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Charles (Loss)

Wrestle Kingdom 10

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Watched it live, don't know why, because it was very meh. The best match was AJ/Nak. Okada v Tanahashi is what you can expect, so I'm not going to get very deep on it. At least the ending with Okada grabbing Tanahashi's hand was good, the rest, not so much. Okada's selling is abismal.

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  1. reDRagon vs. Young Bucks vs. Team Dragon Gate vs. RPG Vice: ****
  2. Briscoes & Yano vs. Fale, Tama Tonga, & Yujiro: **3/4
  3. Michael Elgin vs. Jay Lethal: **3/4
  4. Kenny Omega vs. KUSHIDA: ***1/2
  5. Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma: ***3/4
  6. Hirooki Goto vs. Tetsuya Naito: ***1/4
  7. Tomohiro Ishii vs. Katusyori Shibata: ****1/2
  8. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles: ****3/4
  9. Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi: *****

Okada and Tanahashi did it again. I knew people would complain, but those people are out of their minds. That match was art. Absolutely incredible. Nakamura vs. Styles really wasn't that far behind. Match 2 was a little too slow for what it needed to be and Lethal was painfully un-over in the Dome. #BigMike, however, got the crowd behind him.

 

Super great show. Arguably as good as last year's. Loved it.

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  1. reDRagon vs. Young Bucks vs. Team Dragon Gate vs. RPG Vice: ****
  2. Briscoes & Yano vs. Fale, Tama Tonga, & Yujiro: **3/4
  3. Michael Elgin vs. Jay Lethal: **3/4
  4. Kenny Omega vs. KUSHIDA: ***1/2
  5. Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma: ***3/4
  6. Hirooki Goto vs. Tetsuya Naito: ***1/4
  7. Tomohiro Ishii vs. Katusyori Shibata: ****1/2
  8. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles: ****3/4
  9. Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi: *****

 

 

 

Jesus Christ, no way on God's green is that opener 4-star. Maybe 2. MAYBE. Super spotty. Super sloppy. Full of a ton of bullshit stalling, contrived spots, people standing around waiting for the next person to get their shit in, all the "comedy" shit with the suck it chants & crotch-chops & shit. That match was horrible. Pretty much everything that I hate about professional wrestling was on display in that match.

 

Everyone needs to watch the last three matches on this card though. Awesome, super fun stuff.

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I thought Trent looked good in the junoir tag match, the way he bumps always stands out for me. If Romero is indeed NXT bound I really hope he has fun singles match at New Year's Dash to leave the company on a high (I am hoping for Liger or Gedo).

 

The Never Title match was a WAR like it should have been

 

I really loved AJ vs Nak, the pacing throughout the match was great. I think I heard someone say on We Don't Know Wrestling, that the match will be compared to the Ibushi match last WK but I think the pacing made it stand out on it's own.

 

I understand people's grip about the knee selling in the main event and it stopped it from being a perfect match to me but it was a very engrossing ride.

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The last three matches were great and must watch. It seems like the biggest argument that people had against Okada vs Tanahashi was Okada selling of the leg from all of the damage. I agree that it was weird that the leg would be sold for almost 10 minutes and yet he could drop kicks like nothing matters. But if you are bitching about that then Ishii vs Shibata is a 1 star match because that amazing match was just 2 guys beating the fuck out of each other and not selling a damn thing. That was the ultimate "my dick is bigger" match as someone on Twitter said. Can't have it both ways.

 

Those last 3 matches hid what I thought was terrible booking in the beginning. You have a pre show Rumble match won by one of the bookers of the shows with the supposed big celebrity next to him, the Bucks winning the Jr tag title because I guess he was the only team that can regularly appear in New Japan, you have Lethal beat Elgin in a way that completely exposes his Big Mike super man character, and Goto beating basically Naito, BUSHI, and EVIL all by himself which I don't get.

 

Glad to see the Briscoes win the 6 man belts because they will be around more. I want to be excited for Honma winning the tag titles with Makabe but last year Doc & Gallows lost at WK and won it like 2 months later.

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But if you are bitching about that then Ishii vs Shibata is a 1 star match because that amazing match was just 2 guys beating the fuck out of each other and not selling a damn thing.

 

Well... I think it is.

 

 

 

Okada and Tanahashi did it again. I knew people would complain, but those people are out of their minds. That match was art. Absolutely incredible.

 

Thanks for the enlightening, I guess...

