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  1. Yeah I keep forgetting how much of a treat these are. Jay and SANADA cancelling each other out. Juice with big guy-on-the-end energy. Always enough people playing everything straight for the silly to shine. Couple more highlights.
  2. This is great fun. RIP Hoss Block, long live Monster Block.
  3. Karl spells it all out for you here:
  4. Reaction 1: Come on that's harsh Kobashi was still incredible without his knees. Reaction 2: Okada is past his prime already? Reaction 3: Actually yeah keep black trunks Kobashi out of this. It's not a dream match when you know there's no chance of one of them doing the job. Reaction 4: Monkey paw grants your wish for Orange Trunks Kobashi versus Balloon Okada.
  5. They're also going to be putting in work because this is the biggest exposure they could ever hope to have. They need to get eyeballs on their product. Misc thoughts: Match graphics team putting in the biggest shift of their lives to keep up to date with this event. That Bucks tag was the match I was most looking forward to. Sad face. But! Nothing is going to shake my appreciation for this show existing. Having Tony orchestrating this is like Sakurai running Smash Bros - it's a miracle to have someone who's probably a bigger dork than you are at the top calling the shots. As a result everyone coming in is going to be treated with respect and we get a huge profile event for maximum fanservice. Fanservice for US. I remember Okada in TNA, ffs. The countdown show had a lot of things people here said were missing from the main shows. Including a set of promos from Mox and Tana that I loved, a quote from which is on the last page. Hiroshi 'I created the forbidden door' Tanahashi against Jon 'I am the forbidden door' Moxley is good hype. Turns the replacement main event into the natural main event. A shame a few of the NJPW wrestlers didn't have a voice in the build up, even if only via quotes mentioned on commentary. I understand that you don't want to be having a subs or dubs debate about your primetime American wrasslin show, but that's not an issue when you've got ZSJ on the ramp. If they're hyping ZSJ v Bryan down the line as a match to determine the best technical wrestler in the world, and they're specifically promoting this match as being a technical one then Zack should be winning. Could any big name like Claudio job on their BCC/AEW debut to a departing opponent? Tana as intirim AEW champ wouldn't be without its appeal, but I don't think it's happening unless it was the plan for Punk to drop in the first place. Kevin Kelly will be on the commentary team, calming my nerves about the 'explain who all these Japanese dudes are' problem. I keep hearing that Naito doesn't care about American wrestling, though that doesn't explain his absence from this card as he has flown over before. I remember a press conference with CM Punk answering to the idea of facing NJPW wrestlers without the enthusiasm you get from some others (paraphrasing 'If Tony wants me to do it, I'll do it'). So on the basis of that alone in my head canon he is AEW's Naito equivalent. Fitted well when on the Tanahashi debut he was all 'Ok we've got a pay per view to sell, who have I got?' I'm sure Connors will do fine, and I agree that he should be Ishii's replacement but the result is that the match no longer feels like it has any real NJPW presence. Great spot on Okada's throwback to the NOAH show build. 100% deliberate. He's pumped! I'm sure the relationship between the companies will continue, but no idea if it will retain this format. The big upside to all these absentees is that even if they were only planning this as a one-off there's enough left on the table to do an encore. That injury list is your list of reasons to tune in next time. People wondering why this is cursed when we all know the door they're passing through is forbidden. Things will be better on 2024's AEW and NJPW joint 'Door' PPV.
  6. Most shocking event of this show was Regal calling Tanahashi a young man. It must be the hair.
  7. I've seen parts of the internet where people are convinced of the opposite. Schedule is out. In hindsight I'm not sure why I put the groups in spoilers but this is a lot of text. This is predominantly because I never really get excited for G1 group announcements ('yup, that's a list of good wrestlers' is usually how it goes), but I think hoss block A may be the most intriguing G1 block ever for me. 1) I'm amazed they managed to get a whole schedule of fresh matches for Okada despite him working through the pandemic. 2) Fale is going to have to bump more than ever before. 3) Where has big man wrestling been these last few years, huh? Probably some of the many places I haven't been paying attention to, but it feels novel to me.
  8. tHe BiRtH oF oKaDa'S fIrSt ChIlD iS iMpOrTaNt To HiM. Buncha marks! That Bullet Club v Dudes with Attitudes match is one of the best 'get everyone on the card' tags they could have done. Bucks v Hiromu / Shingo is going to be peak and looking forward to El Phantasmo against Sting. EP has the perfect combination of 'can go' and 'can stooge' for that slot.
