New Japan Pro Wrestling
Best Of The Super Juniors 29: Night 10
May 28, 2022
Makuhari Messe International Conference Hall 3
Chiba, Japan

Watch: NJPW World

Best Of The Super Juniors 29 – A Block
Francesco Akira (6) def. Yoshinobu Kanemaru (4)

The opening contest featured two guys who were looking to get to six points. At this stage, Francesco Akira was technically still alive, but just barely. Meanwhile, Kanemaru was already eliminated, as with three matches left, the best he could do was tie Ace Austin (who he lost to earlier in the tour). This got started quickly as Kanemaru jumped Akira before the bell. Akira managed to respond, but his momentum got cut off quickly after Kanemaru connected with a dropkick to the leg. That would be the focus of the rest of the match, as Kanemaru would keep working that leg over. Akira would eventually mount a comeback, and while Kanemaru nearly got Akira on a few flash pin attempts, the Italian would connect with Speedfire before hitting Fireball to secure the win. A very entertaining opening contest. Kanemaru is now officially eliminated from contention after that loss. As for Akira, while he got up to six points, his fate would be sealed later in the night. ***1/4

Best Of The Super Juniors 29 – A Block
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Taiji Ishimori (10) def. Clark Connors (6)

Taiji Ishomori got off to a great start to the tournament during the single block shows, but he lost two out of three in Korakuen Hall (to Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Ace Austin respectively). Clark Connors, meanwhile, has had quite the adventure thus far. He started his tournament 0-3, but then went 3-0 in Korakuen Hall to get to six points. Connors would give it his all, though it wasn’t enough in the end, as Ishimori emerged victorious after locking in the Bone Lock. A solid match between these two. The bout started off in a light-hearted manner with Ishimori accusing Connors of not being a junior heavyweight (something I’ve wondered myself, to be fair). Once things truly got going, Connors had the edge early, though Ishimori would take control after sending him into the ringpost a few times. Connors would fight back, though the damage to his arm and shoulder was evident. Ishimori would continue to work over the injured body part, and while Connors did go on a late flurry (nearly hitting his finisher), Ishimori countered into the Bone Lock, and that was it. I don’t think Connors was officially eliminated as of yet, but he was certainly teetering on the edge after this one. ***1/4

Best Of The Super Juniors 29 – B Block
Titan (4) def. BUSHI (6)

The third match on this card was a battle of masked men, with BUSHI looking to stay in touch with those at the top of the B Block. Unfortunately for the LIJ, the already eliminated Titan dashed those hopes here after hitting a Springboard Double Stomp for the win. This was another good match in a sting of good matches to kick off this show. BUSHI would attack Titan before the bell, and used Titan’s Mexican Flag to choke him. Titan would fight back with a dive, but then BUSHI would once again choke him to cut him off, this time using his T-Shirt. Titan would mount a comeback after BUSHI tried to take off his mask, and from there, it became a more even affair. They had some solid exchanges in the closing minutes, but a Tornado DDT signaled the beginning of the end for BUSHI, and the aforementioned Springboard Double Stomp did the trick. A nice victory for Titan as he puts BUSHI in a precarious position, standings wise. ***1/4

Best Of The Super Juniors 29 – A Block
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Ryusuke Taguchi (4) def. YOH (6)

YOH picked up a huge victory over Hiromu Takahashi on the second of the three Korakuen Hall shows, but any momentum he could’ve gotten from that win was flushed down the toilet the next night when he lost to Francesco Akira. He had a chance to get back on track here against the already-eliminated Ryusuke Taguchi. Unfortunately for YOH, Taguchi literally shoved his bare ass in his face on a pin following a rana to get his second win of the tournament. I have to be totally here…..I thought this match stunk. The first five minutes were just total low energy with nothing much of note happening, and then we got the Taguchi comedy at the end with him pulling down his tights to reveal his bright green underwear, before sticking his ass out. This was eight minutes of my life I wish I could get back. Taguchi’s had a couple of decent matches on this tour, but this was not one of them. As for YOH, he was just a total void here. No charisma, no energy, no intensity. He just calmly wrestled Taguchi for seven minute before finishing the match with some ass comedy. Fuck this match. *

