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  1. I wish! Loved Gino on commentary. I've heard different things relating to him though ranging from him being completely done with wrestling to it just being a visa thing, guess we just have to wait and see with these Tamashii shows.
  2. NJPW just announced its touring Australia/New Zealand brand - NJPW Tamashii First shows 11/11 in Christchurch, 13/11 in Sydney. Fale, Ishimori & KENTA announced for the first shows so far with the goal to mix it up with Australia/NZ and Fale Dojo talent. I'll be in Japan for the Sydney show (hopefully Sumotickets are successful in getting me 5/11 Osaka EDION Arena show tickets) otherwise I'd be more than happy to travel to Sydney for this. Hopefully next time they do Melbourne.
  3. I had major chills for Kaze ni Nare, sounded louder than a pre-COVID full Korakuen. After this, I wouldn't mind if they just ran half Korakuen with chanting, may not look as good but my god what a difference it made. A fun main event was made so much better with a mega-hot crowd.
  4. According to Chris Charlton there is no immediate danger to his life and the headline was clickbaity so seemingly things are okay! Tenryu is one of my all-time favourites so very happy to see that.
  5. Fucking hell Naito and Ospreay brought it tonight, first time against each other and it did not disappoint
  6. Budokan may be restricting crowds still, the number claimed is in line with Super Juniors final and NOAH's show last month. I didn't watch the NOAH show so I don't know if they had people in the upper deck, but Super Juniors was definitely the same. Though with how hard Kevin Kelly & Chris Charlton have been pushing tickets I doubt they'd be even close to getting enough sold to open the upper deck even if they could. @Sublimesummed up my feelings perfectly I think, the G1 used to be my most anticipated time in wrestling and I would be watching every show live (being either in Melbourne or Seoul helps with the convenient time differences)...but this year (actually it may have started last year) has seen me have no problem not watching some live or skipping all together. Maybe Super Juniors is now my most anticipated event as that was a blast. I wont say the G1 has been bad, but it hasn't been that unmissable event and has real late 00s vibes of lethargy once again. I will say I am not as much on the doom & gloom as many are, I do think there is a future where we have great tourneys with Umino, Uemura, Tsuji, Oiwa & co, its just getting there that feels like a slog at this point & whether or not any of them will be megastars like Okada or Tanahashi.
  7. I was thinking about this, initially my reaction was that Ospreay & Takagi are new guys pushed to top level in the past 18 months. However, looking at how this G1 has played out, 3 of the 4 groups are going to be topped by guys who have been topping groups/in G1 finals for the last 5 or 6 years (Okada, Naito, White) and only D Block is giving us someone somewhat new (Ospreay or Takagi but both have been in the main picture for nearly 18 months now so not exactly new, but New Japan new). They have a massive log jam of guys in that position just under the main 3 that they could slot up and have top a group (i.e. Zack, Goto, Jonah, Taichi, KENTA, EVIL, SANADA, Tama, Ishii, Cobb) so I am hugely disappointed in this G1 that no one new has been put in a prominent position (yes, Finlay got some big wins, Jonah beat Okada, Goto even feels fresh with his wins but none of them are topping the group and advancing). I did get a chuckle at over half the crowd walking out after Jay beat Taichi, an example of the bookers just being out of touch with the fanbase - not for pushing Jay, I think it was more a case of the fanbase wanting someone like Taichi to get a big win instead of just looking strong and falling at the last hurdle. I don't think we will see anyone new in a major featured position until Umino or Uemura come back and who knows how long that'll be and if they take the traditional route with either of them, even on return it'll take a few years before they are up there.
