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  1. This is the second to last Full Impact Pro DVD that I have. Let's see if its a good one. The Heartbreak Assassins vs. The British Lions - started to watch thinking the Bri team might be someone who is well known now. No one I've heard of...skipped Mercedes Martinez vs. Lorelei Lee - This was OK. Not good or bad. They both had really good moments and they kept it simple. Sal Rinauro vs. Chris Jones (FIP Florida Heritage Title Match) - Early in my FIP journey I would make sure to see Sal's matches because he was one of the more talented wrestlers. He still is but, on a packed card like this, I'm going to move on. Chasyn Rance vs. Shawn Osborne - Not interested Austin Aries vs Jason Blade - Here we go former ROH heavyweight champion and tag team champion vs current FIP tag champ Jason Blade. Mr. Blade (if that is his real name!) is a pretty good Indy wrestler and works well with Kenny King. Obviously, King is the talent as he has been a ROH mainstay for 10+ years with multiple belts...Blade knows how to work with who he's in the ring with. And for that we get a pretty good 2008 Austin Aries match. That's nothing to sneeze at. Dark City Fight Club vs Black Market (Weapons Match) - I skipped their match on the previous show but tuned in for this one. This was fun but mindless brawling. I say mindless because there was not an ebb or flow in this match. No give and take and no story beyond the angle at the end. And even then, it made NO sense. Spoiler - The Dark City guys handcuffed one of the Black Market guys but instead of a 2 on 1 beatdown, the lone Black Market dude just whooped two guys asses. So, why the hell did they handcuff the guy??? It made no sense and made Dark City look weak. Roderick Strong vs Kenny King - Here we go. Kenny King gets to show what he's got vs the MAN of FIP. There's no YRR at ringside. This is the one on one bout you want to see with Roddy & Kenny having a great singles match. Its place on the card is commensurate with the quality of the contest. A great match. Tyler Black vs Necro Butcher - The fans were digging this but, I thought this was a waste of Tyler Black on this card. I just don't think doing Necro's match is the best way to use him. I think he could have tried to do his athletic match with Necro taking it to the extreme (as they used to say). Plus this went on too long as if they needed to buy time for Stevens or Shiozaki to make it to the show. It was OK. Erick Stevens vs Go Shiozaki (FIP World Heavyweight Title Match) - Stevens has officially come into his own in FIP. This was a world title classic that sits in the top tier stuff that the company has produced (and I've seen). They put it all out there. It felt like a true competition with both guys fighting from their knees at times. It would have fit in with ROH or NOAH without a doubt. But, I think it was best here in FIP...especially the finish and the after-match segment. Yeah, this is worth watching. All in all this was a great show capped off by the World Title fight. This is still on Highspots for $5 so this is a no brainer pickup especially if you nostalgic for this era of wrestling. Thanks for reading!
  2. Grimmas

    Go Shiozaki

    Discuss here.
  3. I have been meaning to watch this tournament for awhile now. I bought this along with the 2010 tournament so, this has been a long time coming. The box art of the DVD set features all of the participants in this year's event. It is pretty damn stacked even compared to the previous year. We have stars from ROH, Big Japan, NOAH, Independent US talent as well as European wrestlers. This 16 Carat Gold event may be the most diverse and globally representative tournament assembled in recent memory. Enough fluff! Let's get to the wrestling! Kyle O'Reilly vs Karsten Beck vs Marty Scurll vs Axeman: This 4 man match will determine who will be an alternate for the tournament. Nice to have some incentive for the guys...they surely fought like they meant it. Axeman was a nice surprise. He and Kyle have a similar style. Fast paced fun opening match. Yoshihito Sasaki vs Carnage: Sasaki is a guy who's name I've seen here and there the past decade but, never knew how he flew under my radar. I mean, I have Fire Pro Returns and don't recall seeing him. Ha! I was wrong. He's listed under the Zero-1 promotion as a low ranking wrestler. That was 2004 in Japan and in 2011 he's made his way in the world. And I have to say, damn! I was missing out. He's got a no nonsense hard hitting style that I appreciate.His opponent Carnage does as well. I remember him from 2010's shows. Very good match here and a proper way to start the tourney. Two matches in and this feels better than 2010. Zack Sabre Jr. vs Colt Cabana: Is Colt NWA champ here!? This was funny at times but, took too long to really go anywhere. This was a popcorn match to me. You'll be OK fast forwarding to the last five minutes or skipping altogether. Much like the other World of Sport style matches (not that this was exactly but, it had