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[2014-08-01-NJPW-G-1 Climax] Hirooki Goto vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan


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Credit where credit is due, I thought this was a borderline masterpiece. One of the things that set this apart from a typical strong style slugfest was the fact that they both seemed to have strategies beyond "take turns clobbering each other until one of them goes down." Goto won me over in the opening minutes when he responded to Tenzan's invitation to come off the ropes with a shoulder tackle by kicking him in the gut and following up with elbows. I also really liked the struggles to maintain control and the way both men had to gradually fight their way back in rather than transitioning with a single big move or counter (or worse, no-selling). There was a sequence near the end (Tenzan ducks a Goto lariat, Goto blocks a Tenzan kick, Tenzan blocks a Goto lariat and headbutts him in the gut, Goto catches Tenzan coming off the ropes with an ushigoroshi) that felt closer to high-end King's Road than modern strong style. Finally, it was compact enough to prevent them from going off the rails with overkill. With this style, less is almost always more.

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