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[1991-08-09-NJPW-Violent Storm] Jushin Liger vs Akira Nogami


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  • 3 months later...

I think I liked this better than the Dome match. It didn't have the same big show feel, but then again, this isn't as big of a show. But this feels a little more hard fought and violent. Nogami takes a king-sized beating from Liger and fights back with a bloodied nose. Liger is his usual great self. I feel like I'm probably overrating this a little, but I liked how everything felt like a titanic struggle, and that even the opening matwork felt urgent and important. The juniors formula is in full effect here in terms of how the match is laid out at the beginning, but the execution of it is top notch, and I liked how they went back to the mat down the final stretch instead of doing a lot of big highspots and nearfalls. Liger is pretty peerless, and that's a testament to how great he is, but it also hurts his matches some during this time, as he just doesn't have opponents at his level to work with. He worked with very good workers, and I like Nogami, but he's no Liger. As a result, when Liger loses it just feels like Liger putting someone over instead of someone earning a win. So that hurts this a little. I think Liger was on an eternal quest to find a worthwhile rival, and I'm not sure he found the right guy until Otani.

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I think Liger was on an eternal quest to find a worthwhile rival, and I'm not sure he found the right guy until Otani.

IIRC, Meltzer reported that the constant title changes were done in the hopes of getting over new stars in order to build the division, which was made more difficult by how much better Liger was than everyone else. The strategy somewhat worked for Benoit but clearly failed with Honaga and Nogami. Akira did finally hit his stride but it wasn't until he was a 14 year(!) veteran.

 

Thankfully they finally got some rivals for Liger in '92 with Ultimo and Samurai.

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  • 4 weeks later...

They did an excellent job of making the opening matwork seem more important than usual in an NJ juniors match. I particularly liked the way they both fought out of the surfboard, because when it was applied later in the match, that actually felt like a moment. Nogami got to look super-gutsy, fighting through the kind of stuff that put away most Liger opponents. This lacked the nastiness of Liger-Honaga but felt fiercer than most of the Liger-Benoit matches. I'm not sure why Nogami didn't pop at this stage. He seemed to have the right blend of athletic ability and passion to be a more enduring rival for Liger.

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This was better than the Dome match but it still felt like Liger was carrying things along. Nogami just doesn't have the compelling, sleazy desperation that Honaga did. He does a decent job of hanging on the mat here and setting up Liger's highspots. The highspots pepper a series of intense matwork and pro-style submission work instead of just more highspots and bombs, which is a nice way of building to the upset finish without having Nogami have to kick out of a bunch of Liger Bombs and SSPs or try to match Liger with his own big moves that he clearly doesn't have.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 5 months later...
  • 1 year later...

I wasn't really a fan of this one. I appreciate that Japanese juniors matches have their matwork segment, but after about five to seven minutes it's time for the highspots, and they never really came here. Liger had a few dives, and the top-rope suplexes were well done by both men, but it felt like I was watching the first fall of what should have been a more exciting bout. What Nogami did wasn't bad by any means, but it felt like he should have done more, and as Pete said, it may have been that he simply didn't have that type of skill.

 

Good on New Japan for the title changes in an effort to keep interest in the juniors, but they really needed someone as dynamic as Liger in their own way to take the belt off of him and hold it for a while, and it's clear that Nogami wasn't it. Neither was Honaga, although he was grand in his own special way. It'll be interesting to see whom they choose next and how Liger will match up with them.

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  • 1 year later...

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Jushin Thunder Liger vs AKIRA Nogami - NJPW 8/9/91

 

I skipped the Benoit title defense in July, but will re-watch later when I can actually watch matches that I don't already have on my harddrive. To me I thought this was a total spotfest after the opening matwork, which is odd because I thought this was some of the best juniors matwork of this era. I loved how surfboards were not given they had to be earned. We need to see that more. After that it was just bombs away! I have no problem with that because Liger may be my pick for the greatest offensive pro wrestler in history. I loved the Akira seeking dropkick that Akira almost avoided twice, but still got nailed. Then that dive from the top rope out into the crowd was insane! Liger is the man! But still there was stuff like Liger doing a Super Butterfly Suplex (awesome spot) and AKIRA was on offense shortly thereafter. That's what this was a string of bombs. Liger outclassed Akira, but Akira was not a total slouch. It was just a great spotfest. Liger misses a moonsault and then AKIRA hits a German for two. Great nearfall! That was a good transition. The fighting over the different suplexes before AKIRA settled into a butterfly suplex with a BRIDGE!!! WOW! AWESOME FINISH!

 

I thought it was missing long term selling and transitions, but Liger's offense was incredible and that finish was all sorts of awesome. ***3/4

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  • 5 months later...

I was watching this and thinking it was really good, intense matwork for the majority of the bout. Everything was earned and well-executed. And I find myself liking Nogami because he's good and able to hang with Liger on the mat as well as adding a few things of his own to the mix. But I think the reason Nogami didn't pop is that he doesn't bring a whole lot of emotion into anything. He's just out there doing stuff. And there's no problem with what he's doing, it's just lacking any kind of meaning beyond running through spots. He gets to look good and plucky though in surviving long enough to win. At least with Honaga, we get a guy who is absolutely desperate to beat Liger for the belt. He may not have the technical prowess or highspots of Nogami, but there is emotion for Liger to react to.

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  • GSR changed the title to [1991-08-09-NJPW-Violent Storm] Jushin Liger vs Akira Nogami

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