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  1. First of all, hey back at you guys. In hindsight, I probably should have watched it with the English commentary. I know Callis in particular is pretty close with Kenny and would therefore assume he'd be clued in on exactly what they were going for and be able to fill in a few of the gaps (when I first became confused during the second fall, I thought Omega must've worked several matches where taking too many risks had cost him and one of his big talking points leading into this match was how, whatever happens, it was essential for him to keep his cool). I also absolutely agree with gordi in that there is no one way to work a match and for those of you who've been around a long time, you might me remember I've been more effusive than most on Zenjo (the Toyota/Kyoko series in particular), and a variety of other things that don't follow some "AJ is the only way" thing. That being said, I'm not sure how I feel about, for lack of a better word, episodic matches. I remember a discussion back in 2004-2005 (I forget exactly which board but I want to say Smark's Choice) when ROH was the rage, specifically the Joe-Punk series, "learned psychology" was a big thing, and someone brought in a lengthy quote of Roger Ebert's, talking about John Travolta dancing in a film for the sake of having him dance and it didn't fit into the story of the film. That's a different thing, but my point then still applies in this case: I do feel that matches should be first and foremost self-contained, and work on their own. But again, that's as much because the first thing my brain does in just about every match I watch is try to latch onto the roles of the guys involved, who is the favourite/underdog/face/heel, who's coming into the match with the momentum, who do they want me to root for, etc... it's an (at times) unfortunately analytical approach (the fact I've spent the past three years learning Russian hasn't helped to curb my more mildly-autistic tendencies), but it's why I've always gravitated towards the thought out or the thoughtless. Forgive the self analysis, but one of my main reactions to this match was to look at how I watch wrestling and why this match didn't work for me as well as it has for most other people (Cena/Punk in Chicago was another example of that, but for all the praise that received, it pales to this).
  2. Yes and no. You always knew Misawa was going to make a comeback of sorts, no matter how bad a situation he was in. And it hurt several matches insomuch as, if Misawa hadn't got a certain amount of shit in, you knew it wasn't ending. But I can't remember any particular instance of them working from presumptions/preconceptions in the way I guess you're implying: they always established in the match what you needed to know. If someone comes into this Okada/Omega cold, where's the overcoming-the-odds arc for Kenny? If Okada is so strong, why couldn't he muster a prolonged period of dominance and kick Kenny's ass for a while? If anything, the fact that Okada essentially fluked the first fall, got cocky and did nothing much with it, and Kenny came back quite comfortably to win the second, isn't that giving the first-timer the opposite impression?
  3. Whilst I agree with the majority that it was a great a match, I also have to agree with ShinyLittleBoots that the second fall was majorly problematic for me. I should preface this with two points: one minor, one major. The minor one is I'm writing this 5 days since I watched the match (it's been a long time since I actually logged in, I'd forgotten my password, and if not for the system overhaul today I would'n't've been about to retrieve it); the second is, as with most of the long-term posters of this board, I grew up, as it were, watching the All Japan guys, how they put their big matches together, and that has obviously influenced how I watch/understand/etc big matches ever since. Anyway. I went into the match knowing the result. I know many people try and avoid doing so, but I've never been one for #spoileralert, quality is quality and anything worth watching is worth rewatching. I also knew how the falls went (i.e. the first to Okada, the final two to Kenny) but not the actual finishing spots themselves. So, the first fall. I liked this a lot. I thought they did a tremendous job of working an interesting 30/+ minutes without bringing out any of their big offensive guns, nor even any major spots. What was clear to me, how I read it, was Omega had the momentum. Of course Okada got his licks in and the current