Best of the Super Junior/World Tag League night 9 preview

Final league matches to take place in Fukuoka



After a long dual tournament journey, both Best of the Super Jr. 27 and World Tag League 2020 see their final league matches in Fukoka’s International Convention Center on December 7. The venue has been sold out for weeks, but we have the best seat in the house on NJPW World. 

Watch December 6 with LIVE English commentary!

Main event: FinJuice (David Finlay & Juice Robinson) (5-3) vs CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI) (5-3)

Both teams must win

Defending World Tag League winners FinJuice have had to deal with three losses in their campaign, including a major upset from Bad Luck Fale and Chase Owens, but have stayed in the hunt to Fukuoka. Now they look to take a big step to their second consecutive finals, and a hair closer to replicating the feats of Great Bash Heel and EVIL & SANADA in going back to back in their World Tag League campaigns. 

Opposite them,  YOSHI-HASHI and Hirooki Goto have been working through kinks of double team maneuvers, but their sheer invention in their offense, combined with the fighting spirit of both men have made a significant impression on the league, and kept them in the mix. Can Goto take a step to his third WTL trophy with as many partners this Sunday?

9th Match: BUSHI (4-4) vs El Desperado (6-2)

Singles record: 2-1 BUSHI

BUSHI is mathematically eliminated

A Desperado win puts him in the final. If he loses, Desperado needs Wato to win.

A battle of two masked men round out our look at the card in Fukuoka. BUSHI and El Desperado’s record stands at 2-1 to BUSHI, but there’s an asterisk on the two- both BUSHI’s wins come from disqualification against Despe. We can assume that Desperado will similarly use any means necessary to deal damage to BUSHI tonight, but he will be careful to avoid a DQ, given his position in the rankings. 

A win for Desperado guarantees his place in the final. His five wins include victories over Taiji Ishimori, Hiromu Takahashi and SHO, giving him three very important tiebreakers that would make him a cinch for the finals if he can pin BUSHI. In fact, even if he were to get beaten (or disqualified) his tournament would not be over, since a Hiromu loss would give him the edge in a tie for second. 

BUSHI himself has had an impressive run to his four victories thus far and remained with a chance of winning, but an upset from DOUKI in Kagoshima eliminated him. With a lot of pride being challenged by his acerbic opponent, a win for BUSHI means a lot to the jet black deathmask. 


8th Match: CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano) (5-3) vs Dangerous Tekkers (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi) (5-3)

Both teams must win

Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano’s combination of devious antics and brute power have made for a force to be reckoned with during this year’s World Tag League. The first team in the league to make it to ten points, they now stand on the precipice of final contention in the Budokan, but they do so opposite the IWGP Tag Team Champions. When at their best, Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr. have proven near unstoppable this year, and have done so often by targeting their opponents’ legs. Ishii’s history of knee issues could make a difference here, but then so to could Yano’s tendency to drive Zack Sabre Jr. to distraction, as he did to defeat him at Power Struggle to retain the KOPW2020 trophy. It’s a difficult match to call on paper, and one that could determine the fate of the entire league. 


7th Match: SHO (6-2) vs Taiji Ishimori (5-2)

Singles record 1-1

A SHO win puts him in the final

Ishimori needs to win and for either Hiromu or Desperado to lose

With a win over Hiromu Takahashi in Osaka this week, SHO instantly cemented himself as one of the top contenders still in the picture for Nippon Budokan’s final next week. To get there though, he will have to pin the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion or make him submit. 

Only two blemishes on Ishimori’s record come from Hiromu Takahashi, who SHO has beaten, and El Desperado, who SHO has lost to. Keeping the symmetrical nature to this match is SHO and Ishimori’s records against one another; 1-1 coming from Ishimori defeating SHO in Best of the Super Jr. 26 by exploiting an injured shoulder in the CHAOS member, and SHO getting his victory back in the Super J-Cup. With similar styles, and sharing superhuman strength, there is little to make either man a favourite over the other, but the fans will be winners when this match hits the ring. 

6th Match: Los Ingobernables De Japon (Shingo Takagi & SANADA) (5-3) vs THE EMPIRE Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb (4-4)

LIJ must win.

THE EMPIRE is mathematically eliminated

Two of the newest teams this league have been two of the most impressive. The brute force of THE EMPIRE have proven intimidating to every set of opponents in the tournament, while Shingo and SANADA’s ability for explosive changes in pace and direction have been a joy to watch. This last league match for both teams will be a thrill for spectators, and could also determine our finalists. 

