The Best Of The Super Jr’s is back with its 30th edition. A lot has changed in New Japan with Lio Rush joining CHAOS, Sanada leaving LIJ allowing for Titan to take his place, Robbie Eagels joining TMDK and YOH becoming Big Match YOH. What hasn’t changed is the deep talent pool New Japan has in its Junior Heavyweight division. BOSJ is the best junior heavyweight tournament in all of professional wrestling. This will be more of an overview of the tournament and we will go a little more in-depth when we make our top 30 matches of the tournament next week.
Let’s take a look back at the first five nights of New Japan’s Best Of The Super Jr.30.
Night One: Welcome to BEST OF THE SUPER Jr.30
FRI. MAY. 12. 2023 | Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
Night one saw both A Block and B Block face off in the first matches of the tournament and what a night. Lio Rush vs SHO was one of the matches of the night. Everyone showed up tonight and didn’t disappoint. I will admit it has been a while since I have watched New Japan but I always look forward to the Best Of The Super Jr. and this is the first year since 2019 that we have had crowed chanting. It really makes a difference.
We have ten matches tonight with each one being 3 stars or above, I have already mentioned Lio Rush Vs Sho as being one of the matches of the night. Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs El Desperado was a hell of a fight as both former Suzuki Gun members went to town on one another, while Robbie Eagels showed off his masterful submission skills against YOH. The main event saw Hiromu Takahashi Vs Speedball Mike Bailey which was a masterclass in what the Junior Heavyweight division is all about in New Japan.
B Block | Clark Conners Vs Kevin Knight: 4/5
A Block | Taiji Ishimori vs Ryusuke Taguchi: 4.5/5
B Block | Dan Moloney Vs BUSHI: 4/5
A Block | DOUKI Vs KUSHIDA: 4.5/5
B Block | Master Wato Vs Francesco Akira: 3/5
A Block | Lio Rush Vs SHO: 5/5
B Block | Robbie Eagles vs YOH: 5/5
A Block | TJP Vs Titan: 5/5
B Block | Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs El Desperado: 5/5
A Block | Hiromu Takahashi Vs Speedball Mike Bailey: 5/5
Night Two: 10 Matches in Nagano
SAT. MAY. 13. 2023 | Nagano Prefectural Budokan, Nagano
On to night two of the Best Of The Super Jr.30 and we have some very exciting matches lined up. In particular for me that includes Bushi Vs El Desperado, Lio Rush Vs Ryusuke Taguchi and Taiji Ishimori Vs Titan. The first match was short and sweet with TJP and KUSHIDA having a good submission-based match. TJP joins Kevin Kelly on commentary. Kanemaru is four points up after tonight in a truly shocking moment, but I’m absolutely thrilled for him.
Taguchi is determined to play it straight this tournament and he seems to be sticking to that promise. Robbie Eagels yet again tied up his opponent while SHO took every opportunity to cheat and step on Mike Bailey’s toes. Francesco Akira gets the chance to show off his ground game which has given him a new weapon in his arsenal. Tiji Ishimori and Titan have a very competitive match-up that is intense in its delivery.
BUSHI Vs El Desperado is a masterclass in all aspects of lucha libre, with both men being able to move between highflying, big power moves and submission holds in an effortless way. DOUKI looked to finally defeat Hiromu Takahashi in a match that really showed off how much he has grown as a performer. Meanwhile, in the main event, YOH looks to get his first two points of the tournament against Master Wato.
A Block | TJP Vs KUSHIDA: 3.25/5
B Block | Dan Moloney Vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru: 3/5
A Block | Lio Rush Vs Ryusuke Taguchi: 4/5
B Block | Clark Conners Vs Robbie Eagles: 4/5
A Block | SHO VS Speedball Mike Bailey: 4.75/5
B Block | Francesco Akira Vs Kevin Knight: 4/5
A Block | Taiji Ishimori Vs Titan: 4.5/5
B Block | BUSHI Vs El Desperado: 5/5
A Block | DOUKI Vs Hiromu Takahashi: 5/5
B Block | Master Wato Vs YOH: 4.5/5
Night Three: A Mixed Bag In Aichi
SUN. MAY. 14. 2023 | NAGOYA CONGRESS CENTER EVENT HALL, Aichi
Night three was a mixed bag of matches but there were some really great bouts that I was excited to see, including DOUKI vs Taiji Ishimori, Francesco Akira Vs Robbie Eagles and Speedball Mike Bailey Vs TJP. The first match was pretty dull to be honest, which is a surprise coming from Kanemaru but he can’t always get a good match out of people. Taguchi continues his journey to playing the straight man and being very serious, which SHO agrees to try too. How long will that last with EVIL hanging around?
Clark Conners gets another two points while BUSHI is unable to get himself on the board. Taiji Ishimori becomes the first wrestler this year to get three wins and 6 points. Francesco Akira and Robbie Eagles, despite being in the middle of the card, steal the show up to this point. Will anyone be able to beat them? KUSHIDA must have pissed someone off out the back cause he is in a huge hole after his match against Titan.
Dan Moloney had a fantastic showing against YOH while Speedball Mike Bailey and TJP meet for the first time in eight years in a singles competition. El Desperado goes to war with Master Wato while in the main event Lio Rush and Hiromu Takahashi tear down the house in a highly competitive bout.
