Best of the Super Juniors Report - Night 2 at Korakuen Hall feat. Dragon Lee vs. Sho Tanaka

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The second day of the Best of the Super Juniors tournament was highlighted by a tremendous match between Dragon Lee and Sho Tanaka. It was the best singles match I’ve seen from Tanaka with the audience taking to him as a future breakout star. Tanaka is one of the juniors to watch in this tournament as people have been high on him for a long time and this is his first chance to have his own spotlight. Below are the tournament results and highlights from Saturday at Korakuen Hall:

*Dragon Lee over Sho Tanaka at 17:31 –This was an excellent match with Dragon Lee winning with the Dragon Driver. Early on, Tanaka blocked all of Lee’s offense and resulted in a big reaction when Lee finally hit a dive to the floor. Lee hit a big double foot stomp off the top before the finish. There was a lot of fire from Tanaka, the audience loved the match and Lee’s flying was among the highlights. This was the best match of the tournament so far for me.

*El Desperado over Ryusuke Taguchi 13:18 –Desperado got the heat early by placing a chair between Taguchi’s legs and smashing it with another chair into Taguchi’s balls. Desperado worked over the knee when they returned to the ring. After escaping Numero Dos, Taguchi made a comeback, attempted the Dodon but Desperado moved the referee and hit a low blow to Taguchi before applying a cradle for the win.


*Chris Sabin over KUSHIDA at 13:45 –The match was good but not at the level of Lee vs. Tanaka and didn’t hit the next gear of a big KUSHIDA match. There was a lot of groundwork from each with KUSHIDA working for the Hoverboard Lock early. KUSHIDA kicked out of a Cradle Shock and then fell to a follow-up Cradle Shock. The finish established Sabin as a contender in the tournament and his finish as a viable one.

*Hiromu Takahashi over Marty Scurll at 20:49 –Takahashi won an entertaining match with a huracanrana into a triangle armbar to get across a submission rather than relying on the Time Bomb. Takahashi teased the sunset flip powerbomb early, which Scurll avoided, but later took the sunset bomb after Red Shoes took Scurll’s umbrella away and Takahashi took advantage of Scurll being distracted. Takahashi and Ishimori are two of the favorites in the tournament and each won their main event match on the first two shows.

The tournament continues Sunday in Numazu with the tournament matches going up on New Japan World later in the day. Below is Sunday’s card:
*Dragon Lee & Yuya Uemura vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Shota Umino
*Sho Tanaka & Yoshi-Hashi vs. Chris Sabin & Tomoyuki Oka
*KUSHIDA & Toa Henare vs. Marty Scurll & Chase Owens
*Hiromu Takahashi & EVIL vs. Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado
*YOH (1-0) vs. Tiger Mask (1-0) – BLOCK A
*Flip Gordon (0-1) vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru (0-1) – BLOCK A
*Taiji Ishimori (1-0) vs. Bushi (0-1) – BLOCK A
*Will Ospreay (0-1) vs. ACH (1-0) – BLOCK A

Both nights have been fantastic. Great start to the tournament with my two picks to win Takahashi and Ishimori getting big wins.

NJPW is so good. I actually enjoyed an El Desperado match. That’s how good this card was. The main event was a must watch. Hiromu is too good at everything. His character work is perfect.

I am watching the second night’s matches. I tend to skip through a lot of the tag matches but I wanted to see more of Ishimori so I watched the tag match with Sanada, Bushi vs. Ishimori, Owens.

When Owens tried to put the Paradise Lock on Sanada and couldn’t figure it out, I thought that was a great lighthearted moment in the match. Asking how to apply it and just not getting it right, the crowd got a kick out of it.

Chase Owens is a solid performer, I can’t remember the last time I saw a match where I thought he wasn’t working solid.