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Found 18 results

  1. Sorry for the delay! The weather has been a little bit better the past two weeks and I've been able to get some skating in. Plus I think I needed a little break from wrestling. Nevertheless, I'm ready to pick up where I left off and get back to NJPW's Junior scene circa 2010. We're still watching the Best of the Super Jrs. round robin matches. From June 2nd (06/02/10) Tama Tonga vs Yoshihashi: I missed this one on the previous post but, no biggie. It was an OK match. Nothing fancy but, it was not bad. Just a quick little match. (06/04) KUSHIDA vs Kota Ibushi: It was weird seeing KUSH in something other than his McFly get-up but, even weirder was seeing him in red & gold shorts with bleached blonde hair. Whoa! Anyhow, this was very much an offense oriented match and was quite impressive. The crowd was digging it but, for some reason it didn't "get to me." It was good though and others may like this more. Fujita "Jr." Hayato vs Tama Tonga: A fun match pitting Tonga's power against Jr.'s kicks. It's very simple yet quite satisfying. 9 minute match and I've read that Hayato injured his foot during the match and had to pull out of the rest of the shows. Watch this bout and see if you can figure out where/when it happened. This is a shame since I was very much enjoying his shoot style leanings. (06/05) La Sombra vs Davey Richards: So, we get the first appearance of the American Wolf Davey Richards. Yes! This time with NJ created some buzz back in the day as he used to appear with NOAH fairly often and now he was going to be working with New Japan. His hard hitting style is very puro influenced so, to see him working in NJ gave them impression that they were looking to mix things up in the 2010's. To be honest, the 2000's for NJPW had some high points but, overall it was pretty stale what with dabbling in MMA-centric bouts, tired match ups and uninspiring stables. So, for a big name in the US scene like Davey to align himself was exciting. But to the match at hand - it was a good bout with nice moves. For a small show round robin match, it delivered. Some folks on the YT said it sucked but, that's B.S. They probably thought they were going to go buck wild despite the circumstances. Well, this is a New Japan house show folks... (06/06) Kenny Omega vs Tama Tonga: Bullet Club battle right here! No but, it was a nice Junior power vs power type of match. Like many of these matches, there wasn't a ton of selling but, it was fun watching these guys toss each other. I gotta say the Hadouken and Croyt's Wrath are great here! Prince Devitt vs Gedo: Gedo jumps Devitt from the get-go and dominates him for a good portion of the match. Of course, the Irishman comes back and damn! does it feel good! This is the best match so far in the project. The in ring story is there, the selling is there, the action is there, and we get humor too! Like Gedo telling the ref to "Shut the Fuck up!" on a couple occasions and pretending he's not going to use the ring bell mallet as a weapon AGAIN. Hahaha! Not to be out done, during Devitt's comeback, the Prince advises Red Shoes, in an un-princely manner, "Get the fuck outta the way!" I dug the hell outta this match. - It becoming clear to me that NJPW was trying to rebuild their Junior division much like they did in the 90's Golden Era. Get those talented Gaijin! Thanks for reading! Comment below if you see when Hayato got injured and I hope to be much quicker with my next installment.
  2. It's such a shame that this ended up happening on a single-cam show, because I feel like w/ multiple camera angles to capture the action & emotion of the match, this EASILY could've hit that ****+ mark. Such a lovely match - very similar to KUSHIDA's matches vs. Kyle O'Reilly in that it was all about both guys just looking to destroy each other's limbs by kicking the crap out of them & stretching them w/ submissions. Enjoyed it big time - a really good match that I, indeed feel like I would have liked even more w/ normal NJPW production instead of single-cam. ***3/4
  3. Feels very good to see KUSHIDA back in singles action, because it's been way too long since the last time. And of course his performance was absolutely fabulous; loved the way he controlled Ospreay in the beginning & the neck targeting that got more & more brutal as the match went on was AWESOME w/ a big A. Ospreay's selling was pretty good & he was a solid FIP overall, but yeah, it's KUSHIDA on the offense that made this match for me. ***3/4
  4. The weakest BOSJ finals match in years - this just did not come anywhere close to the greatness of KUSHIDA/Ricochet, KUSHIDA/O'Reilly & Ospreay/Taguchi. It was still really good though - thought that KUSHIDA was really brilliant in the match - what prevents the match from being in that classic status though is Will Ospreay. His selling disappointed me greatly. He pretty much no sold KUSHIDA's leg & arm work - that basically made the whole first half of the match pointless. Thankfully in the 2nd half they went into the bomb mode as they started to bust out all the big moves you would expect from them - my favorite of them being KUSHIDA stomping Ospreay's head in. Wonderful stuff. With a better 1st half, this could've been a legit MOTYC, but with it being what it was, it was "just" very good. I definitely ain't complaining about that, but it had potential to be much more. It had all the potential in the world to be even greater than those other recent year BOSJ finals that I mentioned, but it is what it is. ***1/2
  5. I thought this was pretty rad - probably checked in around ***3/4 or so for me. The following is our recap from Ioan Morris at PTBN
  6. Paced like one, structured like one; this was a junior heavyweight epic through & through. Loved the early mat work - fantastic feel of competition there. The dueling limb work ruled - both guys are great when targeting arms & legs. The finishing stealing was done super well & the big counters + drama were superb. This was my most awaited match up on the tournament alongside Hiromu/Liger & it did not disappoint me one bit - after having the best junior heavyweight matches of 2016 & 2014, they went here & delivered the best one of 2017. Fantastic match. ****1/2
