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Found 2 results

  1. Similar structure to some of the recent Nakajima title defences, a little chain wrestling, some brawling outside and then the match starts proper. The weight Nakajima puts behind his kicks never ceases to impress me-they're so incredibly sharp, it really shows he is a black belt karateka. This match needed more focus-there weren't really any control segments, and the only things setting it apart from just *getting stuff in* was them building stuff around countering each other's signature maneuvers. And some of the counters were good (Nakajima's particularly-Kotoge's signature spots are very unique in their elaborateness, and the stark contrast of Nakajima just cutting them off with quick head kicks made for a nice visual), but they didn't properly organize it so that moments when those moves were hit later on would feel special, they'd just try them for the second time and be successful. Kotoge's move-set is still quite juniorish and he doesn't have much heavyweight offence other than the headbutt, but that's not necessarily an issue, and after thinking about it I realised even if some of NOAH's heavyweights are smaller there's no one really working like that now other than him. They got the crowd invested without forced nearfalls (in fact the finishing stretch was really minimalistic) so I reckon this is a continuation of positive crowd conditioning. ***1/4
  2. I heard Kotoge had become a heavyweight, and this was one of the first if not the first match he'd had as one, and it's been like two years since I saw a match of his so I was interested to see what it would look like. It was not good. A really terrible structured 25 minute match is not a pretty sight. There was something resembling a narrative with Kotoge using rope pulling, drop toe holds, running attacks and so on while the bigger Shiozaki could get back in control by just chopping him once, but there were so many transitions here that none of them mattered (not that they were creative or really good on their own). Really dry, dull control segments with two guys just going through their move sets and attempting about five thousand pinfall attempts to no reaction. No, no one is going to buy a backdrop suplex or a frankensteiner or a bulldog as a nearfall in 2017 NOAH, and the fact that those moves just get thrown around with no build doesn't help. I have no idea why you'd wrestle a 25 minute match with the goal of establishing Kotoge and not actually have a little more matwork to have the match flow better and also have a proper finishing stretch to hook the crowd since that's the one thing these two would be good at, instead you only get two minutes of them having an exciting match with proper chop exchanges, build around Kotoge's shoot headbutts and so on. I don't know if NOAH has someone equivalent to a road agent that helps lay matches out but if they do he's an incompetent idiot. **