5th Match: Master Wato (4-4) vs Hiromu Takahashi (6-2)

Master Wato is mathematically eliminated

Hiromu needs to win, and for Desperado or SHO to lose

Master Wato has opened a lot of eyes during his debut Best of the Super Jr. campaign, and with high profile wins over the likes of El Desperado, has kept himself in the conversation for the tournament. 

Will he open Hiromu’s eyes to his abilities though? During the tournament to decide new IWGP Jr. Tag Team Champions, Hiromu was openly critical of Wato’s tendency to play second fiddle to his seniors. Specifically, Hiromu claimed that he would cowtow to Hiroyoshi Tenzan rather than take what he himself thought was the right course of action. That said, Tenzan’s advice, and specifically his Tenzan Tombstone Driver has helped him to the four wins he already has. Should it help him to one more, the Budokan will be calling, but that’s a tall order when it comes to Takahashi. 

Hiromu’s burning desire to main event on the grand stage of the historic Nippon Budokan could well make him unstoppable Sunday. He is stoppable, mind, including being stopped by a man Wato beat, Desperado. If the young master can find a way to defuse the Time Bomb, the greatest fight of his life awaits.

4th Match: HenarACE (Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare) (1-6) vs Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) (5-3)

WTL record: 1-0 G.o.D

HenarACE is mathematically eliminated

G.o.D must win

Hiroshi Tanahashi and Toa Henare have had a difficult league, as Tanahashi has struggled to support a Toa Henare who has been spectacular on his return, but frequently frustrated by his opponents. Their last chance to end the league on a high note comes opposite six time IWGP champions G.o.D. Should Tanahashi repeat his feat of this February when he and Kota Ibushi secured the tag titles from their accomplished opponents, it would be an extremely impressive end for the team.

It would also be one that likely sends G.o.D crashing out of the Nippon Budokan final on December 11. Finally defeating their Wold Tag League curse has been the theme for the Guerrillas this tag league, but in one of the most tightly competitive leagues in recent years, the trophies are arguably harder to secure than ever. It’s do or die for G.o.D in Fukuoka.

3rd Match: Ryusuke Taguchi (3-5) vs DOUKI (2-6)

BoSJ record: 1-0 Taguchi 

Both men are mathematically eliminated

After being in the conversation for the final last year in Best of the Super Jr., Ryusuke Taguchi has to cope with the disappointment of being eliminated from contention before the last night of league matches here in Fukuoka. Still, Big Match Taguch has a lot to be proud of, and wants to end his campaign with a win against DOUKI.

DOUKI’s poor scoreline belies an impressive tournament from an in-ring performance perspective, as he has fought with pride and passion through the tour. Much of that pride comes from his lucha libre backbone, and his distaste for those who passed through Mexico for a brief sojourn in their career. Taguchi was one of the earliest in the modern era to benefit from a high profile excursion to CMLL back in 2005, and DOUKI defeating one of the senior beneficiaries of what he deems to be a corrupt system would be satisfying indeed.



2nd Match: BULLET CLUB (EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi) (3-5) vs BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens) (2-6)

Both teams are mathematically eliminated

The last BULLET CLUB derby of the league sees EVIL and Yujiro take on Fale and Owens. In prior encounters with Guerrillas of Destiny, any sense of team order and brotherhood went out of the window as BULLET CLUB brothers took any means necessary to secure victory. Even though both teams have nop chance of making the Nippon Budokan final, that will still be the case here tonight. Meanwhile, original BULLET CLUB member Fale’s interactions with the group’s newest member EVIL will bring its own wrinkle to keep an eye on. 





1st Match: Robbie Eagles (3-5) vs Yuya Uemura (0-8)

Both men are mathematically eliminated

After an emotional contest with SHO in Kagoshima Saturday, Yuya Uemura has his final test of Best of the Super Jr. with Robbie Eagles. While his record has been far from successful in this year’s tournament, Uemura’s grit and impressive performances have allowed him to join in a rich tradition of familiar names that got attention as Young Lions by being part of BoSJ. From Ren Narita to  YOH to Hiromu Takahashi to YOSHI-HASHI, all would graduate from Young Lion status shortly after appearing in BoSJ, but does a similar fate await Uemura? 

Certainly a win against Robbie Eagles would secure that fate, but that is not something the Sniper will gladly grant the young man. Another whose point total belies a set of commanding and inspirational performances, Eagles has been terrific in this tournament, but  not without his losses. Ending the league with a win will mean much to him, and give him the confidence to make good on his promises of championship gold in 2021.