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Found 15 results

  1. The first match in NEW history faces off a shoot style legend and one of the most notorious japanese MMA fighters of today. When you choose to work a mat-based shoot style match in a more conservative manner, with not many nearfalls and highspots, it's not uncommon to see it become uninteresting. These two absolutely nailed it. Aoki seems to intuitively *get* pro wrestling-their sequences just seamlessly flow. It is like a lucha title match, except wacky lucha holds are replaced with armbars and leglocks, and the use of realistic guard positions almost makes it like a high end jiu jitus exhibition. Almost-because the match retains a certain flair of catch wrestling you'd want a Fujiwara match to have, in that how they utilize their joints to put pressure on their opponents makes for a significant aspect of the match, but they also pull guard, block transitions, use ankle picks and so on, giving the match its own unique feel rather than just copying an old style. Fujiwara tones down the goofiness-there's no ramming his head against the pose or cracking jokes, but he can't help but fake a handshake and blast Aoki with some headbutts (which looked great, and way better than some he was doing 25-30 years ago, no holding his opponent's head with one hand, just a quick straight motion). Not something I'd imagine people who aren't big on the style would be blown away with, but I doubt NEW is gonna for them anyway. ****
  2. Jo and Okuda cut a classic "we're not done with each other yet, but we're teaming up to face the invaders" promo before the match and proceed to absolutely deliver. A great coming out performance for them, and a wild, chaotic tag team brawl I'd expect more from WWC of whatever indy decides to book LA Park, but it is back in Korauken and suddenly the days of Tarzan Goto blasting people don't feel so long ago. The key here is the modern puro strike exchange-usually a dreadful sight as two people exchange strikes for x amount of time. There are several differences here which make it work. There's a hierarchy-Jo and Okuda are severely outclassed. Murakami and Sato take their shots, but they can't afford to take shots back. The stubborness and agression in Jo and Okuda's performances really shakes things up-they keep getting up as fast as they can, desperately striking away, blindsighting and double teaming Sato and Murakami every chance they get. The consistency and dedication in their performances successfully creates the illusion that, once they do go down, it's not because it's "what you're supposed to do after losing a strike exchange", but because they really have been terribly overwhelmed. Sato and Murakami deliver the beating you'd want from this type of match-Murakami might as well have time traveled back in 2001, he looke like the best wrestler in the world here, just throwing ungodly punching combinations, wicked uppercuts, nearly killing people by hitting reckless Harai Goshis. Sato's forearms, headbutts and knees were on point as well, and the suit and giant tatoos make them look like a convincing yakuza pair. ****1/4
  3. The build up hypes it as "MMA vs pro wrestling". The idea of Takaiwa trying to bulldoze through Aoki who would in turn try to grab flash submissions sounds great, but it's not exactly what we got here. A promising opening had Takaiwa desperately avoiding Aoki's submission counters and Aoki pinning himself on a sleepr, but the middle of the match wasn't as creative, as it mostly consisted of Aoki grabbing submissions over and over again. He wouldn't lock them in completely and then hold them for two minutes, but it never seemed like he could actualyl win with one of them nor were Takaiwa's escapes especially interesting. Aoki's strikes and kicks were disappointing, and the finishing strech was kickstarted by Takaiwa finally getting some prowres moves in and going for the kill. This created a game in which Takaiwa needs a big move like a Powerbomb or a Death Valley Bomb, while Aoki needs a submission, and both can counter each other. Aoki's last Korauken match had him choke out Funaki while Funaki was trying to deadlift him, so it was a clever thing to build on. ***
  4. The first shoot style match of the show! This was something like a RINGS match with a more focused narrative-some nice matwork at the start before Funaki catches Aoki with a HUGE leg kick, after which Aoki's leg becomes a target and Funaki uses it both for direct attacks and feints. Funaki's dominance lasts until he goes for one his more pro-style moves (the Penalty Kick) which Aoki uses for a counter and they end up in a whirlpool of lightning fast hold counters. It really is saying of both man's talents (but especially Funaki's-since he's the one that's done them regularly for many years) that a mostly methodical short match can be this good. ***1/4
  5. Kanemoto was so great here-just playing a marvelous prick and bullying Nakai and Susumu. Nakai put on a really good performance himself, trying to match Kanemoto both in stiffness and dastardliness. Tanaka did his shtick, which is putting more effort into getting his pose in than the actual wrestling, and Susumu looked like a generic japanese indy wrestler, even busting out a Pedigree Codebreaker at one point. Assuming Kanemoto does more in NEW I could see him and Nakai having a great feud akin to the one he had with Kazuki Hashimoto a few years ago, we really could use more kicker vs kicker match-ups. Handshakes are refused after the match once again and NEW shines as a beacon of hope for japanese wrestling. ***-***1/4
