My NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 24 Diary, Days 12-14

Day 12, May 31

The final day in Block A, time to find out the first finalist. Taichi, Dragon Lee, Ricochet, Will Ospreay & Hiromu Takahashi all have a chance of winning.

liger v taichi

Jushin Thunder Liger has had a nightmare tournament so far, losing all six matches, and his Best of the Super Juniors swansong looked like being another miserable evening as El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru joined Taichi in a 3-on-1 beatdown immediately. Taichi controlled the match and after a ref bump, Suzuki-gun ganged up the legend again. They tore his mask, suit, cut his hair and dehorned Liger. It was actually a bit upsetting. But out came Kushida and Ryusuke Taguchi to save the day! Taguchi Japan ran off Suzuki-gun’s dogs and Liger powered up, putting Taichi down with a Liger Bomb & a brainbuster. Liger wins! Fuck Taichi!

Good old Liger saved the tournament in his last match, signed off with a win and got a well-deserved ovation. Taichi was gone and it was down to four.

Suzuki-gun’s influence on the night was not over though as the already-eliminated Taka Michinoku played spoiler to Dragon Lee, picking up an upset win with the Michinoku Driver. All down to Ricochet, Hiromu & Ospreay.

Ricochet went into his match with Marty Scurll needing a win, and then he would have to hope for a Hiromu win. But he ran into a particularly villainous Scurll, determined to ruin someone’s day. Scurll caught Ricochet with a catch chickenwing early on to set the tone. Later on, Ricochet had to kick out after two piledrivers, which even surprised Red Shoes. In a frantic finale, Scurll tried everything to apply the chickenwing and finally got it with an expert counter to an O’Connor roll. Trapped in the middle of the ring, Ricochet was forced to tap and give up his chance at a second BOSJ.

So, it all came down to the final match. Hiromu Takahashi v. Will Ospreay. Winner take all.

ospreay v hiromu

As you’d expect from these two there was some spectacular stuff but it reminded me why I struggle to fully buy into Ospreay. Firstly, his screaming does my head in. Whether he’s selling pain or doing a battle cry, he just sounds ridiculous. Secondly, his selling is so inconsistent. Hiromu worked the knee, so Ospreay writhed in pain but would pop up and flawlessly execute a flip and then hold his knee again. It’s not something I’ll lose sleep over, it just made Hiromu’s work seem pointless. Of course, the positive side of Ospreay is that he is capable of some utterly jaw-dropping athleticism. I’ll accept some iffy-selling in return for that mesmerising flipping DDT and beautiful imploder 450. Hiromu left it to the last millisecond to kick out but there was no coming back from the Oscutter. Ospreay seals his place in the final and has his eye on a second consecutive BOSJ.

Poor Hiromu, though. My man and my pick for the tourney eliminated. No new friend for Mr. Belt. I hope you’re happy, William.

Day 13, June 1

Who joins Will Ospreay in the final? It could be any one of eight men thanks to how this crazy tournament has played out.

The previous match between Suzuki-gun members was a good natured affair as Taichi & Taka danced around for five minutes and only touched each other once. But the gloves were off for Kanemaru & Desperado. With Taichi & Taka in their respective corners, Kanemaru & Desperado actually had a fight hoping to gain the advantage on the final day of Block B. The fight spilled into the crowd and chairs were swung but Desperado screwed himself when he lost the plot with a chair and hit Taka. With no friends left, Desperado was counted out when Taka stopped him from beating the 20 count. He begrudgingly reunited with his stablemates post-match as Kanemaru moved onto 8 points. Desperado was the first victim of the day and according to my calculations (I looked at a chart a guy on Reddit made) Volador Jr. is also out due to the tiebreak Kanemaru holds over him.

ach v taguchi

ACH and Taguchi began their quest for glory by comparing arses with one another. Aceyaitchy targeted the Funky Weapon with atomic drops and Taguchi returned the favour. I was fond of ACH’s impression of Taguchi’s impression of Nakamura but he couldn’t draw upon the King of Strong Style’s spirit and found himself in a losing battle of victory rolls. Taguchi clung on to get the three and keep himself in with a shout. ACH and Kanemaru are out.

Bushi went from three straight defeats to four straight wins after defeating Tiger Mask. Despite taking a Tombstone and a Tiger Driver, Bushi capitalised on a ref bump to hit a chair-assisted Codebreaker and wrapped it up with MX. With Tiger & Taguchi now out, it was down to Bushi & Kushida.

A win over Volador Jr. was all that stood between Kushida and the final. The stars had aligned for Kushida and he took full advantage of his luck, pinning Volador with his Hoverboard Lock/Back to the Future combo, though surely Volador’s shoulder was up?

kushida ospreay face-off

My pick for Block B does the trick. Never doubted him for a second. A showdown with Will Ospreay awaits Kushida in Saturday’s final.

Day 14, June 3

After 56 matches in 14 days, my sanity is remarkably intact. I suppose that happens when you watch good wrestling instead of This Is Your Life segments on Raw. My condolences to everyone who sat through that, I cringed just reading about it.

