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jaedmc

2014 Yes/No NEW JAPAN

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Huge YES to:

Nakamura vs. Tanahashi, February 9th

Ishii vs. Naito, February 11th

Okada vs. Goto, February 11th

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NOMINATE: Kazuchika Okada vs. Kota Ibushi, March 6th

 

Hoo boy did this rule. Considerably better than their DDT match from last year, which was still very good if not slightly underwhelming. Everything in this was super crisp, and Okada continues to have amazing timing on everything. The only negative was that I KNEW this wasn't ending until Okada hit a Rainmaker, so I wasn't really biting on a lot of the false finishes. The commentator is the best in the biz, BTW, and took this match to another level.

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NOMINATE: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tetsuya Naito, April 6th

Just a notch below their February match, but that still makes this one of the top 10 matches of the year.

 

NOMINATE: Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata vs. Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows, April 6th

This one is borderline, but the CRAZYASS finishing sequence between Goto & Anderson puts it over the top.

 

NOMINATE: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Shinsuke Nakamura, April 6th

My favourite of their three this year. Nakamura's win felt more definitive than either of Tanahashi's, and probably told the best story as well.

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NOMINATE: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tomoaki Honma, May 3rd

There's a couple other borderline matches from this show, but this is the only one I feel really strongly about. I was so happy when this match got announced because I knew they'd kill it and Honma so rarely gets to have a big singles match (I see he's back to the opening match multiman next show). This match was exactly the back and forth killfest you'd expect, and Honma obviously got my letters and busted out the the top-to-floor diving headbutt. Goddamn.

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Ishii/Naito - Yes

 

This was a match I had high hopes for since they were going at other for a while in other multi man matches before this and although it didn't live up to my expectations, this was somewhat decent as it had it's moments.

Despite not delivering to up to my expectations, this did have a particularly big match feel and a very hot crowd.

 

Naito wasn't particularly great in this, but he did have his moments. Some of his high flying offense is kind of awkward, but he does have a neat high arching suplex and he does know how to throw some hard slaps.

 

I think the biggest knock on this match for me is that I was expecting them to go all out on each other from the get go since they had some decent heated exchanges in the multi man matches leading to this, yet they held back a bit.

 

The finishing stretch was particularly hot though and that top rope brainbuster was amazing. Also that headbutt exchange at the end I thought was thoroughly awesome.

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Nomiante: Tomohiro Ishii vs. KUSHIDA (NJPW, 4/12)

 
This was an excellent match and something a bit different from the norm for something in 2014 NJPW from what I’ve grasped since it was a high flying Jr. against a bulky hard hitting heavyweight.
 
KUSHIDA was particularly good in this at bumping around for Ishii’s bigger man offense and he also had some great spots in this such as the crazy dive off the top to the floor and his bicycle kick. Also the elbow smashes following the Ishii gamengiri were great stuff.
 
Ishii was as good in this as usual and it was awesome seeing his deadlift based throws on someone much smaller than the guys he normally gets to work with.

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Naito/Rush vs. Ishii/Escorpion - No

 

I thought this was a really strange match. I tried to like this, but I just didn’t really enjoy that much of it outside of the short Rush/Ishii exchanges, the sick lariat by Escorpion on Rush and the nasty double undertook piledriver spot by Rush on Escorpion.

 

The Ishii/Naito exchanges here weren’t as wild as of their previous interactions and Naito himself was totally out of it in this match. Halfway through the match he tried to keep up with the fast pace Rush and Escorpion had in their exchange, but he failed miserably to do so and I thought it looked bad on him.

 

Also Escorpion’s diving guillotine leg drop looked really bad.

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Ishii/Honma - Yes

 

Easily the best match in Japan this year by a huge margin. Ishii’s just been having great matches all year and finally they give Honma a chance to showcase himself in a big singles match and he doesn’t disappoint.

 

Everything in this match worked. Everything. Not a single thing I didn’t enjoy. I particularly loved Honma’s crazy diving headbutt off the top to the floor, Honma’s deadlift brainbuster, Honma’s fire thunder driver and the king sized brutal finishing stretch.

 

I think it’s also worth noting that Ishii is probably the best Japanese wrestler at taking a DDT and at selling a shoulder after a huge release German suplex.

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Yes to Ishii/Honma.  I need to catch up on my yes/no voting but this was an easy one to throw in while I was thinking about it.

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Okada/Ibushi - Yes

 

I thought this did a fine job of showcasing the modern NJPW style. Ibushi really made Okada’s offense look a lot better than most of the NJPW heavyweights. He just flows along with Okada’s offense and it actually looks brutal. Even Okada’s crappy looking tombstone piledriver looks decent here. Ibushi reversing Okada’s Rainmaker and nailing his own was a good looking spot and Ibushi’s one was brutal. Sucks he followed it up with what looked like a huge botched lariat that didn’t even seemed like it grazed Okada. Loved how Okada kept the waist lock on Ibushi after the beautiful high bridging German suplex leading to the Rainmaker even if it looked weak here. Good stuff either way, but definitely not a match for those of you who don’t enjoy the current New Japan style.

