Wrestling Review: NJPW Best of the Super Juniors (2017) (Day 13)

The winner of the A Block fo New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) 24th annual Best of the Super Juniors (BOSJ) tournament has been decided. Will Ospreay will meet the winner of the B Block, after the final four matches of the tournament are decided at Nagoya Congress Center Event Hall in Aichi, Japan. With all eight competitors currently tied on 3-3, the winner may well come down to the final match. In the final four BOSJ 24 matches, KUSHIDA and Volador Jr. will face each other, while Tiger Mask will face BUSHI, Ryusuke Taguchi will do battle with ACH, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru will face off against El Desperado. The current IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada will lead a trio into battle against the Bullet Club, headed up by challenger Kenny Omega.

+ Ryusuke Taguchi vs ACH (B Block Match): Taguchi has been the MVP of the B Block this year, and this (most likely) was his last chance to retain that mantle. Some close calls and good tribute spots to former NJPW talent piqued my interest, and a few classicly subverted spots were clever, before a solid ending sequence finished things up nicely
+ Tiger Mask vs BUSHI (B Block Match): this was really good. Because of the previous match results, one of these two was already eliminated, which made for a frantic scramble to get a win to ensure the other was eliminated too. The shenanigans on display because of this made for compelling viewing, with an ending sure to get a reaction in one way or another. I really enjoyed this match
+ KUSHIDA vs Volador Jr. (B Block Match): much like Tiger Mask/BUSHI, this has implication stemming from previous matches, which added to the excitement before th ebell even rang. Back and forth action, including lots of huge moves was fun to watch. The eventual winner did deserve it, even if it meant the person I wanted to win did not. Not quite as good as the matches preceeding it, but still a fitting end to the tournament brackets
+ El Desperado vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru (B Block Match): these two Suzuki-gun members had both TAKA and Taichi at ringside, which made for a match full of shenanigans for and against both guys. The shenanigans soon turned out to be very interesting, with an ending I don’t think anyone would see coming
+ CHAOS (Gedo, Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay) vs Bullet Club (Kenny Omega, Marty Scurll & Yujiro Takahashi): unlike the War Machine match earlier, this built on the match from yesterday, but added to it with Takahashi and Ospreay. Some great teamwork from both trios soon gave way to the well loved brawls and big move trades, before an ending I didin’t see coming. And I noticed Marty was wearing tights, not his usual trunks; I’m not sure if I’ve seen that before

– Taguchi Japan (Dragon Lee, Juice Robinson & Ricochet) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL, Hiromu Takahashi & SANADA): a few really good sequences between all six men were fun to watch, but a botch towards the end (I’m not sure who was at fault) completely ruined the momentum of the finish
– Hirai Kawato & Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Suzuki-gun (Taichi & TAKA Michinoku): Liger and Taichi went hard at each other after their BOSJ match last night, and Kawato had more or less the same role as yesterday. Kawato did look a bit more impressive than usual, but this was always a Taichi/Liger match at heart. Another standard opening tag match
– David Finlay and War Machine (Hanson & Raymond Rowe) vs Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa): this was 99% of the same match these six had last night. I didn’t like it then, and I don’t like it now

> Unfortunately, the way the tie-system in the BOSJ works meant that had certain people won their matches, the matches that happened afterwards would have been pointless, as neither involved could win.

Should you watch this event: The 24th annual Best of the Super Juniors finished with a bang, with all four final B Block matches delivering on a big stage. The B Block winner will, much like Ospreay yesterday, be divisive, and personally it wasn’t my top choice. The early tag matches were mostly just there to hype the upcoming Dominion, but the Okada/Omega led CHAOS/Bullet CLub tag match was surprisingly fun. This was another good show, overall.


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