Liger, Sasuke, Malenko, Benoit, Guerrero, Owen Hart, many names come to mind when discussing junior heavyweight wrestling. And they as well as many other top talents over the years have competed in a tournament known as the Best of the Super Juniors. As we approach the 25th edition of this legendary tournament, let’s take a look at some of the competitors. They’re separated into 2 blocks: “A” and “B,” and wrestle in a round robin format with the two best meeting in the final on June 4th. Today we’ll cover the A block.
ACH: otherwise known as “why the hell hasn’t NJPW put pen to paper with this guy” will be returning this year after making multiple appearances under the ROH banner. This year he will be wrestling as a complete freelancer, he’s one of the most slept on high flyers in wrestling and is always looking for an opportunity to make some new fans, and look him to maybe use some moves from his favorite wrestler Tiger the Dark.
Bushi: the second Jr from Los Ingobernables de Japon, he’s not exactly on anyone’s list of favorites to take the whole thing home, but as a former IWGP Jr heavyweight Champ, he’s not to be ignored.
Flip Gordon: the high flyer from ROH is hopefully not looking to fall flat at this year’s tourney and will be looking to cement his place on the ALL IN card with a good showing at this years BOSJ., and hopefully turn enough heads with his performances to make a return to NJPW in the near future.
Taji Ishimori: now is the time to get excited, the newest member of Bullet Club, the BONE SOLDIER is looking to make an immediate impact in this years tournament. And this isn’t his first foray into the NJPW jr heavyweight division. He has a history with ACH as a tag team in NOAH and competed in last years Jr tag league. Look for their match to absolutely tear the house down, and look for Taji to have an amazing tournament overall. Keep your eyes peeled for this one.
Tiger Mask IV: not much to say about the legendary tiger mask, as he’s slipped into liger’s roll of taking falls and chopping the heck out of some of the younger talents.
Will Ospreay: I can confidently call Ospreay the best wrestler on the planet under 220lbs and he’s definitely in the talk for best wrestler regardless of weight class. He’s exciting, and always looking to go above and beyond his previous BOSJ performances including winning the 2016 edition (with his famous/infamous match with Ricochet) and making the finals of the 2017 edition in an instant 5* classic with KUSHIDA. I could go on and on about will but I’ll let his matches and his new found “stormbreaker” finisher do the talking for me. The current IWGP Jr heavyweight champion is hands down my favorite to win the whole thing. I’d consider all of his matches to hold “must watch” status.
Yoh: the returning star and now 1/2 of former IWGP jr heavyweight tag champion Roppongi 3k, Yoh is an exciting young prospect in this years tournament. He has had limited singles appearances since his return, so this poses a great opportunity for him to show off his talents. Don’t sleep on Yoh. I especially look forward to his match against Tiger Mask to see if maybe the old dog can hold his own against an up-and-comer like Yoh.
Yoshinobu Kanemaru: the 2nd Jr heavyweight of Suzuki-Gun, yoshinobu bring experience to the tournament and will look to steal some victories with the help of his stablemates.
And that wraps up an absolutely LOADED A-Block, my hands down favorite to win the block is Ospreay, with a close second in Taji Ishimori as the bookers may use this event as a chance to strap the rocket to his back and cement his place as a top contender in the Jr Heavyweight Division. Make sure to come back to check out my overview of the B-block plus my matches to look for and overall predictions.