NJPW (Discussion)

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

Post by Frank Olson » Thu Jul 25, 2019 2:45 am

Mediocre - Taichi vs. Hirooki Goto
Decent - Juice Robinson vs. Toru Yano
Good - Jay White vs. Jeff Cobb
Very Good - Tetsuya Naito vs. Tomohiro Ishii
Great - Jon Moxley vs. Shingo Takagi

New Japan really needs to stop pairing up Taichi and Goto. Their match today was thankfully less shenanigan-heavy than their NEVER Title bouts from last year, but it still just seems like these two have no chemistry. I did like Goto blocking one of Taichi's kicks with his head, but other than that it was a totally unremarkable match.

White vs. Cobb was a good showcase for White's weird defensive counter wrestling, and I loved when he tugged Cobb's hair to prevent him from kipping up. But it was weird that White, at 0-3, was not showing more panic and urgency. White is usually so good at hitting those character beats, but this felt like a bit of a missed opportunity.

Moxley/Takagi was a much different match than I was expecting, but in a good way. The leg work was very well done and stayed consistent throughout the match and Shingo's selling was fantastic.

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

Post by Frank Olson » Sun Jul 28, 2019 4:17 am

Decent - Will Ospreay vs. Bad Luck Fale, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. SANADA
Great - Kota Ibushi vs. Lance Archer, EVIL vs. Zack Sabre Jr, Kazuchika Okada vs. KENTA

This was a bit of a weird show in that I was either really into the matches or just not very invested in them at all. Tanahashi vs. SANADA is one that was technically well-wrestled, but I just couldn't get into it, despite having liked all of the previous matches between these two. SANADA is such an odd wrestler to me in that I go through periods of really liking him and then periods where he just isn't doing anything for me. I loved his G1 runs in 2016 and 2018, but found him kind of listless in 2017 and have felt the same way about him so far in this year's tournament. I hear people saying that he is showing more charisma, and while I can see that he is playing to the crowd more it all feels very try-hard and unnatural to me. Clearly this is just a me thing, since he was recently voted as the 4th most popular Japanese wrestler in that one magazine poll, and is certainly getting great reactions from the live crowds, but aside from Fale he is the person in this tournament whose matches have excited me the least. They've almost all felt overlong and lacking in structure, and even in the ones I've really liked (the EVIL and Ibushi matches) I've felt like SANADA was clearly the lesser performer.

Ibushi and Archer ruled and was my favorite match of the night. Archer was pulling out some wacky shit that I had no idea was in his repertoire (what the hell was that weird flip off the ropes thing that he did?) and of course Ibushi can match anyone on earth in eccentric spots. I also loved the ending where Archer didn't go down for the first Kamigoye, which the crowd reacted huge for since that has been effectively positioned as an instant death move for the last two years, and then Ibushi had to put him down with a second one. One of my favorite matches of the tournament so far.

I love the chemistry between EVIL and Zack, and while I thought their New Japan Cup match was a little tighter than today's the more recent match was still awesome. The counter sequence at the end was pretty remarkable, and the moment where Zack countered out of EVIL's spot where he puts hands his opponent's foot to Red Shoes was a particular highlight.

Okada vs. KENTA was a triumph of big match atmosphere, smart booking with both men being undefeated going into the match, and historical significance with each man representing the respective legacies of two different companies. On a pure bell-to-bell level we've seen better big main events from both men in the past, and while this was KENTA's best G1 performance so far I still think that he's missing that next gear. But the crowd heat was through the roof and it just felt like the most important and biggest match of the tournament so far even if it wasn't necessarily the best one.

With Okada's victory Fale and (shockingly) Sabre are mathematically eliminated. SANADA is also at 2 points but can technically still win the block but would need to win out (including beating Okada) and would also need Okada to lose all of his matches. I thought that with the super-stacked blocks this year we'd see a lot more parity booking, but it's been really fascinating to watch the separation between competitors develop.

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

Post by rollup » Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:48 am

the booking of the tournament has been a highlight as it has been unpredictable ... who would had naito and white already at 3 losses ?

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

Post by Danwaka » Sun Jul 28, 2019 12:07 pm

The Goto-Yano match is a 5 star special. Can't convince me otherwise.

