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I've been thinking more about the Naito/Ibushi match, and I think it's purpose might be to set up a rematch for the IC title at MSG.

A lot of people seem to have Ibushi pegged to with the Cup in light of the news of him signing a contract, but I don't think he'll be getting the belt so soon and I don't think White is gonna lose the title on the first defense. 

Ibushi/Naito at MSG would give the crowd there a guaranteed awesome match to look forward to, and seeing Ibushi win would provide a feelgood, babyface win before White wins in the main event. Plus it will free Naito up from the IC belt so he can go on to take the heavyweight title from White at Dontaku or Dominion. 

That leaves the person winning the Cup and challenging White, and if White retains there I think his challenger should be someone the crowd can get behind but won't think MUST win like one of the top guys. I think you'd get a lot of unhappy fans if they put Okada, Naito, or Ibushi in that spot and they lose to Jay White, who a lot of western fans already think is being pushed too hard. 

So I've settled on maybe Ishii being perfect in that spot, or maybe Juice, who would be elevated with the Cup win and would have a natural storyline with White as it'll be a rematch of the awesome match they had for the US title last year in the States. 

The nice thing for the company is that the stakes are relatively low regarding who they choose for that spot, because MSG is already sold out and the Cup finals always draws a good number.

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Hmm, watching the brackets. It seems like Okada has a pretty clear path to the Finals and probably to get the title shot at MSG and get the belt back.

And it's funny how Naito losing the IC belt "frees him up" to got for the main title 1 month later. When his whole thing right now is being double champion and Gedo will basically be giving an IWGP title shot to a guy who just lost a big match. I'm all for Naito finally winning but that's just bad booking.

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2 hours ago, Stiva said:

Anything worth watching from the Honor Rising shows? Or is ROHs complete and utter blandness impossible to overcome?

Quite a bit! Castle-Ospreay was really good (and the tag match on night two was fun as well). The Young Lion matches with Sabre and Scurll on Night One were good. Both Gresham tag matches had lots of fun mat wrestling. 

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On 2/25/2019 at 4:43 PM, Migs said:

The size of the tournament definitely explains why they're going live with every show. 

It also makes the whole thing way too much of a hassle to follow. This reeks of something you'd want to watch a best-of after the fact. I mean, Lance Archer vs Toa Henare, Cold Cabana vs Makabe, Elgin vs Whoever, Nakanishi vs Yoshi-Hashi...  It's like those old KOTR qualifiers matches on Superstars...

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2 hours ago, Migs said:

Quite a bit! Castle-Ospreay was really good (and the tag match on night two was fun as well). The Young Lion matches with Sabre and Scurll on Night One were good. Both Gresham tag matches had lots of fun mat wrestling. 

Awesome, thanks. New Japan and ROH have a strange ability to make me look at a card and, despite seeing match ups that look intriguing, not have a single clue if they'll actually be good or not.

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Ospreay's match with Fale should let us know how serious they are about pushing him as a heavyweight. To be honest, though, I'm increasingly convinced that the junior division is an anachronism. It really struck me when I watched KUSHIDA's match with Tanahashi. The IWGP heavyweight champion was barely larger than the former junior ace. And most of the company's top heavyweights are his size or smaller. Plus, current New Japan is more of an entertainment-based product, so there's no real need to try to maintain sports legitimacy. They should do away with the division or at least significantly lower the weight limit.

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I dunno, the junior division has a great legacy. Guys like Ishimorii will never graduate to the heavies. They should absolutely do away with useless belts like the Openweight title, the 6 men whatever titles, the US belt which is akin to the old WWF European belt, hell even the IC title doesn't seem to be necessary (was it ever ?). Way too many titles, it's like Crockett in 87 or so.

And honestly, although I totally do understand the culture as an old joshi puroresu fan, NJ should totally do a women's division. They have the best pool of talent available in their own country. Not sure the daughter of Animal Hamaguchi is still available though (old-school joke).

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5 hours ago, El-P said:

It also makes the whole thing way too much of a hassle to follow. This reeks of something you'd want to watch a best-of after the fact. I mean, Lance Archer vs Toa Henare, Cold Cabana vs Makabe, Elgin vs Whoever, Nakanishi vs Yoshi-Hashi...  It's like those old KOTR qualifiers matches on Superstars...

I think the first round might be a bit of a chore, but after that it looks pretty intriguing, and two matches a day isn't a terrible amount to keep up on. The good first round matches are pretty easy to circle. 

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20 minutes ago, Migs said:

I think the first round might be a bit of a chore, but after that it looks pretty intriguing, and two matches a day isn't a terrible amount to keep up on. The good first round matches are pretty easy to circle. 

Oh, I have no doubt it will probably end up being very good, especially in the later phases, but I meant no way I'm watching all those live shows to follow the tournament from the beginning. 

