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  1. Do not confuse this with the original New Year's Classic from 2005. That had James Gibson vs Homicide as the main event. This has old school GeNext vs Shingo & Rave. With that cleared up, let's go! (I know its Thursday and not Friday but, I got it done early!) Kenny King vs. Seth Delay - Fun opener with nice moves from both dudes. Unique finish too! Claudio Castagnoli vs. Shane Hagadorn - Skipped The Heartbreak Express vs. Shiima Xion & Pelle Primeau - Wish I would have skipped this. I want to see more of Heartbreak Express since they are a big part of the promotion but, most of the DVDs I own have them in shitty matches. Its not that Xion or Pelle are shitty. This is basically a squash. Sal Rinauro vs. Gran Akuma - The show really starts to pick up here. Sal has gone heel and joined the YRR..Young Rich and Ready to Go. I thought that the last "R" was for ruthless. Maybe they changed it. Anyway, this was fun match and hope to see more of Akuma. Black Market vs. Steve Madison & Chasyn Rance - Black Market are suited for Japanese indies like Zero-One. Madison too...Rance is a dime a dozen. All in all this was all kinds of chaotic fun and was a very good simple grudge match. Jimmy Jacobs vs. Larry Sweeney - So, the mic audio is not great on FIP since they are recording the ambient noise and not the mics (the commentary is most likely done in post-production). That being said the banter between Jacobs and the late Larry Sweeney is gold! A very good match with nice selling from Jacobs and priceless comedy spots. Very much like CM Punk and Homicide were doing in '05. Brent Albright vs. Erick Stevens - I had high hopes for this but, both guys need someone with more experience to keep things interesting. There was a sleeper hold section that just didn't need to be there especially when Albright was brought in to hurt Stevens for the next night's show. Either set up an injury angle and use a submission hold or just beat the crap outta each other. They were just using it to talk and go through spots though. It was good but, it could have been better. Roderick Strong & Jack Evans vs. Jimmy Rave & Shingo - Somewhere along the way Jack joined Dave Prazak Associates, which is DP Associates *wink wink get it? D.P ** They make poor tongue in cheek jokes too...like 16 year old boys. Lame. Anyhow, Jack quit the club tonight and Dave isn't happy. That is the background but, who cares right? This IS the bananas all action 2006-07 ROH/Dragon Gate style tag match that you want. All four guys were working DG & ROH at the time so, you do not get the watered down version here. They went ahead and did it here in front of 50 people. If you're a fan of these guys, the style, etc. then spend the cash and check it out. Also this may be one of the last times Roddy & Jack teamed up. Classic match and blew the roof off the joint. You could say this is a one match show but, for $5 that's not a problem. You get the Jacobs/Sweeney and Black Market/YRR matches as bonuses. This was a very, very fun & easy DVD to watch so, for $5 this is a no brainer. Thanks for reading! Edit: I forgot to add the trailer from the FIP YouTube channel
  2. I would have loved to been able to get a new FIP show watched this week. My job in online retail has been absolute bonkers though. It is usually pretty bad just because its the holiday season. This year has been especially rough due to the pandemic. I thought maybe people would be chill since folks have been home and able to online shop probably more now than ever. So perhaps they shopped early...I don't know what I was thinking! Hahaha maybe it was wishful thinking. Anyhow, I wasn't able to watch more Full Impact Pro this week but, I've assembled my watch list for the remaining DVDs. I snagged a new on during Highspots Black Friday sale. I was supposed to get a second one but, it was sold out and I got a refund. Bummer but, it was one I was on the fence about so, I'm not to sad. I wanted to put this list together for folks interest in what's out there beyond what I have already reviewed. As of writing this, these are still available on Highspots website. They usually do an after Xmas sale or a New Years Sale so, if you're interest in scooping a few up I