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Who is a better in ring performer?



49 members have voted



    • Kazuchika Okada
    • Toshiaki Kawada
    • It's a draw



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Hi guys, I returned opening the comparisons about who is a better in ring performer?

The criteria are storytelling, in ring psychologhy, selling, quality of matches, workrate, cleaning in the execution of moves.

The comparisons are:

Bret Hart vs Ric Flair

Kazuchika Okada vs Toshiaki Kawada

Mitsuharu Misawa vs Kenta Kobashi

Bryan Danielson vs Jumbo Tsuruta

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Akira Taue

Thank you very much

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I put Bryan at 15 for the GWE project. I think he definitely gets to top 10 if I'd ever do that sort of list again. I had Jumbo 5 and I'd put him a little lower next time, I think they'd be a nice 7-8 combo. But who knows, if Bryan gets another run like last November-April, he's gonna creep in that top 5 territory.

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Jumbo is my #1, Misawa is my #2, forever and always. Terry Funk, Bryan Danielson, and Bret Hart tend to round out my top 5, most days. 

Ranking Bret above Flair feels wrong somehow, but that is my honest opinion. Even though Jumbo is my number one guy, ranking him vs Bryan is kind of too close to call. Both are right up there as the best ever in their particular style, so... that's a tie. 90s AJPW is always going to win out over 2010s NJPW in my book, but those are fairly interesting comparisons. 

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I’m a super low voter on Bret. I think he is very good but the WWF was, ironically enough, the perfect environment to play to his strengths and hide his weaknesses when he broke out. Which was funny because he was the opposite of what the F was about at the time, but that’s why it played in that time period. I’m not sure how many other top level babyface workers had Bret Hart’s lack of Fire imo. I think it’s a list of one. I’m not a giant Flair backer, but I also can’t dent his greatness isnFlairs greatness.


Kawada and Taue over the current NJPW guys for me is easy, but I don’t dig current New Japan.

Jumbo/Bryan is fascinating as Bryan is probably the only guy from the GWE Top 25 who actually has added to his resume in the last 3 years in any real way. And he was 5 on that. I remember in the GWE reactions the biggest flaw people had with Bryan’s WWE work is while a great heel in theory he couldn’t make the fans consistently boo him. Now not only did he come back out of retirement, turn heel and get over a heel, but he also made Kofi Kingston look like a complete champ while still having all of Kofis same limitations. I voted Bryan 2nd in 2016. If we did it again in 2019, he’d be my standing one. Jumbo is very good, but we are approaching 20 years of Daniel Bryan being exceptional doing just about any role asked of him.

Misawa vs. Kobashi has been an argument that has went down enough that I don’t feel like retreading it.

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Yeah, I remember people being really high on Bryan and IIRC the project ended some time after he had to retire, so some argued there was some bias in that regard.

Since he came back, he had good showings against a very green Cass, had an amazing Memphis-like feud with the Miz, had a classic against Lesnar and is having a heel run for the ages - and is actually getting booed.

I think those post-return years might give him the edge over Tsuruta.

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1 hour ago, Steve T said:

Bryan voters, what are the 3,5, 10 matches I should check out? Assume I haven't seen anything of his. 

To give you a rounded view of Bryan:

1. Bryan Danielson vs. Low Ki - RoH Round Robin Challenge 03/30/02. The Bryan vs. Low Ki series was very influential on the burgeoning US indie scene. Everyone wanted to wrestle like this.

2. Bryan Danielson vs. KENTA - RoH Glory By Honor 06/09/06. For some of Bryan's best technical limbwork.

3. Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness - RoH Unified 08/12/06. Another very influential feud, but here in a bloody fight for supremacy with his top rival.

4. Bryan Danielson vs. Homicide - RoH Final Battle 12/23/06. Bryan in the NWA heel champ role.

5. Bryan Danielson vs. Takeshi Morishima - RoH Manhattan Mayhem 08/25/07. Babyface Underdog Bryan vs. Monster Heel.

6. Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus - WWE Extreme Rules 04/29/12. 2/3 Falls match, Bryan's first classic in WWE I think.

7. Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena - WWE Summerslam 08/18/13. One of the best babyface challenges The Ace matches ever, I'd say the best WWE has ever pulled off this format. Worth watching their promo segment on Miz TV on the Raw before to really get it.

8. Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H - WWE Wrestlemania 04/06/14. Daniel Bryan managed to have an epic match with Triple H in 2014 that was actually a legit epic classic and felt shorter than what it was.

