NJPW (Discussion)

Talk Puro, Lucha, Europe and "I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN AUSTRALIA/PACIFIC ISLANDS/CARIBBEAN/AFRICA"
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Frank Olson
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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by Frank Olson » Sun May 12, 2019 1:37 pm

That really is a shame about Desperado not being able to perform in this year's tournament. I think the points that yaritaihoudai made about Desperado being a possible surprise winner of the tournament make a lot of sense given how the schedule is laid out, and also taking into account all of the promo time that Dragon Lee has devoted to calling out Desperado as his next challenger. But as the B Block stands now it does seem like Ospreay pretty much has to win, with El Phantasmo being the only other really plausible finalist. I guess Taguchi could be considered a dark horse, as it is interesting that he's main eventing the first three B Block nights and likely main eventing the last B Block night against Ospreay, but as popular as Taguchi is I don't know that anyone would buy him winning the tournament.

I still think that Shingo is winning the A Block, although the fact that he's in the same block as the champion does make me more skeptical about his chances of winning the tournament, since you'd think they'd want to keep the "Dragon vs. Dragon" match fresh if that is the plan for Dominion.

As much as it sucks to lose Desperado, I am interested to see how this DOUKI guy performs. Chase Owens basically got his current role in New Japan by being available for BOSJ when The Young Bucks were injured a few years back, so if DOUKI does well here he could find himself with a similar steady job in the future. It seems like he has a cool look if nothing else, so I'm intrigued to see what he brings to the table.

Getting Ren Narita instead of Flip Gordon is an upgrade in my opinion. I don't hate Flip the way that some people seem to, but I'm long since ready for he and Marty to finish out their contracts and inevitably go to their natural home in AEW. I do think that Narita would probably fit in better stylistically with some of the wrestlers in the A Block, but I'm still glad that he's getting this opportunity to shine. I hope he manages to pick up 1 upset win somewhere in the tournament (maybe against a guy like Rocky Romero who can afford to take the loss), since his bridging suplex finisher is so perfectly set up for a flash pin, although of course it won't be a surprise if he winds up with 0 points either. Either way I'm expecting some standout performances from him.

The matches I'm most looking forward to are SHO vs. Shingo (May 13), Dragon Lee vs. Ishimori (May 13), Titan vs. Ishimori (May 18), Ospreay vs. Phantasmo (May 22), Ospreay vs. Bandido (May 23), Dragon Lee vs. Shingo (May 23), Dragon Lee vs. Titan (May 24), SHO vs. Ishimori (May 26), SHO vs. Gresham (May 31), and Shingo vs. Ishimori (May 31). That's quite a lineup.

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

Post by Tigerkinney » Sun May 12, 2019 4:33 pm

To follow up on what Frank said in regards to Flip Gordon, I'm in the same boat. He's not someone I have an immense dislike for, he's just someone I'm pretty much indifferent on. I felt in last year's BOSJ he showed enough not to look out of place in New Japan but not enough to completely win every one over and see him as a breakout star in the Junior Division. Anyway I very much doubt he was going to be in the mix to make it to potentially make it to the Finals,he would have most likely ended up being a 3-6 insignificance.

Speaking of another possibly AEW bound participant, I can see Marty Scurll ending up with a losing record this year. Whilst his future with ROH/NJPW is in doubt, I think his days as a push commodity are over. If he does end up being the mix, then it may be a hint that he may not be AEW bound after all, I just can't see New Japan keeping Scurll strong if he has one foot out the door.

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

Post by Frank Olson » Tue May 14, 2019 1:31 am

Pretty good opening night of the Best of the Super Juniors. Tiger Mask vs. TAKA was not the most exciting opener, as it appears that Tiger's injury is genuinely limiting his mobility. They did a decent job of telling the story of TAKA being the slimy heel working over the injury, but you really need the crowd to be vocally behind the babyface for this type of very basic match to work (see Juice vs. Fale for a recent example of a successful application of this simple match layout), and they were pretty quiet here.

