New Japan Best of the Super Juniors XXI Finals Report 6-8, Tokyo

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Welcome to the finals of what has been a really fun tournament so far. The two semifinals matches are Taichi vs. Kushida and Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Ricochet. Let’s pray to our respective gods that Taichi does not advance any further than he already has. Is there any way we can de-advance him?

The winners of the semis will face off in the main event to crown the next Super Juniors tournament champion, who will get a future title shot against Kota Ibushi.

Let’s get to the action.

Match 1: Kenny Omega & BUSHI & Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Mascara Don (Manabu Nakanishi) & Mascara Dorada & Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask

Of course Mascara Dorada is in the 8-man opener. We wouldn’t want him to stand out or anything, would we, New Japan?

BUSHI stole HHH’s water spitting gimmick, and he looks like a striped christmas tree.

Liger got a big pop when he entered the ring. Nice Romero special on BUSHI by Liger.

I must say I love Mascara Don’s tights. I have a thing for stars and bright colours. Kojima did his corner chops on Don. Don hit Kojima with a big lariat, but Kojima came back with a cutter on Don.

Don showed his strength by overpowering Kojima and Tenzan and reversing a double suplex attempt. Don did a top rope dropkick where he just tapped Tenzan with maybe one toe.

Dorada did a cool spinning flip to the outside. Back in the ring, Dorada walked ropes and dropkicked Omega who was in the opposite corner. Very impressive.

Omega with gutwrench into powerbomb on Dorada followed by a HADOUKEN!

Omega attempted to catch Dorada in the electric chair position from a handspring but they misjudged slightly/Dorada’s jump was short. They quickly recovered and Omega hit Croyt’s Wrath for the win in 08’35.

Fun opener despite the slightly botched finish. Mascara was great for the 2 minutes he worked.

Match 2: Kota Ibushi & El Desperado vs. Rocky Romero & Gedo

Koslov came out to be in Romero/Gedo’s corner in a sling. Funny moments where both Romero and Gedo ran away from their opponents and hugged each other in fear.

Desperado accidentally speared Ibushi when Gedo sidestepped out of the way.

Romero avoided Guitarra de la Muerta, hit an enzuiguri followed by a tombstone piledriver for the pin in 07’10”.

Basically Desperado worked most of the match with Ibushi just hitting a couple of big highflying spots. Good match.

Match 3: Yuji Nagata & Captain New Japan vs. Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata

Let’s hope no jaws get broken in this one, right Shibata? Shibata’s sohulder looks heavily taped.

Early in the match, Captain New Japan went for a leg takedown and ate a huge knee by Shibata.

The Captain is in all blue and blends in with the ring mat. He should just lay down and hide by blending with the mat. Probably a good tactic at this point. Shibata put a beating on the Captain. The Captain hit a shoulder tackle and tagged in Nagata. Nagata with a lot of kicks, including a weird jump fake followed by a low dropkick to Shibata’s leg. Goto tagged in. Nagata got Goto into an arm bar, but Shibata put Nagata in a headlock, then The Captain pulled Shibata off Nagata and hit a German suplex.

The Captain then got in a lot of offence. Mayb more than I’ve ever seen before. But to now avail, as Goto landed Shoten Kai on the Captain for the win in 10’49.

Nagata and Shibata continued brawling after the bell.

Pretty good match. The Captain looked better than usual. Not as helpless, actually landing some big moves for a change.

Match 4: KUSHIDA vs. Taichi in the Best of the Super Juniors Semifinals

Taichi talked to himself on mic again when he came out. I don’t get what he’s doing there. I noticed a lot of Twitter hate for Taichi. A lot of threats about rioting if he beats KUSHIDA. Taichi met KUSHIDA with a chair when he came out. Someone should have warned KUSHIDA. There was plenty of time to. Shelley came out to help KUSHIDA but also got attacked with the chair and TAKA. KUSHIDA ws going to do a dive but TAKA tripped him up. Shelley pulled TAKA down from the apron and held onto him and Taichi for KUSHIDA to dive on.

