NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 2020 – Night 3


Tonight, Hiromu Takahashi’s main event run continues, as he faces stablemate BUSHI! Elsewhere, Robbie Eagles meets SHO as the tournament rolls on!

Let’s watch some wrestling, shall we?

Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma vs Yuji Nagata & Gabriel Kidd

Typical opening tag, which is a phrase that I know I’ve written before for these matches. At a certain point, recapping them becomes relatively anticlimactic, unlike in the G-1 where the 3 juniors were building on their matches night after night. Anyway, Kidd gets some offense for a moment, but he comes off the ropes and Kojima takes his head off with a lariat for the pin. (Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma over Yuji Nagata & Gabriel Kidd, pinfall, 9:01)



El Desperado (2 Points) vs Yuya Uemura (0 Points) – BOSJ Match

Uemura attempts to charge Despy to start the match, but c’mon. Desperado is a member of Suzuki-Gun, so if there anyone who can see THAT one coming, it’s Despy, and he bails. Back in they do some nice mat grappling for a bit, and Yuya gets a cross-armbreaker, forcing Despy to grab for the bottom rope quickly. Despy tosses Yuya to punish the lion for his insolence, but Uemura takes advantage on the floor and shoulders him down. Depserado accidentally (It’s MY review and I can believe whatever I want!) kicks the middle rope as Yuya is coming back in for the COMPLETELY INADVERTENT low-blow. Back to the floor, and Despy kicks Yuya’s ass, sending him from barricade to barricade and leaving him there.

Back and and Despy doles out more punishment, including a camel clutch. Yuya fires back with chops, so Despy kicks his knee to put him back down and avoids a dropkick. Doesn’t avoid a second one, though, and Uemura fires up, destroying Desp in the corner with strikes and kicks. Dropkick and forearm gets two for Yuya, and it’s Boston Crab time. He drags Despy back a few times, but eventually Desperado makes the ropes. Double hook suplex is blocked and Desperado gets a spinebuster, 1, 2, Yuya kicks out right into a half-crab from Despy.

Desperado drags him to the center and puts on the Stretch Muffler, then holds on all the way to 5 when Uemura makes the ropes. Rolling counter into a cross-armbreaker by Yuya is slick, Desperado makes the ropes to break. Yuya keeps on the arm, but Desperado uses his free hand to poke Uemura in the eyes and use a forward trap for the pin. (El Desperado over Yuya Uemura, pinfall, 11:27)

THOUGHTS: ***. You know, I know that Uemura is probably going to lose all of his matches in this tournament, but I swear that I would figure out a way to have him win at least one match. This was excellent, and I don’t just mean from a Young Lion perspective – I mean this was a really good wrestling match. Uemura brought the intensity something fierce and Desperado was the perfect guy to play villain to it. Finely structured as a match, it gave Yuya all the shine while taking multiple points to emphasize that Desperado basically won due to his veteran instincts and quality cheating. I enjoyed this very much.


DOUKI (0 Points) vs Taiji Ishimori (2 Points) – BOSJ Match

DOUKI attacks before the bell, sending Taiji to the floor and following that with a sweet tope. He posts Ishimori and DDTs him on the floor. Back in and DOUKI goes to work with elbows. Ishimori comes back with a handspring kick, then a springboard moonsault to DOUKI on the floor. They’re starting strong here, gotta say that. Taiji stretches DOUKI’s neck against the railing, then tosses him back in.

Ishimori gets the crossface, but DOUKI grabs the bottom rope immediately to break. Ishimori works the arm now and then goes to a chinlock. Taiji goes for the double knees, but DOUKI turns that into the Italian Stretch, Taiji makes the ropes. DOUKI with the drop down Gory Stretch into a seated backslide, 1, 2, no! Slingshot DDT is caught and they exchange counters and rollups before DOUKI gets the stretch again. Ishimori looks to be going out, but he manages to get his foot to the rope before he does.

