Wrestling Review: NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 26 (2019) (Day 14)

[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.]

[Also please note: I did my best to get these all done on time, but I’ve missed the end of the tournament by about two days. I have no idea who wins anything, so I am still as impartial as I can be.]

New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual junior heavyweight round-robin tournament, the Best of the Super Juniors 26 continues. Two straight weeks of action has led to this, as Day 14 sees the winner of the B Block, and who will face the winner of the A Block already crowned on Day 13. Will Ospreay and Ryusuke Taguchi will do battle in the main event, with the winner moving on as the winner of the block. El Phantasmo will face his final challenge as he bows out of the tournament against DOUKI, while Robbie Eagles will face YOH, Bandido battles Rocky Romero and BUSHI has his final match against the young lion, Ren Narita.

+ Will Ospreay vs Ryusuke Taguchi (BOSJ B Block Match): this was much more the ‘main event, all on the line’ match I was expecting compared to Shingo/Ishimori. Both guys looked really, really good in this match. Big Match Taguchi really is something special, able to flip between “the ass guy” and legit wrestling champion on a switch, and the mass that Ospreay has put on just makes Ospreay’s offence look so much more intense, especially a series of blistering kicks towards the end of the match. I really enjoyed this match, and I think the winner is a good choice to face the A Block winner
+ DOUKI vs El Phantasmo (BOSJ B Block Match): DOUKI is a fucking mad man. This was bonkers, by plan and by accident, and both men took some wild bumps This was not pretty, but I loved it
+ Bandido vs Rocky Romero (BOSJ B Block Match): this one had stealth banger written all over it, and while it didn’t quite reach that level, it was still really good. Some comedy, then some technical back-and-forth, and then the final few moments were all great, and I eagerly look forward to whatever happens next for Bandido

Robbie Eagles vs YOH (BOSJ B Block Match): I’ve completely turned the corner on both these guys, in different ways. I was so high on YOH coming out of last year’s tournament, but I just can’t say the same here. Eagles, on the other hand, has gone from ‘meh’ to one of my boys throughout this tournament. If Eagles truly will stay in the Bullet Club, I want to see him team with Ishimori or Phantasmo and go after the junior tag titles. None of that has anything to do with this match, which was just a standard, post-tournament match
BUSHI vs Ren Narita (BOSJ B Block Match): this was arguably the most winnable match for Narita, to capitalise on that shock value. My boy BUSHI has a good tournament, after his first few losses. I do wish Desperado was in the tournament, because BUSHI/Despy never finished their little mask vs mask thing from last year, and with LIJ doing it to Titan and Dragon Lee among others, it could have been fun. In the end, Narita was a really solid addition to the tournament to allow for everyone else to look really good with points totals

> for the first time this tournament, El Phantasmo’s awesome entrance music was silenced, “due to theme music international copyrights”. Interesting

Should you watch this event: As much as I love BUSHI and Robbie Eagles, their respective matches were just too unimportant to matter. Phantasmo and DOUKI beat the crap out of each other, while Bandido continued to impress against Romero, and the main event was absolutely fantastic.


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