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[1996-03-17-NJPW-Hyper Battle] Jushin Liger vs Shinjiro Otani


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  • 3 weeks later...

Otani has Liger pinned, picks him up because he wants to suplex him again, and this time, Liger isn't able to kick out on his own, but he's positioned in the ropes. Otani's face tells it all. He blew it again, this time by not quitting while he was ahead. Liger is able to regroup and ends up taking the victory with the shotay. The entire match is really good, but it's the booking and the last few minutes that makes this great.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well this is actually slightly better than I remembered it being as a whole. It's still a bit too back-and-forth, Ohtani's transitions are a bit too quick (particularly after the Ligerbomb) and he's a bit too fresh/animated down the stretch when going for his finishes given the comparative beating he's taken... y'know for all the plaudits Ohtani's had for this match it's really Liger who makes this for me. It's the comparative flashiness of his matwork and submissions and the authority with which he beats on Ohtani that positions himself as dominant and Ohtani as the underdog and makes the story work as a whole, whereas it might've otherwise appeared too even. I'd've sooner seen an elongated controlling segment from him like, say, Kobashi might've worked Akiyama in comparative positions (I've got and never seen their 1997 Carnival match that'd make an interesting comparison; their '98 Carnival match being my favourite/best of theirs). But, I guess, with juniors you have to expect more back-and-forth action and what-have-you; it certainly works more than I remembered (I think going in expecting the first half to not matter helps that perception more than going in expecting a classic as I did the last time I watched it a few years ago). I still think it's slightly over-rated - and like I said I preferred Liger's performance to Ohtani's - but by no means is it wildly over-prasied and it's certainly a ****ish match were I to do the whole star thing. I have it ahead of the Samurai/Ohtani match but behind Benoit/Eddy. I don't remember Benoit/Ohtani being quite that great, though I generally prefer Benoit and Eddy to Liger and then to Ohtani/Samurai/etc... we'll see, I guess.

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  • 1 month later...

There is so much to love about this match. I think I haven't seen it in about ten years and I am usually really bad at remembering details of matches but I could still remember Otani's celebration of the top rope dropkick and the complete despair when Liger was too close to the rope's at the second dragon suplex. Of course those were trademarks of Otani at this time period, but I don't think he ever displayed them so great as in this match.

There was other stuff to love which I did not remember:

- Liger selling his arm while in offense during the early parts of the match is a thing of beauty.

- Otani's counter for Liger's plancha by moving and slapping Liger in his face at the same time was brutal.

- Otani seems to have learned from the Samurai match as he tries nearly the same spot the Samurai used to beat him: When Liger pulls himself up at the ropes Otani jumps at Liger's injured arm with the springboard dropkick and immediately goes for the armbar.

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  • 10 months later...
  • 1 year later...

Build phase was decent. Ohtani did some arm work which I thought had been subsequently forgotten before they came back to it near the end. As soon as the stretch started it got hot. Ohtani's OTT acting is amazing and it soon had the audience marking out. Some hot action and near falls. Shinjiro hit his finisher but didn't nail it right first time around. The second time Liger was too near the ropes. I would've liked the champion to use a different final move after that as the Shotei felt a little anticlimactic. Another agonising near miss for the challenger, who's once more left shaking his head in frustration and disappointment. Effective storytelling and a VG match. It wasn't as strong as vs Samurai and yes, Junior matches used to be overrated across the board.

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  • 1 year later...

What a goddamned month this has been for the little folks. I liked this a ton, with the Otani story continuing at the end in magnificent fashion, after being a gutsy bastard for most of the match surviving Liger's offense. The matwork isn't Samurai-Otani levels but it's pretty awesome in its own right, and leads to a fantastic standoff where Otani's arm and Liger's leg are just dangling. I've never been crazy about the shotei as a finish but they sell it about as well as possible here, with Liger being quick to dive on top and wrap Otani up after hitting it.

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  • 1 month later...

I thought this was great stuff and really am starting to gain momentum behind Otani becoming the best wrestler in the world in 1996 so far. His frustration here still feels fresh and the way the match progressed set that up wonderfully. The opening matwork was gritty and executed well. I may be waning of Otani "blowing" it later on in the decade, but for right now, this works well as a vehicle of someone on the rise and someone who could have been poised to take over the junior division as Liger was being phased down. Bitchin few days of wrestling overall as 1996 has picked up steam big time. ****

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  • 1 year later...

I liked the focused attack from Otani on the left arm, followed by the continued selling of the left arm from Liger. Even after he fully takes over on offense, he delivers a really hard slap to Otani, and then shakes off the left arm. Good stuff. Otani sees the weakness, and goes back after it. Liger is working over the left leg. After a really sweet brainbuster, he goes back to the attack on the left leg, and Otani starts drilling him the face with slaps and kicks. I love seeing this type fight trying to get out of a submission (especially in the early going of the match). Sometimes, it doesn't make sense for people to be in submissions, and they just sit there and take it prior to having very much offense laid in on them. This was good to see, and Liger had to throw in some stiff blows to put a stop to all that. You get some exciting offense when things pick up. Eventually Otani goes back to the left arm, and suspense builds as you think Liger may tap. Otani does a great job firing up as he gains the advantage from a dropkick to the back of the head of Liger. Then we get a great nearfall after a German Suplex when Liger gets his foot on the rope. The crowd is hot. I was kind of surprised to see Liger win with a lariat using his left arm (shotei), but hey this was great. ****

 

#464 - placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-500-451/2/

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Loss' #464. This was one of my favourites back in the day and it still holds up. I love how minimalist it is. It's very much like a "small film" in terms of its narrative struck, but like the best small films it packs a powerful emotional punch in terms of Ohtani's endearing and over the top reactions to the nearfalls down the stretch. There are some imperfections for sure just like they are when you revisit films or records you liked in the past, but these two had great chemistry and I'm still a big fan of this pairing.

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  • 10 months later...

This is one of those matches that keeps getting better and better as it goes on; around the middle I wasn't willing to call it a great match, by the end I was. It's very much in the classic 90s NJPW juniors mold and does that style very, very well, with better than average selling and considerably better than average matwork. The crowd gets super into this match, more and more into it as it goes along, and the action gets more and more intense as it goes along. Otani comes off the top rope with a big dropkick to the back of the head, hits the dragon suplex flush -- maybe he has it won, but he has to pick Liger back up for another one, but lands it close to the ropes and Liger gets a rope break. Back up Liger is able to score the KO shotei for the win. Gotta love a match that constantly gets better and better as it goes along, and ends at its peak.

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  • GSR changed the title to [1996-03-17-NJPW-Hyper Battle] Jushin Liger vs Shinjiro Otani

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