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Jushin Liger vs Shinjiro Otani


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#1 Loss

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 06:52 PM

Talk about it here.

#2 Loss

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 03:55 PM

This is such a beautiful pro wrestling match. Everything about it from the opening bell. Liger's selling of Otani's ground game in the opening part of the match is outstanding. This is a mix in some ways of Choshu/Hashimoto (the awesome extended collar-and-elbow to start things out) and Misawa/Kobashi (Otani working over Liger's arm to neutralize his palm strikes) mixed in with things that these guys can do that the heavies simply can't. Otani kicks out of the shotei, which is progress from the match these two had the year before. But he's still Otani, celebrating victory before it's his -- stalling and showboating unnecessarily before hitting his final move. He practically dares Liger to knock him out after taking multiple palm shots, and sure enough, Liger finally does. A brilliant match - probably the best juniors match of the decade - but I think Otani actually getting a win over Liger is being stretched out way too long. Does it ever even happen?

#3 WingedEagle

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 06:44 PM

A brilliant match - probably the best juniors match of the decade - but I think Otani actually getting a win over Liger is being stretched out way too long. Does it ever even happen?


Wow, talk about bold. Superior to Liger/Samurai in '92?

#4 Loss

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 07:23 PM

Yes.

#5 Loss

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 07:32 PM

One other thing I should have mentioned is the length of this match. It was much longer than your usual juniors match -- about 27 minutes. That's not the reason I love it so much, but I think it's interesting that they were working a "deeper" story than usual that really demanded more time to play out. They made use of the additional time exceptionally well. They didn't add additional filler because they had extra time to play with. If anything, there was less of the typical early match filler than usual, and the match felt tighter and leaner than many matches half the length.

#6 Ditch

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 12:09 PM

Otani actually getting a win over Liger is being stretched out way too long. Does it ever even happen?

It does in October, in a match that isn't on this level and isn't on the set.

#7 Loss

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 07:47 AM

Otani actually getting a win over Liger is being stretched out way too long. Does it ever even happen?

It does in October, in a match that isn't on this level and isn't on the set.


I'm a little disappointed that it wasn't recommended, because Otani getting his big win seems like something that should probably go on regardless of match quality after the March '96 and February '97 matches.

#8 Childs

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 10:35 AM

This match worked so well, both as 27 minutes of exciting action and as an important chapter in their rivalry. Liger was great. Everything he did looked great. And yet, Otani was better. Technically, he had an answer for everything Liger could throw at him. But he wasn't mature enough to take it home. He had to dangle his chin out there like proto-Anderson-Silva, and that shit wasn't going to fly with a proud champion. The finishing sequence was so great, with each palm strike resounding as a nail in Otani's coffin of hubris. One of my favorite things in sports is watching a team or athlete gradually learn how to be a contender. Liger-Otani has always struck me as one of the best wrestling dramatizations of that dynamic, albeit without the perfect payoff win for Otani. For me, this is probably neck-and-neck with Liger-Sano for best juniors match of the decade.

#9 jdw

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 07:59 PM

Otani actually getting a win over Liger is being stretched out way too long. Does it ever even happen?

It does in October, in a match that isn't on this level and isn't on the set.


And in 1995 as well, though Liger had the "excuse" of it being early in his return off his injury. Basically put over both Koji and Ohtani who had been "growing up" in the junior division while Liger was out. Then he was fully back at the 01/04/96 Tokyo Dome, and re-established himself as NJPW's top junior while Sasuke and Dragon were his out-of-promotion peers.

#10 jdw

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 08:08 PM

but I think Otani actually getting a win over Liger is being stretched out way too long.


Again, the rivalry didn't really start until 1996. Then recall what happened in 1996:

* Liger gets IWGP back from Koji
* Koji & Shinji get title shotes in early 1996 with Liger retaining
* Liger put over Sasuke for the title in April
* Liger puts over BT in Super Juniors to set up Eddy for title shot
* Skydiving J to set up J Crown
* Sasuke (i.e. IWGP Champ) gets J Crown
* Liger had brain tumor
* Dragon gets J Crown

Then on 01/04/97, Liger wins the J Crown so that the Big 3 (Liger and his two indy rivials) have all passed it around).

It's not like Liger has had a lot of time to put over Ohtani, nor in a way that wouldn't have gotten in the way of that rather good booking job he did for the balance of the year. It's now Feb, and he just got the belt(s) back from Dragon. This isn't exactly 2000 WWF where the titles bounce around every week. :)

Instead, he does set up Shinji for a run later in the year.

