VOW Flagship: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 Review

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Rich Kraetsch
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VOW Flagship: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 Review

Post by Rich Kraetsch » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:16 pm

Three hours, one topic: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12. The most comprehensive audio review of Wrestle Kingdom 12 you will get anywhere as Joe and Rich break down each and every match from all angles, look at the fallout from the results and discuss happenings at the next day's New Year Dash show. What's the next step for Tetsuya Naito? Was this the best match of Chris Jericho's career? Who had the surprise performance of the night?

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Ferrante207
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Re: VOW Flagship: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 Review

Post by Ferrante207 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:38 pm

I knew said VOW staff member and I were meant to be online best bros when I heard the story of him meeting Big Dave at Kaiju tripping balls on shrooms. Goal is to one up him by meeting Big Dave on molly.

Goto/Suzuki and The Tag Title were my ish and that's the beauty of this show. Lots of very good matches of done in different styles. NJPW house style was wearing on me post g1 and then we get this old school all japan style tag and a brutal old school shooter destruction. I said this was a "one match show (okada/naito) with a lot of cool window dressing" I was very fucking wrong. Okada/Naito was very good, but we've seen a million (actually probably 10-12) super high level NJPW main event house style matches this year. I hope in 2018 NJPW doubles down on variety of styles, especially in the tag division. I wish there was a Volk Han/Kiyoshi Tamura type dude on the roster to add some variance.

Anyone feel somewhat cheated for watching the G1 so closely when they don't even follow through on the story we wanted with Naito?

Shouts to all my comrades in the VOW community. Hope ya'll have a dope AF 2018. I really want the bucks/kenny omega show to be in Chi Town so Rich and I can finally hoop it up and maybe I can meet some of you and smash some food and weights.

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Re: VOW Flagship: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 Review

Post by rollup » Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:03 pm

had a good laugh at Rich comparing himself to Sanada :lol:

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Re: VOW Flagship: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 Review

Post by Ckkj14 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:44 pm

Has the notoriously tough star rated Rich got two ***** matches in the first week of January?!

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Re: VOW Flagship: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 Review

Post by Garuda » Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:05 pm

Not that this is news to anyone, but there really is a "shadow title" in NJPW, and it's beating the Ace at the Dome. You can beat the Ace. You can win the title. But WK 9 and 10 should've made it abundantly clear that beating the Ace at the Dome is a whole different level. It's like beating the King on his throne. When Okada lost at WK 9 of course I think of Okada weeping at Gedo dragged him to the back. But I also think of over his shoulder, the image of Tanahashi. Mic in hand, the entire Tokyo Dome giving it up to him as he air-guitared, and then in the middle of his reverie leaning the over the ropes, pointing, and telling Okada that he was still "a million miles away*" to a HUGE reaction. It's a humiliation aided and abetted by the adoring Tanahashi crowd. Tanahashi in that ring at that moment - it's like the seat of his Ace power to be in the Dome in the main event with all those people cheering him on.

I love a lot of things about how they make titles matter in New Japan. I love that usually when someone wins they lose it back soon - as if to say that they're good enough to compete, but it's still a long road ahead to sstring a meaningful title run together. We saw that just now with Baretta, which everyone seems to be missing the significance of him being pinned to lose it the next night at NYD - He's good enough to win it but not to defend it yet. It's a way to segment out a wrestler's growth.

And it's this WK where it's dawned on me that the main event of Wrestle Kingdom has been protected and elevated as its ultimate prize in that segmented development. Titles are important, but only rungs on the ladder. And at the top, the greatest feat is to defeat the Ace when he is at his greatest symbolic power, the night where an Ace, at his best, truly puts EVERYTHING on the line.

I'm already invested for Naito to learn from this and try his luck again. He already spent his whole LiJ character building up the importance of that main event. And frankly I don't know if New Japan is willing to EVER let Okada lose that "shadow title" until it's his turn to give the reigns over to the next Ace. But it's my new favorite title in the company.