wanted to give a heads up on what I'm digging. So if we have the same tastes then maybe this will help you without having to wait for my slow ass to watch all of these Fallout 2006 The Heartbreak Express vs. Jaison Moore & Bobby Hopkins, Jr. - will skip Black Market vs. Jerrelle Clark & Jon Davis - worth checking out Chasyn Rance vs. Canadian Cougar - will skip Seth Delay vs. Steve Madison - ehhh might check out...perhaps Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Sal Rinauro & Erick Stevens - yeah looking forward to this. Sal & Erick are good stuff in this setting for sure. Matt Sydal vs. Shingo - Sydal was wrestling Dragon Gate and ROH had their DG matches so, this is one to watch Roderick Strong vs. Davey Richards (FIP Heavyweight Title #1 Contenders Match) - Can't go wrong with this match especially in this small setting Bryan Danielson & Cyber Kong vs. Davey Richards & Roderick Strong - Other than Cyber Kong this would be a main event on a ROH 2006 B-show. Swap Delirious in for Kong and there you go! Second Year Spectacular Night 1 *(the listing is reverse on Highspots so the main event is at the top)* Davey Richards vs. Delirious w/Dave Prazak - Speaking of Delirious - yup this should be good stuff Jerrelle Clark vs. Jay Briscoe - Interesting to see Jerrelle this high up but, I'm all for it. Roderick Strong vs. Cyber Kong w/Dave Prazak - I'll watch it but, Cyber Kong is an unknown to me. Could go either way... Steve Madison, Chasyn Rance & Kenny King vs. Erick Stevens, Roderick Strong & Seth Delay - Yeah, a 6 man match...this should be fun Mark Briscoe vs. Canadian Cougar - I'm watching it for Mark. Allison Danger vs. Lacey - Yup I'm down for this. Its been awhile since I've seen either wrestle. Black Market vs. Colt Cabana & Sal Rinauro - I liked Black Market from Unstoppable 2007 and Cabana & Rinauro are a fun team. I might watch this whole show! New Years Classic 2007 Kenny King vs. Seth Delay - Maybe based on Kenny King Claudio Castagnoli vs. Shane Hagadorn - Probably will skip but, this is probably a squash The Heartbreak Express vs. Shiima Xion & Pelle Primeau - same as above Sal Rinauro vs. Gran Akuma - yeah, I think I'll watch this. Black Market vs. Steve Madison & Chasyn Rance - Not crazy about this match but, we'll see how I feel when I get there! Jimmy Jacobs vs. Larry Sweeney - I've only ever seen Sweeney as manager so, I'm interested. Him vs Jimmy should be entertaining for sure Brent Albright vs. Erick Stevens - This is an ROH match I remember seeing and it reminds me of an AJPW undercard match. It should be stiff and have some suplexes- I'm game Roderick Strong & Jack Evans vs. Jimmy Rave & Shingo - The selling point of the DVD. Seeing as the ROH guys have experience together and Shingo has been working with them as well. This should be very good stuff. In Full Force 2007 Hallowicked vs. Seth Delay Shingo vs. Jigsaw (FIP Florida Heritage Title Tournament Qualifier) - I'll pick up here...I'm a Shingo fan if you can't tell Black Market vs. Claudio Castagnoli & Sal Rinauro (Losers leave Town) - Hey a tag match with an old school stipulation...I'm hoping its a brawl Sean Waltman vs. Chasyn Rance - Probably will skip The Briscoe Bros. vs. Necro Butcher & Mad Man Pondo (FIP Tag Team Title Match) - Yeah, my hope is this is indy deathmatch crazy. Just see for the spectacle Erick Stevens vs. Gran Akuma (FIP Florida Heritage Title Tournament Qualifier) - Stevens is working his way up the card Colt Cabana vs. Larry Sweeney (FIP Florida Heritage Title Tournament Qualifier) - This is looking like a good comedy match Roderick Strong vs. Davey Richards (FIP Heavyweight Title - 2/3 Falls Match) - Selling point right here. These guys are like bread & butter. Violent bread & butter. Heatstroke 2007 Night 1 Steve Madison vs Danny Daniels (w/SoCal Val) Seth Delay vs Austin Amadeus Trik Davis vs Scott Commodity - yeah I'll be skipping the first three matches... Erick Stevens vs Davey Richards - Odd position for this match but, I've got hope. No Disqualification Match - Delirious vs Necro Butcher (w/Dave Prazak) - Even if just for the chair spots I'll watch this! The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) (c) vs Irish Airborne (Dave Crist & Jake Crist) - Brothers vs Brothers plus Airborne