5/21 NJPW Best of Super Juniors night five results: Vetter’s review of Alex Zayne vs. Taiji Ishimori, Ace Austin vs. Hiromu Takahashi, Yoh vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Francesco Akira vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Clark Connors vs. Sho in A-Block tournament matches

By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)

New Japan Pro Wrestling “Best of Super Juniors Night Five”
May 21, 2022 in Aomor, Japan at New Aomori Prefecture Sports Park Maeda Arena
Streamed live on New Japan World

This year’s field features two blocks, each with ten wrestlers. This is a round-robin tournament, so everyone will have nine singles matches in this two-week event. (Some nights, there will be 10 tournament matches, and other nights, there will be five tournament matches and a handful of non-tournament matches.) The winner of each block will then meet in the finals on June 3. This event features five A Block matches.

So far, four wrestlers have started 2-0, and those four square off in the top two matches tonight. Thus, barring a draw, we will have two guys at 3-0 at the conclusion of the show. Also, two of the four guys who have started 0-2 will square off, meaning that at least one wrestler, barring a tie, will be 0-3 and in all likelihood, be eliminated. (Yes, last year, Yoh went on a winning streak after a slow start, but I wouldn’t bet on similar booking this year, especially with a hot Hiromu Michinoku in this bracket.)

Kevin Kelly provided commentary solo. This building is huge, and there are perhaps 1,500 fans in seats on the floor, but they didn’t open up the seating in the upper deck.

1. Titan, El Lindaman, and Jado defeated  El Phantasmo, Gedo, and Dick Togo at 9:23. Lindaman and Phantasmo started with good mat reversals. Jado entered at 3:00 to face Togo, and the heels began to work over Jado. This is slower than I hoped. Titan entered at 6:30 and traded offense with ELP, and he hit a nice huracanrana, then a tornado DDT. El Lindaman entered at 8:00 and hit a missile dropkick on Togo. Phantasmo kept coming over to Kelly and joining on commentary. Lindaman hit a double dropkick on Togo and Gedo, then a DDT on Togo for a nearfall. Lindaman hit a German suplex on Togo for the pin. This was good when the three BOSJ wrestlers were in the ring.

2. Shingo Takagi and Bushi defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Master Wato at 8:59. Bushi and Wato opened. Tenzan entered and he grounded Bushi. Shingo entered at 3:00 and hit a shoulder tackle and senton on Wato for a nearfall. Bushi hit a missile dropkick on Wato. Tenzan made the hot tag at 5:30 and hit his Mongolian Chops on Shingo. Shingo hit a suplex for a nearfall. Tenzan hit a modified Samoan Drop on Shingo. Wato and Bushi traded stiff forearms, and Bushi dove through the ropes onto Wato. That allowed Shingo to nail the Pumping Bomber clothesline on Tenzan for the pin.

3. Robbie Eagles, Wheeler Yuta, and Tiger Mask defeated Douki, El Desperado, and Taka Michinoku at 9:30. Desperado and Yuta started with some intense reversals. Tiger Mask entered and hit a butterfly suplex on Desperado at 3:00. Douki applied his Triangle Choke move on Tiger Mask. Eagles hit a huracanrana on Douki, then one on Taka. Taka applied a crossface on the mat, but Eagles’ partners made the save. Eagles hit a standing Sliced Bread faceplant for a nearfall at 9:00. Eagles then hit his backpack-into-powerslam move for the pin. Decent match.

4. Sho (2) defeated Clark Connors (0) in a BOSJ match at 12:17. Sho attacked Connors from behind on the entrance ramp, and they brawled to ringside. Kelly talked about how Sho needed a win, and how he got off to a hot start last year and was in contention into the final night. They finally got in the ring and the bell sounded at 2:00. They went straight back to the floor, where Sho hit him with a chair to the back. I like the story being told here — Sho is 0-2 and feeling a bit desperate to get rolling, and that has made him more aggressive. Sho slammed him into a wall, far from the ring and seating. Connors barely got back in the ring before the 20-count at 6:30.

Sho applied a keylock on the mat, and Connors is selling a left arm injury. Connors hit his Monty Brown Pounce, and they were both down. Connors nailed his top-rope elbow drop for a nearfall at 8:30. Sho hit a spear and a suplex for a nearfall, then he applied the Divorce Court armbreaker, but Connors reached the ropes. Clark hit an impressive German Suplex, then a powerslam at 11:30. Sho shoved Clark into the ref, then he hit a German Suplex. Sho got his wrench, but the ref stopped him from using it. Sho hit a low blow and got a rollup for the cheap pin. (A reminder the official time from NJPW will have this at about 10 minutes; I start my stopwatch at first contact if it occurs before the bell.) At 0-3, Connors is all but eliminated.

