Oiwa’s ankle over his knee as a submission attempt ends in the ropes, but he stays on the leg as Oiwa again needs to dive for the ropes. Stomps keep Oiwa down, so Nakashima goes back to the leg, once again forcing Oiwa to the ropes. Eventually Oiwa strikes back with a dropkick as he began his fight back with a Kimura, but that too ends in the ropes.

Oiwa stays on Nakashima’s taped-up arm with an armbar, with Nakashima making his way to freedom as we hit the final two minutes of the time limit. Elbows are exchanged from there, as Nakashima built up to a back body drop for a two-count, before a Boston crab attempt saw him pull Oiwa away from the ropes before he rolled it over… only for Oiwa to hold firm and ride out the time limit. We’re getting closer, but these Young Lions are showing that they’re still all at the same level in this early stage of their careers. **¾

Best of the Super Junior 28: DOUKI vs. Master Wato
After starting his tournament hot, DOUKI’s form has really withered away, losing eight in a row and is guaranteed to finish bottom.

Wato charges at the bell, as we’re quickly trading elbows before a leapfrog and a leaping kick had DOUKI down. A series of kicks keep him there, while headscissors take DOUKI outside… where a throat thrust cuts off Wato’s plancha. Trips to the rails await from there, as does a DDT, which almost led to the count-out. Back inside, DOUKI slams and stomps on Wato before he was caught with a tiltawhirl backbreaker. The tornillo followed as DOUKI headed outside, before a series of kicks from Wato back inside landed for a two-count. Wato heads up top, but just leaps into a DOUKI CHOKI, which ended in the ropes.

DOUKI pulls up Wato for a Suplex de la Luna, but it’s elbowed away as an enziguiri staggered Wato… only for a spinning roundhouse to take DOUKI down. Recientemente followed for a near-fall, before Wato leapt into the corner for RPP, but crashes and burns as DOUKI rolled away. The pair exchange fire as Wato ends up LOFTING DOUKI into a bridging German suplex for a near-fall, before DOUKI replied with a wacky mix of a Widow’s peak mixed with the start of a swinging reverse STO. That drops Wato ahead of a Daybreak, which stacks up Wato for a near-fall, before Suplex de la Luna ensured that DOUKI ended his tournament with a win. Good stuff to get us going here. ***¼

Best of the Super Junior 28: BUSHI vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Another with an early lead, Yoshinobu Kanemaru also suffered a fall in form as he’s consigned to the “dead rubber” part of this card.

Kanemaru attacks BUSHI before the bell, but gets taken outside with headscissors as Kanemaru ended up using Kosei Fujita as a human shield to take a dive for him. BUSHI’s taken into the rails after that, then had Fujita thrown into him as Kanemaru tried to snatch a count-out. BUSHI narrowly beats the count but gets rolled up for a bunch of near-falls, before a trip outside saw BUSHI have his knee driven into the floor. Kanemaru stays on the knee as BUSHI’s taken into the ropes, before an enziguiri from BUSHI bought him some time. He heads up for a missile dropkick, but a dropkick to the knee turns it back around as Kanemaru spins in with a Figure Four.

BUSHI gets to the ropes to force the break, then came back with a Codebreaker. A rewind enziguiri has Kanemaru in the ropes, where he’s met with a dropkick and a back cracker… Kanemaru avoids the MX as he tries a roll-up instead, only to get blasted with another dropkick in the ropes. The slingshot DDT through the ropes plants Kanemaru onto the apron, before BUSHI hits the Terrible for a near-fall. It’s back up top for the MX after that, and this time Kanemaru can’t avoid it as BUSHI took home the win in under ten minutes. ***

Best of the Super Junior 28: Taiji Ishimori vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
Ishimori’s got an outside chance of making it to the finals, but he needs a win here and a LOT of results to go his way.

Taguchi starts by trolling Ishimori about his past as a Sailor Boy, which led to Ishimori busting out some old dance moves while Taguchi went into a world of his own. Someones’ spent too much time watching those tapes, methinks…

Ishimori tries to cheapshot Taguchi mid-dance routine, but he’s caught with an elbow and some endless rope running that actually ended, with Ishimori taking down Taguchi in the process. Taguchi recovers by introducing Ishimori’s face to his arse, before Ishimori began to work over the arm, then took Taguchi outside for a trip into the guard rails. Taguchi beats the count-out, but gets thrown shoulder-first into a suspiciously-exposed corner, then tried to separate the arm from the shoulder. An attempted hip attack is just sidestepped by Ishimori, leaving Taguchi to play dead on the floor before he rolled up and landed the arse strike. A plancha to the outside followed, with a springboard hip attack back inside next as Taguchi proceeded to bust out the Three Amigos.