NJ group as a rule work more back and forth than the old All Japan guys, but nevertheless, I picked up on "it's Omega's night" very quickly, and nothing they did broke me out of that. As a result, I saw the "fluke" pin coming, but thought it tremendously well done and the perfect way to wrap up the first fall. But, like I said, the problems for me started in the second fall. So, we're now in a situation where Omega has dominated, but Okada "stole" a pin. It seemed patently obvious to me how the second fall would go: Omega gets desperate, starts to take chances, one backfires, he's beat on for a long time, makes a comeback (if ever there was a time for a modern guy to steal Misawa's comeback it's in that situation there) and pulls it out, leading us into the showdown finale (which is, in the end, what we actually got in the third fall). Obviously, that's not what we got. Sure, Omega wiped out early, Okada was far more relaxed and was strutting around with everything under control, but that segment didn't last for a long time at all, Omega gets back into it after having his back worked over, etc, without any great struggle, and the second fall continued in much the same way as the first had ended, with Omega "having the better night" as it were, only this time he avoids the flash pin and takes it home. Herein lies my problem. Dramatically, the momentum is all with Omega. He dominated the first fall, slipped on a banana, lost his head for a moment at the start of the second but swiftly gained control back, kept his cool, and evened things up. And this is where knowing the result did create an issue: the booking calls for Omega to comeback from having the odds stacked against him, right? At no point was that the case. Sure, he lost the first fall and was beaten on for a bit at the start of the second, but Okada wasn't going for the kill by any means; Omega has evened this up without taking much damage, AND, of course, Okada's just spent the interval on his back putting over the One Winged Angel. At this point, they've lost me. What are they going for dramatically? Now, they had the table in place, and I thought, OK: so they double-barrel the comeback, using the table spot for the Kobashi transition, Omega does his long comeback and gets the job done. But, no. He eats an early rainmaker, puts it over huge, and the third fall is the epic, next-move-wins showdown with everything at stake. They do a much stronger job of long-term selling than has become the norm, and the third fall in many ways was great, but I'd been so taken out of it by the second fall and the absence of a prolonged period of peril for Omega that for all the great work, I wasn't drawn into it. * I'll hold my hands up: I realise these guys are not Misawa, Kawada or Kobashi, and I don't expect them to work matches in the same way at all. It's not a problem for me that they took a different route to what I was expecting: I have no problem with them breaking the law of Chekhov's gun, and whilst there are some spots that I didn't like (the tombstone on the apron and the straddling DDT on the floor could have been significant transitions and I felt both were completely wasted), there were significantly more positives about the match than negatives. But the negative is a big one: I didn't get the structure. Or rather, I did (or thought I did) for the first and third fall, but with what happened in the second, the third should have gone differently. From a dramatic perspective, I felt at no point was Omega in real jeopardy of losing except at the end when it was even-stephens (the false finish on the flash pin in the second fall was a great spot, but that's not what I mean). It all goes back to what I've thought/written previously about Okada's matches with Tanahashi: for all the great work going on, I'm not in tune with whatever their thought process is and I find it hard to join the dots. I'm happy to be corrected by people who watch more of these guys than I do, who're inevitably more attuned to their work (I've seen all their previous matches except the 60:00; some of the major G1 matches and Okada's defences), perhaps with less of an All Japan hangover, for lack of a better word. Hopefully I've laid out in sufficient detail where my problem lies here, and I don't want to sound like I'm down on the match, or these guys, I think they're great, I really do, in so many ways, but it's so fundamental for me as a viewer to understand what's going on in terms of structure, story, etc, and in a very literal sense, they're incomprehensible to me.
  4. MJH

