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Csonka’s NJPW BOTSJ (Night 1) Review 5.17.17

May 17, 2017 | Posted by Larry Csonka
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Csonka’s NJPW BOTSJ (Night 1) Review 5.17.17  

Csonka’s NJPW BOTSJ (Night 1) Review 5.17.17

– TAKA Michinoku defeated Jushin Thunder Liger @ 8:00 via pin [***]
– Volador Jr. defeated Tiger Mask IV @ 9:55 via pin [**¾]
– Ricochet defeated Taichi @ 9:00 via pin [**]
– ACH defeated BUSHI @ 10:55 via pin [***½]
– El Desperado defeated KUSHIDA @ 16:00 via pin [***½]
– Marty Scurll defeated Will Ospreay @ 12:30 via submission [***¾]
– Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Yoshinobu Kanemaru @ 11:45 via pin [**½]
– Dragon Lee defeated Hiromu Takahashi @ 18:40 via pin [****]

* Csonka’s Top 5 Omissions From The 2017 BOTSJ.
* Csonka’s Top 5 Potential BOTSJ Winners.

Block A: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. TAKA Michinoku: TAKA going old school with the blue themed Kaientai gear. Liger controls early, looking to ground and out wrestle TAKA. TAKA escapes, but Liger takes him to the floor and follows with a baseball slide dropkick and then the cannonball off of the apron. Back in the ring, Liger hits the palm strike but TAKA fights off the powerbomb attempt. Liger hits the back breaker and looks for the Romero special, but TAKA makes the ropes. They brawled to the floor, with Liger using a chair shot to the back of TAKA and then rolling him back in. Liger works chops and then locks in the figure four, but TAKA makes the ropes. Liger lays in more chops, but TAKA takes him down and locks in the cross face. The crowd is big time into Liger as he struggles to escape, teasing tapping but finally making the ropes. Liger is so great in those spots, teasing the tap and getting the emotion across even though you can’t see his face. Liger then hits the Liger bomb for the near fall. TAKA plays opossum, rakes the eyes and works a triangle, turning it into cradle for the win. TAKA Michinoku defeated Jushin Thunder Liger @ 8:00 via pin [***] TAKA picks up the surprising win in a good opening match; this was two veterans, working a smart and well paced match that got the crowd invested early and kept them throughout. The portion with Liger struggling to escape the cross face had great crowd heat, they cared and they were trying to will Liger to escape. This was just good, clean and smart work here.

Block B: Tiger Mask IV vs. Volador Jr.: They worked a fun and fast paced back and forth opening stretch, Volador did a random flippity doo to show off so Tiger Mask dropkicked him in the ass and took control, laying in kicks and then out grappling him. Tiger Mask focused on the arm, and almost had an arm bar, but Volador made the ropes and bailed to the floor. Tiger Mask hit a dropkick as Volador tried to roll back in, maintaining control with kicks. Volador picked up the pace, hit a RANA that sent Tiger Mask to the floor and followed with a great looking dive. Back in and Volador’s moonsault attempt ate knees. He managed to pull Tiger Mask to the floor, they then battled up top and after a struggle, Tiger Mask hit an arm drag off the top and then the tiger driver for the near fall. The tombstone followed, and Tiger Mask then went up top and missed the head butt. Superkick by Volador followed, sets Tiger Mask up top but he slips out and hits the Saito suplex from the top, the cover gets 2. Tiger Mask locks in the arm bar, but Volador makes the ropes. Tiger Mask back up top, but Volador cuts him off and hits the Spanish fly for the win. Volador Jr. defeated Tiger Mask IV @ 9:55 via pin [**¾] It’s a rough night for the legends, as both Tiger Mask & Liger put in strong efforts, but come up on the losing side of things. This was pretty good overall, with a good energy, but didn’t click with me like the opener did and thy didn’t get the crowd nearly as invested.

Block A: Ricochet vs. Taichi: Taichi’s chick tries to hit on Ricochet, but he blows her off. The crowd loves Ricochet as Taichi stalls a ton to begin. He finally enters the ring, Ricochet kicks the shit out of him so he runs but Ricochets a suicide dive to wipe him out. Taichi stalls again, rolling his chick into the ring and grabbing his mic stand and attacking Ricochet from behind. He tosses Ricochet to the floor, chokes him out with the mic stand and then posts him. Taichi then grab the bell hammer and works over Ricochet as his chick distracts the ref. Taichi rakes the eyes to keep control, but Ricochet picks up the pace, hitting kicks and a 619. The springboard uppercut follows, but Taichi takes the eyes to escape the benadryller. Ricochet hits a neck breaker and running shooting star press for 2. Taichi avoids the corner charge, hits the superkick and covers for 2. They trade kicks, with Taichi hitting a superkick for the near fall. The ref takes the mic stand, allowing Ricochet to hit a spin kick, head up top and then hit the shooting star press for the win. Ricochet defeated Taichi @ 9:00 via pin [**] Taichi ran through his complete “being a heel 101” book, which continues to add nothing to his matches. Ricochet is so much better than Taichi, and had to slow things down to sell this bullshit until they spammed some superkicks to pretend to make it exciting; it was fine. Fuck Taichi.

