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Found 55 results

  1. Yuji Nagata vs Kensuke Sasaki - NJPW 01/04/04 Up until the finish, I thought this was a classic, bloody, Dome brawl. I was perplexed why no one talked about this match until that finish, which takes it down quite a bit. Sasaki returns, but not to a hero's welcome. No, he must have been portrayed as a turncoat for leaving Inoki's New Japan to join a short-lived Choshu's promotion that would focus more on pro wrestling. Sasaki fit the 90s New Japan Strong Style well, but Sasaki stuck out like a sore thumb in Inoki's MMA-influenced New Japan of the early 2000s, but he comes back here to challenge Inoki's boy, Yuji Nagata at the Dome. Without the title on the line and New Japan in its nadir in terms of critical quality, I can see why this is overlooked, but I thought this was awesome. They are chippy before the match starts and have to be held back during introductions. It feels like Sasaki is a Choshu-like invader taking on the Hero of New Japan. They just stand up and duke it the fuck out. Sasaki rocks him with a slap to the ear. Nagata tries to fight back and Sasaki hits him a lariat. Sasaki goes for the cross-armbreaker to win the match, but Nagata retreats to the outside. Sasaki whips him into the railing and goes for the chair. Nagata in desperation smokes the chair back into Sasaki's face with a wicked kick. Sasaki does a nice blade job. Sasaki gets a lariat to back of Nagata's head and sends him head-first into the post. Nagata does a nasty, gory blade job. We get the double juice and Nagata & Sasaki stand up in the ring and just throw haymakers, headbutts and strikes. It was fucking awesome. Nagata is left in the middle ring laying and you can see the pool of blood forming around the back of the head. Sasaki just goes vampire crazy gnawing on Nagata and then headbutting him. Sasaki gloats and the New Japan crowd boos loudly. Damn! Northern Lights Bomb! He chooses to go for the ten count. He goes for it again, but Nagata gets a wild kick to the head that rocks Sasaki. Nagata follows it up and you really feel like it going to build to this awesome finish and be a slam dunk 2004 match of the year contender, but then Nagata just puts Sasaki in the Rings of Saturn for like 60-90 seconds until Sasaki passes out. It was very anticlimatic. Up until the finish, a damn exciting brawl. I loved the visual of the double juice with them standing up and just trading strikes in the middle of the ring. Sasaki was actually playing a good heel. Definitely worth a look and see.
  2. Charles (Loss)

    [2014-02-22-NOAH] Yuji Nagata vs KENTA

    Talk about it here.
  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. God, sometimes I forget how good Nagata was before he became a gimmick wrestler. I’m sure making goofy faces, turning his eyes white and finding a couple of spots to recycle in every match made his life a lot easier, but I definitely don’t consider it as creatively interesting as his early 2000s work. This match isn’t without flaws-at one point you see Nagata do a wacky Release German Suplex before going for a lame leg hook pin, and on the “is this something Inoki would do” scale this gets a stern no. He’d either hit a perfect bridge on that damn Suplex or work the (not huge but still ostensibly present) size difference into the match and opting for a Cradle pin or a Takedown instead. But, the roughness is what gives this match its charm, and Inokiism bring a wonderful pastiche of wacky pro wrestling and MMA really unique to wrestling history, even compared to other “shooty” styles. Yasuda is a former rikishi and thus has an advantage in the clinch, they are about evenly matched on the ground but Nagata possesses a wider array of joint locks Yasuda is just a brute who’s going to put his forearm in Nagata’s throat and go for simple chokes. This dichotomy is present on their feet too although there Nagata’s finesse in kicking techniques helps him prevail over Yasuda’s roughhouseness. Whether you call it genius wrestling storytelling or a simple dedication to identities of wrestling characters-it’s really cool to see Nagata throw lame forearms and get punched out for all he’s good only to realise his only solution is to revere back to his kicking, it’s such a breath of frash air to see something like struggle over underhooks and overhooks and Yasuda blocking Nagata’s Belly To Belly by grabbing his hooks and just steamrolling him into the corner. You get Nagata preying on in an S mount, PRIDE-esque grounded knees and Tiger Drivers and a wacky Indian Deathlock/Figure 4/whatever Nagata Lock I is supposed to be and the internal logic of the match remains consistent, because they are merely (a very visually pleasing, which is very important in a performance art!) substance, the form is what drives this to excellence. ****1/4
  5. Very similiar to their 1998 bout altough I thought not close to as good. Norton once again played the dominant force in convincing fashion, but Nagata wasn't so plucky anymore. Basically Norton goes on this huge offensive tear to start, really beating Nagata up with fat powerbombs and shoulderbreakers, and then Nagata essentially no sells his way back to control, and then he keeps dropping bombs until Norton is done. So it's basically Norton hitting a bunch of moves while cutting Nagata off, then Nagata hitting a bunch of moves and then Nagata wins. Nagata has some fun offense as he really lays into Nortons barrel chest with kicks and does fun things like kneeing him in the back off the head to set up a submission. But in total Nagata didn't come across as plucky underdog but largely as a guy running through his moves.