Titan is one of my favorite luchadores, but he seemed off his game against Kanemaru. He seemed uncharacteristically sloppy and uncoordinated.

Gresham vs. Scurll had some cool technical wrestling moments, but those spots were spread out over far too long a time. It seems like most of Marty's matches over the past couple years have been very lackadaisically paced and formless. I thought that Gresham came off well though. I was a little surprised that he took the loss.

The clear match of the night was SHO vs. Shingo. SHO's new theme song and black hair were nice touches. The match was intense from the first lockup all the way through the pinfall, and they got so close to the 30 minute mark that I really thought they might go to a draw. SHO and Shingo both did a great job of making every little move feel significant, and they were doing an impressive job controlling the reactions of the live crowd (who were largely pretty quiet during most of the other matches).

Dragon Lee vs. Ishimori suffered from comparison both to the semi-main event and to their recent Dontaku main event. It was a mistake to start with a strike exchange, both because these guys' elbow strikes look pretty tepid compared to those of Ishii/Suzuki/Goto/etc., but also because the back and forth exchanges felt too similar to (and not as good as) the ones that Shingo and SHO had just finished doing. The match also felt kind of short and anticlimactic compared to the semi-main. Plus that moment where Dragon Lee was trying to DVD Ishimori into the corner but actually dropped him on the top of his head was kind of scary. That said the wrestling was still very impressive (that thing where Ishimori winds his body all around his opponent and then drops them down into a crossface blows my mind every time I see it) and there's not very many people who can do what these two do in the ring.

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Ckkj14
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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by Ckkj14 » Tue May 14, 2019 6:10 pm

Douki is the absolute pits. Flip Gordon is streets ahead of him

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

Post by Frank Olson » Wed May 15, 2019 3:12 am

I actually thought that Douki looked pretty good in his match against Narita today (aside from that awkward inside-out DDT thing that he botched). They got a reaction from the live crowd, which is more than you can say for the Tiger Mask/TAKA A Block opener from yesterday's show. I thought Douki had some unique offense and a pretty cool finisher. It was also cool to see Narita get to do a few things that he wouldn't normally get to do in a Young Lions match, and he had some nice near falls.

Eagles vs. Romero was a strong showcase for the versatility of Robbie Eagles. It's not gonna go on anyone's Match of the Year (or even Match of the Tournament) list, but the match did exactly what it needed to do in terms of showing off what Eagles is capable of as a singles competitor.

Bandido vs. Phantasmo was a little too "PWG" for my taste and was my least favorite tournament match of the night. Both guys did some impressively athletic stuff, but there wasn't much structure to the match.

Ospreay vs. BUSHI exceeded my expectations. I didn't like their match in last year's tournament (where it really seemed like BUSHI was phoning it in) but they seemed to have much better chemistry this time out and it was a very entertaining back and forth match.

Hometown boys Taguchi and YOH put on a solid main event that I would say was about on par with the semi-main. I loved the moment when YOH did the thing where he rebounds back into the ring but then Taguchi seamlessly caught him with the Ankle Lock.

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

Post by BoxingRobes » Wed May 15, 2019 9:57 pm

Shoot SHINGO v. SHO into my veins.

That is why I watch wrestling, brothers.

Those two are SUPER.STARS.

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

Post by Frank Olson » Thu May 16, 2019 1:35 am

The tournament matches on today's show were mostly strong but the dead crowd kept the show from reaching its full potential.

I really liked Gresham vs. TAKA. Gresham's style is totally different than everyone else's in this tournament, and TAKA was the perfect person to allow Gresham to show off all of his signature stuff (in much the same way that Rocky was the perfect fall guy for Robbie Eagles last night).

Kanemaru vs. Tiger Mask was pretty good. I liked the fiery start to the match and there were some convincing nearfalls (with each man kicking out of the other's finisher) but the ending of the match was really visually confusing (I thought that Kanemaru had won until they announced that Tiger Mask got the 2 points).

