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  1. soup23

    [1990-06-07-Hamada's UWF] Negro Casas vs Yoshinari Asai

    Rewatching some 1990 stuff and this held my interest even more than I remembered. The contrasting mat work was great as Casas was seen as dominant and Asai was going to have to find an opening for his highspots. When he did, he hit them wonderfully. The flurry of matches I watched this morning featured a heel dominating leading to a babyface comeback and win and this one pulled it off more organically than the others. ****1/4
  2. Boesch asking the audience to not ask for Andres phone number was funny. Gino is a prick and has insane heat. Battle Royal was fine. A lot of leaning and clubbing but some star power to keep things interesting. Finish was predictable but well done and again Gino felt like a young star on the rise. **1/2
  3. JJ was highlight to me and good to see pre JCP stuff from him. Work drug even at ten minutes. Chop finish by Hito looked good. *1/2
  4. Ox sucks really bad. Just awful bumping and selling overall. Spoiler is strong as methodical but dangerous especially in how he worked the claw. **1/4
  5. Solid but unspectacular. Boyd showed some promise being a brawling goon and it didn’t overstay it’s welcome. **
  6. I rewatched this again given the difference of opinions it has garnered. From a kayfabe sense, it makes no sense for SANADA to go slow as he is out of the tournament and has nothing to lose. The past two matches have shown he couldn’t beat Okada in 30 minutes, so why try that again? The tension of a draw doesn’t matter to me as Okada would still be in control of his whole destiny for the tournament so a draw with him is more than fine. Okadas methodical domination of the first ten minutes isn’t that interesting but he heels it up some and does pepper the neck for the Rainmaker. SANADA finally gets control and resorts to the paradise lock which is an awful move especially in this context. Flap jack and Okada is back on top. SANADA tries some more tricks and Okada regains the advantage and hits a tombstone. This is the first half of the match. Some nitpickiness here as SANADA then does a hangman neckbreaker and both are down selling damage for over a minute. That’s a long time for Okada to be hurt after one move. Forearm exchange resetting the match at the twenty minute mark. Fine but neither really lands too heavy of strikes. Okada picks pace up with the drop kick and SANADA fights out of another tombstone and into the dragon sleeper. SANADA hits a great tiger suplex for a fun nearfall. TKO gets another two and this where if NJPW clipped into the match, I could see it being heralded as a classic. Okada gets two short arm Rainmaker and goes for the kill but SANADA reverses. Crowd erupts and SANADA locks in the dragon sleeper again. Crowd heat dies a bit here as I think they don’t buy Okada tapping as we have five minutes to go. Okada helps the peril by fighting out and the getting clinched again. I wish the sleeper would have been built up more throughout the tournament. Red Shoes does his bullshit pointing to his ears like he can’t hear that he does every match. With three minutes left, this is where I think SANADA really could have developed more nuance in whether he should keep the hold or give it up. He goes for the moonsault, executes it poorly where he couldn’t land on nothing but knees and Okada gets them up. One minute left and SANADA chokes again which is dumb. Okada gets greedy and hits a drop kick and Rainmaker attempt. This goes into a TKO in a decent counter. Two moonsaults and SANADA wins. Watching this again, I picked up a lot more from especially Okadas performance and knowing the finish helped to where the first half wasn’t as dry as I had thought the first time where I was running on four hours of sleep. I still have issues with things like SANADAs strategy and overall performance but Misawa wasn’t exactly sterling in 6/8/90 although he did show spunk that I don’t think SANADA had here. Time will tell if this will catapult SANADA into stardom or be his career highlight. ***3/4
  7. They are still adding only one Observer a week which is absurd. I remember back in 2008 talking about how I would be forty years old before I could legally read about the Benoit murders and that is holding true.
  8. A ton of unique stuff here with the turnbuckle and post work. I get the critique that it could feel exhibitonary but it was worked with an intensity that made the match overall feel like a game of one upping the opponent and looking for an opening. Finish played off this as well and there is plenty of room for escalation down the line if they match up again. **** (8.1)
  9. Rewatched this about a month ago and agree that it took the best attributes of the new school Tanahashi/Gedo era and mixed them with an old school narrative. The first pinfall wins gimmick is clever but doesn't feel forced and Tanahashi felt triumphant in overcoming the dungeon master in Suzuki. This also corresponds with their 1/4/12 match really well and builds upon those themes. *****
  10. soup23

    [2015-07-26-NJPW-G1 Climax] A.J. Styles vs Kota Ibushi

    This did a good job of taking Ibushi's dynamic offense and making it look innovative without being totally contrived. I appreciated that we didn't dwell in any limb selling for him to ignore later. The escalation of the spots paid off and Ibushi using the rana to avoid danger and eventually win the match was satisfying. A great match within the G1. ****1/4
  11. soup23

    [2019-06-09-NJPW-Dominion] Kota Ibushi vs Tetsuya Naito

    The bump made me really squeamish and that is something that usually doesn’t affect me inside of the match. This felt like escalation via dumber moves and that style never registers with me. Maybe one for rewatch. **3/4
  12. soup23

    [2019-06-09-NJPW-Dominion] Dragon Lee vs Will Ospreay

    I took the Child’s Summer Movie approach to this match and enjoyed it for what it was. I thought Ospreay had less WM7 reaching for the heavens visuals here than in the BOSJ final. Dragon Lee isn’t that compelling overall this year but that tope was nuts. **** (7.9)
  13. soup23

    [2019-06-09-NJPW-Dominion] Kazuchika Okada vs Chris Jericho

    Hated this. Jericho looked old, sloppy and not as clunky with his strikes that made the Omega match work. Beyond that, Okada isn’t athletic enough to hide his short givings. You also had a tidy Okada main event with crowd brawling, flap jack transition and all the other bells and whistles that got cut off with a cute finish playing back a year ago. **
  14. Wild seeing a NJPW Tokyo Done main go under 20 minutes. I liked this more than Marty but see the critique. I thought Takayama was terrific. Calculated and lethal. He is the ultimate gate keeper. Nakamura couldn’t match that both from a storytelling standpoint as well as a striking standpoint besides the knees to the body. Overall him wearing Takayama down and winning with the KO shot felt fulfilling but unworthy all at once. ***3/4