New Japan Pro Wrestling
Best of the Super Juniors – Night Five
May 27, 2015
Aomori, Aomori – Martial Arts Hall

Yohei Komatsu (0-2, 0 points) vs Kyle O’Reilly (2-0, 4 points): Komatsu is jumping off of the screen on these shows, and this is really exemplified on the single cam/no commentary shows where you can get a strong feel for crowd connection. Dave Meltzer kinda sorta not really compared Komatsu to KENTA recently (it was more of a size comparison than anything else), and now I can’t get that comp out of my head. Komatsu really does have some uncanny similarities to a young KENTA in both frame and style of work. He showed his usual good fire here, and even went toe to toe with O’Reilly on the mat, but (wisely) they worked it in such a way that KOR always had the slight upper hand. From there it was hope spots, which is an area Komatsu excels, until a fighting spirit sequence following a stiff KOR running knee to the dome. That usually signals the beginning of the end, and it was, because after goading O’Reilly into a second knee and catching the leg, which produced a nice pop, Komatsu soon found himself staring at the lights. This was well paced, well worked, and a damn good match. I’ve said many times that Komatsu is already better than at least 25% of the New Japan roster, but that’s unfair. He’s easily in the top third at this point, and maybe even higher. He’s really, really good. ***1/2

Tiger Mask (3-0, 6 points) vs Mascara Dorada (1-1, 2 points): If we’re talking kayfabe, Tiger Mask has been a standout of the tour, with a 3-0 start that had him in first place in the B block coming into this match. One more win would guarantee a winning record, and with David Finlay still in front of him, a win would also mean sure fire contention on the final day, because he’d likely be going 5-2 at worst. All of this sounds like either a terrible nightmare or some sort of cruel redux of the previous decade when TMIV dominated the junior scene. One of his three wins was a forfeit over Alex Shelley, a match he was surely originally booked to lose, so with re-booking required, it wouldn’t be the worst idea to get that loss back against Finlay, who is likely going winless anyway. We’ll see. Thankfully, the Tiger Mask Finals Nightmare Aught Decade Redux Train was derailed a bit here with a loss to Dorada. The match itself was nothing special, aside from some match saving flying (including a beautiful rope walk high cross body to the floor) by Dorada, and a decent closing stretch. TM was technically fine, which is not always a given as his work tends to be sloppy at times, but he was his usual dry self and added nothing to the match. I’ve always contended that he’s at his best when working as a grumpy heel, which he occasionally shows flashes of (particularly in NOAH when teaming with Liger), but if you’re waiting for a Tiger Mask heel turn, don’t hold your breath or you will die. **1/2

Jushin Thunder Liger (1-1, 2 points) vs Chase Owens (0-2, 0 points): LIGER/OWENS III. Snark aside, these two had a nifty little match in their second go ’round, so I was mildly optimistic about this one, especially considering card placement. Owens has been his usual shaky-bordering-on-bad-but-managing-to-keep-it-together-just-enough self so far (and to be fair, he’s usually really good on the indie/NWA circuit), since he had worked with Liger a few times coming into this, I figured he’d be in his best position possible to deliver that he’d have all tour. My instincts were right, as this ended up being the best performance of Owens’ entire New Japan run, and we finally saw the cocky, confident Crown Jewel that NWA fans see in the States. The key spot was a modified Indian Deathlock (Pro tip – whenever a wrestling reviewer uses the word “modified” in front of a hold or move, it means he or she has no fucking clue what the move really was or what to call it. I’m no moves guru, so anything wacky involving legs is a “modified Indian Deathlock”) by Owens with Liger fighting like death to make the ropes, while the crowd nervously bought into it as a potential finish. Liger eventually escaped, and even hit his palm thrust, but moments later Owens used a Blockbuster and a package piledriver to pull off the upset as the crowd gasped. Liger is out working men half his age these days, and Owens was very strong here. Make sure you don’t blow this match off. Quality. ***1/4

Final Thoughts

Another strong night. Skip nothing, not even the average Tiger Mask/Mascara Dorada match, because it would be a shame to miss the great Dorada high cross body to the floor. Fun tournament so far, with the exception of a dry Day 2.


