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Found 802 results

  1. gordi

    Wrestle Kingdom 14

    Assuming there is still enough interest to have a separate thread for this, here is the full card for both nights, in order (per With Spandex): January 4: Jushin Thunder Liger Retirement Match I: Tiger Mask, The Great Sasuke, Tatsumi Fujinami, and Jushin Thunder Liger (with El Samurai) vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Shinjiro Otani, and Naoki Sano (with Kuniaki Kobayashi) Los Ingobernables de Japon (Bushi, Shingo Takagi, Evil, and Sanada) vs. Suzukigun (El Desperado, Taichi, Minoru Suzuki, and Zack Saber Jr.) Chaos (Yoshi-Hashi, Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii, and Hirooki Goto) vs. Bullet Club (Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi, Bad Luck Fale, and Kenta) IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship match: The Guerillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) (c) vs. FinJuice (Juice Robinson and David Finlay) Texas Deathmatch for the IWGP United States Championship: Lance Archer (c) vs. Jon Moxley IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship match: Will Ospreay (c) vs. Hiromu Takahashi IWGP Intercontinental Championship match: Jay White (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito IWGP Heavyweight Championship match: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Kota Ibushi January 5: Jushin Thunder Liger Retirement Match II: Jushin Thunder Liger and Naoki Sano vs. Hiromu Takahashi and Ryu Lee IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship match: El Phantasmo and Taiji Ishimori (c) vs. Roppongi 3K (Sho and Yoh) RPW British Heavyweight Championship match: Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs. Sanada IWGP United States Championship match: Juice Robinson vs. winner of Jan. 4 U.S. title match NEVER Openweight Championship match: Kenta (c) vs. Hirooki Goto Match between the losers of the Intercontinental and Heavyweight Championship matches on Jan. 4 Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Chris Jericho IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Double Championship match: competitors TBD on Jan. 4
  2. Damn, I didn't expect to like this so much. Any Fujinami big match is guaranteed to have a ton of wrestling, and there was a lot of that here, but there was also a ton of disdain right from the opening which has Chono spitting Fujinami in the face. Chono is far from a great matworker, but he was game here, busting out an awesome calf slicer and a flying clothesline that was like something Necro Butcher would do. He also wasn't afraid to get into stiff slap battles and I liked his headbutts and mafia kicks he would use to combat Fujinami's mat prowess. Fujinami on his side had one of the most brutal dropkicks I've ever seen and an epic dive. This was a very typical NJPW style match, there was no grand finishing run with a ton of big moves to be kicked out of or something, instead it was about avoiding the other guy's finisher when push came to shove. That and the fact both guys sold a ton of exhaustion made the second half of this pretty great. Little bit of a lucha title match influence here with some dramatic bumps for momentum shifts and that sick guardrail dive from Fujinami. Great stuff, glad that this was brought up as the 232nd best match of the 90s
  3. I think a pro shot version of this is out there, but the handheld is good enough for me. Really simplistic, effective match. Pretty much two karate guys laying into eachother with punches and kicks. Aoyagi sells a shoulder injury and he is really compelling at doing that, really protecting his shoulder and barely getting in offense because he is hurting. Matsunaga – who was already Mr. W*ING and with the blonde hair at this point – doesn't do any garbage brawling, but he does pull Aoyagis jacket over his head at one point making him unable to defend himself. Aoyagi gets some pretty brutal brief offensive rushes, including one where he lands this nasty running punt before really stomping Matsunaga, and another where he hits these awesome low angle spin kicks. These short simple Aoyagi matches are pretty consistently a highlight on early 90s NJPW cards and this is another nifty one in the resume.
  4. Masashi Aoyagi & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Masanobu Kurisu & Kim Duk (NJPW 12/16/1991) Pretty much the definition of a fun houseshow match. Everyone gets to do their thing and look good, and they spice things up by doing things such as teasing spots and baiting and switching. All basic, but spicy enough to be a really enjoyable watch. Kurisu & Duk do some fun cheating, Kurisus only real game being throwing his opponent outside and going to town with a chair becomes a plot point as usual, Aoyagi hits all his cool offense and Koshinaka gets to look tough trading headbutts with Kurisu.
  5. Ludvig Borga: Formidable japanese big match worker is not something you hear about, but it's likely true. It helps he's facing Hashimoto. This is pro style so not as great as their different style fight, but Halme is a fun powerhouse who throws a lot of nice punches that Hashimoto sells in a big way. Hashimoto challenging Halme to a boxing fight and then headbutt him is classic Hashimoto. Really enjoyed Hashimoto destroying the big guy as usual and the finish was something Daisuke Ikeda would do.