Taguchi spends too long psyching himself up for a Bummer Ye as Ishimori hits a low dropkick, then built up with the baseball slide German suplex for a near-fall. The ref’s knocked down, so Ishimori throws Taguchi into the corner before he hauled him up for a shoulderbreaker. Ishimori goes for a Mistica, but Taguchi blocked it and tries for Oh My Garankle, ending instead with an enziguiri as both men were laid out. Dodon to the Throne’s attempted, as was a Cipher UTAKI, but Taguchi blocks that one and turned it back into an ankle lock… Ishimori rolls out into a Bone Lock, before an attempt to roll it back into the ring was countered back into the ankle lock.

Ishimori slaps the mat – with an audible gasp as some thought he’d quit – but ends up getting pulled up for a Dodon to the Throne for a near-fall. A regular Dodon follows, and that’s Ishimori’s tournament over as he ends on twelve points and a defeat. ***½

Best of the Super Junior 28: SHO vs. YOH
Last time they met, SHO took the best part of 25 minutes to get the win with a referee stoppage as the former tag champions renewed acquaintances.

YOH’s out in black, having seemingly given up the tent-sized t-shirt he wore earlier in the week. SHO tries a jump start, but YOH’s wise to it… SHO bails, then got thrown hip-first into the rails as he sported a rather panicked look on his face, before they headed back inside with YOH elbowing SHO into the corner. SHO grabs a Young Lion as YOH prepared to dive, then started a Benny Hill chase, using the Young Lions as cannon fodder before he eventually flung YOH into the rails. SHO grabs a chair, and a turnbuckle iron cover… the latter of which he tried to smother YOH with, before he smashed out the seat of a chair across YOH’s back.

Back inside, SHO chokes YOH in the ropes, only for YOH to fight back with elbows… so SHO rakes the eyes. Elbows from above from YOH keep SHO down, as did a dropkick and a tope con giro. A Falcon arrow gets YOH a two-count, as SHO tries to get back in it by going to YOH’s fingers. Using the referee as a shield allowed SHO back in with a spear, before he peppered YOH with kicks for a near-fall. A German suplex dumps YOH to the mat, but YOH returned with an over-the-knee Falcon arrow that looked brutal… SHO shoves YOH into the ref, and I think we know what’s next. A German suplex from YOH should have won it, but out trots EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi and Dick Togo for the motherlode of bullshit, before YOSHI-HASHI and Hirooki Goto ran out to help make the save. Goto and YOSHI-HASHI clear the way as YOH went for a superkick… SHO spins it aside and low blows him as the ref cowered, before a Shock Arrow was lifted away.

SHO runs into a superkick, before a Direct Drive from YOH gets the revenge and ends SHO’s hopes of making the finals. Take out the (thankfully brief) interference spot, and this was a pretty good match – although these two are destined to be career rivals having moved on from being career tag partners. ***½

Best of the Super Junior 28: El Phantasmo vs. El Desperado
So, El Desperado needs a win to make it to the finals, while someone went to the trouble of making a big banner – in English – to ask to see the inside of ELP’s right shoe.

Phantasmo started off by being offended at his general lack of merch as we opened with elbows going back and forth, then shoulder tackles, before ELP poked Desperado in the eye. Good aim. Some strutting from ELP and general tomfoolery (he’s Bad Luck Fale’s assistant) leads to Desperado poking the Canadian in the eye, before a face-rake with his boot left ELP down. More back-and-forth elbows follow, before ELP crashed and burned on a springboard crossbody that Desperado just sidestepped like he was Samoa Joe back in the day. Phantasmo’s taken outside for a baseball slide, but he sidesteps that as ELP tried to bail on the match.

Instead, Phantasmo throws Desperado over the rails and into the crowd as he looked for a count-out… but Desperado gets up and sprints back into the ring, avoiding that camera cable as he went. An Irish whip takes Desperado into the corner, as ELP keeps spamming the pinning attempts in a bid to wear down Despy. Back rakes follow, as do face rakes, then the Gas Pedal for extra humiliation. A stomp to the hand followed as ELP keeps up the cheap tricks, spamming the back rakes before indulging in some rope-walking… only for Desperado to kick the ropes out from under him. A tope con giro followed from Desperado into the aisle, before the Numero Dos back inside forces ELP into the ropes.

