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Found 23 results

  1. Just looking at the lineups had me salivating and this didn’t disappoint at all. Fuji and CIMA fit like a glove vs Kanemoto and Otani that it is a shame we didn’t get a long form series between them. Everyone had a chance to deliver here though. Taikawa and Fuji especially had a brutal exchange in the middle and prick Liger being the mentor to Crazy Max warmed my heart. I know he has been stuck in multi-mans but Kashin continues to be not atrocious at all and learning where to pick his spots to attack. Otani is getting a nice push and picks up the win here. Give this a couple of more minutes and a molten Korakuen crowd and you might could have had a MOTYC. Still a great match. ****
  2. Six grumpy men beating the shit out of each other and flying around. This just kept getting better and better and climaxes in an amazing finish with Otani kicking the shit out of Casas and picking up the win. I was happy to see both Wagner and Kashin fit in here. In the case of Kashin, I didn’t think he was the weak line at all here and was really impressed at his sequences overall. Kanemoto has some weird low blows that he does directly in front of the referee which is odd. We have seen a lot of these guys so far paired up and this was another great entry with Casas bringing some freshness. ****
  3. The team of both Aguyao’s, Kanemoto, Otani, and Casas may literally be my favorite five person unit in wrestling history. We get about half of this and it is a ton of fun and something well worth seeking out. Each fall built to a big spot that was the finish which I appreciated. This really felt like the type of matches you see at FantasticaMania nowadays. Would love to see this in full. ***1/4
  4. Tanaka and Koji are a great duo working together. Prickish and athletic ready to fire away. Tanaka in particular seems to be gaining confidence and as a result better standing even from a kayfabe perspective as he picks up the arm submission victory on Takaiwa here. We get about 8 out of the 14 minutes so it was a good visualization of the high points of the match. Samurai mostly stayed on the outer rim for this match but he did have some stiff exchanges when needed. Another good juniors match for NJPW in 2000. *** (6.2)
  5. Another heated chapter in this feud. The Tanaka/Kanemoto duo in particular beat the shit out of Romeo until he could tag out and bring in grumpy Liger to give them a taste of their own medicine. Romeo looked good here and hit some nice flourishing high spots in the waning moments of the match. The NJPW juniors of 2000 haven’t always reached the high points of previous years and had some weird booking, but the Liger vs Kanemoto/Otani matches have been consistently very good and this was no exceptions. ***3/4 (7.3)
  6. I don’t know if Otani was hurt or what but it is really bizarre he was left off of this card. These two frenemies continue the theme of most of their series of tag matches from 2000 although this one does seem to focus more on leg damage than big strikes and bombs. Kanemoto’s rana into the ankle lock was really slick. Takaiwa fighting through the leg damage to still deliver the DVD was a good visual that would have had a better crowd molten. Juniors failing in the dome remains a big conundrum to me. Big when for Takaiwa. NR
  7. Liger’s suit is boss and here he comes out with two women to put everything over the top. That said, the IWGP junior title is one of the wimpiest looking things I have ever seen. I know the narrative of dome junior matches sucking but with these two, I was still really looking forward to this one. They bump the opening mat work exchange for heated strikes and I was really on board. Liger works over Kanemoto hits a series of bombs and then wins with the brainbuster. WTF????? Why was Kanemoto made to be the sacrificial lamb here? This really actively pissed me off. 1/2 *
  8. Much like the minis, I feel like I say the same things about these matches all the time but this was another enjoyable entry if a little bit condensed. I still am failing to see what is so awful about Kashin besides the fact he isn't as good as Liger and probably Kanemoto. I find him comparable with Takaiwa which may be a bit of a hot take. Again, nothing I have seen in Kashin makes me think they should have built the division around him but there has been much worse choices to lead a brand (cough Jinder Mahal cough) in wrestling history. One thing that would be nice in this series would be a singles match with some time given to it. ***1/4 (6.7)
  9. Another chapter in a hate filled year between the juniors. At first, I was a little surprised to see Wagner teaming with LIger and Kashin but he fit in well and I liked them doing some less than honorable tactics like the eye rake and double teaming. Overall the match carried a good pace and featured all six shining at different moments. MInoru Tanaka is really growing on me and was pretty exceptional in his snot nosed punk role here. I am starting to see the strong Kashin booking be overbearing as here it felt like the least consequential person in the entire match somehow got the submissions. ***1/2 (7)
