Preview: Best of the Super Juniors 26 Final

img_20190530_1331352228387698226276529.jpgWhen – Wednesday 5th June @ 18.30 JST (11.30 GMT/10.30 BST/5.30 EST/2.30 PST)
Where – Ryōgoku Kokugikan (Sumo Hall), Tokyo
Overview – The Best of the Super Juniors tournament started back on the 13th May and we have now reached the final. 20 competitors entered the fray but it all comes down to 2. Shingo Takagi and Will Ospreay won their blocks and go head to head in the main event, in front of the biggest crowd for a BOSJ final in 22 years. The winner will earn the right to challenge the current IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Dragon Lee at Dominion, and they also get an awesome trophy. Not only will one of the best tournaments of the year reach it’s climax, but Hiroshi Tanahashi will be returning from surgery and Jon Moxley will be making his NJPW debut.

img_20190604_0626053248171320921746657.jpgShingo Takagi vs Will Ospreay – Best of the Super Juniors 26 Final
The Dragon vs The Assassin. After 9 high-stakes tournament matches each, this is it. The final match of the tournament to determine the best Junior Heavyweight in the world; but there’s more. Shingo dominated his block with a 9 win and 0 less record in the tournament. Not only did he conquer his block in the tournament, he is undefeated since debuting with NJPW in October 2018. For Shingo, a win means keeping his undefeated reign intact and the chance to challenge for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the first time. Ospreay had a tougher time with a 7 win 2 loss record, winning with a dislocated finger during his final match. For Ospreay, it’s his chance to do what nobody has been able to do before him, defeat the undefeated. Can Ospreay be the person to slay The Dragon? On a night that has the debut of Moxley and the return of Tanahashi, this is the main event. This match stands to be the match of the night and has wild potential. You may be watching this show for Moxley but you’ll return because of Shingo and Ospreay.
Who I think will win – Shingo Takagi
Who I want to win – I DON’T KNOW BUT IT’LL BE SO GOOD

mmjmlfnjbjejihdh60859305866883650.jpgJuice Robinson (C) vs Jon Moxley – IWGP United States Championship
Like most single matches in NJPW, there is no obvious winner and it makes this all the more interesting. With this match-up comes a barrage of questions. How will the Japanese fans react to Moxley? How will Moxley perform in a NJPW ring? How will Juice handle the biggest match of his career? This will be Moxley’s first match since leaving WWE and will be our first chance to see what has changed now that he is from the machine he had such disdain for. As Juice himself said, “it’s going to be a fight, a brawl”. Juice is a man who the New Japan faithful have grown to love as one of their own; expect a lot of heart from the current Champ as he hopes to retain and elevate the title. For many, Moxley’s in-ring work had grown stale with WWE and he’s afforded a large stage here to remind everybody of what he is capable of. 
Who I think will win – Jon Moxley
Who I want to win – Juice Robinson

0605_tana_jay923455996804422270.jpgHiroshi Tanahashi vs Jay White
The Ace will be looking to make a triumphant in-ring return from having elbow surgery as he goes up against the devious Switchblade. When Tanahashi returned at Wrestling Dontaku in Fukuoka he made his intentions clear, that he wants to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Never one to care for a wholesome moment, White hit the ring and reminded Tanahashi that the Switchblade is next in line which has led to the next match in this heated rivalry. The last time the 2 men met was at New Beginning in February and it ended with Jay White defeating Tanahashi to become the IWGP Heavyweight Champion for the first time. Although both established stars in NJPW, both wrestlers will feel like they need to prove themselves; Tanahashi will be hoping to show that he is fighting fit as a loss would be detrimental to his title hopes whereas White will be looking to remind the world why he is deserving of a title shot.
Who I think will win – Hiroshi Tanahashi
Who I want to win – Hiroshi Tanahashi

wp-image5071165117065749727.pngKazuchika Okada & Rocky Romero vs Marty Scurll and Brody King
This is the last time we will see Okada in the ring before his title defense against Chris Jericho ahead of the Dominion show on Sunday. The Rainmaker will be hoping to gain some momentum ahead of that huge match but things haven’t been made easy for him as he goes up against Villain Enterprises.

wp-image7063906720045979858.pngKota Ibushi, Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma & Henare vs Tetsuya Naito, EVI, SANADA & BUSHI
Ibushi and Naito will look to make an impact in this one as the two meet one more time before fighting for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship at Dominion. The Los Ingobernables team will be looking to kick things off strong for LIJ in the hopes of spurring Shingo on in the main event.

wp-image3507159131275498969.jpgTomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, YOSHI-HASHI, Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask vs Taichi, Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr., Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKI
Another preview of a Championship match set to take place on Sunday sees Suzuki-Gun’s Taichi across the ring from Ishii. Not only will those 2 men be gunning for each other, but over recent months Liger and Suzuki have been battling it out with hopes of meeting in singles action with this match-up set to add more fuel to that fire.

wp-image2874269551829901092.jpgRyusuke Taguchi, SHO & YOH vs Taiji Ishimori, El Phantasmo & Robbie Eagles
The interest in this match will be keenly on Bullet Club. The tension between Eagles and ELP was building throughout the BOSJ after ELP used his cheating tactics to pick up a win over Eagles and then proceeded to help Eagles pick up a win against Ospreay, much to the chagrin of Eagles who wanted an untainted victory.

wp-image5924800760366250537.jpgDragon Lee, Titan & Shota Umino vs Bandido, Jonathan Gresham & Ren Narita
Kicking things off will be the current IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Dragon Lee who will have his eyes fixed on the main event to see who will be challenging for his title. Narita put in memorable work during the BOSJ tournament but ended up with zero wins so he’ll now be hopeful of getting a notch under his belt before the tournament is wrapped.

What’s Next?
After this huge show the NJPW engine keeps running with one of their biggest shows of the year coming in the form of Dominion in Osaka on Sunday 9th June. Matches announced so far include Kazuchika Okada vs Chris Jericho, Kota Ibushi vs Tetsuya Naito, Taichi vs Tomohiro Ishii and Dragon Lee vs the BOSJ Winner.

– @CiaranRH

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