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Found 19 results

  1. Even better than I remembered it being in 2014. It's a classic sprint smackfest between two of the hardest hitting, sprint puttin' lads in New Japan. Tells Honma's 2014 G1 underdog story quite well too w/ him throwing everything he got at Shibata, only for Shibata to ultimately put him away. Excellent stuff. ****1/2
  2. 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
  3. This was FANTASTIC. Honma went after Shibata right away, that was awesome & then Nagata tagged in - goddamn Shibata trying to fight both Honma & Nagata at the same time on their corner was badass. That was shut down pretty quickly though, as the numbers advantage was too much for Shibata. Nagata throws one hellacious looking kick to Shibata on the corner. Eventually Shibata gets the control back, and we get a great Honma FIP segment. Meiyu Tag's work over him was terrific & Honma's eventual comeback w/ those slaps & a Lariat was amazing. Nagata's hot tag was amazing as well - damn his kicks looked DEADLY in this match. The match essentially kicked off into it's finishing stretch after Nagata's awesome hot tag, and it's great. Honmania run wild; Meiyu Tag looked to be in real trouble until Honma missed that big top rope Kokeshi. Fantastic stuff. All 4 men played their roles perfectly. A bona fide tag team classic. ****1/2
  4. I really like the Best of BattlARTS comp, however, the fact that matches like this are missing from it – and thus are being overlooked – is crazy. Believe me when I say this was crazy good, not just „eh, why not check out this match, some good matwork and stuff“, seriously probably the best tag they did that year. This matchup the previous month was more of your typical slow building BattlARTS main event with solid mat exchanges throughout and so on, this on the other hand was a fucking house of fire, and it was very different, while still sticking to the story of Honma & Fujita as trying to prove themselves in the house of BattlARTS. So right at the get go Honma starts dropping bombs on Usuda, hitting him with a diving headbutt in the middle of a mat exchange and following up with a huge dive and some crazy high kicks of his own. Usuda desperately using his superior shoot skills to regain the advantage was really great and the opening exchanges really made me believe the match could end at anytime. To follow that up, all the Ishikawa/Usuda exchanges were insanely violent, full punch-you-in-the-face-kick-you-in-the-eye barfight mode, setting the table for their singles match. Fujita was great once again, having an awesome slick mat exchange with Honma and constantly working for his signature submission hold, he also dumped him with one of the most brutal german suplexes I've ever seen, not just from a tiny dude like him. I also loved how he desperately tried to escape Ishikawa's armbreaker. Seriously this whole thing was so intense and hard fought, both the BJW boys really lost their calling as BattlARTS/quasi shootstyle guys. Really loved all the Usuda/Honma exchanges as whenever these two started trading you felt someone was about to get knocked out, and Usuda twisting up Honma on the mat near the end was just spectacular. There is one major goof where Fujita no-sells a brainbuster, but honestly the rest of this was so fucking good and just classic BattlARTS hybrid wrestling material that I can forgive it.
  5. It's another chapter in the series of Improbably Great Usuda vs. Indy Scum matches. I wish Usuda had worked IWA Japan so we could see what he could do with the Great Takeru. I think Honma was already doing regular deathmatches at this point as he looked sleazier and seemed to have forgotten about the finer intricacies of pro wrestling. He just went for big fucking bombs and looked noticably worse during stand up sections than he did earlier in the year. Aside from some slight lack of direction on Honmas part this was a real good match, let me tell you: Usuda pretty much held the whole thing together with his selling, ability to come up with exciting counters and absolutely blasting Honma with brutal kicks. Anytime Usuda was on offense you felt the match could end at any moment. Honma is good enough as your crazy highspot machine. All-time brutal finish.
  6. 3 out of these 4 guys had an absolute banger the previous month in BJW, and now swap in Yuki Ishikawa. This wasn't a state of the art inventive junior sprint like the january match, but just a really good BattlARTS formula tag. It is really cool to see Honma and Fujita adjusting into this environment, they aren't shootstylists, but they can grapple and hold their own and you can totally see them getting the hang of it, aswell as believably working moves like armdrags and huracanranas into shootstyle exchanges. These two having lengthy quasi shootstyle runs would have been awesom- ah let's not talk about it. Aside from lots of quality mat exchanges there is some nice disdain, as Ishikawa disrespects Fujita in the opening minute of the bout, so later Fujita to break up submission nearfalls would just pounce on Ishikawa like a mad dog. Fujta would get one back on Ishikawa by actually hitting him with a suicide dive. It was a cool dynamic that got paid off nicely in the second half of the match when Fujita took a sick beatdown. Honma is a guy who can drop bombs and after 15 minutes of matwork something like a piledriver or brainbuster has extra snap. Of course Honma is a guy who has no problem to get powerbombed into barbedwire so he also has no problem getting kicked in the skull by Usuda. Brutal finish. Gutsy as hell match and they worked this for like 70 people in attendance, current indy wrestlers aren't that stupid anymore, but it has made wrestling less fun.
  7. This was very fun. Some good interactions between the New Beginning big match up opponents, such as Ishii trading some stiff strikes with Makabe & Honma, Goto & Juice having some nice sequences, and then my favorite part: Shibata & Ospreay having an absolutely amazing opening sequence. ***1/2
  8. This match was almost like a mini-game for Honma-he'd try a move, get overwhelmed by Elgin's power, persevere and eventually succeed, then go for another move and get cut off by Elgin's power again. Every time Honma would execute a move he would earn a trophy or an accomplishment. In the end, because he was more concerned with earning the platinum trophy than beating the game, he lost. Best moments in the match came from Honma firing himself up and his theatrical selling in the finish. The turnbuckle Powerbomb no-sell spot worked because Elgin's Powerbomb actually looks good and dangerous and has credibility unlike Rollins'. Honma managing to take Elgin down with shoulder locks is the kind of spot that doesn't really make sense, but it's pro wrestling and a G1 house show main event so whatever. Finishing stretch became overreliant on nearfalls. Match would have been better and more compact if they'd done less of them and made the good ones matter more. ***-***1/4
  9. Man-Sons Of Haku sounds like such a badass tag team yet you watch this and it's pretty transparent why these guys aren't on Raw or NXT right now. Honma is a very good worker and I like Makabe more than probably anyone else on PWO but carrying these two goofs to a good match was a bit too much of them to ask, Hashimoto and Masa Saito could've probably had a three star match against the Tongas and they are no Hash and Saito. Tama Tonga's body blows were just atrocious, Tonga Loa bumped for a Makabe Lariat before it even hit him and when they actually did an interesting rope running sequence the payoff to it was a weak Dropkick Honma sold as much as he should've but then he couldn't even retaliate with a Lariat properly because Tama Tonga was out of position. Honma fighting off two guys made for a solid finishing stretch but wasn't nearly as good as Shibata doing so against Anderson and Gallows. **1/4