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Found 50 results

  1. G. Badger

    ALL TOGETHER - 2011

    This was a wrestling show held in August 2011 in honor of the victims of the March 2011 Earthquake & Tsunami and the aftermath including the meltdown of the Fukushima power plant. Well, without going and checking dates I'm not sure they knew the scope of the disaster of Fukashima yet. That's one of those things that the company and government wanted to downplay at the time. And they still do. It is certainly one of those things that still exists but, is sadly a footnote in the 24 hour news cycle. It was almost a decade ago but, those people and communities are still gone...and that area is still radioactive. I digress. Ok so on to the wrestling part. This was a joint venture between AJPW, NJPW, and NOAH as well as some big time freelancers to but on a super show in the spirit of solidarity and togetherness in the face of a national tragedy. What better way to do so then have a bunch of dudes beating up on each other? I kid! All proceeds went to the Japanese Red Cross. It was one of those things that I shied away from at the time because I didn't know if it would be a somber show or if it would be dull due to the nature of the show. Its me being stingy with my wrestling dollar. Don't fret though because this show as well as its follow up (and Kobashi's farewell show) are all available in full on Youtube. I haven't been watching a ton of puroresu and thought "Man, this looks like a good way to get back into it after getting lost in an ROH k-hole." I had pretty low expectations but, this features a pretty complete list of top Japanese talent and I should check it out for the sake of it. Kota Ibushi, Taji Ishimori, BUSHI & Yamato vs Kaz Hiyashi, Shuji Kondo, Tiger Mask IV & Ricky Marvin - This was a short but all fireworks spot fest! What a way to start the show. My fears of a dull exhibition show have subsided. This was good stuff. Ricky Marvin was my fave. Naito, Sanada & Taniguchi vs Takahashi, Manabu Soya & M. Yone - I'm not writing out everyone's names. Every match is some form of a tag match and I'm not doing it! You probably know some if not most of the names and the others you can look up Anyhow this was a really good match where Naito got worked over but made a good comeback and tagged out to kick it up a notch - BAM! This was a good mix of guys and although there were some rough patches nothing ruined the fun. Makabe & Akitoshi Saito vs Hirooki Goto & Kea - This was my jam. Hard hitters hitting each other hard. Good chops and slams. These guys had that good upper card tag vibe going, Taiyo Kea and Makabe had good chemistry against each other. Very good match. KENTA, K. Kanemoto, Minoru Tanaka, Kanemaru & Genba vs Devitt, Taguchi, K. Suzuki, Nakajima & KAI - Oh man! They could split all these guys up and have a tag tourney and I'd be a happy man. What we get scratches that it nonetheless. Everyone gets in there and does their thing. KENTA and Koji Kanemoto on the same team!? Get outta here! Attitude for miles! So you've got that and everyone just is super talented and wanted to win, this was a great match. 15 minutes but, it was fantastic. Best match so far. Masakatsu Funaki, Liger & Sano vs Minoru Suzuki, Aoki & Taichi - NJ Dojo classmates united again. Suzuki is right behind them so that's the story of the match to me. Fun little match with good spots toward the end. The Destroyer battle royale - I skipped this... Nagata, Tenzan, Nishimura & W. Inoue vs Akebono, Hama, Y. Yoshie & Morishima - Fun match but, this would have been better with Nagata & Nishimura vs Yoshie & Morishima . Its only 11 minutes and its all good for where its at on the card. Akiyama & K. Sasaki vs Omori & Takayama - So, Takayama was starting to not have "it" by this point but, he could still take a helluva beating. I wanted to say that right off the bat. That being said, this was a near classic macho beat-em up match. All three other guys were still awesome and the crowd was molten hot for this battle. I really really dug this especially at 15 minutes where it was all steak and no sizzle which works wonderfully for this style and the guys' ages. I'm a fan of all 4 so perhaps you think I'm full of it but, I really want to put this as like a ****1/2 match. The final 3rd of the match which had Omori in the ring more really put this up there. Best match of the show and should have been the main event in my eyes. Kobashi & Muto vs Iizuka & Yano - This won the Tokyo Sports GP Best Match of 2011 award. That like many of their awards is based on mass appeal, nostalgia, and star power. That and the finish is really something beautiful if you're a long time puro fan. SUWAMA, Tanahashi & Shiozaki vs KENSO, Nakamura & Sugiura - I totally get why this is the main event. These are the heavy hitter, the aces of their companies, the world champions. That being said I would have LOVED this id it was minus Tanahashi & KENSO because the other four guys are absolute beasts! So, it makes their offense look mid card level. SUWAMA and Nakamura grappling to start, Shiozaki & Sugiura blasting each other...it makes the other two guys stuff look soft. It got really really good though. All that talent in one ring, they had to have a very good match in their sleep. This was that match BUT! they threw a story element in there as well. It was kinda goofy but, the fans loved it and we got to see all these dudes in one ring at once. Kinda like a lucha trios match... Overall this was a really really good show and I think paid off the Dream Show vibe. I would say this would be like getting the '94 Super J Cup tape if you wanted to get into puro but stuff is so easy to come by with Youtube, NJ World, etc. that there's probably more relevant entry points now. But, let's say if you're looking to get into older stuff but, want a more modern presentation and a good introduction than this is a great way for that. I think its also a good reminder of the events that took place all most a decade ago. Thanks for reading !