It’s Kushida v. Will Ospreay for this shiny Final Fantasy achievement tile:

bosj trophy

Fast forward 30 minutes…

Bloody hell, what a match. Ospreay & Kushida put on a show worthy of ending any tournament. Both guys just kept upping the ante and pulling out all the stops. It was building up nicely but Ospreay made it explode into life with a shooting star press to a rope hung Kushida and followed it up with an unholy poisoned rana on the apron. I suspect I’ll remember that sequence for a long time.

kushida v ospreay

From there, it was a festival of beautiful violence. Kushida’s armbar off the top, Ospreay’s RKO outta nowhere, Kushida’s take on the Oscutter and then it just broke down to a fight. Flailing arms and kicks everywhere until Kushida cleaned out Ospreay with a straight right hand and stomped him down until he couldn’t move. Hoverboard Lock, roll through blocked, Ospreay stunner, imploder 450 and about seven Nando’s Kicks. What would it take to end Kushida? Ospreay decided a top rope Oscutter was the way to go but Kushida blocked it and unleashed a devastating avalanche Back to the Future. If that wasn’t enough, he held on, rolled to his feet and delivered one more Back to the Futureeeeeeee.

kushida wins bosj


A brilliant end to my first BOSJ. I feel knackered from watching, it must have been gruelling for these 16 guys to participate in. Huge respect to all of them for putting on such a show. I’m already looking forward to the G1, maybe I’ll hold off from watching every match though if I want to remember what sunlight is like.

To wrap up, let’s countdown the NXT Revolution’s top five matches from Best of the Super Juniors 24:

#5 Hiromu Takahashi v. Marty Scurll (Day 10)

#4 Will Ospreay v. Dragon Lee (Day 8)

#3 Ryusuke Taguchi v. Kushida (Day 11)

#2 Will Ospreay v. Kushida (Day 14)

#1 Will Ospreay v. Ricochet (Day 2)

Hmm, maybe I like Will Ospreay after all.


My NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 24 Diary, Days 7-11

Day 7, May 25

Who’s ready for five straight days of wrestling?

ach v kushida

First up was Yoshinobu Kanemaru v. Tiger Mask. Kanemaru got by with a little from his friends as first Taka Michinoku got involved, then Taichi wiped out Tiger with a whiskey bottle and Kanemaru finished it off with Deep Impact. Suzuki-gun’s shenanigans continued as El Desperado faced Volador Jr. Despy tapped out but not until he’d thrown the ref out of the way. His tactics backfired though as he had a chair superkicked into his face and Volador took the two points with the Volador Spiral. Bushi kept himself alive in the tournament with his first win, beating Ryusuke Taguchi. Kushida’s troubles continued though as he fell victim to ACH, who blocked Back to the Future, hit a Midnight Driver, a huge lariat and another Driver.

I think Kushida is buggered.

Day 8, May 26

dragon v ospreay

It all started so well for Marty Scurll, but a loss to Taichi has left him on the brink. I’m really starting to resent Suzuki-gun’s methods, Marty is heading out on his own without the Bullet Club while Bushi & Hiromu Takahashi don’t need an escort from LIJ, but Suzuki-gun are always poking their nose in. Marty essentially wrestled a 3-on-1 handicap and succumbed to the damned numbers game as Michael Cole might put it. They almost made Marty look like a good guy until his post-match interview which consisted of screaming “bollocks” a lot, insisting he never cheats (The Villain?) and blaming the young boys for taking his brolly away.

Jushin Thunder Liger’s match with Ricochet played out a lot like his previous with Will Ospreay, as the younger, stronger, quicker man prevailed. Despite the losing streak, there’s so much respect for Liger from these crowds, he gets applauded to the back after every match and there’s a clamour to get a high-five or even a closer look. He might be out but they’re desperate to see him get a win.

Despite what I said about Suzuki-gun, Taka’s match with Hiromu was actually bullshit-free. Looks like they’ve put their eggs into Taichi’s basket with regards to Block A. Taka probably should have brought some help as Hiromu defeated him with a Timebomb. Defeat for Taka means he is now out.

The final match of the day was a cracker from Dragon Lee and Will Ospreay. There was such a high level of technique on display with every kind of flip, rana and ….dive you could think of. They mixed in some hard strikes too, I particularly liked Dragon dropkicking Ospreay in the face as he posed. Ospreay kicked out of Dragon’s best stuff and finished the job with his standard 540 kick and Oscutter. Without doubt, the best house show match so far.

Day 9, May 27

Block A may have started to trim the fat but Block B is now wide open.

taguchi v tiger

El Desperado’s position is looking less secure after he suffered a second consecutive defeat, as Aceyaitchy got the win. Starting to see why Suzuki-gun cheat all the time. Bushi is picking up momentum though, as he got a win over Volador Jr. Taguchi and Tiger Mask provided some relief to proceedings. The Taguchi runs the ropes until he’s knackered spot makes me laugh every time, by the end Tiger didn’t even have to keep pushing him. Taguchi got a second wind and the two points as Tiger tapped to the ankle lock. The fist bump of mutual appreciation at the end just showed what a good football manager Taguchi is, he’s a respected motivator, give him the Sunderland job.

Kushida was fighting for his future but by jove, he pulled it out again. Despite Kanemaru doing Suzuki-gun’s favourite trick of tapping when the ref is indisposed, and interference from Taichi, and a whiskey bottle shot, Kushida went Back to the Future and lived to fight another day. The real hero though is the young boy who was so sick of Suzuki-gun’s crap that he just grabbed Taichi to stop him breaking up the pin.

With everyone in Block B sitting on four or six points, everyone still stands a chance of making the final with just two games to play.

Day 10, May 28

I remember a time before BOSJ took over my life. I think I’ve seen more of Taichi than I have of my family over the past ten days. *Rips off pants to a mild pop*

There was little resistance from the already-eliminated Liger & Taka as Dragon Lee & Ricochet picked up routine wins. The third match saw Taichi defeat Ospreay. Haha, what? To be fair, it took three guys to get the better of Ospreay and even then he nearly fought them off but Taichi denied the Oscutter with a superkick and won it with a powerbomb. While I’m fairly sure this amounts to a war crime in the wrestling world, Taichi beating Ospreay (LOL) opens it up at the top of Block A.

