Hiromu Takahashi and El Desperado square off today in the NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 29 finals.
Hiromu will look to make it three BOSJ crowns in a row and four overall, while Desperado will try to win the tournament for the first time. Tatsumi Fujinami will be on hand as a special guest at ringside for the finals.
IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion Juice Robinson takes on Tomoaki Honma in a non-title match in the only other singles bout on the card. A series of tag matches fill out the lineup.
Here is the card:
- Best of the Super Juniors 29 finals: Hiromu Takahashi vs. El Desperado
- Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano, Tama Tonga & Jado vs. Jay White, Doc Gallows, Taiji Ishimori & Gedo
- Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI vs. Taichi, TAKA Michinoku & DOUKI
- Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & Aaron Henare vs. Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens & El Phantasmo
- Zack Sabre Jr. & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. EVIL & SHO
- Juice Robinson vs. Tomoaki Honma
- Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs. TJP & Francesco Akira
- Robbie Eagles, Clark Connors, YOH & Titan vs. El Lindaman, Wheeler Yuta, Ace Austin & Alex Zayne
Our live coverage begins at 5 a.m. Eastern time.
The show opened with a card change announcement. Current IWGP champion Juice Robinson is afflicted with appendicitis and has been removed from tonight's show. In his place, young lion Ryohei Oiwa steps up to challenge Tomoaki Honma.
Tomoaki Honma defeated Ryohei Oiwa
I'm a sucker for young lion matches—this was fun.
Oiwa opened the match with a stint of offense, but, unsurprisingly, Honma took control from the young lion after the match developed. Oiwa continued to fight, even with his back against the wall, eventually securing a single-leg Boston crab. Honma survived the hold and landed a pair of KoKeShi to bring this match to a close.
Ace Austin, Wheeler Yuta, El Lindaman, and Alex Zayne defeated Robbie Eagles, YOH, Titan, and Clark Conners
Yuta and Eagles opened the match with a speedy wrestling sequence before passing their batons to Lindaman and YOH. After YOH and Lindaman traded moves, Titan tagged in and established firm control for his team—a similar sequence played out with Zayne, Austin, and Conners until a match reset left Zayne and Conners alone in the ring.
Yuta and Lindaman rushed the ring, taking control for their team before landing a double dive. Once the ring was cleared again, Zayne hit Conners with the cinnamon twist to win the match.
The English commentary was doing their best to establish Zayne and Conners as a legitimate pairing moving forwards.
TJP and Fransico Akira (United Empire) defeated Master Wato and Ryusuke Taguchi (Six or Nine)
UE tried to gain an early advantage by rushing the junior tag champions as the opening bell rang but failed to establish significant control. UE was able to take the lead after withstanding a short stint of Taguchi control.
Wato eventually landed a dropkick which sent Akira to the floor, leading to a dive that took out both UE representatives. In the ring, Six or Nine double-teamed TJP, scoring a near fall after a barrage of b-triggers.
Taguchi forced Akira to make the save after locking TJP into an ankle lock. This led to a prolonged rally from the UE team, ending with an elevated cutter into a stretch hold from TJP. Taguchi tapped to the hold, leaving the UE team with a win over the IWGP Junior Tag Team champions.
This was, presumably, to set up a future IWGP junior tag title match.
Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Zack Sabre Jr. (Suzuki-gun) defeated EVIL and SHO (House of Torture)
This was a nothing match, but at least it was short-lived.
The HoT team jumped Suzuki-gun before the match began—this led to an extensive lead for the HoT pairing. After being on the receiving end of an HoT beatdown, Kanemaru eventually tagged out to ZSJ, who helped take control for the first time. A distraction from EVIL and a run-in from Dick Togo ended ZSJ's rally, but a well-timed low blow from Kanemaru forced Togo to spray EVIL in the eyes with Kanemaru's alcohol. Kanemaru dropped SHO with another low blow, and ZSJ forced him to tap with an arm bar.
Chase Owens, Bad Luck Fale, and El Phantasmo defeated (Bullet Club)Jeff Cobb, Arron Henare, and Great O-Khan (United Empire)
I was not a fan of this at all.
This match opened with a brawl. O-Khan focused Owens, forcing Fale to make an early save. Bullet Club then worked to isolate O-Khan, eventually leading to a tag out to Cobb. Cobb rocked Fale with a pair of lariats, but Fale answered with a shoulder tackle, leading to a double tag.
ELP and Henare worked through a short sequence before the match broke down into another brawl. Once things calmed down, Ace Austin walked to the ring and flashed an ace playing card and a too-sweet at Henare, leaving ELP free to hit CR2 and pin Henare.
