NJPW “Best of the Super Juniors” results (5/28): Vetter’s review of Hiromu Takahashi vs. Drilla Moloney, Taiji Ishimori vs. Sho, Kushida vs. Douki, Dragon Dia vs. Ninja Mack

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

New Japan Pro Wrestling “Best of the Super Juniors – Night 10”
May 28, 2024 in Shizuoka, Japan at Kiramesse Numazu
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. This show features just the B Block in tournament action.

* This is a large room with all seating on the floor. Attendance is maybe 600-800. Walker Stewart provided solo commentary.

1. “The Mighty Don’t Kneel” Robbie Eagles and Kosei Fujita defeated Shoma Kato and Katsuya Murashima at 6:59. This is a replacement match, as Robbie Eagles’ tournament match later has been canceled. Eagles opened against Kato, then Kosei battled Murashima. Eagles hit a roundhouse kick at 6:00 and he tied up Kato and kicked him repeatedly in the head. Eagles then hit a Shining Wizard for the pin. Eagles rolled to the floor and stormed to the back, not waiting for Fujita. They clearly told a story here that Eagles is livid at himself for losing to Hiromu Takahashi two days ago, and he took it out here on these Young Lions.

2. “House of Torture” Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Yujiro Nagata defeated “Bullet Club War Dogs” Gedo and Clark Connors at 6:39. Heel-heel matchups are always tough, especially when all four are so unlikable. Connors and Kanemaru shook hands but then Connors attacked him. The HoT worked over Gedo. The crowd was, as expected, quiet and not cheering for anyone. Connors hit a spear on Kanemaru at 4:30. Kanemaru hit a clothesline on Gedo, then the Pimp Juice jumping DDT for the pin. A dull, flat match that didn’t benefit anyone.

3. Blake Christian and Hayata defeated Tiger Mask and El Desperado at 8:23. Desperado and Hayata opened with standing switches and Hayata focused on the left arm. Desperado finally hit a brainbuster at 5:30 but sold the pain in his arm. Christian jumped in and continued to focus on the damaged arm. Tiger Mask entered and got a Crucifix Driver on Blake for a nearfall, then a butterfly suplex for a nearfall. Blake hit the Stomp to the head, then a springboard 450 Splash for the pin on Tiger Mask. Decent action.

* Robbie Eagles joined Walker Stewart on commentary.

4. “Los Ingobernobles de Japon” Yota Tsuji and Titan defeated Callum Newman and TJP at 10:20. Titan and TJP opened with intense mat reversals. Yota and Newman entered at 1:30 and traded stiff forearm strikes, and Newman hit a slingshot senton. Titan hit a series of quick kicks on Newman. TJP hit a running Facewash on Titan at 4:00. Titan applied a Muta Lock and cranked back on TJP’s head, but Newman made the save. TJP hit a tornado DDT on Titan and they were both down. Newman and Yota got back in with Newman racing as he ran the ropes and hit a big boot.

Newman hit a running Penalty Kick for a nearfall at 7:00. Eagles talked about Newman putting on size and becoming a heavyweight (I’ve written several times that Newman is deceptively big.) Titan hit a springboard frogsplash on Newman. Titan hit a Pele Kick on TJP, then a dive through the ropes onto TJP at 9:00. In the ring, Newman hit a spin kick to Yota’s head for a nearfall, then a backbreaker over his knee. Yota nailed a top-rope stomp to Newman’s head for the pin. That was one of the best undercard (non-tournament) matches of this tour. Titan and TJP jawed at each other after the bell.

5. “Los Ingobernobles de Japon” Tetsuya Naito and Bushi defeated Tomoaki Honma and Kevin Knight at 9:33. Once again, Naito took forever to get ready. Bushi and Knight opened, with Kevin hitting an impressive dropkick. Honma hit a DDT-and-Flatliner combo on both opponents at 4:00. Knight hit a D’Lo Sky High, then a springboard clothesline on Bushi for a nearfall. Bushi hit a Lungblower move to the chin on Knight and they were both down. Naito and Honma got back in. Knight hit a superkick on Naito, and Honma landed the Kokeshi on Naito for a nearfall at 8:00. Naito applied a Koji Clutch submission hold on the mat, and Honma tapped out. Okay action.

6. Robbie Eagles (10) defeated Francesco Akira (4) via forfeit due to injury. Akira will finish his tournament at 2-7 with four forfeits to conclude his run. Nothing was done here to acknowledge this match, but I’m putting this here as a placeholder for those following the scores and points.

7. Ninja Mack (8) defeated Dragon Dia (0) in a B Block tournament match at 8:29. Dia has looked good in his seven losses, but he’s undersized, even compared to the other NJPW juniors. Quick reversals at the bell. Mack rotated mid-air and had a superhero landing, which popped the crowd. They traded forearm strikes, and Dia is actually taller than Mack. They brawled to the floor at 2:30. In the ring, Mack hit a slingshot corkscrew press, as the commentators noted that is a move Dia has done several times in this tournament. Mack hit a top-rope Spanish Fly, then he applied a crossface. Dia hit a 619 at 5:30.

