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  1. InYourCase

    Jay Briscoe

    Briscoes vs. Rush & Dragon Lee from a few years ago was awesome. https://www.rohwrestling.com/top-videos/briscoes-vs-rush-and-dragon-lee Both he and Mark were in the 60-70 range for me in 2021. I feel like if I go back and revisit their really early work, they could climb up the ranks for me.
  2. InYourCase

    Ultimo Dragon

    Didn't vote for Ultimo in 2016, not voting for him on my 2021 ballot, but I think he's someone who has a much stronger case than other people this thread seem to think. When I start doing GWE viewing for 2026, he's someone that I want to focus on. His biggest knock is that I struggle to think of a great Ultimo match from 2003-2019. That's an absurdly large gap of him being mediocre and it should probably disqualify him from being considered, but, 1) I've been riffling through so much ULL footage recently and unmasked Ultimo is unreal. Such a sparkplug. I love all of his Casas matches both in ULL and then later on in Mexico. 2) I love unmasked Ultimo and early stage Ultimo in Mexico. Granted, I'm not exactly the biggest lucha guy, but in my limited viewing, I think he's the highlight of almost every match I watch him in. This is one of my favorite lucha matches ever and he's a huge part of why it's so good. 3) His Dragongate run has been largely non-consequential, but it's easily the most fun run of his post-injury career. His debut six-man was awesome. He had a pretty fun grapple-centric match against U-T last year, too. I really wish you could point to a handful of matches from the mid-2000's where Ultimo is awesome, but I'm not sure those exist.
  3. InYourCase


    Brilliant wrestler. One of the best touring wrestlers there's ever been (has been described as having a crowd connection on the level of Liger or Kobashi in front of western audiences). His post-DG run has been very, very interesting. From a business standpoint, it's been a giant failure. In-ring, he's done some of the best work of his career. His crew is the only thing that ever drew a dime in Wrestle-1 and some of his multi-man matches from that time period are incredible...I just can't find them on the Internet right now. The narrative that he lacked strong singles matches was more prevalent 5 years ago. I don't buy into that now. There's an argument to be made that he lacks the one, true definitive singles match, but his singles portfolio is really strong. I had him at 37 in 2016. He finished better in my refreshed, five year update. The older stuff holds up really well and since the last vote, he had a really excellent Twin Gate reign and then crushed it in W-1 and DDT. A few match recs of stuff that is readily available online: CIMA vs. YOSSINO: 7/4/04 CIMA vs. PAC: 3/4/12 CIMA vs. Super Shisa: 2/20/14 (super tricked-out grappling match) CIMA vs. Shingo Takagi: 12/27/15 CIMA vs. Akira Tozawa: 5/8/16 If anyone wants more recs, please let me know. Would be more than happy to help out.
  4. InYourCase

