Imp’s NJPW Adventure with New Japan Noob Sir Sam – Best of the Super Juniors Preview & Predictions

G’day all! May is well and truly here, Wrestlemania is a fading memory, the WWE roster experiments are in full effect and we are all holding our breath for Double or Nothing. As well as the host of goings on in the land of the stars and stripes, on the other side of the world it is one of the hottest times of the year as New Japan gears up its most prestigious junior-heavyweight tournament, the annual Best of the Super Juniors.

For those of you new to New Japan, brace yourself for all the flippy shit you can handle because Best of the Super Juniors is a tournament renowned for its incredible pace and athletic wrestling. It has been won by the likes of Chris Benoit as Wild Pegasus, Finn Balor as Prince Devitt, recent NXT acquisition Kushida, as well as legendary Japanese names like Jushin Thunder Liger and Tiger Mask.

This year’s tournament sees twenty competitors split into two, ten man brackets (Blocks A and B) and starting on the 13th of May they will fight the other members of their block, earning two points for a win, one for a draw. At the end of the month the winners of each block face off in the Grand Final to be crowned champion and receive a contract for a shot at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.

Joining this New Japan Newb (well slowly getting more experience) to preview and provide a prediction for each entrant is LOP main pager and host of The Perfect 10 podcast The Implications.

Block A

Best of the Super Juniors


Dragon Lee

Imp: The IWGP Jr Heavyweight Champ will be looking to assert himself as the man to beat in this tournament. With his successful Wrestling Dontaku defence establishing his heart and determination, this Block is going to throw one hell of a challenge of stamina. Sure you beat Ishimori, but can you beat him THEN tangle with The Octopus, THEN outsmart ‘The Villain’ Marty Scurll, THEN go one on one with ‘Beast Mode’ Shingo Takagi? And still have enough left to outsmart Kanemaru’s Suzuki-Gun mind games?

Good luck, pal. That Kamaitachi mask of Hiromu’s you carry round better bring out one hell of a fighting spirit! Even though he’s immensely talented and New Japan fans adore him, this is not an easy block for the champion at all. That said, I expect another strong showing here to establish him as a top – if not THE – star of the Junior division.

Let’s not forget, after KUSHIDA’s turned black and yellow, the division is looking for it’s new ace.

Sam: It is hard to believe this guy is only 23 and this is already his third Best of the Super Juniors! While he has been able to go into his past tournaments as a relative underdog this year he comes in with a championship sized target on his back and every single wrestling in Block A will be looking to pick up his prized scalp. He certainly has the ability to get the win here and if he wasn’t champ I may well be backing his natural talent to carry him however that belt tends to weigh down its owner when it comes to tournaments.

If he stays with CMLL & NJPW he will win it one day but not this year.

Prediction
Imp: 2nd
Sam: 2nd

 

Shingo Takagi

Imp: I’m calling it now, 2019 will be the year of the muscly bastard. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if Wrestle Kingdom is the crowning show for Los Ingobernables de Japon as a whole, not forgetting which poor fool gets to be Lariatooo-ed to hell by Big Shingo.

Everything about New Japan’s slow build for Shingo is screaming out for a bloody impressive Best of the Super Junior run, mirroring his tenure so far and just running through everyone. The thing about this block though is that everyone will be tested, there’s such a variety of opponent that whoever ends up on top really will have ran the gauntlet to get there.

So not only am I expecting a dominant run, but arguably this will be his first ultimate test. He’s been dominant so far, but now he’s one-on-one up against former and current Jr champions. I’m expecting big things for Shingo as a singles star in New Japan, that first step happens here with this tournament.

A strong block with a mighty performance, immediately establishing him as a top guy in the division. Well, at least till Hiromu returns, then suddenly things might get a tad interesting.

Heel Shingo for 2020 anyone?

