NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
BEST OF THE SUPER JUNIORS 2019 NIGHT 2
MAY 14, 2019
SENDAI SUNPLAZA HALL
MIYAGI, JAPAN

Watch: NJPW World

BEST OF THE SUPER JR. XXVI B BLOCK
DOUKI (2) DEF. REN NARITA (0)

Kevin Kelly, Caprice Coleman and Chris Charlton all did a great job on commentary establishing DOUKI as an unknown force that has an advantage over everyone because he’s been so difficult to scout. I have seen the man a few times, but I’ve never been impressed by him, and while that didn’t change with this match, I did find myself slightly entertained by his act.

Aided by a chairshot and some unique moves, DOUKI dominated the match and put the crowd fully on the side of Narita, who fought back with dropkicks and a nasty Sharpshooter lock that got a nice pop. After some back and forth, we got into a great finishing stretch where Narita hit the overhead belly-to-belly… but was unable to do the bridge hold and the seconds it took him to make the cover allowed DOUKI to recover. Narita managed to counter DOUKI’s finisher with a roll-up that got a nearfall, closely followed by a cradle that got another two count. DOUKI stopped the young lion dead on its track with an ugly springboard DDT and finished him off with the beautiful Suplex de la luna.

I don’t like DOUKI’s straight-out-of-manga-convention look and I don’t think he’s going to light the tournament on fire, but he might mix things up with this unorthodox style… although I’m worried he’ll start doing more ‘Taichi stuff’ in the future, which I’m sure will get old pretty fast. Big props to the announce team for trying to put DOUKI over. Also, I recommend watching last night’s excellent Taichi promo where he spoke about DOUKI’s rough time in Mexico and how some of New Japan’s pampered wrestlers wouldn’t have survived there. **¾

BEST OF THE SUPER JR. XXVI B BLOCK
ROBBIE EAGLES (2) DEF. ROCKY ROMERO (0)

Eagles showed chemistry with Romero as both guys performed a good, smooth match in which Romero started hot, but was soon overwhelmed by Eagles’ attacks to the leg. One of my favorite spots was Rocky using Forever Clotheslines but having to stop after the first one due to the pain in his leg: that moment sucked the life out of the crowd and hit the point that Eagles game plan was being executed to perfection.

The pace improved during the second part of the match, and we got a cool collection of counters, as well as some signature moves. Rocky’s babyface fire helped the crowd’s investment and made Eagles’ offense look even smarter. Rocky got a nearfall with a Casita and – while holding his knee – tried a Shining Wizard that got blocked by Eagles. A couple of slap and kicks exchanges were followed by Robbie hitting the Turbopack for a 2 count that got a big pop. But Eagles was in full control now: he superkicked Rocky’s face, fell on his knee with a 450º and made him tap out with the Ron Miller Special, perfect and coherent ending for the little story told throughout a match that was very entertaining. ***½

BEST OF THE SUPER JR. XXVI B BLOCK
EL PHANTASMO (2) DEF. BANDIDO (0)

I’ve enjoyed El Phantasmo in the British indie scene, but I never saw him as a star and I wondered why was New Japan so high on him. Well, he looked like incredible here. It wasn’t an unforgettable performance or a Five Star match, but ELP showed swagger, he executed all the cool moves and he owned the character. He looked totally comfortable and I felt captivated by his presence and his confidence.

And the match was flippy fun, with lots of kicks, a couple of dives, a frankensteiner and even a crazy exchange of Canadian destroyers. I noticed that after Bandido used a Gorilla Press, women immediately started shouting his name and I think that’s his best bet to win over Japanese crowds: his unique mix of power and agility is going to help him big time in Japan. Bandido used the always impressive Moonsault Press for a nearfall, and not too long after that, Phantasmo used red shoes as a shield, pulled Bandido’s mask up, superkicked him and hit Greeting From Camwood Park for the win. He did all that while looking cool as a cucumber.

I felt some of the action was disjointed, but it was a fun enough match that achieved the objective of making Bandido look good and putting El Phantasmo over as an absolute prick that can kick ass whenever he wants. ***½





BEST OF THE SUPER JR. XXVI B BLOCK
WILL OSPREAY (2) DEF. BUSHI (0)

Kevin Kelly tried to sell me the fact that BUSHI wears a shirt to protect himself from Ospreay’s chops. And yes, Ospreay eventually removed the shirt to hit him hard, but let’s be honest here, BUSHI wears that shirt to the ring because he’s a geek. And even with the knowledge that BUSHI got the win in last year’s BOSJ, I never – not even with Ospreay’s great selling – did I buy for a single second that this masked geek could defeat a man that has recently danced with the likes of Kota Ibushi and Jeff Cobb.

BUSHI’s control period was hot garbage and I just couldn’t get into the match. Ospreay tried selling his butt off, but most of BUSHI’s attacks looked too weak to impress. The finishing stretch was fine: Ospreay blocked BUSHI’s mist, kicked him in the head and used the Hidden Blade + Storm Breaker combo to get the win. The match wasn’t bad, but I never bought the concept of the match because at this stage I think we should’ve seeing Ospreay dominate BUSHI… but we got the opposite and it looked dumb. ***¼

BEST OF THE SUPER JR. XXVI B BLOCK
RYUSUKE TAGUCHI (2) DEF. YOH (0)

YOH is still using the Roppongi 3K song but SHO is coming out with his own theme. Little things like that are so meaningful in New Japan and while SHO is clearly being touted as the potential future ace of the junior division, I hope YOH gets the chance to prove his worth too. And this was a great start for him as he delivered what I think is the second best match of the tournament so far.

In the beginning, I thought we were heading to a comedy-heavy match but thankfully we only got a couple of wacky minutes, and after that Taguchi got serious. I love when BOSJ Taguchi shows up: he was brilliant here, trying his hardest to stop YOH’s speed and youth, finding himself in trouble more than once and constantly having his moves countered. I particularly loved YOH’s countering Taguchi’s Bummer Ye into a smooth half crab submission that was soon followed by a Figure 4. The crowd got hotter and we saw a bunch of dramatic pinfall attempts from both sides. Taguchi locked up an Ankle Lock that made many female fans suffer in the crowd. YOH survived the ankle lock and a Dodon, but the rallying cry from the fans was not enough to wake him up after a determined Taguchi hit a Dodon The End for a three count. A great match where Taguchi showed up and YOH reminded everyone that he has a lot more to offer other than just tag team wrestling. ***¾

FINAL THOUGHTS

My expectations for Night 2 were met: we had solid, easy to watch outings across the board highlighted by a great main that ended up being Match of the Night. Next up, Taguchi has DOUKI and BUSHI on his plate, so we could be looking at a hot 3 straight victory start to tease a potential surprise for the finals. Bandido, Phantasmo and Eagles had good BOSJ debuts and DOUKI showed he can potentially freshen the tournament with his unorthodox style. Also, I’m still curious to see if Ospreay will loses to anyone in the tournament, and after playing the underdog role against BUSHI, I wonder what kind of matches will he bring to the table. How will the ‘heavyweight’ thing play out?

VOW Best of the Super Juniors 2019 Pick’Em Contest

For updated standings/scores, visit the VOW Forums at voicesofwrestling.com/forums. Reminder: Our pick’em champion will win a five vintage puro magazines and stickers from Violent Miracle as well as a free month of VOW Flagship Patreon.