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Kevin Wilson

What You're Watching, 2015!

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Found both matches. I'll check them out later.

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I am just going to dump all three of these in one post since they were from the same tour.

 

New Japan "FANTASTICA MANIA 2014"

 

1/17/14

 

Stuka Jr., Fuego, and Rey Cometa vs. TAKA Michinoku, OKUMURA, and Taichi
 
Pretty solid opener.  It had a lot less dives than I am used to, maybe wrestling in front of only 300 people will tone them down a bit.  The match was pretty simple but it is hard to really tell a story in a six man match that only goes eight minutes.  Still, nothing offensive here, and all the wrestlers got a chance to at least do something.  Score:  5.5
 
Máscara Dorada and Titan vs. Mephisto and Vangelis
 
For a match that wasn’t too long, the heel beatdown segments still seemed to take up too much time.  Dorada was “off” in this match as he had two different moves that he did not hit very smoothly at all, maybe he got a little hurt at some point and that affected him the rest of the match.  Also seemed odd that kind of out of nowhere Mephisto hit the ‘super’ version of his finishing move, the same move he used to win the main event of the next much more attended event.  Not their best outings, I have seen all four do better on other matches during the tour.  Score:  3.5
 
© Rey Escorpión vs. Maximo
CMLL World Light Heavyweight Championship
 
I guess I shouldn’t complain too much since Maximo did 99% of this match without his usual shtick, and in general he held his own against Escorpión.  I can’t say I really enjoy the fact that the selling of moves is so suspect, it really doesn’t matter who hits the move sometimes as it isn’t uncommon for the victim of the move to still be the first one back up.  I don’t expect them to sell moves like death but at least let the attacking wrestler get up first from the mat.  Besides that small annoyance the match was pretty good, and Maximo got a number of legitimate close near-falls so it wasn’t too one-sided at all.  I am assuming this title is pretty low on the important scale to be on the mid-card on the smallest show on the tour, but overall it wasn’t a bad display.   Score:  6.0
 
Mistico and Rush vs. Ultimo Guerrero and Niebla Roja
 
If wrestlers would stop clearly setting themselves up for their opponent’s moves I’d enjoy this better.  It is one thing to be in the right spot, but when a wrestler jumps up on the top rope and waits five seconds while their opponent sets up a move to do, it begins crossing that line from simulated combat to choreographed dancing.  Beyond that the match wasn’t bad, but with limited time I wish they’d cut out the first five minutes of the “feeling out” process as then there really isn’t time to get a full match in before the bell rings.  Individually these wrestlers are all solid, it is more the match structure/time constraints that is holding them back.  Score:  5.5
 
La Sombra vs. Volador Jr.
 
I found two different versions of this match and both versions miss the vast majority of the match.  I don’t think it was designed to be that way, the video freezes.  Since this is the only version I can find I can’t do much about it, but the dive after the match was cool anyway.  If I ever find a real version of the show that does not have most of this match missing I will update the review.  Score: N/A
 
Overall:  I feel bad reviewing an event where most of the main event wasn’t shown, but let’s not pretend that it was going to save this show.  This was clearly designed as a card to be shown for free on TV in front of a small crowd, as the matches were short (around 50 minutes of actual in-ring time on the card) and aside from Volador Jr.’s dive at the end it didn’t have a lot of memorable spots.  I don’t want to say they were going through the motions, the effort was just average.  Even if the main event was great, it still would have been a below average card overall.
 
 
1/18/14
 
Jado vs. Maximo vs. Taichi
 
Ok, I just got done watching DDT, I have reached my “men kissing men” humor for the day.  No mas.  It is an interesting character, I mean that pretty much is his shtick but the crowd loves him.  To me, it gets old really fast… I’m not personally disgusted, I just don’t understand the humor when it happens five times in one match, it would be funnier if it was just once a match to throw off opponents or something.  But the crowd enjoys it so he has that anyway.  Solid action otherwise.  Score:  4.0
 
Stuka Jr. and Rey Cometa vs. Yujiro Takahashi and OKUMURA
 
They did a lot with the small amount of time they had and made the most of it.  There was literally no down time at all, they were just moving from start to finish.  I loved Stuka Jr.’s random dive to the outside, it caught everyone off-guard and was a neat visual.  A fun tag match, just wish it was a bit longer.  Score:  6.5
 
Rey Escorpión, YOSHI-HASHI, Niebla Roja, and Vangelis vs. Tiger Mask, Titan, KUSHIDA, and Fuego
 
This was clearly just a free-for-all exhibition type match, they basically just took turns doing moves to each other, swapping who was in the ring, and repeated that for eight minutes until the match ended.  Which isn’t bad per se as it was fun for the crowd and certainly was fast paced, but it didn’t really feel like a match and no one really got a chance to shine since there were so many people in the match.  Good for spots, but if you like anything resembling psychology then I wouldn’t recommend it.  Score:  6.0
 
Máscara Dorada and El Desperado vs. Volador Jr. and BUSHIROAD
 
Certainly the best match on the card so far.  It had the high flying and fun spots, but they also had time to go a bit deeper than that as well.  The spear/mounted punches for example was a nice change of pace and made it look like Desperado really did want to hurt his opponent and not just find creative ways to toss him to the mat or the floor.  I am really liking Desperado so far, I hope that he doesn’t get his legs cut out from under him in his upcoming title match.  Score:  7.5
 
Rush vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
 
A good match that I would have liked better if it went a little bit longer.  This is the most I have seen of Rush but he is fun to watch, he is a bigger guy but has a nice range of high flying moves and power moves.  It really felt like if he had just hit the Rush Driver he would have won, but without it he was overmatched by Nakamura’s striking ability.  Nakamura really emphasized the knee here but since his finishing move is also a running knee it made sense that would be his main weapon.  Nothing really wrong with it at all, it just felt like there was more they could have done.  I enjoyed it while it lasted though.  Score:  7.0
 
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito, and La Sombra vs. Kazuchika Okada, Ultimo Guerrero, and Ishii
 
Thoroughly entertaining from bell to bell.  All the little parts worked well, I thought Ishii would be out of place but he mostly focused on Naito since they are feuding and let everyone else do the Lucha spots.  They had enough time to tell a few different stories and while it had big spots it did not come across as a spotfest like some of the previous matches.  Really good match, nothing really wrong with it, I’d have preferred this was three singles matches since they are all so good but this was fun non-stop lucha action.  Score:  7.5
 
© Mephisto vs. Mistico II
This match is for the Mexican National Light Heavyweight Championship
 
Any wrestler that will die for me trying to do a springboard shooting star press is a-ok in my book.  Actually though, the match was pretty disappointing.  It was so oddly structured, I mean the first real move that Mephisto hit on Mistico was his finishing move several minutes into the match.  At the end, Mephisto gets back to his feet and is running around like nothing after getting the Shooting Star Press, and in general they really didn’t do any “long term” selling.  It was constant sprinting, but they were doing big moves that deserved to be sold for a little bit, not shaken off to get to the next big spot.  I mean the spots were good, don’t get me wrong and both wrestlers looked good, but the structure of the match was severely lacking.  I was expecting a bit more for the main event title match, the psychology seemed off even for Lucha Libre matches which negatively affected the match.  Score:  5.0
 
Overall:   I enjoyed this event a lot more than the event from a few days before.  The matches here got more time, which allowed them to actually tell a story in some of the matches and not just throughout high spots.  Many of the matches were really good and there were only a few stinkers.  I just wish that the main event was better, I thought it just fell flat.  Overall though a fun night of action, I’d recommend grabbing it if you get the chance and want to see some a new style of wrestling if you haven't watched Lucha Libre before.
 
