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[2004-08-14-NJPW-G1 Climax] Kensuke Sasaki vs Hiroshi Tanahashi

Superstar Sleeze

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Kensuke Sasaki vs Hiroshi Tanahashi - NJPW G-1 Climax 8/14/04

Kensuke is going through a mid-life crisis busting out top rope corkscrew sentons and rolling cradle (came out terrible), hell at least it is different. Tanahashi does plucky young upstart well stealing the Northern Lights Bomb after getting his ass kicked at the beginning. Tanahashi is very inspired Keiji Mutoh offensively to this day, (all that legwork)  but you can really see it in this match. There are a lot of things Tanahashi does better than Mutoh such as selling and psychology, but in terms of offense this is a very 90s Keiji Mutoh match. This is a pretty straightforward asskicking match from Sasaki, who beats the piss out of Tanahashi. I forgot how much I enjoy watching Sasaki kick ass, but on top of that he hits three dives so there is good variety. Tanahashi does hit 'n' run well and times is comebacks well. Very smartly, Sasaki never hits Tanahashi in the head so Tanahashi's comebacks make sense. I thought they got sloppy down the stretch and it did take away from the finish. The finish is part of the match's charm so I won't spoil it, but this is a great veteran vs young lion match that Japan does so much better than America and at the height of Inokiism this is a throwback to the 90s and Choshu-ism. ***1/4 

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