NJPW Best of the Super Juniors XXV: Day 13

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors XXV: Day 13

By Big Red Machine
From June 03, 2018

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors XXV: Day 13

Tiger Mask IV(6) vs. ACH(4) - 5.75/10

ACH's injured arm got worked over for a bit, then they told an odd story about both guys going for Tiger-named moves.

BUSHI(6) vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru(4) - 4.5/10

BUSHI jumped the bell on Kanemaru, who was undoubtedly planning to do the same to him. BUSHI's head got worked over. They had the usual problem of inconsistent application of the count-out rules, but, shockingly, there were no weapons used when they were on the outside. This was very surprising because Kevin Kelly insisted to us that this was a very personal rivalry, and you'd figure that if these guys (especially Kanemaru) have been using weapons all tournament long against people they don't have an active grudge against then they would surely do so against someone they do. But they didn't. In fact, their only cheating here felt nothing like two guys hated each other and more like someone said "well... these are the two guys who have a spitting something gimmick so of course we have to have a spot in their match where that gets played up."

Chris Sabin(6) vs. Ryusuke Taguchi(4) - 5.75/10

Dragon Lee(6) vs. El Desperado(4) - 7/10

They had an extremely intense brawl that was marred by their inability to have the referee enforce the rules, as well as Dragon Lee's poor selling of his knee. These two almost seemed to just randomly start to hate each other out of nowhere, as this match even featured mask-ripping, and El Desperado even ripped Dragon Lee's mask off at the end and walked away with it. When you compare the hatred and intensity here with the level that was shown in the match in which there actually was a heated personal issue going in, it's almost weird how heated this was. It almost makes you wonder if Kevin Kelly got his notes confused or something.

I know people seem to think that we'll be getting a mask vs. mask match between these two after this, but I'm skeptical, simply because we've seen people tear and even take off each other's mask so many times over the past few years of New Japan, and it hasn't ever lead to anything yet.

Will Ospreay(8) vs. Flip Gordon(6) - 9/10

I don't even think I am exaggerating when I tell you that 95% of this match was flips and kicks... and yet it worked perfectly because they sold everything very well, gave everything the proper time to sink in, and put together a match that built up throughout, culminating in one hell of a finish. An outstanding match, and a big step up in my eyes for Flip.

Kevin Kelly was able to recall details of a match from two years ago that I had totally forgotten even happened... and yet when he was announcing for ROH he often struggled to remember the details of the current feud. What gives?

Taiji Ishimori(8) vs. Yoh(6) - 7/10

Ospreay showed up at ringside to root for Yoh... and while both are in CHAOS and a Yoh win or draw would give Ospreay the win in this block, doing this (and especially having all of the interactions between him and Ishimori) just drove the point home to me that Ishimori is clearly going to win this tournament, which we all pretty much knew based on the way he debuted, because that's how New Japan booking always works.

Marty Scurll(8) vs. Sho(4) - 7.5/10

They started off with some arm work which was pretty good but they went WAAAAAAY too over the top with those simultaneous strikes. After that they had a pretty great match (although they seemed to have totally abandoned the arm-work story). Marty lost to Sho, because G-d forbid we have a third person still alive in the block going into the final match and give our big main event a third potential outcome (time limit draw). And it's not like Marty is getting a shot at the world title of a major New Japan ally (and a belt New Japan themselves often likes to feature at the Tokyo Dome) at a big PPV later this month, either, so it definitely makes sense to have him do the job for tag team wrestler Sho who has already put up a good] enough showing in his first Best of the Super Juniors. Dear G-d, that Gedo so f*cking stupid sometimes that it's infuriating.

Hiromu Takahashi(8) vs. KUSHIDA(8)- 8/10

Kevin Kelly flat out admitted that he had no idea how any sort of tie-breaker would be calculated if these two were to go to a draw. From a kayfabe point of view, this, to me, is inexcusable. This is stuff that all should have been figured out before the tournament started (tiebreakers are part of the rules of the tournament, and how can you start a tournament without the rules all in place?), and once this theoretical outcome (Marty losing and this match going to a draw, leaving two wrestlers tied at the top of the block, with a draw in their head-to-head match) was determined to be a likely possibility- which should have been after last night's show, as it was one of only four possible scenarios (winner of this match takes all, the above-mentioned idea of Marty winning his match and this match going to a draw, this match and Marty's match both go to draws creating a three-way tie, and the scenario being discussed now) said information should have been prepared for the announcers in their notes for today. I can give your about four tie-breakers deep to determine who makes it to the NHL playoffs. Not because I've ever seen it go that deep (I think I can maybe remember seeing a case of it going to the second tiebreaker once), but because the possibility existed and so the announcers were informed of what the tiebreakers were so that they could inform the viewing audience. It's highly unlikely that we'll ever actually see who makes the cut and who doesn't come down to Goal Differential, but the possibility did exist, so the announcers make sure we knew about it going into the final day of the season. In the world of kayfabe, pro wrestling is supposed to be a combat sport, and thus it needs to function like a professional sports league, and that includes making the announcers informed of the minute details of the rules should they come up. (And if you're a booker and you don't want to actually think up what would happen in such a scenario, then just book your tournament so that such a scenario isn't a possibility. Like, for example, HAVING MARTY BEAT SHO!)

Anyway... the match. This was one of those matches that was awesome, but still wound up being a little disappointing. KUSHIDA did his arm work and Hiromu did his usual targeting of the head, but the way they worked the first eighteen or so minutes of this match was that slow escalation where it felt like they were building up for something really epic, but then the match just ended after that first big series of false finishes when it felt like the sort of match that was going to have two or three. It was still awesome, but it just felt like they were ramping up for a lot more than what they gave us.

Final Thoughts
A pretty darn great show from New Japan, although parts of it definitely could have been better. Hopefully tomorrow's finals will be epic.


1. Kevin Kelly claimed that "we would not be having as much drama in this match with a winner take all scenario, perhaps, if KUSHIDA did not get upset- surprised- by Taguchi."

This is completely false. If KUSHIDA had beaten Taguchi he would be entering this match with ten points and Hiromu with eight... which means that either KUSHIDA could win and thus he would win the block 12-8, or Hiromu would win and it would be 10-10 and his victory here in this head-to-head match would give him the win in B Block over KUSHIDA due to the tiebreaker.

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