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Found 826 results

  1. Kazuchika Okada vs Shinsuke Nakamura - NJPW G-1 Climax Finals 8/10/14 The dream match that NJPW booking has wisely put off since Okada burst onto the scene in the beginning of 2012 pits two stablemates from CHAOS against each other for the G-1 Climax Championship and pretty much a mortal lock to headline the 1/4 Tokyo Dome show. Okada has reminded me a lot of old Nakamura. From a technical execution standpoint, Okada is a great wrestler, but he seems disinterested in the outcome of a match and just is not showing passion. In this match being challenged by one of the other two top natives in NJPW, he seems hungry to assert himself as the premiere pro wrestler in the world. I want see more of that from Okada. Nakamura has been great in the matches I have seen in 2014. His new oddball persona of wearing Michael Jackson-inspired jackets and dancing like MJ is entertaining outside the ring and inside he is the last of the Strong Style workers which means a heavy emphasis on counter submission wrestling and strikes especially blows to the head. It is not fancy, but it is going to get the job and it may get it done quickly. Okada does not really have a flash submission or knockout in his arsenal so he is susceptible in his long setup times to a wrestler like Nakamura. Nakamura is what made this match dynamic. He forced Okada out of his comfort zone and to react to how he was wrestling, which made it more compelling than the Okada-style which can be mechanical at times. Early on, it was all about posturing and bravado. Psyching each other out in a macho pissing contest, Okada does his cocky clean break so Nakamura responds with stare at the belly button. Because these two have never faced off, Nakamura feels like the favorite because of his experience in big time matches. So when Nakamura is fucking around during this break, Okada immediately clamps on his a DDT. Right there, I know Okada came to play. Okada is still a cocky punk so he can't resist putting his one foot on Nakamura's chest and hitting the Rainmaker pose. We get the first strike exchange and of course the King of Strong Style wins with a knee lift. Okada has to avoid those exchanges because that is an area that Nakamura will crush him in. Nakamura just lays waste to Okada in pretty much every conceivable fashion of using a barrage of knee lifts. Now it is Nakamura's turn to get cocky and does little playful kicks to Okada. What is going to be Okada's strategy? When Tanahashi feels overwhelmed, he neutralizes his opponent by attacking the knee. What does Okada have in his arsenal to set up the Rainmaker? The answer is of course, his dropkick. Nakamura goes for a running knee one too many times and Okada is able to counter by setting him up top hitting a dropkick causing him to tumble all the way to floor. Okada presses his advantage on the outside with a Hangsman DDT. Normally, Okada would let this run for a countout, but he is not fucking around in this match and he is not going to give Nakamura a second to breathe. Big Elbow Drop! Okada really has a case for best elbow drop ever. It is fucking pretty. RAINMAKER POSE~! GEDO IS JAAAAAACCCCCKKKKEEEDDDDD! Now this is where Nakamura shines, his counterwrestling game. First it is a lungblower to buy himself time. Then when Okada goes for a submission, he walks right into the trap. Nakamura gets a rear naked choke and is looking for a cross armbreaker, but settles for a Triangle. As Okada stands to reach for the rope, Nakamura uses his long legs to force him over into a cross-armbreaker. Gedo is freaking out as Okada writhes and flops around looking for the rope. Perfect way to respect the cross-armbreaker. Nakamura buries knees deep into Okada and is looking for the Boma Ye. Okada counters with the White Noise into the Knee (not my favorite move). Okada successfully avoids Nakamura's wild roundhouse kicks and uses dropkicks to set up the Tombstone. Now it is time to Make It Rain in Seibu, FLYING CROSS ARMBREAKER OUT OF THE RAINMAKER~! Holy shit! Definitely one of the best spots of 2014! Nakamura the counterwrestler strikes again. Okada steps on his face to force the release. BOMA YE~! to the back of the head. This is treated like it levels the playing field, but i felt like Nakamura was in the driver's seat. Strike exchange ends with an Okada dropkick. Nakamura pulls one out of the Suzuki game plan and baits him into hitting dropkick again. He collapses on a rope running spot and Okada goes for the dropkick again, but Nakamura was playing possum so Okada crashes and burns and BOMA YE~! KICK OUT! Okada will