New Japan Pro Wrestling
Best of the Super Juniors 2019 Night 3
Aomori Martial Arts Hall
May 15, 2019

Watch: NJPW World

Best of the Super Juniors 2019 A Block
Jonathan Gresham (2) def. Taka Michinoku (0)

Gresham has his fingers taped up after getting them snapped by Scurll on Night 1. I’ve got high expectations for Jonathan Gresham as he is one of my favorite wrestlers. This match is all about establishing Gresham and his many holds. Taka is the perfect person to do that as he can still go if he is motivated. Though it was obvious at times that he couldn’t keep up with Gresham’s pace. This match achieved what it set out to do and Gresham gets the win with his Octopus hold.

Best of the Super Juniors 2019 A Block
Tiger Mask (4) def. Yoshinobu Kanemaru (0)

The battle of the grumpy veterans. After falling ass first into New Japan Kanemaru has actually adapted quite nicely and has formed an entertaining tag team with Despy. To be quite honest this current iteration of Tiger Mask has never done much for me and this match is doing little to change that perception. They are largely working each other over with little fire or reaction from the crowd. We get a brief flurry with some strikes but otherwise, this is a match that happened. Should have had Tiger’s Mask in the tournament instead.

Best of the Super Juniors 2019 A Block
Shingo Takagi (4) def. Titan (2)

Going into the tournament I had high hopes for this match and considered it a sleeper pick for match of the tournament. However, the match, unfortunately, did not manage to live up to my expectations. These two were clearly not on the same page early on and it made for some awkward spots. It does pick up towards the end though and Shingo gets to show off why he is the best power guy in wrestling.

Best of the Super Juniors 2019 A Block
Taiji Ishimori (4) def. Marty Scurll (2)

Aaah after 10,000 years this match is finally over! Time to conquer earth! Having these two nearly go broadway was not a good decision as they tend to work better in sprint type matches. They start off well but the match significantly slows down after about five minutes. We get some brief flurries but largely this match stays at a very slow pace by the standards of either man.

The main problem with this match is that it feels like they were not planning to go this long. In a way, this match feels like the opposite of the KENTA vs Ricky Marvin. That match crammed a ten-minute match into a sub-five minute match. This match feels like a ten-minute match stretched out over 22 minutes. The closing stretch ended up being quite nice albeit very brief, which is about the only brief thing about this match. I used to be a big fan of Scurll before he went to Ring of Honor, but he stopped developing as a wrestler since then and has now been left in the dust by his contemporaries like ZSJ and Will Ospreay.

Don’t watch this match. Watch this match instead:

Best of the Super Juniors 2019 A Block
Dragon Lee (2) def. SHO (0)

This crowd is absolutely awful. These two start of the match hot and the crowd is completely silent. They weren’t great all night but they bottomed out here. SHO has steadily become one of the most popular guys in the junior division and Dragon Lee is over in most places as well. But for some reason, the crowd in Aomori just didn’t care about either of them.

Both men worked hard in this match but the lack of crowd engagement hurt it a lot.  Nevertheless, this match was an important one for SHO. It really established him as someone that is on an equal level with the Junior champion. Building credibility for his eventual singles run is what this tournament is about for him and he has to be the frontrunner to win BOSJ next year.

But as the end of this match showed, he is not quite there yet. While he is able to hang with your Shingo Takagi’s and Dragon Lee’s now, he is not able to overcome them yet. He had Dragon Lee on the ropes a couple of times but in the end, Dragon Lee was just a bit more experienced and managed to outlast him. The match was actually 5 minutes longer than the previous one but it felt significantly shorter. This was a good match that was significantly hurt by a lackluster crowd.

Final Thoughts

This was a fairly skippable show. Most of the matches were just ok and remained below expectations. Skip Ishimori vs Scull and if you have to watch anything from this night watch the main to follow the development of SHO into a proper force in the division.

VOW Best of the Super Juniors 2019 Pick’Em Contest

For updated standings/scores, visit the VOW Forums at 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.