Greatest Matches From NJPW Best Of Super Juniors 29

NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors 29 entrants

NJPW Best Of Super Juniors 29 tournament reached its conclusion today at Budokan Hall, where Hiromu Takahashi made it an unprecedented threepeat, winning the last three tournaments in a row, placing him in a group of his own, as the tournament’s must successful ever, with four wins overall.

The Los Ingobernables de Japon junior heavyweight defeated Suzuki-Gun’s El Desperado after a hard fought match. Takahashi topped Block A to make the finals, defeating IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, Taiji Ishimori and Impact Wrestling’s X-Division Champion, Ace Austin amongst others.

EL Desperado needed to best Bullet Club’s El Phantasmo as well as AEW’s ROH Pure Champion, Wheeler Yuta, to take Block B.

Hiromu takahashi wins njpw best of super juniors

The tournament, ran over two weeks, with two blocks of ten wrestlers, competing in round robin competition, is relentless in it’s schedule and brutal in its execution. An NJPW spectacle of skill, endurance and sheer will.

Here are some hidden gems that you may have missed as we go through some of the best, of the NJPW Best of Super Juniors 29.

Hiromu Takahashi (W) v Ryusuke Taguchi May 15, 2022. Nagoya Congress Centre Event Hall, Aichi

What’s so Super?

Taguchi lied. There was butt stuff. His sombre words at the pre-tournament presser, where he promised a more serious approach this year, with no messing around or ‘butt stuff’, lasted all of half a second before the bell rang and he launched himself, arse first, at Takahashi.

What followed was a clinic in how wrestling can include comedy, yet still remain competitive, with Takahashi treating Taguchi as a viable threat, despite the unorthodox offence.

Taguchi requires his opponents to alter their game plan: How will different people deal with the same problem?

This entry could have easily been Clark Connors’ match with Taguchi, who met him butt for butt, in a power contest.

Or Alex Zayne, who used his legendary appetite to attack the problem in bite size chunks. Might want a palate cleanser after that, Mr Sauce.

Or perhaps even, the cunning Ace Austin, with his secret stash of cards, ready to give nasty cuts to unsuspecting hands. Not only did he use his massive quads to battle the Coach, leg for butt, he also found a different target for a sharpened card to, erm…swipe? Understandably, he didn’t put that one back in the deck.

So watch the matches. You will, at the very least, see something utterly unique. And, you know, maybe an anus. Sorry.

Robbie Eagles (W) v Wheeler Yuta May 17, 2022. Sakata City Gymnasium, Yamagata

What’s so Super?

This was a competitive, technical contest, against a recognised star in Eagles, and a great way to introduce Yuta to Japanese audiences. Despite appearances on NJPW Strong, it could be argued that those were by ‘Best Friends’ Yuta. This was Wheeler Yuta of Blackpool Combat Club. The Ring of Honour Pure Champion.

He did lose though, so, you know, don’t tell Regal.

If Yuta felt the pressure on his shoulders to deliver, representing AEW and the Blackpool Combat Club, he’s got one hell of a poker face.

Eagles was excellent. Proving he can adapt to any style, be it strike fests, high flying lucha libre or technical, pure wrestling affairs such as this.

As good as any junior heavyweight on the planet right now and blessed with the natural +2 charisma bonus just for being Australian, the Sniper of the Skies is now a contender for the ROH Pure Championship.

We will likely see him In AEW in the near future. And this despite the neck-scarf that makes him look like a half-naked cowboy and the weird Borg-like eye scope. He must be bloody good.

Hiromu Takahashi (W) v Francesco Akira May 18, 2022. Sendai Sunplaza Hall, Miyagi

What’s so Super?

The parallels have been drawn between Okada inviting Ospreay to NJPW to join Chaos and Ospreay inviting Akira to join United Empire. That lineage, of Okada, to Ospreay, to Akira, is a clear indication of just how much NJPW rate this young, hungry, Italian athlete.

High octane moves, including the smoothest poison-rana in the tournament, Akira was able to take Takahashi to the limit and it took both a Victory Roll and a Timebomb, in quick succession, to overcome the Fireball.

“He (Akira) just carried the fight and nearly beat the man who might go down in history as the most decorated junior in New Japan, in Hiromu Takahashi.” (Kevin Kelly, NJPW World)

Sho (W) v Clark Connors May 21, 2022. New Aomori Prefecture Sports Park Maeda Arena, Aomori.

