NJPW Best of the Super Juniors N13
June 3 2018
I’m afraid I’m not going to give Jack a chance to catch up because I want to go into the final day knowing what’s happening. With that in mind here are the Blocks:
Taiji Ishimori 4-2 
Will Ospreay 4-2 
Flip Gordon 3-3 
Tiger Mask IV 3-3 
YOH 3-3 
BUSHI 3-3 
ACH 2-4 
Yoshinobu Kanemaru 2-4 
Marty Scurll 4-2 
KUSHIDA 4-2 
Hiromu Takahashi 4-2 
Dragon Lee 3-3 
Chris Sabin 3-3 
El Desperado 2-4 
SHO 2-4 
Ryusuke Taguchi 2-4 
As you can see Block A is all about Ospreay vs. Ishimori, which makes is slightly odd they started the tournament with that match. Meanwhile Block B is more open but is likely to come down to KUSHIDA vs. Hiromu, much as I predicted right at the start. My Ospreay-Hiromu final is still on.
We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall for Finals Night! Both Block A and Block B finish tonight with both Blocks finishing at the same time to allow both sets of wrestlers equal rest before Monday’s final. As we’re at the climax of BOSJ we have English commentary from Kevin Kelly and Chase Owens.
ACH  vs. Tiger Mask 
ACH comes out in a tiger mask. I hope that means TMIV is retiring and ACH is taking his job. Apparently ACH is a big fan so he’s wearing it in tribute. IV thinks he’s taking the piss. There’s nothing at stake here with both guys eliminated so they work an arm match on ACH’s pre-existing injury. ACH has been solid all tournament, especially with his selling. I’m into him trying to beat TM with his own moves. The Tiger Driver looked pretty nifty. Tiger Mask IV is reaching the ass end of his career and he can’t have too many of these tournaments left. TMIV goes after another of his patented moves, the Tiger Suplex, but gets countered into a roll up and ACH beats his idol!
This was a nice win for ACH to get, defeating a man he clearly looks up to. Imagine if they actually put the mask on him down the line?
Final Rating: ***1/4
BUSHI  vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru 
BUSHI has had an underwhelming tournament, never in contention. He has issues with Kanemaru and the Suzuki-gun faction so the storyline is there coming in but for the tournament this is an also-ran contest.
BUSHI is aware there’s an issue with the lack of importance here and goes after Kanemaru with aggression pre-bell. Only for that to backfire as he accidentally kills Tomoyuki Oka with a tope.
BUSHI accidentally murdering young lions with topes is my shit pic.twitter.com/ofAStI1bxV
— Arnold Furious; a prince (@ArnoldFurious) June 3, 2018
Kanemaru has been quite bad all tournament, including a back bump off a dropkick in this that completely stinks, but at least he uses young lions are weapons. Kanemaru’s in-ring deteriorates before my very eyes. His satellite DDT here is a fucking disaster. And of course they do a ref bump. At least BUSHI blocks the whisky spit with the mist. That’s a good spot. Only Kanemaru doesn’t swallow and he uses the whisky later and hits Deep Impact for the win. This was a real mess but I did love the ending sequence, despite the ref bump.
Final Rating: ***
Chris Sabin  vs. Ryusuke Taguchi 
Sabin has been fine in BOSJ. Taguchi has had a patchy tournament for someone who usually kills it.
With the scrubs in Block A out of the way, we move on to the scrubs in Block B. Taguchi brings the funnies by rolling himself into an armbar and this leads directly into Taguchi being outclassed throughout the match. The idea being that whether he’s being silly or straight up he’s still not good enough to overcome someone of Sabin’s technical calibre. After Taguchi takes bigger risks to get back into it they do some decent parity stuff to get us back to a genuine contest. The clothesline stuff is very good. They also do some tidy near falls stuff before a less good sequence involving Dodon and Taguchi transitioning back into an anklelock in awkward fashion for the win.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Dragon Lee  vs. El Desperado 
Despy has been on another level during BOSJ.
