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paul sosnowski

[2019-06-09-NJPW-Dominion] Kota Ibushi vs Tetsuya Naito

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This suffers from the same thing that matches like Okada vs. Shibata & Danielson vs. McGuinness do where there's that one spot that's so filthy, disgusting & horrifying that you (or at least I) just feel dirty for praising the thing, but oh well. I thought this was great. Naito's long-lasting, storied relationship w/ the Osaka crowd ended up adding a ton to this, because he decided to act extra nasty & mean throughout due to the partly negative reaction he got. Stuff like him refusing to let go of a submission, him rapidly stomping Ibushi's neck, him spitting on the refs face, the cocky pins & him doing his usual poses w/ extra swagger & arrogance - all just really awesome stuff. Then these two crazy fucks did their "usual" by absolutely destroying each others necks in very brutal & compelling fashion. I couldn't help but love it, even if that apron German spot took me out of it for a minute. Please never do that again. This was scary & great. ****1/4

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Gonna second the love for Naito's character work in this match. A much cooler, compelling version of Jericho's somewhat forced cheap heat in the main event. Naito working an actual heat segment by playing up his ungovernable side really boosted a lot to the first quarter of the match which is a segment that usually sags in New Japan matches. From there, of course, we get the insanity of that German. No more please, Ibushi-san. It was awesome but please no more. From there, the match turned into bomb throwing but it felt justified because, you know, Ibushi nearly died. Loved the Kamigoye counter into the DDT, such smooth execution. Seamless. Great match. Could have done without the near death experience but great nonetheless.

****1/4

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The bump made me really squeamish and that is something that usually doesn’t affect me inside of the match. This felt like escalation via dumber moves and that style never registers with me.  Maybe one for rewatch. **3/4

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These two must of made a pact to go out their everytime and give each other near death experiences. I know everyone will focus only on the gruesome german spot but this really was a great match. Naito was on point being the heel working relentlessly on Ibushi's neck and spitting on anyone in sight. And Ibushi gave as much as he took giving stiff kicks and drops of his own. This was wrestling russian roulette at it's finest.

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