NJPW Best of the Super Juniors Final
June 4 2018
We’re in Korakuen Hall for the last day of the BOSJ. It’s been one hell of a tournament this year, culminating in an incredible night at the Block finals yesterday. Getting to the feed early allows me to witness the beauty of NJPW’s movie trailer for the upcoming Hiroshi Tanahashi vehicle “My Dad is a Heel Wrestler”
Hosts are Kevin Kelly and Chris Sabin (later tonight).
Flip Gordon & Chris Sabin vs. Tiger Mask IV & Shota Umino
Flip had a very good first tour. Sabin turned back the clock for his run. Flip pops people just with his entrance alone. He’s gotten very over.
Umino is the only Young Lion on today’s card, although that might have something to do with Oka getting killed on a tope yesterday. Umino shows a lot of fire here and he’s progressing nicely as a Young Lion. Flip gets to showcase his skills some more and wins with the 450 Splash from his knees (the “4 Nifty”). Great start to his New Japan career. He’s definitely impressed officials with his in-ring. He’ll be back.
Final Rating: ***
Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka & TAKA Michinoku vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI
I hope the combination of guys here is Andy Q trying to get Suzuki vs. Ishii set up in Rev Pro. Or Gedo throwing him a bone! There’s a lot of brawling outside the ring in this as it’s a typical Suzuki-gun match. My preferred version of Suzuki-gun is Suzuki, Sabre and Despy and NO ONE ELSE IS ALLOWED.
Especially him. The match has the odd flash of good, which is Ishii vs. Suzuki and everything else pretty much blows. With the exception of TAKA trying to out-cheat the Sublime Master Thief. He fails. Nut shot and roll up finishes.
I am very into the idea of Ishii vs. Suzuki being a Summer feud this year. Give them 3 or 4 bouts. Beat the shit out of each other, have it flow over into Europe. Love it.
Final Rating: *1/2
Hirooki Goto & Roppongi 3K vs. Taichi, El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Bless Miho Abe for her ability to believe in Taichi and that he isn’t a total scumbag. This is partially to set up Taichi vs. Goto (and Elgin) at Dominion. Presumably Roppongi 3K are also coming after Despy & Kanemaru. Taichi has definitely bulked up since declaring himself a heavyweight. They brawl all over the building because Suzuki-gun. Taichi has improved over the past 18 months but there’s no evidence of that here. All his sequences are weak and even Kanemaru looks decent by comparison. In the same respect YOH doesn’t have a good match and gets outclassed by SHO, who has improved so much since being a Young Lion. YOH hasn’t moved on that much. YOH rolls up Kanemaru for the win and that should give Roppongi 3K a junior tag shot.
Final Rating: **1/4
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare vs. Yujiro Takahashi & Marty Scurll
Tana and Scurll is pretty good. Weight classes are an issue in Japan as nobody buys the junior having a shot at ever beating a heavyweight although most guys moving up to heavyweight just say “I’m a heavyweight now” and they start beating every other junior. It doesn’t make sense. Marty is having a whale of a time here, badmouthing the Liger cosplayer, before badmouthing Liger himself. There’s a great shot of Liger laughing when Tanahashi strolls in to boot Scurll. Marty has the crowd in the palm of his hand here, controlling the action throughout and bossing Henare. Tana generally takes it easy in tags so it’s nice to see him get energised responding to Scurll’s bullshit. Meanwhile Henare stands up to Yujro and there’s a guy he could beat to get his first big win over because Yujiro sucks. Takahashi wins but Scurll stole the show.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Scurll batters Tana with the umbrella and hooks the Chickenwing. Liger has to save. Marty cuts an impromptu promo demanding Liger, Tana and Rey Mysterio! He’s going to kill legends. Liger wants a trios match; legends vs. Scurll and his mates.
You can tell by the look on Tiger Hattori's face that Liger's whips his shirt off at every available opportunity pic.twitter.com/e40YIJwGSK
— Arnold Furious; a prince (@ArnoldFurious) June 4, 2018
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Naito, EVIL, SANADA & BUSHI) vs. KUSHIDA, Ryusuke Taguchi, Dragon Lee & ACH
ACH breaks Dragon Lee by photobombing him. ACH also has a nice time dancing to LIJ’s music to the point where the crowd drown it out by chanting his name!
— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) June 4, 2018
I’m excited to see what this juniors team can do battling against LIJ, given LIJ only have one junior in their ranks. Dragon Lee kicks this off by stealing Naito’s moves! Between ACH’s antics, Taguchi’s comedy and Lee’s madness it’s a cracking eight-man tag. ACH tries to rough up SANADA and gets beaten by Skull End. This was way too short for the amount of fun I was having watching this. I get the concept of LIJ being superior because of their sheer number of heavyweights but it was still fun. I love how Taguchi remains mad at SANADA for not taking the hip attack near the finish.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Post Match: Chris Jericho shows up via Tron responding to the Naito promo where he said Jericho didn’t make the main event in Budokan in 1997. Jericho points out he took Naito’s main event slot at Wrestle Kingdom. “Even though you lost to Okada in the semi-main event at Wrestle Kingdom”. “You fucking moron, don’t you understand?” He promises Naito will become a bigger star when Jericho beats him. Naito has a nap during the promo.
Kota Ibushi & Chase Owens vs. Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay
Ospreay has turned up in a mood to perform. As he always does. Chase manages to rip the Irish flag off his gear. Will is distraught he has to tag out. Chase is much improved since first coming to Japan. He’s always been an accomplished wrestler but his timing and presence has improved. He could probably work on his physique a bit but it’s Japan, you can get away with it a little there. Ospreay helps him out a lot by flying around the ring to sell his moves. The bump he takes off the superkick is downright beautiful. Okada and Ibushi do some effortless stuff, showcasing how talented they both are. The trouble with it looking so easy is that there’s no emotion. Nothing to draw me in. Instead I find myself more into Ibushi and Ospreay hitting the same moves. Will makes things more important. Okada is too calm and controlled so the only time he seems to care is when he’s defending his title, or in the ring with a future challenger. The Kota/Will sequences are so great. It’s so fast and they’re both clearly trying to out-do each other. It makes me hope for a big singles match at some point. The crowd were going nuts for them in a tag over Mania weekend. Okada puts Chase away with the Rainmaker but the flurry of Ospreay-Ibushi was the peak of the match.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Best of the Super Junior 25 Final
Hiromu Takahashi vs. Taiji Ishimori
Both these guys are really fast but Hiromu has a beautifully defined character so he’s the favourite. They repeat the success of Despy/Hiromu by doing the John Woo up in the crowd. Hiromu then takes a rana down the steps. These guys are nuts.
— LARIATOOOO!! (@MrLARIATO) June 4, 2018
— LARIATOOOO!! (@MrLARIATO) June 4, 2018
They are both creative, slick and crazy, which is a great combination of stuff. This includes Sunsetbombs, Sliding Germans and all manner of madness. I think Hiromu’s John Woo off the apron just about caps it. I’m amazed Hiromu isn’t seriously injured at all times. He takes the craziest bumps. How is he not hurt?
— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) June 4, 2018
Ishimori targets Hiromu’s neck, which is probably fucked, and goes after the Yes Lock a great deal. This is in between wacky spots. They have an insane satellite spot to set up another version of the Yes Lock that’s completely nuts. That’s this match in a nut shell. Or is that nuts shells? The story of the match is Ishimori grinding Hiromu down while Takahashi throws everything at him. The scientific bastard versus the madman babyface. Ishimori’s ability to slide out of moves in the middle of them is incredible. His escape from the Timebomb is crazy. Then they trade reverse ranas for the fucking hell of it. Ishimori’s recovery after his legs went on the second one was mental. He had to throw himself backwards and spring back with all that weight on top of him. Well played sir.
After all that madness and head dropping they end up trading in the middle of the ring, 25 minutes deep, and it’s hard not to love them both for how much effort has been involved in this and the intricacy of their storytelling. Hiromu has a counter lined up for the Bloody Cross and it’s right into D. The quality of this match is incredible. The sheer difficulty and variety of what’s been attempted from the ropes to the mat. Both guys have been the complete package here. The intensity is there too, that’s what puts this over the top. It’s not just flips for the sake of it, it’s all part of a bigger picture. Taiji won’t quit to the Triangle but gets downed by Timebomb and Hiromu wins!
Final Rating: ****3/4
Post Match: Ospreay is out here and we’re getting that match at Dominion next weekend. “Thank you, meow” – Hiromu. “You motherfucker. Now he’s dead” – Ospreay.
It’s clearly a one-match card but what a match! It’s arguably my MOTY at this point. I can’t think of anything I specifically prefer to this. This years BOSJ has been excellent and this was a fine ending for it.