Thursday, May 19, 2016

Best of the Super Juniors Preview and Predictions

by Landon Wayne
@LWayne 21

and Justin Ballard

The Best of the Super Juniors. A time for the juniors of New Japan and abroad to come together and be showcased, while guys like Tanahashi and Okada can relax and drink martinis for a month. It’s a month of fast starts, quick ground work, reversals out of reversals, and fighting spirit. It’s refreshing for a North American fan who’s used to a stigma of lighter wrestlers as a niche or sideshow act to be able to watch almost a full month of nothing but the juniors giving their best performances.

It’d be ridiculous to try and cover every event, every match that happens. But we at want to give you something to sink your teeth into that’s tournament-related. So Justin and I are gonna give you the low down on each competitor, and give you some of our predictions for the tournament.

Block A


Landon: Los Ingobernables’ representative in the tournament has a lot to gain. He is a man who has been unexposed, even compared to the newest Stablemate SANADA. I feel like this could be a really good chance for BUSHI to break out strongly in the Junior’s division, especially after a humbling loss to KUSHIDA earlier this year.

Justin: I haven't seen that much of Bushi's work but I'm impressed thus far.  His match with Kushida was pretty great and he's probably the second best worker in the Ingobernables stable.  This should be a good opportunity for him to step up.


Landon: New Japan’s booker has no real chance in this tournament, and certainly has no benefit in winning. While he may not get many victories, the 27-year veteran has given great performances recently alongside Okada and Ropponngi Vice in the undercard and overseas. Look for solid matches coming from him throughout the block.

Justin: Gedo's a non-factor in this tourney and will likely drop most of his matches, thus putting some of the younger guys over a well-respected name.


Landon: The IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion, and last year’s winner, goes in with the odds of him winning this year stacked against him. Winning this year would mean winning both as champion and defending BOSJ winner. This feat has only been accomplished by one man, Tiger Mask IV in 2005. However, after defeating Kenny Omega at WK10, and Liger recently at Dontaku, there could be a push to make the champion the next biggest Junior in history. A win in the tournament could help this along.

Justin: Kushida is the new yardstick for small wrestlers everywhere.  He's gone from a mostly tag wrestler to one of the best in-ring talents in the world, bringing to the table so much more than just flashy offense.  When Kushida's in there every move counts and there's a story to be told.  I don't see him winning but he certainly could be a finalist.

Kyle O’Reilly

Landon: The runner up from last year, Kyle and his tag team partner could be set up to give a series of great performances in the tournament again this year. With a reduced use in the sparse Junior Tag division, though, it may be that O’Reilly reached his peak last year losing to KUSHIDA. Expect half of ROH’s representation in the A block to be good, but not major.

Justin: O'Reilly's another junior who brings a sense of importance to the division, relying less on aerial moves and more on a stellar ground game.  His match with Kushida in last year's final is must-see.

Matt Sydal

Landon: In a short time, Sydal has had a title match against Omega, won the Junior Tag Tournamnet with Ricochet, and is a two time Junior Tag champion, all within a year’s time. With his debut in the tournament, expect good matches from Reborn. It’s possible that he may go far, even if I don’t necessarily if I like it.

Justin: I've enjoyed Sydal's work since his ROH run and it's nice to see him used in a meaningful way (unlike in WWE).  He's by no means a main event guy but I can see him turning in quite a few strong performances here and being one of the most reliable competitors in the tournament.

Rocky Romero

Landon: One of the most veteran members of this tournament, my experience with a singles Romero is very small. But his presence and skill in the ring is still clear in his tag action. I’ll be happy to watch the CHAOS member shine in this tournament among the rest of the block.

Justin: I haven't seen much singles Romero stuff either.  He's a solid tag team hand and always fun to watch.  Hopefully he'll make his mark in this tourney.

Ryusuke Taiguchi

Landon: Taiguchi’s peak is definitely past him in term of success. He’s spent most of the past year and a half on the undercard with the Young Lions or the other juniors. While other juniors could have been brought in from different companies to take his spot, he’s still a decent hand and will be able to turn out good matches in this tournament.

Justin: Taiguchi is mostly a comedy wrestler at this point, there to make the younger guys look good.  He relies way too much on that butt attack though.  In a way he's almost the Santino Marella of NJPW.


Landon: As of this writing, Matt Jackson is injured and his replacement has yet to be determined. The most likely possibility is that either David Finlay or Jay White will replace Matt. We can also speculate that ROH or CMLL will send another representative for the tournament. As long as it isn’t Cheeseburger, I can be happy.

Justin: God I hope it's Jay White.


Landon: DAVIDO FINLAY is in, replacing Matt Jackson in the A block, which is a shame because I would've wanted to see him and Ospreay go at it. Course he's still gonna lose every match most likely...most of them will probably be shorter...BUT I'm still happy he's in. Hopefully this leads to bigger things for him.

Justin: Ok, I can dig it.  Jay would've been my first choice, but Finlay was my second.  Yeah I imagine he's gonna lose a lot, but all his matches should be fun.  I agree though, he should've been in Ospreay's block.

Block B


Landon: RPG vice’s other man is in quite the same position of Romero in the A Block. The BOSJ is the time for guys like Baretta to break out and finally work as a singles wrestler for a month and show what they can do. Hopefully he can make a statement in the course of the tournament.

Justin: I'd be lying if I said I'm the world's biggest Baretta fan.  His tag team work has been fine, I just don't get super excited about seeing him.  I predict he'll be in the lower echelon here.

Bobby Fish

Landon: The Ring of Honor TV champion walks into the tournament with immense momentum after defeating Tomohiro Ishii at Global Wars. One wonders if his success against the Pitbull will be brought up or not, with the result clearly hanging around his waist. It could also indicate big things could be in store in New Japan as well, such as a Junior Heavyweight title shot.

