New Japan Pro Wrestling
Best of the Super Juniors – Night Four
May 26, 2015
Yamagata, Yamagata – Sports Center #2

After the very first match on the very first day of the 22nd edition of the New Japan Pro Wrestling “Best of the Super Juniors,” I opined that we probably wouldn’t see a match as good as that Jushin Thunder Liger vs Yohei Komatsu bout until the finals. Heading into Day 4, that sizzling hot take had yet to be extinguished.

The dirty secret of the BOSJ is that the round robin portion of the tournament rarely produces a ton of great matches. Think about some of the greatest matches in BOSJ history, and I’ll bet most if not all of the great bouts that come to mind took place on the final day. Even if that wasn’t the historical precedent, I’d still find it hard to believe that anything could top the fantastic Liger vs Komatsu bout from Day 1. A potential 20-minute KUSHIDA/Kyle O’Reilly final, which is the trendy finals pick if not the most hoped for one, would have a good chance.

After a completely skippable Day 2 and an uneven Day 3, did anything on Day 4 render the previous two paragraphs obsolete by topping the Liger/Komatsu bout? Let’s find out.

Gedo (2-0, 4 points) vs Cavernario (1-1, 2 points): Let’s talk about Gedo. At 46 years old, Gedo is having a sneaky good year, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration at all to say he’s one of the top 50 workers in the world right now. In addition to what has so far been an outstanding BOSJ, check out his tag work with Kazuchika Okada, particularly opposite of Bad Luck Fale. He’s got the sleazy veteran heel routine down to a science, and is good enough to pull off that same exact act with the added element of garnering sympathy while doing so when going against the Bullet Club. This match against Cavernario was pure heel Gedo at his best, with low blows, eye pokes, exposed turnbuckle pads, closed fists behind the referee’s back, and other assorted tricks. Gedo’s performance here reminded me of a great burn I once received on Plenty of Fish which read “I can feel the sleaze oozing through my computer. Please don’t message me ever again”, so I guess that makes me the Gedo of online dating.

I don’t want to downplay Cavernario, who was hardly a Cody Rhodes inoffensive void or a non contributing base. He more than held up his end of this, with both his unique charisma, and by fighting fire with fire by using Gedo’s own exposed turnbuckle against him and countering eye pokes with his own filthy fingered caveman versions. At one point Gedo recovered just in time to barely escape Cavernario’s patented top rope dive to the floor, which at least spares us from the whining people like to do when Cavernario does complete the move, as if it’s their knees he’s systematically destroying. Is the move stupid? Probably. But hey, it’s not my knees. And if you watch closely, he almost never lands on his knees anyway. For the finish, Cavernario fought off a Complete Shot and then moments later reversed a Gedo Clutch into a La Cavernaria to pick up the win. Go out of your way to watch this, it was a ton of fun. ***1/4

KUSHIDA (1-1, 2 points) vs David Finlay (0-2, 0 points): Finlay has been very impressive thus far in the tournament, bringing the type of grit to the table that you don’t normally see among New Japan juniors. He’s been training in the dojo for months, but you can see why he isn’t being given the young lion treatment. This guy is already rock solid, and it’s patently obvious that he has incredible upside as a worker. KUSHIDA is underrated in the toughness department, with training in multiple shoot disciplines and the ability to go toe to toe with stiff sluggers, which was on display here, as things got good and stiff down the stretch. Finlay may not be a true young lion, but he’s still on the bottom of the totem pole and is well on his way to a big fat 0-7. That doesn’t mean he can’t hang with anybody in this field bell to bell.  Good match, but a predictable result and Finlay not quite being over with the fans yet hurt it a smidge. ***1/4

Rocky Romero (1-1, 2 points) vs Nick “lol **1/4” Jackson (1-1, 2 points): In case you missed it, Nick Jackson strongly disagreed with Bryan Rose’s match rating of his Day 2 win over KUSHIDA. This match was better, and to me really hammered home my running theory that standards are constantly evolving and moving forward in wrestling. I’ve been watching a lot of old WWF house shows lately, and this match not only would have been the best match on 95% of all WWE house shows from 1980-1989, but also very likely regarded as an underground classic. Flash forward to 2015, and this was a good match, but it’ll be forgotten ten seconds after this tournament ends. Romero picked up the win to move to 2-1 (one of those wins was a forfeit victory over the injured Alex Shelley). Total “Suck It” count: 10. ***

Ryusuke Taguchi (1-1, 2 points) vs Beretta (1-1, 2 points): A methodical pace early with Beretta in control, which I don’t mean in a negative way, later built around Taguchi ass attacks, which I very much mean in a negative way. Look, I can’t really knock Taguchi for trying to create a persona, because he’s never had much to offer in the charisma department, and whatever charisma he did have is now working in NXT, but this ass attack thing just doesn’t work for me. There has to be some inside joke going on that none of us are privy to. Total Ass Attacks, including the Boma Ye style version he’s now using to win matches (complete with Shinsuke Nakamura imitation to set it up): 11. **3/4

Final Thoughts: Day 4 was the second best set of matches of the tournament so far, only trailing Day 1. You can get away with skipping Taguchi/Beretta, but everything else was good, with Gedo/Cavernario being the match that everybody should make an effort to see.

Voices of Wrestling – Best of the Super Juniors Pick’Em Standings (after Day 4)

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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