New Japan Pro Wrestling
Best Of the Super Juniors 27 and World Tag League 2020 Finals
December 11, 2020
Nippon Budokan
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: NJPW WORLD

Here we are, the final day for both the Best of the Super Juniors 27 and World Tag League 2020. It has been a surprisingly fun and enjoyable ride and now it must come to an end. I’m excited for El Desperado vs. Hiromu. As for the World Tag League finals well, I just hope it ends up being good. All and all I think both tournaments both deserve high notes and I’m looking forward to seeing if they end up getting hit. I also expect angle development and match setups to happen as well. Enough yapping, let us get to recapping.

Chase Owens, Tajiri Ishimori, Bad Luck Fale def. SHO, Robbie Eagles, Toru Yano

One of these teams is just an excellent and fun pairing, the other at least has Ishimori on it. Let see if they make me eat my words. Yano tried to bodyslam Bad Luck Fale and the success rate is zero. Soon after, SHO got a chance to look good as did Robbie Eagles and despite it being an opening six-man both men seem to be fired up to showcase themselves. Felt like they had an extra pep in their steps in how they performed against Ishimori and Chase Owens respectively. Chase Owens to his credit also looks great in what little he was doing. I was surprisingly feeling myself get into this then just like that, it was over with Chase and Bad Luck Fales hitting a German Suplex/Lariat combo to end it all. Nothing more to that. Yano got some comedy, Robbie and SHO looked great, the Bullet Club really didn’t contribute too much, other than Chase getting some moments, and that’s about it. Bad Luck Fale stomps down on Yano’s KOPW trophy at the end of the match because he’s a bit of an ass. Poor Yano. Shit, is that a future match? NJPW, I’m trying to be your defender! Stop making it difficult!  **1/2

The Empire def. Henare, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kazuchika Okada

This has the potential to be a lot of fun. As is expected, and should happen, Okada and Ospreay go right at it to start things. Henare was one of my favorite people in the World Tag League so glad to get to see more of him here. O-Khan’s wild screaming when performing moves use to annoy me but not they are growing on me. Just a character tidbit that seems to work for him. Tanahashi is placed in peril by all members of The Empire and just seems to be overwhelmed. I have no idea where we’re going with Tanahashi, but I hope we start getting more hints soon. I enjoy Empire as a team, they gel together but feel we need a fourth member (Bea Priestly aside). Okada finally comes in and we get more Okada/Ospreay interactions and they’re good. I’m highly anticipating their Dome match. What REALLY rules though is the Cobb/Henare interactions. I could use a single match of them against each other, please! In the end, though Tour of the Islands finishes things in a six-man that was fun. After the match, Okada gets laid out by Ospreay and Tanahashi gets his leg obliterated by The Great O-Khan. Shit! Is that a Dome match set up? Empire stood tall and looked damn excellent as a unit.  ***1/4

SANADA & Shingo Takagi def. EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi

Confession: As early as late 2019 I rather found myself enjoying EVIL. 2020 has emptied that well completely. Things start quickly, and Dick Togo doesn’t waste time getting involved choking out SANADA and making it so Shingo has to go at it solo for a bit. SANADA eventually wakes up and goes straight after EVIL allowing Shingo to take control of Yujiro Takahashi. That’s all it takes to end this match barely three sentences into my review. Not much there match wise to rate, but after the match, SANADA shows intensity! I’m not used to that! He continues to punch away at a now out of it EVIL. SANADA throwing young lions, throwing officials out of the ring so he can go back at beating up EVIL. It seems like it’s calming down again but SANADA goes after him some more and the fight on the outside breaks out. They take it to the back to continue as Shingo stands in the ring to accept the victory. Cobb then comes out to hit the Tour Of The Islands once more! Of all the matches being set up, Cobb/Shingo has my utmost attention so far. That’s going to rule. EVIL/SANADA feels like a dome worthy match as well.  Match set up wise I’m here for it. Match wise itself, there’s not much there but I assume there wasn’t supposed to be. **

NJPW announces an Anniversary Show is at Budokan on March 4. I like that announcement, a shame we still won’t have fully functional crowds by then. Regardless, I still look forward to that day.

