Wrestling Review: NJPW Best of the Super Juniors (2017) (Day 2)

Following on from Day 1, the second day of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) Best of the Super Juniors 24 features more action in the ongoing tournament. Sixteen of the best junior heavyweights in the world compete against each other in a round robin tournament, each facing each other once. The second day will feature four more matches in the incredible Block A, including Dragon Lee facing Marty Scurll, along with a rematch between Ricochet and Will Ospreay. Ricochet and Ospreay had what many call one of the best light-heavyweight matches of all time at last year’s tournament, and you can be sure they will be looking to up the stakes however they can. There are also four huge tag team matches on the card, featuring stars such as Juice Robinson, The Guerillas of Destiny, War Machine and the team of Los Ingobernables de Japon: BUSHI, EVIL, SANADA and the IWGP Inctercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito.

+ Ricochet vs Will Ospreay (Block A Match): the question of whether these two would replicate their battle from last year, or go a different way, was answered towards the latter; this was still fast and furious, but it had far more transitions and holds than last year’s affair. The crowd seemed somewhat conflicted, as if they were expecting more flips on flips, but I really enjoyed the longer moments of no action or selling the attacks they were doing. The home stretch for this match is simply phenomenal, and this was far and away the match for day 2 of the A Block matches
+ Dragon Lee vs Marty Scurll (Block A Match): with the crowd a bit more familiar with Scurll, and Lee’s skill to work with anyone, this was a really good match. Some early playing to the crowd worked really well in getting both guys’ personalities across (and damn, Dragon Lee is ripped af). The crowd bought into both guys from start to finish, and it made for a really good match
+ Jushin Thunder Liger vs Hiromu Takahashi (Block A Match): the day I am not hyped for a Liger match, I need to stop watching wrestling. This started out like a house on fire, and barely let up throughout. Liger is so, so good, and Takahashi is such a slimy piece of crap it was so easy to get invested in this fight. This was Liger’s final BOSJ match at Korakuen Hall, and damn if we won’t all miss seeing the three time BOSJ winner here
+ Taichi vs TAKA Michinoku (Block A Match): this battle between two Suzuki-gun members thing is so hard to judge; this was comedy and misdirection on a mass scale, and it was amazing to watch – but just know, this is not a wrestling match in any form. But still, you’ll enjoy this
+ Satoshi Kojima and Taguchi Japan (Juice Robinson, KUSHIDA & Ryusuke Taguchi) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito): I don’t know how to feel about Taguchi’s ass-offense at the best of times, let alone when in the ring against the super serious LIJ. LIJ were the standouts in every aspect, though perhaps surprisingly I thought Naito was the least important part of that team. KUSHIDA looked fantastic throughout, and in the end this was a really good match up
+ ACH & Volador Jr. vs Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru): I’m not sure what Volador was going for in this match, but he was just not connecting with the others. A few times he entirely missed his mark, and it made his opponents look crap by assosciation. Once ACH was in the match, and moreso now that the crowd knows his style, it became very enjoyable, so this is a low-pass

– David Finlay and War Machine (Hanson & Raymond Rowe) vs Bullet Club (Tama Tonga, Tanga Roa & Yujiro Takahashi): this was mostly to build to War Machine/GoD, although for the most part I don’t feel it did that. David Finaly was such a standout in this match, as he was the only one not on a team (though I got a chuckle out of his War Machine face paint). For whatever reason, this match never clicked with me, even though there was the same big spots as in every War Machine/GoD match. Maybe that was why
– Hirai Kawato, Tiger Mask & Tomoyuki Oka vs Katsuya Kitamura, Syota Umino & Tetsuhiro Yagi: gosh darn, Kitamura gets bigger every time I see him. It should be obvious how these ‘team of veterans versus team of young lions’ goes by now, so in that regard this was nothing special. Just keep an eye on Kitamura, because seriously…

> Volador Jr. kind of looks like a young Bret Hart. Shame there is no comparison in their ring work
> I laughed so hard at Juice smacking KUSHIDA with his hair. I have had dreads before, and I’ve done the same thing to friends any to myself

Should you watch this event: With the only two bad matches being tag team affairs, this was a show worth watching, especially the BOSJ A Block matches in the second half. Ricochet/Ospreay was a better match than last year, in my humble opinion, and both Scurll/Lee and Liger/Takahashi were well worth watching. Taichi/TAKA was amusing, and any time LIJ are in the ring you know you are getting something good. Give this show a watch, if you have the time.

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