 
1/19/14
 
Máscara Don and Maximo vs. TAKA Michinoku and Taichi
 
Ok so it wasn’t a good match, but seeing Nakanishi trying to do lucha spots was quiet amusing.  And of course we were in on the joke so it’s not laughing at someone that isn’t good, it is laughing at a 47 year old wrestler doing moves he either has never done before or hasn’t done in a long time.  Beyond that though there really wasn’t much to the match, but at least it did have a special attraction.  Score:  5.5
 
OKUMURA and YOSHI-HASHI vs. Stuka Jr. and Rey Cometa
 
Really short match here as it clocked in at less than five minutes, so they pretty much went straight for the bombs even if it didn’t make any sense at the moment.  I guess when you are putting on a display of big moves and are on a time constraint you don’t really have much of a choice.  And don’t feel bad about the woman getting thrown around, she is a wrestler too.  Score:  3.5
 
Tiger Mask, Titan, Fuego, El Desperado, and BUSHIROAD vs. Yano, Jado, Gedo, Niebla, and Vangelis
 
Well that was clustertastic.  I apologize if I mixed up anyone’s name in there somewhere, there was a lot going on and BUSHI was wearing a different outfit than usual which kept confusing me.  Anyway this match was what it was, I did like that El Desperado picked up the pinfall though and was given a few key moments in the match.  If he is going to be a new star of New Japan (which I hope he will be) he needs the exposure.  For a ten minute ten man match it was actually a bit slow at times, I am not a big fan of the sequence where there are multiple heels in the ring and the faces just come in one at a time to get beat up.  No real opportunity for the wrestlers to do much here, and even though there were some good spots I am getting a bit immune to that after watching three of these shows in a row.  Score:  4.5
 
Tetsuya Naito and Rush vs. Tomohiro Ishii and Rey Escorpión
 
I like that Ishii and Naito live in their own little vacuum and on all these shows are the ones much more interested in their own feud then interacting with the CMLL wrestlers.  Not that I see that as a bad thing at all, it makes them both look focused on the bigger picture as they should be.  This was pretty average all the way around, it picked up in parts but the beat down segments were a bit slow.  Naito and Ishii showed good fire and Rush is exciting, but Escorpión doesn’t do much for me.  Not a bad match by any stretch, just nothing really memorable about it.  Score:  5.5
 
La Sombra vs. Ultimo Guerrero
 
It started slow, but once it picked up it stayed there until the end of the match.  I have no idea what type of dive La Sombra was going for on the first one that he undershot by about five feet but it was certainly unique, luckily no one got hurt or anything since wrestlers are impervious to the type of pain that you or I feel.  Matches like this make me sad that wrestling on TV in the US isn’t more diverse, it wasn’t great but it was different.  Not a lot of structure or reasoning to it, but the spots were good and nothing was offensive. Score:  6.5
 
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, and Mistico vs. Nakamura, Yujiro Takahashi, and Mephisto
 
I am starting to notice a pattern, watching these shows virtually back to back.   As I know I have mentioned, the beatdown segments where a face wrestler rolls in, gets beat up by three men, rolls out, a new face wrestler rolls in, gets beat up, rolls out etc. etc. doesn’t really do it for me as even in the world of wrestling it isn’t logical. They would just go in together and certainly not follow the same pattern they did in a previous match.  The match wasn’t bad and the last few minutes were entertaining, it is just starting to get repetitive and there was nothing about it that set it apart from the other matches from this tour.  Score:  6.0
 
© Volador Jr. vs. Máscara Dorada
This match is for the NWA World Historic Welterweight Championship
 
I jokingly called this tour a Lucha Libre Exhibition, well this match was literally a Lucha Libre Exhibition. I mean there were probably ten dives out to the floor, it wasn't unusual for the wrestler that got a move done on him to be the first one up to go to the next spot, and generally it was just a series of big spots. Now some of the spots were really nice and their execution was flawless, but others were just really contrived and it felt like I was just watching a small indy with two young wrestlers that just wanted to do lots of big spots and nothing else. I have no idea if this is the same way that the matches are laid out in CMLL, I am assuming they are not, as while kinda fun to watch for the spots this match didn't really resemble a wrestling match at all. Score: 5.0
 
Overall: In terms of quality of matches, this event was between the two other events I have reviewed for this tour. It did not have a real blow-away or standout match, and like the others some of the matches came across as an introduction to Lucha Libre more than anything else. Which was probably the goal, and the live crowd seemed to be having a really good time, but these types of matches just typically don't produce a lot that stick in your mind more than a few hours. For some Lucha Libre fun, it is worth a watch, but as a stand-alone event it had just as much good as bad so I can't really recommend it.
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Takayama VS Hama.

 

Kicking him in his fat ass and blasting huge fucking knees right into his pillowy tits.  Just nuking the porcine little fucker.

 

then I watched Takayama VS Funaki

 

It's one of those shoot style deals with points in the year 2014 so of course it's fucking stupid and all the suplexes look like crap.  Shit sucks and the bad guy won.

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ZERO1 "HAPPY NEW YEAR" 2014 on 1/1/14
 
Daichi Hashimoto vs. Kohei Sato
 
Not really sure why Hashimoto is still being treated like a rookie, but I haven’t seen any ZERO1 in years so maybe there is a reason.  Anyway, a pretty straightforward match but Sato was definitely set up to look like he could beat Hashimoto whenever he wanted.  He messed around with him at the beginning, but as soon as Hashimoto got some real moves in, he went straight to the finish and ended things quickly.  Hashimoto has been around for years so I am surprised he is still doing the same type of match he had against Mutoh and Chono right after he debuted, but he is still really young.  I wish Sato hadn’t won so quickly or that Hashimoto had come across as having a legitimate chance to win the match, but it was a pretty decent young wrestler vs. veteran match.  Score:  6.0

 

 

Just watched this match, and I don't see the point of it, really. I can never complain about anyone playing "Takayama", as Sato does here. But apart from a tiny segment, DHash never once comes across as a credible threat despite his ability to throw nice high kicks. It's kind of a squash as much as a anything.

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I try to keep up with AJPW out of loyalty so I watched the Go Shiozaki vs. Kento Miyahara match from the recent big Diamond Ring show (the one with Sasaki vs. Nakajima). The match was really disappointing. If AJPW is serious about pushing Miyahara as a future rival for Go then both guys are going to have to develop better chemistry quickly. Started off with some outside-the-ring brawling (I've noticed nearly every AJPW match since the WRESTLE-1 split has a lot of brawling in the crowd...not sure if this is just a coincidence or a conscious decision to "liven up" the product and encourage fans to come out and see the wrestlers up-close) which wasn't very exciting....then Miyahara starts working the arm but doesn't really have a lot of submission-based offense so the arm work sort of went nowhere. Shiozaki had that neat match with KAI in the semis of last year's Champion's Carnival which was all submission-based and ended with Go tapping out...this match had none of that match's energy and creativity. The finish was flat and abrupt even though the crowd seemed into it. I really like Miyahara in tags but he was a letdown here. Doubt his 9 minutes with Akebono the other day did much to develop him as a singles main-eventer. 