  6. A new challenge arises as I wonder how to accurately transcribe chinese names, almost wishing they'd just gimmick them in a full caps single word. Lin is a natural-his charisma and wit really shine in a match like this. It doesn't look like he's quite figured out what to do offensively yet, but here it didn't matter much, as all he had to do was pinball was Takaiwa's offence and make goofy faces. An entertaining squash. ***
  7. Eh. Neither here nor there. The finish was fun, as the crowd got into Feng (KENSO's cornerman work may deserve credit there but the camera didn't really focus much on him) and his roll-ups and Moribe started busting out some violent offence like the Backdrop, but the opening matwork was really pedestrian and Feng's fundamentals are worryingly lacking. **1/2
  8. Akira Jo tells us he's going to show us a new version of himself! I'm not sure exactly what the old version of Akira Jo was, but let's not dwell on that. Apparently he made some changes on his gear and whatnot. In his way stands Katsumi Oribe, a senior wrestler nicknamed "Mr. Karate". You will be shocked to learn Mr. Karate's signature offence includes karate kicks. A fun little match-it's weird some of these NEW matches manage to be eerily similar to modern puro matches but unique in that they get the important stuff right. They do a bunch of elbow exchanges here-and their elbow shots look fine, but it's the way they sell the aggression and dedication that really makes it work, as well as all the other strikes and kicks they throw in to keep it varied. Most of Oribe's kicks looked good, though he couldn't really land the standing high kick properly. The crowd got into Jo's comeback before he was inevitably put away. The post-match handshake turning into a mini brawl was nice, handshake and hugs have plagued everything from indy wrestling to the UFC, there's a lack of post-match hate that I hope NEW can fill. ***
  9. This was pretty good. The matwork wasn't anything special, it was more about the violence, Suzukawa would headbutt Barnett while mounting Barnett, kneeing him when he was in a side mount, Suzukawa would get Barnett in a Double Wristlock from the bottom and Barnett would escape by just pummeling him with body shots, it made it much more interesting than if it were them just rolling around.We also got some nice throws, whenever they'd stand and exchange shots the match ruled, and there were signs of a great match when they'd start shoving each other into the corner and desperately fire away, which felt like something out of WAR. They didn't just sit in submissions but audibly sold them, went for rope breaks and quick counters, the finish was brutal, although not having a single submission finish on the show is a pretty bad start to conditioning the crowd. ***1/4
  10. Junior shoot style! God this match was infuriating. On one hand they have a bunch of cool ideas that would make for badass GIFs. On the other hand this became a chore to watch. They come up with cool striking flurries, flashy counters and so on-but really suck at connecting them into something cohesive, milking drama and creating urgency. "Boring leglocks" is something that's thrown at shoot style a bunch as a critique of why it's not good, and most of the time people that say that have no idea what they're talking about, but it really applies here. Every time they'd grab a leglock they'd just kill the crowd, there was just no way that was finishing the match, and it didn't help that the way they worked the match was dumb, essentially they'd grab "clean" submissions a bunch of times and then either do rope breaks or counter them after five or so seconds, and when they would try to milk them they'd do a poor job of it, giving the crowd clues they were going to go for a rope break instead of selling it more dramatically and then doing a short burts that would result in an escape. Seek out GIFs of this if anyone's even interested in making those and avoid the match. **
  11. Lin looked very promising, he seems like a natural prick, kind of like a nu-Yoji Anjoh. I loved his dumb mannerisms after refusing a handshake, how he stomped Otsuka's foot to try and escape a standing armlock and his big sell of a German Suplex. The highlight of the match was probably Otsuka deciding to slap the taste out of Lin amidst a forearm smash exchange and the aforementioned German Suplex. The matwork was a little "bigger" as Otsuka would use Double Wristlocks to stretch Lin instead of just rolling around. ***
  12. JIan is a guy from IGF's China Dojo, and I believe this is his first wrestling match. There wasn't much shooty in this match-it was more akin to a standard modern japanese wrestling match, with battles of shoulder blocks and forearm smashes, but it was pretty well done, the crowd bought into it, it looked nice and they kept the nonsense to a minimum. Oribe threw some nice kicks, there were too many pinfall attempts that served no purpose, and that's about it. **3/4
  13. New Exciting Wresting presented its first show this month and I couldn't wait to see what it would look like, I'll jump at any opportunity to see any new shoot style or hybrid shoot style. The opening was kinda dull, reminding me off the dull HARD HIt matches I'd give up on halfway through, just them exchanging weak middle kicks and some pointless matwork with no sense of urgency. Once they moved back on standing it got pretty good, as they started laying in shots, with Funaki's head kicks in particular reminding me of the kind of violence I really missed from this style, and the match was short enough that it more than made up for the pedestrian matwork. ***