not be denied tonight. Nakamura gets a running start but as we saw in the Shibata match if you can guard against that it is his downfall. Okada hits with a dropkick on the button. Nakamura blocks The Rainmaker with a knee and looks for Boma Ye, but Okada closes the gap by running towards it and grabbing the leg. Love that! Nakamura uncorks two closed fist to set up Landslide, but Okada reverses out with a backslide. When Nakamura kicks out, Okada hangs on to hit not one, not two, but three Rainmakers to win the G-1 Climax. That was the story of this match Okada was not fucking around and he was taking no chances. I loved that there were no kickouts. It was Okada ensuring his victory. Okada looked like a boss here using the dropkick liberally like a Misawa would with his elbow to set up his offense. We saw with Shibata how you can defend against Nakamura's Boma Ye and Okada executing that strategy perfectly. He survived Nakamura's counterwrestling and the Flying Cross Armbreaker out of the Rainmaker was an awesome spot. Kicking out of Boma Ye was definitely a big star-making move! You really felt like Okada wanted it more on that night. I distilled action down to its best parts but there was some fluff and overkill late paired with a lukewarm beginning that I think this is behind Styles/Suzuki and Nakamura/Tanahashi, but I would peg this no worse than a top 5 NJPW Match of the Year and Top Ten Match of the Year overall. Nakamura's counterwrestling/strikes versus Okada's dropkick & heart made for one epic story on this night. ****1/2
  2. Don't really know what to say except that it has maybe the greatest selling performance in the history of pro wrestling **** 1/4
  3. Their first match. Kind of an introduction of the style they came up with, meaning they hit aaaaaall their death moves, reckless dives in rapid succession. Starts out with some fast matwork and hints at aggression including Liger pummeling Sano on the ground, but quickly turns into a pure move exhibition. They would go on to have better and more intelligent matches in the future, but there's still plenty of death and drama to be seen here.
  4. No thread for this yet? This is one of the more universally liked matches. Fantastic clash of styles (no pun intended), killer arm work, great selling, intensity, unique spots and grit. 2014 MOTYC. ****1/4
  5. As far as modern New Japan workrate matches go this was worked about as smartly and well as it gets. Early on they established clear mini narratives instead of just wasting time by doing insignificant "small" holds to fill time-Naito would mocks Omega and evade his lock ups which caused Omega to go off on him and start spitting at him, Naito had a long control segment based on attacking Omega's leg, Omega worked over Naito's neck and so on. It was worked pretty back and forth but with solidly long control segments that meant something AND memorable transitions. The legwork provided Naito an easy means of effectively cutting Omega off when he'd attempt a comeback or when he was already in control-Naito attempting his Fireman's Carry/Moonsault combination only to stop because his leg work was a great use of that. Naito selling the damage of a Neckbreaker he executed on Omega may not have fed into a transition but it was a cool detail that further hooked me in. A common criticism I have of the style is that they simply get lazy and rely on lazy cliches-the workrate isn't impressive because you can tell everything that's going to happen. It's not like I loved Naito running into an Omega Clothesline but him successfully hitting running dropkicks on Omega's leg served as an explanation of why he would do that and leave himself open to a counter. A lot of the strikes they did early-mid way on looked lazy, not as good as those of C level Memphis workers. Now you can say that those strikes weren't really the focal point of the match and that's a fair point, but if you're arguing that modern New Japan is the peak of workrate wrestling an All Japan fanatic can simply point to something like those weak strikes and say "that didn't happen in All Japan". The match will mostly be remembered for all the insane violence and drama that the finishing stretch brought. Naito is a complete lunatic, and was willing to take INSANE bumps to put Omega and the match over. Omega repaid him with similar recklessness. As far as the nerfall heavy finish goes, what seperated it from the usual New Japan match for me is that they worked it how I basically want this type of match to be worked. The moves should look convincing and dangerous. You should believe the wrestlers have a reason to attempt them. The