NJPW “Best of the Super Juniors” results (5/22): Vetter’s review of Blake Christian vs. TJP, Douki vs. Sho, El Desperado vs. Clark Connors, Ninja Mack vs. Taiji Ishimori

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

New Japan Pro Wrestling “Best of the Super Juniors – Night 8”
May 22, 2024 in Osaka, Japan at Edion Arena
Streamed live on New Japan World

There are 20 wrestlers in this year’s tournament, divided into two Blocks. It is a round-robin tournament, thus, each wrestler has nine tournament matches. The top two from each Block will advance to a four-man playoff. The finals will be June 9. The four men who reached the playoffs last year were either 6-3 or 7-2. So, anyone who has four or more losses is all but officially eliminated. Tonight, we have both blocks in action, which is a bit surprising, as the A Block competitors will be having their 7th match while the B block will only be having their 6th match.

* As feared, Francesco Akira’s leg injury has knocked him out of the tournament, and he will forfeit his final four tournament matches. Walker Stewart provided live solo commentary. This is a gym with a smaller crowd of perhaps 600-800.

1. Hiromu Takahashi (8) defeated Francesco Akira (4) in a B Block tournament match via forfeit due to injury. Hiromu came to the ring and spoke in Japanese to the crowd. (I plan to add the points for those slated to face Akira on each night of their scheduled match.)

2. Titan (10) defeated Kosei Fujita (4) in an A Block tournament match at 7:00 even. Walker pointed out that Fujita has tape on his left shoulder. Titan hit a dive through the ropes to the floor. In the ring, they traded forearm strikes. Kosei hit a roundhouse kick to the jaw and they were both down at 3:00. Titan hit a tornado DDT. Kosei tied up Titan on the mat and cranked back on his head, but Titan reached the ropes at 5:00. Fujita hit a German Suplex, then another for a nearfall. Titan applied a Muta Lock and leaned back and grabbed the head and cranked back, and Kosei submitted. Good opener.

3. Robbie Eagles (8) defeated Dragon Dia (0) in a B Block tournament match at 6:55. Stewart said this is a first-time-ever encounter. Eagles applied the Ron Miller Special leg lock just seconds into the match, and Dia scrambled to the ropes. Dia hit a dropkick; Eagles hit a huracanrana. Dia hit an Asai Moonsault at 1:30. In the ring, Eagles hit a chop block to the left knee, then some Yes Kicks to the chest. Dia hit his slingshot corkscrew splash for a nearfall at 4:30, then a 619, then a standing moonsault for a nearfall. Dia snapped off a huracanrana for a nearfall, then a Crucifix Driver for a nearfall. Eagles hit a 450 Splash onto the damaged knee, and he re-applied the Ron Miller Special, and Dia tapped out. Dia is so undersized, but his offense is great and he’s fun to watch.

4. Bushi (6) defeated Yoshinobu Kanemaru (4) in an A Block tournament match at 6:01. Kanemaru attacked from behind and they immediately brawled to the floor. They got back in and the bell sounded at 0:30 to begin. Bushi has a 3-2 all-time record against Kanemaru, Walker said. Kanemaru twisted the left leg and kept Bushi grounded early on. Kanemaru hit a dropkick on the left knee at 3:30. He hit Bushi with the whiskey bottle. However, Bushi sprayed mist in his eyes, and he nailed the second-rope Lungblower to the chest for the pin. Decent; this didn’t need to be longer than this. Bushi has now exceeded last year’s point total. Again, official time is closer to 5:35.

* Robbie Eagles joined Walker Stewart on commentary!

5. Drilla Moloney (8) defeated Kushida (8) in a B Block tournament match at 9:29. They immediately began brawling before either man had removed their vest. Moloney put Kushida’s feet on the apron and he hit a DDT to the floor, and the ref was immediately checking on Kushida to see if he could continue. In the ring, Kushida hit a standing neckbreaker and he cranked on the head as they were on the mat. They brawled on the floor, with Drilla hitting some European Uppercuts and chops. In the ring, they traded more forearms. Kushida hit a straight punch to the jaw at 5:30.