Sam: NJPW have gone the Goldberg route with Shingo, feeding him a steady diet of junior dominance since he arrived in NJPW last year. He is still yet to eat a pin or submission and has even got to hold his own when he’s faced off with freakin’ Okada in tag matches. The guy has earnt it too, his work in ring is outstanding, blending power and size of a heavyweight with the kind of speed you expect in the juniors. He is still yet to have a proper singles run in NJPW but if his tag run so far has been any indication the New Japan brass have huge plans for the guy who simultaneously rocks an 80s mullet and 00s fauxhawk and pulls it off. My tip is that he will take out the entire tournament in an unprecedented run of dominance.

Prediction
Imp: 1st
Sam: 1st, winner of BOSJ

 

Taiji Ishimori

Imp: I feel like the top 3 for this block are pretty set in stone, the order they fall is anyone’s guess though. Ishimori made one hell of a splash in this tournament last year, only losing out right at the end to the rise of Hiromu Takahashi. He entered the division with a bang and after Hiromu’s injury there was only ever one man to take the reigns at Wrestle Kingdom.

However, that major debut year may come to bite him in the ass with this year’s tournament. In the face of the slow, dominant build of Shingo and the heart and determination of Dragon Lee, the Bone Soldier’s chances of topping off this block don’t seem super great at first look.

The chances of Bullet Club shenanigans however are pretty high.

Sam: Yeah we have gone for the same top three for this block but with good reason. Since he arrived last year Ishimori has been one of the main featured performers of the junior division, climaxing in taking the IWGP Junior championship at Wrestle Kingdom and carrying it into the MSG show. However it is hard to not feel like last years ‘hot new thing’ has gone off the boil ever so slightly.

As his main event at Wreslting Dontaku with Dragon Lee showed he is one of the best performers in the division and is someone I expect will be showing up for this tournament for many years to come, I just don’t think this year is his.

Prediction
Imp: 3rd (probably due to one too many DQs)
Sam: 3rd

 

SHO

Imp: Big Boy Juniors Sho and Shingo in the same block… yeeaah boiii!

SHO had such an impressive run last year, he really stood out putting on great matches all tournament. Being in the same block as his tag partner YOH did seem to hold him back a tad, but this year he’s able to break fully free of the tag scene and run riot. And this block gives him a damn great opportunity to have a second straight year of fantastic BOSJ matches.

The opposition is of such a high calibre though, that I really don’t know how well he’ll fair. 2 recent champions, 2 legends, 1 rising beast and the champion himself; that’s a hell of a lineup to tackle. I’ve not even mentioned the ‘wrestler’s wrestler’ in Gresham.

It’s because of all that, that I really don’t know where SHO will fall. Will he rise to meet the talent? Or struggle to keep up with the incredibly high bar of this block? Hence why I’m going ‘kind of’ to both and placing him slap bang in the middle. He’ll rise up and impress once again, but it’ll often be in defeat and he won’t actually contest for that top spot.

One day he will, just probably not this year.

Sam: SHO, the little guys big man. Yeah they have played up how he is the junior that is slightly less jacked than Shino but let’s face it, the guy is still a lot smaller than Shingo. Still NJPW have been doing a fantastic job of building up SHO through tag matches as an athletic and aggressive strong man and while I joke about it boy they have done a good job at creating a heated rivalry with Shingo.

I think that SHO is ready for a breakout of the tag division and there is no doubt that NJPW always has big plans for its star young lions when they make their return. If he was to run rampant in this block it would not be as surprising as most names on this list but in this block with the current champ, the guy he beat and the odds on favourite for the tournament it is just hard to see him really make a run for the top spot.

That said I expect him to make a statement with his performance, if he stays with New Japan it is only a matter of time before he wins this tournament, just not this year.

Prediction
Imp: 5th
Sam: 4th

 

Marty Scurll

Imp: What a difference a year makes. This time last year I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid t Scurll’s inclusion, he was a major part of NJPW’s Junior lineup and playing an important (if not lesser) role in the incredible Bullet Club is Fine angle. But now?