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

Post by Frank Olson » Sun Jul 28, 2019 2:35 pm

Mediocre - Jeff Cobb vs. Taichi
Decent - Jon Moxley vs. Tetsuya Naito
Good - Hirooki Goto vs. Toru Yano, Jay White vs. Shingo Takagi
Great - Tomohiro Ishii vs. Juice Robinson

Wow, the booking of the G1 this year is crazy unpredictable. No one in B Block has been mathematically eliminated yet, but if Moxley gets one more win he will take out Cobb, Taichi, Shingo, and Naito no matter what they do in their next four matches. Yano and White can also only possibly reach 12 points, but they have yet to face Moxley, so technically it's possible that if either of them win out and Moxley loses all of his remaining matches that they could top the block. I figure that Moxley can easily lose to Yano via shenanigans, to White because he's a main eventer (and again, probably because of some shenanigans), and I think we all assume that he's losing to Juice on the final block night as revenge for their US Title match result. But he'll have to also lose to Goto on the penultimate B Block night to keep Naito alive for the final night. That's hard to picture, but I guess it has to happen, because even if Naito doesn't win the block I just can't see him being mathematically out of it going into Budokan.

Having said all of that, the main event honestly was not a particularly good match. The shocking result elevated it, but Moxley and Naito did not seem to have great chemistry. I generally think that Moxley's been able to overcome his somewhat awkward looking movements through sheer presence and charisma, but he just looked very clunky throughout most of this match.

The other match that I did not care for was Cobb vs. Taichi. The endless parade of heel shenanigans at the beginning of the match, combined with Cobb looking like an idiot for falling for these outdated tactics, made me feel like I was watching WWE. Once they finally started wrestling they had some pretty good exchanges (Cobb's series of rolling gutwrench suplexes were pretty cool), but by that point I was already pretty much checked out of the match.

Match of the night was definitely Ishii/Juice. I'm not always as huge a fan as most people of the typical NEVER Title-style match structure that they worked here, especially when the matches go on as long as this one did, but it's somewhat novel to see Juice in that type of match, and it suited his current character progression really well.

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

Post by OptionZero » Sun Jul 28, 2019 8:32 pm

i enjoyed Mox v Naito. It's sort of a better, higher paced version of Naito v brawler jericho.

I dug Mox getting pissed at Naitos tranquilo antics and naito fighting back against mox's physicality

ishii v juice was fire

the booking is nuts

Putting Taichi, White and Yano in the same block is now hurting - just too many shenenigans

I think a better balance would have been to punt Fale, separate Yano and Taichi, swap in Henare or someone with better work rate

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

Post by Goat » Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:09 am

Gonna call my shot. I think Okada wins this and the swerve of it is after Naito has proclaimed being double champion as his goal all year Okada uses the G1 victory so he can try to be double champion and they get to the same destination just using the opposite route.

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

Post by thechrissamsa » Mon Jul 29, 2019 4:57 am

If anyone needs more data to satiate their G1 data addiction, here's my G1 box score: G1 CLIMAX 29 - BOX SCORE

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

Post by Murcatto » Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:40 pm

Block winners theory:

Okada and Moxley aren't running through their blocks undefeated. There would be no drama on the final night of the block. When they had Shingo go 9-0 in BOSJ they made sure to have Ishimori stay within 2 points of him so that their match on the last night still determined the block winner. Both Okada and Moxley have a 4 point lead on the field right now.

I figure that both Okada and Moxley are losing their final block matches to Ibushi and Juice respectively. I could be wrong, but (1) Juice's story arc eventually ends with him beating Mox for the title and a Juice win here sets up the next match in the series, and (2) if Ibushi's winning the G1 then he should beat the champ here, and if he isn't winning the G1 then he has more juice as a KOPW title challenger than EVIL or SANADA so he should beat the champ here.

I also figure that either Okada or Moxley is blowing their lead and failing to win the block, but probably not both. It would be weird to tell the same story in both blocks so one should make the final. Then again, normally you want to book your finalists to be coming in with momentum rather than coming in off a loss.

Still, if we go on the basis that the block winners won't be decided until the last match for dramatic purposes, that means if either Okada or Moxley are losing their last block match but are still making the final, then their match can't be the final match on the show. You can't have a scenario where Okada loses to Ibushi but still makes the final unless someone else in the block is wrestling later and can still win the block (otherwise Okada vs. Ibushi is completely meaningless in terms of determining who can make the final).

I think Okada vs. Ibushi has to be the main event of the A Block's final night. It's clearly the biggest match on the card. But Moxley vs. Juice doesn't have to main event B Block's final night because Naito vs. White is arguably a bigger match. So you could have a scenario where Juice beats Mox, leaving it open for Jay to sneak in the back door and win the block on a tiebreaker if he can win in the main event, but Naito plays spoiler and beats Jay so Mox makes it to the final anyway.

