Hello everybody and welcome to Voices of Wrestling’s NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 26 preview! I’m Andrew Rich, the host of the podcast Music of the Mat, and I am back for my second BOSJ all-in-one preview extravaganza. If you read the preview that I wrote for last year’s tournament, or if you’re just an experienced New Japan fan in general, then you probably already know the score. But if you’re new to the promotion and want to learn all about the Best of the Super Juniors tournament, the wrestlers participating in it, and/or the schedule of matches, then you’ve come to the right place!
Note: Be sure to join VOW’s Best of the Super Juniors Pick’Em game. It’s free to enter so why not?
Best of the Super Juniors is an annual tournament held every year by New Japan Pro Wrestling. It began as the Top of the Super Juniors in 1988 before adopting the Best of the Super Juniors name in 1994. The tournament features wrestlers from New Japan’s junior heavyweight division, as well as wrestlers from international promotions affiliated with New Japan such as Ring of Honor in America, CMLL in Mexico, and RevPro in England. Some of the legendary names who have won BOSJ in the past include Jushin Thunder Liger, Black Tiger II (Eddie Guerrero), Koji Kanemoto, Milano Collection A.T., Kota Ibushi, Prince Devitt, Ricochet, KUSHIDA, and Hiromu Takahashi.
The tournament is held in a round robin format with the field of wrestlers split into two blocks. Each wrestler will have a match with every other wrestler in their block in order to score points. The scoring system is as follows:
- A win is worth two (2) points.
- A draw is worth one (1) point.
- A loss is worth zero (0) points.
Whoever has the most points in each block at the end of block play will advance to the finals where it will be winner takes all. Should there be a tie for first place, the tiebreaker will go to the winner of the block match. (For example, if Wrestler A beat Wrestler B in the tournament and both finish tied for first place with 12 points, then Wrestler A will advance to the finals.)
This year’s tournament will run from May 13 to June 5 with the finals taking place in historic Ryogoku Sumo Hall. The winner of the finals will receive an IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship match just four days later at Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall. In the event that the current champion Dragon Lee wins the whole tournament, then he likely will name his own challenger.
In recent years, the Best of the Super Juniors field had been limited to 16 wrestlers in total. 2019 bucks that trend with a whopping 20 wrestlers in total, the highest number in tournament history (2013 previously held the record with 18). And looking at the list of participants in this year’s field, this looks to be, on paper, the greatest BOSJ lineup ever. Yeah yeah, I know I said the same thing last year, but this time I mean it, dammit!
We’ve got an all-star lineup of homegrown New Japan stars, international guests, hungry young guns, crafty veterans, first-time participants, and experienced BOSJ entrants. We’ve also got an Octopus, an Eagle(s), a Lion, a Tiger, two Dragons, and the ultimate Funky Weapon. So let’s meet our participants in Best of the Super Juniors 26!
It’s only fitting that we kick things off with the reigning IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion, Dragon Lee!
Lee won the title last month in Madison Square Garden and recently had his first successful defense against previous champion Taiji Ishimori in a scorching main event at Wrestling Dontaku Night 1. Although Lee’s time in New Japan has been on an irregular basis these past few years due to his main commitments with CMLL, he remains absolutely beloved by the New Japan fans due to his incredible in-ring abilities and natural charisma. As the current champion, he is a favorite to win his block, but the question on everybody’s mind concerns the eventual return of Dragon Lee’s longtime rival Hiromu Takahashi. Hiromu was accidentally injured in a match with Lee last summer, leaving the world wondering when we would see the “Ticking Time Bomb” again. Dragon Lee himself is greatly anticipating Hiromu’s return as well, their rivalry having developed into a relationship built on a foundation of respect and daredevilry. If Dragon Lee wins the tournament, perhaps we could see Hiromu walk down the ramp and begin said rivalry anew.
The first of three Ring of Honor entrants, “The Octopus” Jonathan Gresham is a name that many wrestling fans had greatly hoped to see make it into this year’s tournament; his impressive performances at Honor Rising: Japan earlier in the year all but guaranteed him a spot. Gresham is a highly gifted technical wrestler and has utilized his grappling talents all over the world in promotions such as ROH, RevPro, wXw, CHIKARA, PWG, The Crash, Beyond Wrestling, and countless others, garnering a cult following wherever he goes. While Gresham’s success in Ring of Honor has been somewhat limited, he can no doubt use his debut year in BOSJ to become a big deal in New Japan Pro Wrestling and ink his name (see what I did there?) in the record books.
