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Found 120 results

  1. Two generational rivals going against each other one more time. Shinsuke Nakaura, G1 Winner against Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ace Of A Century and IWGP Heavyweight Champion. It's a high stakes match and it plays out as such. From the entrances, it felt like this had way more weight to it than most of their other matches, even the ones in the Dome. A calm hesitancy early on, both looking for openings with Nakamura, occasionally, hitting a flurry of strikes, one of which caused Tanahashi to retaliate by going for the knee. But with Nakamura being more skilled on the mat, he fought and struggled, even getting a Fujiwara armbar locked in. Both wrestlers blurred the lines of whether they'd get a little heelish with Taanahashi playing dirty with the leg but Nakamura being a bit dickish with his strikes, so the fans were split all the way through. Chants of Nakamura and Tanahashi, even boos in some cases, were prevalent throughout the bout. I loved the way they put the cross armbreaker over a dangerous move. Tanahashi's utter desperation to stay out of it anyway he could was great. The struggle which lead to Tanahashi locking on the cloverleaf which then gave Nakamura the opening to lock it on before Tanahashi got to the ropes was just fantastic. Nakamura unable to follow up on the sudden Boma Ye finish, his bread and butter, just after Tanahashi had him in the cloverleaf was great selling, very consistent with his selling the entire match. The finishing stretch wasn't a total bombfest that you would expect from a New Japan main event. Instead it was a battle of Nakamura trying to find a clean connection with his Boma Ye and Tanahashi trying to weather the storm, and hit the High Fly Flow in return. Great match with yet another tremendous Nakamura performance with Tanahashi be awesome himself, albeit the lesser of the two in the match. ****1/2
  2. Different ball game from the G1 Finals match. Kojima now has Taichi by his side, he has turned heel after attacking Tanahashi in December. This is the Tokyo Dome, could he pull off the win in his element? Loved the battle of the individual limb works really on with Tanahashi attacking the strong arm of Kojima and Kojima attacking the leg of Tanahashi. Kojima comes across well in the aggressive role. Especially against Tanahashi’s flashy offence and he has the facials for it. I loved some of the counters they had for each other, or the little struggle they would have whenever they would attempt something big, like Tanahashi countering Kojima cutter midair with an elbow which looked awesome. Their selling was really good as well. It wasn’t crippling pain in a way where they couldn’t move, rather than take a little longer to hit or follow up on certain moves. Also, big credit to Tanahashi. He doesn’t really strike me as someone who takes spine chilling bumps but he took a wicked neck bump on the apron after a Kojima lariat. The finishing stretch was really well done as well. Tanahashi doing some dragon screws on the arm of Kojima which prevented Kojima making the immediate cover once he hit the lariat a few minutes later. The nearfalls for the dragon suplexes that Tanahashi was teasing for the entire match. And it was kept pretty brief compared to today’s standards as well and it made for a quick and fulfilling finish. So back to the “can Tanahashi do it” question. Yes. Yes, he can. Great match. It felt much bigger than most main events of this era that I watched. The Dome atmosphere, the match layout. Everything felt big. ****
  3. Awesome grappling match with the Doctor looking great. Good to know I can thrust myself from 7 years ago on... some things. Some people have talked about how lucha has just as good storytelling or psychology as all the other wrestling... which it doesn't really need to have, because lucha is great as it's own thing. This match gave me the same giddy feeling I get from a high end WoS or shootstyle mat contest, while being it's own thing entirely. Sometimes, you just wanna watch awesome wrestlers roll around on the mat and in the case of mexicans that often involves lots of freaked out wristlocks and rolling surfboard holds and whatnot that you don't see in any other kind of wrestling. And that's why lucha rules and doesn't need to be measured up to a bollocks standard of Flair matches or whatever. You can go on about all the symbols and meaning of all this, with Cerebro carrying a green worker, headbutting him a bit for his trouble and the kid upsetting the veteran some and all that... but in the end, I'll come back for the grappling.