Another one has bitten the dust as Marty Scurll is out after losing to Hiromu. To Marty’s credit, he went down swinging, this was great. It believably looked like ending four times before Hiromu finally set off the Timebomb to put himself on top of the table alongside four others. This match had me thinking that Hiromu is actually an amazing babyface. In nearly every match, he takes a licking but keeps on ticking. How often is he dead on his feet at the end of a match? In this particular match, he ate four apron superkicks but just kept getting up and roaring as Marty lined up another. And above all, just look at his scrapbook. You try and tell me a man who carries a comically large scrapbook is evil.

So, heading into the final day Block A stands like this:

Hiromu Takahashi, Dragon Lee, Ricochet, Will Ospreay, Taichi (8 points)

Marty Scurll (6 points)

Taka Michinoku (2 points)

Jushin Thunder Liger (0 points)

Day 11, May 29

Back at Korakuen Hall for the penultimate day of Block B, and it’s live. Hello, camera angles and excitable commentators.

tiger mask v desperado

Two-time winner Tiger Mask rolled back the years to beat El Desperado and keep himself in contention. Despite having his knee worked over, old man Tiger inflicted a third straight loss on Desperado with a Tiger Suplex, even though his foot was thrown into the ropes. Tiger had his mask ripped during the match and nearly took Desperado’s in retaliation post-match but thought better of it. What a nice man.

Bushi continued his comeback, this time beating Kanemaru. Bushi was jumped during his entrance but swiftly got revenge with a diving crossbody in the crowd. Bushi fought through all the usual nonsense, blocked a whiskey spit and landed MX to get the win. Just to rub it in, he glugged Suzuki-gun’s whiskey and spat it in Kanemaru’s face. I think they had it coming. Volador joined the six points party, sweeping ACH aside, despite taking five consecutive tope suicidas mamma mia, which fired him into the bleachers.

taguchi v kushida

The main event was the surprisingly good Kushida v. Taguchi. I expected jokes because Taguchi, and we still got them, but it was just a part of a long, superbly wrestled match. It also helped that today’s matches had commentary to amp up the excitement. My favourite is when they just shout “aaaaahhhhhhh!” I had no idea Taguchi had this sort of match in him but it was a thrilling watch and probably the second best match of the tournament (nothing’s beating Ospreay v. Ricochet). After swapping signatures, Kushida managed to apply the Hoverboard Lock and rolled into Back to the Futureaaaaaaahhhh.

Gedo actually did it, the mad old bastard. With one round left, everyone in Block B is tied on six points. Gedo’s definitely had his calculator out, Bushi & Kushida looked like toast but somehow everyone has won three and lost three. How much planning must it have taken to get all eight guys tied? Madness. Considering Block A too, 13 out of 16 guys stand a chance of winning with one round-robin game remaining.

Wednesday and Thursday are going to be tense.

My NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 24 Diary, Days 5 & 6

Day 5, May 22

Might as well address the elephant in the room, Jinder Mahal is the WWE Champion.

As I watched Backlash, I just couldn’t fathom that it had happened. I couldn’t really fathom him making it to the final two in the Wrestlemania Pre-Show Battle Royal, and I definitely couldn’t fathom him becoming #1 contender, but here we are waking up in the Maharaja era. It’s mad that guys like Rowdy Roddy Piper, Jake The Snake Roberts and William Regal were never world champion and now the worst guy from 3MB is. It’s even more distasteful when you consider that it’s a pretty cynical ploy to push WWE Network subscriptions in India. The mountain of steroids he’s done isn’t helping either, guy looks like his skin doesn’t fit him.

But, having slept on it, I’ve decided to roll with it. It’s happened now, Jinder is champion, that can’t be changed. So, let’s make something of it. If he drops the title back to Randy in a month, then WWE are basically admitting it was a joke. Give Jinder a solid run and hope that he’s up to the challenge.

Let’s move onto some actual wrestling:

desperado v taguchi

Oh, for fu…

Yep, pretty sure that’s El Desperado sexually assaulting Ryusuke Taguchi, just sticking a pen up Taguchi’s funky weapon. Another HR shitstorm is heading Despy’s way. The crowd loves Taguchi’s humour wherever he goes, though. It mostly translates too because it’s universal stuff like hitting people with his arse, arses are funny in any language. I have no idea why the crowd laughs so much when he fist bumps the ref at the start of a match, though I suppose I wouldn’t be able to explain to a Japanese person why Fandango saying day one is H is so funny.

Despy gets the win with some banter of his own, unmasking himself and framing Taguchi. As Taguchi plead his innocence, Despy slipped on another mask and stole the win.

Suzuki-gun’s nefarious ways were on display again as Yoshinobu Kanemaru beat Volador Jr. with the assistance of a bottle of whiskey. ACH v. Tiger Mask was good fun right from Tiger’s Kill Bill entrance music to the reversal sequence finish. The highlight had to be ACH’s four consecutive tope suicidas (somewhere Mauro Ranallo is shouting MAMMA MIA) all while the fans in the front row sat politely as Tiger was sent crashing into them again and again. Finally, Block B’s whipping boys Bushi and Kushida met. It was Kushida who finally won one, ending the match in style as he weakened the masked man with a lengthy Hoverboard Lock and rolling through beautifully into a God’s Last Gift, the former calling card of one Tyler Black. Whatever happened to him?

