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JKWebb

[2017-01-21-RevPro-High Stakes] Katsuyori Shibata vs Matt Riddle

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I decided to check out the RPW streaming service specifically to check out this match. This was for the RPW British Heavyweight Championship. I skipped ahead, but I'll definitely check out the rest of the show and other cards on the service to see if I want to hang on to the subscription. I thought this was a really fun match! They start out working each other over with submissions, and I liked how the announcers put over that the match could end in an instant. Riddle was great with his expressions throughout. There was a painful looking stomp to the left arm of Riddle from Shibata, so Shibata went to work there first. Riddle got fired up, and then the hard-hitting striking began. Shibata went from corner to corner shaking his head and taking brutal strikes from Riddle while no-selling/taunting him. Then they just started beating the hell out of each other. I thought they told a solid story playing off a kick that Riddle dodged in the beginning and the submissions can end this in an instant comments. There was a knee from Riddle to the neck of Shibata, at some point in there, that knocked Shibata to the outside. It was pretty awesome. This was really good. I'm glad I checked it out... I'll be checking out the rest of the card later.

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Interesting to see Riddle plugged into the Shibata dick measuring formula. Not that it's that far away from the work he commonly does in Evolve, but it was longer and relied more on New Japan no-selling than his usual stuff, and he excelled at the style. I loved the way he sold Shibata's strikes like he'd never been hit so hard in his life. This never reached the heights of some of Riddle's very best stuff against Hero, but it definitely lived up to my expectations. Great stuff.

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I reviewed Riddle/Shibata here:
http://prowresblog.blogspot.com/2017/01/revolution-pro-wrestling-1212017.html

Some shots from it:
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1-24-2017%2B2-58-29%2BPM.png

Overall thoughts:This was fine but nowhere near the MOTY many people are making it out to be. No disrespect to the UK fans but they are passionate about hyping matches up they like and usually, the hype doesn't match the quality. This match was basically built around no selling. Shibata sold very little of Riddle's offense which ruined the match. Having just seen Goto/Shibata a few weeks ago, I didn't think this was anywhere near that and it was just a long squash. Shibata and Goto can no sell some and get away with it, but in the end, both are going to nail each other so hard and go on for long enough that you will buy into it, while this didn't really go to that length to get there. Shibata just never really sold and never got me to the point where I thought "Riddle has got this". Easy night for Shibata and Riddle does have some of the traits to being a star with looks, charisma and legitimacy but he has to work on his striking first.

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Man, I thought this absolutely owned. Blew away everything on Wrestle Kingdom because of the intensity of the grappling and the fact these guys could match each other athletically. One of my few general criticisms of Riddle is that he hasn't mastered worked strikes. He still seems afraid to knock guys out. But he laid in his shots here, even the open-hand smacks to the body that look flimsy in some of his matches. I'm surprised to read so much talk about no selling, because I thought both guys did their jobs on that front. Shibata kept the macho horseshit to an acceptable level, and the one my-turn-your-turn forearm exchange came at the right point. Meltzer wrote something about the finish coming before the crowd expected it, but I didn't get that. Thought the ending was perfect for what they had done, and the match was plenty long enough. It's an early MOTYC for me.

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My thoughts on this this match seem similar to many Riddle matches I've seen. Everything is very sound but missing something that takes it that next, great level. Its interesting that some seem to overlook the no selling and trading forearms that are often criticized in Shibata/NJ. I didn't think they were overdone here and generally don't have an issue when that's the case, but also didn't find that they were incorporated in any particularly unique or gripping fashion. My biggest issue with the match is that I found it lacking any logical progression or escalation. Its as though they got a time cue and decided to abandon some of the early things that were working and go into finishers, counters to finishers and no selling.

 

It may sound as though I'm down on the match, but that's definitely not the case. Loved the opening headlock action from Shibata which was worked & sold very well, in addition to showing great technique rather than an opportunity to stand around. They also worked towards establishing a nice dynamic where Riddle was throwing a lot of shots at Shibata that he was able to match with essentially one big shot. There was a great match in here, I just think they got away from it. Shibata's always comfortable going the no sell route and while I think Riddle is a fantastic seller in the moment, he also seems much too quick to move past it and not register any sustained or callback selling throughout a match at this stage. Those are the type of things that make this a pretty good, efficient match rather than a great one.

 

***1/2

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This was everything I wanted it to be & more. A legit dream match w/ two of my favorites going at it. It did not disappoint me one bit - the beginning stuff with them going to the mat was superb, it was so great. Absolutely loved it. Shibata's control segment was terrific; his work over Riddle was fantastic & Riddle's eventual fiery comeback was awesome. The finishing stretch saw them trade big bombs in a super enjoyable fashion, and the final finishing sequence was just great. Beautiful match; put together pretty much perfectly - the mat work ruled, the control segments were tremendous, the bombs were awesome & the macho no-sell moments were placed very well. ****3/4

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