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June 10, 2011 / TJ Hawke

Kota Ibushi vs. Ryusuke Taguchi from the 2011 NJPW Best of Super Junior Finals

 

Recap from TJ Hawke:

Ibushi is very over with the live crowd.  They started out at a far more subdued pace than I expected.  Taguchi hit a dropkick, which sent Ibushi to the floor. Taguchi followed that up with a somersault plancha.  Ibushi made it back to the ring before the twenty count, but Taguchi was now in control of the match.  Ibushi managed to pull off a hurricanrana, which sent Taguchi to the floor.  Ibushi then busted out his Asai Moonsault variation.  Taguchi ended up back in the ring and ate a springboard dropkick from Ibushi. Ibushi hit a standing shoorting star press for a nearfall.  Taguchi came back with a gord buster for a nearfall.  Ibushi came back with a standing corkscrew moonsault: 1…2…NO!  Taguchi came back with a springboard moonsault.  Taguchi went to the top rope, but Ibushi hit his back flip Pele kick.  Ibushi then hit a springboard super hurricanrana for a nearfall.  Bridging German from Ibushi: 1…2…NO!  Ibushi went for a moonsault, but Taguchi rolled out of the way.  Taguchi hit him with a lariat, but Ibushi popped right back up.  Ibushi caught him with a Lawn Dart and a big lariat: 1…2…NO!  Taguchi avoided a lariat, and Ibushi avoided a German.  Sit-out powerbomb from Ibushi: 1…2…NO!  Bridging Dragon Suplex from Ibushi: 1…2…NO!  Ibushi hit a 450 Splash: 1…2…NO!!!  Ibushi put Taguchi on the top rope, but Taguchi countered with a SUPER GORD BUSTER! Both men are down.  Taguchi avoided a buzzsaw kick and hit a bridging German suplex: 1…2…NO!  Bridging Tiger Suplex from Taguchi: 1…2…NO!  Enzugiri and Glam Slam from Taguchi: 1…2…NO!!! The crowd is molten right now.  Ibushi hit a Pele and a bridging half-nelson suplex: 1…2…NO! They got to their feet and traded strikes.  Ibushi hit a sole butt and a buzzsaw kick.  Ibushi then hit another sit-out powerbomb: 1…2…NO! Ibushi to the top rope: PHONEIX SPLASH! 1…2…3!!! Ibushi hugged the referee in excitement, which may be the best thing ever.

 

Simply put, this is an absolutely fantastic match, and it would have had to have been considered a MOTYC for 2011.  These two were at the top of their games here, and this match made them seem like a level above every other wrestler in the world.  A must see match.

Match Rating: ****1/2

 

Thoughts from Lee Goodfellow:

This was awesome, one of my favourite matches of 2011. It built up so well to that epic stretch of insanity, where they threw every move in their arsenals at each other, until Ibushi managed to end it with the Phoenix Splash after the Lygerbomb after the kick to the face. It was a perfect tournament final, both guys pulled out all the stops, and Ibushi looked like an absolute star. Everything he did was perfect, and that cartwheel backflip kick may be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. Not only were his moves and timing spot on, but the emotion he showed really drew me into it. Hugging the referee after the pinfall was a nice touch. The red hot crowd also added a lot to this excellent match.

 

Thoughts from Chris GST:

It’s the finals of the 2011 BoSJ and we have this years winner Ryusuke Taguchi taking on a man he knows pretty damn well, Kota Ibushi. This was a grueling 22 minute match and both men had already faced two tough opponents earlier in the night. Ibushi had fought Davey Richards while Taguchi beat his Apollo 55 partner Prince Devitt. So neither man was walking into this match at full strength, but damn did they leave it in the ring this night. Flurries of strikes & pinning suplexes were engaged with both men gaining not only the upperhand in the match, but also with the crowd.  While I can’t say I follow NJPW as much as I would like, the Best of Super Juniors tournament is always on my radar and while I remember watching this last year, the drama in the match was still able to garner a reaction from me as these two men put on a damn good show.

 

Thoughts from Ryan Clingman:

The 2012 Best of the Super Juniors tournament has just recently come to an end. The finals were between round one opponents, Ryusuke Taguchi and Low Ki with Taguchi coming out the victor. This year’s final was really good, but when held up against Taguchi and Ibushi from last year there is little comparison.

 

The match between Ibushi and Taguchi from last year’s final demonstrated the working ability of Ibushi in a major way. Sure he can fly and fly as well as almost anyone in the business, but if there was any doubt in anyone’s mind about his actual working ability before the match, there was none left after everything was said and done.

 

There was a decent amount of flying in the match, which was a pretty obvious precursor given Ibushi’s style. However there wasn’t any time in the match where I really thought that a highspot or athletic sequence was out of place and there were no real instances of no selling either, which is something that could have really taken away from the match and its story. In short, it wasn’t the forever running, perpetual nearfall that you often times see in many independent promotions in the United States, who attempt to mimic this style.

 

The final sequence brought the crowd up one last time in a huge climax. After taking multiple suplexes and kicking out of numerous pinning predicaments, Ibushi landed a pelé and a snap German suplex. This led to a strike exchange and a superkick and powerbomb from Ibushi for the count of two. Ibushi finally won the match at a time were the crowd met its absolute crescendo with the Phoenix Splash.

 

This match was one of the best matches to come out of the Best of the Super Juniors tournament in many years and placed very high on a lot of people’s match of the year lists and for very good reason. Ibushi and Taguchi were able to bring together so many different elements and mould them into what eventually became a thing of beauty.

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