Day 9 of the 25th annual Best Of The Super Jr. rolled in to Tochigi for Block A action, heading to this show the block has been tightly contested with a few shock results along the way. Tiger Mask early surge and Will Ospreay being defeated by Bushi among the biggest surprises. The show wasn’t aired live on NJPW and aired in a single match format on tape delay. There was an undercard that was not streamed that you can find here if you’re interested.
Kicking off the action at a surprisingly sparsely populated Tochigi City Athletic Park Gymnasium was the reborn Bone Soldier of Bullet Club Taiji Ishimori taking on Tiger Mask. Heading in to this match Tiger had just been defeated at the hands of Flip Gordon after three successive victories,Ishimori had also experienced a downturn in form prior to this contest after consecutive losses to Flip Gordon and Yoshinobu Kanemaru. The match got underway when Ishimori jumped the opening bell with a dropkick and continued to assault Tiger Mask, Tiger was able to fight back and send Ishimori to the outside. Whilst Ishimori was at ringside Tiger went for a tope but Ishimori moved,Ishimori then tossed Tiger to the outside throwing him in the commentary table before taking the action back in to the ring and methodically beating down on the former 6 time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. Tiger Mask eventually found an opening with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker followed up by nailing a hip toss from the top rope,he then attempted a Tiger Driver which was unsuccessful however it was transitioned to an armbar. Tiger continued to work over Ishimori with a series of kicks however Bullet Club’s newest member was able to fight off the onslaught of tiger with a double knee and penalty kick combination. Ishimori went for a crossface but Tiger made the ropes, after some back and forth Tiger Mask hit a Tiger Driver for a near fall and then took Ishimori up top and delivered a superplex for another close call. After an unsuccessful armbar attempt from Tiger Mask,Ishimori managed to nail a huge knee to Tiger followed up by a vicious powerbomb to the knees and forced a near fall,Ishimori followed this up with a Bloody Cross to gain the win and move on to 6 points. Much like most of Tiger’s BOSJ campaign this year this was a surprisingly enjoyable match and breathes some life back in to Ishimori’s challenge.
The second tournament match of the day was ACH taking on Los Ingobernables de Japon’s Bushi,ACH coming off the back of a win against Yoh whilst Bushi was victorious against IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay! Bushi was op top for a lot of the early going,some of the highlights including an apron ddt and Bushi hanging ACH over the top rope and nailing a dropkick from up high. ACH found a way back in to the match after swiping the leg of Bushi and nailing a dropkick of his own followed up by a backbreaker and suplex combo. ACH hit another backbreaker and went up top but Bushi rolled out of the way,ACH tosses Bushi in to the corner and nails a series of big chops,ACH charges towards Bushi in the corner but the LIJ man dodged it and hits an overhead kick followed up by a dropkick. Bushi delivers a rana to the outside but the action is soon back in the ring and ACH regains some control hitting a Death Valley driver followed up by an attempt at a German suplex which was unsuccessful and Bushi almost rolled him up however ACH recomposes himself and eventually nails a German. ACH went up top for a 450 attempt but Bushi moves out of the way,Bushi attempts to follow it up with a codebreaker but is unsuccessful as ACH catches him however Bushi escapes the clutches of ACH nails a backstabber. Bushi hits a codebreaker for a near fall and eventually hits an MX to pick up the win and capture the points for his second consecutive match.