DOUKI goes for the slingshot DDT again, hits it! That gets two. Suplex la Luna is escaped and Ishimori hits a big knee. They trade reversals on a whip and the ref gets wiped out. Joy. This match was going decently, too. DOUKI gets his pipe and hits Ishimori in the chest, but that sends him to his own corner, where he gets his title belt. Belt shot takes DOUKI down, and the Bloody Cross finishes. (Taiji Ishimori over DOUKI, pinfall, 12:01)

THOUGHTS: **3/4. Awful finish to a surprisingly decent match, I gotta say. They were cooking a bit and then took the cheapest way out of the match, which shocks me only because if Taiji was going over, why not have him go over clean? It’s not like you needed to protect DOUKI or anything. Overall, I wanted to like this more than I actually did, but I wonder if that was because I didn’t like the ending?

Intermission. Clean that ring!


Master Wato (w/Hiroyoshi Tenzan) (4 Points) vs Ryusuke Taguchi (2 Points) – BOSJ Match

Well, this should be interesting. Taguchi to the mat and they work there, grappling to a draw and they stand again. Snapmare sends Taguchi to the floor to think things over for a bit. He comes back in, but cannot solve the wonder that is Wato, as the Master takes control. Taguchi comes back and puts on an anklelock, causing Wato to dive for the ropes to break. Kicks and chops from Wato, then run the ropes, dropkick from Wato. Taguchi rolls out, Wato follows with a twisting plancha.

Wato rolls Taguchi back in, then hit his admittedly beautiful springboard uppercut, then a kick for two. Taguchi hip attack, countered into an atomic drop by Wato, and Taguchi finally sends Wato to the floor with a springboard dropkick before hitting a springboard plancha to keep him there. Back in and Taguchi goes for the fabled SPINNING hip attack, which would probably kill a poor young guy like Wato who isn’t prepared for THAT awesome power. Luckily, Wato manages to avoid it by kicking Taguchi in the ass.

They trade kicks and both guys are down. Taguchi takes Wato down from the corner and applies the anklelock, Wato reverses it to one of his own, Taguchi makes the ropes. Kicks and Wato drops Taguchi with one to the head, then a bomb for two. Wato goes for the driver, but Taguchi slips out and he’s got the anklelock in the center of the ring now. Wato escapes that and sunset flips Taguchi, pulling Taguchi’s tights down (is that going to be a thing this entire BOSJ? We see Taguchi’s bare ass in every match?), and then, in the objectively grossest finish I’ve seen in a very, very long time, Taguchi shifts his weight forward to…..ahem…..SIT ON WATO’S FACE WITH HIS BARE ASS FOR THE PIN. Please never do that finish EVER again, NJPW. PLEASE. (Ryusuke Taguchi over Master Wato, really disgusting pinfall, 10:22)

THOUGHTS: ***. Outside of the rimjob finish (and I’m not reading into that, both wrestlers after the match acted grossed out and made it clear that we were supposed to think the same thing), this was perfectly acceptable wrestling. That having been said, I was surprised that Taguchi won, to be honest. I thought that Wato was going to stay undefeated for another 1-2 matches before starting a fall. Regardless, they did a nice little match here, nothing to set the world on fire, but fine.


SHO (4 Points) vs Robbie Eagles (2 Points) – BOSJ Match

Well, this should wash the taste of that last finish out of my mouth. Much like Wato is probably doing. RIMSH- oh, damnit. That’s not even funny here.

They work the crowd to start and lo and behold, with the crowd clapping along there’s instant energy off the jump as we start the grappling sequences. Test of strength is won by SHO, Eagles breaks that and runs the ropes, SHO stops him and puts on a cross-armbreaker as we get our story for the match – SHO is stronger, Eagles is faster. Good enough for me. SHO works the arm into a standing cross hammerlock, then trips Robbie for two.

Robbie finally gets a comeback with a trip and a sliding lariat to the back of SHO’s head, then a somersault tope that sends SHO to the barricade and ends up sending Robbie over said barricade, where he lands on his feet. Excellent. Back in and Eagles pounds away. He gets the crowd into it, then stomps SHO’s leg in the cloverleaf. SHO back with a spear and a corner clothesline. Eagles catches SHO with a kick, then a springboard dropkick to the leg of SHO, perfectly placed. Kicks from Eagles, off the ropes, NASTY kick right to the chin of SHO. That looked rough.

