How do we follow that? That is the question finalists Will Ospreay and Shingo Takagi must have been asking themselves after witnessing the brutal battle that was the IWGP United States Championship match between Jon Moxley and Juice Robinson which tore down the house at today’s conclusion of the Best of the Super Juniors tournament. Without a doubt, the match established Moxley – formerly Dean Ambrose in the WWE – as the hottest property in pro wrestling today.
In the tournament finals it was Ospreay’s superhuman agility meeting Shingo’s superhuman strength and it was Ospreay who proved he is one of the most talented wrestlers of his or any other generation.
Takagi and Ospreay stare each other down. Photo: NJPW.
Shingo began things by powering out of many of Ospreay’s astonishing athletic moves including an early OsCutter.
The crowd turns against Shingo when he doesn’t break clean instead chopping Ospreay across the chest and throwing a water bottle at him from outside the ring.
After a slingshot dive onto Shingo, the crowd cheers Ospreay’s name. In an insane dive for a man of his size, Shingo totally clears the top rope and lands on top of the ringside barricade…and Ospreay. Shingo is favouring his right knee and limping after that move though. Shingo’s pop-up Death Valley Driver stalls any drive Ospreay had until he wallops him with a top rope 619, a running shotgun drop kick in the corner and a standing shooting star press.
Ospreay cannot lock on the Storm Breaker from the top rope. That leads to a fist fight with Shingo and Ospreay belting each other for all they are worth.
Takagi’s deadly dive on Ospreay. Photo: NJPW.
A second rope Death Valley Driver from Shingo knocks all the starch out of Ospreay. Ospreay cannot follow through with an OsCutter or any of his aerial moves as Shingo just catches him in mid-air. He does covert a Pumping Bomber into a huge powerbomb for a two count.
Ospreay misses a Robinson Special. Shingo wheel barrels him violently into a corner. Ospreay would answer back with an OsCutter on the apron.
A head butt from Shingo would knock almost both men unconscious. Ospreay survives two Pumping Bombers and a Last of the Dragon to deliver a one-man Spanish Fly, a Hidden Blade, an OsCutter from the top rope and a Storm Breaker to win the Best of the Super Juniors 2019 and end Shingo’s unbeaten streak in NJPW.
Chaos raises a glass to Ospreay backstage. Photo: NJPW.
Once he was awarded the tournament trophy, Ospreay thanked Shingo for such a great match. He referenced a T-shirt Hiroshi Tanahashi used to wear years ago which said: “Attack for the next generation”.
“I believe in my heart the next generation is standing in this ring right now! People come and people go. I thank every single man who has wrestled in this ring to create a future for the next generation,” said a grateful Ospreay.
Will Ospreay will now face Dragon Lee for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship In the IWGP United States Championship match, Japan saw a whole different Moxley than they did in the WWE. Gone were all the goofy and silly WWE Lunatic Fringe theatrics. Back was the cruelty and ruthlessness he was known for in Dragon Gate and CZW.
Moxley is ready to brawl for it all. Photo: NJPW.
To the sound of wailing electric guitars Moxley stomped into the arena from the crowd as he used to do with the Shield. He is wearing a black jacket and UFC-like fighting trunks trimmed with barbed wire as opposed to his street gear in the WWE. He is announced as “The Death Rider” Jon Moxley.
The Young Lions have a hard time keeping the fans back. Moxley paces the ring growling as he waits for Juice Robinson.
Robinson walks to the ring stopping to eye Moxley who is staring down at him from one of the corners.
Once he has his gear off, Moxley walks right up to Juice giving him a double shot of Steve’s Austin’s infamous “sign language”.
Moxley chows down on Juice. Photo: NJPW.
The bell rings and they fire rights and lefts at each other. A clothesline by Moxley sends Juice over the top rope to the floor. A suicide dive knocks Juice over the ringside barrier and into the Japanese announce desk. Moxley stands on the desk beating his chest for the crowd. A forearm and a head butt from an aggressive Moxley sends Juice into the crowd. Moxley claws Juice’s face as he bites his forehead.
