NJPW Best of the Super Juniors XXVI: Day 14
By Big Red Machine
From June 03, 2019
JONATHAN GRESHAM & SHO vs. YUYA UEMURA & TIGER MASK IV - 5.5/10
JUICE ROBINSON & TOA HENARE vs. VILLAIN ENTERPRISES (Marty Scurll & Brody King) - 4/10
Brody got pinned by Juice again. See my review of Day 12 for why this frustrates me.
SHOTA UMINO & TOMOHIRO ISHII vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi) - 4/10
Taichi taunted Ishii by disrespecting his own NEVER Openweight Title, which Ishii challenges for on Sunday. So now Taichi has added "ripping of Naito" to the list of reasons why he is annoying. Speaking of annoying, we get the usual Suzuki-Gun bullsh*t right off the bat. Please tell me this is at least leading to a no DQs match or something. Anyway, Suzuki-Gun cheated a bunch and won. They beat Ishii up after the match and Taichi cut a promo standing over his fallen body.
DRAGON LEE & TITAN vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito) - 6.25/10
The story here is that LIJ were offended by the luchadores doing their poses so they became the heels.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - After the match Shingo ripped off Titan's mask and gave it to Naito, who wore it for a bit, then tossed it into the crowd. Then Naito ripped Dragon Lee's mask off and threw it into the crowd. This... should have felt bigger. This is the spot where all of those mask-ripping angles that don't lead to anything hurts what should be a big angle. I also thought it was really weird that it was Naito who ripped Dragon Lee's mask off rather than the guy in Dragon Lee's weight class and who has already pinned Dragon Lee this tour and is about to go into the BOSJ finals to try to earn a shot at Dragon Lee's title in six days.
BLOCK B MATCH:
Ren Narita vs. BUSHI - 6/10
BLOCK B MATCH:
Rocky Romero vs. Bandido - 6.75/10
Bandido immediately grabs Rocky's knee and takes him down and is about to drop an elbow on it but didn't because Rocky begged off. Dude... if you're so concerned about your knee getting hurt then just concede the match! There's nothing on the line, and if there was, asking your opponent to stay away from an existing injury is bullsh*t. The whole point of wrestling is to injure your opponent until he or she either can't get up in time or gives up! And now Rocky is using that injured knee to drop on Bandido's arm.
Arm vs. knee was the story of the match. There selling felt like it delved into the realm of overselling at times. I think what they were going for was trying to sell the wear and tear of the whole long tournament, but it just didn't work to me.
BLOCK B MATCH:
Robbie Eagles vs. Sho - 8/10
Both guys worked the knee and I thought their selling was pretty darn great. I think this is more of what the previous match was going for. Awesome match.
BLOCK B MATCH:
El Phantasmo vs. DOUKI - DUD!
DOUKI jumped the bell on El Phantasmo. Unlike every other f*cking time that someone jumps the bell on someone in New Japan (which is at least twice a show), this time the referee does not immediately call for the bell. They trade chairshots on the outside, and Kevin Kelly points out to me that the chairshots are legal now because the bell hasn't rung, but tells me that Red Shoes would be "well within his rights to declare the match a no-contest."
Then Red Shoes randomly called for the bell to be rung. El Phatansmo landed some punches on DOUKI and then hit him with a chair right in front of Red Shoes and wasn't disqualified. What's your reason for this now, Kevin Kelly? Huh?
They do more stuff on the outside. Red Shoes took a chair away from El Phantasmo, but then put up no fight when El Phantasmo took it back from him. They fought on the outside for a bit, with Red shoes doing nothing but meekly telling them to get back in the ring rather than doing his job and counting them out. El Phantasmo finally obeys the referee's command and rolls his opponent back into the ring, then rolls in after him and pins him... AND F*CKING RED-SHOES REFUSES TO COUNT!
ARE YOU F*CKING KIDDING ME?! REALLY?! You tell the guy not to use a weapon but he does anyway and you don't do sh*t about it, but now that he finally listens to you, you punish him by randomly deciding to not count his pin? And then Kevin Kelly has the nerve to say that it's a good thing that Red Shoes refused to count this pin because of "the blatant rules violations on the outside." THEN WHY DID HE ALLOW THOSE VIOLATIONS OF THE RULES TO OCCUR WITHOUT ANY SORT OF ATTEMPT AT INTERVENTION OR PUNISHMENT?!
You know what? F*ck this match. I'm done with it. The result doesn't matter anyway, and it's not worth my f*cking time to deal with this crap. Can you imagine if this happened on a WWE show? People would be going ballistic, sh*tting on the company and on Michael Cole. They used to do this all the time to TNA, too. And rightfully so, because this deserves to be called out and shat all over! But 99% of people who see this aren't going to say one damn thing about it, because if you've got that lion on the logo it inoculates you against criticism.
BLOCK B MATCH:
Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Will Ospreay - 7.75/10
Ospreay did some of his stuff while having to overcome Taguchi's work on his injured knee. He also had to overcome a dislocated finger. There was some great stuff in here (the execution on Taguchi's counter to the Stormbreaker in particular stands out to me), but I think the match was hurt by Taguchi not feeling like a credible threat to Ospreay. I think part of that is due to the fact that even in his big matches this tournament, there has been a lot more Comedy Taguchi than Serious Taguchi, but I think the bigger issue is the fact that Gedo's booking has made it clear that Taguchi is not even close to being a candidate for a top guy in the division anymore, and likely never will be again. I'm not saying he's wrong to make that clear (especially in a division that has featured the likes of Omega, KUSHIDA, Ospreay, Hiromu, Scurll, Ishimori, Dragon Lee, ACH, and Shingo), but if you're going to do that then don't put Taguchi in this spot (and doubly so when you book the tournament so that these are the only two guys with a chance of advancing and so none of the other matches on this show matter at all). You could have put Bandido in this spot and it would have made him just by doing so well in his first BOSJ, and you wouldn't have had to change anything for the story you were trying to tell with Eagles, Ospreay, and El Phantasmo.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Very good. Shingo comes out and congratulates Ospreay. They cut promos on each other. Ospreay's promo was great.
A disappointing show from New Japan, especially the main event, which pretty much killed the show as it was the only match that was relevant. Yoh vs. Eagles is worth your time to watch (and the main event really is, too, if you're so inclined), but the rest of this was paint-by numbers stuff at best and offensively dumb at worst.