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#1 pol

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 07:46 AM

Do we have enough interest here to maintain a "Current WWE"-like thread for New Japan? I know at least some of you keep up with all the shows :)

 

King of Pro Wrestling was today/last night. I missed the first hour but thought the rest was a very good show of mostly ***-***3/4 matches with one standout in Ishii/Yujiro. My thoughts:

 

- I guess the Junior tag title matches are typecast as these kind of meaningless go-go-go matches now, and while I understand there's a place for that stuff on a card I wish they'd get a chance to work more traditional matches sometimes as it's not really a style I'm a fan of.

- El Desperado is already so much better as a heel. I hope this leads to something for him, was disappointed charisma vacuum Taguchi retained the title.

- For two guys with shoot style experience the stuff Saku and Misu were doing wasn't very compelling. I guess neither were ever particularly great shoot style workers, though? I know Misu has the one fantastic PWFG match against Naoki Sano.

- Sooo glad Ishii has his belt back and can go back to having ****+ singles matches on every show. I thought the low blow no sell was fucking stupid but on Dave's recap he says he blocked it so maybe I missed something?

- Shibata has a such an incredible aura, he really feels like he belongs in the top echelon of the promotion. He needs to be a top guy like right now, which I guess is where they're going with him.

- Liked Okada/Naito taking things in a somewhat different direction. My main criticism of Okada has been that he only has one match, but if we keep seeing stuff like this out of him I may have to change my tune. My main criticism of this would be that they rather quickly blew off the unique opening section to do back and forth my turn/your turn stuff rather than building heat through long control segments. Naito eating a sick DDT on the floor only to be back in the ring doing moves within a minute was egregious. Felt like the match lacked the drama befitting its stakes because of that, although the fact that nobody believed Naito had a chance in hell of winning has to shoulder some of the blame there I guess. I liked that for once the Rainmaker pose wasn't the "HERE IS THE NEARFALLS SECTION" signal but actually went directly into the finish.

- Felt the same way about Styles/Tanahashi as I did about their G1 match; what they did was good but it was missing that higher gear to really amp up the drama and make it a great match. As a sports entertainment spectacle that builds a storyline I thought this was very good though. I feel like these two should have a real blow away match in them and I hope we get to see it some day.



#2 soup23

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 08:23 AM

Thoughts on the booking? This seems like a completely bizarre choice. The Tanahashi vs. Okada match series has had high acclaim from some (myself I really like KOPW and the Okada first title win the best) but it will only be 15 months since their last match and that was a year where they had 4 marquee matches together.



#3 pol

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 08:30 AM

I think what they really should've done is Okada vs. Tanahashi at the G1 finals, then Okada vs. Nakamura for the title at the Dome, but given the situation going into this show I don't have a huge problem with it. Granted I've only been following the promotion for a year so it's a new one for me (although I have gone back and watched some of their matches). I would've rather seen Okada/AJ since I expect Okada/Tana to be a typical New Japan big match which isn't a style I'm a huge fan of, but from the promotion's perspective I can see wanting to main event the Dome with two natives. They really seem to need another guy in the upper echelon mix though, hopefully Shibata vs. Okada can main event the Dome in 2016.



#4 KrisZ

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 08:46 AM

I wanna say right now that my Top 2 for Outstanding Wrestling of the Year right now is El Barbaro Cavernario & Tomohiro Ishii.



#5 WingedEagle

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 08:58 AM

I won't ever turn down Tanahashi/Okada, and didn't think they'd trust AJ to main event the Dome, but was still hoping for something a little fresher on top there.  In hindsight it makes even less sense to hotshot Okada/Nakamura at the Seibu Dome rather than save it for WK with a longer build.



#6 stomperspc

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 09:02 AM

I think what they really should've done is Okada vs. Tanahashi at the G1 finals, then Okada vs. Nakamura for the title at the Dome, but given the situation going into this show I don't have a huge problem with it. 