  6. Heated early 90s japanese wrestling is guaranteed quality and this is another goody. Fast pace, everyone runs in to beat the hell out of eachother, Heisei Ishingun are really fun as elderly japanese men in purple pants who will crack your ribs... the superstar charisma of Shinya Hashimoto stands out (as always) as anytime he steps in the ring things get a little more real, a little more intense. Surprisingly Tatsutoshi Goto makes a really effective main antagonist as he knocks people silly with stiff lariats and chucks chairs in Iizukas face. Iizuka & Nogami are fun in their goofy Rockers gear flying around and taking beatings. Match starts fun and it builds to some bigger and bigger moments and nearfalls and surprisingly well timed spots, we also get Aoyagi and Hashimoto facing off for a couple seconds. This is the kind of match that just leaves you wired by the end.
  7. It's nice to see Black Cat get to do something beyond prelim match duty. And damn this is a really really fun match. Koshinaka and Black Cat beating on eachother is really cool, Koshinakas calling really is vicious prick who will forearm you in the nose. God damn Cat looks great beating on dudes here, throwing these cool low thrust kicks and cross chops. There is some vicious arm work, Kabuki and Cat punch eachother in the face, Samurai is fine as energetic junior without unnecessary flashes... we also get a big Kabuki superkick and a fun finish with Koshinaka doing his really amusing cocky strut after the bell.
  8. The new Aoyagi singles matches may be the best thing about the flood of NJPW handhelds. This could've gone longer than 6 minutes but for that kind of match it was really fun puncher vs. Counter puncher type stuff. It's about Aoyagis kicks vs. Fujinamis sleeper holds, and both these guys do a really nice job selling kicks and sleeper holds. Fujinami shows more aggression than I expected pummeling Aoyagi and eventually catching him. Obviously Aoyagis kicks and knees ruled.
  9. This felt like a match worked for the magazines. Not much substance but the visuals were pretty big and amazing. You had big time blood and both guys threw huge, high angle suplexes. Hase has a bandaged leg and Koshinaka spends a good amount of time kicking the crap out of it. It doesn't amount to anything as Hase soon starts braining Koshinaka recklessly with chairs. The bloody beatdown on Koshinaka with him fighting back valiently was pretty damn gnarly. Soon Hase is DQ'd for excessive brutality. This had the makings of a potential classic but was dragged down by the pointless legwork and Hase making a comeback that looked way too easy. However, we get Hase & Hiro Saito beating on Koshinaka post match with Saito hitting his brutal crowbar senton on a bleeding Koshinaka and that's just badass. The photographers def. got their moneys worth here.
  10. Not a hidden gem like SSM/Hashimoto, but it had it's charms in similiar ways. Fujiwara is unusually grumpy and looking for a fight. SSM soon finds himself pushed and he responds with some gnarly shots of his own. I really liked how SSM tried to prevent Fujiwara's obligatory headbutt spot. Another neat finish.
  11. Good tag title match made cool by young Shiro Koshinaka putting on a gutsy performance against the overwhelming force of Choshu & Saito and a blazing hot finish sequence with Fujinami bleeding and Choshu hitting a massive lariat. Could've used slightly more efficient structure but the level of work was good, Shiro kept played his "underdog who will slap your shit" role to the max and the blood on Fujinami made this quite epic for a few moments. This is why it's worth going through the NJ handhelds.
  12. Pretty damn good young lion match. This was the earliest Suzuki I‘ve seen, but he was already firmly into the shootstyle thing. Lots of cool slick matwork with Suzuki locking in some clinical looking armbars and doing some really cool stuff, like turning a Fujiwara armbar into a pin. The cool thing was that they didn‘t make it look easy, both guys had to fight even for something like a snapmare. Watching this made me wonder how either guy would have done on a different career path, e.g. Suzuki staying in NJPW and Iizuka doing shootstyle. The last couple minutes rule with Suzuki hitting big throws and a great looking corner dropkick while trying to fend off Iizukas Sambo leglocks, while both guys are laying in the smacks. Good shit.
  13. This is the infamous match where Choshu gets shoot kicked in the face. Aside from questionable morals, it‘s a really hot match with the crowd being absolutely white hot for all the Choshu/Maeda exchanges. Maeda kicking the hell out of Choshu is fun, but Maeda outgrappling Choshu may be even funner. I wonder if that is what caused Maeda to snap because Choshu seemed not ready for Maeda to actually wrestle him and just wanted to do his usual spiel. The initial moments after the kick are some of the most intense you‘ll ever see in a wrestling ring, with Maeda egging Choshu on further and Masa Saito tackling the big guy. Really a thrill to check out, pity the kick was real because this would‘ve set up an amazing singles match.
