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Found 64 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. 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
  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. This match RULES. They only go about 6 minutes, but in those 6 minutes they pack so much great, fun action into the match. Everything comes with a great sense of urgency too. Loved it. ****
  5. Calling this match shoot style or just shoot inspired might be the easiest way to get it over it but it would provide a shallow and historically inaccurate description. Shoot style was the creation of 1984 and 1988. New Japan continued to have its own style that would come in contact with the shootiness, but really started seriously flirting with it when they had the UWFi feud and then started bringing in Naoya Ogawa, Don Frye and so on. It peaked in the early 2000s as that was the peak of both PRIDE and Inoki's insanity, and you can see it in this match. It doesn't feel like UWF or RINGS or UWFi or PWFG. There's a distinct flair and style in this match-one that has maximized many of the elements of New Japan training Maeda used when creating the original style, but they also appropriate many of the elements used in modern combat fighting of the times such as soccer knees, knees on the ground etc. I know many aren't really fans of it, and politics and workers that couldn't thrive in the style could detract from it, but as far as looking for a good example of it being done right this might be your best bet. The brutality is just off the charts, but watching them fight for guard positions and takedowns and seeing how they set up the big spots is just as interesting. Shibata soccer kicking Fujita right in the eye is up there with the most brutal spots in wrestling history and you get a bunch of zoom ins at Fujita's swelling too. There was something chilling about the whole thing that's hard to put into words, during his entrance Shibata just completely covered his face with the towel and he ended it laying on the mat looking lifeless, as if he was a young lion going to a battle he wasn't ready for. ****1/2
  6. Tenryu makes his entrance first. Then out comes Shibata to a pretty weird sounding Deep Purple ripoff theme - Tenryu is wasting no time, as while Shibata is still walking down the ramp, he starts walking towards him, which leads to Shibata running towards him too & they collide for the first time in this match. Tenryu throws Shibata to the crowd. AWESOME. Shibata makes his way back to the ring & starts kicking the crap out of Tenryu. He gets a nice little control segment doing exactly that, and after that it's very 50/50 with the two just destroying each other. There's also a legitimate holy shit spot in there. A goddamn great sprint. ****1/4
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. I am not one to try and keep up with current wrestling- stateside or internationally. I am curious though and will try and watch stuff that's really hyped. The emphasis is on "try." The new stuff ends up getting pushed aside by some older match or feud that seems way more interesting or less involved. New or current stuff kinda forces the viewers to keep up in order to get the most enjoyment out of it especially if I want to discuss it here on PWO. I just don't have the time to spend on trying to learn all of the "new" people and their back stories and angles they're working. I'm talking specifically about the US wrestling behemoth who entertains the world. Its a bit easier to pop my head into the NJPW fish tank since I'm somewhat familiar with their roster. I watched a couple matches from this year's Wrestle Kingdom as well as a couple Omega matches from 2017. I like him. He's fun, he's goofy but, can get serious. I like to think of him as The Joker... more Nicholson than Heath. I like that NJ has a relationship with ROH as well. This gives me a good chance to see some Japanese stars here in the States but, it freshens ROH up as well. This is something I've liked about TNA in the past. I loved the X international tournament that had DG's Speed Muscle and Rey Bucanero & Ultimo Guerrero in it. I got tired of the tired old WCW revival crap. I digress... "Current" for me is 2015...maybe 2016. That's pushing it. I'm watching stuff from 2011 and it seems pretty damn modern. I guess watching matches from the 70's then matches from a few years ago days MAY mix my brain up. What I'm getting at is that I'm trying (again emphasis on "trying") to get a little more current with my viewing. Its a project of mine for 2018. Watch more stuff from the 2010's...which is crazy since the decade is winding down! I've got a list of a bunch of