 

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I caught the last 3 matches.

Ishii vs Shibata wasn't my type of match. I'm not a fan of dick measuring wrestling which a lot of this match was. Those head butts were totally uneccesary. I'm a guy who likes the work to be compelling. For me it lacked. 2 1/2*

Nakamura vs Styles

I thought this was really well worked. I liked the early pacing. AJ playing opossum with the back was gold. AJ working the leg has tons of drama. The spot where AJ was caught in a triangle and delivered a 1 arm Styles Clash was epic. I loved all of Nak's back work . Wish he would have made it more of a priority down the stretch. 4 1/2*

Okada vs Tanahashi

The heat at the start was awesome. I liked how they started slow and made everything mean something. I loved all the different counters. I loved Tanahashi targeting the leg. I thought Okada's selling of it was phenomenal. I hated that Okada shit canned all that work every time he went on offense because his offense was leg based. Still the drama in the match made up for the lack of selling the limb. It keeps it out of an elite range, but still a strong match. The match had flaws, but the drama outweighed it for me. I've also begun to realize NJPW doesn't put the emphasis on limb selling as I do because the wrestlers in the company has been consistent in how the disregard leg work or selling. 4*

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Watched until the main when I conked out.

 

Opener was a good time that got fun the later it went, but is most certainly not my type of match. Way too much Young Bucks control early on, as I find them an incredibly boring team in control of a match. Things really picked up once they finally got Ricochet and Sydal involved, and no part of me will ever be able to dislike them since they are arguably the most graceful high flyers who feel like they still have tons of impact I've ever seen. Last 5 minutes was fun for a spot running contest, but wasn't fond of the finish.

 

Briscoes/Yano winning made me smile, though the match wasn't anything to write home about.

 

I hate the Lethal Combination so damned much. Elgin feels much better in New Japan then he feels on the US Indys. He manages to feel like a big deal there were as he just feels like he's trying too hard to be a big deal in the states. I'm still not crazy high on him as a wrestler, but understand why he's getting over.

 

Enjoyed KUSHIDA/Omega a lot in the late game. KUSHIDA feels like the obvious pick for Junior Ace for New Japan, they just need to run with it.

 

Tag Title Match was probably the least shitty Makabe has looked from what I've seen, and Honma is still a really fun. Anderson and Gallowes feel like a good team that are incredibly repetitive if I had to guess as a non watcher.

 

 

Lotsa bitching about Goto/Naito in places. I liked it just fine, and liked the finish. Naito feels like he's got some really cool shit going around him, but isn't a complete act yet. Goto seems like a title challenger right now, so giving him the win makes sense.

 

So here's the thing with Ishii/Shibata. I'm generally not a fan of "lets go out there and hit each other as hard as we fucking can" matches. It's largely what turned me off RoH circa Nigel/Danielson series. That said, if there are any two guys that are really good at the "Dick Measuring" style of wrestling, Shibata and Ishii are most likely 1 and 2. I find it very compelling and lost myself in the match, and I felt they sold when they needed to sell to buy that these guys are trying incredibly damn hard to prove they are the tougher man. So yeah, I enjoyed the hell out of this, even if I'm note huge on Ishii style of matches.

 

Nakamura/Styles was really fucking good. I would put more thought into it but I was kinda wearing down strongly in the finishing stretch. Nak's charisma caries so damned well in big matches.

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Opener was very well put together; I liked it better than last year's. Felt like a collection of discrete moments where everyone got a chance to shine rather than a non-stop stream of action, which is a positive. If you don't like guys convalescing on the floor until it's time to go, fine, but you could make the same complaint about lucha trios matches. My only complaint is that they paid lip service to usual tag rules and who the legal man is before shitcanning it halfway through. Just make it scramble tag rules if you're going to do that.

 

Trios match was okay. Mark Briscoe was going nuts out there with crazy spots was the highlight. Tama Tonga, who is someone I (and many others) have long been advocating should get a bigger spot, seemed like he choked out there, which is a shame. The heat segment was pretty tedious. Finishing stretch was weird and awkward.

 

Lethal/Elgin was a perfectly acceptable match marred by a crowd that could not have given less of a shit.

 

KUSHIDA/Omega was again just fine and nothing more. I thought the undercard really began to feel rushed at this point.

 

Tag Title match was the best match up to that point. Really well-worked southern style tag, strong heat segment, nice hope spots, hot comeback. Not much more you can ask for. Makabe, who is usually putrid, looked good! I really liked his selling of the jaw.