Or maybe they will do the same 'leader chokes' story in both blocks and Jay actually does make the final. But I'm predicting Ibushi vs. Moxley. Of course, I originally predicted a Naito vs. Ospreay final so clearly I understand Gedo about as well as the average LIJ fan.

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

Post by Frank Olson » Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:35 am

Mediocre - Kota Ibushi vs. Bad Luck Fale
Good - SANADA vs. KENTA
Very Good - Zack Sabre Jr vs. Will Ospreay, Kazuchika Okada vs. Lance Archer, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. EVIL

This definitely felt like a middle of the week, middle of the tournament minor G1 show. But the roster is so strong that most of the matches were good anyway. Sabre and Ospreay have had better matches against each other elsewhere, but their technician-vs.-high flyer chemistry is always compelling. Okada and Archer was a fun little condensed version of a typical big Okada match. It's been a nice change of pace to see Okada have a few non-epics sprinkled throughout this tournament. Tanahashi vs. EVIL started slow but built up really well and was better than any of their previous matches together. The story of Tanahashi sacrificing his body to hit his big moves was compelling and did a great job of putting EVIL over as a serious threat.

After being slightly underwhelmed by him throughout a lot of the tournament, I thought that KENTA had his best individual G1 performance so far against SANADA. He's a lot more compelling now that he's playing up the dickish aspects of his character. That said, I didn't really care for the way that the match was structured, with KENTA dominating 90% of it and then suddenly losing after SANADA simply hit a couple of his signature moves.

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

Post by rollup » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:35 pm

awaiting for the twitter reactions to Sanada vs Okada this Saturday.

A match that has sold out buildings thrice this year though

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

Post by Frank Olson » Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:51 am

Bad - Jay White vs. Taichi
Decent - Tetsuya Naito vs. Juice Robinson
Good - Toru Yano vs. Jon Moxley
Very Good - Jeff Cobb vs. Shingo Takagi, Hirooki Goto vs. Tomohiro Ishii

As with the last few shows, you could feel a lot of the performers resting themselves and not going all out in these matches. Which is understandable considering the nature of this tournament and that this was another middle of the week show. But it is disappointing that with so many people in the B Block on the cusp of elimination that so few of them really conveyed a desperation to win.

The worst, and most disappointing, match in that regard was Naito vs. Juice. Their match in last year's G1 was one of the underappreciated highlights of that tournament, but this one felt like it was two guys resting their bodies and getting by on their charisma. The part early on where Juice took forever to take his multiple shirts off, in a parody of Naito's usual slow removal of his entrance gear, was funny, but the match never got out of first gear. Obviously Naito's tranquilo attitude is a major part of his character, but I expect more urgency from the performances of someone who absolutely needs to win to avoid mathematical elimination.

It also didn't help that Naito and Juice relied so much on comedy character stuff when their match was sandwiched in between two other comedy-heavy matches, the funny Yano vs. Moxley and the interminable White vs. Taichi. Overall I haven't really cared for either White or Taichi's tournaments up to this point. Between the two of them they've only had one match so far that I personally consider a tournament standout (Taichi's match with Shingo) and they've both been leaning way too hard on tiresome shenanigans throughout most of the tournament, and especially in this match with each other. Today's match was just boring and has taken over for Okada/Fale as my least favorite of the tournament so far.

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El Vivo
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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by El Vivo » Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:19 pm

Love this year's G1! Don't get all the negative vibes on Twitter and co. Round about a great G1, lovely booking decisions and unpredictable results (Or not, but i didn't pick Mox over Naito f.e.)

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Joe Lanza
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Re: Strong Style Spirit - New Japan catch all thread

Post by Joe Lanza » Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:33 am

El Vivo wrote:
Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:19 pm
Love this year's G1! Don't get all the negative vibes on Twitter and co. Round about a great G1, lovely booking decisions and unpredictable results (Or not, but i didn't pick Mox over Naito f.e.)
If you are seeing negativity in regards to this G1, you are following the wrong people, my man.

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

Post by rollup » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:03 pm

Thought the final 5 minutes of Okada Sanda was great. the first 25 min they did their usual " less for more" kind of match but the crowd was hot throughout and reached fever pitch near the end. They will probably do the 4th match this year at KOPW , but hey , its a matchup that the new japan crowd wants

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