Saturday, May 27, 2017

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors XXIV Night Six Review

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors XXIV Night Six
May 23rd, 2017 | Tochigi Sports Park Gymnasium in Tochigi, Japan | Attendance: 641

The A Block is back with another single camera show. Every match on this card is intriguing. Yes, even Taichi’s, purely to see if Hiromu Takahashi can pull a watchable match out of him.

A Block: Marty Scurll [4] vs. TAKA Michinoku [2]
I say it each show, but Marty Scurll is impressively over for this being his first run in Japan. These two went out and had a fun match, filled with entertaining antics. TAKA got in control and applied the crossface , but Marty escaped. Marty’s need to shout moves before doing them (BRAINBUSTER and CHICKEN WING) cost him as TAKA countered both. They came up with a great finishing spot. Both men tried eye pokes but Marty turned TAKA’s into his finger break spot, which got a great reaction. He used the chicken wing to win at 8:32. I found this to be good fun. Both guys didn’t take things too seriously, while still showing a desire to win. [**¾]

A Block: Jushin Thunder Liger [0] vs. Will Ospreay [4]
There were two relatively disappointing matches between these two last year. Though Ospreay did dress as Dark Liger against him, which was cool. Something about their chemistry still lacked this time around. Liger schooled Will several times early, setting up a veteran vs. youngster story. Ospreay used his speed to combat it and went into getting his shit in. Liger fought back, but it lacked something. Ospreay won in 10:10 with the Oscutter in what was one of the more disappointing matches of the tournament. It missed a lot of the fire that both guys have brought so far. With Marty’s win and Liger’s loss, Liger is officially eliminated in his last BOTSJ. [**½] 

A Block: IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi [2] vs. Taichi [4]
Hiromu Takahashi is my current Wrestler of the Year, and I’ve made that clear. But if he pulls something good out of Taichi, he may be Wrestler of the Century. Taichi jumped Hiromu before the bell, leading to the typical Suzuki-Gun brawl around the ring. I say that way too often. I’d have booked Hiromu to run straight through Taichi, but instead, we had to sit through Taichi’s boring offense. When Hiromu rallied, the pace quickened. Taichi played mind games, bringing out black trunks to remind Hiromu of his time as a young lion. It was a fun thing to help the match stand out. Taichi honestly put in effort for the first time here. Hiromu won with a sloppy Time Bomb at 14:13 in a match that was easily the best Taichi work I’ve seen in forever. They brought something different and Hiromu did the seemingly impossible. I enjoyed a Taichi match. [***]

A Block: Dragon Lee [4] vs. Ricochet [4]
This had potential to be an absolutely wild match. It began like a lot of Ricochet/Ospreay matches. Fast paced exchanges and two men showing that they’re evenly matched in terms of athleticism. I was intrigued by the more arrogant side of Ricochet, kicking away at Lee’s head and talking smack. I also dug the twist on Ricochet’s rana counter of landing on his feet, by having him do so on Lee’s awesome apron rana. This was the kind of match where two guys went out and showcased their stuff. It’s a fine idea, but I think they are capable of more. Lee won by blocking a super rana and hitting the tree of woe double stomp at 13:07. A fun, fitting main event. Like I said though, I think they have a better match in them. [***½]

Overall: 6/10. A middle of the pack outing from the A Block. TAKA/Marty was solid fun, but Ospreay/Liger didn’t do much for me. Hiromu got the best possible match out of Taichi and the main event was a strong capper. I feel like the A Block can guarantee at least one ***½+ match each time out. 

A BlockPointsB BlockPoints
Dragon Lee6 (3-1)El Desperado6 (3-0)
Marty Scurll6 (3-1)Ryusuke Taguchi4 (2-1)
Will Ospreay6 (3-1)Tiger Mask IV4 (2-1)
Ricochet4 (2-2)Yoshinobu Kanemaru4 (2-1)
Hiromu Takahashi4 (2-2)Volador Jr.2 (1-2)
Taichi4 (2-2)ACH2 (1-2)
TAKA Michinoku2 (1-3)KUSHIDA2 (1-2)
Jushin Thunder Liger0 (0-4)BUSHI0 (0-3)