  4. This match is like a game of cat and mouse, as Ishimori attacks Sano with a blitzkrieg of wacky junior offence, many years have passed since Sano was the hot thing in New Japan's junior division and he absolutely cannot hang with Ishimori in that regard. I'm indifferent to Ishimori's offence and him in general, he's a solid junior but not someone I'd ever go out of my way to see. Old man Sano has about three regular moves, but all of them look sooo good, his Rolling Savate Kicks deserve to be a subject of royal paintings, films of them exhibited in museums so they are preserved for generations to come. I got a kick out of the finish being Sano literally catching Ishimori's La Casita attempt. **3/4
  5. A month before KENTA has beaten Sugiura in a grueling, thirty minute match to become the #1 contender for the GHC Heavyweight Championship. You can see that tensions are still high even before the match, as their postures and facial expressions tell you they're ready to duke it out, and boy do they ever. This match is kind of like the world's most awesome Pancrase sprint, as they just go out there and slap the hell out of each other, but they don't just exchange strikes by doing the "I strike you-you strike me" spot for two minutes before going to a finish, they bust out combinations, duck, block and counter. KENTA stops for a moment before the Go 2 Sleep, and it's uncertain whether KENTA was genuinely unbalanced, selling his knee which was tapped up or the lines blurred, but it's not even that important as the effect is the same. The finish plays up the urgency really well, as it's not something usually used as a finish, rather a swift adaption to the attacks and a more definitive method than insisting on finisher spamming and a war of attrition unfit for what they were going for here. All time great 2 minute sprint. ***3/4
  6. Rewatching this is just surreal. The Network and Immortal sound so distant yet unmistakeably genuine, you can tell my mind tried to surpress watching shitty TNA TV as much as possible. Hardy's music plays and it takes him about a minute longer to get on the stage, he looks weak, frail and completely out of it. He couldn't even throw his shirt to the crowd. I don't remember whether Bischoff coming out was an impromptu angle to buy time or just what was planned. The match consisted of a lock up, some worked punches and Sting hitting the Scorpion Death Drop for the win, with him holding down Hardy while he was trying to kick-out being the most absurd detail of the whole thing. It's hard to believe a company as big as TNA was at the time would allow a drugged out wrestler to "compete", sometimes you just had to see it to believe it.
  7. Nothing groundbreaking here, a very solid traditional heavyweight tag match. I dislike Goto and don't care much for Kea but Saito and Makabe were good enough to keep them from doing anything stupid, and having this be a ten minute match instead of an epic in which Kea's and Goto's performances have often choked helped things, doesn't take a magician to do some nice brawling for a bit before going home. Kea's quasi-Tornado DDT is probably the single counter spot I've fallen for the biggest number of times since I always forget it's a thing he does and don't watch his stuff often. It looks good every time I watch him, maybe it would wear off if I ever binge watched 2005 All Japan. ***
  8. A lackluster heavyweight spotfest. Yujiro Takahashi was the worst performer here, using a turnbuckle powerbomb as a throwaway move and being responsible for most of the miscommunication. Taniguchi did some cool slams but no one else seemed to care much here. Never had much use for Manabu Soya, he might be an even duller Sekimoto than the actual one. **
  9. This really puts into perspective how bad the workrate tag matches New Japan puts out these days are. It helps that an 8 man tag is a very good format for this type of match but there's no way you'd see Ricochet pull out a performance like Ricky Marvin did here-his rope tricks were breathtaking and his dives a thing of beauty. It's not that the match was just flip-flops-there was plenty of striking and kicking (Tiger Mask IV remininding you he worked Battlarts once was nice) and combining them with the flips makes for a much better match, as did it occasionally slowing it down (it's still a junior workrate match, it's not like they worked a hold for two minutes, but that wouldn't have been fitting here anyway). ***1/4
