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Thread: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

  1. #126
    Atodaso Strobe's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    I definitely couldn't handle watching a 1 hour 45 minute singles match right now. Especially knowing it isn't being talked about as an all-timer. Maybe one day I'll check it out for curiosity sake.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShinobiMusashi View Post
    Strobe did you ever hear about them considering making Tamura Tiger Mask IV? I read this in the Pride secret files book from Japan, they had it all set up, new mask designed for him to fight in Pride, new cartoon in production, toys, coloring books, etc, then I get sketchy on what happened but it all fell through for some reason, they fed Tamura to Bob Sapp instead! Gotta love Pride.
    Never, but this is kind of shit I love to find out. I'll need to check out that Choke docu soon as well.

    And yeah @Big Pete, Bret/Diesel at the Rumble is really good. If it had a better finish, it might be close between it and Survivor Series.

  2. #127
    Big Pimpin' Big Pete's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    What I appreciate about Lee/Wilkins is that it's such a throwback. The build-up is masterful with Lee targeting Wilkins arm with the best arm-work I've seen, which isn't faint praise given how fantastic KUSHIDA can be. Normally I'd be scratching my eyes out if a match was merely about arm-work thirty minutes in, but they mix it up just enough and the execution is so strong that it's a credit to the match.

    And just as the match is drawing to a close, the match descends into a sports entertainment blockbuster with all sorts of interference, near-falls, babyface comebacks etc. and the crowd is going crazy. The match builds back to more interference, except this time the babyfaces show up and they get their stuff in.

    Then we get the big finish with a ton of near-falls that builds and builds. A lesser match would have just sprinted towards the finishing line, but both guys did a great job of staying true to the match. In the end, Lee regains control of the match by taking advantage of the arm, hits his finish and scores an emotional Wrestlemania esque victory.

    The commentary was fantastic. Not only did he do a great job of covering every detail, he was incredibly passionate through out and through his emotion was able to sell the gravity of the situation. Unlike most commentators who rely on cliches and canned lines, the caller was living in the moment and channeled old school JR.

    It's run-time is both a blessing and a curse. I'm never going to forget I watched a 100 minute match, so on that end it will stick out to me. On the other, if the match was half as long it would have been close to perfection, which is crazy given my bias against the independent presentation and style. I'll admit Trevor Lee isn't the greatest babyface of all-time, but it's worth noting he was playing against his type. Lee is typically a heel and unlike most independent talent, isn't afraid to get booed. When you see Lee have a match like that, and then watch him on Impact, it makes you wonder what TNA are doing.

    Further, when I look at other 'epics' that came out in 2016, this match felt like it ticked more boxes. Where as most Okada openings are boring and there rarely seems to be any emotional element, this match had that covered. Cena/Styles relied too heavily on finisher spam and the Balor/Joe matches were vanilla as anything. The only match that can hold it's own is Styles/Reigns which was a fantastic bout and did wonders for AJ's career.

    As an aside, I need to check out more CWF Mid-Atlantic. I've heard a lot of matches are in the same ball-park, if not better than Wilkins/Lee and at a shorter run-time would be a more enticing watch.

    I should do that...but I can see myself watching more TNA and getting my fill on the Allie/Maria soap opera.

    In the mean time, I've been high on every Rumble match given so far. I don't want ya'll to think I've grown soft. I'm going to check out Scott Steiner versus Triple H, and may god have mercy on my soul.

  3. #128
    Ravishing Slick Dude KashDinero's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    I really wanna watch this match at some point, but being one of the rare few that have survived the ninety three minute Punk versus Hero epic,I don't know if I can do something like that again. You guys have pimped it on this site like few other matches in history, so curiosity is bound to get the better of me. It's weird to think that a mere one hundred minutes is such a daunting prospect, when essentially it's like half the length of a PPV. I suppose it's the thought of focusing on one match for so long. I feel like I'll need to order a pizza half way through and maybe drink a few cans of Red Bulls before hand.

    The fact I'm only really familiar with Trevor Lee means that as a match up in general I have no real interest there, let alone it being such an epic encounter. At least with Punk and Hero I wanted to what both sides of the equation brought to the procedings.

    Edit: I will probs familiarise myself with this Wilkins chap before taking the leap.
    Last edited by KashDinero; 01-13-2017 at 10:21 AM.
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  4. #129
    Atodaso Strobe's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    NJPW Battle Formation (4/29/96)
    IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
    Nobuhiko Takada [Champion] vs. Shinya Hashimoto


    So this is going to require some context. Let's do a history of Takada:

    - He was trained in the New Japan dojo and debuted in 1981.
    - By 1984, he had joined the shoot-style promotion UWF which also had Akira Maeda, Yoshiaki Fujiwara and Satoru Sayama (original Tiger Mask).
    - When that promotion went under, most of the wrestlers (including Takada) returned to New Japan in 1986 but they were portrayed as an invading faction (likely influenced by Riki Choshu's successful invasion angle ongoing in All Japan).
    - Maeda, Takada and others left in 1988 to try again with Newborn UWF and Takada was the second guy behind Maeda when the promotion closed in 1990 and its main names went their separate ways, creating their own shoot style feds - Maeda founding RINGS, Fujiwara founding PWFG and Takada founding UWFi; all precursors to MMA.
    - Takada was the top star of his promotion and used some Inoki-esque tactics to build a legit image for himself. In 1991, he defeated Trevor Berbick in his own version of Ali/Inoki when Berbick left the ring. The story supposedly goes that it was always supposed to be a work but Berbick wanted low kicks banned anyway. He apparently tried holding them up for more money before the show and Takada low-kicked the shit out of him, while he complained, until he bailed. He also took on Koji Kitao (a legit yokozuna in sumo; partner of Tenryu against Demolition at Mania VII; famously tried to shoot on fellow but lower ranked rikishi Earthquake on a 1991 SWS) in late 1992 and shot on him, knocking him out with a kick.
    - So Takada was seen as legit by fans (even though he wasn't really). Lou Thesz was appointed as commissioner of UWFi and gave Takada his old 50s NWA belt, proclaiming him the Real Pro Wrestling World Heavyweight Champion. Thesz and Takada claimed UWFi was real and other promotions were fake and he sent out an open challenge to any of the other world champions out there. He did manage to get Vader in during 1993 to build up and defeated the then WCW Champion in December 1993 (three weeks before Vader dropped the title to Flair at Starrcade). He would also defeat another American monster in Gary Albright.
    - Takada lost the belt to Vader to build to him winning it back in April 1995, but business wasn't flourishing as well as it had been.
    - Takada agreed to work with New Japan again and nearly a decade after he was involved in the UWF invasion of NJPW, here he was leading the UWFi invasion.
    - Takada took on Keiji Mutoh in front of a 57k Tokyo Dome crowd in October 1995 and was submitted.
    - A rematch, in front of 54k, on the January 4 Dome Show saw Takada submit Mutoh and take the IWGP Heavyweight Title into the hands of the enemy.

