New Japan Pro Wrestling
Best of the Super Juniors – Night 13
June 6, 2016
Sendai Sun Plaza Hall – Sendai, Japan

Watch: NJPW World

Best of the Super Juniors B Block
Beretta (4 points) def. Jushin Thunder Liger (6 points)

These two kept it simple to open up the show. Liger has reached into the Fountain of Youth for this tournament and pulled out a handful of fun matches. Nothing has been outstanding. I don’t have a match of his that has clocked in at four stars or over for this tour, but he’s worked hard every night and this was no different. If you have time on your hands, give this match a look. It’s fun and it’s quick. It’s not a must-watch, I’ll forget about it by tomorrow, but for what it was, it was very enjoyable. ***

Best of the Super Juniors B Block
Bobby Fish (6) def. Tiger Mask (6)

This was a showcase for how great Bobby Fish can be in any occasion. He had a counter for every strike, a suplex for every position, and a submission for every hold. He put on a clinic. Sadly, grumpy Tiger Mask didn’t come out of his cage, or else this would’ve reached hoot territory. For what it was, with Fish bringing the hate and Tiger Mask being forced to take it, it was fun. A showcase for Fish, no doubt, who tapped Tiger Mask out with his sweet Heel Hook. **3/4

Best of the Super Juniors B Block
Chase Owens (4) def. Ricochet (8)

For the second year in a row, Chase Owens has ruined someone’s chances at making it into the finals of the Best of the Super Juniors. All Ricochet needed was a win—a victory by pinfall, submission, disqualification, or countout, and he was going to be battling for the greatest prize in the junior heavyweight wrestling scene. Owens had something to say about that, and with the help of Yujiro Takahashi—who seconded him on the outside—they upset Ricochet and put the ball in young Will Ospreay’s court. This was perfect for what it was. At this point, the best thing the Bullet Club can be is a group of rowdy trolls, and ruining Ricochet’s birth into the finals was a perfect example of them at their best.

I loathe Yujiro. He was fine in No Limit, and since then, I think he’s been nothing short of worthless. His interference here was perfectly timed. It was just frequent enough to annoy Ricochet and myself, but it never reached eyeroll territory. Props to him and Owens for nailing the act on this night. Don’t skip this one. I knew the result coming into this and I got sucked into it. Owens won after rolling up Ricochet, who missed a Phoenix Splash (there is nothing scarier in wrestling than Ricochet missing a dive) off the top. Great work by both men. The best Owens match on this tour. ****

Best of the Super Juniors B Block
Will Ospreay (6) def. Volador Jr. (8)

 The flips were off the charts here and it was a thing of beauty. Young Will had the head-to-head over Ricochet, so a win would put him straight through to the finals of the tournament, and his reliable Springboard Ace Crusher helped him do just that. This was a little sloppy at times. That blame could be put on a number of things — the language barrier, Will’s young age, or just the fact that they were trying to do a lot. I think it’s the latter. They tried their hardest and the match was really entertaining, but a few moments of awkwardness kept this match from reaching a level of greatness. Really fun. Looking forward to seeing Will in the finals. ***3/4

Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, & SANADA def. Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, & YOSHI-HASHI

These two teams are unreal. It’s reaching the level of a Dragon Gate feud with the amount of quality six-mans these two sides are producing. I certainly didn’t expect this sort of quality coming into the feud, especially after essentially two years of mundane CHAOS vs. Bullet Club matches, but seemingly every one of these multi-mans have delivered and this was no different. Hirooki Goto, who I’m very harsh on, was actually the MVP of this match. He showed up to this one and often, I feel like he’s nothing more than an afterthought. Not here. He and EVIL did their thing and that thing is a thing of beauty. SANADA is fitting in perfectly and his feud with YOSHI-HASHI is way more engaging than it has any right to be. Don’t skip these matches. Get it out of your head that New Japan multi-man matches are skippable. These are not. These are outstanding. ****1/4

Best of the Super Juniors A Block
Rocky Romero (6) def. Kyle O’Reilly (8)

