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2014 Yes/No NEW JAPAN

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Match nominations must be accompanied by an explanation as to why the match is worth nominating. Above all: DISCUSS WRESTLING.

NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
Shibata vs. Goto, January 4th - Yes 10, No 1
Okada vs. Naito, January 4th - Yes 8, No 3
Nakamura vs. Tanahashi, January 4th - Yes 10, No 2

Rush vs. Nakamura, January 18th - Yes 3, No 2

Rush & Naito vs. Rey Escoprion & Ishii, January 19th - Yes 1, No 5

 

Nakamura vs. Tanahashi, February 9th - Yes 5, No 0

Ishii, Nakamura, & Okada vs. Naito, Tanahashi, & Goto February 2nd, Yes 2, No 0

Ishii vs. Naito, February 11th, - Yes 6, No 0

Okada vs. Goto, February 11th - Yes 5, No 0

 

Okada vs. Ibushi, March 6th - Yes 4, No 0

 

Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tetsuya Naito, April 6th - Yes 3, No 0

Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata vs. Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows, April 6th - Yes 1, No 2
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Shinsuke Nakamura, April 6th - Yes 3, No 0
Tomohiro Ishii vs. KUSHIDA April 12th, - Yes 2, No 0
 
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tomoaki Honma, May 3rd - Yes 7, No 0
Okada vs AJ Styles May 3rd - Yes 1, No 3
Ishii vs. Ibushi, May 25th - Yes 4, No 0
Shibata & Goto vs. Tanahashi & Togi Makabe; May 25th Yes 1, No 0
AJ Styles vs. Kazuchika Okada, May 25h - Yes 2, No 0
 
KUSHIDA vs. Ricochet, June 8th  - Yes 3, No 0
Alex Shelley/KUSHIDA vs. Young Bucks, June 21st - Yes 2, No 0
Kota Ibushi vs. Ricochet, June 21st - yes 4, No 0
 
Tanahashi vs. Honma, July 21st - Yes 3, No 0
Katsuyori Shibata vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, July 21st - Yes 4, No 0
Okada vs. Styles , July 21st - Yes 2, No 0
Ishii vs. Kojima, July 23rd - Yes 2, No 0
Tanahashi vs. Kojima, July 25th - Yes 2, No 1
Ishii vs. Honma, July 26th - Yes 3, No 1
Nakamura vs. Nagata, July 26th- Yes 4, No 0
Katsuyori Shibata vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, July 26th - Yes 4, No 0
Okada vs. Naito, July 28th - Yes 2, No 1
Anderson vs. Goto, July 31st - Yes 2, No 2
Tanahashi vs. Ishii, July 31st - Yes 3, No 1
 
 
Styles vs. Suzuki, August 1st - Yes 5, No 0 
Nagata vs. Shibata, August 1st - Yes 4, No 0
Nakamura vs. Ishii, August 1st - Yes 3, No 1
Shibata vs. Honma, August 3rd - Yes 4, No 0
Tanahashi vs. Nakamura, August 3rd - Yes 2, No 0
Okada vs. Goto, August 4th - Yes 2, No 2
Shibata vs. Ishii, August 6th - Yes 3, No 1
Ishii vs. Nagata: August 8th  - Yes 4, No 0
Okada vs. Suzuki, August 8th - Yes 2, No 1
Time Splitters vs. reDRagon, August 10th - Yes 5, No 0
Honma vs. Naito, August 10th - Yes 2, No 2
Shibata vs. Goto, August 10th - Yes 3, No 0
Tanahashi vs. Styles, August 10th - Yes 2, No 2
Nakamura vs. Okada, August 10th - Yes 4, No 1

 

 

KUSHIDA vs. Taguchi, September 21st - Yes 1 no 0
Tanahashi vs. Shibata, September 21st  -Yes 2, No 0
Okada vs. Anderson, September 23rd - Yes 1, No 1
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Nominations:

 

1/4 Shibata vs Goto: Stiff. Like really, REALLY stiff. These 2 beat the fuck out of each other and it was glorious, my favourite match from the show.

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I'll start off by giving that a no vote. As much as I was looking forward to that match and wanted to like it, it just didn't do it for me. Props to them for being able to get the Dome fans into it and for Shibata stiffing it up and for Goto taking the stiff beating, but it just wasn't that good or great imo. Aside from the stiffing from Shibata it was basically Big Move Japan Pro-Wrestling until the finish.