    Now a few points on Hashimoto:

    - Like Takada, came through the New Japan dojo and debuted in 1984.
    - While on an seasoning placement in Puerto Rico in 1988, he and fellow Class of 84 members Keiji Mutoh and Masahiro Chono formed The Three Musketeers.
    - In 1991, in the first year the G1 Climax name was used, the Three Musketeers made their mark. Mutoh topped his group, while Chono and Hash tied at the top of theirs. Chono would beat Hash in the playoff and also Mutoh in the final to win.
    - Mutoh and Chono enjoyed singles title success first, with the former winning the IWGP Title in August 1992 and both men holding the NWA Title.
    - Hash's time would come when he ended Mutoh's 400-day reign and held the IWGP Title for 18 of the next 19 months, establishing himself as the ace of the promotion, before dropping the belt back to Mutoh in May 1995.

    So we have "legit" cred invader Takada defending the title; ace Hashimoto trying to regain New Japan's honour and its title; and we are in front of a 55k Tokyo Dome crowd, the third time Takada has headlined this venue with a 54k+ crowd during this feud in just over 6 months. When you consider that this year's Wrestle Kingdom, with all the history that the Dome Show has behind it now and how the year is built around it like Mania, only did half the number that each of these 3 shows did shows you how hot things were at this point.

    As a sidenote, WCW had a working agreement with New Japan at the time and this invasion angle was what inspired Bischoff to do the nWo.



    This just feels like a big time championship match more so than all but a few matches I can think of. Both men stand to attention in the ring as the national anthem plays and Hash has his eyes closed, breathing deeply, looking inspired.

    We get a test of strength to start, which Hash obviously wins, so Takada transitions into some matwork to try to gain the advantage and goes for the cross armbreaker early with Hash grabbing his own arm to avoid. Hash gets out and we reset.

    A standing duel sees each man looking for kicks before Hash catches Takada's foot and lands a big kick to the back of the leg. The crowd react to that, as Takada sells it with a startled look. Hash gets another big one, prompting Takada to fire up and land a series of his own, eventually felling Hash and going again for the cross armbreaker. He gets it in, after breaking Hash's grip, but the challenger gets to the ropes.

    Hash is up and nails some knees and kicks before grabbing Takada's neck for either his DDT or brainbuster, with the crowd popping for the move to come, but Takada avoids with a small package. Takada tries to take Hash down to the mat by the legs, but Hash counters into a Fujiwara armbar and does a little damage before the champ gets to the ropes.

    Both men are standing again and Hash nails a big kick to the inner leg that is fantastically sold by Takada with a wobble, as the impact of the blow really stung. Hash pounces, nailing more kicks and then locking in a figure-four. Takada gets to the ropes and while sitting on the mat, Hash is telling him to bring it (big sideburns, "just bring it" taunt, who knew that Rock was stealing from Hashimoto all along).

    Takada hits some kicks and drops Hash with a backdrop, before going for the armbreaker again with Hash fighting with all he has to avoid the hyperextension. Takada isn't winning that battle, so switches to a half-crab and then a full crab, which could help hinder Hash's kicking legs but Hash powers out before too much damage can be done.

    Both men are up again and Takada lands some kicks before Hash goes "I've had enough of these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane" apeshit with some overhand chops to the head/face and while Takada is down on the mat, he drops an elbow on him. Takada is a tough fucker though and is back up, throwing kicks, and when he thinks he has Hash rocked, he goes for the big KO kick, but Hash goes low with the spinning leg trip and the crowd pops big.

    Hash grabs Takada for the DDT or brainbuster, but Takada takes him down with the armbar to the crowd's disappointment. Hash struggles and eventually makes the ropes and Takada tries to reapply it while he is still in the ropes, garnering some boos.

    Both men up again and Takada with some kicks, before Hash smashes him down with a massive one. He goes for the brainbuster, but Takada slips down the back (to the crowd's disappointment again), only to be met by a massive backfist chop to the face. Takada tries to fight back but eats a DDT and the crowd pops big. Only gets a two though.

    Takada tries to block the brainbuster, but Hash knees him nastily in the gut. Hash gets him up, Takada is fighting, struggling, but Hash drops him to right on his head to an all-time level pop. Now it is Hash, having survived Takada's numerous attempts, that is going for the armbreaker and fight as he may, Takada has to tap. This finish gets a second all-time level pop (not shown the best in this video; as they seem to have spliced the NJPWorld footage, where they inexplicably cut out halfway through the pop, with another source at this point) and Hashimoto has redeemed his company, going on to hold the title for the next 16 months.

    This is such a wonderful stadium show main event. It is a case of less is more, only 12 minutes, minimalist in style but making those big moments matter so much. In some ways, it is the perfect Dome Show headliner. Hash has such presence and a flair for the dramatic. Takada was brought through in New Japan so knows how to work pro style as well as shoot style and Hash's offence has elements that would work in shoot style, so they mesh well with the hard strikes and submission attempts.

    I said that this has a big fight championship feel unlike most others and in some ways it feels like a boxing title fight with the resetting to the standing duel after some of the big blows are withstood. The DDT and brainbuster are teased fantastically to generate maximum impact when they are finally hit. Hash being able to match Takada on the mat and with kicks, defeating him at his own game, is a fitting climax to this feud. The finish being the cross armbreaker that Takada attempted time and again was the cherry on top.

    ****

    Since modern New Japan is popular at the moment, I feel like we should maybe create a New Japan pimping thread with matches from the company's history to get people to explore into it. Even include the NJPWorld links. Maybe one day.

  5. #130
    Ravishing Slick Dude KashDinero's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    Very, very entertaining read, Strobe. Fantastic review of such a historical match that happened during such an influential time in NJPW. Has NJPW ever been hotter than it was at this time? I know we shouldn't really judge things on Dome shows, but THREE fucking Dome shows in six months!? Fuck outta here. Legendary.

    This match happened on what will probably forever remain my favourite wrestling show ever, NJPW Battle Formation 1996. What a stacked card that had. In fact, check this out...

    Tag Team Match: Tokimitsu Ishizawa & Yuji Nagata vs Koji Kanemoto & Shinjiro Otani

    Eight Man Tag Team Match: Osamu Nishimura, Riki Choshu, Satoshi Kojima & Takashi Iizuka vs Heisei Ishingun(Akira Nogami, Kuniaki Kobayashi, Shiro Koshinaka & Tatsutoshi Goto)

    IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title: The Great Sasuke vs Jushin Thunder Liger (c)

    Singles Match: Randy Savage vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan

    Singles Match: Masahiro Chono vs Lex Luger

    Six Man Tag Team Match: Power Warrior (Kensuke Sasaki) & The Road Warriors (Animal & Hawk) vs Scott Norton & The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner)

    Singles Match: Great Muta vs Jinsei Shinzaki

    Singles Match: Genichiro Tenryu vs Tatsumi Fujinami

    IWGP Heavyweight Title: Match: Shinya Hashimoto vs Nobuhiko Takada (c)


    That is some who's who shit right there. Every match delivers as well as you would expect, and then some. There was like at least four 4+* matches that happened, with no other match dropping below a 3*. Hunt this show down if you haven't seen it already.

