NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 29 Preview: Blocks, Schedule, Favorites, Dark Horses

NJPW BOSJ Lineup - Official graphic
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New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) continues to return to form and there’s no greater sign of that than the return of the true Best of the Super Juniors tournament. Back into the two-block format, NJPW will watch 20 of the best junior heavyweights in the world battle, all vying to be considered the best of the best. AEW, CMLL, GLEAT, and IMPACT have all sent over talent to compete in the 29th annual tournament, giving BOSJ 29 a much-needed boost. Here’s everything you need to know for BOSJ 29, including the complete blocks, full schedule, favorites, and potential dark horses who could win.

NJPW BOSJ 29 Blocks

A Block

— Ryusuke Taguchi
— Clark Connors
— Hiromu Takahashi
— Yoshinobu Kanemaru
— Ace Austin (IMPACT)
— Alex Zayne
— Francesco Akira
— Taiji Ishimori

B Block

— Master Wato
— Robbie Eagles
— Titán (CMLL)
— El Desperado
— El Lindaman (GLEAT)
— Wheeler Yuta (AEW)
— El Phantasmo

NJPW BOSJ 29 Schedule

May 15

— Ace Austin vs. Clark Connors
— Alex Zayne vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
— Francesco Akira vs. SHO
— Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Hiromu Takahashi
— YOH vs. Taiji Ishimori

May 17

— El Lindaman vs. DOUKI
— BUSHI vs. El Phantasmo
— Robbie Eagles vs. Wheeler Yuta
— Master Wato vs. TJP
— Titán vs. El Desperado

May 18

— YOH vs. Clark Connors
— Ace Austin vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
— Alex Zayne vs. SHO
— Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Taiji Ishimori
— Hiromu Takahashi vs. Francesco Akira

May 19

— Wheeler Yuta vs. DOUKI
— Titán vs. El Lindaman
— Robbie Eagles vs. BUSHI
— Master Wato vs. El Phantasmo
— El Desperado vs. TJP

May 21

— Clark Connors vs. SHO
— Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Francesco Akira
— YOH vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
— Ace Austin vs. Hiromu Takahashi
— Alex Zayne vs. Taiji Ishimori

May 22

— Robbie Eagles vs. DOUKI
— El Lindaman vs. TJP
— Master Wato vs. BUSHI
— Titán vs. El Phantasmo
— Wheeler Yuta vs. El Desperado

May 24

— Alex Zayne vs. Francesco Akira
— Titán vs. TJP
— Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Clark Connors
— BUSHI vs. Wheeler Yuta
— YOH vs. Ace Austin
— DOUKI vs. El Phantasmo
— Master Wato vs. Robbie Eagles
— Hiromu Takahashi vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
— Taiji Ishimori vs. SHO
— El Desperado vs. El Lindaman

May 25

— Ace Austin vs. Alex Zayne
— Clark Connors vs. Francesco Akira
— Titán vs. Wheeler Yuta
— El Lindaman vs. El Phantasmo
— Ryusuke Taguchi vs. SHO
— Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Taiji Ishimori
— Robbie Eagles vs. TJP
— Master Wato vs. El Desperado
— YOH vs. Hiromu Takahashi

May 26

— Master Wato vs. Titán
— Clark Connors vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
— Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Alex Zayne
— YOH vs. Francesco Akira
— Wheeler Yuta vs. El Lindaman
— Ace Austin vs. Taiji Ishimori
— BUSHI vs. El Desperado
— Hiromu Takahashi vs. SHO
— Robbie Eagles vs. El Phantasmo

May 28

— Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Francesco Akira
— Clark Connors vs. Taiji Ishimori
— Titán vs. BUSHI
— Ryusuke Taguchi vs. YOH
— Ace Austin vs. SHO
— Master Wato vs. Wheeler Yuta
— TJP vs. El Phantasmo
— Robbie Eagles vs. El Lindaman
— Hiromu Takahashi vs. Alex Zayne
— El Desperado vs. DOUKI

May 29

— Master Wato vs. El Lindaman
— Titán vs. DOUKI
— YOH vs. Alex Zayne
— Clark Connors vs. Hiromu Takahashi
— Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Ace Austin
— Wheeler Yuta vs. El Phantasmo
— Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. SHO
— Francesco Akira vs. Taiji Ishimori
— Robbie Eagles vs. El Desperado

May 31

— Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
— YOH vs. SHO
— Clark Connors vs. Alex Zayne
— Hiromu Takahashi vs. Taiji Ishimori
— Ace Austin vs. Francesco Akira
— Master Wato vs. DOUKI
— Robbie Eagles vs. Titán
— BUSHI vs. El Lindaman
— El Desperado vs. El Phantasmo

