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Best Junior


Mad Dog
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Since the other one went well I thought we could try the best junior heavyweight wrestler around. Just for arguments sake we'll leave Jericho/Benoit/Eddie off the list.

 

For me it's Jushin Liger and only Jushin Liger. I think he has a legit claim to be the best overall package ever as a wrestler. I don't think I've ever seen him in a style of match that he couldn't handle. I think as he's aged he's shown a lot of flexibility by switching to a more brawling/power style than a flying/mat style.

 

Owen Hart is probably second overall. Another guy that could bounce around from any style of match and adjust immediately.

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I like Ohtani a lot as well. I wish he would lose some weight and go back to being a junior. His training to become a heavyweight in 2001 was one of my favorite storylines from that year. Too bad Sasaki squashed him like a bug.

 

His first round match in the 95 J-Cup is a favorite of mine. Not a great match but I thought he did some great leg work during that match. His semi-final with Ultimo Dragon during the J Crown is another great match. I think it was the best match for both.

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If we're talking all-time, that'd be pretty hard for me. I guess since you excluded Benoit, Jericho & Eddie, I'd go with either Liger, Mysterio or Malenko. If we're talking current, though, I'm going with James Gibson. He's had a phenominal '05.

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Guest The Man in Blak

Unfortunately, I haven't really seen a lot of Dynamite, so I can't really say where I'd place him.

 

It's all too easy to fall in line with the Liger recommendations. I do like Sasuke, though, no matter how inglorious his North American runs were. Ohtani and Owen Hart are great mentions as well.

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Sasuke was great, even "The Great" at times (har!), but I don't think he had a long enough stretch to be the best, personally. That said, he's at least worthy of discussion here. Don't know how I feel about Owen.

 

One thing that helps Liger's case even more is the fact that he had 3-4 great years before he even started the Liger gimmick.

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I happen to think Otani from ~1995-~1998 was the the best junior ever. But Liger was super-great from about 1988 to 1998, so it's a matter of weighing the longevity along with the skill level. Does 3 years of being arguably the top junior wrestler ever outdue 10 years of being the second best? It's not unlike the way I think about Kawada and Jumbo, but Kawada did have more years of being unbelievably great than Otani did. In this case, I think Liger gets the edge. If Otani had 2-3 more years of peak performance, he'd be my #1.

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I have a legit fondness for the DK/Tiger Mask Sayama Series. If I was to pick the greatest LHW of all time...I would probably have to agree about Liger, based on the length of his career and number of classic matches that I have seen.

 

If you love LHW action, you really should check out NOAH. They have such an awesome Jr. Heavyweight Division right now...KENTA, Kotaro Suzuki (Mushiking Terry), Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Takashi Sugiura, Naomichi Marufuji, SUWA, Ricky Marvin, El Oriental, Abysmal Negro, and you could probably even throw Mohammed Yone and Go Shiosaki in there too, although they usually compete with the Heavyweights.

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