    Edit: Here's part one.

    http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/cXC6qGEWJ3o

    And here's part two.

    http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/-7OPx_4yMuQ

    Watch the shit outta this show.
    Last edited by KashDinero; 01-16-2017 at 11:46 PM.
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  6. #131
    Sega Boy ShinobiMusashi's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    What a great post. I really liked that match. I've been on a Takada kick lately just because of how big of a star he was, he was basically the Terry Funk of Pride FC in that the whole thing probably never would have existed without him, if it did it would have never been as huge of a deal. Takada returned to the Tokyo Dome in late 97 to fight 400-0 Rickson Gracie at Pride 1, then he came back and did the Tokyo Dome again for the rematch with Rickson at Pride 4 a year later(October 98). He also drew big bank at the Tokyo Dome vs Royce Gracie in early 2000 and again in 2002 when he fought Kiyoshi Tamura in his retirement fight in the main event of Pride 23(good fight).

    I've read a lot about the UWFI vs New Japan stuff because from what I've read this led to the downfall of UWFI, which led directly to the birth of Pride. I've never really gotten the full context of it from the NJPW perspective, I've never seen a Hashimoto match until tonight to give you an idea of how little I know about NJPW. I've read about these matches in the old Observers and how the UWFI guys were made to look weak by losing by submission the way they did. One interesting thing I read was that Kiyoshi Tamura was a big part of the Takada Dojo, which was Tamura, Takada, Sakuraba(who is there in Takada's corner for that match against Hash in the vid), Yoji Anjo, Hiromitsu Kanehara. Around the time of this UWFI vs New Japan angle started both Tamura and Kanehara split off of the Takada Dojo and left for Rings, it was a big deal when they came to Pride after Rings went out of business in early 2002(Kanehara fought Wanderlei Silva for the Pride title on the same Tokyo Dome show as Takada vs Tamura). The Takada Dojo guys were training with Billy Robinson in real catch wrestling but I don't think Takada did much training with them because according to Bas Rutten he was pretty much a green beginner when he came to his gym to train for the first Rickson fight, he was getting tapped out and beat up in the gym routinely by guys who had just started training with Bas.

    I traced Takada's career back and I think the turning point where he became such a big star was when Akira Maeda put him over clean in the UWF Reborn sometime in the late 80's, this was when Maeda was god in UWF(I believe he lost like 2-3 matches in that whole run of close to 30 matches in UWF, one of them was to Takada). He also had a great match against Bob Backlund around that time in UWF Reborn. His rematch with Backlund in UWFI was also great, as was his match with a young pre-UFC Daniel Severn, I'd love to see your thoughts on some of those matches Strobes. Takada vs big bad ass American wrestlers was a big draw for Pride, they did a worked Takada vs Mark Coleman match at Pride 5, also had a match against Mark Kerr and Igor Vovchanchyn back when those guys were probably 1-2 best in the world in MMA. I think Takada unlike Punk/UFC realized that if you are going to lose in MMA you need to lose to the biggest and most bad ass motherfuckers and the fans will still have respect for you just for stepping into the ring with them(at least in Japan anyways).
    Last edited by ShinobiMusashi; 01-17-2017 at 12:01 AM.

  7. #132
    Senior Member The Icon's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    This thread never disappoints, great stuff.

    1996 Real World Tag Team Final- Mitsuharu Misawa and Jun Akiyama vs. Toshiaki Kawada and Akira Taue- Budokan, Tokyo, December 6, 1996

    We get a summary of the tourney so far which has a certain homicidal, suicidal and genocidal maniac competing. It had slipped my mind that the strange combination of Sabu and Gary Albright were in this. They even get wins over Hansen and Omori and Kobashi and the Patriot.

    On to the match and Akiyama shows he can hang early on as he and Kawada just exchange bombs from the outset with Akiyama actually getting the better of it. Misawa is tagged in and hits an elbow suicida then blocks Kawada's attempts at a Backdrop Driver. Misawa goes for the win early with a Tiger Driver for a two count. Kawada gets a double leg on Misawa then tags in Taue. Taue is also going for the jugular early with both of his brainbuster and Nodowa Otoshi attempts blocked by Misawa. Akiyama runs in but Taue just cleans house on both to much fan approval. Another early near fall as Taue hits the Dynamic Bomb on Misawa. More drama builds as Taue keeps going for the Nodowa but to no avail as Akiyama has to run in to stem the tide. Misawa takes advantage with a top rope elbow then tags in Akiyama. Akiyama shows much fire with repeated elbow strikes but Taue acts like the youngster just isn't in his league and eventually just straight slaps in him the face. I love the aura Taue gives off in this match, you can really feel his confidence after winning the Champion's Carnival and beating Misawa for the belts earlier in the year. Akiyama gets a Dragon Screw Leg Whip in but Kawada is there to cut him off. Taue hits the Nodowa but can't get the pin as he sells the leg. As is a bit of a theme in this match Kawada is tagged in to pick the bones of Taue's dirty work. Great job by Taue to put over Akiyama's offense as well as he roles to the outside and is seemingly out of commission. The Holy Demon Army is in full flight as they lay waste to Akiyama for the next several minutes with a combination of Kawada's kicks and chops and Taue's lariats and chops. There is also a great subtle exchanges as Misawa is standing guard ready to run in as Kawada is taking advantage of his junior partner while Kawada just gives Misawa the eye as he coldly tags Taue back in. Kawada then gets a crossface on Akiyama and this time Taue just cooly walks over to Misawa's side of the ring to make sure no shit goes down. Taue's confidence has rubbed off as Kawada just nonchalantly kicks Akiyama in the face while he's down. Akiyama finds a spark and hits Kawada with a Saito Suplex and tags in Misawa.

    Misawa hits a flying lariat then they just exchange strikes. It seemed a little excessive as Misawa does a little too much no selling for my liking but in the end Kawada does get the better of him. Taue is tagged in and has the audacity to just step on Misawa's face. After a Snake Eyes and more humiliation Taue goes for the apron Nodowa to the floor but Misawa cracks him with a vicious elbow strike that sends Taue crashing to the floor. Akiyama is tagged in and goes to work eventually getting a near fall with a Northern Lights Suplex. Misawa and Akiyama start to show their stuff especially during an exchange of elbow and knee strikes to Taue which resembled a tennis match. Akiyama gets a near fall with an Exploder Suplex then Misawa is tagged in for a Frog Splash but still no victory. Kawada has seen enough and lays out Misawa with a lariat after an attempted Tiger Driver then back body drops Akiyama to the outside. Taue takes advantage with a release German and Kawada is tagged in to feast on what's left of Misawa. I like how Kawada just does a quick double check to make sure Akiyama is still out of the picture so he is free to do what he pleases to Misawa, nice subtle heel work. To be even more dickish, Kawada gets Taue in to double team Misawa with a diving elbow drop after a vicious kick. Kawada then attempts the folding powerbomb which is reversed by Misawa into a hurricanrana. Kawada boots Misawa in the face and the strike exchanges start up again which ends up with Misawa dropping Kawada on his head with a high angle release German suplex. Misawa then hits the Tiger Driver but Taue makes the save. Akiyama runs in and they both team up to get Taue out of the ring as the crowd roars in approval now that Misawa can deal with Kawada alone. Kawada blocks a Tiger Suplex attempt but then gets caught in a chain reaction German suplex combo by both Misawa and Akiyama, a real cool looking spot topped off with excellent glassy-eyed selling by Kawada as he just stumbles and falls out of the ring. They both go to the outside to roll a limp Kawada back in the ring and another Tiger Driver near fall is the result. Misawa then tries a Tiger Suplex '85 but Taue cuts him off with a lariat which draws Akiyama in. Akiyama holds his own for a bit until Taue drops him awkwardly on the top rope which could have blown a knee out. This sets up the Nodowa Of Doom from the apron to the floor which just kills Akiyama, we won't be seeing him for awhile.

