NJPW: Best of the Super Juniors Stage 10 Review

We’re nearly there, it’s been a long tour but the finish line is in sight. Luckily, we’re on a Block B day so chances are, it’s going to be a good one. I’m Joe from SteelChair and this is the Best of the Super Juniors…

BOSJ Tournament Match: Dragon Lee vs Marty Scurll

Last year, Lee vs Scurll was one of my sleeper hits of the entire tournament and this year’s confrontation was no different as two of the best in the world just went at it. By this point in the tour, you get the feeling everyone’s starting to sometimes play the hits for the house show loop but even with that, these two have some good hits to play as Dragon Lee kept taking things to the sky and playing a striker’s game whereas Scurll stuck to his standard (but frequently effective) gameplan of annihilating his opponent’s neck to set up for his Crossface Chickenwing finisher. If they had kept it to the basics of the hero-villain dynamics, this match would have been a lot better for me but Scurll having fan support, can’t help but play up to them, busting out a failed moonsault attempt and trying to pop the crowd. Scurll is a performer that can tell a compelling story just from working a wristlock, he doesn’t need to throw aerial moves into his arsenal and if anything, it detracted from the match for me. Have I mentioned, however, that Dragon Lee is a perfect angel and deserves the world also that he’s a nutcase for agreeing to take a Black Plague reverse superplex? Anyway, Scurll finished the match with the Chickenwing. A good match but could have been better if Scurll had focussed more on being the grapplebastard he can and should be.

Winner: Marty Scurll

BOSJ Tournament Match: Ryusuke Taguchi vs Sho

Get yourselves a man who can do both. Just days after he went to war with Hiromu Takahashi in one of the most technically impressive matches of the tournament, Taguchi delivers some of his comedy best here. The opening played off both men’s signature stuff with Taguchi dodging the invisible arrows Yoh shot at him before taking him down with a flying butt-bump. From here on, the match was a good, clean fight with both men doing that good thing we love, trying to drop each other on the head. Unfortunately for Sho, Taguchi’s veteran instincts allowed him to get a Bridging Half-and-Half Suplex for the pin. This wasn’t the most memorable match beyond the fun frolics of the opening few minutes but for what it was, a very pleasant palate-cleanser of a match.

Winner: Ryusuke Taguchi

BOSJ Tournament Match: Chris Sabin vs Hiromu Takahashi

Sabin and Takahashi had a show of respect to begin before Takahashi refused to let go and battered Sabin into a corner. Sabin managed to fight his way out and from here on out, they went balls-to-the-wall, barely slowing down to breathe and everything they did, was technically flawless but what else would you expect from Takahashi, a person having a legendary BOSJ run this year, putting nary a foot wrong. While not necesarily a problem with the match itself, it did suffer from similarity to the Junior Sprint style employed by the prior two contests, not that the action didn’t live up to it, it was probably technically the strongest of the three but just overall a faint feeling of exhaustion, like the worst excessed of the PWG undercards, each match taken on their own holds up but put together, can be a bit too much. Takahashi got the win off a Triangle Choke for the tapout. Oh, if you’re wondering, Takahashi didn’t get his apron sunset flip powerbomb in this one but he did turn it into a straight apron bomb. Lovely stuff.

Winner: Hiromu Takahashi

BOSJ Tournament Match: KUSHIDA vs El Desperado

Guess what? A Suzuki-Gun member attacked off the bell. Quelle surprise. Luckily, the brawling we got around the ring was of the effective and inexcessive variety plus we got KUSHIDA giving a seated senton to a seated Despy and Desperado bulldozing KUSHIDA through about twenty rows of chairs with a trolley before applying a stretch muzzler in the middle of the carnage which was beautiful. This did, of course, lead to the standard ‘will he make it back before the count of 20’ spot which I feel would work better for generating tension if just once this lead to a countout. Much better than match 1, Despy and KUSH have some of the clearest hero-villain dynamics there are as KUSHIDA worked firmly from underneath the malicious bastard tactics of Desperado, a man who’s never met anyone he couldn’t undermine by treating them like a young lion and applying a single-leg boston crab. There will be some for whom this doesn’t work as it’s slower, more methodical than the standard approach to a Super Juniors match but that is what makes it work for me as it was a great change of pace. KUSHIDA applied the Back to the Future for a good surprise pin. Desperado might not have won here but every match, he comes out looking better.

Winner: KUSHIDA

Boy howdy, Block B has been doing good things and they don’t stop being good. Let’s see how things are after Saturday’s penultimate show.