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Wrestle Kingdom 7


WingedEagle
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Listened to Meltzer's audio show this morning. Wanted to see Sakuraba/Nakamura and decided to check out the three way juniors match.

 

This isn't a bash on Meltzer because his enthusiasm really made me want to go check out some of the show, knowing that like his TV reviews, I can ascertain a decent level of what I will/won't like. He praised Sakuraba/Nakamura as being close to a Volk Han style match, so I was intrigued.

 

The three way juniors match was okay. Low Ki was far and away the best guy in the match, making a lot of the tedious three way spots kind of work. Ibushi has some nice looking high spots but Devitt is completely useless. The pinnacle of the match was Ki going for a tree of woe footstomp on Devitt, only for Ibushi to springboard and rana Ki off the top. Awesome spot, got a great reaction, and it was kicked out of with five more minutes of the match afterwards, with most of those nearfalls getting no heat.

 

Sakuraba/Nakamura was fun. Admittedly, I don't follow NJPW closely but Nakamura's "I don't care" look on his face throughout the whole match was distracting. There was some decent mat work in the middle, but it was very low level RINGS circa 1996, not Tamura/Kohsaka/Yamamoto 1997-1999. The knee Saku landed looked amazing on the replay but in full speed, you really couldn't see it that much. Sakuraba's palm strikes were *really* slow, but he is 42 and almost zombie like, so I can live with that. Not sure Nakamura needed to give Saku all of those head shots in his condition. ***1/2.

 

Also dug Otani and Hashimoto's kid coming out to his New Japan music. Meltz pointing out that Mutoh did 12 dragon screw's with each one getting less heat was more than enough warning to not even check it out for a second.

 

Felt no need to watch the main event or Nagata vs. Suzuki.

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Muto actually did 3 dragon screws and it didn't seem excessive really. The match made it rather apparent that Kojima and possibly Ohtani were the only ones able/willing to work though.

 

The junior three-way was a decent spot fest. They set everything up fairly well and there were a couple neat spots, like the aforementioned top rope rana. The selling was generally good too, but this was nothing you'd watch again.

 

The IWGP tag defence was completely rushed, which is a shame because they did a good job with the time given. Good heat segments on the Goto/Anderson team but when it's like 6 minutes into the match it's hard to buy it as an epic. Everything on the card has actually felt rushed so far, outside of the Nagata/Suzuki match. It's odd considering I'm 3 hours into the show with 3 matches left. It reminds me why I stopped watching full shows and stuck to watching the "important" stuff.

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Wataru Inoue & Captain New Japan & Tama Tonga vs. Jado & Yoshi-Hashi & Tomohiro Ishii- Nothing match. I know Ishii has some fans but he showed me nothing here. Tonga does a decent Snuka impression but his finisher is a really weird guillotine into ddt move that looked real herky jerky.

 

Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask & Hiromu Takahashi vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Kushida & Bushi - Perfectly acceptable 6 man tag. Every looked at least pretty good and hit everything cleanly. The match didn't try to do to much and featured some simple strucuture and a few saves. It also ended on the first spectacular move which was a 450 by Bushi. I thought Liger looked really crisp and quicker than the last few times I have seen him.

 

I always find it amusing how they essentially have a seven man announce booth for these shows.

 

Manabu Nakanishi & MVP & Strongman & Akebono vs. Bob Sapp & Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka & Yujiro Takahashi: This was crap and a waste of time. Only thing that got a big reaction was Nak racking Sapp. Really heatless brawling filled out this match.

 

Masato Tanaka vs. Shelton Benjamin: This match was a pile of shit. Shelton was determined to get all his shit in and before the five minute time call we had already seen a german suplex, big dive to the outside, his spin kick, and a blockbuster off the top rope. He also had effectively cut off the heat segment of work to his back. We then get some ridiculous interference leading to the Tanaka win.

 

Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Karl Anderson & Hirooki Goto: Perplexing match. I really liked opening 5-6 minutes of Davey and Archer working over first Goto and then Anderson. Archer's chokeslam looked especially nasty as Anderson bounced like ball off the mat. I must commend Goto for his selling of the damage as this was certainly not the case of him getting worked on for a few minutes, tagging out, then either tagging back in or jumping up and down on the apron within 1-2 minutes. He really milked the damage and this was my favorite aspect of the match. Anderson makes the tag back to him in a adequate amount of time and the match goes off the rails with near falls galore, the spot where everyone hits a big move, and Archer/Davey hitting the same move THREE times to gain the victory.

