NJPW (Discussion)

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rollup
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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by rollup » Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:59 pm

thought today's show was not good. The Never match was overbooked interference and naito suzuki went on way too long, especially the leg submission spots

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Frank Olson
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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by Frank Olson » Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:15 am

I agree with rollup, today's show was pretty lackluster. It felt like most of the wrestlers were giving house show efforts in front of a bored crowd.

In terms of bell-to-bell action, I thought the best match on the show was actually the LIJ vs. Suzukigun 6-man, which is odd since I really haven't been into almost any aspect of the endless feud between these two factions this year (aside from the Hiromu vs. Desperado stuff). I'm really liking the interactions between ZSJ and EVIL, who have a very interesting clash of styles. The way that EVIL sold the disappointment of his roll-up loss by just staring at the ground in disbelief and not moving was pretty great too. It seems odd that New Japan is apparently building to a singles match between those two, since neither man currently has a title, and since you would assume that they wouldn't want either of them to lose to the other ahead of likely matches against Naito and Jericho respectively. I'm sure that Zack vs. EVIL would be great though, so I'm looking forward to seeing where that goes.

That NEVER Title match was really boring. The parade of interference spots gave me PTSD flashbacks to Suzuki's awful NEVER Title reign from last year. The ending sequence where they were kicking out of finishers was okay since it seemed like the match could go either way, but that also seems like the absolute easiest way to create drama. Taichi just isn't very good. He did have a good match against Naito at the Anniversary Show where he was working more as a power wrestling bully, but ever since then he's just reverted back to outdated heel shtick.

I thought the Naito/Suzuki main event was a little better than the very mediocre match that they had together in the spring, but it was still well below the usual standards of New Japan main events. I don't think that these Suzuki and Jericho brawls play to Naito's strengths. He doesn't emote well enough to be interesting as a guy getting beaten down, and he isn't particularly convincing as a brawler. Also Suzuki should not pull out the endless leg lock spots if he isn't going to win.

One other minor note from the show - I thought it was interesting that Beretta took the fall instead of Chuckie T in the KES vs. Best Friends match. I don't know that it really means anything but I just thought it was odd that the half of the team that is actually a regular member of the roster was the one who got pinned.

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murdahmamurdah
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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by murdahmamurdah » Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:26 am

Theres no way Tanahashi isn't winning at the dome and then starting a new faction, or at least formalizing the seigigun esqe thing he's been doing for a while.

Him, Honma, Makabe, Yoshi Hashi, and an unamed Jr most likely.

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OptionZero
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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by OptionZero » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:10 pm

Tanahashi isn't winning at the dome. He's a scalp for Kenny's resume.

Now, if Kenny is leaving for WWE, then . . .

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mezomi
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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by mezomi » Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:15 am

Yeah, Tanahashi is definitely not going to win, considering that the MSG show is coming up, and would think that they want Kenny going into that show as champion. Tanahashi is great, but not really fitting of headlining this show.

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rollup
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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by rollup » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:07 am

great show with okada tanahashi doing a different version of their classics

► Show Spoiler

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SamoKuma
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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by SamoKuma » Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:28 pm

When Yoshi Hashi does a Titus Oneal, he does it good. Poor guy, I could not for one moment concentrate on any of the post match promo, only worried about him.

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OptionZero
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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by OptionZero » Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:25 am

This was very clearly the best Destruction show - the roster isn't strong enough to spread it across three nights, but this night had better energy and work across the card, the best main event, and a massive, massive angle to close it out

The build to this moment has been spectacular. Jay white has established himself as the hell that speaks the truth, about what's happening and what he intends to do; nearly every prediction and promise has come to pass. Kenny's loss, BC's fracture, and coming for Okada. He's also established himself as a manipulator throughout the g1; the stuff with Yoh was terrific, but bogged down by repetitiveness due to the g1 tour aspect hitting multiple towns. The in ring talent is there, once we get past the low blows needed to get by the g1.

Trying to book Wrestle Kingdom now is both exciting and frustrating. There's an opportunity to have the most international wrestle kingdom ever, but they also need to serve their home base. Having big, nontitle feuds for 2 of the top 4 also makes this challenging: neither Okada/white nor Jericho/Naitoi need belts, but those belts are there and need marque matches.

Here's what I came up with, and obviously there's different ways to go:

IWGP HW championship: Omega v Tanahashi, it's locked in.

IWGP IC championship: Jericho v Naito. Doesn't need a belt, but Jericho not being around and Naito not having a good alternative means this is what we got.

Special Singles match: Okada v Switchblade w/ Gedo. Doesn't need a belt, plenty at stake.