Woop woop! Marty Scurll makes his third consecutive Best of the Super Juniors appearance in 2019. He is a former IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion, NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Champion, and is currently one-third of the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Champions with his Villain Enterprises stablemates PCO and Brody King. King will be joining Scurll on this tour to wrestle in the undercard, but make no mistake: Scurll’s main focus is on returning to singles glory in New Japan. With his sharp technical skills and sly tactics, the umbrella-wielding “Villain” will make a formidable opponent for anyone who steps in his way.
There are favorites to win this year’s tournament, then there is THE favorite: This guy right here, Shingo Takagi. Since leaving his home promotion of Dragon Gate and debuting in New Japan at last year’s King of Pro-Wrestling as the sixth member of Los Ingobernables de Japon, Shingo has been on an absolute tear through the NJPW junior division. Want proof? He has not been pinned or submitted once since his debut. Shingo’s brute force offense, impressive power, and notable size advantage have established him as the new Big Bad of the junior division, but BOSJ will be his first real run as a singles wrestler in the company; almost all of his time has been spent with BUSHI in the tag scene, where they are former IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions together. Some are predicting that Shingo will go undefeated through his block and win the whole tournament, which would not be a total shock given how dominant he’s looked so far. To do so, however, he would have to beat some pretty tough competition in A Block, including Dragon Lee, Taiji Ishimori, and his heated rival SHO. Speaking of which…
Currently one half of the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions with his Roppongi 3K partner YOH, SHO enters his second Best of the Super Juniors looking to improve upon his prior performance; he only scored six points in 2018, tying for last place in his block. SHO has been pegged as a future singles star in New Japan and a BOSJ victory would certainly put him on the fast track. The biggest hurdle standing his way? Shingo Takagi. Shingo pinned SHO in a tag match at King of Pro-Wrestling and the two have been violently dogging at one another ever since. The two rivals will finally meet in their first singles encounter on the first night of the tournament, May 13, in a match that has plenty of New Japan fans salivating. Can SHO pull off the upset and give Shingo Takagi his first loss in New Japan? Or will he once again fall to “The Dragon?”
Another A Block favorite is Taiji Ishimori, who’s been having a sneaky good in-ring year so far. He won the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship off of KUSHIDA (remember him?) at Wrestle Kingdom 13 in January and then successfully defended it against Ryusuke Taguchi and Jushin Thunder Liger in subsequent months. He lost the belt to Dragon Lee in April, but winning the Best of the Super Juniors can put him back in the mix *snaps finger* just like that. Ishimori came very close to winning last year’s tournament, losing in the finals to Hiromu Takahashi in an outstanding match of the year contender. The “Bone Soldier” could easily climb his way back to glory using his speed and cunning, but even if he doesn’t, at least he still has those perfect abs.
TAKA is coming… motherfucker. The former member of the legendary stable Kaientai and the current hype man for Zack Sabre Jr., TAKA Michinoku is one of the craftiest veterans kicking around the hallowed halls of New Japan Pro Wrestling. With over 25 years of wrestling experience under his belt, TAKA knows just as much about the technical side of wrestling as he does its shortcuts and cheap tricks. As far as in-ring success goes, well… let’s just say that TAKA’s brightest days are behind him. In 2018, he did not score a single fall the entire year. He did, however, lose quite a lot. And in his most recent BOSJ run, he only scored a meager four points. TAKA did manage to score a pin on Tiger Mask in a recent tag match, but his odds of running the board in this year’s tournament are practically slim to none (and slim just left town). Good luck, TAKA, ’cause you’re gonna need it.
Say hello to the oldest and most experienced Best of the Super Juniors wrestler in this year’s field. The 48-year-old Tiger Mask will be competing in his record-extending 18th consecutive BOSJ tournament. He is also one of the few wrestlers to have won the tournament in back-to-back years. Unfortunately, due to his age and placement on the card, the chances of Tiger Mask winning this year’s BOSJ are extremely unlikely; he’s basically there to pick up a couple of wins and lose the rest. That being said, don’t dismiss the man completely. We’ve seen in the past that Tiger Mask’s greatest asset is often his grumpiness. And when he’s in the ring with some of these young punks in A Block, win or lose, I guarantee that this feisty feline is gonna give them a beating that they will not soon forget.
