10. SHO vs. Marty Scurll – Night 8
A basic match with a simple structure, but great to watch nonetheless. Desperate for more wins after a couple of losses, Scurll busted out heel tactics before the bell had even rung. Acting hurt to gain sympathy from his foe, Scurll busted SHO with the umbrella prior to the match, which made SHO have to fight up to his opponent up until the finish in entertaining fashion.
9. Taiji Ishimori vs. SHO – Night 10
Another solid main event from Ishimori in this year’s BOSJ. Continuing to prove why he’s one of the best in the division, Ishimori got a win over one of the MVP’s of the A Block. SHO once again proved why he’s an overlooked star that is one singles push away from being one of the best in the company.
8. Shingo Takagi vs. Marty Scurll – Night 7
Shingo Takagi was dominating in the first week of the tournament, so when Marty Scurll went up against him, he knew he would have to bring everything he had to defeat the unbeatable. Marty brought a level of intensity we rarely see from him, plus the underhanded tactics we would come to expect from a villain, plus interference from the towering Brody King.
This placed Shingo in a position we have yet to really see him in where he had to fight up to defeat the odds, a role which he played up to brilliantly. It was one of the more brutal matches on the tournament, and definitely an enjoyable one.
7. Jonathan Gresham vs. Titan – Night 7
This was less of a match and more of an exhibition (in a good way). We all know how talented Jonathan Gresham is when it comes to mat wrestling (and if you don’t know I’ll happily gush about it to you). but rather than try to overcome him with his luchadore style, Titan wanted to prove that he too is skilled at the technical arts. Thus we got this counter wrestling match that was a delight to watch from a technical standpoint throughout.
Two men trying to outshine the other with a stream of great reversals and holds that made both men look fantastic by the end of it.
6. Dragon Lee vs. Titan – Night 9
After displaying his technical skills against Gresham earlier in the week, this was Titan’s opportunity to show off what he can do when it comes to his preferred wrestling style when he went up against IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, and CMLL peer, Dragon Lee. Not much psychology in this, just a fast pace with plenty of action that did not slow down once. It was a great display of how good each man is, and it made me want to see more of Titan vs. Lee.
5. Robbie Eagles vs. Will Ospreay – Night 10
Robbie Eagles was put on the map because of his matches with Will Ospreay, and were practically the reason why he was brought into New Japan in the first place, so there were certainly a lot of eyes looking towards this one in BOSJ 2019. While I don’t think it quite captured the magic of their previous encounters, I think it was a great taster of the chemistry they have together.
Eagles looked fantastic in this match, and if he doesn’t get to wrestle in New Japan on a more permanent basis after this tournament then there’s something definitely wrong there.
4. Bandido vs. Will Ospreay – Night 8
No real story here to be told other than two young stars with endless amounts of ability trying to outshine each other in victory. Not quite as acclaimed as their match during WrestleMania weekend, but come on, it’s Ospreay vs. Bandido, of course it was good. If we get to see them fight again a few years down the line when they’re somehow even better than they are now, I can’t imagine what spectacular show we would get to see.
3. El Phantasmo vs. Will Ospreay – Night 7
No match during BOSJ had me more excited than this one. Knowing how well these two match up with their styles, it was inevitable we would be in for a match of the tournament candidate. Throw in the fact ELP got a win over Ospreay on his very first night in New Japan after joining Bullet Club at Wrestling Dontaku, and that’s a story I want to see play out.
Although I believe these two could have an even greater bout together, I definitely wasn’t disappointed by this BOSJ match. Ospreay brought a wealth of aggression towards his betrayer, while ELP responded with his trademark brand of gorgeous flips and power moves. The visual highlight of the match was certainly ELP tight rope-walking up a staircase banister and moonsaulting from the top of it: beautiful stuff.
It’s inevitable that ELP and Ospreay will face again in New Japan, most likely several times as long as they remain in their separate stables, and perhaps they can build upon this 27 minute fight, and craft something even better in the future.
2. Dragon Lee vs. Shingo Takagi – Night 8
Dragon vs. Dragon. Undefeated behemoth vs. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. It was an exciting clash that was without question the highlight of A block for the week. Following on from Bandido vs. Ospreay would be a tough task for anybody, but somehow they managed to keep the crowd invested for the entirety.
Two powerful juniors went at each other with everything they had. Shingo was made to look like an absolute beast in this match, especially when he kicked out at 1 after a big time flurry of offence. Dragon Lee continued to come back from the punishment, at one point hitting one hell of a suicide dive, but alas, the unbeatable continued to be undefeated.
- Rocky Romero vs. El Phantasmo – Night 9
Rocky Romero is putting on the performance of his career in this tournament. In his first main-event inside Korakuen Hall in 14 years, Rocky Romero brought the fire to ELP. The story was an undefeated, cocky stud trying to better a veteran that refused to fall. Some doubted Rocky returning to BOSJ as a competitor when he’s mostly sat behind the commentary desk these days, but his matches throughout BOSJ 26 have certainly put those doubts to rest.
In the longest match yet in BOSJ, the crowd came alive to will Rocky on to a shock victory. But the most energy came from the commentary team, with all three men practically screaming for Rocky to pull out the win. The enthusiasm from everybody inside that venue was infectious, you couldn’t help but be pulled in by this fantastic main event.
Going into the match, you were expecting another notch on the undefeated streak of El Phantasmo, as was ELP when he stated this was going to be his easiest match before the tournament started, but the longer this match went, the more Rocky made it feel believable that he could be the first to put away ELP, until eventually right before the 30-minute time limit, he managed to make ELP tap after a sensational war. A great story capped off by an emotional celebration with the rest of Roppongi 3K.
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