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ShittyLittleBoots

[2017-07-01-NJPW-G1 Special in USA: Day One] Kazuchika Okada vs Cody Rhodes

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This was my favorite match of day 1 of these G1 Special shows. Thought it was a very charming match up that had somewhat of a old school vibe to it, especially with the 'World Champ vs. World Champ' billing & all. Loved it. ****1/4

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I liked the build and atmosphere for this and because of the built-in drama of Cody being ROH champ (and his status in general) + this being on US soil, there was heightened talk of a title change. So that was really cool "pit of the stomach" thing in watching to see how things played out. Okada gets a monster pop!

 

The match, for me, completely kicks into top NJPW gear when Okada starts laying in the forearms and does that extended stomp in the corner. Prior to that, there was a lot I wasn't particularly feeling. Cody's mistiming around the guardrail dive, where he goes back to Okada on the apron and then walks himself back out and climbs over the rail is quite possibly the WORST sequence I have ever seen in a pro wrestling match. His work on top with Okada was uninspiring and Okada has to sell like death after taking a crappy front suplex. And then Okada has to kick out at two after being kicked in the freakin' arm. Way too many cover attempts in this one, which completely stilt the drama and flow. To counter some of those negatives, the power slam by Cody was nice, and the top rope arm drag was well done. I liked the idea of countering the disaster kick into a flapjack, but it looked like shit. Inverted neck breaker into a Rainmaker pose is reversed into a leg lock that had no setup by Cody. Good selling by Okada, but there was just nothing that built to this being meaningful.

 

Back to the good stretch now, Okada ratchets things up with the drop kick and tombstone and then moves into the short arm lariats with the wrist grab (the Japanese announcers do call these Rainmakers fwiw, but i feel like the final one is the REAL one here). Now comes the Omega drama, which does heighten watching live. Good sequences set up each guy stealing each other's finish - it's like WWF 2001! So that US trope happens. Okada's counter with the knee into his own cross rhodes is sweet, and it looks like Cody has no idea which way he's going to be twisted and it comes off stiff. They go from these big spots to a weird sequence where Okada kind of breaks cross rhodes so Cody just picks him up into a reverse DDT driver of sorts that gets NO reaction on the kickout (and again with the kickouts and ruining the flow). They should done that before the finisher stealing.

 

Another counter sequence is mistimed so Okada seemingly shoot picks up Cody and does a spinning jumping tombstone -> Rain Maker - and done. I rarely criticize a match for starting slow (because long matches have to start somewhere), but the work in that part was just dreadful. Good last 6 minutes or so. ***

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