The Best And Worst Of NJPW: Best Of The Super Jr. 25, Part 4


Previously on NJPW: Taguchi turned back time to when he used to win matches, Tiger Mask put Bushi on the bubble, and Hiromu fulfilled his lifelong dream (as in, it will last for his entire life) of fighting Dragon Lee again.

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And now, the Best and Worst of Best Of The Super Juniors 25 from May 26-7.

Best?: Is This My Favorite Ever Flip Gordon One-On-One Match I’ve Ever Seen???


I think we all knew the Tiger Mask victory streak had to end at some point, but I didn’t expect it to be ended by Flip Gordon and also hubris. Tiger credited his success in this BOSJ before now to 1) his veteran status and, 2) high flying being overrated. Then he faced Gordon, the least experienced, high-flyingest dude in the whole tournament, and was totally caught off guard by his weird style, which he says afterwards he hadn’t seen before.

I enjoyed this match a lot more than I expected too, because Tiger Mask got in enough offense to stop Flip from doing things that annoy me. It’s hard to showboat or even sell weird when trying to deal with those types of holds. Gordon’s flips felt a lot more earned than usual when he got them in, and I really liked his counter out of what looked like the set up for a Tiger Suplex Hold.

After the pin after a (deep sigh) Four Flippy Splash, Gordon bows to Tiger Mask, who raises his hand in victory. With that endorsement, I’m guessing we’ll see Flip Gordon in some capacity (maybe the New Japan Rumble) at the Tokyo Dome in January.

Worst: The Next Top WWE Babyface

I’d like to further congratulate Flip Gordon on finding a promo Vince McMahon wrote for Roman Reigns in 2015 and threw in the garbage because it was too obviously written by a billion year old man! It physically pained me to watch this!

Perfectly Fine Pro Wrestling: They Cheer Who They Normally Boo

New Japan booked BOSJ so the obvious heel vs. face dynamics are mostly on the televised shows, and this middle part has the matchups we wouldn’t normally see, or even really want to. We got face vs. face, heel vs. heel, people who don’t know each other at all, and an installment in a twelve year rivalry from another wrestling promotion. Everything felt pretty low stakes, but the matches were solid and I enjoyed the weird vibes of these random pairings we get from this tournament format.


ACH defeated Yoh in a solid little match that started with a pose-off after the feeling out process. ACH started the match looking and playing more physically powerfully despite his shoulder now being completely attached to his body with tape by no-selling Yoh’s chops and then knocking his opponent with one (1) strike.

But eventually the shoulder halted ACH’s momentum and earned him cheers (of sympathy?) from the audience. The crowd support became more mixed and ACH leaned into it, looking the crowd for support before TAPE REMOVAL on the turnbuckle. But his set up for whatever move he peeled off the tape for, and Yoh nailed him with a superplex. After that, it was like they were trying to out-underdog each other until ACH got the win after a Soul Buster.


Marty Scurll defeated El Desperado in an opportunistic, cheating heel vs. opportunistic, cheating heel version of ACH vs. Yoh. They had more of an established feud though, because it turns El Desperado has double jointed fingers that he can use to do the most realistic ever sell of the finger snap. (Behold the next level carny ish of El Desperado waiting for a close up to pop his finger back to normal.)

El Desperado enters aggressively with a chair, pointing to his taped finger to the ref as justification, and stalks around angrily when informed that chair shots are actually still illegal if they’re for revenge. He and Marty do some solid technically wrestling, but the most memorable part of this match is definitely their brawling around/through at least three fourths of the crowd, which was absolutely not lit for that. The finish involved some chair shenanigans, and overall it was as fun a match as you’d expect from these guys.


Chris Sabin, the most average looking man in this tournament, defeated Dragon Lee, the most beautiful Mexican Batman in this tournament, in another solid match with a few cool moments. They both came out of it looking like strong competitors, and ended BOSJ’s other undefeated streak.


Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Taiji Ishimori in a match that apparently made a lot more sense for Pro Wrestling NOAH fans. As pointed out by Twitter user EvanDeadlySinsW, Kanemaru and Ishimori have had 11 singles matches over the past 12 years, the first ten in NOAH. Kanemaru has won all of them except for the one in 2012 that ended in a time limit draw. So I guess even though Kanemaru’s not what he used to be and Ishimori has evolved — sorry, been … REBORN – I guess he still has Ishimori’s number.

This match also temporarily turned the Bone Soldier babyface, which was kind of foreshadowed by that promo line about how Suzukigun are “a bunch of cowards.” Ishimori attacked before the bell, but quickly opened himself up to be cheered, and man, were those girls ready to scream “TAIJI!” the second it was acceptable. Chicks really dig him, you guys. There’s a hilarious phenomenon on Japanese language NJPW fan Twitter where they’ve nicknamed him “Ribbon” because it sounds like “Reborn,” and there are all these ribbon emojis in responses to him twisting people’s necks and stuff.

