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[1995-12-13-WAR-Super J Cup] Ultimo Dragon vs Shinjiro Otani

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This started out pretty frenetic and never really let up. Otani's dropkick from the apron to the floor was sick. I'd really like to watch this as a lead-in to the J Crown sometime, because that match is so counter and reversal heavy that there have to be some callbacks. This is Otani taking the fight to Ultimo and working not from underneath, but as the underdog for most of this. Ultimo is the favorite, Otani is the guy with something to prove. There's also something to be said for Otani doing the Dragon suplex on Ultimo for close nearfalls. The best match of the J Crown to this point for me. As much as I liked Taka/TM from MPro, this was about the same amount of time, told a better story, had more action and didn't feel rushed at all. Great stuff.

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If Ohtani of all people can't get Dragon to show some goddamn fire, then he's officially a lost cause. Well, I didn't hate this as much as I've hated other Ultimo matches but this wasn't much more than a bunch of whatever, either. I go into every one of these Ultimo matches with an open mind, waiting for him to show me something to make me reconsider him. And every time he comes close, some disaster happens to take me out of the moment. Either a horribly missed move, or the FUCKING NO-SELLING TOMBSTONE SPOT, which is on display in all its ugly glory here. To their credit, they had me mostly forgetting about that shit by the end of the match, but this all seemed pretty routine to me. Oh, and Dragon completely misses the skytwister press, to put an exclamation point on all this.

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Finally, Ohtani gets his chance to shine. Ok, so he was already awesome by then. Crisp matwork and counters. Amazing execution and fire. And spunk. The road to "great match" was all there, until they… no-sell a tombstone piledriver. Twice. In the most casual way. Ugh. Then they get back to work, but it took some time to put me back in after this puzzling affair. Ultimo kicking young Ohtani around was good, but he wasn't as fierce as he would be a bit later in his career. And he overshots the last spot. Badly. That was classic Ultimo from that time right there, always having to blow something important. Well, still an excellent match because the before and after that no-sell nonsense. It could have been great.

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Frantic pacing whether it was Otani hitting his suplexes or the aggressive work on the leg. Ultimo Dragon was okay from working from beneath. Him not selling the tombstone was bad but he was generally good at using the crowd to get momentum for his comebacks. He hits his spots well but this was mostly Otani being a god. He was so crisp and sparky in this. Great performance from Otani. ***3/4

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