Day 9’s third offering was a clash between Ring Of Honor representative Flip Gordon and one half of Roppongi 3k and Chaos member Yoh. In their last matches Yoh was defeated for the third time in the tournament in a loss to ACH whilst Flip was successful in handing Tiger Mask his first defeat,this match took a while to get going with both competitors dodging each other’s attacks and flipping out of the others wrist lock attempts. Gordon eventually made a breakthrough nailing Yoh with a dropkick followed by a standing shooting star press,Gordon continued to pick up steam with a cartwheel back elbow in to the corner but was unsuccessful in a second attempt and Yoh was able to dodge the elbow and nail Flip in the back of the head with a kick before following that up with a springboard double stomp from the apron. Yoh continued to stay on top for a while and hit a big suplex which forced a near fall,Gordon finally found an opening with an overhead kick after 2 previous failed attempts at kicks and followed up with a springboard dropkick which sent Yoh to the outside. Gordon continued to be the aggressor nailing a dive from the top rope to the outside before getting Yoh back in to the ring to attempt a Four Flippy Flash which was unsuccessful however Flip recomposed himself and was able to hit a springboard slingblade,both men went back and forth with submissions before Flip managed to reassert himself nailing Yoh with a superkick,a huge jumping knee and finally a standing shooting star which forced a 2 count. However during the kickout Yoh bridged out and hit Gordon with a superkick,Yoh then hit a superplex and tried to transition in to another suplex but Flip evaded this and landed a falcon arrow for a near fall, Flip then hit a 450 for another near fall. Gordon attempted to hit a springboard move but was caught with a superkick from Yoh, the Roppongi 3k member then rolled up Gordon in to the five star clutch and picked up the victory and his 4th points of this year’s tournament.
The day’s main event was contested between Suzuki Gun Member and former 7 time GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Chaos’ reigning IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay. In their previous matches in the tournament Kanemaru scored somewhat of a surprise win over Ishimori whilst Ospreay was defeated in what may be considered as the tournament’s biggest upset when he was vanquished by Bushi. The match kicked off in typical Kanemaru fashion as he jumped the bell and ambushed Ospreay,however the sky king was able to fight this off sending Kanemaru to the outside with a rana and nailing him with s crossbody. Ospreay continued to work over Kanemaru at ringside but his early dominance would come to an end when Ospreay would attempt a dive on Kanemaru in to the crowd but was met with a thunderous chairshot,Kanemaru then tossed Ospreay in to the empty chairs and continued to wear down the aerial assassin,when the action returned to the ring Kanemaru continued to keep Ospreay grounded with a methodically paced assault. Kanemaru took things back outside and hit a ddt to the floor which forced a count of 19 for Ospreay, Kanemaru remained on top for a while before Ospreay was able to nail a springboard back elbow followed by a 619 and then a springboard lariat to complete the sequence to force a very near fall. But Ospreay’s time on top was short lived as Kanemaru found a way back in to the match after raking the eyes of Ospreay and following it up with a big tornado ddt and a reverse ddt that almost won him the match,the tide turned once again however as the Suzuki Gun man went up top and was unsuccessful at attempting a moonsault which was met with an enziguri from Ospreay followed up by a standing moonsault for a near fall. Ospreay began to feel a shift in momentum and attempted a Stormbreaker however Kanemaru was able to escape this attempt and a series of reversals between the two led to Ospreay inadvertently knocking down the referee and to add to the suffering for the sky king he was able to roll up Kanemaru for more than a 3 count. Ospreay tried to revive the referee but Kanemaru struck with a low blow,he then went and got a chair however this was fought off by Ospreay and Ospreay tried to use the chair himself but had it taken away but the referee,during this distraction Kanemaru got a mouthful of tequila which he attempted to spit at Ospreay however was met with a superkick spitting the tequila everywhere. Ospreay hits a Robinson Special but during a cutter attempt is dropkicked by Kanemaru who continues to stay on top forcing 2 near falls following a suplex and a diving top rope ddt. Kanemaru then decides to go up top but is cut off by Ospreay with a big kick to the back of the head,Ospreay then draped Kanemaru over the top rope and nailed a moonsault to his back,Ospreay continued to stay on top with a 450 forcing another near fall after this he recomposed himself and delivered a stormbreaker to pick up his 3rd win and 6th points of the competition. This match was really good and one I’d highly recommend going out of your way to see,it really over delivered to what it promised on paper.
So to recap the day’s results,
Ishimori defeated Tiger Mask.
Bushi defeated ACH.
Yoh defeated Flip Gordon.
Will Ospreay defeated Yoshinobu Kanemaru.
Block A Standings
Taiji Ishimori 6
Tiger Mask 6
Flip Gordon 6
Will Ospreay 6
Yoshinobu Kanemaru 4
This was a great day of BOSJ action and leaves things wide open as we move forward,it will be interesting to see what the final stretch holds for Block A.
