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[2000-11-30-NJPW] Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima vs Yuji Nagata & Takashi Iizuka

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Man, this match sucks. Outside of Nagata's facial expression not even changing when Tenzan rakes his eyes nothing that happens was awful but not a single thing was good. The structure isn't compelling in any way. They hit each other. Sometimes a guy gets isolated but it's brief and it never goes as far as you expect a heat segment to go. There is very little grappling so they throw a lot of strikes. The strikes aren't sold in an interesting way, even if they aren't completely no-sold and they aren't even stiff enough to make up for that. Kojima hurts his knee but it doesn't really factor into anything. The crowd is hot but I can't bring myself to care.

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Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima vs. Yuji Nagata & Takahashi Iizuka - NJPW G-1 Tag Finals 11/30/00

 

My theory was that Tenzan and Kojima could be a great babyface tag team, but holy shit are they as shitty as I thought they would be as a heel tag team. Usually in a match I don't like, I can figure out why someone nominated it. This is just wretched. The fact that AJ Styles reportedly got a pretty good match out of Tenzan in 2014 should lock him up as Wrestler of the Year because 2000 Tenzan fuckin sucked. My notes just say "lots of chopping" over and over again. What the hell was with those shitty American-style punches, Nagata. If you are going to punch someone do it like Tenryu, man. There is no sense of flow. People just tag in and out. There are lazy transitions like the powerbomb into the heel hook. The finishing stretch is just a bunch of bombs with no rhyme or reason. The best part of this match was a Scott Norton sighting. Bullet Club needs more Scott Norton.

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This is the finals and much more importantly, the final decider as to whether Nagata or Sasaki will be my top ranked NJPW heavy at year end. Easily the best match we have seen from the tournament in the past couple of days and a match that felt like it had real stakes. The beginning portion again didn’t have a great control segment or much interesting happening from Tenzan and Kojima’s end but the finishing run was really exciting and had some nice payoffs of the big moves that have been used to great success throughout the tourney by Tenzan and Kojima. The best of these being the save by Ilzuka on the moonsault pin by Tenzan on Nagata. That was a key save and Ilzuka is able to get a choke on Tenzan just long enough to daze him allowing Nagata to hit two back suplexes and win the tournament. Fun finale. ***1/2 (7.1)

 

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