  2. IWGP Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura vs Kota Ibushi - Wrestle Kingdom 9 Shinsuke Nakamura's entrance was Five Fucking Stars! Wow! Hearing Jim Ross' voice out of nowhere was wicked jarring. I forgot he and Striker did this match. It was weird they felt like they were reviewing the match as smart marks rather than as announcers. It was not too distracting, but there were times were both were grating. I may be in the minority, but I prefer Japanese commentary in Japanese matches. There is a certain rhythm the Japanese commentators have with the wrestlers that just works so well. The story of the match is one that I always dig and that is the young, pretty boy trying to prove he can hang with the grizzled vet. Ibushi did a great job varying his attack between fighting fire with fire and working his own game. Ibushi proved here he could hang with the hardest hitter in New Japan as he gave as good as he got with some blistering strikes. Those chops and kicks from him had me ooooohhhh and aaaaahhing as much as those ones from the King of Strong Style. At the same time, he knew if he wanted to win the match he was going to have to rely on what brought him to the dance namely his high flying arsenal, which wowed as much as it did damage. The extra element I really appreciated from Ibushi was his ability to combat Nakamura in gamesmanship. By mocking Nakamura's eccentricities, it added an extra level of chippiness and personal hate that took a great match and made it a classic. Nakamura is a license to print money. He is so over with the Japanese audience. He is a far cry from the apathetic wrestler of the late 2000s. He actually has been able to channel that apathy into a cockiness that people including myself really enjoy. As much fun as he is, he knows when to get down to business. I think he played the grizzled veteran perfectly in this match. When Ibushi mocked his jerky leg in the corner, he made him pay with an onslaught of knees. Nakamura was a great counter wrestler in the 2000s and here it is on full display against the speedy Ibushi using a ground to air missile dropkick to drop Ibushi out of the sky. I thought the beginning of the match did have its flat moments mostly resulting from a lack of struggle. Nakamura ran through his badass knee strikes and then Ibushi used a hurricanarana to keep Nakamura off balance, but that came right after he took a backstabber. The selling and flow just was not always there. The offense was top notch, but there was a bit of let me be ragdoll for you and then you will be a ragdoll for me. The last 5-8 minutes was absolutely world class professional wrestling. When Ibushi missed the Phoenix Splash, Nakamura nailed the Boma Ye knee to the back of the head, but he collapsed to the mat. At this point of the match, I thought the drama in the match went through the roof and never came back down. I love the spot of Ibushi going for the high risk home run, crashing & burning and Nakamura immediately capitalizing with his home run shot. It was a perfect way to level the playing field. Nakamura just started to whip some serious ass and when Ibushi started to fire up you could feel him becoming a man before your eyes. Their strike exchanges were not the boring stand there and let me hit you. They were fighting through each other's stuff. I don't love simultaneous punches, but holy shit did they pull it off perfectly! Really the best use of that spot ever. Also, this match featured a really great use of the rare closed fist. Ibushi was tired of Nakamura's shit and he started to wailing on him. Nakamura shoved the ref into Ibushi, which allowed him to deck Ibushi with a straight right. What a dick and what a great spot. I love Japanese punches because they look like match enders and are treated as such! Ibushi's flying double stomp to a running Nakamura was insane. Then in the climax of the match Ibushi mocks Nakamura's mannerisms in the corner before nailing the Boma Ye knee and Nakamura kicked out. It was just so perfect. You know that Ibushi has the confidence and he can hang with Nakamura, but he just is not there yet. They over reach on a neat in your head, but not in practice move with Ibushi trying to German Suplex Nakamura over the top rope while standing on the top rope. That was Ibushi's big false finish, before Nakamura roared back with a pair of Boma Ye Knees. Absolutely fantastic finish run. Nakamura looked like the best wrestler in the world with his offense and mannerisms. Ibushi proved that he was not just a high flyer and that he could hang in a stand up contest and he had the balls to mock the biggest star in the company. I was not in love with the beginning of the match and I think there have been better matches in 2015, but this was great. ****1/4
