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Evil Otto

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  1. I didn't think anything could ever top "Violent Giants". Yet, here we are.
  2. You've probably already figured it out, but they've changed the schedule to Saturdays going forward (or Sunday mornings for me). By the way, a tremendous episode. Crowds for NJ Strong now officially exist going forward! Lots of big names. Brutality. Enjoy!
  3. Obviously, the favorites are Okada, Ibushi, and Naito. Both 2-time winners. So, if being stale is the issue here, and by the way it most definitely is, well then... Just give this to Cobb. I absolutely loved Shingo and Cobb from Wrestle Kingdom, it's still on my short list of my favorite matches this past year. It also felt like that match, as epic as it turned out to be, was in fact a beginning of something potentially much bigger, if the New Japan bookers were so inclined to take it in that direction. Obviously, Shingo rode that momentum from the start of 2021 to where he is now, and Cobb hasn't been far behind in retrospect. Both guys are also peaking in their respective careers, and are pushing 40. In January, most likely you'll have Ospreay on the show, so a match with Okada, Ibushi, or even Naito would work fine and could easily be built up as a top match, likely some hoo-hah concerning the "real title" and whatnot, so if Shingo-Cobb is already slotted in, it will be surrounded by a lot of strong matches. By January, some AEW involvement could also be factored in, it's still iffy but possible. I really wouldn't have any problem with the other candidates since a match with Shingo is pretty much can't miss (unless you're Evil). Again, great, but predictable. New Japan needs some further changes to truly feel energized again. Cobb just wiping everyone out in the G1 would certainly do that, as least for me. But I don't think I'm alone.
  4. Another solid episode this week. I know the landscape has changed since Resurgence, and that we are likely to see some bigger names pop up on Strong imminently, but I appreciate the fact that they are also sticking to the original formula and are focusing on the LA Dojo guys along with up and coming indie talent. Hey, if NXT doesn't want the latter, I'm sure New Japan would welcome some of them! Random thoughts: as usual, a pretty easy-to-watch hour, as all the matches were solid. DKC does the "scrappy underdog who's potentially lethal" shtick quite well, it would be nice to see him on the road for the upcoming shows, as he's a guy a live audience could easily get behind. I like Barrett Brown as a heel, it suits him well. Lio Rush is so good in Strong, and I'm selfishly hoping he sticks it out for a while in New Japan. It was clear in the final match that Juice might be an upcoming title contender, and I'm pretty confident he will thrive in these conditions, as he's a top-tier guy in the States for NJPW but mid-range over in Japan. I look forward to Lawlor and Juice at some point, it seems like they already have good chemistry. That all being said, if there's one match you have time for, watch Alexander James vs. Karl Fredericks. Fredericks has been fine since being moved up from young lion, and I know New Japan have him earmarked, but he's rarely been the highlight on Strong episodes for me. James had his first match in Strong a couple weeks ago, and that was good, but I was still a little unsure what I thought of him since he was completely new to me. Well, in this match, James is clearly much more in control and confident, and as such, lays it in pretty heavy on Fredericks. I like that Fredericks is really being pushed here, as to be honest, it's kind of what he needs. Super physical and intense, really good stuff.
  5. Wow, Minoru Tanaka is wrestling Koji Iwamoto and that's gonna be a bit confusing to watch.
  6. I'm not paying for the match, but at least it's a match I'm legitimately interested in seeing. According to cubsfan, Hechicero is leading the voting for the heavyweight title match with UG at Aniversario. Like, a very healthy lead, almost inevitable he's getting the shot. A win tonight for Hechicero would be (gasp!) logical, giving him significant momentum and would show that CMLL is actually listening to its fans. Then again...well, you know...
  7. Okay sure, if I wanted to get nit-picky about this show: the feed wasn't so great, the mics cut out at inopportune times, the crowd noise was a bit muffled while the Japanese commentators were talking... ...then again, why would I want to do that? This card completely delivered from beginning to end. Moose vs. Ishii and the main event came through in terms of match quality and memorable moments, and both multi-man tags were an absolute blast to watch. What struck me the most, however, was the fact that every single match had a story to tell, the weaker matches didn't overstay their welcome, and there's now a ton of new match-ups coming out of this event. Surprises galore, new cards announced, there were even weird truck revving noises and random fireworks with accompanying music during the Moxley-Good Brothers match which somehow made for glorious chaos. So weird to say this, but New Japan inside Japan is still a bit of a mess, but New Japan in the US? Tonight was certainly a wild ride, and things are apparently about to get even crazier.
  8. I really don't get it, what is New Japan's fixation on the Dallas area?
  9. If you look around the VideosOficialesCMLL Youtube homepage, take a gander at the views for most videos, which tend to hover anywhere from 4k to about 11-15k, no matter what the theme or event may be. This one is 92,000 views and counting. Dear CMLL: the numbers don't lie. Titan vs. Templario is a match, and for that matter, these are the type of luchadors, that people genuinely want to see.
