[Please note: to save us all some time, I’ll only review the tournament matches themselves. There may be incidental spoilers for previous nights, but I won’t go out of my way to spoil things.]
New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual junior heavyweight round-robin tournament, the Best of the Super Juniors 26 continues. The competitors in the B Block will look to make an impact on their first night of matches, with Ryusuke Taguchi and YOH, of Roppongi 3K, facing off in the main event. Also on the card will be Will Ospreay versus BUSHI of Los Ingobernables de Japon, while EL Phantasmo makes his BOSJ debut against up luchador sensation, Bandido. Also of note, both Flip Gordon and El Desperado have had to pull out of the tournament for various reasons, so their replacements will be young Lion Ren Narita, and unknown commodity, DOUKI, a protege of sorts of Taichi.
+ YOH vs Ryusuke Taguchi (BOSJ B Block Match): for this entire show, I could not for the life of me think who the 10th B Block entrant was, considering I was certain it was Ospreay vs YOH on this show. When Taguchi’s music hit, I was flabbergasted that I had forgotten him,and he and YOH proved me wrong by having a really good match/ I thought YOH looked even better than SHO did last year, but unfortunately YOH didn’t quite catch my attention in this match. Taguchi looked great, as he does for these main event singles matches
+ Will Ospreay vs BUSHI (BOSJ B Block Match): gosh I love me some BUSHI; I’ll never understand the hate he gets. Maybe it’s a meme that I am missing. Nonetheless, this was good, as you would expect from these two. They had a great match last year, and this match played into that one perfectly. Ospreay has to be one of the top favourite for the whole tournament, maybe only second to Shingo Takagi of the A Block, but BUSHI is always there, ready to steal the points from somebody that needs the
+ El Phantasmo vs Bandido (BOSJ B Block Match): this was pretty good, between two good dark horses to win the tournament (Phantasmo certainly moreso than Bandido). Phantasmo is such a jerk in his mannerisms and crowd interactions it is hard not to love to hate him, and it only makes his opponent look so much more likeable. Bandido was pretty damn good in this match, and I am eagerly awaiting the next matches for each man
– Robbie Eagles vs Rocky Romero (BOSJ B Block Match): Eagles was more fun here than I’ve seen him, but this was still mostly uninteresting, because I can’t honestly say I believe either of these two will win the tournament. Rocky is a good wrestler, and Eagles is a good wrestling, but even with the home country pride I feel for Eagles, this match didn’t do it for me
– Ren Narita vs DOUKI (w/ Taichi) (BOSJ B Block Match): pretty good for the replacements, but nothing particularly special. I don’t think I had heard about the need for replacements until this match begun, so I was confused, and try as they did, neither was able to get the crowd into it much. DOUKI going relatively evenly against a young lion on debut doesn’t so much for his stock, and the fact that Narita is a young lions most, if not all of his matches are going to be quite one-sided. Just be thankful Narita and Shingo Takagi are in opposite blocks
> I’ve only just realised that Robbie Eagles and El Phantasmo are both Bullet Club guys, and will have to face each other later in the tournament. Interesting.
Should you watch this event: Of course, it’s only the first night for the B Block competitors, but as an early thought, the A Block will run away with the best matches this year. I am interested as to how Narita will go for the rest of the tournament, but unfortunately the matches themselves on this show were just not as good. Seek out Phantasmo/Bandido if you have time, and BUSHI/Ospreay will certainly tick your boxes.