  7. I remember in late 2014 thinking how awesome this match would be; I was super excited when RevPro announced it was happening & it did not disappoint me one bit. The first portions of the match are the 2 feeling each other out in fantastic fashion - great work on the mat, the two showcasing their technical wrestling skills. Eventually ZSJ gets the upperhand, he dominates KUSHIDA in fantastic fashion, being all cocky & getting to his face - KUSHIDA plays a wonderful face in peril & the eventual comeback of his was just great. From then on the match is more 50/50 with a great sense of urgency to it. This was fantastic. ****1/4
  8. The official time for this is 1:56. 1 minute 56 seconds. KUSHIDA jumped Takahashi as he was making his entrance, he had a gameplan - he beat the shit out of Takahashi before throwing back into the ring where he tried to go for his Hoverboard Lock right away. Once that didn't work out, Hiromu basically just destroyed KUSHIDA in very explosive fashion. Who would've thought that in 2017 we'd see a New Japan title match that goes under 2 minutes. This was so good. ****1/2
  9. I absolutely loved this. The 2016, 74 year old Liger can still bring the Thunder. He wrecked Kushida's knee with dropkicks before dropping it on the railing and posting it. If you need Kushida to sell it every step of the way you'll be disappointed, but I thought it was very solid and was even ripping at Liger's gear while trapped in a hold that I thought was a great touch. What's more, I loved that there were clear strategies on both sides here. Kushida was going after the arm from the early stages to set up the Hoverboard Lock, while Liger worked the leg like a killer and pulled out all of his traditional big spots. They did such a great job building Liger's challenge until absolutely faking out the crowd on a near fall. A title change here probably doesn't make any sense at all, and I don't know how often Liger can pull off this kind of performance (or how many other opponents could get this out of him) but they had you dying for another Liger title win. Very interested to see if we get Kushida in the G-1 this year, but think he'll be mixed in at that level eventually. An easy **** and I could probably talk myself higher.
  10. Mildly disappointed by this. I've been pretty high on Hiromu and said it looks like he's going to be the best junior New Japan's dojo has produced since Kanemoto. I might have spoken too early there. It's not like KUSHIDA's been lighting the world on fire but this match really should have been beter than it was. I was very intrigued by the beginning, where KUSHIDA cut-off Hiromu's sneak attack. That's a very unusual choice-one I off the top of my head don't remember seeing before. The whole point of the sneak attack is that the surprise element knocks the other wrestler goofy, and once you challenge conventions I'm expecting you to bring something interesting to the table. This match really didn't. KUSHIDA's first control segment was ok, set the pace well, Hiromu goading KUSHIDA into the Sunset Flip Powerbomb was excellently done.......and then KUSHIDA came back in control a minute later and sure enough they quickly threw any match structure they had out of the water so they could get all of their big spots in. When they returned to the armwork match became better and more focused though they didn't diverge from the modern New Japan standard off "you don't have to sell a move if you counter the next one". I'm not the biggest fan of the "take a shot-sell it for two second-fire back>both wrestlers go down" sequences either, but KUSHIDA's armwork and Hiromu's reckless offence provided enough for me to enjoy the match. **3/4
  11. Sorry this match was shit. Ospreay might be the inventor of GIF selling, when someone is attacking his limb he'll do about one spot where he'll "smartly" do a move without using his injured limb so EVERYONE CAN SEE HE CAN ACTUALLY SELL RIGHT? But he can't. He sucks at wrestling. And his selling looks fine in comparison to his childish facial expression and annoying yelling. I don't remember the last time I felt so embarrassed about watching a match as I did during his hulk up attempt after KUSHIDA hit him with some Kawada kicks. And his facial expressions look fine compared to his execution. Good God I don't remember the last time I saw a praised properly trained professional wrestler blatantly not connect on so many moves in the same match. KUSHIDA may not have done as many flips on it but his tope looked good because it actually connected. Some nice Armbar counters by KUSHIDA but I want to forget about this match ASAP. Also it's becoming increasingly hard for me to care about sequences where I know the first five attempts of doing something aren't going to work. Rating: BAD; very.
  12. I roll my eye whenever a japanese commentator talks about how O'Reilly is a shooter or how he works "UWFi style" but him and KUSHIDA mesh really well and are way better at working Minoru Tanaka style matches than the actual Minoru Tanaka. Lots of nice flashy faux shoot junior matwork here with some insane counters. Limbwork was entertaining and both of these guys won't forget to sell but the selling itself is very much surface level with not a lot of depth to it. O'Reilly's Rebound Lariat might be as bad as Ambrose's, which is saying a lot, but otherwise this was really fun. ***1/2
  13. I enjoy KUSHIDA appropriating the Minoru Tanaka/Kendo Kashin "every move I do is Armbar" gimmick. I really, really don't care for Ospreay-I could do away with indy wrestlers in 2016 who have athletic ability and flips and not much other-but KUSHIDA does a very good job of constructing a match around him and grounding him so that Ospreay's weaknesses don't matter as much. KUSHIDA worked like a true junior ace here and the theme of him working as a base of high-fliers that tries to ground them could be a great formula.
  14. I had a review written out for this and got an IPS Driver Error because of the apostrophe in Kyle O'Reilly's name. Ugh. Anyway, this was a solid match. I don't remember a ton about it, but it was fun while it lasted. They didn't really get the crowd into it very much, but I credit that more to the perils of working in a dome than I do the way they worked the match. There isn't much art to matches like this because the psychology isn't really important - they're just throwing bombs. But the bombs were well paced and hit cleanly, so I think they accomplished what they were going for just fine. Good.
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