NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 26 Day 8 | Aired 5/23/19

New Japan Pro Wrestling
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BEST OF THE SUPER JUNIORS 26
Day 8 – Both Blocks

Aired 5/23/19
Korakuen Hall

Kevin Kelly, Chris Charlton and Juice Robinson on commentary.

EL PHANTASMO vs REN NARITA

ELP grounds and toys with Narita at the top. Narita shows no intimidation going right for ELP, but ELP gets him in a bow and arrow, Narita drops down to a cover for 1. ELP grounds Narita in the corner and shows good aggression to a chorus of jeers. Narita gets hung in the tree of woe and ELP steps on his crotch. Cover, but only 2. Hard kicks by ELP get another 2. ELP pops up on the ropes with wrist control and walks ¾ of the way across the ring, then does some great rope work but Narita gets an overhead suplex and covers for 2! Nice pop for Narita, who keeps the pressure on and hits a tackle and follows with a beautiful vertical suplex, cover but only 2. German by Narita is blocked, ELP fires off kicks and covers but still only gets 2. CR2 is called for but Narita gets a cradle and a good 2, backslide by Narita gets another 2 and a GORGEOUS German suplex gets another 2! ELP hits a GREAT superkick, covers but Narita is still alive at 2. CR2 is blocked again and Narita looks for the Boston Crab and gets ELP over! ELP looks for the ropes but Narita pulls him back, ELP gets a thumb to the eye and a cradle for 2. Cutthroat tornado neckbreaker connects, ELP climbs, Narita tries to roll away but ELP covers the distance with the big splash and gets the 3 count.

El Phantasmo defeats Ren Narita by pinfall via a big splash
JAY’S RATING: 2.75 out of 5

This was a solid opening match with ELP continuing to show some more spark and sharpness on the heels of his great showing against Ospreay. Narita is also continuing to impress more and more with each outing, which made this an engaging and fired up way to start the day. Good work.

After the match, ELP hits CR2 just for good measure to a chorus of boos. He also continues throwing fans’ non-BC hats away into the crowd. He takes the mic at commentary and says, “Undefeated bitches.” I am liking heel ELP.

TAKA MICHINOKU vs TITAN

Chants for Titan. They look for quickness and TAKA hits a knee that dumps Titan, TAKA teases the dive but doesnt go for it. Back inside and TAKA asks for chops, and Titan obliges, but TAKA pokes the eyes. Nice rocking horse transition by TAKA, then goes for a deathlock, grabs the arms and gets a submission/pin combo for 2, and then transitions into a bow and arrow. Loving the ZSJ influence. Titan gets a quick cover but TAKA escapes and hits a dropkick that sends Titan outside, where TAKA follows and keeps the pressure on. Back inside and TAKA stays on him, gets a fujiwara variation locked in but Titan makes the ropes. Corner high knee by TAKA connects but Titan gets the thru the ropes clothesline and a spring crossbody, running rana dumps TAKA and Titan hits a nice tope con hilo to wipe out TAKA. Back inside and Titan goes for the cover, but only gets 2. TAKA blocks a running rana and looks for Just Facelock, but Titan gets the ropes. Mid-rope moonsault by TAKA misses but he gets a magistral variation for 2 and goes back to the Just Facelock. Titan makes the ropes again to break. TAKA counters a rollup attempt into Just Facelock, pulls Titan back to center and wrenches. Chants for Titan, who is able to get the ropes again. Michinoku Driver is blocked, superkick by Titan but a heel kick from TAKA, Driver is countered again and Titan hoists TAKA into a Samoan Driver into an awkward pin and gets the 3, I guess?

Titan defeats TAKA Michinoku by pinfall via a Samoan Driver
JAY’S RATING: 2 out of 5

This was going along fine, but that finish seemed like a total miscommunication and as a result really deflated the ending, taking away from the match arc for me. Titan is impressive in many ways, but every once in a while some sloppiness comes through, and thats what this ending felt like. A decent outing, a shame about the finish.