    Taue lays waste to Misawa with a big boot then tries to revive Kawada to clean up the scraps. Kawada is still on dream street so Taue attempts a Dynamic Bomb but Misawa has recovered and blocks it into a 'rana for a two then hits the Roaring Elbow. Another great visual as Misawa is looking for Akiyama to get the glory but he's nowhere to be found. This allows Taue to recover with a guillotine variant and then a Nodowa attempt which is reversed into an arm drag but Taue strikes back with a dropkick sending Misawa to the outside. Another unbelievable moment ensues as the 6'5" 260 pounder then hits a suicide dive onto Misawa, not the crispest by any means but still stunning to see a man of that size move like that. Next is one of my all time favorite AJPW spots as Taue tries the Nodowa off the apron to Misawa but the camera pans down as we see Akiyama desperately hanging on to Taue's leg, great drama and storytelling. Kawada breaks it up and Taue and Misawa exchange shots on the apron with a Misawa elbow being the deciding factor. Misawa is back in but is ambushed by Kawada with a bevy of kicks which devolves into more heelish lackadaisical shots in the corner by Kawada. Kawada then goes for the DBDD but Misawa blocks and he takes on both members with elbows. It doesn't last as an elbow misses and Kawada hits the DBDD then a folding powerbomb for a long two as Kawada sells disbelief. Kawada then reluctantly tags in Taue who after a brief fight back by Misawa hits the Nadowa and the Dynamic Bomb. Akiyama is finally revived and makes the save as all four are in the ring. With Misawa out of it the Holy Demon Army focus all of their wrath on Akiyama and try to put him out once and for all with a Nadowa/DBBD combo. Misawa gets dropped on his head with a German but no sells and gets the better of Taue on the resulting exchange, not one of the better sequences. Kawada is tagged in to clean up but Akiyama shows heart by making the save after a series of kicks. Kawada just shakes his head (why don't you just give it up) and he and Akiyama go at it. Another death blow is hit as Kawada crushes Akiyama with the Dangerous Backdrop Driver. He may have been dropped on his neck but Akiyama was selling his chest so that one must have really stung. Misawa blocks the folding powerbomb but gets a Nodowa from an interfering Taue. Taue then roots on Kawada as he pins Misawa for a two then after a delay hits another folding powerbomb for a false finish. Strategically they double team Akiyama to the apron then the third time's a charm as Kawada hits the folding powerbomb once again to get the win. There is a great show of camaraderie in the aftermath as Taue gives Kawada a pat on the back after a relatively rough year against his rival, he gets his second pin on the ace. Taue was also pleased I'm sure to end the Holy Demon Army's 3 year finals losing streak at this event to once again cap off a stellar year.



    I love the pace at the start but some of the sequences could have been improved. Kawada easily hit his powerbomb early in the match only for Misawa to resist later on. I would have built it up to make the powerbomb spots more meaningful, it comes with the territory to have 3 do the job. Plus some of the striking sequences could have been dialed back as Misawa no sold a bit much. Taue really excels here in what would be his best year, he is in such command throughout as he plays off Misawa and Akiyama as being far beneath him. Akiyama played the plucky underdog to a T as he showed he could compete with the best. Kawada had just the right amount disdain in his striking, he wasn't quite as direct as he was in the 6/95 match for instance when he was just booting Misawa off the apron. Misawa as I said had a little too much Superman in him but at the end of most of the exchanges he was on the losing end so I'll give him credit for that.

    Overall one of the more exciting tag matches you will see with some of my personal favorite visual storytelling. It has a few minor flaws but more than worth a watch. ****1/2
    Last edited by The Icon; 01-19-2017 at 10:30 PM.

  8. #133
    Atodaso Strobe's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    Meant to reply to these at the time but never got round to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by KashDinero View Post
    Has NJPW ever been hotter than it was at this time? I know we shouldn't really judge things on Dome shows, but THREE fucking Dome shows in six months!? Fuck outta here. Legendary.
    I don't know enough to make overall statements about hotness of the promotion. This feud was certainly the biggest moneymaker in company history as far as I know, although in terms of consistent houses or TV ratings (Tiger Mask is supposed to have been a huge ratings draw in the early 80s) there could be other times when the company was considered hotter perhaps.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShinobiMusashi View Post
    I've read a lot about the UWFI vs New Japan stuff because from what I've read this led to the downfall of UWFI, which led directly to the birth of Pride. I've never really gotten the full context of it from the NJPW perspective, I've never seen a Hashimoto match until tonight to give you an idea of how little I know about NJPW. I've read about these matches in the old Observers and how the UWFI guys were made to look weak by losing by submission the way they did.
    Shortly after I made that post, I found a podcast (https://soundcloud.com/the-puro-pour...nd-shoot-style) that is going through this feud and they talk about the New Japan guys making the shoot stylists submit to make them look weak. They actually initially take the idea of why invasion angles always do big business in Japan back to it being an island nation where movement in or out was heavily restricted for hundreds of years, up to the invasions of World War II, into the birth of puroresu (with invading American wrestlers taking on Rikidozan and co) and so on. They go through the history of UWF, Reborn, UWFi, all building up to the feud and this episode (with more to come) deals with the first three matches of the October 1995 NJPW vs. UWFi Dome Show. You'll find some nice tidbits in here. Kash would have no issues, but you might just need to power through a lot of the British cultural references, Shin.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShinobiMusashi View Post
    I traced Takada's career back and I think the turning point where he became such a big star was when Akira Maeda put him over clean in the UWF Reborn sometime in the late 80's, this was when Maeda was god in UWF(I believe he lost like 2-3 matches in that whole run of close to 30 matches in UWF, one of them was to Takada).
    Yeah, that has to be the moment when he became a top name. If Maeda doesn't put him over, does he ever escape his shadow and even get the confidence to branch out on his own?

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    Sega Boy ShinobiMusashi's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by Strobe View Post
    Shortly after I made that post, I found a podcast (https://soundcloud.com/the-puro-pour...nd-shoot-style) that is going through this feud and they talk about the New Japan guys making the shoot stylists submit to make them look weak. They actually initially take the idea of why invasion angles always do big business in Japan back to it being an island nation where movement in or out was heavily restricted for hundreds of years, up to the invasions of World War II, into the birth of puroresu (with invading American wrestlers taking on Rikidozan and co) and so on. They go through the history of UWF, Reborn, UWFi, all building up to the feud and this episode (with more to come) deals with the first three matches of the October 1995 NJPW vs. UWFi Dome Show. You'll find some nice tidbits in here. Kash would have no issues, but you might just need to power through a lot of the British cultural references, Shin.
    That sounds good. I'll be sure to check it out for sure. I want to know more about this UWFI vs NJPW angle, I've read some interesting things about it tonight, I'll save it for my next Pride review.