 

Naito/Goto was ruined for me by NJPW World tanking for the first time that night. The finish sets up an Okada/Goto match, which, God, can you think of anything more boring? I don't understand not having Naito go over here.

 

Ishii/Shibata was an artless exercise in stupidity. Easily the worst match on the show and the only one I'd call bad. Even ignoring the stupid no-selling and 1-kickout shit, I thought the match was structurally dull - endless back-and-forth with no sense of escalation. How many times can you do "guy gets hit with a couple of stiff shots, stands around selling while the other guy runs the ropes, then hits a big move out of nowhere!" deal in a single match? So tedious.

 

AJ/Nakamura was two excellent workers hampered by the formulaic nature of the NJPW style. It's funny because these are two guys who usually seem to get more leeway with their match structures, but this felt like a stock NJPW big match - the pacing and ordering of the big spots, the not deviating from your stock offense even though it makes sense to do so, the incredibly predictable near falls. I thought the most impressive thing about the match was how it built in intensity and excitement throughout, but it never quite hit that next level for me. Probably to an extent a victim of my very high expectations.

 

Okada/Tanahashi was, at least in the moment, incredible. Really typical Tanahashi/Okada in that there's plenty to find fault with in terms of individual moments, but if you buy into the story they're telling those issues are easy to overlook. If you need rock solid technical work or dislike over the top melodrama then Tanahashi is never going to be your guy, and that's fine, but it's just as valid a style as any other. As shoe said above, the inconsistent limb selling is just the way limbs are sold in this promotion. If you want to argue that just means the house style is shitty, that's certainly a valid take, but I find it more productive to try to accept stylistic quirks and evaluate matches on their own terms rather than bringing a bunch of prescriptive baggage to the table.

 

 

Overall I'd call it a good show, but I don't think I could call it very good, let alone great. The undercard was pretty uninspiring with far too many goofy heel shenanigans - I think something like 6 of 9 matches had some kind of cheating in them. As I said on Twitter, the people who claim they prefer NJPW to WWE because it treats wrestling like a sport don't really have a leg to stand on following this show. Ishii/Shibata was awful, AJ/Nakamura very good but disappointing, and Okada/Tanahashi was phenomenal. Ultimately the show hangs its hat on the main event, and even though that was excellent I can't rate an entire 4 hour show too highly on that match alone.

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  1. reDRagon vs. Young Bucks vs. Team Dragon Gate vs. RPG Vice: ****
  2. Briscoes & Yano vs. Fale, Tama Tonga, & Yujiro: **3/4
  3. Michael Elgin vs. Jay Lethal: **3/4
  4. Kenny Omega vs. KUSHIDA: ***1/2
  5. Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma: ***3/4
  6. Hirooki Goto vs. Tetsuya Naito: ***1/4
  7. Tomohiro Ishii vs. Katusyori Shibata: ****1/2
  8. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles: ****3/4
  9. Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi: *****

 

 

 

Jesus Christ, no way on God's green is that opener 4-star. Maybe 2. MAYBE. Super spotty. Super sloppy. Full of a ton of bullshit stalling, contrived spots, people standing around waiting for the next person to get their shit in, all the "comedy" shit with the suck it chants & crotch-chops & shit. That match was horrible. Pretty much everything that I hate about professional wrestling was on display in that match.

 

Everyone needs to watch the last three matches on this card though. Awesome, super fun stuff.

 

fwiw the opener featured 8 of my favorite wrestlers on the planet and it's EXACTLY what I wanted from the match. I wanted a spotty mess - that's what those teams are good at. Not saying that's all that they are capable of, as Matt Sydal has proven to be one of the best and most versatile wrestlers on the planet, but in this instance, the match is exactly what it should've been. I loved it, but I also love spots and moves and fun.

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  1. reDRagon vs. Young Bucks vs. Team Dragon Gate vs. RPG Vice: ****
  2. Briscoes & Yano vs. Fale, Tama Tonga, & Yujiro: **3/4
  3. Michael Elgin vs. Jay Lethal: **3/4
  4. Kenny Omega vs. KUSHIDA: ***1/2
  5. Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma: ***3/4
  6. Hirooki Goto vs. Tetsuya Naito: ***1/4
  7. Tomohiro Ishii vs. Katusyori Shibata: ****1/2
  8. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles: ****3/4
  9. Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi: *****

 

 

 

Jesus Christ, no way on God's green is that opener 4-star. Maybe 2. MAYBE. Super spotty. Super sloppy. Full of a ton of bullshit stalling, contrived spots, people standing around waiting for the next person to get their shit in, all the "comedy" shit with the suck it chants & crotch-chops & shit. That match was horrible. Pretty much everything that I hate about professional wrestling was on display in that match.