that feel and style) of 2010, this feels out of place next to 2010 puro style bouts. Adam Cole vs Mark Haskins: Both dudes have come a long way from here. This was a very scatterbrained Indy wrestling match. Stuff was done with little rhyme or reason. Unlike the ZSJ/Cabana match, this was relatively short and an OK watch. Go Shiozaki vs Johnny Moss: Thank goodness they got the show back on track. Fans started out pretty much behind Moss but, Go won them over with his hard hitting never say quit attitude...kinda like how Rocky won over the Russian crowd in Rocky IV. This was a very good match and the ending portion was that stuff you want from NOAH's top dog. This was another very good pairing. Big Van Walter vs Rico Bushido: Never heard of Bushido but, he reminds me of how I imagine Ricky Reyes fought and looked like in the Rottweiler days of ROH. That's probably all wrong but, I'm cool with that assumption. He was all martial art kicks and Walter put him down after a few power moves. Short and unoffensive match. I have nothing against so-so matches but, at least make them short like this match. Davey Richards vs Jon Ryan: Ryan has no chance in hell beating Davey...just by the looks of him. But to Davey's credit he gave a lot to J.R. He got some heel moves in and was able to fight Richards and be a credible opponent. So, don't let his cheesy ring gear and physique fool you! I really thought an upset might happen. Another very good match. Sami Callihan vs Tommy End: This was an intense, fast, hate filled match. These guys were wXw regulars and this must have had some back story to it. You don't need to know it though. These dudes were aiming to maul each other. Tommy End is much improved since 2010 and Sami has gotten even better. The best bout so far! Great match with a fantastically aggressive submission finish. Yes! Kotaro Suzuki vs El Generico: This is a pretty high profile match for 2011. It's like an unofficial Best of the Super Jrs. match. It had lots of good action that kept the excitement and drama going. Who would win? Generico is a mega star in indy wrestling and Kotaro is GHC Jr. champ...every nearfall felt like the one that would do it. They both have so many tricks in the bag so, the end was always in doubt. Great match. As good or better than the previous bout for sure. A sweet way to end day one!! Wait...that wasn't the main event? Daisuke Sekimoto vs Bad Bones (wXw Hvywt. Championship match): This is like the cherry on top of a sundae. It starts of slow but, gets action packed as the match progresses. The last few minutes made a big difference as this was scratching at great match territory. Reminded me of the Hayabusa/Tanaka era FMW matches. Very good match overall...like ***3/4 territory. Then we get a very enjoyable post match with Bones and Johnny Moss comes out to challenge Daisuke. Very psyched to see Night 2! This was a heck of night of wrestling. This was much better than I remember the 2010 Night #1 being. Each match that I enjoyed delivered the excitement and entertainment that I was hoping for. Not one wrestler in those matches dogged it and in many cases they went above and beyond to have the best match they could. If they can keep it up then, this might be one helluva ride. Thank you for reading!
  4. I liked the opening-consisted of basic holds but they worked them well, and Shiozaki bridging out of a hold and then transitioning into a hammerlock looked cool. Tanahashi made Shiozaki use Chops as a means of a comeback instead of just "stuff he does" which was a good call and there was stuff I liked in here-Shiozaki patting Tanahashi's head and playing with his hair, Tanahashi acting like a dick, using Misawa's elbow combinations and attempting a Tiger Driver. Shockingly there was legwork in this match-and it even managed to produce two spots I liked-Tanahashi changing the direction of his Dragon Screw when Shiozaki started fighting out of it and Tanahashi quickly Chop Blocking Shiozaki when he got out of.....whatever move Tanahashi was attempting and was about to go for a rope run. However...........there was a lot of stuff here that I did not like. Most of Tanahashi's legwork was boring and looked weak-I really have no use for watching him dropkick someone in the leg fifteen times, doesn't captivate me whatsoever, doesn't look good, doesn't add anything to what they're going for. Shiozaki didn't even bother selling the leg most of the time except when he Moonsaulted, and lord knowns I've seen enough japanese wrestling I'm not going to lose sleep over it. In fact I'd much rather have that than Shiozaki making cringeworthy faces. The problem there is that it did render huge portions of Tanahashi's runs on offence meaningless and Tanahashi's legwork wasn't engaing on its own. Shiozaki hitting Tanahash with embarrisingly bad kesagiris and punches telegraphed he wasn't actually going to get out of Tanahashi's moves. Tanahashi's Fujinami tribute slaps also looked bad. Shiozaki botched a top rope swinging side slam really bad. Finishing stretch was very reminiscent of what's going on in New Japan these days-lots of jumping around, pop-ups, run the ropes-get countered transitions etc. Tanahashi at least does less Sliding Blades these days-it got really repetitive here. Shiozaki countering Tanahashi's Go Flasher Small Package coutner by just lifting him straight up was neat, but it was too late to suck me back into this. And then there came Tanahashi's questionable set up for the HFF.... **1/4