  10. Not near as epic as their BOSJ 97 finale but a great 10 minute match. This is why I ranked Samurai on my GWE as he has a few of these matches seemingly every year where he gets a chance to showcase himself in a singles encounter and he never disappoints. Kanemoto is really neck and neck with Otani on my year end rankings and I am interested if some of his naysayers like PeteF see his development like me when they get to this point. Overall, this was a standard basic match that was elevated by the stiffness and attention to detail. Samurai is able to remain credible and gunning for an upset with the way he presents himself. ***1/4 (6.6)
  11. Another awesome outing from these guys. This may have been the best bit yet as the one side of Liger, Usuda, Kashin really felt like a whipping boy, an up and comer and the legend in Liger for all three of Koji, Otani and Fujita to disrespect. Fujita fit right in perfectly with the Koji, Shinjiro team and the match never let up for the sixteen minutes it lasted. Usuda was the key cog throughout everything both getting her ass kicked and also fighting back when appropriate. Finish was pretty abrupt but again shows how well they are putting Kashin over as a bad ass with the flash cross armbreaker. The guy isn’t as good as Otani and Koji but he has been fine so far and I don’t discount him based on his heavy push. ****
  12. A sick tease of a match. Come on New Japan World, put these in full. We get around two minutes of great action and it culminates in Otani pinning Liger. Tracking the 90's that is about as rare as seeing Hailey's Comet. NR.
  13. Tanahashi is teaming with Kanemoto today. What a turncoat. Makabe has beef with Koji and they start the match out. That doesn’t last long before Tana tags in and again we have a spirited exchange between him and Shinya. I will continue to be amazed at how much sharper Makabe’s striking is now than in current day. Otani and Tanahashi also fire off against each other. From there the match is the typical Otani/Kanemoto hate fest with stiff strikes and taunting along the way. I appreciate this development for the juniors and think that in current day, they spend too much time paired up with each other or clear past their prime veterans. I also appreciate how strong Otani and Kanemoto go after each other in these mostly meaningless tags. The finale of this match had Makabe being the main whipping boy and Otani hitting a missile dropkick to help Makabe out. Makabe then hits two Germans and we have a huge upset with Otani celebrating with him. Damn good match and showing from the young lions. ***1/4 (6.5)
  14. I understand the sentiment from other commentators that this is sort of dumb wrestling and the Otani/Kanemoto tags are points are tough to distinguish from one another. However, like Strong BJ in 2017, when they are in a tag match, I am also completely engaged and the stiffness and hatefulness that is conveyed allows me to pay attention. Here, everyone was going after each other and Kashin handles himself well. Liger being mixed in with these guys and not being super junior squashing everyone is a much better and enjoyable role and he has kind of quietly been having a great year even though he has some standout moments for sure. The finish here was great as an upset against the ultimate pricks and Kashin/Liger getting the win. ***3/4 (7.6)
  15. Good heat off of this one resulting as a rematch from their BOSJ final two years before. I thought for them going short here, they packed a lot of punch. I have been pretty keen on Wagner so far as he brings the stiffness here going shot for shot with Koji and also the storyline development and heel mannerisms like the second time they spill into the crowd and Wagner comes back into the ring with a random purse he chokes Koji out with. A lot of sympathy gets put on Koji as a result and makes the kickouts of things like the space mountain seem important. Kanemoto starts relling off a comeback and is feeling it with the fighting spirit and huge reaction from the crowd. It really felt as a viewer Koji had the match in hand after the moonsault by Koji but that only gets two. Tiger suplex is blocked and from out of nowhere, Wagner hits his Wagner Driver for the win. This packed a lot of punch in a ten minute match. ***1/2
  16. Kanemoto/Otani/Takiawa are barely able to co exist before the match and the masked trio take the opportunity to gain a quick start with dives. Overall, the Otani/Kanemoto dynamic is intriguing in that they can come together for these six mans and tags but are such pricks and competitors that they like testing their meddle against each other too. It is a neat dynamic not emphasized as much as it should be. When the Otani trio works together, they were successful in this match but when they tried to do it on their own, they were taken over. Otani is presented as the weaker member which is an interesting caveat. I think all six men being in a prominent position as the bridge match from the G1 semis to the G1 finals were amped up. Liger looked happy to be back with the juniors and was really dishing it out. Samurai in the middle of the