In the entrance way Moxley drills Juice with elbow after elbow, punch after punch to the top of the head. Red Shoes instructs Moxley to take the fight back to the ring. Moxley tells him to do something that is physically impossible.
Juice puts it all on the line. Photo: NJPW.
Moxley tells a Young Lion to get out of the way before he slaps him in the head. Juice back drops his way out of what have could’ve been a brutal piledriver on the concrete floor. Juice climbs up some rigging and does a cannonball right onto Moxley below. Clutching his own back, Juice banks Moxley’s head off a lighting rig.
As they approach the ring, Juice drops Moxley throat-first on the ringside barrier. Juice is bleeding from a cut above one of his eyebrows.
Moxley springs out of the way causing Juice to hit the ringside barrier with a cannonball. Moxley mauls Juice some more biting and clawing at his face.
Moxley targets Juice’s leg with a chop block and wraps it around a steel post. Red Shoes reprimands Moxley as he bites at Juices cut. A series of punches busts the cut open even more. Blood is trickling down Juice’s face.
Red Shoes warns Juice to let Moxley out of a corner after punching him down.
“Shut the f—k up!” snarls Juice.
Juice is busted open. Photo: NJPW.
The crowd gasps.
Juice crotches Moxley on barricade then follows up with a clothesline sending him to the arena floor.
Robinson races to the top rope. Moxley shoves Juice right off the top rope to the floor. Juice hits hard below smashing his face on the ring apron. Moxley pulls a table from under the ring setting it up. Juice takes a chair shot to the back as he is laid on the table.
Moxley runs off the ring apron with a steel chair bringing it down on Juice’s head with a dull thud. Wanting to inflict more pain, Moxley suplexes Juice through the table.
Red Shoes lays down the count. Juice makes it back into the ring. A release slam from Moxley shocks the crowd while Juice lays in a heap on the mat. A figure four around the steel post hurt Juice’s knee even more.
Moxley wrapped a steel chair around Juice’s ankle preparing to leap off the second rope onto it. Red Shoes pleads with Moxley to stop. While they argue, Juice tears off the chair throwing it into Moxley’s face.
“Juice! Juice!” roars the crowd while there were some cheering for Moxley.
The match broke down into a slugfest with Juice getting the better of Moxley. Moxley prevented the Left Hand of God with the precursor to his DDT. Juice pulled both himself and Moxley out of the ring before that could happen.
Moxley leans a table against the ringside barrier pointing at Juice. Juice strikes first with the Left Hand of God turning out Moxley’s lights. Juice botches his cannonball hitting the table and missing Moxley completely. The table didn’t break.
“I am breaking this mother—ker!” says Juice propping up the table on the floor.
Juice puts Moxley through a table. Photo: NJPW.
Juice powerbombed Moxley through the table leaving Moxley’s back with some cuts
The commentators note how Juice left the “cookie cutter” WWE and started from scratch, leaving everything behind, rebuilding and rebranding himself in the NJPW system.
Moxley and the entire Ryogoku Kokugikan arena were shocked when Robinson kicked out of the Double Arm DDT. A second one ended Juice’s 152 day reign as IWGP United States Champion.
Moxley is the new IWGP United States Champion. Photo: NJPW.
In their special singles grudge match, Hiroshi Tanahashi wrought some vengeance on Jay White who has been a thorn in his side for quite some time. White has taken all of those crappy blue highlights out of his hair and is wearing a new Switchblade sleeveless jacket. The crowd gives the returning Tanahashi a huge ovation.
While Tanahashi is standing on the second rope greeting the fans and before the bells rings to start the match, White thrashes Tanahashi from behind. The fans rain down boos on White. White begs them for more.
On the floor, Tanahashi and White label each other with punches. Gedo grabs at Tanahashi distracting him. White once again sneak attacks Tanahashi running him into the rail. The official warns Gedo not to interfere. The crowd chants Tanahashi’s name.
