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Found 64 results

  1. You can tell by their entrances-how they move, how they look, by their entrance music. You can tell that Shibata is a real wrestler and Go Shiozaki isn't. Shibata represents something-he likes Inoki and Maeda. His favourite wrestler is Hashimoto. That's whose bags he carried. Black shoes, black trunks, has a simple font that says THE WRESTLER for a t-shirt. Go Shiozaki probably only still wrestles because his modelling deal fell through and he needs the cash. These two are modern japanese wrestlers-they will have a modern japanese wrestling match. It probably won't be as good as Hashimoto vs Tenryu and since it's 2016 neither will the heat. But it still managed the work because of the symbolism. Shiozaki's control segments are ok-he does stuff and it looks good. But it doesn't really leave an impression on you while he's doing it most of the time. It's kind of like a headlock in an NWA title match-what happens after matters more for the quality of the match. Shibata gets in his face, trolls him, and it works. He brualizes him, viciously beats the shit out of him with kicks, elbows and uppercuts. There's a control segment early on that's long (for 2016 standards) where Shiozaki is throwing Shibata into the guardrail, trying to convey anger and rampage, but it really doesn't come off that well. And Shibata cuts him off by just kicking him in the head and doing everything Shiozaki did except making it look like Shiozaki would've if he was a great wrestler. You don't think "Go Shiozaki could be a great wrestler" during that control segment or when he's hitting stupid indy moves-you think that when he's desperately chopping Shibata with full force as his only means of comebacks. It doesn't feel like he's angry with Shibata as much as himself for not being as good as he should be. And that's why it left such a strong impression on me. Through the suplex no-sell sequences and the counters I could tell were coming, it felt like Shibata taking a big shit on Go Shiozaki and everything he represents. When Shiozaki would try the Limit Break, a move that was supposed to be his big match finisher (akin to the Bruning Hammer) but failed through like most things in his career, that doesn't look nearly as cool and is too contrived for his own good, Shibata countered it by just kneeing him in the head. And hitting a Sleeper Suplex, Kobashi's move, before finishing Shiozaki off as well as telling him to get the hell out of his ring once the match was over really sent the message across. ****
  2. Yeah this ruled. Early matwork was super neat, like some sort of weird pastiche of shoot style and lucha title match matwork. I was never sold on O'Reilly due to him being a Davey Richards protege and working more like junior than a proper UWFi cosplay guy but he has improved, and for a workrate match with little backstory this was exceptional. Shibata always brings his stubborness as something that is going to be played up in the match, and the kind of spots like suplex no selling and him daring the other guy to hit him as hard as he can are gonna be there, but this was shooty enough that it didn't matter even in this type of match. It's been a while since I've been so lost in just plain enjoying in wrestling that I didn't really think much of critically breaking down why it works or not for me. Shibata's short irish whip Fight Kick (that's what kenka means. IDK how it turned into a yakuza kick.) Props to O'Reilly for really keeping up with Shibata here too, stuff like his hammerlock knee drop is something I'd expect to see in a Satomura match. "This is what New Japan wrestling is!" said the New Japan shillman announcer. I wish. O'Reilly's mouthguard falling out of his mouth for the ref stop finish was as great of a visual as you get to see in fake fighting. ***3/4
  3. Big portions of this match were built around Bobby Fish dominating and working over Shibata's neck and back, I remember there was a story circulating weeks before this match that Shibata has a neck injury and decided to work through it, and even if that was true the way they structued this match didn't really take advantage of it, Shibata took a bunch of bumps for Fish who was almost Brock Lesnar working a house show-like in how meaningless and mundane he made them. There were some quality exchanges once they moved past that, and you can always count for Shibata for some nice violence, but this felt like a missed opportunity. Also Fish's vocal selling sounded childish and annoying. **3/4
  4. Opening was kinda boring as they quickly dropped the matwork to do boring armwork and irish whips into the guardrail, because that's what the people REALLY want to see Match was fine once they transitioned to hitting each other hard-Nakajima's technique and Shibata's brutality never cease to impress me. Still the match was filled with lazy mirror spots and had a stupid suplex sequence, so a couple of minutes of nice violence will only get you so far. ***