  5. Go Shiozaki vs Suwama - AJPW 9/15/14 Royal Road Tournament I really enjoyed Suwama in the two matches I watched for the Best of Japan in the 2000s and the trend continued here. Suwama understood Shiozaki's greatest asset to be his energy. He continually sapped that by effectively using the sleeper. This did not achieve the level of the famous sleepers match between Pegasus Kid and Black Tiger in 1996, but it was a perfect use of the sleeper. The sleeper/chinlock is best used to drain the energy of an explosive babyface and let a heel regain his wind. Too often it is misused and thus triggers people's attention to drift. Shiozaki is all about those chops, but Suwama is going to make sure there is nothing behind those chops after the sleeper. You see how Suwama modulates his selling. Suwama sells the chops at the beginning of the match, but after the sleeper he stands tall. Shiozaki did a great job selling the first sleeper as really knocking him out. He is great at peppering in the hope spots, but his selling leaves a lot to be desired. He just does not have enough emotion. As good as Shiozaki's chops look, Suwama's double chop is so sick and maybe my favorite move in wrestling now. Suwama was wrestling perfectly. He took his time and was cocky when it was time, but anytime Shizaki started to fire off, he would immediately snuff the fire out with a double chop or a powerslam. Go finally mounts a bit of a comeback and is looking for a macho pissing contest so Suwama says fuck that and grabs him by the hair and applies a sleeper. Suwama is my hero. Suwama obliterates Shiozaki with a lariat and then a belly to belly suplex. With the match firmly back in his hand, Suwama looks to polish him off with his powerbomb. Shiozaki escaps and looks for refuge on the apron. Suwama comes flying across the ring with a HUGE dropkick and follows up with a suicide dive. Suwama returns to the sleeper to set up the powerbomb, but Misawa-rana. Man copying Misawa AND Kobashi, now that is just not fair! Suwama immediately clamps on a sleeper. I love Suwama's urgency. Suwama tries to gain the pin three times. Go busts out the classic collapse on a rope run and he really exaggerates his chops not having much. This is some really good shit here. Suwama is all over him, but looks to get a running start and Go roars out of the corner with a lariat. Ruh roh! Shiozaki hits a big lariat to send Suwama tumbling out and HUGE plancha by Go! Shiozaki goes all in on the lariat. Suwama is not going down without a fight, but he is on jelly legs. Suwama is selling like a boss. The double chop crushing a roaring burning lariat attempt was awesome! Eventually, Go hits a big time lariat to set up the Go Flasher & Limit Break for the win. Suwama totally outclassed Shiozaki here carrying him to a great match and the second best AJPW match of the year. Suwama was wrestling at such a high level. He was using the sleeper to debilitate his opponent and set himself up for the powerbomb. He was cocky when it was time and snuffed out Go when appropriate. Go Shiozaki needs more emotion and his selling for the majority of the match left a lot to be desired. The finish run was typical late 2000s puroresu and was fine for what it was. Suwama is underrated and this is a great showcase for him. ****1/4
  6. Pro Wrestling NOAH after Misawa's passing is uncharted territory to me. I know that it exists and I've even seen a little bit of it but, I tend not to wander around too long. This cluster of matches popped up because I wanted to do a brief "Shiozaki vs the Stars" post. Like most wrestling projects, I got sidetracked Here we have a sort of triple main event for NOAH's Great Voyage in Tokyo show. GHC Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Ricky Marvin vs Katsuhiko Nakajima: 18 minutes- Nice striking, clean execution so, it was a very good match from a mechanics standpoint. The story and energy wasn't engrossing however. Nakajima worked on Ricky's leg and the Rick man sold it like death during his time on 'defense ' but, his offense was counter intuitive. If you have hurt knees then, for god sakes! Don't do a knee drop or double foot stomp! I'm not saying don't fly... 