Bullet Club member “Bone Soldier” Taiji Ishimori began his second reign with the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship during Summer Struggle in Jingu on August 29, 2020 after defeating beloved Los Ingobernables de Japon (LIJ) member Hiromu Takahashi for the championship.
Ishimori will take part in the 27th incarnation of the Best of the Super Juniors (BOSJ) held by New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). Ishimori will attempt to become the first IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion to win BOSJ since former Bullet Club member, Prince Devitt was able to win BOSJ 20 (2013).
With momentum behind him, Ishimori has the opportunity to run through the tournament and name his own opponent for Wrestle Kingdom 15. However, he will receive stiff challenges from other tournament favorites “The Sniper of the Skies” Robbie Eagles, Sho, and Hiromu Takahashi.
El Desperado, “Grand Master” Master Wato, and “Funky Weapon” Ryusuke Taguchi could also ask the champion questions that he may not have easy answers to.
His campaign begins against LIJ member Hiromu Takahashi on November 15th in what will be the second singles match between the two in 2020. If Ishimori can pick up his second consecutive victory over Hiromu, he may be able to carry the momentum throughout BOSJ 27 and into the final round.
However, a loss to Hiromu could lead to Ishimori struggling, perhaps knocking him out of finals contention. Whatever may happen, Ishimori will be the wrestler to beat throughout the tournament as NJPW junior heavyweights want to prove they are deserving of a title match after Wrestle Kingdom 15, even if they aren’t able to win the tournament.
Other matches to watch for Ishimori are against Robbie Eagles (November 25th), Bushi (November 29th), Master Wato (December 5th), and Sho (December 6th).
While the Bone Soldier is likely to have a strong showing, will he be able to prove himself as being the top junior heavyweight?