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Everything posted by Horangi

  1. I'm not exactly the most coherent right now but...
  2. 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...
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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...
  6. After last year's final disaster, I went through and re-watched every G1 finals to see if it really would be the worst final of all time (its not, the 00s had some stinkers). Tanahashi/Ibushi & Naito/Omega may very well be the best matches, but my 3 all time favourite finals would be: - 1991 - Chono vs Mutoh: Manic crowd, awesome back and forth match, a real rollercoaster ride and definitely holds up still. I think some of the older G1 finals to get overlooked/lost due to some of the epics of the 2010s. 1991 was the first and set the standard for final matches. - 2003 - Tenzan vs Akiyama: This was the first G1 I really followed (I was only just starting getting into Japanese stuff when 2002 was happening), so could just be nostalgia, but this is a bloody good match, maybe Tenzan's best? Akiyama was also one of the first Japanese wrestlers I had gravitated towards as one of my favourites. Crowd was so hot for Tenzan, he really came off as the guy here. IMO the best G1 final of the 00s without a doubt - 2015 - Nakamura vs Tanahashi: If there is a challenge to the aforementioned G1 27 & 28 finals as the best G1 final, this is it. I think this one really doesn't get talked about much, probably because of the 3 that followed it (Omega/Goto being the other). Tanahashi & Nakamura generally did have good matches with each other, but nothing exceptionally great so I don't know if it was just a compatibility thing or what. This match bucked that trend, truly felt epic and just everything connected. That stretch of G1 finals (2014 - 18) is so good, but I think this is my favourite one.
  7. Taichi/Ishii was my favourite match of the opening 2 nights, it may not be the freshest pairing but it never disappoints. If there was a random/shock semi finalist, why not Taichi? Cobb/Okada and Zack/KENTA round out my top 3 for the weekend. Also put me in the category that enjoyed Ospreay/ELP, especially the finish Overall a really good, fun start in Sapporo for the opening 2 nights. Crowd was much more engaged than they were back in February and having both TMDK & Team FIlthy (and actually being represented as actual groups instead of being lumped in with Hontai or another faction) has really helped make the shows feel fresher. A good start, but it is a long tour so I hope they can sustain the momentum.
  8. I'm assuming this is targeted at me as I think I'm the only one on here that is still quite positive on NJPW, specifically since the Anniversary show. The below is just my opinion and may be a little contrary to general feeling so I do apologise in the case this comes off a little defensive. I don't think anyone is arguing that since mid-2020, NJPW has been in a stale holding pattern. This, coupled with disasters such as House of Torture and a contentious IWGP World Heavyweight Title that was seemingly cursed hasn't helped. I do think it is a stretch though to say 2022 NOAH has been booked better (since March anyway) and AJPW has also had stretches of uninteresting booking over the pandemic as well (though I do think AJPW's top end of the card has been booked better overall). I don't think anyone, even us few diehard NJPW fans left, believe that everything will be fine once the cheering ban is lifted. Far from it, changes are needed. As much as I'd love to see something like a Rainmaker shock again, I don't think it is going to happen (and who would they do it with anyway? Umino?). However they do look like they are trying to refresh things slowly with the new additions from Best of Super Juniors, returning KUSHIDA, Jay White (hopefully) having a good run with the belt, starting to incorporate LA Dojo/Strong guys (and possibly Fale Dojo guys soon), and a different G1 format (which I am cautiously optimistic will deliver and give the promotion some momentum again). I guess we will just have to see how the G1 goes, Kidani says he wants it to be the start of a new era, so I think this will really be where we can gauge where the booking is heading over the next 6 months.
