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Jushin Liger v Koji Kanemoto


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Jushin Liger v Koji Kanemoto - NJPW 01/04/96


This match never seemed sure where it was going. One can argue that it was an attempt at making Koji look good, as he controls the early stages of the matwork and dominates most of the match. However, with Liger winning, that sort of defeats the purpose of the build. One could also argue that this was an attempt at making Liger sympathetic, but Liger, in 1996, was the kingpin of the division, with or without the belt, and Kanemoto taking it to him without Liger getting much in the way of offense isn't fooling anyone. That's not say Liger's selling is bad, but it is ineffective -- the match suffers the same fate that many juniors matches do on dome shows, as the crowd pops for little. Liger can be credited for thinking on his feet to try to get the crowd involved, but he has to go to desperate measures to do so -- performing three consecutive brainbusters just to run a mid-match false finish is excessive any way you slice it. The only time they're ever really able to involve the crowd is when Kanemoto goes to the top rope, which eventually destroys the build, as Kanemoto's frequent trips to the top rope are wrestling's equivalent of getting holes punched in one's Subway card, chasing that elusive free sandwich. The attitude is there from both, and the work is almost there, but picking an idea and sticking with it -- being patient -- seemed to be a radical thought process for this one.

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