  3. Not a forgotten or super obscure match, but I still found myself stunned by how good this was. I imagine if Kota booked more shootstyle shows and did this kind of match more often we'd all be Kota fans. That aside, I thought this was Satos best performance ever. He was pushing hard and capable of carrying a servicable Kota to some very good mat exchanges. The best thing about this was the unique twist they did on the wrestler vs. shooter formula by having Kota rely on pinfalls and Sato outclassing him and giving up no points. It easily could've ended up looking like a goofy spectacle but thanks to both guys throwing some hideous suplexes and not pussying around with their strikes it ended up being a really fun fight. I also loved how Sato early on answered Ibushi attempting some ground striking by quickly shutting him down with a massive palm strike. Defenitely needed more of that streak in the rest of his career.
  4. Talk about it here. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1c95nm_yankee-nichokenju-isami-kodaka-yuko-miyamoto-c-vs-golden-lovers-kota-ibushi-kenny-omega-vs-tetsuya_sport?search_algo=1
  5. Thank you for your patience! I'm going to conclude the singles portion of this project here so, read on!! (6/10) Yoshihashi vs Ryusuke Taguchi: This was OK. I liked the opening mat section but, this felt like a by-the-book junior match. I think there is some drama here as Yoshihashi was part of the NJ main crew but as in a Young Lion/Junior member capacity. I say that as I've seen him paired with Taguchi in some tag matches. So maybe there's something here along the lines of YH proving his worth yadda-yadda but, I'll be honest I might even say SKIP this one. It just wasn't worth the 10 minutes in my mind. Gedo vs Kota Ibushi: Gedo's swearing and trash talking has been a real treat with the project. I crack up every time he tells some one off This match was no exception. His smack talk also strenghtens his dislike for his opponents especially Ibushi. "Come on, Golden Boy!" as Gedo slugs the comely Kota in the jaw. Oh man! That's good stuff K.I. comes back like a technico by finding that opening and wow-ing the fans and his foe with spectacular offensive maneuvers. And dammit! It works here because there's a reason he's doing his flips and dives. He's gotta his skill and agility to best the tough, crass vet! GO KOTA GO!This was a really standout bout in the 2010 BOSJ. 10 minutes of very good stuff here, go see it! (06/11) Jushin Liger vs Davey Richards: A good match that featured a Davey going after Liger's arm. Richards played the young aggressive gaijin going after the never-say-die veteran Liger. If this was a larger show, they could certiainly have put on a great **** match with this story/layout. I really enjoyed this one even though it was only 9 minutes long. Ryusuke Taguchi vs AKIRA: A match of parity and dueling leg work. This was a neat little story as both guys decided they'd hobble each other. There was some good selling and neat transitions but, neither took it so far to delegitimize the previous portion of the match. That is to say, they didn't sell it like a torn ACL only to be running and diving a second or two later. I like this. It was a different match and told a story most people shy away from nowadays. Good match. (06/12) La Sombra vs Jushin Liger: Shades of Liger vs Hayabusa Super J Cup 94 baby! La Sombra was like 'Screw it! I came here to highspots!' JTL hits his backbreaker and shotei palm strike and is looking to make an opening but, the young luchador shuts him down. We get a countout win after he hits a springboard inward somersault facecrusher on Liger on the floor! Now I think it was supposed to be like AR Fox's inward somersault plancha but, how Liger caught Sombra and vice versa made it look like a face crusher/bulldog on the cement. Hells yeah! 5 minutes...sorry to spoil it but, you gotta see it for yourself. Davey Richards vs Kota Ibushi: This wasn't the most developed match and my favorite part was when they were hitting each other BUT dang it! It worked! This was an all action bout and other than an iffy frankensteiner this was spot on. Probably not as good as their ROH bout around the same time (I think) but, this was good to very good stuff. I mean if you're