'cuz you gonna fly Ricky...but think before you leap man. Still...I liked it but, you know... :-/ Triple Crown Heavyweight Title Match: Jun Akiyama vs Taiyo Kea: 23 minutes - This was like a '99-'00 Triple Crown bout. It has a slower pace and an emphasis on telling a story. This is my preferred style for title matches. So, this starts very grapple heavy until Kea gets a cheap one in on Akiyama. The fighting begins and soon spills over to the floor. Referee Wada has something to say about this & I loved it! He & Jun were priceless! Taiyo takes the opportunity however, and puts his tri-laser Predator beam on Jun's bandaged shoulder. I'm not going to spoil anything else! This was very much a 'story match' and had me interested from bell-to-bell. The veteran pair never tried to upstage the GHC title match in the top slot. They instead just put on a Triple Crown match with a steady building pace that felt organic and never rushed. A great match! GHC Heavyweight Title Match: Go Shiozaki vs KENTA: 27+ minutes - I watched this twice in order to form a better opinion. Both guys are Kobashi protege. This is an action oriented bout where there's no greater story than, 'I'm Tough!'...'No! I'm Tough!'. Thankfully, this did not descend into aimless dueling strikes for 15 minutes. Of course, they hit each other but, in a practical and purposeful way. Go stuck to his chops and KENTA mixed it up with damn near everything else but chops! They had their spots and everything was really quite good. I long for the days when wrestlers struggled to hoist each other into throws though. Think about Misawa fighting with all his might to lift Kawada into a Tiger Driver or German suplex. These two just lifted each other with the greatest of ease deep into the fight...this detail really bugged me. Its probably what holds it back from being a classic match. If you're more interested in or familiar with 2010's puro then, you probably won't mind this- and that's cool! To me, it didn't feel right...but then again, we're watching two Kobashi kids kick butt...so maybe I am blowing hot air! Quibbles aside, this match was very much worth the time. Both guys were very impressive and the final third of the match was dramatic and brutal. A great match! So, all 3 matches were a good time with the two Heavyweight title fights being in the **** area. You may even get a bit more out of them if you're interested in newer stuff. If you're liking an older style then, the Kea-Akiyama bout might be more your speed. In any case, a sweet bit of puro for November 27th, 2011! Thanks for reading!
  7. The TAKEOVER duo has an awesome entrance together. As Misawa makes his entrance, Shibata just stares him down & I am already loving this. Then the actual match starts with Shibata completely owning Go. He doesn't want to fight Go, he wants Misawa! So Misawa tags in, and we get some great stiff back & forth between him & Shibata. Eventually Shibata comes out on top, so Misawa works as the FIP for a bit - KENTA & Shibata were awesome working over him in complete dickish, no respect fashion. They weren't out there to shake hands with the legend or anything, they were out there to make a hard hitting, badass statement. Misawa comes back to things & KENTA works as the FIP for a brief amount of time - eventually the Takeover fellas gain the advantage again & they just kick the shit out of poor Go. Shibata & KENTA truly were amazing together in this one. Then the finishing run, my goodness. That was really hot & had a real sense of urgency to it - great way to cap off this classic tag match. Takeover rules. ****1/2
  8. The Claudio/Bryan exchanges are awesome, loved how aggressive Claudio was. Great stuff to advance their feud. After he got himself DQ'd, Bryan is the FIP against Shiozaki; Shiozaki's work during his control segment is quite meh, but Danielson makes him look like million bucks by selling his ass off for him. After Danielson's 1st comeback, Go's work gets a lot better too! His work went from very meh to FANTASTIC out of the sudden. He does everything with a sense of urgency & shows some personality while doing so. Great stuff. Great match. ****
  9. Great Bryan FIP segment, Nigel was on fire, very good hot tag by Aries, really great finishing stretch. Great match. ****
  10. 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. **
  11. You can tell by their entrances-how they move, how they look, by their entrance music. You can tell that Shibata is a real wrestler and Go Shiozaki isn't. Shibata represents something-he likes Inoki and Maeda. His favourite wrestler is Hashimoto. That's whose bags he carried. Black shoes, black trunks, has a simple font that says THE WRESTLER for a t-shirt. Go Shiozaki probably only still wrestles because his modelling deal fell through and he needs the cash. These two are modern japanese wrestlers-they will have a modern japanese wrestling match. It probably won't be as good as Hashimoto vs Tenryu and since it's 2016 neither will the heat. But it still managed the work because of the symbolism. Shiozaki's control segments are ok-he does stuff and it looks good. But it doesn't really leave an impression on you while he's doing it most of the time. It's kind of like a headlock in an NWA title match-what happens after matters more for the quality of the match. Shibata gets in his face, trolls him, and it works. He brualizes him, viciously beats the shit out of him with kicks, elbows and uppercuts. There's