Wrestling Review: NJPW Best of the Super Juniors (2017) (Days 8 and 9)

The tournament never sleeps, as New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual Best of the Super Juniors 24 tournament continues. As always, there are eight more matches are available on demand via the NJPW World streaming service: four matches each from Block A and Block B. The Block A matches wil be streamed from the Nagano Athletic Park, whilst Block B will see it’s action come from the Tsukuba Capio Arena.

+ KUSHIDA vs Toshinobu Kanemura (Block B Match): with lots of shenaigans on the Suzuki-gun side, KUSHIDA had a really solid underdog performance. Even though I’m not entirely sold on Kanemaru, this match felt like a proper main event. Definitely one of the best matches over these two days, and easily the best match in Block B thus far
+ Marty Scurll vs Taichi (Block A Match): this was technically the day before KUSHIDA/Kanemura (I just watched it second), but the same sort of Suzuki-gun shenanigans were in play here. Scurll played a really good underdog, despite being a bad guy in the Bullet Club, and I think there could be big things for a good guy run for Scurll in NJPWs future, if they so desire. That finger break really needs to go, though
+ Dragon Lee vs Will Ospreay (Block A Match): this was very similar to Lee’s earlier match against Ricochet, with a little more choreography from Ospreay. I enjoyed this, overall,, even if it didn’t blow me away, and a small post match moment was really nice to see
+ Jushin Thunder Liger vs Ricochet (Block A Match): Ricochet and Ospreay continue to be intertwined, even when they are not in the same ring, as this was almost a carbon copy of Ospreay/Liger from earlier in the tournament. There was a particularly surprising ending here, in a match that felt quite short
+ ACH vs El Desperado (Block B Match): this match started with some comedy from ACH, which really seemed out of place with Desperado’s character, but once Desperado became the jerk we all know the match really picked up. I personally thought the ending was silly, considering the way the match had gone, but that is a minor gripe on an otherwise good match
+ Ryusuke Taguchi vs Tiger Mask (Block B Match): I enjoyed this. Some playful beginnings soon gave way to a very competitive, but friendly match, with an ending I didn’t see coming. This was quite similar to the ACH/Desperado match, but with a better resolution
+ BUSHI vs Volador Jr. (Block B Match): I wasn’t expecting to like this match, which might be why it ended up being pretty good. Some huge moves on the ropes helped make this one feel big and important, and a really solid few moments helped seal this as worth watching

– Hiromu Takahashi vs TAKA Michinoku (Block A Match): what was originally another bad-guy versus bad-guy match, the crowd soon chose their favourite and the workers ran with it. This was very even, with not a huge amount of flashy moves. Maybe it is just because it is getting late in the tournament, but this felt a little bit underwhelming

> the Takahashi/Michinoku match really showed how sometimes NJPW’s 20-count is a bit silly sometimes. In my mind, the 20-count should mean less ‘last minute saves’ compared to a 10-count.

Should you watch this event: After the matches from days 6 and 7 felt very hit and miss, this was a return to form for most. Whether it was simply better matchups or the performers were better rested I won’t speculate, but these two days were overall a significantly more enjoyable watch.

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