5. Ryusuke Taguchi (2) defeated Francesco Akira (2) at 12:16. TJP, the only B block wrestler who didn’t have a match here, joined Aikra to ringside. Kelly said this is Taguchi’s 17th straight BOSJ and 19th overall. They traded quick reversals to start, and Akira nailed a flip dive to the floor at 2:00. In the ring, Akira grounded Taguchi. Taguchi hit his springboard flying butt attack, then a top-rope dive to the floor at 5:00.

In the ring, Taguchi hit the Three Amigos suplexes, and he applied an ankle lock. Akira hit a Frankensteiner out of the corner, then a shotgun dropkick at 8:00. He hit a flipping slam for a nearfall. Akira’s chest is a little raw. Taguchi hit an enzuigiri and they were both down. They traded stiff forearm shots; Taguchi has kept the silliness to the minimum and this match has been better for it.

Akira nailed an Asai moonsault to the floor at 10:30. The crowd is really hot now. In the ring, they traded rollups, and Taguchi went back to an ankle lock. They traded rollups, and Taguchi got the clean pin, with no silliness or shenanigans. Good match, and while Taguchi is the veteran, I’ll call this an upset. Kelly said with that match, Taguchi has now had more minutes of in-ring BOSJ action than any other wrestler, surpassing Jushin Liger. That’s pretty cool.

6. Yoh (4) defeated Yoshinobu Kanemaru (0) in a BOSJ match at 10:16. Kelly noted that Yoh beat Kanemaru in last year’s tournament. Kanemaru attacked before the bell. When Yoh fired up, Kanemaru bailed to the floor and they brawled out there. Kanemaru hit a bodyslam on the floor. Ouch. Yoh was nearly counted out. I really thought Kanemaru was getting a quick, cheap win right there. In the ring, Kanemaru hit a dropkick on the knee at 3:00 and Yoh sold the pain.

Kanemaru started stomping on the knee and targeting it. He applied a leg lock, and Yoh screamed in pain. Kanemaru hit another basement dropkick on the knee. Kanemaru hit a moonsault at 8:30 for a nearfall, then a SlopDrop inverted DDT for a nearfall. At this point, Yoh has barely gotten in any offense. Kanemaru hit an enzuigiri. Kanemaru got his bottle of alcohol. Yoh took a swig, sprayed it in Kanemaru’s face, then hit a superkick. Yoh hit his butterfly piledriver for the pin. At 0-3, Kanemaru also is all but eliminated. Not among the better matches of the tournament; it was too one-sided.

7. Hiromu Takahashi (6) defeated Ace Austin (4) in a BOSJ match at 12:49. They opened with intense reversals. Ace hit a dropkick, then he gave Hiromu a paper cut between his fingers. Ace was in charge early, working over the left arm. Hiromu hit a shotgun dropkick at 6:00. Ace hit a kick to the jaw from the ring apron, then he nailed the Fosbury Flop to the floor at 7:30.

In the ring, Ace hit a spin kick to the face for a nearfall. Ace hit his Pedigree-style faceplant for a nearfall at 9:30. Hiromu hit a spinebuster for a nearfall. Ace went for The Fold, but Hiromu turned it into a powerslam. Hiromu hit a superkick and a clothesline for a nearfall at 12:00. Hiromu hit a faceplant then a Time Bomb sideslam for the pin. Good match.

8. Taiji Ishimori (6) defeated Alex Zayne (4) in a BOSJ match at 13:45. Zayne hit a flip senton, and they brawled onto the floor. Zayne hit him with a chair. Ishimori hit a drop-toe-hold, dropping Zayne onto an open chair, and Zayne immediately sold an arm injury at 3:00. In the ring, Ishimori applied a Divorce Court armbreaker on the mat. Zayne hit a clothesline, and they were both down at 7:00. Zayne hit his summersault ax kick to the back of the head.

Zayne’s left arm has a wrap on it, but Ishimori ripped it off, and he hit a lungblower double knee on the injured arm at 10:00. Zayne hit a cool spinning faceplant move, and they were both down. Zayne missed a top-rope corkscrew press, and Ishimori immediately applied an STF submission hold. Ishimori hit a lungblower to the chest for a nearfall, and they were both down at 12:30.

Zayne hit a jumping knee to the chest. The crowd was heating up. Ishimori turned a huracanrana into an STF on the mat again. Zayne went for the ropes, but Ishimori rolled him into the center of the ring, and Zayne tapped out. Good mat-based matchup. Ishimori briefly spoke on the mic.

Final Thoughts: No surprise that junior champion Taiji Ishimori and Hiromu Takahashi are off to quick 3-0 starts, and this block feels destined to come down to them. I have said this the other days of the tournament, but bringing in Austin, Zayne, Yuta and Akira has really brought energy with fresh first-time matchups.

I will give Hiromu-Austin best match, ahead of Zayne-Ishimori, with Akira-Taguchi third-best. The undercard, like on Thursday, was bolstered by the use of Shingo Takagi. This show clocked in at about 2 hours, 40 minutes. The tournament continues Sunday with five B block matches. After that, beginning on Tuesday, there will be 10 tournament matches on each event for the remainder of the tournament.

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