Day 6, May 23

So. Much. Wrestling. How do people watch more than three promotions at once?

ospreay v liger

Judging by the banners on display at today’s venue, the show appears to be taking place in Pro Evolution Soccer. Think I once signed a guy named Juice Robinson in Master League.

Will Ospreay v. Jushin Thunder Liger was almost a little sad to watch. Ospreay clearly holds a lot of respect for Liger and he took no pleasure in putting the old dog down. It was like Liger realised he was being surpassed by a guy half his age. I’ve bought into the campness of Taichi’s act so far, but his match with Hiromu Takahashi highlighted why he’s not everyone’s favourite. The match went on far too long, Taichi spent most of it using weapons instead of wrestling and worst of all, it dragged Hiromu down a level. Even the Timebomb finish was flubbed, but I couldn’t really tell whose fault it was given the lack of camera angles. Hey, at least Hiromu won. Elsewhere, Marty Scurll went to 3-1 with a win over Taka Michinoku and Dragon Lee beat Ricochet with the Alberto Del Rio double stomp, except if it was Del Rio he’d still be setting it up now.

My NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 24 Diary, Days 3 & 4

Day 3, May 20

Well, this is weird. Today’s matches took place at a house show, so we’ve got hard-cam only. It’s an interesting perspective, sort of like being in the crowd due to the lack of camera cuts and slick presentation. Also, the venue looks like the sort that turns up on Botchamania. Just waiting for a guy to land on his head attempting a moonsault off the stage. 

Match of the day goes to Bushi and El Desperado. I’m really enjoying Desperado so far, guy is just an unapologetic dickhead, easy to see why he’s Minoru Suzuki’s right-hand man. Desperado is such a prick that manages to get sympathy for Bushi, who’s normally spitting poison mist in people’s faces. He steals the win by ripping off Bushi’s mask and smothering him with a pin. Cue the Young Lions whipping off their shirts to cover Bushi’s head, guys couldn’t get in there quick enough. A luchador ripping off another luchador’s mask, I feel like there would be something in the code of conduct against that. Pam in HR is probably going apeshit. Desperado signs off by flipping off the crowd, what a man.

Elsewhere, ACH was beaten by Yoshinobu Kanemaru, the most notable moment being when Aceyaitchy was hilariously manhandled to the back by the huge Young Lion. Ryusuke Taguchi chanelled the spirit of Shinsuke Nakamura to defeat Volador Jr, hitting a Bomaye/Kinshasa en route to another win. He even did the pose. Finally, Kushida continued his one-man mission to blow my bracket as he lost to Tiger Mask. I suppose I should be thankful the tournament is throwing up surprises. 

NXT Takeover Chicago tonight. Why is all the good wrestling happening at once?

Day 4, May 21

How am I supposed to do this after what happened in Chicago last night? Tommaso Ciampa tore out our collective hearts and gave them a Project Ciampa through a table. How could you destroy something so beautiful, Tommaso? 

On the plus side, I am so ready for the #DIY blood feud, complete with Johnny Gargano as the scrappiest babyface that ever scrapped. On the whole, Takeover was a hell of a show right up until Tommaso Bastard Fuckface took a shit on my feelings. Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne put on an extraordinary performance while Hideo Itami v. Bobby Roode was excellent, too.

I think the only true friendship left in wrestling is Hiromu Takahashi and Mr. Belt.

Speaking of Hiromu, he’s lost his way. Unbeaten since returning to NJPW at the start of BOSJ, but he’s suffered two losses in three matches. The curse of being backed by me. Ricochet beat him this time with Kings Landing, avenging his loss from their cracker at Sakura Genesis. This one wasn’t quite at that level, as you’d expect from a house show, but it’s still the good stuff Ricochet and Hiromu are capable of. 

Judging by the crowd’s reaction to Taka Michinoku v. Will Ospreay, we were in Japan’s smark town. They were loving Taka’s methods of poking eyes and there was a big laugh for his attempt to nick a countout win by keeping Ospreay in a facelock, miles outside the ring, then running back to beat the count. It was Ospreay who got the points though, thanks to an Oscutter.

NJPW World translates Jushin to Beast God, so Marty Scurll had a challenge on his hands against Beast God Thunder Liger. I thought it was a really impressive showing by Scurll, and making a legend like Liger tap to the Chickenwing is a hell of a statement. Liger’s in trouble now, with three straight defeats. Thought he might bow out strongly considering it’s supposed to be his last BOSJ, but it looks like the young’uns have surpassed him.

Finally, Taichi tore off those pants and powerbombed Dragon Lee into oblivion. Taichimania is running wild, brother!

My NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 24 Diary, Days 1 & 2

In the aftermath of Wrestle Kingdom 11, Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega were showered with praise for having, what some called, the greatest match in professional wrestling history. I had to see what all the fuss was about so I watched it and I loved it. I gave the rest of the show a watch and decided it was probably time for me to take the plunge into New Japan Pro Wrestling.

It’s proven to be a good decision.

I’m now armed with a subscription to NJPW World and to commemorate my first Best of the Super Juniors, I keeping a diary throughout the tournament. 

Day 1, May 17

The opening day, then. I’ve been looking forward to this because, simply put, I love tournaments, every match has meaning and they’re much harder to predict. Speaking of predictions, my pick is Hiromu Takahashi, mainly because he’s my favourite thing about NJPW.

