By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “Best of Super Juniors – Night Eleven”
May 29, 2022 in Tokyo, Japan at Ota City General Gymnasium
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. There are ten tournament matches on this event.
We are in the final stretch! Entering this show, everyone has completed seven of their nine matches. No one is better than 5-2, and no one is worse than 2-5.
Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton provided commentary.
1. Master Wato (6) defeated El Lindaman (8) in a BOSJ B Block match at 7:04. Lindaman nailed a flip dive to the floor early. In the ring, Wato hit a dropkick at 4:00. They traded rollups. Wato hit his top-rope (Pac’s Red Arrow) corkscrew press for the clean pin. Good, short match, and the announcers agreed it was a big upset.
2. Titan (6) defeated Douki (6) in a BOSJ B Block match at 9:34. Douki attacked at the bell. He hit a DDT to the floor on Titan. Titan hit a top-rope Asai moonsault at 3:00, and they were both down. In the ring, Douki applied his modified Triangle Choke. Titan nailed a top-rope double stomp to the chest as Douki was lying on the ring apron, and that got a nearfall at 6:00. Douki applied his Triangle Choke again, but Titan reached the ropes. Titan hit a tornado DDT.
Douki got him up for a Widow’s Peak and dropped him to the mat for a nearfall. Titan slammed Douki’s head on the top turnbuckle, then he hit a springboard double stomp to the chest for the pin. Good match.
3. Yoh (8) defeated Alex Zayne (8) in a BOSJ A Block match at 11:06. Charlton pointed out that Yoh faces his nemesis Sho on the final night of action Tuesday. Good reversals early. Yoh hit a plancha at 4:00, then a missile dropkick back into the ring. Yoh hit a Falcon Arrow for a nearfall. Yoh did a dragon screw leg whip at 6:30 and worked over the leg. Zayne hit his forward roll-into-a-huracanrana out of the corner for a nearfall at 8:00. Zayne hit a Mafia Kick. Yoh applied an ankle lock. Zayne hit a jumping knee to the chest. Yoh hit a superkick and a Tiger Suplex with a bridge for the pin. Very good match.
4. TJP (8) defeated Bushi (6) in a BOSJ B Block match at 10:12. TJP tried to attack from behind, but Bushi avoided it. Bushi nailed a dive to the floor. In the ring, TJP cranked on the left arm, then he applied the Muta Lock at 3:00, cranking on Bushi’s head. TJP nailed a running Facewash in the corner. Bushi hit a second-rope missile dropkick. TJP hit a Tornado DDT then a Final Cut DDT for a nearfall at 7:30.
TJP went for his STF, but Bushi reached the ropes. TJP hit the Detonation Kick, but he missed his frogsplash. Bushi hit a Lungblower and a twisting neckbreaker for a nearfall at 9:30. TJP nailed the frogsplash for a believable nearfall, so he applied the STF, and Bushi tapped out. Really good match.
5. Hiromu Takahashi (10) defeated Clark Connors (6) in a BOSJ A Block match at 11:43. Shibata joined the Japanese commentary team. They immediately traded hard chops. Hiromu tied him up in the ropes. Hiromu gave him a bodyslam on the floor at 2:30, then a suplex onto those thin mats. In the ring, Connors hit some chops and a spear in the corner at 6:00. Hiromu hit a standing powerbomb for a nearfall, and they were both down.
Hiromu hit a hard clothesline for a nearfall. Connors hit a nice wheelbarrow suplex at 9:00. Connors went for a spear, but Hiromu caught him coming in and applied his Triangle Choke move. Connors nailed a spear for a believable nearfall, then a powerslam. However, Hiromu hit a stunner and applied the Triangle Choke move again, and Connors tapped out. That was really, really good. Hiromu’s win keeps him alive heading into the final night.
6. Ryusuke Taguchi (6) defeated Ace Austin (10) in a BOSJ A Block match at 12:02. Ace kicked him in the butt to open. Taguchi tied him up on the mat. Ace missed a Hogan leg drop. Taguchi missed his flying butt attack. Taguchi pulled down his green pants to reveal his red underwear, and he rubbed his butt in Ace’s face. Ace gave Taguchi a paper cut between the fingers at 4:00. Ace went for a move off the ropes, but Taguchi caught him with a flying butt attack.
Taguchi hit a plancha to the floor at 7:00. In the ring, Taguchi hit several flying butt attacks. Ace applied the head-scissors lock with his legs. Ace hit the Fosbury Flop at 10:00. Ace hit his modified Pedigree, Ace went for the Fold, but Taguchi ducked it. Ace went for a sunset flip, but Taguchi pulled his pants down again, sat down, and got the pin.