 

Yuji Nagata vs. Minoru Suzuki : Good match between two grizzled veterans. The interference after the opening took me out for a while, but the ending sequence was really good showing a lot of struggle and psychology with Nagata going back to the arm and Suzuki locking in his choke hold. I liked how Nagata won after a big struggle on a impact move. By far the best match so far.

 

Prince Devitt vs. Low Ki vs. Kota Ibushi: I would never call this a MOTYC but I do think it is a great iteration of the spotfest style match and a very good match in its own right. I was actually surprised at how much restraint they showed in this match as the early goings feature really good spots but there was also some building to the finish and everyone wasn't kicking out of everything from the get go. I have no idea why Low Ki was wearing a suit but I was surprised at how fluid he was with it on. Everything was hit cleanly in this match and Ibushi in particular is amazingly athletic. The only spot of the whole match that I would consider completely stupid was Low Ki's double stomp immediately after taking a german suplex.

 

Keiji Muto & Shinjiro Otani vs. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan: Not a bad legend style tag match at all. Everyone was working hard and hit their signature spots. I enjoyed this a lot more than I would have imagined.

 

Togi Makabe vs. Katsuyori Shibata: I didn't dig this much at all. Didn't see much hate conveyed. You had dueling backdrop suplexes. I thought the key spot with Shibata hitting his head on the post was kind of clever but I didn't really like the table spot and then Shibata hulks up and kicks out at one on the first nearfall after the spot. Shibata losing also is suspect. Most disappointing match for me so far.

 

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kazushi Sakuraba: Great fucking match. I loved all the ebbs and flows and how the tentative start built to a breakdown of both guys and they went all out until the finish. I also really liked how you could use things in wrestling like rope breaks to neutralize some of the MMA submissions. The knees were brutal. Only thing I wasn't total sold on was how quickly Nakamura escaped the cross armbreaker when Sakuraba hooked it but otherwise this was a really fantastic match that would have been in my top 10 for 2012.

 

Tanahashi vs. Okada: I thought this was merely ok and the worst match between these two. I didn't like their June 2012 match either. I liked how cerebral Okada was at the beginning and he busted out some unique pretzel type submissions which I thought was cool because that way when Tanahashi hulks up he is not blowing off any sustained body part work. The work on Okada's leg was not very good and it is a personal preference I know but Tanahashi really annoys me. Ending was usual New Japan overblown stuff of intricate reversals and stuff that looks like it has been practiced 10 times. I also thought OKada was a dumb ass to continually do stuff that further hurts his knee. I wouldn't have even been mad if he had blown off selling it down the stretch since it was around 15 minutes after Tanahashi was working on it but they kept going back to it with the cloverleaf and other stuff. I can understand maybe the rationale of him sacrificing his knee on the frog splash to save losing the match but there was no reason for him to keep performing dropkicks like he was and then sell the knee. If the rainmaker was not going to be used, I don't know why we didnt get some extended arm work to show Tanahashi's game plan of making sure if Okada won it was not going to be with that hold and in the end the match could have went the same way and shown the rainmaker as an equalizer. Crowd pleasing main event for sure and if you enjoy this style, it was pleasing but it didn't do a whole lot for me.

 

Good show overall - absolutely. Great show - eh .... ok I guess. One of the best shows of all time - no fucking way.

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My first reaction to the main event was that it didn't hold a candle to their two big matches from 2012 or the Naito/Okada match either. I think it went too long for what these two bring to the table. Okada seemed to stall after every bit of offense in the early-mid portions of the match. The drama they built around the rainmaker lariat and the frog splash were good, but I can't think of anything else that stood out positively. Okada started selling his leg after almost no offense towards it. Then once Tanahashi did start focusing on it, Okada does his drop kick twice late in the match. Made no sense.

 

The show was very solid, but a huge disappointment after hearing how much positive feedback it received.

