Thursday, May 26, 2016
The Best of the Super Juniors Tournament continues with night five and we go back to the A Block. Some shocking things so far as IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA and Los Ingobernables de Japon member BUSHI are both winless so far. The order of these matches is rather weird too as the final match, the “main event” if you will, isn’t something I’d put on last here. Again, this was shot in single camera format.
I can’t believe Sydal has never botched his in ring slide. Gedo is a dick, so he kicked Sydal in the guy during his introduction and took him to the outside. Gedo has been all about using every heel tactic possible and that was the case here again. He used his trusty ring bell hammer to his advantage. Sydal fought back once the match moved inside, until Gedo hit a sweet hangman’s DDT for a near fall. We got a few more near falls on some back and forth between the competitors. Sydal got to his signature stuff, like a big jumping rana, before finishing off Gedo with the Shooting Sydal Press. This was all in good fun and kept short, which was a plus. Gedo has quietly been one of the better A Block performers so far.
Behind O’Reilly/KUSHIDA, this was the match I was most looking forward to in the tournament. BUSHI and Kyle O’Reilly are two of my favorite juniors (along with KUSHIDA and Ospreay) and I believe this was their first ever meeting. Surprisingly, as soon as the bell rang, a BUSHI chant began. BUSHI used his laid back attitude and demeanor to goad Kyle in, only for it to backfire as he ended up in an armbar. BUSHI threw his shirt at Kyle to actually gain the upper hand. He and Gedo are pretty much the best heels in the tournament. O’Reilly has been competing at a high level and you really get the sense that he’s a man on a mission. BUSHI tried for the mist at the end, but Kyle ducked and nailed a Brainbuster. He only got two, but instantly went into the armbar, making sure to also grab BUSHI’s leg and keep him from trying to move to the ropes, causing BUSHI to tap out. While this was really good, I found myself a bit disappointed, but that’s probably because I set my expectations way high for this. Motivated and determined O’Reilly has been awesome so far. I am quite upset at BUSHI being 0-3 though.
Despite both guys being 0-2, they’ve both consistently put on good to great matches thus far. The mat work between these two early on was great. Finlay is already so very good. Like BUSHI earlier, Finlay was pretty over here and it grew as the match progressed. Someone is impressing again. KUSHIDA went after the arm, trying to set up the Hoverboard Lock. Finlay nailed a German but made a mistake as his high risk move didn’t pay off and he was caught in an armbar. He made it to the ropes and surprised when he caught KUSHIDA with the stretch muffler. Of course, the champion went on to survive. They worked a great series of rollups before KUSHIDA turned one into the Hoverboard Lock. Finlay nearly made it to the ropes, but KUSHIDA rolled him away and he had to tap out. I’d say this exceeded my expectations. Very crisp work from both guys and they did a good job of making you believe Finlay had a decent shot. I enjoyed the false submission finishes too.
What a strange choice to be the “main event” of this night. I mean, I get that both guys are 2-0, but you still can’t buy either guy as a threat to win. With the crowd in his corner, Taguchi began to slap his ass. Right there I knew that he was going to be goofy Taguchi in this. There was some crowd brawling that the solo camera actually caught and it led to a double countout tease. Once back inside, Taguchi was back to using ass attacks. It’s been so refreshing to have that version of him absent so far. He was much more tolerable. Outside of that, the work they did in the match wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t good enough to make up for the rest of it. Taguchi won with an ankle lock in what was probably my least favorite match of the tournament so far.
Overall: Like the rest of the tournament so far, this was another solid, but unspectacular night of wrestling. I’m having fun with this since they are easy watches with mostly good wrestling. The booking has been a bit odd so far. Considering the parity in these tournaments, I found BUSHI’s loss to Kyle O’Reilly to be quite surprising. Anyway, KUSHIDA/Finlay was the one to watch here, though everything outside of the main event is worth a look.