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Raziel

NJPW Best of the Super Junior 2018

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Ishimori dropped his first fall to FLIP LOL.

TIGER MASK IS TOTALLY GONNA WIN THIS Y'ALL.

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A block is doing some weird things like Tiger Mask IV being 3-0 and Bushi being 0-3 and first Taiji's loss being against Flip.

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Hiromu is 3 for 3 bringing the heat so far.

For being the biggest, strongest dude in the junior division, Sho sure struggles to do a lot of his power spots.

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A few upsets in the most recent matches, which played out in a sort of elevated-house-show style. Two hard cams, one sparsely-used floor cam, no commentary. KUSHIDA/Taguchi was surprising, but I like the logic of booking that on the same show as Hiromu/Lee. Nobody can complain about not getting their money's worth.

In case you're wondering what direction Block B is moving it, just check the card for the semi-final show of the tour. It's a Gedo-booked tournament, after all. One may be able to deduce the ramifications of booking Hiromu/KUSHIDA at Kouraken the night before the final. Block A, though? I have no damned clue.

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For block B another solid match (at least on paper) on final day is Dragon Lee/Desperado. It shouldn't and probably won't main event, but I think that going to final day it is possible that there will be some scenario where Dragon Lee or Desperado can also win block B if, lets say, Kushida/Hiromu ends in a draw.

As for block A. Flip now is 3-1 so it is possible that Flip/Ospreay will decide on who wins the block. Possibility of Flip being in the finals of BotSJ is amazing, in a bad way.

Some thoughts on the matches:

1. Hiromu delivered another exciting main event. It had everything you'd want from Hiromu and Dragon Lee yet at times I would wander back to Hiromu/Desperado thinking about how that match was better. Basically what I'm saying is that I'm now more interested in Hiromu/Desperado than in Hiromu/Dragon Lee.

2. And yeah, Sho struggled with some spots against Dragon Lee and it was same against Desperado. Can't remember now if it happened against Sabin too, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did. Similar for Yoh to be honest, he had some slips against Ospreay and so far is showing way less fire than Sho. I'm sure that they'll improve, but at the moment I like them better as tag team than as singles competitors.

3. Ishimori/Kanemaru was probably my favourite Taiji's match. Big part of that was that Taiji wasn't a heel in this. More I look at his interviews and matches more I don't care about his Bone Soldier persona. And he got rolled up again. To me it starts to look like he isn't going to win the tournament or even his block so they are kinda protecting him with cheap Ls to "keep him strong" for eventual title match against Ospreay which he probably should lose. And well it is hard to get excited for that. Thou obviously nothing is decided yet and he might end up winning at least his block, but I'm more pessimistic now than optimistic.

4. Bushi started with impressive 0-3 and then picked up a win against Ospreay. Probably safe bet that Bushi ain't dropping more matches this tournament asides of possible L on last day so that whoever needs to win block A ends up winning. Match itself was another case of "LiJ are over and nobody cares that they play heels" with nobody really reacting when Ospreay was being worked over and even popping when Bushi misted Ospreay.

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4 hours ago, Archibald said:

3. Ishimori/Taiji was probably my favourite Taiji's match. Big part of that was that Taiji wasn't a heel in this. More I look at his interviews and matches more I don't care about his Bone Soldier persona. And he got rolled up again. To me it starts to look like he isn't going to win the tournament or even his block so they are kinda protecting him with cheap Ls to "keep him strong" for eventual title match against Ospreay which he probably should lose. And well it is hard to get excited for that. Thou obviously nothing is decided yet and he might end up winning at least his block, but I'm more pessimistic now than optimistic.

Hm...who did he face? Himself?

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Kushida/Sho was pretty cool match and my faith in Sho as singles competitor was restored.

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I like that Hiromu is using the tourney to get over the triangle choke as a finish.  It's so much better than the Timebomb, which isn't even his hurtiest-looking move out of a fireman's carry.

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For me Timebomb only works in a sense that it is the last nail to the opponent and I like that he usually hits 2-3 big moves before finishing it with Timebomb. But yeah, triangle choke allows him to get good looking wins out of nowhere and thats good.

