Huge ten match card kicks off double tournament tour.
The World Tag League and Best of the Super Jr. 27 both kick off this Sunday November 15 in Aichi. Over the coming weeks, BoSJ 27 and WTL 2020 will alternate league matches, but this opening card, together with December 6’s league finals will have both tournaments fully represented, as we head toward the December 11 inside the Nippon Budokan.
Main event: Best of the Super Jr. 27: Hiromu Takahashi vs Taiji Ishimori
Singles record:1-1 BoSJ record 1-0 Hiromu
Main eventing night one of the combined tour will be a rematch from the 2018 Best of the Super Jr. 25 finals as Hiromu Takahashi faces IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion Taiji Ishimori.
Their first meeting in 2018 was a result of Ishimori exploding out of the gates as a memkber of BULLET CLUB and heading straight into the BoSJ final where he met the similarly explosive Time Bomb. After a wild battle all over Korakuen Hall, Hiromu was victorious, but it was Ishimori who would secure the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship when Hiromu missed a year and a half of action due to a sever neck injury.
When Hiromu returned, he and Ishimori were bound to cross paths at some point, and that they did on the Road to Summer Struggle. Eager to once again taste junior heavyweight glory, Ishimori attacked then junior champ Hiromu and injured the LIJ member’s shoulder, leading into a perfectly executed gameplan in Jingu Stadium that brought him the IWGP Junrior Heavyweight Championship once more. Now, a battle of the very best of the Best of Super Jr. will kick off this amazing dual tournament tour.
9th Match: World Tag League 2020: FinJuice (David Finlay & Juice Robinson) vs Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
Tag record: 5-1 GoD WTL record: 2-0 GoD
Headlining the World Tag League half of the night one card will be the third meeting this year for FinJuice and the Guerrillas of Destiny, but the first in over nine months, since their meeting in Atlanta over the IWGP Tag Team Championships. That match has some sour memories for David Finlay especially as he and Juice saw their first IWGP Tag Team Championship reign end in controversial form with zero successful defences in Finlay’s home town.
Indeed the record does not look great for FinJuice, especially considering fate has prevented the former tag champions from teaming with one another since February. Hungry for competition, GoD will be a tough team to beat tonight, but with memories of a January 4 championship victory in the Tokyo Dome this year as inspiration, and a back to back trophy win as motivation, Finlay and Juice will be bringing all the fight they have in them.
8th Match: Best of the Super Jr. 27: Ryusuke Taguchi vs El Desperado
Singles record: 2-2 BoSJ record 2-1 Desperado
Ryusuke Taguchi and El Desperado will face off in their first campaign matchups, their first meeting since 2018’s tournament. While they sit even at 2-2 overall, Taguchi’s last victory over the hooligan luchador came a full six years ago, and the highly motivated Desperado will be a tough man to beat in Aichi after the impressive 2020 he’s had.
That said, Taguchi’s tournament ability must not be underestimated. Consistently in the mix when the tournament gets down to the wire, Taguchi is very dangerous in big match scenarios such as these, and after a significant period away from the ring to prepare, will be a definite contender.
7th Match: World Tag League 2020: Los Ingobernables De Japon (Shingo Takagi & SANADA) vs BULLET CLUB (Yujiro Takahashi & EVIL)
A lot of personal issues as well as an early two points in World Tag League are at stake in the seventh match of the night as two halves of the 2017 and 2018 tag league winners are on opposite teams. Under overwhelming odds, SANADA was able to pin EVIL on the last night of block action in the G1, and while he could not convert to ultimate singles glory, he and Shingo could start a huge tag team run with another win over his former partner in Aichi.
For EVIL and Yujiro a chance for revenge from Power Struggle. In Osaka Saturday, it was SANADA physically hauling Yujiro and Dick Togo away from the ring to leave EVIL alone with Tetsuya Naito. Who will be better at playing the numbers game in Aichi?
6th Match: Best of the Super Jr. 27: SHO vs BUSHI
It seems hard to believe, but with both predominantly tag team wrestlers in recent years and always in opposite Best of the Super Jr. blocks, this is the first time SHO and BUSHI will face off one on one since SHO’s time as a Young Lion. That makes a fresh and intriguing opener to BoSJ 27 for both men, each with a strong mind for in ring tactics. With SHO carrying some emotional baggage from his loss to Will Ospreay as he defected from CHAOS on the last night of G1 Climax 30, and still trying to forge his singles career as YOH continues to recover from injury, BUSHI may have the edge. SHO’s heart and power cannot be ignored, however.
5th Match: World Tag League 2020: CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto) vs Dangerous Tekkers (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi)
Tag record 1-0 Dangerous Tekkers
A more recent rematch at the midway point of the card will see a repeat of the IWGP Tag Team Championship match from Korakuen Hall on November 2, YOSHI-HASHI and Hirooki Goto facing tag champions Dangerous Tekkers. The Suzuki-Gun duo did indeed retain their titles in Korakuen last week, but taking over 30 minutes to do so will mean one eye might be on the clock for this hard fought WTL2020 opener.
4th Match: Best of the Super Jr. 27: Robbie Eagles vs DOUKI
Singles record 1-0 Eagles (BoSJ 26)
Robbie Eagles’ first match in an NJPW ring since mid February will see him face DOUKI in his BoSJ 27 opener. Last year in Korakuen Hall, DOUKI dropped Eagles headfirst into a steel chair that saw Eagles badly bloodied, but Eagles fought back to apply the Ron Miller Special for a submission win. As DOUKI has impressed in the intervening months while a frustrated Eagles has had to watch from the sidelines, who has the upper hand Sunday?
3rd Match: World Tag League 2020: HenarACE (Toa Henare & Hiroshi Tanahashi) vs The Empire (Great-O-Khan & X)
All eyes will be on the third match of the night as Toa Henare finally returns to the ring after months of inaction to form a hungry and fired up team with Hiroshi Tanahashi. On the other side of the ring though, it will be The Empire’s team that will get the spotlight, as Great-O-Khan’s mystery partner and the newest acquisition for the newest faction in NJPW is revealed. Who will be O-Khan’s teammate tonight?
2nd Match: Best of the Super Jr. 27: Master Wato vs Yuya Uemura
The first Best of the Super Jr. 27 match will see the two youngest competitors in the tournament face off. Originally set to be a clash between Master Wato and rival Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Yuya Uemura wrestles in the Heel Master’s stead. With both men hungry to make an impact, who comes out with the first two points of the tournament?
1st Match: World Tag League 2020: CHAOS (Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii) vs BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens)
World Tag League 2020 kicks off with a first time direct tag team match as Toru Yano and Tomohiro Ishii take on Chase Owens and the returning Bad Luck Fale. Since the global pandemic, Fale has been training relentlessly in NJPW’s New Zealand Dojo, and along with Chase will form one of the most strategically sound teams in the league. Yano and Ishii have their own deep playbook however; who will have the strategic edge?