Speaking of Ishimori’s catchphrase, does he know what it means? His promo video says “Bone Soldier Reborn,” which makes sense, but he keeps saying “It’s … reborn!” which does NOT. Is it like “it [the Bone Soldier character] is reborn,” or is he being super weird and referring to himself as “it?” Does he know it doesn’t make sense in English and just likes how it sounds?

ANYWAY, this match was full of kickouts and felt too long at times, but I appreciate these dudes giving their rivalry the match I’m guessing they felt it deserved? (My NOAH knowledge is spotty, sorry!) Kanemaru used Suzukigun brute tactics to try and stop the fireworks, but Ishimori still got to shine. Kanemaru also got a great booze-spitting moment that the crowd loved, and further put over Ishimori’s knees as deadly weapons.

Best: The Mighty Bush


Bushi vs. Will Ospreay had the highest stakes of any match in these two days, as Bushi had to defeat the champ to remain a BOSJ contender.

Although Bushi played heel the whole time, he was fully Cool Heel, and was rightly portrayed as the star of the match. He started the match hot by dropkicking Ospreay during the announcement of his name and choking him with his own terrible entrance shirt in an act of fashion justice. His taunt response to Will’s flip-and-pose was truly a “The Story of Adidon” to Ospreay’s “Duppy Freestyle.” (What a timely reference, Emily.)

The most memorable aspect of this match was definitely the extended Asian Mist spot to the finish, with Bushi escaping the Stormbreaker and hiding behind the ref to deliver a misting that affected Ospreay maybe more than that stuff as ever affected anyone. (After the match, Ospreay is SHOCKED at these underhanded tactics even though L.I.J. has been around for YEARS and this is Bushi’s first or second most notable gimmick, AND L.I.J. just feuded with Chaos like four months ago.)

Bushi shows some fighting spirit standing his ground during the chop and strike exchange, and wins with the MX after some cool nearfalls that get the crowd hyped. It probably doesn’t mean a ton for his chances in BOSJ 25 overall, but it kept a fan favorite from looking like a total chump.

BEST: Kushida Vs. The Future


At first it looked like this might be a huge win for Sho, who said he’d been studying tape on how to beat Kushida even back when he was on excursion, while Kushida cut Anxiety: The Promo.

“Don’t overthink it … I don’t have the luxury to talk,” and then stressing out about points to the camera for like a minute does not inspire confidence.

Both men looked extra serious when entering for a match that inspired me to write such helpful notes as “wow” and “wrestling is good.” Because seriously, wow, this was a very good wrestling match, and the type that reminds you how good just pure pro wrestling can be. Kushida vs. Sho had exciting, creative technical wrestling that was perfectly choreographed without seeming too choreographed.

Both men had technical skill and fighting spirit, but Sho had the strength/power edge, while Kushida showed tactical skill and the type of know-how earned by just doing a thing a lot. Kushida is obviously the more experienced pro wrestler, but Sho’s shoot MMA background showed here. They both hang with each other for a while and it looks like the match could go either way until Sho is finally weakened by too many expert submission holds, and Kushida can no-sell his strikes and knock him down with a kick.

Afterwards, Sho bows to his veteran opponent, and then they both bow to each other. Kushida waits until Sho has left the ring to throw up Vs for victory. The crowd is impressed and appreciative. Wrestling is good.

Worst: Butt Seriously


The Hiromu Takahashi vs. Ryusuke Taguchi match in itself was pretty good, but in context it was underwhelming. These two had been so entertaining in the tournament so far, the quality of Hiromu’s three previous main events were so high, and this followed Kushida vs. Sho … so I’m giving it a “worst.”

Hiromu is historically someone who has brought out Business Taguchi, and though this match wasn’t super serious, Taguchi looked much more dangerous than usual while still getting in some goofy moments. Taguchi running all the way down the aisle to wind up for a punch, only to run face first into a wall when Hiromu dodged it, worked just as well as that last extended ankle lock spot before he tapped out to the D triangle choke.

Overall, May 26-27 wasn’t the most exciting installment of BOSJ 25, but both blocks produced solid matches, plus one incredible one in Kushida vs. Sho. Here’s where these bouts put us with the points:

A Block:

Tiger Mask, Flip Gordon – 3-1 – 6 points
ACH, Taiji Ishimori, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Will Opsreay – 2-2 – 4 points
Yoh, Bushi – 1-3 – 2 points

B Block is still even more of a log jam:

Dragon Lee – 3-1 – 6 points
Marty Scurll, El Desperado, Chris Sabin, Kushida, Sho, Hiromu Takahashi – 4 points
Ryusuke Taguchi – 1-3 – 2 points

I’ll see you back here soon to talk about the continued shenanigans of the relatively small guys, and if Will Ospreay continues to be both most vulnerable and invincible human on the planet at the same time!