execution should be convincing. It takes a lot of effort and creativity but they nailed it here, and credit to them-they didn't insist on getting all their shit in for the sake of doing so. Once he got cut off Omega never went for the Moonsault again. For the counters themselves...they were just well worked. They were set up in a way you thought the match was going to end-Omega would hit a big knee and lift Naito on his shoulder, and as he's about to do the one Winged Angel Naito somehow turns it around into a Destino, which I doubt anyone thought was physhically possible until it was done. There was also the brilliant use of Naito's Flying Forearm-it's a move Naito uses commonly, and it often gets countered too, but here it was already countered earlier on, and once that happens and Naito went for it again you'd think it would have to hit because that's just how New Japan has programmed me to view their matches. And Naito eating a big knee while going for it again is an effective play on that cliche. It's fair to question the existence of those cliches in the first place, how they've hurt the quality of the ringwork and how it could (and for some wrestlers has) lead to just everything becoming too meta and too counter heavy to work. But props to them-it did here. ****
  6. Here we are at the half way point of 2021...wait what!? Really? Where the heck has the time gone? Maybe 2020 just seemed to be forever. Anyway, here's my top picks for 2021 so far: Tiger Mask vs Pete Roberts (09/10/82 NJPW) Masato Tanaka vs Mr. Gannosuke (01/06/98 FMW) Hayabusa vs Masato Tanaka (03/13/98 FMW) Hayabusa vs Mr. Gannosuke (04/30/98 FMW) Tetushiro Kuroda vs Masato Tanaka (06/19/98 FMW) Hisakatsu Oya vs Tetsuhiro Kuroda (12/12/98 FMW) Abdullah Kobayashi vs Daisuke Sekimoto (07/22/05 BJW) Roderick Strong & Jack Evans vs. Jimmy Rave & Shingo (FIP New Year's Classic 2007) Tyler Black vs Roderick Strong FIP Heatstroke '07 Night 1) Honorable Mention Tag Matches - Gotta show some love to the tag matches that just missed the cut: Tiger Mask & Tatsumi Fujinami vs Black Tiger & Pete Roberts (08/27/82 NJPW) Jado & Gedo vs Hayabusa & Masato Tanaka (05/05/98 FMW) Hayabusa &Tanaka vs W*ing Kanemura & Kodo Fuyuki (05/27/98 FMW) BxB Hulk and Yamato vs Roderick Strong and Jay Briscoe (FIP Third Year Anniversary) Thanks for reading and stay safe folks!
  7. I watched the Dark Side on the Collision in Korea. It was a thankful return to form for the show. Anyhow it got me thinking about the steiner's match over there and here's a spotlight from the wrestling notebook grooveyard. Everyone has an opinion on the 1991 match vs Hase & Sasaki so I'll omit that...let's get into some lesser known stuff of -The Steiner Brothers in NJPW!! Steiner Brothers vs. Power Warrior Sasaki & Jushin Liger (New Japan 2/17/94) A pretty good tag match with Liger being the real spark plug of this match. Sasaki is only really capable of a few moves but he used them real well here. Cool finish. ***3/4 (very good match) Steiner Brothers vs. Jushin Liger/Chris Benoit (New Japan 4/4/94) The junior team was out classed here and Benoit mainly took bumps but once things got real competitive it was fantastic and really exciting. This is why I love tag-team wrestling. **** (Great match) Steiner Brothers vs. Chris Benoit/Scott Norton (New Japan 10/8/94) A joined-in-progress match that was not very memorable but by no means bad...just not up to the standards of the other two. Once again Benoit was bump-boy...which is a total misuse. (No rating but must be at least fun) Steiner Brothers vs. Keiji Muto & Hiroshi Hase (New Japan, 1/4/95) The best of the matches here and you could tell from the get go that the Steiners were taking this one seriously. Mutoh was awesome here as the fire plug MF'er that I've heard so much good stuff about. The strikes were never the Steiners strong suit as they either go too stiff or not enough but if you can get past that it's an awesome tag match. If they were responsibly stiff then this would be 4.25+ but as it is I'll give it ****+. Still fun dramatic tag match as Hase's trademark suplex does the Brothers in. This is an added bonus as I'm a fan (Great match...I'll say near classic here in 2021) Steiner Brothers vs. Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki (New Japan, 4/29/95) This is from the Korea Supershow and it's not too bad as Kensuke brings it to who ever gets in the ring with him and Hase is just great. Unfortunately the native team jobs in essentially a squash match but without the killer double team moves and the producer/editor thought it'd be a good idea to switch to Kensuke & Rick brawling on the outside as Scott hit the Screwdriver on Hase for the pin?! What the fuck!? Steiner Brothers vs. Scott Norton & Power Warrior Hawk (New Japan, 5/3/95) I wish Kensuke was in this but as it was it was alright. Scott Norton bumps like someone 100lbs lighter and well Hawk was alright at times. Still no one here to supply psychology. The spots were good but they didn't know what to do to carry the drama from one spot to the next. Still we got to see the Steiner DDT & Bulldog to put Hawk down. Would have been better but 2 Amer. teams are working too friendly and comes across as a WCW match. (Guess this maybe this is explained by the Dark Side episode as this takes place a couple days after. Hawk had Hep A and was on medicine and it sounds like the experience for all of American guys was very very rough). Hope you dug this! I'm working on getting to finishing my ongoing stuff with FMW '98. I've been watching the Darkside stuff, Pillman matches from the WWE dvd, and listening to Cornette's podcast moreso than focusing on the task at hand. Sorry! Also I wrote a Thank you New Jack post but that never got posted or removed and that was discouraging...so anyhow thanks for reading! Getting close to post #200. Stay safe folks!
  8. 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.
  9. This is the start of Disc #4 of 6 and man, I'm really happy that I got this set a year ago. Its taken me awhile to watch it but, I think that's for the best. This stuff has been a real blast to watch. OK let's get to the matches: vs Villano III (09/03/82): Joined in Progress, This was a fun match with some good moves from Tiger but nothing of much substance. Still a good match to start out with... vs Pete Roberts (09/10/82): Black Tiger Rocco tried to jump Tiger Mask before the match but he and Roberts handle B.T. and get onto their bout. Interesting since Roberts and Rocco/Black Tiger teamed up earlier in the year. Anyhow, that aside we get a slight skip ahead in the the tape (not much) and wow! We get two technical wizards having a good old fashion duel! Tons of holds, counter holds, escapes and reversals are in this match. This was technical marvel! Classic match...this is Tiger in his element. vs Chris Adams (09/17/82): The mix of styles here was rather pleasant. Adams could do Tiger's mat stuff but, also had good punches and of course the Superkick/Thrust kick. This busted Tiger Mask's mouth open. I think it loosened a tooth frankly. TM responds with kicks of his own and tries to fight his way out of hole. Not quite a heel/face match but, Adams was no Gentleman Very good match where Tiger has to go for broke! Tiger Mask & Kantaro Hoshino vs Villano III & Black Tiger (09/19/82): This is a much better showing of Villano III than the singles match above. He and B.T make a great team. I wonder if they were teaming regularly in Japan at this time. There was no problems here despite one guy being Mexican and the other being British wrestling two Japanese guys. That being said, this was a high energy match that is really easy to watch. Everything just seemed to flow together. Now, I would have like a little more drama to have been built by working to a hot tag but that's my opinion. There were some good pinfall break-ups but, they should have been a bit more conservative with them to really make the later ones more thrilling. That is do fewer of them so it gives greater meaning & purpose to them. That's my complaint but, overall another very good go-go match. This was much more of a showcase for Black Tiger & Villano III than Tiger or Hoshino. And there's no complaints there! 6 DVDs of one guy can be pretty repetitive but Tiger Mask is not that repetitive of a wrestler. I was really worried about that and is why I held off on buying this set for a long time. In all honesty, I think I got that feeling from watching the Dynamite matches. And I don't want to knock those (we got one more fight in '83) but, I prefer these other match-ups. Those TM DK bouts stand out stylistically from his other matches and those laid the ground work for much of wrestling that would follow. But I got the feeling Tiger Mask was a flippy-floppy wrestler who did some dives and that was ahead of its time BUT 40 years later...that's old hat. This set and shoot! even the above bouts put that misconception to bed. Its worth the time to watch some of these just to do the man some justice and say "yeah, he's more than just his Dynamite matches." But I think it's worth watching these to see great wrestling in a style that you don't see anymore...and frankly I don't think most folks lack the skills and patience to do it. Oh before I forget! -BONUS- Tiger Mask & Tatsumi Fujinami vs Pete Roberts & EL Solitario (09/04/81): A year earlier we find this match. Its NOT on my big Tiger Mask set but on Archives.org. Thanks to the person that posted this! Its 13 minutes of fantastic chain wrestling, rope running action. I'm really not sure why folks don't do this today. Its as athletic as the stuff nowadays and a whole lot more interesting to watch. This was a very good match and Roberts had two amazing chain sequences with Tiger & Fujinami. Thanks for reading! Stay safe everyone