unwatched matches I want to cover but, in the meantime, here are some recent favorites: Go Shiozaki & Jun Akiyama vs SUWAMA & Takao Omori (07/28/13 AJPW 2/3 falls match) Wow...wow! This was like watching my first Shamu show at Sea World- I'm amazed and changed as a person. Here we have one of the few reminents from Muto AJPW, ace SUWAMA and a cast off from Misawa's AJPW exodus in Omori up against NOAH's ace and Kobashi/Misawa pupil Shiozaki and Jun Akiyama. Let's all remember that Akiyama is former tag partners, champs and friends with Omori. Akiyama got to ride the NOAH wave in the 2000's while Omori was surfing relatively low tide in Zero-1 and washed up back in AJPW like driftwood. This was a battle for a lot. Omori had remade himself in partnership with Manabu Soya however. He was not someone to be kicked around anymore. This was Omori's home, AJPW had been through alot in that time and SUWAMA had been there and is still there. This isn't just his home, it's his kingdom. He had outlasted them all. Akiyama wants back in? Akiyama had been gone for 13 years. Ok that's fine but he has to earn it. Shiozaki on the other hand has no place in AJ. He's an outsider through and through. This was a battle. A beautifully long match that harkened back to the classics of AJPW '92-'96. The grappling, striking, layout and pacing were conservative. Therfore, the contest was more organic in its story progression and the escalation of aggression. The 2/3 falls usage was brillant and perhaps is what made it so damn good. It provided the wrestlers the framework to bring the level of excitement up and down, to be able to rest the fans energy only to build it back double fold. Classic Match. I had no idea that wrestling could be this good in the 2010's. Kazushi Sakuraba vs Katsuyori Shibata (07/05/15 NJPW): I watched this on AXS TV originally and the subtitled lead in and post match helped give this match great context. It's Pupil vs Teacher, Anger vs Intelligence, Ace vs Legend- True Strong Style! So, if you see this match available to watch or have it on DVD -go into it with this mindset I felt the contest was a callback to the style of Gotch, Inoki, Fujinami, Fujiwara, Maeda, etc. This is a Classical Strong Style bout and not what NJ is calling strong style OR what people consider stiff chop exchanges to be. No, this was like an actual sporting contest like Mixed Martial Arts. The fact that Saku is a grappling god made the match seem that much more real. Shibata was game as hell too! It was emotional, electric, and intense. This was a classic match and a perfect example of true Strong Style in the 21st century. Minoru Suzuki vs Hirooki Goto (01/04/18 NJPW): This had that big Dome match aura to it. Intense and violent from the get go and it did not let up. Never overstaying it's welcome, Goto & Suzuki put on a brilliant wager match. I'm glad this only had one drawn out back and forth elbow exchange and that led to the story of the match. The NEVER belt stuff always seems to be what I'm looking for. I was hoping for something like this for the Jericho/Omega match but, I'm not sure they could have topped it. This felt like a Dome main event from the 90s or 2000s perhaps. Great match Hoping to post new stuff every Tuesday for the 2010's!
  10. G. Badger

    Spotlight: Big Mouth Loud

    Ah Big Mouth Loud we hardly knew ye! Now twelve years passed and you are forgotten by all but a few! Seriously though, I remember hearing about this promotion and not knowing what the hell it was about. I think my understanding was that it was a shoot style group. I no longer was into that so, I walked away. Recently however, I'd come across matches recommended by YouTube. Kurisu vs Kudo isn't shoot style! OK, this is something I've got to take a look for myself. It does start out as more shoot based but, ultimately its not really a promotion as much as it is a series of high profile Indy shows. So, it becomes whatever it needs to be based on whatever talent is booked. Its more like NJPW in that regard. Well, older NJ. I haven't seen every match but, these were best that I saw. For those interested there is a thread in the Microscope section here with more details and such: http://prowrestlingonly.com/index.php?/topic/36227-big-mouth-loud/ My reviews below are there but, I've consolidated the best here: Kazunari Murakami & Kensuke Sasaki vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Minoru Suzuki (04/19/06): Wow, this was fantastic! Awesome character & heel work from Suzuki and Fujiwara. Sasaki had minimal in-ring time but, was maximum in his effectiveness. Match showcased some comedy, hard way blood, and a really satisfying finishing stretch. Fujiwara at 100 years old here still was very very dangerous and didn't hold the match back one bit. Great match! Katsuyori Shibata vs Katsuhiko Nakajima (04/19/06): Battle of the young stars in K-Hall! Kicks, slaps, elbows and all the other stuff you'd expect outta these two lads. 