Dia then hit the slingshot corkscrew press. He hit an Asai Moonsault to the floor and was fired up. In the ring, Dia leapt on Mack’s shoulders and hit a stomp for a nearfall, then a Crucifix Driver for a nearfall at 8:00. Dia came off the top rope but Mack caught him with a superkick, then a spin kick to the head for the pin. Good action; I want Dia to get a win in this tournament, but I didn’t want it to come at Mack’s expense, either.

8. Douki (10) defeated Kushida (8) in a B Block tournament match at 12:19. Eagles said this is a “make or break” match for both guys. They traded intense mat holds to open; Kushida rolled to the floor to regroup at 2:00. Back in the ring, they traded offense while tied in a knuckle lock. They rolled to the floor at 4:00, where Kushida shoved him shoulder-first into the ring post, then he bodyslammed Douki onto the thin mat at ringside. He hit another bodyslam. Back in the ring, Douki hit his own bodyslam but sold the pain in his lower back.

Kushida hit a kneestrike on the damaged left shoulder and he focused on the arm, snapping it across his shoulder. Douki got a backslide for a nearfall at 8:30. Kushida hit a straight punch to the jaw and he tried to get a Hoverboard Lock but Douki fought free. Douki hit a DDT on the floor. Douki nailed the Daybreak slingshot DDT and he locked in the Douki Chokey at 12:00. The ref checked on Kushida, who submitted! That is at least the second win Douki has from this modified Triangle Choke this tournament.

9. Taiji Ishimori (12) defeated Sho (8) in a B Block tournament match at 11:43. A dreaded heel-heel matchup; Ishimori was presented as a babyface a couple days again while facing Drilla Moloney. Sho spoke on the mic; he got in the ring and gave Ishimori the ‘Too Sweet’ hand gesture but then rolled him up for a nearfall. On the floor, Ishimori tossed Sho shoulder-first into the ring post, then he struck him with the hammer for the ring bell. In the ring, Sho hit a snake-eyes on the top turnbuckle at 2:00. Sho tied Ishimori around the ring post, pulling back on one arm and one leg. Back in the ring, Sho was in charge, hitting a gutbuster over his knee at 4:30. Ishimori hit a handspring-back-spin kick and they were both down.

Taiji hit a running double knees in the corner, and he tied up Sho on the mat, with Sho getting a foot on the ropes at 7:30. Sho accidentally speared the referee! Ishimori hit a low blow, and he grabbed Sho’s wrench! However, Yujiro Takahashi jumped in the ring and hit Ishimori with his staff! A new ref got in the ring. Sho hit his Shock Arrow piledriver for a believable nearfall at 10:00; I thought that was it. Ishimori spun Sho to the mat and applied the Bone Lock! The bell rang and Ishimori released the hold, believing he had won but of course, it was a Yujiro trick. Sho hit a low blow uppercut on Ishimori and the crowd booed. Sho set up for another Shock Arrow, but Ishimori flipped free, hit the Bloody Cross, and scored the pin! A very good final couple minutes, as I really felt either man was about to win.

10. Hiromu Takahashi (12) defeated Drilla Moloney (8) in a B Block tournament match at 19:22. Hiromu hit a huracanrana. They went to the floor, where Drilla stomped on the left knee and slammed it onto the thin mat at ringside. Back in the ring, Drilla tied up the damaged left leg, and he ripped at taping that had been under a kneepad. Drilla applied a Bret Hart-style Figure Four around the ring post at 4:30. In the ring, Drilla hit a snap suplex and was dominating the action. Hiromu hit a Shotgun Dropkick at 8:00, but immediately clutched at the damaged knee. They began trading chop, but Moloney kicked at the damaged knee again.

Drilla applied a modified Figure Four, but Hiromu reached the ropes at 10:30. Moloney hit an enzuigiri; Hiromu hit a superkick. Drilla hit a spear. He nailed a chop block to the back of the knee and he grapevined the damaged knee, and Hiromu writhed in pain, grabbed the referee and crawled on the mat before finally reaching the ropes at 16:00. Hiromu hit a Canadian Destroyer for a nearfall, then a Time Bomb/Death Valley Driver, then a clothesline. HIromu applied a Triangle Choke at 18:00, but Moloney stood up and hit a powerbomb to break free. Moloney hit the Drilla Killa swinging piledriver for a believable nearfall, but Hiromu got a foot on the ropes! Moloney dragged Hiromu to the center of the ring, but Hiromu got a jackknife cover rollup for the pin out of nowhere!

* Drilla immediately re-applied the Figure Four around the ring post after the bell.

Final Thoughts: Not a great night of action. I will give Hiromu-Drilla best match, but it was at a slower pace and not anywhere as good as the Hiromu-Eagles match from a couple days ago. I liked Dia-Mack for second place. The Yota/Titan-TJP/Newman tag in the undercard takes third, as it was far better than the heel-heel Sho-Ishimori match or the slow-paced Douki-Kushida bout.

A day off on Wednesday, with the A Block in action for their final round-robin matches on Thursday, featuring El Desperado vs. Hayata and TJP vs. Titan.


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