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bradhindsight

[2013-09-29-NJPW-Destruction] Prince Devitt vs Hiroshi Tanahashi (Lumberjack Death)

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Clarifying upfront: this is just a lumberjack match sans any death, and weapons aren't allowed as they work the entire match using the ref and distractions to work that stuff in. Devitt comes out on Fale's shoulders per usual - which is just awesome for a slimy undersized heel. This is super fun, deliberately overbooked, contest with great crowd heat. Lumberjack interactions get the crowd really excited here and the New Japan guys get a bunch of fun payback spots, which really pop the crowd. Devitt works the back and amidst the brawling chaos of the two factions, seats Tanahashi and drop kicks him into the rail. His eventual comeback is tepid forearm heavy but it does lead to Tanahashi hitting a high fly flo to the bullet club outside as Devitt bails, but Makabe goes after him and carries him back to the ring (and the crowd boisterously chants Makabe's name). A Karl Anderson powerbomb onto the apron reintroduces the back stuff, and makes the nearfalls later feel a bit more important. Devitt hits his double stomp, but it gets two (right on the groin it looked too). They use a chair as distraction for a guitar shot and then Bloody Sunday, which is a terrific nearfall. They trade rollups, and call back to that chair as Tanahashi takes a shot on the apron, but he still kicks out. Makabe uses his chain as retribution for that. Then we get a whole bunch of lumberjack clearing house stuff with Tanahashi, as guys take turns taking finishers on the bad guys, popping the crowd. Tanahashi hits the Styles clash and high fly flo for the win. This was a ton of fun ***1/2

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This is an odd bit of business, very 80s WWF house show main event, mixed with extra Attitude Era gaga. It also feels like it's blowing off Devitt-Tanahashi in a very Cena feud way, where Devitt's early victories are giving way to the eventual conclusion that Tanahashi is above him. Agreed that Bloody Sunday is a very effective near fall, perhaps some proof of how far Devitt had come in a few months. The sting of him losing here I guess is mitigated by him not being particularly long for the promotion - but it still feels like a bit of a bummer. A very interesting curiosity. 

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