  6. Talk about it here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOIc8qn1r0Y&feature=youtu.be
  7. Part 2 to my Fire Pro World prepubescent-like obsessive compulsive hype up. This entry was going to have a couple more matches but, I ended up going down a NJ rabbit hole. So, my next post will cover that, hint its CHAOS vs NJPW house shows in 2010. In the meantime, we've got a couple Fire Pro Returns dream matches that I never knew happened. I mean, for real, these are some FPR match maker multi-man battles. And a couple single bouts as I'm a Nagata & Tanaka fan. Genichiro Tenryu, Minoru Suzuki & Kensuke Sasaki vs Masahiro Chono, Manabu Nakanishi & Jushin Thunder Liger (11/21/04): Yeah, I felt like writing Liger's full name out. Why not? It makes the match seem older and grander, doesn't it? Well, maybe Akira Hokuto's presence makes it more grand. Its not like it needs it. You've got the legend freelance team from hell here. If this was an 8 man match, they'd get Takayama, I bet. Onto the review! This is just that heated puroresu you don't see very often anymore. This felt like Tenryu had been carrying the WAR vs NJ feud in his lumpy Grinch heart all of this time. He & Chono made their time count while allowing the (somewhat) younger members to take the brunt of the beatings. Smart veterans! Speaking of beatings, Sasaki and Nakanishi's chop & lariat battle was badass. Nakanishi doesn't get the respect that he deserves. He is a helluva clean-up hitter in these type of bouts. Also, Suzuki was his charismatically crazy self. So, you know you gotta see this for that psycho bastard in his prime. This was a great match for sure. I know I'm leaving stuff out but, you're going to want to see it for yourself! Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi, Kazayuki Fujita & Kendo Kashin vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Shinsuke Nakamura, Osamu Nishimura (05/19/05): Random ass Fire Pro Battle for sure...toped by the fact that Nagata's team comes out wearing Super Strong Machine masks. This combination and style is so weird based on what I have been watching during this year's G1. But to that point, remember emoting in wrestling? Fuck yeah, me too! Let's take a trip back in time and witness some! Perhaps it is nostalgia permeating my brain but, Fujita was an awesome beast of a human being that should have been champ for life There is a simple joy watching him destroy Nakamura who many people think of as King of Strong Style. Yuji Nagata too should wear that crown before Nak' (and I like the dude)! Case in point for the Blue Warrior-watch the part where Tanahashi stiffly slaps & elbows him. The man just absorbs punishment and re-channels it unto his opponent (Wasn't that Bishop's power from X-Men?). Anyhow, I'm going through my notes, and I'm gushing about everything (except Tenzan-no gripes either). So, here's another great match that time may have forgotten if NJPW archivists didn't post this on YouTube. If you're a fan from the 2000's, maybe you don't watch a ton of wrestling, do yourself a favor & watch this match. Or the one above...or walk on the wild side and watch both! Yuji Nagata vs Togi Makabe (03/21/07) NJ Cup. This started off decently but, Makabe and his pal Honma started cheating-hardcore. Now, I'll say I really was sick of cheating heels in 2007 since TNA at the time was swimming in that bullshit. Oftentimes, its a cover up for a lack of athleticism, narrative direction, or talent. A cop out But, damn! It worked here. Nagata's getting choked with the chain, bleeding and man, he's gotta make the comeback! Enough bull Makabe, kill him or pin him! Sure enough, Mr. Blue Justice gets his opportunity and blazes King Kong Makabe with hard kicks. Eventually, he sinks in the step over arm breaker. Blood dripping down his face, eyes rolled back like The Deadman ©®™ and I'm hooked!! A great moment for fellow Nagata fans and a great match. Maybe newer fans won't appreciate the lack of arm hooking spin around moves but, this was pretty sweet to me. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Masato Tanaka (08/15/09) G1 Climax match. I've come to appreciate Tanahashi in multi man tags but, this restores some faith that he's a fantastic singles wrestler. I say that because they fucking obliterated each other. On top of that, more heel interference that means something, believable false finishes, and Tana leg work from underneath that provides transition rather than weigh the fight down. Classic G1 match? Classic match all around to me. 22 minutes doesn't hurt either There's more for next time...
