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[2017-07-27-NJPW-G1 Climax] Kazuchika Okada vs Satoshi Kojima

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I loved this match. Heel Okada was awesome just being a prick between the clapping and going after Tenzan. This allowed Kojima to turn in a wonderful babyface performance full of sympathy and admiration from the crowd. The early neck work helped lay the groundwork for the final portion of the match and Kojima got in some great nearfalls thinking the upset was near. Okada has been great in the G1 so far and still has plenty of high profile matches left. ****

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This was absolutely fantastic. Loved everything about it - right from the get go the crowd was like 90% behind Cozy & Okada was rallying them to cheer him even more with his sarcastic claps. He goes right after Kojima in very unusual fashion for him - he showed that he has no respect for the veteran this time & I loved it. Eventually they go outside the ring, and after the DDT spot, the crowd is booing Okada even more than during the start of the match & just because of that, Okada goes and attacks Tenzan. Brilliant. He laughs at the pissed off Tenzan in the ring then. More brilliance. Then that sarcastic applause he gave to Kojima once Kojima barely made it to the ring before the ref counted him out. So great. Kojima tries to get back into things, slowly getting up & facing Okada who is like "come on now grandpa, get up" - once Kojima falls down, Okada just STOMPS him in dickish fashion. I love it. Then comes the cocky pin pose w/ one foot on top of Kojima. What a dick! Some shit talking to Tenzan, even making fun of his signature "SHH!" thing, which leads to a goddamn epic comeback where Kojima goes for the MONGOLIAN CHOPS! So awesome. Another standout moment in a match that was full of them was Okada doing the Rainmaker pose while the crowd boos him like he was Shawn Michaels in Montreal. I love it so much. Okada answers to that with the biggest cocky smile I have seen on that face. Then that finishing stretch; my goodness. The Lariat attempt by Kojima -> German by Okada -> Rainmaker attempt -> Lariat to the back of the head, another Rainmaker attempt which lead to Kojima taking Okada's head off w/ a Lariat, then that 3rd one with Kojima answering with an elbow. So, so, so great. What an amazing match. Quite possibly my favorite Okada performance ever (so far). ****1/2

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Echoing the same thoughts here but smug shiteating Okada is my favorite Okada. The claps, the grins, messing with Tenzan, the shitty stomps to the back while looking at the crowd. Great performance from Okada and of course, Kojima is such a lovable babyface. I loved his counters to the Rainmaker toward the end of the match and while I didn't see the upset coming, it still had the drama and crowd interaction to make this a memorable match.

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Why was Okada acting like a bad guy all of a sudden here? If this is the beginning of an actual tendency on his part, I welcome it - it's not clear to me what his character is supposed to be, and some cheating would help his matches make some sense.

 

If not, it came off like a contrived way to pop the crowd for one night.

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Why was Okada acting like a bad guy all of a sudden here? If this is the beginning of an actual tendency on his part, I welcome it - it's not clear to me what his character is supposed to be, and some cheating would help his matches make some sense.

 

If not, it came off like a contrived way to pop the crowd for one night.

 

It wasn't 'all of a sudden'. In an interview leading up to G1, Okada said that the third generation wrestlers don't deserve a spot in the G1 and that they're boring to wrestle because no one believes that they will win, so naturally he is positioned as a heel when faced against Kojima.

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Why was Okada acting like a bad guy all of a sudden here? If this is the beginning of an actual tendency on his part, I welcome it - it's not clear to me what his character is supposed to be, and some cheating would help his matches make some sense.

 

If not, it came off like a contrived way to pop the crowd for one night.

 

It wasn't 'all of a sudden'. In an interview leading up to G1, Okada said that the third generation wrestlers don't deserve a spot in the G1 and that they're boring to wrestle because no one believes that they will win, so naturally he is positioned as a heel when faced against Kojima.

 

Oh, interesting. Didn't know that. I withdraw my objection.

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Part of me wishes this was one of the first days of the G1 so we had a fresher Kojima as I thought he was better in the Juice match (as one example). But he plays a beaten-down underdog very quickly and is great here. Smug Okada, growing more arrogant as his reign goes on, actively adds to the match. I kind of hated being spoiled on the result going in here, as I wanted to believe. Loved the rainmake by Kojima to counter the real rain maker. Very fun. ***3/4

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Okada is a such an asshole here once he realizes the people are more behind Kojima than himself. They didn't do a ton of shit in the match but the selling was excellent and the story was clear and well executed. Ultimately it made for one of the top 2 or 3 matches of the tournament so far.

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This felt like what the Flair 2008 retirement match could have been if WWE had paired him up with a younger wrestler. The opening taunts by Okada set the stage well. Even with the sarcastic claps, I wasn't expecting him to be so vicious right from the start. The dropkick to the outside followed by the draping DDT on the floor would have had me thinking this was going to be a quick victory for Okada had I been watching it live at the time. Instead, Kojima eventually makes his comeback playing off the "you still got it" fan reaction and is soon able to hold his own at times with Okada. It felt like Okada was baffled at how tough Kojima still was and that he thought that all he had to do was hit a big move and he'd be able to start prepping for his next G1 match.

 

The finishing sequence was fantastic and I love the way finishers were used as compared to the WWE version of this type of match. Okada went for the Rainmaker right away and of course Kojima was ready. Then at the end we had multiple attempts blocked allowed Kojima to get his big moves in, only for Okada finally hitting it for the obvious pin.

 

This is my first Kojima match, although I'm familiar with his legacy and I know that the fans were behind him throughout the G1 last year. I don't think he should have beaten Okada, but it's too bad he only won one match, seems like a wasted opportunity. I wasn't that impressed with his execution here, but both he and Okada had great character work. The reason I thought of Flair-Michaels is because this too at times seemed more like a play than a competition. I could see Flair facing off against Dolph Ziggler back at WrestleMania 24 and having a similar type of match. Okada did a great job making Kojima seem impressive and I also really liked the presence of Tenzan at ringside.

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