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benjaminkicks

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  1. The perfect sequel to their scorcher from the 2016 G1. Was absolutely dripping with callbacks to that match, which worked wonders because so many of the spots in that match were so memorable. Particularly loved Okada anticipating Ishii to chop him during the Rainmaker pose this time. I liked how they went through the finishing sequence of the previous match almost beat-for-beat, but instead of Ishii hitting the brainbuster this time Okada countered out of it. And then the match just continued to build from there! Ishii pulling out stuff reminiscent of Shibata, with the Rainmaker no-sell, as well as their CHAOS buddy Nakamura, with the desperation armbar as a callback to when Nak made Okada tap to the same move. The first half of this reminded me Ishii's match with Tanahashi in the 2016 G1 as well, as both matches were built around Okada/Tanahashi trying to prove that they could work Ishii's bruiser style. In their previous match, Okada got blitzed early by Ishii and was never really able to truly recover, but in the strike exchanges that buoyed the first part of the match here, Okada was not only able to wither the storm, but prove that he could stand up to Ishii in a battle of strikes. Okada looked like a badass, dominant ace here by powering through the beatings that Ishii was giving him, and Ishii as always looked super credible as the guy who will always take his opponents to the absolute limit, even if he can't always put them away. I also like how Okada has slowly built up an arsenal of different Rainmaker variations (backslide, spinning, and the German-into-Rainmaker), and he had to throw out all of them before he could finally get the win. ***** and my current MOTY
  2. benjaminkicks

    Current New Japan

    I've been thinking more about the Naito/Ibushi match, and I think it's purpose might be to set up a rematch for the IC title at MSG. A lot of people seem to have Ibushi pegged to with the Cup in light of the news of him signing a contract, but I don't think he'll be getting the belt so soon and I don't think White is gonna lose the title on the first defense. Ibushi/Naito at MSG would give the crowd there a guaranteed awesome match to look forward to, and seeing Ibushi win would provide a feelgood, babyface win before White wins in the main event. Plus it will free Naito up from the IC belt so he can go on to take the heavyweight title from White at Dontaku or Dominion. That leaves the person winning the Cup and challenging White, and if White retains there I think his challenger should be someone the crowd can get behind but won't think MUST win like one of the top guys. I think you'd get a lot of unhappy fans if they put Okada, Naito, or Ibushi in that spot and they lose to Jay White, who a lot of western fans already think is being pushed too hard. So I've settled on maybe Ishii being perfect in that spot, or maybe Juice, who would be elevated with the Cup win and would have a natural storyline with White as it'll be a rematch of the awesome match they had for the US title last year in the States. The nice thing for the company is that the stakes are relatively low regarding who they choose for that spot, because MSG is already sold out and the Cup finals always draws a good number.
  3. benjaminkicks

    Current New Japan

    Really surprised to see Naito vs. Ibushi in the first round, as I thought they'd want to keep the hopes of both of them winning alive for longer, but I can't complain because that's guaranteed to be a banger. Also looking forward to Nagata/Ishii, Elgin/Okada, Juice/Chase, Ospreay/Fale, Tanahashi/Umino, EVIL/Sabre, and Goto/SANADA throughout the first round. Lots of first-time entrants this year: Chase, Mikey Nicholls, Hikuleo, Ospreay, Henare, Umino, Finlay, and Cabana. Very clear they see Umino as a future star as they match him with Tanahashi in the first round. I was a big fan of TMDK before they went to NXT and was bummed they weren't really used more, so I'm happy to see Mikey Nicholls getting a shot in New Japan and I hope he does well.
  4. benjaminkicks

    Current New Japan

    New Japan Cup bracket has been released:
  5. benjaminkicks

    Current New Japan

    I think we have very different views on the product in general based off your previous comments throughout this thread. I freely admit to being a straight-up mark for modern New Japan, as it has been consistently my favorite promotion throughout the 8+ years that I've been following it closely. It's like Star Wars for me, where even though I recognize the faults and admit the franchise isn't perfect by any means, there's just something about it that always resonates deeply with me on an emotional level. That emotional investment is where pro wrestling (and entertainment media in general) is at its best for me. As much as I genuinely like and enjoy Jay White, a lot of my positivity surrounding this title change comes from my confidence in Gedo as a booker to craft a story that I'll personally enjoy. I also just want to see Jay White succeed because I've been watching him grow since he was a young lion, which really helps me invest in him as a character. I feel the same way with other young lions that I saw come up like EVIL, Hiromu, SHO, and YOH, and will most likely feel the same about the current crop when they eventually make their way back from excursion. I wasn't alone in having White pegged as a potential future star back when he was killing it in opening matches vs. David Finlay, so now it's exciting to see him come back from excursion and be that big star that I thought he could become back in 2015.
  6. benjaminkicks