ROBBIE EAGLES vs BUSHI

BUSHI hits a middle rope missile dropkick to dump Eagles before the bell, and follows right away with a suicide dive. Belt whip by BUSHI on the outside, he throws Eagles back inside but Eagles is able to clip the knee and hit a running elbow shot to the back of the head for a cover but only gets 1. Eagles keeps on the leg to set up the Ron Miller Special, covers but only 2. More knee work from Eagles keeps BUSHI grounded. Nice DDT by BUSHI drops Eagles. The shirt comes off and BUSHI gets the choke, Eagles eats an enziguri and a kneeling DDT for 2. Fisherman neckbreaker is blocked, BUSHI gets a dropkick to the back and looks for the apron DDT, Eagles fights back and gets a kick to the back of BUSHI’s head to dump him, and follows with a suicide cannonball to wipe out BUSHI. Eagles sends BUSHI back inside, doesnt quite get all of the spring dropkick to the knee but gets enough, BUSHI fights back but Eagles gets Turbo Backpack but doesnt hit it hard enough so it only gets 2, and Eagles transitions to the Ron Miller Special. BUSHI gets the ropes to break. Corner double knees combo in the corner connects by Eagles, he lines BUSHI up and climbs but misses the 450 to the leg, and BUSHI gets a rope hung Codebreaker and Fisherman Neckbreaker, covers but only gets 2. MX connects hard, BUSHI covers and picks up a nice WIN.

BUSHI defeats Robbie Eagles by pinfall via MX
JAY’S RATING: 2.5 out of 5

This was a good match, and I too am surprised (given Kevin Kelly’s comment on headset) that BUSHI took the W here over Eagles, who has been showing a TON in this tourney appearance. A good showing from BUSHI though, with tight work all around.

JONATHAN GRESHAM vs TIGER MASK IV

They go technical to begin with Tiger outwrestling Gresham at the top, keeping wrist control and grounding Gresham repeatedly. Nice counter wrestling, with Gresham getting a headscissors, and we get a faceoff and a handshake on the ground. More counter and blocking work, and we get another standoff. We get a criss cross, Tiger gets the advantage and lays in kicks. Tiger keeps Gresham grounded, but Gresham makes it to the ropes. More kicks by Tiger keeps Gresham from building any speed or momentum. Gresham looks to kick the arm but Tiger counters, more counter work but Gresham gets a nice dropkick to drop Tiger. Gresham starts getting some speed and shoulder blocks in the corner to take the advantage, but Gresham is holding his ribs and fighting for breath. The Cobra Twist is locked in but Tiger powers out and hits a knee to the ribs, grounds Gresham and gets an arm-trap fujiwara, Gresham fights and makes the ropes. Gresham drops weight to block the Tiger Driver, but Tiger hoists him and lays in a knee instead (dang), and hits a kick and covers for 2. They both hit the ropes and both collide with crossbodies, and both are down. Wheelbarrow snapmare by Gresham, they trade holds and GRESHAM GETS A SURPRISE ROLLUP ON TIGER AND PULLS OUT THE 3! Gresham is overjoyed and Tiger is SHOCKED.

Jonathan Gresham defeats Tiger Mask IV by pinfall via a rollup
JAY’S RATING: 2.5 out of 5

While I would have loved to see more action from these two, I am SO ABOUT Gresham pulling out a HUGE win over the legend. Gresham is so fucking good at what he does, and while this match didnt showcase as much of it we’ve seen some great stuff from him in this tournament already and just the victory over Tiger Mask in itself is gigantic for him, and I couldnt be happier. GO GRESHAM GO!

After the match, Gresham extends the hand, and Tiger takes some time but ultimately shakes it.

