Best of the Super Juniors Finals Results and Reactions – June 3, 2017

YUJI NAGATA, TAMAYUKI OKA, and SHOTA UMINO defeated MANABU NAKANISHI, KATSUYA KITAMURA, and TETSUHIRO YAGI

Result: Oka submitted Yagi with a Boston Crab.

Reaction: Not a lot happened in this match. It was more of a minor showcase for the two young lions in the match, Oka and Yagi, who just debuted quite recently. Consequently, the action was a little erratic and sloppy at times. Oka looks like he has potential down the road.

Grade: D+

TOMOHIRO ISHII, JADO, and TORU YANO defeated TOGI MAKABE, HIROYOSHI TENZAN, and KAWATO

Result: Ishii pinned Kawato after a lariat.

Reaction: Kawato was the star of this match even though he took the pin. He’s a young lion that just debuted last year, and he showed an overeager spirit before the match even began. The last part of the match found him in a showdown with the hard-hitting powerhouse Ishii, and he showed incredible fighting spirit with fast-paced offense against the bigger man which really got the crowd into the match. After a couple near falls, Ishii countered him and hit a devastating lariat to grab the victory.  Everything else around the match was standard six-man tag, but this exchange elevated the match.

Grade: B-

VOLADOR JR., JUSHIN THUNDER LIGER, and TIGER MASK beat YOSHINOBU KANEMARU, EL DESPERADO, and TAKA MICHINOKU

Result: Volador pinned Taka after a hurricanrana from the top rope.

Reaction: Volador was the only real force in this match and looked incredible next to the aging stars surrounding him, who were there for star power more than anything. This match was short and lacked much action outside Volador’s high-flying offense.

Grade: D+

BAD LUCK FALE, YUJIRO TAKAHASHI, and THE GUERILLAS OF DESTINY defeated WAR MACHINE, ACH, and DAVID FINLAY

Result: Takahashi pinned Finlay after the pimp juice DDT.

Reaction: This match featured some interesting clashes in styles throughout with Fale and War Machine being so massive and Takahashi and ACH being smaller and quicker. Finlay’s maniacal quick-paced offense at times was entertaining at times. This was pretty standard fare and lacked a cohesive story to make it much more than that.

Grade: C

HIROOKI GOTO and YOSHI-HASHI defeated MINORU SUZUKI and TAICHI

Result: YOSHI-HASHI got the win for the team after hitting Karma on Taichi.

Reaction: This was the most solid tag match from a pure wrestling standpoint on the card. Suzuki’s intent to cause pain mixed with Taichi’s showboating sidekick makes them an entertaining and dangerous team. Goto presents an interesting opponent for Suzuki though as a fearless veteran that it willing to take pain he deals out. Some action spilled outside the ring at times while the two younger men continued battle, and a ref bump allowed Suzuki’s gang, Suzuki-gun, to interfere constantly. When one member of the group attempted to spit whiskey in the face of YOSHI-HASHI though, he missed and hit Taichi, which allowed for the finisher and pinfall. This was highly entertaining match with a good in-ring story.

Grade: B+

TETSUYA NAITO, HIROMU TAKAHASHI, EVIL, BUSHI, and SANADA beat JUICE ROBINSON, RICOCHET, RYUSUKE TAGUCHI, DRAGON LEE, and SATOSHI KOJIMA

Result: Naito picked up the pinfall on Kojima after the Destino.

Reaction: This was another solid match that was fast-paced almost the whole time with little hard-selling and rest. Richochet, Lee, and Takahashi all looked good in the match. The star, obviously, is Naito who didn’t even deign to take his shirt off throughout the match. He got the pinfall, with a little help from his teammates. After the match, he got on the mic, but Hiroshi Tanahashi, who he’ll be facing at Dominion next week, interrupted him. Naito and his group, Los Ingobernables de Japon, allowed him in the ring to talk. Tanahashi said that he’s ready to fight next week after being injured. Naito, in typical fashion, lazily laid on his side with his back turned to Tanahashi the entire time.  Overall, a decent match, but the interaction after the match was just as good.

Grade: B-

KENNY OMEGA and MARTY SCURLL defeated KAZUCHIKA OKADA and GEDO

Result: Scurll made Gedo submit to the chickenwing.

Reaction: This match was booked almost exactly how it needed to be booked. Gedo and Scurll were in the ring most of the match which allowed Okada and Omega to touch briefly for the first time since January. This match was, more than anything, to promote their rematch next, and also get Scurll more exposure, and it succeeded on all accounts. Scurll might have one of the best lowkey entrances and gimmicks in the independents right now. Omega and Scurll threw some comedy into the match with their mannerism and using Scurll’s – now Bullet Club – umbrella as a prop. Scurll got the win via submission while Omega put Okada in a figure-four leglock outside the ring. Omega and Okada had a stare down on the ramp after the match before an Omega and Scurll pose.  This was well-paced and at times funny with big moves not being overdone and the two big names not getting too much time in the ring to ruin the rematch.

Grade: B+

KUSHIDA defeated WILL OSPREAY to win the Best of the Super Juniors Cup

Result: Kushida got the win with the Back to the Future.

Reaction: Most of going to say this match was nearly perfect, but that would be hyperbole. It’s an excellent match overall as it had all the elements: two well-matched young men at the top of their game wanting to bring the house down, insane high spots, fast and furious action for long stretches, and a good story as Ospreay was trying to become the second super junior to win back-to-back years but has yet to defeat KUSHIDA in singles competition.  But along with those great elements came some of the criticism that was discussed a couple weeks ago with the …dive Twitter controversy, specifically too much of a focus on high spots rather than story and a lack of selling moves. The former wasn’t as bad as some of Ospreay’s matches, but the latter hurt this match some. Ospreay’s leg was injured early in the match, and he stopped selling it after about a minute; later, KUSHIDA really tore apart his arm which he would intermittently sell throughout the remainder of the match whenever he felt like it. After one armbar submission, he hit a diamond cutter after with that same arm and moved it like nothing had happened. Ospreay needs to take that more seriously because otherwise he looks like the worst kind of Superman in the ring and it hurts him as a babyface. Beyond the selling factor though, this really solidified KUSHIDA as a star. He’s already Ring of Honor TV Champion, has won the BOSJ tournament, and will now take on Takahashi for the Junior Heavyweight Championship next week at Dominion.  Overall, an excellent match, and probably the best out of the whole seventeen-day round-robin tournament.

Grade: A-

 

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