Justin: Fish is another strong grappler like O'Reilly and should create some matches that stand out stylistically from the pack.  I don't see him as a finalist, but he'll add some unique flavor.

Chase Owens

Landon: The Bullet Club member hasn’t been seen in New Japan since the Juniors Tag Tournament late last year. If it wasn’t for Nick Jackson being injured, we may not have seen him in the company ever again. I personally think he’s a good wrestler, and I’m glad to see him here again.

Justin: Owens is fine but I haven't seen enough of his work to form much of an opinion beyond that.  I'm actually sad the Young Bucks won't be in this, as I always get a kick out of them.  Goddamn injuries....

Jushin Thunder Liger

Landon: Arguably the greatest junior in New Japan’s history, and the winningest junior in the tournament’s history, Liger’s participation is a staple at this point. While he’s sure to win at least 3 or 4 matches this year, advancing to the semi-finals or finals is unlikely. Liger stands as a staple and a standard, but certainly not a current topic.

Justin: Liger's a 52-year-old that proved at Dontaku that he's still got it.  He may not be as light or fast as he was in the 90s but he'll certainly turn in some good matches in this tournament.  I don't see him getting anywhere near the finals but he'll beat some of the lesser guys and put over some of the more promising ones.


Landon: Personal feelings aside, I believe that Ricochet is the top pick to be the winner of the tournament this year. One of the most innovative flyers in the world today, he’s been riding a wave of momentum since coming back to New Japan last year. With the makeup of his block, he may not only win, but become the third man in history to sweep his block lossless.

Justin: I'm a big Ricochet fan.  The guy does stuff I didn't know was possible.  I'm not sure how to predict any of his matches lately since there's so much speculation about "will he or won't he" jump to WWE.  The fact that he's in BOSJ instead of the Cruiserweight Classic is certainly promising, but if WWE came to him in a month and offered him a deal I'm not so sure he wouldn't take it.  So I don't think he'll win this but he could be in the finals.

Tiger Mask IV

Landon: One could almost copy and paste what I said for Liger and apply it to Tiger Mask. Another contender for greatest junior ever, and another top BOSJ winner, the Mask will be playing an identical role to Liger. Here to make people look good in the block, but not any higher than that.

Justin: I actually didn't realize how old Tiger Mask IV was.  The guy moves like a 30-year-old but is actually 45.  He'll definitely have a similar role as Liger, but it'll be damn fun to watch him.

Volador Jr.

Landon: CMLL sends Volador Jr. for the tournament this year. From what I’ve seen of his work (Including against Gran Guerrero at 2015’s Fantastimania, hint hint) he’s a very competent and skilled luchador. Hopefully, his being in the tournament leads to him staying longer in the company.

Justin: I've never seen Volador.  Guess I'll hafta brush up on him.

Will Ospreay

Landon: The youngest, and probably greenest competitor in the tournament this year is coming off of a tremendous debut against KUSHIDA at Invasion Attack. This tournament is a great stage for the Aerial Assassin to showcase himself against some of New Japan and ROH’s best. Look for Ospreay to look great coming out of this, regardless of if he even makes it to the finals.

Justin: This guy is one of my new favorites.  Just unreal spectacular to watch.  I'm glad New Japan gave this guy a full-fledged contract because I could easily see him as a future main eventer.  Like Ricochet he does stuff I've never seen or thought of, and he's only 22 years old!  Look for every one of his matches in this tournament to be a treat.  Ospreay is my pick to win the whole thing and get another crack at Kushida, maybe at Dominion.

Predictions for the Finals

Landon: I see Block A going three different ways; the least likely is Kyle O’Reilly winning the block and advancing to the finals of the tournament for the second year in a row. KUSHIDA could also make it to the final round, with the possibility of winning again and claiming the title of greatest junior in New Japan with no doubt. However, I think that there’s the most to gain from BUSHI taking the A block and advancing to the finals. It would give Los Ingobernables more momentum overall, and potentially set BUSHI up for a title match.

B Block is a much clearer cut case for me. The only option I see advancing is Ricochet. Potentially Ospreay, but that result is a lot less likely compared to the man he styles himself after.

In the end, in a battle of BUSHI and Ricochet in the final match, I think Ricochet comes out on top and wins the Best of The Super Juniors, and he may go on to win the title from KUSHIDA soon after. However, if the fight were to come down to KUSHIDA and Ricochet, KUSHIDA would be the one to come out on top.

Justin: A Block has to come down to either Bushi or Kushida.  Since I don't see Kushida winning the whole thing (though it's a possibility), presumably the winner is going to face him soon anyway for the Jr. belt.  So it would make more sense for Bushi to win the block.

For B Block it's either Ricochet or Ospreay.  As I said before, Ricochet is a bit of a question mark given WWE's interest in him, so Ospreay is probably the safer bet.  Also Ospreay has a huge buzz about him.

Landon’s Top Match Picks

A Block

-Kyle O’Reilly vs. KUSHIDA

-Rocky Romero vs. Gedo

-Matt Sydal vs. KUSHIDA

B Block

-Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Tiger Mask IV

-Bobby Fish vs. Will Ospreay

-Ricochet vs. Will Ospreay

Justin’s Top Match Picks

A Block

-Bushi vs. Kushida

-Kyle O'Reilly vs. Kushida

-Matt Sydal vs. Kushida

(Yeah I know, I'm a Kushida mark.)

B Block

-Will Ospreay vs. Ricochet

-Will Ospreay vs. Tiger Mask IV

-Ricochet vs. Tiger Mask IV

And that's where our heads are at for the Best of the Super Juniors.  Hope you all enjoy the tournament, and we'll be back in a few weeks with our thoughts!  Comment below with yours....

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