NJPW Best of the Super Juniors XXVI: Day 11
By Big Red Machine
From May 29, 2019
REN NARITA & YOTA TSUJI vs. CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Yoh) - 6/10
RYUSUKE TAGUCHI, YUYA UEMURA & LIFEBLOOD (Juice Robinson & Bandido) vs. BULLET CLUB (El Phantasmo, Robbie Eagles, Jado, & Gedo) - 4/10
Eagles is reluctant to 2 Sweet his Bullet Club comrades in protest of El Phantasmo interfering on his behalf against his friend Will Ospreay at the previous show, but goes along with it in the end, just like he did in the Ospreay match. There was no dissension throughout the match, including Eagles going along with all of Bullet Club's cheating. If the Ospreay thing is supposed to start a Robbie Eagles babyface turn, this doesn't help it at all. "I only don't like cheating on my behalf when it's against my friend" isn't the most moral of positions to take. It's loyal, yes, but being loyal does not make you moral. And if it's not intended to start a Robbie Eagles babyface turn, why are you doing it at all?
Bullet Club cheated a lot, but the babyfaces still got the win when Juice pinned Gedo. Taguchi had El Phantasmo in an ankle lock at the end to stop him from breaking up the pinfall, and seemed to keep it in for a bit after the match but the cameras mostly missed it because they were showing us Juice walking around or Gedo laying on the mat unconscious.
WILL OSPREAY & SHOTA UMINO vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Taichi & DOUKI) - 4/10
Suzuki-Gun jumped the bell on their opponents, spill to the outside. Suzuki-Gun use weapons, no count-outs until the count-out spot, blah blah blah. Ospreay vs. DOUKI was a nice little preview of what should be a decent match, but the whole time that Taichi was getting the heat on Umino it was just plain boring. Being the Young Lion, Umino took the pin, then the heels beat the babyfaces up after the match because Suzuki-Gun.
ROCKY ROMERO & TOA HENARE vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI) - 5/10
A mediocre match that didn't really even do anything to build up Rocky vs. BUSHI because Henare was the legal man for what felt like the entire match, so why did I waste my time watching it?
BLOCK A MATCH:
Titan vs. Sho - 6.25/10
Sho overcomes an injured knee as well as an arm getting worked over to get the win.
BLOCK A MATCH:
Tiger Mask IV vs. Taiji Ishimori - 3/10
Ishimori jumped the bell on Tiger Mask IV. He worked the head and got the win in four and a half minutes.
BLOCK A MATCH:
Jonathan Gresham vs. Shingo Takagi - 6.25/10
The camera angle on Gresham's dropkick in the corner made it clear that he didn't event touch Shingo and Shingo sold it anyway. It looked pretty bad. Gresham used his various wily technical wrestler tricks to try to win but Shingo prevailed in the end. Another disappointingly short match. I was kind of hoping that TAKA's injury would at least lead to other matches getting more time but apparently not.
BLOCK A MATCH:
Dragon Lee vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru - 6.75/10
Kanemaru jumps the bell on Dragon Lee and we immediately spill to the outside for Suzuki-Gun's Laziest Hits, Volume 2. We've got the Count-Out Tease That No One Ever Buys™, using a weapon in front of the referee but not getting DQed, trying to take off the babyface's mask, more count-out teases, etc. If I was Dragon Lee, every time I wrestled a heel in New Japan, I'd wear a second mask under my first, and just let the heels rip that one off and get DQed. There was actually a moment in this match where if you actually pause it you can probably get a pretty good view of Dragon Lee's face. This should make me angry at the heel, but I know it won't lead to anything because it never does.
They moved away from that and things started to get good, but then we got Taichi attacking the ref for a bunch of heel shenanigans that Dragon Lee overcame. If you're going to keep doing these heel shenanigans, you need to pick a spot for them to actually work for the heels. Dragon Lee is already eliminated from the tournament, so why not let Kanemaru have a dirty win here (if you don't even want to have Dragon Lee get pinned then do the same count-out spot they did with Sho to build that up as a real finish) then tomorrow night have Kanemaru challenge Dragon Lee to a title match at the BOSJ finals where Dragon Lee can win clean. Just to something to actually make the main event of this show have some actual relevance to a storyline.
Also, if you're going to tell a story about Tsuji constantly being the guy Kanemaru throws in his opponent's way for the count-out tease and then have Kevin Kelly tell me that Tsuji feels really bad about it and apologizes to the wrestlers, I'd like to see it actually lead to a match between Tsuji and Kanemaru.
A very bad show from New Japan. Easily one of their worst in years. This was a nothing happening show that felt almost totally irrelevant and had several disappointing matches. The f*cking opener with CHAOS vs. two young-boys went longer than everything else on the show other than the main event, and not one single match made it to fifteen minutes. This is supposed to be Best of the Super Juniors. Nothing we got on this show was should really even quality as mediocre relative to basic expectations.