Kota Ibushi & Master Wato def. Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI

I appreciate very little to no time being wasted in starting these matches tonight. Kota and Naito just start things off right away. Wrestlers are bringing heat and intensity tonight and I’m here for it all. Hahaha, Naito and BUSHI mock Tenzan by doing their own Mongolian Chops right in front of him. What jerks, I love it. Master Wato gets worked over after the hot Naito/Ibushi start. Naturally, Ibushi gets tagged back in and things heat up once more. Naito and Ibushi click so well it’s a painful reminder THEY DON’T have to nearly kill each other to have great matches. Match continues on with Ibushi getting worked over for a short spell but eventually, BUSHI takes the pinfall to end things properly. The Naito/Ibushi interactions were great and made the match for me. Master Wato and BUSHI get their participation trophies and didn’t diminish the ongoings too much. Match did exactly what it needed to do as far as Naito/Ibushi teases go so no complaints there. Undercard all night has made sure what it lacks in high match quality it makes up for in spades with heat, intensity, angles, and progression. Thumbs up.  ***



World Tag League 2020 Final
Guerrillas of Destiny def. David Finlay & Juice Robison

Here we go. I’m not excited for this final but we got three things in play. Juice and Finlay and Guerrillas of Destiny (G.O.D) have an established history with each other. Juice and Finlay are going for back to back WTL victories. On G.O.D’s end, this is an accolade that has been alluding them and they hope to finally obtain it. With luck, there will be enough to chew on when it’s all said and done to be an enjoyable bout. Clean cut Tama Tonga still throws me the fuck off. Early in the match, Jado attempts to interfere and gets tossed out, well pulled out of the match by Young Lions at the ref’s direction. This should hopefully lead to a clean match but I’ll believe it when it happens. Five minutes past and it feels like nothing has really happened, but plenty of time for things to potentially build and pick up. I find myself enjoying Tonga Loa quite a bit when it comes to the G.O.D team and when he gets in the ring he works hard. Tama Tonga even feels like he has some fire to him when he’s in there which helps a lot. At one point Tonga Toa mocks David Finlay reaching for the tag and I love little touches like that.

Finlay is great, not just when he’s on offense, but at one point he takes a shot from Tonga Loa and just goes flying in the corner. Whether he’s giving the moves or taking the moves he looks great. We have a long heat session on Finlay. Juice Robinson is amped up once he finally gets that hot tag. I’m loving the pep in everyone’s step tonight whether it be in a match or progressing angles. G.O.D in control, while it’s slower, doesn’t reach the level of dragging or getting dull. We get the spot where everyone gets some offense against each other and everyone is down. We hit the fifteen-minute mark and it feels shorter than that to me. Jado comes back out because we got to have minor bullshit. Thankfully it’s not too terrible. We get double submissions put on Finlay and Juice shortly afterward but Juice makes the ropes! I buy the magic killer finish but Juice gets out! NICE! Juice survives a Double Powerbomb attempt and we hit the twenty-minute mark as Juice and Finlay attempt to finish them off with a few double team attempts but Tama Tonga manages to continue surviving. Fuck, Jado enters the match but gets caught only for Kenta to hit Juice with a case. That leads to the finish and G.O.D finally gets a WTL Final victory. Very good, but bullshit bullet club interference ending sours me on it a bit. With that said that was probably as good of a final between the two teams we could get. Overall, I did enjoy it! I do feel a few minutes could’ve been shaven off. Might be getting Juice/KENTA? What does Finlay get? ***1/2