  14. Crazy crazy heated match. You don‘t see a lot of matches with the crowd this excited for a bunch of technical guys in black trunks. Not quite a shootstyle match, but really tight action and really intense stuff with Fujinami & Kimura being outgunned by the UWF duo. Kido can always beat you with a slick reversal, and anytime Maeda starts throwing kicks you think he is about to kill someone. Kimura taking it to Maeda was cool to see and he and Fujinami had some inspired exchanges. Lots of cool moments throughout, including an awesome dive tease and a great crafty finish. It happens in a split second and once you realize what happened you smile. Check it out if you‘re a fan of the time period. This happened on the same card as Fujiwara/Yamada. Mid 80s NJPW was loaded.
  15. Brief but very good match that brought lots of quality matwork. Young Keichii Yamada was really good at shootstyle matwork, no question about it. Yamazaki is a UWF guy himself but Yamada was just overwhelming him here with constant wrestling and staying on him like a terrier until Yamazaki is able to dish out some kicks and catch Yamada in a fast scramble with a suplex. Some cool holds and the constant pressure from Yamada made this really entertaining.
  16. A pair of thick bastards maul eachother something fierce. Odds that I was going to like this match were very high to begin with, but Super Strong Machine bringing probably his finest performance ever here made this special. He was just being super vicious trying to take down Big Hash. The whole thing had a very uncooperative feel to it, guys would fight to the corner or the ropes trying to deal out shots, clotheslines were thrown where the guy being knocked down looked like he really didn't want to go down. Even the matwork feels gritty with Hashimoto really stretching out Machine's shoulder with all his weight, and Machine grinding down on the elbow joint. Most of this is Super Strong Machine surprising and overwhelming Hash, but the champ comes back once in a while with a super vicious flurry or DDT, just trying to kick Machine in different parts of his face, reminding everyone who he is. Machine trying to punch out Hashimotos jaw and legs only to be met with a spin kick to the chin was epic and the last ditch finish was awesome. Machine sold huge and it felt accordingly huge. Great super simple match on for Super Strong Machine probably the night of his life.
  17. This is one of those feel good matches you can just back and enjoy every second of it. Basically Hashimoto & Ogawa waltz in and just destroy everything in their path. STOs, nasty kicks and chops and various cool combination moves abound. Norton & Tenzan don‘t stand much of a chance but they try. You get a great little Norton performance as he sells all the nasty chops and kicks he takes to his shoulder in a big way. There is an art to selling in such a way that everyone can emphatize with you even when you‘re a giant muscled up dude like Norton and he had it down. Tenzan also doesn‘t suck!
  18. I've seen the love this has gotten, and I watched it and thought it was good, but nowhere near at the level I have seen others describe it, but I couldn't really articulate why. I rewatched it and I think it comes down to the way everything was sold. I'm all for a good strike or chop exchange in a big match, as I think it's a great way to create drama. However, I didn't like the way they worked the chop exchange here, nor the forearms. The Flair-Steamboat route of selling each chop individually works much better, and considering how good the strikes looked, they could have done that for 20 minutes and it wouldn't get old at all. Tenryu and Hashimoto worked a few matches in that same vein in the late 90s but every single strike was sold. When they aren't sold individually, it feels like two guys just performing instead of fighting to win a match, no matter how stiff the shots are. The cumulative selling was absolutely there, but they didn't give all of the offense meaning in an individual way. That said, I do think they did a lot right -- far more than I thought they did wrong. I loved the collar-and-elbow tie-up to start - not just they did it, but that they worked it with conviction. It's a staple of wrestling that I wish was part of the regular style again in most places and hasn't been for some time. It's a great way to set the tone for the entire match, and I thought they did a particularly good one here. I also really like Ishii as a throwback to some of the 80s All Japan and 90s WAR types like Ishikawa and Hara. He seems like he'd fit right in with that group, and I could see him having a hell of a match with Tenryu ten years ago even. I also really liked Honma's underdog character. He was really in tune with who he was and it was awesome to see the crowd invested in him as much as they were. There were some terrific nearfalls that play even better than they might normally because of his character, and I really got the sense that both guys had an understanding of who they are as performers that's so precise that it's almost rare. There was a classic match dying to get out. I probably would call this my MOTY and give it ****1/2 or higher if the selling hadn't thrown me off. There was so much about this I really liked, but that was enough of a downer to take it to just slightly below great match status. ***3/4
  19. It's late and I don't have a ton to say about it, but I thought this was another great match on this show. I really liked the way this built like a world title match with the slow crescendo to the string of big moves and nearfalls at the end, and once again, it didn't seem bloated or anything. I know that's not a rave review, but I'm tired.
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