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[2017-05-21-AJPW] Kento Miyahara vs Shuji Ishikawa

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Had I not been spoiled by the result prior to watching, this would've been extra special. That being said, this was still a great Triple Crown match -- probably the best of the year. This was Shuji Ishikawa at his best and the first time in a long time that Kento looked like he was up against a true monster challenge. His "in the moment" selling is good and he has such terrific facial expressions throughout as Shuji keeps beating him down. I liked the early backwork from Ishikawa, which is hard enough to sell well, but the final half of the match was big time offense and the champ grasping at straws with his desperate knee strikes. Really liked the rana counter to the Splash Mountain Bomb attempt, which leads to Kento getting a nice run of offense before trying to trap Ishikawa's arms for the shutdown German. Even when Ishikawa is breaking out, Miyahara keeps control of the arms, forcing Shuji to fight harder. Ishikawa hits just about everything in his arsenal and his presence in general is second-to-none. Really good match.

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Perfectly laid out for the match that finally ended the reign of Kento Miyahara as the Triple Crown champ. Ishikawa pretty much dominated things from start to finish - the story of the match was that he got Kento's number in every way possible, sure Kento got some really great comebacks in, but Shuji shut those off pretty quickly. Kento's selling was pretty outstanding. ****1/2

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A fitting completion to Kento's title reign. One of the issues I have had with some of his matches is that the comebacks come to easy for Kento given the punishment he has received. Having the comeback not come here and him get decimated by Big Dog's offense in the waning moments felt really fitting. This was brutal, gritty and didn't overstay it's welcome. A great title change. ****1/4

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It's the kind of match that some people will love and others will hate. I'm kinda in the middle but lean on liking it because it wasn't long enough were the flaws made the match drag. The first half is pretty standard with both of them just clashing against each other until Shuji gets the upperhand. He has an average control segment working the back, strong enough for me to buy the damage and short enough for it not to need Kento to sell like crazy (he still does a very good job at selling though). The second half is just bomb throwing and trading near falls with a red hot Korakuen getting more and more anxious about who's gonna win. They managed to keep building momentum and going for bigger stuff so it felt like the drama was building with each bomb and the finish felt very definite.
 

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