a control segment early on that's long (for 2016 standards) where Shiozaki is throwing Shibata into the guardrail, trying to convey anger and rampage, but it really doesn't come off that well. And Shibata cuts him off by just kicking him in the head and doing everything Shiozaki did except making it look like Shiozaki would've if he was a great wrestler. You don't think "Go Shiozaki could be a great wrestler" during that control segment or when he's hitting stupid indy moves-you think that when he's desperately chopping Shibata with full force as his only means of comebacks. It doesn't feel like he's angry with Shibata as much as himself for not being as good as he should be. And that's why it left such a strong impression on me. Through the suplex no-sell sequences and the counters I could tell were coming, it felt like Shibata taking a big shit on Go Shiozaki and everything he represents. When Shiozaki would try the Limit Break, a move that was supposed to be his big match finisher (akin to the Bruning Hammer) but failed through like most things in his career, that doesn't look nearly as cool and is too contrived for his own good, Shibata countered it by just kneeing him in the head. And hitting a Sleeper Suplex, Kobashi's move, before finishing Shiozaki off as well as telling him to get the hell out of his ring once the match was over really sent the message across. ****
  12. The opening was good enough-basic matwork and Tanahashi continously evading and blocking Shiozaki's chops. Unfortunately that mini-atory was quickly came to an end when Shiozaki randomly and forgettably chopped Tanahashi to little reaction while fighting over...some leg-based move, probably a dragon screw. This is one of the worst Tanahashi performances I remember seeing-the majority of his offence consisted of embarrisingly looking gut/knee kicks that were straight out of a 1999 Raw in their impact and borin lg and repetitive leg attacks. Tanahashi absolutely outclassed Shiozaki in star presence and reactions-the crowd was way more invested in cheering and (more prominently) booing Tanahashi than reacting to Shiozaki in any way. Shiozaki's performance wasn't much-he didn't sell the leg as you'd expect, he'd get in his chops, kesagiris and Lariats and then let Tanahashi direct the match again. He also hit his own hand while attempting to strike Tanahashi and managed to botch some kind of afallaway slam so hard it didn't look like a move oalr a counter. I can enjoy botches-Shiozaki stiffing Tanahashi on a Moonsault by kneeing him straight in the head was fun-as long as the wrestlers imorovise well. The said Moonsault rocked Tanahashi for real and made their finishing stretch slower and the cooperation more obvious and full of botches, basically how it would look like if someone were to make a parody of modern New Japan finishing stretches. *3/4
  13. Wild Burning (Jun Akiyama & Takao Omori) vs. Xceed (Go Shiozaki & Kento Miyahara) - AJPW 12/6/14 There have been strecthes in all these 2014 AJPW matches where they are wrestling at a ***** level and it feels like you are watching 90s AJPW again. The action is explosive, urgent, but also with a sense of purpose directed towards winning the match. The best example of this high-caliber of work is towards the beginning. Miyahara has out worked the bigger, older Omori exposing a midsection weakness. This was not enough for Miyahara who was became obsessed with getting his shots in on Akiyama on the apron. Of course, he paid for his negliglence in the form of a wicked big boot by Omori. Akiyama without missing a beat, seized Miyahara and flung him outside to whip him in the railing. He explosively DDTs him all over the floor. It was like nothing else you would see in modern wrestling landscape. Maybe Brock is that explosive, but that is the only thing that comes close. The problem is unlike 90s AJPW they can not maintain the caliber of wrestling throughout a match rather these are fleeting moments of excellence. These stretches elevate the matches from the usual late 00s NOAH fare. I would say the matches are more similart to early NOAH than anything else. Back to the match, I am 100% sure now that Akiyama was the best offensive wrestler in the world last year. It is scary how deep his arsenal is, but without Misawa, Kobashi, and Taue it is going to waste. Akiyama blasts Miyahara with knees and hits a piledriver in short order. When he does not get the pin, he tags out with authority. I am sure Akiyama has a chip on his shoulder regarding Miyahara. Omori bouncing Miyahara head off the top of the steel post for the super back suplex was the best thing Omori has ever done. Miyahara is such a great young talent. I love how when he gets piledriven he is searching for the bottom rope because he knows he does not have the power to kick out. That is a wrestling acumen very few ever reach. As always, since 2000, a suplex struggle signals Miyahara hitting a hard-fought suplex to tag Shiozaki. I will give Akiyama-Miyahara their suple struggles look hard-fought and having