New Japan Pro Wrestling
Best of the Super Juniors 29 Night 2
May 17, 2022
Sakata City Gymnasium
Sakata, Yamagata, Japan

Watch: NJPW World

After the A Block kicked off this year’s Best of the Super Juniors on Sunday with some fine matches and interesting results, the B Block got their chance to shine on Tuesday as their side of the tournament got underway. Before I dive into the block matches, here’s a quick rundown of the multi-person tags that took place on the undercard:

  • Clark Connors, Kosei Fujita, & Ryohei Oiwa def. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, YOH, & Yuto Nakashima
  • Ace Austin & Tiger Mask def. Suzuki-gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taka Michinoku)
  • Bullet Club (Dick Togo, SHO, & Taiji Ishimori) def. Alex Zayne, Jado, & Ryusuke Taguchi

Best of the Super Juniors 29 B Block
DOUKI (2) def. El Lindaman (0)

This was my first time getting to see the GLEAT G-Rex Championship, and I have to say….what a strange looking belt. Anyway, the B Block of this year’s Best of the Super Junior officially got underway here, as DOUKI managed to score a bit of an upset win over El Lindaman. Even though DOUKI has certainly moved up the ranks of Suzuki-gun a little bit (his role as the guy at the very bottom of that unit’s pecking order has been taken by Taka Michinoku), I didn’t expect him to get a win over a champion from another promotion. Still, it was nice to actually see him hit Suplex de La Luna for a change. As for the match itself, it was a really enjoyable contest from start to finish. It only lasted about nine minutes or so, but I thought they made the most of that time. They went after each other right away, and while DOUKI tried to slow El Lindaman down at one point, he managed to fight back, and we got some nice action in the closing stages of the bout. It should be interesting to see how both of these men do going forward. DOUKI has bettered his final total by two points each year (two in 2019, four in 2020, six in 2021), while El Lindaman is, of course, a champion from another promotion. A fun match to get things started for the B Block. ***1/2

Best of the Super Juniors 29 B Block
El Phantasmo (2) def. BUSHI (0)

Given how this one turned out, it’s fair to say that it was appropriately placed in terms of the match order. The early moments of this bout saw El Phantasmo do his usual taunting (in this case, mixing some backflips with a strut) before BUSHI finally went on the offense. ELP managed to cut BUSHI off, and started to work him over with a mix of actual wrestling moves along with some….elaborate backrakes. BUSHI eventually mounted a comeback, and the match became a more even affair down the stretch. The finish saw BUSHI attempt the MX, but ELP counted with his Sudden Death Superkick, and followed up with the CR2 to score the win. I was a little surprised with how sudden, and how clean, the finish was. ELP just straight up beat him, which I suppose isn’t really a bad thing. I think we’d all rather see clean finishes over matches than end with a bunch of nonsense. The match itself was fine, but unspectacular. ***

Best of the Super Juniors 29 B Block
Robbie Eagles (2) def. Wheeler Yuta (0)

Out of the five tournament matches on this card, this was the one that I was looking forward to the most. Going into the tournament, I was super intrigued to see how this new Wheeler Yuta (now under the tutelage of the Blackpool Combat Club) would do on his first tour of New Japan, and he had a strong test right out of the gate in the form of former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Robbie Eagles. While Yuta definitely took the fight to Eagles, it wasn’t enough to earn the victory, as the match came to a series of pin exchanges where Yuta eventually got caught by Eagles for the pin. Even though this bout didn’t quite cross over to “notebook territory”, I still thought it was a really strong bout that was easily the best match of the tournament so far. It was definitely better than anything on opening night of the A Block. There were some very good technical exchanges throughout, mixed in with the hard-hitting offense you would expect from a tournament match in New Japan. Both men tried for submissions late, but ultimately, it was the aforementioned pinning exchange that brought the bout to an end. If you haven’t watched much of the tournament yet, and are looking for matches to check out, I would definitely recommend this one. Again, it wasn’t great, but at just over eleven minutes, it’s a really easy watch. ***3/4

Best of the Super Juniors 29 B Block
TJP (2) def. Master Wato (0)

While TJP proved to be the savior for his stablemate, Francesco Akira, on Night 1 (thwarting SHO’s attempt at using a weapon), he was far from a hero on this show, as he jumped Master Wato before the bell. Now unlike Robbie Eagles vs. Wheeler Yuta, this wasn’t exactly a match that I had circled as one that I was interested in when I saw the lineup. However, I have to give these two credit….they got me invested, and when the dust settled, this turned out to be a very good match. Wato quickly responded to TJP’s pre-match attack, and managed to connect with a big dive to the floor. TJP would cut off this offensive flurry after countering a springboard attempt, and started working over Wato’s arms and legs with various submissions. After a few minutes, Wato managed to fight back, and this led to a solid closing stretch as the two went back and forth. At one point, Wato tried for the RPP (his corkscrew senton off the top rope), but TJP managed to avoid it. He then followed up with the Mamba Splash, and locked Wato in a version of the Regal Stretch to secure the win. That result could potentially set up TJP and Francesco Akira for a future shot at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles. Again, I wasn’t expecting much from this, but they wound up having a very entertaining contest that told a fine story throughout, with Wato fighting off TJP’s early attack, and TJP working Wato over in preparation for the submission that he eventually got. ***1/2

Best of the Super Juniors 29 B Block
El Desperado (2) def. Titan (0)

The main event of the first night of B Block competition saw the returning Titan, representing CMLL, going up against the former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion El Desperado. Now the result of this match was never really in doubt. El Desperado was the clear favorite, and ultimately, he emerged victorious after hitting Titan with the Pinche Loco. In terms of the match itself, it was an awesome contest right from the opening bell, and by the time it concluded, I had it as the best match of the tournament so far (displacing Robbie Eagles vs. Wheeler Yuta from earlier in the night). There was so much cool action from start to finish that it’d be impossible to recap it all. It was so good to see Titan in New Japan again, and he’s also proof that tournaments like this can always use guys who bring different styles to the table. He worked very well here with Desperado, and the bout featured a lot of strong back and forth action throughout that fit so well into the thirteen minutes or so that they got. A good win to start off Desperado’s quest to the Finals, and a very good showing for Titan in his return to New Japan. Not much else to say about this one. The action in this one speaks for itself. ****

Final Thoughts

The first night of B Block action in this year’s Best of the Super Juniors definitely topped the opening night of the A Block in terms of match quality. El Desperado vs. Titan and Robbie Eagles vs. Wheeler Yuta were better than anything on Night 1, while DOUKI vs. El Lindaman and Master Wato vs. TJP were (for my tastes) just as enjoyable as some of the best stuff from Night 1. The one big difference on this particular card is that some of the newer faces (El Lindaman and Wheeler Yuta) started off their tournaments with a loss, though I’m sure those guys will play a factor as the tournament progresses. Once again, I have to give a complement to the length of the actual matches. The longest bout on this show was only thirteen minutes and change, so if you skip the undercard stuff, you can easily watch this show in about an hour. I know there are some double block nights coming up, but I think New Japan has done a great job thus far making these single block shows easily digestible.

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