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NJPW News: New Japan announces Best of the Super Juniors 24 line-up

Takahashi, Ricochet, Ospreay, KUSHIDA, Jushin Thunder Liger and more will battle to be called the Best of the Super Juniors.

Marty Scurll is the major surprise in the 2017 Best of the Super Juniors line-up

What’s the story?

New Japan Pro Wrestling has just announced the line-up for the 2017 Best of the Super Juniors tournament, which will take place between May 17 and June 3. Current IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi headlines the list, but there are a number of surprises to be found among the 16 competitors.

In case you didn’t know...

The 2017 Best of the Super Juniors will be the 24th edition of the junior heavyweight tournament, and a whole host of legends can count themselves among the previous winners. Jushin Thunder Liger has ended the tournament on top on three occasions, and Kota Ibushi, Finn Balor, Chris Benoit and Richochet can also be found in the list of winners. 

 

The heart of the matter

Hiromu Takahashi may be the reigning IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, but the Ticking Time-Bomb will do well to escape from a ridiculously stacked A-Block. Takahashi will have to go up against 2016 winner Will Ospreay, 2014 winner Ricochet and three-time winner Jushin Thunder Liger. TAKA Michinoku, Dragon Lee and Taichi are also in A-Block, but it is current ROH Television Champion Marty Scurll who is undoubtedly the most interesting name in the group.

KUSHIDA headlines B-Block, and while the former Junior Heavyweight Champion is certainly the favourite, he won’t have it all his own way. KUSHIDA will have to go through former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion BUSHI, former Best of the Super Juniors winners Ryusuke Taguchi and Tiger Mask, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado, Volador Jr. and ACH to get another shot at Hiromu Takahashi’s championship. 

Also read: 5 WWE legends you didn’t know wrestled for New Japan Pro Wrestling

What’s next?

The tournament begins on May 17 and runs all the way through to June 3. The winners of the two blocks face off in the final, with the winner getting an eventual shot at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.

Author’s take

The Best of the Super Juniors is one of the highlights of the New Japan calendar, and the 2017 edition promises to be more fascinating than usual. Hiromu Takahashi has dominated the division in 2017, defeating former ace KUSHIDA in less than two minutes at NJPW Sakura Genesis. Takahashi would usually be considered the favourite for the tournament, but the starpower in A-Block is so much that it is impossible to say whether he will make it out of the group.

The B-Block looks a little more predictable, with KUSHIDA the clear favourite. Taguchi traditionally over-performs in this tournament, but it is the redemption of the Timesplitter that will dominate junior heavyweight storylines in the second half of 2017.


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