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Found 75 results

  1. Tanahashi & Shibata have an excellent chemistry with each other & this is their best match. It really felt like it was the culmination of their whole story - all their previous matches, Dome '06 (& even their matches before that), G1 '13 & '14 lead to this. There's just this great feeling of importance throughout the whole thing. It's amazing. The storytelling is top notch & the performances of both men are perfect. Shibata, as usual, smacks the crap out of Tana & Tana sells it brilliantly while busting out some really great looking offense himself. Overall it's just terrific stuff from start to finish. One of my favorite NJPW matches of all-time. ****3/4
  2. Murakami and his BattlARTS pal shake things up in New Japan. Tanahashi & Kenzo actually step up here, working shootstyle and look good. Tanahashi's matwork is especially way better than pretty much anything he did from 2006 onward. Kenzo throwing big crowbar suplexes is certainly way better than whatever he did later also. This was basically an Ishikawa section followed by a Murakami section with both guys bringing their signature stuff. Ishikawa doing cool matwork and Murakami punching dudes in the face. Good shit but you come out of this match wanting to see a singles match.
  3. G. Badger

    ALL TOGETHER - 2011

    This was a wrestling show held in August 2011 in honor of the victims of the March 2011 Earthquake & Tsunami and the aftermath including the meltdown of the Fukushima power plant. Well, without going and checking dates I'm not sure they knew the scope of the disaster of Fukashima yet. That's one of those things that the company and government wanted to downplay at the time. And they still do. It is certainly one of those things that still exists but, is sadly a footnote in the 24 hour news cycle. It was almost a decade ago but, those people and communities are still gone...and that area is still radioactive. I digress. Ok so on to the wrestling part. This was a joint venture between AJPW, NJPW, and NOAH as well as some big time freelancers to but on a super show in the spirit of solidarity and togetherness in the face of a national tragedy. What better way to do so then have a bunch of dudes beating up on each other? I kid! All proceeds went to the Japanese Red Cross. It was one of those things that I shied away from at the time because I didn't know if it would be a somber show or if it would be dull due to the nature of the show. Its me being stingy with my wrestling dollar. Don't fret though because this show as well as its follow up (and Kobashi's farewell show) are all available in full on Youtube. I haven't been watching a ton of puroresu and thought "Man, this looks like a good way to get back into it after getting lost in an ROH k-hole." I had pretty low expectations but, this features a pretty complete list of top Japanese talent and I should check it out for the sake of it. Kota Ibushi, Taji Ishimori, BUSHI & Yamato vs Kaz Hiyashi, Shuji Kondo, Tiger Mask IV & Ricky Marvin - This was a short but all fireworks spot fest! What a way to start the show. My fears of a dull exhibition show have subsided. This was good stuff. Ricky Marvin was my fave. Naito, Sanada & Taniguchi vs Takahashi, Manabu Soya & M. Yone - I'm not writing out everyone's names. Every match is some form of a tag match and I'm not doing it! You probably know some if not most of the names and the others you can look up Anyhow this was a really good match where Naito got worked over but made a good comeback and tagged out to kick it up a notch - BAM! This was a good mix of guys and although there were some rough patches nothing ruined the fun. Makabe & Akitoshi Saito vs Hirooki Goto & Kea - This was my jam. Hard hitters hitting each other hard. Good chops and slams. These guys had that good upper card tag vibe going, Taiyo Kea and Makabe had good chemistry against each other. Very good match. KENTA, K. Kanemoto, Minoru Tanaka, Kanemaru & Genba vs Devitt, Taguchi, K. Suzuki, Nakajima & KAI - Oh man! They could split all these guys up and have a tag tourney and I'd be a happy man. What we get scratches that it nonetheless. Everyone gets in there and does their thing. KENTA and Koji Kanemoto on the same team!? Get outta here! Attitude for miles! So you've got that and everyone just is super talented and wanted to win, this was a great match. 