Today he’s one of ROH’s top guys, a leader of his own Villain Enterprises stable, main eventing NWA shows for their prestigious title. In a way he’s filled the hole the likes of Cody left behind when they launched upon their AEW adventure, in the process becoming one of the biggest names on the US circuit.

So to see him in the Best of the Super Juniors once again is a tad… odd, I guess? He’s undoubtedly a bigger star than he was last year, but where will he fall on the New Japan spectrum? Is he there as one of the ROH extra talents that are this tournament each year? Or as the same major player he has always been in this division?

Really – and I’m sorry but I have to use the term here – he’s the wild card of this block, a man who’s become such a big name that he has to have a strong run in this tournament. Right?

Except there’s Dragon Lee, Shingo and Ishimori… what the hell happens with Scurll in there too? Fair to say this block is bloody strong.

Sam: I agree Imp, it is almost strange to see Scurll here. He is a huge star with a history with the company so there is no question why NJPW would want to utilise him but after the departure of the rest of The Elite and his transition to main event heavyweight scene for ROH he seems an odd fit here.

Having said that he is a guy so full of charisma and character who can blend very well with so many different styles. I will be watching every single match he is in however I expect him to be used to help boost up some of the guys that are truly the future of the division.

Prediction
Imp: 4th
Sam: 5th

 

TAKA Michinoku

Imp: The able bodied veteran, willingly offering himself up to put over those spunky young talents. As the hype man for Zack Sabre Jr, TAKA has found a nice footing within the Suzuki-Gun stable propping up the current generation. Which exactly what I expect his role to be here, sprinkled in with a bit of cheating and maybe one or two nifty victories along the way.

2019 in the new Reiwa era is about looking forward for New Japan, unfortunately for Michinoku that means a lot of staring up at the lights.

Sam: Did you see that TAKA picked up a pinfall win over Tiger Mask? Could they be prepping him for the old guy run? Could it be TAKA’s year as the surprise upset? Well probably not but if he does you heard it here first.

Prediction
Imp: 9th
Sam: 8th

 

Titan

Sam: You’re gona have to help me here Imp…

Imp: Errr, he’s a luchador… so… expect lucha things? I guess?

Lost with yer here, Sam! I swear I must have seen him on one of the NJPW/CMLL shows, no bells are ringing though. So I’m assuming he did a load of luchador-ing, but nothing really stood out and made a mark on my memory.

Prediction
Imp: 8th
Sam: 7th

 

Yoshinobu Kanemaru

Imp: Kanemaru and El Desperado normally do alright for themselves in these tournaments, keeping themselves propped up for whenever they next challenge for the IWGP Jr Tag belts. Nothing super impressive mind you, but constantly finishing around the middle. So there’s no reason to expect otherwise this year, something like 6th – 8th for both lads.

If anything, maybe a little lower with NJPW looking forward along with the rest of Japan at the start of their new era. That’s right, I’m using my world knowledge to try and beat Sam in a wrestling predictions game.

This one’s serious, readers. -_-

Sam: Ahh back to New Japan vets, now that is something I know a little about not that it matters much as Kanemaru is here purely to make up the numbers. He’ll pick up a win or two but don’t expect him to trouble the scorers too heavily.

Prediction
Imp: 7th
Sam: 10th

 

Jonathan Gresham

Sam:

Imp: I’ve got a feeling the Japanese fans are going to really dig ‘‘The Octopus’ Jonathan Gresham. He’s really carved a nice niche for himself on the US circuit and has started to make a name formself in ROH (a match with a certain ZSJ at the end of last year springs to mind).

But in terms of his actual chances in this competition, I’m expecting a sound middle of the pack run. Similar to the likes of Flip Gordon and ACH last year, great performances that the crowd will probably eat up and lead to them being genuinely behind him later on.

This will likely be a ‘Getting to Know You’ meet n’ greet for Gresham, a rising ROH talent given the chance to shine on a big Japanese stage. This is also a fantastic block for him to be showcased in as well, a lot of variety for him to dance with!

