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Best of the Super Junior 26 Discussion

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BOSJ-26-e1556022396954.jpg

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During the April 24th Korakuen Hall Road to Dontaku event, the lineup was officially announced for Best of the Super Juniors 26, which kicks off in Sendai on Monday May 13th and runs until Wednesday June 5th in Ryogoku Sumo Hall. Stay tuned to www.njpw1972.com for a full preview of the tournament and introduction of all the entrants in the coming days!

Of particular excitement was the announcement that Robbie Eagles, Bandido, Jonathan Gresham and Shingo Takagi would be debuting as well as the announcement a mystery participant. All is not entirely mysterious; we know that this is the same individual that will team with Taiji Ishimori against Dragon Lee and Will Ospreay on May 4. We also have had some strong indications about who the individual may be given the hints in the video that aired around arenas during the New Japan Cup. All will be completely revealed at Wrestling Dontaku in Fukuoka on May 4.
 

 

Participants Announced
Ryusuke Taguchi
Tiger Mask IV
Rocky Romero
SHO
YOH
Will Ospreay
Taiji Ishimori
El Desperado
Taka Michinoku
Yoshinobu Kanemaru
BUSHI
Flip Gordon
Titan
Marty Scurll
Dragon Lee
Robbie Eagles
Jonathan Gresham
Bandido
Shingo Takagi
X (El Phantasmo probably)

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Definitely a strong field this year. I going to be interesting to see which members of Roppongi 3K have to face off against each other in their block. It's nice to have an established Jr. name like Marty Scurll back, even if it's only for the tournament. So glad that Gresham is getting a spot, he's been really impressive in the last 6 months, showing some real potential and very much deserving of a tournament spot. Likewise with Bandido and Titan, two luchadores that have so much potential in their future, particularly Bandido.

With Opsreay dropping the NEVER title to Jeff Cobb at G1 Supercard is was quite evident that he would be returning to BOSJ this year, however New Japan have established him as able to play with the heavyweights, so him also making a G1 Climax appearance in the vein of Prince Devitt may still be in the cards. 

I hope that my boy El Desperado has a strong showing, he is the uncrowned Jr. Heavyweight Champion and deserves all the belts.

And as of the dragon in the skies, Shingo Takagi, I can see him sweeping his block undefeated to go into the finals. He still hasn't been pinned or submitted, unless SHO is in his block. Their rivalry has been growing in the background and one of the most compelling rivalries going at the moment. 

The mystery entrant is most likely El Phantasmo, but I am still holding out hope that we could be seeing a Hiromu return, especially since Dragon Lee is the current champion knowing their history.

As for the favourites to each the finals, since it's in Sumo Hall this time rather than Korakuen, they'll need an extra strong match to main event. Perhaps Shingo Takagi vs. either Taiji Ishimori/Will Ospreay or Hiromu Takahashi.

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God the tournament looks good this year. I'm hoping they keep it to a block style format and don't do what they did to world tag league where they shoved everyone into one massive Block. Some matches I'm hoping we get are Bandido VS Ospreay, Shingo VS Sho, Shingo VS Ospreay, Phantasmo VS Bandido and potentially even Eagles VS Ishimori depending on how the blocks are seeded (assuming there are blocks). I'd say you have Phatasmo (or X if you wanna be annoying) win the tournament, they've been hyping up the man for the last couple of months so coming in and winning best of the super Juniors then taking the IWGP JR Heavyweight Championship from Dragon Lee while also probably holding the RPW British Cruiserweight Championship would be a massive way to join the company and would actually give Bullet Club some more stock 

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Both blocks have been announced:

A Block: 

Dragon Lee, Jonathan Gresham, Marty Scurll, Shingo Takagi, Sho, Taiji Ishimori, Taka Michinoku, Tiger Mask, Titan, Yoshinobu Kanemaru

B Block:

Bandido, Flip Gordon, Will Ospreay, Bushi, Yoh, Robbie Eagles, El Phantasmo, Ryusuke Taguchi, Rocky Romero, El Desperado

My realistic prediction would be Taiji Ishimori defeating Will Ospreay in the finals, I originally expected Shingo Takagi or Hiromu Takahashi to win and take the title from Ishimori, but now that Dragon Lee is champion, the BOSJ this year is left for Ishimori to win (a bit awkward considering he lost his title and the rematch to Lee), Will Ospreay (probably not because he is moving up to the Heavyweight Division), or what I think could be the wildcard: El Desperado.

I would be remiss if I didn't say something crazy about Bullet Club winning everything so my alternative prediction is that Ishimori and Robbie Eagles will draw in the finals and will face Dragon Lee for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship at Dominion. 😂 

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El Desperado, Flip Gordon to withdraw from Best of the Super Juniors. DOUKI, Ren Narita to take their place | NEW JAPAN PRO-WRESTLING

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Changes were made today to the B Block of Best of the Super Juniors 26, as El Desperado has been forced to withdraw due to injury, and Flip Gordon has encountered visa issues. 

On May 7 at the TakaTaichi Mania 2 event in Korakuen Hall, Desperado suffered a broken jaw during his match with Jun Kasai. Under doctor’s orders, Desperado will be unable to compete. 

Flip Gordon was not issued a proper visa in time to enter Japan, and has reluctantly been forced to withdraw from the tournament.

New Japan Pro Wrestling sincerely apologizes to fans who were looking forward to seeing Gordon and Desperado participate in Best of the Super Juniors 26. We appreciate your understanding. 

In Desperado’s place will be a man Taichi brought to TakaTaichi Mania as a ‘hired gun’ for Suzuki Gun, a Japanese luchadore by the name of DOUKI. 
In Flip Gordon’s place will be Young Lion Ren Narita.