    Was reading "Pride: Secret Files" book tonight and read about how the company that put together the first Pride show(KRS) had a big challenge in putting together the undercard for that first event. In the book it talks about the matchmakers staying up long hours, going crazy putting together these big huge dream fantasy cards. They wanted the whole card to be big superfights between Japanese pro wrestlers vs MMA/Gracie Jujitsu fighters. They actually made offers to Akira Maeda, Funaki, Suzuki, Misawa, Hashimoto, and Muta to fight on the card but none of them took the offer seriously(after years of going through grandstanding challenges from UWFI), the ones that did take it seriously wouldn't do it because they didn't want to fight underneath Takada.

    I did read in the book about Hashimoto taking on Gary Goodridge in one of Inoki's New Years shows. I couldn't find a video of it but I found the results of the whole show(New Years Eve 2000), check this shit out:

    Yoshiaki Fujiwara defeats Justin McCully (10:10)

    Tag Team Match
    Daijiro Matsui & The Great Sasuke defeat Akira Shoji & Kaoru Uno (20:00)

    Tag Team Match
    Alexander Otsuka & Bas Rutten defeat Naoki Sano & Ricco Rodriguez (14:43)

    Singles Match
    Shinya Hashimoto defeats Gary Goodridge (9:04)

    Singles Match
    Naoya Ogawa defeats Tadao Yasuda by TKO (1:38)

    Tag Team Match
    Mark Coleman & Mark Kerr defeat Takashi Iizuka & Yuji Nagata (12:29)

    Singles Match
    Kazushi Sakuraba defeats Kendo Kashin (19:17)

    Tag Team Match
    Keiji Muto & Nobuhiko Takada defeat Don Frye & Ken Shamrock (24:13)

    Exhibition Match
    Antonio Inoki vs. Renzo Gracie - Time Limit Draw (3:00)
    DAMN! I NEED to see this show.

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    Moderator Emperor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    A time limit draw at three minutes? Is that a typo? Should it be 30?

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    Atodaso Strobe's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor View Post
    A time limit draw at three minutes? Is that a typo? Should it be 30?
    Nah, it was just a three-minute sparring exhibition.



    The same event at which this happened.



    After seeing Icon's review, I'm going to have to revisit 12/6/96. Previously had it as a greatest match ever contender. Will see if it holds up in that regard.

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    Sega Boy ShinobiMusashi's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    I believe that was 3-4 months after Renzo had his elbow dislocated by Sakuraba. I wonder if they have some full shows up from 1999-2003 on the New Japan network? Where these Bom Ba Ye shows promoted by New Japan? I'm interested in watching this period where Pride and New Japan were closely associated with each other. Inoki was the commissioner of Pride during this time, what role did he have in New Japan during this time? From what little I've heard this is regarded as like a down period for NJPW?

    I'm dying to see that 2000 Inoki Bom Ba Ye show, particularly interested in the match with Shamrock and Frye teaming together. I know they had a pretty heated rivalry(finally fought each other in Pride in 2002), plus Coleman and Kerr as a tag team!
    Last edited by ShinobiMusashi; 02-02-2017 at 11:25 AM.

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    Last weekend while working on a Pride review I loaded up some WWF Raw from 1995 for background noise. I caught a few episodes for the build up to Summerslam 95. Trying to finish that review this morning I've had these going and I'm really digging them. I'm up to the second or third episode after Summerslam. This period gets a lot of flak, I've often pointed out how much more up to date ECW was during this time, but damn this is some good nostalgia. I loved Bret, Taker, Hakushi, 123 Kid, Razor, Diesel, HBK, Kama, Waylon Mercy, and the Smoking Guns were fucking great, I don't care what anybody says!

    I never really realized until watching these how Kama's whole gimmick was that he was like a bare knuckle era UFC fighter circa 1995(back before "MMA gloves" even existed!), seen a squash on one of these episodes where he wins with an armbar.

    These are corny as fuck but it's some good cheese, got to love all the characters, pirates, race car drivers, dentists, teachers. Speaking of the teachers, these early Dean Douglas vignettes were actually quite good, as were the early Goldust vignettes. I'm up to the point now where Bulldog turned heel and attacked Diesel, just watched a pretty cool match in Bulldog vs Razor, I don't remember that ever happening, two of my favorites. It's also remarkable how bad Vince's commentary was back then. Also got to love all of the OJ jokes/references and Todd Pettingail.

    Good stuff, makes me want to go back and read @Baker's fan fiction.
    Last edited by ShinobiMusashi; 02-11-2017 at 09:40 AM.

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    Atodaso Strobe's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    Just rewatched 12/6/96 and it is still one of the very elite matches. *****. Perhaps the only match to have taken place since that match (that I've seen) that might be superior happened in the same promotion six weeks later.

    Icon's issues didn't bother me. I didn't think Misawa was too much of a Superman. Short term no selling in a strike exchange with Kawada fits given the extent and intensity of their rivalry. That has been earned. And him popping up from the German late on to take down Taue before collapsing was fitting as well. He is on his own here, with Akiyama pretty much out of commission, having a burst to try to stay alive. This is the super ace during a match that is concluding both an 18-month story (Kawada's second pin) and a 3-year one as well (Holy Demon Army winning the RWTL); this isn't the 10th biggest guy in the promotion on a random show popping up in a meaningless sequence at the start of the 5th from top match. Although this is getting close in time to the point where things would start to go too far in regards to excessive headdrops, no selling, floor spots not meaning as much, etc.

    Icon picked up on the main story aspects and visuals. Akiyama and his growth continuing to embarrass Kawada/Taue by the youngster being able to hang with them; Taue's confidence and his ability to take it to Misawa more than Kawada at this stage; Taue making sure his buddy gets the big win that he needs. Akiyama (finally recovered from an apron nodowa of his own) grabbing onto Taue's leg to prevent Misawa suffering the same fate (the move that was really the decisive moment the last time Kawada pinned Misawa) is an all-time great moment.

    Kawada gets his second pin on Misawa, but it is hollow to an extent. Misawa got the better of basically all their exchanges and it was due to Taue that they got the win. But, as a team, they have gotten the RWTL monkey off their back and Kawada will take a pin over Misawa any way he can get it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShinobiMusashi View Post
    Last weekend while working on a Pride review I loaded up some WWF Raw from 1995 for background noise. I caught a few episodes for the build up to Summerslam 95. Trying to finish that review this morning I've had these going and I'm really digging them. I'm up to the second or third episode after Summerslam. This period gets a lot of flak, I've often pointed out how much more up to date ECW was during this time, but damn this is some good nostalgia. I loved Bret, Taker, Hakushi, 123 Kid, Razor, Diesel, HBK, Kama, Waylon Mercy, and the Smoking Guns were fucking great, I don't care what anybody says!

    I never really realized until watching these how Kama's whole gimmick was that he was like a bare knuckle era UFC fighter circa 1995(back before "MMA gloves" even existed!), seen a squash on one of these episodes where he wins with an armbar.