Block B: ACH vs. BUSHI: They shook hand, and of course, BUSHI attacked with a dropkick and then chokes out ACH with his shirt. ACH fought back, picking up the pace and hitting kicks, double stomps and a leg drop. BUSHI then sends him to the floor and follows with a slingshot RANA. BUSHI then plants ACH with an apron DDT, and we get a countout tease. ACH makes it back in but BUSH attacks and chokes him out in the corner. BUSHI then grounds ACH, working the STF and mixing in some eye rakes. ACH makes the ropes, fights back with strikes and then bag tags BUSHI before hitting a dropkick and sending BUSHI to the floor. The springboard dive follows, and ACH rolls him back in. ACH up top leaps over BUSHI who then cuts him off with a DDT. They trade strikes and kicks, with BUSHI hitting a fisherman’s neck breaker for the near fall. BUSHI follows with a back stabber, but ACH then counters MX with the dropkick. The rolling elbow follows, and then the lariat for 2. Another sick lariat by ACH connects, the Michinoku driver follows and ACH picks up the win. ACH defeated BUSHI @ 10:55 via pin [***½] This was the best thing on the show so far, as they worked a strong back and forth match before turning up the volume at just the ring time for the homestretch; both guys worked hard and looked good here. Very good match, and a good spotlight performance for ACH.

Block B: KUSHIDA vs. El Desperado: KUSHIDA is sporting the ROH TV Title, which he recently acquired. Desperado attacked before the bell, hitting a double leg and then some ground and pound. KUSHIDA quickly fought back, sending Desperado to the floor. Desperado fought his way back in, sent KUSHIDA to the floor and then hit a suicide dive before tossing KUSHIDA into the chairs. After the high-energy start, things slowed to a crawl for the typical Suzuki-gun floor brawl. Desperado stole a pen from commentary and tried to poke out KUSHIDA’s eye with it. Desperado then took off KUSHIDA’s shirt and choked him out with it. Desperado then laid the boots to him and worked the knee. KUSHIDA started to fire up, fought back with leg kicks and the back handspring elbow. He hit a DDT, rolled through but Desperado raked the eyes. KUSHIDA then hit the rolling elbow, but ran into the spinebuster, and Desperado then locked in the stretch muffler. KUSHIDA would escape, but Desperado hit wasteland and went up top. KUSHIDA cuts him off with kicks, they battle up top, but KUSHIDA attacks the arm and hits the flying arm bar off the ropes, but Desperado makes the ropes. KUSHIDA hits the running dropkick, looks for the hover board lock but Desperado fights, only for KUSHIDA to roll into it and we get a ref bum as he taps. Desperado gets the ROH TV title, misses with it and KUSHIDA kicks the arm, but Desperado hits the butterfly buster onto the belt for a near fall. Desperado hits Guitarra de Angel for the win. El Desperado defeated KUSHIDA @ 16:00 via pin [***½] KUSHIDA takes the loss to put him behind early, likely to set him up for the miracle run later on, typical Gedo booking, which isn’t always bad. This was very good, with the shenanigans of Desperado playing well and getting the crowd invested and behind KUSHIDA.

Block A: Will Ospreay vs. Marty Scurll: They grapple early, with Scurll looking to ground Ospreay. Smooth back and forth to begin, with the crowd reacting well to Scurll early. Ospreay picks up the pace, hitting the superhero pose and then mocking Scurll. Scurll pokes him in the eyes and follows with chops. Ospreay cartwheels out of the RANA try, Ospreay quickens the pace and hits a dropkick and sends him to the floor. Ospreay takes control, goes for the shooting star press but eats boots from Scurll. To the floor and Scurll hits the superkick from the apron and follows with chops. Back in and Scurll works the Romero special and stomps the knees to the mat. Ospreay fires up as Scurll lights him up with chops, fires back with uppercuts and then hits the back handspring kick. The corner dropkick follows, Ospreay up top but Scurll grabs him by the nose and ten follows him up only for Ospreay to escape, hit the trapped superkick and that got 2. Ospreay does the Orton mat pound, sets but Scurll cuts him off and slams him off the ropes. Scurll then escapes the trapped superkick and hits one of his own. Chicken wing by Scurll is fought off, but he blocks the running shooting star press and hits a superkick. The lariat follows, and as he goes for a brain buster, Ospreay counters into the cutter. Scurll to the floor, and Ospreay hits the Sasuke special. Back in and Ospreay hits the springboard clothesline, he calls for the chicken wing, but Scurll does the finger break spot to escape. Chicken wing by Scurll in blocked and Ospreay goes for the OsCutter, but Scurll catches him in the chicken wing and Ospreay has to tap. Marty Scurll defeated Will Ospreay @ 12:30 via submission [***¾] This was another very good match (bordering on great), with the guys opting to work a “play the hits” style match, which made sense since the goal was to make sure Scurll got over. The work was really good and clean, as was the layout; Scurll is already over with the New Japan crown and looked good in victory.

