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[2004-04-02-ROH Best Of American Super Juniors Tournament] Black Tiger vs Dragon Soldier B

Ma Stump Puller

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While Black Tiger/Rocky Romero had to honestly fight though some of the hardest opponents in the Tournament (Shelley and Danielson respectfully) Kashin has had easy pickings and cheated, so he's in far better condition at this point. He's also changed into conventional Kashin gear, thus proving that this whole "Dragon Soldier" shtick and name change was just that, shtick: all done by Kashin to sneak him into this seemingly American-only Tournament. Now that he's in the gear we do get more work out of him as he pulls out the old Kashin dirtbag specials to try to nap the win. The extra long obnoxious rolling cradle at the start shows that at this point Kashin is taking the absolute piss out of the smarky crowd and is at least semi-self aware that he's the heel here. Black Tiger/Romero is pretty good, balancing some weird technical stuff alongside the flips; he's a solid foil to the more grounded style presented here.

Kashin takes the piss more as he raises his hand to acknowledge his fans as the crowd angrily chants "USA" at him like a badly-dated 80's crowd. I did lol a bit at Romero stealing the signature Kashin front roll into cross armbreaker finish as well. Kashin eventually gets the advantage after throwing the ref in front of him when a springboard dropkick comes down on the guy, meaning that a Tiger Suplex afterwards doesn't get counted. Romero gets some good near falls with a West Coast Pop and a sick brainbuster, but Kashin kicks out at 2.9 for all for these because he's that strong, brother. His mistake comes when he goes for a jumping attack in the corner, allowing Kashin to reverse him into a really well done top rope armbreaker transition for the win.

Kashin wins as his admiring fans chant "don't came back" loudly back at him. Ok, so this isn't amazing as a match but as a complete heel troll job as a whole, it's masterful. Kashin is so obviously winning this despite all of the big near falls that it pains the audience physically whenever he kicks out because they are reminded of that inevitability, because he's cruised though this with injured or weak opponents and as such has the stamina to survive longer. As such, he's able to pick his spots to pounce far more effectively. Romero/Tiger is also a awesome foil here and is mostly very smooth on his end; a bit generic mind you, but decent. The only real issue is that the wrong person won in the end; this dynamic only really works if the babyface overcomes the odds, otherwise no one really cares ultimately. That said, it definitely worked this smarky crowd up a storm so I can't really knock it either: as much as this was touted as a "disaster" for the relationship of both companies (and actually robbed us of a Samoa Joe NJPW run, including a singles with Nishimura!!!) by itself the entire show's angle of all of of these amazing talents getting side-lined from either prior injuries, eliminating each other and/or dirty antics in favour of Kashin was a incredible heel-stint and got him absolutely hated by this crowd. Had they milked that more, it could've been seen far more positively.

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  • paul sosnowski changed the title to [2004-04-02-ROH Best Of American Super Juniors Tournament] Black Tiger vs Dragon Soldier B

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