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 Eagles 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 nights six to ten of New Japan’s Best Of The Super Jr.30.
Night Six: Heading To The Finals of the BEST OF THE SUPER Jr.30
THU. MAY. 18. 2023 | Iwate Prefectural Gymnasium, Iwate
We are now past the halfway point and onto night six of the best of the Super Jr. tournament and it really is still all to play for before the semi-finals. Both BUSHI and Ryusuke Taguchi are looking to get their names on the board tonight. The matches I’m looking forward to the most tonight include Speedball Mike Bailey Vs DOUKI, TJP Vs Ryusuke Taguchi and Titan Vs Lio Rush. Kevin Kelly is joined by Speedball Mike Bailey on commentary.
Speedball Mike Bailey and DOUKI put on a barnburner of a match to start the night off, with both men looking like they might pull out the victory at any moment. BUSHI played Yoshoinobu Kanemaru at his own game, using his whiskey against him. TJP and Ryusuke Taguchi put on a master class in submission wrestling, it’s insane to realise that these two are contemporaries and haven’t met in a singles match since 2004. TJP has never beaten Taguchi.
We get the best match of the tournament for Kevin Knight who has truly found his dance partner in Dan Moloney. Next up we have faction warfare with Sho going against the legendary Taiji Ishimori. The House of Torture stuff has been a highlight of this tournament with them being shitbags and absolutely hilarious. Clark Conners meets his sadistic match in El Desperado’s the pair brutalize each other in my match of the tournament so far.
Lio Rush and Titan have a fantastic match that builds and builds into a wonderful crescendo while YOH goes into big match mode against Francesco Akira. KUSHIDA and Hiromu Takahashi go to war in the Semi-Main events the former Ace faces the current Ace of the junior heavyweight division. In the main event, we see Robbie Eagles and Master Wato brutalise each other in a bid to get to the top of B Block.
A Block | Speedball Mike Bailey Vs DOUKI: 5/5
B Block | Yoshinobu Kaneamaru Vs BUSHI: 4.5/5
A Block | TJP Vs Ryusuke Taguchi: 5/5
B Block | Kevin Knight Vs Dan Moloney: 4/5
A Block | SHO Vs Taiji Ishimori: 4/5
B Block | El Desperado Vs Clark Conners: 5/5
A Block | Titan Vs Lio Rush: 5/5
B Block | YOH Vs Francesco Akira: 4.5/5
A Block | KUSHIDA Vs Hiromu Takahashi: 4.5/5
B Block | Master Wato Vs Robbie Eagles: 5/5
Night Seven: The 10 Point Club Grows in Aomori
FRI. MAY. 19. 2023 | New Aomori Prefecture Sports Park Maeda Arena Sub Arena, Aomori
On to night seven of the Best Of The Super Jr.30 and we have some very exciting matches lined up. In particular, for me, that includes Ryusuke Taguchi Vs DOUKI, Taiji Ishimori Vs Speedball Mike Bailey and Hiromu Takahashi Vs TJP. Robbie Eagles joins Kevin Kelly on commentary for the second time this tour.
Master Wato continues his winning ways in a very competitive match against Bullet Club member Clark Conners in the opening bout. DOUKI is victorious over Taguchi in a match that shows off both wrestler’s full skill sets while Robbie Eagles gets to 10 points in spite of Kevin Knight’s best efforts. SHO narrowly defeats Titan spoiling the chance of him joining the 10-point club. Yoshinobu Kanemaru despite having veteran status can’t quite defeat Francesco Akira. Kanemaru has been wrestling longer than Akira has been alive.
KUSHIDA has had a terrible run of bad luck this tournament and tonight is no different with Lio Rush getting the upper hand here. This is a great match and one of the better KUSHIDA bouts in this year’s Best Of The SuperJr. YOH goes into this match having only beaten BUSHI once before and that was after his return from excursion, but tonight it seems that YOH has finally come into his own and defeated one of his biggest rivals.
Taiji Ishimori faced Mike Bailey in singles action a number of years ago in IMPACT for the X-Division championship. Mike Bailey lost there and when it came down to it tonight he still couldn’t get the win over Ishimori. Dan Moloney looks to spoil El Desperado’s chances at joining the 10-point club in the semi-main event tonight. This is a sleeper hit of the tournament with both wrestlers hitting hard during this one. The main event sees TJP face off against the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and Ace of the division Hiromu Takahashi.