IWGP US championship: Ibushi v Ospreay. Pencil in 5 stars. They've teased this repeatedly, this is the stage. Juice retains but Ibushi challenges after Strong Style Unleashed and takes the belt. Ospreay moves up to HW, it's gonna be awesome.

NEVER Openweight Championship (stipulation: No DQ and Loser is Ineligible for#G129): Taichi v Yoshi-Hashi. I'd rather do Ospreay v Ibushi for this belt and keep Ospreay a jr for a bit longer thru the openweight aspect of it, but it seems like they're pushing Taichi so here we are. The stip should add heat by taking advantage of the g1 omission angle. Sorta proud of this idea. You can also stick Henare in here under the same conditions and put just one G1 spot on the line, so the two losers are OUT of the G1.

IWGP Tag Team Championships / British Tag Team Championships: Young Bucks v Zsj & Suzuki. Another one I dig. I thought about putting ZSJ in a singles match but this champion vs champion angle appeals to me for this stage, plus the bucks selling for Suzuki gun will be fun.

NWA World Championship / British Heavyweight Championship: Cody v Tomohiro Ishii. ishii can take the strap from Suzuki overseas and now we have a singles match for him with some international stakes. I'm sure neither NWA & RevPro wouldn't mind a littl extra juice for their titles.

IWGP Jr Heavyweight championship / British cruiserweight championship: KUSHIDA v El Phantasmo. I expect Kushida to come out with the jr belt from this tourney, and NJPW lacks fresh junior contenders, so let's do this. CAVEAT - if they sign Shingo or Neville, THEN PUT THEM HERE INSTEAD !!!

IWGP Jr Tag Team Championships: Suzuki-gun v Roppongi 3K v Scurll/Flip v Ishimori/David Starr. Surprised we haven't seen Flip back or David Starr in NJPW but here's where you can stick them. I think David Starr works for BC OG

Stuck in battle royal or NEVER trios: Goto, Sananda, Yano, Juice, taguchi, legends, etc. sorry, stuffed card.

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Frank Olson
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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by Frank Olson » Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:13 am

It was definitely a relief to get a really good show today after the lackluster ones in Hiroshima and Beppu.

Tsuji and Uemura had one of the best Young Lions matches I've seen in a while. I really love this thing they're doing where all of their matches go to a 10 minute draw, because it creates instant drama in that you want to see which one will finally score a fall and how they will do it. This one had great intensity from the opening bell until the finish, and although these novice wrestlers don't quite have the skill level to bring their matches to the next gear for a hot closing stretch I did think that the ring announcer counting down the time toward the end of the match brought another level of excitement. Uemura even got a really cool near fall where he was struggling to turn Tsuji over for the Boston Crab and then turned that into a pinning attempt. Tsuji has the unique look and size to be a future superstar, and I really like the flying elbow thing that he's been doing lately. Uemura is incredibly smooth for a wrestler of his experience level. I've been watching a lot of the 1980s New Japan matches lately (with the aid of Tigerkinney's excellent thread about the matches on New Japan World) and Uemura strikes me as someone who would fit very comfortably into the old New Japan vs. UWF feud. He has some sort of throwback quality that I feel makes him stand out from the other Young Lions.

Umino and Narita are a little more advanced as in-ring performers than Tsuji and Uemura are (as you would expect given that they've been wrestling for about a year longer) but I find that lately I'm less compelled by them, maybe because they don't have anything like ongoing relationship between Tsuji and Uemura (or like the YOH/SHO or White/Finlay pairings used to have). So while I thought the Umino/Narita vs. RPG 3K match was fundamentally solid I didn't quite feel like it was as interesting as it would have been if Umino and Narita genuinely felt like the next SHO and YOH, whereas to me it seems like they will probably both ultimately go their own way.

Desperado/Kanemaru vs. Liger/Tiger was a fun little undercard match, and a good way to build to the next Jr Tag Title match (which I assume will be at King of Pro Wrestling). Those belts have probably been on ice a little too long, and this will be a good way to reintroduce the division ahead of the Jr Tag League (which I am very excited for despite the lack of regular teams in the division). Desperado and Kanemaru have proven to be really fun champions, and they work together very smoothly.

The 8-man tag was a little hard to get into since it was the one match on the show that was essentially meaningless. My main takeaway was that Kojima looked extra fired up today, and he was putting some extra stink on his Machine Gun chops. One downside of the roster being so stacked right now is that I doubt that Kojima will get to be a part of many more meaningful matches in his career, which is a shame because he can really still go. I can't figure out how I feel about Yoshida so far. He has some performances where I'm really impressed with him, like in his recent Road To singles match against Chase Owens, and then there are some matches like this where he just kind of fades into the background and I don't remember anything he does. Yoshida's in that weird “not quite a Young Lion” role that Juice was in back in 2015 and 2016, and while I think he's a much more natural fit on the roster than Juice was when he was at that point I also feel like that role makes it a little hard to get a read on him.