Kushida hit a top-rope moonsault for a nearfall. Moloney went for the Drilla Killa swinging piledriver, but Kushida escaped at 7:00. Moloney hit a doublestomp to the chest. Kushida tied up the left arm in the ropes in the corner, and Drilla sold the pain in the elbow; Eagles noted Drilla is still recovering from a torn bicep. He ducked back in at the 19-count. Kushida immediately went for the Hoverboard Lock, but Drilla got leverage and got a nearfall. Moloney immediately hit the Drilla Killa for the pin! Good match (and a surprisingly clean victory.)

6. Hayata (8) defeated Kevin Knight (6) in an A Block tournament match at 8:16. They immediately traded quick reversals on each other’s left arm. Knight went for an Asai Moonsault, but Hayata grabbed his foot and dropped him face-first on the apron at 2:00. They brawled at ringside. Back in the ring, Hayata grounded him with a rear-naked choke. Knight hit a Pele Kick at 4:30, then his beautiful dropkick, then a plancha and he was fired up. Knight hit a D’Lo Sky High powerbomb for a nearfall. Hayata hit an enzuigiri for a nearfall at 6:30. He hit a shotgun dropkick. Knight hit his jump-up Frankensteiner. Knight went for his spike DDT, but Hayata blocked it and hit his own DDT for the pin. Good action.

7. Taiji Ishimori (8) defeated Ninja Mack (4) in a B Block tournament match at 7:22. An intense lockup to open. They sped it up and had a standoff at 1:00. Mack did some cartwheels but Ishmori dragged him to the mat. Ishimori hit a corner moonsault to the floor. He slammed Mack shoulder-first into the ring post. In the ring, he tied up Mack and kept him grounded. He hit the shoulder breaker over his knee for a nearfall at 4:00. Ishimori spun him to the mat and applied the Bone Lock, but Mack scrambled to the ropes. Mack hit a German Suplex and a superkick, then the Sasake Special to the floor, and they were both down at 6:00. “He is unreal,” Eagles said. In the ring, Mack hit a tornado kick for a nearfall. Mack missed a top-rope corkscrew senton, and Ishimori immediately re-applied the Bone Lock. He nailed the Bloody Cross knee strike to the sternum for the pin. Really good action.

8. El Desperado (10) defeated Clark Connors (8) via DQ in an A Block tournament match at 14:55. They each grabbed a chair and they clanged them against each other; they dropped them, the bell rang, and they traded forearm strikes. Clark hit a Pounce. They brawled to the floor, past the commentary table, and amongst the crowd. Clark whipped Desperado into a wall at 2:00. He found a guardrail and threw it at Desperado. They brawled back to ringside. Connors whipped him into a guardrail at 4:30. He slammed a chair across Desperado’s back. Connors hit a spear. (Kayfabe, why isn’t the referee counting them both out?)

Connors hit a powerslam onto the thin mat and they were both down at 7:30. He hit a powerbomb through a table at ringside at 9:00. They actually got into the ring! Connors made a cover but the referee refused to make the count. Desperado clotheslined them both to the mat at 10:30. It was now Desperado’s turn to hit a chairshot to the back. He put a chair over Connors’ face and slammed it with another chair. In the ring, Connors hit a spear. Desperado went for the Angel’s Wings, but Connors blocked it and hit a Rainmaker short-arm clothesline. Connors nailed a spear for a believable nearfall at 13:30. He mounted Desperado and hit a series of punches.

Connors nailed the No Chaser for a nearfall, but Desperado got a hand on the ropes! Connors was livid! He hit more punches; as the referee tried to stop him, Connors shoved him aside! Connors kept punching Desperado, and he shoved the ref again, and the ref called for the bell. That was really good and really intense. Connors hit a spear on the referee! He beat up some Young Lions, too. He yanked off Desperado’s mask and the crowd reacted in shock and horror. He cracked a board over Desperado’s head and was loudly booed. Desperado was helped to the back.