KUSHIDA went for a moonsault but TAICHI got his knees up. Taichi tried Eddie Guerrero’s old trick of giving his opponent the weapon while he lies down and pretends to have been hit. Luckily it didn’t work here.

KUSHIDA eventually put Taichi away with the Hoverboard Lock (Kimura) in 07’29.

Really good heel work by Taichi. He truly is infuriating to watch wrestle. A lot of interference by TAKA, but thankfully KUSHIDA, with Shelley’s help, advanced to the finals.

Match 5: Ricochet vs. Ryusuke Taguchi in the Best of the Super Juniors Semifinals

Ricochet mocked Taguchi by doing his hip swivels. Ricochet hit a Zig Zag but missed a standing shooting star press. Both guys exchanged running corner dropkicks. Taguchi went for a Tiger suplex but Ricochet land on his feet and quickly hit his finisher, Benadryller (Fireman carry into roundhouse kick to head) for the win in 05’49.

Short match but a lot of fun. Ricochet advanced to the finals where he’ll meet KUSHIDA in the main event.

Match 6: Toru Yano & Jado vs. Takashi Iizuka & Minoru Suzuki

This feud. Honestly. Just end. Please just end. For everybody’s sake, just end. Even with Iizuka’s recent turn, this feud has run its course.

Minoru and Iizuka beat up Yano for a hundred years, then they beat up Jado, then Yano again, then Minoru Gotch piledrivered Jado for the win in 09’52.

After the match, Sakuraba came out and attacked Minoru. Does that mean Minoru is done with Yano? Please mean that!

Match 7: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tetsuya Naito & Tomoaki Honma vs. Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows & Tama Tonga

Tanahashi was isolated early on. Tanahashi was down on the outside. He just made it into the ring before the 20-count. That could have been a quick match. It felt a bit early in the match for a 19-count like that. Naito tagged in and hit a tornado DDT on Anderson with a kick to Tonga along the way. Honma came in next with the hot tag. He did a nice falling headbutt on Gallows. Honma shrugged off a big boot , but then ate a chokebomb. Fairly chaotic action from here with guys fighting all over the place. Back in the ring, Honma hit a top rope flying headbutt on Tonga. Tanahashi followed that up with the High Fly Flow for the pin in 10’15.

After the match, The Bullet Club put a beatdown on Tanahashi but Makabe ran out and made the save. He then got on the mic and literally told the Bullet Club to F$%K OFF!

Good match.

Match 8: Shinsuke Nakamura & Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi & Young Bucks

This was a really great, lengthy match, which it needed to be with the number of guys involved and stories to progress.

Nakamura and Fale worked a lot together, as did Ishii and Takahashi.

A funny moment when Matt Jackson shouted at the referee, “You’re the worst ref in the business!” I think it was because he counted a 2-count. Pretty harsh, Matt.

Wrestlers were fighting all over the place. Hard to keep up with the action. Eventually the pace slowed down and Ishii was isolated in the ring. Fale looked strong knocking down Ishii. Ishii tried fighting back but was continuously cut off.

The Bucks hit stereo superkcicks on Ishii followed by a Fisherman driver by Yujiro but the pin was broken up. Yujiro hit an Angle slam on Ishii, and then a lariat, but Ishii got up instantly and turned Yujiro inside out with a lariat of his own.

Okada came in and hit double flapjacks on the Bucks. Okada with a big elbow from the top onto Nick. Okada missed a rainmaker and ate a super kick by one of the Bucks, followed by a splash from Fale for a nearfall.

Fale went for the Grenade but Okada turned it into a dropkick.

Nakamura in next. He missed his running corner knee on Fale, but he got him with a Randy Orton hangman DDT. Nakamura hit a backstabber, followed by a Blockbuster by YOSHI-HASHI for a nearfall. Samoan drop on YOSHI by Fale. Fale went for another Grenade but YOSHI escaped and came back with a big lariat. Swanton from the top by YOSHI but Yujiro broke up the pin.

More chaotic action with guys getting taken out all over the place. Eventually YOSHI-HASHI and Fale are left alone win the ring. YOSHI had Fale in an arm bar but Fale turned it into a Grenade. Nakamura made the save but was thrown out. Fale then hit the Bad Luck Fall on YOSHI-HASH for the win at 17’59.