    These are corny as fuck but it's some good cheese, got to love all the characters, pirates, race car drivers, dentists, teachers. Speaking of the teachers, these early Dean Douglas vignettes were actually quite good, as were the early Goldust vignettes. I'm up to the point now where Bulldog turned heel and attacked Diesel, just watched a pretty cool match in Bulldog vs Razor, I don't remember that ever happening, two of my favorites. It's also remarkable how bad Vince's commentary was back then. Also got to love all of the OJ jokes/references and Todd Pettingail.

    Good stuff, makes me want to go back and read @Baker's fan fiction.
    Nice. It's always good to go back and revisit the classics.
    Fwiw I haven't watched any wrestling in months. Just haven't been in the mood.
    I am trying to finish up my two fan fic projects. Plan on winding down NGW first. Then I'll complete my mid-90s WWF project. Though at the rate I'm going that likely won't happen until 2019

  16. #141
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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    ROH Supercard of Honor IV
    Davey Richards vs KENTA
    April 3 2009


    I've been going back lately to when I first started watching Ring of Honor on a weekly basis to try and wrap my head around the pros and cons. The year was 2011, Jim Cornette was in charge of creative and there was no bigger star than Davey Richards. As one half of the American Wolves, Davey entertained fans with his mixture of styles that paid tribute to junior heavyweight stars of the past while also incorporating MMA mat-based elements. However, it wasn't long before the crowd grew tired of Davey and before long he dropped the ROH Championship to Kevin Steen and returned to tag team wrestling. I wanted to see what changed, whether it was Davey or the fans and thought I'd watch one of Davey's more acclaimed matches, his battle with KENTA.

    When Davey Richards first emerged in Ring of Honor, KENTA, who at the time was one of the biggest acts in the world of Pro Wrestling took Davey under his wing. It was Davey's first big break in the company and gave him the power to form the No Remorse Corps where he'd become one of the top stars of the promotion. It's been nearly three years since Davey & KENTA teamed together and there's the sense that Davey has since surpassed the teacher.

    So as you'd expect from these two, this was 18 minutes of non-stop action where kicking your opponent as hard as humanly possible was the name of the game. Both stars laid it all out on the line, but in the end, KENTA's experience allowed him to predict the handspring attempt from Davey and counter it into the Go To Sleep in decisive fashion.

    While both guys busted their arse and put on a good show, I couldn't tell the difference between the Davey Richards I saw in 2009 and the Davey Richards I saw in 2011. Davey was just as athletically gifted, incorporated a lot of the same crowd pleasing moves and carried himself the same, yet the fanbase was beginning to turn on him. There's several theories floating around but perhaps the most popular is the way his character was handled post-championship win?

    Looks like I've got more digging to do.

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    Sega Boy ShinobiMusashi's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    I've been watching through my Pride collection for the first time in a long time and writing reviews for the shows downstairs in the MMA subforum. I'm up to Pride 6 now, been watching a little bit here and there, reading some of the stuff from the Observers from that time. @Strobe's review of Takada vs Hashimoto was kinda what got this started, since then I've gotten more and more interested in New Japan, particularly the time during the Pride years where both companies were involved with each other. For Pride 6 in July 1999 the big thing was Naoya Ogawa, Olympic silver medalist in Judo in the 92 Summer games. Inoki created the UFO promotion to try to recreate the UWFI/UWF invasions of New Japan. So I looked into some of the UFO stuff, Universal Fighting Arts Organization I believe was what that stood for, it was definitely some UWF shit, Tiger Mask was even involved in it there at the start in 97. They tried to make Ogawa the big star of UFO and push a feud with Hashimoto in New Japan. So I looked up whatever Ogawa vs Hashimoto matches I could find, the earliest one was this one from 1997: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5b...awa-1997_sport

    Love the opening of that with the videos of Ogawa training with Tiger Mask and Inoki while Hashimoto was practicing karate chops training with some karate bad ass somewhere. This was like Judo vs Pro Wrestling, Ogawa is wearing the gi. This was actually a pretty cool match, Hashimoto wins it by nailing Ogawa with a flurry of chops and a kick to the face, which gets Tiger Mask to throw in the towel while Ogawa is down. I enjoyed that match. From what little I read they had a bunch of former UFC guys in UFO, with Ogawa going over Don Frye in some matches. Early 1999 Ogawa wins the NWA title from Dan Severn at a UFO show, this was just a couple of months before he makes his Pride debut at Pride 6. I read that they wanted Ogawa to go over Takada in a worked match in the main event of Pride 6 but Takada(who was coming off of a win over Mark Coleman in a work at Pride 5) didn't want to do the job, so they fed Takada to Mark Kerr, while Ogawa fights Gary Goodridge. Interesting thing about the Goodridge fight is that in the Observer they are pretty sure it's a work but I've never thought of that fight possibly being a work(Meltz points out that there was no way they were going to legitimately risk exposing Ogawa in a shoot, against Goodridge of all people), I haven't had the chance to watch the fight since I've learned this but I will definitely keep an eye out for it in my review for the show. I do remember that it was an intense fight, so if it was a work it was a fucking excellent one.

    But I'm interested in Naoya Ogawa and his feud with Hashimoto, I'm seeing matches from later 1999 and 2000 so I'm assuming this was a big feud in NJPW? Ogawa I know of because he actually fought in Pride quite a bit, I remember hearing on commentary of one of the shows back in the day that Ogawa vs Hidehiko Yoshida was like a record setting purse for MMA at the time as both guys were paid like $2 million for the fight and it was the most watched Pride fight on live network television(Fuji TV) up to that point drawing monster ratings.
    Last edited by ShinobiMusashi; 02-15-2017 at 10:42 PM.

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    Atodaso Strobe's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by ShinobiMusashi View Post
    But I'm interested in Naoya Ogawa and his feud with Hashimoto, I'm seeing matches from later 1999 and 2000 so I'm assuming this was a big feud in NJPW?
    Yeah, it was big and a feud I'm interested in looking into myself. They had three singles matches that headlined Dome Shows and another singles and tag that were third from top. It is supposed to be the feud that hurt Hash's aura (due to the way it was booked) and was the start of Inoki's attempts to capitalise on the hotness of MMA in late 90s/early 00s Japan that brought the company way down. The matches not being the easiest to find online has held me back on diving in. I might have to try harder. I'm sure most of them should be on NJPWWorld, I'll have to look later.

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    ROH Final Battle 2011
    Eddie Edwards vs Davey Richards (c)
    December 23rd 2011


    What strikes me most about this match in retrospect is how poorly Davey's run had been handled. After all that anticipation, instead of letting Davey run through the roster, he was mostly confined to the tag division. The only two championship defences between Best in the World and Final Battle were against Roderick Strong and El Generico, neither of which could be considered all that great.

    Anyways since Cornette insisted on a slow build for Kevin Steen, the main event on the biggest show was simply a rematch from the second biggest show of the year: 'Diehard' Eddie Edwards vs Davey Richards. The hook here was that Eddie had been training with Dan Severn and had learned the Dragon Sleeper, beyond that, it was merely two former tag partners going at one another.

    As a result there's no emotional hook and the ROH crowd is sitting on their hands hoping for something. Instead what they got is this self-indulgent Misawa-Kobashi tribute with a bunch of Ishii/Shibata no-sells spots that would make Bruiser Brody shake his head. There's an infamous GIF doing the rounds where Davey Richards Superplexes Edwards, only for Edwards to roll through and suplex Richards straight over the top rope. The sad thing is after watching the other 40 minutes, that was the highlight of the match.