  9. I am biased admittedly, but I think NJPW has been quite good since the Anniversary show. This was my list of my favourite matches prior to Best of the Super Juniors - Shingo Takagi vs Zack Sabre Jr. (NJPW Cup 26/3) - Zack Sabre Jr. vs Will Ospreay (NJPW Cup 21/3) - Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Tomohiro Ishii (Dontaku 2/5) - Shingo Takagi vs Hiromu Takahashi (NJPW Cup 21/3) - Kazuchika Okada vs Tetsuya Naito (Dontaku 2/5) - Minoru Suzuki vs Hiromu Takahashi (NJPW Cup 13/3) - Kazuchika Okada vs El Desperado (NJPW Cup 2/3) Best of the Super Juniors had some good stuff too, I posted a lot of recommendations in the BoSJ thread but if I had to narrow down to a top 3 - Robbie Eagles vs El Phantasmo (26/5) - Hiromu Takahashi vs El Desperado (3/6) - El Desperado vs Robbie Eagles (29/5) (Despy was on fire in the BoSJ, pretty much can't go wrong with any of his stuff) And I'd also throw in the Dominion main event (Okada vs White) as well as that probably is key to the set up of the G1 as we as Ishimori vs Hiromu from Korakuen (20/6 I think...)
  10. Jesus Christ I was at the same show and must of had a few too many as I don't remember half of that! Only thing I can add is the 5th babyface had a random unexplained gimmick change to just top it all off. Sounds like I was lucky in forgetting because wow what a mess.
  11. Takagi and Taichi had a really good match in their 30 count match previously, so more of this kind of KOPW and its fine.
  12. The final was really really good, to be expected from the guys involved. I did prefer their 2019 final but this was the perfect way to cap off an exciting tournament that has reignited my spark for wrestling that was waning and left me wanting to see more of the new competitors. I have the finals ranked either 2nd or 3rd in my best matches of the tournament - behind Eagles/ELP for sure, competing with Eagles/Desperado for number 2.
  13. A bit late with my 4 current wrestlers which represent what I enjoy at the moment, found it so hard to cut down to 4 as I have 6-8 (and I only really watch NJPW, AJPW, GLEAT and some local Australian stuff), but here goes.. El Desperado: Surprised he didn't make the list of guys having an amazing 2022, always tells a great story and can feel his passion in the ring. Might have my favourite moveset in wrestling currently and I'm a sucker for an awesome masked wrestler. Hiromu Takahashi: Possibly the most charismatic wrestler in the world, he has the ability to just draw me into his matches through his fire and character. I think its his insanity and randomness that I enjoy the most with him. Shingo Takagi: When I think of who in the companies I watch looks like the ideal wrestler, to me it is Shingo. He looks like a badass and backs it up with some incredible hard hitting matches. I do agree that sometimes things can feel too choreographed but that is a very minor criticism. Matt Hayter: Robbie Eagles really isn't my Australian representative on my list! Matt Hayter is a wrestler out of RCW in Adelaide that does wrestle in Melbourne a lot, so this is really based on live experiences so I don't really know how he translates on camera. He's an absolute blast as a cocky, arrogant shit-heel. Decent in the ring but his character heel stuff is off the charts (at least live).
  14. All caught up again, right before the final night of group matches, thoughts and lay of the land in spoilers: I did a set of my top 5 highly recommended pre-Korakuen matches, so I'll add to the list with a top 5 from Korakuen to Ota - Robbie Eagles vs El Phantasmo 26/5 - El Desperado vs Robbie Eagles 29/5 - El Desperado vs DOUKI 28/5 - Hiromu Takahashi vs YOH 25/5 - El Desperado vs El Lindaman 24/5 Plenty of other really good matches to watch from these dates, it was tough to cut it down to 5 and just noticed they're all the main events. Its been a great tournament for sure.
  15. Robbie Eagles and El Phantasmo may have just had one of if not my match of the year so far, what a match!
  16. Caught up now from last night's show, some quick thoughts and recommendations for those cherry picking below. I'll put it in spoilers as it is quite long (I don't think I have spoiled anything though). An actual spoiler: And thats it! Apologies for going long. Excited for tonight, main should be a banger.
  17. Finally caught up! Night 3 was mostly fun, Hiromu v Akira was really good! I have seen some Francesco Akira in AJPW and didnt rate him, but he held his own and is starting to win me over. Kanemaru v Austin is worth a look too but yeah, Ishimori/Taguchi wasn't great... Night 4...again B Block feels like they have their working boots on, Lindaman and Titan working like they were in the main, impressive as Lindaman had to be hurting after his brutal war with Irie the night before. Despy/TJP and Yuta/DOUKi were really fun too. Night 5...finally a good Ishimori match! Maybe some new guys to work with sill light a fire in him. Zayne really should be a NJPW regular. Same with Austin, he and Hiromu had a good match too. Been a fun tournament so far, the fresh matches really contributing to it. If I had to pick a top 5 so far in no order: Desperado v Titan, Hiromu v Akira, Ishimori v Zayne, Lindaman v Titan, Eagles v Yuta.