*(unless I've mis-remembered the quote)

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Re: VOW Flagship: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 Review

Post by Leo C » Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:14 pm

I think Joe made a very good point about White's loss being a positive when considering his performance wasn't good enough to get him over in one match. In the middle of the match I was begging for Tanahashi to win because Jay winning the belt after a flat match would've been very sad.

I think SANADA not only works better than EVIL as a babyface, but I think if he always worked as a babyface instead of being more of a heel as LIJ requires (normally dominating most matches and such) I'd enjoy him much more.

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Re: VOW Flagship: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 Review

Post by Bloodbuzz Bunk » Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:05 am

So I'm about to do a long ass post.

First my hot take: Naito v Okada was better than Omega v Okada from last year from an in ring perspective. That's obviously subjective but I wanna make a quick case because the nitpicks you guys brought up are super relative.
-Naito, imo, has awesome control periods that really connect to me and get over this idea that he wrestles like python that slowly squeezes his opponent's into maximum vulnerability.
-Naito very much hit all his LIJ signature shit that allows him to psych out opponents and control the match( he stalled with the suit, he spit on Okada, he hit his head rest spot but it came out of chain wrestling exchange instead of running the ropes). He was making Okada wrestle his match.
-Okada gains control and he almost out of desperation to break away from Naito's rhythm goes for a Rainmaker early. Okada clearly doesn't want to play Naito's long game.
-This in turn amps up Naito's schedule so Naito attempts to get cute/panics and throws out the Stardust Press to keep Okada guessing.
-Essentially from there on out Naito is on tilt and is not wrestling his dominate style. Once Naito fully regains control with that Destino, he either panics/gets greedy depending on your opinion and screws up and loses. That very first rainmaker attempt totally screws up Naito's strategy in my mind.
- The whole match is just a brilliant display of a Naito formula match becoming a stealth Okada formula match. It's the perfect Trojan horse so to speak.

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Re: VOW Flagship: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 Review

Post by Bloodbuzz Bunk » Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:08 am

Also another quick add on. Check out the Jericho v Benoit 2 out of 3 falls match from either Judgement Day or Unforgiven in 2000(?). It's personally my favorite along with Michaels at WM19, the Raw tag, and the Mysterio mask v IC title match.

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Re: VOW Flagship: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 Review

Post by BlizzardAcolyte » Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:02 am

RE: "This is all we're asking for [out of the heavy tag division]...no more three-ways"

Considering that the multi-way tag title match bullshit has existed in some form or fashion since 2009 (which is the last time they had a working relationship with TNA, naturally), and has come on and off since then...don't get your hopes up, lads.

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Re: VOW Flagship: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 Review

Post by BoxingRobes » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:45 am

re: Okada v. Naito

When you talk about New Japan and you lay out this very nuanced, elaborate story...it feels genuinely like this is what they are going for. Often, a lot of American fans will do the same thing as it relates to the WWE...provide this very detailed nuanced narrative...but ultimately, you know when talking WWE, for the most part, you're fantasy booking. In contrast, when you lay out the Naito narrative, it really adds to the match.

However, one thing you didn't discuss, and I think its an important point that not many people are discussing as it pertains to this match is the fact that Okada is in God Mode right now...and when you come at the king, you best not miss, and Naito ultimately missed for the reasons you laid out in your narrative. Okada is so good right now from a story perspective, you can't come at him with this weak Stardust Genius nonsense and expect to beat him.

I would love to see Okada keep the title ANOTHER full year. Fuck it. Have Naito develop that edge needed to beat Okada and finally unseat him at Dome next year. The Jericho feud to start the year where its going to be a bit of a plunder feud is a nice way to kickstart Naito with the edge needed to beat Okada next year.

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Re: VOW Flagship: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 Review

Post by noggy » Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:20 pm

Regarding Budokan, the legit wrestling capacity there is about 12,000 judging by seating information (including standing room) on Budokan's website and an estimation of floor seats from pictures of NOAH shows there. It's not much bigger than Sumo Hall. So keep that in mind so you're not calling the G1 Finals a bit of a let down when they don't sell 14-15,000 tickets. That's not psychically possible.


