New Japan Pro Wrestling
Best of the Super Juniors Night 4
May 24, 2016
Yonezawa Municipal Gymnasium
Watch: NJPW World
Night 4 of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Best of the Super Juniors featured the second night of Block B action. On Night 2 we saw surprising victories for Chase Owens and Jushin Thunder Liger while watching Will Ospreay suffer defeat in his first ever BOSJ match.
Just like Night 2 and Night 3 this show took place in a small venue airing on a delay at NJPWworld.com and was shot with a single camera. The low production set up is a unique way to watch a wrestling show, but after three consecutive days it will leave you begging for a different camera angle. This tournament in particular can suffer from the one camera set up when you have high flyers taking dives to the outside. No matter how incredible those dives are, they will never look as spectacular as they do when the NJPW cameramen capture every second of it. The good news for those without a lot of time is that this show only includes the four tournament matches that clocked in at a combined 41 minutes and 24 seconds from bell-to-bell.
Night 2 saw four first time ever match ups with Block B, on Night 4 we get three first time ever match ups and the fourth match in the Liger vs. Owens series.
Volador Jr. (0 pts) def. Tiger Mask IV (0 pts)
Volador Jr. comes out donning his mask that will inevitably be removed halfway through the match, but no breakaway pants tonight. Right away in this match you see the 45 year old Tiger Mask IV bust out a standing backflip to transition out of an arm bar to really set the tone. This was the best Tiger Mask IV match I have seen in years as he worked at a faster pace to keep up with the high flying luchador who is 10 years younger.
Volador Jr. eventually removes his mask which meant it was time for another flawless Asai moonsault. If you dig high spots and dives then you will love Volador Jr.’s work. Tiger Mask IV is eventually able to slow the match down to his pace and takes a few moments to stretch Volador Jr., which by no means was a dull spot in the match. Volador Jr. is able to retaliate with a submission hold of his own following a vicious sounding super kick to force Tiger Mask IV to tap out. This was a really fun match to kick off the tournament action and the surprising performance from Tiger Mask IV was great to see.
Volador Jr. picks up his first ever BOSJ victory in his debuting tournament run while Tiger Mask IV suffers his 38th BOSJ defeat of his career. ***3/4
Jushin Thunder Liger (2 pts) def. Chase Owens (2 pts.)
This the fourth meeting between these men, Liger holds a 2-1 lead over Owens. Owens won the most recent match between these two at last years edition of the BOSJ in what was a monumental moment in Owens’ career.
This match was alright. It was inoffensive and had some nice pops for Liger at moments including Yujiro Takahashi restraining Liger from re-entering the ring until Liger finally escaped Takahashi’s clutches to sneak back in the ring at the 19.999 count from the ref. Owens did miss Liger on an ugly looking moonsault. That lead to his demise as Liger picked up his 98th BOSJ victory. **1/2
Ricochet (2pts) def. Bobby Fish (0 pts)
This was a fun match that saw one of the best high flyers of our generation flip around with the submission specialist, Fish. One thing that people don’t give Fish enough credit for is his positioning in the ring. Maybe second to only Kevin Owens is Fish who always transitions into spots around the ring seamlessly to avoid any klunky spots of laying on the mat only to awkwardly scoot into position for your opponent’s big splash off the top rope.
Ricochet was throwing some incredible looking strikes at Fish throughout the match which Ricochet doesn’t get enough credit for. There is a great spot towards the end of the match when Fish hits Ricochet with the Falcon Arrow for a two count and as Ricochet kicks out at two, Fish flawlessly transitions into a grapevined ankle lock. Ricochet manages to get to the ropes and picks up his second win via a sick looking Benadryller. ***3/4
Beretta (2 pts) def. Will Ospreay (0 pts)
If you didn’t watch Ospreay’s three part documentary on NJPWworld.com, then I recommend you watch that immediately after closing out of this review. First of all, it was in English, and secondly it will get you even more invested in Ospreay as a performer. It humanized the super hero high flyer, Ospreay, and showed how humble of a kid he truly is. Just looking at Ospreay’s reaction when the interviewer tells how big Sumo Hall is shows that Ospreay truly understands what an honor it is to be wrestling for New Japan.
This was a match that I was expecting could fit on any PWG show, but instead of a taste of Reseda, California these two wrestled in a true NJPW-styled junior heavyweight match that would’ve fit onto any mid-90’s BOSJ card. These two were pulling out all of the high spots, but allowed for everything to breathe and really register with this Japanese audience.
Beretta, the more experienced of the two by a solid eight years, had Ospreay’s number in this match and was countering nearly every big move Ospreay tried pulling out. This was a fun match from two of the more innovative high flyers in the world today and turned out to be the best match of the tour since KUSHIDA and Kyle O’Reilly made history on Night 1. ****
NJPW Best of the Super Juniors Night 4 was the best of the single cam delayed broadcast shows on this tour. It featured three matches that I scored with better star ratings than any match I reviewed on Night 2. Going into this tournament, Ospreay was a favorite to win this Block, but has struggled with two defeats. It will be interesting to see if Ospreay can finish out the tournament in a strong way. It tells a better story this way for Ospreay as he is the sympathetic babyface and operates better on the chase rather than in dominating fashion.