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[1999-03-06-NJPW-Hyper Battle] Jushin Liger & Dr Wagner Jr vs Shinjiro Otani & Koji Kanemoto

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This has a crowd predisposed to be hot and Otani and Kanemoto are more focused on embarrassing Liger than beating him, so I think this is going to be pretty great. Liger can play that game. There's an awesome moment where Wagner puts Otani in a surfboard and Liger gouges his face while he's stuck in the air. But Kanemoto is determined to win the asshole game and tags in and knocks Liger off the apron. When Liger gets revenge a few moments later, Otani tries to run in but is held back by the ref, which gives Liger and Wagner a chance to do revenge doubleteaming. Wagner makes me laugh, running the ropes extra times and even somersaulting before kicking Kanemoto in the face simply because he can and after all, Otani/Kanemoto started this fight. We end up with both sides cheating like crazy - bootscrapes, low blows behind the ref's back, choking ... you name it. Otani even does the Wagner rope run times ten a few minutes later. This match rules! Kanemoto applies a figure four at one point, which Liger tries to block with his hand. Otani casually kicks it away. So Wagner runs in and does a Fujiwara armbar on Kanemoto while he's in the figure four, so Otani applies one on him while he has one on Kanemoto. So awesome. That's really the story of this match and I don't want to go through all the sequences, but Otani and Kanemoto are determined to be the biggest assholes out there. Liger and Wagner try to play them at their own game and get trumped every time. At one point Liger has enough and palm strikes the shit out of Otani a few times, enough to knock him loopy. Wagner also comes in later and shows a real aggressive streak, and this is what anyone should point to who says he adapted well to Japan. Another great match.

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Super fun. Incredibly entertaining. The level of heelish/assholish behavior is off the charts. Watching this makes me want to see Ohtani/Kanemoto as a heel tag team in an 80's territory. Who wouldn't wanna see Ohtani/Kanemoto vs. The RnR's? There are quite a few comedy spots but it doesn't feel like a comedy match. It still feels serious and like both teams are killers looking for the victory. Great showcase of all 4 guys.

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On my disk this is Liger & El Samurai vs. Ohtani & Kendo Ka Shin. Anyone else?

 

Super fun match by the way, if not the MOTYC this sounds!

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Downloading the real match now. Funny thing is it sounds like both matches share some spots, maybe playing off this match. At one point Ohtani is blocking a figure four from El Samurai and he calls in Kendo to help him out, and Kendo actually kicks his own parters arm away for Samurai to lock on the move. They also do a double team with Ohtani in the surfboard and Samurai coming off the top with an elbow. Also a cool spot where Ohtani is about to do his boot scrapes on Samurai but Kendo interrupts him to hit bootscrapes of his own, only for Ohtani to look at him cross and go super deep with his follow up scrapes.

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Now for the real match. I LOVED it. It's like a glimpse into the future to what the Liger/Kikuchi tags would hold, which is one of my all time favorite feuds. Juniors tag with lots of hate, dirty tactics and still bringing the workrate juniors style. This match was great from the very beginning and I loved every minute of it. Everyone in this tag is perfect. I've always loved Ohtani for the fact that he's the most generic looking guy you can imagine but he's SO emotive and expressive in the ring. There's this one great spot where he's hit with a big palm strike and you see him sit up and start looking around trying to figure out where he is like he's been totally knocked out of his wits. Also a great boot scrape spot and a great rope running spot that plays off a great Wagner rope running spot. These teams are really the perfect foils: Ohtani and Kanemoto as total assholes, just regular looking black-trunks juniors, vs. Liger and Wagner, two super charismatic masked legends. The end stretch is great, they really turn up the work but don't lose the edge that makes this match unique and special. The dive section is nice and I love the actual ending itself, perfect for the Kanemoto/Ohtani team. This match will do VERY well on my MOTY list.

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Really great match that was only a couple of more minutes away from reaching MOTYC level for me. Opening shine of LIger and Wagner was good and they rocked this. Ohtani/Kanemoto settle down and they really could have been one of the better tag teams in history with a few years of domination as they compliment each other well and are just alike to work great as a team but different to differentiate themselves. They look strong here picking up the win and it feels especially as a unit they are superior to Liger. ****

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Light and frothy entertainment for all the family. Well those members who like wrestling at least. They were enjoying themselves out there with plenty of playing to the crowd and imitating their opponents. Had an M-Pro type of vibe to it. Fun action all the way and easy viewing. I don't really get the MOTYC talk as it didn't feel particularly important to me.

