NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 2020 – Night 9

Howdy!

We need 2 finalists, and tonight we are going to get two finalists! 4 wrestlers are still in the running, so let’s find out who will face off to determine the winner of the BOSJ 2020!

Let’s watch some wrestling, shall we?

We are, of course, sharing the night tonight with the World Tag League, which you all have no doubt been following along with Michael Bradley here on the BoD – his take on this show (minus the Juniors) is right HERE – so be sure to read that before the Finals on December 11th!

But for now, it’s 5 matches tonight – let’s refresh the leaderboard before we get started:

STANDINGS AFTER NIGHT 8: (EVERYONE IN BOLD HAS BEEN ELIMINATED)

El Desperado:                        12 Points
Hiromu Takahashi:                 12 Points
SHO:                                      12 Points
Taiji Ishimori:                         12 Points
Master Wato:                         8 Points
BUSHI:                                    8 Points
Ryusuke Taguchi:                   6 Points
Robbie Eagles:                       6 Points
DOUKI:                                   4 Points
Yuya Uemura:                        0 Points

Scenarios tonight are as follows:

– El Desperado controls all. He holds the tiebreak over Hiromu, SHO, and Ishimori by virtue of having defeated each one in the course of the tournament. Therefore, his match is very simple – win and he’s in. If Hiromu loses, he can get into the Final with a loss, believe it or not, because of his tiebreaker control. There are other scenarios, but he’s really the only one that completely controls his destiny.

– Hiromu Takahashi has one break, over Taiji Ishimori. To make the Final, he must win AND either SHO or El Desperado must lose. 

– SHO and Taiji Ishimori face off tonight. Ishimori has no help to make the final, as he’s already lost to both Hiromu and Desperado – therefore, for Taiji to make the Final, he has to beat SHO and he needs either Hiromu or Desperado to lose. SHO is much more straightforward – he holds the tiebreak over Hiromu, so if he wins, he’s in regardless of the results of any other matches. 

There are plenty of other cross-corner scenarios with time limit draws, double DQs, etc, but for purposes of keeping things simple, let’s just go with what happens with decisive results. 

   

Robbie Eagles (6 Points) vs Yuya Uemura (0 Points) – BOSJ match

This was a hell of a tournament for both these guys. Eagles had some of the best matches and Uemura was an absolute revelation, wrestling less like a Young Lion and more like a seasoned junior out there. I hope his excursion is short, I gotta say. 

They come out of the blocks hard at each other, with no one gaining much of an advantage until Eagles sweeps the leg of Yuya and hits him with a lariat to the back of the head. Running kick from Eagles gets two. Eagles with a springboard and Yuya catches him with a dropkick coming in to start a comeback. Uemura pounds him down in the corner with forearms and hits a corner dropkick for two. Boston Crab time, but Robbie escapes with a few well-placed kicks. 

They do a sequence that felt a BIT too choreographed – one of Yuya’s absolute strengths in this entire tournament has been how he seemingly reacts in the moment to everything. Eagles springs in with a dropkick to the knee and fires kicks, but misses an enzuigiri and Yuya drops him with a lariat. Yuya bridges forward with the double underhook in a rollup for two, which was super neato. But Robbie escapes that, and from there it’s a Turbo Backpack for two and the Ron Miller Special keeps Yuya winless for the BOSJ. (Robbie Eagles over Yuya Uemura, submission, 7:31)

THOUGHTS: **3/4. Very nice way to end it for both guys, as it wasn’t close to their best match, but you can see who they are in this thing. Robbie had a fabulous run with possibly the best selling in the entire thing……outside of maybe Yuya Uemura, who was simply off the charts in this thing considering his experience level. Good job, gentlemen. 

   

DOUKI (4 Points) vs Ryusuke Taguchi (6 Points)  – BOSJ match

Call me crazy, but I think that DOUKI had a better tournament than Taguchi did. He overdelivered based on his past matches, and you could see him starting to acclimate his style more to work with the NJPW guys. Taguchi….had a running gag involving his tights being pulled down. 

DOUKI attacks before the bell, whacking Taguchi in the posterior with the metal pipe. “Steel meets steel!” sayeth Chris Charlton. Alright, you win this round, Charlton. I laughed. Anyway, the commentary team points out that Taguchi is currently on 69 wins in BOSJ history and run with that for awhile (“69 is leaving a bad taste in his mouth!”, etc) before Taguchi rolls in and we begin the match proper with DOUKI on the offense. Taguchi hip attack is countered by an atomic drop, second attempt is countered by DOUKI hanging onto the rope, so naturally he runs right into the third one. 

