2018 Best of the Super Juniors Semifinals

One night to decide both blocks, everything is on the line, we’ll be covering the final matches of the A-block and B-block in one shot to see who advances. Will Ospreay and Taiji Ishimori look to be the favorites from the A-Block. Hiromu Takahashi, Marty Scurll, and Kushida are all fighting for the top spot in the B-Block.

Tonight marks the return of both the multi-cam and the commentary team, a welcome return for both. We also return to the hallowed grounds of Korakuen Hall! Let’s get to the action!

 

A-Block:

 

ACH vs Tiger Mask IV:

ACH comes out wearing a tiger mask himself, looks a little familiar with it on if I’m being honest. It’ll be a great send off for the both of them. ACH definitely has been influenced by the legendary Tiger Mask.

The two start off super hot as to be expected and make their way to the outside and ACH paintbrushes the ring post with a nasty chop, tiger mask takes the opportunity and starts to work on the injured hand of ACH.

ACH hit none other than the tiger driver for a two count and Mask responds with a tiger driver of his own. Both again keeping up a great work rate.

After another great series, ACH gets the roll-up victory and ends his BOSJ with a respectable 6 points and an impressive victory over the venerable Tiger Mask. A great show of respect from the two with a handshake and a bow followed by an embrace. Incredible showings from both of them and I sincerely wish to see them again next year.

Winner: ACH

 

BUSHI vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru:

A send-off for two of my least favorite performers, although I shouldn’t let that sour the performances of these two, just hoping that although the points on the line are meaningless, they still give it their all.

Bushi not even giving Kanemaru the chance to get in the ring before pouncing on Kanemaru, and nails an absolutely insane suicide dive to the outside. Kanemaru recovered and starts throwing the young boys at Bushi, this is bedlam. I know I’ve been a little harsh on the plunder, but hell, let these two whip the hell out of each other!

They finally get back into the ring, but they’re still beating each other senseless, this is the kind of match I can appreciate from the two of them in all honesty.

Kanemaru busts out the whiskey, but Bushi responds with his mist! He goes for a roll-up and gets a two count, Kanemaru somehow kept the whiskey and sprays Bushi and hits the deep impact DDT for the win. Great scrap between these two, if they’d have kept this style all tournament I’d be signing a different tune for these two. Great match nonetheless and a solid send-off for both of them.

Winner: Kanemaru

 

Will Ospreay vs Flip Gordon:

A highly anticipated match between the two talented performers to possibly help secure the A-block for Ospreay.

They’re starting off at an incendiary pace here and a little bit of comedy to boot, great early stuff. And they wrap up the early sequences with a handshake and then send the match into the next gear laying on some mean chops between the two. Flip does a standing moonsault to let Ospreay know he’s not the only one who’s got some creative offense.

Ospreay soars into the corner and lands a devastating dropkick to flip, keeping the Shibata style intact.

These two don’t understand the meaning of the term “slow it down” and I’m loving every moment of it, Ospreay is clearly dictating the pace of this match and has held the upper hand for a majority of it,

Flip goes up for a 450 but Ospreay recovers for the Cheeky Nandos, Flip gets Ospreay outside and hits his double springboard outside dive. Flip lands a second rope corkscrew moonsault but only gets a two count, Ospreay hits Stundog Millionaire and they both drop. Ospreay’s cutter is interrupted by a mean superkick which sets up a shooting star press to the second rope, how does Ospreay keep this pace up?

Ospreay follows up with an Essex Destroyer and again only manages a two count, Flip is out here with a ton of heart, and won’t give up. They brawl on top of the turnbuckle, and Ospreay hits a super Oscutter followed up by a Stormbreaker for the victory and is now on 10 points. If Ishimori loses, Ospreay is headed to the finals.

Winner: Will Ospreay

 

Taiji Ishimori vs Yoh

This is it! All the cards on the table and Ishimori’s destiny lies in his own hands, if he defeats YOH, he heads to the finals, any other result and Ospreay heads to a 3rd consecutive BOSJ finals. But YOH will not go down without a fight and will put up quite a fight against bone Soldier.