Block B: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru: Taguchi did Taguchi things early, and Kanemaru wasn’t quite sure what to make of him. Taguchi picked up the pace, and laid in the ass attacks. Kanemaru then made him run the ropes and kicked him in the ass. Kanemaru then cut off an ass attack with a Saito suplex and sent Taguchi to the floor. Kanemaru worked him over, kicking him in the head and then stomping on him. Kanemaru slowed the pace, working a head scissors until Taguchi made the ropes. Kanemaru swatted Taguchi away as he went for a flying ass attack, laid in forearms but Taguchi finally wiped him out with his ass. Taguchi fired up, and hit the springboard ass attack for a near fall. Kanemaru then cut him off with a basement dropkick, they then picked up the pace, trading strikes and Kanemaru again hits the dropkick to cut off Taguchi. Kanemaru then hit a tornado DDT and reverse DDT for the near fall. Kanemaru to the ropes, and hits the leaping DDT and Taguchi kicks out at 2. Taguchi avoids the enziguri and locks in the ankle lock; Kanemaru struggles for the ropes but Taguchi maintains the hold. TAKA distracts the ref, and Taguchi and Kanemaru trade low blows, and Taguchi runs Kanemaru into TAKA and then rolls up Kanemaru for the win. Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Yoshinobu Kanemaru @ 11:45 via pin [**½] This was the average Taguchi match with some Suzuki-gun shenanigans mixed in, it was fine overall but a let down after the run of strong matches that proceeded it.

Block A: Hiromu Takahashi vs. Dragon Lee: They chopped the hell out of each other to begin, they then traded strikes and worked in to a series of counters, with Lee hitting a RANA and then another off the apron to send Takahashi to the floor. Lee followed with a great dive, wiping out Takahashi. Back in and Lee works a Boston crab after Takahashi blocks the cradle DDT. Lee then lays the boots to Takahashi, hits a corner dropkick and covers for 2. Takahashi finally fights back, hitting an overhead toss into the buckles to slow Lee’s attack. The clothesline and dropkick followed, and the cover got 2. Takahashi then rips at Lee’s mask, but Lee fights back with a knee strike and running kick. They chase each other, work back into the ring and Lee sets Takahashi up top and misses the double stomp. Lee back up, and Takahashi then misses the double stomp; they trade German suplexes, destroying each other and both men are down. They trade forearm strikes, and then chops again. Lee hits a big knee strike, heads up top but Takahashi cuts that off. Takahashi up top with Lee, but Lee cuts off the wheelbarrow driver and hits a double stomp for the near fall. Takahashi then counters the dump powerbomb with a guillotine, and pulls Lee to the mat. Lee makes the ropes, Takahashi then it’s the side slam for a near fall. The corner DVD follows, Takahashi then rips at his mask again, and Lee counters the time bomb with a crucifix. Lee then cradles Takahashi for 2, they trade pinning combos and Takahashi hits a superkick and another. Lee escapes the corner DVD, and Takahashi hits the destroyer for a near fall. Takahashi then hits the corner DVD, Lee sloppily counters the time bomb, a rare misstep for these two. They trade strikes, Lee counters the destroyer, hits the corner DVD and then hits the phoenix-plex for the win. Dragon Lee defeated Hiromu Takahashi @ 18:40 via pin [****] Certainly not at the level of their February classic, this was a great main event. They took less risks, which was fine because this was night one, but the bit of sloppiness near the end hurt it, but still the best match on the show.

– Ricochet: (1-0) 2pts.
– Dragon Lee: (1-0) 2pts.
– Marty Scurll: (1-0) 2pts.
– TAKA Michinoku: (1-0) 2pts.
– Hiromu Takahashi: (0-1) 0pts.
– Jushin Liger: (0-1) 0pts.
– Will Ospreay: (0-1) 0pts.
– Taichi: (0-1) 0pts.

– Desperado: (1-0) 2pts.
– Volador Jr: (1-0) 2pts.
– Ryusuke Taguchi: (1-0) 2pts.
– ACH: (1-0) 2pts.
– Tiger Mask: (0-1) 0pts.
– BUSHI: (0-1) 0pts.
– Yoshinobu Kanemaru: (0-1) 0pts.
– KUSHIDA: (0-1) 0pts.

– End scene.

– Thanks for reading.

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“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”

The final score: review Good
The 411
Night one was an overall good show, with a few surprises and the usual suspects delivering, and Taichi being Taichi…