Day 10 took place in Fukushima and the stage was set for Block B competition. This show was once again not show live on NJPW World and you’re interested in the undercard results you can find them here
In the day’s opening contest Bullet Club’s Villian Marty Scurll took on CMLL representative Dragon Lee,Scurll was coming off the back of a submission victory over El Desperado whilst Lee was defeated by Chris Sabin in his previous contest. Both men drew a blank in the opening stages both trying to use their technical prowess to gain an advantage but neither was able to make a breakthrough. Scurll eventually foundan opening hitting Just Kidding followed by a backbreaker, Scurll remained on top of Lee with lots of strikes and submissions until Lee was able to hit a rana to the outside followed by a tope. Lee took the action back in the ring nailing a beautiful rolling dropkick on The Villian before following it up with a picture perfect shotgun dropkick,Lee stayed on top of Scurll wearing him down with various strike combinations and submission attempts until Scurll was able to find an opening and hit an enziguri on the apron followed up by a superkick to the outside, things returned to the ring and The Villian continued his attack on Lee with a series of big knees and working him over on the ground with submissions. Scurll tries to take things up top but Lee fights it off and attempts a double stomp but Scurll reverses it in to a suplex,he tries to follow this up with a moonsault however misses and Lee follows this up with a big ddt, both men trade strikes but Lee hits a big German on Scurll but on the rebound Scurll nails Lee with a lariat. However The Villain didn’t stay on top for long and Lee locks in a sleeper followed by a pk which forced a near fall. Lee attempts a suplex but Scurll snaps his fingers,Scurll calls for the chickenwing but Lee almost rolls him up for the win. Lee then lands a big knee and follows it up by locking in an armbar,following this Lee attempts a suplex but Scurll manages to evade this and land a lariat, Scurll then hits a destroyer for a near fall and attempts to go up top but Lee cuts him off with an enziguri and then delivers a double stomp forcing a near fall. Scurll responds with a big ddt and driving Lee’s neck down on his knee to force yet another near fall,Lee retaliates with a standing Spanish Fly that almost secured him the win however Lee went up top and was nailed with a superplex by Scurll who then locked in the chickenwing and picked up the victory and his 6th points of the competition.
The second tournament match on day 10 was between Ryusuke Taguchi and Roppongi 3K’s Sho. Taguchi headed in to this match off the back a defeat to Hiromu Takahashi whilst Sho was vanquished at the hands of Kushida. The match started with a lot of Taguchi comedy spots mostly revolving around his rear end! There was also some sort of weird dance/pose off type thing that was a bit odd. Taguchi found an opening with multiple hip attacks but Sho fought this off and sent Taguchi to the outside with a dropkick,Sho worked on the arm of Taguchi wrapping it round the ringpost before taking the action back in to the ring and continued to work over Taguchi with knees and locked in a surfboard stretch. Sho continued to go after the arm and eventually went for an armbar however Taguchi managed to roll up Sho for a near fall,Taguchi attempted a top rope hip attack but landed on the knee of Sho but was successful at his second attempt with a running hip attack. Taguchi then sent Sho to the outside and hit a diving crossbody and a tope con giro,he took the action back in the ring and nailed Sho with 2 suplexes however Sho was able to reverse a third and land triple Germans on Taguchi. After an exchange of strikes Sho attempted another German but Taguchi countered it in to an ankle lock but Sho made the ropes, Taguchi attempted a bummer-ye but Sho countered it in to a German. The action went back and forth men trading near falls and submission attempts but it was Taguchi who came out on top after a kooriyama suplex in to a bridged pin for the win. Taguchi moves on to 4 points whilst Sho remains on 4.