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Crossposted from that thread where I review stuff

 

Wrestle Kingdom 7

 

Wataru Inoue & Captain New Japan & Tama Tonga vs. Jado & Yoshi-Hashi & Tomohiro Ishii

 

This happened. Really came across like New Japan's answer to the placeholding six-man's they will occasionally throw together on a Raw to fill space and this is a show that didn't need space filled. Inoue is probably a wash with R-Truth and Tama might actually be better than Kofi, but Captain New Japan is a poor man's Rey to say the least. Jado is pretty awful at this point and his existence in this match almost immediately pissed me off. He's a shitty Cody Rhodes at this point which is damning. Hashi is a perfectly fine Jack Swagger. Ishii doesn't really fit the narrative, but he's better than all of these guys and really over and this was a waste of him. Not a bad match, but there are probably several hundred similarly thrown together six-man's, that got the same amount of time and have appeared on WWE tv in the last decade that smoked this.

 

Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask & Hiromu Takahashi vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Kushida & Bushi

 

Liger is still over in the Dome which I find comforting. Parts of this I thought were really sharp, particularly the early going even if this was obviously another thrown together match. On the other hand for a sub-ten minute match this had a lot of stuff that looked suspect or less than impressive. This will sound odd coming from me, but I would have preferred this been a balls out spotfest. Okay for what it was, but I saw two Heath Slater v. Justin Gabriel house show matches live about a year ago that looked like high end 90's NJPW junior wrestling next to this.

 

Manabu Nakanishi & MVP & Strongman & Akebono vs. Bob Sapp & Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka & Yujiro Takahashi

 

This kinda felt like one of those matches they throw together on Mania now to give the rest of the upper mid-card something to do, without having to take away from the semi-retired guys they are protecting. I half way expected Teddy Long and Vickie to show up pre-match and was trying to figure out who would be managing which team in my head when the match started. I actually didn't mind this at all. I would have preferred more fat man offense from Akebono and Sapp sucks horribly, but it was kept short and for match filled with useless roided guys and shit workers this was if anything better than expected. It didn't even border on being a good match, but it was watchable.

 

Masato Tanaka vs. Shelton Benjamin

 

I watched Tanaka v. Ishii from last year yesterday which is a match a lot of people liked. I thought it was worked like a Davey Richards v. Kyle O'Reilly match, but with more violent looking offense and slightly more (that is to say "some") selling. In any event I figured this would be even more ROH and it was. We even got shitty ROH style manager involvement. Short match with tons of shit that meant nothing, one of the most contrived looking spots around the ropes I've seen in recent memory and of course in true ROH form a senseless ankle lock spot right before the finish. This was short enough to be largely inoffensive but still sucked and is the worst match on a show that up to this point that has been filled with random multi-men matches featuring roid freaks, cast offs, old farts and sub-Lash Leroux juniors. For "go, go" matches something like Tyson Kidd v. Hunico series from last year laps this several times over.

 

Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Karl Anderson & Hirooki Goto

 

I wanted to like this because I like the idea of the Smith/Archer team on paper and haven't found a match of their's yet that I think delivers on their potential. Instead they have the look of a poor mans 3MB and don't put their matches together nearly as well. To be fair I didn't hate this, but I am a guy who wants structure in his tag matches not spots galore. They teased the structure early but then this felt really rushed and all about getting big shit in and it just annoyed the fuck out of me. I'll take The Colons v. The Uso's over this every time.

 

Yuji Nagata vs. Minoru Suzuki

 

I am a guy who really loves grumpy old man wrestling so I expected that I would like this. Sure Nagata is comically overrated by some, but I don't hate the guy and he's been involved in plenty of things I've enjoyed over the long haul. And Suzuki is the guy that made me enjoy a Tanahashi match. So this had some major positives working in it's favor. At the end of the day I wasn't disappointed and this worked well. I wasn't in love with interference spot on the floor early, but Nagata getting choked out with the chair was a cool visual and Suzuki's cocky posturing is one of the better parts of his act. I enjoyed the work around Suzuki's rear naked choke, even if it wasn't worked that tight and I dug the fact that they worked a couple of hope spots in for Nagata before he finally made his comeback and went to the arm. I'll never be a fan of the "stand in the ring and take turns in cooperative fashion striking each other" spots, but that's a staple of Japanese wrestling at this point so it seems worthless to complain about it and it was used as a vehicle to give Nagata more hard shots to Suzuki's arm. I also really liked the finish with Suzuki making one last gasp for his finishes, eating a sick slap and giving the modified "Dick Murdoch v. Inoki KO look" before eating the backdrop suplex finish. For matches involving grizzled veterans worked around stiffing each other, making funny faces and arm work/submissions/submission counters this wasn't as good as Ron Garvin v. Greg Valentine from Royal Rumble 1990. On the other hand this was definitely better than the old man respect struggles from the last two Manias and it was a good match.