DOUKI ends up on the floor and Taguchi follows him out with a tope con hilo! Taguchi with his big boy pants on tonight! Springboard hip attack gets two for Ryusuke. 3 Amigos, but DOUKI goes to the eyes on the 3rd. Sunset flip by DOUKI and oh boy, Taguchi pulls down his own pants to sit on him for two. Yay. I’m just over this one, sorry. At least he was wearing underwear. Bumaye attempt is countered by DOUKI to the Italian Stretch #32, Taguchi makes the ropes. 

Slingshot DDT by DOUKI gets two. Taguchi counters the suplex into the anklelock, Taguchi goes for the Dodon, DOUKI rolls through back to the Italian Stretch. Tagcuhi escapes into the anklelock again, and now the Dodon hits to give Taguchi the pin. (Ryusuke Taguchi over DOUKI, pinfall, 8:50)

THOUGHTS: **1/2. Taguchi mailed this entire tournament in, while DOUKI worked like he was trying to get better. Match was fine, not great. 

   

Master Wato (w/Hiroyoshi Tenzan) (8 Points) vs Hiromu Takahashi (12 Points) – BOSJ match

Wato has been maddingly inconsistent – some nights, he looks great, some nights he looks like a complete rookie. This one is do or die, because you really have to work to have a bad match with Hiromu Takahashi, especially since the comeback. As we went over earlier, Hiromu needs both to win and to get some help to make it to the Final. 

They go a mile a minute to start and Wato ends up on the apron, sunset bomb attempt by Hiromu…..succeeds? I’m, uh, not sure that Wato was supposed to get bombed there. I think maybe he just lost his balance. Regardless, Hiromu takes advantage and shows Wato the railings around the ring up close and personal. Back in and Takahashi kneels on him for two. Shotgun dropkick by Hiromu gets two. 

Hiromu MOCKS THE MONGOLIAN CHOPS, which makes him a hero in my eyes, all the better for doing it right in front of Tenzan on the outside. Wato slows him down with a dropkick, then another one to send him to the floor, twisting press by Wato! Springboard uppercut by Wato gets two. Crucifix slam gets two for Wato, and he goes up. Hiromu cuts him off and joins him at the top, Wato over the top and he hoists Hiromu up, reverse powerbomb. Wato up now, but the RPP misses. 

Wato tries for the Tombstone driver, Hiromu escapes and ends up dropping Wato with a lariat. Another one that turns Wato inside-out gets two. Front suplex into a Flatliner gets two for Takahashi. Time Bomb is countered into a VERY close two for Wato, and Hiromu wastes no time in hitting Time Bomb #2 for the pin. (Hiromu Takahashi over Master Wato pinfall, 10:31)

THOUGHTS: ***. Look, Wato is super young and he’s got a long career ahead of him, so he’s all upward potential. This tournament, I think, established that potential but also highlighted that he’s all potential at this point as we see how he gets shaped working in NJPW from here on in. Hiromu now has to sweat to see if he makes it. 

   

Taiji Ishimori (12 Points) vs SHO (12 Points) – BOSJ match

SHO has had a wonderful tournament, as has Taiji. With Hiromu’s earlier win, he needs either SHO or Desperado to lose to make the Final. Sho is in with a win. Ishimori needs a win and a Desperado loss to make the Final. 

Fast start and SHO dropkicks Ishimori to the floor, goes for the Penalty Kick but gets caught by Ishimori and dropped face-first to the apron. They fight there and SHO goes for a German suplex, but Ishimori lands on his feet, then Ishimori piledrives SHO to the apron! Crazy one, too, much moreseo than the Hiromu one in the beginning of the tournament. Oh, by the by, they’re like 2 minutes or so into the match. Ishimori slaps on the crossface, SHO makes the ropes, then spears Ishimorui to catch a breather. 

SHO fires off kicks to come back. He starts to work on the arm of Taiji, snapping it against the shoulder and cutting off a springboard by kicking it. SHO goes for the double wristlock, Ishimori escapes and hits a back drop. They slug it out from their knees, then standing, then to clotheslines, then to nutty moves like a sunset flip bomb in the ring that SHO pops up from to hit a snap German Suplex on Ishimori before collapsing to the mat. 

