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

KUSHIDA IS THE BEST OF THE SUPER JUNIORS!

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.

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