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[2014-08-01-NJPW-G-1 Cimax] Minoru Suzuki vs A.J. Styles

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IWGP Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles vs Minoru Suzuki - G-1 Climax Day 7

Minoru Suzuki is pissed. He is pissed that some arrogant, punk outsider just waltzed in here and is now the champion. This is not time to stick out tongue and play mind games. That shit is reserved for those who earned it. He is here to teach a lesson in respect. Minoru Suzuki walking tall is the best thing ever! I would say this is probably the greatest heel vs heel match ever, but I would hear the argument that Suzuki is just a babyface using violent heel tactics to kick some ass. AJ Styles proves he is here to stay. He can take a lickin' and keep in tickin'. He is going to earn his stripes. Even if that means losing the use of his right arm, he is going to earn the respect of Suzuki and the New Japan crowd. It is amazing that the two biggest heels in New Japan basically play babyfaces in this match because they believe in what they are doing. Minoru Suzuki is going to send this Johnny Come Lately a message and AJ Styles is here to make a statement he won't back down. It just depends on your own sensibilities who your root for and on this night the crowd was 100% behind Minoru Suzuki.

Minoru Suzuki slaps the taste out of AJ's mouth early, but AJ scores a dropkick to retaliate. AJ uses his jump over the railing offensively by hitting a springboard forearm from the railing. I love Suzuki's angry selling. He is pissed that he is getting his ass kicked by Styles right now and there is nothing he can do. There is just a real sense of struggle to everything. Suzuki sees his opening and pounces. He trips up AJ on a springboard move and applies a hanging armbar and then kicks ever loving shit out of that arm. Suzuki is out to rip that arm off and beat him with it. I love him whipping AJ into the railing and then trying to pry the arm off while this Japanese girl just screams the entire in the background. AJ's verbal selling was so good in this. His yelps of agony really took this to another visceral level. AJ is able to roll through a couple arm drags to snap off a suplex into the turnbuckles to stop the bleeding. At this point one of Suzuki-Gun jumps AJ and here comes the Bullet Club. I like the heel gang vs heel gang warfare in the middle. AJ is so committed to selling his right arm, he hits all his strikes with his left hand and they look damn good! I love how quick and explosive this strike exchange was. There was no waiting out, goading people to hit each other. They just both desperately wanted to knock the other out and they ended up knocking each other out.

Then the match goes from excellent to instant classic in one simple moment. AJ does the Bullet Club Gun signal and puts it to Minoru Suzuki's head. Suzuki did not like that. Not one bit and AJ you aren't going to like Minoru Suzuki when he is angry. Minoru Suzuki grabs that finger and tries to wrench it off of AJ's hand, who is screaming in pain. The ref is even trying to tell Suzuki to watch the fingers. Styles tries to come back with springboard forearm, but that is caught into an armbar and Suzuki is going to snap that finger off. AJ is trying to everything and Suzuki just has an answer for everything. It feels almost hopeless for AJ. Suzuki goes for the piledriver, but AJ blocks. AJ knows it is Styles Clash or bust. Suzuki counters into a heel hook and Suzuki sniffs out AJ's second counter and grabs a cross armbreaker. AJ is dead to rights. Oh shit! Oh Shit! OH SHIT! STYLES CLASH OUT OF THE CROSS-ARMBREAKER!!! The kid may just got it. Suzuki spits at him. You feel like they are about to enter into Mortal Kombat. AJ is totally relying on left handed slaps as his right arm is fucked. Suzuki punches him in the face and thinks he has him. PELE~! Suzuki is knocked loopy. Go AJ GO! AJ wastes no time, he fights through the pain, hoists Suzuki up and STYLES CLASH! AJ wins!

AJ did not just win a G1 Climax match. He won the respect of the New Japan fans worldwide with that performance. Both wrestlers were wrestling on a out of this world level. Styles felt overwhelmed. His arm was toast and he could not get anything going. Suzuki was just ripshit the entire match and had every intention of beating AJ into submission. Then just like that a desperation Styles Clash while in a cross-armbreaker and AJ salvages his match. The selling from AJ was off the charts. His desperation in trying to survive was something most of wrestlers could never convey. The true anger of Minoru Suzuki is something you also do not see. This was not hatred. It was anger. It was amazing. Every move felt huge, consequential and urgent. It is a coin flip between Shield/Wyatts Elimination Chamber in this. It does not really matter because at the end of the day, wrestling fans win! ****3/4

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Maybe the first (or one of the first) signs of AJ really getting to grips with the style New Japan and the fans want to see. I think it helps that in a heel vs heel match, he didn't need to lead to get over as a threat, especially against Minoru Suzuki. Suzuki ripped into the arm of AJ with nasty Fujiwara attempts, Kimuras, cross armbreakers - a wide variety of submissions. AJ sold the arm superbly well but he did a great job of desperetely fighting out of them. The slap, duck, slap, enziguri exchange was awesome. Even the litttle interference felt like it added to the match. This holds up tremendously well. ****1/2

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You would think the two styles of Minoru Suzuki and AJ Styles would be too much of a clash, but these two pros made it work. Suzuki is known for his great facials, but his ones here were next-level brilliant. The interference from Suzuki-gun and Bullet Club made sense and didn't detract from the match. Suzuki goes to town on Styles' arm and it plays into finishing stretch. Styles Styles Clashing Suzuki while still being locked in an armbar was a thing of beauty. This was a total war that went the right length and was full of intensity and grit from bell to bell. ★★★★¾

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