[Please note: there are FULL SPOILERS here for the entire tournament up to the final night, by virtue of naming who is in the match for the Best of the Super Juniors 25 trophy.]
[Also please note: throughout the tournament I have only been reviewing the tournament matches, but for this show I will review everything. Enjoy!]
Here we are, finally at the end of a grueling few weeks for the junior heavyweights of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). The winners of the A Block and the B Block will go head to head, as Taiji Ishimori and Hiromu Takahashi do battle to see who will be the winner of the 25th Best of the Super Juniors tournament. An IWGP Junior Heavyweight championship match with Will Ospreay awaits the winner at Dominion this coming weekend (aka in about five hours, at time of publishing – I told you, I’m really behind), in what could easily be a show stealing match. Just days before his upcoming, historic title defends against Kenny Omega, IWGP Heavyweight Championship Kazuchika Okada will be in action, teaming with Ospreay against two of Omega’s closest confidants Chase Owens and Kota Ibushi. Okada will be looking to gain some momentum, but both Ibushi and Owens would love to wear out the longest reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion in history before their friends challenges for the gold. Both of these matches and so much more on Day 14, the final night of the Best of the Super Juniors 25.
+ Taiji Ishimori vs Hiromu Takahashi (Best of the Super Juniors 25 Final): there are almost no words to describe just how good this match was. Both men nearly died several times, the action was hectic and lightning quick and the winner more than deserved it. I won’t waste time with superlatives, I’ll just say this: this match was the best match of the night, the best match of the tournament, a contender for best match of the year and if you said one of the greatest matches of all time I don’t think I could disagree
+ CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay) vs Chase Owens & Kota Ibushi: from a meta standpoint this was an interesting match, because Ibushi/Ospreay barely interacted, which has incredible implications for the future. Okada had some choice attacks to send a message to his next challenger, and Owens was the really solid hand he has been for a while now. This was good for now, but if it is implying more, then it will be great
+ KUSHIDA, Ryusuke Taguchi, Dragon Lee & ACH vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, SANADA & BUSHI): this was really good, as you might expect looking at the talent list. ACH was a standout character, especially when up against Naito (much like ACH against Suzuki a few nights ago), and Taguchi was on point as as both a comedy character and wrestler, and of course KUSHIDA and Lee are always good. All of LIJ worked well, again as you would expect, and there was even more of the post-match shenanigans Naito has come to anticipate (though, frankly, I think it may have run on a bit too long)
+ Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare vs Bullet Club (Yujiro Takahashi & Marty Scurll): I’ve been enjoying this “Scurll hates Liger” things so much more than I think I should. Every time he went for the Romero Special throughout the tournament I hoped Liger would jump in the ring and beat Scurll down, but alas it never happened. It was good tos ee some of Yujiro’s special friends again (god damn, Nana) and Tanahashi is always a joy, but it was the post-match here that was far more interesting, with some huge Dominion implications
+ Hirooki Goto & Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) vs Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado): I understand that Roppongi 3K and the Suzuki-gun juniors here are about to have a tag title match, but gosh I wish Desperado could have continued his beef with Dragon Lee from Day 13. Everyone in this match was good, with only one minor miscommunication between opponents, but it was covered almost perfectly after the fact. I’m really high on the R3K boys at the moment. so I can admit some bias, but overall I enjoyed this match
– CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI) vs Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka & TAKA Michinoku): god damn Suzuki is fucking fantastic, though TAKA and Iizuka are not particularly great. I’d be happy if it was just Ishii versus Suzuki for the rest of eternity, but please leave the rest of them out of it
– Tiger Mask & Shota Umino vs Chris Sabin & Flip Gordon: I know I’ve been hard on Tiger Mask over the past dozen reviews, but I’ll be nice and just say that I am looking forward to not having to review his matches, at least for a little while. Sabin and Flip were fine, Flip in particular showing off some incredible athleticism on his entrance, but this was a stock standard opening tag match
Should you watch this event: As the first two matches had finished, I was dreading having to watch all of this 3 hour show, but things quickly turned around, and made for a really exciting watch. Ishimori/Takahashi, to crown the winner of the BOSJ, was absolutely phenomenal, and both the semi-main-event tag and the eight man before it are well worth watching as well.