Views from the Hawke's Nest: NJPW Best of the Super Juniors Final 2013
Posted by TJ Hawke on 08.23.2013
Prince Devitt is Real.
June 9, 2013
The show starts with the commentators (presumably) explaining the Ryusuke Taguchi is too injured to compete in the semi-finals of the tournament. He’s being replaced by TAKA Michinoku.
Ricochet, Brian Kendrick Trent?, & Forever Hooligans (Alex Koslov & Rocky Romero) vs. KUSHIDA, Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask, BUSHI, & Titan
Ricochet was loved by the crowd. Jushin Liger and Ricochet enter a NJPW ring at the same time. The fans start chanting..."RICOCHET!" What do the kids say? All the feels? They did the “everyone dive to the floor sequence.” Ricochet hit the Sasuke Special. Spanky teased a dive, but he instead just started at his reflection in the mirror. They all got back in the ring and did lots of movez. Eventually, KUSHIDA hit a corkscrew moonsault on Spanky: 1…2…3
This was a HOT way to start the show. The crowd was into everything, and the wrestlers busted their ass. This was one of my favorite openers in wrestling this year. Match Rating: ***1/2
Hiromu Takahashi & Manabu Nakanishi vs. Takaaki Watanabe & Yuji Nagata
The match didn’t have a lot of structure. The crowd was pretty much into everything though (especially when Nagata or Nakanishi was involved). Takahashi got a nearfall on Nagata with a missile dropkick. Watanabe killed Takahashi with a back suplex. Eventually, Takahashi made Watanabe tap out with a Boston Crab.
This was a perfectly fine undercard match. Match Rating: **1/4
CHAOS (Jado, Takashi Iizuka & Toru Yano) vs. TenKoji (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima) & Captain New Japan
I can’t imagine this match will be all that good, but maybe the crowd will get into it. The match turned into a brawl on the floor. The match returned to the ring, and CHAOS worked over Tenzan. Tenzan eventually took out Yano with a spinning heel kick. Kojima tagged in and made a big comeback. The match broke down. Tenzan avoided a punt from Jado. Jado then ate the 3D. Tenzan locked in the Anaconda Vice, and Jado tapped out quickly.
After the match, Iizuka accidentally gave Yano the metal hand thing.
I was not into this at all, as it was very slow and plodding. Iizuka is pretty amusing though. Match Rating: *3/4
Kenny Omega vs. Prince Devitt [Best Of The Super Junior XX Semi Final Match]
These guys have had lots of good-great matches in the past. I doubt they are going too long here.
Devitt was obviously accompanied by the Bullet Club. Prince Devitt is Real. Omega hit his tope con hello early on. Omega pulled out a table. Anderson attacked him, and he then attacked the DDT geeks that were managing Omega. Devitt worked Omega over after that. He specifically targeted the left leg of Omega, which was taped up. Omega got Devitt onto the table. Omega called for his Kota Ibushi moonsault, but the Bullet Club stopped it. Anderson gave him an apron powerbomb and put him on the table. Devitt then hit the ghetto stomp, but the table didn’t break. Hashtag Maffew. Omega got back into the ring. He called for the Hadouken, but Devitt killed him with a lariat and a ghetto stomp: 1…2…NO!!! GREAT nearfall. Omega avoided a Bloody Sunday and hit a KNEELING Hadouken. Devitt avoided the Croyt’s Wrath twice before hitting the Reverse Bloody Sunday: 1…2…3
This match got very heated. The Bullet Club is so cliché in how much interference they do that it actually feels fresh. The crowd loves booing these men. Match Rating: ***1/2
Alex Shelley vs. TAKA Michinoku [Best Of The Super Junior XX Semi Final Match]
It’s pretty bizarre to see TAKA in such a high profile tournament match at this stage of his career. However, it was clearly not by design.
I will be pulling for Shelley hard here. TAKA faked a leg injury in order to get the advantage. TAKA then hit a double jump plancha that actually managed to get the crowd behind him. Shelley tried to hit a slingshot plancha, but TAKA avoided it. Shelley injured his leg on the way down. TAKA then went after the leg. After a while, Shelley finally managed to hit an enzuigiri to stop TAKA. Shelley came back, but TAKA managed to catch him with a crossface. Shelley made the ropes. Shelley got a nearfall with a lariat. TAKA got a nearfall with a La Magistral and then another one with a shining wizard. Shelley hit a big DDT! Shelley hit hit a superkick and the Air Raid Crash: 1…2…3!
I enjoyed this, but it was a little strange. TAKA’s legwork did not really go anywhere, which is disappointing. However, they got the crowd into the action. Match Rating: ***
We get a NWA promo with Rob Conway and Bruce Tharpe. It was whatever.
CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Taichi)
Yujiro got rid of his pink gear. Hopefully it comes back by the time the G1 rolls around. The match was a little boring at first, but then Ishii and Suzuki squared off. That was awesome. Taichi got a nearfall on Ishii with a nearfall. Suzuki-gun worked Ishii over for a while. Yujiro eventually tagged in and made a comeback. Ishii got a nearfall on Suzuki with a saito suplex. The crowd loves them some Ishii. Suzuki and Ishii went back and forth. Ishii eventually hit Taichi with a brainbuster: 1…2…3
The crowd liked this much more than I did. This match never really worked for me. It just felt very slow and plodding. Match Rating: **1/2
BULLET CLUB (Karl Anderson & Tama Tonga) vs. Hirooki Goto & Hiroshi Tanahashi
This could be really entertaining. Anderson was in control of Tanahashi for a bit, but Tanahashi eventually hit a dragonscrew and tagged out to Goto. Goto made a comeback, but Anderson eventually hit a spinebuster. Tonga tagged in. Goto and Tonga botched an exchange. Goto promptly gave him a headbutt and tagged out. The teams went back and forth. Eventually, Tanahashi hit Tonga with a Sling Blade and a High Fly Flow: 1…2…3
This was another solid match. I found it more entertaining than the last one, but it was once again held back by lack of a clear story and structure. Match Rating: **3/4
CHAOS (Gedo & Kazuchika Okada) vs. Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma)
Makabe was booked for a shot at Okada’s belt on the upcoming Dominion PPV, which is why I assume this match is happening.
During his entrance, Okada almost took out one of the young boys coming with him to the ring when he did the Rainmaker pose. Makabe and Okada started the match. The match brown down into a brawl on the floor. Honma got cut off at one point, and CHAOS then worked him over. Honma eventually hit Gedo with a suplex, and he then tagged out to Makabe. Makabe made a big comeback. Okada hit the diving elbow, but Makabe didn’t sell it for more than a second. Okada locked in the Red Ink. Honma made the save. The teams went back and forth for a bit until Okada gave Honma the Rainmaker: 1…2…3.
Makabe attacked Okada after the match. Okada managed to give him a tombstone.
This match was fine, but it didn’t do much to make me excited for the Okada/Makabe title match that was happening soon. Match Rating: **1/2
Alex Shelley vs. Prince Devitt [Best Of The Super Junior XX Final Match]
Now, this is a matchup I am excited for. This is the first time in BOSJ history that two gaijin made it to the finals.
KUSHIDA, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Captain New Japan came with Shelley to the ring. The Bullet Club still managed to use the numbers game to their advantage. Devitt then worked Shelley over in the ring. Shelley went for a slingshot plancha, but Fale caught him and dropped him into some chairs. I couldn’t tell if Fale meant to do that. It looked like he fell over. Devitt worked Shelley over some more after that. Shelley sent Devitt to the floor and then hit Anderson with a tope suicida. The NJPW crowd is eating this up. Tanahashi and Fale started brawling. Captain New Japan got involved. Everyone is brawling! This is awesome. The referee was getting upset, and he kicked out the Bullet Club. He kept threatening to disqualify Devitt. That was the only way he could get them out. Devitt and Shelley slugged it out. Shelley got a nearfall with a brainbuster. Devitt came back with a brutal double stomp. They teased some finishers. Wow, a ref bump! Devitt tried to use the belt as a weapon, but Shelley avoided it and DDTed him onto the belt. 2K1 Bomb from Shelley: 1…2…NO!!! The crowd is molten. Shelley got another nearfall with a Superfly Splash. Shelley hit a superkick and a Sliced Bread: 1…2…NO!!!!!!! Devitt got a schoolboy with a handful of tights after he sent Shelley into the turnbuckle he exposed. Great nearfall. Devitt then hit a Trouble in Paradise and Reverse Bloody Sunday: 1…2…NO!!!! Devitt then hit a Prince’s Throne and the Double Stomp: 1…2…NO!!!!! BLOODY SUNDAY: 1…2…3!
There was a brawl after the match between the Bullet Club and Tanahashi, KUSHIDA, and Captain New Japan. Devitt said that Tanahashi was his next target. Devitt winning the Best of the Super Juniors while being the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion solidifies him as the best junior in NJPW at the moment. It also makes it easier for him to transition to the IWGP Heavyweight Championship scene.
This was amazing. If you have ever been hesitant about getting into NJPW, I think Prince Devitt’s new heel character will make for a great transition into the promotion for you. The NJPW fans absolutely LOATHE him right now, and the heat for his matches is off the charts. I demand a Wargames match with the Bullet Club for the January 4th show. Match Rating: ****1/4
The 411: While the matches with the juniors were all quite enjoyable (and in the case of the main event, quite great), I definitely felt like this show was a very noticeable step down from the NJPW iPPVs. That makes sense of course, as this was not an iPPV. However, my only real big criticism of NJPW in 2013 is that the juniors do not always get positioned as being important. Maybe this show will be an iPPV next year and have a little bit of a bigger feel. Regardless of that though, there is a lot of fun to be had on this show. Check it out!