Friday, May 26, 2017

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors XXIV Night Five Review

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors XXIV Night Five
May 22nd, 2017 | Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan | Attendance: 1,250

The BOTSJ returns to Korakuen Hall for a B Block event. This wasn’t a house show style event and all the matches are available online. However, pressed for time, I’m still only reviewing the tournament matches.

B Block: Volador Jr. [2] vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru [2]
Neither man has lit the world on fire in the tournament thus far. Volador was his flippy self early on, so Kanemaru knocked him outside for some Suzuki-Gun style brawling. There was more fire and interest from Kanemaru here than against ACH. I’d chalk it up to this being a bigger show, but it was missing against Taguchi on night one. Volador came back with some fire and Kanemaru tried cheating a few times. When Kanemaru couldn’t get it done, TAKA Michinoku distracted the referee, allowing Kanemaru to hit Volador with a bottle of tequila. Was it tequila because Volador is Mexican? Anyway, Kanemaru hit a diving DDT to win at 9:41. Better than expected and the best match for either guy so far. It was on the way to being even better but I didn’t dig the finish. [**¾]

B Block: ACH [2] vs. Tiger Mask IV [2]
ACH has been a fun addition to the tournament, while Tiger Mask IV had a very good match with KUSHDIA on night three. Tiger Mask targeted the lower back of ACH, trying to slow him down. ACH sold well, but still threw as much of his flashy offense at the veteran as he could. ACH’s dives all got great reactions from the audience. Despite his best efforts, ACH couldn’t keep Tiger Mask down. Tiger Mask withstood a lot of offense and kept waiting for openings. If ACH’s back gave out on a move attempt, he’d kick away. If ACH climbed to the top, he’d bring him down. They traded kicks down the stretch and ACH got Tiger Mask on his shoulders. He wasn’t strong enough, so Tiger slipped out and caught him with a crucifix to win at 11:40. Where has this Tiger Mask IV been for the past few years? This was a well told story of the young gun giving the old guy all he could handle, but the veteran waiting him out. Tiger Mask’s game plan worked and he won. [***½]

B Block: El Desperado [4] vs. Ryusuke Taguchi [4]
The block’s two undefeated men in a battel for first place. I saw something I never expected to see in this match. Desperado took a pen from commentary and proceeded to shove it up the funky weapon! For those unfamiliar, that’s Taguchi’s ass. Though weird, the attack made sense considering Taguchi’s penchant for ass based offense. Desperado went after Taguchi’s knee, but he retaliated with the ankle lock. They’ve done a great job making the ankle lock a legitimate finish in recent months. I liked that this kind of became a battle of submissions, since it wasn’t what I expected. After kicking out of Dodon, Desperado got trapped in the ankle lock again. He escaped, removed his mask, tossed it to Taguchi and told the referee Taguchi did it. TAKA handed him a new mask and he hit Taguchi with a low blow while he argued with the referee. He won with Guitarra de la Muerta and won in 12:38. That was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the submission work and the SG antics made sense here. The other Suzuki-Gun juniors need to take notes from Desperado. I’d be all for him winning his block or the whole thing. [***¼]

B Block: NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Champion BUSHI [0] vs. ROH World Television Champion KUSHIDA [0]
These two met four times last year and they ranged from good to great (**** at New Beginning, ***½ at BOTSJ and Destruction, and *** at Power Struggle). Both men were desperate for their first points. Instantly, this had a sense of urgency from both men. Neither wanted to fall to 0-3. BUSHI was ready for KUSHIDA’s handspring elbow and knew not to dive off the apron at KUSHIDA, since KUSHIDA catches people in arm bars that way. KUSHIDA had the MX scouted, blocking it and trying for the Hoverboard Lock. They traded blows in the middle of the ring when nothing seemed to keep the other down. BUSHI used a Destroyer and MX, but KUSHIDA refused to stay down. KUSHIDA countered the next MX attempt into his own Codebreaker, before applying the Hoverboard Lock. BUSHI just wouldn’t tap, so KUSHIDA rolled over into God’s Last Gift! That got him the win at 15:51. This might’ve been my favorite match between them. They played off their past and brought a real sense of desperation to this. I love God’s Last Gift for KUSHIDA and how he had to try something new because his old stuff kept failing. I don’t want him to come back and win the whole thing because Dominion already has too many WK rematches, but this ruled. Also, I hate that BUSHI is 0-3 again this year. [****]

Overall: 7/10. The B Block rebounds after a dull night three with a strong showing. All four matches are good. Kanemaru/Volador and Taguchi/Desperado were both better than expected. Tiger Mask was awesome and his match with ACH blew away expectations. The main event is arguably the best BUSHI/KUSHIDA match and the whole thing just flies by.

A BlockPointsB BlockPoints
Marty Scurll4 (2-1)El Desperado6 (3-0)
Will Ospreay4 (2-1)Ryusuke Taguchi4 (2-1)
Ricochet4 (2-1)Tiger Mask IV4 (2-1)
Taichi4 (2-1)Yoshinobu Kanemaru4 (2-1)
Dragon Lee4 (2-1)Volador Jr.2 (1-2)
Hiromu Takahashi2 (1-2)ACH2 (1-2)
TAKA Michinoku2 (1-2)KUSHIDA2 (1-2)
Jushin Thunder Liger0 (0-3)BUSHI0 (0-3)