    Current New Japan

    I'm excited about this title change, as I love it when a company goes all-in on pushing a new star. It feels very fresh and presents a lot of interesting possibilities going forward. The heat for the MSG main event is going to be off the charts no matter who they put in that spot vs. Jay, because you know the crowd is going to be 100% behind them. If it's a fan favorite like Okada, Ibushi, or Naito, it'll be like that awesome match he had with Juice last summer x10. I always find it exciting when a guy who I've been following since the young lion days comes back from their excursion and makes a splash, and Jay White has done an excellent job justifying his push over the last year. His character work and promos have been top notch and I'm pretty high on his matches as well. I was a little iffy during the G1 where all his matches were mired by chair shots and cheating, but I think that was really effective at getting him over as a major heel to the Japanese audience, and now that he's winning his matches cleanly I'm really enjoying what he brings in-ring.
  7. benjaminkicks

    2018 Wrestler of the Year

    I think Will Ospreay might be my pick. This is maybe his best career year, with excellent singles matches in a number of different promotions against a wide variety of opponents: Marty Scurll (x2), WALTER (x2), Matt Riddle (x2), Hiromu Takahashi (x2), KUSHIDA, Jordan Devlin, Kazuchika Okada, and Jay Lethal. His tag w/Ishii vs. the Golden Lovers is another feather in his cap, along with an all-around great run in the Best of the Super Juniors and being consistently one of the best multiman tag guys in New Japan all year.
  8. benjaminkicks

    Current New Japan

    I'm totally ok with Naito/Jericho II at the Dome. In fact, I'm really looking forward to it. I thought their first match was awesome, and with the way that match went it makes sense to build to the rematch and for Naito to get his revenge and take back the IC title.
  9. benjaminkicks

    Current New Japan

    New Japan does these non-G1 Sumo Hall shows twice a year and haven't sold less than 9k tickets for one since King of Pro-Wrestling 2015. There's a core New Japan fanbase in Tokyo that seems to trust the company to deliver a stellar show, regardless of the card. And even if people didn't like the card going into it, they still got one of the most newsworthy shows of the year.
  10. benjaminkicks

    Current New Japan

    The fact that New Japan doesn't announce the matches for shows until they are the next one up is something that I actually really like as a viewer, as it always keeps the focus on whatever matches and feuds that are coming immediately, and it's always fun to see the cards for the next shows announced like a day or two after each event/tour. But yes, it's obviously hurting their promotion for these US shows in particular. The point about no matches announced for King of Pro-Wrestling yet is an interesting one, and I think it suggests a couple things: New Japan is so confident in their ability to draw in Tokyo that they don't feel it's important to give proper notice on the card. This confidence isn't unwarranted, as they've sold out this show pretty easily in the past few years. I wouldn't be surprised if a good chunk of that show's ticket's are already sold. This in turn perhaps speaks to the fan's confidence that NJ will provide a show worth going to. The other thing it might suggest is that they have a big match lined up to headline King of Pro-Wrestling already, and they're planning to hype it at the Long Beach show. This was the first year since 2013 we got an IWGP Heavyweight title match at Destruction, so maybe this is the first year we get a different title to headline KOPW? There doesn't seem to be a logical opponent for Omega that could be built in such a short amount of time, and it looks like he's already looking ahead to Tanahashi at the Dome. So what would that leave us with? Jericho. They set up a feud with EVIL after he beat Naito, and a lot of people think we're getting Jericho/Naito II at the Dome, so Jericho showing up in Long Beach and attacking EVIL to set up the King of Pro-Wrestling main event, which would then lead to Jericho winning and Naito challenging, would make a lot of sense. Power Struggle in November is usually headlined by the IC title, but they have other titles that could headline that show, and this year with the IC belt on Jericho it feels big enough to maybe warrant a Sumo Hall main event.
  11. benjaminkicks

    Current New Japan

    The full card for next weekend's FIGHTING SPIRIT UNLEASHED show in Long Beach has been announced: Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii vs. Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi) IWGP US Championship - Juice Robinson vs. Cody IWGP Tag Team Championship - Young Bucks vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) IWGP Jr. Heavyweight tournament semifinal bout - Will Ospreay vs. Marty Scurll Hiroshi Tanahashi & KUSHIDA vs. Jay White & Gedo Tetsuya Naito, EVIL & SANADA vs. Zack Sabre Jr. & Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer) Jeff Cobb, Flip Gordon & Chris Sabin vs. Hirooki Goto & Best Friends (Chuckie T & Beretta) Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian vs. Hangman Page & Chase Owens ACH, Ryusuke Taguchi & Jushin "Thunder" Liger vs. Roppongi 3k (Rocky Romero, SHO & YOH)
  12. benjaminkicks

