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[2000-05-05-NJPW-Wrestling Dontaku] Jushin Liger & CIMA & Sumo Fuji & Minoru Tanaka vs Shinjiro Otani & Koji Kanemoto & Kendo Kashin & Tatsuhito Takaiwa

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Just looking at the lineups had me salivating and this didn’t disappoint at all. Fuji and CIMA fit like a glove vs Kanemoto and Otani that it is a shame we didn’t get a long form series between them. Everyone had a chance to deliver here though. Taikawa and Fuji especially had a brutal exchange in the middle and prick Liger being the mentor to Crazy Max warmed my heart. I know he has been stuck in multi-mans but Kashin continues to be not atrocious at all and learning where to pick his spots to attack. Otani is getting a nice push and picks up the win here. Give this a couple of more minutes and a molten Korakuen crowd and you might could have had a MOTYC. Still a great match. ****

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I don't know how I didn't know this match existed.

 

I hope this project sheds light on how foolish it is that CIMA finished at #201 for GWE. He was so good here, and at this point, was 22 years old. I desperately wish we would've gotten him in the BOSJ instead of say, Kid Romeo, who was actually in the 2000 BOSJ. Loved CIMA, loved Liger, and loved Kanemoto on the opposing side. Super entertaining match. ****

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What's wrong with me that I couldn't motivate myself to watch this match? Pretty great. CIMA and Fuji (especially CIMA) prove they belong on the big stage, getting a chance to strut their stuff in what was probably to that point the largest audience of their careers with some of the greatest juniors in history. I'm with Chad that Otani in Toryumon would have been golden, although I think Takaiwa might have been an even better fit. Those chop battles were crazy and I loved the dive sequence at the end. This would have been better in a more welcoming, hardcore environment like Korakuen, but it absolutely worked here. ****

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This was a blast. Loved the power wrestling from Takaiwa throwing around CIMA and decisively winning their test of strength. Ohtani and Kanemoto were great heels here and just dismissive to CIMA in particular. The Kanemoto/CIMA interactions were really great. I will never tire of watching Takaiwa just lariat people to death in these matches. The camera angle made the dives at the end stand out and look fantastic. This was just fun from beginning to end.

 

***3/4

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This is a very fun match that leaves you wanting more. The highlight of this match for me was anytime CIMA and Kanemoto faced off against each other. They just seemed to have instant chemistry. Another highlight was Fuji taking a vicious lariat from Takaiwa, it looked like he was really rocked on that one.

 

This match heavily features the Toryumon guys quite a bit and it makes you think like these two should have been in the BOSJ this year.

 

It's kind of funny how little that Kashin did in this match here. I'm not complaining though, he probably would have dragged this one down.

 

****

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This was classic New Japan booking with the home stars made to look better than the indy juniors but Fuji had a whale of a time out there and CIMA kept on making a name for himself. The dynamic between CIMA and Kanemoto was well staged with the brash youth irritating the shit out of the surly veteran. I thought Liger wasn't necessary on the Crazy Max team. It was meant to even the odds but Crazy Max had superior teamwork to the New Japan juniors and would have done better with their full complement. Once Fuji stopped trying to front one-on-one they started making some serious inroads but the home side were always the favourite to win this one.

 

One thing that seems clear is that New Japan juniors wrestling didn't fall off a cliff after 1997. It may not have reached the dizzying heights of the 1990s but 17 years on it's perfectly watchable and what may have seemed like a step down in quality at the time now provides interesting wrinkles like Ohtani still being a good juniors worker through to 2000 and Kanemoto having a personality that folks were never really aware of before.

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What a whirligig of a match. Everyone but Kashin got there moment to shine and the NJ juniors were extra stiff out there. CIMA looked pretty good with his mirage-like slingshot senton and pissing off Kanemoto. Loved when Kanemoto throws him with the tiger suplex and then poses with his prone body. Takaiwa was being a little shitkicker in there, nearly KO'ing Fujii with the lariat or powering Minoru up out of the armbar into the Death Valley Bomb. Lots of fun.

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Kanemoto was on fire with the vicious kicks and slaps. CIMA's demonstrative manner puts him above the rest, as he brings so much more than just doing moves quickly. The match kind of broke down in the end, with Otani getting the win rather easily. Good match.

 

***

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I really enjoyed this match!  When I saw the lineup, I knew I was in for something good.  I love prick Liger here and how the Toryumon crew, especially CIMA, got to shine in this.  I cringed pretty hard at the near TKO moment that Fuji got from Takaiwa during the match.  Ohtani and Kanemoto were really great as the surly vets serving up New Japan justice to these Indy juniors.  So so good!

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It’s a treat watching the Toryumon kids mix it up with the likes of Otani, Kanemoto, and Takaiwa. Their brashness, energy, and youth was bound to irritate the surly New Japan vets -- and that’s exactly what happens. Takaiwa damn near KO’s Fuji with a lariat, and Otani and Kanemoto don’t hold back with the stiffness, either. CIMA is the MVP of this match as he tries super hard to prove he can hang with the big dogs and exudes star charisma while doing so.

Rating: ****
 

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