'jima is outranked and outclassed in 2006 so its a lotta guts and guile from him...well and kicks...he does kick a bit. 12 minute match is just right. Nice compact stuff. Not sure I would have booked this after the tag but, Shibata is the ace so to speak. Highly recommended. Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Munenori Sawa (07/02/06): Hot damn this was nifty UWF in NJ type match. Plus its around 7 minutes long so, its all good stuff. Nakajima looks badass in it. Highly recommend checking this one out. Minoru Suzuki & Yoshihiro Takayama vs Kazunari Murakami & Yuji Nagata (08/20/06): This one, the last match of BML did not disappoint. It is all the striking grappling goodness that I'd hoped for. Minoru Suzuki and Takayama are total awesome destroyer heels. Referee Wada even won't put up with their crap. Nagata is the awesome hero. But, man Murakami was great too. The finish is good but, after the bell was rung and Suzuki starts redecoration of K-hall, that's when I thought this was a damn great match. I'd like to rewatch it because it seems like it could be a mid 2000s Indy classic.
  11. This is from around the time Shibata decided it was best for him to part ways with New Japan and become a freelance and journey around Japan working for various organizations. This was also years before he ventured full time into MMA. This has somewhat a sense of a big fight. Shibata knows he has to take every advantage he can to put the old man away, so he attacks him from the get go and we have a fight between these two filled with Shibata punting the old man and the old man constantly hitting brutal lariats on him. Not a MOTYC by any chance, but well worth a watch. Really fun stuff.
  12. A good match, but unfortunately not much more than that. They couldn't find a fitting format the channel the violence-I don't mind that the much was based on so many strike exchanges, it's that they really didn't have an idea on what it would be. Shibata attacked Kensuke at the bell, but the match lacked the urgency of an all out hate filled shorter brawl. There were probably instances in the strike exchanges where they sold too much-or, to be more accurate, randomly sold after an x amount of moves instead of building a striking exchange and then delivering a final strike that would differentiate from the previous ones and register with the viewer as something that would knock them down. It's not like that's the only way to go-one type of strike hit for the seventh time finally knocking them down could work too, but the point is to build the repetition, or the peril of the strike, or SOMETHING, and they didn't. It's a good match to watch if you have 1~15 minutes to kill and just want to see some nice violence, Kensuke really knows how to put weight into his strikes, watching him and someone today throw a chop is like night and day, and it's not just the chops, his Lariats are amazing and he'll just clob people in the neck and the back or side of the head. I appreciate that in the strike exchanges they didn't just spam one strike all the time but would constantly change things up until something worked. Props to Shibata for kicking away manically when Kensuke got him up for the Northern Lights Bomb, most wrestlers just doing nothing when they're picked up in the mair makes that an especially resonating image, though I can't fathom why it's not used more often, such a simple way to build drama and suspense. Kensuke bumping for Shibata's mocking stomps/punts was silly. ***1/4
  13. Shibata's interactions in the early stages w/ Marufuji & especially Morishima are all kinds of awesome. His stuff w/ Maru has some really great back & forth exchanges, and his stuff w/ Morishima, my goodness. Really made me bummed out that we never got a singles match between them during this time period, as they were involved in 2 excellent tag classics on the opposing teams. Ibushi is very much treated as an afterthought by Maru & Mori, as he had only been in the business for about 2 years around the time this happened. Love when Shibata & Mori are trading blows, and Ibushi tries to join in by striking Morishima from the back, Morishima just completely ignores him. He doesn't feel the strikes by this young flippy fella. That leads to a great FIP segment w/ Ibushi getting beaten & stretched by Maru & Mori. Great stuff. Shibata's hot tag is great too, he runs wild on Marufuji for quite a while until Maru tags in Morishima, which leads to him & Shibata rocking the place again. Once Shibata tags Ibushi in, the lad FINALLY gets to unleash his offense on Morishima - he shows him that he is no joke as he manages to briefly stun him. That doesn't last for long though, as it ultimately lead to Morishima just crushing him with a DISGUSTING Lariat & a Backdrop. Amazing stuff. ****1/2
