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Charles (Loss)

[1999-10-11-NJPW-Final Dome] Shinjiro Otani & Tatsuhito Takaiwa vs Minoru Tanaka & Koji Kanemoto

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Footage of a press conference precedes this, where things got heated between Otani and Kanemoto. This match was fantastic. They worked a relentless match, which seems an odd word to describe a match, but I think it works. What I mean by that is that the effort was there immediately from the opening bell and I'm not sure they ever wavered from that at all. Otani and Kanemoto have really come into their own by this time and carry the bulk of this, looking great doing it. But there was also a decent amount of spotlight given to Minoru Tanaka, trying to get him over as someone ready to hang at this level, even in losing. I wouldn't quite call this a MOTYC, but it's just below and it's another great match in 1999.

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Good match with the crowd getting behind them in the dome. It seemed more fast paced than usual. Otani is awesome and I loved the missle dropkick party toward the end

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Terrific junior match. Total nonstop action (pun intended), and junior puroresu was much better before the annoying influence of american indy wrestling kicked in via ROH and such. Ohtani and Kanemoto are great, but Takaiwa brings his usual different, more power based offense, which I always though was nice because it brought some variety to the mix. And Minoru Tanaka was that terrific Battlart worker who was dating Yumi Fukawa (he ended up marrying her, I guess they're still together, which would be quite nice). The junior tags were the saving grace of a promotion going straight into Inokism hell.

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An up and down contest that I ended up liking overall. Ohtani was really dicking it up early doors, which is never a bad thing. Tanaka was well suited stylistically to transition from BattlArts to Shin Nihon. He also had chemistry with Kanemoto as a kicker duo. Minoru's unfamiliarity with the opposition was apparent at times however. Takaiwa was repetitive with his lariats. They were going full out for a Junior Classic, yet the pacing didn't feel quite right. A firmer structure would also have helped. Nothing major, just minor kinks. I'm glad to say that they got a level of heat that they deserved.

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This is one of my favorite things in wrestling: hateful junior style tag with lots of rule bending. I guess there's not a lot of examples of it but we have this, the Wagner match from March and the Liger/Kikuchi series and I love love love this style of match every time I see it. This match is really back a forth and no one gets the advantage for any extended period of time except until the end when a series of huge moves puts Kanemoto away. A great finish with great post match reactions from Ohtani and Takaiwa. So much great stuff in this match. Otani and Kanemoto are obviously the stand outs but everyone's good here. One of my top matches of the year. Otani and Kanemoto even did a mirror drop kick spot in the beginning that was good!

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#335

 

This was a good match. I have vague memories of downloading it on Hotline back in the day. IIRC, it took me three days to download it on my dodgy dial up connection. What made this entertaining was that Ohtani had transitioned into a surly juniors vet. He still did some of his signature selling, but he'd moved on from the lovable loser that he played in '96 and '97 and was beyond that now. I remember people thinking that Takaiwa was fairly bland outside of his signature power moves, but I think he's the perfect partner for Ohtani to take under his wing. Anyone above Ohtani's station wouldn't feel right. Kanemoto was fun in this as a poor man's Ikeda and his heat with Ohtani made it better than the average juniors' bout. Tanaka looked like he belonged in the New Japan Juniors division far more than in BattlARTS and his flash added to the bout. Good shit all-round.

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The press conference was cool. It was nice to see Otani and Kanemoto on opposite ends and they kicked each other's ass all around the ring. Tanaka had a few awkward moments and to me was the clear #4 in here. The stuff with Otani and Kanemoto was splendid and this set a template for the multiple tags that would involve most of these men in 2000. The finish was also great with Takaiwa having to break the armbar to save Otani and then a big pin sequence with Takaiwa hitting some huge powerbombs and Otani ending up getting the win. ****1/4 (8.6)

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Sort of a better version of the AJPW 6-man tag we just saw--a relentless but not overbearing pace and lots of stiff strikes and hate amidst fundamentally solid wrestling. I actually thought this was a bit of a breakout party for Tanaka and even if he's raw, I want to see a lot more of him because his good shit was really good indeed. Way better and even more heated than the IWGP junior singles match earlier in the card. One of the more fun NJPW tag bouts of the year.

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