NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 2020 – Night 4

Howdy!

Tonight for the first time in the tournament, Hiromu Takahashi will not be in the main event, as our feature bout will feature Master Wato taking on El Desperado!

Let’s watch some wrestling, shall we?

Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma vs Yuji Nagata & Gabriel Kidd

Let’s just not pretend this matters, since I can only come up with so many variations of the term ‘usual opener’. This match is already starting to wear a bit thin on my end. Kojima with the lariat for the pin. (Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma over Yuju Nagata & Gabriel Kidd, pinfall, 8:01)

THOUGHTS: *3/4

   
Taiji Ishimori (4 Points) vs Yuya Uemura (0 Points) – BOSJ Match

Uemura has certainly been making the most of this tournament when it comes to his performances, and I expect this will be more of the same here. They start to work off a wristlock and head to the mat with Ishimori in control. He keeps it through various counters from Uemura into a front facelock. Strong mat grappling from these guys. Yuya gets back up, but right back down with Taiji slapping on a Fujiwara armbar, as Ishimori has been schooling this boy. 

Out to the floor and Ishimori runs Yuya into the post arm-first, as we’ve got a target. More arm punishment from Taiji. He’s so good. He gets overshadowed by Hiromu’s star power, but make no mistake, Ishimori can work with the best of them. Yuya finally hits a dropkick to stop Ishimori from trying to separate the arm from the torso, and he gets a bit of offense and a corner dropkick for two. He goes for the Boston Crab, but the arm is gone and he has to settle for a single-leg version instead, and Ishimori makes the ropes quickly. 

Ishimori with headbutts to the arm and a shoulderbreaker to further destroy the arm. I cannot sing the praises of this man enough, this is as surgical a dissection as I’ve seen in quite awhile. Crossface from Taiji, but Yuya escapes into a cross-armbreaker, forcing Ishimori to the ropes. Yuya with strikes and he gets the hooks in, but can’t get Taiji over and Ishimori rolls through into the GargaNO escape, and that’s all she wrote for Uemura. (Taiji Ishimori over Yuya Uemura, submission, 10:37)

THOUGHTS: **3/4. Some spotty selling issues with Yuya aside, I can honestly say that Uemura has looked very much at home in there, with no nerves or sloppiness in execution. Yes, the matches are basic and this was really a one-sided beating for the entire first half of the match, but Yuya’s matches aren’t ‘Young Lion’ matches as much as they’re just….matches, and that’s the best compliment I can give him. Taiji was his usual dependable self here. 

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

BUSHI looks to jump Eagles, who counters that by leaping off the buckle and dropping him with a kick. They run the ropes and Eagles snaps off a ‘rana, BUSHI returns fire with a dropkick to send Eagles to the floor and follows with a tope. He hits a neckbreaker for two on Eagles back in the ring. 

Belly-to-back suplex gets two for BUSHI, and he chokes Eagles with the shirt. Robbie escapes and dropkicks the knee of BUSHI. Kicks from Robbie get two. Meteora into the buckles to BUSHI and Eagles covers for two. Off the ropes and Eagles runs into a dropkick, and BUSHI follows that with the jumping DDT to the apron. Robbie makes his comeback off that with the Turbo Backpack for two. BUSHI with a missile dropkick to regain the advantage and he follows that with a lungblower, but he misses the rewind kick and Eagles slaps on the Ron Miller Special. 

BUSHI fights for the ropes and makes it to break. Robbie goes for another dropkick to the knee, but gets hit in midair by a dropkick from BUSHI, who follows that with a Canadian Destroyer for…..two. Lovely. BUSHI goes up, MX hits! 1, 2, 3. (BUSHI over Robbie Eagles, pinfall, 11:24)

THOUGHTS: ***. It was fine, but I got the impression both guys were taking it a bit easy out there. Eagles’ whole thing in this tournament as been working the leg for the Miller, but here he just kind of put it on with the bare minimum of work, while BUSHI showcased negative intensity out there. These two can have this match in their sleep, and they kind of did.

Intermission! Disinfect, Lions, disenfect!

   
DOUKI (0 Points) vs Hiromu Takahashi (4 Points) – BOSJ Match

So we’ve actually got a story here, as DOUKI is jealous of Hiromu’s success as both of them worked in Mexico, but Hiromu came back to NJPW to make it while DOUKI stayed in Mexico and didn’t get to Hiromu’s level. Yeah, I’ve got a few theories about that, to say the least. Most of them involve Takahashi being a rare talent with extraordinary charisma and DOUKI being DOUKI.

