New Japan Pro Wrestling
Best of the Super Juniors: Night 1
May 22, 2015
Korakuen Hall – Tokyo, Japan

Since this is the opening show for the Best of the Super Juniors tournament, and it’s live in Korakuen Hall, surely there’s a blockbuster main event that will set the tone for the rest of the tournament, right? Well, if you think that Ryusuke Taguchi taking on Gedo is a main event in any arena, then my word are you ever correct! I’ll just get this out of the way now: I am not very happy that this is headlining while Kushida and Mascara Dorada are in the co-main (and, spoilers, their time was gimped). Gedo is one of the most underrated guys on the New Japan roster right now, and Taguchi…um, he’s not…terrible. At least it’s not another house show main event tag, which thankfully I won’t be seeing for a while…except later on tonight when there’s a big heavyweight ten man tag. Sigh.

Yohei Komatsu vs. Jushin Thunder Liger: Komatsu immediately jumped Liger at the bell, before he could even take his cape off. Liger made a comeback, took him to the outside and laid him out with a brainbuster. Komatsu actually did a great job doing the count out tease, slipping out back to the floor at 18 and sliding right back in at 20. This dude is such a natural at this stage of the game. Liger stretched him for a while with submissions until Komatsu went to the ropes. Liger tries a palm strike but Komatsu rolled him into a half boston crab. Liger caught him off the top rope with a palm strike then followed with another for a nearfall. He then hit a third one and a brainbuster for the pinfall. This was short, but really damn awesome while it lasted. ***½

Tiger Mask vs. “SLICK” NICK JACKSON: That was the nickname they gave him in the opening video. Slick Nick spent most of the opening minutes of the match telling Tiger Mask to suck it. Tiger Mask retorts by telling him to suck it as well, which got a pop from the crowd. Solid match with some fun stuff throughout. Nick goes for a 450 but misses, Tiger Mask comes back with a tiger driver then wins after the tiger suplex. Solid match with Nick doing the usual Young Bucks offense and Tiger Mask doing his usual stuff. Cody Hall got involved on the outside at one point, with Nick hitting a superkick aimed at Tiger Mask but instead hitting Hall. **3/4

David Finlay vs. Alex Shelley: Another solid bout. I don’t know about Finlay’s choice of back tattoos here, but who am I to judge? He was fine, but didn’t stand out much in this initial outing. A lot of the match was Shelley, with Finlay getting a few spots here and there. He eventually falls to the automatic midnight by Shelley. **1/2

Chase Owens vs. Barbaro Cavernario: This was alright, but kind clunky at times, felt like there was a styles clash during spots. Owens did a tope suicida on the outside at one point and Barbaro did a big dive off the top rope. Owens teased the package piledriver, but Barbaro escaped, rolled over him and applied the la Cavernaria submission (seated surfboard) for the win. **½

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto, Tomoaki Honma, Katsuyori Shibata and Togi Makabe vs. Toru Yano, Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazushi Sakuraba, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI: Yup, this was your usual house show tag match, just with better heat in a bigger arena. You can guess who paired off with who here, as Shibata paired off with Sakuraba, Ishii with Makabe, Tanahashi and Yano, and so on. Just generic stuff until the finish. The big ending to the match was between YOSHI-HASHI and Hirooki Goto.  Of course, Hashi did his damndest to get the win here, laying out Goto with a lariat for a nearfall, then rolled him up for another great nearfall at 2.999. People freaked out over this kickout. Sadly, he walks into Goto’s neckbreaker, and when Shibata enters he hits the penalty kick and Goto lands the shouten kai for the win. ***¼

Bobby Fish vs. Rocky Romero: Initially the match started with some comedy, with Fish taking Romero’s eye patch and Romero poking him in the uncovered eye to get heat. Romero at one point did a big dive to the outside and into the crowd as well as a standing Sliced Bread #2. Fish makes a comeback, works over Romero’s leg with a half boston crab, and eventually Romero submits to a leg lock in a pretty good match with some solid heat. ***1/4

O’Reilly and Beretta, who were at ringside, entered the ring after and it became a brawl, immediately leading to the next match.

Beretta vs. Kyle O’Reilly: O’Reilly spent the first part of the match working on Beretta’s arm, but when O’Reilly caught him with a waist lock submission, lifted him and took him out of the floor. O’Reilly got the heat back after introducing Beretta with a chair and doing a huge running kick off the apron to the seated Beretta. He makes a comeback with a big belly to belly suplex off the top rope, and they have some good back and forth for a while until a kick out by Beretta allows O’Reilly to sink in an armbar that makes Beretta tap out. Another good match. ***1/4

Mascara Dorada vs. Kushida: Sad, disheartening news to report. They changed Mascara Dorada’s awesome dubbed music. It’s either new incredibly bland music or new incredibly bland dubbed music. This is such a terrible mistake. I LOVED THAT MUSIC. Even more than Liger’s goofy Super Nintendo theme. So, SO disappointed in this. It was so great, it reminded me of fun Gamecube-era games like Pokemon Colosseum. Like, those console RPG Pokemon games weren’t awesome, but they had fun music. MUCH LIKE MASCARA DORADA’s OLD MUSIC THEY GOT RID OF FOR NO REASON. Sigh.