    Takagi Shingo

    This statement is inherently false.
  5. InYourCase

    Takagi Shingo

    He finished in my Top 25 in 2016, right now he's my working #5, and there's a chance that by 2026, he'll be my #1. There's a million things I want to say about Shingo but I'll try to keep this post as concise as I can. It's a self-plug but I recommend people listen to the audio that me, Alan4L, and Mike Spears did a few months ago on The Torch. We broke down 20 or so Dragon System wrestlers that we think are worthy of discussing when it comes to GWE (I will get around to nominating some of the newer names, eventually). It's a two-parter because we went so in-depth on some guys, Shingo in particular. The thing about Shingo at this point is that he would make my ballot on his New Japan run alone. His output over the last two and a half years has just been stupid. There's the big stuff like the Ospreay matches (mainly the BOSJ Finals), the Dragon Lee match, and his output in the last two G1's, but there's a bunch of matches in smaller settings that he killed it in. The Shingo/BUSHI vs. Roppongi 3K matches might not look glamorous on paper, but basically all of them are 4-star junior tag matches. You take that output and add 15 years of being one of the best wrestlers in the world and suddenly you're looking at a guy who is one of the best to ever do it. I get that Dragongate isn't for everyone, which, fine, but as I said on a podcast recently, I really think people are doing themselves a disservice if they don't spend time with CIMA, Mochizuki, and Shingo for this project. Shingo is as good as anyone I've ever seen at working to his gimmick. He's a gym class bully. He's going to shove you into a locker and if you retaliate, he's going to make you sorry you did. Everything he does is done with a gross amount of intensity. In Dragongate, obviously, he came across as the ultimate alpha male. When he popped up in All Japan and Big Japan, he stood toe-to-toe with their heavyweights and still came across as a credible killer. Now that he's in New Japan, he's right there with the best and the meanest workers on the roster. He's been so good in New Japan that there's now an ongoing gimmick about wrestlers like Tanahashi dropping their character to talk about how blown away they are by Shingo. He's not a bump & feed guy. That's not who he is and it's not who he's supposed to be. He's an athletic freak who has insane strength, cardio, and technique. I think it really matters that Shingo has gotten over everywhere that he's worked. I just got through watching every Dragon Gate USA show ever and Shingo is the backbone of that promotion. When he's not there, his absence is felt. He came across like a God in Dragon Gate UK. He was great in All Japan, Big Japan, and always comes across like a star when he works produce shows. He's always crushed it in PWG and by the end of his ROH excursion, he felt like another strong addition to the roster. There's no longterm blemish in this guy's career. He was a very good rookie when he debuted in October 2004 and by the middle of 2005, was legitimately great. He hasn't turned back since. That's something about the Dragon System guys that I really hope people make note of this time around. I think people still think of DG as a youthful promotion (and while they do have the best fleet of young talent in wrestling), your original Ultimo trainees are 20 years into their career at this point. They have longevity on their side now. Assuming Takagi keeps going through 2026, he'll have 21 full years on his side and if the next five years look anything like the last 15, then we are in store for something special. This list is already out of date because of his New Japan Cup run, but a few months ago I was dissatisfied with Shingo's Matchguide on Cagematch so I put together a list of every Shingo match that I have given 4 or more stars to. You can look at it here. I'm not sure there's a singular Shingo match I can point to as his best performance. The 2015 Mochizuki match is brilliant but that's more of a Mochizuki match than a Shingo match. The same can be said for the CIMA match a month later. Outside of his New Japan work he's probably best known for his match against BxB Hulk in 2010, a hair vs. hair match at DG's biggest show of the year. https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV1xE411Q7jL?from=search&seid=15339773804642946060 There's a good chunk of Shingo out there on Dailymotion and BiliBili (plus what Ditch offers). The Hulk rematch from 2014, the two Susumu matches from 2016, and the YAMATO match from the summer of 2016 are all tremendous. I'm happy to help if people need more recommendations for any of the Dragon System guys.
  6. InYourCase

    Kenny Omega

    I'm finishing up a five year refresh of my 2016 ballot with Alan4L right now and Omega is the person who will benefit the most from the little bit of time that has passed since we last did GWE. I should've ranked him in 2016. He was one of my last cuts and I felt dumb about not including him shortly after the fact. He's a Top 40 guy for me at this point. I think he's undeniably brilliant. The Okada matches, mainly the 2/3 falls match, are some of the greatest matches I've ever seen. He has the Ishii series, the Naito series, and the Goto matches. There's nothing this guy can't do. He's worked as a junior successfully, he's worked as a heavyweight ace successfully, he's been a face, he's been a heel, he's been in great tag matches, he's been the best singles match wrestler in the world. Like Quentin said, if you don't like him, I get it, but I think he's someone that does too many things at an elite level to ignore.
  7. InYourCase

    GWE 2021

    Alan4L set up a Slack that you can find on his Twitter. That's where others have joined us in discussion. We have a few different channels set up there to discuss various topics. Alan and I will be posting our revamped ballots in April 2021, yes. Again, this is not meant to be a formal project like it was in 2016, but we'd love for others to join us to talk about what they're watching.
  8. InYourCase