Sam: I just did a quick Youtube and I like this guy’s style as much as I like his nickname. King of the Zac Sabre Jr of the Juniors, looking forward to seeing more of him.

Prediction
Imp: 6th
Sam: 6th

 

Tiger Mask

Imp: El Tigre is finishing last and – like Liger before him – you will dance to his entrance music every time he walks out.

Not much more to say here, just nice to see the lad for these final BOSJ runs of his.

Sam: A couple of years ago Tiger Mask actually went on quite a run winning three of his first four matches and a historic character like Tiger Mask will always get at least one or two surprise big name wins. It could even be him or one of the other vets that manages to be the stumbling block for one for the big names. All things being equal though he is unlikely to grab enough wins to save face.

Prediction
Imp: 10th
Sam: 8th

 

Most Anticipated Match of the Block

Imp: Dragon Lee vs Shingo

Luchador Champion vs muscly bastard. Dragon vs Dragon. Hiromu’s respected rival vs the man who joined LIJ after his unfortunate injury. There’s a fair bit to unpack here, but this first time meeting already has a lot of meat on the bones.

Hiromu may respect Dragon Lee, but do the other LIJ members? Does Shingo? Or will he focus in on the fact it’s a one on one match with the IWGP Jr Heavyweight Champion? Not forgetting how all this may psychologically affect the champ himself, on top of the drain of the tournament to that point.

Arguably the biggest match that will test the sheer dominance of Shingo, with his run in NJPW so far it’s hard to imagine him faltering here. That said, they’re also building up their new Junior champion, showing his heart and desire at the top of the division. So it’s also hard to imagine him faltering! Who loses? I have absolutely no idea and therefore cannot wait as I don’t want either of them lose, yet am fine with either of them winning. A winning scenario if there ever was one.

Sam: SHO v Shingo

This matchup is a testament to how New Japan build rivalries organically and over a long period of time. Since Shingo arrived on the scene before Junior Tag League last year him and SHO have gone from a respectful rivalry between the junior tag division’s two main power wrestlers to an out and out rivalry that now demands to be settled outside of a tag match.

The crowd is completely invested in this story and just to add a little extra spice to the conflict, they will be meeting on the opening night. The winner will gain a huge chunk of momentum and the loser will face a setback and have to come back from a properly crushing loss.

This one has it all, the potential conclusion to a long term story and the promise of an excellent match as the two hosses of the junior division battle it out to kick of the tournament.

Block B

Best of the Super Juniors


Will Ospreay

Imp: Fair to call Ospreay the heavy favourite for this block? To be honest, it may be considered a surprise he’s taking part in the first place, given how he’s just dropped the NEVER Openweight Championship after beating Kota ‘Freaking’ Ibushi for it in the opening match of Wrestle Kingdom. This block may not have a singles champion, but Ospreay’s arguably the closest thing to one.

However, that’s exactly why it’s difficult to figure out who’ll win this block. As Ospreay could be moving on to the heavyweight scene, is it really safe to assume he’ll make the final of this Junior tournament rather than putting over someone else on his way? But if not Will, then who? There aren’t really any obvious picks and suddenly that swings me right back to thinking it must be the Ariel Assassin.

That’s why this block is so interesting to me, there’s a hell of a lot of debuts or lads we’ve only seen briefly. We have no idea where they’ll fall, so going in Ospreay’s the only proven certainty… unless that’s the exact reason he doesn’t win. Damn you NJPW with your quality bookig!

Sam: Willy-Openweight, not only does Will get to have a nice reign with the NEVER Openweight title, wrestle in the New Japan Cup and in all likelihood make his G1 Debut he still gets to flip his way through the Best of Super Juniors tournament.