15 minutes but, it was fantastic. Best match so far. Masakatsu Funaki, Liger & Sano vs Minoru Suzuki, Aoki & Taichi - NJ Dojo classmates united again. Suzuki is right behind them so that's the story of the match to me. Fun little match with good spots toward the end. The Destroyer battle royale - I skipped this... Nagata, Tenzan, Nishimura & W. Inoue vs Akebono, Hama, Y. Yoshie & Morishima - Fun match but, this would have been better with Nagata & Nishimura vs Yoshie & Morishima . Its only 11 minutes and its all good for where its at on the card. Akiyama & K. Sasaki vs Omori & Takayama - So, Takayama was starting to not have "it" by this point but, he could still take a helluva beating. I wanted to say that right off the bat. That being said, this was a near classic macho beat-em up match. All three other guys were still awesome and the crowd was molten hot for this battle. I really really dug this especially at 15 minutes where it was all steak and no sizzle which works wonderfully for this style and the guys' ages. I'm a fan of all 4 so perhaps you think I'm full of it but, I really want to put this as like a ****1/2 match. The final 3rd of the match which had Omori in the ring more really put this up there. Best match of the show and should have been the main event in my eyes. Kobashi & Muto vs Iizuka & Yano - This won the Tokyo Sports GP Best Match of 2011 award. That like many of their awards is based on mass appeal, nostalgia, and star power. That and the finish is really something beautiful if you're a long time puro fan. SUWAMA, Tanahashi & Shiozaki vs KENSO, Nakamura & Sugiura - I totally get why this is the main event. These are the heavy hitter, the aces of their companies, the world champions. That being said I would have LOVED this id it was minus Tanahashi & KENSO because the other four guys are absolute beasts! So, it makes their offense look mid card level. SUWAMA and Nakamura grappling to start, Shiozaki & Sugiura blasting each other...it makes the other two guys stuff look soft. It got really really good though. All that talent in one ring, they had to have a very good match in their sleep. This was that match BUT! they threw a story element in there as well. It was kinda goofy but, the fans loved it and we got to see all these dudes in one ring at once. Kinda like a lucha trios match... Overall this was a really really good show and I think paid off the Dream Show vibe. I would say this would be like getting the '94 Super J Cup tape if you wanted to get into puro but stuff is so easy to come by with Youtube, NJ World, etc. that there's probably more relevant entry points now. But, let's say if you're looking to get into older stuff but, want a more modern presentation and a good introduction than this is a great way for that. I think its also a good reminder of the events that took place all most a decade ago. Thanks 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. 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.
  6. Not as good as their G1 match from the year before. Still really good though - Shibata gave Tana a nice beating, which Tana sold well & his comebacks were good. I thought the match was missing some urgency though, which was very surprising considering who were involved. I enjoyed it a ton, but it did not reach the greatness of their 2 previous matches because of that. The match also has a couple of absolutely incredible visuals w/ Tana's entrance being the first one; Shibata just standing in the middle of the ring, eyes closed while Tana goes to the corner behind him to do his pose was amazing. The 2nd amazing visual was Shibata's incredibly violent looking & sounding spinning backfist. That ruled. ***3/4
