We were sent a review copy of this week's episode of New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS. This episode features best of the Super Juniors Tournament from June 2014. The event also showcases Lucha Underground mainstay Prince Puma, who performed in New Japan under the name Ricochet.
KUSHIDA (w/ Alex Shelley) vs. Tachi (w/ Taka Michinoku)
Taichi comes out singing his entrance theme, while Josh Barnett questions whether or not he'd look better with Tanahashi behind him playing air guitar. Tachi meets KUSHIDA at the entrance and attacks him with a chair before the match even begins. Taichi absolutely kills KUSHIDA with a chairshot to the head.
Alex Shelley comes out to help his tag team partner, but is attacked by Tachi and Taka Michinoku. The ref shows up and calls for the bell to start the match. Taichi immediately pins, but only gets two count. Taichi is really heeling it up by eye gouging KUSHIDA as well. KUSHIDA fights back with chops, but Taka cuts him off as he goes for a dive. Shelley comes to his rescue, and KUSHIDA lands Air KUSHIDA to the outside.
Taichi hits a buzzsaw kick and a sitdown powerbomb that gets a two count. He misses a superkick and eats a big elbow, but is able to get his knees up to prevent a KUSHIDA moonsault. With the ref distracted, Taichi pretends that KUSHIDA hit him with a mic stand, but the ref doesn't buy it. Taichi then pushes KUSHIDA into the ref.
Taka and Shelley both hit the ring and Shelley sends Taka flying and wakes up the ref. KUSHIDA gets the win with a double wristlock to end the match.
Winner: KUSHIDA via submission (Hoverboard Lock)
- Next we'll get a look at Lucha Underground's Prince Puma, who is competing as Ricochet
Ricochet vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
The two men shake hands to start things off. Ricochet really displays his athleticism early with flips and somersaults, but ends up getting kicked in the back of the head by Taguchi. Ryusuke follows up with a big flip dive to the outside.
The two are in the middle of the ring trading blows, and then trading corner dropkicks. Taguchi goes for Three Amigos, but settles for an enziguri instead. Taguchi also lands a front suplex that gets a two count. Richochet flips out of the Tiger suplex and lands fireman's carry into a kick for the win.
Winner: Ricochet via pinfall
- The finals are set, and it will be Ricochet vs. Taguchi. I didn't think Ricochet could possibly impress me more, but he's even better without the mask.
- We see KUSHIDA talking about his match with Taichi, and entrances from the finalists.
2014 Best Of The Super Juniors Finals
KUSHIDA (w/ Alex Shelley) vs. Ricochet
KUSHIDA and Ricochet start with a knuckle lock that leads to an arm ringer that Ricochet flips out of. The two trade holds back and forth until KUSHIDA locks on an armbar. Ricochet tries to flip and roll out of it several times, but KUSHIDA just puts him back into it. Finally, Ricochet escapes and the two square off as we head to commercial.
Both men avoid each others' head scisssors by cartwheeling out until KUSHIDA dumps Ricochet from the ring and starts working the arm. This continues for several minutes until Ricochet battles out and hits a tornado kick, that sets up a Space Flying Tiger Drop by Ricochet. He follows up by landing several really, really hard kicks on KUSHIDA that only get a two count.
A slingshot senton from Ricochet continues his dominance throughout this part of the match. A diving European uppercut to KUSHIDA's back is only godo for two, but goes back to more of them. Ricochet taunts KUSHIDA, which serves to start a striking battle between the two that ends in KUSHIDA totally blasting Ricochet in the middle of a handspring elbow attempt, while he's upside down. Wow. KUSHIDA then lands a standing swanton to the outside on Ricochet.
Ricochet hits a Benadryller, but misses a springboard star press, and KUSHIDA pins for a two count. He then throws on the Hoverboard lock, and Ricochet is struggling, but finally gets a foot to the ropes. KUSHIDA then lands several big kicks, but still can only get a two count out of it. A dragon suplex gets the same result, and the crowd is going nuts.
The two trade blows again, with it ending in a Superman punch, northern lights, and vertical suplex, but Ricochet only manages to get a two count. Ricochet goes up and hits a Benadryller from the second rope, but KUSHIDA kicks out and the crowd explodes again. A 630 connects, and KUSHIDA kicks out again before the last commercial break.
We come back right where we left off. Ricochet misses a Benadryller and gets kicked in the head. He goes for another, but KUSHIDA turns it into a Hoverboard lock. Ricochet fights it, but KUSHIDA locks it in. Ricochet turns it into another Benadryller that knocks KUSHIDA out cold for the pin.
Winner: Ricochet via pinfall (Benadryller)
- KUSHIDA is shown backstage looking miserable. He questions himself and what he is lacking.
- Ricochet is in the ring and says he's the fourth foreigner to win the tournament, after Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero and Finn Balor. He challenges Kota Ibushi and says he's taking his Junior Heavyweight title. Ibushi says he won't lose.