interested in this you'll want to spend the 11 minutes on this match. If you dislike either guy then, uh yeah...I can't say it's what you want Kenny Omega vs AKIRA: I really dug this bout - high level of energy and excellent laser focus from AKIRA on Omega's knee. The Canadian sold it very well. He let us know it was hurting him enough to throw his offensive momentum off but, when pushed he could pull it together. AKIRA kept on it though. Kenny was in real trouble and he needed to put that fact at the forefront of his mind for the rest of the contest if we was going to win. He gave a great performance in building up hope, showing fighting spirit, yet still impressing us with his maneuvers. Likewise, AKIRA put on one of the best outings of the BOSJ round robin in constructing a spirited, intense battle that was believable and interesting even though it focused on a submission based attack in 2010 AND was only 10-11 minutes long! Very good to perhaps great match. So, the MVP of this is totally Gedo! Maybe I'm biased from growing up seeing him in all the sleazies and ECW (check out Jado & Gedo vs Impact Players) but, dammit- he really brought a real sense of hate to his matches. Many of the others we're technically great but, lacked emotion. There were exceptions, notably AKIRA vs Omega and the Hayato matches. This has taken me longer than expected but, it's been fun and something neat to do during the middle of a snowy afternoon. And really, that's the real treat here, NJPW has a bounty of good to great 10 minute matched on Youtube for people to enjoy. So, yeah watch Fujita Hayato's, Gedo's, Omega vs AKIRA and a Davey and Ryusuke Taguchi match and you'll be all set! Thank you wrestling fans!! We'll take a slight detour to some recent NOAH You Might Have Missed and then hitting the 2010 Jr. Tags. There are some real bangers in there!
  6. Sorry for the delay! The weather has been a little bit better the past two weeks and I've been able to get some skating in. Plus I think I needed a little break from wrestling. Nevertheless, I'm ready to pick up where I left off and get back to NJPW's Junior scene circa 2010. We're still watching the Best of the Super Jrs. round robin matches. From June 2nd (06/02/10) Tama Tonga vs Yoshihashi: I missed this one on the previous post but, no biggie. It was an OK match. Nothing fancy but, it was not bad. Just a quick little match. (06/04) KUSHIDA vs Kota Ibushi: It was weird seeing KUSH in something other than his McFly get-up but, even weirder was seeing him in red & gold shorts with bleached blonde hair. Whoa! Anyhow, this was very much an offense oriented match and was quite impressive. The crowd was digging it but, for some reason it didn't "get to me." It was good though and others may like this more. Fujita "Jr." Hayato vs Tama Tonga: A fun match pitting Tonga's power against Jr.'s kicks. It's very simple yet quite satisfying. 9 minute match and I've read that Hayato injured his foot during the match and had to pull out of the rest of the shows. Watch this bout and see if you can figure out where/when it happened. This is a shame since I was very much enjoying his shoot style leanings. (06/05) La Sombra vs Davey Richards: So, we get the first appearance of the American Wolf Davey Richards. Yes! This time with NJ created some buzz back in the day as he used to appear with NOAH fairly often and now he was going to be working with New Japan. His hard hitting style is very puro influenced so, to see him working in NJ gave them impression that they were looking to mix things up in the 2010's. To be honest, the 2000's for NJPW had some high points but, overall it was pretty stale what with dabbling in MMA-centric bouts, tired match ups and uninspiring stables. So, for a big name in the US scene like Davey to align himself was exciting. But to the match at hand - it was a good bout with nice moves. For a small show round robin match, it delivered. Some folks on the YT said it sucked but, that's B.S. They probably thought they were going to go buck wild despite the circumstances. Well, this is a New Japan house show folks... (06/06) Kenny Omega vs Tama Tonga: Bullet Club battle right here! No but, it was a nice Junior power vs power type of match. Like many of these matches, there wasn't a ton of selling but, it was fun watching these guys toss each other. I gotta say the Hadouken and Croyt's Wrath are great here! Prince Devitt vs Gedo: Gedo jumps Devitt from the get-go and dominates him for a good portion of the match. Of course, the Irishman