NJPW Best of the Super Juniors XXIV: Day 12
By Big Red Machine
From May 31, 2017
ACH & VOLADOR JR. vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & TAKA Michinoku) - 6.5/10
Shockingly good for an opener on a New Japan show.
JUICE ROBINSON, RYUSUKE TAGUCHI, & KUSHIDA vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Sanada, EVIL, & BUSHI) - 6.5/10
Another shockingly good match for a New Japan undercard.
WAR MACHINE & DAVID FINLAY JR. vs. BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale & the Guerrillas of Destiny) - 5/10
CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & Gedo) vs. BULLET CLUB (Kenny Omega & Yujiro Takahashi) - 6/10
The goal here was to make you want to see Okada vs. Omega, and they succeeded in that... but unfortunately they both made themselves look a bit silly at the end as they seemed to spent the final two minutes of the match with one of them stopping the other from getting into the ring to break up whatever pinfalls were happening.
BLOCK A MATCH: Jushin "Thunder" Liger vs. Taichi (w/Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado) - 4.75/10
Liger has gone completely winless so far in what he had announced would be his final appearance in the tournament that he helped make famous. While he obviously can't win the tournament anymore, he can spoil several people's nights, as a victory by Liger here would not only eliminate Taichi from the tournament, but would also make tonight's main event a win-and-in for Will Ospreay.
This started off with a pre-match shot with the microphone stand and then a big Suzuki-Gun beat-down, all in the middle of the ring. Taichi then cut a promo on Liger before the bell rang and the match officially started. Then Taichi pitched Liger to the outside and distracted the referee while more Suzuki-Gun beat-down happened. Actually, that was pretty much the entire match. I think the referee was either distracted or unconscious for at least 95% of it. Lots of interference and cheating by Suzuki-Gun. Also, just to be a dick, Taichi cut some of Liger's hair and started to cut open his body suit. Finally Taguchi and KUSHIDA ran out to fight of Desperado & Kanemaru, allowing Liger to hit a rolling koppu kick into a chair into Taichi's face (which actually looked like it missed), a shotei, a Liger Bomb and a Brainbuster for the win. The crowd went nuts. Liger gave a big speech after the match and crowd all chanted his name. This felt a retirement moment without the retirement.
BLOCK A MATCH: Dragon Lee vs. TAKA Michinoku - 6.75/10
Now that Liger has eliminated Taichi, Dragon Lee's only chance of winning the block is to pick up a win here AND for Ospreay to either lose or draw in the main event. We won't have to worry about that, though, as TAKA spent the whole match working over Dragon Lee's head and picked up the win.
BLOCK A MATCH: Marty Scurll vs. Ricochet - 8.25/10
Ricochet is in the same spot that Dragon Lee just was. His only path to victory is to win this match here and then hope that Ospreay either loses or goes to a draw in the next match. Marty's only hope of making it to the finals is to win his match here and then hope that Dragon Lee, Will Ospreay, and Hiromu are all somehow unable to compete on the final day. I don't see it happening, but I'm not sure that Marty Scurll is above poisoning someone, either. We know he's certainly not above jumping someone from behind because that's how he started off this match.
The match was awesome, with the expected combination of athletic stuff and good heel stuff from Scurll. Scurll won the match to simplify this block down to just a winner takes all main event.
BLOCK A MATCH: Hiromu Takahashi vs. Will Ospreay - 9/10
This was one of those "big haymakers" style of high-flying match where they slow the pace down to really let the spots breathe, and that definitely worked here. Hiromu worked over Ospreay's knee in the beginning but quickly shifted to working the mid-section at the first opportunity. Ospreay fought through it, and it was interesting watching him transition from his knee as the primary point of selling to his midsection. It felt like you could see a health-meter type of thing for each body part and were watching his knee heel up and his stomach get worse. Ospreay picked up the big win over the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion and is now one match away from repeating his victory in last year's Best of the Super Juniors Tournament.
A pretty awesome show from New Japan, with an excellent one-two punch at the top, an undercard that over-delivered, and a nice moment for the legendary Jushin "Thunder" Liger.