Other PPVs CALDWELL'S NJPW BEST OF SUPER JRS. FINALS REPORT 6/7: O'Reilly vs. KUSHIDA epic tournament conclusion
Jun 8, 2015 - 12:15:51 AM
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New Japan Best of the Super Jrs. Tournament Finals
June 7, 2015
Aired on NJPW World
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
I plan to go back and review the rest of the show, but I'm starting with the Best of the Super Jrs. tournament finale between KUSHIDA and Kyle O'Reilly, which is available on the New Japan World streaming service.
After the semi-main event ended, New Japan went to a video package documenting this year's Best of the Super Jrs. tournament. The focus was on how Kyle O'Reilly and KUSHIDA made their way through the tournament to win the A Block and B Block, respectively.
In-ring: Kyle O'Reilly was introduced first, with Bobby Fish accompanying him to the ring. The announcers mentioned O'Reilly representing Ring of Honor in the finals. A dramatic ring entrance and video recapping KUSHIDA's career then produced the Time Splitter. Great piece of video documenting the journey to this match. Before the bell sounded, the crowd was buzzing for this match-up.
9 -- A Block Winner KYLE O'REILLY (w/Bobby Fish) vs. B Block Winner KUSHIDA (w/out Alex Shelley) -- Finals of 2015 Best of Super Jrs. tournament
O'Reilly and KUSHIDA met in the middle of the ring, shook hands to adhere to the Code of Honor, and the bell sounded. Notably, Jushin Liger was shown ringside to offer commentary on this big match. "KU-SHI-DA" chants early on. The finalists felt each other out in the opening minute, trying to find an opening to control the match. No control, then a stand-off to applause. They battled mid-ring with KUSHIDA blocking O'Reilly's attempts to apply trademarks submissions and mat holds, then they had another stand-off.
Another lock-up led to sustained offense for KUSHIDA, who landed a cartwheel dropkick on a seated O'Reilly to take control. O'Reilly suddenly fired back with trademark kicks and strikes to knock down KUSHIDA. O'Reilly targeted the left elbow/shoulder, prompting KUSHIDA to roll to the corner for a breather. O'Reily was relentless following up with pressure holds and repeated judo tosses, resulting in a two count. But, KUSHIDA responded with a handspring back elbow smash to get the crowd back into the match.
O'Reilly and KUSHIDA had a great submission exchange/counter sequence to show that KUSHIDA could match or counter O'Reilly's trademark attack, resulting in a mid-match reset at 12:00. O'Reilly then landed a top-rope armbar drop and followed with a shoulder-wrenching submission. Ref Red Shoes teased calling for the bell, but KUSHIDA refused to give up, so KUSHIDA found a way to escape the hold. They replayed O'Reilly's top rope armbar to show the impact on KUSHIDA's shoulder hitting the mat.
The match continued with O'Reilly slapping on a sleeper hold, but KUSHIDA countered that, too. KUSHIDA followed with a handspring kick, which sent O'Reilly falling to the outside. KUSHIDA followed with a big top-rope dive onto O'Reilly, flattening him on the floor. Big "KUSHIDA" chant for the aggressor. O'Reilly beat a 20 Count back into the ring, avoided a top-rope moonsault, and grabbed KUSHIDA's arm in mid-air for another submission targeting the shoulder. KUSHIDA got his foot under the rope for a break, though. What a change of momentum. The crowd went nuts for KUSHIDA appearing to be in complete control, then suddenly being vulnerable to O'Reilly's submission arsenal.
At 18:00, O'Reilly took KUSHIDA to the top turnbuckle and landed a super back drop suplex. O'Reilly was slow to follow up, allowing KUSHIDA to kick out before three. O'Reilly followed up with kick strikes, but KUSHIDA no-sold and tried to fire himself up. O'Reilly adjusted by clutching KUSHIDA's foot and suplexing him onto his shoulders for a close two count.
O'Reilly and KUSHIDA then had a rebound lariat battle, resulting in O'Reilly smashing KUSHIDA for another nearfall. O'Reilly followed right up with a brainbuster suplex, but KUSHIDA kicked out again. The crowd was freaking out at this point. O'Reilly immediately slapped on an armbar submission, putting KUSHIDA in big trouble, but he grabbed the bottom rope to break the hold just in time.
Reset at 23:00 with KUSHIDA selling the effects of a brutal attack to his left shoulder. O'Reilly stalked KUSHIDA and tried a guillotine choke standing on the ring apron, but KUSHIDA held on and landed a suplex across the ring apron, putting both men on the floor. Bobby Fish got involved at this point, trying to encourage O'Reilly to get up and get back in the ring. Kyle did at 18, KUSHIDA did at 19, and the match continued.
From their knees, O'Reilly and KUSHIDA traded bombs until coming to their feet to trade more bombs. It turned into a slugfest until O'Reilly finally knocked down KUSHIDA with a forearm smash to the mouth. But, O'Reilly could not follow up. O'Reilly wanted a corner attack, but KUSHIDA intercepted with an STO into the middle turnbuckle. KUSHIDA then hit Alex Shelley's Sliced Bread #2, but O'Reilly kicked out of a pin attempt.
KUSHIDA climbed to the top turnbuckle looking to end the match, and he partially connected with a twisting corkscrew press. KUSHIDA covered, but O'Reilly kicked out. KUSHIDA followed up with his Hoverboard Lock submission, O'Reilly fought the hold and neared the ropes, but KUSHIDA pulled him back to the middle of the ring. KUSHIDA locked in the hold even tighter and O'Reilly was forced to tap out, giving KUSHIDA the win and the tournament.
WINNER: KUSHIDA via submission at 30:48 to win the 2015 BOSJ tournament. What a match. Just an epic battle centered on submission wrestling and establishing KUSHIDA as a strong fighter who overcame O'Reilly's relentless submission attack before finishing O'Reilly with a submission of his own. This crowd was fully engaged after the long build to the finals and ready to embrace KUSHIDA as a big singles star finally winning the BOSJ tournament, especially overcoming O'Reilly, who has earned the crowd's respect with his style of wrestling. The only thing missing was Alex Shelley, who was injured earlier in the tournament. But, KUSHIDA's shout-out to Shelley withe Sliced Bread was a nice touch. For O'Reilly, he's locked in and in the zone right now in the ring, making his matches very thrilling for the audience. (****1/2)
Post-match, wrestlers spilled into the ring to check on both KUSHIDA and O'Reilly after their 30-minute battle. Bobby Fish held up O'Reilly, who sold a left elbow injury following the submission. KUSHIDA, selling the effects of the match, extended his hand, then both men knelt down in the middle of the ring showing respect to the other. O'Reilly extended his hand to KUSHIDA and bowed his head, prompting an embrace from KUSHIDA. Great moment.
O'Reilly left the ring with Fish's help, leaving KUSHIDA in the ring to receive his trophy and accolades from New Japan officials. KUSHIDA's music then played and New Japan ran the video documenting KUSHIDA's journey to this position winning BOSJ for the first time. Competitors filled the ring to congratulate KUSHIDA on a great tournament victory and pose for photos, then KUSHIDA raised his giant trophy in the air for the crowd to enjoy.
Finally, KUSHIDA rolled out of the ring and walked over to Jushin Liger at the announce table to bow at Liger out of a show of respect. Liger returned the favor by embracing him and congratulating him on the win. Another great moment. KUSHIDA took a victory lap around the ringside area, snapped some photos, shared some moments, and headed to the back as Liger offered his thoughts on KUSHIDA's victory.
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