Comparing the Best Friends/KES matches from Beppu and Kobe really demonstrates how much an invested crowd can add to a match. I think if you were watching both matches with the volume off the wrestling would probably seem equally as good, but the audience actually making noise during today's match definitely improved the quality of it. I'm not usually a KES fan, but I do think they work well as bullies taking on smaller and more high flying teams, and these matches were good examples of that. It's also why I hope that this leads to a rubber match at Fighting Spirit Unleashed which will in turn set up a King of Pro Wrestling tag title match between the Young Bucks and KES, which I think could actually be pretty spectacular. After the Beppu match I was wondering why Beretta was the one who got pinned, but the end of today's match, where Beretta took the same finisher but then did a surprise rollup for the victory, answered that question.

I always enjoy Juice, Finlay and Henare as a six-man tag unit, and their match against CHAOS was very solid. A lot of people have discussed Ospreay as a Wrestler of the Year Candidate for his string of great singles matches across a variety of promotions, but I think he should be commended for his exciting work in minor tag matches like this one as well. He is one of the most exciting hot tags around, and he somehow never seems to phone it in despite working a style that I'm sure is hugely physically taxing.

LIJ vs. Suzukigun was okay, although this was the one case on these shows where I preferred the Beppu equivalent match, where I thought that the ZSJ/EVIL exchanges were a little more fiery. I think I would have preferred if EVIL had gotten a flash pin on ZSJ here to even them up ahead of the singles match that they seem to be headed toward rather than pinning the usual fall guy TAKA. Not a bad match though, just one of the less noteworthy ones on this show.

KUSHIDA and BUSHI always have good matches together, though they have yet to have one that really blows me away. Today's was probably one of the better matches in their series, with minimal reliance on the tired heel shtick side of BUSHI's game and more of an emphasis on the type of athletic, competitive match that KUSHIDA specializes in. KUSHIDA countering a tope into an armbar was really badass. While I find BUSHI's mist spots to be a little tiresome and silly, I do have to admit that I bit on his nearfall after misting KUSHIDA, so the match had some good drama in addition to being a nice athletic exhibition.

But of course the most dramatic match on the tour by a wide margin was today's Tanahashi and Okada main event. No one is better at milking the little nuances and storytelling moments in a big match than Hiroshi Tanahashi, and the way that he consistently sold his knee throughout this match was hugely impressive. Whether hobbling across the ring, getting trapped in the ropes, being a little too slow to hit a move, shifting all his weight to the other leg, or being unable to complete a pinfall because of the pain, Tanahashi's performance here was just masterful. Okada was really damn good here too of course, both with his own knee selling and with his subtle heel work that beautifully played into the live crowd's fear that the company might go with their golden boy rather than giving Tanahashi one last Tokyo Dome main event run. As much as I love Omega and Naito, I still feel that they haven't mastered playing to the crowd the way that Okada and Tanahashi have. On top of the great psychology and selling this match also included that absolutely incredible spot where Tanahashi delivered the High Fly Flow as Okada was falling from the top rope. Definitely one of my favorite matches of the year, and possibly one of my favorite matches in this legendary rivalry, although there's so many to choose from that I'd really have to think about that.

I thought that the show-ending angle was handled really well too. Even YOSHI-HASHI's unfortunate wipeout (who else on the New Japan roster could manage to get busted open while running to the ring?) kind of worked in the context of this story. Gedo turning on Okada was just the type of big angle they needed to take the Okada/White issue from a few testy exchanges to an all-out rivalry, and I'm really interested to see how the battle lines are drawn and who will wind up siding with Okada or White. I know that there are still some people who don't believe in White's abilities as a main event player, but I definitely think that the massive heel heat he got here is a point in his favor. At this point I would guess that his briefcase challenge will be headlining King of Pro Wrestling.

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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by Gerard » Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:16 am

mezomi wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:15 am
Yeah, Tanahashi is definitely not going to win, considering that the MSG show is coming up, and would think that they want Kenny going into that show as champion. Tanahashi is great, but not really fitting of headlining this show.
I actually made a prediction on this very board that I actually think Tanahashi is going to win because while Tanahashi vs Okada is of declining drawing power in Japan, Okada vs. Omega has not. Putting Okada vs. Tanahashi in MSG makes a lot of sense to me and it would help cement their feud as one of the greatest ever in wrestling. I can definitely see Omega vs. Okada again at major Japanese venue like Osaka jo-Hall, Sumo Hall, or Budokan in 2019.