  10. The final three matches were excellent, and the first two were very enjoyable to watch as well. Due to all the wonky circumstances, this was like the sleeper show of the year for me. Not at all trying to be dismissive of the talents of Okada, Naito and Sanada, but let me clear: the superstars of New Japan this year, along with a few others, have been Cobb, Dangerous Tekkers, Tanahashi, and Shingo. Lo and behold, there they were again, blowing everyone away in the Dome.
  11. I was in attendance at Sumo Hall for this match, and in retrospect this is probably the match that earned my ticket at the time, as the rest of card was rather lackluster.. If memory serves me right, they had the top bar and four pillars of the cage skeleton in place for the duration of the show until this match went down, which looked odd, and I remember feeling bad for the performers who had to work around it and try to avoid getting hurt. So, I guess you could say I was pleased when this match delivered.
  12. I enjoyed Yehi/Yuta vs. DKC/Knight a whole bunch. DKC/Knight are a tremendous young lion team, I hope they are kept together for a while and even get an opening slot Japan tour someday (maybe early fall?) as they would be a perfect fit for that type of scenario. I honestly wasn't sure how I felt about Yuta at first, as I heard the name for years but hadn't sat down to watch his matches before now, but one thing for sure is that the Yehi/Yuta pairing is pretty damn great, and Yuta excels in this role. Man oh man, Yehi is something else, and I enjoy the fact that seeing him in a tag team on Strong will help preserve the mystique for a while until the inevitable singles encounters start to occur. Who is the supreme Fred? We must know the answer! The last two matches were both really good to great as well; Connors-Romero had a built-in storyline with plenty of emotion, and Lawlor is low-key one of the best wrestlers on the planet right now. I'm hoping Lawlor is in the G1 this year; given his recent announcement about his MMA career, the chances seem at the very least quite promising. He thoroughly sports entertains me (the Fargo strut inside the ring as a bizarre intimidation tactic towards Fredericks during his entrance was brilliant) and bell to bell he seems to know exactly where every match needs to go. I like Kojima being in the mix, and I'm looking forward to Lawlor taking him on. I wouldn't mind the match being at the LA Coliseum show, but truth be known, I'd love to see Lawlor take on Rosser in a rematch to one of my favorite matches this year. Rosser's name gets mentioned a lot on commentary, so I wonder if that's also coming soon. Clearly something is in place for Connors due to the results of this week, but it seems way too early for him to take the title. He needs to run the gauntlet of Team Filthy or something to ensure maximum impact when that day finally arises, and even then Lawlor should squeak out a victory. The slow burn with Connors has been well done so far. On a side note, I'm happy to see Lio Rush fulfilling his dates with New Japan. If he is indeed retiring, then going out by showing respect to the company that he truly seems satisfied with is a good way to do it. Finally, here's hoping the fans at the LA Coliseum (parking lot) give Rocky Romero a long, sustained "Rocky, Rocky" chant, as he's completely earned it. That dude, along with Shibata and whoever else is running things over in LA, deserves a standing ovation for being one of the true champions during this pandemic era.
  13. Interesting, I was just thinking earlier today about what it would take for CMLL to get me to actually shell out some money for them these days. That match would absolutely do it for me. I really can't fathom why Hechicero isn't near or at the top of their cards at this point. One of many of CMLL's mysteries. How old is he anyway? I can never seem to zero in on a number.
  14. The man above is BY FAR the best British wrestler on the planet right now. And it's not even close.
  15. I agree with you that having a 8-man, possibly two-day tournament was the option I would have gone with. That being said, the answer is staring them right in the face. The fans who have been in attendance and the fans online are seemingly all saying the same thing: Give the belt to Shingo. Shingo Takagi, a.k.a. the guy who has been more or less carrying your company since January. (well, earlier than that, but I don't want to nitpick.) Like everything else, my cynical heart tells me they're going with Okada. If so, then have Cobb defeat Ibushi and step up to the plate. Cobb is 38, his time, like Takagi, is also right fucking now. Okada (or Shingo, in the WK rematch) vs. Cobb is a thousand times more intriguing than Naito vs. Evil's sloppy snoozefests from last year. I think New Japan still has a stacked roster if you consider what will finally be available to them post-pandemic regarding international travel and if they maintain current relationships with AEW, Impact, and CMLL, not to mention the names recently appearing on NJPW Strong (Lawlor, Dickinson, Rosser, Lio Rush, Clark Connors are all ready to go when the time is right, for example). So yeah, I speak from direct experience, it's been a shitty situation over here in Japan, aggravatingly so, and I think to a certain extent people from outside Japan don't fully grasp how vague everything has been from our "leadership" (the quotes are intentional) and how it's affecting everyone, myself included. So, I do sympathize with New Japan's struggles, perhaps more than others. If I'm being truly objective though, it's the booking, full stop. Injuries do mess things up, I get it. So then, here we are, NJPW bookers, it's really fucking easy: listen to your fans, and act accordingly.
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