  8. Alrighty, proper catch up of Osaka & Hiroshima. I do think this G1 has been a let down...is the messy 4 blocks? Or the lack of fresh pairings? I do think more, smaller groups in the long run will fix the latter but past years of having more matches per night had higher chances of great matches. While Super Juniors delivered, I don't think the G1 is having the same impact which is a shame. This certainly has not been the reboot that Kidani was hyping it to be and wont do much to change the image of stale NJPW. Osaka 6/8 - I think others have said it, probably the first true great G1 night. 3 matches I really enjoyed in Ospreay/Takagi, Jay/O-Khan & Goto/ZSJ (all great, but Ospreay/Takagi is the pick of the bunch). - ELP/YOSHI-HASHI was fun, and the Yano/Archer match was entertaining though as much as Yano/Lawlor. Osaka 7/8 - Overall a weaker show, but boosted by a huge main event that had me heavily invested (as my previous post indicated). As I had watched Jonah come up through the Aussie indies, seeing him in a match with arguably the best wrestler in the world with a hot Osaka crowd breaking the rules was incredible - Juice/ELP was a match you'll either love or hate, no inbetween. Once they finished the ha-ha the action was pretty great though. Ishii/Owens was quite good too, definitely best match Chase has had all tournament. Hiroshima 9/8 - And we're back to the okay but nothing to go out of the way for tourney shows. Lance & Jonah was fun with a screwy finish, Naito & KENTA had a really good match but that is really it. Was hoping for more from Tama & Taichi as Taichi is great and they seem to be pushing Tama but these two just do not have chemistry together. Hiroshima 10/8 - A step up from the previous show! And one of the better shows of the tournament all-around. Tanahashi vs Goto definitely worth a watch, lots of fire and felt like a war. And hey, there's blood (though definitely accidental)! Okada/Lawlor was great too, but felt more like a teaser for something more further down the line. - Undercard was fun, best EVIL match since his turn in 2020! I wont spoil why but go check it out. Finlay/ELP & Tama/O-Khan were fun too, so I'd say this show is up there with the Sapporo openers & Osaka double-header as one to check out for sure.
  9. I'm not exactly the most coherent right now but...
  10. The trend continues of G1 shows with some good, fun matches but still missing those matches that draw you in and make you say wow. Looking at the schedule, I don't know where those matches are going to come from...Ospreay/Takagi is still to happen (tonight in Osaka so crowd will be as hot as a clap crowd can be), Jay still has some interesting matches to come (O-Khan, Taichi, Tama), Okada still has Lance & Lawlor and C Block has some big KENTA matches left (Tanahashi, Naito) as well as Naito/Zack but that window is getting smaller and smaller. Based on his G1 so far, surprisingly YOSHI-HASHI vs Ospreay I am really excited for. Hamamatsu 2/8/22 - O-Khan/Ishii, Goto/KENTA & Tama/SANADA were all fine, nothing to get overly excited about. Fun finish to Tama/SANADA though - I agree about Yano/Lawlor, fucking loved it! Best Yano match probably since the infamous Kenny G1 match. It had everything from Sister Act, Sister Act II & wigs! Brilliant. Main event was a lot of fun, but still not really pushing into that must see envelope. Finlay is really starting to come into his own. Ehime 5/8/22 - Yujiro/Juice was fine until the normal BC/HoT mess. I could really do without the Chase being a creeper on Miho Abe stuff, made me super uncomfortable and took me out of the match. Naito/Henare was there, probably went a bit too long but not bad. - Cobb/Jonah was a good, hard hitting big boy match and I really enjoyed it! More big beef matches please. Jonah could be that big monster that can go if he has more of this, so it does make the upcoming match with Okada interesting. Tanahashi/EVIL, like the Naito match, is probably the best we will get from EVIL with all the shenanigans which is a shame as they've had some really good if not great G1 matches together in the past. Ah well...
  11. I've finally caught up on the G1 once again, I do want to retcon my match of the night for the first Ota show - Shingo/YOSHI-HASHI is a very good wrestling match and well worth a look (and I think my match of the tournament so far over FinJuice explodes & Taichi/Ishii). And my worst G1 match comment about ELP/Yujiro was, of course, not including Fale matches. Seems to be a trend in the G1 so far that you'll get 1 or 2 really good matches a show, then the other 2 are kind of just there which is not good for re-sparking interest with lapsed fans. Hoping the final August stretch will turn things around though. Korakuen 27/7 - Ishii/Tama was very good, I'm onboard with babyface Tama. Goto/Henare was fun, I am turning around on Henare who prior to the G1 was probably near the bottom of the list of NJPW guys I cared about. Ospreay/Yujiro was fine too. No MOTYCs but 2 matches I really enjoyed, a decent Yujiro match and whatever the hell Fale/Yano was. Aichi 30/7 - I am probably biased, but as I love both Zach & Tanahashi I really enjoyed this and the finish builds to something. Again probably not a MOTYC, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. - Shingo & Finlay had a decent, fun match but the other two matches were just there, especially SANADA/O-Khan that just dragged on. Aichi 31/7 - Chris Charlton tweeted that this may have been the best night so far...whatever he is smoking I want some of it! This is probably rivaling Sendai for most uninteresting night so far. Okada/Fale is probably the best we'll get out of Fale, it was okay. White & Owens was blah, and the other 3 were fun but nothing noteworthy. Naito/EVIL was probably their best match though (maybe Power Struggle 2020 was better) but that isn't saying much. - If I had to give a match of the night, it'd be Juice/YOSHI-HASHI but this is a very skippable show.