Shingo vs. Titan was solid, but wasn't the type of match that anybody's going to remember by the time the tournament is over. In fact I'm already struggling to remember any details of it and I just finished watching the show.

Ishimori vs. Scurll had some moments of good action but it felt lethargically paced and overlong. I think I'm just tired of Marty Scurll's act. Ishimori also seemed uncharacteristically sloppy at times. My least favorite match of the night.

SHO vs. Dragon Lee was really good, and probably would've been great with a better crowd and/or if they hadn't overdone the forearm exchange spots so much. They told a similar story to their match from last year's tournament, with each man attempting to destroy the other's arm, but there was more drama to it this year since you had the added element of both competitors desperately trying to pick up some points after losing on night one. I like the story they are telling of SHO taking the top guys in his block to the limit but not quite being on the level yet to actually defeat them, and I assume that his match against Ishimori later in the tournament will continue that narrative. I also loved Dragon Lee's insane tope suicida, and I would have been terrified to have been sitting in the front row if I saw that headed my way.

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

Post by yaritaihoudai » Thu May 16, 2019 3:27 pm

It was a fun match I guess, but why the fuck is Ospreay, with wins in less time over Ibushi, Fale, and Archer in the past five months, going 25+ with pin-eater Rocky Romero?

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

Post by Tigerkinney » Thu May 16, 2019 9:42 pm

yaritaihoudai wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 3:27 pm
It was a fun match I guess, but why the fuck is Ospreay, with wins in less time over Ibushi, Fale, and Archer in the past five months, going 25+ with pin-eater Rocky Romero?
From a non kayfabe perspective: Ospreay is one of the most generous pushed wrestlers, when it comes to making his opponents look good. He's probably got a lot of respect for Rocky Romero and felt the old boy, deserved his day in the sun, so to speak.

From a kayfabe perspective: Rocky's been pretty much written off by everyone as a competitive wrestler, having given off the image of being a part-timer who spends more time at the commentary desk than in the ring, and when he is in the ring he's eating pins. But Rocky has suddenly decided he wants to take things a bit more serious again and he still has some gas left in the tank.

Ospreay probably thinks this going to be a relatively easy win against his lower-ranked stable mate and that he probably doesn't have to go all-out in obtaining the victory but as the match wears on you can tell that Ospreay is forced to move up the gears and get nastier with his offence, because Rocky (the wily veteran that he is) seems to have an answer for everything Ospreay throws at him.

I thought they told a really great story with this match, and instead of thinking "WTF?! Ospreay couldn't put away a 'jobber' in 5 minutes", I appreciated what they went for, and as the match wore on started to buy in to the possibility of Romero pulling off a shocking upset.

It looks to me the general story with Rocky in this tournament, is that he will show that he can still be competitive but he'll come up just short against a field of younger, faster, stronger wrestlers.

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

Post by Tigerkinney » Thu May 16, 2019 11:37 pm

So I see DOUKI is already getting shat on by quite a few people. Whilst I don't think he's been great and he does not look like a good long term fit for New Japan, I don't think he's been horrendous either. He's been brought in as a hired gun for Suzukigun Taichi's stooge, so your enjoyment of his matches may well depend on your tolerance for heel shenanigans/BS.

I felt he was quite sloppy against Ren Narita but for me he was much better against Taguchi, still not super-crisp but then again his whole story is that he's an indy sleaze wrestler, who has been plying his trade in grimy underground promotions around Mexico, so it doesn't bother me that much if he's technically perfect.


I had to roll my eyes at the one star review Csonka gave the match with Taguchi over on 411. On the whole, I prefer matches devoid of cheap heel tactics, but if they don't over do it and the heel(s) get their comeuppance by the end of the match then occasionally this kind of match can work. Taguchi vs DOUKI wasn't a MOTYC or anything but it certainly wasn't the drizzling shits either. I felt they didn't over do it with the interference/cheating and most importantly of all the crowd was into the match and fully behind Taguchi over-coming the odds.

