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That Ibushi vs Kenta match was so weird. I think I liked it. Well, I liked most of it. But then there were three egregiously bad spots which were meant to be key points in the match. 

1) The count-out tease from the back, which I never bought because the ref was just going to stop counting until Ibushi got back in,

2) The table spot where the table fell over and Ibushi jumped anyway looked pretty weak,

3) There was a point where Kenta was meant to throw Ibushi into the exposed buckle, they completely whiffed it and then Kenta just did a headlock takeover for a nearfall.

Very messy stuff. Honestly, I get why they put Kota in the final and I think the idea is to accentuate Okada's victory even further by putting him over 'Mr. G1' in the finals but I'm so uninterested in Ibushi right now. His booking for the last 12 months, in what should have been his high point in the company, has been absolutely horrible to the point where he has majorly regressed as a star in my opinion.

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Poor Ibushi. At the start of the year, everyone was salivating about him becoming champion, but some subpar feuds along with that whole double title nonsense (which obviously wasn't his fault but he got the brunt of the heat) killed him. It doesn't help that this is his 4th G1 final in a row. He's been popular for so long and he is so damn good that by this time next year he'll probably be ok again, but it's a shame all the same. I think Okada winning the G1 and winning the IWGP is their best bet right now. I think Shingo has done an amazing job as champ (and in the pandemic era in general), putting on a banger with Tanahashi and carrying EVIL to a decent match, plus the likely Ibushi and ZSJ title matches will probably be great. 

 

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6 hours ago, FMKK said:

That Ibushi vs Kenta match was so weird. I think I liked it. Well, I liked most of it. But then there were three egregiously bad spots which were meant to be key points in the match. 

1) The count-out tease from the back, which I never bought because the ref was just going to stop counting until Ibushi got back in,

2) The table spot where the table fell over and Ibushi jumped anyway looked pretty weak,

3) There was a point where Kenta was meant to throw Ibushi into the exposed buckle, they completely whiffed it and then Kenta just did a headlock takeover for a nearfall.

Very messy stuff. Honestly, I get why they put Kota in the final and I think the idea is to accentuate Okada's victory even further by putting him over 'Mr. G1' in the finals but I'm so uninterested in Ibushi right now. His booking for the last 12 months, in what should have been his high point in the company, has been absolutely horrible to the point where he has majorly regressed as a star in my opinion.

Basically my thoughts. It was a mess, but a fun mess. 

Ishii-Yano was a blast. They have such great chemistry and I would like to see more "serious Yano" in these longer matches. His comedy works better when it's in shorter matches. Loa-Sabre was also really good, the best Loa has ever looked. Their match not being the main event obviously spoiled that Sabre was losing, but I was still kinda shocked.

The overall direction of the company definitely does feel like an attempt to "return to normalcy" by putting the title back on Okada and at this point it's probably what they need.

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15... 16... 17... 18... 19... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

I kinda lost it everytime. :D Still, I did love the KENTA vs Ibushi match, despite the few oddball happenings here and there (that table spots did look even more painfull that way considering how KENTA was positioned on the edge of the wood)

 

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2 hours ago, kas said:

Thought that Cobb Vs Okada was the best of their three matches.

Agreed, in part because it wasn't stretched for length. Cobb might be the most improved in the world this year, even if I still don't quite care about him.

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As expected, B Block Finals did horrible at Budokan with only 2088 in attendance. By far the worst from any promotion that has run the building during the pandemic (including NJ's previous shows).

Like I've said, the real test is the final show but regardless of how well they draw with that one, they have a real job ahead of them to get interest in their product back up. Would be baffling if Covid restrictions continue and Gedo's stance is still "well, can't do anything until foreigners can work here!".

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I really think it's down to oversaturation as well - this year they've only increased the number of shows they're putting on and have run multiple stadium shows. And now the three-night WK is gonna make it worse...

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Couldn't find a bookie taking bets on Ibushi. I can get $1.06 for the Liberal Democratic Party to form Japan's next government, though.

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Maybe this could be a blessing in disguise for him. People's reaction to his 4th straight G1 final was negative. However I have no doubt people will miss him. For now though, to lose both him and Naito to injury is a heavy blow for New Japan, I can forsee them making zsj and possibly SANADA a more permanent fixture in the main event scene at least until they come back

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Shibata being back (in whatever form or fashion) is the best news New Japan has had since the pandemic started.

Ibushi's injury is just another chapter on the cursed year the promotion has had. I agree he'll benefit from being away for some months but the promotions needs his star power, today's show wasn't that good drawing wise (wasn't bad either though. It's the best NJPW's done in Budokan during the pandemic. But still not better than NOAH).

The road to WK is gonna interesting.

 

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Terrible way to end the tournament. I didn't think Ibushi's run since returning from pneumonia was bad at all and he and Okada were having a damn good match up to that point. Hopefully he recovers and comes back better than ever.

Okada apparently asked for the last IWGP Heavyweight Championship belt. He's clearly a conduit for the viewers' frustrations with the product.

And hell yeah Shibata!!! Even if he can't be cleared to compete on a regular basis, just let him do stuff like that every once in a while. There are a ton of folks he could do exhibitions with.

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Okada needs to hit the rainmaker in the Dome and erase everything that has happened in the last two years

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Okada is my favorite wrestler and yet there was even a time circa 2018-2019 where I was ready for a change in the main event. But desperate times call for desperate measures. We need the ace back on top.

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Hopefully this means Ibushi can properly recover from his pneumonia as well. I can't imagine that had no role in his injury.

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Shibata !!!! :)

Ibushi !!!! :(

7 hours ago, FMKK said:

Okada needs to hit the rainmaker in the Dome and erase everything that has happened in the last two years

This.

Oh and BTW, much respect and thanks to Kevin Kelly, who's always the best pro-wrestling announcer in the world during the G1.

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