SHO comes back with a legsweep and a dropkick to send Eagles outside, Eagles sweeps SHO’s legs on the apron, then hits a Sliced Bread #2 off the post. Both guys dive back in at 19 to keep it going. They slug it out from their knees now, then from their feet. Eagles tries a few lariats, SHO shrugs them off, then Eagles drops him with a nice series of kicks. Really cool sequence follows as Eagles goes for a ‘rana, SHO blocks it, Eagles fights for it, SHO blocks, Eagles fights for it again and finally hits it for two. SHO comes back with rolling Germans, Eagles responds with a Turbo Backpack for two. Tremendous stuff.

Eagles goes back to the leg of SHO now to set up the Ron Miller special. SHO fires back, Eagles kicks him in the leg. SHO rocks him with shots, but Eagles kicks him down. SHO turns Eagles inside-out with a lariat, then back to the arm of Eagles before putting the armbreaker back on. SHO gets Eagles up, straightjacket piledriver gets two. SHO signals for the Shock Arrow, but Eagles escapes and knees SHO in the face, then goes over the top of SHO into a DDT. Eagles goes up, 450 splash to the leg! Ron Miller Special for Eagles! He’s locked it in, SHO tries for the ropes…..he can’t make it! SHO taps! (Robbie Eagles over SHO, submission, 19:22)

THOUGHTS: ****. Excellent match. The through line of working the body parts to set up the submission attempts were well-done, but it cannot be overstated how much enthusiasm these two brought to the match and how much it enlivened what we were watching. I was super into this, mostly because of how both guys had enough energy to keep me mesmerized. This was a really great piece of work.


Hiromu Takahashi (2 Points) vs BUSHI (2 Points) – BOSJ Match

3rd main in 3 nights for Hiromu. He’s such a big star in the division that it kind of hurts everyone else, but with KUSHIDA off to NXT and Ospreay off to the heavys and Shingo only being a ‘junior’ for the one year, it’s going to take some time to build up someone else to share in that top spot with him. And you really can’t ‘teach’ anyone Hiromu’s charisma, that’s just going to have to natural.

Quick start by both guys as each one fakes out the other to avoid dives to the outside. Strike battle ensues and they really let it rip on each other, with BUSHI hitting a pair of dropkicks to the knee, playing off what Desperado did in beating Takahashi the previous night. Hiromu rolls out, BUSHI hits a spectacular ‘rana over the top to the floor. Back in, he stomps away, then hangs Hiromu on the top rope and hits him with a dropkick. Neckbreaker gets two for BUSHI, and he goes to an STF.

HIromu tries a comeback with some strikes, but BUSHI shrugs them off and hits a high angle belly-to-back suplex for two. BUSHI has dominated the match up to this point. Hiromu finally puts a few moves together and hits a shotgun dropkick to send BUSHI out, then a dropkick off the apron to send BUSHI to the barricade. Back in and Hiromu runs into BUSHI’s feet, and BUSHI follows with a missile dropkick. Nifty series of reversals ends with BUSHI hitting a DDT. Hiromu with a pop-up powerbomb counter to BUSHI coming off the ropes and both guys are down.

Dynamite Plunger by Hiromu gets two. BUSHI avoids the DVD into the corner and hits a lungblower, then a Codebreaker for two. He wants MX, but Hiromu stops it and superkicks BUSHI down on the apron. Sunset Bomb attempt is blocked by BUSHI into a DDT to Hiromu on the apron. Tope sends Hiromu to the railing. Back in and BUSHI goes up, Hiromu hits a leaping BUSHI with a Codebreaker of his own! Death Valley Driver into the buckles by Takahashi, but a dropkick to the knee from BUSHI sets up La Majistral for two. Leaping Codebreaker gets two for BUSHI.