comes back and damn! does it feel good! This is the best match so far in the project. The in ring story is there, the selling is there, the action is there, and we get humor too! Like Gedo telling the ref to "Shut the Fuck up!" on a couple occasions and pretending he's not going to use the ring bell mallet as a weapon AGAIN. Hahaha! Not to be out done, during Devitt's comeback, the Prince advises Red Shoes, in an un-princely manner, "Get the fuck outta the way!" I dug the hell outta this match. - It becoming clear to me that NJPW was trying to rebuild their Junior division much like they did in the 90's Golden Era. Get those talented Gaijin! Thanks for reading! Comment below if you see when Hayato got injured and I hope to be much quicker with my next installment.
  7. This is a project that I've wanted to start for some time now but, I couldn't find the right way to get going. Here's how it starts: Bryan Danielson vs Fujita "Jr." Hayato (UWAI 12/03/06): I have to be honest, I've never heard of UWAI but, the person hosting it on the 'tube is the same person who has all of the Big Mouth Loud shows for viewing. So, I have to assume that it's an 'offshoot' (using that term loosely) of BML. Anyhow, I really recommend this match to anyone who's only seen 'Daniel Bryan.'He just stretches the hell out of Hayato here. 10 minutes of that is time well spent! OK so this match got me interested in Jr. Hayato. I'd heard some good things about him earlier this decade but, I never really was that interested at the time. But, this match showed me the type of bout he preferred despite being a Michinoku Pro guy. SO, it looks like he participated in the 2010 Best of the Super Jrs. league and welp! that's all I needed to pick up the project that I'd put off for months - early 2010's NJPW Jrs. Why not!? I figure I've been looking at ROH for a puro blog so, let's keep it real, like the kids say! This will probably be a multi-part thing despite my best efforts to keep things neat and tidy. I just keep finding more and more interesting little matches hosted by NJPW's Youtube channel. I am not going to be a complettionist so, if you end up digging these match-ups and find one that I missed, by all means share it in the comments! Just to give you a sample of who were talking about: Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi, La Sombra (Andrade "Cien" Almas), Fujita "Jr." Hayato (duh!), Prince Devitt (Finn Balor), Tama Tonga, KUSHIDA, Ryusuke Taguchi, Yoshi-hashi - Damn! From the 06/01/10 show: Yoshihashi (before YOSHI-HASHI) vs Fujita "Jr." Hayato: A very good, intense bout. Jr. looked like a leg kicking Terminator. Yoshihashi was good as well but, Jr.'s technique was superior. The finish really drove that home. Some might not love the finish but, I certainly did. It looked like a MMA finish where the ref has to call the guy off. Hells yeah! Koji Kanemoto vs Kenny Omega: A good match where Omega's job was about selling rather than acting all strong and shit. Koji went for the ankle lock here to shut down the Canadian. Ryusuke Taguchi vs Tama Tonga: Tonga is fully doing the Tongan thing here but, you know it works! He's like the powerhouse of the tournament and this match shows that versus Taguchi's technical prowess. If all you've seen is goofy Taguchi then, I implore you to check this version of the dude out. Sure, he's the Funky Weaopn but, the emphasis is on weapon. JIP match, 6 minutes. Jushin Thunder Liger vs Gedo: I love it when people get legitimately butt hurt about others putting Thunder in quotations. Who gives a shit at this point if people think its a nickname or part of some defunct anime from 30 years ago (holy crizza I'm old)? I digress! Gedo and JT Liger put on that "simple but good" match that you know they could (would?). And by gosh, it works! Nothing like seeing a babyface get back at a heel! 11 minutes. Kota Ibushi vs La Sombra: JIP (why? I have no idea!), but this is a blast of a spot match. Both guys were putting on a show for the live audience - springboard moves, dives, top rope flips, just a ton of fun! A very nice one camera-no commentary show! Like CHAOS vs NJ from 2010, this is looking to be highly enjoyable BUT...wait, what's that? We're not done yet! One more match... From 06/02/10: Kenny Omega vs Fujita "Jr." Hayato: This was a intense sprint battle. A fantastic Day 2 match for the Super Jrs. league. It was extremely stiff with great suplexes and I loved the heck outta of it. NJPW gatekeeps a lot of their stuff because of their 'network' but, this puppy is floating out there for free on their Youtube channel. If you're a cheap ass like me, and you're reading this becuase you're genuinely interested - watch this bout. It's around the 10-12 minute mark and, even if you don't care for the newer style, this is at the very least a very good popcorn - fireworks Jr. match that'll make you smile and/or cringe. Its not a classic but, dang it is a blast! So, I hope you enjoyed reading! More match ups from the 2010 Super Jrs. including a real winner in Devitt vs Gedo *Spoiler* Gedo drops some Engrish F-bombs Thanks!
