New Japan Pro Wrestling
Best of the Super Juniors 2017 Night 12
May 31, 2017
Osaka EDION Arena #2 – Osaka, Japan

Watch: NJPW World

Best of the Super Jr. XXIV A Block
Jushin Thunder Liger (2) Def. Taichi (8)

As you would expect with this being Liger’s last BOSJ match ever, there was a lot of emotion here between the constant Suzuki-gun interference, Taichi being an absolute animal and ripping Liger’s gear, and then KUSHIDA and Taguchi saving Liger at the end. Taichi was genuinely good in this match and for once his bullshit actually meant something. He was due for one or two decent matches, and this was one of them. Ripped mask, ripped gear and all, Liger defeated Taichi and said his goodbyes to the crowd, ending his run in this tournament on somewhat of a high note. ***1/4

I went into detail about Jushin Thunder Liger’s last BOSJ in a column for the website, you can read it here:

A Beast Among Boys, A God Among Men: Jushin Thunder Liger’s Last Best of the Super Juniors

Best of the Super Jr. XXIV A Block
TAKA Michinoku (4) Def. Dragon Lee (8)

Lee needed to beat TAKA, needed Taichi to lose to Liger and needed Ospreay to lose to Hiromu in order to advance. A Lee win would have eliminated Ricochet, Scurll and Hiromu whether or not he beat Ospreay. Ospreay was the only one with a win over Lee.

TAKA has sort of slid into the Gedo role both in the booking sense and in how his matches are structured. He’s a sneaky little prick who may not have won all of his matches but managed to spoil someone at the end using some sneaky little prick tactic, and though I do greatly miss Gedo, TAKA did step his game up and did deliver. He was motivated, he tried hard, and there was no Suzuki-gun bullshit, which was an absolute blessing. Short, yet super hot match here as they fought with incredible urgency, with Lee perhaps thinking he would have a better chance winning if he out-quicked TAKA and with TAKA wanting to redeem his multiple losses since this was his last chance, even if he was long eliminated. He did just that as he won with a roll-up in about nine minutes. ***1/4

Best of the Super Jr. XXIV A Block
Marty Scurll (8) Def. Ricochet (8)

Scurll, with a loss to Hiromu and not having enough points to edge out Ospreay despite holding a win over him, was already elminated coming into this. Ricochet on the other hand would have advanced had he beat Scurll and had Hiromu beat Ospreay.

Scurll, if nothing else, got himself over with the Japanese fans on this tour. His act, his spots, everything he does is over and because of that I think New Japan would be silly to not lock him up full-time. Not every foreigner gets over as quickly as he has (see Adam Cole and Jay Lethal for example). When it comes to his actual matches, while all of them were enjoyable on some level, I felt he had a lot more in him. His match with Ospreay, though very good, was more a best-of than it was anything else. It was Scurll showing Korakuen what he’s all about, where as with this match I got the sense that they were going all out. Although I feel like I’ve seen these two wrestle a million times, they do have great chemistry and their matches always do deliver, this one probably being my favorite. It was an absolute sprint and both of them busted their ass. One of the better matches of the tournament for sure. ****1/4

Best of the Super Jr. XXIV A Block
Will Ospreay (10) Def. Hiromu Takahashi (8)

Ospreay had a relatively clear path coming into this show. All he needed was to beat Hiromu and for Liger to eliminate Taichi, while Hiromu needed to beat Ospreay, for Scurll to beat Ricochet and for TAKA to beat Dragon Lee. Everything worked out perfectly for the both of them and all they needed was to beat one another. Hiromu has been one of the most dominant junior heavyweight champions of the past several years and Ospreay is the defending Best of the Super Juniors champion, so needless to the say, the stakes here were incredibly high.

For as much praise as he gets, there is one aspect of Ospreay’s game he never gets enough credit for, and that’s his selling. Too many people dismiss the idea that guys like Ospreay can be great at selling because of the way they wrestle, assuming that you’re not selling properly if you’re doing spots like Ospreay does. To those people, I say watch this match. Ospreay’s ability to do all of his key spots while getting over the fact that his leg is damaged is masterful, and this was his best performance of the year next to his performance in the Ricochet match. Hiromu worked over that leg in attempt to ground Ospreay, to take away his OsCutter that’s gotten him through the tournament, to take away his kicks, to, really, take away his entire arsenal, and like he always does, Ospreay managed to get through it and managed to do everything he had to do on his one good leg even when it seemed Hiromu had gotten the better of him.

Considering New Japan is coming to America in a month, having Ospreay win his block and potentially win the tournament for the second year in a row is not a bad move. Having familiar faces at the forefront of this expansion is important, and Ospreay is arguably the biggest name on the scene right now outside of Japan and WWE. Does he need to win the title? No. But all the eyes are on Dominion because of Okada and Omega, and it’s pretty much guaranteed that Omega is winning, so having Ospreay challenge Hiromu on the same show is certainly a plus.

Fantastic match with both guys being at the very top of their game, and the crazy part is I feel like they have a much better one in them. ****1/2

Final Thoughts:

With the top two matches being what I would consider great and the two other matches being very good, this was a very easy show to watch.