 

Prince Devitt vs. Low Ki vs. Kota Ibushi

 

Why is Low Ki wrestling in a suit? I assume there is some storyline reason that I don't know about or perhaps it's some sort of symbolism that escapes me. I guess maybe this was some Japanese gangster flick tribute? Anyway this had a lot of really good looking shit, and was perfectly fine for a spotfest of this sort. The stuff on the ramp had a nice visual effect to it, especially with Ki fighting in his get up. I also enjoyed his "tossing the jacket as dropping the strap" spot even if it was after one of the most egregious no sells of a huge move I've seen in recent memory. The big spot with Ibushi blocking the tree of woe double stomp looked really good too. They found a pretty good way to take one guy out so they could go to the finish and I actually liked that Devitt - who really seemed in the background for the whole match - basically survived by stealing a win. For spotfest involving guy working in dress clothes I may have liked Corino v. Brisco better. That also had the crazier spot and sicker finish. But I thought for the sort of match this was it was good and it is a rare triple threat that actually felt like it was a better match because it wasn't a singles.

 

Keiji Muto & Shinjiro Otani vs. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan

 

Everytime I see Ohtani I get depressed as I don't know if there is anyone in wrestling who's "look" has so radically changed from the image I have of him in my head at his peak. This was over with the live crowd and got good heat which helped it. The work ranged from solid to pretty weak, but nothing outright embarrassing. For promoter/legends Muto looked better than HHH, but not as good as Vince. To be fair Kojima is no Punk to play off of, but that chop segment in the corner did not look good. On the other hand Ohtani's face wash bit got a great response and I really marked out for it. After that this mellowed out and Tenzan really felt like a come down when he was on offense. Ohtani was the star of this and wrestled well even if he doesn't look like I want him too. This might have gone a hair too long considering the limitations of some of the guys involved, but it was perfectly fine over all.

 

Togi Makabe vs. Katsuyori Shibata

 

Boy this was disappointing. On paper I thought this had potential to be a show stealer if things broke right. Shibata looked pretty good in it at times, but man Makabe's selling was just absolute dog shit. That dueling back drop suplex spot pissed me off but I would have been okay with it if that asshole would have looked the least bit bothered at any point int he match when on the defensive. He didn't. The table spots were okay I guess, but this really wasn't any good at all. As brawls of this sort go every Sheamus v. Big Show match in the few months destroys it.

 

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kazushi Sakuraba

 

This was the match I was most looking forward to even before the hype as Nakamura is one of my favorite guys in New Japan and I wanted to see how he would play in this setting. I watched a match with him and Ishii v. Sakuraba/Shibata last night and he was clearly the odd man out and had no clue what the fuck was going on at times, which made me a little nervous, but I was still excited to watch this. Turns out there was no reason to be nervous because this was really fucking good. Sakuraba in particular was great in this. I loved the theme of him escaping the more typical pro wrestling positions and reversing them into submissions or huge attacks. Obviously the knee after the blow off of the German was an appropriate "fuck you," but I also thought the spot where he saved himself off the ropes was great, as was the escape of the go behind. All the big strikes looked absolutely crushing. I really wanted him to bust out the Mongolian chops but you can't always get what you want. I also thought Sak barely being held down by the big knee was the right finish. This could have and should have been a bit longer but it was still pretty great. Not as good as Lesnar v. Cena but not much is.

 

Tanahashi vs. Okada

 

Man did this feel long. I didn't hate this, but this is a match I never want to watch again. Tanahashi's offense is just not convincing at all to me. I thought Okada was decent enough as he usually is. Not outstanding but he's charismatic, works hard and at least tries to sell. But it's hard for me to take anyone seriously working underneath Tanahashi, unless they are taking great bumps and their selling is off the charts and Okada was doing neither. I honestly can't believe that the same sort of people who bitch about the offense of John Cena, have not problem with that trash bag hooking clothesline Tanahashi uses all the time. Some of the big spots looked good and some didn't really work. I did like the fact that they didn't bury The Rainmaker as a finish by allowing Tanahashi to survive it, but I also think the wrong guy went over and not just because I don't like Tanahashi. I guess for people who like this sort of match it was good, but I don't like this sort of match and for upstart star v. established ace series and matches Cena v. Punk has been about fifty thousand times better.