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Fun little sprint with Liger having way too much fun, including a Popeye-esque wind-up leading to an eyepoke, and celebrating a palm strike in the corner like he just won the Slam Dunk Contest. Kind of ends just as it looks like it's going to enter a big finishing stretch.

 

Aaaand we've got the wrong match on the disk. Well, that will have to come at a later time.

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Much better match on 3/6, with all four guys trying to be as giant of dicks as possible with big games of one-upsmanship all throughout. I don't really see it as a MOTYC because the issues I had with the '98 BOSJ finals cropped up again--Wagner throws bomb after bomb without selling much of anything, then goes down to a pretty perfunctory and unearned Kanemoto comeback after killing him dead. It didn't bother me nearly as much this time, but it did a little bit, so this is just really good instead of Great. Wagner has tons of offense and is charismatic and engaging but I really want to see him work for underneath just once instead of acting as a junior heavyweight Bruiser Brody.

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Jushin "Thunder" Liger & Dr. Wagner Jr vs Shinjiro Otani & Koji Kanemoto - NJPW 3/6/99

I am watching the Super Bowl with my Dad. Even though, I am from Boston, I am not very into Boston sports. My Dad is so that makes it entertaining, but it also gives me time to write some reviews. 

First Half: I really liked the first ten minutes of this. Great heeling and fuck you spots. To me it was better than those Liger vs NOAH tags that everyone loves (I like them, just done love them). I like that it is Kanemoto & Otani that start it so it is Liger & Wagner paying them back. The beginning is so, so good. Kanemoto is being a dick. Liger cracks him with a Shotei. Then on the criss cross nails a fucking axe kick! That was so cool. Then he grabs him by the horn and brings him. They fuck with Liger in the corner. I really liked that Otani was shoving his foot in the face and then Liger grabbed the foot and dumped him on his ass. I am not a huge Wagner fan and he is definitely the fourth best in this match. However, they use him wisely and that it is to do double team payback spots and hit bombs. Most of his problems are related to a lack of psychology so if it is just go hit offense, he can do that. Liger and Wagner do a great job paying the heels back in their shine which Wagner mostly takes. I love Liger throwing the facewash back in Otani's face after all those years of wrestling him. So Otani ballshots him! Yes! Otani does his own facewash! Then they mock Wagner's stupid criss cross spot he had done earlier. My disdain for Wagner makes me root for Otani & Kanemoto. The match does kind of fall off the rails as people just start throwing bombs without any transitions or selling. Kanemoto is taking a superplex and then hitting his twisting senton. Then all the dives on the outside. Even without psychology, it is a very good spotfest. 

Last Half: Great stuff even where there were patches without psychology thanks to Wagner. There is an excellent moment where Kanemoto is pumped to tag in Otani and then Otani EATS a Shotei and Kanemoto is bummed out. Liger is trying to wipe Otani's face off with these Shoteis amazing. Ligerbomb! Kanemoto saves. Wagner attacks Kanemoto. Liger eats knees on a splash. Otani hits his big springboard spinning heel kick for two. Wagner comes in and I just dont like him. He does these weird taunts and then Otani mocks him and I love it. Liger saves Wagner's dumbass with a Shotei to the back of Kanemoto's head. Ligerbomb and then a Crucifix Powerbomb by Wagner that I totally bit on. I thought that was the finish for sure. Good nearfall. Otani nails his trademark spirngboard dropkick to the back and Kanemoto hits a moonsault while Otani keeps Liger at bay, 1-2-3!

Otani & Kanemoto were an amazing heel tag team it is too bad they split them up. Kanemoto & Otani as heels against a Liger & Minoru Tanaka tag team with Minoru being groomed for the babyface ace role would have been tremendous business in the early 2000s. Real shame. Fantasty booking, the beginning ten minutes rule hard! It is just heel prick work and babyface payback spots. Then it is just a bunch of bombs...Liger vs Otani came off really good and I am really happy Kanemoto pinned that dumbass Wagner. ****1/2

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