SHO with a huge lariat, follows that with the Powerbreaker! 1, 2, no! Shock Arrow attempt by SHO is countered but SHO counters right back into a cross-armbreaker. Ishimori rolls him over for two to break, and Taiji puts on the Bone Lock from there. SHO escapes and hits a straightjacket piledriver. SHO goes for Shock Arrow but Ishimori counters again, this time into a guillotine. Reverse Bloody Cross from Ishimori! 1, 2, NO! Second Bloody Cross does the trick, though, and sends Hiromu to the Finals. (Taiji Ishimori over SHO, pinfall, 12:11)

THOUGHTS: ***1/2. I really thought SHO was winning this one, but I figured out later why it had to be Taiji and I was fine with it. He had an excellent tournament with multiple **** matches and has proven more and more that he is the guy in the future. I hope that he gets the shot at doing it – I think he will. NJPW knows what they’ve got with him. Ishimori was his usual reliable self. 

   

El Desperado (12 Points) vs BUSHI (8 Points) – BOSJ match

And so we come to this – Desperado must win, and he’s in. There are two Finals possible from here, either Hiromu/Taiji or Hiromu/Desperado. I will, of course, be rooting for Despy, who had to miss the BOSJ last year due to a broken jaw and has absolutely made the most of his work this year, showing why he deserves to at least be in the conversation for the top of this division. BUSHI has had a pretty mediocre tournament but does have a slight bit of personal stake here, as stablemate Hiromu has, I’m sure, told him to go out and at least make sure that Desperado isn’t fully in one piece before the Final.

Desperado takes an early lead, but BUSHI sends him to the floor and follows him out with a ‘rana, then it’s barricade time for the masked mariachi, as BUSHI throws him from one to the other. Back in and BUSHI chokes away with the shirt. Desperado avoids the BUSHI kick in the ropes, yanking him face-first to the apron and sending him to the rail to take over. Desperado steals a pen from the announce desk and goes full on Rollins on BUSHI, attempting to stab BUSHI in the eye through the mask. 

BUSHI rolls back in right into a kneebreaker from Despy, then some splashes to the knee as Desperado begins the setup for the Muffler. More knee work into an Indian Deathlock. BUSHI makes the ropes, so Desperado ‘trips’ as he breaks the hold and lands on the knee of BUSHI. Little things, man. Little things make me love my evil mariachi. BUSHI reverses a suplex and gets a DDT to catch a breather. 

Missile dropkick from BUSHI and he hangs Desperado on the top, then hits a dropkick. This isn’t exactly Robbie Eagles selling his knees like he’s dying. Just saying. Apron DDT from BUSHI. Tope from BUSHI! Again! Desperado barely makes it back in, but collapses right on BUSHI’s leg and slaps on the Stretch Muffler! BUSHI makes the ropes and hits a dropkick and a neckbreaker for two. Desperado with an eyepoke and BUSHI counters back with an enzugiri. 

Codebreaker by BUSHI hits! Canadian Destroyer by BUSHI! 1, 2, NO! BUSHI goes up for the MX to finish, but Desperado turns it into a spinebuster! Stretch Muffler by Desperado! He pulls BUSHI back to the center and traps one arm, then the other one…..BUSHI submits! Desperado goes to the Final! (El Desperado over BUSHI, submission, 12:53)

THOUGHTS: ***1/2. I couldn’t be happier. If I could have just picked a Final, it either would have been this one or Desperado/SHO. Good match here, but this wasn’t BUSHI’s best tournament, to be frank. Desperado, on the other hand, worked his ASS OFF and it showed. It’s nice to see when one of your favorites succeed when given the opportunity, and Desperado most certainly did. 

Post-match, Desperado cuts his promo and here comes Hiromu. They do the staredown before Hiromu leaves the ring to Despy, clapping for him all the way. 

FINAL THOUGHTS: Not the strongest night, but with so many matches, that’s kind of to be expected, as nothing got much time to work with this evening. Overall, though, what a great Final in store for us. The outcome is hardly in doubt, as part of the story they’ve been driving home is that Ishimori is upset that Hiromu has been getting all the main events while Ishimori isn’t, even though Taiji is the champion. Combine that with the fact that both Ishimori and Desperado are heels and Hiromu is the biggest star in the division, it’s really not a stretch to say that Hiromu is minimum a HEAVY favorite to take the tournament down and get the WK title shot. That having been said, I’m looking forward to the match and hope it blows us away.

One show to go! Can’t wait!

As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote, 

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