NJPW Best of the Super Juniors Day 12 (02.06.18)

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors Day 12 (02.06.18)

And so, our emotional odyssey comes to an end with Day 12 of Best of the Super Juniors, which I’m pretty sure is how the tournament ended in real life as well, with everyone one match short and no overall winner being crowned. KUSHIDA vs. Dragon Lee for the first time ever is a very appetising main event for this one.

Chris Sabin vs. El Desperado
An entirely adequate match! El Desperado did what so many heels have done in this tournament- thrown a fan favourite arse over tit into the sixth row of seats, and then used that an excuse to do as little of note for as long as possible in the rest of the match. Sabin’s comeback was pretty fun and sprightly and forced Desperado to delve into his cheaty box of tricks, but an attempted chair shot was met with a superkick, and Sabin then got Back to the Future for the win at 12:14. Totally OK. Neither man was realistically winning the group at this point though. ** ½.

Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Marty Scurll
While this match isn’t going to change your life or anything, it was a fun and refreshing change of pace from the rest of the tournament. As you might expect from two wrestlers who enjoy absurd physical comedy, there was a fair amount of absurd physical comedy in the early stages, with Taguchi happy to play the bumbling idiot. There was a bit where Taguchi tried to bamboozle Scurll by scurrying though his legs, but Scurll just backtracked into the corner so Taguchi wouldn’t get through. Then, Taguchi tried to use his traditional arse based offense, but Marty took over quickly and gave him a taste of his own medicine. None of this should have you in hysterics unless you are 7 years old, but both guys have good comic timing and body language and it raised a smirk from me. They then transitioned smoothly into a more serious match with some decent near falls, and ended with a neat homage to Eddie Guerrero, with Scurll using his Wrestlemania XX boot tactic to sucker Taguchi into an inside cradle at 15:42. An enjoyably off kilter bout. *** ¼.

Hiromu Takahashi vs. SHO
This was really good, but could have been more. With Sho being young and enthusiastic and pretty darn good I was hoping Hiromu would bring him along on a really wild ride, but instead things were just that little bit too restrained. There was plenty of energy, and always something going on, but there was a spot as the match built to its conclusion, where Sho delivered a reaaaaaalllly timid German suplex to Hiromu on the apron, that seemed to sum up its slight sense of thwarted ambition. There were some awesome individual moments though, like Hiromu busting out a really emphatic Time Bomb that absolutely could have been a credible end to the match out of nowhere, and Sho responding with his sick powerbomb/backbreaker combo. And, like I say, a consistent stream of action, and some very good near falls. A darn fine bout on the whole and you can’t say fairer than that for a single cam show. Hiromu snared Sho in his Triangle for the win at 16:19. *** ½.

Dragon Lee vs. KUSHIDA
This was the first ever singles meeting between these two, and it came close enough to living up to expectations that I was reasonably satisfied. At 18 minutes it was at the longer end of the scale for these single cam matches, and felt it at times. There was too much time killing and cautious pro wrestling in between the cool bits. But! There were cool bits, and because it was KUSHIDA and Dragon Lee doing them, you knew they’d be very cool bits indeed. There was a sick tope apiece and the usual array of state of the art transitions and counters, and then a strong stretch of near falls. The ending was a little anti-climactic though, with KUSHIDA drilling Dragon Lee with Back to the Future (which has been standard near fall fare against lesser opponents in the tournament) and getting the win with it at 18:17. I just wonder if both these guys are too nice and wholesome to be truly great opponents for each other, though they’ve definitely got a quality ten minute sprint in them. This was still a very good main event though. *** ½.

Here, for old times’ sake, are the standings for Group B heading into the final round of matches…

Hiromu Takahashi- M6, W4, D0, L2- PTS 8
KUSHIDA- M6, W4, D0, L2- PTS- 8
Marty Scurll- M6, W4, D0, L2- PTS 8
Chris Sabin- M6, W3, D0, L3- PTS 6
Dragon Lee- M6 ,W3, D0, L3- PTS 6
El Desperado- M6, W2, D0, L4- PTS 4
Ryusuke Taguchi- M6, W2, D0, L4- PTS 4
SHO- M6, W2, D0, L4- PTS 4

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