9. Daniel Bryan vs. Roman Reigns - WWE Fastlane 02/22/15. Excellent technical wrestler vs. powerhouse match.

10. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston - WWE Wrestlemania 04/07/19. This year Bryan has finally got to work as a main event heel in WWE, and what do you know he's amazing at that too.

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Anyway I voted Flair > Hart. I love Bret but come on. Flair was great in Jim Crockett, Mid-South, WCW, WWF, Japan etc... over at least a decade (probably closer to 15 years of being one of the best wrestlers in the world). Bret was great for about 5 years in WWF and didn't really succeed anywhere else.

Kawada > Okada. Both have a lot of great matches but Kawada's are better, but he also has so much more personality and I feel adds more to making them memorable on a personal level.

Kobashi > Misawa. This is extremely close, maybe should have voted 'draw'. I went for Kobashi because he just has that extra bit of adaptability and is more charismatic/likeable to me personally.

Danielson > Tsuruta. They've both had amazing, lengthy careers and succeeded in a variety of roles. Bryan wins this though for being a lot more consistent, and he was also legitimately great imo already by 2001. Jumbo has a lot of years early in his career where although he's being very strongly pushed, he's clearly not at the level of his top opponents.

Taue > Tanahashi. Tanahashi has a big flaw to me in that his offence just isn't good at all, and that's especially a problem when you're the Ace of a "strong style" promotion where everyone else looks like they're murdering each other. I have to fault him for it even I think he's at least very good at everything else.Taue doesn't have a big flaw like that (his offence is awesome) so he wins this.

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Flair > Hart (Love both guys but when Flair has the longevity at the time and the better quality)

Kawada > Okada (Both are my all time favourites but I can't deny Kawada. More dynamic and exciting)

Misawa > Kobashi (Kobashi is great and all but I always considered him my least favourite of the Four Pillars.)

Danielson > Tsuruta (Hard but I do find myself more inclined to watch a Danielson match over Jumbo)

Tanahashi > Taue (Taue rules and he is so innovative but Tanahashi gets me emotional invested much more and is in more of my favourite matches than Taue does)


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3 minutes ago, NintendoLogic said:

Consider this: the style Jumbo helped develop begat Misawa, Kawada, and Kobashi. The style Bryan helped develop begat Davey Richards and Seth Rollins.

Well that’s just bullshit. Davey in particular is much more a Japanese then US Indies influence. Or, even more so, Benoit. There isn’t really any comparison for either Black or Richards to Bryan other then “came to prominence after the other guy did.”

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27 minutes ago, NintendoLogic said:

Consider this: the style Jumbo helped develop begat Misawa, Kawada, and Kobashi. The style Bryan helped develop begat Davey Richards and Seth Rollins.

Other than "they came after" what evidence is there that Richards/Rollins are offshoots of Bryan like the Pillars were of Jumbo? Rollins always talks about Shawn Michaels being his influence, never heard him ever mention Bryan like that. Plus at least the Pillars are a logical sequel to Jumbo, whereas Bryan's "successors" really don't have the same style as his at all. Richards and Rollins are all about athleticism and workrate above everything else, something that was already becoming a trend independently of anything Bryan was doing. Bryan's not even a particularly great athlete, his greatness comes from his psychology and phenomenal ability to structure matches, something Richards/Rollins are both useless at. When have you ever seen them do a 4 minute waistlock segment like Bryan did at Mania this year and get super heat out of it?

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Flair>Bret: Bret was great but so many of his highly-pimped matches just come off as "really good". The Austin Mania match is the only one I really consider a classic.

Kawada>Okada: Okada is my current favorite wrestler and I think some sell him short, but Kawada is a GOAT contender whereas Okada would make my top 100 but not sure my top 50.

Misawa=Kobashi: Really too hard to judge. Both were tremendous for similar reasons yet both had their own unique approach.

Danielson>Tsuruta: Have never been a fan of Jumbo pre-86 whereas Bryan looked like the best in the world for most of his career.

Taue>Tanahashi: Tanahashi is another one I think some folks sell short and he'd probably make my top 20, but Taue is top 10.


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The Ki/Danielson series was the wellspring that pretty much every 2000s indy wrestler drew from to a degree. Trying to argue otherwise is pedantic hair-splitting. I wouldn't use that as the sole or even primary reason to favor Jumbo, but it's something I can't help but hold against Bryan in the back of my mind. Then again, I don't think Bryan's direct output holds a candle to Jumbo's. I mean, come on. People in this thread are trying to argue for the Miz feud, which was actively awful by any measure, as a point in Bryan's favor.

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