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NOMINATE:

 

1/4 Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito.  I loved the hell out of this match.  First of all, Okada is so smooth, he really is a complete package.  He has the size to be a heavyweight, but he is incredibly athletic (the height he gets on his diving elbow drop was unreal) and just is a natural.  Naito is no flake either of course and their chemistry is palpable.  Also, I love that Okada protects his finisher.  How many wrestlers with a strike as a finisher use it constantly throughout the match?  Even the greats like Mutoh, Sasaki, Misawa, etc. are all guilty of it, but while Okada went for it a number of times he only hit it once.  And that was all he needed.  Naito on the other hand was always ready for it, and it took two tombstone piledrivers to make him hurt enough to not be able to reverse it.  Nothing here seemed wasted, it was always leading up to the ending that never seemed excessive… they never went over the top with big moves in the stretch run.  Early candidate (well very early) for my MOTY.
 
VOTING:
 
YES on 1/4 Hirooki Goto vs. Katsuyori Shibata.  I really like Goto and I still don’t understand why he got skipped over.  He has the look, good moves, the crowd likes him.  Anyway this match was very “fighting spirit” in its layout, but again like the last few matches it was the first one on the card like that so it came across as fresh.  A little excessive at times in my opinion which is my only notable complaint about the match, but at least it went both ways.  Goto was fired up in his return and was really busting his ass, and I am so glad to see Shibata back as he was really 'snug' with his strikes and came across as legit.  The strikes were stiff as hell, the downtime was minimal, and it really came across as two men who thought they were the best and wanted to prove it.  An entertaining match, and hopefully the beginning of something good for Goto in 2014.  
 
 
I am really really on the fence about a few of the other matches on the 1/4 show, curious if anyone else liked them enough to nominate as I want to see some other people's thoughts on it.  Really close to nominating Nakamura/Tanahashi and I will probably watch it again, but to me it was a step down from the two matches I listed above.  My first ever votes, isn't that exciting?  :P

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YES to:

 

1/4 Hirooki Goto vs. Katsuyori Shibata.

1/4 Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito.

 

NOMINATE:

 

1/4 Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura.

It's still something seeing the IWGP Intercontinental Championship match go on last at the biggest show in Japan. Shows you what a great job NJPW has done with the title. Each focused on a body part, Nakamura kneeing or kicking the shit out of Tanahashi's ribs and Tanahashi working over Nakamura's knee. Some cool spots in this with the Triangle choke getting turned into a Texas Cloverleaf, the Cloverleaf into the Styles Clash which set Nakamura up for a sitting High Fly Flow and another High Fly Flow for the win. I'm still not sure about the order I'd rank the three matches in but I really liked all three.

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It's still something seeing the IWGP Intercontinental Championship match go on last at the biggest show in Japan. Shows you what a great job NJPW has done with the title.

This is something I'm not sure I agree with. It's not so much the great job they've done with the title as it is the fact that 2 bigger stars were wrestling for the lesser title instead of the IWGP title.

 

Similar to SummerSlam 1992 except replace 2 bigger stars with 1 hometown fan favorite.

 

Yes to Okada vs. Naito. Not particularly a great match, but it was a good one. Easily the best match from the Dome show at this point (haven't watched Tanahashi/Nakamura yet) and the only worth while thing to watch at this point. Okada needs to work on his tombstone piledriver though. He makes it look like a really low impact move. That's something he can probably learn from a dozen Joshi wrestlers or Mexican luchadors. How to make the tombstone look like a high impact move without breaking your opponents neck. Loved Naito's headbutts. Loved how Okada didn't overdue the Rainmaker and 1 was more than enough. Both guys have serious potential and should be taking over Tanahashi and Nakamura's spots as the top 2 stars. The big advantage that Okada and Naito have is that they have the frame of heavyweights instead of being small Jr. heavyweights who they want to transition over to heavyweights.

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No to Tanahashi/Nakamura. They've fought each other various other times over the years and have done this match better before. Going after Okada/Naito was a bad idea, but it's what the fans wanted apparently.

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The big advantage that Okada and Naito have is that they have the frame of heavyweights instead of being small Jr. heavyweights who they want to transition over to heavyweights.

 

 

Both were Jr. Heavies a few years ago, though.

