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[2012-08-01-NJPW-G1 Climax] Kazuchika Okada vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan


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Okada starts off trading strikes with the bigger guy and it goes how you'd expect; he tries to hang in there and does a nice job selling for Tenzan. Similar mapping to the Goto match, Okada takes a bunch of punishment and looks pretty strong surviving, but his offense is pretty blah here. There's a real awkward transition where he just picks Tenzan up for the inverted neckbreaker and it's nasty looking. Later Okada gets flipped over and nearly doesn't make the full turn. Rainmaker is reversed into a wicked headbutt (camera angle helped), but Okada just shrugs that off and hits his dropkick and the rainmaker to win. Similar model to the Goto match with Okada getting less offense in due to the size difference.

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This was functional but not very compelling either. Okada's expressions in the early strike exchanges are over exaggerated and goofy. I do appreciate that he gains the advantage here through strikes and not the other components he has relied upon in previous matches. However, his offense on top was mundane and unoriginal and that makes the comeback by Tenzan feel hollow. Finishing stretch has a bit of back and forth and the headbutt that Brad mentions is the highlight. Rainmaker wins it for Okada. This match was not the main or semi main on this G-1 show but I didn't think it was a particularly compelling match at all or a good performance for Okada. He had on new gold gear and a great reaction from the crowd there but he felt like a hollow emperor in displaying how he could be the ace of the company going forward. **3/4

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  • GSR changed the title to [2012-08-01-NJPW-G1 Climax] Kazuchika Okada vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan

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