My apologies for the blurry photo of Titán that I used, it was the only good .png of him that I could find. What is crystal clear, however, is Titán’s skill as a wrestler. He may not have as much cache with New Japan fans as his CMLL counterpart Dragon Lee, but Titán is still one hell of an athlete. His flippy-do’s and springy-ma-bob’s (I like to use the technical terms whenever possible) are always fun to watch and he shows a lot of heart and fire as well. This will be Titán’s first BOSJ in six years, so I’m sure he’s itching to make it count and become a big star on an international level.
You wanna talk crafty veterans? Look no further than Yoshinobu Kanemaru, a 23-year pro who has been a multiple-time champion in New Japan, All Japan, and Pro Wrestling NOAH. Dubbed “the Swiss army wrestler” by VOW’s own Joe Lanza, Kanemaru is one of those guys who can mix in with anybody no matter the circumstances. The tricky thing with Kanemaru though is that his success in New Japan has been exclusively as a tag team wrestler, having won the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship three times over the course of his career. Winning Best of the Super Juniors on his third attempt would surely kickstart Kanemaru’s singles run, but he’s got nine other wrestlers to get through if he even wants to sniff the finals; lucky for Kanemaru, the whiskey-spitting “Heel Master” has plenty of craftiness to go around.
When the news broke late last year that Bandido had signed a contract with Ring of Honor, it sent a jolt of excitement through the souls of New Japan fans everywhere. Why? Because it meant that one of the most exciting, must-see wrestlers in the world could potentially be included in Best of the Super Juniors through the ROH-New Japan connection. Lo and behold, our dreams came true. If you’ve already seen him wrestle in places like ROH, PWG, Dragon Gate, or anywhere else, then you know how spectacular Bandido can be in the ring. With his entry into this year’s BOSJ, those New Japan fans who are unfamiliar with Bandido will come to know that as well, especially since he’s in the same block as fellow high-flyers Will Ospreay and El Phantasmo. We got a little taste of what Bandido can do with the New Japan juniors in the three-way dance at Madison Square Garden; now we’re about to get a full-course meal. Bon appétit!
OH MY GOSH! *grimy rave music intensifies* While Shingo Takagi represents LIJ in A Block, his tag partner BUSHI is flying the flag for the stable in B Block. BUSHI is a former IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion and recently held the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship with Shingo for a spell. Despite his trophies, BUSHI’s stance amongst the other LIJ juniors has always been as the bridesmaid and never the bride. It’s Hiromu Takahashi and Shingo who have gotten the big pushes and widespread praise, while BUSHI is often left playing second fiddle. Perhaps a winning turn in this year’s Best of the Super Juniors can change all of that.
This was supposed to be El Desperado’s spot in the tournament, but thanks to breaking his jaw in a deathmatch with Jun Kasai A WEEK BEFORE THE TOURNAMENT STARTED (serenity now, serenity now), Despy is out of BOSJ and will be replaced by DOUKI. He is being billed as a Suzuki-gun hired gun, having been brought in by Taichi. I literally knew nothing about DOUKI before he was announced, but thanks to the always reliable Cubsfan, I do now! DOUKI is a mainstay of the Mexican indie scene, having wrestled for practically every indie promotion under the sun. He’s also wrestled for various indies in his native country of Japan, including K-DOJO, Michinoku Pro, SECRET BASE, and FREEDOMS. DOUKI uses a high impact, smash mouth Mexican indie style, so him being a replacement for El Desperado is actually quite fitting. This is the biggest opportunity of his career and I hope he makes the best of it. As for how to pronounce his name, it’s Doh-Kee; just think of a cross between Homer Simpson and Low Ki and you’ll be fine.
If you watched any show from the New Japan Cup tour, you would have seen a video being played hyping up a mysterious new wrestler that would be debuting soon for the Bullet Club. This new wrestler turned out to be El Phantasmo, a UK-based transplant from Canada who is a mainstay in RevPro. Phantasmo made his New Japan debut just recently on the second night of Wrestling Dontaku, teaming with Taiji Ishimori to defeat Will Ospreay and Dragon Lee. The cocky Canuck immediately made a name for himself by pinning Ospreay clean in the middle of the ring. Best of the Super Juniors will be EL-P’s chance to underline that exclamation point as he goes one-on-one with Ospreay on May 22 in the main event of Korakuen Hall. There’s a lot of hype behind Phantasmo thanks to those videos, so let’s see if he can live up to it by standing in the winner’s circle in Sumo Hall.