  8. Well, goddamn. I remember thinking as the match was going on just how damn impressive Tanahashi looked. He really brought all his strengths to this particular match. Not only showing his abilities on top by dominating much of the early half but also showing enough of those weak points to make anyone believe that Ibushi could win. Thought that their strike exchange in the middle of the match was a really compelling moment. It drew me in to see Ibushi power up against Tanahashi only for the Ace to come right back and absorb the punishment. Flaws? Sure, Ibushi more or less no sold his leg but comparatively speaking, this was far more consistent than any of the other matches I've seen him in this year. Not to mention that Ibushi really did bring the fire and stiffness from a match like the Ishii block match to really match up against Tanahashi here. I thought this was far and away the best G1 match of the year, maybe Ishii-Goto as a close second. The Budokan crowd pulling for Tanahashi all weekend was amazing as well. ****3/4
  9. This was a very good, back and forth match with Juice dropping another match. Ibushi pulled out some of the big guns to put Juice away, but Juice keeping fight back. A very even match. Wish this went a little longer, then it would have hit the great range for me, but this was a nice teaser to hopefully a second math between the two. ***3/4
  10. The Fire Pro World and NJPW partnership has got me really psyched up. The glut of posts I've made on the forum is evidence of that Its all good though because I thought Fire Pro was done after Fire Pro Returns. Its funny because its a little bit of history repeating as I bought a PS2 back in 2007 specifically for FPR and I'll be buying a PS4 for the sole purpose of playing FPW. Admittedly, Fire Pro Returns was a bigger deal as the game never had a US release and I could only mod my PS1 so much and could only admire the awesomeness of Fire Pro D from afar. I would say Fire Pro Returns is a big reason that I became a fanatic for Puroresu. I printed name guides and move lists for all of the wrestlers and studied them against my old VHS tapes and incoming DVDs (plus WCW vs the World PS1). So with this release for the PS4, Fire Pro has got to up the ante. The NJPW partnership is the first chip and new moves, expanded Create-a-Wrestler, and story mode have sweetened the pot for me. However, 08/28 is a little bit away so, I've got to keep the fires stoked somehow. What better way than by combing through free NJ matches on YouTube? What's great (in a way) is the relatively recent stuff from NJ's boom period is at a premium and most likely available on the NJPW World streaming service. The YouTube stuff is perhaps the stuff "no one" cares about anymore . And by "no one", I mean mainstream wrestling fans...people who perhaps have the streaming service and know Okada, Bullet Club etc. but have no clue who Inoki, Hashimoto, or Fujinami are. I'm rambling...onto the matches. The Fire Pro World and NJPW partnership has got me really psyched up. The glut of posts I've made on the forum is evidence of that Its all good though because I thought Fire Pro was done after Fire Pro Returns. Its funny because its a little bit of history repeating as I bought a PS2 back in 2007 specifically for FPR and I'll be buying a PS4 for the sole purpose of playing FPW. Admittedly, Fire Pro Returns was a bigger deal as the game never had a US release and I could only mod my PS1 so much and could only admire the awesomeness of Fire Pro D from afar. I would say Fire Pro Returns is a big reason that I became a fanatic for Puroresu. I printed name guides and move lists for all of the wrestlers and studied them against my old VHS tapes and incoming DVDs (plus WCW vs the World PS1). So with this release for the PS4, Fire Pro has got to up the ante. The NJPW partnership is the first chip and new moves, expanded Create-a-Wrestler, and story mode have sweetened the pot for me. However, 