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Found 19 results

  1. I've seen the love this has gotten, and I watched it and thought it was good, but nowhere near at the level I have seen others describe it, but I couldn't really articulate why. I rewatched it and I think it comes down to the way everything was sold. I'm all for a good strike or chop exchange in a big match, as I think it's a great way to create drama. However, I didn't like the way they worked the chop exchange here, nor the forearms. The Flair-Steamboat route of selling each chop individually works much better, and considering how good the strikes looked, they could have done that for 20 minutes and it wouldn't get old at all. Tenryu and Hashimoto worked a few matches in that same vein in the late 90s but every single strike was sold. When they aren't sold individually, it feels like two guys just performing instead of fighting to win a match, no matter how stiff the shots are. The cumulative selling was absolutely there, but they didn't give all of the offense meaning in an individual way. That said, I do think they did a lot right -- far more than I thought they did wrong. I loved the collar-and-elbow tie-up to start - not just they did it, but that they worked it with conviction. It's a staple of wrestling that I wish was part of the regular style again in most places and hasn't been for some time. It's a great way to set the tone for the entire match, and I thought they did a particularly good one here. I also really like Ishii as a throwback to some of the 80s All Japan and 90s WAR types like Ishikawa and Hara. He seems like he'd fit right in with that group, and I could see him having a hell of a match with Tenryu ten years ago even. I also really liked Honma's underdog character. He was really in tune with who he was and it was awesome to see the crowd invested in him as much as they were. There were some terrific nearfalls that play even better than they might normally because of his character, and I really got the sense that both guys had an understanding of who they are as performers that's so precise that it's almost rare. There was a classic match dying to get out. I probably would call this my MOTY and give it ****1/2 or higher if the selling hadn't thrown me off. There was so much about this I really liked, but that was enough of a downer to take it to just slightly below great match status. ***3/4
  2. Tubby japanese guys slap the shit out of eachother for 20 minutes. Love this because it's a really good example of how to build a lengthy match around a handful of strikes. Nakano and Kitahara are not over at all due to the SWS midcard being almost meaningless, but they give their all taking on these tanks and get the everliving crap kicked out of them. Hara & Tenryu deserve some credit for selling a good deal for these middleweights while outgunning them completely. Lots of neat spots and there are some good examples on how to make basic strikes interesting by SELLING. See: Tenryu getting caught in the ear by an enzuigiri or selling Nakanos corner dropkick. Hara is also really good at taking kicks to various body parts and refusing to bump. By the end Kitahara and Nakano are basically beaten half to death. There is one great sequence where Nakano is giving everything he has hitting several dropkicks and enzuigiris only to be forced to tag back in and run on empty. Tenryu just powerbombing him is an example of no selling that works because it was done in context of the match with a set up and purpose. Kitaharas leg selling was also cool and added some direction. This is a rare match where one side never comes close to winning but still ends up being great in my book.
  3. An interesting singles match between to estranged sisters. They spent the early part of their careers together then Io had some legal trouble that apparently caused a split between her and the rest of her family, including Mio. I don't think they had been on the same card for three years. The match itself gets of to a tentative start as it seems like they can't agree on what to do which leads to some awkward stretches in the early going. Once they get on the same page though, the action picks up. A good back and forth mix of highspots from Io and nasty submissions from Mio plus really stiff strikes from both. ***3/4
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