  9. As you say, it requires some credibility, and some faith. Faith that the titles the viewer has never heard of mean something (sometimes they do, sometimes they don't) and faith that these guys are as good as we hear they are. The latter is kind of redundant when we see them in the ring beforehand - if the guy doesn't impress then the words ring hollow, and if they do then we didn't need to be told. In my opinion the 'this guy is great, here is a list of championships he has won' approach, while a no-brainer wore thin after it was used on both Nagata and Kojima and can't be relied on alone. In the case of Tanahashi / Ospreay / Okada when JR describes them as one of the best / top five / whatever in the world it means something, but outside of that they have to differentiate. We need the crib note caricatures on how to tell them apart and what the story is. Eg: Nagata - Why does Moxley want to face him? Because he's a wrestler's wrestler with the likes of Danielson among his admirers. Why isn't this old man afraid of Moxley? Is he an idiot? No he's a vet that has seen it all - he's faced Goldberg in WCW, Kobashi in NOAH, Lesnar in NJPW and Fedor in MMA land (shhhhhh don't mention ANYTHING about the content of those matches). Something like that because we can see he is past his prime and Moxley isn't going to be dropping any titles to him. 'Japanese megastar Yuji Nagata' is crying wolf. Suzuki - He's an old school sadistic SOB who rightfully strikes fear into people. He's teaming up with fellow bully Jericho to participate in one of his favourite hobbies torturing young men as they face Mox's kids. Guevara and Kingston are there to avoid it being too much of a one-sided match-up but that's the story. I'd better buy that show because I want to see those kids not get destroyed hopefully! Ishii - Stone pitbull. Call him the stone pitbull a lot the name is English and perfect. Ospreay - The OC match has a decent build from a story perspective, but I saw more comments picking up on Will's current character from this board than from the commentary team. Why has he got that jacket and that face? Is he an idiot? Yes. We all want to see him lose but unfortunately he's a world class wrestler. He gets to be in charge of United Empire in spite of his lack of leadership skills or judgement because he is really good at wrestling. Imagine Starscream in charge of the Decepticons. O-Khan - Here's your chance JR. The guy is oriental as hell so you know how to sell this. It's a proper gimmick and it never went out of fashion. Tanahashi - 'They call you the Ace' is good but letting us know why he's the Ace would be better. We've been told Moxley has been chasing him for years but again, why? What is the distinction going to be between Tanahashi and this Okada guy who is also great when he shows up? Tanahashi is the Cena - he never gives up or turns turns heel. Hero to women and kids everywhere (because the posing, flowing locks and air guitar might seem a bit odd otherwise). He's been the face of NJPW for what seems like forever which is both why Mox wants him and why he's had to wait so long to get to him. You know what, all those like-for-like matches we saw on booking wishlists leading up to Forbidden Door (Danhausen/Yano, Kenny/Okada, UE/BC, Zack/Bryan, FTR/Aussie Open, Hiromu/Darby etc) may look like they're using EWR stat logic to decide what would get the best match quality percentage, but they have these little simple hooks that don't need a lot of explanation and make people want to see them. If you have time to build you can do better but when you don't that's really useful.
  10. Slowly sinking in that with a couple of weeks to go the dream AEW / NJPW show everyone wanted has a non-zero chance of not featuring Bryan, CM Punk, Omega, Ibushi, Okada or a top title match from either side. Setting my expectations to zero so it can only go up from here. It's like Tony extended the olive branch across the Pacific but ended up catching whatever curse NJPW had during the pandemic that ensured nothing they had lined up went to plan.
  11. Someone described Ospreay as vanilla last week and I was wondering how anyone could look vanilla next to Aussie Open. This week they make their run in wearing plain white t-shirts. I don't know why that stood out so much to me. Lots of logos to choose from guys. Jericho Appreciation Society and Suzuki-Gun don't seem like they should be buddies. Suzuki-Gun presence on Dynamite does ever so slightly open the door for a ZSJ appearance though. If any Bryan interaction is on the cards Zack has never been one to cater his promos to either Japanese or American audiences so I hope he goes all in on Blackpool being a ridiculous place to name an intimidating combat club after. Amazing that Shuta, a guy best known among even devoted fans for his non-speaking (/non-moving?) role in backstage segments from a 2019 Japan-only tournament gets a hearty pop when mentioned. Forbidden Door is a couple of weeks away and short on matches so great to have Switchblade and friends do a segment seemingly unannouncing one. The sensible thought is that they wouldn't be dropping Okada's name all the time if he wasn't going to show (Kazuchikhov's gun?) but in case he isn't I'm down for sowing seeds for an appearance somewhere down the line. A lot of people interested in AEW/NJPW have fantasy booked their own coin drop on Dynamite moment and you don't want to waste that money shot on a last minute tag match. Hell, keep mentioning him for years like he's Columbo's wife then eventually even people who have never seen him might care when the name turns into a dude standing on the ramp.
  12. Don't know whether the original phrase Forbidden Portal was changed to Forbidden Door or whether it's a different choice of translation but I like to think the graphics are a reference to that. This is my take as well. Despite the subdued reaction to the match announcement (how far we've come from freaking out over KENTA on Dynamite) Tana was a great fit for post-comeback Bret-tribute Punk. Tana mentioned that the match should happen at the Tokyo Dome instead. Not sure if that's just talk but we may still get to see it.
  13. This format combined with the BOSJ tour being a largely heavyweight-free zone says to me that they've been taking notes about overworking the roster. So in that way I can't complain but the chaff is going to stand out a lot more when the likes of Yujiro make up one sixth of someone's G1 outing this year. Not an exciting line up but the format and a sneakily good influx of returning talent should mean we avoid too many tired pairings. I love Kodge but the idea of him in this G1 highlights how crazy that result is. His last G1 was FIVE YEARS ago during which he won ONE of his NINE matches.
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