 

Overall Thoughts:

 

Eh I don't know. I get that New Japan is "hot" right now with a certain sort of hardcore fan and that this was there big show, but I don't think this was even close to a great show. I've been pretty down on three hour Raws, but the first hour and a half of this show was clearly worse than the wrestling portion of the average three hour Raw to the point where I really can't imagine that being a controversial statement, even though I suppose people will read it as a troll. I did think the show was pretty well paced and put together in the ring order which gave it a good flow. From Suzuki v. Nagata forward the show was more good than bad, but there were only three matches on the whole show I would really classify as good matches. On the other hand there was nothing that was the duel combination of offensively long and horrible which is something I always fear on modern Japanese shows. Okay show. Best show ever is an insane statement that strikes me as the sort of hyperbolic statement we hear every year after Mania when WWE fans get the highs they want out of a show but aren't thinking in a broader context. Great show is a massive stretch, though I suppose if you were super invested in some of the stars or the style it might fit. Good show? I'm not even sure I'd go that far. It was watchable and didn't feel like a waste of time, but if I were getting Observery I would go "Thumbs In The Middle" and by Observer Awards standards I'd already have it safely behind TLC in the "Best Major Show" category.

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Managed to finish this before football started. A few quick hits:

 

1) Tonga/Inoue/Captain NJ vs. Ishii/Jado/Hashi: Tonga had a couple decent athletic spots and I'm a big fan of Ishii although he didn't have any chance to shine here. But it was short and entirely inoffensive. Jado does not

 

2) Liger/TM/Takahashi vs. Tagushi/Kushida/Bushi: Also short and acceptable for what it was, but nothing special. Takahashi looked impressive for someone I've never seen before and am interested to see what he can do when featured more.

 

3) Iizuka/Yano/Takahashi/Sapp vs. Nakanishi/Akebono/MVP/Strongman: I love Yano and wish he had more of a chance to shine. This was a fine clusterfuck to get a few guys on the show and have a couple fun spots with the big men. Looked like everyone had a good time and I did too while it lasted. But again, nothing standout and at this point its just keeping my attention without pissing me off or really drawing me in.

 

4) Tanaka vs. Benjamin: This sucked and was offensive. It may have been quick but it didn't feel like it.

 

5) Archer/DBS Jr. vs. Goto/Anderson: I really enjoyed this, particularly DBS and Anderson. Some spots were a bit contrived but everyone worked hard and it certainly didn't go too long. Wouldn't be at all surprised to see DBS get a solid run back here in a year or 2. I expected a title change but enjoy the champs and am happy to see them get a legit run with the titles.

 

6) Suzuki vs. Nagata: I love Minoru Suzuki. He's one of my all-time favorites. I'd probably enjoy him reading Green Eggs & Ham because he has the best facials in the business. So while I probably liked this more than most, I didn't love it. They didn't go out there looking to blow away the show. Nagata's early arm work on Suzuki was good but then it was just dropped until the end, and by that point his kicks were so blatantly striking the back rather than arm that it was a bit of a tough sell. This was still really solid and fun with a nice finishing sequence.

 

7) Low Ki vs. Ibushi vs. Devitt: I know its based on a video game, and that this took place in Japan, but with the tragedy in CT still fresh I didn't love Ki coming to the ring guns blazing. End political rant. However, I LOVED him wrestling in the suit and as noted above, pulling off the jacket rather than the strap. This was a really fun spotfest with Ibushi in particular shining. Jr. HW spotfests don't really cut it for me these days, but I enjoyed this about as much as anything this style. Ibushi turning Ki's attempted Tree of Woe into a huracanrana was awesome. I'd like to see Shelley vs. Devitt.

 

8) Tenzan/Kojima vs. Muto/Ohtani: This was about as great a "legends" match as you could ask for. The chop sequence Dylan mentioned was truly cringeworthy, but otherwise everyone did what people were familiar with and didn't stretch it out too long. Ohtani looked swollen as all hell but seemed to have a good time and other than the running kick that missed by a mile didn't do anything he couldn't do well.

 

9) Makabe vs. Shibata: I enjoyed the fast faced brawling to start quite a bit, then things got a bit stupid with the backdrop suplexes and then Shibata taking the shot to the back of his head that wasn't really followed up on. The finish seemed to be about 5-7 minutes too soon. Arguably the most disappointing match on the night given what we got versus my expectations, but Makabe is still a BETTER BRODY THAN THE ORIGINAL.

