2019 BOTSJ 26 update
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2019 BOTSJ 26 update

May 23, 2019
By: Lou Pickney

My modem died on me sometime this past Sunday. And for the next three days, it was a colossal pain to have to use my phone as a hotspot to check what I could online.

The replacement arrived yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon, and it's a newer model Actiontec (T3200 vs. T2200H) which seems to be much better at handling the expanded high-speed capability that TDS recently gave me. Granted, I was fine with 100/100 (Mbps) and didn't need 300/300, but it was a free upgrade. And now I can absolutely fly online.

Quite the silver lining to the temporary inconvenience, I must say. And that also means if there are any streaming video issues, it's likely not on my end.

AEW Double or Nothing is this Saturday night. $49.99 for the show, which some have balked at, but I'm willing to pay a premium for something I want. And with the show having the same price for either B/R Live and Dish Network, I'm going with Dish.

Being able to record it on my DVR makes me lean in that direction, plus that way I won't face the uncertainty on how B/R Live will handle the demand on the day of the show. It's unclear how long it would be available on B/R Live, and while I've had a DVR die and cost me an ROH PPV and a bunch of classic NJPW on AXS TV shows, I'm inclined to opt for the safe side on this.

I watched New Japan Pro-Wrestling's May 22 Korakuen show soon after my new modem arrived. Somehow I avoided most spoilers, aside from hearing that the Ren Narita match was excellent. The women in the crowd (and they seem to be attending NJPW shows in Japan in larger numbers as of late) in particular seemed into both Narita and YOH.

But the first night at Korakuen was a solid show top-to-bottom, with Will Ospreay vs. El Phantasmo tearing the house down in the main event. It's like the 2013 and 2014 G1 for a few nights with these double block shows, but I love the idea for Korakuen, which tends to have great crowd reactions that end up helping every match.

And the best is likely still to come.

Tonight it's Dragon vs. Dragon in the main event, Shingo Takagi vs. Dragon Lee, which should be really fun. Though I imagine Ospreay vs. Bandido in the semi-main won't be easy to follow.

May 23 - Tokyo (Korakuen Hall)
Ren Narita vs. El Phantasmo
Titan vs. Taka Michinoku
BUSHI vs. Robbie Eagles
Tiger Mask vs. Jonathan Gresham
YOH vs. Douki
SHO vs. Marty Scurll
Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Rocky Romero
Taiji Ishimori vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Will Ospreay vs. Bandido
Dragon Lee vs. Shingo Takagi

Shingo and Ishimori can pull away from the field tonight if they both win, and it looks rather likely that their May 31 match in Ehime will end up deciding the block.

After eight nights of tournament action, the standings:

A Block
4-0: Shingo Takagi, Taiji Ishimori
3-1: Dragon Lee
2-2: Jonathan Gresham, Marty Scurll, Tiger Mask
1-3: SHO, Titan, Yoshinobu Kanemaru
0-4: Taka Michinoku

Presuming a Phantasmo win over Narita tonight, that ELP vs. Romero main event on May 24 looks even more interesting. Would be a good opportunity for Rocky to play the spoiler.

Speaking of Rocky, his match against Will Ospreay was tremendous. Easily the best Romero singles match I've ever seen.

B Block
4-0: El Phantasmo
3-1: Robbie Eagles, Ryusuke Taguchi, Will Ospreay
2-2: Bandido, YOH
1-3: Douki, Rocky Romero, BUSHI
0-4: Ren Narita

Also, they keep teasing a time limit draw with these Ospreay matches thus far in the tournament:

BUSHI 16:35
Romero 25:45
YOH 24:43
ELP 26:40

Ospreay or Ishii?

There is some question on who had the more impressive performance, Ospreay's four matches thus far in the BOTSJ or Ishii's four matches in the 2019 New Japan Cup.

As impressive as Ospreay has been, Ishii's run in the 2019 NJC was absolutely remarkable, like a video game challenge.

Round 1: Get a ****1/2 match out of a 50+ year old opponent.
Round 2: Get a **** match out of Taichi with the highest cagematch.net rating for any Taichi match ever, singles or tags.
Round 3: Get a **** match out of Yoshi-Hashi in the semi-main of a show where the crowd is excited for an Okada vs. Ospreay main event.
Round 4: Have a ****3/4 match in a semi-main event loss that finishes #7 in your all-time highest rated matches on cagematch.net.

And that six-man tag vs. Nagata's side at New Year Dash at Korakuen was really good. It has a good chance of ending up as the best six-man tag match in New Japan in 2019.

For those with limited schedules, here are some matches through the first eight nights that are worth checking out. There are plenty of other excellent tournament matches not listed, mind you. But these I liked in particular.

Best of the Super Jr. 26 on New Japan World

May 13 - Miyagi (Sendai Sunplaza Hall) (A Block)
SHO vs. Shingo Takagi
Dragon Lee vs. Taiji Ishimori

May 14 - Miyagi (Sendai Sunplaza Hall) (B Block)
Ryusuke Taguchi vs. YOH

May 15 - Aomori Martial Arts Hall (A Block)
Dragon Lee vs. SHO

May 16 - Aomori Industrial Exhibition Concourse (B Block)
Will Ospreay vs. Rocky Romero

May 19 - Yamagata Big Wing (B Block)
Will Ospreay vs. YOH

May 22 - Tokyo (Korakuen Hall) (Both Blocks)
Bandido vs. Ren Narita
Marty Scurll vs. Shingo Takagi
Will Ospreay vs. El Phantasmo

See any mistakes, omissions, or needed corrections? Please let me know: @LouPickney

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