 

In other news:

Shibata vs. Goto, January 4th - YES

Okada vs. Naito, January 4th   - YES

Nakamura vs. Tanahashi, January 4th - YES

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The big advantage that Okada and Naito have is that they have the frame of heavyweights instead of being small Jr. heavyweights who they want to transition over to heavyweights.

 

 

Both were Jr. Heavies a few years ago, though.

They have heavyweight frames and don't have any visual traces of being Jr.'s and don't have that many flashy Jr. offense.

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One thing I actually like about Okada is that he is big (as in tall mostly) but still does move quick, has good stamina, etc. so he kept some of those traits but generally does wrestle like a Heavy with his offense.

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VOTING:

 

YES on 1/4 Tanahashi vs. Nakamura.  I watched it again, I thought about it, and I think its a borderline yes.  But I also think it pales in comparison to the match that came just before it and doesn't have much of a chance in being in my Top 20 this year.

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Yes:

Shibata/Goto 1/4

Okada/Naito 1/4

Tanahashi/Nakamura 1/4

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Okada vs Naito - NO. This was fine but uneventful. Most of the way it was pretty standard for what you expect from these two, but it went on way too long and as a result the body of the match was really flat, heatless, and lacking in direction. There was some nice struggling over certain big moves, and Naito's random violent outbursts were cool, but they really could have done more with the "Naito tries to break the glass ceiling" story. Finishing run was what the same thing we've seen in every Okada defence, bordering on choreographed-looking dance wrestling, and him winning so decisively really kills Naito as a main eventer for the moment. Inoffensive match, but not particularly exciting.

 

Nakamura vs Tanahashi - NO. Again, this just felt inoffensive without ever really doing much for me. We get some paint-by-numbers Tanahashi legwork, which atleast leads to a good submission nearfall, but Nakamura barely sold it and blatantly blew it off on a couple of occasions. Nakamura's stuff ranged from borderline diva-level to shockingly violent. Him ending a trite elbow-trading exchange by kicking Tanahashi in the head then stomping on his face may have been the highlight of the match. It picked up towards the end and there were some solid nearfalls, but everything before that just felt like filler. Also, for the main event of the biggest show of the year, nothing was particularly 'big' or out of the ordinary.

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Shibata vs. Goto, January 4th - Yes
Okada vs. Naito, January 4th - No
Nakamura vs. Tanahashi, January 4th - Yes

 

STUNNED by the Okada/Naito love, might have to rewatch.

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YES to Shibata/Goto (my second fave match of their series) and Okada/Naito (a fantastic performance by these guys on the big stage).

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Not sure how I'm going to vote on the other two, but Shibata/Goto was the best match on the card, for me. I thought the Fighting Spirit bits played out really well, with both guys just getting adrenaline surges that ultimately left them worse off than when they started. It's probably the best Goto match I've seen in forever and for the first time in years I'm into the idea of him finally getting the big one. Thought that ship had sailed, but with this one match it feels like it's docked back up again. 

 

The other two were somewhat problematic. I don't really care for Naito or Okada, but they did some really good things and some really dumb things in the same match. I think there was more good than bad, but I don't know if it outweighs the other stuff. I love Nakamura and Tanahashi as wrestlers and was looking forward to that match the most, but I felt like it wasn't nearly as dramatic as stuff either guy has done recently, so it came off disappointing, even though the execution was rock solid. I may need to watch both again to see if my low expectations for Naito/Okada clouded my judgment negatively, or if my high expectations for Nak/Tana clouded them the same way.

 

But definite YES to Shibata/Goto

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I have been encouraged by the bravery of one or two others to say no to Okada-Naito. I thought it was OK, but the first 75% of the match wasn't anywhere near engaging enough to justify the seemingly endless near-falls. At one point I was really enjoying it, but by the end I was wondering when it was going to end. 

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Nominating these two. (EDIT: I copied this straight from WKO so bits of this might sound odd out of context.)

 

Rush vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (NJ 1/18)
Nice. I was pretty interested in checking this out. As much as I like Nakamura (more than most here probably) I gotta admit all I wanted was to see him take that corner dropkick up against those stiff New Japan turnbuckle pads. And it was glorious. That and his sell of that gigantic dropkick off the apron both were really satisfying moments. It's always nice to have a heated Nakamura singles that doesn't end in a million nearfalls. That said, I probably would've preferred this as a three falls match.
 
