[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. Ten more matches will take place on Day 8, as every competitor in both the A and B Blocks will be in action, with Dragon Lee facing off against the still undefeated Shingo Takagi in the main event for the A Block. Will Ospreay and Bandido will leave it all on the line in the semi-main, and Rocky Romero and Ryusuke Taguchi going to war for the honour of being the head coach of NJPW. Marty Scurll will face SHO in a A Block match, and many more fights on day 8 of the Best of the Super Juniors.
+ Shingo Takagi vs Dragon Lee (BOSJ A Block Match): the Last Dragon vs the champion Dragon Lee was absolutely incredible. Bandido/Ospreay was something special for Bandido, but this match was something special for professional wrestling. I can’t state how incredible Shingo is, and how insanely talented Dragon Lee is. I was reacting so involuntarily and audibly that my dog came running up to me from the other end of the house. God almighty, this was nearly perfect
+ Bandido vs Will Ospreay (BOSJ B Block Match): holy crap, this was great. Not much else I can say except to add this to the best matches of the tournament, and another definite contender for match of the year. Bandido is going to be a star, no matter where he ends up
+ Rocky Romero vs Ryusuke Taguchi (BOSJ B Block Match): there were some pre-match comedy shenanigans here, but once it turned into a proper wrestling match, it was just as fun. Both guys have such good timing to interchange between comedy and wrestling, so it made for a really enjoyable match that kept itself fresh throughout
+ Marty Scurll vs SHO (BOSJ A Block Match): this match may have had the loudest crowd of the entire tournament so far. The duelling “Yoh-oh / Woop woop” was championship match worthy love, and rather than deflating after a couple of near-finishes, the place just kept getting louder. Scurll has been in two monstrous wars over two nights against Shingo and now SHO, and SHO once again proved tha the is goingt o be a massive mega-star. This was phenomenal
+ Jonathan Gresham vs Tiger Mask (BOSJ A Block Match): this was another really, really good technical match. Gresham and Tiger worked really well together, and thought this was quite short, neither man looked bad due tot he match length. Gresham could be the junior heavyweight ZSJ at this point, and I’m all for it
+ Robbie Eagles vs BUSHI (BOSJ B Block Match): the third match on the show, and the first one I really liked. Eagles is (intentionally or otherwise) coming across as the greatest underdog, and this was so clear when he was getting 50-50 chants with BUSHI, a perennial crowd favourite. Both guys looks smooth and on point, and it made for a good match to watch
– DOUKI vs YOH (BOSJ B Block Match): the crowd went bonkers for DOUKI at the match beginning, but things soon settled into a, truthfully, kind of sloppy match. Maybe the competitors are more tired than usual, or this was an intentionally ‘real’ looking brawl, but it didn’t do it for me at all
– TAKA Michinoku vs Titan (BOSJ A Block Match): even though I have literally just finished watching this, I can’t say that I remember anything about it, except for one particular Titan dive. Titan has looked good in his last two matches, so hopefully he can have a bit of a showing somewhere down the line
– El Phantasmo vs Ren Narita (BOSJ B Block Match): after his banger to end the night on Day 7, Phantasmo was just a douchy, but a little bit noticeably slower in the ring. Narita looked good, obviously, this this was a very standard, quite short opening affair
> as we get towards the tail end of the tournament, we start to get matches where one competitor is mathematically incapable of winning, which can sometime dampen the hype of the matches
Should you watch this event: If you need to sell your first born son to see Shingo Takagi versus Dragon Lee, then do it without a second thought. Ospreay/Bandido, Scurll/SHO and Taguchi/Romero are all also fantastic.