Sunday, May 29, 2016
Following another day off, the Best of the Super Juniors returns with a rather big show for the A Block, as it gets the multi-camera treatment and the entire show is up on NJPW World. The standings are starting to shape up, with KUSHIDA finally getting a win on night five. Kyle O’Reilly and Ryusuke Taguchi lead everyone with 6 points and sparkling 3-0 records. I’m actually free today so I’ll review the entire show!
Starting things off, Ishii and Tenzan went at it. It seemed like Elgin got in Ishii’s face too, and after their G1 match last year, I badly want to see a rematch. Ospreay and Volador had a fun exchange. Ospreay did a Vader Bomb, complete with shouting “IT’S VADER TIME”, which is great since Vader was very critical of Ospreay’s match with Ricochet. One thing about these multi-man tags that’s always fun is seeing juniors mix it up with heavyweights. Ishii/Volador and Elgin/Ospreay were both enjoyable pairings. In the end, Beretta made the mistake of trying a rana and getting caught with a buckle bomb. The Elgin Bomb followed to earn the win. As I stated, this was a fun opener. I liked seeing the different pairings and this never felt like the pace died down.
THE NEW JAPAN DADS! Also, Shibata and Fish together is a pretty badass combination. With no commentary, we got to hear the smack talk from guys like Juice, Liger and Fish and it was all highly entertaining. The main focus of this was the continuing hatred of Nagata and Shibata as they prepare for their title match at Dominion on June 19th. Like the previous match, this was nothing special, but moved along quickly and was fun. Nagata got the win after hitting the backdrop driver on Jay White.
It’s tournament time! David Finlay lost all of his matches last year and the first three this year, while Gedo picked up a win on the first night of competition. We got some early fun as Gedo would leave the ring, Finlay would go throw him back in and Gedo would keep rolling out to a different side. He did this until he got to use his trusty ring bell hammer for a cheap shot. Trash talking Gedo is one of my favorite things about the tournament so far. “YOU LIKE THE TABLE RIGHT?” They played this as if Finlay, despite being a young lion, was better and Gedo needed to use all of his tricks to try and win. They struggled for position, when Finlay got him into a roll up and earned the upset. Finlay and the crowd both had a great reaction to the shock, but none were better than Gedo, who threw a temper tantrum. Good match and the finish made for a really cool moment. It felt like Gedo put him over as a thank you for Finlay being so good over the past year.
I had BUSHI pegged to finish in the top two or three of this block, but he entered this tied for last at 0-3. This was a bit more than just a tournament match as these guys are on opposite sides of the current Chaos vs. Los Ingobernables rivalry. After a hot start by Rocky, BUSHI was mostly in control. He had Rocky’s “get stuck on the ropes” gimmick well scouted, immediately dropkicking him to the outside and following with a suicide dive. He always had an answer for Rocky’s stuff. You got the feeling that despite his lack of care attitude, BUSHI prepared for this. He eventually spit the mist at Rocky, who still managed to kick out. It took him leaping off the second rope for a big Codebreaker to earn the win. Really good pace and I appreciated that the finish didn’t come directly from the mist spot. Also really happy to see BUSHI get on the board. Best match of the night so far.
Ugh, Yoshitatsu was still in Triple H cosplay mode. Kenny Omega’s theme music is still god tier. This began with Tatsu against Yujiro and I instantly regretted reviewing the entire show. Outside of Ricochet, Kojima and Omega, none of these guys really interest me. Fale is good for his role too, but that’s about it. The interaction between those guys were pretty good. Watching Kojima light up Omega with chops, especially since Omega had two shirts on for protection, was great. As was Omega trying to attack him with a broom. Captain New Japan had a close near fall, but because he is who he is, he ultimately failed and lost to Omega doing High Fly Flow. A few fun moments but outside of that, I wasn’t entertained.
These LIDJ/Chaos matches have been so much more enjoyable than the Chaos/Bullet Club ones we used to get. Even so, we’ve seen these a lot in a short span. This was pretty standard for them. Naito was a complete jerk who disrespected Okada at every opportunity, EVIL and Goto went at it and YOSHI-HASHI took most of the beating for his guys. A chaotic finishing stretch saw Goto go into a flurry of offense to put down EVIL, gaining some revenge for losing to him at Wrestling Dontaku. We also got the typical post-match drama from the stables, as they got into a brawl. The match itself was good, but nothing we haven’t seen before.
These two had a really good match at one of ROH’s Supercard of Honor shows during WrestleMania weekend. Sydal’s speed advantage was quickly negated as O’Reilly chose to twist and bend him in strange ways. Sydal used his, as JR would call them, educated feet, to turn the tide. We got the spot where Kyle caught a moonsault into an armbar, but Sydal reached the ropes. Kyle kept going for the armbar and had a cool moment where Sydal blocked it on one arm, so he switched over and applied it to the other. Both guys made mistakes outside as Sydal’s moonsault was blocked and Kyle missed a kick that hit the ring post. After a double countout tease, they really kicked it into next gear and delivered a great finish. O’Reilly continued to go after the arm, but Sydal kept countering. He nailed Meteora and the Shooting Sydal Press to hand O’Reilly his first loss. It was the biggest win and easily the best match Sydal has had in NJPW. A cut above their ROH match from April.
After stumbling out of the gate to an 0-2 start, KUSHIDA won his third match while Taguchi is unbeaten so far. Before KUSHIDA traded the title with Kenny Omega last year, the most recent IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion was Ryusuke Taguchi. They shook hands before the bell, which made sense considering their friendship. I mean, Taguchi played his Doc Brown earlier this year even. They got off to a fast paced start where Taguchi managed to stay right with KUSHIDA. Taguchi used his ass for offense, but not enough that it was very annoying. KUSHIDA attacked the arm, highlighted by a single arm DDT off of the apron. Credit to Taguchi for mostly selling the arm well and to the crowd for being fully invested in everything. Taguchi racked up several close calls, but like O’Reilly, his winning streak ended as he tapped out to an armbar. Taguchi stepped his game up here, while KUSHIDA seems incapable of having a bad match. The best Taguchi match I’ve ever seen.
Overall: Another good show from the tournament. It was the first that I decided to review everything and it may have been better if I just did the tournament matches. The multi-man tags weren’t bad, except for the Bullet Club one, but they didn’t do much for me. Every tournament match was good though. We got the cool moment of Finlay winning one, Romero and BUSHI having a good outing, a great battle between O’Reilly and Sydal and a better than expected main event.