Rush & Tetsuya Naito vs. Rey Escorpion & Tomohiro Ishii (NJ 1/19)
This was the best match that I watched from these shows. Rush and Escorpion are two of my favorites, and Ishii is the best guy in New Japan. We got one little taste of Ishii/Rush and now I really want a singles match between them in Korakuen. They should have Rush in the G1. There's lots of Ishii/Naito buildup here and Ishii is a fucking hard ass and Naito doesn't look half bad in his struggle for survival. This is The Rush Show though, as he is all about murdering Escorpion with chops and slaps and that horrifying dropkick. The finish was especially brutal looking from that angle too. Yeah, you should check this one out.

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VOTING:

 

Rush vs. Nakamura, January 18th - YES
Rush & Naito vs. Rey Escoprion & Ishii, January 19th - NO
 
Rush/Nakamura was a borderline yes, I was on the fence about it but I watched it again since bucky nominated it and it is definitely worth a watch.  The tag match didn't do much for me, I thought it was above average but nothing great.  Rush was a beast though.

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NOMINATE:

 

2/9 Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura.

I nominated the Wrestle Kingdom 8 match and wanted to do this as I thought it was the better of the two. I liked the early feeling out matwork and Nakamura twisting or kicking Tanahashi's arm. I'd like to mention two spots in the closing stretch: 1) Nakamura reversing a Tanahashi pin into an armbar, Tanahashi rolls for a pin attempt while in the hold for Shinsuke to kick out and keep the move in and 2) Tanahashi ducks the Boma Ye, goes for a schooolboy which Nakamura rolls through for Tanahashi to hit the Sling Blade. Surprising ending as well, Nakamura kicks out of the High Fly Flow but it's the Dragon Suplex which puts him down for the three after he fails with a flying armbar.

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NO to both the Rush matches, althought phrasing it like that is probably harsh on him since I thought he looked awesome in both. Just the matches as a whole weren't anything I'd be going back to watch for Best Of purposes.

 

YES to Tanahashi/Nakamura from Feb 9. Liked this alot more than the Dome match. Really great effort from both guys. The crowd was way more into this compared to last time and that helped the match a ton. Shinsuke was pulling out all kinds of cool unexpected counters and I LOVED his fire up after the High Fly Flow kickout which was almost a call back to what Ibushi did to him last year.

 

NOMINATE: 2/2 NJPW - Ishii/Nakamura/Okada vs. Naito/Tanahashi/Goto

 

One of my favourite things I've heard about this match was that it was like an old Clash Of The Champions style main event where you have a bunch of issues all combined together in one big tag match. The guys who are programmed with each other mainly stick to each other, but you get some cross-up as well and it keeps the match interesting. That aside, this was all about Ishii clubberin' fools! With every match you can see him and Naito clicking more and more, and they tore it up here. The other four guys all played their parts really well too. The structure is there, the action never stops and the crowd is red hot. Great stuff.

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YES to Rush vs. Nakamura, 1/18

NO to Rush/Naito vs. Escoprion/Ishii, 1/19

YES to Ishii/Nakamura/Okada vs. Naito/Tanahashi/Goto, 2/2

YES to Tanahashi vs. Nakamura, 2/9

 

NOMINATE:

- Ishii vs. Naito 2/11: Holy cow this ruled. I think Naito is better when he's NOT main eventing, somehow. Ishii is such a dude. They kicked out of a LOT of stuff, but somehow it didn't feel like overkill, which is a testament to how well it was worked. So great to see Ishii win a title, even if it's a weird tertiary one.

- Okada vs. Goto 2/11: Meltzer called it Okada's best individual performance, and I find it hard to disagree. All the timing in this is just perfect. It's amazing how strong Goto stays despite losing EVERY title shot he's ever had.

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NOMINATE:

- Ishii vs. Naito 2/11: Holy cow this ruled. I think Naito is better when he's NOT main eventing, somehow. Ishii is such a dude. They kicked out of a LOT of stuff, but somehow it didn't feel like overkill, which is a testament to how well it was worked. So great to see Ishii win a title, even if it's a weird tertiary one.

- Okada vs. Goto 2/11: Meltzer called it Okada's best individual performance, and I find it hard to disagree. All the timing in this is just perfect. It's amazing how strong Goto stays despite losing EVERY title shot he's ever had.

 

YES to both. Okada/Goto was their best match out of the ones I've seen.

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