New Japan Pro Wrestling
Best Of The Super Juniors 26: Night 6
May 19th, 2019
Yamagata Big Wing
Yamagata, Japan

Best Of The Super Juniors 26 – B Block – Rocky Romero (2) def. Ren Narita (0)

Despite having very strong outings on the first two B Block events, Rocky Romero had nothing to show for it, in terms of points. He came into Night 6 with an 0-2 record, but it was pretty much a lock that he would earn his first two points here, since he was taking on Ren Narita. This was a very solid singles contest. After an early technical exchange, Romero starting working over Narita’s left arm (he specifically avoided working over Narita’s right arm/right shoulder, since that was already injured), and that became the story of the match. In some ways, this was very similar to the story told in Narita’s match with Robbie Eagles on Night 4. The differences in this instance were that a different body part was involved and that Romero was more respectful towards Narita. The young lion was eventually able to fight back, and mounted some offense against Romero. Narita even managed to lock in that Sharpshooter/Cloverleaf submission that he’s been using as of late. His best efforts weren’t enough however, as Romero soon regained control and got the submission victory after locking Narita in an armbar. Before the finish, there was a really cool spot where Romero started kicked the left arm, but Narita just took it and dared Romero to keep kicking him! That was a fun moment, and as a whole, it was another fine outing for Narita. This wasn’t quite as good as the Robbie Eagles match from Night 4, but they got a lot of time (almost thirteen minutes) and Narita looked good in defeat. ***1/4

Best Of The Super Juniors 26 – B Block – Bandido (2) def. DOUKI (2)

Things got personal between these two on the undercard of Night 5, when DOUKI ripped off Bandido’s mask. DOUKI then attacked Bandido during his post-match interview a few minutes later. It was mentioned by Kevin Kelly and Caprice Coleman on commentary that Bandido and DOUKI actually have a history together. Bandido was one of the guys who helped DOUKI settle in when he first moved to Mexico, and I believe it was mentioned that Bandido had a hand in training DOUKI. So for the first time (and maybe the only time) in the tournament, DOUKI was facing someone who was familiar with him before being named as El Desperado’s replacement.

I know there have been a lot of DOUKI takes tossed around since this tournament got started a week or so ago. After seeing his first few matches, I’m probably somewhere in the middle. I don’t hate him with the fire of a thousand suns like some people do, but at the same time, I feel like saying that he’s been good is going a little too far. His first few tournament matches were by no means noteworthy, but they weren’t that bad either (even with the various shenanigans). That being said, I still want to see how DOUKI does against other opponents in his block before I’m ready to make a final judgement on him. In particular, I want to see how he does against Will Ospreay, as I believe he’s the ultimate barometer.

As far as this particular match with Bandido is concerned, I thought it was DOUKI’s best outing of the tournament thus far. It only went about ten minutes, but they certainly made the most of that short amount of time. DOUKI’s attempt to jump Bandido before the bell backfired, and Bandido connected with a suicide dive to the floor. From there, these two wrestled at a pretty quick pace. After that initial flurry, DOUKI controlled the early portion of the bout before Bandido managed to fight back with some of his signature high-flying offense. After trading submissions with Bandido, DOUKI seemed to be in the driver’s seat after hitting his slingshot DDT, which looked fantastic, as he spiked Bandido right on his head. Bandido fought back, however, and pinned DOUKI after hitting his crazy GTS variation, followed by the 21-Plex. A very entertaining ten minute affair as Bandido finally gets on the board with his first two points of the tournament. Again, this was a solid outing for DOUKI (in a match that didn’t have much in terms of heel tactics and chicanery), and I’ll be curious to see how he does against the other opponents he yet to face. I’ll remain optimistic. ***1/2

Best Of The Super Juniors 26 – B Block – El Phantasmo (6) def. Robbie Eagles (4)

Not only was this a Bullet Club vs. Bullet Club matchup, but it was a battle between undefeated wrestlers, as both were 2-0 coming into Night 6. They were friendly with each other at first, but that didn’t last long, as El Phantasmo quickly resorted to cheap shots. He even tried to go after Kevin Kelly for some reason, but that ultimately served as a diversion, and he successfully caught Robbie Eagles with his guard down. This took a few minutes to get going, but once it did, it proved to be a very entertaining spotfest. Much like the previous tournament bout, they made the most of the ten minutes they were given once they really got going. Both competitors were dishing out all sorts of high-flying spots, and it was a lot of fun to watch. Towards the end of the bout, Eagles hit an awesome combination of moves (Poison Rana, Sliced Bread off the ropes, and a 450 Splash), but that only got a two count. After coming that close to defeat, El Phantasmo had to resort to some trickery to get the job done. As Eagles tried to follow up, Phantasmo pulled the bandana that Eagles was wearing over his eyes. This gave Phantasmo the opening he needed, as he followed up with a superkick and the CR2 to score the victory. Again, this was a little slow at first, but it really picked up once they got through the early shenanigans. Phantasmo moves to 3-0 with 6 Points on the board as he heads towards a big showdown against Will Ospreay in Korakuen Hall. ***1/2