were the new thing at the time as well. Roderick Strong (c) vs Tyler Black - Would be ROH main event stuff in a year...yeah I'll watch this. Eight Man Tag Team Bunkhouse Brawl - The YRR (Chasyn Rance, Jason Blade, Kenny King & Sal Rinauro) (w/Becky Bayless & SoCal Val) vs Black Market (Joey Machete & Shawn Murphy) & The Heartbreak Express (Phil Davis & Sean Davis) - This is seemingly the acutal big storyline of FIP at the time and it should be chaotic so, why not. I'm guessing the wrestling main event is Black vs Strong though. Third Anniverary Show Kenny King vs. Seth Delay... Jigsaw vs. Jason Blade... Sara Del Rey vs. Lacey vs. Daizee Haze (Triple Threat Match) - I'll be starting here. Nothing against those guys but, this looks like a good card Irish Airborne vs. Hallowicked & Scott Commodity - I will be skippinh this for the same reason as above Necro Butcher vs Gran Akuma (No DQ Match) - Unless I'm just bored of Necro doing wacky stuff, I'm interested Delirious vs. Larry Sweeney - It depends if I'm in the mood. Sometimes I LOVE a good comedy match. Othertimes, I can't be bothered. Erick Stevens vs. Jack Evans (Florida Heritage Title Match) - Jack in Florida is gold. Roderick Strong & Jay Briscoe vs. BxB Hulk & Yamato - This is whats on the cover and again this could be an ROH B-show main event. Black Market & The Heartbreak Express vs. The YRR (Anything Goes Match) - Clearly these guys haven't settled their differences from the previous show. If that one grabs my attention then, I'm down for this. Dangerous Intentions 2008 Jigsaw vs. Chasyn Rance - No Rex Sterling vs. Chris Jones - Nope Damien Wayne vs. Seth Delay - No way Jose Sal Rinauro vs. Delirious - Again, only so much time and when this is following those then, I'd rather cut to the chase. Black Market vs. Dark City Fight Club - These are some clubbering dudes so this should be good Tyler Black vs. Davey Richards - Again, ROH Main Event in a couple years Kenny King & Jason Blade vs. Jay Briscoe & Austin Aries - Certain to be an all action match Roderick Strong vs. Erick Stevens (FIP World Heavyweight Title Match - Last Man Standing) - Oh yeah, the top half of the card looks awesome Heatstroke 2008 The Heartbreak Assassins vs. The British Lions Mercedes Martinez vs. Lorelei Lee - Might as well pick up a Women's match where & when I can! Sal Rinauro vs. Chris Jones Chasyn Rance vs. Shawn Osborne Austin Aries vs. Jason Blade - I'm gonna go with this next. Blade is alright of all of the Streets of Rage indy wrestlers Dark City Fight Club vs. Black Market (Weapons Match) - These are some clubbering dudes WITH WEAPONS so this should be good Roderick Strong vs. Kenny King - ROH match right here Tyler Black vs. Necro Butcher - Ditto Erick Stevens vs. Go Shiozaki - If they chop and lariat each other like crazy then I will be a happy person. Fallout 2008 (This is the end of the road with the FIP DVDs available. I think this was billed as Impact of Honor 2 but the DVD was called this.) Shawn Osborne vs. CJ O'Doyle Dark City Fight Club vs. The Lifeguards Chasyn Rance vs. Nooie Lee Damien Wayne & Rex Sterling vs. The British Lions Erick Stevens vs. Tyler Black - Wow, we're just skipping all of that and this looks like a great place to start MsChif vs. Rain (SHIMMER Title Match) - Sure why not! Go Shiozaki vs. Roderick Strong - Sign me up yes, please! Kenny King & Jason Blade vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe - I know these guys can all go so I'm looking forward to this. FIP guys challenging the ROH guys again Sal Rinauro vs. Chris Jones - No idea what this is doing here in the top spot. Its here on the DVD case too. Alright...I'll give it a shot! Whew! That took longer than I thought! Well I hope it helps you if you're thinking about checking old Full Impact Pro stuff out. If you're on the fence then I highly recommend Strong vs Evans as a place to start. I hope these above shows are very similar. If you look at the cards they look more like ROH year One in that the undercards are a little shakey sometimes but, the last 4 matches look really great. There are plenty of other shows that I guess were TOP shows at the time and I might try and find those on eBay but, that's what we're looking at right now. I'm digging it! Thanks for reading!