  10. I imagine Taichi would be universally loved if he worked 1973 WWWF since all he does is stall and cheat. The opening was fun and Suzuki's willingness to stooge was crucial to it. Mathc lost steam in the middle with the Liger in peril section, attacking the mask might get heat but it's boring and somewhat pointless when it goes for a while as you understand they're pretending to try to take it off instead of actually trying to take it off. Finish was fun with the face team clearing the ring with lots of doulbe/triple team moves and the Funaki-Aoki finish was more dramatic than I'd expected as they set up the nearfalls very well and I bought into them. Aoki's frog splash looked amazing and got a big pop as did Suzuki's apron kneebar. ***
  11. I love it when a much starts with a good lock up and we got a great one here with Santo just pulling Angel Blanco onto the ground. I didn't really come out of this with an impression of Angel Blanco Jr. but he was a good enough foil for the Hijo Del Santo title match with all the Santo spots I love. Santo's Plancha in particular looked great here, and I always pop for the struggle over the Camel Clutch. ***1/2
  12. First fall ruled, Santo hit many of his beautiful highspots and Solitario did a great job stooging for him. Whenever Santo interacts with the crowd it's the kind of special words can't do justice. Second fall was meh, Solitario wasn't very interesting in control, his strikes were OK and he hit a nice spin kick but outside of him bloodying up Santo nothing memorable happened. Third fall was also great as the bloody Santo ran over Solitario, beating on him with vicious punches and knees and hitting him with great dives. I wanted something more compact, and I'm in no rush to watch more Solitario, but it was still good for what it was. ***-***1/4
  13. A really good mat based match with great dueling body part work. This was pretty much the Finlay show though and he was responsible for almost everything good about the match. ****
  14. 9 minutes of these two grappling around sounds like a good time to me. You know how it goes. They go through a lot of positions. Then Ishikawa gets the mount and throws shoot punches. Then they do more swank grappling. Maybe hit each other really hard if they feel like it. It's good stuff I promise. You kind of forget RJPW has pinfalls but those are for wusses anyway. Ishikawa does a beautiful roll through into a grounded Cobra for the win and that's a GIF in the making. This is a weird match up to talk about for me because it seems so self-evidently good that I really have nothing to add. If you like these two you'll like this match, even if it is just a small taste of what they can do.
  15. #wrestling365 These two start really quick going after each other strikes, just trading knees and forearms and slaps. It settles away from a NJPW mid match sequence into a pretty good rough and tumble match. Callihan's dive is not pretty but looks pretty bad ass. Everything in this is really laid in. That whole segment on the floor just felt like a fight in a really good way. The chops, damn. Kyle's offense got a little silly (rolling butterfly suplexes?), but Callihankept everything looking great. O'Relly has really improved and took out some of the silly crap. The ending stretch was pretty decent in an MMA way. Overall this was stiff and pretty well grounded. Good match and a good way to start the #wrestling365 project in 2016. I'd give it like *** 1/2
  16. This is probably the best YB match I've seen so far, because, they don't go spot-crazy. Aries and Strong work them over and they do a good job selling the puishment, and then when it's their turn, they keep things simple. Some might not like the hundred back and chest rakes, but, they made it work, and Nick mocking Aries was amusing and they were good at keeping Aries from making the save. After Strong tags out, he and Aries are back in control and it seems more and more like they're going to win the titles, especially after Aries pushing Nick off the top rope and they have Matt all to themselves, but, Matt doesn't stay down. He blow anything off, he takes the abuse and barely kicks outs The finish comes down to Matt outsmarting, and out wrestling Strong, when he counters his backbreaker attempt into a crucifix and steals the win. As much as the Bucks have annoyed me while watching their PWG work, and made me scoff at hearing them being called the best team in the world, they finally showed me something here. Edit: In fact, the only real exposing part of the match was when Nick when for the Last Chancery and Strong put him in the Stronghold, and that was only because Nick had to slow things down, because Roddy wasn't ready.
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