The SmarK Rant for New Japan Best of the Super Juniors Final 2019 – 06.05.19
Or at least the last two matches, since that’s what everyone wants out of me.
Also, I love New Japan World. Do you know what us tape traders in the 90s would have done or killed or had sex with to get access to something like this at that time?
IWGP US title: Juice Robinson v. Jon Moxley
Hell of a debut spot for Mox. The hype video with Moxley being revealed as the knife-wielding maniac DEATH RIDER is perfect for him, by the way. But more important than any videos naming Moxley as a murderer at large, JUICE HAS CUT OFF HIS HAIR. Holy shitballs. The crowd is not appreciative of that new look and it’s a Tanahashi situation all over again. Juice runs in and slugs it out right away, but Moxley clotheslines him to the floor and immediately follows with a dive that sends Juice flying over the railing and into the crowd, where Moxley bites the forehead and they brawl down the aisle. Mox wants hardway blood because Japan is still weird about blading, so he potatoes the eye and tries a piledriver on the floor, which Juice reverses. I’ve always found the whole thing stupid in the sense that the philosophy is “Well, razor blades are barbaric, so instead I’m gonna punch you in the eye 18-20 times with my bare knuckles and try to draw blood the civilized way.” On a personal note, I’m having trouble with my “J” key so this match is a problem for me. Juice decides to go the full Sabu monty and climbs onto the entrance tunnel, diving onto Moxley from up there with a somersault senton. Jesus, dude. Where’s the happy go lucky Juice we all know and love? They fight back to ringside and Juice runs him into the railing, but cannonballs at him and misses, wiping himself out. DUDE. CALM THE FUCK DOWN. Back in, Moxley goes for the knee and posts it, then goes for the eye again and just can’t get a good blood flow going. Juice fights back with a spinebuster and he punches the shit out of Moxley on the mat and gets nowhere, then slugs him down in the corner. Red Shoes tries to break it up and Juice is swearing like a St. Louis Blues player as he apparently has ZERO CHILL tonight. Moxley bails and Juice dives onto him and follows with an atomic drop onto the railing before clotheslining him off. Juice is so dark and angry now, like a Zack Snyder DC superhero movie.
Moxley tries a superplex and then changes his mind and just shoves Juice off the top rope instead, bouncing his face off the apron on the way down. Yikes. Moxley offers a bow to Red Shoes to make sure they’re cool, and then puts Juice onto a table and beats on him with a chair before jumping off the apron and smashing the chair onto him. That doesn’t quite break the table, so Moxley suplexes him through it for good measure. We do the countout tease spot, but Juice beats the count at 19 and then Moxley gives him a suplex into a drop straight down for two. Next up, it’s back to the knee with the ringpost figure-four and he gets another chair, but Juice recovers and tosses it right into his face to make a comeback. Back in, Juice with the corner clothesline, but he walks right into Moxley’s lariat out of the corner and both guys are down. Moxley is a total maniac and the crowd is CHEERING for him! Well, the Japanese, what can ya do?
They slug it out and Juice is over it and makes the comeback, but Moxley counters the Left Hand of God and they tumble to the floor. And Moxley finds another table, but Juice fights back with the Left Hand of God and cannonballs him into the table in a crazy spot that won’t break the table. Juice: “I’m breaking this motherfucker!” Well, goals are important in life. So he powerbombs Moxley through the table to get his revenge on the table, and back in for the Boston crab, which Moxley reverses into a dragon screw and cloverleaf. Juice tries for the ropes and Mox drags him back, so Juice bites the forehead to escape and gets another left hand. Pulp Friction is reversed, but Juice gets a rollup for two and they both decide to BRING IT ON with dueling lariats, but Moxley hits the Dirty Deeds for two. And then a leaping version finishes at 24:10 and DEATH RIDER is the new US champion. This was a hell of a fight and instantly one of Moxley’s best ever matches in his NJPW debut. ****1/4 I blame Juice’s haircut for ruining his superpowers. Now that he’s free to just go full Terry Funk on everyone, Jon’s got his groove back. Dare I say this was some g…never mind.