DOUKI vs YOH

DOUKI strikes before the bell dumping Yoh and follows with a quick suicide dive. Yoh is sent into the corner post and DOUKI beats down Yoh at ringside, then brings him into the crowd more for carnage, slamming him headfirst into the East wall. Chants for DOUKI, which is interesting. DOUKI now sends Yoh back inside, and chokes Yoh with his own jacket. Chants for Yoh now. DOUKI stomps the mudhole and chokes Yoh in the corner. Slam and running double stomp by DOUKI connects, cover but only 2. Yoh looks for a dropkick to the knee but DOUKI evades, but Yoh is able to snatch a dragon screw instead. Yoh fires up and hits a corkscrew forearm and kips up. Big neckbreaker by Yoh gets 2. Another dragon screw by Yoh, DOUKI blocks a figure four and gets Yoh in a Gory Special but Yoh escapes and gets the Calf Crusher, but DOUKI gets the ropes. Series of dropkicks to the knee by Yoh. DOUKI with a nice escape, but Yoh blocks the slingshot DDT and HITS THE FALCON ARROW! Cover, but only 2! NO ONE KICKS OUT OF THE FALCON ARROW! (#ExcaliburPWG) Yoh looks for the Dragon Suplex, DOUKI counters into a rollup for 2 and transitions into his wristclutch double foot choke, and Yoh starts fading. The crowd gets behind Yoh, who is able to make the ropes to break. UGLY slingshot DDT connects from DOUKI, cover but only 2. DOUKI looks for Suplex De La Luna but Yoh gets a rollup for 2, and goes back to a full nelson, DOUKI breaks it but Yoh gets a bridging German for 2 and Yoh is frustrated and fired up. They each look for their finishes, Yoh hits an enziguri but gets decapitated by a lariat, DOUKI covers but only gets 2. Suplex De La Luna is attempted again, Yoh fights out and gets a rebound superkick and lands the Dragon Suplex, bridges and thats the 3!

Yoh defeats DOUKI by pinfall via the Dragon Suplex
JAY’S RATING: 3 out of 5

This was a fun and fiery match, and while one might criticize DOUKI’s usual Suzuki-Gun tactics, it actually got the crowd super fired up for the top of the match and that energy carried all the way through the end, so I think it ended up serving the story of this match well overall. Yoh continues to show what he is capable of, and I cant even imagine what he’s going to be bringing in just a couple years more.

MARTY SCURLL vs SHO

Marty is looking a bit battered with his head wrapped, but then gets an umbrella shot before the bell and takes the bandage off, then hits a bridging powerbomb for 2 right off the bat. Sho gets behind him and hits a kitchen sink and kick to the back and gets a 2, then transitions into the armbar. Marty stacks Sho up for 2, Sho goes right back to the arm, Marty with great counter work but Sho gets the back elbow knockdown. More arm work by Sho, Marty gets on the apron and gets a draped neckbreaker over the middle rope. Hangmans neckbreaker by Marty follows, cover but only 2. Marty keeps on Sho with aggression and chops him high in the throat, then gets a seated superkick. Headscissors by Marty grounds Sho, but Sho makes the ropes to break. Bottom rope decapitator by Marty connects, cover for 2. Marty keeps control and gets a cravate with knee strikes, Sho with a nice escape but Marty dumps him and gets the apron superkick. Sho asks for more, and Marty hits another one and Sho still wont go down and asks for more! The third one gets caught, Sho gets on the apron and they trade shots. The crowd is into it. Sho gets back in the ring, sits Marty on the apron and hits a running low dropkick, then gets on the apron and lands a PK. Back inside Sho gets a backstabber and looks for the cross armbreaker again, Marty tries to keep the arm from going straight but Sho gets it extended, Marty struggles and gets the rope (with a bit of help from Brody King).

Marty blocks a German from Sho, Sho kicks the arms and gets two Germans, looks for a third but Marty counters and gets a hard half nelson suplex but Sho fires back with a release German and both are down. Shots from Sho, big shot from Marty who looks for Black Plague but Sho fires back and hits a Lumbar Check and covers but only gets 2. Sho is firing up, looks for Shock Arrow but Marty drops weight and counters into the pumphandle neckbreaker and covers but only gets 2. Marty with a corner shot and tornado DDT, rolls it through and looks for the Chickenwing Crossface. Sho looks to block it and does and gets a cross-armed piledriver (but not with a package), covers and gets 2. Marty blocks Project Ciampa by going to Sho’s cauliflowered ear and gets a cradle but only gets 2. Big knee from Sho, Marty responds with a lariat and calls for another one, hitting it hard. Cover, but still 2. Split crowd chants. Marty looks for the finger snap and gets it, looks for another lariat but Sho hits one of his own, and another one. Project Ciampa connects, cover but only 2 for Sho. Shock Arrow connects fully, Sho covers and thats the 3 and a HUGE win for Sho!

