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ShittyLittleBoots

[2017-08-08-NJPW-G1 Climax] Kazuchika Okada vs Minoru Suzuki

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This was a long, grueling warfare that was paced & structured masterfully. Great dueling neck targeting throughout - both guys, especially MiSu, were on point with their brutal onslaughts on each other's necks. Loved the Inoki tribute by MiSu - that was such a great moment. It fit right into the atmosphere w/ his hometown crowd being mostly behind him. Those slap exchanges were absolutely amazing - MiSu putting his hands behind his back & asking Okada to slap the shit out of him was so great, as was the brilliant character moment of Okada when MiSu was slapping the soul out of him, he falls down, BARELY gets up & puts that forced cocky smile on. Outstanding character work. Loved every second of this. ****3/4

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Yeah, this ruled and is probably my favorite match of the tournament. It's easily Suzuki's best performance since returning to New Japan.It's hard to pull off a flawless 30-minute draw without a little meandering here and there, but I thought they did a pretty damn good job of keeping things moving forward. What I loved about this match is that it played up Okada's weakness when it comes to his striking ability, with his elbows obviously puny compared to Suzuki's. They got the Suzuki-gun shenanigans out of the way early, which allowed Suzuki to really tap into that "baddest motherfucker around" mentality as he starts in on Okada's injured neck, ripping the protective tape off and ragdolling him into the guardrail. I thought Okada's selling was really some of his best to date, always reminding us that he's fighting through the pain. But the bread-and-butter of this match is Suzuki just wrecking the golden boy. I really liked the transitions through the facelock, with Suzuki trapping the arm and going into a crossface and then just using a lot of headscissor variations to bend and twist the neck. Awesome stuff.The crowd was way into Suzuki being a badass and the Gotch-style piledriver teases were well done, with the crowd eating them up. Suzuki countering the first Rainmaker attempt with the sleeper into the Saka Otoshi was awesome and while Okada's able to follow up with a weakened Rainmaker, Suzuki slapping the hand away on the third attempt and just bitch slapping him in the face was incredible. Toward the end, Okada sold the exhaustion and Suzuki's ruthlessness so well. A true testament of Okada's versatility on top. There wasn't a reliance on panty-soaking spots or over-the-top antics...I mean, the biggest move was probably Suzuki's Saka Otoshi. It was a terrific contrast of classic vs. modern, similar to what Suzuki did with Tanahashi in 2013, but with a new ace at the helm.

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So Minoru Suzuki is a boss. Was there anyone here who didn't know that yet? This was pure and simple a story of the two guys trying to one-up each other and basically beat the shit out of each other. Probably my favorite Okada performance to date, he's able to subtly play heel against Minoru who was performing in front of his hometown crowd. Especially love Okada's face after he hit the Gotch Tombstone, the cheeky bastard. Loved Minoru tying up Okada into knots on the ground, thought that was really entertaining. Then the slaps. OH GLORY the slaps. Just violent and entirely compelling and the trade offs between Piledrivers and Rainmakers worked incredibly well too. Fantastic match, right up there with Ibushi-Naito.



****3/4

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