Is this thread only for recent (ie, last couple months) matches? Because I also somewhat randomly watched Suwama and Omori vs. Miyamoto and Arashi from the Dec 2013 Rikidozan Memorial show. If you're into weird random tags then you could do worse than to check this one out. Miyamoto is so bad in this, which is too bad because I do like the guy. But his timing is horrible and he kills the crowd dead by doing stuff like putting Omori into a rear chinlock and acting like he's expecting a submission. Arashi looked physically bad (understandable) but seemed enthusiastic to be there, which is more than you can say for a lot of his old AJPW work where he was actually being pushed. Miyamoto came across as the clumsy guy who does everything wrong; otherwise this was fun. 

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The Otsuka/Saito match from that Rikidozan memorial show was a lot of fun. The main event six-man was great too

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This thread can be for watching puroresu for any year, not just 2014.

 

NOAH "Monday NOAH" on 2/3/14

 

Daisuke Harada vs. Hitoshi Kumano
 
I thoroughly enjoyed this match.  Harada is in the right place to give Kumano some good offense since even though he has been wrestling for seven years, he is still relatively new to NOAH so he is still working his way up the card too.  Kumano showing fire by attacking Harada right from the start was the right way to go as it established this wasn’t going to be your typical ‘young lion’ match.  My only criticism is that Kumano’s strikes don’t look very hard at all, he does need to work on making more powerful looking strikes as NOAH is a very strike-based promotion and he won’t get very far with weak looking clubs to the chest.  Overall a really solid opener though.  Score:  6.5
 
Genba Hirayanagi vs. Mitsuhiro Kitamiya
 
Pretty rough.  Miscommunications are more memorable in short matches and there was clearly at least one here, if not more.  The ending was also incredibly sudden as Kitamiya had been winning most the match but fell to a tombstone piledriver, which as far as I know is not even one of Hirayanagi’s finishing moves.  It just seemed like someone said “that’s enough” and they went straight to the end.  Not a very good one.  Score:  3.0
 
Hajime Ohara vs. Yoshinari Ogawa
 
I guess 47 year old Ogawa just couldn’t afford to take a loss here at this stage in his career.  This match was more used to help continue a storyline, but it seems like this would be a good time to put over the young heel team with an actual victory.  Anyway, the match itself was pretty slow and nothing really meaningful happened until the end of it.  Ogawa is limited, and the match kept a pretty slow pace with neither wrestler really looking like he was on the brink of winning until the Muy Bien came into the picture.  Not a good match or a good ending.  Score:  3.0
 
Taiji Ishimori vs. Xtra Large
 
I was instantly disappointed because I thought that Ishimori was wrestling a really fat dude, but Xtra Large is just a normal looking wrestler from Chile.  It wasn’t bad per se, for a while it looked like Xtra Large wasn’t going to get any meaningful offense at all but finally towards the end he did get in a few of his moves.  There was never any doubt on who was winning this match so it was more about the journey, and it was just a bit slower than you’d expect from a short match with Ishimori.  The ending picked things up though and at least it wasn’t a squash anyway.  Score:  5.5
 
Jonah Rock vs. Shinya Ishikawa
 
Another pretty pedestrian affair.  These short matches with wrestlers that don’t have a lot of charisma isn’t doing this event any favors so far.   It was technically an acceptable match but it took them awhile to get going and some of the ‘rest’ spots were incredibly silly (since when is a grounded waistlock a real move?).   They also didn’t always appear to be on the same page which would explain some of the repeated rest holds.  Not a great showing for Ishikawa.  Score:  4.0
 
Naomichi Marufuji vs. Ryuichi Kawakami
 
This was better than the last few matches.  I don’t really like that big moves like a piledriver on the apron are so easily shrugged off, but unfortunately that is so commonplace that it doesn’t hurt the match but so much.  Marufuji winning with a submission was interesting as he had really done nothing of note to set that up.  Kawakami looked solid but seems a little over-reliant on elbow smashes.  Overall the match was perfectly fine for the mid-card and at least they got a little bit more time.  Score:  6.0
 
Mikey Nicholls vs. Mohammed Yone
 
Surprised that Nicholls actually won.  A decent match, Yone never really did much in it and was never in a position to actually win the match since they spent a few minutes outside the ring and otherwise Nicholls dominated.  But it was a decisive ending and they didn’t really waste much time with rest holds, which is a plus when the match isn’t going that long anyway.  Score:  6.5
 
Atsushi Kotoge vs. Takashi Sugiura
 
This was Sugiura’s first match in about six weeks after suffering an injury.  Maybe that is why he was so angry.  This was a really good match from start to finish, Kotoge has a lot of fire but Sugiura was just too much for him.  Lots of hard hits on both sides here and there was never a dull moment, it was action from start to finish.  A great return for Sugiura, if this is the way he always wrestles I will be watching him closely going forward.  Score:  8.0
 
Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Kenou
 
Not a bad match but more used to progress Kenou as part of the Morishima Army than anything else.  Even though he ultimately got DQed, Kenou held his own even when he wasn’t cheating so it didn’t come across too much like Kenou had no chance of winning without his friends help.  I’d rather see them in a straight fight which in a way is the point, but it was an exciting match nonetheless.  Score:  6.5
 
Shane Haste vs. Takeshi Morishima
 
For someone that just won the GHC Heavyweight Championship, Morishima sure was dominated in this match.  I am not sure why the referee didn’t call for the DQ when he was stopped from counting three, since the last match ended in a DQ obviously the referees are aware of the concept.  Haste practically squashed Morishima, not in the Vader/Z-Man sense but in as much as you will see from a champion.  This match did nothing for Morishima except show he needs his “army” to beat wrestlers, but it did elevate Haste a bit so it did have that going for it.  It was a fast paced heavyweight match and the action itself was quite good, it was more the result that puzzled me a bit as it seemed to do more harm than good.  Score:  6.0
 
KENTA vs. Maybach Taniguchi
 
An interesting match but definitely different than the usual NOAH affair.  The battling around the crowd into the back dragged a bit but to take advantage of the “No DQ” stipulation I understand why they did it. Besides the uncooperative tables though the last portion of the match went well and I liked KENTA showing his mean streak and just destroying Taniguchi at the end, leaving no doubt that he was the winner of the match.  A good and different match to end the show.  Score:  7.0
 
Final Thoughts: I appreciate them having lots of matches, singles matches at that, as it gives the wrestlers more of an opportunity to make an impression.  Some of the matches were bad, but the second half of the card really got things going and some of the matches were really good or even great. Even with the stinkers I think this event is worth watching as it offers a variety of action and displays the best (and worst) of what NOAH currently has to offer.

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The Otsuka/Saito match from that Rikidozan memorial show was a lot of fun. The main event six-man was great too

Just checked out Otsuka/Saito and really enjoyed it, thanks for the recommendation. On paper the six man sounds like something I'd love so it's next in line. 