Given his heavyweight ambitions you have to think this is something of a swansong for a guy who has been one of the anchors of the junior division over the last few years. Before he goes out though I expect a very strong showing. The key for Osprey at heavyweight has been being able to maintain his speed and athleticism while building his power so I have no doubt he will still be able to keep up with some of the smaller lads in the tournament, smaller lads who will now have to deal with a guy that has gone toe to toe with some of the biggest guys on the New Japan payroll.

The sky’s the limit for the Aerial Assassin in New Japan and I predict he will go all the way to the finals before taking a close loss to the eventual winner before moving on from the junior division.

Prediction
Imp: Winner, Block B, Runner Up overall
Sam: Winner, Block B, Runner Up overall

 

Bandido

Imp: I love Bandido, one of my favourite wrestlers in the US today. The Mexican signing with ROH was a big deal, he’s been a name on the rise with huge potential. So I’m expecting a strong run from the athletic man over this tournament, NJPW have already seen first hand how damn great he is.

The spot he got on the MSG card may be reflected with a high finish. I don’t expect him to make the top 2, but there’s a very strong chance of him finishing 3rd or 4th. Really it depends on where more established guys like BUSHI or Flip Gordon fall, but I like the Mexican’s chances.

Sam: As we say farewell to Will Ospreay we say hello to Bandido a man who has taken the indy scene by storm in the last year and was quickly been snapped up by ROH. Even though Dragon Lee won the triple threat match at MSG Bandido was the true star of the match showing off both his athleticism and his strength, a combination that has served the likes of Mr Ospreay very well over the years.

New Japan would be blind not to see the potential in a guy like Bandido and in my mind the only thing potentially holding him back is if New Japan’s partnership with ROH is indeed coming to an end.

I’m going to shoot for the stars though and say Bandido will make an extremely strong debut and come second in the block.

Prediction
Imp: 3rd
Sam: 2nd

 

El Phantasmo

Imp: If Taiji Ishimori hadn’t have just debuted last year and immediately run rampant in this tournament, I’d be giving this man the top spot of this block. I’m expecting really great things from his NJPW run, especially given his inclusion in the Bullet Club gives him an incredible base to immediately jump off of.

I mean, if there is a way to be any higher than teabagging Will Ospreay with the Young Lion ice packs. In terms of debuting, has Phantasmo set the bar too high? Will he teabag everyone? Or is that reserved for the more deserving?

All these questions and more will be answered. He’s also an amazingly gifted wrestler, so there’s also that to look forward to.

Sam: Another debutant I have big expectations of. El Phantasmo got a very similar introduction to the main roster as his fellow Bullet Club junior Taji Ishimori: debuting the weekend before BOSJ after a series of hype packages. The Bone Soldier REborn went all the way to the finals last year and while I don’t expect quite that same result for ELP I certainly can see that New Japan wants to make a big impression with him, as such I believe he will pick up enough wins to take out third while not quite being able to keep up with the very top of the bracket.

Prediction
Imp: 2nd
Sam: 3rd

 

Robbie Eagles

Imp: With Phantasmo’s major introduction, Robbie Eagles is probably the poor lad that’ll end up further down the rankings than previously expected. Impressing folk back in December during the Junior Tag League, he looks very likely to be a ‘making up the numbers’ middle of the pack finisher. Picking up wins against those nearer the bottom, but not really making any impact at the top.

Expecting his matches to make a splash though, he’s a talented fella and I can see him gaining a fair few supporters over the course of this tournament. It’s just unfortunate for him that there’s another Bullet Club man with all the focus this time around.

Sam: You have to feel sorry for poor Robbie, the two other Bullet Club juniors got huge introductions to the main roster while he came in under the radar for the Junior Tag League. You could be forgiven for having forgotten about him completely in the lead up to BOSJ.

That said I have to stick up for my fellow Aussie here, Robbie is one of my countries best exports and while he didn’t get to show off his full arsenal of tricks in the tag league I think BOSJ will be his chance to turn some heads.