White goes after the surgically repaired elbow of the Ace. He throws Tanahashi over the ropes to the floor. White bashes Tanahashi’s spine and elbow off the ringside barrier and the ring. He puts Tanahashi in a hammer lock smashing his elbow into a steel post. The referee is about to count both men out so White yanks him off the ring apron to the floor. White wraps Tanahashi arm around a ringside barrier causing even more damage.
Tanahashi stumps Gedo. Photo: NJPW.
“Go Ace!” yells the crowd while White kicks at Tanahashi’s elbow.
Tanahashi suffers more arm drags and arm whips from White. White poses for the crowd and is rewarded with more boos. A hammer lock slam has Tanahashi rolling around in pain. White tears off the protective bandage around Tanahashi’s elbow throwing it to the crowd.
White holds onto the ropes so that Tanahashi cannot whip him across the ring. Tanahashi doubles over holding onto that elbow. A dragon screw leg whip opens the door for a Tanahashi comeback. A somersault senton from the top rope slows White down. White halts a Slingblade with a simple shot to the chest. Tanahashi stands stock still and sighs. White stifles Tanahashi’s comeback with DDT although he is holding his knee.
Tanahashi breaks up a Kiki Crusher attempt with a pair of Twists and Shouts. Tanahashi just hauls off punching White in the jaw as he is slouched on his knees. White’s Fujiwara armbar has Tanahashi desperately searching for a way out. After what seems like hours in the hold, Tanahashi gets his foot on the ropes but the damage has been done.
The crowd chants for Tanahashi even louder. Tanahashi buys some time with another dragon screw leg whip. Two Sling Blades stun White as Tanahashi points to the top rope. Gedo tries to stop Tanahashi from ascending to the top rope. He gets a boot in the mouth. White trips up Tanahashi crotching him on the top rope.
Gedo leaps into the ring with brass knuckles. A punch from Tanahashi puts an end to that threat. As the official admonishes Gedo, White low-blows Tanahashi. Tanahashi wheels out of a Blade Runner, gives white a low-blow from behind. Tanahashi eyes a Texas Clover Leaf, however, White locks Tanahashi’s arm rolling him up for the victory. Tanahashi flails around on the mat in pain and frustration. White tells Liger at the Japanese announce desk that he can retire now. The Switchblade is here.
Shota Umino, Titan and Dragon Lee versus Ren Narita, Jonathan Gresham and Bandido
A double team and a double suplex. Photo: NJPW.
Some crazy action between Titan and Bandido. Blink and you will miss their counters and reverses. Narita holds Lee who is cradled in the ropes. Bandido delivers a 450 splash to Lee, Gresham climbs to the top rope landing a shooting star press to him as well. Narita German suplexes Lee who probably would have been pinned if it were not for Titan and Umino saving him. Reminding me of Super Crazy from ECW, Titan jumps off the ring apron, onto the top rope and then flips onto Bandido hitting the ringside barrier as he does so. Lee pulls down his knee pad, pins Narita with a running knee strike. Everyone shakes hands before heading back to the dressing room. Lee and Titan kiss the center of the ring and bow to the crowd as a show of respect to NJPW and its fans.
Winners: Shota Umino, Titan and Dragon Lee.
Match Rating: 7 / 10
Sho, Yoh and Ryusuke Taguchi versus Bullet Club (Robbie Eagles, El Phantasmo and Taiji Ishimori)
El Phantasmo needs all of Bullet Club’s help to free himself. Photo: NJPW.
Taguchi is subbing for Rocky Romero as the coach of Roppongi 3K tonight. Ishimori’s arm is heavily taped up due to his injury. He barely participates in the match. Bullet Club jump starts the bout. Robbie Eagles seems surprised by the attack. El Phantasmo steals Taguchi’s rugby ball and helmet. He and Eagles play catch. Phantasmo kicks the ball into the crowd then throws the helmet at Taguchi hitting him in the face. Taguchi calls the play as Sho and Yoh repeatedly strike Phantasmo in a corner with running clothesline after running clothesline. Sho and Yoh whip Phantasmo into Taguchi who is readying his “funky weapon” in the opposite corner. Phantasmo puts the brakes on and figuratively pokes Taguchi in the butt with his thumb. Problem is, Phantasmo cannot get his thumb out. He pulls and pushes and struggles. It takes all of Bullet Club to free Phantasmo’s thumb.
