[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. Day 11 is a return to split brackets, and it is the A Block that takes the spotlight. Current IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Dragon Lee is in the main event against the Heel Master, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, whilst the still undefeated Shingo Takagi will face off with the Octopus, Jonathan Gresham. Taiji Ishimori will battle Tiger Mask, and Titan will face off with SHO to round out the tournament matches, with Marty Scurll earning a win by forfeit over the injured TAKA Michonoku.
+ Yoshionbu Kanemaru vs Dragon Lee (BOSJ A Block Match): I really enjoyed this match. Kanemaru was a good opponent for Lee, who were each able to mix and match strikes and grapples for a competitive contest. Some shenanigans in the home stretch really added some intrigue, especially after-the-fact, once the match was over. This was a good main event, on a show of otherwise lacklustre matches
+ Titan vs SHO (BOSJ A Block Match): this was pretty good. Both guys have had good but not great tournaments, both in terms of points and matches, with SHO/Shingo and Titan/Lee being the standouts, respectively. I do hope we see more of Titan in NJPW’s junior division, though, and I wonder if this is going to lead to more SHO singles matches
– Shingo Takagi vs Jonathan Gresham (BOSJ A Block Match): this was pretty good, but once again had the same issues with a Shingo match. Gresham has really impressed on the A Block side of the bracket, and I look forward to seeing him more in Ring of Honor and NJPW. Takagi is what Takagi always is, and it was lots of fun while it lasted
– Taiji Ishimori vs Tiger Mask (BOSJ A Block Match): this was fine, but suffered much of the same problems as Shingo/Tiger from day 10; with the story they are telling between Shingo and Ishimori, I didn’t for a single second believe that Tiger was going to win this match, and whether that was true or not, it just meant I couldn’t get into it
Should you watch this event: With only the main event match being any good, either in terms of action or consequence, it is clear the tournament is winding down. Any match Shingo/Ishimori had until their match on the upcoming Day 13 was going to be a wasted spot.