    Is Shawn Michaels in your Top 100?

    The problem with Shawn's early heel work isn't the structure, but he was really fucking boring in control, especially in '92-'93; that he was such a great bumper, and so the shine/comeback was always fun, only highlighted how comparatively-dull the middle section was. That said, there's some really nice work if you know where to look (the SF handheld with Jannetty from Nov/Dec '92 comes to mind), but I don't think he was able to find a balance as a heel until '97. That said, yes, he's on my list.
  5. MJH

    Wrestling's Scummiest Moment Ever?

    Also, I agree with JS that a lot of these things are more tasteless than what I'd consider "scummy", and the problem, as thebrainfollower mentioned re: Trish/payback, isn't necessarily the subject matter itself (we can all name great TV shows, films, etc. which deal - graphically - with contentious subject matter) but rather how it was handled. There's nothing innately wrong with doing an angle based around, say, racism, but you have to treat it as an adult, which wrestling often seems incapable of doing.
  6. MJH

    Wrestling's Scummiest Moment Ever?

    Bit of a Devil's Advocate but... at the end of the day, Fritz was exploiting the deaths of his own sons, not someone else's.
  7. MJH

    Mitsuharu Misawa

    I won't be able to sit down and watch the match for a few days, maybe not until this weekend, but I've always remembered the first 6/7 minutes going thus: Kawada/Kobashi start, Misawa tags in, Kawada wants no part of him, and when Kobashi comes back in Kawada/Taue work over him (Kobashi); Kawada spends as much time taunting Misawa, building to the switch-high kick off the apron they re-used at the start of 6/95, which Misawa sells on the floor for a minute before storming back in to kick his ass. Perhaps 'chicken-shit' gives too strong an impression of begging off, Flair on his knees saying "nooooooooooo!", but the whole opening segment is based on the same principle of avoidance-gloating-comeuppance. The greater point - Kawada is distinctly, clearly the heel - remains.
  8. MJH

    Things in WWE you no longer want to see?

    Dot-to-dot wrestling.
  9. MJH

    Mariko Yoshida

    Were I to make one, she'd rank pretty high on my "hurt by lack of quality opponents" list. Some styles are more conducive than others to carrying limited opponents; Yoshida's wasn't one of them.
  10. MJH

    Manami Toyota

    I'm not altogether sure she did that; it's been a good few years since I watched it, but my recollection of it is that the '89 Yamada match is a lesser-experienced dry-run of their later matches, and in most matches she, like just about everyone else, was working fast, throwing out move after move, etc... she clearly made an effort to develop her move-set in '92 or thereabouts, but I can't recall any big rejuvenation.
  11. MJH

    Manami Toyota

    Toyota didn't "forge her own style"; she took the house style and played it faster and louder than everyone else.
  12. MJH

    Osamu Nishimura

    My problem with Nishimura is half of his signature spots were counters. It's not as bad as, for example, Doug Williams showing up in NOAH and Masao Inoue is suddenly using British holds so Doug can do his counter spots, but it's nevertheless high on my list of bugbears. As far as tribute acts go however - and it's worth noting that he got there earlier than most and had the 'protege' endorsement too - I enjoy him more than most. There's a Dory-in-the-1975-World-Open feel to his tournament work; you'd know that even with the Nakanishis and Yoshies of the world he was gonna hold their hand to a solid, fine-but-forgettable match, and I can't remember many disasters or disappointments.
  13. MJH

    Mitsuharu Misawa

    "Evil" in the loose, simple sense of "they're the bad guys" rather than "EVIL". They're bad guys, who do bad things, which pay-off, and they win (by bending rather than breaking the rules).
  14. MJH

    Mitsuharu Misawa

    Kawada even does the full chickenshit routine at the start of the 5/94 tag. He's 100% bona fide heel. However, that doesn't mean he can't be sympathetic, or rather that you're prohibited from viewing his chase from his POV. 12/6/96 is evil triumphing over good, they take advantage of every opportunity to cheat, there's not one time Kawada gets under the kosh that Taue isn't running straight in there to regain the advantage for them... they couldn't be heel anymore clearly, but, Kawada's also human, an underdog, and got a big win.
  15. MJH

    Toshiaki Kawada

    Whilst I can understand John's point about "no reason not to take it home at 57:00", I think the only real mark against the 1/95 60:00 is that their Carnival draw was so similar to essentially be a truncated, streamlined version and ultimately better for it.