Former two-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and Best of the Super Juniors 19 (2012) winner “Funky Weapon” Ryusuke Taguchi enters his 15th consecutive BOSJ tournament in Best of the Super Juniors 27 (BOSJ 27).
While Taguchi might no longer be in his in-ring prime, he has shown the ability over the best several years to raise his level when BOSJ or a title match presents itself. The veteran is expected to struggle against tournament favorites reigning IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion “Bone Soldier” Taiji Ishimori, former three-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion “Time Bomb” Hiromu Takahashi, “Sniper of the Skies” Robbie Eagles, and Sho.
However, Taguchi may be able to play spoiler by upsetting one or two of the front runners to put himself in position to possibly challenge for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship in 2021 if other results fall into his favor. The highlighted tournament matches for Taguchi include El Desperado (November 15th), Taiji Ishimori (November 18th), Master Wato (November 20th), and Bushi (November 25th).
Few are expecting Taguchi to advance to the BOSJ 27 Finals, yet it will be interesting to see what half of the bracket he finishes. A top-five finish for the Funky Weapon will be a success for where he is within his career and his lack of high profile single match opportunities recently.
Those expecting to see Taguchi rely on his joking and light-hearted tactics will likely be in for a surprise, as his best performances over the past three years have come within BOSJ tournament action. If Taguchi can catch a solid form, he will have his moments throughout the campaign to show that he can still challenge the best junior heavyweights in the world.