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

Post by Frank Olson » Fri May 17, 2019 12:03 am

It was interesting that today's show, from the same city but a different building than yesterday's show, had a much more responsive crowd than yesterday's despite today's show being a much weaker card on paper.

I really liked Eagles vs. Narita. I haven't seen a ton of Eagles outside of his handful of New Japan appearances (I saw whichever match vs. Ospreay was free on YouTube, but I think that's all I've seen of his Australian stuff) but based on his two matches so far I'd say he's among the smoothest workers in the tournament. Narita looked great too (as always) and the added element of him being the hometown hero made the match a lot more dramatic than you'd expect for something where the winner was never really in doubt. Probably my favorite match of the show.

YOH vs. Bandido was really good as well. That corkscrew hurricanrana thing that Bandido did on the apron was really cool. Bandido seems to be at that phase of his career as a high flyer where he can do a lot of impressive stuff but doesn't necessarily know how to do it in ways that make sense (like when he did a bunch of unnecessary rope jumps before diving onto YOH while he had him tied up in the ropes) but for the most part I thought YOH did a good job of keeping the match grounded while also matching his opponent's speed and athleticism.

BUSHI vs. Phantasmo was pretty good. BUSHI is two for two on good tournament matches so far this year, whereas I felt like he phoned it in last year. Phantasmo's heel act seems a little try hard to me, but I can't really fault his wrestling.

In a vacuum the Ospreay vs. Rocky match was probably the best match of the night, but I do agree to an extent with yaritaihoudai that it's a little weird to see Ospreay beating pushed heavyweights like Ibushi and Fale and then taking 25 minutes to put away manager/commentator Rocky Romero. On the other hand I do also like Tigerkinney's idea of Rocky being competitive but just not quite as good as the younger wrestlers in the field. I'm just not sure that they really needed 25 minutes to tell that story. There's no denying that the wrestling was really impressive though, especially at the closing stretch, even if I have mixed feelings about the story they told.

Douki seems to be a very controversial figure in this tournament, but I mostly like what I've seen to this point, and I thought his match against Taguchi was a solid main event. Douki's doing enough heel shenanigans to establish who he is as a character but he isn't overdoing it to the point that the matches are tedious, and some of his offense is pretty unique. He's getting good reactions from the crowds too, so I really have no complaints. I didn't expect Taguchi to be a player in this tournament after his losing record last year, but with Desperado and Flip being out and the B Block needing to be rebooked at the last minute I wonder if he might have a dominant run going into the final block night.

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

Post by Tigerkinney » Fri May 17, 2019 9:49 am

Frank Olson wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 12:03 am
It was interesting that today's show, from the same city but a different building than yesterday's show, had a much more responsive crowd than yesterday's despite today's show being a much weaker card on paper.
Going to have to correct you there, same prefecture different cities. First show was in Hirosaki (which is a little more inland and close to the mountains) and the show last night was in Aomori itself, which is on the coast. They are only 40 KM apart mind you, so you wouldn't think there would be much difference in regards to the make up of the crowd.

This is how you can tell where each event is actually taking place:

So the next show is in Yamagata and is listed as such: 100, Hirakubo, Yamagata-shi, Yamagata

The last name is the prefecture it takes place in, the name before ending in -shi is the City. So the next event is in Yamagata City, Yamagata prefecture.

Here's one for an event further down the line: 1-1 Atsuta Nishi-cho, Atsuta-ku, Nagoya-shi, Aichi

So that one be taking place in Nagoya City, Aichi prefecture. Most of the time the main cities tend to have the same name as the prefecture they are in, but there are exceptions, Nagoya probably being the most notable one.

Listings for Tokyo shows are different, they will look like this: 1-3-61, Koraku, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

Ku means ward. So the Korakuen Hall shows take place in Bunkyo ward, Tokyo.