BUSHI goes up again, MX hits! 1, 2, NO! Oh, I wouldn’t have done that. BUSHI has taken almost the entire match, I’m not a fan of him getting his finisher getting kicked out of. Hiromu catches a charging BUSHI with the overhead throw into the buckles and both guys are down again. 20 minutes gone. Hiromu throws forearms but there’s nothing on them. They trade kicks and Hiromu does manage to drop BUSHI with a lariat. BUSHI with a bridging backslide for two, but Hiromu gets up and turns BUSHI inside-out with a lariat. DVD in the corner hits again for Hiromu, then one in the center of the ring. Time Bomb (scary one, too) hits and Hiromu escapes with the 2 points. (Hiromu Takahashi over BUSHI, pinfall, 23:42)

THOUGHTS: ***3/4. This was a weird one. The story seems to be similar to the Naito one in the G-1, where he was wrestling long matches every card, and we were waiting for it to catch up to him. So BUSHI dominated almost the entire match, got his finisher kicked out of, and then lost after Takahashi hit his once. I dunno, I’m not the biggest BUSHI fan in the world, but he’s a perfectly good worker and if they were going to beat him and the match had to go long to play into the story, the least they could have done was protect his finisher, something that NJPW normally does well. Regardless, both guys worked well out there, with a good pace for the match they wanted to have with good selling across the board. Overall, I liked the match a lot in spots, not sure how I felt in other spots.

Post-match, Hiromu gives BUSHI a socially distanced fist bump, which BUSHI returns. He cuts his promo and we’re done.


Hiromu Takahashi:                           4 Points
El Desperado:                                  4 Points
Taiji Ishimori:                                    4 Points
Master Wato:                                   4 Points
SHO:                                                4 Points
Robbie Eagles:                                 4 Points
Ryusuke Taguchi:                             4 Points
BUSHI:                                              2 Points
DOUKI:                                             0 Points
Yuya Uemura:                                   0 Points

FINAL THOUGHTS: We’re in a jam-up situation here, with a whopping SEVEN guys at 4 points after 3 nights; that’s far from unusual and I would expect the pack to separate a bit as we hit the halfway point of the tournament, AKA the next few shows. At that point, we’ll get a better idea of where we’re going with this thing. Tonight was a slightly weaker night with an excellent SHO/Eagles match and a very good Takahashi/BUSHI match.

A quick moment, if I can beg your pardon; the blog is blessed right now with a lot of Japanese wrestling reviews, so I wanted to take a moment really quickly to say something about them.

First off, if you haven’t been following Jabroniville’s Joshi Spotlight, you absolutely should. Even if you’re not into Joshi, you’ll learn things you didn’t know before AND get great match recommendations. Search those out – eh, you know what, I’ll do it for you! Just click HERE.

Michael Bradley has been covering every night of World Tag League and the shows have been quite good with some excellent tag work, as you’d expect. Mike was gracious enough to step in to make sure that I didn’t try to cover both tournaments at the same time, and his hard work is much appreciated. Keep up with those HERE.

And my G-1 partner, Michael Fitzgerald, wrote an extensive review of the Pro Wrestling NOAH 20th show, which was a superb event that had a legitimate MOTY candidate, a ****3/4 main event between Go Shiozaki vs Katsuhiko Nakajima; even if you know nothing at all about NOAH, Shiozaki’s absolutely spell-binding selling and overall performance will draw you in like a spider to its web. And Michael breaks it all down in his awesome review, which you can read by clicking HERE.

My point in bringing any of these things up is that it has always been part of my hope for this site to have a bit of everything in the wrestling world under one roof, and that’s why I started writing here in the first place. So I can’t stress enough how awesome all of these folks are in putting their talents on display to spotlight the world outside the norm, to showcase things that used to be the domain of tape traders but now stream all over the world to be enjoyed. I hope that the blog does even more going forward (which is, of course, up to Scott, since it’s his place and all), and I hope y’all enjoy reading about them.

And that’ll do it for me – see you again for Night 4!

As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote,

Rick Poehling
@MrSoze on Twitter
[email protected] for email