You remember how Flip Gordon was in last year’s BOSJ? Well he was supposed to be in this year’s tournament too, but thanks to some last minute visa issues, the ol’ Flipster is out and New Japan young lion Ren Narita is in! Narita is one of the more experienced young lions on the roster, so him being picked to replace Flip is not a shock, especially since his generational classmate Shota Umino was selected to be in this year’s New Japan Cup. Still, he’s a young lion, and young lions do not fare well in Best of the Super Juniors. With very rare exceptions (Hiromu Takahashi in 2012 and David Finlay in 2016), young lions lose every single tournament match that they have. So chances are Narita will walk away with zero points this year, but in terms of gaining experience and growing as a wrestler, this will still be an incredible opportunity for Narita on his journey to stardom.
The current ace of the Australian wrestling scene, Robbie Eagles was originally brought into Bullet Club last October as a partner for Taiji Ishimori during the Super Jr. Tag League. As it turns out, Eagles is a really great wrestler, so New Japan had the good sense to bring him back in 2019. The “Sniper of the Skies” utilizes an awesome mix of aerial and technical wrestling. Case in point: In his first match in the Tag League, he hit a 450 Splash onto Jushin Thunder Liger’s knee, then immediately transitioned into the Ron Miller Special, forcing Liger to submit. It’s that kind of style that makes Robbie Eagles one of the more dangerous wrestlers in his block. As far as his tournament schedule goes, keep your eye on May 26. That’s the date that he’s scheduled to wrestle Will Ospreay in the semi-main event in Chiba. Their 2017 match from PWA Call to Arms was absolutely phenomenal and, if given enough time, those two can tear the roof off the sucker once again.
After the amicable dissolution of Roppongi Vice in 2017, Rocky Romero decided to take on more of a backseat role in the junior division. He became the manager for Roppongi 3K, successfully guiding the team to three IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship reigns and two back-to-back Super Jr. Tag League victories. He also became a semi-regular English commentator on New Japan World. Rocky’s had the occasional singles match here and there, but most of his in-ring time has been spent in tag matches with his CHAOS buddies. Of course, now that the BOSJ has expanded to 20 wrestlers, that’s all about to change. This will be Rocky’s first Super Juniors tournament in three years and it’ll be curious to see how well he does. He is the self-proclaimed “King of Sneaky Style,” so he’ll probably sneak out some wins, but a tournament victory is likely not in the cards. Sorry Rocky. Have a free plug on me! RockyRomeroMerch.com
Most times out of the year, Ryusuke Taguchi is content to just being a total goofball with his ass-based antics. Then there are those select moments when “Big Match Gooch” emerges from his cocoon and busts out some exciting matches. Those moments are IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship matches (his match with Ishimori at The New Beginning in Osaka is a prime example of this) and Best of the Super Juniors. Taguchi has cranked up the effort meters in past BOSJ iterations and will likely do so again this year as well. When it comes to winning the tournament, that honor will not come easily. Taguchi is not the top junior division singles star that he once was, having passed the torch to the next generation. Him placing first amongst the field is a hell of a long shot. Still, Taguchi can easily play spoiler to his younger counterparts if they take him too lightly.
B Block is Will Ospreay’s to lose. He is the odds-on favorite to win the block and, much like Shingo Takagi, possibly go undefeated in doing so. Granted it’s not hard to imagine why. Ospreay is a megastar right now, thanks to winning the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship twice, winning Best of the Super Juniors in 2016, and being the runner-up in 2017. He also spent the first quarter of this year as NEVER Openweight Champion, gaining pinfall wins over heavyweight wrestlers like Kota Ibushi, Bad Luck Fale, Lance Archer, and Jeff Cobb. And if that wasn’t enough, he’s also one of the best wrestlers in the world with a worldwide fanbase. There is no way in hell that Will Ospreay is ending up with a 4-5 record at the end of block play. The man is simply too undeniable, and when you are undeniable, you will not be denied. So there’s an excellent chance that Will Ospreay will make the finals… but will he win it? After all, there’s someone in A Block who is also undeniable: The aforementioned Shingo Takagi. And if those two meet in Sumo Hall to decide the winner of Best of the Super Juniors 26, oh baby you got a stew going!