08/28 is a little bit away so, I've got to keep the fires stoked somehow. What better way than by combing through free NJ matches on YouTube? What's great (in a way) is the relatively recent stuff from NJ's boom period is at a premium and most likely available on the NJPW World streaming service. The YouTube stuff is perhaps the stuff "no one" cares about anymore . And by "no one", I mean mainstream wrestling fans...people who perhaps have the streaming service and know Okada, Bullet Club etc. but have no clue who Inoki, Hashimoto, or Fujinami are. I'm rambling...onto the matches! Ok this first one is 2009 but, close enough... Shinsuke Nakamura vs Hirooki Goto (08/07/09): G1 match. People didn't really care about the G1 until a couple years ago when Dr.Dave and others started rating these highly. AJ vs Minoru Suzuki, I think is the big one. Otherwise, there were probably only like a handful of G1 matches that got uber pimped. Nonetheless, the tournament always produced a few great battles. This has got to be one for '09. Smart, violent Nakamura vs Tank like Goto in 16 minutes of vicious strikes, suplexes, and slams. There was a miscommunication early or in the middle, I believe but, it was quickly forgotten. As much as I like the psycho Beat It Nakamura, this iteration is best because he's not so predictable. For instance, there is an awesome ground work sequence at the end that had me saying, "Damn I need more of this in my NJ!" Go see this and you'll want Nak' back in NJ immediately. Ryusuke Taguchi vs Kota Ibushi (06/10/11): 18 minutes of perfectly executed action. Ibushi was flashy here with a cartwheel move but, I'm OK with the rest of his offence. He made it look natural. However, the real talent of the match was Taguchi. He employed a strong abdomen focused attack on Ibushi from beginning to end. Unfortunately, Ibushi doesn't go very deep in selling this psychology. He lets you know how tired and hurt overall but, doesn't so much as clutch his ribs or chest to convey the strategy of Taguchi...Doing this may have put this into classic Jr. canon contention. Alas, we just get an excellent fireworks match. Or an excellent Fire Pro World match Still, no one really recalls how Devitt & Taguchi were hot shit back then. Their matches with Golden Lovers & Motor City Machine Guns were what got people excited about NJ. Then, the Tanahashi stuff started up. Anyway, great match here. Probably will dig back into the early 2010 NJ Jr. Tag scene next post. Tomohiro Ishii vs Hirooki Goto (05/20/12): I'll be honest. The IC and Never contenders are the real heavyweights in NJ. The IWGP heavy stuff (especially Tanahashi & Okada) is like WWE Japan at times. There are exceptions for sure as I really dug Omega vs Okada at WK12 and Naito is the man. I just think the Nakamura-Ishii-Goto combo was the bees knees for a few years. You can throw Makabe, Nagata, and a couple others in there and you've got a winner in my book. I say this because people no longer associate NJ with this beat guys into a pulp style but, before the Jr. Elevation Explosion, it was Kensuke, Hashimoto, Choshu, Kojima, Tenzan, Nagata and others doing straight forward physical matches. Goto and Ishii carry on that tradition. No surprise as Goto is the pupil of Tenzan and Ishii is Choshu's. Put simply, there are strike battles and no-sells that are the hallmark of the period but, they can be overlooked when it cannot be determined if Ishii is bleeding from giving or receiving a straight headbutt. Moderation is the key to this style but probably no more than the spot and sequence heavy style in vogue. Highly recommended match. Kazushi Sakuraba vs Shinsuke Nakamura (01/04/13 WK 7): I'll guess that I personally would like this better than the Okada vs Tanahashi main event of this super show of super shows. I'm ragging on NJ a lot for allegedly wanting to buy their game so bad This bout starts polite until Nak' slaps Saku. Then, it gets blown open like old corduroy pants! The Gracie Killer unloads with palm strikes and aggressive grappling. Shinsuke is just trying to stay alive until he can deliver his patented knees and make some space to breathe. This fight is Strong Style Evolved in the true sense. Slaps, knees, armbars all while Nakamura is able to insert his character and Saku is able to smash Nakamura's head like an egg! Awesome stuff man. Part 2 featuring tag matches and multi-man matches should be up soon. Tenryu in 2004 anyone? Thanks for reading! Hope this pumped you up for watching NJ and playing Fire Pro!
