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NJPW: Best of the Super Juniors Standings Update

New Japan Pro Wrestling is currently holding its annual Best of the Super Juniors tournament, where the winner gets to join K-Pop group Super Junior a title match against the reigning IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, Kenny Omega. Given the difficulty in finding coverage of this tournament, we thought we'd give you an update as to what's been happening so far. NJPW's junior heavyweight division has been exciting to watch, so let's get right to it!

The tournament starts with a preliminary group stage, where two groups of 8 wrestlers each take part in a round robin tournament within their group. The top two wrestlers from each group advance to the crossover semifinals, where the winners of both matches face off in the final to determine the winner.

Standings and results cover up to the May 27 set of tournament matches.

Block A

reDRagon's Kyle O'Reilly leads the pack so far, with a perfect record of 3 wins and no losses. There's been long talk of O'Reilly being pushed as a singles star, and we might just see that happen here. Following right behind him with 2-1 records are the trio of Ryusuke Taguchi, Gedo, and guest competitor Barbaro Cavernario from CMLL. Yes, Gedo is actually in this tournament, and that record is impressive considering he's been more into booking than wrestling lately. Taguchi boasts the most stacked resume out of this year's roster, having made it out of the group stages a whopping 6 times, winning the whole thing in 2012. I haven't seen much of Cavernario, but it's interesting to note that this guy is just 21 (!) years old and is already competing in this tournament. All three have yet to face the leading O'Reilly, so the top two slots are still wide open.

A little bit further behind are NWA import Chase Owens, Forever Hooligans' Baretta, and Japanese legend Jushin Thunder Liger. All three have picked up their second loss against a lone win, and have some work to do to make it. Rounding out the bottom of Block A is young boy Yohei Komatsu, with zero wins and 4 losses. It is, unfortunately, not yet Yohei Time.

Block B

The major story out of Block B has been the withdrawal of Alex Shelley, who was injured in his opening match against David Finlay Jr. (son of WWE road agent and Irish badass David Finlay). Fans of the former Motor City Machine Gun know that disappointing feeling, as Shelley also withdrew from last year's tournament after finishing at the top of his block. As a result of the injury, Shelley has now forfeited all his remaining matches.

In his absence, the group seems to be fairly even so far, with no clear leader at the top. Mascara Dorada, Tiger Mask IV and Shelley's partner KUSHIDA curently lead with 3-1 records. The other half of reDRagon, Bobby Fish, and Rocky Romero are not far behind with 2-1 records. Young Buck Nick Jackson is a little further back, with 2 wins against 2 losses. Rounding out the group is David Finlay Jr., still winless after 3 matches. Yeah, everyone gets a free win except for him. Tough luck.

Predictions: I'm sticking with my initial prediction of Kyle O'Reilly and Ryusuke Taguchi topping Block A. Taguchi is a reliable pick to make it through, as he's been through this countless of times. I think this is a good chance for O'Reilly to show he can go as a singles star, and a semifinal appearance would do wonders for that claim. I expect KUSHIDA to top Block B. They've been teasing a match with him and Kenny Omega, so this might be the avenue to make that happen. Alex Shelley was my other pick to top Block B, but the injury means that we'll see someone else. I'm hoping for Bobby Fish to come out of that block, as I think he can do good as a singles star as well. Otherwise, expect one of the established vets (Tiger Mask/Mascara Dorada) to qualify.

I'm still placing my bets on KUSHIDA taking home the whole thing. He came close last year, and New Japan has this odd history of the previous losing finalist winning the next year's tournament (Wataru Inoue, Koji Kanemoto, Prince Devitt, Kota Ibushi and Taguchi have all done this from 2007-2013). Also, now that Alex Shelley is on the shelf, the timing is perfect for KUSHIDA to have a singles run and start going for the Jr. Heavyweight belt.

We've still got roughly half of the tournament to go, so expect the race to tighten within the next couple of days. Who do you guys think will take the trophy home? Let us know below!

Photo taken from Puroresu Spirit


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