DOUKI wastes zero time and dropkicks Hiromu off the buckles to the floor before the bell rings. They battle it out there for a bit, including DOUKI moving on an apron dropkick and Hiromu crashing to the mat. DOUKI follows that up with a senton off the top buckle to Hiromu on the floor, as it appears DOUKI has his working boots on tonight. Hiromu barely makes it back in and DOUKI goes to work, kicks followed by a slam into a running double stomp. 

Hiromu snaps off a ‘rana and hits a wheelbarrow slam to the floor on DOUKI. Yee-ouch. Dropkick off the apron hits this time and DOUKI goes FLYING backwards to the rail. He’s throwing himself around tonight for sure. Back in and DOUKI counters the Death Valley Driver to the buckles and hits the sitout backslide for two after a few reversals. Hiromu tries a powerbomb, but DOUKI puts on the Italian Stretch, forcing Hiromu to get to the ropes. Springboard DDT from DOUKI gets two. 

DOUKI off the ropes, Hiromu tries for the pop-up powerbomb but DOUKI counters that to a ‘rana. Takahashi fires back with an overhead throw into the buckles. Dynamite Plunger gets two for Hiromu. DVD to the corner from Hiromu and he wants to finish, but DOUKI has a sweet little rolling counter back into the Italian Stretch. Hiromu breaks that and hits a suplex flatliner. 

They slug it out and proceed from there into kicking it out, then lariating it out as both guys are on the mat again. This match is very good. Elbow from DOUKI just ETHERS Takahashi, as he just drops to the mat. DOUKI with the sitout again, but instead of a straight backslide, he tucks the head of Hiromu under his arm and drops down to slam Takahashi to the mat. Jee-sus. Takahashi tries to come back with a lariat, DOUKI pops back up, second lariat puts him down for two. Time Bomb puts him down for good. (Hiromu Takahashi over DOUKI, pinfall, 16:33)

THOUGHTS: ****. Okay, THAT was the best DOUKI match I’ve ever seen, and it wasn’t just a total carryjob by Takahashi. DOUKI more than kept up his end as he was throwing bombs at Hiromu the entire time, but just couldn’t put him away no matter what he hit. Really terrific little match here, as though Hiromu was determined to show that not putting him in the main event was a bad call. Good pacing, just about the right time, and the right guy went over. Thumbs up. 

   
SHO (4 Points) vs Ryusuke Taguchi (4 Points) – BOSJ Match

Keep it in your pants tonight, Taguchi! I mean it, that last match finish scarred me (and probably Wato) for life. Handshake to start for this sporting contest. Taguchi gives us some Riverdance to start before we lock up proper. Very nice little grappling sequence ends up in the ropes and we stand again. Back to the mat, they stalemate, back to their feet. 

They run the ropes and Taguchi does his normal comedy as SHO goes back and forth, and eventually gets so dizzy he falls over and ends up clotheslining the buckle, which made me laugh. He gets the hip attack on a charging SHO to get some time to get his equilibrium back. He picks the leg of SHO and wraps it around the buckle to work the ankle. Bit of Taguchi heel work, I see. Get it? HEEL work? See, he was working the foot and….

Alright, I’ll stop. Please come back. SHO with a penalty kick down the apron to come back, and he starts to work the arm a bit. Taguchi wants time out, but that isn’t going to fly and SHO kicks his ass outside the ring. Back in and SHO cranks the arm again. Hoverboard Lock, but Taguchi makes the ropes. SHO fires kicks at the ass of Taguchi, but Taguchi is firing up with every blow! He’s like a pervert version of Hogan! So, you know, Hogan! He shrugs off kicks and not one but two atomic drops by SHO, hits a hip attack and then hits a plancha onto SHO on the floor. 

Springboard hip attack, which SHO somehow survives. Good on him, the ass of Taguchi has claimed many victims. Three Amigos, but SHO blocks the last one…..so Taguchi rolls into the anklelock, forcing SHO to make the ropes to break. Taguchi signals for the Bumaye, SHO rolls through and spears Taguchi. SHO back in control now with measured kicks and strikes, Taguchi fires back and we slug it out. Off the ropes and SHO catches Taguchi into a deadlift German suplex, then into the armbreaker, which Taguchi rolls into the anklelock.