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YES to:

Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tetsuya Naito, April 6th

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, April 6th

Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tomoaki Honma, May 3rd

 

NO to:

Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata vs. Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows, April 6th

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Nominating:

Kazuchika Okada vs AJ Styles-5/3. I'm really surprised this hasn't gotten any play. I thought this was an excellent match. Both guys were on and had great chemistry together. Styles is a great addition to New Japan.

Voting:

Tomohiro Ishii vs Tomoaki Honma-5/3 YES. Another great match, very stiff and believable. I thought this topped the Ishii/Naito matches.

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Yes to Nakamura/Tanahashi from 2/9 - It's overall better than the Dome. I was so glad when Tanahashi stopped doing forearms with his right and went for the body blows with his left. It's not the greatest sell of arm work, but at least he let it catch up to him.

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Ishii vs. Naito, February 11th - YES

 

Just barely a YES. This was so frustrating. Take almost anyone else on the roster besides Naito and plug him into this match and it'd be much more satisfying. That said, you could replace Ishii with someone else and it would literally come off as Every Other Match On The Card. My biggest problem with New Japan these days is the lack of any sort of creativity when it comes to structuring individual matches. There's like three story templates for New Japan singles matches (four if you count whatever Bullet Club does as matches) and they never tend to go outside those designated lines. This one is no different, as it opens with the most typical strike exchange you've ever seen, which builds to.. more strike exchanges. Limb selling leads nowhere and gets brushed off for.. more strike exchanges. I've been watching a lot of early 2000s stuff for the Ditch project and this shit just comes off as lazy to me. Whatever. It gets a pass from me (just barely) based on headbutts, mostly the headbutts, and also for Ishii being so charismatic. Osaka being white hot didn't hurt either.

 

Ishii vs. Naito, April 6th - YES

 

Well at least they didn't go out and work that same bullshit structure of their first match. This one is much more logical overall, with well-placed momentum shifts, creative callbacks to the previous match and just a better pace in general for this kind of match. Ishii give another rock solid performance. His headbutt is FUTENesque. His selling is so convincing that he can even make you believe in Naito's pillowy offense. Loved the DDT counter to the uranage. The apron lariat was also pretty mean. Sumo Hall isn't quite as loud as Osaka was but they also don't work the kind of pandering first half they did in the first match, which might have something to do with it. Another close one. I'll give it a YES but neither of these are MOTYCs. 

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Okada vs. Styles, May 3rd - NO

There was some good work in it, but I can't in good conscience vote Yes on a world title changing hands due to Yujiro interference.

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NOMINATE: Ishii vs. Ibushi, May 25th

Because it's Ishii vs. Ibushi. Yeah, they blew a spot. Know what else? The match was great. Fuck you.

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YES to Ishii vs. Ibushi.

 

NOMINATE

Katsuyori Shibata and Hirooki Goto vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Togi Makabe; May 25th

The Tanahashi/Shibata bits were great and you can really tell those dudes legit hate each other. Makabe wasn't totally bleh in this match. The crowd was into it, dudes were hitting each other really hard, Goto kicked Makabe in the mouth and busted him open. This match ruled.

 

AJ Styles vs. Kazuchika Okada, May 25h

By leaps and bounds better than the Dontaku match. They didn't rely on a ton of BC interference so it was more like AJ and Okada having a match to see who the better man is than AJ, a multi time World Champion who shouldn't need any help, relying on the help of multiple other guys to beat Okada. I like that Okada didn't hit the Rainmaker here, it's a lot like the 1/4/13 match with Tanahashi in that regard. Okada landed everything but the one move the crowd knew would give him the win. The crowd bought AJ as a viable threat here and reacted accordingly which added a lot to the match because they weren't sitting there like "we don't know this motherfucker" like the Fukuoka fans (rightfully) did.

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Going with a fat NO to Rush/Nakamura and the January 19th tag. Both matches were acceptable wrestling but felt like exhibitions without that extra ingredient to make them feel special. The Fantasticamania tour seems a bit stale and putting some big time match ups out there would freshen it up, though that may be hard coming off the Dome show that wears on the competitors.

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Voting for the following matches:

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Shinsuke Nakamura-1/4 YES

Hirooki Goto vs Katsuyori Shibata-1/4 YES

Kazuchika Okada vs Hirooki Goto-2/11 YES

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Tana/Nak and Goto/Shibata from the Dome are the first to hit Double Digit Yes votes.

 

Several promotions don't even have 10 votes combined for all their matches.

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Yes to Ibushi/Ishii. Brutal match. I thought the botch was kinda cool actually.

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Tana/Nak and Goto/Shibata from the Dome are the first to hit Double Digit Yes votes.

 

Several promotions don't even have 10 votes combined for all their matches.

 

It's almost as if... nobody watches anything but New Japan...

 

Hmm..

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What else is there at this point? All Japan has little relevancy now (Though I hear the guys are trying hard), NOAH is depressing, Big Japan's best guys are injured, DDT is fun but not a big MOTY producer, W1 is laughable, DG has never been popular on this board. Ditch was one of the few guys who's stamp of approval guaranteed a view from me and now I don't get much of that.

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