  18. So true, I remember how good his BoSJ in 2018 (?) was against Hiromu, and don't think he's ever come close to that since. In regards to the YOH match, I just don't get YOH...I want to get YOH but I just can't understand why I just can't so for me, a sleepwalking Ishimori against someone I'm so apathetic towards was always going to be a disappointment. Apparently his match with Taguchi was good last night, haven't seen it yet due to the awesome GLEAT show, will catch up on Friday when they have a travel day. I think El Lindaman summed it up pretty well in his NJPW website interview - Block A has more of the big, colourful characters and Block B is the workers block.
  19. Bloody hell, couldn't sleep so I ended up going down this rabbit hole... Seems to be a lot of different takes, from Ibushi having a legitimate issue to it being a parody of a YouTube account to it all being an angle to form some new team/group with KENTA. I have no idea but am leaning towards Ibushi having legitimate issues with some people in upper management, possibly around trying to rush him back around Wrestle Kingdom and then again for the New Japan Cup. Exploitative workplaces...this isn't just a NJPW problem, this is Japan-wide (both in and out of Pro Wrestling) - my fiance is from Japan and refuses to go back (despite how much I try to push us to move there) because her professional life here in Australia is so different, she isn't working 12-14 hour days and having to be on all the time with only 1 week holiday leave. My brother had similar experiences teaching in Kobe. The pressure/exploitation part certainly is not a surprise based on what I've heard from them, so I hope something positive can come from this at least in NJPW. What I can't figure out is the cheater-gun thing...does he have some issue with TAKA/Taichi? Seems odd considering he appeared on their show (which I think is the unapproved appearance based on the messages). This whole thing is a lot and confusing, I think it might need to take a breather, wait and see what happens. EDIT: Ibushi is up and tweeting again, some of his responses to people asking him to return (either to DDT or NJPW) indicate he might be done with wrestling. As a big fan of his, I selfishly hope not but if he isn't in a good place then I really want him to take as much time as he needs even if it means he doesn't come back.
  20. Agree with the above two posts, incredible tournament final! I have been on the outs with AJPW but renewed my sub as Jake had made the final and this may very well be my match of the year so far, or at least in my top 3 that I can't decide the order of and need to watch all 3 back-to-back. I've always been a bit cool on Yuma, but am 100% on board with him as one of the top guys after this. Jake had his best match I think since the Kento January 2020 match which was my previous favourite modern AJPW match until this one. And a big thanks to Control and his match rankings, gives me a good guide to go and watch over the weekend.
  21. So gutted that Japan still isn't letting tourists in, had everything planned to be at this show (planning for the G1 double header in Osaka now). The announced singles title matches + whatever fall out there is from BoSJ (Jr. title match, possible Jr. tags) and Capital Collision with a hot Osaka crowd make me think this could be the first near normal feeling show since the pandemic started (especially if crowds can make noise by then).
  22. I lost my shit for Jay, I didn't realise how much I missed him in Japan. Anderson/Gallows + Juice definitely helps BC not feel so stale, also interested to see what happens down the line with those who weren't in the end BC hang-out. Tanahashi v Ishii was great, a perfect match for clap crowds. Okada v Naito was the best of their series, but still was missing something to take it to the next level (probably crowd noise, it felt like the kind of match that needed dueling chants and crowd interaction).
  23. Really pumped for this tournament, not familiar with Ace Austin but based on DEAN's reaction I'm very interested to see what he can do. Block B looks to be the more interesting block to me with Despy, Robbie, Lindaman, ELP, Yuta, DOUKI. Based on the matches announced on the last show, I'm guessing Despy/ELP will be for the finals spot for Block B. Block A...probably some combo of SHO/YOH and Hiromu/Ishimori to decide the Block A final with those matches on the last night as well (anyone but SHO...).
  24. Same with Strong Hearts v Total Eclipse, two matches I hope pop up somewhere to see.
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