  5. Neat match. No wasted motion as the match pretty much starts as a finishing stretch with Shibata going after EVIL right out of the gate. Shibata's injured shoulder was handled perfectly-in modern New Japan you often get boring limbwork and walking around the ring to waste time. Here you also had limbwork and action outside the ring but it was handled as good as it could've been with EVIL just decimating Shibata's arm with devastating chairshots. A couple of years ago pretty much every Suzuki-gun match would have spots like that with weak, bad looking chairshots, luckily Shibata is a maniac who really lets EVIL nail him as strong as he can. Attempt move-get cut-off is such a staple of New Japan transitions but they avoided it here as much as possible, adding more counters to keep you guessing which one would finally land and smartly building the match around cut-offs-for instance EVIL attempted his Discuss Elbow twice only to finally hit it in the last minute. Ten minutes of exciting smashmouth action. ***1/2
  6. Coming into this I was hoping YOSHI-HASHI would get zero offence in. Of course there's no way that would happen in a New Japan match in 2016 but it should've. Shibata was killer on offence, some weakish stomps aside, his forearms, uppercuts and kicks were absolutely brutal. YOSHI-HASHI's offence on the other hand was so ridiculous I had trouble taking it seriously, he's a guy I liked as a hot tag but I had my doubts about how he would translate to being a singles worker, and if I see more performances like this it would just point to the Naito match being a complete carry-job. **3/4
  7. Disappointing in the context of their feud, if you've watched any of their other matches you've seen them do this match better. It is a skill to have great matches with the same opponent over and over again, it's not something Nagata possesses and I'm having my doubts about Shibata currently. It was fine but cliched-the "fight outside until 19 when we both get in the ring at the same time", the no sell suplex sequence, Shibata countering Nagata's middle kick with a quick slap........I've seen them before and I've seen them done better. Highlight of the match was Shibata sneakily low kicking Nagata after daring him to kick him in the puro macho bullshit 2k10 spotâ„¢. Some nice shots were thrown but the match was nothing I'll remember by next week. **3/4
  8. Nagata is someone who I never really got fully behind for but I like him a lot as a Shibata opponent, a lot more than Ishii at this point. Some tropes are inevitable (like the suplex no-sell sequence and one wrestler daring the other to hit him) but here they were done well and kept to a minimum. The finisher stealing didn't add much to the match for me nor it hurt it. Lots of face smashing and a very good post-match signalizing the end of the Shibata-Third Generation feud. ***1/2
  9. This wasn't structurally strong enough to be a great match but it was a nice return to form for Shibata after the polarizing Ishii matches. Tenzan is too old and broken down to afford to do a bunch of stupid no selling and while it may not reach the preposterous heights of the Ishii matches the violence does get VERY brutal and Tenzan's age and him actually selling made it an easy and engaging watch for me. ***
  10. Very strong match and more reminiscent of something Koji Kanemoto would do than the self conscious dick measuring contests I've come to hate. The early faux shoot matwork was way more interesting than watching more pointless headlocks. The overreliance on cut offs after rope running and the lack of lengthier control segments prevented this from being better. I did like a lot of it, particularly Shibata's dominance in the middle and the way he kicked Nagata around and Nagata brutal comeback with devastating kicks and knees, prolonging those and finishing the match with them would've been much better than doing finisher stealing. I'm not crazy over suplex no sell spots but I did love the one here mostly due to Shibata actually countering Nagata's Exploder and just drilling him with an STO. The match also didn't overstay its welcome which I appreciate, I'm sure many would have preffered them doing more but this way I'm actually looking forward to the rematch. ***1/2
  11. Superstar Sleeze

    Katsuyori Shibata