This is another chance for him to shine too, competing against a luchadore. Lee has a Shibata “The Wrestler” shirt on. Every time I see Shibata referenced I really hope he’s coming back. Lee starts the match off with several insane high speed dives. He looks so crisp and clinical when he’s flying. Those Mexican fellas are fearless. One of Despy’s trademarks this tour has been annihilating chairs and Dragon Lee gets whipped clean through the entire seating area. Despy doesn’t stop there and goes after the mask and that gets tremendous heat. I’m all for this being the start of a lengthy rivalry as it seems to have that fire attached already. I love Dragon Lee taking Shibata spots. The forearms/running dropkick shtick is great. Poor Despy gets another of his masks fucked up and he spends a lot of time getting concerned that people can see his ugly mug. That mask is pretty much off and it’s only Despy’s makeup that prevents his complete unveiling. Bit of a fuck up by Dragon Lee. It is great how Despy keeps his head down and uses his hair to mask his face, afraid of being completely exposed. Dragon Lee being helpful and pushing the mask back into place gets a polite round of applause. It’s a shame the mask goes so completely because the match is shit after it gets torn and it was stunning beforehand. Despy boots Dragon Lee in the nuts and shreds Dragon Lee’s mask as revenge, picking up a win in the process.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Promo Time: Tomoaki Honma.
He’s not wrestled since Match 2017 when he took the Nigel off Jado and ended up in hospital.
Honma announces he’s returning to the ring on June 23. It’s been a long route back to the ring for Honma. He looks significantly smaller, especially in the legs, and a little wobbly too. Let’s hope he’s 100%.
Flip Gordon  vs. Will Ospreay 
This is a surprise. I was expecting Ospreay vs. Flip to main event but now that I think about it; Ishimori will win if he wins, as he’s got a head-to-head record over Ospreay. So they’re taking that drama and putting it on last, even though YOH has no shot at winning the Block himself.
Ospreay is dressed like a really fancy pirate. On paper I thought this had huge potential as Ospreay can match Flip at all his flips. Will is just that bit quicker and more savvy, putting on holds to block Flip’s flips. It’s definitely a display of ridiculousness.
Ahhh! Love the flipz lads! pic.twitter.com/snmCJJFEsu
— Arnold Furious; a prince (@ArnoldFurious) June 3, 2018
If there’s a match, and an opponent, to make the most of Flip Gordon it would be Will Ospreay. Speaking of which, Ospreay is on fire here. His flying lifter is so intense and the corner dropkick has so much momentum on it. He’s just incredible. Jaw-dropping. Flip isn’t there yet, he’s still raw, but he delivers a lot of great action in this. It’s fliptastic. It’s not just flips though. They throw some sweet looking strikes in there. Especially with Flip showing fire to shrug off Will’s PK’s. I like how Will is portrayed as tougher and smarter than ever before; showing he’s learned from his time in Japan. Meanwhile Gordon gets to look showy as fuck against one of the showiest wrestlers on the planet. When Will does his Oscutter he’s superkicked out of the air. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. I’m also keen on Flip’s consistent string of kick-outs when cocky Will feels he’s already won. Flip tries something nuts off the top but gets caught in mid-air with the cutter and Stormbreaker finishes for Ospreay. This was slick. It wasn’t just flips for the sake of it. They came up with reasons for the flips to exist and it played out like a competitive match. The athleticism required to do this shit was completely off the charts though. It’s like another new level of competition above what we know humans to be capable of. It was like watching Superheroes fight each other.
Final Rating: ****1/2
YOH  vs. Taiji Ishimori 
This cut and dry now. If Ishimori wins he wins Block A. If YOH wins then Will Ospreay wins Block A.
Ishimori got the final in 2010, when he was still in NOAH. So the odds are in his favour. Plus he goes out here knowing what he needs to do and he’s in the driving seat. I like how Ospreay is out here watching because you would be right? You’d want to see if you were winning. He could even claim he was out here supporting YOH, his team mate in CHAOS. Ishimori dictates the pace and controls with his experience. Ospreay’s support for YOH is a nice touch but he is dominated in this match. Ishimori is unrelenting and clinical, as well as sensational. It’s quite the performance. I can understand people who don’t care for him in this role because he doesn’t emote particularly well as a villain but his wrestling is tidy as fuck. YOH’s comeback and near falls get me biting on near falls like a hobo on a tasty sandwich. It’s all so good. The way YOH comes from nowhere to get so tantalisingly close to victory only for Ishimori to get a crossface and the submission win, leaving Will downcast at ringside. Realising despite getting 10 points he comes up short. YOH played his role perfectly here and Ishimori winning gives us a final that should be fresh. Obviously I wanted more Ospreay but I’ll get that; when he moves up to heavyweight in the G1 (I hope).