After the match, The Bullet Club beat down Nakamura and Fale posed with the Intercontinental title.

This was a really good match. Lots of near falls. Lots of saves. YOSHI-HASHI taking the pin didn’t feel right tough. That guy needs a break from losing. I thought wither Ishii or Nakamura would lose to their respective challengers to build to their Dominion match. Poor YOSHi. Him losing matches is like a running joke at this point.

Match 9: Best of Super Junior Finals Ricochet vs. KUSHIDA

Slow, methodical start to the match with both guys feeling each other out. Ricochet faked running the ropes and nailed KUSHIDA with a spin kick to the gut. Ricochet backflipped into a head scissors but Kushida handspringed out of it. Very cool. Kushida eventually grounds Ricochet and goes after the arm, setting up for his submission finisher, the Hoverboard Lock (Kimura).

I just noticed that a lot of the tournament participants are on the outside watching the match.

Ricochet did a cool handspring (onto his “hurt” arm, mind you) into a backflip over the top rope into KUSHIDA. Ricochet then did that move where he slingshots up onto his shin on the top rope and flips over onto his opponent. Also very cool.

And I just realised KUSHIDA has a watch drawn onto his wrist tape. How about that? Ricochet did a handspring into the ropes but KUSHIDA cut him off with dropkick.

Kushida did a big Swanton off the top turnbuckle to the outside onto Ricochet. Back in the ring, KUSHIDA hit a top rope moonsault for a nearfall. Ricochet hit a fireman carry into a big gut kick for a nearfall. Ricochet did a Daniel Bryan style corner dropkick, followed by a springboard shooting star press attempt but KUSHIDA rolled out of the way. KUSHIDA rolled him up for another nearfall. KUSHIDA locked in the Hoverboard Lock but Ricochet made it to the ropes. KUSHIDA with a beautiful Dragon suplex for yet another nearfall. KUSHIDA missed a spinning moonsault off the top rope. He didn’t land on his face like he did the last time he attempted that move. Both guys exchanged strikes in the middle of the ring . Ricochet got the advantage and hit a superman punch, followed by a bridging duplex that he rolled through and into a brainbuster for a 2-count. Great sequence.

Ricochet went up top but Kushida cut him off. Ricochet got KUSHIDA up and into a middle rope fireman carry into gut kick for a nearfall. Ricochet followed that up with a 630 senton but KUSHIDA kicked out again.

Benadryller attempt (fireman carry into roundhouse kick to the head) but KUSHIDA ducked and hit an enzuigiri. KUSHIDA handspringed into an electric chair position, Ricochet transitioned KUSHIDA into another Benadryller attempt but Kushida held on and locked in the Hoverboard Lock. Ricochet escaped, nailed KUSHIDA with a spin kick to the head followed by one last Benadryller for the pin in 23’06.

Incredible match. A lot of believable nearfalls. I was sure Ricochet was going to tap that last time KUSHIDA had the lock in. In fact, I was sure KUSHIDA was going to win the whole tournament. Shows what I know.

Final Thoughts

Excellent show overall. Not a single dud. Well worth the $25 asking price. Of course, Yano/Jado vs. Minoru/Iizuka was boring, but not terrible. I’m just tired of that feud.

The finals between Ricochet was simply fantastic. Those two guys worked so smoothly together and pulled out all the stops. KUSHIDA may have lost, but he lost looking like a million bucks. Definitely a match I’m going to go back and watch again, and again, and…

The 8-man match before the main event was really good, but YOSHI eating the loss felt unnecessary. Give the guy a break already.

The semifinals matches were both good, KUSHIDA vs. Taichi was especially good with Taichi being a terribly infuriating heel and KUSHIDA managing to overcome all his dirty tricks. Just thinking about Taichi makes me so mad. I guess that means he’s doing his job well.

Everything else ranged from pretty good to good. Another year, another Best of the Super Juniors.

Thanks for reading! See you at Dominion!

Thanks to LARIATOOOOO!!! for the GIFS!

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