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Found 17 results

  1. I am still waiting on that Tanaka match that blows me away although this came the closest . I have found this series to be good matches as a ceiling but also matches that are dry as a bone. To me it is night and day the transitions and intensity exhibited here compared to the Taira vs Otsuka match. It is really starting to formulate the opinion to me that Minoru Tanaka was just pegged as the next big shoot style guy and that combined with him in NJ raised his notrierty even if it wasn’t earned. The opening of this feels like a sparring practice session and was extremely dull. The head kick Tanaka gives around eight minutes in spices things up but my annoyment level had already been raised by that point. The minute Usuda goes after the leg, that raises the stakes again and we get some urgency from him that helps move things along. The final 7-8 minutes are really good and this is probably a match that would look great in JIP form. Usuda is able to kick out of a couple of huge leg kicks and avoid the arm submissions just enough. He finally grasps on a leg lock that Minoru can’t escape from and we have a new champion with a pretty surprised Korakuen looking on. ***1/2
  2. 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. ****
  3. 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)
  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. 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)
  6. 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)
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. Good final to the intergender tournament. The ladies really mixed it up on the mat at first and I thought Hamada in particular implemented himself well into the match vs Fukawa. The finish was a bit anticlimactic but I do appreciate a match that ends on what really feels like the first big high impact move of the match with Hamada’s cutter from the top rope. This was enjoyable and made me appreciate intergender wrestling more on the whole. ***1/4 (6.5)
  10. This starts with male vs male and female vs female pairings until Yoshida and Tanaka mix it up. Intergender can be a tough hill to overcome just based on the strength and stature issue but they did a good job in these quick exchanges keeping the believability as Yoshida is able to hang on the mat with quick exchanges. Fukawa and Yoshida have some really fun back and forth that harkens you back to early style ARSION from early 1999. Otsuka and Yumi mixing it up did less to convince me in the intergender department but Otsuka did kind of treat her as a nonchalant threat and then puts her in a quick giant swing. Otherwise, the action when it was at the same gender was very enjoyable and the climax with Yoshida locking on an armbar and Tanaka having to make the saves was well done. Yumi is able to regain the advantage and even squeak out the win which surprised me. Fun match. ***1/4
  11. What a great showcase match for everyone. The Toryumon guys were able to shine particular Mochi and SUWA as they were the ringleaders for a lot of the action and kept things moving along. Tanaka felt more spirited here and was able to bust out his flash submissions in a believable and exciting way. The big standout however was Ricky Marvin who flew around like a crazy person and did state of the art highspots for 2017 standards much less 17 years ago. A wonderful way to show the talent that got eliminated in the first round in the best light. ***3/4
  12. Kotsubo’s hair is a true treasure here. These Tanaka BattlARTS matches are really bizarre. I want to stick with them and the work is technically good for the most part but they lack any energy or urgency. It feels more like a sparring session than an intense battle of grappling. Its so weird given how much fire and energy he has given in his NJPW appearances. I liken it to a MMA fighter that grinds out victories in UFC on the ground where wins and losses can lead to releases or promotions but in another organizations like PRIDE or somewhere where hot action is appreciated above all else, they want to show off their striking. Kotsubo shoulders some of the blame here too of course as he is someone that I am mostly unfamiliar with and left no lasting impression on me sans the bad haircut. Things open up a bit in the last minutes but by that time my investment was waning. Tanaka does display some strong suplexes and throws. The cross armbreaker is the finish for Tanaka which he had hinted at somewhat throughout the match. Disappointing. ***
  13. 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
  14. Venue looks cool here with the last rays of daylight creeping in through the windows at the top. We only get about half of the match but what we see is really good. Otani is firmly the leader of this division currently and bullies Tanaka around while still giving credibility to his arm work and trying his best to avoid those arm submissions. The finish to this was really exciting and set me up for perhaps a BOSJ but I didn’t think the back half of the highlights quite matched that level. Still what we saw was very good stuff and this was a nice win for Otani. NR
  15. Big spot for Makabe vs Liger to start things off. I think I will end up liking Shinya more than Togi. Kanemoto and Tanaka have a showcase sequence too that was really engaging. What a flush juniors division NJ has right now. I can see watching this match how frustration would result in regards to Kashin as he was the worst person in here. Taikawa is able to use his power spots against Tanaka. This is a showcase match for sure and a placeholder but everyone gets to do impressive things and the match really chugs along quickly. Finale ends up being Samurai against Makabe/Kanemoto. Samurai is able to get a bit of distance and tags in Kashin. Match breaks down with all eight flying and Makabe ends up getting caught in a flash armbreaker and tapping out. ***1/2
  16. Another good looking tag in the middle of the BOSJ tournament. Tanaka starts out with Kashin and Takiawa and they have a good looking exchange. Liger gets tagged in and Kashin catches him right away with the armbreaker for the tap out. WOW. ¾*
  17. I can always take another dose of these guys dishing out punishment to each other. I did think while watching this that if I see this match iteration around 7-8 times a month like the ECW fancam stuff, it would seem grating. Jumping in around 2-3 times a month is much more agreeable to my palate. I compare these matches to the Seikmoto/Okabayashi tags we see in modern times. Beefy and not enriched with psychology but it can be there at certain points if you go searching for it. I think Tanaka again looks much better and spirited here than in BattlARTS. Kashin kind of brings this match down a bit with some weird low blow spots that seem out of place. Kashin ends up tapping out Otani which is odd and feels underserved too. Overall, some good stuff still but this one had more flaws than their other matches this year up to this point. **3/4
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