Watched Kento Miyahara vs. Mitsuya Nagai from 16/02, as part of my ongoing evaluation of Miyahara. Nagai was my favourite wrestler in the world back in 2001 when he was Kawada's understudy so it's good o keep tabs on him too. Match was pretty forgettable but inoffensive. TONS of interference from KENSO kind of mucked things up (isn't Nagai supposed to be a good fighter who doesn't need outside help to smack around a punk like Miyahara?), but for what it's worth KENSO is really charismatic and comfortable in his heel role so he tended to at least keep things lively. Actually KENSO seemed more into the match than Miyahara or Nagai did...not that they were lazy, but they both kept it in first gear for the most part. Ending was kind of dumb with KENSO accidentally nailing Nagai to set up a pinfall by Miyahara---again, isn't Miyahara supposed to be a rising star capable of taking down a mid-carder like Nagai without help from a botched run-in? Overall it's worth watching...sort of reminiscent of a WWF PPV mid-card match circa 1989-92 (imagine Miyahara as Tito Sanatana and Nagai as King Haku or something).. 

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The March 6th Dragon Gate Korakuen may quite honestly be one of my all time favourite shows. I was honest to goodness blown away by this the other night when I watched it. And now I'm looking back on it and it's hitting me just HOW great it was.

The top two matches are off the charts. The triangle trios match was some of the best classic Toryumon style stuff they've done in a long while. Maria was off the charts and gave the match so much excitement. It was also the most into a match that Shingo has been in months. He really seemed enthusiastic in there. I'd give that match about ****1/2. Then the main event was the absolute best possible match Uhaa and Ricochet could have had with each other. Who would have thought that those two could have had a match where legwork was a major factor and it was done perfectly. Uhaa's "big guy selling" was top notch. He showed that he was hobbled but still maintained an aura of danger due to his size and strength advantage. The break it all out towards the end and everything looks incredible. This was a career performance for both guys. ****3/4 MOTYC no doubt!

Then on top of that, the undercard added so much to the show. The opener was a blast with dudes like Araken and Shiisa being amazing. They got the show off to a hot start. U-T and Kotoka was a far cry from Stan Hansen vs. Andre but I'll be damned if those kids aren't loaded with talent. Yeah they're barely over 5 foot tall but they wrestle their asses off. U-T has soooo much charisma. Finally I also really loved the No Rope Match between YAMATO and T-Hawk. They didn't go overboard with the gimmick and just had a really solid competitive match. Finish was awesome.

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Checked out Io Shirai vs. Cheerleader Melissa from earlier in the month. Don't know who much the random clipping hurt the match, but this was fairly disappointing. Shirai and Melissa seemed to have trouble forming chemistry, and from their very first lock-up there was no reason for Melissa to not be playing the Vader to Shirai's Sting. Instead Melissa wrestled as if she and Shirai were relatively equal in size, and that was befuddling. Match had its moments, but from these two I was expecting more.

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Speaking of Joshi, I just got done watching a trio of Joshi events, the first full modern Joshi events I have ever watched.  It was interesting... definitely some good wrestlers throughout.  So I am adding Joshi promotions to my site since now I am reviewing them and it only seemed fair, I have over 50 wrestlers added so far with a few promotions left.  Here is what I have reviewed for January:

 

Ice Ribbon "New Year Ribbon" 2014 on 1/4/14
 
Mio Shirai and Miyako Matsumoto vs. 235 and Kaho Kobayashi
 
Even though this was a short opening match, I still was able to pick up each wrestler's gimmicks and style without any issues. Matsumoto clearly likes to pose and mess around during matches, and Shirai is the type that doesn't really like doing that. 235 and Kobayashi more played it straight but 235 was the weaker link (even though Kobayashi is a newer and younger wrestler). For the most part I enjoyed the range of styles that we saw here, but I am so glad that Shirai was in the match as she was the main one holding it together. 235's offense looks weak and while Kobayashi looked fine she didn't do anything to stand out. Matsumoto is cute but I don't think a long match would work with her shtick... having Shirai there as her foil made it work. The match did drag when Shirai was not involved and aside from her the action tended to stall, but overall it was an entertaining opener. Score: 6.0
 
Neko Nitta vs. Shuu Shibutani
 
This was a bit odd to say the least. Nitta didn't show much here but it may be a case that she is so engrossed in her gimmick that she... overdoes it a bit to the point it negatively impacts the match. When they got down to actual action it wasn't bad, it was just disjointed by the odd comedy stuff. Japanese comedy is a bit hit and miss with me, but this one counts as a 'miss'. Score: 4.0
 
Cherry and Meari Naito vs. Maki Narumiya and Risa Sera
 
This felt like the longest match ever, I don't even know where to begin. Pretty much from start to finish it was very poorly done, I mean wrestlers were running off the wrong ropes, doing moves obviously just done to kill time (stomping, scoop slam, stomping, knee to the back, stomping, etc.) and in this particular match none of them looked good. Sera and Naito in particular looked really off at times, Narumiya was the only one of the foursome that didn't leave a bad impression. This is definitely one of those matches that if it was say six minutes long I probably wouldn't have noticed but the longer the match got the uglier it got. They have all been wrestling for years so I dunno what was going on here, but just not a good match in any way. Score: 2.5
 
Hamuko Hoshi vs. Tsukushi
 
Tsukushi is only 16 years old but from what I have seen just on this card she is one of the better wrestlers in Ice Ribbon. Not that it was perfect, they had some hiccups here and there (Tsukushi shouldn't try to put stretch submission holds on someone twice her size), but overall the match flowed well and they did a good 'little young wrestler' vs. 'bigger veteran wrestler' match. Hoshi's offense is unusual but it worked against the much smaller Tsukushi, and Tsukushi eventually realizing only a roll-up was going to get her a victory at all was the right way for the match to go. A fun little match. Score: 6.0
 
© Hikaru Shida and Tsukasa Fujimoto vs. Kurumi and Kyoko Inoue
This match is for the International Ribbon Tag Team Championship 
 
This was a fun match as it was fast paced but very well structured. Inoue is limited a bit these days but this is the perfect role for her as she can do her monster stuff but allow Kurumi to most of the faster work. Kurumi doesn't wrestle like she is 13, I wouldn't have known her age just based on her wrestling ability, she has been wrestling for several years now and appears to be quite polished. Not as long a match as you'd hope for a title match/main event but they packed a lot into it. Good effort by all, Shida in particular was impressive, looking forward to seeing more of her this year. Score: 7.0
 
 
Final Thoughts:  The main event did wonders to make the show better, but it still didn't really save it overall. When you have a five match card, all the matches have to deliver on some level, or at least accomplish some type of goal. Two of the five matches didn't do that, and while the main event was definitely good it was too short/too late to really make the event as a whole worth watching. A diehard Ice Ribbon fan would probably be satisfied, but if you are a casual fan or trying to get into a new promotion I wouldn't start with this event.
 
