Wrestling Review: NJPW Best of the Super Juniors (2017) (Day 12)

The Prefectural Gym at the Edion Arena in Osaka, Japan, plays host to the final round of the A Block competitors in New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) 24th annual Best of the Super Juniors tournament. In the main event, Hiromu Takahashi will take on Will Ospreay, after Ricochet faces Marty Scurll and Dragon Lee faces TAKA Michinoku. Jushin Liger will also be in action, against Taichi, as Liger seeks his first win of the tournament in his last match. IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada will go face to face with his challenger Kenny Omega as Okada teams with Gedo to do battle with the team of Kenny Omega and Yujiro Takahashi. The team of War Machine, Raymond Rowe and Hanson, will one more work with David Finlay to face off against the Guerillas of Destiny, Tama Tonga and Tanga Roa, and their partner of Bad Luck Fale. Taguchi Japan, Los Ingobernables de Japon, ACH and Volador Jr. will also be in action on the night we find out who will win the A Block of the Best of the Super Juniors 24.

+ Will Ospreay vs Hiromu Takahashi (A Block Match): Takahashi targeted the legs to keep Ospreay grounded, which was frustrating once Ospreay was running and jumping as usual (a problem Seth Rollins also has far too often), especially after Ospready was screaming bloody murder throughout the initial assault. But aside from the inconsistent selling, this match was really good, with incredible high flying action and some eye watering strikes
+ Ricochet vs Marty Scurll (A Block Match): this was good, thanks mostly to just how damn good Ricochet is. An extended surfboard submission spot was great, and Marty played to the crowd just enough without it getting obnoxious. There were some great callbacks and ‘learning’ spots, where a second attempt at the same move failed, which is something that lots of wrestling misses before a fantastic finishing sequence. This started out good, but ended up being great
+ Jushin Thunder Liger vs Taichi (A Block Match): every time one of the Suzuki-gun boys had a match I should have written that they had their teammates with them, because this really was Liger versus the world. The passion in this match, and the huge crowd reactions helped turn this from an average match into a fantastic storytelling piece, even if it didn’t end how I’d have thought
+ CHAOS (Gedo & Kazuchika Okada) vs Bullet Club (Kenny Omega & Yujiro Takahashi): the interactions between Omega/Okada before their impending title match at Dominion were the highlight here, though frankly, the ending was shocking. Some good action from all four was on display, with some good comedy as well. This was another short but sweet match-up
+ Taguchi Japan (Juice Robinson, KUSHIDA & Ryusuke Taguchi) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL & SANADA): after KUSHIDA and Taguchi’s incredible match yesterday it was Juice who did the heavy lifting for the trio. All of LIJ worked perfectly together, which made for a generally pretty good match

– Dragon Lee vs TAKA Michinoku (A Block Match): TAKA’s dirty tactics in attempt to ground Dragon Lee were the go-to for the match, which unfortunately made the first two thirds quite uninspired. Once the speed picked up, from both men, this was much more enjoyable, but once it was said and done this was one of the worse matches on the show
– David Finlay and War Machine (Hanson & Raymond Rowe) vs Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa): the Bullet Club trio look unstoppable on paper, and I’ll keep saying it: I’m not a fan of Finlay and War Machine together, I just don’t get it. This was a good match with a handful of good power spots, but in the end it was a bit of a waste of time, and didn’t really advance anything
– ACH & Volador Jr. vs Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru): this was short and somewhat bland, with a few good teamwork spots in the middle from Volador/ACH. Overall, just a showcase I’d say, and one I didn’t particularly enjoy

Should you watch this event: The main selling point for the show, the conclusion of the A Block side of the BOSJ tournament, was worth the show itself. As well as the fantastic showdown between challenger Kenny Omega and Champion Kazuchika Okada, three of the four A Block matches were among the best you’ll see this year. Your thoughts on the winner of A Block will vary, no doubt, but in my mind it was the best choice, even if not my personal choice.


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