Prediction
Imp: 6th
Sam: 5th (fingers crossed)

 

BUSHI

Imp: I feel like I’m being a tad generous with my relatively high ranking for this man, but with his stablemate likely to dominate Block A, it felt suiting that BUSHI would also have a strong year. I don’t he’ll win, but I’m calling a very likely top 5 finish. Especially with 2019 looking to be the ultimate rise for Los Ingobernables de Japon, I’ve got this feeling the entire group is going to be looking damn strong by the end of the year.

BUSHI’s had good runs in the past, even winning the title for a short period, but he’s never been someone New Japan’s called upon for those big match occasions. So he’ll do well, just losing out to those at the top who have a bit more momentum within the division. Guys they’re looking at to carry that IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship into the new era, if anything BUSHI will be more vital to LIJ’s story than his own.

Sam: What do you say about BUSHI? He has been around forever, is in the coolest stable on the roster and like many of the juniors has wrapped up runs with the Junior title, Junior Tag Title and was part of a NEVER 6 man title winning side. However despite that upside I just can’t get past the fact he has been playing second fiddle inside his own stable to Shingo for pretty much eight months straight.

This is a chance for him to remind us all what he is capable of but at the same time I can’t help but think that his tournament may not end up being all that remarkable at all.

Prediction
Imp: 4th
Sam: 6th

 

Ryusuke Taguchi

Imp: When it comes Taguchi, who knows how he’ll do in a Best of the Super Juniors tournament. He literally could finish rock bottom or top 3, his runs have genuinely been that random on the spectrum. He’s ruined many a bracket for me over the years, I’ve learnt to never be certain in my low expectations of his successes.

That said, this year’s BOSJ is waay too strong for the Funky Weapon to be picking up that many wins. So for me it becomes a question of if he finishes bottom, or does Rocky? Of which Sam’s answered Rocky, so I’m going to Taguchi just to be different.

There is no other reason, it could literally be either of them.

EDIT: Then Ren Narita was added, so I guess the Young Lion will probably finish bottom instead. But the battle for 8th/9th is still on!

Sam:  No comment.

Prediction
Imp: 9th
Sam: 8th

 

YOH

Sam: My thoughts on YOH are very similar to his tag team partner SHO, he is a guy that could win the block and it would make complete sense given his career trajectory but I just don’t think this year is his. I personally think with the hype SHO has got YOH has become a tad underrated in the double act, he is slick in the ring and has charisma to burn, watching him close the show with Okada on the Road to Dontaku was really good and it was clear the crowd was digging his work.

However it takes a lot more than promise to win a tournament this stacked. We will learn a lot from his matches with the very top guys in the block, Osprey, ELP and Bandido. I have him pegged as just a rung below those three but wouldn’t be too surprised if he even gets as high as second.

Imp: Pretty much what Sam said, YOH really does feel like someone who could ultimately be a major player in the division. Just not this year. Not forgetting how damn strong the competition is this year, the fact we’re both ranking the man within the top 5 should speak volumes.

Prediction
Imp: 5th
Sam: 4th

 

Rocky Romero

Imp: In his own words as he endlessly clotheslines, “Fooreever! Fooreever! Fooreever! Fooreever!”

Rocky’s been taking more of a backseat role, managing SHO & YOH in Roppongi 3k and guest commentating on a high number of events. So I expect his run in this tournament to accurately reflect that, with the mighty battle for 8th/9th with Rysuke Taguchi! Which New Japan Dad (or Uncle in Rocky’s case) will avoid finishing second from bottom? The tension is almost present.

Still love the guy though, always been such an entertaining wrestler.

Sam: Ah Rocky, the ever giving, ever hilarious, ever awkward third wheel to Roppongi 3k. I’m not sure how I will feel about him facing YOH in the tournament, it’s like YOH fighting his weird but hopelessly outclassed uncle. One interesting tibit is that Rocky and BUSHI have a decent slice of backstage heat with one another after BUSHI made some offhanded comments about non-Japanese juniors a few years ago now. Their match will be one to look out for.

