Wednesday, May 30, 2018

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors XXV Night Nine Review

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors XXV Night Nine
May 29th, 2018 | Tochigi Sports Park Gymnasium in Tochigi, Japan | Attendance: 683

After a day off, the BOTSJ returns. The A Block got to perform in front of the smallest crowd to see a BOTSJ show so far this year. As I’m in a bit of a rush today, this review may end up shorter than usual.

A Block: Taiji Ishimori [4] vs. Tiger Mask IV [6]
Having lost a few matches in a row, Ishimori was in no mood to mess around. He jumped Tiger Mask quickly and took control of things. That set up the simple story for the match. Ishimori held serve for most of the match, forcing the veteran to have to make a comeback. He used his wit to combat some of Ishimori’s more explosive offense. Unfortunately for him, he never had quite enough and Ishimori bested him with the Bloody Cross in 11:18. A good match that told a smart story. There are matches in the tournament with more action, but this didn’t need that. [***]

A Block: ACH [2] vs. BUSHI [2]
Two of my favorite guys in the block are sitting at the bottom of the standings. Their match in last year’s tournament was strong (***½), with ACH winning. As has been the story with ACH this year, his shoulder was his downfall. BUSHI slowed the pace and targeted it. ACH had to dig deep and fight from behind. His comeback was exciting, but BUSHI stopped it with the MX to score the win in 11:57. I dug this match. It wasn’t anything over the top. It had the right amount of action, featured good selling, and told a fine story. [***¼]

A Block: Flip Gordon [6] vs. YOH [2]
Despite a bunch of lame performances so far, Flip Gordon came in tied with Tiger Mask IV for the block lead. YOH has been doing his best to keep up with the other guys in the block. That was the case here again, as YOH went toe to toe with one of the fastest guys in the tournament. YOH proved he was very capable in that department, as these two delivered one of the quicker paced matches of the entire BOTSJ. A few moments and spots didn’t click the way it could have, keeping it from reaching the next level. YOH won with a clutch pin to score the upset in 11:06. Another good match on today’s show. [***]

A Block: IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay [4] vs. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Yoshinobu Kanemaru [4]
Two of my three least favorite wrestlers in the tournament. Yikes. Kanemaru jumped Ospreay before the bell because, Suzuki-Gun. It’s literally the same thing every single match. What was different this time around was Ospreay. He actually sold quite well in this one. It wasn’t over the top and he didn’t land on his back neck for as much of his offense as usual. They were surprising me with how solid the match was. However, it was the longest of the night and it felt like it should’ve been the shortest. The final third or so felt like they were kind of just killing time when a match should be ramping up. Ospreay won via Storm Breaker in 14:03. This was two-thirds of a truly strong match, a third of a bland one, and an overall okay outing. [**¾]

Overall: 6.5/10. One of the better A Block shows so far. It didn’t have a bad match and was mostly consistent. Nothing over the top or annoying, just some solid wrestling.

Taiji Ishimori6 (3-2)Dragon Lee6 (3-1)
Tiger Mask IV6 (3-2)SHO4 (2-2)
Will Ospreay6 (3-2)El Desperado4 (2-2)
Flip Gordon6 (3-2)Hiromu Takahashi4 (2-2)
YOH4 (2-3)Chris Sabin4 (2-2)
BUSHI4 (2-3)KUSHIDA4 (2-2)
Yoshinobu Kanemaru4 (2-3)Marty Scurll4 (2-2)
ACH2 (1-4)Ryusuke Taguchi2 (1-3)