What’s so Super?

Sho is so insanely villainous that you could well imagine he spends his weekends fixing laser beams to the backs of sharks. Seemingly immune from disqualification in NJPW, Sho ambushed Connors as he made his entrance. The Murder Machine isn’t a patient man.

This match is all about the environment and the vast empty stadium where it takes place. In particular, Connors’ near count-out, the greatest I have ever seen, which utilises New Japan’s 20 count, far better than any other count-out, in the entire history of count-outs, from the vast pantheon of people pretending they are dead until they hear the word ‘Nine’.

Connors is deposited at the far end of the arena, way behind the crowd. It’s further away from the ring than his entrance was. He only sets off at fourteen. He falls at eighteen!

Go and watch it. Yes, the Wild Rhino loses in the end, that’s true. But hey, not by a bloody countout, he doesn’t!

Hiromu Takahashi (W) v Ace Austin May 21, 2022. New Aomori Prefecture Sports Park Maeda Arena, Aomori.

What’s Super?

Impact Wrestling were wise to send Ace Austin to this tournament. There will be a lot of eager Japanese fans tuning in on Thursday nights, if they aren’t already, as NJPW and Impact have been kicking splinters out of their own Forbidden Door whilst AEW’s was still a tree.

Austin’s moveset is as dynamic as it is innovative, with powerful, focussed leg strikes, a surprisingly technical ground game and some eye-catching signature moves that resonated well with the NJPW audience.

It’s a cliche but Austin could have a five star match with a broom. That he’d then empty the broom’s bank accounts and steal the broom’s wife for good measure, is just icing.

Takahashi, the first to take points from Austin in Block A, will look to add Impact X-Division gold to the L.I.J. trophy cabinet in the near future, following this win. Or will Austin forget to skip leg day for the thousandth time in a row and move into Heavyweight territory? There are some mouth watering match-ups waiting for the Inevitable one if he does.

But today’s defection to Bullet Club will certainly have major ramifications both in Japan and in the Impact Zone.

Douki (W) v El Phantasmo May 24, 2022. Korakuen Hall, Tokyo.

What’s so Super?

EL Phantasmo promised he would enter the G1 as the Junior Heavyweight Champion. Bullet Club would win both Blocks, with ELP meeting his tag partner, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, Taiji Ishimori in the finals.

It looked for a long time during this NJPW tour, that both of those were on the cards.

Well, F*** Douki, as ELP tweeted after this match.

There has been a change in ELP during this tournament. A supreme talent, yes, yet one often seen as Bullet Club’s joker, lacking the seriousness to be considered a threat to the heavyweights. His performances, in Best of Super Juniors 29, wash those doubts away.

Controversial and infuriating, ELP is still a joy to watch. Capable of brilliance at any moment, he’s more than worthy of a G1 place.

Douki, Suzuki-Gun’s pipe wielding, multi-lingual, Mortal Kombat looking, brawler, eventually tricked El Phantasmo into dripping his guard and was able to pick up the surprise win, after a glorious, Liger inspired J Cup ’94 ending? to ruin ELP’s perfect record. Well, ELP does love a tribute, doesn’t he?

El Lindaman (W) v El Desperado May 24, 2022. Korakuen Hall, Tokyo.

What’s so Super?

Well, for a start, El Lindaman flew out to defend his G-Rex championship, mid BOSJ tour, so he’s obviously insane.

El Lindaman is also the smallest competitor in the field.

Yet GLEAT are #Stronghearts for a reason and El Lindaman is all kinds of confidence.

Imagine giving Scrappy Doo nineteen cans of red bull, then telling him he had just won the lottery. That’s about half as energetic as El Lindaman is when he’s taking a nap.

A superb match, El Desperado was on a roll and is one of, if not the favourite, to win the BOSJ29, had looked all but unbeatable so far, so this result was an upset. But could it ever have gone the other way?

The main story behind the GLEAT champion appearing in NJPW, was that it was El Desperado, who campaigned for El Lindaman to compete.

El Lindaman had come full circle as New Japan had thrown away his application to join their dojo system, earlier in his wrestling career.

So, a real Cinderella story.