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Despy loading Kushida on a pushcart and mowing through the audience might be THE moment of the tournament.

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Despy's the damn MVP of this tourny and needs a real singles run.

 

So, not so confusing A Block chances:

Ishimori wins the block with a win over YOH.

Ospreay wins with a win over Gordon and an Ishimori loss.

YOH wins with a win over Ishimori *AND* an Ospreay loss. 

Everyone else is eliminated by heads up tiebreakers.

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Ishimori has been really unimpressive in this tournament.  I'm hoping they don't hotshot the belt onto him after this.  Not that I'm a big fan of keeping the belt on Ospreay, but they could save that rub for someone better (like Despy!).

This tournament has really been all about Hiromu, Despy, and Lee carrying things in B Block.

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In no particular order: Hiromu, Ospreay, Kushida, Scurll, Dragon Lee, Desperado, Sho. I think those guys had better tournament than Taiji so it would be weird if he is the one to win it and beat Ospreay at Dominion.

If I'm not mistaken Dragon Lee can win it if he beats Kushida tomorrow. If Hiromu can't win for mysterious reasons then I'd much prefer Dragon Lee taking whole thing over anyone from Block A. Ospreay going over Dragon Lee at Dominion would also be completely fine I think if they want to continue his reign.

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Dominion is already sold out, and has plenty of singles match time allotted already, so they could easily chance an Ospreay defense against... anyone, really. Dragon Lee is certainly a big enough deal to get that match, which--assuming he loses--also gives you an Ospreay defense at the Cow Palace, which does need to move tickets.

As for Ishimori, yeah, Bone Soldier is an albatross on his shoulders--not that he's well-suited to vicious heeling anyway.

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The closer we get, without Rey's opponent announced, that I think Ospreay might take this and face Rey at Dominion, possibly for the Jr. Belt.  

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Kanemaru/Yoh from the last A block show was really good.  I think the simplicity of what Kanemaru does (just DDTing the fuck out of you) jives well with Yoh's babyface act in a way that most all of the flippy movez guys in that block don't.

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4 hours ago, Raziel said:

The closer we get, without Rey's opponent announced, that I think Ospreay might take this and face Rey at Dominion, possibly for the Jr. Belt.  

He might, but I think it also reasonable to expect announcement at BotSJ finals since if he is facing Scurll (due to mask pull at SSE) then it is logical to wait till tournament is finished and it is official that Scurll didn't win anything. Either way it is smart decision since it gives us lots of room to speculate about.

But main thing working against Ospreay facing Mysterio at Dominion is that Ospreay/Mysterio would probably be their biggest Jr. title match for Cow Palace show.

4 hours ago, EVA said:

Kanemaru/Yoh from the last A block show was really good.  I think the simplicity of what Kanemaru does (just DDTing the fuck out of you) jives well with Yoh's babyface act in a way that most all of the flippy movez guys in that block don't.

Kanemaru in general is underrated mostly because he never tries to steal the spotlight from guys that need it more.

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Fixed A Block Scenearos:

Ishimori wins with a win over YOH

Ospreay wins with a win over Gordon AND an Ishimori loss.

There are however, chances for a 3-4 way tie that gets way too out there and probably won't happen.

 

B Block Scenearos:

Takahashi wins with a win over KUSHIDA

KUSHIDA wins with a win over Takahashi

Scurll wins with a win over SHO AND a Takahashi/KUSHIDA draw

IF Takahashi/KUSHIDA and Scurll/SHO are both draws, I think B block comes down to a coin flip between Takahashi and KUSHIDA.  

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With the caveat that I’m not hoping for this*... Ishimori/Marty would give them another avenue to further the Bullet Club schism. Though Kenny and Cody both took credit for recruiting him, Tama got the introduction, so Ishimori is “his guy”, whereas Scurll’s allegiance is still notably conflicted.

*Ishimori/Hiromu is what I’d like. They can pull off the kind of action a tournament final demands, and Hiromu is so over Ishimori might actual be able to do some effective heeling.