Him and Mr. Belt make such a nice couple. He’s also looked pretty much unstoppable in recent months and I feel like any defeat would be a surprise. Block A is absolutely stacked though, whoever progresses is going to have take some big scalps. Block B seems a bit more straightforward though, I’d be surprised if Kushida didn’t make the final. 

All 16 contenders are in action today. See you on the other side.

First things first, I’ve got to say I love Korakuen Hall. It’s so intimate and there’s something funny about the Japanese crowd politely sitting down as someone lands a tope four inches away from them. 

Opening the tournament, it’s Jushin Thunder Liger v. Taka Michinoku. To an NJPW rookie like myself, this is a battle between a former NXT Takeover curtain-jerker and a comedy jobber from the Attitude Era. I’m joking, please put down the tomatoes. Taka seems to have gotten a bit darker, anyway.

It’s fun start to proceedings from the two veterans, with Taka winning after he ties up Liger in a pin combination, which Wiki informs me is called Heavy Killer #1, which is an intense name for a clever little move. I have two main takeaways, firstly I have no understanding of what constitues a DQ in New Japan. Liger straight up whacks Taka with a chair during the match and gets away with it. Meanwhile, other guys make sure the ref is distracted when they use a foreign object. Perks of being Jushin Liger, I guess. Secondly, is mad hair a prerequisite for Suzuki-gun membership? Taka’s bad dye-job and pointy fringe fits in nicely with Minoru Susuki’s crazy patterns and whatever Taichi’s do is.

Next up is Volador Jr. v. Tiger Mask. It’s my first time ever seeing Volador so I’m curious to see what he’s got. Surprisingly, at least to me, Volador spends most of the match getting his arse kicked so we don’t really see how good he is. However, he does get the win with a crazy Spanish Fly off the top, hopefully a sign of what’s still to come. 

Man, people seem to really hate Taichi. It’s obviously a cheesy act, but it’s so naff that I’m sort of into it. He’s taking about two minutes longer than anyone else to get to the ring in a tiny venue, parading the beautiful Miho Abe around, all while he’s dressed up like an Orlesian on his way to a ball at Halamshiral. Besides, as naff as Taichi is, nothing he does is as bad as that crown Ricochet wears. Seriously mate, can you not get a better one than that school play prop? That’s my only sleight on Ricochet, though, guy is absolutely bananas in the ring. Taichi knows it too and spends most of the match running away and using Miho as a distraction. Rico finally gets his hands on Taichi and ends him with a Benadryller and a Shooting Star Press to die for.

Haven’t seen much of ACH (or Aceyaitchy as the Japanese seem to call him) but I was surprised to see him as a junior heavyweight. Watching him come to the ring, I’m still surprised he’s a junior. I’m assuming he’s the Cedric Alexander of the piece, and makes the weight simply by having 0% body fat. Wonder who will be his Kota Ibushi? It won’t be Bushi, though, as Aceyaitchy takes him out with a decaptitating lariato and the Midnight Driver. I can’t help but think if ACH was in WWE, the commentators would be in overdrive telling us how he just loves to have fun.

El Desperado is a big cheating bastard but as plans go, wrecking Kushida in his first match to blow Block B wide open ain’t a bad one. He attacks before the bell, chucks him through five rows of chairs and grinds his head with a piece of metal. Kushida’s response is smart as he targets Despy’s arm, working it with a brutal armbar off the top and the Hoverboard Lock, actually making Despy tap, but only after a ref bump. With a bit of assisstance from Kushida’s ROH TV Championsip belt, Desperado gets an opening and gets the win with Guitarra de Angel. That’s what I get for saying Kushida is favourite for Block B.


Great to see Marty Scurll in NJPW. He’s here to break fingers and cure plagues. A Battle of Britain is the perfect way to debut him, and while I should get behind my countrymen for the tourney, I struggle to warm to Will Ospreay. I can’t quite put my finger on it, he’s got bucketloads of talent but he rubs me the wrong way. Is it because he’s an Essex boy? Is it his face? It didn’t help that he was going on about how he had to spend 10 grand on ring gear last year. No one’s forcing you to soend money on another set of gaudy Assassin’s Creed-themed gear, chief. Ass Creed went off a cliff after Revelations anyway, with Black Flag being the only exception, and that was only because it was a pirate game. See, Ospreay’s made me go off topic. No wonder I don’t like him.

I really enjoyed how the crowd instantly took to The Villain. They loved doing the woop woops, and Marty’s always good for a creative way to poke an eye and yank a nose. Moment of the match went to young William, though, with his superb topical take on Randy Orton’s snek taunt …..trolling. The finish was a thing of beauty as Marty turned an Oscutter attempt into the Chickenwing and made him submit. Great match, as you’d expect from two of Britain’s finest. 

I’m a big fan of football manager Ryusuke Taguchi, he’s even got the inflated sense of “the world is against me” that all the best managers exude in interviews. Observe:

Meh, I’d still rather have him than David Moyes.

Taguchi matches feature so many close-ups of his arse, it’s like that video WWE put out to discredit CM Punk. Taguchi hasn’t reported a staph infection recently, has he? His match with Yoshinobi Kanemaru is the comic relief for the day. Low blows are always funny, but Taguchi manages to breathe new life into the classic man gets in the groin genre. He takes one in the balls from Kanemaru but as he falls in pain, he inadvertently plants a boot between Kanemaru’s legs and small packages him for the win. The lulz don’t stop though as we’re treated to the wonderful visual of a Young Lion icing Taguchi’s junk. 