 
OZ Academy "The Wizard of Oz 2014" on 1/12/14
 
Kagetsu and Sareee vs. Tsubasa Kuragaki and Hiroyo Matsumoto
 
Aside from a few miscues, this was a good match. I was impressed with Kuragaki's strength, I love the Joshi dynamic of big bulldozing powerhouse versus cute quick lightweight and Kuragaki has the ability to pull it off without being so big she can't do anything else. The main thing holding this match down was Kagetsu. She had multiple mistakes in this match... I don't know if she has issues with consistency or was sick/injured but her struggles popped up at various times in the match and hurt the flow which otherwise was very fast paced. Even with that I still enjoyed the match, it prevented the match from reaching the next level but it was still a fun match overall. Score: 6.5
 
Chikayo Nagashima vs. Yumi Ohka
 
I don't know who the other wrestler interfering in the match was, maybe after I watch more of the promotion I will get more familiar with the wrestlers. We saw less than half of this match, maybe we missed the half that was a more normal back and forth but what we saw was a bit chaotic. I don't really like tons of interference in a match but I am guessing that this was part of a bigger storyline which is fine when you're still on the lower part of the card. Gotta advance stories sometime. Since less than half was shown I won't rate it but what we did see wasn't special. Score: N/A
 
Manami Toyota and Carlos Amano vs. Mima Shimoda and Tomoka Nakagawa
 
This match is a bit hard to grasp. At times it felt like... they were going in slow motion and had no direction. There was no structure at all, the only recurring theme was Amano messing up which I figure was intentional since that is all they ever replayed. But that isn't enough to maintain a 19 minute match. The teams also were not on the same page in a few places. Just a bumbled jumbled mess. Score: 3.0
 
Dynamite Kansai and Aja Kong vs. Mayumi Ozaki and Mio Shirai
 
I didn’t know that Kansai and Kong were even still wrestling, which shows how much I have been following Joshi lately.  There was way too much going on for them to have any real structure, I really don’t mind some interference but this barely resembled a 2 vs. 2 match as 30 seconds didn’t pass without someone not involved in the match getting in the ring.  The ‘loose’ interference rules in OZ Academy are too loose.  Kansai and Kong still hit hard but have lost a step, and Kong has reached the “I don’t feel like getting out on the apron when not the legal person” stage of her career, which I think she got from Abby.  Even with more backstory I don’t think I would have enjoyed this match, it was just too much of a cluster and it was hard to get into for me.  Score:  3.5
 
© AKINO vs. Sonoko Kato
This match is for the OZ Academy Openweight Championship
 
A generally entertaining match but the stretch run seemed a bit off.  Kato continuing to go for the same move over and over is generally a failed strategy, and after the move failed once I didn’t have a lot of confidence that it would work the second time.  Lots and lots of kicks to the heads here that in the long run didn’t really impact the finish, although some of the shots were quite snug.  There was no wackiness which some of the other matches on this card had, which is good, and both wrestlers showed a lot of intensity.  Definitely a ‘some good, some bad’ match but overall it was a perfectly acceptable title match, I just wish Kato had some other ‘death move’ to go for at the end so she didn’t have to keep going for the same one that already hadn’t worked.  Score:  6.0
 
 
Final Thoughts:  The big issue here is with only five matches, at least one of them really needs to deliver, but none of them did. The opening and the main event were both very solid but the ones between it were not. Plus it generally is not a good sign when the best match is the clipped opener. Not a totally worthless show since there were a couple good matches, but overall quite missable.
 
 
Stardom "Third Anniversary" on 1/26/14
 
Koguma vs. Yuna Manase
 
A rookie match, although I am glad that Manase is over 18 with that outfit that she wears.  It was easy to tell these two are still learning, as they still haven’t mastered the staple of Puroresu – strike exchanges.  But besides the awkwardness of those it was not a bad match, just basic which is understandable.  Manase hit her kicks well (the Heel Drop was nice) and it wasn’t long enough to be offensive or anything.  Rookies need experience so while not a great match it wasn’t a bad way to start out the event.  Score:  4.0
 
Kaori Yoneyama, Kellie Skater, and Yuhi vs. Manami Toyota, Hiroyo Matsumoto, and Mayu Iwatani
 
I don’t care what all the results say on various websites, it was Matsumoto that got the pin, not Toyota... I know who Toyota is.   Only half of the match was shown but I assume we got the gist of it, I am not 100% sure what the significance of the brown bag is but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter.  We didn’t really see enough of this to get a great feel for it, but what we saw was fine.  Compared to the last match you could tell these were more seasoned wrestlers as the moves were all hit smoothly and they kept the pace going.  Solid match, just not a lot of it was shown.  Score:  5.0
 
Takumi Iroha vs. Yoshiko
 
Looks like we only saw about half the match.  Yoshiko needs a new killer move, I am generally a big fan of repeating big moves in a match unless its a big title match or something, especially if the move is just a set-up for the finisher.  Iroha is a rookie going through her ‘trial series’ so it is more about her learning than it is about her actually winning matches.  Maybe here she learned that trading strikes with someone twice your size is not a great idea.  Seemed fine for what we saw but I would have liked to have seen the first half of the match.  Score:  4.0
 
© Nanae Takahashi and Miho Wakizawa vs. Kyoko Kimura and Alpha Female
This match is for the Goddesses of Stardom Championship
 
A solid match, but the clips in the action made it hard for the wrestlers to really get a good flow going as it was disjointed in parts.  Not that it is their fault, it is just the way the match was presented which is disappointing for a title match.  The wrestling was generally solid although a bit silly at times (such as the ketchup usage and Wakizawa doing a Frankensteiner on her own partner).  There wasn’t anything noticeably wrong with the match, the skipping just hurt the structure.  Score:  6.0
 
© Act Yasukawa vs. Kairi Hojo 
This match is for the Wonder of Stardom Championship
 
This was a really good and well worked match.  The focus by Hojo on Yasukawa’s back was done really well as she never lost focus the entire match.  Yasukawa on her part also sold it the entire match and even failed to be able to apply her finishing move the first time because of it, something that I always enjoy seeing as it just shows that both wrestlers understand the psychology being used and won’t sacrifice that just to get a spot in.  Also the referee calling for the bell without Hojo submitting keeps her strong, as even though it was the right call she protested after the match and stayed crying in the ring while Yasukawa celebrated.  Just overall a really entertaining back and forth battle between these two.  Score:  7.5
 
© Io Shirai vs. Natsuki*Taiyo 
This match is for the World of Stardom Championship
 
Well this was a match.  To get straight to the point I thought it was pretty amazing.  There were some little things here and there that didn’t work as they tried to get too cute, but considering the speed in which they go and having very little downtime some missteps here and there are expected.  It may stop the match from becoming an all-time classic but it doesn’t take away from all that they did right.  I have to admit any match with a perfect moonsault doublestomp automatically is good in my book, it is such an awesome looking move when hit properly like the second one was in this match.  I hadn’t seen either of these women before and Shirai is great fun to watch as she was just flying around everywhere.  They didn’t spend a lot of time with submission holds, just a few general ‘weaken your opponent’ ones and seemed content to just drop bombs and big moves on each other.  It felt like a big match, and it was as this was a big anniversary show for them.  Overall just a great match, I can look past a few of the hiccups and a few minor selling when a match is as exciting as this one, definitely a must-see.  Score:  8.5
 
Final Thoughts:  The event started slow, but each of the three title matches was better than the last one, climaxing with a great encounter in the main event.  The wrestlers were really going all out here for their anniversary show, and win or lose there was certainly no lack of passion.  The last two matches are definitely worth watching, and the others aren’t bad even though some are clipped and as a general rule of thumb I hate clipping in matches.  Definitely worth picking up if you are already a fan of Stardom, but even if not I think this event has a lot of good going for it even with the clipped matches.