After the match concluded, a close-up revealed Austin's ace was Bullet Club branded. Austin is officially the Bullet Club.
In an unannounced appearance, SANADA walked to the ring and challenged for the IWGP US championship at Dominion. The English commentary seemed uncertain about Robinson's readiness come Dominion, given his ongoing battle with appendicitis.
BUSHI, Shingo Takagi, and Tetsuya Naito (Los Ingobernables de Japon) defeated Taichi, TAKA Michinoku, and DOUKI (Suzuki-gun)
This wasn't very good.
This match opened with an awkward brawl. The match tried to develop in-ring but continually fell into chaos for some time. Eventually, Naito escaped a prolonged period of Suzuki-gun control, tagging out to Shingo.
Shingo and his King of Pro Wrestling rival, Taichi, traded blows before a tag to TAKA allowed Taichi to escape. Shingo then ran through TAKA, but Taichi interrupted the pin after the pumping bomber. Taichi and Shingo teased a sumo spot, and Shingo sent Taichi to the floor. Shingo then rolled up TAKA to win the match.
After the match, Shingo rolled up Taichi for a five-count, perhaps teasing a future stipulation for the KOPW trophy.
Once he recovered, Taichi announced if you want to see the choices for stipulations ahead of his KOPW challenge, you will need to watch his YouTube channel.
Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano, Tama Tonga, and Jado defeated Gedo, Taiji Ishimori, Doc Gallows, and Jay White (Bullet Club)
Before the match, Jay White announced he had a surprise. KENTA's music hit, and he walked to the ring.
Gallows and Yano opened the match with a silly little sequence. Gedo tagged in and jumped Jado to establish control for Bullet Club. White cemented this control as he and his partners worked Jado into the corner.
Jado eventually secured the hot tag to Okada, leading to a strong rally for the babyface team. Gedo interrupted Okada's offense long enough for White to retake control, scoring a near fall with a blade-buster. Okada avoided the blade-runner and White avoided the rainmaker, but a dropkick from Okada hit the mark.
Tama and Gedo tagged in. With Jado's help, Tama hit gun-stun and pinned Gedo to win the match.
Once the match concluded, Okada and White had a staredown and heated verbal exchange.
Best of the Super Juniors Finals: Hiromu Takahashi defeated El Desperado
This pairing feels more than overexposed at this point. The match was pretty slow until the twenty-minute mark; once the pair reached this point, the match was rather exciting. The closing sequence was what you would expect—a ton of kick-outs in the ultimate battle of one-upmanship.
After an extended feeling out process, Hiromu established control with a slam into the ring post and a suplex to the floor. Back in the ring, Desperado turned things around with a knee-breaker, beginning his attack on Hiromu's leg. Desperado took the action to the floor himself, landing a scoop slam on the outside before a backdrop on the inside left him with a two-count.
Desperado locked in multiple wear-down holds, continuing to focus Hiromu's leg. Hiromu eventually fought back into the match, landing a dropkick to the floor to slow Desperado's advance. Back in the ring, Hiromu led an offensive sequence, connecting with multiple big moves.
Desperado turned things back around with a beautiful dive to the floor. A frog splash scored Desperado a near fall, leading into another stent of leg work. Hiromu avoided Pinche Loco and locked in D to turn momentum on its head.
Once Desperado escaped Hiromu's triangle choke, the pair traded strikes. From the exchange, Desperado tried for Pinche Loco, but Hiromu reversed the move again. A quick lariat yielded a near fall for Hiromu, which he followed with a victory royal. As Hiromu tried for D again, Desperado landed a spinebuster, but the followed Pinche Loco attempt was blocked once more. Desperado hit a forearm that slumped Hiromu and a pair of Pinche Locos; Hiromu kicked out.
A now frustrated Desperado whipped the leg of Hiromu multiple times before locking in numero dos. Hiromu reversed the submission into destroyer; Desperado refused to fall. After two quick pin attempts, Hiromu dropped Desperado with a lariat. Hiromu then hoisted up Desperado and hit Time Bomb 2; Desperado kicked out.
Hiromu, now as desperate as Desperado, tried closing things with a close fist strike. Desperado answered Hirmou with a punch of his own before trying for Pinche Loco again. Hiromu wiggled free from the underhooks, landing two cutters, a Time Bomb, and a Time Bomb 2 to close the match and win the tournament.
After the tournament's conclusion, Hiromu cut a promo thanking the people responsible for the tournament and celebrating his third consecutive win.