Welcome to our live coverage of the New Japan Best of the Super Juniors 22 finals from the Yoyogi Gym in Tokyo.
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JUSHIN LIGER & SHO TANAKA VS. RYUSUKE TAGUCHI & YOHEI KOMATSU
Good opener but short. It was really built around Tanaka, who did most of the work for his team, particularly getting near falls on Taguchi with the highlight being a delayed German suplex off Taguchi's flying hip attack. But Taguchi pinned Tanaka as expected with an enzuigiri and the Dodon.
CHASE OWENS VS.TIGER MASK
Weird match. The ref appeared to get hurt counting at one point. He was holding the right arm and he held up a count when Tiger had it won, but didn't play heel from there. He just counted the rest of the match with his left arm. Tiger won via submission with a reverse double armbar. Owens attacked him after until Jay White stopped him. Weak match without much heat.
BARBARO CAVERNARIO VS. MASCARA DORADA
Good match early but had rough spots at the end. Dorada messed up the finish which was supposed to be a rope walk huracanrana, but Dorada slipped off the ropes. He then went right to the finish with a Dorada screwdriver. Dorada had looked good up to that point. Dorada's highlight move was diving over the top and hooking Cavernario with a huracanrana as he was on the apron and flipping him to the floor. He also did a springboard flip dive. Cavernario did the full body splash off the top rope three-quarters of the way to the other post onto the floor. Lots of good flying but they should have rebuilt the finish after the botch instead of going right to it.
BOBBY FISH VS. TRENT BARRETA
Fish won with a heel hook in his second attempt. The first time he put it on, Barreta did a bridging cradle off the move. Best match so far. Fish did a top rope falcon arrow for near fall. Barreta tried his Dudebuster but Fish reversed into a heel hook for the first time. Well wrestled with Fish working he leg the entire way to end up with the submission win.
ROCKY ROMERO VS. NICK JACKSON
Romero won with a schoolboy afer Jackson missed a second shining wizard. Very good. Some comedy early that Nick does, but it pcked up into all kinds of near falls. Romero after the win said the IWGP jr. tag titles are coming back to Roppongi Vice so that tells you the reason for that finish. Very good match. Highlight was a sliced bread on the floor kicking off the post by Romero. Romero went for a sliced bread in the ring but it was turned into a tombstone pilediver by Jackson. Lots of near falls.
G1 Climax announcement.
20 men, Okada, AJ Styles, Hirooki Goto, Togi Makabe, Hiroyoshi Tenza, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima, Tetsuya Naito, Katsuyori Shibata, Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii, Yujiro Takahashi, Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, Bad Luck Fale, Michael Elgin, Kota Ibushi, Tomoaki Honma. No surprises.
YUJI NAGATA & MANABU NAKANISHI & DAVID FINLAY VS. SATOSHI KOJIMA & HIROYOSHI TENZAN & TOMOAKI HONMA
This was actually what it should have been. It was a fun match froam start to finish, fast paced, crowd into all of it. The best action was Nagata vs. Kojima doing Kojima'strademark spots. Finish saw Kojima & Tenzan take out Nagata with a 3-D, Nakanishi took Kojima & Tenzan out with a double spear, leaving Honma in with Finlay. Honma pinned him after a diving head-butt. For his first few weeks with a major league group, Finlay looked really good overall.
KAZUCHKA OKADA & GEDO VS. YUJIRO TAKAHASHI & CODY HALL
Okada pinned Hall after a dropkick, elbow off he top and rainmaker. Short match, felt more like just getting everyone on the show. Hall clearly has presence and potential. Highlight was the Takahashi ring entrance. Words can't describe it.
SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & TOMOHIRO ISHII & TORU YANO & KAZUSHI SAKURABA & YOSHI-HASHI VS. HIROSHI TANAHASHI & TOGI MAKABE & HIROOKI GOTO & KATSUYORI SHIBATA & CAPTAIN NEW JAPAN
Really good stuff. They paired off like their feuds with Ishii and Makabe having the best action in this one. Sakuraba brought back the Karl special from the 60s, a double armbar from the near naked choke position, and peopled popped for that. About what you'd expect from this match, all action, very good, rally picked up the last few minutes. Captain got a great near falll on Ishii with a front rolling cradle Nakamura nailed him with the bom a ye and then Ishii hit the brainbuster on Captain for the pin.
KUSHIDA VS. KYLE O'REILLY IN THE BEST OF THE SUPER JUNIORS FINAL
Kushida won in 31 minutes with the Kimura (hoverboard lock). One of the five best matches of the year. Both bowed to each other o their knees after the match and O'Reilly raised Kushida's hands and then they embraced after. Everything about this match was great, from the early technical wrestling, the pacing as it never dragged but also never felt rushed, to the big moves and near falls and submissions Bobby Fish did a grear job as O'Reilly's coach outside the ring screaming for a DQ when Kushida threw a punch like 21 minutes into the match. Among the highlights was Kushida doing a moonsault but O'Reilly caught him with a triangle, Kushida doing a flip dive over the post, Kushida breaking a guillotine on the apron with a desperation brainbuster which teased both a double count out spot and later a double knockout spot. Kushida also did the sliced bread for a near fall as a tribute to Alex Shelley. This came across like a career breakthrough match for both guys. Not saying it will be, but the crowd treated this like a big show world title match main event and both guys caem across as strong big show headliners on this night'
Kushida did a speech after. Cool spot after the match as Kushida was leaving and he embraced Jushin Liger like the legend endorsed the new Japanese star of the division.