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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by Rich Kraetsch » Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:08 pm

Frank Olson wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:13 am
But of course the most dramatic match on the tour by a wide margin was today's Tanahashi and Okada main event. No one is better at milking the little nuances and storytelling moments in a big match than Hiroshi Tanahashi, and the way that he consistently sold his knee throughout this match was hugely impressive. Whether hobbling across the ring, getting trapped in the ropes, being a little too slow to hit a move, shifting all his weight to the other leg, or being unable to complete a pinfall because of the pain, Tanahashi's performance here was just masterful. Okada was really damn good here too of course, both with his own knee selling and with his subtle heel work that beautifully played into the live crowd's fear that the company might go with their golden boy rather than giving Tanahashi one last Tokyo Dome main event run. As much as I love Omega and Naito, I still feel that they haven't mastered playing to the crowd the way that Okada and Tanahashi have. On top of the great psychology and selling this match also included that absolutely incredible spot where Tanahashi delivered the High Fly Flow as Okada was falling from the top rope. Definitely one of my favorite matches of the year, and possibly one of my favorite matches in this legendary rivalry, although there's so many to choose from that I'd really have to think about that.
This was a great paragraph and really helped sum up a lot of my thoughts on the match as well. I love Omega, I love Naito. Those dudes are some of the best going. But there's just something different to a big time Tanahashi match. There's a different weight, a different feel. He just feels and wrestles more special. He's so much better than those two at nuance, little things. Omega, Naito, etc. can have more spectacular matches than Tanahashi but nobody works the in-betweens quite like Tanahashi.

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Frank Olson
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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by Frank Olson » Wed Sep 26, 2018 12:30 am

The full Fighting Spirit Unleashed card is out...

Liger/Taguchi/ACH vs. RPG 3K
The Addiction vs. Hangman Page/Chase Owens
Jeff Cobb/Chris Sabin/Flip Gordon vs. Goto/Best Friends
Naito/EVIL/SANADA vs. ZSJ/KES
Tanahashi/KUSHIDA vs. White/Gedo
Jr Title Tournament Semi Final: Ospreay vs. Scurll
IWGP Tag Team Titles: Young Bucks vs. G.O.D.
US Title: Juice vs. Cody
Golden Lovers vs. Okada/Ishii

This looks like a really fun show, although they definitely messed up by waiting so long to announce most of this card. Revealing the main event really wouldn't have given away any spoilers for Destruction (and in fact might have been a clever red herring since Omega and Okada being across the ring from each other might have looked like it was building to Wrestle Kingdom). At any rate, all of the US shows so far have been excellent so I expect this one to exceed people's expectations despite the lack of buzz going into it.

With Best Friends tied 1-1 on the Destruction tour and with them appearing in separate matches here I expect that we are headed toward a lame 3-way Tag Title match at King of Pro Wrestling. I suppose that makes the outcome of the Young Bucks/G.O.D. match less predictable, but I can't say that I'm looking forward to what now looks like a probable multi-team match in October.

It's also kind of funny to note how inconsequential the Bullet Club angle from the end of the Cow Palace show has become. That seemed like such a hot angle back in early July and now all it's really led to on this show is a 3rd from the top Tag Title match. It will probably be a good match, but it just seems like G.O.D. are no more over now than they were before the Cow Palace.

I'm really interested to see how the commentary team of Jim Ross and Kevin Kelly comes off on the broadcast. JR has been absolutely abysmal to the point of being borderline unprofessional on most of these shows, but Kelly has done an excellent job as the English-language voice of the company, so I'm curious to see how they mesh on this show and if Kelly's presence will make Ross more palatable.

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OptionZero
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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by OptionZero » Wed Sep 26, 2018 2:19 am

If GOD loses, their push hits a big stall...but the Tag challengers are ambiguous at this stage

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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by Gerard » Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:07 pm

After reading the predictions at VOW, am I the only one who thinks Juice is beating Cody? I know Cody is red hot right now but I thought this was going to be Juice winning to set up a rematch for the NWA title that Cody would then win. It would be a good match to bring the NWA title back to Japan with, even as soon as KOPW.

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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by Danwaka » Fri Sep 28, 2018 8:44 pm

I think Juice has a bigger chance than they give him, but I don't know that Cody is gonna let Juice beat him freshly off the NWA World title victory. At least, I think we all hope that he'd be more selective with his losses.

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