wrestling / TV Reports

Kevin’s NJPW Best of the Super Juniors/World Tag League Finals Review

December 11, 2020 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
NJPW Best of Super Juniors
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Kevin’s NJPW Best of the Super Juniors/World Tag League Finals Review  

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors x World Tag League Finals
December 11th, 2020 | Budokan Hall in Tokyo, Japan | Attendance: 3,564

Try as I may, I couldn’t keep up with reviewing the endlessly dull World Tag League. I’m here for the finals though, along with the much more entertaining BOSJ!

Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens and Taiji Ishimori vs. Robbie Eagles, SHO and Toru Yano
I actually don’t hate this as an opener. Sure, Fale is awful and his team with Owens was boring in the tournament but everyone else involved is pretty sweet. Speaking of sweet, it was pretty great to see Ishimori against SHO and Eagles. Those three guys are always really good and had some of the best matches of the tournament, so they made this work. Yano was his entertaining self and the other guys didn’t get in the way, so this came off well. That said, this was still nothing special and kind of standard NJPW multi-man opener fare. Eagles was put down by the Grenade Launcher finisher from Fale and Owens in 5:53. Pretty solid for what it was. [**¾]

Post-match, Yano kept attempting to slam Fale, which failed. Commentary suggested a body slam match in the future and Fale stomped on Yano’s trophy.

The Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & Will Ospreay vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada & Toa Henare
I totally forgot that Willy’s stable is called The Empire. Awful person Willy was accompanied by fellow awful person Bea Priestley. Toa Henare is such a geek now that he manages to bring down the old dream team of Tanahashi and Okada. Don’t get me wrong, he’s good, he’s just a loser in NJPW. Anyway, the match itself was pretty solid. Ospreay and Okada immediately went at it, giving a tease for their upcoming Wrestle Kingdom match. It might be unexpected but the highlight of this one was whenever Henare battled Cobb. BIG MEATY MEN BUMPING MEAT! That’s all you need in wrestling sometimes. The Empire won when Cobb delivered Tour of the Islands to Henare in 10:45. Good stuff. [***]

After the match, O-Khan destroyed Tanahashi’s leg. Oh. So is that the Tokyo Dome direction? Not feeling that one.

EVIL and Yujiro Takahashi vs. SANADA and Shingo Takagi
The Bullet Club boys jumped LIJ before the bell because that’s just what happens. Dick Togo choked out SANADA on the stage, leaving Shingo to compete on his own. It seems like the plan for the Tokyo Dome, at least one of the nights, is EVIL vs. SANADA. I still say that should be over the IC Title had they let the titles split up again. When SANADA got up, he showed a rare bit of intensity by tossing Young Lions aside to get to his rivals. As he brawled with EVIL to the back. Yujiro was left alone to lose to Last of the Dragon in a brief 4:58. That’s what this needed to be. Short, built the future, and didn’t waste time. [**½]

After the bell, Jeff Cobb returned and hit Shingo with Tour of the Islands, seemingly setting up a NEVER Title match for the Dome that will most likely rule.

BUSHI and Tetsuya Naito vs. Kota Ibushi and Master Wato
It’s an early preview of Wrestle Kingdom 15 as Ibushi and Naito is set for the January 4th main event. That’s a bit of bad booking that WWE would’ve been ROASTED for since Ibushi lost the briefcase and still got his shot, rendering it all moot. I swear, Ibushi was chiseled out of granite. That dude is in phenomenal shape. On a cool note, Hiroyoshi Tenzan was out with Ibushi and Wato and he’s the last man to win back to back G1s before Ibushi. The exchanges between Naito and Ibushi were great, as always. Hopefully they don’t try to kill each other in the Tokyo Dome. I chuckled at LIJ mocking the Mongolian Chops in front of Tenzan. Ibushi got the hot tag after some Wato isolation and eventually hit BUSHI with Kamigoye to win in 10:06. Quality wrestling that built to the big PPV. [***]

World Tag League Finals: David Finlay and Juice Robinson vs. The Guerrillas of Destiny
This tag division is in the absolute toilet and they continue to center it around the Guerrillas, who are a lame duck team. In news that shocks me a bit, they’ve never won the tournament before. Knowing that kind of gave this away. It’s the one accolade they haven’t lumped onto this mediocre duo. The advantage here is that Fin-Juice is about as good as it gets in terms of an underdog babyface team right now. Lots of generic, bland offense from G.O.D. but watching Finlay and Juice fight from beneath is always fun. Jado got ejected for interfering and the match picked up from there. However, KENTA showed up near the end to help the Guerrillas, hitting Juice with his briefcase. That led to the finish, giving G.O.D. the win in 22:15. A good match but like the rest of the tournament, totally forgettable. [***¼]

Best of the Super Juniors Finals: El Desperado vs. Hiromu Takahashi
Oh, baby. Despy beat him in the BOSJ 2018 (****½) and this year (****), while Hiromu beat him in a title match in 2018 (****¼). Most of their past matches have been wild brawls. But as a lengthy main event, they went for a slower start. It made sense here due to the high stakes and their history. Neither guy wanted to make the first mistake. There was a sense that Desperado was out to prove that he belonged in this Budokan main event and that the division was more than just Hiromu’s star power. He was confident as he wore down Hiromu’s leg. Whenever Hiromu got something going, you felt the match pick up with big spots like a sick rana off the apron or a corner belly to belly. Hiromu survived everything that Desperado could throw at him. At the 20 minute mark, he was trapped in the Stretch Muffler and things looked dire. The fact that Hiromu could counter that into a Destroyer was absolutely nuts. That marked a true turning point for Hiromu, who got vicious and ripped away at Desperado’s mask. Then, in one of the most awesome moments of the year, Desperado got pissed and RIPPED OFF THE REST OF THE MASK HIMSELF! He was here to murder someone! They just started throwing shots at each other with a ridiculous level of intensity. The drama down the stretch was outstanding, with both men picking up near falls that felt like the end without ever going into overkill or too many finisher kickouts. After Time Bomb got a near fall, Hiromu added a second to officially win the tournament at the 30:14 mark. Remarkable pro wrestling. The intensity was off the charts and it’s certainly in the conversation, if not in the lead for Match of the Year. Hiromu Takahashi is arguably the best in the world and Desperado proved how fantastic he is. [****¾]

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
This show did exactly what it needed to. The undercard was entertaining and did a strong job of building and teasing things for the Tokyo Dome. The WTL finals was about as good as you could hope for given this division. Then, that main event went out and was an all-time classic.