Rounding out the field of participants this year is the other half of Roppongi 3K, YOH! The IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion actually has more BOSJ experience than his partner SHO due to competing in it in 2015 as a young lion, but since YOH earned zero points in his first run, both Roppongi 3K members currently have the same number of cumulative block play points (six). This year’s tournament could see those levels shift dramatically should either man score more victories than the other, or they could win the same number of matches and keep their scores at a dead heat. Since YOH is the smaller, faster of the two, his placement in B Block with a bunch of other high-flyers makes a ton of sense. Even if he doesn’t end up winning the tournament, he could still score major points in the eyes of New Japan fans with a series of exciting matches.
So those are your Best of the Super Juniors 26 participants. To sum up:
A Block: Dragon Lee, Jonathan Gresham, Marty Scurll, Shingo Takagi, SHO, Taiji Ishimori, TAKA Michinoku, Tiger Mask, Titán, Yoshinobu Kanemaru
B Block: Bandido, BUSHI, DOUKI, El Phantasmo, Ren Narita, Robbie Eagles, Rocky Romero, Ryusuke Taguchi, Will Ospreay, YOH
What’s cool to see about these blocks is that A Block is made up of mostly ground-based wrestlers (Gresham, Scurll, Shingo, SHO, TAKA, Kanemaru), whereas B Block has a bunch of aerial-based wrestlers (Bandido, Phantasmo, Eagles, Ospreay). This gives each block its own identity of sorts and will allow for better pairings between similarly-styled wrestlers.
Notable Block Matches
There are going to be A TON of matches to watch thanks to the expanded field of 20 wrestlers; 90 total block matches will make tape over the course of around three weeks. You can watch all of them if you’d like, but if you’d prefer to go a-la-carte and pick out the ones that are most interesting, here is a small sampling of matches that look notable for one reason or another:
- Shingo Takagi vs. SHO (5/13) – Arguably the most anticipated match of the tournament, two bitter rivals meet in singles competition for the first time ever.
- Dragon Lee vs. Taiji Ishimori (5/13) – A rematch of their IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship match from Wrestling Dontaku. The first one was great, this should be no different.
- Jonathan Gresham vs. TAKA Michinoku (5/15) – A dream match between two technical masters.
- Shingo Takagi vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru (5/18) – These two have worked exceedingly well together in the past. This main event match could end up being a sneaky favorite of the tournament.
- Will Ospreay vs. El Phantasmo (5/22) – Ospreay looks to gain a measure of revenge from the Wrestling Dontaku tag loss in this Korakuen Hall main event.
- Will Ospreay vs. Bandido (5/23) – Their WrestleCon SuperShow match in April tore the house down. Put the rematch in front of a Korakuen Hall crowd and enjoy the ride.
- Dragon Lee vs. Shingo Takagi (5/23) – This just sounds plain awesome.
- Will Ospreay vs. Robbie Eagles (5/26) – Eagles is already a star in Australia. If he and Ospreay have a match comparable to their prior classics, then he could easily become a star in New Japan.
- SHO vs. Jonathan Gresham (5/31) – If you loved the grapple-heavy SHO vs. KUSHIDA match from BOSJ 2018, then circle this match on your calendars.
- Shingo Takagi vs. Taiji Ishimori (5/31) – A potential A Block winner decision match.
- Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Will Ospreay (6/3) – A potential B Block winner decision match.
All shows will be shown live on New Japan World with English commentary. Matches are in ascending order on the card unless otherwise noted.
