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[2014-07-26-NJPW-G-1 Climax] A.J. Styles vs Tetsuya Naito

Superstar Sleeze

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IWGP Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles vs Tetsuya Naito - G-1 Climax 2014 Day 2


The champion comes in with a loss and looks to get things back on track against Naito, who seemed poised on the cusp of breaking out earlier in the night. In fact at the 2014 Dome Show, he was the challenger for Okada's IWGP Championship, but the fans selected the Tanahashi/Nakamura I-C match as the main event, which showed that in the fans' eyes Naito just was not quite there yet. From what I read, his career was on the verge of collapse until a series with the hard-hitting Ishii over the NEVER title resuscitated his career. I have seen about one or two Naito matches, but don't remember much. I will definitely remember this match as Styles and Naito put on a very dramatic, intense match on the second day of the 2014 G-1 Climax.

AJ continues the chattiness of the Okada match and I am already hooked. Tie up in the ropes "Get him off me! Do your job!" You tell em, AJ! They go tit for tat early trading headlocks and Naito even hitting a Styles-like dropkick. AJ will not be shown up and unleashes a Jim Brunzell-beastly dropkick that reopens Naito's wound on the top of his head. AJ is just all over that wound. He pretty much does everything you want him to do short of gnawing on it. He elbows, knees, and claws at it. This is AJ at his most violent. I always thought he was good at taking the lickin' and keep on tickin' in the violent matches, but I loved seeing him dish it out here!

Naito looks to create some offense, but on the apron AJ trips him and takes a header right onto the apron. Damn! Great cutoff! DId not milk it. Rather they milked a double clothesline for a teased double countout. That would not have been my choice. Just when you think Naito was going to take over with a superplex AJ drops through his legs and hotshots him head first into the turnbuckle. If they just had a little more time and had Naito really sell these cutoffs, this would be a strong MOTYC. AJ runs through his usual high impact spots: pele, brainbuster to set up the Styles Clash. Naito fights out of the Styles Clash and looks for a Super Frankensteiner. BLOCK! He has him in the Styles Clash, but he fights out. Naito dropkicks him as he comes off the top. German suplex by Naito and he fights through AJ's strike combination. Star Dust Press wins it!

Can't believe I am going to say this, but I wanted this match to be longer. I know, I know I kept bitching and moaning about loooooooooooooooong NOAH matches, but if they had more time to flesh this out. This would have been awesome. Styles was violent and Naito was a great scrappy underdog. Let some of those cutoffs breathe and let Naito build towards a satisfying finish (a bit out of nowhere). This is match of the year. As it stands, it is very damn great ****1/4

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