NJPW Best of the Super Juniors XXV: Day 10

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors XXV: Day 10

By Big Red Machine
From May 30, 2018

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors XXV: Day 10

Marty Scurll(4) vs. Dragon Lee(6) - 8/10

This was an awesome match with a lot of close and believable false finishes, but the thing I will always remember from it, unfortunately, is one spot they did that REALLY bugged me. That spot was Scurll getting hit with that big devastation Canadian Destroyer-esque DDT that Dragon Lee does... and then it's SCRULL who catches who is able to slap on a small package? F*CK OFF. This is how stupid sh*t gets started. Someone does a spot where a guy hits a Frog Splash or similar and sells the impact on himself as well and by the time he crawls over for the pin, the other guy has recovered enough to roll it over into a pin of his own... which is a fine spot, although not one I'd want to see too often (like, maybe once a year). Then some idiot sees that spot and thinks "wow! That was really unexpected how the guy who got hit with the move was the one who got the pin!" not realizing that the reason it works is that the guy who hit the move was selling and thus the opponent was able to recover in the time it took him to get over to make the pin, and thus we get crap like the relatively popular "I hit you with a superplex but then you catch my legs as a small package" finish. Then some other idiot sees that spot and says "OMFG COOL SPOT! I must do this but flippier and more head-drop-y to make it betterer!" So let's please head this problem off and no one do this stupid spot again, okay? Do we want another "fighting spirit no-selling is cool, so fighting spirit no-selling a powerbomb off a ladder through a table will be even cooler!" moment?

Like I said, the match was awesome, and was easily the best match of the night, but G-d damn it did I hate that one spot.

Ryusuke Taguchi(2) vs. Sho(4) - 7.5/10

Lots of great limb-work by both men, with Taguchi working on the ankle while Sho worked over the arm. The crowd was really into Taguchi, and Taguchi did an excellent job of taking his usual goofy Taguchi stuff and making it more serious while still retaining that very Taguchi feel to it (as he has done pretty much the whole tournament so far).

Chris Sabin(4) vs. Hiromu Takahashi(4) - 7/10

Sabin worked over Hiromu's head while Hiromu worked over Sabin's back with his big moves, but later switched to just working the head and eventually got the win with the triangle choke. The match was great, and although I can understand why some people might have felt that Hiromu kicking out of the Cradle Shock was unnecessary, I think it actually did help the match here, and isn't as much of an issue now that Sabin has been using All Hail Sabin as his primary finisher in New Japan.

El Desperado(4) vs. KUSHIDA(4) - DUD!

El Desperado jumped the bell on KUSHIDA to start things off. KUSHIDA got some offense in before the inevitable happened. They wound up on the outside (for the second time, with the first having occurred apparently with the expressed purpose of tricking me into making me think we might somehow avoid this crap this match) where El Desperado hit KUSHIDA in the leg with a chair, loaded him onto a dolly and ran him into a bunch of other chairs, shot him with a gun, set him on fire, and brought out his pet cobra and had it bite KUSHIDA in the leg to inject him with its venom, all while the referee just stood there, not calling for a DQ, trying to stop him from cheating, or even counting them out. El Desperado then put KUSHIDA in the Stretch Muffler for a while before sending him even deeper into the crowd and then casually strolling back to the ring. Once El Desperado was back in the ring, the referee finally did SOMETHING; he started to count KUSHIDA out. Because I guess the Purge is over and the rules apply again. KUSHIDA, predictably, managed to avoid being counted out.

El Desperado necked KUSHIDA on the ropes, took the pad off the turnbuckle, then whipped him hard into the turnbuckles... and for THIS- of all the illegal things he has done this match- the referee admonished him. El Desperado went for a pin... and the referee refused to count it, just standing them and sternly pointing at the corner. Yes really. He wouldn't count pin after El Desperado whipped KUSHIDA into the exposed turnbuckles... but he was perfectly willing to start counting KUSHIDA out after El Desperado hit him in the leg with a chair, as well as did several other illegal things.

After some more work on his leg, KUSHIDA starts to make a comeback and of course it includes a big dive to the outside... and this time the referee starts to count them out immediately. So many of the people who praise New Japan for portraying wrestling as a sport sh*t on WWE for not doing so, but you'll rarely (if ever) see referees in WWE doing this kind of sh*t. If you want to portray something as a sport, you can't have referees ignoring the rules whenever they feel like it, and certainly not doing so almost exclusively to the benefit of one side. If an MLB umpire was using a normal strike zone for one team but was calling pitches in the dirt strikes on the other, he'd be fired by the end of the day. New Japan referees do this sh*t in basically every match!
KUSHIDA did some flips and stuff and basically stopped selling his leg until he got cut off again. He made another comeback and started working on El Desperado's arm and the match was actually good for a few minutes before they killed all that with a pathetic-looking ref bump. What happened was that El Desperado, who was also carrying KUSHIDA's weight, stepped backwards gently at a speed at wouldn't have hurt nine-year-old, "squishing" this referee in the corner and causing him to go down, screaming in pain. If you're going to do something this bad, at least do it in the corner where the turnbuckle pads are off so I can pretend he hurt himself on the metal beneath.

So we get a ref bump, and with it comes, of course, KUSHIDA getting a visual submission on El Desperado. We can't get a ref bump for when the heel does all of his cheating in the beginning of the match, but of course we have to have one just to add this stupid overbooked bullsh*t spot into the match. El Desperado used a chair on KUSHIDA and got a nearfall when the referee woke up.

They did a cool spot where they kept slipping out of each other's finishers, followed by a spot with the exposed turnbuckle. KUSHIDA then did a freakin' Dragonrana (though it looked nowhere near as smooth as Dragon Kid's do) for a nearfall, followed by Back to the Future for the pin. If KUSHIDA won, then what was the point of the visual submission earlier? Also, maybe don't do that exact same thing in two straight El Desperado tournament matches, especially not if they're both in the main event (the same thing happened in his match with Scurll). And please don't tell me that they're building up to being able to swerve us by having someone get the visual win over El Desperado but then go on to lose that match, because the idea of doing that in enough matches to the point where it is ingrained in the viewers that "the guy who gets the visual pinfall after the ref bump is going to win in the end"- basically giving away the finishes of all of those matches half-way through- just for the sake of fooling us in one match is the sort of thing that only Vince Russo would think is a good idea. This match SUCKED. There were about two watchable minutes in the whole thing.

Final Thoughts
A very frustrating show from New Japan despite the quality of most of the matches. It felt like it just kept doing down and down until it took that big nosedive at the end and slammed into the ground, exploding in a giant fireball of overbooking, terrible refereeing, and questionable selling.

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