  12. Definitely does feel like the foot has come off the pedal after that great start in Sapporo. It doesn't feel like it has the momentum that BoSJ had but still early days. I thought Sendai would be a nothing show, but was surprised that the Ota shows weren't as good as they looked on paper. But as the flog that watches all things NJPW, I did make some quick notes: Sendai 20/7 - As above, a nothing show. Naito vs Goto was good, but nothing really worth going out of the way for unless you really like Goto Ota 23/7 - Nothing bad, but nothing overly exceptional either which is a shame as generally the White/Ishii matches are great. I think maybe I set my expectations too high on this one, remembering G1 30 in particular. - Zack/Henare probably my match of the night, really liked Zack going after Henare's Achilles after his injury history. Ota 24/7 - Tanahashi vs Naito I actually thought was very good (better than Naito vs Goto), but when you see this combination, you'd expect great, not very good so in that context it was a little disappointing. - SANADA vs Taichi was just as good as the main event, both guys are having good G1s so far. I still hope one of them wins the block over White as a surprise. ELP vs Yujiro might be my worst match of the tournament (at least Fale/Cobb was short)...the comedy, HoT stuff, Pieter pimping...it was a mess. Korakuen 26/7 - Best show since Sapporo (take that for what its worth), 2 fun G1 matches (Chase/O-Khan & Filthy/Archer). Crowd loves Filthy Tom, its great! Tito seems to be over-shadowing Jonah in these tags which is a surprise. Hopefully Jonah will get his chance to shine in his non-Yano/Fale G1 matches. - I disagree with S.K.o.S., I thought the main event was bloody great! Lots of call backs to their history together, with Finlay in particular looking to prove himself in his first G1. I'm not normally high on either Finlay or Juice (and hated their team), but really dug this and may be my match of the tournament so far.
  13. Circling back to the worst booking decisions in the past 20 years, the culling of the IWGP Heavyweight Title history is bad, but I don't think it is the worst in the last 20 years for New Japan. Remember the disastrously bad 2004-05 run of the IWGP Heavyweight Title? Some of it was bad luck, but there were some extremely bad decisions in that period that I can't believe I defended back in the day. Tenzan winning at the end of 2003 was the right idea, probably should have had a decent run but they wanted to try a big shock with Supernova Nakamura winning (something they would do with great success 10 years later with Okada). It kinda worked (decent drawing Dome show), but unfortunately Nakamura gets hurt. Then the wheels start falling off...Tenzan wins a tournament, drops immediately to Sasaki, who then immediately drops to Sapp (sure Sapp was a big deal in Japan, but where could this have possibly gone? And why even put it on Sasaki?) and Sapp vacates 66 days later due to losing to Fujita in K-1. Fujita then wins the belt in a fun match with Tanahashi and after another fun match with Shibata, seems to be going okay...until that what the fuck finish with Sasaki (getting pinned in his own sleeper in like 3 minutes) who drops to Tenzan a few months later (back to square 1). Tenzan gets hurt in the Kojima match, wins it back, then back to Fujita (because last time went so well) before finally settling on...Brock Lesnar, who really didn't want to be there and did nothing at all for business. This is at the same time NJPW is bleeding money, Lesnar refuses to wrestle Tanahashi (Lesnar says because he wasn't paid, other rumours at the time indicated he didn't want to wrestle Tanahashi for whatever reason so who knows) and then vacates which leads NJPW to have to bring back the old crown belt as Lesnar wouldn't give back the new 4th gen belt. Typing that out makes the IWGP World thing seem not so bad...
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