And not just that a promotion would say, ‘yes, we we were wrong about you’, but then to also invite you to join their top junior tour, throw you in the main event with one of their top stars, which you win, and afterwards, given a live mic and an opportunity to tell the world how wrong they were about you AND how great your current promotion is and to tell their audience to come and watch that!

Forbidden Door? El Lindaman has a Forbidden Sledgehammer for that.

Ace Austin (W) v Alex Zayne May 25, 2022. Korakuen Hall, Tokyo.

What’s so Super?

Oh, come on!

It’s just the best story of a NJPW tour that has featured some true gems. El Lindaman’s redemption. Robbie Eagles ascension. Bullet Club’s failure to capture both Blocks. This tale of two friends who would ultimately have to face one another takes the cake…which then Zayne ate.

Japan has fallen in love with these walking, talking anime characters come to life. One red, happy and smiling, with a huge appetite for food and fighting. The other, his focussed friend in purple, clever and calculating. The online posts, the fan art, the comments. The story was writing itself.

“My personal highlight was me vs Ace due to the attention we were able to build for it online by just eating together on a daily basis The fans were just excited that we were friends”

Austin agreed with his ‘Zest Friend’, speaking to Inside The Ropes.

“The relationship with Alex just happened outta nowhere. These people love a good friendship story. I’m blown away by how gracious and appreciative the fans are.”

The match itself had everything. Your heart strings are in for a bit of a bumpy ride with this one.

The Zest Friends Collide.

Watch this match. Then text your best mate and see if they want a hug.

Robbie Eagles (W) v El Phantasmo May 25, 2022. Korakuen Hall, Tokyo.

What’s so Super?

Well, it’s the best match of the tournament.

Points are great and all, but you can’t beat utter disdain and hatred to really motivate you. Robbie Eagles and El Phantasmo have such a chequered history, that a family of four are currently having a picnic on it.

Two competitors at the very top of their games, having the tournaments of their lives and producing the sort of Korakuen Hall main event that will go down in history.

Inside and outside of the ring, there are moments in this match where you question the sanity of the competitors involved.

ELP in particular, was determined, to cement himself at the top of B Block but also drive Eagles out of the competition. This, in turn, brought the best out of the Sniper of the Skies, who was able to overcome Bullet Club’s Head Banga after a lengthy back and forth, alternating between power moves and excruciating submissions.

The final five minutes are so captivating, you forget that the crowd is still under ‘no cheering’ guidelines.

If you are only able to watch one match of this NJPW tournament, watch this one. If you can watch two, watch this one. Twice.

Clark Connors (W) v Alex Zayne May 31, 2022. Techno Hall West, Toyama.

What’s so Super?

Two men who are out of the competition, unable to effect the results later on, yet still putting on a performance.

The respect and reverence that these two performers have for both the spirit of competition and the Japanese fans, not to mention NJPW and the tournament itself, is beyond admirable.

The Wild Rhino and the Sauce don’t take early showers it seems.

Now let’s run it back.

El Desperado (W) v El Phantasmo & Hiromu Takahashi (W) v Taiji Ishimori May 31st, 202w. Techno Hall West, Toyama.

What’s so Super?

Both the final two Block matches were winner take all, after an earlier loss to Titan had ruled out Robbie Eagles.

It all came down to this for El Phantasmo. After all his prior brilliance, the devillish tricks and underhanded tactics, he opted to instead try and wait out the clock, knowing a draw would be enough to take him through to the Finals.

The match is great, when it eventually starts, El Desperado is a worthy finalist, not to mention the popular choice but this match is made by ELP and the choices he makes.

You almost wish the cat and mouse continued with El Desperado chasing him around the building for half an hour.

A great finale to close B Block.

The final match saw a similar scenario unfold in A Block with Hiromu Takahashi overcoming IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Taiji Ishimori but minus ELP’s theatrics.

Not Bullet Club’s finest half an hour, that’s for sure.

With Bullet Club’s Taiji Ishimori as IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, there is still plenty for Takahashi to do in NJPW but, for now, he can celebrate his historic win and indeed, ‘Soar to Glory’.

You can watch all BOSJ matches, with both Japanese and English commentary, by subscribing to NJPW World. Download the NJPW World App for details.

NJPW Best Of The Super Juniors 29 Final Results