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Found 30 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. Well this matchup is certainly an interesting idea. Fun stuff with Frye taking Liger lightly to start by putting him on the top rope and sort of patting him on the shoulder, and Liger responding by mounting him, slapping him in the face multiple times and immediately locking in a cross armbreaker. For the first few minutes, Frye put over Liger in every exchange and only got the advantage through cheating, which got great heat, proving the old Dave Meltzer adage about shooters always getting great heat for cheating very true. Liger's performance and selling was awesome here. Frye is pretty limited in terms of what he can do in the ring, but he has great charisma, is a strong heel and New Japan fans accept him as a tough guy, so he gets by and is very effective. This worked. ***
  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. 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)
  5. 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 *
  6. A really cool 8 minute match that even in defeat it feels like Liger took the fight to Frye and gave him a fight. The way Liger takes Frye down was surprising and the referee was very aggressive with Frye as he was unwilling to break when Liger reached the ropes on the arm submission. Liger fires back with palm strikes from the mounted position but that gets reversed and Frye unloads an onslaught of punches before locking in a tight choke forcing Liger to tap. Good fun and Inokism in the right way as this wouldn’t have looked out of place in RINGS. ***1/4 (6.5)
  7. 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)
  8. Another good match that much like the junior match before, it didn't seem to be trying to be a "great" match and instead a solid effort to feel out an overall card and narrative. Some of the grappling exchanges between Samurai and Tanaka were particularly chippy. Samurai always seems to add a bit of disdain to his overall presentation when teaming with Liger. Tanaka goes flying in for a kick at the finish and whiffs making it look like the vets have the match in the bag but Samurai gets his arm caught in a cross armbreaker submission and is forced to tap. ***1/4 (6.3)
  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. I was really critical of Liger blowing through Kanemoto at the Dome but I kind of secretly loved this because Tanaka is not that established and he really brings it to Liger. As a result, this felt like a five minute war that essentially could have been a glorified shoot in some instances. Liger is a prick and takes the battle destroying Tanaka but he doesn’t go down easy. Excellent sprint. ***1/4
  11. A great final that really was trending towards a MOTYC for me until it stopped. What these two did in twelve minutes were really craft a great story and intense action. CIMA and Liger are the two stars of the tournament so it is refreshing to see them in the final. CIMA using the palm strike which is such a Liger staple against him was an awesome visual and again the young up and comer certainly looks like he belongs and that he is very very close to Liger’s equal. In the end, this was Liger’s tournament to win. This whole tournament makes the Sasaki match even more maddening because how great would this have been for Liger’s momentum if he was coming off a win vs. a top heavyweight and then he grits his way to this victory. As of April 2000, I feel confident in saying CIMA and Liger are two of the 10 best workers in the world. ****
  12. Two grizzled guys going in there and having a tough fought contest where they can see the end of the rainbow. The story here was told perfectly in that there may not be too many more opportunities for these guys when watching this in real time. They were stiff with each other and some of the tricks that Liger had used to gain advantage in earlier rounds certainly didn’t work on Hamada who has seen and done it all too. Liger is able to finally take advantage and advance to the finals. ***1/2
  13. Really strong short match. This match had a lot of hate and I really appreciated Teioh not being punked around by Liger. Aggressive striking and it really felt like Liger was brought to the brink in the seven minutes the match took place. Perfect for a second round match showing Liger that this won’t be an easy process. ***1/4
  14. Liger is continuing his squash tour of juniors and here he faces one of his biggest rivals throughout the years in Otani. We cut to Liger dominating with about 10 slaps rapid fire across the face of Otani and a brainbuster with Otani gaining some fighting spirit in firing back. Otani goes for a dragon suplex from the apron to the floor in a panic movie. He ends up getting a German on the apron that looks awkward. Otani hits his dropkick and is feeling cocky now. A palm strike from Liger stunts all offense from Otani. A flurry of those and a powerbomb and the hits keep on coming with Liger demolishing the junior division one by one although this did get 9 minutes in full. NR
  15. The crowd treats Liger like the superstar of the tournament, giving him the biggest reaction so far, and really responding in a huge way when Tiger Mask gets offense on him, almost like they totally didn't expect it to happen at all. This is almost like the best moments Vader-Sting matches without the size difference in terms of how much the crowd gets into TM's bursts of offense. I *love* how heated the matwork is. Liger was very giving here, which worked because of how much of a bully he has been all year, so fans have grown to expect him to steamroll everyone. TM getting the first shotei kickout was awesome too. One of those matches I'm not sure I would have appreciated as much as I did without the context of seeing Liger in the first three months of the year. It's in many ways one of the most selfless performances I've ever seen from a star, all in the name of getting over a match first and foremost, more so than either performer. And in that sense, it was fantastic. ****
  16. Liger's destruction of the juniors continues. I have enjoyed these for what they were besides the Kanemoto dome one. Here, Samurai is positioned as a lower level opponent but a long time foil for Liger and that is utilized throughout the match with Samurai taking a lot of chances and viciousness being on display in Liger dispatching Samurai. After the match, we get a clip of Chono looking on and he seems to have some words for Liger. **3/4
  17. 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. ****
  18. 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.
  19. 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)
  20. 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)
  21. A lot of talent in the ring but the match never came together for me.I think they were trying for a blowaway type spotfest with all action but things felt really clunky and disjointed. Garza in particular had a pretty dreadful night where he was more concerned with dancing than putting together some chemistry with the rudo side. I thought CIMA looked fun vs Liger and that is odd that coming out of this, that was the match I was most interested in. A disappointing way to end the night. **1/2
  22. Liger is still over like crazy. We jump to the clip of him fighting out of a leg lock and go right into our finishing run. Liger gets in a few hope spots with the torture rack and a good nearfall off of a shotei into brainbuster combo, but it does feel like this was always Ilzuka’s match to lose and the tap out comes pretty quickly once he rolls through and has Liger in a choke. NR
  23. Liger is still wearing the boss black suit. Tanaka looked a hell of a lot better here than in the BattlARTS match IMO as he takes it to Liger and they have really strong chemistry. The other two competitors were mostly there as apron decoration but Samurai also has a good sequence with Tanaka at the finish where Tanaka picks up the win and then gets chippy with Liger again. ***1/4
  24. This is criminally clipped considering Delphin vs Liger has always been a neat dynamic and they both have evolved a good bit since their last high profile match. The Dome reaction isn’t great but the grapple heavy nature it looks like this match resulted in feels right up my alley. Delphin kicking out of the palm strike at 1 did elicit a good OHHHHH from the crowd. Delphin gives a big effort but goes down to the brainbuster as Liger’s big year continues. NR
  25. All of Liger’s run through the juniors has led to this. Sasaki has been on a role in 2000 but this was probably my least favorite performance of him as I didn’t think he did much of anything to make Liger feel like a threat. The booking on this show overall was really atrocious. Much like Fully Loaded 3 months later, they are trying a 3 match series of the young guys/ juniors going against the established guard. Much like Fully Loaded, the younger group goes 0-3 and it stunts a lot of their momentum. Thinking back to the Chono vs Sasaki interactions, I wish they just would have ran that match here and hey Liger vs Muta isn’t a bad matchup on paper either for the undercard. Sasaki kicks out at 1 of the brainbuster and then Sasaki runs through his finisher combos and finishes Liger off with a brainbuster buster with little reaction. Really disappointing. ***
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