Monday 13th May 2019, in Miyagi, sees us at Night #1 of what could be the New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s Tournament of the Year. The competition runs until its final night on 5th June 2019, in Tokyo.
Some things to be noted about BOSJ 2019:
- Unlike the usual arena setup for NJPW shows you will notice the fences are moved back to create a much roomier ringside space. BOSJ is not just for flips and twists, but it is a tournament where it will be in high use. NJPW do this to allow the high flying performers more space to shine.
- In years gone by, BOSJ would be a mixture between live and televised events, which were uploaded to NJPWWorld.com at a later date. This year, however, every show is live, with all shows providing dual Japanese and English commentary.
- Two points are awarded for a win, one per draw and zero for a loss. The wrestlers with the most points by the end of the round robin stage of the tournament face each of other in the final on the last night of the tour.
- The winner gets a lovely looking trophy, and a shot at the IWGP Jnr. Heavyweight Champion. If the champ was to enter and win the tournament, he would get to choose his own next challenger.
- Tour dates to look out for: May 22-24 and 26 will be completely focused on the BOSJ tournament, with no multi-man matches on any of these evenings.
Looking back on previous years, it is with great confidence I say that this is the most stacked BOSJ line-up ever. After Wrestling Dontaku, we saw the blocks announced for the tournament. Incase you’ve not seen them, they look like this:
Some things jump out upon inspecting the the two blocks. Comparing the two, Block A is stacked. Dragon Lee and Ishimori are in the same block, and face each other on Night #1 of the tour. A win for Ishimori would surely setup another championship match between them further down the line. Being a finalist last year makes Ishimori a major threat in this block. With A block also featuring debuting Jonathan Gresham, unpinned/submitted in NJPW Shingo Takagi and R3K member Sho, we are in for many treats in this side of the draw.
Block B appears to be all about man of the moment Will Osprey. However, it does feature many big players in the Jnr. division in the shape of Bushi & the other R3K member Yoh. Chaos main man Rocky Romero also finds himself on this side of the draw, meaning we are going to get a ‘teacher’ vs ‘student’ style matchup between himself and YOH.
After looking at all of this, I am hating trying to call where this will land, but I find it hard to look past Shingo. He is unpinned or submitted since his NJPW debut, and I really cannot see that changing during this run.
On both sides of this block, I could do honourable mentions but have tried to keep this as trimmed as possible, despite the fact I could probably talk up any competitor in this tournament. Going further on that I will stick my neck out and only name 5 matches in the to look out section, when in reality I could name one from every night. Simply don’t sleep on this tour, as it could be the best thing NJPW do all year.
If you would like more in-depth detail on the upcoming tour, the NJPW YouTube page has a series of great videos outlining every competitor, and each of the blocks has an overview too.
Matches to look out for:
Shingo Takagi/Sho 13/05
Dragon Lee/Taiji Ishimori 13/05
Rocky Romero/Yoh – 22/05
Will Osprey/Bandido 23/05
Jonathan Gresham/Shingo Takagi 29/05