And we’ve still got a Dragon Lee v. Hiromu Takahashi to come. Hiromu seems to be proper mad, he’s got this insane fighting spirit mixed with the mind of a child. He strolls out with a comically large scrapbook he’s put together on his opponents and jumps straight into an exchange of about 20 open-hand chops with Dragon. Makes me wonder how they portray crazy in Japan, all I can think of is a Japanese JBL undermining everything but shouting: “He’s a lunatic, Maggle-san! I love it!”

Hiromu and Dragon beat each other stupid in a match reminiscent of their previous at New Beginning. Dragon seizes the initiative by using Hiromu’s madness against him, namely murdering him with Hiromu’s own fireman carry bucklebomb and Dragon wraps it up with a Phoenixplex. Good God, I’m never predicting anything again.

That’s the first night done, then. I think we witnessed about four deaths. No idea how anyone makes it to the end.

Day 2, May 18

The only way to start is by paying tribute to that mesmerising classic. What a show from two world-class athletes. But that’s enough about Taichi and Taka.

Ricochet and Will Ospreay just laid down a challenge to the other 14 wrestlers in this tournament, as well as the entire wrestling world. After all the feelings stirred up by the ….dive debate, this was the perfect response. These two men put on a bombastic display of barious styles of pro wrestling. They started out grappling, reverted to their usual flippy stuff until they had little choice but to fight. The longer it went, the better it got and as the minutes ticked by, I thought we were heading for a time limit draw. It was Ospreay who took it though as he finally caught his rival with the Oscutter. Oh Christ, what about that Dragonrana? I just had to laugh at how extraordinary that was. 

Last year, Ricochet and Ospreay’s BOSJ match caused a bunch of old pros to get their knickers in a twist ’cause things ain’t like they used to be. This year, they went and topped it. To me, this was pro wrestling at its best, but it doesn’t matter if it’s Ospreay, Ricochet, The Revival, Shibata, John Cena… it’s all wrestling at the end of the day. Let’s stop arguing over bullshit and enjoy the show. 

Elsewhere, the aforementioned Taichi v. Taka classic actually saw them touch each other once in over five minutes. I was wondering how match between stablemates would go down and it turns out they piss about like mates. It was almost heartwarming to see the members of Suzuki-gun share a laugh at the end, you know, if they weren’t part of a group of bastards led by a genuine maniac.

Dragon Lee made it two from two with a win over Marty Scurll. Despite Marty tying Dragon’s mask to the ropes and snapping his fingers twice, Dragon won with the Alberto Del Rio memorial protracted double stomp.

Poor Hiromu had a battle with Dragon Lee yesterday and today he was getting brainbustered on the floor by Jushin Liger. He survived another brainbuster and a Liger Bomb before taking his chance to hit the Timebooooomb to get some points on the board. Do any Hiromu matches not end in carnage? Every one seems to end with bodies strewn across the ring. I’m convinced he doesn’t feel pain. Enjoy some rest, Hiromu. *Checks schedule* bloody hell, he’s got Ricochet on Sunday.

By the way, I’m mostly skipping the undercard tag matches because I don’t want to go blind. I did see Kushida lose again, though. Knew I should have backed Taguchi for Block B. Oh, and Naito broke the Intercontinental Championship. It’s just as well Mr. Intercontinental likes it rough.

WWE NXT Classic: NXT Redemption Episode 6

William Regal is on a one-man mission to make this show watchable. Watch the April 12 2011 edition of NXT Redemption right here.

striker checks out maryse

Striking Out

This week’s episode started with a video package highlighting all the drama that is the Maryse love square. The monkeys in the truck are well-known for their ability to knock out a top class video package but even they can’t polish this turd. To be fair, they weren’t given much to work with. Lucky Cannon, Yoshi Tatsu and Ted DiBiase Jr make Vin Diesel look like Mads Mikkelsen.

The big question is whether Maryse has chosen Ted or NXT. Surprisingly they get this out of the way immediately. Matt Striker asked for her decision, to which she said “look at me”. In an absolutely vintage Striker moment, he took this literally and proceeded to check her out. What she meant was look at me, I can get any man I want, see ya never Ted. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a relationship in WWE end with such little fanfare, Ted doesn’t even show up to dispute her answer.

Besides, why have one charisma vacuum when you can have six?

wheres the charasma

The rookies assembled for this week’s challenge, The Power of the Punch. Sadly, it wasn’t Regal putting his brass knuckles on and decking everyone. Simply put, it was one of those test your strength punchbags from a funfair. Each rookie got one punch, rookie with the highest score won. Byron Saxton got us underway and set the tone with a score of 649. The crowd booed. Jacob Novak went next and absolutely whiffed it, scoring just 456. This was Maryse’s reaction:

rice pudding

“Couldn’t break the skin of a rice pudding, that lad,” said William Regal, barely containing his disgust. The booing intensified. Up next was Darren Young, who barely beat Jacob with 469. Maryse insisted she could do better. Conor O’Brian took the lead with 770 but was immediately trumped by Titus O’Neil who smashed it with 801. It was down to Lucky Cannon but instead of taking a swing, he insisted he was above it. He’s here to win championships, which is fair enough in my opinion. However, they don’t take kindly to that sort of talk on this embarrassing talent show that no one is watching and Lucky got a DQ.

That meant Titus won! He took the four redemption points. I think you get two magic beans to the redemption point.