Best Of The Super Juniors 26 – B Block – Will Ospreay (6) def. YOH (2)

Speaking of inter-stable matchups, we had another one in the semi-main event, as we have members of CHAOS colliding in the form of Will Ospreay and YOH. Ospreay was looking to move to 3-0 (just like Phantasmo), while YOH was looking to just keep with the front-runners after starting 1-1. I went into this expecting a really good bout, but this absolutely blew away my expectations. Of course, this was a very strong wrestling match, which is no surprise, given how good these two really are. There was plenty of action from start to finish. However, the story they told added so much to this one. The opening few minutes were solid, and Ospreay was in control early, but everything changed when YOH connect with a Dragon Screw. From there, YOH continued the assault on Ospreay’s leg, and gained the advantage. He gave Ospreay a Dragon Screw when Ospreay was trapped on top rope, utilized a figure four leglock, and connected with multiple dropkicks to the knee. Ospreay did his best to fight through the pain, and I really liked the way he sold the injury. We did see some limping from Ospreay (a little bit exaggerated at point but I’m not complaining too much), but his subtle settling was awesome. He was still able to hit big moves on YOH. However, he would grab his knee almost immediately after hitting these moves. He was doing everything he can to get the win, even if it meant doing more damage to the injured knee. Later on, YOH managed to lock in some AJ Styles-esque Calf Crushers, including one after Ospreay’s leg bucked on a missed shooting star press attempt. Once again, Ospreay struggled through the pain, and survived everything that YOH threw at him. In the end, he managed to just get the victory after he managed to hit YOH with Stormbreaker. This might not have been the flashiest match in the tournament, but I thought it was fantastic. YOH played his role incredibly well, and the Ospreay injury really opened the door for the possibility of YOH getting a massive upset. Meanwhile, I thought Ospreay put in a stellar performance in terms of his selling. It might’ve been a little slow at the start, but as a whole, I loved this. My second favorite match of the tournament, up to this point. ****1/2

Best Of The Super Juniors 26 – B Block – Ryusuke Taguchi (6) def. BUSHI (0)

We followed up that awesome semi-main event with a….less than stellar main event, as Ryusuke Taguchi scored a victory over BUSHI to move to 3-0. This means he’s now tied for 1st Place at the top of the B Block with El Phantasmo and Will Ospreay. I know that Taguchi is a respected veteran in the junior division, but it’s amazing to me that he’s been in the main event of these first three B Block shows. He’s going to be a player….I understand that, but why couldn’t Will Ospreay vs. YOH main event this show? It’s not like this BUSHI/Taguchi singles bout was bad by any means. It was actually pretty solid. That being said, this felt like something that should’ve been the second or third tournament match on this show, not the main event. There were some comedy spots early (Taguchi running the ropes for what felt like a full minute while BUSHI just stood there, Taguchi hitting his version of the Kokeshi), but once they got passed that point, the wrestling itself was good. Towards the end of the bout, Red Shoes got knocked down, and this gave BUSHI the chance to use the black mist on Taguchi. This didn’t deter Taguchi that much, however, as he was able to just wipe away some of the mist from his eyes, and eventually made BUSHI tap out to an ankle lock. Is it just me, or did that whole final sequence make BUSHI’s mist look incredibly weak? He used it, but he still lost anyway. Go figure. ***1/4

Final Thoughts

Issues with match placement aside, this was a really solid outing from the B Block. Will Ospreay and YOH had an awesome match that was one of the best of the tournament thus far. As for the other four tournament bouts, they ranged from good to very good. Some of them have issues for sure, but I would recommend watching all five matches.

Here are the updated B Block standings after Night 6:

El Desperado (3-0) – 6 Points
Ryusuke Taguchi (3-0) – 6 Points
Will Ospreay (3-0) – 6 Points
Robbie Eagles (2-1) – 4 Points
Bandido (1-2) – 2 Points
DOUKI (1-2) – 2 Points
YOH (1-2) – 2 Points
Rocky Romero (1-2) – 2 Points
BUSHI (0-3) – 0 Points
Ren Narita (0-3) – 0 Points