Best of the Super Juniors 27 Finals
Hiromu Takahashi def. El Desperado

And here we are, the main event of the evening. El Desperado main eventing Budokan. Love to see it. Damn, El Desperado is looking fucking fantastic. It’s not long before both men are just striking away at each other’s chest, and then it ends with a Desperado eye poke. I always chuckle at that damn eye poke. As with everything tonight, there’s intensity and fire as there needs to be in this main event final. Desperado is wrestling not as a man who wants to prove he deserves the spotlight but as a man who already knows he does. Hiromu has been so great this tournament and him screaming in agony when El Desperado targets the knee are nice touches that put over the damage he is taking. As the match builds I keep a patient mindset knowing the best is yet to come, and what we’re getting right now is already good. Hiromu’s knee this match did not have a good time of it. Desperado is confident as he dominates with leg targeting and work. At the ten-minute mark, Takahashi starts to get his offense in and he brings it as the crowd starts to clap along with the match. In a moment I need to highlight Takahashi wraps his legs around Desperado’s neck and falls backward bending him over the top rope and it made me cringe.

There is tension in this match and I love it. Both men are putting their best feet forward with blocks, counters, and move attempts. This feels like a major match and is being wrestled as such. Takahashi has control as we approach the fifteen-minute mark but Desperado continues to struggle and fight back as Hiromu’s knee continues to affect his abilities. I’m into this right now. Hiromu is firing up even more than he already was! Desperado gets Numero Dos and we have a struggle to the ropes!  We head outside and El Desperado pulverizes Hiromu’s leg with a chair. Numero Dos is locked in at the twenty-minute mark and Hiromu struggles and screams as he fights it! The crowd is clapping along with the struggle as Hiromu is tied the fuck up BUT SOMEONE TURNED IS INTO A CANADIAN DESTROYER! WHAT THE HELL! I was not expecting that as counter out of Numero Dos. Great chemistry this match as it continues on! It’s not always clean, but it’s always good. Hiromu and El Desperado are both exhausted and hurt as we get into the final moments of the match. Ref gets knocked down so Desperado can low blow, but Hiromu recovers and begins to tear at the mask of El Desperado ripping it to shreds. Hiromu is frustrated and pissed.

Desperado has a look of murder AND TAKES OFF THE REST OF THE MASK! SHIT IS REAL! SHIT JUST GOT REAL!

FIRED UP SHOTS AGAINST EACH OTHER AS WE HIT ANOTHER LEVEL! FUCK I AM INTO THIS! We have now approached straight-up hate and anger. You can feel the exhaustion of both men as they struggle to keep at each other. Hiromu is able to get control but Desperado gets a damn close near fall that I bite on. DAMN! I thought he got him! Holy shit this is incredible. Both men throw strikes at each other. We are reaching the climax! Hiromu drives him into an exposed corner and EL DESPERADO SCREAMS IN PAIN! TIMEBOMB DOES NOT FINISH! I’m leaning in on the edge of my seat. I’m sorry I’ve gone to straight PBP but I’m hooked on every moment. Hiromu is fired up and goes in for the kill as we hit thirty minutes and time bomb 2 for the finish. Holy shit! Absolute great match and Desperado gained so much in defeat. An absolute war that had an intensity that grew into hatred. This match was great, then hit another level when the mask was torn by Hiromu and then discarded by El Desperado. I had high expectations and they were fucking exceeded this match. Match of the tournament. I have no star rating fear here. Hiromu is incredible, El Desperado is fucking fantastic and showed everyone he deserved this spot in spades. This only deserves one rating and one rating only. *****

Hiromu wants a shot at the winner of the Super J-Cup!!!!

Final Thoughts

An amazing main event. Absolutely incredible Best of the Super Juniors final that built and got more intense, desperate, and hate-filled as it went along. The World Tag League final was better than my admittedly low expectations. What the undercard lacks in stars it makes up for in storyline progression, angles, and heat. This was a worthwhile show, but trust me if you are going to be picky about what you watch, watch the main event. Watch it, savor it, love it. Holy hell, I love pro wrestling. I love it so much.