 

10) Nakamura vs. Sakuraba: This was fucking awesome. I loved Sakuraba's work on the mat and the quick strikes throughout. Easily the best match I've watched recently. I'm curious about the booking with both Sak & Shibata losing, but from today's WON update apparently there's more to this.

 

11) Tanahashi vs. Okada: Fine, I'm a sucker, but I love these two together. I was really surprised Okada never even hit the Rainmaker, as if that were the case you'd think Tanahashi would've been working the arm throughout the match, but that just didn't happen. Also really surprised we didn't get a title change, but this was quality and they hit a lot of big spots that I appreciated from their prior matches. Probably my least favorite of the 3, but still an easy ****+.

 

Overall I thought this was a really fun show and with 2 great matches closing things out have zero complaints. But top to bottom I enjoyed October more and perhaps TLC, among recent big shows.

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I was really prepared to like that match a lot because it seemed that most people were less high with it because a. Okada lost and b. they didn't do as much stuff as they have previously. Instead the match really dragged and the story and strategy utilized by both throughout the match seemed really ill advised. I also hate the rainmaker merry go round reversal sequences we see. It just completely takes me out of the match and looks like both wrestlers are doing an interpretative dance together.

 

I liked their match from February 2012 a good deal in that Tanahashi sold more than usual and Okada looked like a rising upstart seizing his opportunity. The following two matches between them haven't broke any new interesting ground.

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I liked their match from February 2012 a good deal in that Tanahashi sold more than usual and Okada looked like a rising upstart seizing his opportunity. The following two matches between them haven't broke any new interesting ground.

I agree the first match in February was their best, by far. Most folks have hyped the rematch as truly elite but it did not click for me the way the original one did.

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Two other things - Dave Meltzer talking the "possibly best show ever" line is something that surprises me more than it should. I know he's a mark for New Japan but if this is really Dave's pick for best show ever than I would say his taste is even farther from mine than I originally thought.

 

Second I find it interesting that Dave and others are as high on this given that Shibata, Sak and Okada all lost. If the WWE did the same show with three guys involved in key angles building to the show all losing I don't believe for second it would be being touted this way.

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I reviewed Wrestle Kingdom 7 with pics, gifs and even a few japanese quotes here:

Part 1- http://prowresblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/nj...m-7-review.html

Part 2- http://prowresblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/nj...t-2-review.html

 

Overall thoughts: Good show but certainly not the greatest show ever and really not even NJPW's best iPPV. I don't even think it was my favorite Tokyo Dome show ever. There was a ton of decent to good matches here with the main event being the match of the night but there were also questionable booking decisions that harmed the show. Coming out of this, I don't see alot of intriguing matches for NJPW due to the Shibata/Okada losses. Have them win and I could come up with multiple interesting and fresh scenarios. If you like good wrestling, there is lots of it here and you won't be disappointed.

 

Some shots from the show:

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I'll watch the rest of the show later, but I skipped to the last two matches because those are the ones with the most buzz.

 

Nakamura/Sakuraba took a bit too long to get out of first gear, but it was good once it got going. However, I didn't like Sakuraba no-selling the Boma Ye and Landslide to apply his submissions. Also, I really hate slaps as strikes. Charlie Murphy said it best: you don't slap a man.

 

The main event felt like a fall-out-of-bed Tanahashi/Okada match, solid but nowhere near as good as the best New Japan matches from last year. Somewhat amusingly for a Tanahashi match, he didn't work the leg nearly enough for how much Okada was selling it. And there was really no need for the match to continue after the first High Fly Flow. Still, it wasn't bad at all, and it worked as a Dome main event.

 

Based on those two matches, I'd say the show was pretty good. But unless the undercard was off-the-charts great (and by all accounts, it wasn't), there's no way this is a serious contender for greatest show of all time.

