Night four of this year’s Best of the Super Juniors saw an instant classic in the semi-main event.
Will Ospreay and Rocky Romero tore the house down in Aomori, delivering a dramatic 25-plus minute back-and-forth battle.
The other tournament matches on the evening were solid, but if you are cherry picking matches to watch on this tour, make sure you check out Ospreay vs. Romero.
Here are full results and match recaps:
TAIJI ISHIMORI & GEDO DEFEATED TITAN & YUYA UEMURA
They did a lot for an opener, including brawling around ringside. While Ishimori and Titan brawled on the outside, Uemura went for a double underhook suplex on Gedo. Gedo bit Uemura’s ear, then used an inside cradle for a near fall.
He followed with a roll-up and a handful of tights for the pin.
MARTY SCURLL & BRODY KING DEFEATED TIGER MASK IV & YOTA TSUJI
Tiger and Scurll will face off on Saturday, so we got a tag team preview here. Like with the first bout of the evening, they did more than you might expect from an undercard NJPW tag.
The finish was cool. Scurll hit a sunset flip on Tsuji, into a German from King. King followed up with a Gonzo Bomb for the pin on Tsuji.
They didn’t really play up Tiger’s supposed knee injury, which has been the story of this tour for him.
SHO, JONATHAN GRESHAM & TOA HENARE DEFEATED DRAGON LEE, JUICE ROBINSON & SHOTA UMINO
They played the Time’s Up video for Juice right after the opening bell rang. Juice sold like he was distracted by the video throughout the match.
This was much quicker than the first two bouts, and not nearly as good. Gresham was selling like he was hurt from last night’s tournament match. The finish saw Henare hit a uranage on Umino for the pin.
TETSUYA NAITO & SHINGO TAKAGI DEFEATED YOSHINOBU KANEMARU & TAKA MICHINOKU
This was laid out in an interesting way. Shingo was in and out for a few spots, sandwiched between two lengthy segments of Suzuki-gun getting heat on Naito.
TAKA hit a running knee on Naito, but Shingo broke up the pinfall. Naito made his own comeback and hit Destino on TAKA for the pin.
After the match, Kanemaru posted Shinigo’s legs and hit them with a chair. So they have a story to work with in their match on Saturday.
B BLOCK MATCH: ROBBIE EAGLES DEFEATED REN NARITA
Aomori is Narita’s hometown, and his parents were in attendance. They handed out signs with Narita’s photo on them to the crowd, which was a nice touch.
Eagles worked over Narita’s left leg early. Narita came back with a dropkick and earned a near fall. Narita went for his bridging belly-to-belly, but Eagles blocked it and hit a springboard dropkick to the leg.
Eagles went for a figure four, but Narita turned it into a cradle for a near fall. Eagles went for a backpack stunner, but Narita turned it into a backslide for a near fall.
Narita hit a release belly-to-belly for a near fall. Narita used a modified Scorpion Deathlock, but Eagles reached the ropes. Narita got a near fall off a shoulder tackle, as the people really got behind him.
Eagles hit a backpack stunner out of nowhere and pinned Narita. The air was sucked out of the crowd, who really wanted Narita to pull off the upset. This was a lot of fun.
B BLOCK MATCH: YOH DEFEATED BANDIDO
Bandido hit a press slam early on. YOH responded by targeting Bandido’s left leg. Bandido came back with a tornillo off the top, a flying headscissors off the apron, and a gorgeous Asai moonsault. I thought Io Shirai had the best moonsault in the business, but it might actually be Bandido.
Back inside, YOH hit a neckbreaker. YOH hit a flying forearm, but Bandido hit a pop-up cutter. They continued to go back and forth, as YOH hit a superkick. Bandido hit a 450 while YOH held himself up on the middle rope.
Bandido went for the 21 Plex, but YOH reversed it into a suplex of his own. YOH hit a superplex into a falcon arrow for a near fall. Bandido hit a knee strike and a clothesline for a near fall. YOH blocked another 21 Plex attempt.
YOH hit a dragon suplex, but Bandido landed on his feet. YOH hit a second dragon suplex, and held the bridge this time, earning the victory.
Athletically, this was great. I could have used a little bit more music between the notes, though. It felt more like a collection of moves than a match.
B BLOCK MATCH: EL PHANTASMO DEFEATED BUSHI
Phantasmo did his rope walk halfway around the ring. BUSHI cut him off. Phantasmo came back, choking BUSHI with his own T-shirt. He tied BUSHI to the tree of woe, then stomped on his groin.
BUSHI hit Eat Defeat, followed by a missile dropkick. Phantasmo hit an airplane spin into a neckbreaker. He followed with a quebrada for a near fall. BUSHI crotched Phantasmo on the top rope, then hit a flying rana.
Phantasmo sent BUSHI outside, then hit a pair of suicide dives. Back inside, he hit a top rope splash for a two count. He teased a CR II, but BUSHI countered with a DDT on the apron.