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7 hours ago, El-P said:

I dunno, the junior division has a great legacy. Guys like Ishimorii will never graduate to the heavies. They should absolutely do away with useless belts like the Openweight title, the 6 men whatever titles, the US belt which is akin to the old WWF European belt, hell even the IC title doesn't seem to be necessary (was it ever ?). Way too many titles, it's like Crockett in 87 or so.

The IC title during the Nakamura days was definitely a big deal, although in a lot of ways it felt like a sort of consolation prize for Nak not getting THE push. Still, guys like Tanahashi, Naito, and Nak did a really great job making it feel like a legitimate number 2 belt.

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The IIzuka retirement show was one of the most fun of the year thus far, with a lot of cool matches with unusual pairings. The retirement match and post-match mess was terrific. Crazy how they managed to get a great moment out of IIzuka. Suzuki's ten count was quite funny too. NJPW can really thank Suzuki-Gun, they are the true life of the heel side in the company.

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That's pretty huge. With the words "legendary", "GOAT" thrown around like nothing, Liger retiring will remind everyone what a true legend and legit greatest of all time is all about. So, I guess that was part of the plan of having two Dome shows, the Liger retirement being enough to pack one of the two I suppose.

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15 minutes ago, El-P said:

That's pretty huge. With the words "legendary", "GOAT" thrown around like nothing, Liger retiring will remind everyone what a true legend and legit greatest of all time is all about. So, I guess that was part of the plan of having two Dome shows, the Liger retirement being enough to pack one of the two I suppose.

It should have a ton of people from other promotions so there should be some fun/interesting interpromotional matches. I'm all for it!

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Not only can Liger still go, he looks like he's barely aged in the past 20 or so years thanks to the costume. I would suggest that Blue Panther losing his mask is what killed his chances of being elected to the WON HOF. With the mask, he was ageless. Without it, he was an old man who looked even older, which meant that he couldn't be utilized beyond a certain level.

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Let's not forget he's been at this level of greatness after having a brain tumor removed like 23+ years ago.

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On 3/7/2019 at 1:27 PM, Boss Rock said:

The Taiji match was proof Liger can still go at a high level, he hasn't really lost a step at all. 

Yeah, excellent match. It's gonna be really special to watch this last year of Liger.

Speaking of the 47th Anniversary show, what a card. Apart from the match with the tongans (I'm so over them at this point, and the Bullet Club beatdowns are more played out than an nWo B-Team angle in 98 on Thunder), everything was at worse very good. Sho & Yo vs Bushi & Takagi was great and Ospreay vs White was simply MOTYC to me. Yeah, I was not crazy about White being put in the Omega position, but honestly the guy delivers when put under pression. Considering how young he is and how hard he's been pushed, he's already one hell of a worker. Of course, Ospreay is a total star already and an awesome worker. Really hope they put him in the G1, it would be crazy (funny how one year ago before the insane Mania week indy show fest I was basically an Ospreay hater, either he really progressed, either I just didn't get it then). Anyway, if that's the gaijin scene on top (adding ZSJ) for the next few years, Nj is safe in term of delivering great matches. Excellent job on this show building the NJ Cup too.

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I was a night 6, since Nara Centennial Hall is about a four-minute walk from my place. It is a great building to watch wrestling in. It was the first time NJPW has been to Nara in 15 years. I hope they come back soon. It was pretty nice to be able to walk to a show.

Ospreay vs Archer was a GREAT big man vs little man match. I really hope it comes across on video. They had the crowd in the palm of their hands and told a great story in there. Best Archer performance I have seen. Ospreay's selling and story-telling have come a long way in the past couple of years. Loved it. They had me legit marking out at some of the near-falls.

It was a fun show overall with a great crowd. Lots of little kids who were super into everything, A handful of other gaijin in the crowd, too. People screaming out taunts for Nakanishi and Kojima in the early matches... Just a good time. Really glad I was able to be there.

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Nice to see you back gordi ! 

I'm avoiding spoilers for the Cup and will probably watch a best-of when all is said and done, no time to watch all that stuff now.

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Yeah, even with skipping through the tags and the undercard, these shows are still a good chunk of time. I can’t imagine trying to watch all the NJPW possible, it seems like a hell of a commitment.

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I just watch these when I'm waking up in the morning - the switch to daylight savings time in the U.S. puts them at the perfect time on the east coast to wake up and catch the singles matches (and maybe the last tag match). It's mostly been fun but not must-see, other than a couple of the Day 3 matches - Ibushi-Naito was terrific and Tana-Umino was a really cool showcase for Umino. 

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Even though I am on Japan Time, I am usually working when the matches are on. I had to take the night off to go to the show on Thursday. Luckily, my boss understood that this was important to me :lol:

 

EL-P, I'll try to remember to spoiler tag anything that requires it in this thread... though, most likely, I will hardly be able to see anything worth spoiler-tagging anyway.

 

Also, reportedly, the Ospreay vs Archer match does in fact come across well on video!

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