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Makai Club #1

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    Makai #6

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  1. This is a decent introduction for the feud’s first match. This is still a battle between two friends, two WWE Tag Team champions in fact. After Chavo Guerrero planted some resentment in the mind of Eddie towards Rey Mysterio, as well as some miscommunication leading to Eddie lose against Doug Basham or Rey to take victories away from Eddie inadvertently in tag matches, they are full force into the feud. They started the match like you'd expect these two to start. Mysterio trying to move fast and hit an aerial move with Eddie keeping Rey close via a knuckle lock or taking him to the ground. Both Guerrero and Mysterio took big bumps early on, Rey landing big on the back body drop to the outside floor and Eddie went flying across the ring on a monkey flip. There was a nice sounding thud to the bump as well. Eddie Guerrero spent a ton of this match on top. He hit some lovely tiltawhirl backbreakers but mostly it was Guerrero wasting time aimlessly locking on holds - one of which was a really bad looking STF with Eddie not even attempting to squeeze on the head with it. Although, I liked Tazz’s call here with him saying that the move could just be a base for him to do anything he wanted, not just the STF. The match had its magic moments when Rey was on offence and they were going back and forth. The seated senton attempt into the powerbomb is always an awesome spot and it was in this match as well. Everything else was just kinda empty. The last time I watched this match, I wasn't really into it that much because of the reasons stated here but the big moments were still fun and it told the story well. However, it was more of a story suited to Smackdown not WrestleMania. I can take comfort in that they have more matches than this. **1/2
  2. This is for the Interim KO-D Openweight Title after Dick Togo was unable to defend the official title or something. I dug this a ton. Honda especially has developed into one of my favourite wrestlers, even without the Togo match and he brings a ton to this match with his babyface performance and driving determination. His punches were awesome. There was a real scrappyness to them. Some missed, some caught him but it was all intentional in Honda's style of punching. I've never seen GENTARO before but I've heard good things. He was pretty smooth. His offence felt very Dick Togo-ish almost lol. I liked it but there was a lack of something big. No real spark to his offence despite everything looking good and being perfectly functional. That's maybe the only thing that hurts this matches quality. Awesome post match scenes though. Just shame Honda's win was for the Interim title and not the proper. ****
  3. Makai Club #1

    [1992-06-05-AJPW-Super Power Series] Stan Hansen vs Toshiaki Kawada

    Hansen is all over Kawada’s leg and works it over good. Hasen at one point locked in an STF and because he is so big, he engulafted Kawada’s entire body. Kawada’s selling is usually his strong suit and he does an excellent job here. The little skips and hops he does to keep pressure on the leg to a minimum goes a long way in the early parts of the match, getting progressively more severe as the match progressed. Hasen bullied Kawada with some real violent offence outside of the work of the leg. The knees he’d threw would catch the side of Kawada’s eye socket -- it was pretty gruesome at times. Kawada was great on offence. When you’re on the defensive, it’s hard to really shine when it’s not the finish stretch, but the kicks he’d throw to keep Hansen at bay and the use of the stretch plum was awesome. It gained a BIG reaction from the crowd who was pro-Kawada the entire time. It didn’t have the big pomp and circumstance finishing stretch which I get because it’s the semi main event match but it was just as effective. Hasnsen shut down Kawada despite all the fight he gave and that was that. This was voted for the Best Bout of 1992 for the Tokyo Sports Awards. I’m not sure it was but I can see why it was voted as such. The crowd was SUPER invested in the match and while it wasn’t the right place for it, they were begging for Kawada to be champion. So it has it's merits. ****1/2
  4. You know a match is good when you root against one wrestler at the start of the match and slowly turn for him as the match progressed. That’s pretty much what happened here. I was ready for Okada to win and enjoy Naito losing but Naito brought a BIG effort with his crazy moves and counters. Okada playing up his heel side only increased that. Some of the limb work was disregarded but in the grand scheme of things, the match played out very well. The finishing stretch was full of twists and turns (literally in Naito’s case). Okada’s timings of the cut offs were great, allowing more and more anticipation for the eventual pay off which...actually came. Great match. ****1/4
  5. This had to deliver. Ospreay’s dominance all lead to Hiromu Takahashi returning from his neck break and challenging him for this show. You can only have high expectations for it. And it delivered on that. Ospreay going for Hiromu’s neck is scary. He’s been cleared so the neck is healed but it still sends shivers down my spine. Every kick, every submission, every piece of offence Ospreay used on the offence made that feeling a little worse. The hidden blade being in Ospreay’s pocket as well definitely increased the drama tenfold. Hiromu’s selling of the neck was perfect for this type of match. Hiromu was excellent as the underdog. His offence is pitch perfect his counter style approach to the match as were the nearfalls he got out of that style. Hiromu and Ospreay had some incredible counter exchanges as well. Mainly the Sasuke Special counter sequence which was incredible. Hiromu moving out of the way of the 1st Sasuke Special to hit the German which in turn got countered, Ospreay somehow ending back in the ring and finally hits the Sasuke Special. It came together perfectly as well. The finishing stretch with tons of counters, tons of big nearfalls and the crowd going crazy made for the perfect peak. Hiromu picks up where he left off and Ospreay continues his great form. Fantastic match that came together excellently from every angle, except the Hidden Blade got brushed off after it being teased a killer move and Hiromu having the perfect injury to maximise that effect. ****1/2
  6. This was dripped in uncertainty. Either could've won in this match, no one would be shocked. It's a rare thing to feel from an Okada title defence - a danger of him losing the title. This big stakes match and both had a real x-factor to show for it. Ibushi really brought an aggressive intensity to his game in this match, more so than you usually see from him even when he's angry. Ibushi's kicks are normally quite stiff but his were brutal at the worst of times. There was one kick early in the match that caught Okada right beneath the ribs that made a nasty THUD sound. You can hear everyone wince at the same time, too. Ha. Okada was more cocky and arrogant, sporting a new look with short trunks instead of the knee length ones he usually wears. Okada spent some time in the match trying to egg Ibushi on to take more risks, show that cold spirit that he brings out rarely. And it all backfiring on him was just amazing stuff when Ibushi changed. Ibushi laid all he had into Okada with palm strikes and kicks while showing no vulnerability in return. Okada's selling of that moment was excellent as well. All Okada could do as a defence was keep grinding away on the neck of Ibushi, hitting gnarly dropkicks and tombstones. The last 10 minutes was gripping wrestling. Type of wrestling that you can get totally lost in. The counters at pivotal moments, the way they let things breathe, the nearfalls, the sells of exhaustion. 5*
  7. Makai Club #1