B Block | Master Wato Vs Clark Conners: 4.25/5
A Block | Ryusuke Taguchi Vs DOUKI: 4.5/5
B Block | Kevin Knight Vs Robbie Eagles: 4/5
A Block | Titan Vs SHO: 4.5/5
B Block | Yoshinobu Kanemaru Vs Francesco Akira: 4.25/5
A Block | KUSHIDA Vs Lio Rush: 4.5/5
B Block | YOH Vs BUSHI: 4.25/5
A Block | Taiji Ishimori Vs Speedball Mike Bailey: 5/5
B Block | El Desperado Vs Dan Moloney: 5/5
A Block | Hiromu Takahashi Vs TJP: 5/5
Night Eight: Wato, Bailey, YOH, Takahashi, Despy & Rush Make it to 12 Points in Tokyo
SUN. MAY. 21. 2023 | Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
Night eight sees the Best Of The Super Jr. tournament return to Koruken Hall where the fans are in a frenzy. Some really great bouts that I was excited to see, included DOUKI Vs Titan, Ryusuke Taguchi Vs Speedball Mike Bailey and El Desperado Vs Francesco Akira. Ryusuke Taguchi is the only man on 0 points and is hoping tonight will be the night he gains points, while eight men go into tonight on 10 points. Chris Charlton is back with Kevin Kelly on commentary tonight.
There is something to be said about Titan or DOUKI opening a show, they both always want the crowd to have a good time, and tonight they face each other in a fast-paced bout that really shows off every aspect of Lucha Libre. Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Clark Conners have a hard-hitting bout that is exciting and fast-paced while KUSHIDA and SHO put on a scrappy match focused on submission wrestling and being on the mat. Master Wato improves every time I see him and this match with BUSHI is fantastic. Taguchi finishes his match against Speedball Mike Bailey still on 0 points but what a hard-fought battle this was. Definitely a must-watch.
Robbie Eagles Vs Dan Moloney is a lesson in brutality as the Aussie Sniper faces off against the Birmingham Brute. Moloney has it all and this match shows that off perfectly. TJP and Lio Rush have been two of the best performers this year in the Best Of The Super Jr. tournament and having them face off this close to the final was an ingenious idea from New Japan. This match is fast-paced and highly competitive, possibly one of my favourite matches of the whole night and tournament. Kevin Knight had another great match tonight but he couldn’t quite defeat the unstoppable Big Match YOH.
In the semi-main event, we see Taiji Ishimori face off against Hiromu Takahashi. These two always go to war with one another and a lot rides on this match with both vying for 12 points tonight. It also wouldn’t be a Koregun show unless Takahashi and Ishimori took it out into the audience. Unfortunately, Taiji Ishimori suffers an injury and the match is stopped. The main event sees Francesco Akira try and defeat the unstoppable force that is El Desperado. This is the pair’s first singles meeting and what a match this is with Despy being at his most brutal inside of the ring.
A Block | DOUKI Vs Titan: 5/5
B Block | Yoshinobu Kanemaru Vs Clark Conners: 4.5/5
A Block | KUSHIDA Vs SHO: 4.5/5
B Block | Master Wato Vs BUSHI: 4.75/5
A Block | Ryusuke Taguchi Vs Speedball Mike Bailey: 5/5
B Block | Robbie Eagles Vs Dan Moloney: 5/5
A Block | Lio Rush Vs TJP: 5/5
B Block | YOH Vs Kevin Knight: 4.25/5
A Block | Hiromu Takahashi Vs Taiji Ishimori: 4.75/5
B Block | El Desperado Vs Francesco Akira: 5/5
Night Nine: A Block Show Up and Show Out in Osaka
TUE. MAY. 23. 2023 | OSAKA PREFECTURAL GYM #2 (EDION ARENA OSAKA), Osaka
Night Nine sees Lio Rush, Hiromu Takahashi, Speedball Mike Bailey and Titan all looking to get to the semi-finals. Taiji Ishimori, unfortunately, suffered an injury to his Cervical Spine and has had to forfeit his last match, leaving him with 10 points. TJP gets 2 points ending his tournament at 10 points. Elsewhere Ryusuke Taguchi is looking to get his first lot of points on the last night of the Best Of The Super Jr. 30. Robbie Eagles is also on commentary with Kevin Kelly for the A Block matches.
On the undercard, we have a collection of tag team matches:
First Match | Oskar Leube & Yuta Nakashima [Young Lions] Vs TJP & Great-O-Khan [United Empire]
Second Match | Ryokei Oiwa & El Desperado Vs Kosei Fujita & Robbie Eagles [TMDK]
Third Match | Dan Moloney & Francesco Akira [United Empire] Vs Gedo & Clark Conners [Bullet Club]
Fourth Match | Kevin Knight, Master Wato & YOH Vs TAKA Michinoku, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi [Just 5 Guys]
We have only four block matches tonight starting off with Ryusuke Taguchi Vs KUSHIDA, these two haven’t had a singles match against each other for almost five years. It was in Osaka and Taguchi won, will he tonight? DOUKI Vs SHO is just an all-around good time, with the House of Torture members doing anything and everything to win. SHO has been an absolute shit this whole tournament, with the help of EVIL but DOUKI keeps fighting back.