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Ok, while Gedo is granting wishes, can Hiromu just win the whole thing and get a super run with the belt, while feuding with Despy?  Hiromu is light years more than at least heel Ishimori who looks like he'd rather not be saddled with the Bullet Club stuff, and Ishimori's been pretty unimpressive outside of today's finishing stretch with Yoh.  Also agreed that Sho and Yoh are going to be much better off splitting up than sticking with the R3K gimmick. 

 

And while the home stretch got pretty out of hand, which is normal for Ospreay, Flip had a starmaking performance out there.

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—Ospreay got something relatively fun out of Flip, and wisely avoided his screeching underdog selling; but it’s a bit hard for me to say he made Flip look good, because the execution gap was just so glaring. 

—SHO sold the finger breaks (a little), but I think I’m a little less impressed than the consensus seems to be. If he turns into a blow-away junior ace, I’ll probably be late in declaring it. He did have a better tournament than YOH, however. I suppose it’s another point in the “the young bucks are good, actually” column that they had legitimately great matches with RPG3K, considering what we’ve seen since, both as a team and singles.

—I am glad everyone agrees Despy rules.

—Strong submission wins for both finalists, and I get what I asked for. 

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Despy/Dragon was super hot until Dragon legitimately ripped the fuck out of Despy's mask.  The drama surrouding whether Despy could keep his face covered was amusing, but it definitely took something from the match.  Glad to see Despy get a big rub from Dragon, though.  Maybe they can build off that.

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5 hours ago, Beech27 said:

 I suppose it’s another point in the “the young bucks are good, actually” column that they had legitimately great matches with RPG3K, considering what we’ve seen since, both as a team and singles.

While not as good I thought that RPG3K also had decent to good tag matches last year in the tournament and before that winning those belts. Maybe I was still in "young lions returned and they are pretty good" phase, but for me really something changed only after their program with Young Bucks concluded.

I thought about posting after the tournament, but probably nothing will happen that will change my mind on the last day:

Overall, while tournament delivered some great matches and Desperado surely raised his profile, I didn't like it a lot. One reason being that A block didn't really have anything and another reason being overall booking of the tournament. WWE gets a ton of shit for their 50/50 booking, yet I didn't saw anyone mentioning how 11 out of 16 competitors ended up with 6 points. That is, 3 wins and 4 losses.

It is cool that Ishimori and Ospreay got their 10 points each, but what does it really mean for rest of the block? Everyone is equally bad? And situation is only slightly different in Block B with Kushida and Scurll getting 8 points. G1 usually (and older BotSJ) manages to give more varied results that can allow us to kinda put wrestlers in NJPW hierarchy to see whats what. But here we have guys like Dragon Lee and Desperado being in "everyone else" camp. While I liked Sho, I don't understand why he had to end up with same amount of points as Dragon Lee.

Another problem with booking for me was people going 3-0 and then going 0-4. Main problem with going 3-0 is that if you win on day 4 then very likely you are mathematically eliminating someone from the tournament and NJPW clearly didn't want that to happen. So it kinda made endings of Tiger Mask, Dragon Lee and Bushi matches predictable. First two couldn't win anymore and last one couldn't lose anymore.

In other words, I wish we would get more varied final results and I see nothing wrong with lower tier guys getting eliminated early. Alternatively, if you don't want them eliminated then maybe you shouldn't give 3-0/0-3 booking that will force your hand.

And I guess I should mention that I didn't like the booking of Block B last year either where 4 people ended with 3-4 record while other 4 got 4-3 record and on last day basically every match was "wrestler who defeated Kushida earlier has to lose now".

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4 hours ago, EVA said:

Despy/Dragon was super hot until Dragon legitimately ripped the fuck out of Despy's mask.  The drama surrouding whether Despy could keep his face covered was amusing, but it definitely took something from the match.  Glad to see Despy get a big rub from Dragon, though.  Maybe they can build off that.

Looks like mask vs mask is gonna happen at some point.

 

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