Lucky took out his frustration at being forced to partake in this wheelie bin fire of a show on Maryse, but Yoshi came out to defend her honour or something. Lucky laid out the challenge to his love rival and Yoshi accepted. An epic main event awaited.

orton film

I Am What I Am

WWE love to flog their films on NXT Redemption and this week’s shill slot was given to That’s What I Am, which I’ve never heard of but am now fascinated by after seeing this trailer. It’s set in the 60s and follows this geek at school as he falls for a girl, but he then has to work with an even bigger geek for a project and you can tell he’s a bigger geek because he’s ginger and wearing big fake ears and Ed Harris is a teacher but he might be a paedo and Randy Orton is threatening to go to the papers. It’s like four films in one and none of them sound any good. Incredibly, it has a rating of 7.1 on IMDb.

darren gets horny

Titus O’Neil v. Darren Young

It’s interesting to see the humble beginnings of Titus and Darren before their legendary battles in 2016. I still get chills when I think of this seminal promo from Titus, it’s the Cane Dewey of this generation.

Back to reality and Darren cut a promo on his way to the ring about how Hornswoggle is a “pint-sized joke”. In a fantastic bit of Randy Orton-esque over-explaining, Darren then pointed at Hornswoggle and said “you’re a joke.” Glad he cleared that up, I suppose he could have been talking about the 6’6 Titus. Todd Grisham pointed out this is height discrimination and he won’t stand for it. He didn’t even crack up as he said it, fair play.

It’s only the sixth episode but it’s already the third time Titus and Darren have been in the ring together. It’s probably because they’re the best the show has to offer in-ring wise, but that says a lot about the quality of the show. The match was par for the course, just a few minutes long and ended when Darren was distracted by Hornswoggle, allowing Titus to roll him up. Strong as an ox 6’6 guy wins with a distraction roll-up.

After the match, Darren attacked Titus and grabbed Hornswoggle, but was talked out of beating him down by his pro, Chavo Guerrero. Like I could believe that, if anyone on this show is going to beat up a dwarf, it’s Chavo Guerrero.

headcrack novak

Pretty Fly For A White Guy

Last week, JTG wagered with Vladimir Kozlov that he could make Jacob cool. So, this week JTG introduced Headcrack Novak and well, the result is above. Look at the sheer boredom on the faces of those kids. This is what William Regal made of it all:

regal disbelief

“I feel so sorry for this show.”

Headcrack heard all of Regal’s comments about him being a terrible excuse of a pro wrestler and he wouldn’t stand for it any longer. Regal sat in silence the entire time, watching Novak, infuriating him further until he appeared to challenge Regal. Only then, did Regal speak: “the last thing that lad wants is me turning him into a bloody vegetable.” It’s certainly not the last thing I want.

novak big boot

Jacob Novak v. Byron Saxton

The match was nothing, but Regal cut a brilliant promo on commentary about being an old pro. The sort you’ll be familiar with is you seen his spell as final boss on NXT. He goes into detail about what the ring means to him, why he wipes his feet before a match and his struggle to put his past behind him and reinvent himself in a new role.


Jacob bounced Byron off the top rope, followed up with two kicks and finished Byron with the softest big boot ever. It was similar to how you’d push open a door when your hands are full. The crowd couldn’t even be arsed to boo anymore.

edge retirement

Rated-R Feels

This show wasn’t even the worst thing to happen to wrestling that week. It took place a few days after Edge retired. His retirement speech is replayed in full and it’s a strange thing to watch. It’s so sudden that no one, Edge included, seems to know how to react. There’s total disbelief on the faces of some fans. There’s some nice nods to those with the benefit of flash photography, The Brood and even the live sex celebration. Edge was one of my favourites as a kid and I still remember reading his blogs on when he was recovering from a broken neck. It’s good to see he’s settled into a life outside WWE now, having children and giving them mad celebrity names like Lyric.

luckys reaction when

Lucky Cannon v. Yoshi Tatsu

Here we are then, the battle for Maryse even though she doesn’t want either of them. She sat in on commentary and buried both of them, twice comparing Yoshi to a five-year-old before going on a remarkable tangent about how Lucky’s “Da Lish” nickname reminds her of a French dish of fried potatoes, gravy and cheese. I googled this and it turns out she was talking about Poutine. I am pretty confident Maryse has never eaten Poutine in her life. Not that I will either. Why ruin some chips and gravy with cheese? What is wrong with Quebecers?

This battle for the ages went a whole four minutes before Yoshi won with a diving spinning heel kick that almost made contact. The King of Kings was victorious and even got a kiss from Maryse for his trouble.

maryse and yoshi kiss

It’s pretty obvious she did it just to spite Lucky but who’s got the heart to tell him? He was made up, bless him.

WWE NXT Classic: NXT Redemption Episode 5

Straight from the depths of hell, NXT Redemption classic reviews have been revived. Essentially, it’s a lot more fun to write about terrible wrestling. Terrible wrestling is timeless, it’s why Botchamania is so popular.

This is where we left off way back when. Let’s get back to it with episode 5 from April 5 2011, watch it here if you dare.

as it stands

No, you did enjoy Wrestlemania

Previous episodes were hindered by the upcoming Wrestlemania 27, not that the show needs help hindering itself. Episode 4 was largely a 30 minute plug for Mania with a six-man tag slapped on the end. But now, with Mania out of the way, you’d think it’s time to focus on NXT. Well, you’d be wrong! Todd Grisham opens the show by saying it’s been two days since one of the greatest Wrestlemanias ever. Now thankfully I’ve never seen WM27, it happened exactly a year before I started watching wrestling again, but I do know that it was generally regarded as a stinker with one of the worst main events to ever take place at Mania. Basically, your opinion is invalid in the eyes of WWE.