Walking the ropes with Taguchi, ELP kicks Sho off the apron, bounds over Yoh, and lands back on the top rope to hurricanrana Taguchi. Eagles refuses to stomp Taguchi’s crotch which confuses Ishimori and Phantasmo. Phantasmo blind tags off Eagles who is perched on the top rope. Eagles lands a 450 splash and attempts to pin Sho. Phantasmo pushes Eagles off Sho. He pins him with a CR2. Eagles kicks the ropes in anger. Ishimori and Phantasmo wave the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team belts in the faces of Sho and Yoh. Eagles pushes Phantasmo, storms out of the ring telling Kevin Kelly there is obviously an “I” in Bullet Club.
Winners: Bullet Club (Robbie Eagles, El Phantasmo and Taiji Ishimori).
Match Rating: 7 / 10
Tiger Mask, Jyushin Thunder Liger, Yoshi-Hashi, Toru Yano and Tomohiro Ishii versus Suzuki-gun (Douki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Zack Sabre Jr., Minoru Suzuki and Taichi).
Douki ties up the official so that Taichi can low-blow Ishii. Yoshi-Hashi gets the 1-2-3 on Douki with Karma. Yoshi-Hashi dares Zack Sabre Jr. to put his RPW British Heavyweight Championship on the line against him. Liger and Yano have to retrain Ishii from going after Taichi. Suzuki slams a steel chair off the ringside barrier before he and Liger start punching each other. Young Lions try to separate Liger and Suzuki. Liger and Suzuki fight all the way back to the locker room.
Winners: Tiger Mask, Jyushin Thunder Liger, Yoshi-Hashi, Toru Yano and Tomohiro Ishii.
Match Rating: 6 / 10
Toa Henare, Tomoaki Honma, Togi Makabe and Kota Ibushi versus Los Ingobernables de Japón (Bushi, Sanada, Evil and Tetsuya Naito)
Ibushi goes for a ride courtesy of Naito. Photo: NJPW.
Henare is swarmed by Bushi, Sanada and Evil. Magic Killer from Evil and Sanada on Henare notches the win for Los Ingobernables de Japón. Naito whips Ibushi into the ringside barrier numerous times.
Winners: Los Ingobernables de Japón (Bushi, Sanada, Evil and Tetsuya Naito).
Match Rating: 7 / 10
Villain Club (Brody King and Marty Scurll) versus Chaos (Rocky Romero and Kazuchika Okada)
Romero sizes Brody King up. Photo: NJPW.
Rocky Romero is wearing a Black Tiger mask as he heads to the ring with Okada. He puts the mask on the announce table for safe keeping. Previously, Romero was the fourth incarnation of Black Tiger. Romero walks right up to King. King pats him on the head. “Take your best shot!” growls King. King smiles at Romero’s punch, shrugs it off. King’s haymaker put Romero on his back. King has a hold of both Romero and Okada. Like a cruiserweight he bounces off the ropes, flips over and arm drags Romero and Okada out of the ring. While unleashing some Forever Clotheslines, Romero is chased by King. Romero ducks and King clotheslines Scurll. A piledriver from King is not enough to pin Okada. A drop kick, flying elbow smash from the top rope and a Rainmaker Clothesline from Okada pins King.
Winners: Chaos (Rocky Romero and Kazuchika Okada).
Match Rating: 7.5 / 10
Hiroshi Tanahashi versus Jay White
Winner: Jay White.
Match Rating: 8 / 10
Juice Robinson (champion) versus Jon Moxley (challenger) – IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Championship match
Winner: …and new IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Champion, Jon Moxley.
Match Rating: 8.5 / 10
Will Ospreay versus Shingo Takagi
Winner: …and Best of the Super Juniors champion, Will Ospreay.
Match Rating: 9 / 10
Overall Event Rating: 8.5 / 10