    Current New Japan

    Also, Hiromu Takahashi has officially vacated the Junior title, with a tournament to crown the new champion being comprised of KUSHIDA vs. BUSHI and Ospreay vs. Scurll, with the finals at King of Pro-Wrestling in October. Even more also, the first matches for the September 30th Long Beach show have been announced: IWGP US Heavyweight Title: Juice Robinson vs Cody IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles: The Young Bucks vs Guerillas of Destiny IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title Tournament (Semi-Final 2): Marty Scurll vs Will Ospreay
  13. benjaminkicks

    Current New Japan

    The full cards for September's Destruction tour have been released: Road to Destruction (9/7) Shota Umino & Ren Narita vs. Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens Juice Robinson, Michael Elgin, David Finlay & Ayato Yoshida vs. Bad Luck Fale, GOD & Taiji Ishimori Toa Henare vs. Beretta Hirooki Goto & Gedo vs. Taichi & TAKA Michinoku LIJ vs. Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma vs. Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI Tomohiro Ishii & Will Ospreay vs. Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi Road to Destruction (9/8) Shota Umino & Yuya Uemura vs. Ren Narita & Yota Tsuji Ayato Yoshida vs. Chase Owens Bad Luck Fale, GOD & Taiji Ishimori vs. Togi Makabe, Michael Elgin, David Finlay & Toa Henare Taichi & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI LIJ vs. Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka, El Desperado & TAKA Michinoku Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi & Yujiro Takahashi vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & Will Ospreay Kazuchika Okada & Beretta vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Juice Robinson Road to Destruction (9/9) Yota Tsuji vs. Yuya Uemura Bad Luck Fale, GOD & Taiji Ishimori vs. Michael Elgin, Ayato Yoshida, Shota Umino & Ren Narita Hirooki Goto & Gedo vs. Taichi & El Desperado LIJ vs. Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & TAKA Michinoku Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare vs. Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi, Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, Beretta & Will Ospreay Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs. Satoshi Kojima, Yuji Nagata, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Manabu Nakanishi Destruction in Hiroshima (9/15) Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask & KUSHIDA vs. Rocky Romero, SHO & YOH Bad Luck Fale vs. Toa Henare Michael Elgin & Ayato Yoshida vs. KES Beretta, Chuckie T & Will Ospreay vs. Kota Ibushi, Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens GOD & Taiji Ishimori © vs. Juice Robinson, David Finlay & Ryusuke Taguchi-NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship Hirooki Goto, Toru Yano & Gedo vs. Taichi, Takashi Iizuka & Yoshinobu Kanemaru LIJ vs. Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr., TAKA Michinoku & El Desperado Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma vs. Kazuchika Okada, YOSHI-HASHI & Jay White Kenny Omega © vs. Tomohiro Ishii-IWGP Heavyweight Championship Destruction in Beppo (9/17) Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Yota Tsuji vs. Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi & Yuya Uemura David Finlay & Ren Narita vs. Toa Henare & Shota Umino Takashi Iizuka vs. Ayato Yoshida Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask, KUSHIDA & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Will Ospreay, Rocky Romero, SHO & YOH Super Best Friends vs. KES EVIL, SANADA & BUSHI vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma & Juice Robinson vs. Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano, YOSHI-HASHI & Jay White Hirooki Goto © vs. Taichi-NEVER Openweight Championship Tetsuya Naito vs. Minoru Suzuki Destruction in Kobe (9/23) Yota Tsuji vs. Yuya Uemura Shota Umino & Ren Narita vs. SHO & YOH Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Ryusuke Taguchi & Ayato Yoshida vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi Super Best Friends vs. KES Juice Robinson, David Finlay & Toa Henare vs. Jay White, YOSHI-HASHI & Will Ospreay Tetsuya Naito, EVIL & SANADA vs. Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr. & TAKA Michinoku KUSHIDA vs. BUSHI-IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Tournament Semi-Final Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada-IWGP Championship Certificate Match
  14. benjaminkicks

    Current New Japan

    The timing for the MSG show is weird, cause it'll either be right before or after the Sakura Genesis show, where the winner of the New Japan Cup will get a IWGP challenge. Because of this, I doubt we get a title match at Supercard.
  15. benjaminkicks

    Current New Japan

    I still believe that Naito will be the champion by the time the next G1 rolls around. I think he'll beat Omega sometime in the Spring or at Dominion. Then Okada will win the G1 and we'll get Okada/Naito at WK 14. I get that Naito fans are tired of waiting, and I agree that his path since losing at WK this year has been somewhat unfocused, but I don't think that equates to being given "nothing interesting to do in the meantime". I quite enjoyed his programs with Taichi, Suzuki, and Jericho, but people seemed to be upset that he went back to the IC title, which they think he's above now. Was Nakamura above the IC title in 2014 and 2015 when he was arguably the most popular guy in the company? I understand that the IC title is considered lower than the IWGP title in terms of importance, but the IC champion still headlines plenty of shows and gets many opportunities for big time singles matches.
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