June 3

— Best of the Super Juniors 29 Final

Favorites to Win Best of the Super Juniors 29

Hiromu Takahashi

Hiromu Takahashi | NJPW BOSJ
Credit: NJPW

Back-to-back… to-back? Hiromu Takahashi has won the Best of the Super Juniors tournament two years in a row and will aim to make it three so that he can get back his IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. While winning three-in-a-row is asking for a lot, doubting Takahashi might be the worst thing someone can do when it comes to the event. Overall, “The Ticking Time Bomb” has won the tournament three times which has made him the favorite over anything else. Takahashi dipped his toe into the NEVER Openweight division earlier this year after defeating EVIL to get to the quarterfinals of the New Japan Cup but has made it perfectly clear what his intentions are — continue to be the ace of the junior heavyweight division. Expect him to be in contention once again this year as he continues his quest to win back the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.

El Desperado

El Desperado | NJPW BOSJ
Credit: NJPW

As much as Hiromu Takahashi is known as the ace of the junior division in NJPW, El Desperado has managed to become exactly that in Takahashi’s multiple injury absences. Desperado has not only grown into one of the best junior heavyweights in the world but is simply one of the best wrestlers in the world. The two-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion is looking to get his championship back around his waist after losing it to Taiji Ishimori at Wrestling Dontaku. There’s no better way for him to accomplish that goal than winning the Best of the Super Juniors for the first time. Entering the B Block, he feels like the block’s only favorite, which only benefits him. As a finalist in 2020, Desperado knows what it takes to get to the dance. Now he just has to figure out how to finish it. This could be El Desperado’s year.

Francesco Akira

Francesco Akira
Credit: NJPW

Francesco Akira will make his NJPW debut in the Best of the Super Juniors. This, of course, is after he made his first appearance confronting El Desperado and Taiji Ishimori at HYPER BATTLE. To think he is considering anything other than winning this tournament and then the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship to make an instant impact would just be silly. Akira is here to win and represent The United Empire while doing so. The 23-year-old is a former AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Champion, already showing he has what it takes to find success at such a young age. Entering as part of the strong A Block that features the reigning champion gives him a shot to make the splash quickly, but there’s no doubt Akira will be in the running at the end of the tournament as he is a heavy favorite to win.

Best of the Super Juniors Dark Horses

Ace Austin

Ace Austin
Credit: IMPACT Wrestling

Ace Austin is about to show the world how truly great he is at the sport of professional wrestling. As close to a prodigy as they come, the reigning X-Division Champion has been one of the best-kept secrets in the entire United States when it comes to wrestling talents. Austin’s entry into the Best of the Super Juniors means that he will get to scrap with the likes of Hiromu Takahashi and Taiji Ishimori — it doesn’t get much better than that to show how talented you are. But looking past just the chance to show the world how good he is, Austin should be using his signature Fold finish to win himself a number of matches and maybe even this tournament. The X-Division Champion is going to represent one of the best divisions in pro wrestling and could really do so by surprising everyone with a tournament victory.

El Lindaman

Credit: GLEAT

The inaugural and reigning G-REX Champion El Lindaman will enter this tournament with something to prove. Not only does he want to show he’s the best junior heavyweight in the world but wants to represent GLEAT to the best of its ability as its lone representative, but also their champion. Lindaman is an interesting one to figure out heading into this year’s tournament as while he won’t enter the initial conversation as a favorite, he certainly wears the “dark horse” tag like a glove. A mixture of great speed and “out of this world” strength for his size, Lindaman brings a skill set no one else can match. The B Block feels a lot more unpredictable than the A Block, meaning that it could be El Lindaman’s to represent in the finals. He’s not a favorite but he’s as close as can be for a non-NJPW talent.

Wheeler Yuta

Wheeler Yuta and William Regal
Credit: AEW

YUTES! The ROH Pure Champion and the third member of the Blackpool Combat Club will enter the fray with a shot to do some damage. Wheeler Yuta has competed in NJPW before as part of New Japan STRONG but not since he has channeled this new side of himself. Learning from William Regal, Bryan Danielson, and Jon Moxley can only set himself up for more success than ever before. However, he is long past being happy to be a part of something like BOSJ. Yuta is in it to win it and might be the most legitimate dark horse there is in the tournament this year. Yuta is battle-tested and ready to defeat whoever he wants whenever he needs to. And if he has to go to war to do it? We know Yuta is willing to do that as well.

Expect an incredible performance out of the lone AEW representative with a chance to win the whole thing.

More from LWOS Pro Wrestling

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