An amazing display from the start as YOH with a great dive outside to Ishimori, and YOH is truly shaping up to be the star I’ve predicted him to be, great presence, great move set, this kid is a star!

Ospreay makes an appearance and why not, his BOSJ future lies in Ishimori’s hands. The two competitors really lay into each other with some stiff chops and kicks. Great to see this style from both Yoh and Ishimori.

YOH really establishing himself out there getting his moves in against Ishimori, but Ishimori reverses the momentum and hits a triangle moonsault to the outside. And the action continues back into the ring, Ishimori locks in a crossface and this draws Ospreay to the corner to cheer on his CHAOS teammate. The nervousness is written all over Ospreay’s face in this match.

Ishimori really takes it up a notch and starts wailing on YOH and takes control. But YOH hits a superplex into a falcon arrow combo for two. YOH gets two great roll-ups for the closest I’ve ever seen to 3 without being 3. And Ospreay is coming unglued on the outside. Ishimori locks in another crossface and makes YOH tap right in front of Ospreay. And there you have it, Ishimori is in, and Ospreay is out of the BOSJ final.

Winner: Taiji Ishimori

 

B-Block:

 

Chris Sabin v. Ryusuke Taguchi:

Dueling “Let’s Go, Sabin,” and “Ta-Gu-Chi,” chants to open the match. The match opens with some chain wrestling, Sabin has the arm and as Taguchi goes to reverse he goes too far and winds up putting himself in a more painful hold. The beginning of this match is all about Taguchi being a doofus and Sabin capitalizing.

Sabin is working over the legend as if Taguchi were a Young Lion. Taguchi is finally getting in some offense with a hip attack and gorgeous Tope Con Hilo. Taguchi is finally finding his groove and has Sabin backpedaling. A trio of double clotheslines and both men collapse to the mat.

Sabin is back on the offense and is just dominating Taguchi. Sabin takes off the elbow pad and knocks Taguchi out with a massive lariat, but only gets the two. The crowd is erupting with every move and even louder for every Taguchi burst.

Out of nowhere, Taguchi locks in the ankle lock and Sabin fights it off. Taguchi uses a brutal combo of a Dodon into the ankle lock and Sabin has no choice but to tap. Both men end the tournament tied with 6 points, great showing from each man!

Winner: Ryusuke Taguchi

 

Dragon Lee v. El Desperado:

Holy hell!!!! This match starts with an explosion has Lee throws Desperado outside then hits a massive suicide dive. The crowd is insane already and Lee follows it up with a gigantic Tope Con Hilo. This is gonna be a fast-paced brawl between the two luchadores. Lee is stretching the hell out of Desperado.

Lee lands what may be the move of the tournament with a diving handspring over the top rope to the floor. As Lee is distracted Despy grabs a chair and swings for the fences against Lee’s head. Much like his Suzuki-gun stablemate Kanemaru, Despy has Lee down in the crowd and his beating him with chairs.

Tiger Hattori has absolutely 0 control over this match. Despy is just torturing Dragon Lee by tearing apart his knee with chairs and the ring post. The crowd is doing everything they can to inspire Lee to fire up against the despicable Desperado. Both are trying to tear and rip off the mask of the other. The pace of this match is right back to where it was in the opening moments.

The crowd erupts as Dragon Lee finally shreds Despy’s mask in retribution for Desperado’s earlier attack. Both men are doing the best to keep their masks on as they’ve been destroyed. The crowd explodes each and every time Desperado’s face is nearly shown. The respect for the Lucha culture and the mask is evident here in Korakuen Hall.

The mask of Despy is fully off and it feels like the ending comes out of nowhere as Desperado rolls up Lee. Desperado gets another mask from under the ring to cover his face and after the bell, he rips off the mask of Dragon Lee. WHAT. A. MATCH! Both men finish at 6 points and have nothing to be disappointed in.

Winner: El Desperado

 

SHO v. Marty Scurll:

SHO is already eliminated from the tournament but you better believe he isn’t going to let The Villain get the easy points. Scurll is just working SHO, throwing him out of the ring and then hitting the apron superkick. A highlight of this match already has been fellow Bullet Club member Chase Owens on commentary.

