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NEW JAPAN BEST OF SUPER JUNIOR TOURNAMENT 2017 PREVIEW

By Matthew Macklin on 2017-05-16 09:09:00

BOSJ 2017 Preview

The NJPW Best of the Super Juniors is upon us and gives us maybe the most loaded line up in tournament history. The annual junior heavyweight tournament features 16 competitors, split into two blocks of 8. This is a round robin tournament, with everyone facing each other from their block, with the block winners meeting in the final on June 3rd.

Block A is beyond loaded this year with a potentially killer match on every day of competition, and that's not to take anything away from Block B, which is almost just as
stacked.   Let's take a look at this years participants.

Block A

Jushin Thunder Liger
This living legend is one of the guys that put this tournament on the map and popularised the junior heavyweight wrestling style.  Liger has confirmed that this will be his final tournament so expect him to be the sentimental favourite and it wouldn't be a huge shock to see him win the whole thing.  Even at over 50 years of age, Liger is still phenomenal and can have a great match with just about anyone when he needs to. He has some amazing guys to work with here, so expect some very memorable Liger performances as he will aim to go out with a bang.  It's very possible that Liger will at very least score a win over IWGP Jr champion Hiromu Takahashi and earn himself a title match in the near future.

Will Ospreay
The Aerial Assasin won last year's tournament after some amazing displays and a classic final with Ryusuke Taguchi.  Ospreay has grown and gotten even better since then. He has added to his game to become a much more well rounded wrestler that can do just about everything. Since winning the BOSJ last year, Ospreay has almost been floating aimlessly in NJPW taking part in CHAOS multiman tags.  Over the last couple of months he has been picking up a lot of wins, so NJPW obviously have big plans for him this year and is an easy favourite to win this block and at least get to the final.  He has some mouth watering matches against the likes of Hiromu Takahashi, Dragon Lee, Marty Scurll and a rematch of last years classic with Ricochet. With wrestling twitter in the midst of an endless discussion about dives and indie wrestling, expect Ospreay to milk it for everything it's worth and get people talking even more.

Ricochet
This man is absolutely no stranger to this tournament, having won it in 2014.  He is one of many guys in this block that can be considered a favourite to win it again.  Ricochet has been so great and so spectacular for so long that people sometimes take for granted just how special he is.  Every year he lights up the tournament with some spectacular displays, with his match with Dragon Lee being one that could blow minds.    He has never won the IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship and you can be sure that it's something he is craving.

Hiromu Takahashi
The Ticking Time Bomb and current reigning IWGP Jr Heavyweight Champion has been an absolute sensation this year as part of Los Ingobernables De Japon.  After winning the title from KUSHIDA at Wrestle Kingdom he has been the breath of fresh air that the division has been in bad need of.  Oozing charisma, and bringing an aura of craziness that very few have, Hiromu is captivating from the second he walks through the curtain and has one of the whackiest ring styles since Sabu.  As champion, Hiromu is guaranteed to go very far in his block. He will likely suffer some losses to set up future title challengers. His match with Will Ospreay is one that a lot of people have their eye on as being a potential classic.

Dragon Lee
CMLL's lone representative in Block A is one of the most sensational high flyers in the world today and is still in his early 20's.  His classic series of matches with Hiromu Takahashi put both men on the map and has seen them clash in CMLL, NJPW, ROH and now again in the main event of night one in Korakuen Hall. Lee won't win the tournament but he is going to be someone that raises his stock even further if his matches with Ospreay, Scurll, Ricochet and others can live up to the hype.

Marty Scurll
The Villain and the newest member of Bullet Club is one of pro wrestling's hottest properties.  Scurll is so over everywhere he goes and is one of the most complete acts anywhere today.  He has an unmistakable look, charisma to rival anyone, incredible in ring ability and a major star quality.  His association with Bullet Club will only propel his stardom even further and is my favourite to pull off a major upset and win the whole tournament. Scurll meets his long time rival Will Ospreay on opening night and it couldn't be a more perfect debut match for him.  The Scurll/Ospreay rivalry has been one of the finest in modern day independent wrestling and has taken place in various promotions in both Europe and the US.  Their match in Rev Pro last year is one of the best matches to ever take place in the UK. In front of the Korakuen Hall crowd, there is no way they won't deliver something really special and memorable.