    GWE 2021

    By no means have Alan and I intended to make this as all encompassing as it was in 2016. We both felt like the wrestling world has changed a lot in five years (plus with the pandemic we've been watching much more classic wrestling than current wrestling), so we felt like refreshing our ballots. We invited others to do the same if they'd like. It's a shortened timeline than what we did five years ago, but it's not supposed to be the massive overtaking that the 2016 project was. We're using the same criteria that was used in 2016. We did a podcast (up on the Torch site) explaining everything. It looks like we're going to have a website helping us out as a centralized hub but that isn't nailed down just yet. Come 2024, I'll want to rally the troops again and do a big, expansive project. This time around it's simply a refresh to see how our tastes have changed, represent guys who have made it onto our lists over the last 5 years, and to have a little fun. Alan and I are going to be doing some pods about it over the next few months and we simply encouraged people to join in if they're enjoying the episodes. (I also am a Bock voter.)
  9. InYourCase

    2020 Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame

    Once again encouraging people on this forum to research and vote for CIMA. Please come to me with any questions you may have about his candidacy.
  10. Glad you checked it out. Watching it back last week, I was so stunned by the pacing of this match. There's no dead space. It feels like a 2020 match with the stiffness and intensity of an 80's All Japan match. It's a thing of beauty.
  11. InYourCase

    Current New Japan

    Is there anyone here who hadn't seen Shingo before his New Japan run? Would love to hear your thoughts on his overall package. Thought he was beyond great in Dragon Gate but I know most people here don't watch that promotion.
  12. InYourCase

    All Elite Wrestling

    It's a tremendous move. The four from the DG exodus are top tier wrestlers, and the OWE kids from China, while all rough around the edges, all have terrific potential.
  13. InYourCase

    All Elite Wrestling

    https://www.voicesofwrestling.com/2019/01/09/getting-to-know-owes-strong-hearts/ Info on CIMA and some of the people that will (more than likely) be involved. If anyone has questions on Strong Hearts, please let me know
  14. InYourCase