Replacements named for El Desperado and Flip Gordon in BOSJ 26

 

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That's such a shame, two of my favourites in the B Block and now with the replacements, Will Ospreay's path to winning the block is now clearer (if he can get past Robbie Eagles & El Phantasmo 😁😁). I have personally never even heard of Douki but his render is intriguing and the fact that he is associated with Suzuki-Gun makes it more interesting as Suzuki-Gun is a very closed off group unlike Bullet Club and Chaos, and who knows? Suzuki-Gun might be getting a new member. As for Ren Narita, I thought they would have gone with Shota Umino instead as I think he is the top Young Lion (I might be wrong with this one), either way, Narita is no slouch and will put his heart & fighting spirit into every match.

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3 Nights in and my god is this shit amazing. New Japan may have lost Kushida and Takahashi this tournament but damn have they bounced back. The Path for Shingo to unfortunately predictably win seems to be shaping up as his streak continues however it is very possible Ishimori pulls off the upset on the final night ending the "Darksouls of NJPW"'s undefeated streak. Speaking of A Block Wrestlers SHO has stepped his game up, the black hair and a new theme song plus his basically putting on back to back match of the nights both which could easily take home a match of the year qualification (I don't know if it'll win because the tournament is still early). My only critique is on the treatment of Taka Michinoku and Yoshinobu Kanemaru both not getting off to the strongest start in the tournament but hey still early and things can turn around quickly in these tournaments.

Moving Over to B Block it's definetely the more difficult of the two to predict when you have possible winners such as Ospreay and Phantasmo as well as Dark Horses like Bandido and Douki. Douki's agressive style has impressed me and I enjoyed him beating the crap out of Narita in his first match, hopefully he sticks around although judging from his promos he may not. Phantasmo is obviously amazing and hopefully he does well and wins the Block, would love to see him with the JR Heavyweight Title and his British Cruiserweight title. 

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RESEM75985TAKAMICHINOKUNJPWKDOJO-696x391 

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On Friday’s Best of the Super Juniors event in Korakuen Hall, TAKA Michinoku sustained an injury to his right foot that led to him forfeiting his match against Dragon Lee Sunday in Chiba.

After evaluation, it has been determined that Michinoku will miss the remainder of the Best of the Super Juniors tour. His tournament matches will be forfeited, and his opponents on May 29 in Nagoya and May 31 in Ehime will receive an automatic two points. 

In addition, changes have been made to the following undercard tag matches on May 30 in Osaka and June 3 in Okayama:

May 30 Match 2

Yuya Uemura, Shota Umino & Tomohiro Ishii vs TAKA Michinoku, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi

Shota Umino & Tomohiro Ishii vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi

June 3 Match 1

Yota Tsuji, Jonathan Gresham & Tiger Mask vs Jado, Gedo & Taiji Ishimori 

Jonathan Gresham, Tiger Mask & SHO vs Jado, Gedo & Taiji Ishimori

Match 3

Shota Umino, SHO & Tomohiro Ishii vs TAKA Michinoku, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi

Shota Umino & Tomohiro Ishii vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi

Check the schedule page for updated lineups. 

We apologize to fans who were looking forward to seeing TAKA Michinoku compete and appreciate your understanding. 

NJPW1972.com

Real shame Taka's out considering he's been having great matches despite him losing all of them. Hopefully he gets better soon. 

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Best of the Super Juniors Final official Match Card 

Match 1: Shota Umino, Dragon Lee & Titan VS Ren Narita, Jonathan Gresham & Bandido 

Match 2: Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) & Rysuke Taguchi VS Bullet Club (Robbie Eagles, El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori 

Match 3: Tiger Mask, Jyushin Thunder Liger & CHAOS (YOSHI-Hashi, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano) VS Suzuki-Gun (Douki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Zack Sabre JR, Minoru Suzuki & Taichi) 

Match 4: Great Bash Heel (Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe), Toa Henare & Kota Ibushi VS Los Ingobernables De Japon (BUSHI, SANADA, EVIL & Tetsuya Naito) 

Match 5: CHAOS (Rocky Romero & Kazuchika Okada) VS Villain Enterprises (Brodie King & Marty Scurll) 

Match 6: Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Jay White

Match 7 IWGP United States Championship: Juice Robinson (c) VS Jon Moxley

Main Event Best of the Super Juniors tournament Final: Will Ospreay VS Shingo Takagi 

NJPW1972.com 

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While I honestly enjoyed the Best Of The Super Juniors this year, I feel like New Japan booked themselves into a couple of corners here. I believe that Taiji Ishimori should've never lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship to Dragon Lee. They could have kept Ishimori as champion, have Shingo Takagi remain undefeated in the A Block, and Will Ospreay win the way he did in the B Block, then have Takagi beat Ospreay in the Finals and take his undefeated streak to a title match against the man that Hiromu Takahashi beat last year to win Best Of The Super Juniors: Taiji Ishimori where Takagi could then win for Takahashi and cement his legacy as a Junior Heavyweight in NJPW. Takagi could then win the title and run through the division until he loses it at Wrestle Kingdom 14, he could then take his second loss in the Finals of Best Of The Super Juniors 27, after that he can move up to Heavyweight and enter G1 Climax 30.

While I think that Will Ospreay is one of the cornerstones of Junior Heavyweights in the modern era, he is clearly moving up to Heavyweight therefore by winning the title it could derail his progress but I also don't think that Dragon Lee should be the one to send off Ospreay from the Junior Heavyweight division.

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