  11. Absolute madmen, that's what these two are. This was an absolutely spectacular match w/ them going all out - loved Naito's performance, he was terrific working over the neck of Ibushi & then later selling the damage Ibushi did to him with those goddamn crazy big moves & kicks. Just a total spectacle with these 2 lads destroying each other. ****1/2
  12. THE LOVERS ARE BACK, BABY. This was just pure fireworks from START to FINISH; one of those matches where when it ended I went "man, pro wrestling's the goddamn best". Korakuen was ROCKING, Omega & Ibushi are absolutely wonderful together, the character work by all involved was great (especially by Cody who was on FIRE) & the all around storytelling combined with the atmosphere was just amazing. Lovely, lovely, lovely stuff. ****1/2
  13. Shibata's interactions in the early stages w/ Marufuji & especially Morishima are all kinds of awesome. His stuff w/ Maru has some really great back & forth exchanges, and his stuff w/ Morishima, my goodness. Really made me bummed out that we never got a singles match between them during this time period, as they were involved in 2 excellent tag classics on the opposing teams. Ibushi is very much treated as an afterthought by Maru & Mori, as he had only been in the business for about 2 years around the time this happened. Love when Shibata & Mori are trading blows, and Ibushi tries to join in by striking Morishima from the back, Morishima just completely ignores him. He doesn't feel the strikes by this young flippy fella. That leads to a great FIP segment w/ Ibushi getting beaten & stretched by Maru & Mori. Great stuff. Shibata's hot tag is great too, he runs wild on Marufuji for quite a while until Maru tags in Morishima, which leads to him & Shibata rocking the place again. Once Shibata tags Ibushi in, the lad FINALLY gets to unleash his offense on Morishima - he shows him that he is no joke as he manages to briefly stun him. That doesn't last for long though, as it ultimately lead to Morishima just crushing him with a DISGUSTING Lariat & a Backdrop. Amazing stuff. ****1/2
  14. I think Sabre's best when he has someone physically strong to work against; his mat stuff looks much better with resistance. He gets that from Ibushi here, even early on the mat he has to really yank his arms to get him into place. Throughout the match, how good Ibushi is makes Sabre seem even more impressive. I've seen a moonsault into a hold of some sort a billion times, but Ibushi is so incredibly fast in going up for that moonsault, that getting the counter in feels more special. The intensity as they get more and more desperate to get their big moves and holds in at the end is great, and I'll be shocked if this isn't one of my very fav matches in Japan this year.
  15. You know a match is good when it has a Canadian Destroyer spot in it that isn't bad! I was ready to not feel this match at all, because YOSHI-HASHI is such a boring performer, but damn he brought it here. Showed most personality he has ever shown in a match; good fire & those slaps. Great stuff. Ibushi was great as usual w/ his deadly offense & sick bumping. Very good stuff. ***1/2
  16. I actually felt that this was more suspenseful than Ibushi/Naito. ZSJ keeps on working the already fucked neck of Ibushi, and his counters to pretty much all of Ibushi's offese kept the crowd invested, as it really looked like Ibushi was going to tap out at anytime. However, considering the difference in striking ability and how Ibushi has the bigger bombs, once he actually gets his hands on ZSJ, he sure lays it in. Not a fan of Zack's selling. Be it an overhead chop or a kick to the chest or a german suplex, he always does the same facial expressions. However, he is very good at being a skinny cunty bully. Overall it is ***3/4 - ****
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