Sho defeats Marty Scurll by pinfall via Shock Arrow
JAY’S RATING: 3.5 out of 5

I enjoyed the hell out of this – it didnt overstay its welcome but it was chock full of action, of story and of great character from both Marty and Sho. Sho picking up a big win over a former IWGP Junior Heavyweight champ is also a nice one for his tournament life as well as his singles junior career, which like his partner Yoh seems to have a very bright future ahead of it. Marty played his part to perfection, and Sho delivered the goods as well. Really well done.

ROCKY ROMERO vs RYUSUKE TAGUCHI

Another one with a TON of fun-potential. Rocky is out in basketball gear to compete with Taguchi’s rugby gear. Taguchi gives Rocky the opportunity to shoot a basket into his arms and Rocky clocks him in the head with the ball instead, dumping Taguchi over the top and to the floor! I LOVE IT. Rocky follows up right away though and gets the basketball back, then hits a crossbody to the outside while holding the ball. Because sure why not? AHHH THESE TWO! We now get the bell and Rocky throws Taguchi back inside. Rocky starts targeting the hips of Taguchi to take out one of his big weapons, Rocky gets whipped but hands in the ropes so Taguchi hits a hip attack to dump him outside and follows with a nice tope con giro to wipe Rocky out. Chants for Taguchi. Back inside and Rocky hits chops, and follows with machine-gun chops in the corner. Taguchi with a snapmare and hip attacks to answer, and hits machine-gun hip attacks (or something!), and Rocky fires up after. More corner chops from Rocky and he takes control of Taguchi. Forever Clotheslines are called for, he gets one but Taguchi hits a hip attack, and they trade corner to corner, tiring out after each one until they both call timeouts. Taguchi asks for more and they collide lariats to hip attacks, Taguchi gets an inverted atomic drop but Rocky reverses a hip attack into an atomic drop, they both fire up and instead both drop in exhaustion. God these two are wonderful.

Shots traded, Rocky moves to evade a hip attack and Taguchi crashes and burns hard. Rewind kick is evaded and Taguchi looks for the ankle lock, pulling Rocky away from the ropes but Rocky escapes and looks for Shiranui, its blocked but Rocky gets a running rana instead. Spring tornado DDT connects from Rocky, cover but Taguchi is out at 2. Kicks from Rocky who then looks to work the arm, hitting that classic kneedrop to the arm off the corner. Rocky keeps on him but Taguchi looks to counter, fires off shots but Rocky catches him off the ropes for the cross armbreaker, Taguchi looks to stack Rocky but Rocky transitions to a triangle hold. Taguchi tries to power Rocky up but cant so Rocky looks for the armbar again but Taguchi makes the ropes. Strikes by Rocky who looks for Shiranui again, Taguchi counters again, looks for Dodon but Rocky gets a rollup for 2, Taguchi gets a rollup for 2, Rocky tries another one but Taguchi keeps rolling into another cover and snatches the 3 count out of nowhere!

Ryusuke Taguchi defeats Rocky Romero by pinfall via a rollup
JAY’S RATING: 2.75 out of 5

This was a good and fun match between two of my favorite tourney competitors this year, and I only wish they had a little more time to work some of their magic both in terms of competition and comedy. But they did a fine job with what they did, keeping everyone engaged and entertained while Taguchi picks up another 2 points. I’d love to see Rocky go further, but I understand the choice as well, and this had me smiling the whole time.

After the match, Taguchi offers the bump to Rocky, and the crowd chants for it. Rocky gives the bump, as the coaches share respect and pose! Love this.