Liger is frankly quicker on giving wins to lower ranked guys than say Baba is. :)

#11 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 07:33 AM

Hadn't watched this in donkey's years. It really does feel like the perfect middle match between the 3/96 match and a match that never happened, although I must say I liked the clipped version of one of their 1998 matches I saw. The matwork wasn't great here, but New Japan matwork never really is, and I thought Ohtani's acting as a bit iffy in the beginning, but once it got into the section of the match where they start unloading their offense on each other I thought it was a cracking match. Liger reminds me of El Hijo del Santo a lot in that everything he does is excellent but incredibly predictable and it's difficult to really care about him all that much, but Ohtani wasn't ready to step up here and they told that story really well. Ohtani had toned down on the facials here, but I wonder if he had it in him to take this feud to the next level where it was believable that he'd matured enough to beat Liger. I wish the economics of the industry had stayed stable and we could have seen it play out properly.

#12 Loss

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 01:00 PM

but I think Otani actually getting a win over Liger is being stretched out way too long.


Again, the rivalry didn't really start until 1996. Then recall what happened in 1996:

* Liger gets IWGP back from Koji
* Koji & Shinji get title shotes in early 1996 with Liger retaining
* Liger put over Sasuke for the title in April
* Liger puts over BT in Super Juniors to set up Eddy for title shot
* Skydiving J to set up J Crown
* Sasuke (i.e. IWGP Champ) gets J Crown
* Liger had brain tumor
* Dragon gets J Crown

Then on 01/04/97, Liger wins the J Crown so that the Big 3 (Liger and his two indy rivials) have all passed it around).

It's not like Liger has had a lot of time to put over Ohtani, nor in a way that wouldn't have gotten in the way of that rather good booking job he did for the balance of the year. It's now Feb, and he just got the belt(s) back from Dragon. This isn't exactly 2000 WWF where the titles bounce around every week. :)

Instead, he does set up Shinji for a run later in the year.


If Otani wasn't going over here, why do this match so soon? As much as I loved it, Otani lost to Samurai in January the year before. Then he lost to Liger (three days after beating Benoit) in March. Then he lost in the semis at the J Crown to Ultimo. Then he lost to Liger here. That doesn't sound like someone being set up for a big title run. It sounds like someone who can't get a meaningful win over a native.

Liger is frankly quicker on giving wins to lower ranked guys than say Baba is. :)


Liger liked to play the bitch?

#13 Loss

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 07:47 PM

Otani actually getting a win over Liger is being stretched out way too long. Does it ever even happen?

It does in October, in a match that isn't on this level and isn't on the set.


What is the date of this October match? I want to add it to my Rewatching and first time viewing thread. Title history on Wikipedia shows Otani forfeiting the WWF junior title on 10/05/97 at their request, but it looks like Liger dropped the IWGP junior title to Samurai on July 6. What was the October match?

#14 jdw

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 08:10 PM

If Otani wasn't going over here, why do this match so soon?


The guys who had IWGP/J Crown title shots since the last time Otani challenged:

The Great Sasuke (Δ)
Black Tiger
Shiryu
Masayoshi Motegi
El Samurai
Ultimo Dragon
Ultimo Dragon (Δ)
Dean Malenko (WCW Nitro)
Rey Misterio Jr. (WCW World War III PPV)

Gran Naniwa
Rey Misterio Jr.
Masayoshi Motegi
Dean Malenko (WCW Starcade)
Jushin Liger (WCW Nitro)

Jushin Liger (Δ)

A title defense in New Japan, it's pretty much Koji and Shinji's turn. Sammy got a shot in there. Benoit wasn't really working New Japan much. Eddy was pretty much WCW as well. In fact, they would only have one further combined challenge for the title after Eddy's one at Sky Diving J in 1996. Kind of cool who he was brought back to put over.


As much as I loved it, Otani lost to Samurai in January the year before. Then he lost to Liger (three days after beating Benoit) in March. Then he lost in the semis at the J Crown to Ultimo. Then he lost to Liger here. That doesn't sound like someone being set up for a big title run. It sounds like someone who can't get a meaningful win over a native.


Shinji was 23 years old when he challenged the year before, and hadn't even hit his 4th anniversary as a wrestler. He's 24 when this match happens, and hadn't hit his 5th anniversary. He wins the title just past his 25th birthday, and had been working for just over 5 years.

Keichii Yamada
Debut: 03-03-1984
Title Challenges:
07/19/86 lost to Nobuhiko Takada
06/10/88 lost to Owen Hart
12/09/88 lost to Shiro Koshinaka
05/25/89 beat Hiroshi Hase

Two years to his first challenge. Won the title on his 4th attempt, just after his 5th anniversary.

