NJPW Best of the Super Juniors Finals (6/4): Hiromu Takahashi vs Taiji Ishimori, Okada & Tanahashi Back in Action, More


NJPW Best of the Super Juniors Finals
Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
June 4, 2018

1. Flip Gordon & Chris Sabin def. Tiger Mask & Shota Umino. Flip got the win in a fun opener with a springboard 450 splash where he used his knees instead of his feet to launch himself. These guys have got to be banged up after a long tour, but they still did all their usual spots for the fans; especially Flip, who still looks like he could run a marathon at any moment.

2. Tomohiro Ishii, Yoshi-Hashi & Toru Yano def. Minoru Suzuki, Taka Michinoku & Takashi Iizuka. Your usual Suzuk-Gun affair with constant brawling around the ring and blatant interference. I won’t say it was “refreshing” but after three weeks without anyone at ringside for the tournament, it wasn’t the worst have the band back together. The lack of barricades for this tour really adds to the outside brawls, and at one point Yoshi-Hashi got sent crashing through the ring announcer’s booth and a few rows of chairs. In the end Yano somehow managed to shake off a 3-on-1 mugging to low blow Taka and roll him up to steal the win.

– After the match Suzuki and Ishii went after each other, but were pulled apart by what must have been a dozen people. Minoru kept rushing the ring throwing around chairs, beating the crap out of Young Lions and trying to get at Ishii, but finally took his leave.

– Chris Sabin came out and joined Kevin Kelly on commentary in between matches.

3. Roppongi 3K & Hirooki Goto def. Taichi, El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru. More Suzuki-Gun shenanigans yay! Taichi has somehow managed to get a portion of the fans on his side, as they were split in chanting “Let’s Go Taichi / Taichi Go Home” at the start of the match. Sho became the target as they beat him down on the outside and even brutalized his knee and leg with numerous chair shots, which became a big part of the story throughout. In the end Sho blocked a Deep Impact from Kanemaru with a beautiful rolling bridge pin to sneak the victory.

– After the match Suzuki-Gun assaulted the winners for several minutes all over the arena. Taichi left Goto laying and held up the NEVER title as Desperado and Kanemaru brawled with RP3K. You have to figure a win over the champions here may set up Sho and Yo as the next challengers again.

4. Marty Scurll & Yujiro Takahashi def. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Henare. Great to see the Ace back in action after three weeks without him on this tour. They worked a solid match with Scurll spending the entire time taking cheap shots, taunting Jushin Liger who was on commentary, etc. Takahashi hit his DDT on Henare to pick up the win to very little fanfaire, because the real story was Tanahashi and Scurll still brawling at ringside.

– After the match both sides went at it, with the Ace and the Villain really ripping into each other. Marty got him in a submission and looked like he was going to break Tanahashi’s arm clear off, but Liger rushed the ring to make the save and chase off Bullet Club. Scurll screamed out that he wanted Tanahashi at Dominion, and he wanted Jushin Thunder Liger and Rey Mysterio as well so that he could “kill all the legends”.

5. Tetsuya Naito, Sanada, Evil & Bushi def. Ryusuke Taguchi, Kushida, Dragon Lee & ACH. This was a really fun bout, but then LIJ has a history of great multi-man tag matches with Taguchi and his friends. Lee and Bushi picked up right where Lee and Desperado left off on Sunday, going right after it and trying to rip each other’s masks off. Lee was actually the stand-out star of the entire match, having Naito’s number numerous times and wrestling what felt like the bulk of the action. ACH got some great offense in but ultimately tapped out to the Skull End.

– The lights went out after the match and Chris Jericho appeared on the big screen. He cut a long promo about Naito not understanding who he was back at New Year Dash when he beat the hell out of him, and again at Wrestling Dontaku when he left him in a pool of blood. Jericho told him to be “tranquilo” for now, but when he wakes up after Dominioin and asks what happened, he’ll realize exactly who Chris Jericho is – the guy that took his IWGP Intercontinental Championship.

– When the lights came back on Naito was literally just laying in the ring pretending to be asleep. He got on the mic and said Jericho talks too much, and asked why he had to shoot his own selfie video to cut a promo when he’s supposed to be this big international star, saying he has way too much time on his hands.

6. Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay def. Kota Ibushi & Chase Owens. This match was awesome. Ospreay and Ibushi had so many insane sequences and worked so well together, but the real story was the IWGP Heavyweight Champion getting one last chance to send a message to Kenny Omega. In the end Ibushi hit the Golden Triangle Moonsault to the outside, taking out Ospreay, but Okada hit a V-Trigger on Owens and turned him inside out with the Rainmaker to pick up the victory. Message sent.

– After the match Okada got on the mic and said everybody knows what Okada/Omega is all about. This Saturday at Dominion there will be no time limit, there will be three falls, and the world will finally know who is better.

7. Hiromu Takahashi def. Taiji Ishimori to win the 2018 Best of the Super Juniors tournament. What an absolute war. Early on the brawled all over the arena and Hiromu did a running dropkick in the crowd, but Ishimori came back to send him flying down a flight of stairs with a hurricanrana. For as good as some of the tournament matches this year were, these two guys put them all to shame. They went more than 30 minutes and hit each other with just about every move known to man, and some I’m pretty sure man has never seen before. In the end, Hiromu was able to apply a triangle choke numerous times, draining what little energy his opponent had out of him, despite Ishimori dead-lifting him into a powerbomb on multiple occasions. One last Timebomb did the trick. You NEED to go out of your way to see this match.

– After the main event Hiromu got on the mic and said he didn’t really like the traditional ceremony, calling out Will Ospreay and staking claim to the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship match at Dominion. Ospreay came out and sarcastically put him over for winning saying, “we’re all very proud of you” like Hiromu was a child that just won a 3rd grade spelling competition. He said the tournament didn’t matter because the title makes him the best Super Junior in the world, promising to win AGAIN at Dominion. Hiromu called him a cat while he was leaving, just to piss him off. It worked.

– All of Los Ingobernables de Japon came out and celebrated with Hiromu on his monumental victory. Naito teased stealing the trophy a few times in a funny spot – which is terrifying if you know what he tends to do to titles and trophies – but ultimately bowed to his apprentice-turned-superstar and handed him the trophy in a sign of ultimate respect.