TAKA Michinoku
The Suzuki-Gun veteran won't be leaving his block with many point, of any.  His match with Liger on the opening day could be a really fun veterans match and he will likely put in some fun performances against some of the blocks big names.

Taichi
Another Suzuki-Gun member and has an act that is tired and predictable.  He can have sometimes put together some great finishing stretches to his matches, but expect a lot of nonsense from him with lots of cheating and messing around. His match with TAKA could be a fun match between tag team partners.

Block B

KUSHIDA
The 2015 winner of the tournament and multi-time Jr Heavyweight champion had been the ace of the division until he was beaten by Hiromu Takahashi at Wrestle Kingdom.  After being squashed by Hiromu at Sakura Genesis and again in a tag match, KUSHIDA has been in a slump and on the outside looking in.  If he were to make a comeback here and fight his way into the final, it would make a hell of a story for him.  Having recently won the ROH TV Championship, it's possible that he will be moved away from the Jr division for a while.  KUSHIDA is one of the best wrestlers in the world and is capable of having a great match with anyone. He has some really interesting matches with the likes of Volador Jr and ACH in this block.

ACH
ACH has really hit his stride ever since touring with Pro Wrestling NOAH and NJPW last year.  He is a perfect fit for this division and will be looking to stand out in his Super Juniors debut. If ACH doesn't win his block, he will likely finish very high.  He had an outstanding match with KUSHIDA in ROH last year, so look out for that rematch.  He could do some great things with Volador & Taguchi too if things fall into place.

Volador Jr
The CMLL star has taken part in this tournament before and will be bringing his Lucha style to this block.  If you like a lot of incredibly spectacular high flying moves with not a lot of psychology, then you will love Volador.  He tore it up with Ricochet & Ospreay last year and I can see his matches with ACH, BUSHI & KUSHIDA as his stand out matches this time round.

Ryusuke Taguchi
Taguchi spends 11 months of the year as a comedy act and complete joke, but once this tournament comes, he turns it on and reminds everyone that he is one of the best workers in NJPW when he actually bothers to be and presents himself seriously. Absolutely no one expected him to get to the final last year, so anything is possible with him. He had one hell of a match with a buddy KUSHIDA last year, so that will probably be great. Taguchi and BUSHI showed that they are capable of some magic together in a six man tag recently, so that is a match that could be great.

BUSHI
The Los Ingobernables De Japon member will bring something different to the block. He is a very charismatic performer and can have some really great matches in the right scenario. He has fantastic chemistry and a long history with KUSHIDA, so that will be one to look out for.  His match with El Desperado could be a fun clash of the masked rule breakers. Expect a lot of green mist to fly when BUSHI is involved.

Tiger Mask IV
Tiger is the block veteran and will finish well into the bottom third of the block. He will probably pick up a couple of wins, but like Taguchi, Tiger can turn it on in this tournament and put in some great displays as the no-nonsense verteran.

Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Another veteran that hasn't been in a Best of the Super Juniors in quite some time. He got to the final of the Super J Cup last year while part of NOAH, but since returning to NJPW he has mostly been involved in the tag division, holding the Jr tag titles with Taichi.  It will be interesting to see what Kanemaru can do on his own and I think he will surprise a lot of people with some great matches.

El Desperado
Desperado joins Kanemaru as another Suzuki-Gun member. Desperado is a guy that gets lots in the shuffle as the man that always seems to take the fall in Suzuki-Gun tag matches. He has always shown a stack of potential, but he has never been given the chance to really show what he can do. He probably won't win many matches, but if he can put in some strong performances, he can turn some heads.

Certain shows from the tournament will be live, including the first 3 days, but every single match from the tournament will be made available to view on NJPWWorld.com. It all kicks off live from Korakuen Hall on May 17th at 5.30AM Est/10.30AM UK time.

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