 

Yea, I also thought that Okada/Nakamura seemed like the Tokyo Dome main event going into the G1.  I was thinking Nakamura vs. Naito in the finals and Okada getting the October Sumo Hall title shot by virtue of pinning Styles during the tournament.  I figured Okada would win there to set up him vs. Nakamura at the Dome.  Like pol said, this made sense once the G1 played out the way it did.  Doing Tanahashi/Okada again after a 15 month layoff certainly makes more sense than running Styles/Okada for the 4th time in seven months for the Tokyo Dome show.  I know some people are scratching their heads over the title change but it seemed like the most likely outcome as soon as the match was announced.

 

I also only saw the second half but thought it was a solid show.  The junior title match was fine, but Taguchi doesn't do much for me (though the KUSHIDA match last month was good).  Agreed about Desperado being better as a heel.  I am not sure why it took them so long to pull the trigger on a full turn.  He teased a heel turn from day one (his debut last January 4th) and then he kind of waddled around in in no mans land until the turn this summer.  He is still struggling to find his way in long singles matches, though.  Taichi is relatively useless, so I would be all for a full time Desperado/Taka team.

 

Meltzer really liked Yujiro vs. Ishii.  I thought it was good for a Yujiro match but not "just below MOTYC" level like Meltzer wrote. I didn't think Ishii's stuff with Naito earlier this year was very good.  The one-count kick outs, endless strike exchanges, no-selling, and longer-than-necessary finishing stretches pulled those matches down.  I think he has produced at a much higher level as the year as gone on.  A lot of those annoying elements are gone.  Instead he is just having really basic, solid matches with wrestlers up and down the card.  I enjoyed Okada/Naito.  They had a really good idea for the opening stuff but it didn't flow into the next section of the match all that well.  Tanahashi/Styles was MOTN.  I thought it was much better than their Seibu Dome match.  The Jarrett stuff built to some real nice false finishes and interference teases.  For all of the complaining about New Japan doing too much interference with the Bullet Club, all they really did in the end (since the story line of thee Bullet Club dominating the promotion seems to be on its last legs) was use that stuff to put some heat on them and then pay it off at almost the perfect times.  That is good pro wrestling booking whether it is Japan, US, or wherever.



#7 soup23

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 09:27 AM

Thanks for the thoughts Paul.

 

So what does WK look like so far?

 

1. Okada vs. Tana

2. Nakamura vs. Shibata

3. Ishii vs. ?

4. Junior title

5. Bullet Club Stuff (I think a blowoff in a 5 vs. 5 elimination style match would be a neat nod to the past)



#8 pol

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 09:46 AM

Presumably Kenny Omega, as their new big Junior signing, challenges for the Jr. title at WK? Suzuki vs. Sakuraba is also likely. I'd like to see someone (Makabe/Honma?) take the Heavy tag titles from Bullet Club to really put the nail in that coffin. I'm interested to see what they do at Power Struggle, at this point that really seems like a filler show since all eyes are on the Dome.



#9 Fantastic

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 11:11 AM

Tanahashi vs. Okada again? Sure, they have amazing matches together, but come on...

 

There was no way in hell AJ was going to headline the January 4th show, we knew this already. But, I'm with everybody else who thought Okada/Nakamura was the direction they were going with.

 

The headline picture does need new faces. I still want to see either Naito or Shibata get a run with the title (or both), the ship seems to have sailed where Goto is concerned, although he could still potentially be considered for a run at the top, he's not exactly a mid card talent, it just seems NJPW are good at loading the gun with him but not pulling the trigger.



#10 pol

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 11:32 AM

I think Goto and Makabe are both great in that spot where they never really get a main event run but can get an undercard win and immediately step up and be a credible title challenger on a minor show. Personally I find both guys pretty dull but they definitely have value in that role. I suspect Naito might end up there too since their first attempt to push him as a main eventer was a bust.



#11 Fantastic

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 11:49 AM

I think Goto and Makabe are both great in that spot where they never really get a main event run but can get an undercard win and immediately step up and be a credible title challenger on a minor show. Personally I find both guys pretty dull but they definitely have value in that role. I suspect Naito might end up there too since their first attempt to push him as a main eventer was a bust.