Best Of The Super Juniors 29 – A Block
SHO (8) def. Impact X-Division Champion Ace Austin (10)

SHO got off to a rough start in this tournament, as he dropped his first two matches. Since then, he’s won three of his last four, but he really needed to pick up a win here over A Block leader Ace Austin to stay in the hunt. SHO would end up scoring that much-needed victory, though it took some heelish shenanigans for him to get the job done. He attacked Austin with his cane before the bell rang, and spent a number of minutes going after each other on the floor before SHO eventually threw Austin into a garage door. Austin nearly got counted out, though he responded quickly with a big kick off the apron and a Fosbury Flop. After going on a bit of an offensive flurry, Austin was on the verge of putting SHO away with The Fold, but SHO sent him into the referee. He would follow up with a low blow before locking Austin in the Snake Bite, which caused Austin to pass out. I guess on the House Of Torture shenanigans scale, this was on the lower end when it came to the finish. You had the stuff on the floor early and the low blow, and that was really it. I felt they spent a little too much time on the floor, and even though Austin had a nice comeback, there really wasn’t enough meat sandwiched between the early brawling and the cheating at the finish. An average match. **1/2

Best Of The Super Juniors 29 – B Block
ROH Pure Champion Wheeler Yuta (8) def. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Master Wato (4)

With how close the B Block is, wins at this stage are so crucial, and on this night, Wheeler Yuta was able to stay in the hunt with a win over Master Wato, which officially eliminated one-half of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions from contention. This lasted just under eight minutes, but it was a good match while it lasted. Wato did all of his usual stuff, though Yuta’s newfound aggression that he’s gained since joining Blackpool Combat Club really shined through at points. Yuta would target the arm at points, and after avoiding Wato’s attempt at the RPP, he nailed his version of the Angle Slam and the Danielson elbow strikes before he pinned Wato with the Seatbelt Clutch. Nothing really outstanding here, but a fine match for its spot on the card. ***1/4

Best Of The Super Juniors 29 – B Block
El Phantasmo (10) def. TJP (6)

Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton noted on English Commentary that this match was a big opportunity for TJP, as he was the perfect kind of wrestler to take advantage of a beat up El Phantasmo, who went through a war with Robbie Eagles a few days prior. TJP really seemed to have the edge in the early minutes after some technical exchanges, though that soon changed as Phantasmo connected with a pair of suplexes (both on the floor and in the ring). TJP was able to fight back later on when Phantasmo got a little too cocky. There was good back-and-forth action down the stretch, and at one point, TJP appeared to be close to winning after locking in the Pinoy Stretch. However, Phantasmo was able to escape, and while the two were in the middle of a flash pin exchange, he was able to transition into the CR2, and hit it to get the pin. A pretty good bout that was easily the best of the night up to this point. Phantasmo becomes the first wrestler in the B Block to reach ten points. ***1/2

Best Of The Super Juniors 29 – B Block
Robbie Eagles (8) def. El Lindaman (8)

Robbie Eagles picked up a big win over El Phantasmo in Korakuen Hall, in what was easily the best match of the tournament up to this point. That victory put him back in contention in the B Block, but he needed to keep that momentum up as he took on another wrestler with a name that starts with “El” in the form of El Lindaman (I only realized just recently that there are three wrestlers with “El” in their names in the same block). When the dust settled, Eagles managed to score the victory (moving to eight points in the process) after forcing El Lindaman to tap out to the Ron Miller Special. These two had a really strong match that topped the previous bout as the match of the night. It was only about ten minutes or so, but they packed in a lot of really good action into that period of time. As always, Eagles would work over the legs, though El Lindaman was able to use his speed and explosiveness to stay in the fight. The closing stretch was super fun to watch, with El Lindaman seemingly having Eagles well-scouted. However, it just took one Turbo Backpack before Eagles followed up with the aforementioned Ron Miller Special. Eagles joins the crew of guys at eight points as he tries to catch El Phantasmo. ***3/4

