NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
BEST OF THE SUPER JUNIORS 2019 NIGHT 13
MAY 31, 2019
ITEM EHIME – EHIME, JAPAN

Watch: NJPW World

TAKA Michinoku is once again off of this show due to injury. Because of this, we no longer will get the grumpiest match of all-time between him and Yoshinobu Kanemaru.

BEST OF THE SUPER JR. 26 A BLOCK
TITAN (6) DEF. TIGER MASK IV (4)

Tiger Mask IV’s early run of dominance ended with 8 losses in a row. While he continues to get older, his overall points continue to go down. During last year’s tournament he ended up with 6 points, so this must be looked at as a little bit of a letdown for him. Titan scored the fall here on an awkward and ill-timed rollup, but a win is a win, and because of that, Titan finishes the tournament with one more win than his opponent in this match. I can’t say this match did anything notable. They got in, they grappled, and 8 minutes later, Titan was on his way to the back, victorious. **1/2

BEST OF THE SUPER JR. 26 A BLOCK
SHO (10) DEF. JONATHAN GRESHAM (8)

Had this match happened on Night One of the tournament, there would’ve been a little bit more juice in this bout to get it to the four-star threshold. Instead, we see it at the end of this long tour, both guys are a little slower, and while this match was still very good, I can’t call it great.

Gresham came into this match and targeted the legs of the power junior. Not a bad strategy considering that if SHO can’t lift you, he probably can’t beat you. Gresham, however, failed to do that much damage to SHO. After sliding back in the ring on a 19 count after being locked in a figure four on the outside, SHO went on a string of offense that ultimately led to the Shock Arrow for the win.

This was tons of fun. Any time wrestlers can mix grappling and flying like this, I’m all about it. This is worth watching. ***1/2

BEST OF THE SUPER JR. 26 A BLOCK
DRAGON LEE (14) DEF. MARTY SCURLL (10)

With this win, Dragon Lee has become the most successful luchadore to ever compete in the Best of the Super Juniors, beating out Black Tiger’s runs in 1993 and 1994.

Marty Scurll has made me buy back some of his stock that I sold aways back. Scurll has really struggled to knock my socks off when he’s not squaring off against Will Ospreay for the better part of 18 months now. He’s figured out a way, similar to Adam Cole towards the end of his run on the indies, to work smarter, not harder, and I can’t blame him for that. Scurll has been taking it easy in the ring this year, especially compared to his Villain Enterprise partners Brody King and PCO.

In this tournament, however, Scurll has shifted into a gear that I didn’t think he had anymore. His match with Shingo Takagi was one of the best matches that the tournament had to offer and other than the Taiji Ishimori debacle has had a really fun, interesting tournament. Perhaps it was just my lowered expectations, but every time Scurll stepped into the ring, he really impressed me and this match was no different.

The finishing stretch of this match was just incredible. The uppercut-German Suplex-Flipping DDT-Knee Strike spot between these two sounds ridiculous on paper and I’m sure in gif-form it’s eye-roll worthy, but they did it at just the perfect time. The match peaked right there, and after fighting through one last barrage of Scurll moves, Lee landed the Desnucadora for the win. I loved every second of this. ****





BEST OF THE SUPER JR. 26 A BLOCK
SHINGO TAKAGI (18) DEF. TAIJI ISHIMORI (14)

Shingo Takagi has gone undefeated through block play in the Best of the Super Juniors tournament. That is such a satisfying sentence to type. He owned this tournament. He owned all of his opponents. He’s owning the wrestling landscape right now.

Takagi was dominant in this bout. Even when Ishimori was landing blows and locking him in submissions, I just never felt that Takagi was in any danger. He was too many weapons that he can use with ease. Ishimori was in no way squashed or buried. Comparatively speaking, he did more damage to The Dragon than others throughout the tournament, but those moves hardly made a dent in Takagi’s armor.

Shingo Takagi is now the third man to finish block play undefeated, following the lineage of Jushin Thunder Liger and Prince Devitt. It should be noted that Liger, who went undefeated in 2001, and Devitt, who did the same 12 years later, both went onto compete in that year’s G1 Climax. I’m not saying that Takagi is G1 bound, but it’s something to remember as we go forward.

For now, Takagi needs to have his sights set on the finals of the B Block. There’s a shot that we get Takagi vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, which would be the biggest letdown of all letdowns, because the other possibility is Takagi vs. Will Ospreay, and that is a match that starts at ****3/4 and can probably only go up from there.

Takagi’s victory with the Last of the Dragon was definitive. After the count of three, Takagi was firmly established as someone higher on the pecking order than Ishimori. I find Takagi more dangerous than Dragon Lee, most crafty than Ishimori, and he has a higher upside than Will Ospreay. Shingo Takagi is a star, and the wheels are once again in motion to elevate him. ****

Final Thoughts

The A Block finished with three banger matches. If you skip the Titan vs. Tiger Mask exhibition, the last three matches are all worth your time. The A Block ends on a high note after a very successful tour. I couldn’t be happier for Shingo Takagi, and I can’t wait to see what comes next for him.

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.