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The 6-Man Gauntlet was an innovative concept for a match, and you just know if WWE did it the champs would be in first instead of the right way around. I only half watched so caveat emptor. You've got Ospreay doing his flying, Ricochet doing same, and Takahashi coming out with a bevy of women, including one with a latex Batman-esque bunny ears mask and almost nothing else which... well, I'll leave it to your imagination. Probably worth checking out just for that. 

SHIBATA/GOTO was, of course, probably more entertaining for me than the two headlining matches on the card previously shown. Even though Shibata is a throwback and a crowbar and an asshole he fills a certain hole in wrestling. Since JR keeps comparing Goto to Bret Hart I'll call it the "Bad News Allen Hole". This business is a three ring circus, folks, and you've got to have some elephants to go with the monkeys and the clowns and the guy shot out of a cannon. Goto is my little Train that thinks he can and going toe-to-toe with Shibata is a risk he's apparently went through on six occasions including two double knockouts (!) so this is a bit of a tie breaker. There are two segments of Fighting Spirit bullshit but they keep them short and at top speed so you can ignore them if they hurt your feelings too much (at the same time I also think they could have done without 'em). The story, after some really great matwork to start, is Shibata being King Dick and Goto saying "if you're gonna do that I'll take your taped-up neck and snap it against my knee". It's kind of a small match really but seeing Shibata taken down is enough for me, and by the guy that deserves to take him down... well, okay, Ishii deserves it but Goto is second best. There's also plenty of career-shortening kicks and headbutts here for sickos like me and Schneider and whoever else. 

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Oh yeah, forgot about this: Is Jado the Japanese version of Christopher Daniels, physically? The shaved head and that neck, man...

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Just saw shibata vs goto on axs and that was my second favorite match. That was a super entertaining 16 minutes. 

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This is the last WK11 episode and they're starting Best of the Super Juniors next week with Gedo vs. Taguchi. Always good to see Gedo again.

"The American Nightmare" CODY vs. JUICE ROBINSON was surprisingly pretty good. Juice had some nice offense early on though he looks like a lamer -- cut the dreads and get some new trunks, dude. Cody Rhodes has always been good at being a nut and had some great facial expressions and offense here though he whiffed on a thigh-slapped springboard kick that the camera caught full on, which apparently made him decide to completely spike Juice on a hanging DDT to make up for it right after. He also used a mean chop block and a sick Calf Killer/Crusher/etc. that tripped up Juice for the rest of the match. The Cross Rhodes still sucks but what can you do. 

BUCKS/ROPPONGI VICE is a Bucks match. Man do they talk a lot in and out of the ring. A Young Boy DIES eating a superkick not meant for him and you have to wonder what he screwed up on in training earlier to deserve that. There is a Canadian Destroyer in this match... as a reversal. That pretty much tells you whether you want to watch this or not. Vice win with a rollup and take the belts. 

HIROMU TAKAHASHI vs. KUSHIDA: Takahashi immediately pisses me off by having a painted and studded punk leather hanging over his shoulder that you know cost him over a grand to buy from someone, the twat. Kushida, on the other hand, makes me happy by starting to work the arm immediately after a big dive. Then Takahashi tries to kill Kushida with a sunset flip powerbomb to the floor that is unbelievably fast and hard and puts Kushida's head right into the guardrail. FUCK! The doctors even come over to check him out. After that Kushida Flatliners him into the corner for a hell of a receipt. In the vein of the Cody match Takahashi botches a rana and snaps Kushida's neck badly into the ropes, but smartly covers for it with the old Terry Funk head tap. After that Kushida says "fuck it" and catches a Taka dive with a kick into cross armbreaker that he holds on almost to 20 on the outside and then they have a great struggle over the Hoverboard Lock before punching each other right in their necks. Taka hits a really crazy toprope flip-rollup (if it were on the mat) that turns into a powerbomb and then the Timebomb for the win and the belt. Kind of abrupt of an ending but a sweet little match. Both of these guys are crazy and their rematch(es) will be equally batty. 

Catch that main for sure, and the CODY match if you wanna see what Mr. Runnels has been up to. As far as his name's concerned, at the very least he isn't going by "Cody Dreamer"...

EDIT: Hold up, Takahashi is this Kamaitachi that DEAN used to pimp all the time in CMLL? Well I'll be damned.

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You know I didn't think it was all that bad, he kind of rolled with it, but the surface was probably horrible to land on. That didn't stand out with the potentially injurious spots in the other matches to me, even though it got a replay. Maybe I should see it again.

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WILL OSPREAY/VOLADOR JR. has Ospreay win with Cena's springboard reverse stunner. Yeah. That's all I have to say about that, aside from that this is a clipfest and Volador never had to wear a mask in the first place, he's a handsome dude. 

KUSHIDA/BUSHI: Just like airing those pre-match interviews that give away who won, they need to stop putting the commercial for the next episode before and during the current episode when it's tournament time because that gives away the winners of two of these matches. BUSHI almost 20 counts KUSHIDA twice immediately but he survives. The receipt is a koppo kick where both boots smack dead on into BUSHI's grill at top speed which looked vicious. Work is all based on BUSHI's arm but of course they sneak in a forearm exchange anyway. Boy the MX is a stupid finisher. BUSHI uses two to win; I'd rather see KUSHIDA/Ospreay but there you go. BUSHI misting the title is an inspired bit of assholery. I'd say someone should rip his earring out but it looks like a clip-on. 

