Wrestling Review: NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 26 (2019) (Day 12)

[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 B Block returns to action on Day 12, as El Phantasmo faces Ryusuke Taguchi in the main event, Will Ospreay has his chance to take on the newcomer in DOUKI, and Robbie Eagles goes one on one with Bandido. YOH will take on Ren Narita in the opening match, and Rocky Romero will finally get his hands on long-time enemy BUSHI to round out the tournament card.

+ El Phantasmo vs Ryusuke Taguchi (BOSJ B Block Match): I really loved this match. Taguchi is the perfect babyface, because he has that naivety factor that so many babyfaces lack. Taguchi doesn’t look dumb, he just looks overly trusting, which is a fine line to walk, especially when your opponent – here Phantasmo – is such a god almighty asshole. This was not necessarily the best match, but it was so much fun it might be one of my favourites. I also really want to see Phantasmo against almost all of the A Block competitors
+ DOUKI vs Will Ospreay (BOSJ B Block Match): DOUKI busting out a page from the Hiromu/Ibushi/Naito playbook, and bring willing to die for my enjoyment has elevated him in my eyes. Ospreay has had a great tournament (and though I don’t expect him to win, I am ready to be proven wrong). I do really want to know more about who DOUKI is, and I do wonder if he’ll stick around at all once the BOSJ is over, but for now I’m enjoy him
+ BUSHI vs Rocky Romero (BOSJ B Block Match): I was looking forward to this one, after Rocky’s match with Phantasmo, and BUSHI being forever one of my boys. This was not really anything special, but it was two guys who can both wrestle well in a match where they were given that opportunity. There isn’t much more to say
+ Robbie Eagles vs Bandido (BOSJ B Block Match): this was really, really good. I didn’t think these two had ever wrestled before, but commentary says it has happened at least once before, but damn, after seeing this I just want more. Bandido had his big coming out party at All In, in that six-man main event, and I think this tournament might do the same for Eagles. This was a great match with a really good ending that made both guys look strong

Ren Narita vs YOH (BOSJ B Block Match): at this stage of Narita’s tournament, the only thing you can really look for is just how damn good he is for his ring time, and going against someone like YOH, who has improved so much since he was no longer a young lion is only a benefit. As much as this was a solid wrestling match, it also highlights the huge skill difference between YOH and someone like Rocky Romero or Will Ospreay, and the match they had with Narita

Should you watch this event: Seeing the competitors in the A Block, I had all but written the B Block off. Then, once I realised Shingo was most likely going on a run, and few, if any, others would be given the opportunity to do the same, it became clear that the B Block had a real chance of outshining the A Block, and I think it has. This was another really good show from the B Block.


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