These two have wrestled countless times in tag team matches, but this was their first singles outing. O’Reilly was in need of a win, and Romero thwarted his chances of going to the Finals. If you know the background these two have, this match is exactly what you’d expect. It drifted into a scientific, mat-based spectacle, but the two upped the intensity at times by delivering sharp strikes throughout the bout. The pacing here was solid. I was close to hand waving this as a great match because it started so slow. Once they kicked it into another gear, however, I found myself on the edge of my seat. Romero is great. For years now, I think he’s been under appreciated, and his outings in this tournament have backed that up. He’s capable of doing so much and fitting into so many different roles and here, he knocked O’Reilly out of the tournament with his wonderful Running Knee Strike, and yet, he didn’t hurt O’Reilly’s credibility. This match was great. Both of these guys delivered tremendous performances. ****

Best of the Super Juniors A Block
Matt Sydal (8) def. David Finlay (2)

Short and to the point – the result was never in question as Sydal put the young lion away with his beautiful Shooting Sydal Press. The interesting thing here is that Finlay was a great base for the high-flying maneuvers of Sydal. That can benefit Finlay tremendously later on in his career if he decides to remain a junior heavyweight. Fun – the same story for every Finlay match on this tour. ***

Best of the Super Juniors A Block
Ryusuke Taguchi (8) def. Gedo (2)

You would think Gedo would play spoiler here, but no, Taguchi spoiled Gedo’s spoiling! This was something, um, different. I wasn’t impressed with the match. Taguchi has had much better on this tour, as has Gedo, but the last 30 seconds or so were a total blast. Gedo caught him with a low blow, then went into his signature Complete Shot/Gedo Clutch combination, but Taguchi countered with a flash pin of his own. Taguchi, my friends, is in need of a BUSHI win to send him into the BOSJ Finals. **3/4

Best of the Super Juniors A Block
BUSHI (6) def. KUSHIDA (8)

Going into this tournament, I expected BUSHI to defeat KUSHIDA and with that victory, earn himself a spot in the finals of the tournament. Things didn’t work out like that for BUSHi, as he struggled to gain victories early on, and that put him behind the eight ball and towards the bottom of his bracket. He was eliminated from contention early on, but with this victory, he established himself as a threat to the entire juniors division. This one win did more for him than anything else in the tournament, besides winning the entire thing, would do. The match itself was fun. KUSHIDA has put himself into the “best in the world” discussion because seemingly time after time, he puts in an above average performance that leaves me mightily impressed. This was no different. These two have had better matches and I’m sure they will go onto have better matches, but for what this was, which was BUSHI ruining KUSHIDA’s fun, it worked perfectly. ***3/4

Final Thoughts:

Very, very good show. Any show with three matches hitting at least four stars earns a thumbs up from me and the booking on this show was a blast. I can’t imagine many people predicted Taguchi vs. Ospreay in the finals, but now that it’s happening, it makes sense and I am incredibly excited for the match. Don’t skip the CHAOS vs. LiJ six-man, and be sure to catch Owens vs. Ricochet and O’Reilly vs. Romero, at the bare minimum.

Best of the Super Juniors Final Standings (Pick’Em Standings at

A Block

  • Ryusuke Taguchi [5 wins, 2 losses = 10 points]
  • MattSydal [5 wins, 2 losses = 10 points]
  • BUSHI [4 wins, 3 losses = 8 points]
  • KUSHIDA [4 wins, 3 losses = 8 points]
  • Rocky Romero [4 wins, 3 losses = 8 ponts]
  • Kyle O’Reilly [4 wins, 3 losses = 8 points]
  • David Finlay [1 win, 6 losses = 2 points]
  • Gedo [1 win, 6 losses = 2 points]

B Block

  • Will Ospreay [4 wins, 3 losses = 8 points]
  • Volador [4 wins, 3 losses = 8 points]
  • Ricochet [4 wins, 3 losses = 8 points]
  • Bobby Fish [4 wins, 3 losses = 8 points]
  • Beretta [3 wins, 4 losses = 6 points]
  • Chase Owens [3 wins, 4 losses = 6 points]
  • Jushin Thunder Liger Liger [3 wins, 4 losses = 6 points]
  • Tiger Mask IV [3 wins, 4 losses = 6 points]