Shinjiro Otani
Debut: 06-25-1992
Title Challenges:
10/30/94 lost to Norio Honaga
04/16/95 lost to Koji Kanemoto
03/17/96 lost to Jushin Liger
02/09/97 lost to Jushin Liger
08/10/97 beat El Samurai

Two years to his first challenge. Won the title on his 5th attempt, just after his 5th anniversary.

Not bad lining up so well with the greatest junior that ever lived. More so when considering they cleared the field for Liger (Hase and Kosh both moved up to heavy), while Otani not only had the established King in the division but also a rival in Koji who was higher on the pecking order.


Liger is frankly quicker on giving wins to lower ranked guys than say Baba is. :)


Liger liked to play the bitch?


Liger cleanly jobbed to people, then beat them cleanly in rematches. Then again, he might have been playing the bitch in beating Sano with his feet on the ropes, or regaining the title from Dragon when Sammy ran in to damage Dragon's knee, or beating Sammy for the title wither a reverse cradle and a handful of tights, or winning this match when Sammy and Black Tiger and Pegasus ran in for the DQ, or retained over Koji this month via the Liger Finish. ;)

#15 soup23

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 08:55 AM

Even with all the hype Childs and Loss gave this match, I was expecting to be let down. I was wrong and it is either this/ Liger vs. Sano/ or Liger vs. Sasuke from July 94 as my favorite japan junior match of the decade so far. I really enjoyed how this match mixed in a heavyweight structure build and sprinkled in the junior spots. Otani really plays his role well. He is overconfident and cocky but sympathetic at the same time. Liger is a flawed character in this match to as someone who may be too reliant on certain aspects and unwilling to change with the times. THat narrative provided an engaging story to compliment the wonderful action. The finishing sequence may be one of the best I have ever seen and Otani really had to tow the line with those palm strikes from making it look ridiculous and goofy. My #2 match of the year and if this falls out of the top 7-8 this year, we are in for a loaded year.

#16 Kevin Ridge

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 06:58 PM

Man, I just love Otani's springboard dropkick. This one really picks up and becomes very entertaining. His overly cockiness is fun and yet disappointing to watch when he ends up blowing things in these big matches. Liger is palm striking the hell out of Otani's face.

#17 PeteF3

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 11:34 PM

I thought this was a fantastic, brilliant match...I'm just not quite as high on it as everyone else here. I saw a terrific match, but I still think Otani-Samurai told this similar story in slightly better fashion. And yet there's almost nothing I can criticize--I think the only tangible reason I can find for "only" rating this in the ****1/4-****1/2 range is that while the story was well-done and drawn-out, I didn't get the sense of surprise twists and turns that I got on 1/20/97, or in similar efforts like Shawn vs. Mankind and the RWTL '96 final. Both men go after body parts, both men unleash big moves, Otani's emotions get the better of him...it's conventional, and while convention is good, but it doesn't often lead to a true transcendent feeling in watching a match, either. The ending is phenomenal--I can't get the hand-wringing over Liger's palm strike as a finisher because he delivers it so well that I totally buy it as a KO, and Otani's progressive selling of the repeated strikes is fabulous. It's your #2 MOTY to this point, which is not a bad place to be.



#18 El-P

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 02:08 PM

Odd how nobody mentions Ohtani blowing off Liger's legwork during the first part, Sasuke would have got hell for this. Apart from that, this was fantastic. Liger clearly had toned down the flying by that point and is still great. He's all about the shotei. Ohtani had matured somewhat, he wasn't your crazy young lion he used to be and was still one of the best wrestler in the world. Fantastic match that built and built until Liger gets a bit too arrogant, lets Ohtani sleep in a comeback before the final shotei barrage and the final pin which looked terrific. MOTYC and certainly one of the best junior match of the decade.



#19 Zenjo

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 09:53 PM

Unusually there weren't any highspots in the opening 15m. It was primarily matwork with some strikes thrown in. Whilst being fundamentally sound the work was quite dry and the fans didn't seem that invested in the rivalry initially. The build served its purpose, but in itself wasn't special. They then picked up the pace significantly and brought out all the stops. Liger's offence was no longer cutting edge so the focus was primarily on Ohtani's antics and desperation. Which is no bad place to be. Plus his German is a work of beauty. I'm never a bit fan of the shotei as a finisher. I'm not feeling this as a MOTYC, more like top 50. But hey, every year has widely praised matches I like rather than love.

#20 JKWebb

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 04:21 PM

http://placetobenati...f-the-90s-50-1/

#44

This was great. I actually really liked the finish. All the big dramatic striking that led to the finishing shotei looked awesome. I prefer the Sano match(es) that are great to this one, and HBK/Mankind - only mentioning because they were compared above. But, anyway... fantastic ... around ****1/4 to ****1/2 for me.




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