7. El Phantasmo (12) defeated Wheeler Yuta (8) in a BOSJ B Block match at 9:42. The announcers talked about Phantasmo having a broken nose and how that is impacting him. Yuta attacked before the bell! He nailed a dive through the ropes. He hit the elbows to the side of the head on the floor. Phantasmo hit a DDT on the floor, and Yuta barely made it into the ring at 3:00. ELP hit a vertical suplex for a nearfall. Yuta hit a top-rope crossbody block and an enzuigiri at 5:00.
They traded hard clotheslines. Yuta hit his Angle Slam for a nearfall, and he applied the Cattle Mutilation. Yuta hit a running boot, then a modified Tombstone PIledriver at 9:00. He hit his repeated elbows again. Phantasmo escaped and hit a superkick for a nearfall. Phantasmo nailed his modified Styles Clash for the pin. Really, really good match. Phantasmo is the first person to 12 points (6-2).
8. Yoshinobu Kanemaru (6) defeated Sho (8) in a BOSJ A Block match at 3:11. Sho came out first, but then he walked through the curtain. They came to the ring, brawling, with Kanemaru choking him with his shirt. Kanemaru hit him with a chair over the left knee; the announcers pointed out the bell hadn’t rang yet. They got in the ring to officially begin. Kanemaru hit a dropkick on the knee, and he applied a Figure Four. Sho grabbed the ref and shoved him to the floor.
Sho tried to hit him with the wrench, but Kanemaru kicked it away. Kanemaru hit a low blow and a top-rope moonsault; the ref crawled back in and counted a nearfall. Kanemaru then hit a brainbuster for the pin. I don’t mind this short match, because this was heel-heel, which usually draws no crowd reaction, and I don’t want anyone to play babyface for the match. Kelly and Charlton celebrated that Sho was eliminated from the tournament.
9. Taiji Ishimori (12) defeated Francesco Akira (6) in a BOSJ A Block match at 11:23. They jawed before the bell. Quick reversals and Akira hit a 619, then an Asai moonsault. They brawled on the floor, and Ishimori slammed Akira’s shoulder into the ring post at 2:00. Ishimori went for a springboard move, but Akira caught him with a dropkick. Akira hit his roll-through into a double stomp, and he may have landed on Ishimori’s groin. Ishimori slammed Akira shoulder-first into the corner, then he hit a shoulder breaker over his knee for a nearfall at 6:00.
Akira caught him for a German suplex. Ishimori countered with a Canadian Destroyer. Akira nailed the shotgun dropkick, then a top-rope Spanish Fly for a believable nearfall, and they were both down at 8:30. Akira missed his flying double knees, and Ishimori immediately applied the Bonelock STF, but Akira reached the ropes. Akira nailed a Poison Rana at 10:00 and he was fired up. Akira hit a swinging neckbreaker for a nearfall. Ishimori hit a double knees drop for a nearfall, then a second one for the pin. Really good match, and I thought Akira was going to win this one to have a shot at a winning record.
10. Robbie Eagles (10) defeated El Desperado (10) in a BOSJ B Block match at 19:21. Intense lockup to start, and they brawled to the floor. Desperado hit a dropkick on the knee as they re-entered the ring at 4:00. Desperado applied a modified figure four leg lock around the ring post. Eagles hit a running elbow to the back of the head at 7:30, then a flip dive through the ropes, but he was selling the left knee injury.
In the ring, Eagles hit running double knees in the corner. Desperado hit the dragon screw leg whip and Eagles sold the pain. Desperado went for a dive to the floor, but Eagles cut him off with a kick. Eagles then dove off the ring apron and hit a dropkick on Desperado’s knee at 12:00. Both men made it back in the ring before being counted out. Eagles applied the Ron Miller Special leg lock, but Desperado reached the ropes. They traded stiff forearms while both showing they are hobbled by knee injuries. Desperado applied the Stretch Muffler, but Eagles reached the ropes at 16:00.
Desperado went back to the Stretch Muffler. Desperado put Eagles on his back and hit a reverse tombstone piledriver for a believable nearfall. Eagles hit a 619, then a springboard 450, and he again applied the Ron Miller Special leg lock. Desperado reached for the ropes, but Eagles pulled him back to the center of the ring, and Desperado tapped out. Excellent match.
Eagles got on the mic. In Japanese, he said he wants another match with Desperado in the future. Then in English, he shouted “Robbie, Robbie, Robbie, Oi, Oi, Oi!!!!”
Final Thoughts: Another fantastic main event, and that deserves best match. I’ll give Akira-Ishimori second best and Zayne-Yoh third best, with TJP-Bushi getting honorable mention. This was a really strong show, with Connors-Hiromu and even Taguchi-Austin topping my expectations. The tournament takes Monday off before returning on Tuesday for the final night of block action, heading into the final on Friday.