At New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Best of the Super Jr. 26 Finals this morning (for full results, check here), there was a lot of anticipation for the main event - the finals of the tournament pitting Shingo Takagi against Will Ospreay.
Los Ingobernables de Japon’s Takagi had run the table in the tournament, winning his all nine of his matches for 18 points - both records under this scoring system. Ospreay’s numbers weren’t as impressive, but he used the tournament to silence doubters who wondered if his career was already on the downswing at the age of 26 due to the toll his style takes on his body.
Their 30 minutes match lived up and exceeded expectations, with Shingo looking dominant throughout but the Aerial Assassin refusing to stay down...
BEST OF THE SUPER Jr.26 (6/5)を公開！メインはBEST OF THE SUPER Jr.26優勝決定戦、Aブロック代表 @Takagi__Shingo VS Bブロック代表@WillOspreay！まさに激闘！令和最初の優勝者となるのは、オスプレイか⁉︎それとも鷹木か⁉︎— njpwworld (@njpwworld) June 5, 2019
登録＆視聴▷https://t.co/REefUxhzRu#njpw #njbosj #njpwworld pic.twitter.com/Lwd0FSLJk9
... even after receiving two devasting looking Pumper Bomber lariats:
PUMPING BOMBER!!! @Takagi__Shingo #NJPW #njbosj https://t.co/wRupFhxVAb pic.twitter.com/TI5O8DDcM4— LARIATOOOO!! (@MrLARIATO) June 5, 2019
When he tried to follow that with his Last of the Dragon finisher, Ospreay countered into a poison rana which brought Shingo’s head slamming to the mat in a scary-looking manner:
Nasty Poison 'Rana from @WillOspreay! #njbosj #NJPW https://t.co/d63mH2znnl pic.twitter.com/QuAcYyePQS— Italo Santana (@BulletClubIta) June 5, 2019
After one last frenetic, back-and-forth sprint, Ospreay hit a Hidden Blade, and followed with an Oscutter from the top. He held on during the landing and hit his Storm Breaker finisher for the pinfall victory.
STORM BREAKER!!! @WillOspreay #NJPW #njbosj https://t.co/wRupFhxVAb pic.twitter.com/vUG6m1C6qE— LARIATOOOO!! (@MrLARIATO) June 5, 2019
He’ll head to this weekend’s Dominion 6.9 pay-per-view (PPV) to face Dragon Lee for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight title. In the ring after the match, Ospreay confirmed his plans to move to Japan full-time. In his post-show interview, Ospreay stated his intention to be one of New Japan’s biggest stars:
" We lost Kenny, we lost Cody, we lost The Young Bucks, we lost Ricochet, we lost KUSHIDA. Someone needs to step up. I'm ready to do it." - @WillOspreay #njbosj #NJPW https://t.co/d63mH2znnl pic.twitter.com/SV0MdBwIqr— Italo Santana (@BulletClubIta) June 5, 2019
While he lost the match and his win streak, Shingo’s reputation is intact. He still hold BOSJ records, and was one half of what’s already being hailed a Match of the Year candidate.