  3. Coffey

    NJPW G1 Climax 2019

    There are some posts on the last page of the Current New Japan thread in the Megathread Archive about the G1 Climax but I think it deserves its own thread. Going to be a barn burner this year. A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay, EVIL, Sanada, Bad Luck Fale, Zack Sabre Jr, Lance Archer & KENTA B Block: Juice Robinson, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, Hirooki Goto, Jeff Cobb, Jon Moxley, Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, Jay White & Taichi Pretty stacked. They did a good job with the blocks, too. You have some money matches in the A Block & you have new & interesting matches in the B Block. Then they have guys like Yano & Fale in there to switch things up so it's not just a bunch of workrate matches. I'm really digging the line-ups. There's definitely some matches that catch my eye. Anything having to do with Jeff Cobb or Shingo, in example. I'm also curious on who is going to win it all this year. I want to say they're going to pull the trigger on Ospreay but it might be too soon & NJPW seems to wait awhile longer than most before trying things. Jeff Cobb Vs. Jon Moxley is going to be interesting. I'm really looking forward to Shingo Vs. Naito. You know what you're going to get with Tanahashi, Ibushi & Okada, so some of the intrigue there is gone for me but you know the matches will be good. Curious to see how KENTA looks nowadays, healthy & away from NXT. <Opening Day> Saturday, July 6th (Local time): American Airlines Center in Dallas TX, the USA ・Saturday, July 13th: Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo ・Sunday, July 14th: Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo ・Monday, July 15th: Hokkai Kitayell in Hokkaido ・Thursday, July 18th: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo ・Friday, July 19th: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo ・Saturday, July 20th: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo ・Wednesday, July 24th: Hiroshima Sun Plaza Hall in Hiroshima ・Saturday, July 27th: Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium in Aichi ・Sunday, July 28th: Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium in Aichi ・Tuesday, July 30th: Takamatsu City General Gymnasium in Kagawa ・Thursday, August 1st: Fukuoka Citizen Gymnasium in Fukuoka ・Saturday, August 3rd: Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium in Osaka ・Sunday, August 4th: Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium in Osaka ・Wednesday, August 7th: Hamamatsu Arena in Shizuoka ・Thursday, August 8th: Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium in Kanagawa ・Saturday, August 10th: Nippon Budokan in Tokyo ・Sunday, August 11th: Nippon Budokan in Tokyo ・<FINAL> Monday, August 12th: Nippon Budokan in Tokyo
  4. Here is my list of the best matches that I watched this year. Again, this isn't a MOTY list but, is more of a year in review for me AND a guide for folks looking for wresting to check out. So first is my January to May list: Inoki/Sakaguchi vs Thesz/Gotch (NJ 1973) Strong BJW vs SUWAMA/T. Soya (AJ 11/26/11) Onita/Tarzan Goto vs M. Kurisu/Dragon Master [Kendo Nagasaki] (FMW 04/01/90) Jun Kasai vs Takeshi Iizuka (TAKA Prod. 01/28/18) Roderick Strong vs Kyle O'Reilly (ROH 02/21/15) Briscoe Bros. vs Mike Bennett/Matt Taven (ROH 02/21/15) Tomasso Ciampa vs Johnny Gargano (NXT: New Orleans) Kurt Angle/Ronda Rousey vs Triple H/Stephanie McMahon (WWE WrestleMania) Shinjiro Otani vs Masato Tanaka (Z-1 07/31/02) Masato Tanaka vs Yuji Nagata (NJ 03/19/11) Chris Hero vs Big Van Walter (wXw 2010 16 Carat Gold Final) Masato Tanaka vs Daisuke Sekimoto (Z-1 08/02/15) Shuji Ishikawa vs SHINGO (AJ 04/29/18) June 1st to Dec 31st Naomichi Marufuji vs Jun Akiyama (AJ 04/25/18 CC) Sakuraba vs Nakamura (NJ 01/04/13 WK7) Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Masato Tanaka (NJ 08/15/09 G1) Nakamura, M. Tanaka, Takahashi & Naito vs H. Tanahashi, Makabe, Nagata & W. Inoue (NJ 12/04/10) KENTA vs Naomichi Marufuji (NOAH 01/22/06) (I left off 10/29/06 because everyone already knows of that) KENTA vs Kenta Kobashi (NOAH 03/05/06) Misawa vs Takeshi Morishima (NOAH 03/05/06) Misawa vs Naomichi Marufuji (NOAH 12/02/06) Choshu, Koshinaka, Hoshino, Sasaki & Kobayashi vs Super Strong Machine, Hamaguchi, Kurisu, Tatsu Goto & Hiro Saito (NJ 06/26/90 2/3 Falls) Hase & Sasaki vs Koshinaka & Iizuka (NJ 12/13/90) BxB Hulk & YAMATO vs Ben-K & Big R Shimuzu (DG 07/22/18) BxB Hulk vs Shingo Takagi (DG 12/28/14) Shingo Takagi vs YAMATO (DG Kobe Wrestle Fest 2016) reDRagon vs The Briscoes (ROH 05/11/13 11th Anniv. Show) Eddie Edwards vs Matt Taven (ROH 06/01/13) Eddie Edwards vs Kyle O'Reilly (ROH 07/12/13) Michael Elgin, Jay Lethal, Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander vs Adam Cole, Matt Taven & reDRagon (ROH 10/26/13 Glory by Honor XII) see: https://forums.prowrestlingonly.com/blogs/entry/693-enter-the-redragon-part-4/ Kevin Steen & the Young Bucks vs Michael Elgin & the Briscoes (ROH 03/07/14 Raising the Bar Nt. 1) * not yet reviewed* There's a month worth of classic wrestling right there. I'm really not sure what the Best Match I watched is...damn. I go through and think of different reasons I like one over another. OR there's some that I cannot recall as clearly as others. A few of these are known as great or classic matches already so, I won't pick those. I mean, hopefully many of these are matches you've only heard a little about...or maybe nothing at all. That's really what I want to do - expose people to different stuff and let them know that there is really awesome wrestling to be found where others may have said it does not exist. So with that I'm going to pick Eddie Edwards vs Kyle O'Reilly (ROH 07/12/13) as the Best Match Watched. Frankly, I'm pretty strong on that point even without those qualifiers. Some may not like it just because of the participants or the company. OK that's fine. Others may see it derivative or formulaic but, I disagree. I feel it builds off of classic styles and encounters while adding its own flair. Plus it tells a great story, is excellently performed, intense as hell, and I just love that finish. It's really quite perfect in my book Recency bias is totally acknowledged. Before I move on, I'm going to hype up Masato Tanaka here Shinjiro Otani vs Masato Tanaka (Z-1 07/31/02), Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Masato Tanaka (NJ 08/15/09 G1), Nakamura, M. Tanaka, Takahashi & Naito vs H. Tanahashi, Makabe, Nagata & W. Inoue (NJ 12/04/10), Masato Tanaka vs Yuji Nagata (NJ 03/19/11). DAMN SON! Now let's see who gets cheers and jeers: Standout Wrestler: Daisuke Sekimoto, Atsushi Onita, Masato Tanaka, Shingo Takagi, Naomichi Marufuji, Eddie Edwards, Jay Lethal, The Briscoes, reDRagon, Roderick Strong, The Young Bucks The Winner: Tanaka had the early part of the year for sure. Eddie Edwards has the very end with his re-invigoration of the GHC belt and 2013 ROH matches. The winner is Naomichi Marufuji though. The 09-10 NJ Jr. stuff was pretty great but, along with Shingo, he stole the show at the 2018 Champion Carnival. What put him over the top was his 2006 in NOAH. From his start with KENTA in the 01/22 to the amazing title fight vs Misawa, 2006 was Marufuji's. He may not have the quantity of classic matches that Tanaka accrued this year but, he had his share along with a bevy a great ones with a variety of opponents in different promotions and years. Probably not a popular pick again but, I know what I saw and the dude killed it. Surprise of the Year: Early FMW Onita, SHINGO & Marufuji and the 2018 Champion Carnival, 2010's ROH, Yoshi Yatsu in 87-89 AJPW, WWE 205 Live, digging WWE Women's division. Finding out the greatness of YAMATO, Matt Taven & Togi Makabe. Akira Taue still had it in 2006 as he knew how to play his older broken down/comedy character but still be aggressive and serious when called upon (similar to 1989 Giant Baba). Realizing that '89-90 JCP/NWA Muta was awesome especially when considering his 90's NJ stuff. Weekly ROH TV reminding me of WCW Worldwide in a good way. The Winner: The Maufuji pick is kind of the Surpise of the Year because I really did not think that going into this post. But, overall - I'm going to say Early FMW & Onita. Onita and FMW were some of my first experiences with Japanese wrestling but, to circle back around 20 years and find something really awesome was a heck of a surprise. Not only were the matches a blast (no pun intended) but, finding out about the history was really interesting as well. The late 80's and early 90's are a really neat time & place to visit in Japanese wrestling and FMW at that time should not be missed. Favorite Project: FMW 89-92, Post ECW Tanaka, Hayabusa in AJPW, NOAH 2006, reDRagon/2013-14 ROH, and