Monday, May 21, 2018

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors XXV Night Three Review

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors XXV Night Three
May 20th, 2018 | Kira Messe Numazu in Numazu, Shizuoka | Attendance: 1,550

It took NJPW a full day to upload the VOD for BOTSJ night three. Thankfully, they’re off today, so we don’t get too bogged down with matches to watch. The A Block returns for their second night of action. This is a single camera show, which gives it an automatic house show feel.

A Block: Tiger Mask IV [2] vs. YOH [2]
On night one, Tiger Mask bested Kanemaru, while YOH beat BUSHI. This was a veteran against a young gun and they played into that. Tiger Mask took YOH to the mat and proceeded to teach him some lessons. In fact, it was kind of a dominant performance by Tiger Mask. YOH used his speed for a rally and gave us our first dive of the evening. However, it was odd to see it done to the opposite side of the camera. It’s just not something I’m used to seeing. The final stretch was the best part, as YOH started looking more like an equal and both guys picked up near falls, including one for Tiger Mask on a Tiger Driver. Surprisingly, a super butterfly suplex didn’t end it either, but a Tiger Suplex did in 13:33. It went a bit long for what they did. YOH came off looking weak. I understand he’s a young tag wrestler, but he probably got dominated a bit too much. Still, they told a fine story and the last few minutes worked. [**½]

A Block: Flip Gordon [0] vs. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Yoshinobu Kanemaru [0]
Flip lose to the more impressive ACH on night one, while Kanemaru saw Tiger Mask steal one from him. Consider my thoughts on Flip and Kanemaru, this is one of the matches I’m least looking forward to in the entire tournament. Of course, Kanemaru jumped Flip before the bell because, Suzuki-Gun. Flip spent the next few moments evading him with his ability to…flip. These guys did exactly what you’d expect them to do. Kanemaru used all the underhanded tactics he could think of, from utilizing a chair to pulling the referee in harm’s way, while Flip took to the skies. They had an exchange of close calls late before Flip won with a springboard 450 in 10:03. The ending felt abrupt. As I said, this was just what you’d expect from these two. Wildly mediocre. [**]

A Block: BUSHI [0] vs. Taiji Ishimori [2]
Two of the three guys I’m a fan of from this block (the other being ACH). BUSHI lost to YOH on night one, while Ishimori beat Willy the Ospreay. PIMPED OUT BUSHI IN AN AWESOME SUIT, HAT, AND NECKLACE. He brought the early mind games, taunting and acting like he didn’t take Ishimori seriously. The new Bone Soldier turned it around, interrupting a BUSHI dive and choking him with his own t-shirt, a staple of BUSHI matches. Both guys showed off impressive offense, like BUSHI’s tope suicida and Ishimori’s awesome rope hung snap German. They moved into trading big blows, from overhand strikes to some of their best moves. BUSHI nearly won it with a Destroyer, but it wasn’t enough. Ishimori countered MX with one of his own and added the Bloody Cross to win in 12:02. Best match of the night. Two great wrestlers having a strong back and forth battle. They both played to their strengths and made a heel/heel style match work. [***½]

A Block: ACH [2] vs. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay [0]
These two only met once before, in RevPro in 2016, which Ospreay won. He lost to Ishimori on night one, while ACH outclassed Flip. We got a potentially nasty moment early when these guys were going through the obligatory “we are athletic exchange.” Will did a leap frog and ACH cartwheeled, accidentally taking out his leg. Will’s lucky he didn’t get hurt. Of course, he immediately used that leg for offense. Get it together, Willy. Following some short work outside, Will put a target on ACH’s taped up arm. Is ACH wearing tape like DDP’s gimmick from the late 90s? I feel like he’s had it forever. ACH managed to avoid the Cheeky Nando’s Kick (I hate that name) and began firing off chops. The arm work paid off when he couldn’t whip Ospreay to the ropes. Though his arm wasn’t working well, ACH still had Ospreay scouted and countered some of his better moves. As usual with NJPW stuff, the closing stretch was arguably the strongest part. Ospreay eventually used Storm Breaker to pull out the victory in 16:50. Like night one, this was a very good main event that never quite reached great level. [***¾]

Overall: 6.5/10. I thought the opener was solid and the second match was average at best. However, the last two matches turned things up and gave us some good stuff to close the show on. An above average effort from A Block on night three and a step up from what we got on night one.

Taiji Ishimori4 (2-0)Chris Sabin2 (1-0)
Tiger Mask IV4 (2-0)Dragon Lee2 (1-0)
Will Ospreay2 (1-1)El Desperado2 (1-0)
ACH2 (1-1)Hiromu Takahashi2 (1-0)
Flip Gordon2 (1-1)KUSHIDA0 (0-1)
YOH2 (1-1)Marty Scurll0 (0-1)
BUSHI0 (0-2)Ryusuke Taguchi0 (0-1)
Yoshinobu Kanemaru0 (0-2)SHO0 (0-1)