    Wrestle Kingdom 14

    The whole first 15 minutes was Okada egging Ibushi on with the strikes he threw, asking for more aggression from Ibushi. Not to mention Okada being that dominant figure for Ibushi to overcome which was needed for Ibushi's cold killer mode to be that more fulfilling. Him doing it with little adversary makes that spot empty. It's hardly useless. You can't start at 10 straight away, you need things that make it the natural story. It's them setting the ground work for later on when work on the neck is a big focus as well as Ibushi finally snapping on Okada. And it pays off big.
  8. Makai Club #1

    [2019-07-28-NJPW-G1 Climax 29: Night Ten] Tetsuya Naito vs Jon Moxley

    I, too, didn't like this match a whole lot. It felt like they were going through the motions, not really trying to put on a great match despite it being one of the bigger matches of the Block. The headlock driver spot looked nasty but nothing really stood out in this match. Maybe Naito didn't know how to work a match with Moxley and vice versa. It just didn't work for me. **1/2
  9. I've never watched these two before but I have heard good things about both luchadores. This had a great start with hard overhand chops on the apron and then in the ring which transitioned into a crowd brawl. Hijo de Fishman had some heavy offence like a fireman's carry into the chairs that gave a big thud. His clubbing blows looked great. Sagrada's mask got ripped and the blood came soon after - . He took some mega punishment here and the crowds rallied behind him. Loved him begging Fishman to hit him with his own belt after he did it a few times. The sound the belt gave was sickening. Sagrada was awesome on offence. He popped Fishman with a punch to the jaw and then unloading with punches to a grounded Fishman, who was also covered in blood. Fishman had some great lucha holds that he'd lock on from random moves. He'd turn a fireman's carry into an arm-trapped single leg boston crab. The back and forth struggle was really good. There was a great sense of rivalry and hate shown in their struggle rather than it being a 50/50 your turn, my turn type of match. It just works on most levels for me. The only bad thing about the match is the finish. A skinnier Sagrada comes out and takes on Fishman's second and we got a foul kick for a finish. I didn't really care for it. Every match had it's downsides and this was it for this match. Awesome lucha brawl met with a great rudo performance by Hijo de Fishman and a good technico performance by Sagrada Jr. ****1/2
  10. Really liked the match mostly. Ishikawa had some awesome work on the back such as his mean slams and elbows to the spine. Kamitani is a bit bland but he really came off as a fiery up face in the finishing stretch. Him fighting out of the prison lock looked great. I'm a sucker for those spots. However it begs the question why that was even there when the match was previously focused on the back. The finish rocked. Iffy middle though. ***3/4
  11. Losing Unit Disbands 12 Man Three Way Tag Team Elimination Match: Dia.HEARTS (Big R Shimizu, Dragon Kid, Kzy & Masaaki Mochizuki) vs. Monster Express (Akira Tozawa, Masato Yoshino, Syachihoko BOY & T-Hawk) vs. VerserK (Kotoka, Naruki Doi, Shingo Takagi & YAMATO) - Dragon Gate Truth Gate 2016 - Day 2 04/02/2016 A Dragon Gate special. 12 men all in the ring, interchanging at a frantic pace, tons of storytelling in the ring, big stakes involved, incredible wrestling. It could be very easy to be lost in this match but this had tons of memorable spots, even without taking notes. The 1 v 1 v1 exchanges early on was amazing, Doi being a chickenshit and not wanting to do his part was great character work and then we got a brief Speed Muscle reunion. Akira Tozawa lighting up Korakuen Hall with his exchanges with Mochizuki and Kzy, showing tons of charisma and superb wrestling ability. Syachihoko BOY being the underdog of the match, fighting against everyone despite the size difference, even eliminating Shingo Takagi, the Open The Dream Gate champion. Kzy fighting for Dia.HEARTS as the last man standing, putting in a top performance for his team, selling really well for all the match and doing Kzy things. VerserK, or more specifically YAMADoi, showing their amazing chemistry as a team, dominating the match whenever they were involved, double teaming against Kzy for the finish. And I can’t NOT talk about Kotoka going BLAH. Poor guy getting eliminated 5 minutes in though. There is tons to love about this match. Great drama from start to finish. Excellent match. Top 5 2016 match for sure. ****3/4
  12. There was a real intensity to this match - from Chono’s kicks to Fujinami’s rough mat work. Loved how both guys would throw hard slaps, whether it was Fujinami at the start of the match or Chono while on top of Fujinami, which lead to a lovely slap exchange on the ground. Fujinami in particular was awesome in this. Loved his selling , the way he sold execution was really effective. Chono as well. Fujinami looked really back to his best offence wise with him hitting a brutal tope and a pinpoint dropkick right on Chono’s jaw. The finish was a great battle of the Dragon Sleeper vs the STF with each time both wrestlers wriggling out of their respective holds. Great match. ****1/4
  13. Makai Club #1