    The actual lowlight was how quickly they blew off the Dragon Sleeper. During the initial stages Edwards locks it in for a brief moment and Davey responds by calmly reversing it. No desperation, no 'oh shit you nearly had me' expressions, it's just completely blown off while they do a hold for hold routine. They eventually return to it 30 minutes into the match, but by that point the fans were bored out of their minds and it was essentially blown off as filler.

    Compared to the earlier KENTA/Richards match, the issue is that the matches lasted twice as long, included a bunch of silly Misawa/Kobashi tribute spots and flagrant no-selling all in the attempt to work a Japanese style of match. While they tried to work the match as neutral as possible, it was clear that Eddie was the bigger babyface of the two and Davey's inability to sell prevented him from connecting a emotional response with the audience. Meanwhile, just by kicking out of finisher after finisher, fans actually wanted to see Eddie pull off the upset.

    I haven't seen every Final Battle main event, but I'd be surprised if anything surpasses this. Outside of some neat reversals and I suppose the willingness to take some dangerous bumps this was pretty awful and the death knell in Davey's run as champion.

    The funny thing is, six years later, these two are feuding once again, except this time it seems like they may have learned from their past mistakes. Davey is now the heel, jealous that his tag team partner was able to win gold while he was off the road for an extended period and there seems to be genuine heat. If they manage to put on better matches, then TNA 2017 maybe a better product than ROH 2011. A sobering thought and a real condemnation of Jim's time with the company.

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    Moderator Emperor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    Legendary MMA fighter/pro-wrestler Minoru Suzuki recently returned to NJPW, along with his Suzuki-gun stable, after a two year absence from the company. Suzuki intrigues me. He carries a badass aura about him, because he is a badass, and he will fuck you up. However I've only seen two matches of his, both against Okada, and I didn't like either. But he has a back catalogue of apparently great matches. I checked some of them out.

    GHC Heavyweight Championship
    Kenta Kobashi (c) vs Minoru Suzuki

    This match took place in NOAH in 2005. The only context I know going in is that Kobashi is in the twilight of his career, he's the man in NOAH, in the midst of a nearly two year title reign.

    Kobashi is all business, and Suzuki uses this to his advantage. He smirks, stalls, duck and waves, slapping the champion to get in his head. Kobashi appears unphased. Suzuki immediately shows his great technique when they next make contact, wrapping up his opponent and grabbing a cross armbreaker, forcing Kobashi to desperately scramble free. Kobashi stays calm, grabs a side headlock and holds it for a few minutes. Once Suzuki gets free, Kobashi strikes with a knee to the gut and goes for a neckbreaker-chop move, but Suzuki breaks free and heads to the apron. Kobashi chops him off, rams him into the guard rail, then goes back to basics and reapplies the headlock. He manages to get on the apron and enter the ring while maintaining the hold. A headlock might not seem like much, but Kobashi has gigantic arms and he really knows how to wrench it in. Suzuki tries to escape in various ways, but in the end he walks to the corner and grabs the ropes. Kobashi doesn't hesitate to capitalise on his weakened foe, lighting him up with rapidfire chops. Kobashi lifts Suzuki onto the turnbuckle and throws another chop, but Suzuki catches the arm and falls back over the ropes, applying a vertical armbar.

    Suzuki zones in on the arm, attacking it ruthlessly for several minutes. Kobashi gives himself a chance to get back in the match by countering an over the shoulder arm breaker into a sleeper suplex. Suzuki lands on his head and rolls to the outside. Kobashi tries the same move on the ramp but Suzuki counters into his own sleeper hold. The challenger is back in control. He beats Kobashi down in the corner and follows up with a running dropkick. He hits the Gotch piledriver, but instead of going for the cover, he places a foot on Kobashi's head, admiring his handiwork. He picks Kobashi up, but he has some gas left in the tank, dropping Suzuki with a second sleeper suplex. However Suzuki is back up quickly and hits a backdrop driver. To his credit, Kobashi is back up quickly, but he is unable to muster more offense, Suzuki easily seizing control by grabbing the hurt arm and applying a standing octopus stretch. Kobashi quickly makes the ropes. Suzuki grabs a sleeper hold while Kobashi is still holding the ropes. The referee manages to force separation, allowing Kobashi to hit a desperate lariat for a two count.

    Both men get up. Suzuki throws some knee strikes, pausing for a while between each one. Kobashi explodes with a botched lariat. He then hits something like two more lariats and three backdrops, with no attempt at defense by Suzuki. Suzuki struggles to his feet, jelly-legged, weakly slaps Kobashi a couple of times. Kobashi takes his head off with a final burning lariat for the three count.

    Lousy match. It was very slow-paced, which I don't mind, and it's the kind of match Kobashi worked at the time, but the match was structured very poorly. The first two thirds of the match was 90% Suzuki working the arm. The last third was 100% Kobashi, hitting a bunch of moves with no response from his opponent. No drama whatsoever. Suzuki never came close to winning, and there wasn't a single near fall. Kobashi hit a bunch of moves and won. If it's that easy for Kobashi to win, what business does Suzuki have challenging him? He's not in his league if that match is anything to go by. **1/2

    Teaches me to take recommendations from reddit, I guess. Well, it's time to take another. It got **** and won WON's MOTY award for 2012, so it has some strong backing outside of reddit.

    IWGP Heavyweight Championship
    Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs Minoru Suzuki

    Neither man gains an advantage during the feeling out process. Suzuki is able to get a hold of Tanahashi's taped up left arm a couple of times, but he is unable to do any lasting damage. Tanahashi gets the last laugh when he catches Suzuki in an abdominal stretch and plays air guitar on his abdomen. Tanahashi patronisingly shoves Suzuki away and raises his hand. He gets a 50/50 John Cena reaction in response. Suzuki is pissed and goes in for strikes, but Tanahashi turns him around and strikes him at the ropes. The referee gets in between, and Suzuki takes his chance, grabbing the taped arm and armbarring it through the ropes. You know what's coming next. Lots of arm work! Tanahashi fights back, but is dropped by a vicious headbutt. Later on Suzuki starts kicking Tanahashi's chest. He goes for a penalty kick, but Tanahashi catches the leg and hits his trademark dragon screw. The tables have turned. Suzuki's going to have a limb worked! This match is already better than the Suzuki-dominates-a-limb-forever-but-loses story that has defined the two Suzuki vs Okada matches and the Kobashi match.

    Tanahashi lets out some rage, clobbering Suzuki with a number of forearms before hitting another dragon screw and several dropkicks to the knee. Suzuki's face shows a mixture of pain and anger, but at the moment the pain is too much to try and fight back. He gets his chance a few moments later, catching Tanahashi with kicks to the injured arm. Tanahashi evades a kick and grabs a waistlock, but Suzuki immediately transitions into a double wristlock. He bites on the arm tape while applying the hold, a nice visual. Tanahashi tries to be active but Suzuki is able to grab an arm bar from every position, including a nice flipping cross armbreaker.

