- Best Match: Ospreay vs KUSHIDA
- Worst Match: None, nothing I didn't like
I thought the tournament was great overall. I've only followed NJPW closely for a few years, but it was the best BOSJ in that time. I couldn't agree more with what you have continually said regarding Liger's usage in the tournament. The first tapes I traded for back in college were of Liger, and I think there are a lot of people in similar situations. Given Liger's popularity in the few American dates that he's worked over the last 18 months, him doing well in the tournament might have given a small bump to the streaming service. Though maybe all of us hardcores have already subscribed.
- Brian Reznick
Thumbs way up. Incredible main event. The LIJ match was also very good and the Tanahashi angle was really fun.
Other than that it was a bunch of good matches, enjoyable as NJPW matches always are but nothing special. Expected more from Kenny and Okada but I don't really have a worst match since everything was good.
KUSHIDA's post match celebration was awesome.
- Petter Olsson
- Best match: Ospreay/KUSHIDA
- Worst: None.
Thought Ospreay/KUSHIDA was the best match of the tournament, and third best match I've seen this year (only Okada Omega and Okada Shibata were better, in my opinion.) It's funny because Ospreay has been the focus of a lot of discussion, criticism and praise (deservedly so in the last category I think) recently but I thought KUSHIDA was a little more impressive and honestly he's probably the big standout of the stacked tournament.
It's funny because this really combined every aspect of the Jrs. division, with the flips and the technical wrestling, etc. and when compared to the Cruiserweights, it's like clear what the distinction is, outside of Neville. Personally, I think this was a better Super Jrs. final than the past few years, and outside of doing something more with Liger and maybe not doing the same shtick with Suzuki Gun all the time, I have no complaints about the tournament.
I do think it's too soon to take the belt off of Takahashi, but I'm not sure how you keep the feud going if KUSHIDA doesn't win this time, though I'm really excited to see what these two guys come up with this time around, especially since I think KUSHIDA started using the Small Package Driver to win his matches in the tournament, so the counters and set ups for that will be really interesting.
Everyone will probably remember the spots on the apron (rightfully so, because both guys were amazing today) but I think the thing I'm going to remember the most is probably the point where KUSHIDA is going to the top rope and Ospreay grabs his leg, and then KUSHIDA just destroys his elbow. That, along with the Danielson kicks told so much of the story of these two guys who had gotten past the respect stage and were now in the STAY DOWN part of the match, it was incredible.
I'll stop ranting now, sorry. Great great show, great great match. Can't wait for next Sunday.
- Jonathan Beckner
Best match: Ospreay/KUSHIDA
Thought this was a really good show with the LIJ Taguchi Japan 10 man tag match being really fun and exciting to watch. An excellent mix of humor and fast paced high impact action that I believe is becoming a staple match of NJPW. I understand and get the criticism some fans have of the humor spots but I really do enjoy these matches.
- Erik Yonker
Thumbs in middle
All the mix tags were fine. Built towards June 11th show. Makes sense but the show dragged something fierce. For me seeing so much of Okada-Omega in ring has lessened seeing the rematch.
- Worst match: opener. It was what it was but was boring.
- Best match: Ospreay-KUSHIDA. I didn't think this was as great as many. I thought 2/3 of match was real sloppy at times. They missed a lot of moves. The entire finishing sequence made 0 sense. Ospreay beat the hell out of KUSHIDA then he hits the finisher from top rope and finisher for pin. Thought it was real non-sensical. Some of the match was spectacular when timing was on. Could really do without Ospreay swearing so much. Dropping F bombs, B and C word just really lessens his appeal to me. He should be above all that by now.
One match show really. The wow factor was there for main event but again the finish and missed timing I wouldn't call it anything but very good and entertaining.
- Mike Flynn
I'm sure I will be in the minority, but I hated the main event. Both wrestlers are among the best in the world and KUSHIDA may be my personal favorite in New Japan but that was just a series of well executed moves. Instead of doing a 30 minute match they did a six minute match five times.
Did we really need a reverse Frankensteiner on the apron and and detroyer on KUSHIDA's head? These moves looked really dangerous and meant nothing in the match. I think the time is over for praising wrestlers for dropping people on their head. The new style of match where people kick out of 15 finishing moves is going to have bad long term consequences. **1/2
- Russell Griffith
This Ospreay vs KUSHIDA match was so amazing. It's 5 stars no doubt. The little things in the match make it for me. Ospreay had me when he did the space flying tiger drop with no cartwheel cause his arm was too hurt. When he dug his elbow into KUSHIDA's rib cage for the abdominal stretch was so great too. Then when they did the did the closed fist punch spot that took it over the top for me, the intensity was amazing. The reverse hurricanrana on the apron was insane too.
The crowd was so into this as well and how could they not be. Tournament finals in Japan have the best atmosphere. It's like a NCAA tournament championship or Super Bowl. You can feel the intensity in the air and it's so much better than a best of 7. Unless it's a game 7. WWE should take note.
I was also so impressed by the show on the 31st. That Ricochet vs. Scurll match was just awesome and Hiromu vs. Ospreay too was so great. These bigger "PPV" shows on NJPW seem to always deliver unlike WWE with Backlash or inevitably with Extreme Rules, when they end I feel so empty like I wasted hours and got no bang for my buck.
