Latest posts by Mark Worrall (see all)
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NJPW – BEST OF SUPER JUNIORS 2017 – PREVIEW
It’s that time of year again, the annual New Japan tournament which features the very best of the world’s Junior heavyweights. The Best of Super Juniors tournament this year runs from May 17th to June 3rd and is packed with the best talent from around the world. This is my preview of the B block, and although not as stacked as the A block will no doubt provide us with some excellent Junior wrestling, however I find this block a little more easier to predict as one man stands out as the block winner for me.
The ace of the Junior heavyweights for the past few years, Kushida now seems to have passed the torch as he succumbed to Takahashi at the Sakura Genesis show back in April, and with rumour’s telling us that Kushida is looking to move up to Heavyweight, this could possibly the former IWGP champions last swan-song as a Junior. There is no doubt the B block may not look as stacked as its counterpart in the A block, and that maybe Kushida could even sweep the group, however, who knows if Taguchi will bring his A game again, and a match against ACH will no doubt be a highlight. The B block is anyone’s block if they want it, however, I still expect Kushida to top the block and make the final, although one feels he may fall at the final hurdle.
So the Los Ingobernobles whipping boy defeated Kushida last fall to win the Junior title, a token gesture maybe as he handed it back not long afterwards. Maybe some LIJ interference to aid the masked man with gaining some points, however I do not expect too much from Bushi other than a potential victory over Tiger Mask IV. Expect some decent performances but lower half of the block for sure here, and maybe some mist!
The former Ring of Honor man, now wrestling independently enters his first Japanese singles tournament as he makes his New Japan debut as a singles wrestler, although that is not quite true after sporting the Tiger Mask the Dark guise in a losing effort against Tiger Mask W at Wrestle Kingdom earlier this year. ACH, a losing finalist alongside Ishimori in the Pro Wrestling Noah Junior tag tournament last summer, as well as the NJPW Super Jr tag tournament at Power Struggle, a singles tournament allows ACH to express himself individually and will no doubt be out to impress. Expect a good run from ACH and a top half finish is not out of the question.
At the age of Forty Kanemaru is a veteran of the Japanese Junior division, and a much travelled man who has wrestled for All Japan during Giant Baba’s last years, before moving to Noah and holding their Junior title seven times. Returning to NJPW this year under the Suzuki Gun banner as seen him team with Taichi to win the Junior tag titles before relinquishing them back to Roppongi Vice. More Suzuki Gun shenanigans? Possibly, never rule it out, hopefully here to put the younger talent over and notch a few points for himself.
TIGER MASK IV
The only man to win the BoSJ in successive years but let’s be honest, his best are being him and I would not expect anything less than propping up the block. In wrestling though you never can tell, and with Liger bowing out of the Juniors this year, Tiger Mask IV becomes the veteran, and anything can happen in tournament play and a surprise victory may occur. Be interesting to see if one of those possible victories comes against Bushi!
Taguchi seems to change come the BoSJ tournament and often wears a different guise as the silliness of Taguchi’s character is replaced by the serious side of a man who can perform with the big guns and just like last year, a surprise block winner and excellent finals match against the eventual winner Will Ospreay. In a block such as this, there is easily a chance that Taguchi could run out the block winner and possibly set up a rematch of last year’s final. Expect a good showing here and block runner up for me.
The Mexican is a regular at the Fantasticamania shows and put up a healthy showing a year ago at this very tournament. leading the block he just missed out to eventual winner Ospreay, losing to that very man in his final block match eliminating him, expecting a good tournament again this year and some exciting matches also as he flips his way to the top half of the block. Would not be at all surprised to see him top the block this time and he must fancy his chances being in the lesser block so to speak.
Another Suzuki Gun member, so some possible interference, does not show too much for me and I don’t expect a lot from Desperado other than potential cheating. To be honest, any points gained may come from some aided assistance as Gun look for a finalist. Bottom half at best from me.
My predictions for the final standings:
- Ryusuke Taguchi
- Volador Jr
- El Desperado
- Yoshinobu Kanemaru
- Tiger Mask