seen a lot of perfunctory suplex struggles I am appreciative of it. Miyahara does the smart thing and tags in Shiozaki. I like Shiozaki's hot tag. It is simple but effective. His chop is the great equalizer. It is the only thing Akiyama has consistently sold all year so it feels like a real weapon. He actually blasts through both Akiyama and Omori. I like Akiyama's desperation to stop the bleeding with one of his bombs but Shiozaki has too much spunk to go for that. Shiozaki is looking lariat but eats a knee and Akiyama clamps on a choke. That is good shit. Shiozaki looks to put his team firmly in position to win, but gets caught quickly. Shiozaki powers out. I like how they are putting over Go. Omori comes in and hits his generic offense and the heat dissapates quickly. Shiozaki chops Omori's lariat arm and tags out to Miyahara. After the tag to Miyahara he trades some moves with Omori. One second Miyahara eats a superplex and the next he is kicking off someone's head with a scissors kick. Once Akiyama is in, he is looking for the win and the match kicks into the big finish stretch. I like Akiyama looking for the Exploder seeing Go coming so he lets go to cut him off, but it is too late and eats the lariat. Miyahara gets a flash triangle and his scissor kick/deadlift German combo as nearfalls. He goes for his kill finish the Butterfly Piledriver, but nothing doing and Omori BLASTS him with a wicked lariat. Omori is good for something. I liked the Boma Ye knee/Lariat combo to a sitting up opponent. Go saves. Akiyama runs through his usual offense of knees to the head and an Exploder head drop to polish off the young hotshot. Easily my favorite of the touted 2014 All Japan match as this one combined a ton of action with the great Akiyama/Miyahara story. Omori dragged shit down a bit. I thought Go wrestled well in the beginning and was a decent hot tag. I liked how they treated his chop and his interactions with Akiyama were good. Still, Akiyama/Miyahara made this match special. If they could just replace Omori with the recently retired Sasaki or someone like that, this match would have a real shot at match of the year. As is, it stands as the one All Japan match that can hang with the best of New Japan. ****1/2
  14. AJPW Triple Crown Champion Joe Doering vs Go Shiozaki - AJPW 01/03/15 Hey if you are going to imitate, then imitate the best and there ain't much better than Hansen/Kobashi. Shiozaki is not nearly as histrionic as Kobashi and Doering is not as wild as Hansen, but together they still put together a great match. Unusual for a puroresu match, the eventual winner actually takes most of the offense in this one, but it still feels like Doering was a big mountain to climb. Early on, Go just could not get anything going with his vicious chops. Doering would just steamroll him with shoulder tackles and overwhelm him with power. Go got pissed off after one too many shoulder tackle and took it to Doering with some rapid fire chops. A thrust kick to the head finally stuns the big man. The one thing Doering really captured from Stan was always moving forward. Even when wounded, he was still coming at Shiozaki and you always felt like Go was in trouble. Three DDTs were not enough to keep the champion down because he just kept coming. Finally, Shiozaki threw a lariat so fierce that Doering just collapsed. It was one of the best sell jobs of the short year of 2015 so far with him just hanging out on the middle rope only to topple over. Doering tries to regroup with tag partner, Suwama, but is obviously discombobulated. Shiozaki lets him back in the ring, what a gentleman, only to dump him back over with a lariat and hitting a monster plancha over the top rope. I don't like the Frankensteiner at all during a comeback sequence. As a transition fine, but in the middle of the sequence, it just does not make sense. First Go Flasher only gets two and when he goes for Limit Break (put away Suwama back in September), Doering pushes off and hits a spinebuster to level the playing field. Doering gives Bray Wyatt a run for his money in the best cross body department. He hit two vicious ones. Shiozaki teases the Burning Hammer, which gets the announcers, the crowd and me excited, but he just hits a normal slam. Lame. Doering collapses on his own powerbomb and things do not look good for the champion. Go Shiozaki pays tribute to Kobashi with spinning back chops and a Burning Lariat to win the match and his first Triple Crown Championship. There were way too many strike exchanges in this one for me. I thought Doering outworked Shiozaki, but Shiozaki had looked like the lesser of the workers in all his matches of the past year. Doering sold the wounded animal lashing out really well and you really believed that one of his big bombs could take out Go. Go was able to persevere, keep him at bay, until he could crush him with a Burning Lariat. Go is just bereft of emotion and the needless strike exchanges keep this from being a true classic, but Doering is awesome and this is a great match. ****