B Block | Yoshinobu Kanemaru Vs Kevin Knight: 2.5/5
A Block | SHO Vs Ryusuke Taguchi: 3.5/5
B Block | Clark Conners Vs BUSHI: 4/5
A Block | DOUKI vs Taiji Ishimori: 4.25/5
B Block | Francesco Akira Vs Robbie Eagles: 5/5
A Block | Titan Vs KUSHIDA: 4.75/5
B Block | Dan Moloney Vs YOH: 4.5/5
A Block | Speedball Mike Bailey Vs TJP: 5/5
B Block | El Desperado Vs Master Wato: 4.75/5
A Block | Hiromu Takahashi Vs Lio Rush: 5/5
Night Four: El Desperado, Eagles & Akira join the Six Point Club in Akita
TUE. MAY. 16. 2023 | Akita Prefectural Budokan, Akita
Night four sees only three men coming into the event undefeated and on six points, Lio Rush, Taiji Ishimori and Speedball Mike Bailey meaning tonight are high stakes for all three. Elsewhere Ryusuke Taguchi, KUSHIDA and BUSHI are looking to get their name on the board. The matches I’m looking forward to seeing are BUSHI Vs Robbie Eagles, DOUKI Vs TJP and Lio Rush Vs Taiji Ishimori. Eagles is also on commentary with Kevin Kelly from match five.
Clark Conners becomes even more aggressive on night four as he battles YOH for his next two points in the tournament. Serious Taguchi is still here but he seems to not be getting the points, forever breaking the hearts of all of Japan and my mum. BUSHI is also looking for points but he is facing Robbie Eagles tonight who is on the run of his career right now since joining TMDK. DOUKI and TJP put on an absolute barnburner of a match tonight and please go seek it out.
Dan Moloney gets to show off his strength against Italian sensation Francesco Akira while KUSHIDA looks to win against the undefeated Speedball Mike Bailey finally. El Desperado gives Kevin Knight his best match of the tournament in a beautiful display of strength and speed. SHO tries his luck at trying to get his two points tonight via forfeit with a “note written by Hiromu” but as it turns out he is here and ready to wrestle, despite being kidnapped by House of Torture earlier in the night.
Master Wato put on a great match against veteran Yoshinobu Kaneamaru in the semi-main event. In the main-event Lio Rush and Taiji Ishimori battle it out to see who gets the first eight points of the tournament.
B Block | Clark Conners Vs YOH: 4/5
A Block | Ryusuke Taguchi Vs Titan: 5/5
B Block | BUSHI Vs Robbie Eagles: 4.75/5
A Block | DOUKI Vs TJP: 5/5
B Block | Francesco Akira Vs Dan Moloney: 5/5
A Block | KUSHIDA Vs Speedball Mike Bailey: 5/5
B Block | El Desperado Vs Kevin Knight: 4.25/5
A Block | Hiromu Takahashi Vs SHO: 5/5
B Block | Master Wato Vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru: 4.5/5
A Block | Lio Rush Vs Taiji Ishimori: 5/5
Night Five: We Make It To The Halfway Point
WED. MAY. 17. 2023 | Sendai Sunplaza Hall, Miyagi
Night Five sees both Ryusuke Taguchi and BUSHI still at zero points and looking to get their names on the board. The matches I’m looking forward to tonight include TJP Vs SHO, Titan Vs Speedball Mike Bailey and El Desperado Vs YOH.
Taguchi is angry and vicious in his match against Hiromu Takahashi and is taking out his frustrations on the younger man, but will he beat the Ace? BUSHI is also looking for a win tonight and he deserves it as one of the most underrated workers in the Junior heavyweight division. SHO Vs TJP was full of House of Tourture shithouse-ary but it was a lot of fun. Francesco Akira and Clark Conners put on one of the matches of the night as we see two young guns go at it to get those important two points.
Lio Rush is undefeated in this tournament but DOUKI could be the spoiler tonight while fellow Just 5 Guy’s teammate Yoshinobu Kanemaru looks to ruin Robbie Eagles’ night. Titan and Speedball Mike Bailey are both looking to join the eight-point club alongside Lio Rush tonight, but who will come out on top in this barn burner of a fast-paced match? Dan Moloney is heavyweight power in a junior heavyweight body, both he and Master Wato are both on four points and looking to get the leg up.
We are finally getting the singles match we have been waiting for between KUSHIDA and Taiji Ishimori after a series of unfortunate events. Taiji Ishimori is looking to join the eight-point club while KUSHIDA wants to continue his winning ways after last night’s victory over Speedball Mike Bailey. The main event sees El Desperado, who I want to win this year’s Best of the Super Jr, face off against YOH. These two have had an ongoing rivalry for years and tonight feels like the culmination of this, with YOH doing everything to antagonise Despy. This is a fantastic match between these two and a perfect main event.
A Block | Ryusuke Taguchi Vs Hiromu Takahashi: 5/5
B Block | Kevin Knight Vs BUSHI: 3.5/5
A Block | TJP Vs SHO: 4.5/5
B Block | Francesco Akira Vs Clark Conners: 5/5
A Block | Lio Rush Vs DOUKI: 4.5/5
B Block | Yoshinobu Kanemaru Vs Robbie Eagles: 4.5/5
A Block | Titan Vs Speedball Mike Bailey: 5/5
B Block | Master Wato Vs Dan Moloney: 4.25/5
A Block | KUSHIDA Vs Taiji Ishimori: 5/5
B Block | El Desperado Vs YOH: 5/5
Best Of The Super Jr.30 Tournament Points So Far:
0 points – BUSHI & Ryusuke Taguchi.
2 points – SHO & KUSHIDA.
4 points – Kevin Knight, DOUKI, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Dan Moloney.
6 points – Hiromu Takahashi, TJP, Francesco Akira, Clark Conners, Titan, Master Wato, YOH & El Desperado.
8 points – Lio Rush, Robbie Eagles, Speedball Mike Bailey & Taiji Ishimori.