 

Everyone needs to watch the last three matches on this card though. Awesome, super fun stuff.

 

fwiw the opener featured 8 of my favorite wrestlers on the planet and it's EXACTLY what I wanted from the match. I wanted a spotty mess - that's what those teams are good at. Not saying that's all that they are capable of, as Matt Sydal has proven to be one of the best and most versatile wrestlers on the planet, but in this instance, the match is exactly what it should've been. I loved it, but I also love spots and moves and fun.

 

 

That's cool. I'm not dumping on your for your opinion. Re-reading what I said, it sounds a lot more hostile than I intended it to be. So I apologize for that. I wasn't a fan of it but if others were, more power to them.

 

My favorite thing about the last three matches is how each one felt so different from the one before it. WWE talks a lot about being a "circus" where if you don't like the trapeze artists, you may like the clowns or lion tamers (or whatever their analogy is) but in NJPW, it actually feels like the matches are very different from one another. I like that. Not just because it allows the matches to stand out from one another but because you get to see what different fans enjoy from pro-wrestling. Following Wrestle Kingdom this year, reading what people are saying about the final three matches, it's really cool to see how people differ in their tastes, likes & dislikes.

 

I'm curious to see what Dave Meltzer rates each of the three. Shibata/Ishii made me literally jump to my feet at one point, when Shibata hit that jumping Dragon Kick. That was a holy shit moment for me. I've not had a reaction like that from wrestling in a long time. Nakamura/Styles was a good match but right now, I feel like it was my least favorite of the three... which seems to be the opposite of what I'm reading from others. There were some great sequences in that match though. I really liked the Spinning-backfist into the jumping arm bar into the one-armed Styles Clash. That was gross!

 

Not saying anything about Tanahashi/Okada until I watch it again. I want to read more of what others say about it too. This match is going to be polarizing, I think.

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Well not sure what you mean by "cryptically raving" but I will guess the following:

 

1. Cheeseburger in the pre show battle royale getting in the ring with guys like Fujiwara & Liger

2. Haku showed up in a Bullet Club shirt. Have no idea how he was eliminated though

3. They did some kind of cross promotion thing with some movie cartoon thing (Dreamon I think it was called?) which features a VERY long segment with a little girl, some skinny older looking guy, and 2 dancing characters. It was harmless unless you think about how much of a diaster this would be on a main US show.

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I meant cryptically in that people were saying how awesome the surprise(s) were, but not saying what actually happened, although they talked pretty openly about the rest of the card. It was probably about Haku.

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It's my honest opinion. It bored me to death and I didn't buy into any of the nearfalls. My least favourite style of pro-wrestling are Shawn Michaels vs Triple H epics and this was the worst possible version of that. It had a couple good moments (Okada's big splash and the Dropkick HFF counter) but I honestly thought it went something like 50 minutes. It just wouldn't end.

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Have not had a chance to watch the show, but did rewatch the top 2 matches from last year's show. With fresh eyes, I remembered my reaction to most big present-day NJ matches: the first 75% feels like mismanaged filler, while the last 25% is very entertaining.

 

I did stay up to see the Rumble. The entrances are always fun, but the match was tedious. Weird seeing Koshinaka, Saito, and Fujiwara out there as the whole Wrestle Kingdom vibe feels apart from what I love so much about 80s/early 90s NJ. I liked the final showdown, but Jado's involvement and the way it went down felt like booking that you'd have to be a native or big fan of Japanese pop culture to appreciate. It was kind of lost on me in the way that certain Wrestlemania moments wouldn't work if you didn't know who Trump or Mr. T or Jennie Garth were.

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The main event was not a great match. There were great moments, but it was not a great match.

 

The main reason I got into Shibata and Ishii is because out of any of the guys in NJPW who SHOULD be doing strike exchanges, those are the two who should be doing it. So it worked for me.

 

AJ/Nak was REALLY good and to me better than Nak/Ibushi. Awesome transitions, really well built to near falls, truly one of the more well put-together matches I've seen in quite some time.

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