    [2015-05-17-DDT] Akito vs Shigehiro Irie

    I think the pacing could've been better in certain areas. The match dragged a little and it made the match feel a little bloated. But the work was really, really great. Akito did some great, creative work on Irie's knee, who sold it excellently. I loved his selling which got progressively more severe as the match went on. I thought they used the count out system really effectively to create drama, down the stretch. A little trimming in the middle of the match would? ve allowed the match to feel easier to watch. ****
  14. Strong BJ really made great use of their size advantage whenever Ishii was in the ring. Ishii is an awesome wrestler but there wasn’t much he could do here with a big size difference. Strong BJ looked great working over the back of Ishii with Ishii selling really well and being a great counterpart for them. Irie being more similar to Okabayashi and Sekimoto’s size was able to take it to them. Irie brought tons of energy and charisma to his performance. Team Dream Futures got some great nearfalls against Strong BJ with the crowd firmly behind their DDT favourites against the Big Japan invaders. The closing stretch as a whole with Sekimoto and Ishii was just excellent. Ishii throwing wild spinning heel kicks with Sekimoto throwing suplexes left and right was a great ending for the match. ****1/4
  15. DDT Extreme Title 60 Minute Iron Man Match: Akito (c) vs. Daisuke Sasaki - DDT Saitama Slam! Vol. 1 19/04/2015 Daisuke Sasaki has great strategy going into the match by going for the knee joint of Akito. Sasaki isn’t known for being a technical guy but he really steps up his work while picking a limb apart in this match. His submissions look tight and he is focused on it for the first quarter of the match. And I liked him trying to get a quick count out victory from it. Akito retaliates with leg work of his own and totally out-does Sasaki at it, which is great storytelling given Akito is an actual technical wrestler unlike Sasaki. Everything from that point on was Sasaki on the defence. It reminded me a bit like the way Bockwinkel vs Martel was worked with Bockwinkle, the heel, was selling and trying to fight from beneath the entire match. It’s not a type of match you see much nowadays but Sasaki’s selling and begging off skills made it work. Sasaki took some really brutal bumps on the turnbuckles more than once in this match. I really liked every fall in the match, whether it was Sasaki’s Hurricanrana, Akito catching Sasaki doing an elbow drop and locking on the Scorpion Armlock or the double count -- everything seemed to flow naturally together within the match. The urgency shown by both guys in the last ten minutes to get something from the match by both guys desperately scrambling for submissions was good. Akito was trying to pull out any creative submission move he could think of, Sasaki trying to defend against that while attempting tons of roll ups. It was a great book end for the match. And we got a little added bonus of over time which was also great. This was an excellent, gruelling 60 minute match with excellent selling and mat work by both men. The pacing was superb, allowing the match to be great for all 60 minutes, as well as the extra 6 for sudden death. Given the setting was basically a house show, it could’ve easily not worked for VOD watchers but it did. ****1/2