    WON HOF 2018

    Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you. I think it is a safe bet to say that Dragon Gate was the #2 promotion from 2009-onwards, maybe even a little sooner because New Japan was in such rough shape at the tail end of the 2000's. By 2011 they are a definitive #2 behind New Japan and have remained that way ever since. There are some that will argue that DDT is as big, if not bigger than Dragon Gate, but DDT continues to be unable to draw outside of Tokyo. They had some ridiculous Korakuen sellout streak (1,850 a month) that was ended when CIMA left the company. I want to say the streak went for over 2 years, but I am not 100% positive when it started. All I know is that I started following Dragon Gate religiously in 2013 and since then, it has been a very rare occurrence that DG has not sold out Korakuen, and again, the sellout streak officially ended after CIMA left the company. Outside of the monthly Korakuens which are a big part of their business, they run 5 big PPV-like shows a year, with the biggest being their Kobe World show in July. Prior to this summer, numbers have always been inflated for these shows so it is impossible to say for sure what numbers they were doing, but I've never heard any rumors about shows flopping at the gate before CIMA left. I firmly believe that they were drawing 6-8K at Kobe World Hall every July for an extended period of time, even if they were saying 8-10K. Dragon Gate is based around units, but the leaders of those units are always the true draws. CIMA has always been the figurehead of the company. There have been numerous times where myself or other Western fans have criticized CIMA for putting himself over, but the fact is he has always drawn. That is backed up by the fact that his appearances in DDT and W-1 have immediately become the most popular videos on their YouTube pages ever, and in W-1, droves of people are leaving their shows after his matches. People are paying specifically to see CIMA and his new Strong Hearts unit. W-1 has never drawn and now their big shows with CIMA are seeing a spike in attendance. He's the semi-main at the DDT Sumo Hall show this week, and that show is probably the biggest annual non-NJPW show in Japan every year at this point. The fact that he came right into the company and was announced for a semi-main match against Konosuke Takeshita (DDT's golden boy) is a huge deal. I believe I was told that there was a spike in ticket sales after CIMA was announced, but I'd have to double check with someone that follows DDT closer. In terms of his influence, I listed guys that have had successful careers in large part due to CIMA. The career of Jack Evans alone does not make CIMA a HOFer, but with guys like him, PAC, and Ricochet, they would have NEVER reached the heights they would have without CIMA. The gaijins that last in Dragon Gate have all eventually elevated their careers in a big way. He also gets credit for training Shingo Takagi, who I had in my Top 15 for GWE. Takagi was the first graduate of the Dragon Gate Dojo and for a very long time was the #2 in the promotion behind CIMA. It's funny now, as the two have real life heat and it is mostly due to the way Takagi wrestles. CIMA hates his style and said that if Takagi's style ever became the house style, the promotion would soon fold. That's just a small anecdote. Amazingly, I think CIMA's weakest category is his in-ring. There is a great debate in the DG community over what CIMA's greatest singles match is, because no one seems to have a truly good answer. We just discovered that CIMA has a shockingly low amount of singles matches in Korakuen Hall, which is shocking considering that he's wrestled there on a monthly basis for 20 years now. The stock answer on CIMA's best singles match is his 2015 bout with the aforementioned Takagi. Takagi was on a run as champion where he was taking down Dragon Gate's first generation of stars (CIMA, Don Fujii, Masaaki Mochizuki) and it concluded with this match against CIMA where towards the end, CIMA starts to do his buddies signature moves to try to overcome Takagi. It's a beautiful match. I'm always amazed that the PWO-type crowd isn't more into CIMA because he wrestles in such a different way than most contemporary puro stars. He works a lot of "TV style matches" and eventually builds to these epics with crazy callbacks, including his work in tags and trios. I'll try to dig up some DG gems to post here, but this match from July was brilliantly laid out. Having watched hundreds and hundreds of CIMA matches over the years, this match felt like he was calling all of the shots. This match basically felt like his vision of pro wrestling. One of my favorite matches of the year. And finally, I think reducing him the level of Hayabusa is completely unfair. Every aspect of his case is stronger. Ibushi I can't speak on because there's so much more to unfold there, but if CIMA retired tomorrow, the puro industry would suffer as a result. He is a legend. If he was in a company that was respected by the Japanese press or was covered consistently by Dave, he would have gone in two years ago. I want to make it clear that if I could vote, I'd be voting for Akiyama (and probably Taue) but even if CIMA wasn't selling out Budokan Hall monthly, he's never been on top of a sinking promotion like Akiyama. Taue was never the main draw in All Japan. Akiyama doesn't have the influence CIMA has because to my knowledge he isn't a renounced trainer and for God knows what reason, he's never caught on with Western fans the way that Kobashi, Misawa, and Kawada have. He smokes Taue in influence. Forget it. I think CIMA is overall a better worker than Taue, and not far off from being a better worker than Akiyama. The last thing I'll say is that Joe Gagne brought up a good point when he mentioned that he won't be voting for CIMA this year because he wants to see how the Strong Hearts invasions play out. That is entirely fair, and to me it's the only logical reason not to vote for CIMA, because he's arguably having his best business year ever this year. Still, I think he's already done more than enough to warrant getting in. Sorry this was so long.
  15. InYourCase

    WON HOF 2018

    I'm not sure what it's going to take to get people to vote CIMA in, but there's no one on the ballot more deserving than CIMA. Just a brief overview: -Worked on top of the #2 promotion in Japan for 15 years. When he split in May, attendance dipped rapidly. -Since leaving, he's worked in Wrestle-1 and DDT and has spiked interest. Is easily the best draw W-1 has ever had. He's semi-main eventing DDT's biggest show of the year in a few weeks. -I had him in my 30's for GWE. He's a generational talent who doesn't have bad matches with anyone. Can do lucha grappling, can fly, can work the contemporary super puro style. He's proven he can do it all. -Jack Evans, Matt Sydal, PAC, Ricochet, Rich Swann, and Apollo Crews would not have been signed without CIMA. There is a clear "before CIMA' and "after CIMA" difference with these wrestlers. I can always go more in-depth if anyone has interest or wants to discuss it, but I fully understand that PWO is more concerned about lucha guys getting in (and I don't think that's wrong of them)