Like when DDT ran there, they probably won't sell tickets for the seats behind the stage for the block finals allowing the building to look full on tv even with about 7,500 or so people there. Blocking off a bunch of seats isn't ideal but they're running Budokan because Sumo Hall is being renovated this summer, not because they're feeling super ambitious.

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Re: VOW Flagship: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 Review

Post by armsofsleep » Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:29 pm

Love Joe talking about how happy he is that Jay White is staying a loner mere hours before he joined CHAOS.

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Re: VOW Flagship: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 Review

Post by mlev76 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:00 pm

As a casual watcher, Naito getting the win at WK seemed like the natural result of the storyline that began at his disappointment at being snubbed when he won the G1 a few year back and taking a back seat to Tanahashi/Nakamura. To me, WK should be like Wrestlemania and act as the final step in the growth/ascension of a star. Now, whether or not Naito was a star already doesn't change this-if he was a level 2 to Okada's level 1, then the only way to get to level 1 is to get that win. His failure doesn't make sense in that narrative and from a creative standpoint, I thought it was a shitty move even if the match itself was great. On the business front, I don't expect it to matter tremendously and in all honesty, I don't think either New Japan or WWE loses much business wise by one or two bad booking moves. Doesn't mean that I like it or that it's good.

I still think the Michaels match and the Raw tag match surpass the Omega match, but it was spectacular and the best match on the show. I'm not sure why anyone would be surprised at Jericho's performance since he always has risen to the level he needs to throughout his career. Maybe alone here, but the person he reminded me most of in this match was Roddy Piper from a look and performance perspective (think Mania VIII vs. Bret).

As for Jay White, I fear what the Tanahashi match shows is he doesn't belong at the Heavyweight level at least not yet. I saw two matches from him, one against Ospreay and one against Punishment Martinez, last year that blew away this match completely. I'm not sure it's entirely his fault, but he came across like he was in the wrong spot. The gimmick is fine and I get not wanting to lump him in with an already crowded Junior division, but I'm not confident that the Omega match or anything else will be better.

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Re: VOW Flagship: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 Review

Post by JML » Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:17 pm

rollup wrote:had a good laugh at Rich comparing himself to Sanada :lol:
Me too and funny enough it reminded me of when Rich liking Nagata's wife when Nagata had the match with Nakamura at New Beginning in Sendai a couple years ago.

Rich - Don't let the Nurse see SANADA in a suit. Based on the G1 preview video and his Instagram, he cleans up nicely.

With Jay White, I am honestly concerned about what they are going to do with him cause based on the entrance video for the Dome, they spent significant money on this guy.



From the looks of it, he gets the character outside of the ring but in ring, it's the case that's he almost too good/smooth. The first time I saw White was that Sendai show I mentioned before and I'm not saying he's Jun Akiyama but he was so damn good that early in his career. It seems like the gimmick was almost in translation as White in ring could do almost anything he wants like a Swiss Army knife. They probably said Switchblade instead and here we are. Like Joe said, they are gonna see their way through like Okada but the expectation for White is heightened because he's so good.

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Re: VOW Flagship: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 Review

Post by Rich Kraetsch » Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:53 pm

JML wrote:
rollup wrote:had a good laugh at Rich comparing himself to Sanada :lol:
Me too and funny enough it reminded me of when Rich liking Nagata's wife when Nagata had the match with Nakamura at New Beginning in Sendai a couple years ago.

Rich - Don't let the Nurse see SANADA in a suit. Based on the G1 preview video and his Instagram, he cleans up nicely.

With Jay White, I am honestly concerned about what they are going to do with him cause based on the entrance video for the Dome, they spent significant money on this guy.



From the looks of it, he gets the character outside of the ring but in ring, it's the case that's he almost too good/smooth. The first time I saw White was that Sendai show I mentioned before and I'm not saying he's Jun Akiyama but he was so damn good that early in his career. It seems like the gimmick was almost in translation as White in ring could do almost anything he wants like a Swiss Army knife. They probably said Switchblade instead and here we are. Like Joe said, they are gonna see their way through like Okada but the expectation for White is heightened because he's so good.
Yeah that man wears the fuck out of suit. I'm going to keep her away from any pics of him dressed up.

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