    Tanahashi makes the ropes, and Suzuki tries a sleeper hold, but Tanahashi reverses into one of his own, and hits a weird sort of standing Sling Blade. He then goes back to the leg, scoring with a chop block and a second rope body splash to the knee. It's time for Suzuki to suffer as he finds himself in a figure four leglock. They work this hold for several minutes, most of it spent seeing Tanahashi and Suzuki pull funny faces. Suzuki also takes time to trash talk in between bouts of screaming in agony. After what seems like a lifetime of this, Suzuki makes the ropes.

    Suzuki manages to evade a sling blade and tries to run the ropes, but his bad leg buckles. Tanahashi runs the ropes himself, but Suzuki hits a nasty dropkick. Not an Okada maximum height dropkick, more of a forward movement one, but it connects right on the jaw. Suzuki fires up, slapping his leg, and the crowd goes nuts. They get to their feet and have a nice slap exchange. Suzuki ducks a slap and grabs a sleeper hold. He throws Tanahashi over his shoulder while keeping a hold of the neck, transitioning to a sleeper hold on the ground. Tanahashi is motionless on the ground for a while, but soon he fires up and makes a big lunge for the ropes to break the hold. Suzuki waits for Tanahashi to get up and just destroys him with slaps to the face. Over and over. Tanahashi is out on his feet, but he's somehow able to go for a dragon screw, but Suzuki beautifully reverses into another sleeper hold. Suzuki lets go quite quickly and tries hard for the Gotch Piledriver, but Tanahashi manages to resist and eventually escapes with a dragon screw.

    Tanahashi hits Sling Blade and goes for High Fly Flow, but Suzuki gets the knees up. Suzuki struggles to his feet to the rapture of the crowd. He slaps Tanahashi some more, slapping him all the way to the apron, but Tanahashi grabs his leg and hits a dragon screw on the ropes. High Fly Flow cross body. High Fly Flow body splash. One! Two! Three! Tanahashi wins!

    Certainly a league above the three other Suzuki matches I've seen, but nowhere near ***** or MOTY in my book. There were some good things about this match: the duelling limb work was executed very nicely, Tanahashi's character moments were great, and the match was paced quite well. However the big problem with this match is the problem with every Suzuki match: there's a ton of long, drawn out submission holds which aren't compelling in the least to me because I know for a fact it won't end the match. The match ends when Suzuki hits his Gotch piledriver or when his opponent hits his finisher (this one always happens), not by submission to a second rate hold, even if the limb is all but broken. Then there's the finish, which is the same finish to every Suzuki match: after dominating for a while, he gets caught by two or three big moves in a row and gets pinned. I know I should be judging this match on its own merits, not on how similar it is structurally to his other matches, but it's an observation I have to make. The match was decent, but far below what I expect from a NJPW main event. ***1/2

    The way I see it, Minoru Suzuki is the biggest choker in the industry. He consistently dominates his world-class opponents to the point of near limb-breakage or unconscious, yet he still loses every match. I guess the only reason he stays credible is because he's a legit badass and carries himself like one. And he probably wins all his non-title matches. By submission.

    Despite my negative outlook on his matches, I'll try one more. It's a G1 match, so a shorter length than these title matches, and it's against AJ Styles, at that time IWGP Heavyweight champion and one of the most versatile workers in the world.

    G1 Climax 24
    AJ Styles vs Minoru Suzuki

    By far the best Suzuki match I've seen. They got in each other's faces before the bell, started hitting each other, and never looked back. Generally Styles' quickness and varied offense kept him on top, but Suzuki's tenacity and viciousness put him on a roughly level playing field. There was some limb work, started by Suzuki's favourite vertical armbar at the ropes, but the arm work didn't dominate the match, instead it was interwoven nicely into the rest of the action. The match was full of great moments. Suzuki took AJ out into the crowd and put him in an armbar in front of some female fans, biting at his fingers. Suzuki caused a ref bump, Taka Michinoku immediately hit the ring and started pummelling on Styles. A few seconds later, out come Gallows and Anderson who start clobbering Michinoku. Seconds later, out come Smith and Archer to chase Bullet Club away. A fantastic interference spot that made sense, got the crowd hyped and didn't spoil the match at all. Perfect way to fill a double down spot. Later on Styles does the Bullet Club finger gun taunt, pointing it at the back of Suzuki's head. Once Suzuki realises what his opponent is doing, you see his face transform into a look of disgust. He grabs the finger and ruthlessly bends it backwards, causing the cocky champion to scream in agony. An amazing strike exchange culminated the match (including Styles instinctively striking with his hurt arm and selling it), Styles catching Suzuki with a pele kick which was enough to set up the Styles Clash and the win. ****1/2

    What have I learnt? I don't think Suzuki is all that he's cracked up to be, but at least he has a style that's unique among the top Japanese wrestlers, even if I find it droll. In the future I'm going to avoid Suzuki epic title matches and stick to more sprinty matches like the one against Styles. He's probably going to participate in this year's G1. That's something to look forward to.

    @Big Pete, you've seen G1 Climax 24, right? Is it true that the matches are of an exceptionally high standard?

  21. #146
    Big Pimpin' Big Pete's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    I haven't seen all of the G1 Climax 24, but watched a fair amount of it and it felt like a real step up from 2013. Considering 2013 was the first year in a long time where individual days were qualifying as Show of the Year contenders, it really goes to show how strong that year was.

    I'm not sure how well it holds up but these were the matches that were being hyped up...

    21/7/14
    Tanahashi/Honma
    Shibata/Nakamura
    Okada/Styles
    26/7/14
    Ishii/Honma
    Nakamura/Nagata
    Naito/Styles
    Anderson/Okada
    Shibata/Tanahashi
    28/7/14
    Naito/Okada
    31/7/14
    Tanahashi/Ishii
    1/8/14
    Styles/Suzuki
    Nagata/Shibata
    Nakamura/Ishii
    3/8/14
    Shibata/Honma
    Tanahashi/Nakamura
    4/8/14
    Okada/Goto
    8/8/14
    Naito/Anderson
    Ishii/Nagata
    Okada/Suzuki
    Final
    Nakamura/Okada

    I just remember everyone was going off on that 26th of July episode, calling it an easy show of the contender, only to eat their words and nominate August 1st episode.

    Also the idea of Nak/Okada was huge at the time and a real dream match to cap the show off. I'm not sure how well it compares to Naito/Omega which I still maintain is a better match than Okada/Omega.

  22. #147
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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    So there's a guy out there reviewing a ton of Berzerker matches

    http://segundacaida.blogspot.com/

    This pleases me immensely. Now I personally wasn't a Berzerker fan (though I did enjoy him as Yukon John in AWA). He was the heel equivalent of awful Hacksaw Jim Duggan. But, shit. Just the fact that there is a guy out there reviewing 73(!) Berzerker matches gives me hope for this world and has me wanting to watch some wrestling for the first time in a few months.

  23. #148
    Ravishing Slick Dude KashDinero's Avatar

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    Default Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    The Bezerker love fest in Bakers link makes me wanna go watch some Bezerker matches. I don't think I ever saw him do a plancha. I marked for Bezerker. He had a sword and said Huss alot. The guy reviewing the matches is legit enjoying reviewing them, acting as if he's found hidden gold.
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