 

Yeah, Naito's push went no where. I wasn't surprised though, given his similarities to Tanahashi. There can be only one, after all.



#12 Jmare007

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 11:50 AM

Even after a 15 month layoff a Tanahashi/Okada match feels overdone. Not very interested in seeing them go at it, specially in a Dome show.

 

Nakamura/Shibata though. That's something I gotta watch.

 

Idk, I feel like Naito not being able to break through as a big time player is gonna end up hurting New Japan in the next couple of years. I hope he can be like Nakamura and find a character that works for him and makes him take off.

 

And I'd honestly give Ishii the belt to stir the pot for a couple of months. Like a Nakanishi surprise win, but this time make it last a couple of big shows. I can't believe I'm saying this about a guy that I thought I'd never see doing bigger things that carrying Inoue's useless ass to a MOTYC on a LOCK UP show.



#13 Fantastic

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 11:56 AM

Ishii is a real dark horse. His body of work in the past couple of years has been phenomenal.



#14 tim

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 12:15 PM

Okada/Tanahashi again isn't the most excited but I'm just glad the much talked about AJ/Okada and Tanahashi/Jerrett scenario isn't going down.  Okada/Tanahashi again is a much better Dome main event than Okada/AJ again.

 

KOPW was a very good show, I enjoyed it a lot.  It's still hard to get excited for NJPW because the booking is just not good at all.  Honma is maybe the best worker and one of the most over guys on the roster and they won't give him a decent push because of some scandal from 10 years ago or something?  Who cares.  Let him have a run at the IC-title level.  Ishii is below where he should be, I will be very annoyed if the returning YOSHI TATSU is pushed above him on the card.  The Bullet Club shit is beyond too much, hopefully last night put an end to it.  Hot shotting the title off KUSHIDA is weird.  He's by far the best in the division and still had a proper match vs. Ibushi that was called for.  A rematch from BOSJ vs. Richochet with KUSHIDA now as champion would have been cool too.  I couldn't care less about Taguchi.  Or Desperado for that matter.

 

Suzuki/Sakuraba stuff in the tag was fucking awesome.  I'm hearing rumors about MMA guys getting involved in the Dome match ... just let them have a one on one, please.



#15 Zoo Enthusiast

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 08:43 PM

Jeff Jarrett headlining the Tokyo Dome would have been amazing.

#16 Fantastic

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 01:05 AM

Jeff Jarrett headlining the Tokyo Dome would have been amazing.

 

The Puro fan in me is appalled.

 

Asides from that, I have to agree. It would be funny as fuck.



#17 pol

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 01:49 AM

Shibata vs. Nakamura, Ibushi/Tanahashi vs. Okada/Yoshihashi and AJ Styles vs. Yoshi Tatsu announced for Power Struggle.



#18 Childs

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 11:22 AM

I'm trying to get a handle on Ishii. On the one hand, I love his look--this tiny dude with no neck and the head of an NFL left tackle. And that look makes fighting spirit a good fit for him rather than the cliche it has become for a lot of Japanese stars. He sells extremely well at times. But good lord does he go overboard with the my-turn-your-turn strike exchanges, which are the bane of modern New Japan for me. Can't decide what I think, though I'm more pro than con.

 

Does Shibata/Nakamura on Power Struggle mean no Shibata/Nakamura in the Dome?



#19 pol

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 02:35 PM

I'm not a huge fan of the strike exchange stuff either, but I do think it fits Ishii's character better than most; he's a guy with a Napoleon complex who's out to prove how tough he is.

 

New Japan doesn't tend to do immediate title rematches (though they did with Okada/AJ earlier this year) so I'd suspect a different challenger for the IC at the Dome. Maybe Ibushi? I hope Shibata gets a run with the title, it's really time for him to be elevated to the next level.



#20 soup23

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 06:04 PM

Ibushi vs. Nakamura at the dome would be grand. Loved their G-1 match from 2013.






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