New Japan Pro Wrestling
Best of the Super Juniors 2017 Night 3
May 20, 2017
Matsuzaka Ciity Sangin Arena

Watch: NJPW World

Best of the Super Juniors – B Block
Yoshinobu Kanemaru (2) def. ACH (2)

I can never get used to these single camera shows. I’m a millennial, I need my angles damn it. This was uninspired, to say the least. Kanemaru had a heat segment that was so mailed in, they did three countout spots within 5 minutes. The crowd seemed to like ACH, but his comeback was far too short to get the crowd into it. A low-blow and a reverse DDT from Kanemaru gets 2, but a DDT off the top rope gets three. Nothing you will remember tomorrow. **1/4

Best of the Super Juniors – B Block
Tiger Mask IV (2) def. KUSHIDA (0)

This was a pretty standard match at the start. KUSHIDA was taking care of business, like an ace does. He worked over the arm well. Then he put on the Surfboard Lock, and that should have been that. KUSHIDA gets his points, and we all move on. But it wasn’t. Tiger fought out of the Surfboard Lock, so KUSHIDA put on an armbar. That should finish off Tiger Mask, right? It doesn’t, Tiger gets to the ropes. KUSHIDA gets frustrated, slapping the mat in anger. Suddenly, Tiger starts reversing everything KUSHIDA goes for. A moonsault meets Tiger’s knees. Tiger dropkicks KUSHIDA in the middle of a handspring. A Tiger Driver gets 2. Then, Tiger hits his Tiger Suplex and wins. Tiger Mask beats KUSHIDA.

Guys, KUSHIDA might be broken. It’s one thing to lose to El Desperado. But emphatically losing to Tiger Mask? The Junior Ace should mow through Tiger Mask. There lies the problem, though. KUSHIDA isn’t the Ace anymore. Not after Wrestle Kingdom, and certainly not after losing a Jr. Title match in 2 minutes. It’s like Hiromu had the key to figuring out how to beat KUSHIDA, and the lightbulb went off in everyone else’s heads.

Now, I know it’s only been two matches. KUSHIDA can sweep the block from here on out and win the tournament, and make me look like a fool. That would not surprise me in the least. I don’t think he will, though. I want KUSHIDA to lose every match in this tournament. I want that two-minute loss to have destroyed the guy that we knew, and I want to see how he rebuilds himself to get back to the top of the division and finally beat Hiromu. That is something I can see myself really getting invested in. As for the match, it was good. But the story around it may be much, much bigger. ***1/4

Best of the Super Juniors – B Block
El Desperado (4) def. BUSHI (0)

I need BUSHI’s music on my workout playlist immediately. What a jam.

While this match didn’t reach the level I believed these two could get to, it was still a pretty good match. It helped that there was no interference which, in a match between Suzuki-Gun and LIJ, is an absolute miracle. Early on, Desperado goes for BUSHI’s mask, which I love. The idea of a luchador trying to take off another’s mask for no other reason than to be a jerk works for me. BUSHI was crisp in this match, but I wanted more energy from Desperado. On a big tour like this though, I shouldn’t blame guys like Desperado and Kanemaru for taking it easy a few times to make it to the end relatively unscathed. BUSHI goes for the MX, but Desperado shoves the ref in the way and takes BUSHI’s mask off. A quick roll-up gets Desperado the win.  ***

Best of the Super Juniors – B Block
Ryusuke Taguchi (4) def. Volodor Jr. (2)

This was mostly Taguchi comedy. They throw a few dives in to spice it up, but there wasn’t much to this. Volador does a hurricanrana off the top, but he doesn’t even try to wrap his legs around Taguchi’s head. Taguchi goes for his big moves (Ankle Lock, Dodon), but Volador found a way to avoid them. Volador goes for a moonsault, but Taguchi gets his feet up. Taguchi hits the Boma Ye with his butt and the Dodon for the win. I wanted serious Taguchi so we could get a better match, but even then, it seemed like these guys were on different pages tonight. **3/4

Final Thoughts:

If you want to watch something from this show, I would recommend KUSHIDA/Tiger Mask. Ultimately, this was a completely skippable set of matches.