  7. Two generational rivals going against each other one more time. Shinsuke Nakaura, G1 Winner against Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ace Of A Century and IWGP Heavyweight Champion. It's a high stakes match and it plays out as such. From the entrances, it felt like this had way more weight to it than most of their other matches, even the ones in the Dome. A calm hesitancy early on, both looking for openings with Nakamura, occasionally, hitting a flurry of strikes, one of which caused Tanahashi to retaliate by going for the knee. But with Nakamura being more skilled on the mat, he fought and struggled, even getting a Fujiwara armbar locked in. Both wrestlers blurred the lines of whether they'd get a little heelish with Taanahashi playing dirty with the leg but Nakamura being a bit dickish with his strikes, so the fans were split all the way through. Chants of Nakamura and Tanahashi, even boos in some cases, were prevalent throughout the bout. I loved the way they put the cross armbreaker over a dangerous move. Tanahashi's utter desperation to stay out of it anyway he could was great. The struggle which lead to Tanahashi locking on the cloverleaf which then gave Nakamura the opening to lock it on before Tanahashi got to the ropes was just fantastic. Nakamura unable to follow up on the sudden Boma Ye finish, his bread and butter, just after Tanahashi had him in the cloverleaf was great selling, very consistent with his selling the entire match. The finishing stretch wasn't a total bombfest that you would expect from a New Japan main event. Instead it was a battle of Nakamura trying to find a clean connection with his Boma Ye and Tanahashi trying to weather the storm, and hit the High Fly Flow in return. Great match with yet another tremendous Nakamura performance with Tanahashi be awesome himself, albeit the lesser of the two in the match. ****1/2
  8. Different ball game from the G1 Finals match. Kojima now has Taichi by his side, he has turned heel after attacking Tanahashi in December. This is the Tokyo Dome, could he pull off the win in his element? Loved the battle of the individual limb works really on with Tanahashi attacking the strong arm of Kojima and Kojima attacking the leg of Tanahashi. Kojima comes across well in the aggressive role. Especially against Tanahashi’s flashy offence and he has the facials for it. I loved some of the counters they had for each other, or the little struggle they would have whenever they would attempt something big, like Tanahashi countering Kojima cutter midair with an elbow which looked awesome. Their selling was really good as well. It wasn’t crippling pain in a way where they couldn’t move, rather than take a little longer to hit or follow up on certain moves. Also, big credit to Tanahashi. He doesn’t really strike me as someone who takes spine chilling bumps but he took a wicked neck bump on the apron after a Kojima lariat. The finishing stretch was really well done as well. Tanahashi doing some dragon screws on the arm of Kojima which prevented Kojima making the immediate cover once he hit the lariat a few minutes later. The nearfalls for the dragon suplexes that Tanahashi was teasing for the entire match. And it was kept pretty brief compared to today’s standards as well and it made for a quick and fulfilling finish. So back to the “can Tanahashi do it” question. Yes. Yes, he can. Great match. It felt much bigger than most main events of this era that I watched. The Dome atmosphere, the match layout. Everything felt big. ****
  9. Very fun tag match, specially for an exhibition show/match. It had a lot of really good exchanges and they did not shy away from the stuff people wanted to see the most. Tana was the star in this, as he gave us asshole heel Tana and he's always fucking amazing in that role. His cutoffs were perfectly timed and I loved the little things like doing to Mutoh sign right in from of him after doing a dragon screw. I also gotta give him MAJOR props for making Sekimoto look amazing, Tana let Daisuke chop him hard as fuck, lariat him to oblivion AND do the doble german suplex spot, that's a level of generosity that's rarely seen in a interpromotional match, specially between such a big star and a big indy name. Kento did the most with his interactions with Tana, and he really came off as a star too imo. He had control of the crowd and his defience over Tanahashi felt natural and not try hard. The air guitar bit was Yoshi was fine, he doesn't do anything wrong but his stuff doesn't really resonate with the crowd (and myself), he's just there. The finish kinda hurt because of that, as the pairing to bring to match home was Miyahara/Yoshi, and even though what they did was good, it didn't really got much of a reaction. This really makes me want to see Tanahashi vs Kento - maybe at this year's CC? Tana is gonna be available - and Tanahashi vs Sekimoto, but that one has no shot of ever happening Cool match, kinda long but I was satisfied with what they did.