Phantasmo hit a low blow and used a CR II for the pin. A good match, but it lacked intensity.
B BLOCK MATCH: WILL OSPREAY DEFEATED ROCKY ROMERO
They started with a fun, fast-paced sequence, ending with both posing. Rocky hit a baseball slide, and they slowed the pace. Rocky teased his forever clotheslines, but Ospreay cut him off. Ospreay hit a big knee drop for a near fall.
Rocky used an octopus hold. He held it for a long time, but Ospreay finally broke the hold with a backbreaker. Ospreay hit a knee to the back, then used a chinlock. Rocky broke the hold, then they exchanged strikes. Ospreay dropped Rocky with a chop.
Rocky hit a tornado DDT. He followed up with a series of chops and punches. Ospreay flipped out of a flying headscissors, then hit a PK. Rocky blocked a handspring kick and hit a springboard rana. He followed with a suicide dive.
Back inside, Rocky hit a double stomp while Ospreay was draped over the second rope. He used a knee strike to the left arm and followed with an arm wringer. Ospreay hit a back handspring kick.
Ospreay hit Pip Pip Cheerio with his right arm, but sold the damage to his left arm on the follow-up cover. Ospreay hit a Space Flying Tiger Drop, the first time he’s broken that move out on this tour.
Ospreay hit a series of short kicks to the face, then a big high kick. Rocky blocked an OsCutter, and tried to lock on an armbar. After a fight, he briefly got full extension on the armbar, but Ospreay rolled to the ropes, forcing a break.
Rocky kicked at the left arm. Ospreay hit a mid kick, Rocky hit a rewind kick, and Ospreay hit an enzuigiri. Ospreay went for a dropkick in the corner. Rocky blocked it, and hit forever clotheslines. Rocky hit a standing Sliced Bread for an awesome near fall at the 20-minute mark.
Rocky went for a rana, but Ospreay caught him coming in and hit a buckle bomb. Ospreay hit a sidewalk slam for a near fall. Ospreay hit a hook kick. He went for a Storm Breaker, but Rocky turned it into a backslide for a near fall.
Rocky used a cradle for a near fall. Ospreay hit another hook kick. He went for Storm Breaker again, but Rocky turned it into a roll-up for a near fall.
They traded strikes from their knees. They got back to their feet and traded again. Rocky ducked a Hidden Blade, then hit a pair of strikes. Ospreay hit a thrust kick, but Rocky locked on an armbar. Ospreay powerbombed out of it and got a near fall at the 25-minute mark.
Ospreay hit a shooting star press for a two count, then hit Storm Breaker for the pin. Awesome match.
B BLOCK MATCH: RYUSUKE TAGUCHI DEFEATED DOUKI
Douki attacked Taguchi before the opening bell. He hit a seated senton off the top to the floor, the most impressive move we’ve seen from Douki yet. They teased an early countout, but Taguchi made it back in at 19.
Taguchi hit a hip attack. He went for a slingshot plancha, but Douki moved out of the way and hit a snap suplex on the floor. Douki posted Taguchi. Taguchi tried a hip attack off the apron, but Douki hit him with a chair.
Back in the ring, Taguchi hit a hip attack. Douki hit a sunset flip, but Taguchi countered with a dropkick. He followed up with a springboard plancha to the outside, then a springboard hip attack inside for a two count.
Taguchi hit Three Amigos. He applied an ankle lock, then transitioned to a Dodon on the knees, picking up another two count. Taguchi sat down into a cover on another Dodon attempt for a near fall.
Taguchi put on the ankle lock. Douki grabbed Red Shoes, then Taichi jumped in to hit Taguchi with a suplex. They did a long double down. Douki was up first, and hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count.
Douki hit a springboard DDT. He went for Suplex de la Luna, but Taguchi blocked it. Douki used a triangle choke. Taguchi rolled through, but Douki kept the hold applied. Taguchi made it to the ropes, forcing a break.
Douki hit a clothesline. He again went for the de la Luna, but Taguchi blocked it and used a roll-up for a two count. Taguchi hit a Blue Thunder Bomb into a double down.
They exchanged strikes. Taguchi went for a hip attack, but Douki ducked. Taguchi hit Red Shoes, who took a bump. Taichi jumped on the apron and threw Douki a chair. Taguchi ducked a chair shot, and hit an enzuigiri.
Taguchi dropped Douki on the chair, then followed with a Bomaye for a near fall. Taguchi hit Dodon and applied the ankle lock. Taichi tried to jump in with a steel pipe, but the Young Lions at ringside held him off. Douki tapped out.
B BLOCK STANDINGS
Will Ospreay 2-0
Robbie Eagles 2-0
El Phantasmo 2-0
Ryusuke Taguchi 2-0
Rocky Romero 0-2
Ren Narita 0-2