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Evil Otto

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  1. Narita and Ishii was fantastic, as I was hoping it would be. Sky's the limit with Narita, I reckon. Even though his greatness has never been in doubt, I think Ishii still needs to be acknowledged for his impressive gatekeeping and star-making work this past year in matches with not only Narita, but also Clark Connors and recently, Yota Tsuji. All significant, historical matches in that regard. The cheering makes a massive difference, obviously. It also reveals some interesting things. I found it intriguing that the fans seem to really like United Empire, despite the fact that they, at the very least, lean heavily towards being heels.
  2. Speaking of New Japan Strong, one of the best one hours of content I've seen in quite a while was the September 11th episode. Every wrestler on this show, expect for Kevin Blackwood whom I simply don't know well enough, is really top-shelf when it comes to making their opponent look great. So, wouldn't you know it, every match is great to really great. Macara Dorada vs. Misterioso was fun to watch for many reasons, one notable one being that Misterioso clearly wanted to show he could hang with Mascara Dorada, so they didn't really hold back. Robbie Eagles vs. Kevin Blackwood was easy and smooth; Eagles has really become an outstanding all-around wrestler, and considering Blackwood has a discernible theme and video when he makes his entrance, I'm assuming NJPW sees a lot of potential in him. The match you really need to go out of your way to see, though, is Aussie Open vs. West Coast Wrecking Crew. I don't know if it even went over 10 minutes, yet it's near perfect. In retrospect, WCWC are kind of where Aussie Open were a few years back...meaning that soon enough, WCWC will be fucking awesome. If you have access to New Japan World, I assure you this match will not disappoint. It will be overlooked at the end of the year, but it's a real gem.
  3. As fate would have it, New Japan World has uploaded the CMLL Gran Prix card, seemingly in full, so I've watched the top two matches and skimmed the rest. I'm assuming New Japan's presence in the Gran Prix, with guys like Tiger Mask, Rocky Romero, and Robbie Eagles focused on strongly, was what pushed this to be uploaded so soon (and ahead of CMLL's own Youtube schedule). There are lot of possible hints to future bookings for certain wrestlers in the Gran Prix in regards to not only CMLL, but New Japan and even New Japan Strong. Since this is the Lucha Libre section of the board, I won't go into detail on all that right now, but I found it very interesting. The Gran Prix match itself was quite the fun spectacle, and one of the best versions of the Gran Prix match I've seen in a very long time, mostly due to a significantly high level of talent this time around. Lots of impressive sequences, as you may expect. Some chaotic brawling sections which actually didn't drag. Oraculo and Lince Dorado get a lot of time to shine, and Soberano Jr once again comes across as a star. I thought it was a really enjoyable one-hour ride, and not at all hard to watch as the guys made a concerted effort to minimize downtime. The crowd seemed to really be having a blast, too. However, I really hope that, due to length of the main event, CMLL's Youtube channel doesn't cut the match prior to the Gran Prix, Hechicero vs. Euforia, because that match was terrific and well worth your time. Euforia is not the swiftest guy in the ring anymore nor does he do too many crazy spots, which turned out to be to the match's benefit since Euforia was clearly working extra hard and they kept it fairly basic and tense for the first half. Eventually, Hechicero starts taking control in the second half, and he pulls out all sorts of nuttiness, and the crowd is super hot until the end. One of the best singles match for CMLL this year, for sure. Hechicero is one of the reasons I still try to watch CMLL, and once again, he doesn't let me down. If you call yourself "Hechicero" (wizard, sorcerer) then you better be a fucking wizard in the ring, and luckily for us, Hechicero is. Strongly recommended.
  4. Man, sucks for Robbie. I just heard he'd been in CMLL, and it sounds like he was being strongly featured (which he should be). His style really fits in perfectly. Damn, must be terribly frustrating. I just posted the link for Soberano Jr. vs. Templario in the main matches thread. Strongly recommended, and actually gives me hope for the future of CMLL. (Well, a little hope. Let's not get carried away.)
  5. Soberano Jr. vs. Templario in CMLL's La Leyenda De Plata final. (Should already be timestamped, but if not, the match starts around 1:00:53.) I was really looking forward to this match, and holy smokes, it certainly did not disappoint. The roles of tecnico and rudo have seemingly flip-flopped for these two since their respective debuts, and this match is almost like the culmination of both slow turns, and adds an extra dimension to it. Templario is not just an amazing base, but he can also whip out truly nasty offense at any moment. Soberano Jr. is unique and hard to explain, which is of course why I think he's so great. Lanky and goofy at first glance, but insanely creative and skilled, and the slowly developing cockiness and deviousness has really put him over the top. Templario has really connected with the fans to an extent I never expected, and I love it. Amazing chemistry, wonderful stuff.
  6. If you can, try to watch ZSJ vs. Evil, then Okada vs. Lawlor. It’s a satisfying palate cleanser for those feeling worn out. You won’t be wasting your time, I assure you! Okada vs. Lawlor was pretty much exactly what it needed to be due to recent block activity. It’s a truly great match in that sense. There’s more to this story I’m sure, as alluded to at the end, and as there should be. Lawlor has been one of the highlights of the G1, no question.