    Shibata was someone who I thought in the right setting could be a really big star after watching his matches against Kawada (2004) & Akiyama (2005), but never seemed to materialize for him in the 2000s. He throws a wicked kick and knows how to spark that type of chaos that can make pro wrestling so gripping. It seems he is finally coming into his own in modern New Japan. I am going to start in 2014 and work my way backwards. Katsuyori Shibata vs Tomoaki Honma - G-1 Climax 2014 Day 8 As a straight up fighting spirit match, this is a ton of mindless, slobber knocking fun. But, unlike most fighting spirit matches, this has the cool hook that lovable loser, Honma is looking for his first victory in the G-1 Climax and the crowd is 100% behind him. I like the whole match is just built on Honma's straight ahead approach. There was no heat segment. Honma was going to live and die by his offense. For the most part, he actually overwhelmed the hard hitting Shibata. Shibata could rely on kicks and elbows to always quell any sustained offense, but he was no match for Honma's fast break offense. They built to Honma's falling Harley Race heabutt perfectly as he missed the first two and then when he hit on third try, crowd popped huge! The crowd went nuts for his leaping Zidane headbutt to Shibata's chest. I heard about Honma, but I had no attachment to him going into this. I am on Team Honma for sure now. Dude is pure relentless, positive energy! Shibata chops him in the fucking face at one point. Shibata goes for the penalty kick and Honma catches. Shibata slaps a bunch of times in the face hard. So Honma fucking slaps him into the next week. HOLY SHIT! Nothing stops Honma ok, maybe two boots to the head as he comes off the top rope for a headbutt. NOPE LARIAT~! Fuck, Shibata just hit a damn brick wall. Spinning back hand chop to the face and Shibata finally catches his breath. Sets him up for a G2S, but Honma struggles so Shibata backfists him in the face and then hits the G2S! Honma-Seeking Penalty Kick! Our underdog comes up short again. Awesome, hard-hitting sprint made way better by the great, energetic underdog, Honma who looked poise to score the upset. ****1/2 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Katsuyori Shibata - G-1 Climax Day 4 Pride can be the downfall of even the greatest champions. I have argued before that beauty of Tanahashi is not his magnificent mane, it is his offensive strategy. Tanahashi's game plan is to attack the knee, destroy his opponent's base and set himself up for a victory either via submission (Texas Cloverleaf) or suplexes/High Fly Flow. Tanahashi can not beat Shibata in straight up strike battle. What makes Tanahashi a champion is recognizing that, swallowing his pride and getting to work on his strategy. He is NOT Bob Backlund, who is going to beat his opponent at his own game. He is NOT John Cena that is going to bury his head down, circle the wagons and fight through his opponent. He is Tanahashi, he is going to avoid his opponent's best shot and set himself up for victory. I have never seen Shibata in this long of a match before especially one where he had to sell so much. He did an admirable job for someone who is better suited to shoot-style mayhem. Tanahashi put over Shibata as a killer early by avoiding the penalty kick and hurrying to the outside to regroup. He lures Shibata to the outside and hits a plancha to set himself up for some knee work. Tanahashi goes to work like usual except he decides to go for a running splash and crashes into the turnbuckle. Shibata is able to smoke Tanahashi with a kick to the head up against the railing. Shibata favors the leg, which is awfully nice of him because Tanahashi really had not gotten down to work on it yet. I have seen people no sell a lot worse and I would have not begrudged him not to sell it. Shibata seems more reserved than usual. He is hitting Tanahashi hard, but it is not as urgent or energetic as I would like it to be. Tanahashi is playing to the crowd way too much when he his flurries of offense and it is costing him. Tanahashi catches the Penalty Kick and Dragon Leg Screw! That's Tanahashi I know! Texas Cloverleaf, but can't secure the submission. I love when Tanahashi flips his opponent over before hitting High Fly Flow to avoid the knees. On his second High Fly Flow (I also like that he does High Fly Flow in pairs), Shibata gets his knees up. Then Tanahashi does something uncharacteristic he gets sucked into an elbow exchange. Shibata is able to obliterate his back with a spinning back chop. Tanahashi's sell is so awesome. Shibata has a bit of trouble with Go 2 Sleep, but is able to wrangle Tanahashi to hit it and the Penalty Kick for the win. Kayfabe, Tanahashi's head did not seem to be in the game. Playing to the crowd, not exploiting his knee work and then getting sucked into a strike exchange. Non-kayfabe, Tanahashi was crushing it selling for Shibata. Shibata came off as a total badass when Tanahashi was selling his ribs and then selling that last spinning back chop. In a lot of ways this was the story of Tanahashi dropping the ball and Shibata staying steady with game plan of strikes. It felt a bit cold and dry at times. I wanted more out of Shibata, who I know can get feisty, Maybe the story is that he is more concentrated because he respects Tanahashi's status and wanted to focus on winning. Either way it did not grip me even if it was an effective story. ***3/4