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    Thursday, November 5, 2020

    #CafePuro: NJPW BOSJ & Super J-Cup Predictions

    The forbidden door has been opened... sort of. Ever since the creation of AEW, wrestling fans have been clamoring for a crossover between its founders The Elite and New Japan Pro-Wrestling. However, the way The Elite departed last year left a sour taste in the latter's mouth. Declaring that you're launching a new wrestling company in front of your current company's signature venue was like adding insult to injury. 

    Don't expect that forbidden door to AEW to be opened any time soon because NJPW opened other doors instead. This past Monday saw the announcement of the participants for the Best of The Super Juniors tournament and the surprise of a 2020 Super J-Cup.

    Today, we're taking a look at the participants and who we think will win the respective tournaments.

    Best of The Super Juniors

    This year's BOSJ will follow a single league format. Think of it as the G1 with only one block. The top two wrestlers who score the most points will face off at Tokyo Budokan for the Finals to determine the winner. Among the competitors, we only have one foreigner participating this year in "The Sniper of The Skies" Robbie Eagles.


    1. Ryusuke Taguchi: Taguchi Japan
    2. Master Wato: NJPW Main Unit
    3. SHO: CHAOS
    4. Robbie Eagles: CHAOS
    5. Hiromu Takahashi: Los Ingobernables de Japon
    6. BUSHI: Los Ingobernables de Japon
    7. El Desperado: Suzuki-Gun
    8. Yoshinobu Kanemaru: Suzuki-Gun
    9. DOUKI: Suzuki-Gun
    10. Taiji Ishimori: Bullet Club
    The list of participants was expected to be comprised of mostly local wrestlers due to COVID restrictions. The biggest surprise for me was the announcement of Eagles participating in this year's BOSJ. I really thought travel restrictions would prevent him from being part of this. Luckily, Japan's restrictions opened up in time for Robbie Eagles to come back.

    It's nice to see Kuya Robbie spread his wings in another BOSJ tournament. I was really hoping we would get to see the likes of Dulce Gardenia and BANDIDO return to New Japan. Sadly, COVID ruined a potential rematch between Gardenia and Master Wato.

    Who will win?

    SHO looks to dominate in this year's BOSJ.


    I've been looking at the list of participants and my gut says that this tournament is SHO's to lose. However, I've been proven wrong before—just take a look at the G1. 

    Everyoneand I mean everyonethought that SANADA would win the G1 and we'd get an encounter between him and Naito, but Kota Ibushi prevented an all-LIJ Tokyo Dome main event from happening.

    On the other hand, I would like to think Gedo is building up to something with SHO. The man did conquer his demons by defeating Shingo Takagi in the New Japan Cup, after all. A tournament win would help elevate SHO to top-flight status in the Juniors division.

    Who should I look out for?

    Master Wato looks to impress in his BOSJ debut.

    Master Wato

    Say what you want about his debut but there's a reason why Master Wato went ahead of Tomoyuki Oka for excursion. The former Kawato Hirai has shown hints of his true potential like when he performed that outside dive at Jingu Stadium. All he needs to do now is to lessen the botches that we saw during his first few weeks back. 

    I don't see Master Wato ending up like YOSHI-HASHI right after an excursion. It's not like he botched his return. Plus, everyone had some form of ring rust during the first few weeks that NJPW returned to action. Don't expect Wato to wallow in the bottom rungs of the Juniors Division for years. Watch out because Master Wato will surprise us.

    Super J-Cup 2020

    While this year's BOSJ is loaded with a stacked lineup, what's even more interesting is this year's Super J-Cup. Many fans kept on talking about opening the aforementioned forbidden door to AEW. What people didn't realize is that there is more than one forbidden door. 

    NJPW didn't unlock the forbidden door to AEW but they did open the gates to GCW and re-open the door to IMPACT Wrestling! The Super J-Cup was enough of a surprise at first but the announcement of the participants was probably the biggest shocker of the night. 

    1. El Phantasmo (2019 Super J-Cup Winner): Bullet Club
    2. Clark Connors (Lion's Break: Crown Winner): LA Dojo
    3. TJP: Freelance
    4. ACH: Freelance
    5. Blake Christian: GCW
    6. Chris Bey: IMPACT Wrestling
    7. Rey Horus: ROH
    8. Lio Rush: Freelance
    Alright. Let's get it out of the way. The IMPACT-NJPW relationship looks like it's finally opening up with Chris Bey being part of the tournament. We don't know if this means we'll be seeing more IMPACT stars appear in future dates. I personally would love to see SANADA and James Storm lock up once again if the partnership was officially revived. 

    We also saw the addition of Blake Christian from GCW and Rey Horus from ROH. Seeing an ROH talent appear in the tournament could be another sign that NJPW is ready to fix their relationship with the Sinclair-owned company. I hope this means we won't get any more oddball matches like the Bully Ray match from Madison Square Garden. I don't know much about Blake Christian but I'm sure NJPW chose him to be part of the tournament for a reason. Check out his matches on NJPW Strong.

    Honestly, I don't know if the announcement of another Super J-Cup was done to make up for the lack of a second block for this year's BOSJ. This group could have easily formed another block of participants in the tournament. The two groups combined wouldn't be able to form two blocks of 10 but the lineup would still be formidable. 

    Who will win?

    Lio Rush is out to prove that he can still hang with the best Junior Heavyweights in the world.

    Lio Rush

    Some may say my winner pick, Lio Rush, is a little far-fetched. However, this year's lineup of participants is mostly comprised of talent who are still looking to elevate their names in the wrestling scene. 

    Lio Rush has the most to prove in this field. His fellow competitors have been actively wrestling for the past few months but Rush has only wrestled twice since leaving WWE in February this year. During that period, many of the Super J-Cup participants have been actively wrestling on NJPW Strong or in their home promotions. The only other wrestler I can think of that hasn't wrestled for a while is El Phantasmo. 

    The chip on Rush's shoulder is going to take him to the Finals where he will meet an equally-motivated El Phantasmo. I can see Lio Rush winning simply because he's an even bigger name than ELP who has more to prove than the rest of the competitors.

    Who should I look out for?

    Chris Bey is one of the many wrestlers making their Super J Cup debut.

    Chris Bey

    There's a reason why Chris Bey is called the Ultimate Finesser. The former X-Division Champion has showcased his skills against the likes of Ariya Daivari in WWE, and TJP and Willie Mack on IMPACT. What makes Chris Bey so good is that he can compete against a variety of opponents.Whether it's running at a fast pace with Suicide or getting into a physical brawl with Jake Crist, the Ultimate Finesser can go head to head with any type of competitor. I expect Chris Bey to steal the show among all of the top-flight wrestlers in the tournament.

    Closing Thoughts

    I love the fact that New Japan is still doing the BOSJ while giving more opportunities for its foreign wrestlers stuck abroad with the Super J-Cup. It's a great way to keep the wrestlers active despite not being in Japan. Needless to say, I'm excited for both tournaments.

    Which tournament are you tuning in to? Share your thoughts below!


    Photos and screenshots from NJPW 1972, YouTube and ROH YouTube

    Steven Tan (@steviesaidyup) works for an e-commerce company by day and operates The Geeky Juans podcast and blog by night. He's a fan of the Anaheim Ducks hockey team, comic books, and the Moomin franchise. You can find more of his geeky thoughts on Twitter.
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    Item Reviewed: #CafePuro: NJPW BOSJ & Super J-Cup Predictions Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Steven Maxwell Tan
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