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Superstar Sleeze

[2015-07-29-NJPW-G1 Climax] Katsuyori Shibata vs Kota Ibushi

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Katsuyori Shibata vs Kota Ibushi - NJPW G-1 Climax 7/29/15

 

HOLY SHIT! DAT SLAP! WOW! That was wicked. I really enjoyed this for what it was your stiff, strike-heavy modern New Japan sprint. Kota Ibushi needs as many of these as he can get. He really ought to have won this match, but that's neither here nor there. This was the inverse of the Nakamura match, I really enjoyed the beginning, but then it devolved into a slap-happy, move-trading spotfest. That's enjoyable, but just not the best. I really liked Shibata kicking Ibushi's ass in the beginning. Ibushi is best coming from underneath. Shibata went for the penalty kick early and Ibushi avoided. He tries something cute and Shibata swats him out of the air with a European Uppercut. Tremendous opening sequence. Ibushi is clearly a much better Naito in terms of charisma and strikes. However, he does have the problem of no selling. I like that he is standing up to these badasses, but he needs to sell too. Shibata working on top was excellent. The exact intensity and urgency you want. I thought he oversold that dropkick that Ibushi used to get on offense. Ibushi should have had to string more moves than that to really take command. The back half was lots of MOVEZ~! The finish sequence was incredible. WICKED SLAP! Sleeper and then PENALTY KICK~! Overall, very entertaining match, but the only thing I will probably remember is that slap. It is great that Ibushi is competitive in these matches, but he needs wins too. ****

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I soured a little on this match, still thought it was really good, but more despite the 1 counts and the million forearm exchanges than because of them. I think they got over the dumb masculinity of Shibata really well even when sequences would get more complex. The most memorable sequence was the one where he trapped Ibushi in the corner, forearmed him to set up the dropkick, then went for it but Ibushi followed him to the corner and elbowed him. Then, Shibata just bulldozed through Ibushi, and went right back to forearming Ibushi, but Ibushi followed him to the corner, this time kicking him and "stealing" the Dropkick from Shibata. And I think that doing what they did, with Shibata instantly getting up, getting in Ibushi's face, murdering him in the corner and upgrading his combo by adding various stomps and facewashes made for a better choice than revenging it later in the match. A no-sell spot isn't really that big of a deal in a crash and burn match like this. Shibata grabbed at Ibushi's leg several times in the match, and even hit him with a wicked counter forearm earlier in the match, making that damned slap an extremely fitting final transition, and I loved the contrast between Shibata's hand basically going through Ibushi's hand and Ibushi's wacky kung fu punches that came moments before that. ***3/4

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