  8. This is another match from this event that Im sure I dug than most everyone else. I thought this was fantastic namely whenever Iizuka was involved with Coleman. It starts out slow, but once Iizuka comes in, the intensity and grittyness in this is elevated 100%. Its almost like Iizuka is defending the honor of NJPW against these Vale Tudo fighters and its awesome. I really dug watching Iizuka blasting Kerr and Kerr tagging out and Coleman sorta blanking out and just going balistic on Iizuka. Once Iizuka elevates the intensity, its maintained that way for the majority of it until the end when Coleman catches Nagata in a modified scarf hold modified neck hold. Fun match.
  9. Talk about it here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKnghVavplw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71tRbLkepZw
  10. This would've been a great match if Nagata was as good as Murakami. The opening was sketchy as that was where Nagata had his shine, and it had him do weird slap-claps on Murakami's back, bad looking worked spots and just generally offence that would look bad for a house show tag, let alone a big Dome match, and his timing in general seemed off. Then we get to the meat of the match, which is Murakami's beatdown, and it rules every bit as much as you'd hope, he beats the hell out of Nagata with all sorts of awesome punching and kicking variations, awesome throws and so on. May not be the best one he's ever done, but still totally badass. Then it's time for Nagata's revenge and he amps up the violence, laying in some nice kicks, but it's clear his ideas on how to project violence without actually hitting someone aren't nearly as good as Murakami's, he can throw a good kick, and he can even throw a good knee once in a while, but when he's forced to rely on them too much he wasn't able to maintain that level of believability for long, when he was on the outside throwing knees that Murakami bladed for they looked quite good, but by the time he went for them again in the ring they'd already started looking head scratching. His headbutts were just disappointing, the idea of him throwing headbutts so the blood spills from Murakami's forehead to his was cool, but the actual headbutts weren't very good looking, someone like Akiyama can make headbutting his own hand look way more violent than Nagata does actually connecting with the move (maybe that's the problem-if you connect you need to go all the way ala Ikeda/Ono while working allows more room for misdirecting the viewer). I did like the finish a lot-Murakami continuing to get up despite beating to a pulp was something resembling a movie more than a wrestling match, maybe it's just that his facial expressions are so big and memorable that one can't help think he'd make a great villain, it was quite well done, Murakami's last flurry of throwing desperation shots looked exactly like he was gassed/spent, and when he went for a throw Nagata easily countered it with a Backdrop. I also enjoyed how the crowd bit on the penalty kick as a nearfall because they'd teased it in the beginning and they were conditioned to matches ending at any time because of Inoki's insanity, and the post-match brawl was lovely, I almost expected them to shake hands or show some kind of respect when they kneeled in front of each other but instead they just slapped the taste out of each other's mouths and it turned into a gang war. Not on the level of their 2002 classic but still very much worth watching. ***3/4
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