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My big issue with New Japan is the same now as it's been for the last 10+ years: in a 3-4 hour show, the only thing worth watching is usually the last two matches & maybe like a Junior title match. The undercard is miserable. Guys like EVIL, Sanada & Taichi are never going to improve. I mean, we don't have people like Takashi Iizuka shitting up the card anymore but there's still way too many guys that are mediocre at best or downright boring & bad at worst - like Tama Tonga, Chase Owens, Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi or Tenzan.

If a match is happening featuring two of the following, I'll watch it. If it doesn't feature two of them, I won't: Okada, Tanahashi, Jay White, Jeff Cobb, Ibushi, Suzuki, Naito, Ospreay, Zack Sabre Jr., Ishii or Shingo.

I don't mind Yano during a G1 but I don't go out of my way to watch him. Sometimes I'll give Goto a chance as well if he's working one of the names above but more often than not, he feels like he phones it in.

I love the New Japan main event, big match style. It's just that everything else, especially the undercard & tag stuff, it almost always universally bad.

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Shingo-Ospreay was great but don't think it's better than their BOSJ match like many are claiming it is. Credit to them for making 45 minutes feel a lot shorter, but still felt needlessly padded in the beginning.

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Up to nine now.

It is absolutely flabbergasting how terrible Japan's vaccine rollout has been. I would have expected them to be among the front lines, both because of their reputation and because they know they have the Olympics this year (in theory).

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Genuinely stunned as to how bad their response has been. Even countries like the UK and US who have completely bungled the pandemic up to this point have had strong vaccine roll-outs.

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I have no idea, but I'm guessing Japan is, like most of the world outside of the US and UK, and countries with small populations, struggling with having enough vaccine supply? Here in Canada for example, we have been doing well with first doses, but only 3% of the pop has been given second doses because we are limited supply wise, unable to produce domestically and mostly relying on European delivery. But again, I have no idea what the situation is like in Japan other than the rollout has been very minimal so far 

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I haven't looked into it deeply but thought I saw something that Japan has rules about only administering vaccines manufactured in Japan.  If accurate it would certainly contribute to a slow rollout.  Regardless, its certainly an unfortunate situation.

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Using the lost day from Pfizer shot 2 to catch up on some NJ matches as I haven't seen anything since WK

 

Didn't even finish Tana vs Shingo. I do not enjoy seeing Tana hobble around like Terry Funk, nor do I like seeing him continue to do the HFF to the floor. I got probably 3/4ths of the way through and just was not enjoying it at all.

 

Sho vs Takahashi: No idea why this needed to be a 35 minute EPIC junior heavyweight match where 80% of the match was throwing elbows like it was Shibata vs Ishii or something. Longest jr title match of all time and for what? Match barely went anywhere and easily could have been 15-20 and gotten the exact same thing across and been less of a drag.

 

Ishii vs White-O Castle Attack: White has been the pandemic MVP for NJPW in my eyes, coming from a dude who didn't see shit in him for the past couple of years. Dude has really come into his own in such a crazy way. Real strong match, feel like you don't see a lot of matches in NJ built around mid section attacks. Real tired of Gedo bullshit, though. 

 

Naito vs Ibushi Castle Attack: Nice to see them structure a match around something other than trying to paralyze each other at least at first, but lol at Naito not knowing how to properly put on a figure four. The bloom has been off the Naito rose for me since probably 2018. Gedo's shitty booking made me lose all investment and interest in him. In general, I thought his technique was real loose and sloppy all match. Even his normal spots he'll do literally every match he seemed to be getting hung up on for some reason. Did like the finish of Ibushi just fish flopping into a pin, but otherwise boy do I never need to see them try to break each other's necks ever again.

