Wrestling Review: NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 25 (2018) (Day 11)

The eleventh day of action from New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual junior heavyweight tournament brings four more matches in the A Block. The penultimate round of battles for the Best of the Super Juniors 25 will be:
– Flip Gordon vs BUSHI
– ACH vs Taiji Ishimori
– Tiger Mask vs Will Ospreay
– YOH vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru

[Please note: to save myself a bit of time, I am only reviewing the tournament matches. There are potential spoilers here from all earlier days of tournament matches.]

[Also please note: I am so far behind, and by the time you read this the tournament will be over. I don’t know any spoilers, but even if you do, some of these matches may have slipped your mind.]

+ YOH vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru (A Block Match): to take nothing away from either of these two, I am surprised how into this match the crowd was, considering they were hardly even awake for Ishimori, BUSHI or Will Ospreay just a handful of minutes earlier. This was a good main event, and the dastardly Kanemaru is once again the perfecnt balance for the underdog good guy in YOH. YOH is going to be a star one day, he has such charisma in his entrances and facial expressions, not to mention he can wrestle like a machine already. This was great, from both guys
+ Tiger Mask vs Will Ospreay (A Block Match): this was probably my favourite of Tiger Mask’s matches int he whole tournament so far, thanks in no small part to Ospreay’s fantatic selling. These two went back and forth, and did manage to get the crowd on their side eventually, and although the ending was a little bit lackluster, it certainly did it’s job. This was fine, which is high praise coming from me regarding Tiger Mask in this tournament – he has just not appealed to me at all
+ ACH vs Taiji Ishimori (A Block Match): Ishimori really carries himself well in his entrances, stumbling and lmbering like the monster(ish) persona he is meant to be, coincidentallya great contrast to ACH superhero gimmick. These two went all out in front of an almost silent crowd, until they started trading gunshot-like chest chops at which points the crowd came alive a bit. This was good, and certainly felt better once the audience was making some noise. Watching this, and without implying anything about the outcome of the match, I’d be surprised if NJPW don’t have big plans for Ishimori somewhere down the line

Flip Gordon vs BUSHI (A Block Match): mates, the crowd was absolutely dead for this match, which made it (probably) appear far worse than it was. Flip is still relatively inexperienced, and BUSHI is still my boy, but golly gosh gee whiz this was a nothing match

> seriously, every single match ended in the way I described a few days ago: one guy hits a big move, we get a surprise kickout, so guy 1 just hits another big move and gets the win. It was so frustrating

Should you watch this event: I mentioned in Day 10’s final thoughts about the B Block’s MVPs, and though the list is shorter on this side, it is still important: Ospreay, obviously, has been great, but Ishimori and YOH have both been phenomenal. I’ll be surprised if both of those two are not huge stars one day. As for this day of wrestling, it was fine, but after almost a dozen days of matches I feel like I’ve seen it all already. Just watch the matches of those you’re a fan of and save yourself some time.


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