Obviously knowing this isn't going to enhance your (everyone in general, not Frank specifically) enjoyment of the in-ring product but it doesn't hurt to be more educated on these sort of things.

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Ckkj14
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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by Ckkj14 » Fri May 17, 2019 9:21 pm

Absolutely loved Ospreay v Rocky

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

Post by Frank Olson » Sat May 18, 2019 3:45 am

Tigerkinney wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 9:49 am
Frank Olson wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 12:03 am
It was interesting that today's show, from the same city but a different building than yesterday's show, had a much more responsive crowd than yesterday's despite today's show being a much weaker card on paper.
Going to have to correct you there, same prefecture different cities. First show was in Hirosaki (which is a little more inland and close to the mountains) and the show last night was in Aomori itself, which is on the coast. They are only 40 KM apart mind you, so you wouldn't think there would be much difference in regards to the make up of the crowd.

This is how you can tell where each event is actually taking place:

So the next show is in Yamagata and is listed as such: 100, Hirakubo, Yamagata-shi, Yamagata

The last name is the prefecture it takes place in, the name before ending in -shi is the City. So the next event is in Yamagata City, Yamagata prefecture.

Here's one for an event further down the line: 1-1 Atsuta Nishi-cho, Atsuta-ku, Nagoya-shi, Aichi

So that one be taking place in Nagoya City, Aichi prefecture. Most of the time the main cities tend to have the same name as the prefecture they are in, but there are exceptions, Nagoya probably being the most notable one.

Listings for Tokyo shows are different, they will look like this: 1-3-61, Koraku, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

Ku means ward. So the Korakuen Hall shows take place in Bunkyo ward, Tokyo.

Obviously knowing this isn't going to enhance your (everyone in general, not Frank specifically) enjoyment of the in-ring product but it doesn't hurt to be more educated on these sort of things.
Thank you for the clarification on this. I'm totally ignorant about the geography of Japan and how the whole prefecture setup works, so this is helpful information.

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

Post by Frank Olson » Sun May 19, 2019 1:50 am

Today's show mostly felt like a house show stop to me. The matches weren't bad or anything, but it didn't feel like anyone except for the guys in the main event were really putting in full effort. This is perhaps understandable since the wrestlers are in the early middle of a grueling tour and performing in a small building, but this is the first show of the tournament that I would say is basically completely skippable for anyone who's just trying to skip to the highlights.

SHO vs. TAKA was technically proficient but totally unremarkable.

Tiger Mask vs. Scurll was pretty good. Unlike most of Marty's recent matches this one actually had a recognizable structure to it, and I thought they told a simple but fairly unique story of these two guys going after each other's fingers. The spot where Scurll was tightening the things holding up the turnbuckles onto Tiger's fingers was pretty novel. There was nothing too spectacular about the match but it held my attention, which is more than I can say for some of today's other bouts.

Titan vs. Ishimori was one of the matches I had circled as a potential tournament highlight, but I wound up disappointed with it. It wasn't bad exactly, and Titan seemed more comfortable wrestling Ishimori than he did his previous tournament opponents, but the pace was a lot slower than these two are capable of. On English commentary they were playing up the idea that Ishimori is dealing with a neck injury, and I wonder if that's true since he seemed a bit off his game in both this and in his previous tournament match against Scurll.

Dragon Lee vs. Gresham was another match that was totally unremarkable. These guys aren't really the best stylistic match for each other.

There was a different level of energy to Shingo vs. Kanemaru than anything else on the show. Shingo was working harder than anyone else in the A Block tonight, and really came off as the superstar of his division. Kanemaru also performed well. I enjoyed the moment when he was yelling at Red Shoes to start his count as he was working over Shingo's knee on the entrance ramp, and his bump on the Pumping Bomber was excellent. That said, I don't want to oversell this match. It ultimately told a very simple story and involved a fair amount of shenanigans, so even though the performers were playing their parts well I can't imagine most people considering this a true highlight of the tournament so far.

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