match hits a reverse DDT from the second rope and then a Liger assisted tope onto Kanemoto. Samurai follows that up with a rana but misses the diving headbutt and now Takaiwa and company gain the most substantial advantage in the match working over Samurai. Again Otaini is the one where a hope spot is given against him after he does the face wash kicks. Samurai is able to make the hot tag to Kashin. I have saved thoughts for Kashin to last but I think I’m ready to declare him a good worker which I know goes against any conventional thoughts on him. He may get worse and he certainly is in there with all timers but he is able to add some stuff of his own including some nice punches in this match. Finish has Otani in trouble again with a cross armbreaker from Kashin and samurai hitting a missile dropkick followed by a Liger palm strike for the pin. Very good match with some story elements to look for watching these guys throughout the year. ***1/2 (7.2)
  17. The commercial version for these matches is part frustrating with the clipping but also endearing with the interviews and clips interspersed to give us a bit of context. We get to see most of this and I really enjoyed the way it was worked. Taikawa gets his leg worked over for a big portion and he continues to sell the damage even performing some of his high impact moves. This also had some stiff action on the outside with the clotheslines into the guard rail. Finishing stretch has Taikawa looking like things are firmly in control until Kanemoto is able to kick the leg and trip him again. Kanemoto is able to roll through from a middle rope move and lock in the ankle lock making the leg work pay off with a victory in the match. Really good match. ***1/2
  18. Unique pairing here with some Team 2000 members we don’t see much of against our junior pricks. Goto and Kanemoto face off right away. The first fall is really all action and at a breakneck pace. I like the mentality of both teams and how similar they are. In parity from the opening stanza, Goto picks up the win on Kanemoto. Saito is still getting after it in this match in 2000 which warms my heart. Second fall is more of the same this time with Takiawa pinning Saito in a nice surprise. Like with these previous junior heavy matches the action is certainly top notch. Third fall is more of the same with the finale resulting in Ohara and Otani in there. In a surprise for me, Ohara picks up the win. I have really soured on the NJ booking April as they have went out of their way to make the juniors look insignificant. ***1/4
  19. Another strong outing for the Otani/Kanemoto tag folder for 2000. This has Makabe involved which has been rare in tag matches and him and Kashin did pretty well together in their sequences. I don’t know how Makabe can have so much better strikes here so early in his career than now in current day. I guess we he bulked up and became a powerhouse heavyweight, that meant less proficiency. The Kanemoto vs Otani sequences like usual are heated and this should have gotten the crowd hot for the start of the show. ***1/4 (6.7)
  20. Even more basic than their June match. Not bad at all and knew its place on the card. The mat work leading to big sequences of the action spilling to the outside was the highlight of the action. In addition, the finish was fun with Wagner locking in a Splash Mountain only for Kanemoto to get a quick rana and the pin. That made the pin for Kanemoto feel pretty flukey. A good solid match and nothing more. *** (6.1)
  21. Wagner and Koji are a boss team. Tons of angst in this one with intense staredowns and hatred throughout. I will really miss Otani rising up to heavyweight because he provides a punkish spark that I assume will be missed. In particular the Kanemoto and Otani segments here were just brutal. I enjoyed Takiawa catching Kanemoto in mid air and changing the trajectory to a powerslam. Tell me if you have heard this before but Otani gets overconfident in his abilities. This allowed Wagner to hit the tombstone finisher and pick up the win. I was a little down on the junior tag on the Dome show compared to Charles but I thought this was a complete blast and kicks February off with a bang. ****
  22. I guess this was at Samurai's hometown but that made the match molten and raised that above some of the entries we have seen from these guys. Liger, Kashin and Samurai were not above being pricks and taking short cuts here against the pricks and that attitude was something I also appreciated. The final stages with Samurai working for the nearfall had some of the best heat we have seen in Japan and I bit on quite a few of the nearfalls while thinking they wouldn't pull the trigger on Samurai actually winning. Another great entry for these guys in 2000. **** (7.8)
  23. Well what do you know, the last half of a hot looking NJPW juniors match. Kanemoto is able to get some revenge by beating up Liger and Otani is always good for dishing out the punishment. The clips we see here look really strong and we do get enough in the back half for me to rank. Finish was a bit perplexing as Kashin pins Otani. **3/4
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