 

Ibushi vs Desperado Anniversary Show: This was pretty good. Never give Despy any time at all but this was actually a better story and better worked match than Ibushi vs Naito, imo. All the near falls and near tap outs actually felt more hype and realistic than anything in the Naito match, which is lol because obviously El Desperado was not going to become the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion under any circumstances here. I also thought this match did much, much more for the junior division than the 35 minute Time Bomb/Sho main event.

 

KENTA vs Juice NJ Cup: Desperately hoping either guy gains back the momentum they once had. This was pretty good. Don't know why Gedo spent 3 years giving Juice this story of slowly rising up the ranks just to start him back at stage one all over again right as he was peaking and had the most crowd support he'd ever have. 

Okada vs Shingo NJ Cup: This was so much better than the match with Tana. I feel like I haven't seen Okada get fucking REKT like that since the Shibata match. This was really awesome, highly benefiting from not having 20 minutes of fluff in big Okada matches.

Suzuki vs KENTA NJ Cup: I think it had been some 15 years since their one and only singles match, and they're both much different wrestlers. Suzuki for the better, imo, KENTA not so much but he was having an astounding run around that time that no one would be able to physically keep up with for another 15 years. I never would have imagined a news paper would be a focal point in a MiSu/KENTA match but it's been a weird couple of years for all of us. I just want to see KENTA mature into a new age lumpy grumpy Tenryu and it just doesn't seem like that is in the cards. Once in a while you still get flashes of the old KENTA, but rarely these days.

Goto vs Shingo NJ Cup: Can't bullshit here, by the time I had watched this, I had taken a shot about the size of 1/3rd the bottle of nyquil 70% into KENTA/MiSu so I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention. It seemed like Goto probably had one of his couple of matches a year where he rises to the occasion but also seemed like he was kicking out of the same stuff that Okada was kicking out of and that seemed odd to me.

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Further catch up

 

Ospreay vs ZSJ NJ Cup: I'm really amazed Ospreay didn't end 2020 with one or both knees exploded as his bulk did not appear to be a safe, slow bulk and he's still doing a ton of jumping/flipping/both while landing on the floor feet first, etc. It seemed to take him a bit to fully adapt to a heavyweight style and I see this match as more of a prelude to what heavyweight Ospreay could be more  than anything else.

 

Tanahashi vs White-O NJ Cup: Love Jay's shit talk of Tana's body but tbh I'd be much happier with Tana leaning into becoming a fat NJ dad type or later stages of Mutoh type than hobbling through his old spots. I don't think he's true NJ dad tier yet, but he's pretty close and has been needing to change his style to extend his career for at least 4-5 years. They've been kind of half heartedly doing the "Tana is old and busted" story off and on when it serves them for a few years now, but now he's at the point where he actually IS old and busted so they need to shit or get off the pot in regards to that type of story and booking, imo. Grabbing his saggy belly skin during an abdominal stretch on a dude known for his physique for so many years might be the most disrespectful heel work I've seen in years. I liked this more than Shingo/Tana but I don't know how much longer you can put Tana in these kind of matches. Then again I've been thinking that for years and is Tana even as bad as Mutoh seemed before the Shining Wizard phase added an extra what, decade of mostly very strong work? I also don't know how much more Tana could possibly put Jay White over. 

KENTA vs Shingo NJ Cup: This was fine I guess. The full speed murderous Pumping Bomber really should finish matches from time to time. The DDT no sell into a northern lights was something I'm not sure I've ever seen before and not sure if I really hated it or really liked it.

Shingo vs Ospreay NJ Cup final:  Some great stuff in this. The 450 through the table was nuts. I don't think it really came together as a whole match, though.

Ospreay vs Ibushi: I feel pretty much the same way about this. Some great stuff but as a whole it didn't really flow well to me. I guess I'm wondering why Ospreay isn't just doing the heavy death strikes as his main offense as those are the things that 1. Look the best but 2. also are most effective for him throughout the match. 

 

 

I'm definitely done waiting for EVIL or Sanada to show out. Instant skips going forward regardless of opponents. 

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