MAY 18, 2017

Watch: NJPW World

Note: For many of the Best of the Super Juniors shows moving forward our reviewers will only be looking at tournament matches, not the show’s undercard. For full results, we suggest visiting our forums or checking out

Best of the Super Juniors – A Block
Taichi (2) def. TAKA Michinoku

Where yesterday we got K-Dojo TAKA for his match with Liger, today we got Suzuki-gun TAKA in his grimey battle with Taichi. I’ll probably get roasted for this, but I enjoyed this match for what it was. Don’t get me wrong, it was stupid, but it was a fun kind of stupid. I’m probably the only person on the VOW staff that likes Taichi, so your mileage on this match will vary.

These two men know each other very well so that meant that the feeling out process went on for a long time. So long, in fact, that I was convinced these two were going to go for a time limit draw. It took quite a long time for the match to start and then it took even longer for any offense to land. The first contact made in the match was between a ring rope kicked by TAKA and Taichi’s balls. Taichi returned the favor a short time later. The two men hadn’t actually touched and Taichi already ripped off his pants, a spot that I pop for every single time. Taichi eventually picked up the win after kicking TAKA in the balls and rolling him up, which was the only bit of contact made between the two men for the entire match. It was super dumb, but it was creative and I had fun watching it. **1/4

Best of the Super Juniors – A Block
Dragon Lee (4) def. Marty Scurll (2)

This was a match that I was really looking forward to, but didn’t deliver like I was hoping that it would. I honestly can’t say that I blame either man for taking it a bit easier today though. Lee and Marty were both in great, more demanding matches yesterday, especially in the case of Dragon Lee. And like it or not, even if these two had a killer match, it was going to be overshadowed by the main event. Instead of going all out, Lee and Scurll had a bit of fun. They spent much of the match playing to the crowd, who were way behind both guys. Honestly, Marty has gotten a better reaction in New Japan than I expected he would have and I’m super happy for him. The match was worked around Marty’s villainous style, but the strong babyface Lee overcame and scored the win. One moment that I really enjoyed was Marty stealing Adam Cole’s Last Shot after replacing him in the Bullet Club. That seems like something Kenny Omega would do, almost as if he gave Marty the move instead of taking it himself. Overall that was an enjoyable and easy to digest match, but was not the level of quality that it could have been. ***1/4

Best of the Super Juniors – A Block
Hiromu Takahashi (2) def. Jushin Liger (0)

Before I get into the meat of the match, I need to say how much I love Hiromu’s scrapbook. The only thing I love more is a fired up Liger. Where the previous match sort of took things easy, these two brought us a hard hitting, violent clash. This was one of the great reminders that Jushin Thunder Liger is a living legend that can still put on a damn good match. While it wasn’t very long, this was exactly the sprint that it needed to be. Liger took it to Hiromu early on and beat the hell out of the kid. I knew that Hiromu wasn’t losing this match, but there were several times that I bought the near fall. Liger was incredible here as the pioneer of the style trying to make the most of his final tournament going up against the brash young star of today. I certainly hope that this isn’t the last time we see these two meet in a singles match. I understand why Liger wants this to be his last tournament, but when you see him put on a performance like this, it makes you want to see him back next year. ****

Best of the Super Juniors – A Block
Will Ospreay (2) def. Ricochet (2)

These two had a lot to live up to. Their previous match in last year’s tournament might be the most famous, or even infamous, match that the BOSJs has ever seen. Whether you follow New Japan or not, you heard about and probably even saw their match.

A year later, it’s still talked about as both special and as something killing the business. No matter what side of the debate you fall on, you know that this rematch is important, so much so that New Japan has kept these two men apart since their last meeting.

This wasn’t the same match they had last year, it couldn’t have been. Ricochet had failed a year ago by trying to out-fly Ospreay so this time around he used his superior strength and skill to try to pick up the win. Instead of the insanity we got last year, this match started slowly. The grappling was fast paced, but it wasn’t the action packed stunt show we got last time. There was a wonderful escalation to the action. What started fairly calmly ended with the proper insanity we wanted. It’s hard to make a claim this like, but I feel like Ricochet was the star of the match. The pace of the match was completely controlled by him and while he tried his best to avoid going into overdrive, it didn’t last. Interestingly enough, the point where the match changed was just after Ricochet had attempted to win with Ospreay’s own Oscutter.

For the second year in a row, Ricochet’s downfall was wrestling Ospreay’s match. When things went nuts, boy, did they ever go nuts, peaking with Ospreay expertly executing a Dragonrana. I was convinced that this was going to go the full thirty minutes and was completely shocked when Ospreay got the three count. These men did something different when they could easily have repeated their past glories and I applaud them for it. I’m sure people will argue that this had no psychology and they’ll once again be wrong. This was an fantastic match that absolutely belongs in the match of the year discussion. ****¾

Final Thoughts:

We got a strong second night of tournament action. The semi-main and main delivered what was promised and the other two matches weren’t half bad either. TAKA and Taichi put on a brand of stupid I appreciate. Marty and Lee were right to hold back today because after seeing Ospreay/Ricochet, nobody was going to be talking about their match. The semi-main between Hiromu and Liger is well worth checking out and, of course, the main event is a must see.