- Kyle Jaworski
I thought the show was great overall. The first few matches were really very good. The first match had big men being big men but it was fairly forgettable.
The next match I think was the Ishii 6 man. Kawato really worked and got a lot out of little and Jado sucked. He looks to me like someone who's playing at wrestling and isn't believable or sufficiently surreal to be funny. I thought Kawato came across as well really. He got a lot out of a moveset that is very standard and it definitely helped that he was interacting with Ishii.
The next match got off to a great start with Desperado and Volador working very smoothly together the match was very good and Tiger had a cool sequence with a few of the Gun guys.
War machine were great and Hansen damn near killed some folks. The Fale spot with ACH where he stomped on him was very brutal looking. ACH's gimmick is something I go back and forth on. His DB fusion jacket is a nice nostalgic callback to me for my childhood but at the same time sometimes he can be too goofy. Here he came across as so nuts I couldn't not find it funny. Tanga Roa sold a rana were he knocked into his brother... It sucked. Tama I actually like. He's my mini Roman.
I despise Taichi and he was in the match for too long. He actively makes me less interested in a match or feud. Suzuki is great as is Goto and Yoshi.
I fell asleep in the Naito match... not the matches fault I was tired after work but that's what happened. Naito is my favorite NJPW guy so lets just say i thought it was good.
Okada has amazing chemistry with Omega and the spot with the umbrella was great. Okada looked great. Omega looked great.
The main event is one of my favorite matches of the year. The selling was magnificent. My favorite thing in this was when Ospreay had KUSHIDA in the octopus. He pulled his injured leg to tighten it and winced cause it was injured and Ospreay is amazing. KUSHIDA was fantastic in this match too his kicks looked brutal and he worked very well. Me and the guy I watched it with were looking for the selling and I thought it was great.
The shooting star onto a KUSHIDA hung on the ropes was a great spot done safely as KUSHIDA took very little of Ospreay's weight HOWEVER KUSHIDA didn't land on the ropes and had to jump back on them. I don't really like numerating matches cause I like different matches for different reasons. Ospreay has improved so well. I watched his flippy match with ricochet (first one) and he was using the same insults and reactions a lot relying on a certain pattern to sell he's hurt or angry. Now he's loud and expressive. He reacts in different ways and really gets the match over. Just that is an amazing improvement.
- Faisal Yaquib
- Best match: KUSHIDA vs. Will Ospreay
- Worst match: Bad Luck Fale/Yujiro Takahashi/Guerrillas of Destiny vs. War Machine/ACH/David Finlay
Automatic thumbs up because the main event was that great. The rest of card was fine basically. Scurll managed to come off as a big time star in a match involving Omega and Okada. Goto and Suzuki interaction was good in amongst all the Suzuki-gun nonsense. The Ishii and Kawato stuff in their 6 man was really good.
- Jan Buxton
- Best: Will Ospreay vs. KUSHIDA
- Worst: Yano/Ishii/Jado vs. Makabe/Tenzan/Kawato
A surprisingly great show. Even though it was mostly multi-man matches everyone turned it on tonight. The main event was epic & a fitting way to end the most consistently action packed BOSJ tournament I've ever seen. Will Ospreay stole the show both tonight & throughout the entire tournament. He's cemented himself alongside Okada, AJ Styles & a motivated Kenny Omega as one of the best in the business right now.
Random tech note: I watched the show in Japanese instead of English because on the English feed everything was blocky & choppy while the Japanese feed was HD & smooth. Don't know if it was just me but it was weird.
- Nick Randall
- Best Match: KUSHIDA vs. Will Ospreay
- Worst Match: Volador Jr. & Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taka Michinoku & Desperado
For as great as the main event match was, and I loved it, what I'll remember from this show ten years from now is the post-match celebration with a jubilant KUSHIDA hoisting his BOTSJ trophy and ROH World TV Title belt high in the air. He was surrounded by fans who were genuinely happy that he won. It was a special moment that made for a fantastic visual.
New Japan embraces the kind of organic fan reaction that WWE seems to avoid at nearly all costs. It's quite the contrast. Ditto for WWE robot-style interviews versus the genuine emotion from KUSHIDA, both when he won Block B and then again tonight/this morning.
Don Callis continues to impress me on English color commentary. I really liked Steve Corino in the role and figured he would be hard to replace, but Callis is outstanding. Corino did a better job of saying move names that Kevin Kelly couldn't be bothered to call, but Callis makes me legit laugh out loud frequently. His comic timing and delivery are impressive. And, more importantly, Callis treats the product seriously and puts over positive aspects about the wrestlers.
Though, despite Callis being great, I simply can't watch the big matches live without Shinpei on the Japanese feed. Shinpei legit calls more English language moves than Kelly, and it's remarkable how his emotion can add to a match. Even something as simple as Shinpei freaking out over Minoru Suzuki teasing the Gotch piledriver on Hirooki Goto adds to the drama of the match -- and the perception of the danger of the move.
- Lou Pickney