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Watched Shinsuke Nakamura vs Bad Luck Fale from the NJ Cup finals and it was not good. Are you a fan of Kawada vs Gary Albright from 1995? If so you will find little that reminds you of it here. Fale comes across as just some big dude with no charisma or presence; it doesn't help that despite having the major size advantage he has to rely on like six other big guys outside the ring to keep interfering on his behalf. Nakamura was real good in it but the match just never gets off the ground. Nak comes out holding his shoulder (I guess MiSu banged him up earlier in the night?) but there's no limb work to tease a fluke submission finish. I don't recall there being any point in the match where a Fale victory seemed plausible. Nakamura bleeding at the end gave the match some unexpected violent shock value, but it's all kind of moot once the replay shows us that he basically hurt himself by accidentally driving Fale's big melon head onto his own face while synching up a cross-armbreaker.

I don't know. I really wanted this to be good. I like when stuff that sounds weird and unappealing on paper ends up being uniquely great and memorable, but that didn't happen here. It was uninspired from the get-go, and despite a hot finishing sequence,  wasn't a strong enough one-man show by Nakamura to make up for Fale's (or the bookers') weaknesses. 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJaQMqjPtvk

 

So I found this on MuttonAndTheHam's channel, incorrectly tagged as a Big Japan match. It made me wonder if DDT did a Campsite match in 2013 and if it made tape? I know they get a little more ridiculous each year but it was always good for a laugh and some insanely dangerous and ill-conceived spots.

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Tonkotsu Big Fireworks ~ Pro-Wrestling's Mecca of the West! on 3/21/14
 
fireworks2014.jpg

Jason Lee vs. Mineo Fujita
 
A really basic opening match (lots of dropkicks), but generally not offensive.  I hadn’t seen Fujita in a while, doesn’t seem like his career has progressed since last time I did see him however.  Lee came down with some belts so I guess he was the ‘better’ wrestler going in, and he did dominate the match when Fujita wasn’t connecting with his groin-based offense.  Not much to it but nothing actively bad either.  Score:  4.5
 
Asosan, Junji Tanaka, Kitai Kubo, and The Atchee vs. Hosaka, Yaguchi, Fujii, and Yasu Uike
 
A pretty blah affair.  None of these guys are particularly good wrestlers (as far as I am aware) and this match kinda showed that.  Pretty basic match with lots of strikes and not overly exciting offense.  It isn’t the worst match I have seen but certainly was dull as hell.  Score:  3.5
 
Daemon Ueda, KAMIKAZE, and Sugawara vs. Hidaka, Masato Tanaka, and Omatayuuchaku
 
A little better than the last match which I guess isn’t saying much as the wrestler quality was a bit higher.  Seemed like a waste of Tanaka who is probably the best wrestler on this entire card, but he seemed like he was having a good time.  Not much to it but nothing really wrong with it either.  Score:  5.0
 
Daichi Hashimoto and Kazuki Hashimoto vs. Kohei Sato and Yoshikazu Yokoyama
 
This was a typical match that has Sato and Hashimoto in it… lots of strikes throughout the entire match.  So if you enjoy strike battles you may like this one a lot, to me it was just ok.  I hadn’t seen Yokoyama before, he looked pretty solid and both teams worked well together so it didn’t seem like two thrown together teams (even if it was).  The ending was definitive, maybe overly so, and it was nice to see Daichi actually pick up a pinfall win over someone.  Some good and some bad, but overall certainly watchable.  Score:  6.0
 
© James Raideen vs. Ryouji Sai
ZERO1 World Heavyweight Championship
 
This was pretty so-so.  It was just ‘there’, it was not particularly exciting or interesting from start to finish.  Raideen is solid for the big muscle guy but lacks charisma (think of a slightly smaller Rob Terry), and the match just wasn’t really captivating.  I can’t say it was bad, the action was solid, it was just missing that special something to make it memorable or make it seem like it was a title match.  Score:  5.0
 
Atsushi Onita and Shinjiro Otani vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara and Yoshihiro Takayama
 
Not really sure what I just watched.   It was sloppy and kinda sad, but also captivating.  I mean I know the explosions are partly for show but Onita’s arm had a noticeable burn on it so it wasn’t all fun and games.  So we have four wrestlers with an average age over 50 doing ugly brawling and mostly just repeatedly falling into the barbed wire to make it go “BOOM!”.  I can’t call it a good match, I just can’t, there wasn’t someone like a Hayabusa or a Great Sasuke to give the match any flair that it desperately needed.  But it was a good throwback to the heyday of FMW, even with the silly ending (Fujiwara didn’t touch the barbed wire on the last spot, he should have just been pinned after the chair shot).  So even though it was rough to watch, it was still… interesting and it is a match that I am glad I saw since it is just further proof that wrestlers are crazy.  Score:  6.0

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Final Thoughts:  This was the epitome of a one match card. The first five matches had no real variety... just multi-man matches before a dull title match leading up to the big finale. And the main event didn't disappoint in many ways, it was certainly crazy, but it was also really sloppy and ugly. Which in a way is part of the charm, but it really needed one younger wrestler that could fly around and take the bumps so the older guys could get a breather. Instead they just... got blown up when they needed a breather. It is in a way worth seeing the show just for the main event but you may end up being disappointed, and there is nothing on the rest of the show that anyone needs to go out of their way to see.

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Atsushi Onita and Shinjiro Otani vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara and Yoshihiro Takayama
 
Not really sure what I just watched.   It was sloppy and kinda sad, but also captivating.  I mean I know the explosions are partly for show but Onita’s arm had a noticeable burn on it so it wasn’t all fun and games.  So we have four wrestlers with an average age over 50 doing ugly brawling and mostly just repeatedly falling into the barbed wire to make it go “BOOM!”.  I can’t call it a good match, I just can’t, there wasn’t someone like a Hayabusa or a Great Sasuke to give the match any flair that it desperately needed.  But it was a good throwback to the heyday of FMW, even with the silly ending (Fujiwara didn’t touch the barbed wire on the last spot, he should have just been pinned after the chair shot).  So even though it was rough to watch, it was still… interesting and it is a match that I am glad I saw since it is just further proof that wrestlers are crazy.  Score:  6.0

 

What the hell. Is Ohtani doing the running bootscrape into a fucking explosion not flair enough for you?

 

I watched Nishimura vs. Kento Miyahara from the 4/27 CC show and it was shaping up to be a really good, unique bout until a really abrupt and unexpected finish kind of puts a damper on it. Nish takes the kid back to pre-school stretching him with his classic 70s style submissions. He has the best headlock in the world, Nish does. And he murders the little KO bastard with European uppercuts until Miyahara's cheek is split open hardway. It isn't great, mainly because of the weird finish and the fact that it never got into that next gear before it ended, but Nish fans should definitely check this out.

 

I looked for his match with Akebono but I guess it wasn't taped?

