NJPW Best of the Super Juniors – Day 7 Results
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
May 22, 2019
New Japan Pro-Wrestling returns to Korakuen Hall for the first of four consecutive super shows, which will feature tournament matches from every single competitor, for a grand total of 40 tournament matches in the span of just five days.
The show airs live on NJPW World with English commentary from Kevin Kelly and Juice Robinson, beginning at 5:30AM ET. While you wait, check out the latest edition of our podcast, The Lion-gun Show with Mike Killam and Ross W. Berman IV with reviews up for the first six nights of Super Juniors tournament action.
— TAIJI ISHIMORI (6) def. TAKA MICHINOKU (0)
Taka did his best early on to keep things grounded and in his favor. Ishimori tried to out-grapple him but repeatedly found himself in submissions. He tried to use his speed to fly around the ring, but Taka caught him with a spin kick coming through the ropes, and again, twisted him up like a pretzel. Ishimori finally hit a handspring spin kick, and a nasty-looking DDT with so much torque Taka looked legitimately whiplashed. The Bullet Club star quickly went to the finish, hit the Bloody Cross to pick up two points.
— BANDIDO (2) def. REN NARITA (0)
We got a handshake before the match, Bandido went right after the Young Lion with a flurry of quick offense, but Narita got right back in his face with wild forearm shots. Bandido shot him into the air for a press slam – not something you see out of the juniors so much – before hitting a sliding elbow for two. Narita caught him in the air with a body slam and got some momentum going with a few lariats in the corner, and hit a beautiful release belly-to-belly suplex to get his first two-count in the match. The two fought out to the apron trading strikes, until Bandido charged headfirst into another explosive belly-to-belly, this time into the hardest part of the ring! Narita looked to follow up with a tope con hillo, but Bandido showed his insane strength by catching him, and delivering a powerbomb into the edge of the ring! Both guys eventually traded pinning combinations and the Young Lion nearly stole it a couple of times, but in the end the lucha sensation hit an inverted GTS, and rebounded off the ropes with the incredible 21 Plex to score the win. Hell of a brawl that didn’t overstay its welcome.
— JONATHAN GRESHAM (2) def. TITAN (2)
Things started out with an absolutely beautiful exchange with more than a little lucha libre inspiration as they zipped around the ring with lightning fast armdrags, floating effortlessly in and out of holds as they almost perfectly mirrored one another. Things really started to pick up with some Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon level kicking exchanges, as Gresham did a Matrix bridge to duck under a feint kick, but didn’t see a second spinning heel kick coming that clobbered him. Lots of close pinning combinations including an O’Conner roll with a cross-arm bridge from Titan. Gresham came back and worked his opponent’s shoulder in the ropes, climbed to the top, but the lucha star caught him with what I can only describe as an Avalanch Tilt-a-Whirl that sent him crashing down on the top of the turbuckle. Even more nearfalls out of pinning combos I couldn’t even name if I wanted to, and I’ve spent 20 years creating movesets in wrestling video games. Gresham locked in an Octopus Stretch and looked to be the finish, but Titan rolled through into a small package. Gresham had that scouted as well, however, and reapplied the hold on the mat to force the submission.
— YOH (2) def. ROCKY ROMERO (2)
They really put together this match in the best way possible. At times both guys worked from underneath, and at other times both were totally dominant. Rocky played the veteran mentor working over his rookie protege and going after his injured arm, but then YOH would go after the injured knee and totally dominate the pace of the match. They had counters for everything, which made sense given their dynamic, and by the end it was legitimately hard to tell if either had a clear advantage. Another thread was YOH going for Dragon Screws all match and getting caught every time, and Rocky going for cross armbreakers in the same way. Once YOH finally did get the Dragon Screw he hit it in the ropes, and it really opened the door for him to come in and put on the finishing touches. They teased some brilliant submissions near the end, as YOH rolled into a Calf Crusher and almost got it, and Rocky countered into an armbreaker and nearly got it. In the end, it was YOH who got the better of things with a kneebar to win. Great match.
— DRAGON LEE (4) def. TIGER MASK (4)
Tiger surprised everyone with an early diving crossbody off the top turnbuckle all the way to the outside. He went for it again back in the ring, the champion rolled through, flew off the ropes, but got caught the hard way with a stiff tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. The two fought up the ropes trading hard right hands, Lee knocked him down and went for a double foot stomp, but instead rolled through and caught Tiger with a low dropkick. The champ tried to put things away with an early Desnucadora, but Tiger countered into a Tombstone Piledriver, followed by his signature Tiger Bomb for a close nearfall. Lee caught his boot and rolled into an STF and wrenched on the hold – it’s been so long since I’ve seen anyone but John Cena do that hold… He let up the hold to deliver a brutal running knee strike, but it wasn’t enough. This time Lee pulled his kneepad down and hit it again with the exposed knee. The Desnucadora connects, and this one’s over.
— BUSHI (0) def. DOUKI (2)
— YOSHINOBU KANEMARU (0) def. SHO (2)
— ROBBIE EAGLES (4) def. RYUSUKE TAGUCHI (6)
— SHINGO TAKAGI (6) def. MARTY SCURLL (4)
–EL PHANTASMO (6) def. WILL OSPREAY (6)
UPDATED A BLOCK STANDINGS
- Shingo Takagi – 8
- Taiji Ishimori – 8
- Dragon Lee – 6
- Marty Scurll – 4
- Tiger Mask – 4
- Jonathan Gresham – 4
- Titan – 2
- Yoshinobu Kanemaru – 2
- SHO – 2
- Taka Michinoku – 0
UPDATED B BLOCK STANDINGS
- El Phantasmo – 8
- Will Ospreay – 6
- Robbie Eagles – 6
- Ryusuke Taguchi – 6
- YOH – 4
- Bandido – 4
- Rocky Romero – 2
- Bushi – 2
- DOUKI – 2
- Ren Narita – 0
So we’ve got three people still undefeated heading into the 8th day of action, and our second consecutive day at Korakuen Hall. Of the three, Shingo Takagi will have the most difficult path to hitting the all-important 10-point milestone first, as he faces IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Dragon Lee in what could be the stand-out match of the entire tournament.
Also in the A Block, “Bone Soldier” Taiji Ishimori looks poised for a win over Yoshinobu Kanemaru, while in the B Block, El Phantasmo faces Young Lion Ren Narita in what you have to figure is the easiest roadblock of the three.
We’re also getting to the point where it’s sink-or-swim time for certain competitors. As we approach the halfway point there are still 8 shows left, which means a possibility of a full 16 pointes for everyone. That means everyone is still technically in the running, but another loss for Titan, Kanemaru, Sho, Taka Michinoku, Rocky Romero, Bushi, DOUKI or Ren Narita may as well effectively close the door on any of their chances.