  7. Well, if you ask me, the first truly great match of the G1 occurred tonight, Ospreay vs. Takagi. Shocker, I know. One of the best long-standing rivalries in wrestling, period. The bar has now been set. Sleeper match goes to Yoshi-Hashi vs. El Phantasmo. El Phantasmo's ascension to the heavyweight ranks can already be considered a success, in my opinion. Zack vs. Goto was also pretty great if you're looking for a third match to check out. Perhaps the best night so far, or at least top 2 or 3, surely helped by an enthusiastic Osaka crowd.
  8. I'll echo a lot of stuff mentioned before. I really enjoyed Finlay vs. Juice as well, they had a great built-in storyline and they never wavered from it from beginning to end in terms of intensity. Smart booking of Finlay, because one of the things missing from his overall game is the fact that no one thinks he can really win, and now that has completely changed. What's more, his extra effort in his matches so far justify it. ZSJ and Tanahashi was one of the best matches of the tournament, but still not quite reaching the level where their matches can obviously go with a little more time and higher stakes. Ishii vs. Great O-Khan was a lot of fun, but I wouldn't call it a must-see. However, if you're the type whose mind is open to watching Toru Yano G1 matches, then I must implore you to watch Yano vs. Tom Lawlor. Perhaps the best Yano match I've ever seen, almost all due to Lawlor and his terrific sidekick, Royce Isaacs. It was an extravaganza of gaga, with actual layers of ridiculousness. Lawlor is getting seriously over, and now I'm really looking forward to his match with Okada. Very intriguing.
  9. Nyla, Emi, and Marina is one of my favorite things in wrestling right now. They're somehow magical together, and all of them so completely different from each other. If Toni Storm ever wins the championship, which is pretty likely at some point the way things are going, Emi Sakura at the very least deserves one of her first title defenses on Dynamite or Rampage, a solid 15-20 minutes and the crowd will eat it up. Sakura is amazing, always active and present at all times during the match, keeping the match flowing along. Angelico is looking super impressive these days. I hope we get matches with Danielson, Claudio, and perhaps even Zack Sabre Jr. down the line. He really seems ready to take the next step.
  10. Well, I've been meaning to recommend Soberano Jr vs. Niebla Roja and then Soberano Jr vs. Mistico in the Copa Junior semi-final on 5/20, so if you start in April you will eventually get to that. By the second act, Soberano Jr leans heavily into heeling it up and it's fabulous. Atlantis Jr vs. Mistico in the final the following week is an outrageously fun match as well. Atlantis Jr also has discovered strong asshole heel powers, and it's very promising. For a two-week stretch, the heat was definitely there, and the crowds were really into it. I haven't been so excited since then, honestly. June and July may have some decent stuff, but nothing has stood out enough for me yet to merit a serious watch.
  11. I thought it was a solid night as well. I was happy to see New Japan kick the tournament off with Tom Lawlor's theme song and the denim trunks reveal. If you know New Japan Strong, you know what I'm talking about. That's promising that they focused on him right away. I don't know, I thoroughly enjoyed Ospreay-ELP. Sue me. Cobb-Okada was great as well. I was pulling for Cobb. In fact, given the apparently robust relationship with AEW going forward, I think this G1 would be a really opportune time for someone other than Okada or Naito to take it. Takagi, ZSJ, Ospreay, Cobb. The thing is, do you really need Okada or Naito to challenge for the title at the next Wrestle Kingdom with dream matches now legitimately on the table? Both their legacies have been cemented at this point anyway. Move forward, and give it to someone else this time around.
  12. I implore you to watch Lawlor vs Rosser as soon as you can. It was beautiful pro wrestling. The ART of wrestling on full display. Believable, intensely physical, emotional.
  13. Wow, good call, Tom Lawlor is actually a perfect choice for the role of a guy who can hang with ZSJ and get, shall we say, "Filthy", in Blood and Guts. I'm still leaning towards Cesaro, but after that, it's now Lawlor in second place, and a chasm between those two and the rest.
  14. Hmmm, I guess this is where I mention that the Ishii-Connors qualifying match from New Japan's last Korakuen show is one of my sleeper matches of the year. I strongly encourage you to watch it if you can. I will now slink away quietly.
  15. I'm not sure what you mean by brutal, but I think D Block should produce the most consistently good matches out of all of them. Yujiro is a night off, and as much as I generally despise that kind of booking strategy, I get why they do it. B Block is actually the least interesting to me. El P hinted at the G1 as he exited the ring at times during the BOSJ, and I think even the announcers (at least the Japanese ones) mentioned how El P seemed more like a heavyweight at times, but it was rather subtle, as I think New Japan still wanted that surprise pop when they announced him being in. I also can sense they may have even bigger plans for him down the line, but we shall see. It will be fun to see Juice and Finlay square off in the G1, and I can certainly praise Finlay for the fact that he always put forth the effort in every match. I just don't know where he goes from here, as he has solid in-ring work, his look is sharper than before, and he has fairly good charisma to boot, but a few key intangibles still don't appear to be there yet for him.
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