Wrestling Review: NJPW Best of the Super Juniors (2017) (Day 11)

New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) returns to Korakuen Hall for Day 11 of the Best of the Super Juniors 24 round robin tournament. Four more matches from the B Block will take place, with huge ramifications on who could ultimately win the block: El Desperado, Kanemaru, Taguchi and ACH are all currently on the same point level with three wins, with Tiger Mask, Volador, KUSHIDA and BUSHI each one win behind. The card will also play host to a huge tag team match between the Bullet Club led by Kenny Omega, and CHAOS with the IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada at the forefront. War Machine and the Guerillas of Destiny are also going to be in action, and Ricochet, Marty Scurll, and Los Ingobernables de Japon will make appearances as well.

+ Ryusuke Taguchi vs KUSHIDA (B Block Match): these two started with some phenomenal amateur wrestling trades (I’m not sure if there was a story going into this?) before slowly but steadily transitioning into a fantastic junior heavyweight. There were some unique submission holds I can’t recall seeing from KUSHIDA, as well as his patended kimura and Taguchi’s ankle lock, all of which added an uncertainty to the match, knowing it could end at and moment. This was incredible all the way to the very end, and perhaps the best match of Block B so far
+ Volador Jr. vs ACH (B Block Match): this was really exciting. I’m not a huge fan of either guy, but Volador has completely turned my opinion of him around over the past few matches, and this was another in that streak. These two worked really well together to put on a match with lots of high spots that never felt like a dance. Really good to watch
+ CHAOS (Gedo, Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay) vs Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Kenny Omega & Marty Scurll): this was the first time I’ve seen Omega, Fale and Okada in a while now, and it just made me realise how much I’ve missed them. The fans in Korakuen hall really got behind Scurll’s mannerisms, and obviously know the rest very well, which made for a great atmosphere. I have to admit, though, Scurll and Omega looked very new as a team; I’m not sure if they would have ever teams before?
+ BUSHI vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru (B Block Match): as much as I don’t care for Kanemaru, his antics have grown on me over the past weeks. Some great shenanigans before the match properly begun kept my interest, and BUSHI is so cool it was great to have a clear distinction between who I wanted to win. This was fun, and the shenanigans only made it better
+ Tiger Mask vs El Desperado (B Block Match): a good-vs-evil battle between two masked wrestlers, this had some great back and forth action, as well as classic underdog storytelling. The ending was a tiny bit strange, due a bit of a miscue, but overall this was a good match which the crowd was into
+ David Finlay and War Machine (Hanson & Raymond Rowe) vs Bullet Club (Tama Tonga, Tanga Roa & Yujiro Takahashi): I’m really not a fan of Finlay with War Machine, but any War Machine/GoD match is always fantastic. I am always blown away by Rowe’s athleticism for such a big man. This was a fun match, though I’d have liked some more of Yujiro
+ Hirai Kawato and Taguchi Japan (Juice Robinson & Ricochet) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL, Hiromu Takahashi & SANADA): similarly to the Lee/Umino vs Suzuki-gun tag team match which preceeded it, this seemed to be mostly to give Kawato more in-ring time, though Kawato is much more experienced than Umino, and Kawato’s status as a rookie was a part of the story in the match. Ricochet was incredible in his few moments, and despite using the same offense we know, he was still a joy to watch, and all of LIJ are just so cool

– Dragon Lee & Syota Umino vs Suzuki-gun (Taichi & TAKA Michinoku): this match seemed mostly to give Umino some more in-ring experience, teaming with the incredible Dragon Lee, because it was Umino who was still a bit sloppy at times, though the others were all fine. This was about average in terms of in-ring stuff, but was taken down by Umino’s inexperience

> Hearing Scurll and Ospreay in the ring together again made for lots of swearing with British accents. Good thing most of the crowd wouldn’t understand them.

Should you watch this event: With only one bad match, which was due ot the inexperience of one of the competitors, this was a fantastic show from start to finish. The results of the BOSJ matches make for a very interesting few days, with only one more match for each of the B Block competitors. This is another show well worth watching.

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