Wrestling Review: NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 26 (2019) (Day 5)

[Please note: to save us all some time, I’ll only review the tournament matches themselves. There may be incidental spoilers for previous nights, but I won’t go out of my way to spoil things.]

New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual junior heavyweight round-robin tournament, the Best of the Super Juniors 26 continues. The A Block returns to the forefront for day 5, as the tournament favourite Shingo Takagi faces his biggest threat yet, as he goes into his battle against Yoshinobu Kanemaru int he main event nursing an injury. Dragon Lee and Jonathan Gresham will grapple in the semi-main, and Taiji Ishimori will face off against Titan.

+ Shingo Takagi vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru (BOSJ A Block Match): dang this was good, not least of all because Takagi was the de facto good guy, just because of how slimy Kanemaru is. Shingo worked well after the leg injury Kanemaru gave him on day 4, and really sold me on the idea that he was legitimately injured. Kanemaru, too, looked deadly in everything he did, and seeing that dynamic play out was really well done. I enjoyed this a lot
+ Jonathan Gresham vs Dragon Lee (BOSJ A Block Match): I really enjoyed Gresham in this match, but Lee was a little bit lacking. I know Lee has an injury (whether that be in story or in real life) but he looked completely outclassed in this match. Again, whether that was by design, or Gresham just knew this was the biggest match of the tournament for him, going against the champion, I can’t say. Overall, however, this was definitely a good match to watch
+ Taiji Ishimori vs Titan (BOSJ A Block Match): this was pretty good, and probably Titan’s best match so far. Ishimori did seem to be, to an extent, going through the motions, insofar as busting out his greatest hits, and it was as the commentators mentioned a potential neck injury that I saw how stiff Ishimori was when just standing still. Nonetheless, these two did work really well together, and it made for a good match

Marty Scurll vs Tiger Mask (BOSJ A Block Match): this match really bored me. The crowd was not into it, outside of Marty’s ‘woop woop’ and chicken dance, and the ending was very anticlimactic
TAKA Michinoku vs SHO (BOSJ A Block Match): I really, really did not enjoy this match. The winner looked weak and the loser looked pathetic

Should you watch this event: I really like Marty Scurll, but something about him this tournament is not hitting home for me. Again, and I assume as always for this tournament, Ishimori, Takagi and Dragon Lee are having great matches, but Gresham deserves a lot of credit for his match against Lee today. This was another 3:2 split for good and bad.

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