YOSHINOBU KANEMARU vs TAIJI ISHIMORI

YK attacks before the bell because OF COURSE HE DOES. Taiji gets his corner evasion, YK evades Bombs Away and counters the handspring enziguri with a dropkick and brings Taiji into the crowd, sending Taiji into the East Wall and looking to take the countout again like he did on Day 7 against Sho. Taiji is able to evade a chair getting thrown and makes it back inside in time. Nice quick sequence from both as Taiji gets the LeBell Lock, but YK gets the ropes to break. BIG seated double knees from Taiji connects, he follows with the tombstone Codebreaker, covers but YK is out at 2. Taiji still favors the neck for a moment but looks for Bloody Cross, YK grabs the ref to break and throws the ref into Taiji, hits an enziguri and a DDT to put Taiji down but the ref is also out. YK grabs the whiskey bottle, takes a swig, Taiji tries to cut it off and takes the bottle as well but the ref sees it, takes it away so YK is able to spit his whiskey into Taiji’s eyes to blind him and gets a cradle and the sneaky 3 count to steal the WIN!

Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeats Taiji Ishimori by pinfall via whiskey and a rollup
JAY’S RATING: 2 out of 5

Not much of a match here in general, but I can kind of get with it as it throws off Taiji’s momentum as a block leader, adds to YK being a spoiler heel given Day 7 as well, while also protecting Taiji’s neck aa bit and giving him time to recover by keeping the match short. It did what it did as it needed to do it.

BANDIDO vs WILL OSPREAY

If I’m honest, I’m expecting/hoping for a lot from this one. HUGE response for Bandido! Bandido extends the handshake, and Will tentatively accepts. Will seems ready for Bandido to fire off at any time, and they feel each other out to start. They go to the mat to begin and quickly stand off again. Now big chants for Will. The crowd is HYPED for this one, and its barely started. The chants for Bandido come back and seems to get in Will’s head a bit. They run the ropes and Will gets a HUGE elevation with a monkey flip and does the dive feint, then hits a baseball dropkick and pescado to wipe out Bandido at ringside. Back inside and Will keeps on Bandido, gets a HARD chop in the ropes and Bandido just DROPS. Will has hard hands. Will chants. Bandido shows his power getting a ONE HANDED GORILLA PRESS, slams Will down and gets a basement dropkick and a cover for 2. Drop toe hold by Bandido and he works the legs of Will, getting him up in a NO HANDS ROMERO SPECIAL, then adds a chinlock but its too close to the ropes and Will uses his free hands to get the break. BIG shots traded, Will hits a gorgeous handspring enziguri and both are down. This crowd is INSANE for this match already. Top rope 619 by Will connects, he follows with Pip Pip Cheerio and covers but only 2, and Will follows with a Last Chancery but Bandido makes the ropes. Reverse Bloody Sunday is blocked and Bandido meets Will at the ropes with a SHARP dropkick to the face. Bandido with a reverse suplex and a Shining Wizard, cover but only 2.

Shots traded, Will gets the backflip enziguri, Bandido looks for a rana, Will holds on for a bomb but Bandido turns it into a poison rana and Will bails. Spring shooting star press from Bandido wipes out Will and carries both of them into the crowd! Bandido sends Will back in and hits a West Coast Pop, but Will is out at 2, Bandido looks for a suplex but Will counters into a stunner and both are down. Jesus this match. They go head to head, shots traded, flurry from Will but a SICK superkick from Bandido, Bandido looks for a snap rana into a pin but Will rolls it through to cover and gets 2 and goes back to the Last Chancery! Will transitions and hits a high angle Liger Bomb, covers but still only gets 2. Os-Cutter is blocked, Will hits the ropes and Bandido catches him into a moonsault slam and gets 2! Bandido looks for the 21-Plex but Will holds the ropes to block it, fights out but Bandido hoists Will and lands the West Knee! 21-Plex is attempted again but WILL LANDS ON HIS FEET! HOLY SHIT WHAT A GREAT MOMENT. The crowd erupts. Standing Spanish Fly from Will connects, cover but still only 2! Will climbs but Bandido cuts it off, they trade shots in the corner, Bandido gets Will and HITS THE AVALANCHE MOONSAULT SLAM! Cover, but Will gets the ropes to break the count! Chants for Will! Bandido hoists Will but Will fights out, eats a Bandido superkick but catches Bandido’s moonsault, turns Bandido around and transitions BRILLIANTLY into Stormbreaker! Cover, and that finally keeps Bandido down for 3!