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Wataru Inoue & Captain New Japan & Tama Tonga vs. Jado & Yoshi-Hashi & Tomohiro Ishii

 

This happened. Really came across like New Japan's answer to the placeholding six-man's they will occasionally throw together on a Raw to fill space and this is a show that didn't need space filled. Inoue is probably a wash with R-Truth and Tama might actually be better than Kofi, but Captain New Japan is a poor man's Rey to say the least. Jado is pretty awful at this point and his existence in this match almost immediately pissed me off. He's a shitty Cody Rhodes at this point which is damning. Hashi is a perfectly fine Jack Swagger. Ishii doesn't really fit the narrative, but he's better than all of these guys and really over and this was a waste of him. Not a bad match, but there are probably several hundred similarly thrown together six-man's, that got the same amount of time and have appeared on WWE tv in the last decade that smoked this.

Heh, really weird comparisons here. Not sure fat lower card comedy guy is really all that comparible to Rey Mysterio other then they both wear mask or that a pre show dark match just meant to entertain the fans that show up early and give the left over guys on the roster who didn't fit anywhear else on the card a payday is comparable to a mid show WWE TV match. Not overly fond of modern day Jado either (though all time he is one of my favorites) but he really didn't do anything groan worthy here I thought. Hashi as Jack Swagger is way too high praise for Hashi. If nothing else I came out of this really wanting to see more Tama Tonga as i'd never actually seen him work before.

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Finished watching the show. Guess i'm the only one here but I really have nothing negative to say about the show. Nothing on the show except the main which I loved is a MOTYC to me but I enjoyed the card top to bottom.

 

Wouldn't call anything truely bad but from best to worst i'd rank things

 

(IWGP Title) Hiroshi Tanahashi © vs Kazuchika Okada

(IWGP Jr Title - 3 Way) Prince Devitt © vs Low Ki vs Kota Ibushi

Manabu Nakanishi, MVP, Strongman & Akebono vs Bob Sapp, Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka & Yujiro Takahashi

(IWGP IC Title) Shinsuke Nakamura © vs Kazushi Sakuraba

Yuji Nagata vs Minoru Suzuki

(IWGP Tag Titles) Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr © vs Karl Anderson & Hirooki Goto

Togi Makabe vs Katsuyori Shibata

Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask & Hiromu Takahashi vs Ryusuke Taguchi, Kushida & Bushi

Tenzan & Kojima vs Shinjiro Ohtani & Keiji Mutoh

(NEVER Title) Masato Tanaka © vs Shelton Benjamin

Wataru Inoue, Captain New Japan & Tama Tonga vs Jado, Yoshi Hashi & Tomohiro Ishii

 

Nakanishi, the ring announcer & pals vs Iizuka & pals is easily my favorite feud in wrestling over the last several months.

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Finally wrapped up my watching of the show this morning...

 

Obviously, the whole "best show ever contender" thing is an almost tabloid-esque hyperbole, but I've heard enough about New Japan turning the corner and read between the lines to expect a solid-good show with a better atmosphere than the show's had in recent years and, to that end, it delivered.

 

I thought the Nagata/Suzuki match was pretty good (though would someone payback Suzuki's spots on him already, Jesus), even if Nagata's armbar is blatantly there just for the Taker-Eyes. The junior title match was a fun spotfest, and everything hit quick and clean. Saku/Nakamura was fine too.

 

As for the main event, I thought it was fine, and felt like the main event, and didn't particularly drag for me, but... I don't get Tanahashi's character at all, in fact I find it so undefined as to be distracting. Now, I don't watch NJ with any regularity, but with the lone exception of him working the Carnival in '08, it's just never worked for me at all. With Okada, I know exactly who he is, what his character is, I love how he confidently paces himself on offense (particularly after the early DDT where he went all around the ring knowing Tanahashi was out), and his offense all fits together, with focus and enough swag on his submissions etc, etc... With Tanahashi, it's not even that I don't buy him as the top guy, because he carries himself as enough of a star that that's not an issue, but you toss this weird, cocky, effeminate, bulked up Sexy Boy whose idea of fire is to hop the ropes as a cue for his finish, I don't get it. I've never been notably bothered by his offense, but, having what Dylan said in my mind, I did pay more attention to it and do agree with him on it. I don't think it's anywhere near as bad as Cena (though I prefer John, quite honestly, all around), but you expect a little more oomph from the ace of New Japan. Maybe Hash spoiled us, and I'm not gonna start to make that comparison because it's much too unfair, but someone like Suwama in All Japan, without stiffing the fuck out of guys, without being particularly great, he comes off as the toughest guy there. Nakamura has enough shootery shit to be OK, but I don't know with Tanahashi. He's clearly a good talent, but, yeah...

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