  10. Clarifying upfront: this is just a lumberjack match sans any death, and weapons aren't allowed as they work the entire match using the ref and distractions to work that stuff in. Devitt comes out on Fale's shoulders per usual - which is just awesome for a slimy undersized heel. This is super fun, deliberately overbooked, contest with great crowd heat. Lumberjack interactions get the crowd really excited here and the New Japan guys get a bunch of fun payback spots, which really pop the crowd. Devitt works the back and amidst the brawling chaos of the two factions, seats Tanahashi and drop kicks him into the rail. His eventual comeback is tepid forearm heavy but it does lead to Tanahashi hitting a high fly flo to the bullet club outside as Devitt bails, but Makabe goes after him and carries him back to the ring (and the crowd boisterously chants Makabe's name). A Karl Anderson powerbomb onto the apron reintroduces the back stuff, and makes the nearfalls later feel a bit more important. Devitt hits his double stomp, but it gets two (right on the groin it looked too). They use a chair as distraction for a guitar shot and then Bloody Sunday, which is a terrific nearfall. They trade rollups, and call back to that chair as Tanahashi takes a shot on the apron, but he still kicks out. Makabe uses his chain as retribution for that. Then we get a whole bunch of lumberjack clearing house stuff with Tanahashi, as guys take turns taking finishers on the bad guys, popping the crowd. Tanahashi hits the Styles clash and high fly flo for the win. This was a ton of fun ***1/2
  11. Shibata's last match before he left New Japan in 2006 was against Tanahashi. This was their first meeting since Shibata's return to the company in 2012. Love how, as they are about to lock up, Shibata just SLAPS Tanahashi, showing right away what he is all about. The match is actually quite similar in it's structure as their 2006 Dome meeting - Shibata is the offense for most of it, he does a tremendous job just kicking Tana's ass & Tana is really good selling it. All of Tana's comebacks were really good too & I loved the finish; that was a great way of telling that Tana just BARELY survived, just BARELY escaped the asskicking Shibata's was giving him, as he got that flash counter roll up to the GTS he was about to receive. Great stuff. ****1/4
  12. They started thigs off with Shibata absolutely dominating, nailing Tanahashi with stiff kicks and slaps. That theme of Shibata having the upper hand made Tanahashi's comeback more special and I think being a FIP let's Tanahashi play to his strengths more-he has plenty of offence that looks just fine, but I find it much more interesting when his triangle crossbody gets counterd by a brutal Shibata knee than when he hits every sinle move in his arsenal in 50/50 matches. Tanahashi can be a good seller-it can backfire when he goes too deep into Shawn Michaels melodrama like in some of the Okada matches and the Styles G1 one but here it was closer to what you'll see Misawa do against Kawada, where thsy take a shot that looks like it's maybe 7/10 stiff on its own but sell it so great it leaves a 9/10 impact on you. If there's one issue with this match it's that they started relying too much on the parity and the strike exchanges during the finish-which is where things like Tamahashi having a crappy Enzuigiri become a bigger issue than they usually are. Interesting to see the match had a double hair pulling spot and Shibata daring Tanahashi to hit him with Forearms, both of which have become staples of some 2010s New Japan matches. ***3/4
  13. Well, goddamn. I remember thinking as the match was going on just how damn impressive Tanahashi looked. He really brought all his strengths to this particular match. Not only showing his abilities on top by dominating much of the early half but also showing enough of those weak points to make anyone believe that Ibushi could win. Thought that their strike exchange in the middle of the match was a really compelling moment. It drew me in to see Ibushi power up against Tanahashi only for the Ace to come right back and absorb the punishment. Flaws? Sure, Ibushi more or less no sold his leg but comparatively speaking, this was far more consistent than any of the other matches I've seen him in this year. Not to mention that Ibushi really did bring the fire and stiffness from a match like the Ishii block match to really match up against Tanahashi here. I thought this was far and away the best G1 match of the year, maybe Ishii-Goto as a close second. The Budokan crowd pulling for Tanahashi all weekend was amazing as well. ****3/4
  14. We all know the great chemistry these two guys have together as well as the pitfalls many of their matches fall into. Still prefer their match from earlier this year, but this was a fun bout with the story of Okada needing the victory and Tanahashi needing only to run out the clock. I enjoyed the leg work for what it was even though (of course) it doesn't really go anywhere. I still liked that there were hints of the leg selling towards the end. Just hints though. Of course, the good stuff is in the finish and these two are quiet great at it. I'm a big fan of the finisher counter style they work so all the near misses for the Rainmaker especially that sudden left hand were some of my favorite spots. The finish was a big shock for me despite the track record and made for a nice surprise for me. Really good stuff here. ****1/4
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