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2014 BIG JAPAN STUFF

Kodaka vs. Tsukamoto from January

Run of the mill light tube stuff. There was a big hammer. It didn't get used nearly as much as I wanted. Also...that Double Knee from the Top of the Ladder looked sick. Should have ended that fucking match. If Tsukamoto shat himself I wouldn't hold it against him.

 

Kodaka & Miyamoto vs. Ito &Takahashi From April

This had a light tube cage, which makes for a really cool image when a guy gets thrown into it. I like this better than the previous match, mostly because it's a tag, so they can sprea dout the punishment and no one looks particularly super human. Also you can have your partner some garbage stunt up while you work over your victim, as opposed to you setting it up and your opponent just chilling for five minutes. Though - Miyamoto resetting the light tube cage was kind of ridiculous. I still dig everything that happened after that, with Ito shaking the cage to stop Kodaka and hurricanrana spot. Man, Ito has trouble moving sometimes doesn't he? How long has he been that slow? Hard knock life.

 

Super Tiger & K. Hashimoto vs. Shinobu & Men's Teioh.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_WITxJ_FhQ

This is one of the better BJW matches I've seen so far, this year. First of all, I dig all of these guys, and particularly Shinobu who was my favorite dude in New Hazard back in the day - he was like an SNL feat. cast member that didn't get asked back. Hashimoto and Shinobu knock the piss out of each other, Tiger is still cool beans, and Men's Teioh brings some GRAPPLES to fuck with people. My favoirte part may have been when Hashimoto was being all manly on Shinobu, Shinobu tagged out, and Teioh quietly walked in and took Hashimoto to the mat like a bitch. Good times.

 

RANDOM SHIT

Keita Yano/One Man Kru/Kenji Fukamoto vs. Takashi Sasaki/Miyawaki/Toru Sugiura - Barbed Wire Baseball Bat match from FREEDOMS 8/9/2012

This wasn't total shit, mostly because it was short. One Man Kru is in total late 90's mode with FALCON ARROWS AND POWERBOMBS AND A FAT BOY MOONSAULT. No blood from the baseball bat, which was peculiar. Wayyyyyyyy too many nut shots in this, one of which was shrugged off like it was a chest chop.

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 and particularly Shinobu who was my favorite dude in New Hazard back in the day -

 

"Back in the day?"  Holee....... I suddenly feel very old.  I realize It's been 5 or 6 years since New Hazard was around, but I don't think if the Blood Gen/New Hazard/M'Oz era as "back in the day.:  Back in the day, I was a big fan of the Italian Connection and Crazy Max.  Back in the day, I watched the Crazy Max guys in Mexico.  They hadn't hit in Japan yet.  Back in the day, I was a bif fan of "Natural Born Master: Keiji Mutoh. 

 

I'm going to bed now.  It's past 6 PM.  Tme for us old folks to get some sleep.

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Modern Wrestling time is different than real time. Three weeks is a long feud for example. Three months is a title reign of historic significance. 6 years ago is like talking about how we talked about wrestling in the 80's in the late 90's.

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I have missed not watching and reviewing full puro shows. First one back on the wagon is NOAH: Navigation With Breeze Night 4 (5/31).

 

Hitoshi Kumano vs Mitshuhiro Kitamiya

We start with the young boys doing their damnedest to learn the art of pro wrestling. There isn't much here but what is here is entertaining enough. I have no reliable database to tell me who is who without spoiling the rest of the card so they will be judged together instead of on their own merit. My favorite spot in the match has the man in red holding an armbar then transitioning to a backslide. After this spot I put all my money on red and lost it all as black who made red tap out with an octopus hold. Good enough opener.

 

Masao Inoue vs Yoshinari Ogawa

The fact that this 8 minute match is clipped to less time than the young boys match should speak volumes on its quality. It seemed like Ogawa wanted to wrestle a straight match and Inoue said "No on my watch" and proceeds to work almost all comedy spots. While I am far from a wrestling snob and enjoy some comedy within wrestling, this was not my taste. Ogawa gains the pin after sitting down on a Inoue sunset flip attempt. Not worth your time.

 

Kenou & Hajime Ohara vs Katsuhiko Nakajima & Taji Ishimori

Though this match had a lot of energy and contained a lot of moves, I found it lacking direction. What they did here was an entertaining spotfest with plenty of cool moves such as the German Suplex hold that Kenou used on Ishimori where he held him swinging between his legs then lifted Ishimori all the way up and around for the German. Of course they include a couple of Fighting Spirit exchanges of forearms and kicks which are fine in my book, if a little cliche. Kenou pinned Ishimori for the win after an interesting suplex (for lack of a better term). There is very little that completely turns me off in wrestling but if you hate spotfests this might not be the match for you.

 

Akitoshi Saito & Atsushi Kotoge vs Yoshihiro Takayama & Genba Hirayanagi

This match was clipped way down from its 16 minutes and it was still a match Takayama could not save. It is worse than the spotfest, skip it.

 

Naomichi Marufuji vs Shane Haste

I have heard Marufuji can be lazy when unmotivated and that seemed to be the case here. No one cared about this match including the performers and the crowd. While I understand the big picture story involves Marufuji heading for a future GHC Heavyweight Title match, the story of the match seemed to be that both wrestlers had no specific strategy to win the match so they would just hit moves until something worked. I like what I see from TMDK as a team but the jury is still out on them in singles matches and this may not be a good match to make judgement on Shane. If Marufuji was indeed phoning it in then there is little Haste could have done to make the match meaningful. Marufuji won with a submission hold of which I cannot find a name. This match is not worth your time.

 

Daisuke Harada © vs Quiet Storm - GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship

In my wildest imaginations would I have thought I would be watching Quiet Storm matches in 2014. The last I had seen of him was in 2002 or 2003 ROH and Storm looks like a completely different wrestler. Quiet Storm is now a mature 30 year old and is gigantic compared to the skinny teenager on those early ROH shows. My 6 year old daughter watched this with me and I tried to sell her on Quiet Storm having muscles but she confirmed he is just fat. Quiet Storm disappointed me by not shouting STORM CRADLE DRIVER once in the match, which I would have popped for. These two work a nice little big/small story with slightly bland offense. Shoulder blocks rule the first half of the match establishing Quiet Storm's size advantage and then transitions to more power moves in the latter half of the match. I was very disappointed in the brainbuster on the concrete floor being sold like any ordinary move. Harada won with a German Suplex that never toyed with the idea that Quiet Storm was difficult to pick up due to his size. Still compared to the previous few matches this was better and worth a view if you have 16 minutes to spare.

 

Takeshi Morishima & MAYBACH Taniguchi © vs Takashi Sugiura & Masato Tanaka - GHC Tag Team Championship

I like stiff wrestling but I didn't love this. These four put in enough work for a great match but the lack of drama makes the match feel underwhelming. Some of this may have come from all of the Cho Kibou-Gun interference which takes the focus away form the match. Sugiura & Tanaka have some good teamwork and hopefully will have a good reign after ending Taniguchi/Morishima's title run at 126 days.

 

Final Thoughts

Skip this show unless you have the need to see every NOAH show. The title matches are okay but nothing really stands out up and down the card. Recommended to avoid.