Voices of Wrestling – Best of the Super Juniors Pick’Em Standings (after Day 5)

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Edgar Morales5872342332334616
Kelly Harrass5862343422434516
Max Bachhuber5853443223434516
Brian Brennan5762332432434516
Darren Lyne5751422433424716
A. S.5652342342434614
Lawson Leong5682423223333516
Paco Silva Martínez5661342422334616
Rob Reid5653333323333814
Christopher Griger5572241232334616
Claudio Escudero5552334233414516
Derek Drago5564323322323616
Francis Lane5552443212334616
Mitch Cowan5562333433423514
Dan Mullooly5472232324233714
Lee West5472434132324514
Alex Giardini5351234224434514
Allen Vick Jr5361144123324616
Gabriel Perez5342333222334616
Jared Welch5352314223334714
Joseph Remy537344333243458
Kenny Ortiz5363332132414516
Kevin Hare5352333421334416
Mark Berlowitz5353333332333316
Michael Zavala5341332423433714
Oliver Court5362233341424514
Sean Sedor5341333333423516
Tommy Livingstone5352333033423616
Andrew Bates5252341233214616
Jody Plante5251343312334416
Matt Trebby5232333423424514
Morten Hansen5252424312324614
Richard St.Hilaire5242433321333516
Theo Wilson5262333222304616
Brady Livingston5152333122323418
Danny Kuchler5152322332313814
Kent Sinkler5150332423324614
Mitch Parcells5143114334232516
Christopher Duarte506324323242478
David Mora5061324322424413
Karl Clancey5062343322324313
Niall H5062332332323414
Rich Kraetsch506133233443468
Anthony Albicocco4950333231134516
Jake Daniel496233343243268
Jake R.496234333232468
Matt Magnum4961232232324514
Matt McEwen4941332323414514
Mike Spears495244333333358
Abrasive Obelisk487134331323468
Adrian Gaskin4852333212133416
Alan Counihan4852314313313514
Andrew Rich4853334303324411
Azri Aqil4861233312124416
Bastian Sauer486234333233448
Ewen MacDonald485334331243368
Jason Sitek4861332322223514
Kyle Conzett4850343332234610
Nick Mogel4862322322323414
Richard Jaeger4842212433333414
Antonio Edwards474233332333378
Gonçalo Monteiro475234243223368
Marcus Origer4742223414232414
Matt Rolder475234332333448
Paul Cooke4753332213223414
Paul Völsch4753332322334410
Adam Gaetan4650322222333514
Case Lowe465133233342458
Dylan Harris466332332332358
Frederick Cholowski466233333321458
joel zewski466133232233468
Brian Kline453134142433278
Bryan Rose455233243413438
Chris Dalgleish455133242331378
Daniel Mackinnon456123323313378
Darrell Chess4531342343333310
Kevin Wilson453224124233478
Miles Messmer4532412323424510
Santiago Tomasi4541333202434511
Brandon Gordon4432233311433610
Greg Johnson446314232143438
Rob McCaron446233242123448
Víctor Pérez4450333123212514
Anthony Perillo436232143222358
Andy Doran424222322243448
Cal Hodges425223333222348
Mike McDonald425323124331348
T.J. Hawke426123233122278
the mosayat4241442431032410
William Young422133332332368
Aidan Daly413134233243148
Edward Mills415233232220458
Filip Pejic415232322332338
John Cunningham414333132214438
KENTA kicks heads415024332241258
Lee Thomas413122422333268
Phil Williams414222222242368
Trent Williams415132333212358
David Naismith405442322232245
Joe Gagne404134322132447
Brendan Creecy395043232301268
dominic sweeney386233231242343
Keith Campbell385123313222248
Alexander Panos3731331421021511
Berry Meijer374023222241258
Caitlin Lipinski376212242130176
Joseph Roche374213243033273
Lawrence OBrien374234122320248
William Housell Jr.374232331402463
Dakota Schmidt365233222431360
David Woodley365322111233148
Garrett Kidney3651223130231310
Alan Maggle353223223222453
Allan Blackstock355232322331450
David Neil Rapp345134323212350
Gabe Throne345223431333230
Amal Ahmadzai335212243313250
Mike Langford306022422230160
Matt Zierer294132133130143
Kyle Blevins273222203041143
Chris Harrington264113201142430
Sean Flynn264012111211228
Robert O.232332132120130