And then of course, the main event…
Best of the Super Junior Finals: Shingo Takagi v. Will Ospreay
Ospreay is definitely looking more heavyweight here and would fit right in now. The build and gear is very AJ Styles now and it’s effective. Test of strength to start and Ospreay goes for the arm off that and then flips into a headlock. Takagi, who is undefeated since returning to New Japan last year, knocks him down and Ospreay bounces right back up and they do an incredible stalemate sequence with teases of finishers and gymnastics galore. That was like a Marvel teaser trailer or something. Takagi offers a clean break in the corner and then chops him down anyway, so Oz hits his own and puts him on the floor with a headscissors and dropkick. Takagai stalls for a bit and thinks it over after Ospreay teases a dive, and back in for another slugfest that ends with Takagi on the floor again. And this time Ospreay actually hits the dive. They fight on the floor and Ospreay tries to leap off the railing, but Takagi catches him and drops him on the apron to set up a DDT on the floor. Back in, Takagi tries a death valley driver on the apron, but Oz fights back, only to miss his dive and have Takagi hit his own surprising somersault plancha. He’s, uh, not usually the diving type, so good for him.
Back in, they trade forearms and Takagi wins that one and follows with a backdrop, then beats on him in the corner and follows with a pop-up DVD for two. Shingo pounds him with elbows but Ospreay comes back with a 619 and running corner dropkick, into the shooting star press for two. Takagi bails to the floor and Ospreay hits him with the SPACE FLYING TIGER DROP and a bodypress back into the ring. As always, I must remind you, the reader, that should I ever live out my dreams of being a rock star, I would name my band Space Flying Tiger Drop. They slug it out and Takagi puts him down with the lariat, and then beats him to a pulp and hits a seated lariat for two, with Ospreay flying ass over teakettle on the bump. Ospreay comes back with a sunset flip for two and an enzuigiri, then reverses a suplex attempt into a stunner and both guys are out.
Ospreay gets a Yazuka kick in the corner and sets up for a top rope Stormbreaker, but Takagi fights out of that and they slug it out on the apron. Oz tries the springboard rana off the top, but Takagi catches him and puts him down with a top rope death valley driver, for two. Takagi means BUSINESS now and that’s kinda scary, as he follows with a corner clothesline and no-sells Ospreay’s flips and shit. OzCutter is casually blocked and turned into the Noshigami and Ospreay is in some trouble, but Ospreay manages to catch the lariat and turn it into a FUCKING GIGANTIC Ligerbomb for two. GODDAMN. Robinson Special misses, however, and Takagi whiplashes him into the corner. Ospreay escapes to the apron but Takagi keeps beating on him, so he desperately hits an OzCutter on the apron and both guys are out on the floor. This is Ospreay “toning it down”, by the way. Think about that. Takagi barely gets back in and Ospreay flies out of nowhere with a missile dropkick for two and then a 630 to the back and shooting star press for two. Good lord. Robinson Special kick sets up the OzCutter…for two. And now Takagi is REALLY pissed. So this is a problem.
Ospreay tries the Stormbreaker to finish this shit once and for all, but Takagi blocks him and slugs back, then levels him with a headbutt out of nowhere. They trade forearms and Takagi just destroys him, but Ospreay manages a superkick and tries the Stormbreaker, but Takagi FUCKING WRECKS HIM with the Last of the Dragon pumphandle piledriver, which gets two. Holy shit that was nasty. Takagi with a lariat and Ospreay won’t stay down, so Takagi takes a run and MURDERS him with another one that turns Ospreay inside out…and that only gets two. Takagi tries the piledriver again, but Ospreay manages to reverse to a reverse rana and Takagi takes a sick bump off that but gets up and keeps beating the piss out of Ospreay with clotheslines. Ospreay fights back with a high kick, and then blocks a lariat with a Spanish Fly for two. He puts Takagi down with the elbow to the back of the neck and follows with a top rope OzCutter, then hangs onto the neck, and hauls him up into the Stormbreaker to finish and win the tournament at 33:45, ending Takagi’s undefeated streak in the process. Jesus Christ, shut down wrestling, we can’t follow that and shouldn’t even try. *****
So yeah, I got my 999 yen worth tonight. And tomorrow I’ll check out Ibushi v. Naito and Okada v. Jericho from Dominion to finish things off.