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Quiet Storm has been wrestling in K-Dojo off and on for the last decade.

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Sorry guys, haven't had a chance to do much match pimping this year. One of these days I'm gonna get into the Yes/No folder and do a big update but in the meantime, for what it's worth, here's my star ratings for 2014 so far.

 

 

Masato Yoshino vs. Masaaki Mochizuki (1/16) (DG) *****

 

Tetsuya Naito vs. Tomohiro Ishii (2/11) (NJPW) ****3/4
Ricochet vs. Uhaa Nation (3/6) (DG) ****3/4
Akira Tozawa vs. T-Hawk (5/9) (DG) ****3/4

 

Takagi/Yoshino/Tozawa vs. Hulk/Doi/Kong vs. Kanda/Kagetora/QuuQuu vs/ Eita/T-Hawk/Flamita (4/8) (DG) ****1/2
Tetsuya Naito vs. Tomohiro Ishii (4/6) (NJPW) ****1/2
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (4/6) (NJPW) ****1/2
Takagi/Yoshino/Tozawa vs. Susumu/Kagetora/Horiguchi vs, Eita/Maria/Flamita (3/6) (DG) ****1/2
Kazuchika Okada vs. Kota Ibushi (3/6) (NJPW) ****1/2
Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito (1/4) (NJPW) ****1/2
Kazuchika Okada vs. Hirooki Goto (2/11) (NJPW) ****1/2
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (2/9) (NJPW) ****1/2
Okada/Nakamura/Ishii vs. Goto/Tanahashi/Naito (2/2) (NJPW) ****1/2
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Kota Ibushi (5/25) (NJPW) ****1/2
Tozawa/Takagi vs. Mochizuki/Fujii (5/5) (DG) ****1/2
YAMATO vs. Ricochet (5/5) (DG) ****1/2
The Young Buck$ vs. The Timesplitters (6/21) (NJPW) ****1/2
Kota Ibushi vs. Ricochet (6/21) (NJPW) ****1/2

 

Flamita vs. Jimmy Susumu (5/5) (DG) ****1/4
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tomoaki Honma (5/3) (NJPW) ****1/4
Daisuke Harada vs. Atsushi Kotoge (4/19) (NOAH) ****1/4
AJ Styles vs. Kazuchika Okada (5/25) (NJPW) ****1/4
YAMATO vs. Uhaa Nation (4/8) (DG) ****1/4
Taiji Ishimori vs. Daisuke Harada (3/8) (NOAH) ****1/4
Akebono vs. Go Shiozaki (2/23) (AJPW) ****1/4
Tetsuya Naito vs. Tomohiro Ishii (3/15) (NJPW) ****1/4
Taiji Ishimori vs. Hajime Ohara (1/19) (NOAH) ****1/4
Shibata/Goto vs. Okada/YOSHI-HASHI (2/9) (NJPW) ****1/4
Atsushi Aoki vs. Kotaro Suzuki (2/5) (AJPW) ****1/4
Katsuyori Shibata vs. Hirooki Goto (1/4) (NJPW) ****1/4
Jun Akiyama vs. Takao Omori (6/15) (AJPW) ****1/4
Goto/Shibata vs. Tanahashi/Naito (7/4) (NJPW) ****1/4
Monster Express vs.. The Millenials (7/3) (DG) ****1/4
Monster Express vs. The Jimmys (6/5) (DG) ****1/4
Mochizuki/Kid vs. T-Hawk/Eita (6/5) (DG) ****1/4

 

Sekimoto/Miyahara vs. Hino/Sato (6/8) (FD) ****
Goto/Shibata vs. Honma/Makabe (6/29) (NJPW) ****
Jimmy Susumu vs. T-Hawk (5/31) (DG) ****
Kenny Omega vs. Ryusuke Taguchi (5/30) (NJPW) ****
Kenny Omega vs. El Desperado (6/3) (NJPW) ****
Golden Lovers vs. Yankii Ni Cho Kenji vs. Endo/Takeshita (1/26) (DDT) ****
Masaaki Mochizuki vs. T-Hawk (1/12) (DG) ****
Genki Horiguchi H.A.Gee.Mee!!! vs. Super Shiisa (1/12) (DG) ****
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (1/4) (NJPW) ****
Prince Devitt vs. Kota Ibushi (1/4) (NJPW) ****
KENTA vs. Takeshi Morishima (1/5) (NOAH) ****
Mascara Dorada vs. Volador Jr. (1/19) (NJPW) ****
Akebono vs. Kento Miyahara (3/18) (AJPW) ****
Masato Yoshino vs. Ricochet (3/2) (DG) ****
The Jimmys vs. CIMA/Shiisa/K-Ness (3/2) (DG) ****
Genki Horiguchi H.A.Gee.Mee!!! vs. Yosuke SantaMaria (3/1) (DG) ****
Yuji Nagata vs. KENTA (2/22) (NOAH) ****
Nakamura/Ishii vs. Naito/Tanahashi (3/6) (NJPW) ****
Yuji Nagata vs. Mohammed Yone (5/17) (NOAH) ****
Millenials vs. Kid/K-Ness/Shiisa (5/5) (DG) ****
Escape The Cage Mascara Contra Caballera (5/5) (DG) ****
Millenials vs. Ricochet/Takagi/Yoshino (5/5) (DG) ****
HARASHIMA vs. KUDO (3/21) (DDT) ****

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Watched Wolves vs. Junior Stars from the Wrestle-1 show. Good match, pretty much exactly like I expected it to go.

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I'm about six months late, but I'm just getting started on my New Year's Resolution of watching much more wrestling from Japan than I have previously, since I hear it can be pretty good sometimes. I really really enjoyed Tomohiro Ishii vs. Yuji Okabayashi from Legend Pro on the 13th. It's funny (at least, it is to me)- even a year or so ago I would have watched a match like this and been all like "WHY AREN'T THEY DOING MOONSAULTS?," and now I watch matches with moonsaults in them and go "WHY AREN'T THESE HUMANS MUCH LARGER AND INTENT ON CRASHING INTO EACH OTHER REPEATEDLY UNTIL ONE OF THEM FALLS DOWN?" I think I've grown to appreciate just raw power and feats of strength more maybe, I really liked Okabayashi's almost effortless powerslam on Ishii, and then Ishii one-upping him later on with a crazy superplex. The only thing that disappointed me really was it wasn't quite long enough, it ends kind of abruptly and was missing a few extra minutes of slamming and lariating and razor sharp near falls for my liking. Still, it was a hugely worthwhile use of 15 minutes or so. Okabayashi is rapidly becoming one of my favourites, it'd be great to see him live sometime.

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You should check out Kohei Sato. His thing is basically that he murders everyone shorter than him and pretty much everyone's shorter than him (especially in BJW).

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So I watched Freedoms from 1/8/14 and let me tell ya, it was just awful.  I typically enjoy Indy wrestling but this was just bad Indy wrestling.  The main event was fine (Kasai/Takeda vs. Sasaki/Takaiwa) but the rest of the card was just rough.  Worse, it was really dull.  I don't see how anyone could have been entertained by this event. It made me sad because I was kinda looking forward to it, I like watching the smaller promotions as generally they bring something a bit different to the table, but now I am dreading watching more Freedoms :(

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