5. Ren Narita vs. YOH – Night 12
Ren Narita has shone throughout this competition. This promising young lion took an opportunity born out of an unfortunate visa issue for Flip Gordon, and he turned it into an exhibition of his development during his time at the NJPW dojo. If his matches against Bandido, Ospreay, and of course YOH are anything to go by, Narita cannot be far from going on excursion, where he will no doubt thrive and return as a star.
4. Bandido vs. Robbie Eagles
Two amazing high-flyers battering each other with a series of impressive spots. Not exactly the most psychological of matches, yet if you just want to see some great wrestling from two athletic risk takers, this is definitely worth your time.
3. Jonathan Gresham vs. Shingo Takagi
If you want a wrestler to look incredible, put them in a match with Jonathan Gresham. Obviously Shingo Takagi is an absolute unit anyway, especially within the junior heavyweight division, yet put him in there with Gresham and he looks like a pure beast. Shingo played up to his power advantages brilliantly, whilst Gresham utilised his world-class mat wrestling ability to get the upper-hand, albeit for very brief periods of time. As with any Jonathan Gresham or Shingo Takagi match, it was a delight from start to finish.
2. DOUKI vs. Will Ospreay
Considering DOUKI wasn’t supposed to be in this tournament, had never competed in New Japan before, and was given only a few days notice before being entered, he’s done well with grabbing people’s attention in BOSJ. For most of his bouts, DOUKI was intent on hurting his foes with little care for wins, employing a violent, hardcore style with his trusty metal bat in hand. In certain matches he gave us glimpses of the standard of his wrestling ability, yet when he went up against Will Ospreay, DOUKI threw away the dirty tactics (for the most part), and had his best match of the tournament.
Going toe-to-toe with Ospreay, who is on a streak of fantastic matches, DOUKI proved what he is a capable of in the ring, impressing many viewers with his efforts. Considering how well he fits with his Suzuki-Gun associates, plus his in-ring work, I would not be against seeing more from DOUKI in NJPW.
- Shingo Takagi vs. Taiji Ishimori
BOSJ 26 will be defined by the performance of Shingo Takagi. The undefeated beast made history by gaining the most points in any single BOSJ tournament. His impressively dominant run of the A block culminated in one of his best NJPW matches to date. Taiji Ishimori showed what an insane athlete he is, displaying his impressive strength, explosiveness and speed, however whatever Ishimori managed to throw at The Dragon, Takagi had an even more devastating response for him.
At one point, Ishimori hit a running Canadian Destroyer, and Takagi used the momentum from being dropped on his head at high speed to immediately pop back up, bounce off the ropes, and hit a beautiful Pumping Bomber. This match is worth watching for the lariats thrown by both men alone. By the end of it, it was clear why both men were brought into New Japan in 2018 with so much fan fair: two of the very best that I cannot wait to see collide again.
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