In the semi-main event, we have Lio Rush facing off against Speedball Mike Bailey with both men on 12 points. This is a masterclass in high-speed, high-flying, hard-hitting wrestling with both men working their best match of the tournament. This isn’t surprising since both have been on fire all tour and this is their opportunity to experiment and try out things we haven’t seen yet from them in New Japan. They are the perfect dance partners.
Well now it’s time for the main event and how will Hiromu Takahashi and Titan beat that last match? Who knows but this is a Los Ingobernables de Japon face-off tonight with Tetsuya Naito on Japanese commentary looking on. Titan is such a good fit for LIJ and he is really bringing fire and speed to this match, Hiromu has found his match in those departments and had the two not been on the same team they could have been each other’s greatest rivals.
A Block | Ryusuke Taguchi Vs KUSHIDA: 4/5
A Block | DOUKI Vs SHO: 4.75/5
A Block | Lio Rush Vs Speedball Mike Bailey: 5/5
A Block | Hiromu Takahashi Vs Titan: 4.75/5
Your semi-finalists for A Block are Speedball Mike Bailey [14 points] and Titan [12 points].
Night Ten: A Shocking Turn Of Events For B Block in Osaka
WED. MAY. 24. 2023 | OSAKA PREFECTURAL GYM #2 (EDION ARENA OSAKA), Osaka
Night Ten sees Master Wato, YOH, Robbie Eagles and El Desperado all looking to get to the semi-finals. B Block is a little more complex when it comes to who could make it, YOH and Despy need to win their matches to progress, if one loses and Master Wato win his match, the Wato will progress. Whereas Robbie Eagels might have a chance if the other three lose tonight. I did say it was a complex one. TJP is also on commentary with Kevin Kelly for the B Block matches.
On the undercard, we have a collection of tag team matches:
First Match | Yoto Nakashima & Lio Rush Vs Osker Leube & Speedball Mike Bailey
Second Match | DOUKI, TAKA Michinoku & Taichi [Just 5 Guys] Vs SHO, EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi [House of Black]
Third Match | Ryusuke Taguchi & KUSHIDA Vs Titan & Hiromu Takahashi [LIJ]
Our first match of the last night of B Block sees Frenchesco Akira, who had one of the best matches of the tournament with El Desperado, go against BUSHI. Akira is coming onto tonight with a limp due to the punishment he injured on his knee and it looks like BUSHI will be exploring that all match. That obviously doesn’t stop Akira from giving as good as he gets and I would love to see these two face off again.
Dan Moloney and Clark Conners have a hardcore brawl on the outside, throwing chairs and benches at one another and brutalising the other before the two even get into the ring. Once they do and the bell rings it doesn’t let up once until the final bell, which comes due to a countout. Moloney played Conners at his own game and win. Kevin Knight has been getting better as this tournament has progressed and this is his best match as Master Wato seems to be his perfect dance partner. This match is highly competitive and there is a lot on the line here, with Wato looking to get to 14 points and make it to the semi-finals.
In our semi-main event, we have Yoshinobu Kanemaru looking to play spoiler and stop YOH’s chance at making it to the semi-finals of the Best Of The Super Jr. 30, if he does win here he is guaranteed to have a place. This match is brutal and no matter what YOH does he can’t quite get the upper hand on Kanemaru who absolutely shines in this one.
Main event time and we have forever rivals Robbie Eagels and El Desperado as they do a repeat of last year with it coming down to an all-or-nothing match when it comes to the semi-finals. The pair shake hands and smile at one another ready to tear the house down and they do. It is a fight and a true masterclass in every style of wrestling you can think of, from hard chops, to highflying to submission wrestling, both men go for it, attacking the knees with the ending being closer and more frenzied than anyone could have imagined.
B Block | Francesco Akira Vs BUSHI: 5/5
B Block | Dan Moloney Vs Clark Conners: 4.75/5
B Block | Master Wato Vs Kevin Knight: 4.75/5
B Block | Yoshinobu Kanemaru Vs YOH: 4.75/5
B Block | El Desperado Vs Robbie Eagles: 5/5
Your semi-finalists for B Block are El Desperado [14 points] and Master Wato [14 points].
Best Of The Super Jr.30 Tournament Points So Far:
2 points – Ryusuke Taguchi.
4 points – KUSHIDA & BUSHI
6 points – Kevin Knight, DOUKI & Yoshinobu Kanemaru.
8 points – SHO, Clark Conners, Francesco Akira & Dan Moloney.
10 Points – Robbie Eagles, TJP & Taiji Ishimori.
12 Points – Titan, YOH, Hiromu Takahashi & Lio Rush.
14 Points – Speedball Mike Bailey, El Desperado & Master Wato.