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Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Minoru Suzuki (NJPW The New Beginning in Sapporo 01/27/18)

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#1 ShittyLittleBoots

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Posted 27 January 2018 - 07:39 AM

Great match overall, but it had the same issue that most New Japan main events do. It went on for very long & had a forgettable first third or so - once Tanahashi does the High Fly Flow where he lands directly on his bad knee though, that's when this gets amazing. Suzuki tortures the crap out of him w/ brutal submissions & Tanahashi's selling is superb; this was a clinic in that regard - milking amazing drama w/ simple, yet brutal submissions & amazing selling of those. I liked the story of MiSu refusing to go for the pin, wanting Tana to give up, but Tana refusing to do so which lead to the stoppage. I did think there was quite bit of dull stuff in it in the early stages, but once it got going, oh boy did it get going. MiSu is the best big match wrestler in New Japan right now. ****



#2 superkix

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Posted 27 January 2018 - 02:06 PM

A good but long match that felt its length and dragged in parts. Suzuki is still very compelling as the aging predator and while this wasn't quite at the level of his WK12 match or the Okada G1 match from, it definitely righted some of the wrongs from last year's New Beginning in Sapporo. Almost immediately, they establish that Tanahashi's knee is the crux of this match and I liked that he tried to get the jump on Minoru by working Minoru's knee to set up the cloverleaf. Suzuki starts in with the bullying, the headbutt and the hanging armbar and big chairshot to the back, but as Tanahashi begins heating up, the match begins to cool down.  Suzuki laughing in Tanahahsi's face at his shitty elbows was good and the cut-off dropkick but the real match begins after Tanahashi hurts his knee on the High Fly Flow. That's where Suzuki really excels at picking it apart and reveling in Tanahashi's suffering. Terrific selling from Tanahashi as he struggles to fight back and stay on his feet, which allows Suzuki to dropkick the leg out from him and go right back to gnawing on the knee with submissions. He peppers it with little shit kicks, throws a couple of big slaps, and spikes him with the Gotch-style piledriver, but Suzuki doesn't want the pin. He wants Tanahashi to give up, which Tanahashi refuses to do until Red Shoes finally has no choice but to call it. The nasty submission work from Suzuki coupled with Tanahashi's sad, hurt ace performance was excellent; however, the midsection was mostly filler and had this been 5-10 minutes shorter, this would have been a completely awesome match instead of awesome in parts.


#3 Maciej

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 02:32 PM

This certainly has enough Suzuki limb work and good Tanahashi selling to be entertaining at times, but also I kinda feel like if you told me Suzuki and Tanahashi went half an hour in January 2018 I could have predicted pretty much this exact match? Obviously execution is important, and they execute the moves and holds and facial expressions as well as expected, but this did bore the hell out of me for long stretches. I do think that if I had more of an established emotional connection to Tanahashi this would've been more up my alley.



#4 Edwin

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 11:57 AM

This was good, but also way too long. They could've easily trimmed the first 10 or so minutes of filler and it would've been way better. Suzuki is awesome and did a good job at exploiting Tanahashi's bummed knee. His knee dropkick spot was pretty awesome. Tana also did a pretty good job of getting that over too. The finish felt a bit abrupt and lacked any type of drama as it was out of nowhere.



#5 Boss Rock

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Posted 26 April 2018 - 10:31 AM

Bit of a long match, but I felt like this was a much better-executed version of Suzuki-Okada from last year's New Beginning. Tanahashi is a polarizing wrestler but I think he can be a pretty terrific babyface and that was on full display here. Suzuki also proved he wasn't just an overachiever at WK against Goto and re-established himself as one of the best wrestlers and heels in the world.



#6 El-P

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 05:40 AM

It didn't feel that long to me. The one issue I have with this one is the kinda no-sell of the leg at all during Tana's big comeback, before he actually had his leg buckle under him later on. This is only a minor issue though, as overall this was a terrific match. Maybe one could argue Suzuki not being able to have Tana give up quicker doesn't work that well. On the other hand it's been established at this point that we're not into that "quick submission" territory anymore, and the whole long submission hold period are less "spots" than "narratives", and this was all about Tanahashi rather having his leg literally chopped off his body than losing this match. Not MOTYC caliber, but excellent nonetheless. Suzuki is clearly one if not the best past 40 years old worker ever, and Tanahashi, even broken down, is still an amazing worker.







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