Best Of The Super Juniors 29 – A Block
Hiromu Takahashi (8) def. Alex Zayne (8)

Alex Zayne is clearly loving this trip to Japan. It’s clear to see that he’s having an awesome time if you look at his Twitter, and the fans have really embraced him as well. Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton made note before this match got started of the large line that Zayne had for autographs before the show (those pictures were shared online, and he indeed had a very long line). He had the chance to tie Taiji Ishimori at the top of the block with ten points, but that effort was stopped by Hiromu Takahashi, who picked up his first win since Night 5 (he had gone on an 0-3 skid after winning his first three). Another really strong match on this show! I feel like a broken record saying that, but it’s true. It was about on par with the Robbie Eagles/El Lindaman bout that came before it. They got off to a fast start, and Zayne got the better of Hiromu early. The former three-time Best Of The Super Juniors winner would fight back with a dropkick off the apron, and followed up a few moments later with his signature sunset flip powerbomb to the floor. Zayne was able to fight off a submission attempt with a powerbomb, but he wasn’t able to put a stop to Hiromu in the final few minutes. He managed to avoid the Taco Driver, and locked Zayne in D (is D or The D? I’m not sure) to secure the submission win. Hiromu gets back in the hunt by reaching eights points as the tournament reaches the home stretch. ***3/4

Best Of The Super Juniors 29 – B Block
El Desperado (10) def. DOUKI (6)

It’s an all Suzuki-gun affair in the main event, and the occasion was big enough that Taichi came out to join the Japanese commentary team. While DOUKI was technically still alive coming into this night, a loss here would deal a big blow to his hopes of winning the block. He gave it all he had against his stablemate, though in the end, El Desperado would pick up the win to join El Phantasmo at ten points at the top of the block. This turned out to be a great main event by the time it finished, though it wasn’t exactly the wild and crazy match that I envisioned coming into this show. It did get off to a slow start, though the pace did pick up quickly with some slaps and forearm strikes. DOUKI would connect with a DDT on the floor, though Desperado would respond with a big dive and a bodyslam on the floor (I love how it looks like Deserado just chucks people on that move). Both men would also try for submissions, with DOUKI trying for Italian Stretch #32, while Desperado would work over the leg in an attempt to set up the Numero Dos. The action really picked up in the second half, and especially the final few minutes. A wild moment near the finish saw DOUKI hit a diving DDT to the floor where he spiked Desperado on the exposed concrete! He followed up with the Daybreak DDT, and nearly had Desperado beat with Italian Stretch #32, but Desperado (who I thought sold DOUKI’s submission attempts really well) managed to stay alive. He responded with another Dragon Screw, and a version with Numero Dos with both hands trapped. DOUKI struggled all he could, but he eventually had no choice, and had to submit. Once again, this was a very strong main event. Desperado has been one of the best performers on this tour, and DOUKI did a really fine job in this spot. ****

Final Thoughts

This was far from the best show of the tour, but there were a number of good matches up and down this card. There was a real lull in the middle of the show with the awful Taguchi vs. YOH match and an average affair in the form of Ace Austin vs. SHO. Aside from that, the rest of the card ranged from really good to great, with the top three matches being the best of the bunch.

In terms of the block standings, after this night, both blocks had two guys at the top of the standings with ten points, and three wrestlers right behind them at eight point. At this stage, it’s pretty clear to see which guys will be contenders as we hit the home stretch.

A Block

Ace Austin – 10 Points
Taiji Ishimori – 10 Points
Alex Zayne – 8 Points
Hiromu Takahashi – 8 Points
SHO – 8 Points
YOH – 6 Points
Clark Connors – 6 Points
Francesco Akira – 6 Points
Yoshinobu Kanemaru – 4 Points
Ryusuke Taguchi – 4 Points

B Block

El Desperado – 10 Points
El Phantasmo – 10 Points
Robbie Eagles – 8 Points
El Lindaman – 8 Points
Wheeler Yuta – 8 Points
BUSHI – 6 Points
DOUKI – 6 Points
TJP – 6 Points
Master Wato – 4 Points
Titan – 4 Points

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