Final Rating: ****
SHO  vs. Marty Scurll 
If Scurll wins he doesn’t necessarily win the Block due to Hiromu and KUSHIDA having already beaten him.
So this isn’t as important as it might seem. Marty’s only route to Block victory is if he wins and KUSHIDA vs. Hiromu goes to a draw. Scurll has been decent all tournament and SHO is technically solid so they put together a nice little match. Marty roughing SHO up is actually great as he takes exception to all his plucky bullshit. Like firing an arrow at him. Scurll keeps his own shtick on the down low here, instead using his veteran status to put young SHO in his place. His strikes in particular look very good. SHO gets more than YOH did against Ishimori and Scurll is better at playing the villain who SHO can rally against. When they go to war on the strikes it comes across as epic. Apart from his idiotic approach to taunting, which leads to his fingers getting broken, SHO gives a tremendous account of himself here. He gets all fired up and takes no shit from Umbrella Man. It’s a marked contrast to YOH, who spent the match fighting from underneath. I buy far more into SHO in singles than YOH, which is bizarre because before they went away it was the other way around. SHO also does a fine sell job on the fingers, which prevents him hitting Shock Arrow. I’m very into this match thanks to the structuring. SHO is an underdog but he fights every inch of the way. Marty gets overconfident and careless and Shock Arrow puts him away! SHO wins! SHO wins! SHO wins!
Final Rating: ****1/4
Hiromu Takahashi  vs. KUSHIDA 
These two have a lot of history. Including Hiromu beating KUSHIDA in short order at Sakura Genesis 2017 to confirm himself as the new junior ace. Meanwhile KUSHIDA has won the BOSJ twice already. If KUSHIDA can win a third, he’d tie Liger for most BOSJ wins, ever. He’s basically taken on Liger’s mantel as the Man in this division. The Man who made Ospreay and Hiromu into the stars they are.
They bring total intensity here with a very long collar and elbow tie up. How long? They’re still in it when the five minute alert kicks in. It shows that neither has a clear advantage, even with the basics. From there they go right into wackiness with Hiromu attempting a sunset flip powerbomb but getting wiped out with a dive instead. It feels special and they have to take a different route after a show that’s been loaded with high quality wrestling. Just hitting the highlights won’t do it. Both these guys have incredible engines and Hiromu not only brings that but a sense of insanity and disregard for his own body. The match has both energy and precision. Which is a golden combination. When wrestlers get really skilled and they still want to steal the show anyway it’s a beautiful thing. KUSHIDA doesn’t need to take the bumps he takes here but he does it anyway, for the love of the sport. The powerbomb he takes is sickening. Hiromu’s move set is edgy, borderline dangerous. I appreciate KUSHIDA largely staying away from crazy moves and just sticking to armlocks. I love how Hiromu baits KUSHIDA into going for his Baseball Punch and takes him right down into D (his triangle hold).
KUSHIDA doesn’t submit right away so Hiromu drops him on his head and then hooks D again for the submission. This was quite the match up in an evening of cracking matches in Korakuen Hall. Ospreay vs. Flip and their crazy spots will stick in my mind for longer but Hiromu’s demented grin is in there too. Great storytelling and logic throughout this. I adored the lock up sequence.
Final Rating: ****1/2
A look at the final standings now. Ishimori vs. Hiromu tomorrow. I’m disappointed we’re not getting Ospreay vs. Hiromu as I think that’s the better match. As for the final, I’m hoping Hiromu wins to set up two challengers to Will rather than just Ishimori (who’s already beaten Ospreay in this).
Taiji Ishimori 5-2  – WINNER
Will Ospreay 5-2 
Flip Gordon 3-4 
Tiger Mask IV 3-4 
YOH 3-4 
BUSHI 3-4 
ACH 3-4 
Yoshinobu Kanemaru 3-4 
Hiromu Takahashi 5-2  – WINNER
Marty Scurll 4-3 
KUSHIDA 4-3 
Dragon Lee 3-4 
Chris Sabin 3-4 
El Desperado 3-4 
SHO 3-4 
Ryusuke Taguchi 3-4 
The second half of this show was non-stop bangers. Four cracking matches one after another. Easily the best BOSJ show this year (maybe ever) and places are all here for tomorrow’s big main event. Be interesting to see what else New Japan put on as dressing for Hiromu vs. Ishimori.