The third match of the day was between Chris Sabin and Los Ingobernables de Japon’s ticking time bomb Hiromu Takahashi. On the May 27th show Hiromu picked up a win over Taguchi whilst Sabin was successful against Dragon Lee. This one got underway with Takahashi repeatedly shaking hands and bowing to Sabin before cheap shorting him,however he didn’t stay on top long as Sabin sent him to the outside and although one half of the Motor City Machine Gun’s first attempt at a springboard to the outside was unsuccessful he landed a senton to the outside. Sabin took things back in the ring and hit a crossbody followed up by a backslide pin attempt for a quick win,Sabin stayed on top before Takahashi tried to go for a sunset flip bomb to the floor but was unsuccessful however he regrouped and hit a vicious powerbomb to the apron. Hiromu stayed on top and locked in a tarantula and hit a diving leg lariat from the top rope, there was a swing in the momentum with Sabin nailing a ddt and following up with a dropkick, a top rope rana and a springboard ddt which forced a near fall. Sabin seemed like he wanted to take things outside however seemingly had a change of heart taking Hiromu back in to the ring which opened things up for Takahashi to hit a big powerbomb followed by a falcon arrow for a near fall,after an exchange of lariats Hiromu hit a belly to belly in the corner followed by a massive side slam to almost pick up the win. Both guys traded superkicks before Takahashi hit a German suplex but Sabin nailed and enziguri and lariat however this was short lived as Hiromu nailed a huge lariat of his own. Both traded strikes and Sabin landed a big powerbomb which earned him a near fall,Sabin then hit a falcon arrow which again almost earned him the victory,Sabin went for cradle shock but Takahashi reversed it and almost rolled him up for the win but Takahashi transitioned from the roll up to look in D and pick up the win and his third BOSJ win moving on to 6 points.
The day’s main event saw last year’s BOSJ winner Kushida go up against Suzuki Gun’s masked marvel El Desperado. In their previous outing Kushida was victorious over Sho whilst Desperado was submitted by Marty Scurll. This one got off to a flying start when Despy jumped the bell and ambushed Kushida however the time splitter fought this off and dropkicked Desperado to the outside,Kushida hit a running senton on Desperado whilst he was sat in a chair and using another as a springboard. When the action returned to the ring Desperado was able to gain control of the contest using the referee as a shield from Kushida’s onslaught,Desperado threw Kushida to ringside and began to target his leg with a chair. Despy then got a trolley from underneath the ring and threw Kushida in to the crowd crashing in to chairs,Desperado continued to work over the leg before putting Kushida back in the trolley once again sending him hurling towards chairs. Following a close call and a count of 19 Kushida returned to the ring however Despy continued to systematically dissect the limbs of Kushida,Desperado continued the onslaught specifically targeting the leg of Kushida. Kushida seemingly found an opening with some big chops however Desperado once again attacked the leg,Kushida finally shifter the moment with a cartwheel dropkick which sent Despy to the outside and Kushida nailed a tope. However back in the ring Desperado once again targeted the leg and continued to work on the badly injured area for sometime before Kushida dished out a taste of his medicine for Despy as he began to target his arm slamming his arm down in to the top of the ringpost before slamming him down to the mat and locking in an armbar. Kushida worked over The now injured arm of Desperado before went back to leg and downed Kushida,both men struggled to their feet and traded strikes with Kushida almost sneaking a win with a roll up,however from the kick out the referee was knocked down and Despy attacked Kushida with a chair which forced another close call,Desperado attempted Pinche Loco however Kushida locked the arm and attempted back to the future but Despy managed to fight off Kushida’s attempts,both men went back and forth before Kushida was finally able to hit back to the future to secure the win. Kushida moves on the 6 points whilst El Desperado remains on 4. This was my second favourite match of the tournament following Desperado’s incredible clash with Hiromu Takahashi,it was a really simple story told really well and very enjoyable.
So to recap the events of day 10,
Marty Scurll defeated Dragon Lee.
Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Sho.
Hiromu Takahashi defeated Chris Sabin.
Kushida defeated El Desperado.
Block B Standings
Hiromu Takahashi 6
Dragon Lee 6
Marty Scurll 6
El Desperado 4
Chris Sabin 4
Ryusuke Taguchi 4
Block B is wide open heading in to the final 2 Block matches and with plenty to play for I think there is some tremendous action to follow,which I’ll be here to continue my coverage all the way to next Monday where the “Best Of The Super Jr 25” will be crowned.