  14. Love the mat work in this one - there's a really great sense of urgency to it, especially to everything Monma does. He grabs every hold w/ such an awesome fashion that it comes off as super dangerous. I love it. Shibata was obviously great too, he was right there w/ Monma on the mat & his strikes looked as deadly as ever. Great match. ****
  15. I am saddened that Alan Karaev will be reduced to a mere trivia question now that I've watched both of his pro wrestling matches. He instantly "got it" and would bust out all these great palm strikes, knees, slams etc. For shame. Shibata isn't as good as Usuda so he mostly played face in peril here. I liked the way Karaev fought out of the first leglock and a flash submission finish was about as good of a way to get Shibata the win as there was. ***
  16. 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
  17. Man this was awesome. Shibata is someone I love in the right setting and roll my eyes at when he indulges his New Japan main event side, but this was was almost exclusively what I like about him condensed into thirteen minutes. Sakuraba is in his mid-40s and looks it, graying at the sides, his scraggly facial hair and his J League superfan ring gear. Shibata kicks lumps out of him and there's a great bit where he's doing his running corner dropkicks as Sakuraba just lays hunched up like a man who's forgotten why he's still doing this. He can't strike with Shibata, he'll lose that battle every day, so he has to dig into his bag and use everything that made him the Gracie Hunter. I loved all of his quick throws and submissions, going for kneebars to set up armbars to set up chokes like a man younger than his years. At points he was literally crawling all over Shibata, tying up his legs and his arms at the same time forcing to Shibata to grab the ropes with his teeth. My favourite was the fight for the cross armbreaker that he managed to turn into a choke with his fucking ankles. Some of Shibata's selling was unbelievable, especially while in the chokes, and I about lost it when his eyes started rolling back like he was about drop (crowd picked up on it and popped huge too). Shibata getting back into it with the strikes was probably inevitable, but I thought it was great how he went to the choke to wear Sakuraba out for the penalty kick, knowing that it didn't work going for it off the bat earlier. I loved this.
  18. Sensational five minutes of pandemonium. Shibata is basically the prototype for your chest-puffed, dick-swinging tough guy and Tenryu is an old man who doesn't have time for his shit. Tenryu has no interest in bragging about how hard he can hit someone, his interest lies in the hitting itself. The opening exchange was truly wonderful and ended with maybe the best double punch spot I've ever seen, followed by Shibata grabbing a guillotine and refusing to let go. It pretty soon spills to the floor and Shibata is such a smug prick beating on this pensioner, kicking him up and down the place, throwing him into ring posts, even threatening him with a bottle until the ref' talks him down. Of course this just sends Tenryu off on one and he cannot be talked down. The old man is pissed and about ready to glass someone. Shibata just keeps pushing it, though. Slaps Tenryu, punches him in the face, goads him because he thinks Tenryu won't use the bottle. Tenryu punches him back, but he still won't drop that bottle and the ref' is pleading with him because he obviously knows Tenryu better than Shibata does. I don't know if it was brinkmanship or blind stupidity. Maybe he thought riling Tenryu up was the easiest path to victory, but either way he cracked him once too often. Tenryu jabbing him in the throat with the bottle and smashing it over his head was about the greatest payoff to ninety seconds of build that there's ever been.
  19. 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
  20. This was just as good, if not a little better, than their G1 match from few months before. Loved the grappling in the early stages - that set the pace for rest of the match. Speaking of pace, I really enjoyed the pacing of this one; I thought it did a great job building the match to the finishing stretch, which was really good & had a nice feel of urgency to it. Great match. ****
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