NJ vs CHAOS in 2010 The WInner: CHAOS vs NJ because I never heard anyone talk about it despite it scratching that old school night in-night out feud itch. It was so much fun to watch these house show matches that felt like Jumbo vs Misawa, or M-Pro vs Kaientai DX.I gained a lot of respect for Tanahashi here and found something from the NJ 2010's that I could wholly dig! Disappointment of the Year: Munenori Sawa in wXw 2010 could have been better, Brock vs Roman at WM, Nakamura...Ballshot Expert, Kobashi vs Marufuji '06, American Wolves vs reDRagon not living up to its potential save Edwards vs O'Reilly The Loser: Wolves vs DRagon because it was THE reason the Wolves re-united and reDRagon was formed but, it felt too much like WWE or TNA than ROH. Or at least the ROH I was used to. It was inconsistent and did not feels as big & epic as ROH was making it out to be. ReDRagon would go on to be so much better without the Wolves feud. Never got around to: Getting deeper into FMW past 92- the two big Youtube channels that had a ton of FMW footy were removed so that was a big blow to that project. 2010's NJ Jr project- I wanted to look into the phenomena that got the NJ hype train going - Apollo 55 & Golden Lovers. This is something I do want to get around to soon. Looking forward to watching in 2019: David Starr, Jonathan Gresham, getting back to 2010's AJPW, 88-90 NJ/AJPW (my massive DVD set is still waiting), more ROH & PWG from 3-5 years ago Also, want to check out early 80's Gran Hamada pretty soon here. Thanks for reading! I hope I gave you some ideas! Happy New Year
  5. I cannot say what exactly prompted me to explore Dragon Gate. My project from a couple months ago looking at DGUSA was perhaps the genesis (I still have one DVD to go). But, I've become a Shingo fan after the AJPW 2018 Champion Carnival . Then, I saw he is/was in this years PWG BOLA. Oh that's what prompted this! yeah, I have a mountain of older PWG DVDs to watch but, I might have check those out. So, let's get on with this! I'm going to list these in order of viewing so, you can get a better feel for what I saw and have some context for my views. Shingo Takagi vs YAMATO (Kobe Wrestling Fest 2016): Fucking radical sick match! No seriously this was a great match. YAMATO was trying to put Shingo to sleep or break his arm. That war of attrition really helped draw this out into a longer match without necessarily running through killer moves. The Y-man damaged Shingo's wing which both weakened the effectiveness of his strikes AND kept YAMATO in the fight longer than Takagi's ferocity would normally allow. I say that because this resembled a AJPW match more than Dragon Gate to me. The one con (at first glance) is YAMATO seemed sedate at the start. This was my first Y-Man match so, this could have just been ignorance of his style/mannerisms. Nonetheless, this was a fantastic singles match between my two most favorite DG guys. KAGETORA vs Dragon Kid (04/06/18): It's nice to see KAGETORA since my 2010 wXx project and Dragon Kid has been cool with me since the DG influx in ROH more than a decade ago. But, something did not click early on with me. I lost interest rather suddenly...Unlike the above match, this resembled Dragon Gate in bad way. I suppose that's shitty of me but, if it's lost me in the first few minutes, it's not worth me working through the match. It's building on a shitty foundation. BxB Hulk & YAMATO vs Ben-K & Big R Shimuzu (Kobe Fest 07/22/18): Right here I'm going to say this was my favorite match of the whole project. This was Classic tag wrestling! The Big-Ben team is such a back-to-basics team. They remind me of a late 80's AJ team who rely upon energy, effort, and stiffness. Really, the same can be said of YAMATO. BxB Hulk was the weakest participant at the start but, old-age or experience has quieted his flippy tendancies. He's traded that and his dance moves for precision kicks ala Katsu Nakajima. (Speaking of which- check the ref out! The frizzy fro and 70's stache must be a trend in Japan!? Rock it the fuck out dude!!). More about the match: Ben-K and Big R are rolling like true legendary tag machines (sans the metallic pants). YAMATO is about up top on the "Sorry I slept on this Dude" list along with Shingo. BxB is still creepy but, the dude is axe kicking brain stems and I cannot/will not hate that! Mixed this with their amazing chemistry, basic story, surprises