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[2014-07-21-NJPW-G-1 Climax] A.J. Styles vs Kazuchika Okada

Superstar Sleeze

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IWGP Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles vs Kazuchika Okada - G-1 Climax Day 1 2014

I was super pumped to get started on some AJ Styles in New Japan and what better place to start then where he really opened people's eyes in the G-1 Climax. Coming into this match. AJ Styles was riding a two match win streak over Okada having defeated him for the title in early May. I have seen about three Okada matches in my life, two were back in 2012 when he broke out and then one a couple months ago when he was a young boy. I don't have a real feel for him. This match while great did not really lend me anymore insight than I had previously. He seems like he is an all-around capable wrestler who knows how to carry himself, which is critical. Okada's entrance is really cool with the robes and chains. American wrestling needs a colorful figure like that. He is definitely someone I will be exploring in the near future as I plan to catch up on New Japan.

For someone (*cough*Meltzer*cough*) to say this is Styles' best match or best performance is pretty disrespectful to AJ, in my opinion. I have seen a lot of AJ and he has had plenty of matches that are a total level above this match. I am not trying to slight the match. The match was a great match, but it was opening day of the tournament match. It is going to whet your appetite not satisfy it. Plus with AJ's title not on the line and AJ being up 2-0 in his personal series against, Okada you knew it was time for Okada to get his win back so the same level of drama was not there. To make a comparison to American wrestling, I would say this would be a candidate for the Best RAW match of the year, that's level it was at.

AJ yapping it up during the match was awesome. It is a new part of his arsenal (unless something changed late in his TNA run) and I loved it. He was trash talking Okada asking him if that's all he got when he was in a straitjacket surfboard or after he took control, mocking the Okada chants. The verbal beatdown added a lot to the heel heat section.  The opening part of the match was well-worked armwrenches before they tease hitting their finishers. From there, Okada takes over with a big back body drop on Styles. Styles lunges at Okada with two fists to the throat. I love that as a heel transition. Like I said Styles heat segment was definitely taken up a notch by his trash talk. Styles brings back the jump over the railing on an Irish Whip. Okada follows up with a cross body. They tease the double countdown. Not much has changed since 2009, I see. :)

Okada puts AJ in a wicked STF (Take notes, Cena) and Styles is very vocal about how much it hurts. AJ uses the suplex into the turnbuckles as a desperation transition as we have seen before. I like that spot utilized for that purpose. He follows up with a torture rack into a powerbomb, damn that was nice. AJ is thinking it is time to end this. First he crashes and burns on the springboard 450. Then he goes for the Styles Clash, but nothing doing. The ref gets bumped (oooooooo that's different from the 2000s). Okada hits a sweet top rope elbow drop, but there's no ref! Here comes Yuijro of the Bullet Club, but he gets taken out with a dropkick to the head. Okada goes for the Rainmaker, but reversed into a German and Pele. The Pele kick is the usual set up for the Styles Clash, but Okada reverses the Clash into a TOMBSTONE! RAINMAKER~!

After succumbing to the Styles Clash twice, Okada had a counter this time with the Tombstone leading to his Rainmaker finish. The early part of the match was carried by AJ with his trash talk. The last part was very solid escalation. AJ took over with the suplex into the corner and began working towards putting Okada away. At each turn, he was just too premature and could not make the most of Yujiro's help. Okada had an answer for pretty much anything Styles threw at him and conquered him with the Rainmaker. It never reached that next level, but it built to a very satisfying conclusion. Can my boy, AJ, pick up the pieces and gain some momentum in night 2 against the up and coming Naito? ****


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  • GSR changed the title to [2014-07-21-NJPW-G-1 Climax] A.J. Styles vs Kazuchika Okada

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