Started off slow, with Kushida working over Dorada for a bit until he manages to take him to the outside. First big spot in the match was Dorada hitting a huge ropewalk asai moonsault. Kushida follows that with a big dive to the floor. Dorada went for a flip springboard on the ropes but as he hit the ropes Kushida hit him with a baseball slide then submitted him with a kimura. This was great while it lasted, but it was way too short given the kind of match they could really have. ***1/4

Gedo vs. Ryusuke Taguchi: Your main event, folks. Gedo immediately jumped Taguchi at the bell and laid him out with a draping DDT on the outside.  He worked him over for a good part of the match, with Taguchi getting a couple of hope spots in between. The crowd were chanting for Gedo and were totally into him. He’s booked himself as a great babyface, that’s for sure. Taguchi started to make his comeback, using his new butt offense, which includes running the ropes and smashing his butt in Gedo’s face. Great near fall as Taguchi comes back with an ankle lock, then follows with a Dodon but Gedo kicks out. Taguchi went for the ring bell hammer, but Gedo moves out of the way. As they make their way back in the ring, Gedo is able to low blow him, lay him out with an STO and roll him up with the Gedo clutch for the surprise win. A lot better than you would think, mostly due to the layout of the match and the work of Gedo. He’s criminally underrated and I think that’ll show in this year’s tournament. ***¼

Final Thoughts: Nothing blow away, but mostly everything was pretty damn good. The opener’s intensity was great, some of the spots in the co-main were cool, RPG Vice and reDragon had some great battles and it was capped off with a very fun main event mostly thanks to the great Gedo, my new favorite wrestler right at this very moment. And no, it’s not because he beat Ryusuke Taguchi. Though, it helps immensely.

Voices of Wrestling – Best of the Super Juniors Pick’Em Contest Standings (after Night 1):

Special thanks to our BoSJ sponsor Be sure to use our official coupon code “VOICE” to take 25% off your next IVP order. 

Edgar Morales5872342332334616
Kelly Harrass5862343422434516
Max Bachhuber5853443223434516
Brian Brennan5762332432434516
Darren Lyne5751422433424716
A. S.5652342342434614
Lawson Leong5682423223333516
Paco Silva Martínez5661342422334616
Rob Reid5653333323333814
Christopher Griger5572241232334616
Claudio Escudero5552334233414516
Derek Drago5564323322323616
Francis Lane5552443212334616
Mitch Cowan5562333433423514
Dan Mullooly5472232324233714
Lee West5472434132324514
Alex Giardini5351234224434514
Allen Vick Jr5361144123324616
Gabriel Perez5342333222334616
Jared Welch5352314223334714
Joseph Remy537344333243458
Kenny Ortiz5363332132414516
Kevin Hare5352333421334416
Mark Berlowitz5353333332333316
Michael Zavala5341332423433714
Oliver Court5362233341424514
Sean Sedor5341333333423516
Tommy Livingstone5352333033423616
Andrew Bates5252341233214616
Jody Plante5251343312334416
Matt Trebby5232333423424514
Morten Hansen5252424312324614
Richard St.Hilaire5242433321333516
Theo Wilson5262333222304616
Brady Livingston5152333122323418
Danny Kuchler5152322332313814
Kent Sinkler5150332423324614
Mitch Parcells5143114334232516
Christopher Duarte506324323242478
David Mora5061324322424413
Karl Clancey5062343322324313
Niall H5062332332323414
Rich Kraetsch506133233443468
Anthony Albicocco4950333231134516
Jake Daniel496233343243268
Jake R.496234333232468
Matt Magnum4961232232324514
Matt McEwen4941332323414514
Mike Spears495244333333358
Abrasive Obelisk487134331323468
Adrian Gaskin4852333212133416
Alan Counihan4852314313313514
Andrew Rich4853334303324411
Azri Aqil4861233312124416
Bastian Sauer486234333233448
Ewen MacDonald485334331243368
Jason Sitek4861332322223514
Kyle Conzett4850343332234610
Nick Mogel4862322322323414
Richard Jaeger4842212433333414
Antonio Edwards474233332333378
Gonçalo Monteiro475234243223368
Marcus Origer4742223414232414
Matt Rolder475234332333448
Paul Cooke4753332213223414
Paul Völsch4753332322334410
Adam Gaetan4650322222333514
Case Lowe465133233342458
Dylan Harris466332332332358
Frederick Cholowski466233333321458
joel zewski466133232233468
Brian Kline453134142433278
Bryan Rose455233243413438
Chris Dalgleish455133242331378
Daniel Mackinnon456123323313378
Darrell Chess4531342343333310
Kevin Wilson453224124233478
Miles Messmer4532412323424510
Santiago Tomasi4541333202434511
Brandon Gordon4432233311433610
Greg Johnson446314232143438
Rob McCaron446233242123448
Víctor Pérez4450333123212514
Anthony Perillo436232143222358
Andy Doran424222322243448
Cal Hodges425223333222348
Mike McDonald425323124331348
T.J. Hawke426123233122278
the mosayat4241442431032410
William Young422133332332368
Aidan Daly413134233243148
Edward Mills415233232220458
Filip Pejic415232322332338
John Cunningham414333132214438
KENTA kicks heads415024332241258
Lee Thomas413122422333268
Phil Williams414222222242368
Trent Williams415132333212358
David Naismith405442322232245
Joe Gagne404134322132447
Brendan Creecy395043232301268
dominic sweeney386233231242343
Keith Campbell385123313222248
Alexander Panos3731331421021511
Berry Meijer374023222241258
Caitlin Lipinski376212242130176
Joseph Roche374213243033273
Lawrence OBrien374234122320248
William Housell Jr.374232331402463
Dakota Schmidt365233222431360
David Woodley365322111233148
Garrett Kidney3651223130231310
Alan Maggle353223223222453
Allan Blackstock355232322331450
David Neil Rapp345134323212350
Gabe Throne345223431333230
Amal Ahmadzai335212243313250
Mike Langford306022422230160
Matt Zierer294132133130143
Kyle Blevins273222203041143
Chris Harrington264113201142430
Sean Flynn264012111211228
Robert O.232332132120130