Ten wrestlers a part of stacked single block league
After a delay from the initially planned May tournament, Best of the Super Jr. 27 finally takes place starting November 15, and running concurrently with World Tag League 2020 until a combined final on December 11 in the Nippon Budokan. Here are the ten participants!
Taiji Ishimori (4th entry, 3rd consecutive. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion)
Taiji Ishimori heads into Best of the Super Jr. 2020 with the biggest target on his back; that of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. After winning the title in dominant form against Hiromu Takahashi back at Summer Struggle, Ishimori will be looking for one trophy he hasn’t yet claimed on December 11. The winner of BoSJ 27 will likely be calling their shots for the Tokyo Dome and Wrestle Kingdom 15 January 4 & 5; with tag team partner El Phantasmo finally returning to action Stateside on December 12 at Super J-Cup 2020, could the Bone Soldier have a dream Wrestle Kingdom dance partner already in mind?
El Desperado (4th entry, first in two years, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion)
After El Desperado was eliminated from the Best of the Super Jr. 26 lineup at the last minute thanks to a broken jaw suffered at the hands of Jun Kasai, he returns to action this year with a clear goal of tournament glory in mind. Along the way, a key match will certainly be against Hiromu Takahashi, after the two had a pair of classics during and immediately after the BoSJ tournament in 2018. The tag team master is more than capable in singles competition as well; can he finally secure his first singles trophy December 11?
Yoshinobu Kanemaru (4th entry, 4th consecutive. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion)
Desperado’s tag team partner Kanemaru will similarly be looking to take home his first Best of the Super Junior crown this year. After Taiji Ishimori ended his ‘Kanemaru curse’ by defeating the Heel Master during the New Japan Cup, Kanemaru will certainly want revenge against the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion as his campaign continues. A seven time GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion in NOAH, Kanemaru wants to show he is still one of the foremost singles competitors in the junior heavyweight ranks as well as a formidable tag team champion.
Hiromu Takahashi (5th entry, first in two years. 2018 BoSJ winner)
Hiromu Takahashi has been the most vocal of all the junior heavyweights about having the tournament back on the schedule after its May cancellation, and now that Best of the Super Jr. is here, will be looking to make the biggest impact. Unable to defend his 2018 crown last year as a result of his neck injury, Hiromu is back off the sidelines and has to be one of the favourites to lift the trophy, and do something even prior BoSJ finalists in the Nippon Budokan were able to do: main event in the legendary arena.
Ryusuke Taguchi (17th entry, 15th consecutive. 2012 BoSJ winner)
It’s been a while since the coach has been in NJPW rings, but Ryusuke Taguchi is back with an all new playbook for Best of the Super Junior 27. No mere figure of fun, ‘Big Match Taguch’ came within a hair of the Best of the Super Jr. 26 finals last year, with a run of incredible main event victories. The ironman of the BoSJ tournament, Taguchi wants to duplicate his 2012 victory and is more than capable of doing so.
Master Wato (BoSJ debut)
Since making his debut at the New Japan Cup finals, Master Wato has been looking for the right stage and the right opportunity to really show what he can bring to the table in NJPW, and Best of the Super Jr. seems to be the perfect opportunity. Having learned from the experience passed onto him from Hiroyoshi Tenzan, and from a character building defeat to Yoshinobu Kanemaru at Summer Struggle in his last singles matchup, Wato marches into his first BoSJ with much to prove and everything to gain.
SHO (3rd entry, 3rd consecutive)
It’s difficult for a tag team wrestler to find himself having to fight alone, but that’s the position SHO fell into after the New Japan Cup this year. A severe knee injury put partner YOH on the shelf, and after much contemplation, SHO elected to relinquish the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship this September. In the meantime, SHO has been in high profile situations; challenging for the NEVER Openweight Championship against Shingo Takagi, and competing in a submissions match against SANADA during the KOPW2020 hunt, but fell short each time. Now officially without the tag gold to think about, he will be sole of focus and clear of mind as he heads into BoSJ 27 as the clear powerhouse of the tournament.
Robbie Eagles (2nd entry, 2nd consecutive)
Robbie Eagles makes his return to Japanese competition, and his first NJPW match in over nine months as he enters BoSJ 27. A strong debut tournament last year was marked by emotional conflict, as he faced issues with El Phantasmo that eventually saw him leave BULLET CLUB, and wrestled a classic matchup with Will Ospreay that led to his joining CHAOS. With Ospreay moving to heavyweight, and ELP competing in the Super J-Cup, Eagles will be focused on what’s in ring rather than behind the scenes, and that will make him a dangerous figure this year.
BUSHI (8th entry, 5th consecutive)
With his tactical mind often lending him to a tag team position, BUSHI can be overlooked by opponents and pundits looking for top contenders in BoSJ tournaments, but with big wins in all eight of his appearances, the Jet Black Detahmask is not to be overlooked. Eager not just for his first BoSJ trophy, but a chance at what may lay beyond in the form of a second IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship reign, BUSHI will run through everyone, his partner Hiromu included, to get a taste at glory.
DOUKI (2nd entry, 2nd consecutive)
After his debut in last year’s tournament as a last minute replacement for El Desperado, DOUKI makes his second appearance in Best of the Super Jr. on his own merits. Despite only scoring two points in last year’s campaign, he has impressed since, including with a scintillating performance against YOSHI-HASHI during their NEVER 6-Man Tag Team Championship match on October 24. The black clad ‘Japones Del mal’ is certainly a dark horse pick for a strong BoSJ27 showing.