A DDT from ELP sees him build up again, leading to a Thunderkiss splash that’s stopped by Desperado’s knees for a near-fall. Phantasmo tries for the Numero Dos, but gets rolled up as Desperado applied it himself, only for Phantasmo to roll through and catch Desperado with a Styles Clash instead. A V-Trigger’s next… but he stops a One Winged Angel and instead plants Desperado with a Blade Runner as Desperado needed the ropes to stay alive. Desperado responds with El Es Claro for a near-fall, then a spinebuster before he rolled that into a Guitarra de Angel… but Phantasmo kicks out, only to get cracked with an elbow strike. Pinche Loco looks to follow, but Phantasmo throws his way free, then rolled Desperado into a Pinche Loco of his own?!

Desperado barely peels a shoulder off the mat in time to keep the match going… so Phantasmo begins to mess with the mask. Desperado goes for the fingers to stop him, then threw another elbow before ELP hit back with a Sudden Death to the gut. Another Sudden Death eventually connects… and that’s the upset as ELP ends his tournament with a win over the reigning champion. Now… about that boot… ***¾

Best of the Super Junior 28: Robbie Eagles vs. Hiromu Takahashi
YOH’s in the finals – it’s a question of which of these two he faces.

The early going sees both men go for their big moves, but after a breather on the outside Hiromu’s back in with a low dropkick for a one-count. Eagles is back with headscissors and a dropkick, before chops take Hiromu into the corner. Hiromu chops back, but gets pinned back into the corner before he ducked a springboard back into the ring. Headscissors from Hiromu have Eagles down, with a shotgun dropkick off the apron being at a rather acute angle to knock the Aussie down. Back inside, a Falcon arrow’s good for a near-fall, before an Asai DDT was blocked by Hiromu, who ends up working his way into the D.

Eagles gets free ahead of a clothesline to the back of Hiromu’s head, then landed a dropkick as Hiromu was taken outside for a tope con giro. Eagles swipes the cameraman as he hit a 619 to the back of Hiromu’s knees in the corner, but a shotgun dropkick puts Hiromu back in it.

Hiromu tries for the overhead belly-to-belly into the corner, but Eagles blocks it and returned with a reverse ‘rana. On the apron, Eagles tries for a Turbo Backpack, but ends up getting splatted with a death valley driver instead. A sunset bomb’s blocked as Eagles runs back to sandwich Hiromu against the apron with double knees, as he then returned to the ring with a springboard missile dropkick to the knee. Hiromu cradles Eagles to avoid a Ron Miller Special, but only gets a two-count as Eagles hit back, going up top for a 450 splash… and landed in Hiromu’s knees. That opened things up nicely for a Ron Miller Special, with Hiromu teasing tapping… but he’s able to claw his way to the ropes for the break.

Eagles misses a double knee drop that aimed at Hiromu’s shin as we headed into the final ten minutes of the time limit – and it must be said… Eagles needs a win here. Anything other than that puts Hiromu into Wednesday’s finals. Hiromu stuns Eagles with a lariat, then a Hiromu-chan Bomber, before he spiked Eagles into the corner with a death valley driver. Eagles nearly nicks it with a roll-up out of a Time Bomb, then continued the roll-ups… only to get caught with a superkick as he then returned with a trio of kicks. An Asai DDT’s next, then a Turbo Backpack as the Aussie flipped around Hiromu for a near-fall. Eagles takes off his wrist protector as he went back after Hiromu’s leg, holding it as he tried to stomp him into dust.

Off comes the bandanna, but Hiromu pulls Eagles back into the D, before Eagles’ escape just earned him a Victory Royale for a near-fall. Another Hiromu-chan Bomber followed, before he pulled Eagles back up… but Time Bomb II eventually lands, despite Eagles attempts to kick it apart… and that’s enough for Hiromu to book his place in the final ahead of a shattered Eagles. This was a pretty good main event, running long enough to make you think they were going for the draw… ***¾

Post-match, YOH walks out for the obligatory face-to-face… as the tournament will wrap up with a match we had back on day one.

Your final standings then, after eleven nights in the Best of the Super Junior. Yeah, we should have seen YOH in the final after that rotten start, huh…

Hiromu Takahashi (7-3-1 / 15pts)
YOH (7-4 / 14pts)
El Desperado (6-4-1 / 13pts)
Robbie Eagles, Taiji Ishimori, El Phantasmo, SHO (6-5 / 12pts)
BUSHI, Ryusuke Taguchi (5-6 / 10pts)
Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Master Wato (4-7 / 8pts)
DOUKI (3-8 / 6pts)

Tomorrow sees the World Tag League finale, as we find out who else is battling in the finals on Wednesday in Ryogoku Kokugikan.

With half the card having stakes, this was a show I could really get my teeth into as they continued to rehab YOH following the Roppongi 3K split – and sets up for an interesting IWGP Junior title match at the Tokyo Dome, regardless of who wins on Wednesday.