SHO gets the cross-armbreaker again, SHO reverses to a pinfall and back to the anklelock, as these two are putting on a show. Taguchi’s got him trapped in the center of the ring. SHO tries for the ropes, Taguchi tries for the Dondon, SHO reverses and and attempts a sunset flip, Taguchi yanks down his own tights this time to reveal that he’s worn a second set of tights! Thanks be to the lord. He sits on SHO for two. 

The pants come down (sigh) and Taguchi goes for the hip attack, it hits, he comes off the ropes for another one and SHO is ready with a lariat. Straightjacket piledriver gets two for SHO. He signals for Shock Arrow, hits it! Taguchi is done. (SHO over Ryusuke Taguchi, pinfall, 17:06)

THOUGHTS: ***3/4. Just a hair below the previous match, mostly due to the fact that the arm and leg stuff meant very little in the overall finish of the match. Really fun stuff though, as SHO continues to prove that he is ready to ascend to be one of the guys in this division. Taguchi is Mr. Reliable in the BOSJ, he’ll give you something good most of the time. Good pacing, good selling, just about right. 

   
Master Wato (w/Hiroyoshi Tenzan) (4 Points) vs El Desperado (4 Points) – BOSJ Match

Big-time test for Wato here in the main event. Desperado is a vet and that’ll help, but Wato’s gotta bring the goods. 

Despy trashes Tenzan to start, luring Wato in to run into Tenzan on the apron, but Wato recovers quickly and brings the strikes, then into the camel clutch. Desperado eventually recovers and tosses the ref into the ropes to cut off a Wato springboard, and that puts us on the floor where it’s advantage Despy, as he posts the leg multiple times and taunts Tenzan. Tenzan take the bait and gets in Despy’s face, forcing the ref to deal with him and allowing Despy to get the bell hammer and nail Wato with it. See, that’s all I want – I just want some subterfuge from the heel when it comes his cheating. Distract the ref, THEN hit him with the foreign object. 

Desperado destroys the knee of Wato, shrugging off the Master’s feeble offense. Wato tries a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, but the weight coming down hurts the knee again. Wato manages to backdrop Despy to the floor, then hits a twisting press over the top and a tope con hilo over the top in succession. Sure. Springboard uppercut (he does that move SO well) gets two for Wato.

Despy goes to the eyes to escape a crucifix bomb and dropkicks the knee of Wato to take the advantage again. Another one in the corner and then a dragon-screw legwhip from Despy set up the Stretch Muffler. Wato tries his damndest and finally makes the ropes to break. More shots from Desperado, but Wato fires back. Crucifix bomb hits to give Wato two. Wato goes up, RPP misses! 

Spear from Despy and he looks to finish this, Guitarra de la Angel hits! 1, 2, no! Pinche Loco, but Wato backdrops out. They fire forearms at each other, Wato with a high kick to put Despy down. Wato wants to finish and the ref ends up with his back turned on a standing swtich, and a mule kick hits Wato low, then a straight right hand puts Wato down. Pinche Loco again, but Wato escapes and rolls Desperado up, full bridge, 1, 2, 3! Bad camera angle as it was clear that Desperado had his shoulders up the entire time, but still. (Master Wato over El Desperado, pinfall, 14:34)

THOUGHTS: ***1/2. Wato looked fine here and Despy is always going to give you a good match. This was one of the few times I think a match should have probably gone a bit longer and all the psychology in the match itself was Desperado working the leg, as the cursory arm work by Wato didn’t really figure into the finish. Overall, Wato was up to the task and Desperado did a good carry job where it was needed. 

STANDINGS AFTER NIGHT 4:

SHO:                                      6 Points
Master Wato:                         6 Points
Hiromu Takahashi:                 6 Points
Taiji Ishimori:                          6 Points
El Desperado:                        4 Points
Robbie Eagles:                        4 Points
BUSHI:                                    4 Points
Ryusuke Taguchi:                   4 Points
DOUKI:                                   0 Points
Yuya Uemura:                         0 Points

FINAL THOUGHTS: Not a blowaway show, just a solid one here, with a shockingly great DOUKI match and nothing bad beyond that. Wato and Despy did fine in the main, but it felt weird not to have Hiromu in there, to be honest. And I think that he’s not in the main in the next one, either. 

See you again for Night 5 as we hit the halfway point! 

As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote,

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