That’s not it with regards to the showcase of the immortals, as the show starts with a Wrestlemania trivia challenge. The rookies simply have to take it in turns to name a winner from Wrestlemania 27, the show that took place two days ago. Piece of piss, right? Well, Darren Young goes first and says Bret Hart. It’s a wrong answer. ANYONE, Darren. You could have said any one of the winners from the show that was happening 48 hours ago. Byron Saxton & Jacob Novak get us on track with The Undertaker & Randy Orton, before Conor O’Brian goes with Snooki. Showcase of the immortals. Now, Lucky Cannon had been surprisingly decent in the last two shows. It was bog-standard stuff like local sports team heat but at least he was acting like something resembling a professional wrestler. But this week it’s a swing and a miss. Instead of answering he asks Matt Striker if he knows where his girlfriend was last night because he does. It’s like he had prepared the line and was going to say it no matter what. William Regal points out the other flaw with Lucky’s statement, Matt Striker doesn’t have a girlfriend. Lucky should know Striker is more of a Craigslist kind of guy anyway.

Titus O’Neil, Byron & Jacob all answer correctly but Conor comes up blank and gets eliminated. The topic switches to Hall of Fame 2011 inductees. We get through five answers until Jacob fails to come up with anything. Byron & Titus are the final two and have to name NXT rookies. They both open with themselves and after going back and forth for a bit, Titus says Byron. It’s an invalid answer so Byron takes the victory and the four crucial Redemption points, whatever they do.

conor roll up

Conor O’Brian v. Jacob Novak

It’s revealed on commentary that Jacob has switched from white trunks to gold because he actually took Byron’s diapers comment to heart. I was right! I was just joking and thought I was over-analysing a six-year-old bad wrestling show. What other subtleties have I been missing?

The main take away from these old shows is how good William Regal was on commentary. There’s about ten things from this episode alone I could quote. It’s more entertaining than what’s going on in the ring, that’s for sure. Todd tells us Conor has two dogs called Princess & Diva and asks Bill what this tells us about Conor. Regal’s response is: “Not a lot. I don’t like dogs.” He then switches flawlessly to analysing a wristlock. This show really isn’t worthy of his aloof charm.

Conor gets the win by ducking Jacob’s attempted Helluva Kick and rolling him up for the three. Hang on, I think we need to take a moment to absorb the news that Konnor from The Ascension called his dogs Princess & Diva. I wouldn’t have thought the wasteland was a good place to raise dogs.

maryse steps over yoshi

The Original (Sh)It Couple

In the latest chapter in Yoshi Tatsu’s quest to win Maryse’s affection, he is duped by the dastardly Lucky Cannon. Lucky apologises to Yoshi for interfering with his attempts and lies that he heard Maryse likes him too. Poor Yoshi takes the bait and goes to ask Maryse out. Now before The Miz, came Ted DiBiase Jr. Ted denies Yoshi on her behalf and beats him up for good measure. Yoshi’s misery is compounded when Maryse steps over him like he’s a puddle.

At this stage, Maryse is still a bit ropey but there’s moments where you see 2017 Maryse trying to burst out. Returning as Miz’s overly protective wife has been the making of her, Miz too. Those hilarious Total Bellas spoofs cemented them as one of WWE’s top acts.

maryse bella

You know whaaaaaaaaat? Perfect.

darren test of strength

Titus O’Neil & Hornswoggle v. Darren Young & Chavo Guerrero

Titus is wearing an Omega logo on his gear. It made me realise what this show needs is for Kenny Omega to fully embrace his Terminator theme from Wrestle Kingdom and time travel back to 2011 and V-Trigger everyone in sight. Anything that means I don’t have to watch a Hornswoggle match would suffice.

The referees seem to take a very lax view of the rules during tag matches on this show. This week takes that to the next level when Mike Chioda allows a blatant Hornswoggle low-blow. Darren gets on his knees for a test of strength with Horny and midget jokes ensue. In response, Hornswoggle boots Darren in the balls in full sight of the ref. Straight-up kicks him the daddybags. Chioda gestures that it’s a gut kick even though Darren is selling a kick in the swingers. I don’t think anyone cares at this point.

It doesn’t get any better as Chavo goes to the top rope but gets hampered by Swoggle biting his ankle. Chavo sells the bite despite the fact he’s wearing wrestling boots and wouldn’t feel a thing. The match ends with a member of the Guerrero family chasing a dwarf under the ring as Titus gives his future tag partner a Clash of the Titus for a merciful end.

ted ultimatum

Ted DiBiase Jr. v. Yoshi Tatsu

It’s obvious that nothing matters on this show but this match was preceded by a Raw recap that showed a John Cena/Rock promo in full. Wrestlemania 27 might be over but we need to start that build for 28, it’s only 51-and-a-half weeks away.

The main event of a show designed to find the next breakout star in WWE features one of the pros and a guy who isn’t even meant to be on the show fighting for the host’s love. The Game Yoshi Tatsu heads to the ring full of purpose but gets boringly stomped on for a couple of minutes before Ted gets disqualified for winning too well or some shit. All I can say is woof, Ted DiBiase Jr. It’s like they took one of the failed Randy Orton clones from the lab and thought sod it, he’ll do.

Maryse gets a pang of guilt and orders Ted to stop beating down Yoshi. Ted hilariously seems to think NXT is leading Maryse astray and sets her an ultimatum, somehow doing so with even less charasma than John Johnson. It’s either Ted or NXT. Maryse has one week to decide.

Tune in next time for her answer. The suspense is killing me.