Will Ospreay defeats Bandido by pinfall via Stormbreaker
JAY’S RATING: 4.75 out of 5

THIS WAS FUCKING INCREDIBLE. The crowd knew this was going to be something special going in, as they were electric before the first move was thrown. But not only did they meet those expectations, they FED OFF OF THEM, and then blew them out of the water. This was something truly special, and one of the best efforts from both of these talents full stop end of story. Bandido is a fucking superstar, and has his whole career still ahead of him which is INSANE when you think about it. This dude is simply unbelievable – his ring presence, his execution, his psychology, his storytelling, its just so beyond beyond. And match him with someone who is equally consistent and brilliant in those arenas like Will Ospreay, and MAGIC HAPPENS. Drop everything and watch this match. Hell, at least so far, if you have to watch one single match of the tournament so far, make it this one. I literally cannot fathom any other match, even to come, getting close to this one as Match of the BOSJ. The bar has been set. Brilliant work on every level.

After the match, respect shown between Will and Bandido and the crowd goes NUTS for Bandido, who once again proves that he is a FUCKING. STAR.

SHINGO TAKAGI vs DRAGON LEE

I do not envy these two having to follow the semi-Main. Juice even mentions how they are going to have to work hard to follow that crowd energy – but if anyone can come close at least, I think its Shingo. Lee extends the hand, Shingo thinks about it, takes the hand but holds it hard and they start right from there, and they go to the mat to start. Shingo shows his power advantage but Lee shows the speed and agility, and we get a nice sequence into a standoff. The crowd is getting into it. Tackle by Shingo drops Lee but Lee pops up, gets a running rana to dump Shingo, Shingo evades a dive, Lee lands on his feet but Shingo hoists him and drops him on the apron and DDTs him on the floor to take control. Back inside and Shingo gets an over the top stomp onto Lee. Shingo keeps the pressure on, Lee looks to fight back but Shingo drops him with a double chop and senton, covers for 2 and then keeps Lee grounded with a body scissors until Lee gets the ropes. BIG vertical suplex by Shingo gets 2. Chants for Lee now as the crowd is again split. Shots traded, Shingo blocks a move and lays in knees, looks for the lariat but Lee gets an STO to stop the momentum. Shingo gets put on the apron and Lee gets a kick to the head, tries the rana off the apron but Shingo holds on and almost gets a powerbomb, Lee escapes and gets a knee strike and tries an apron piledriver but Shingo powers Lee up and gets a DVD on the apron instead! Back inside and Shingo hits a vicious sliding lariat, covers but gets 2. Chants for Lee.

Shingo catches a kick and hits a corner clothesline and a flurry, talks shit but Lee follows into the other corner with a running dropkick and lays in strikes. Lee beats Shingo down and hits a hesitation dropkick. They go head to head, Lee asks for shots and they trade, Shingo just absorbs them and fires off his own but Lee gets a nice high knee strike, Shingo gets a lariat in the ropes but Lee gets one too that dumps Shingo and then hits a DANGEROUS SUICIDE DIVE that puts them both a few rows deep into the crowd! That was a fucking MISSILE. Both are wiped out as Red Shoes checks on them, and says he’s going to start the count which he does. Lee sends Shingo back inside at 15, looks for a dragon suplex but Shingo powers through the full nelson, but Lee gets a straightjacket German with a bridge but only gets 2. PK is blocked by Shingo but Lee hits a superkick, Shingo fires back with the straight right hand and a short lariat to drop Lee. Slam by Shingo who climbs but Lee cuts it off and hangs Shingo in the Tree, looks for the double stomp, Shingo tries to fight back but Lee connects with it, and follows with a BIG PK in tribute to Shibata and covers but only gets 2! Chants for Takagi.