9. TJP (6) defeated Blake Christian (8) in an A Block tournament match at 15:50. Standing switches to open. TJP did a head-scissors move but Blake rotated and landed on his feet, and that got a pop. Walker said this is a first-ever singles match, but they’ve met in tags. TJP set up for a face wash, but Blake rolled to the floor at 2:00. More quick reversals in the ring, and Blake hit a Fosbury Flop to the floor at 4:00. In the ring, TJP was selling a shoulder injury, and Blake saw it and shoved TJP shoulder-first into the corner, and he kicked at it. Blake bit a finger at 7:00! TJP hit a mule kick to escape a double armbar, then a tornado DDT out of the corner. He hit a spin kick to the head, then he finally hit the Facewash kick at 9:00.

TJP hit a series of snap suplexes, but he missed a Mamba Splash. Christian locked in a Fujiwara Armbar. TJP escaped and locked in a Pinoy Stretch, but Blake reached the ropes at 11:00. They traded chops on the ring apron, and Blake snapped TJP’s arm down onto the apron, then a stunner on the apron. TJP hit a Detonation Kick/Pele Kick for a nearfall. They traded kicks and were both down at 13:30. They got up and traded spin kicks to the thighs. Blake nailed a jumping knee to the chin. TJP hit a reverse DDT. Blake hit a mid-ring Spanish Fly, then a Stomp for a believable nearfall, and they were both down. This has moved into another level. Blake went for a 450 Splash but TJP caught him with a stunner. TJP hit a running knee for a nearfall, then the Mamba Splash for the pin. LOVED this.

10. Sho (6) defeated Douki (6) in a B Block tournament match at 20:17. Sho came out first and grabbed a chair and waited in the entrance way. However, Douki snuck up from behind and attacked. They got in the ring and the bell rang to officially begin at 0:30. Walker said Sho is 4-0 lifetime against Douki. They brawled back to the floor, and Sho threw Douki in a dumpster at 2:30. Douki dove back into the ring at the 19-count. Sho twisted the left arm around the ring post. He tied up Douki on the mat and slowed it down. He hit a jumping knee in the corner for a nearfall at 6:30. Douki hit a flying forearm and they were both down. Douki hit a baseball slide dropkick to the floor, and they again brawled on the floor, and now it was Sho who landed in the dumpster at 9:00.

Back in the ring, Douki was now in charge. He hit a Gory Bomb and got a backslide for a nearfall. Sho avoided the Daybreak slingshot DDT, and he hit a spear, and they were both down at 11:30. Sho went for a Shock Arrow piledriver; Douki applied the Douki Chokey; Sho hit a straitjacket piledriver for a neafall. Douki again applied the Douki Chokey. The bell rang at 13:00 but it was Yujiro Takahashi. Sho hit a low blow on Douki for a nearfall. Sho got his belt but the ref confiscated it. The ref got bumped, and Sho got his wrench. However, Douki had a pipe that was much longer and Sho was thrown off by this development.

Douki hit a low blow! “Fighting fire with fire!” Stewart said. Douki used the pipe across the throat while hitting a Gory Bomb. Douki hit a swinging slam for a nearfall, but Yujiro pulled the ref to the floor at 16:30. Yujiro hit a Pimp Juice leaping DDT on Douki and he threw Sho on top, then got the ref, but Douki kicked out at two! Taichi hopped in the ring and beat up Yujiro. Douki nailed the Daybreak slingshot DDT for a believable nearfall. He went for a Dragon Suplex at 19:30 but Sho escaped. Sho hit a spin kick to the ribs, then a running punt kick for a nearfall. Sho hit a swinging faceplant for the pin! Sho revealed he had a “loaded boot” that did so much damage.

Final Thoughts: A really strong night of competition. I’ll go with that tremendous TJP-Blake match for best, the Desperado-Connors brawl for second, and the short-but-fast-paced Mack-Ishimori for third. The main event was decent and takes honorable mention. Unfortunate news for Akira and hopefully the injury doesn’t sideline him too long. We actually have a three-day break before the tournament returns on Sunday.


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