Night Six of the Best of the Super Juniors sees B Block take their turn, with the third match of their campaigns. After a two day rest period, things will get extra intense, with three nights in Korakuen and one in Chiba consisting entirely of tournament matches. Here’s what to look out for from B block tonight.
Ryusuke Taguchi (2-0) vs BUSHI (0-2)
For a man obsessed with bottoms, Ryusuke Taguchi is on top of the world at present. Two hard fought wins for Taguchi came in a pair of very different matchups; one a considered, classical affair against YOH, and the second, a scrappy victory over DOUKI that saw him effectively neutralize the threat of Taichi at ringside.
What’s more, both of these matches came in the main event, and Taguchi is now extending his hot main event streak to three. In the opposite corner is BUSHI, who has been unable to get on the board as of yet. Despite effective assaults on the necks of both Will Ospreay and El Phantasmo, he’s been unable to score a victory. This is, historically, a winnable bout for BUSHI; in their three meetings during Best of the Super Juniors past, the record between the two stands at 2-1 in the masked man’s favour. Taguchi has an immense amount of momentum, however, and the coach may be hard to stop.
Will Ospreay (2-0) vs YOH (1-1)
Will Ospreay having four points in the bag after two matches in the BOSJ this year is of no surprise. Will Ospreay having put in two show stealing performances after two matches in the BOSJ this year, also no surprise. What may have surprised some however was just how close Ospreay came to having a notch in the loss column at the hands of Rocky Romero. Their wild match in Aomori will have definitely left some lasting marks on Ospreay. Moreover, Romero will have left Aomori with quite the scouting report for his Roppongi 3K charge, YOH.
YOH also goes into match three of his campaign after a valuable win against Bandido. Bandido’s combination of speed, high flying and power has its similarities to Ospreay’s recent style. YOH’s ability to adapt to and overcome Bandido’s style could be the key to victory against Ospreay.
El Phantasmo (2-0) vs Robbie Eagles (2-0)
El Phantasmo and Robbie Eagles have proven to be fast friends on the Best of the Super Juniors tour. While their career paths have not converged before now, they were an effective team on the undercard of night one, and share a level of, shall we say, self confidence that is befitting of Bullet Club members.
The crux of this matchup though is that as relatively new Bullet Club hires, they have much to prove to their club and to New Japan at large. Robbie Eagles carries an immense amount of pride in his country and its wrestling legacy, while Phantasmo carries an immense amount of pride in his own ability. That ability saw him to two wins against difficult opponents in Bandido and BUSHI with spectacular offense, while Eagles soared to victory against Rocky Romero and Ren Narita with a targeted approach to his high flying and submission work.
Will there be a gentleman’s agreement to leave club allegiances at the door here and tear the house down? Whether or not you agree with their attitudes, pure athletic ability of both men alone make this one of the most fascinating matchups of the tournament.
Bandido (0-2) vs DOUKI (1-1)
After his entry into the Best of the Super Juniors raised eyebrows and question marks, we are slowly but steadily picking up an impression of what DOUKI brings to the ring. Namely, a steel pipe, a chair, and an enforcer named Taichi. None of these items were enough to beat Ryusuke Taguchi on night four of the tour, but DOUKI is somewhat indifferent when it comes to his win-loss record. What the semi-masked man does care about is smashing through his fellow competitors and leaving them laying; especially the wrestlers he terms as being ‘hipster lucha’, ones that have appropriated the lucha libre wrestling culture without having really toiled within it as DOUKI has.
Bandido has also worked hard on the Meican independent scene before setting his sights on the world stage. In fact, Bandido worked with and DOUKI in the country and helped to train him. Will DOUKI have a rare respect for Bandido? Or will he hijack another wrestler’s BOSJ?
Rocky Romero (0-2) vs Ren Narita (1-1)
Rocky Romero is winless thus far in BOSJ, but this belies his phenomenal efforts thus far. He went hold for hold with Robbie Eagles in his first match, and in his second had a bona fide match of the year contender against Will Ospreay. The third match of his campaign is going to be more winnable opposite the Young Lion Narita, but there’s no denying the youngster’s efforts thus far either. Still with sprained shoulder, Narita has come close to victory every night, and a Romero worn down somewhat from his classic with Will Ospreay could be a surprising victim..