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[2019-03-23-NJPW-New Japan Cup: Day Eleven] Kazuchika Okada vs Tomohiro Ishii

paul sosnowski

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  • GSR changed the title to [2019-03-23-NJPW-New Japan Cup: Day Eleven] Kazuchika Okada vs Tomohiro Ishii

This was truly fantastic. It's so rare that I compliment Okada's offense but the man had his working boots on tonight. He hit hard. And damn did it look good so much so that he was believable going toe to toe with Ishii. Loved all the little touches that made every act in the match memorable. We open with Okada going for an elbow as opposed to a clean break which is always a nice signal that things mean business. Then the segment where both men walked into each other's strikes made both guys seem like absolute worldbeaters. The final finishing stretch was just an extended bout of wonderfulness as they kept building and building to the excellent finish. Absolutely loved this match.


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The perfect sequel to their scorcher from the 2016 G1. Was absolutely dripping with callbacks to that match, which worked wonders because so many of the spots in that match were so memorable. Particularly loved Okada anticipating Ishii to chop him during the Rainmaker pose this time. I liked how they went through the finishing sequence of the previous match almost beat-for-beat, but instead of Ishii hitting the brainbuster this time Okada countered out of it. And then the match just continued to build from there! Ishii pulling out stuff reminiscent of Shibata, with the Rainmaker no-sell, as well as their CHAOS buddy Nakamura, with the desperation armbar as a callback to when Nak made Okada tap to the same move. 

The first half of this reminded me Ishii's match with Tanahashi in the 2016 G1 as well, as both matches were built around Okada/Tanahashi trying to prove that they could work Ishii's bruiser style. In their previous match, Okada got blitzed early by Ishii and was never really able to truly recover, but in the strike exchanges that buoyed the first part of the match here, Okada was not only able to wither the storm, but prove that he could stand up to Ishii in a battle of strikes. Okada looked like a badass, dominant ace here by powering through the beatings that Ishii was giving him, and Ishii as always looked super credible as the guy who will always take his opponents to the absolute limit, even if he can't always put them away. I also like how Okada has slowly built up an arsenal of different Rainmaker variations (backslide, spinning, and the German-into-Rainmaker), and he had to throw out all of them before he could finally get the win. 

***** and my current MOTY  

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As always these two bring out the best in each other. Really liked the constant pacing throughout. No part of the match felt slow or drawn out in any way. Hot start at the start with the two hitting each other with forearms and setting the tone for the rest of the match, soon picking up the pace and begun bringing out the great sequences. Some really slick counters which Okada always does well, and Ishii upping the violence with his nasty chops. The closing stretch was heart in mouth time and that's with me knowing the finals before hand. It was really that great. The rainmaker reversal into the armbar was awesome. Okada showed great urgency too with him hitting John Woo right after Ishii was seemingly getting up after the dropkick. Just one thing I want to mention, Okada's German suplex always looks great, looks impactful and he gets great height from it, just shame people over look it because it's usually a transition into the rainmaker. Great stuff from two of the best wrestlers in NJ. ****1/2

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Holy FUCK! This was just absolutely amazing from start to finish. I already loved the opening lock-up, and then the match just quickly explodes. Okada being a dick is always great, and it's especially great when he does it against his grumpy stablemate in the STONE PITBULL himself. Ishii answering to that by doing those exact same playful little kicks to Okada's head was superb & then the whole punishment section of him chopping the shit out of Okada was just WONDERFUL. Okada getting things back to his side w/ that DDT was great, and my goodness Ishii sold that thing like a boss. That of course did big damage to Ishii's neck, and that immediately becomes a big target for Okada's attacks; LOOOVED the whole sequence of Ishii waking up, Okada reacting to that immediately, Ishii showing that his neck is hurting & Okada then caving his forearm into that thing. I really could just make a long-ass list of my favorite moments in the match, and for the rest of it I am actually going to do just that:

- the macho-battle with them both marching towards forearms, just eating them
- Okada with that signature neckbreaker on the knee of his, cementing his dominance by going after the hurt neck
- the great callback to their G1 '16 match w/ the Rainmaker pose -> Ishii popping up, but this time Okada was ready for it
- Ishii's goddamn BOMBS; lariats, headbutts, you name it
- Okada with one of the sickest German Suplexes I've EVER seen - dat damn height!
- Ishii with the Nakamura-esq Armbar counter!
- JOHN WOOOOO after Ishii's epic fiery pop-up no-sell moment!
- That finishing sequence w/ the spinning Tombstone & Rainmaker

What a BADASS match. ****1/2

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Managed to top their classic G1 2016 match. Loved how they got to work right away. No padding, just all action. Just like the Ishii match with YOSHI-HASHI, I love these stablemate matches as they know each other so well and push each other so hard that there appears to be legitimate hatred. Some really creative and unexpected spots such as Ishii's armbar counter and Okada's backslide into the Rainmaker. I can't really say much more that hasn't been said. Just seriously watch this match.


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The obvious chemistry between two world class wrestlers should obviously lead to classic after classic, but I feel like the matches between these guys shows too much chemistry in a weird way. It's a weird complaint I have about the Okada vs Naito matches in that these guys work so well together that it sometimes feels like I'm less watching an "epic" match and more so two guys trying to tell me "this is what an epic match looks like". Strange complaint I know, but everything still works out in the end for an exciting and compelling match which I will always accept no matter how it's done, ****1/2.

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