This has been a showcase for Marty Scurll, he’s just working over SHO with submissions. Huge superplex from Scurll but only for a two as the crowd cheers SHO kicking out. SHO is SHOwing some life and the crowd is getting behind the young competitor.

Lungblower into the cross-arm breaker and Scurll is desperately reaching for the ropes. Owens is shouting instructions to Scurll via commentary. SHO with a nasty thrust kick just to have his suplex reversed into a brainbuster by Scurll. The Villain has an answer to everything that SHO is trying to throw at him.

Simultaneous elbow strikes, followed by clotheslines, followed by slaps and both men just fall to the ground. The crowd is alive and well and cheering heavily for both men. SHO gets a little too confident and as he goes to taunt Marty with the arrow, Scurll snaps two of his fingers. SHO gets the Last Ride Backbreaker for a 2 3/4 count.

Marty is pummeling SHO with elbow shots and Red Shoes is seconds from calling for the bell but gives SHO more time. SHO counters the Crossface Chicken Wing into the Shock Arrow and shocks the Korakuen Hall crowd. He ends Scurll’s Best of the Super Juniors hopes and gets a big victory. SHO finishes with 6 points and Scurll 8.

Much like his Roppongi 3K tag partner, SHO has had a hell of a tournament and both men finish with 6 points. I am really excited for their futures in this division and company.

Winner: SHO

 

Kushida v. Hiromu Takahashi:

Both men are tied atop the leaderboard with 8 points each. This is the final match of the blocks and will decide who faces Taiji Ishimori in the finals. Takahashi has never made it to a final and Kushida is a two-time Best of the Super Juniors Champion. The stakes are high and the Korakuen Hall crowd is ready for this war.

Collar and Elbow tie-up t start the match and neither man can get an advantage. The move around the ring locked together jockeying for position. Both men have decided that they’re going to abandon the chain wrestling and ramp up the pace. Kushida knocks Hiromu to the outside then hits the top rope Swanton to the floor.

Kushida brings Takahashi back into the ring and starts to work the arm to soften it up for the Hoverboard Lock. Much like the rest of his tournament matches, Kushida is using a strong mix of fast-paced offense and submissions to weaken his opponents. Hiromu answers back with a shotgun dropkick from the apron to the floor.

Hiromu’s offense is very dangerous to his own body but he is willing to throw caution to the wind in order to get the victory. Both are throwing everything but the kitchen sink at one another and I wouldn’t be surprised if it got to that point either. Kushida fires up and locks in the Hoverboard Lock in the center of the ring and Hiromu is in some serious danger.

Out of nowhere Hiromu counters, the Hoverboard Lock with the Dynamite Plunger and both men are just spent. Full exhaustion and each is running on empty here. Hiromu baits in Kushida like a spider to a web and locks in the D. Just like he has numerous times throughout this tournament, Takahashi has forced his opponent to submit to the D. Hiromu Takahashi is heading to the finals!!!!

This main event was absolutely breathtaking. Both men have earned this spot and Takahashi versus Ishimori is going to be insane.

Winner: Hiromu Takahashi 

 

Updated Standings:

A-Block B-Block
Taiji Ishimori 10 Hiromu Takahashi 10
WIll Ospreay 10 Kushida 8
Tiger Mask IV 6 Marty Scurll 8
Flip Gordon 6 Dragon Lee 6
Bushi 6 Chris Sabin 6
YOH 6 El Desperado 6
Kanemaru 6 Ryusuke Taguchi 6
ACH 6 SHO 6

And that wraps up the round robin format and we know who will be in the finals on June 4th. Fans will be treated to Taiji Ishimori v. Hiromu Takahashi. Both have had fantastic tournaments and I have 0 doubt the finals matchup will tear Korakuen Hall down.

A great tournament that truly displayed the diversity of the Junior Division. We saw high flying, submissions, heavy strikes and some hardcore brawls. For anyone that says the Juniors are just car crash wrestling, watch this tournament. Fantastic from start to finish and Ishimori v. Takahashi will be a classic!

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