Desnucadora is blocked, Lee runs the ropes but Shingo gets a pop up into a waterwheel slam instead of the DVD, but hits it damned well. Knee strike by Lee, but Shingo fires back with Noshigami, lines Lee up and hits an explosive Pumping Bomber! Cover, but Lee is out at 2! Shingo looks for Last of the Dragon but Lee gets a rollup for 2. Noshigami attempted again but Lee counters into a rollup for 2, and then hits a Boma Ye-style knee strike and both are down. Chants for Lee. Another knee strike is blocked and Shingo lands a headbutt but Lee comes back with a GREAT SEQUENCE – snap German, knee strike, poison rana, and another knee strike – and covers but SHINGO KICKS OUT AT 1! FIGHTING SPIRIT! Lee hits ANOTHER knee strike and covers but STILL only gets 2! Desnucadora is blocked again, and Shingo is able to turn it into Last of the Dragon! Cover and Shingo has pinned the IWGP Junior Champ!

Shingo Takagi defeats Dragon Lee by pinfall via Last of the Dragon
JAY’S RATING: 4.5 out of 5

Well that came DAMN CLOSE to matching the Semi-Main, and Shingo Takagi further establishes himself as The One To Watch in this tournament in my opinion, and is definitely my pick to at minimum make the finals this year if not take the whole thing. Lee also delivered a HELL of a match here, and he and Shingo brought out some truly incredible action out of each other. This win also puts Shingo in line for a title shot regardless of the tournament, and I would LOVE to see Shingo and Lee go at it with the extra stakes of a title match feeding the story, because I think that layer could elevate this quickly to even higher heights. Lee has a ton of heart and it showed well here, but it wasnt enough to overcome the experience and sheer FEROCITY of Shingo Takagi. Fucking awesome work.

After the match, Shingo gets a mic and talks about how he got caught in the jaw, and that Lee wasnt messing around. He says Lee is only 24? He’s a beast. But, the guy to take the main event is the TRUE Japanese dragon. Yesterday Scurll, today Lee, and he’s 5 and 0, so maybe we’re seeing what the main event could look like of the tournament. He’s been doing this for 15 years but has never main evented Sumo Hall, but made his debut in Sumo Hall, so now he’s looking to come full circle to main event there. The other block is great, but there’s no beating him. He says the only guy who can win the tournament is Shingo, and so the path of the dragon shall continue, and he will keep breathing fire. You can see Shingo’s experience here with how comfortable he is on the mic, which only makes me MORE excited about his potential in NJPW. I think he is poised to be a major heavyweight contender, and sooner rather than later. And I CANT WAIT.

JAY’S RATING:

A good day overall, but HOLY FUCK those last two matches. Both of them were total home runs, and have set the standard for the rest of the tourney moving forward. Bandido emerges as an even bigger burgeoning star than he already has been, and Shingo Takagi is, well, SHINGO MF’N TAKAGI. The rankings after Day 8:

A BLOCK
Shingo Takagi: (5-0) 10 pts
Taiji Ishimori: (4-1) 8 pts
Dragon Lee: (3-2) 6 pts
Sho: (2-3) 4 pts
Marty Scurll: (2-3) 4 pts
Jonathan Gresham: (3-2) 6 pts
Tiger Mask: (2-3) 4 pts
Titan: (2-3) 4 pts
Yoshinobu Kanemaru: (2-3) 4 pts
TAKA Michinoku: (0-5) 0 pts

B BLOCK
El Phantasmo: (5-0) 10 pts
Ryusuke Taguchi: (4-1) 8 pts
Will Ospreay: (4-1) 8 pts
Robbie Eagles: (3-2) 6 pts
Yoh: (3-2) 6 pts
Bandido: (2-3) 4 pts
BUSHI: (2-3) 4 pts
Rocky Romero: (1-4) 2 pts
DOUKI: (1-4) 2 pts
Ren Narita: (0-5) 0 pts

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