Prediction
Imp: 8th
Sam: 9th

 

*RECORD SCRATCH*

Mid way through writing this column it was announced that Desperado and Flip Gordon had been pulled from Block B due to injury and visa issues and replaced by DOUKI and Young Lion Ren Narita

DOUKI

Imp: “In Desperado’s place will be a man TAICHI brought to TakaTaichi Mania as a ‘hired gun’ for Suzuki-Gun, a Japanese luchadore by the name of DOUKI,” explained the post on NJPW1972.com.

At that event on May 7th, El Desperado broke his jaw and has not been cleared to wrestle in this tournament. Which sucks, I had a whole paragraph on that guy, I’ve got nothing on DOUKI. Sounds like a good Junior fit though! And as he’s a Suzuki-Gun guy, I guess we can still expect a dose of ‘cheeky cheating’?

Sam: I have never heard of this guy nor seen him wrestle. However count me intrigued by his look and the fact Taka Michinoku trained him but not by his unfortunate name.

While there could never be a clearer case of making up the numbers my guess is that he will get a consolation win or two, enough to keep him off the bottom rungs of the block.

Prediction
Imp: 7th
Sam: 7th

 

Ren Narita

Sam: Ren Narita’s inclusion really interests me, my favourite match of the New Japan Cup was his fellow Young Lion Shota Umino against Hiroshi Tanahashi and the chance for something like that is ripe when Narita faces a guy like Ospreay. However as someone not overly familiar with the history of the tournament I just don’t know what to expect, could he get an upset win over someone like Rocky or Taguchi or will we just get the fun ‘respectful loss’ from Narita? Set me straight Imp?

Imp: Ren Narita will got no wins. He’ll get closer and closer to that ever elusive victory, but yeah, I’ll be extremely surprised if he even picks up a single point. Valiant in defeat, with his many, many, many loses.

However, what is likely is that veteran vs Young Lion scenario brought up by Sam that we saw with Umino in the New Japan Cup. With Narita truly bringing it to one of the top stars, ending with his efforts just not being enough.

His inclusion is good news for Taguchi & Rocky, as it pretty much confirms they won’t be bottom. They’ll just be second from bottom instead.

Prediction
Imp: 10th
Sam: 10th

Most Anticipated Match of the Block

Sam: Will Ospreay v El Phantasmo

Imp: “Ariel Assassin” Will Ospreay vs “The Teabag Artist” El Phantasmo

Sam: Ok, so we ended up on the same ones, although I didn’t quite see your nicknames

Imp:

Sam: Oh Lord, I will not be unseeing that any time soon.

If I can push it from my brain, the thing I like about this match is the promise of both incredible in ring action and also a genuine story between the two characters. For those of you not in the know Will Ospreay and El Phantasmo built a genuine friendship travelling the british indy scene together. However when he showed up as Bullet Club’s latest aquisition and faced off with Ospreay in the ring, Willy was very much taken aback and put off by that. As you can see from that little video, things did not exactly go the former Junior Champs way when they first met.

Imp: Which will ultimately play in their BOSJ meeting. Will El Phantasmo prove he knows exactly how to play into Ospreay’s head? Or will the former NEVER Champion show us once again why he’s so highly regarded within the company? He is a talent that has somewhat broken out of the division afterall.

Hell, Phantasmo could just be targeting Ospreay to advance his own career, the whole Kevin Owens, “It was nothing personal,” approach. Either way, the athleticism on display will be amazing and I for one cannot wait to see this one play out. Also given their chemistry, this could possibly be the quickest paced match of the tournament by a country mile. The kind you watch in awe as they somehow keep up with one another.

That does it for today Lords of Pain, thanks for joining us. Let us know in the comments below what you are looking forward to in both Block A and Block B, who you think will make the final. You can also join the conversation on the LOP Forums, you can find our BOSJ thread here. Finally you can follow both of us on Twitter @TheDamnImplicat and @Sir_Samuel.

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