May 13 @ Sendai Sun Plaza, Sendai
- A Block: Tiger Mask vs. TAKA Michinoku
- A Block: Titán vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
- A Block: Marty Scurll vs. Jonathan Gresham
- A Block: SHO vs. Shingo Takagi
- A Block: Dragon Lee vs. Taiji Ishimori
May 14 @ Sendai Sun Plaza, Sendai
- B Block: Ren Narita vs. DOUKI
- B Block: Rocky Romero vs. Robbie Eagles
- B Block: Bandido vs. El Phantasmo
- B Block: Will Ospreay vs. BUSHI
- B Block: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. YOH
May 15 @ Aomori Prefectural Martial Arts Hall, Hirosaki
- A Block: Jonathan Gresham vs. TAKA Michinoku
- A Block: Tiger Mask vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
- A Block: Titán vs. Shingo Takagi
- A Block: Marty Scurll vs. Taiji Ishimori
- A Block: Dragon Lee vs. SHO
May 16 @ Aomori Prefectural Martial Arts Hall, Hirosaki
- B Block: Ren Narita vs. Robbie Eagles
- B Block: YOH vs. Bandido
- B Block: BUSHI vs. El Phantasmo
- B Block: Will Ospreay vs. Rocky Romero
- B Block: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. DOUKI
May 18 @ Yamagata Big Wing, Yamagata
- A Block: SHO vs. TAKA Michinoku
- A Block: Tiger Mask vs. Marty Scurll
- A Block: Titán vs. Taiji Ishimori
- A Block: Dragon Lee vs. Jonathan Gresham
- A Block: Shingo Takagi vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
May 19 @ Yamagata Big Wing, Yamagata
- B Block: Rocky Romero vs. Ren Narita
- B Block: Bandido vs. DOUKI
- B Block: El Phantasmo vs. Robbie Eagles
- B Block: Will Ospreay vs. YOH
- B Block: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. BUSHI
May 22 @ Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
- A Block: Taiji Ishimori vs. TAKA Michinoku
- B Block: Bandido vs. Ren Narita
- A Block: Titán vs. Jonathan Gresham
- B Block: Rocky Romero vs. YOH
- A Block: Tiger Mask vs. Dragon Lee
- B Block: BUSHI vs. DOUKI
- A Block: SHO vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
- B Block: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Robbie Eagles
- A Block: Marty Scurll vs. Shingo Takagi
- B Block: Will Ospreay vs. El Phantasmo
May 23 @ Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
- B Block: Ren Narita vs. El Phantasmo
- A Block: Titán vs. TAKA Michinoku
- B Block: BUSHI vs. Robbie Eagles
- A Block: Tiger Mask vs. Jonathan Gresham
- B Block: YOH vs. DOUKI
- A Block: SHO vs. Marty Scurll
- B Block: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Rocky Romero
- A Block: Taiji Ishimori vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
- B Block: Will Ospreay vs. Bandido
- A Block: Dragon Lee vs. Shingo Takagi
May 24 @ Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
- A Block: Tiger Mask vs. SHO
- B Block: Will Ospreay vs. Ren Narita
- A Block: Marty Scurll vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
- B Block: Robbie Eagles vs. DOUKI
- A Block: Shingo Takagi vs. TAKA Michinoku
- B Block: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Bandido
- A Block: Jonathan Gresham vs. Taiji Ishimori
- B Block: YOH vs. BUSHI
- A Block: Dragon Lee vs. Titán
- B Block: Rocky Romero vs. El Phantasmo
May 26 @ Makuhari Messe International Exhibition Hall, Chiba
- B Block: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Ren Narita
- A Block: Jonathan Gresham vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
- B Block: Rocky Romero vs. DOUKI
- A Block: Titán vs. Marty Scurll
- B Block: Bandido vs. BUSHI
- A Block: Tiger Mask vs. Shingo Takagi
- B Block: YOH vs. El Phantasmo
- A Block: Dragon Lee vs. TAKA Michinoku
- B Block: Will Ospreay vs. Robbie Eagles
- A Block: SHO vs. Taiji Ishimori
May 29 @ Nagoya Congress Center, Nagoya
- A Block: Marty Scurll vs. TAKA Michinoku
- A Block: SHO vs. Titán
- A Block: Tiger Mask vs. Taiji Ishimori
- A Block: Jonathan Gresham vs. Shingo Takagi
- A Block: Dragon Lee vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
May 30 @ Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium Sub Arena, Osaka
- B Block: YOH vs. Ren Narita
- B Block: Bandido vs. Robbie Eagles
- B Block: Rocky Romero vs. BUSHI
- B Block: Will Ospreay vs. DOUKI
- B Block: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. El Phantasmo
May 31 @ Ehime World Trade Center, Ehime (match order unspecified)
- A Block: Tiger Mask vs. Titán
- A Block: Dragon Lee vs. Marty Scurll
- A Block: SHO vs. Jonathan Gresham
- A Block: Shingo Takagi vs. Taiji Ishimori
- A Block: Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. TAKA Michinoku
June 3 @ ZIP Arena, Okayama (match order unspecified)
- B Block: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Will Ospreay
- B Block: Rocky Romero vs. Bandido
- B Block: YOH vs. Robbie Eagles
- B Block: Ren Narita vs. BUSHI
- B Block: El Phantasmo vs. DOUKI
June 5 @ Ryogoku Sumo Hall, Tokyo
- Final: A Block Winner vs. B Block Winner