  10. Masashi Aoyagi & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Masanobu Kurisu & Kim Duk (NJPW 12/16/1991) Pretty much the definition of a fun houseshow match. Everyone gets to do their thing and look good, and they spice things up by doing things such as teasing spots and baiting and switching. All basic, but spicy enough to be a really enjoyable watch. Kurisu & Duk do some fun cheating, Kurisus only real game being throwing his opponent outside and going to town with a chair becomes a plot point as usual, Aoyagi hits all his cool offense and Koshinaka gets to look tough trading headbutts with Kurisu.
  11. I've seen the love this has gotten, and I watched it and thought it was good, but nowhere near at the level I have seen others describe it, but I couldn't really articulate why. I rewatched it and I think it comes down to the way everything was sold. I'm all for a good strike or chop exchange in a big match, as I think it's a great way to create drama. However, I didn't like the way they worked the chop exchange here, nor the forearms. The Flair-Steamboat route of selling each chop individually works much better, and considering how good the strikes looked, they could have done that for 20 minutes and it wouldn't get old at all. Tenryu and Hashimoto worked a few matches in that same vein in the late 90s but every single strike was sold. When they aren't sold individually, it feels like two guys just performing instead of fighting to win a match, no matter how stiff the shots are. The cumulative selling was absolutely there, but they didn't give all of the offense meaning in an individual way. That said, I do think they did a lot right -- far more than I thought they did wrong. I loved the collar-and-elbow tie-up to start - not just they did it, but that they worked it with conviction. It's a staple of wrestling that I wish was part of the regular style again in most places and hasn't been for some time. It's a great way to set the tone for the entire match, and I thought they did a particularly good one here. I also really like Ishii as a throwback to some of the 80s All Japan and 90s WAR types like Ishikawa and Hara. He seems like he'd fit right in with that group, and I could see him having a hell of a match with Tenryu ten years ago even. I also really liked Honma's underdog character. He was really in tune with who he was and it was awesome to see the crowd invested in him as much as they were. There were some terrific nearfalls that play even better than they might normally because of his character, and I really got the sense that both guys had an understanding of who they are as performers that's so precise that it's almost rare. There was a classic match dying to get out. I probably would call this my MOTY and give it ****1/2 or higher if the selling hadn't thrown me off. There was so much about this I really liked, but that was enough of a downer to take it to just slightly below great match status. ***3/4
  12. Pretty simple match. Tiger comes in with his goofy rapier and is ambushed by an overzealous Inoki throwing wild punches. Jeet produces forth a foreign object and stabs the fuck out of Inoki and from then it's Singh procuring every dirty tactic in the book to work over Inoki. Choking, hits to the throat, bashing his into turnbuckle post, tables and chairs, and then some more chairs... Inoki quickly comes up bloody and there seems to be a DQ of some sort but the match is restarted (or 2/3 falls?) and Singh continues the beating. Inoki finally makes a pretty cool comeback by ramming into Singh like a bull. After some good payback using the steel posts again Jeet is bloodied aswell and Inoki finishes him off by snapping his arm, forcing the ref stop. This match had good pace but at over 20 minutes it was far too long. You can argue whether Singh's tactics were effective heel work or lazy garbage brawling... if the later, atleast give him credit for being the patron saint of the art form. Inoki ate an epic beatdown and gave gruesome comeuppance, so the match did everything right in that regard.
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