and I'll consider this a classic contemporary tag classic. If you're watching Indy Wrestling or NJ even, you owe it to yourself to watch this bout. Shingo Takagi vs Masato Yoshino (07/22/18): So, I had high hopes for this but, yeah this was very super disappointing. It was very 1 sided and Yoshino's repeated comebacks were not believable. I might say this was comparable to the 03/26/95 Aja Kong vs Toyota WWWA match. Similarly, some people loved that and some did not. This was just too long and not very good because of that. This would have benefitted from a 2/3 falls stipulation. Instead we get a ton of kickouts and selling shit like death then popping up like a whack-a-mole trying moves at warp speed. Rysuke Taguchi vs YAMATO (NJPW 05/30/09): Best of the Super Jrs.- Tha Funky Weapon vs the Y-Man- aw yeah! The K-Hall crows is eating this up big time as both dudes are working the crowd. Taguchi starts showing 'Mato that he's NJ elite and powers past any counter attempts. Luck runs out though. Ryusuke is elbowing the Dragon Gater in the face but, YAMATO is actually smiling. Now, it gets straight violent and quiets the crowd. God Bless YAMATO! This is a great match that is truly competitive. Go see this!! Plus NJ has it on their Youtube channel so, you've got no excuses Jushin Thunder Liger vs YAMATO (NJPW 06/03/09) Again BOSJ match. A shorter fun match between these two talents. Liger is such a puro hero. Again, free and easy on the NJ YT. YAMATO & Kzy vs CIMA & Ricochet (08/11/17): Ricochet back in DG and YAMATO just wasn't enough for me to get past the first few minutes. Again, this is more of my preference than saying it's crap. YAMATO & Cyber Kong vs EITA & T-Hawk (12/28/14): A match with clear face/heel roles so, it's hard to screw this up. Both teams impressed but KONG & TOMATO were my team of choice since their stuff was simpler. Hawk & EITA did an excellent job hanging in there with their seniors but, their intensity (or sense of it) was sacrificed for a good performance. That is to say they were being careful. A very good match and Y-Man's star continues to shine. BxB Hulk vs Shingo Takagi (12/28/14): This had a nice into video showing that these 2 have history. Good enough for me! Petty Meltzer gave this ****1/2 and I could see that but, I felt it was a tad below that. It could have been slimmer but here's my take away notes. Pros: Nice Appropriate amount of stiffness (Hulk's kicks & Shingo's elbows & lariat), great execution of moves (stuff looked fought over, pulled off in a believable manner), Good pacing despite 30+ minutes Cons: That being said if this was a couple minutes shorter this would have been a Classic bout. Despite this not being what I'd call a classic (****1/2-*****), I watched this twice in a row. It is just a blast to watch and totally worth seeking out if any of this stuff appeals to you. So, yeah! Pretty awesome stuff overall. Dragon Gate isn't my favorite promotion and even from what I saw it can be hit or miss. When it hits though, it hits as well as NJPW or NOAH for me. So, it's no true surprise that Shingo has been called up to be the newest member of Los Ingobernales de Japon. I loved that promo video NJ released and to have Shingo be the man, ah that's awesome! It's not yet time for my 2018 Best Match Viewed awards but, Shingo is damn near locked to win my wrestler of the year pick!
  6. I feel like by the end this did drag a bit & went a little overboard w/ all the nearfalls, but it was still a damn awesome underdog tale. Shingo finds himself in a very unfamiliar position as his usual bruiser bully like offense isn't working too well against the much bigger Ishikawa - the big dog basically has an answer for every comeback Shingo gets. Both guys put on rockin' performances in their respective roles, and of course when a match like this happens at Korakuen Hall, it's always a little more special than it would be anywhere else. ***3/4
  7. Miyahara's flash offense doesn't bode well with leg selling but he did better than most in that regard all things considered - you could argue he should change his formula when the story of the match is his leg getting worked on, but made the effort to sell as much as possible - and Shingo was awesome working on top. The Wada fuckery at the beginning made this fun from the get go too. Strong main event for Day 1.
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