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Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

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  • Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    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 [MENTION=105051]Baker[/MENTION]'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

    Comment


    • Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

      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 [MENTION=105051]Baker[/MENTION]'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

      Comment


      • 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.

        Comment


        • 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.

          Comment


          • 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. [MENTION=821]Strobe[/MENTION]'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, 10:42 PM.

            Comment


            • 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. [MENTION=821]Strobe[/MENTION]'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.

              Comment


              • Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

                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.

                Comment


                • Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

                  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.

                  Comment


                  • 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.

                    Comment


                    • 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.

                      Comment


                      • 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.

                        [MENTION=21289]Big Pete[/MENTION], you've seen G1 Climax 24, right? Is it true that the matches are of an exceptionally high standard?

                        Comment


                        • 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.

                          [MENTION=21289]Big Pete[/MENTION], you've seen G1 Climax 24, right? Is it true that the matches are of an exceptionally high standard?

                          Comment


                          • 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.

                            Comment


                            • 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.

                              Comment


                              • 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.

                                Comment

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