BTW, JR and Warmaster are sleepwalking through this thing. 

RYUSUKE TAGUCHI/GEDO: Another interview giving away the winner. This is the rematch from the previous Best of the Super Junior where Gedo won with the Gedo Clutch in kind of a feel-good moment for Gedo who doesn't get in the ring much anymore. He's 48 (!) now so I don't blame him. Warmaster says Taguchi looks like Mike Muir from Suicidal Tendencies with his bandanna and JR says he wishes he knew who was and Warmaster replies he'll burn him a CD, haha. The mockery does not make Gedo happy so he takes the ringbell hammer to Taguchi which of course Red Shoes just watches. Who just watches as they repeatedly use the exposed turnbuckles too. I'm actually with Jim and Josh's irritation about this and they wake up to make some wisecracks about putting a Young Boy in the way or a photographer because nobody wants to put the pad back. The ankle lock out of Gedo's crossface was really unexpected and looked like it hurt a lot. Both guys have really nice reversals and Taguchi manages one from the nutshot-into-Clutch that Gedo won with last time to pin him, which makes Gedo have a childish tantrum in the ring to our amusement. Fun little match and I guess I can get behind Hip Attack Boy in serious mode next week. 

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Gedo threw a temper tantrum that Jericho would be proud of, hahahaha. Red Shoes unfortunately continues to be the absolute worst and I keep wondering why the hell he still has a job.

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Really not in the mood tonight, I just glanced up at the tag match and Ospreay/Taguchi at random. Ospreay was selling ankle injury yet every goddamn thing he did was a running/flying move. As I've said before, caveat emptor. Next week is Ospreay/KUSHIDA. 

Will say one thing, the crowd is hot as hell for the main and next week is gonna be the same. 

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BRISCOES/GUERILLAS OF DESTINY I didn't really watch. JR was really pissed off about Hangman Page coming out and using the noose after (when Page goes back and retrieves the rope he bitterly quips "Can't forget your gimmick!"). 

NAGATA/SHIBATA: Rematch from the last time they beat the paste out of each other. Barnett says Nagata gives him hope he might get back in the ring again due to his age, haha. You cheeky bastard, see you in TNA. Shibata goes to the arm and starts using Nagata's zombie armbar so the crowd oooohs. That doesn't last as Nagata just crumples him with a short kneelift and a kick that looks like it could break ribs. Shibata keeps trying to do the situp thing but Nagata seems to be hitting him hard enough to make him actually sell in full. Of course he then just starts powdering into the old man before they do the Fighting Spirit bullshit. Nagata's bleeding from the mouth which makes the zombie armbar look a little neater. Goddamn, his knees are more vicious than either of their kicks. Regardless, Shibata (who even eats a PK) chokes out Nagata who aaaaalmost escapes, which makes you appreciate his facial selling all the more. Not a patch on their previous match but still smash-mouth enough without going into overkill. Cut out the middle bit and you've got some good stuff. 

KUSHIDA/OSPREAY: The odds are about 50/50 that I like this one. Either man could send it spiraling into idiocy. Starting with matwork is the right (and obvious) move and KUSHIDA uses Ospreay's acrobatics against him as he kicks his wrist out while he's holding himself up and then goes right to it. This still allows Ospreay to do his high flying, though if they were working the ankle I'm sure like last week he'd be running and jumping around anyway. At least this psychology works because of the Hoverboard Lock. Boy they have a bad hockey punchup but right after Ospreay gets killed dead by the koppo kick and a rolling senton that lands really hard on the back of his head. That could have went very wrong. To his credit Ospreay is selling the wrist the whole time. His flying is a little too elaborate and sloppy though, it reminds me of the complaints about RVD's "fruity embellishments". Aaaaand for the second match in a row someone is bleeding from the mouth! We don't get much more after that because KUSHIDA rolls into the Hoverboard and it's over, just as it should be. Ospreay has some work to do for me to fully buy into his style but this was worked just like I wanted it to and I enjoyed it. 

Looking at the replays, the embellishments are super obvious. Dude, KUSHIDA is sitting on the mat, you don't have to do a 360 spin to kick him in the face, just walk up and kick him in the face. The spin doesn't make it look any cooler, despite what you think.

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Watching Tenzan/Ishii from the G1 (really good) and Barnett described Ishii as "a safe with a personality." That's one of the funniest wrestling lines I've ever heard. 

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TANAHASHI/SANADA: Tana is coming in off injury and they open up pretty slow with some matwork. Ross saying that all the secretaries at Turner found an excuse to take a peek at Mutoh when he came to the building gave me a chuckle. They go to the outside and Tana takes a BRUTAL drop toehold at 1000 MPH into the guardrail, Jesus. If his arm already wasn't injured, it and his collarbone might be. Sanada of course immediately goes to the arm and does a beautiful pair of leapfrogs into a dropkick in the meantime. Tana manages a Hi Fly Flow to the outside and starts on Sanada's leg. Then they ignore both injuries so Sanada can do a springboard missile dropkick and a forearm exchange. *sigh* Sanada's Skull End (a dragon sleeper with body scissors) is pretty spiffy looking though... and Sanada wins with it! He has to moonsault and cutter the shit out of Tana first though. The sight of him tapping is pretty sweet however and Sanada getting the two points over the promotion ace is a nice move on Gedo's part in the booking. Match had the crowd and was technically fine but didn't grab me entirely for obvious reasons. 

TENZAN/ISHII: Good lord, Tenzan has been in the G1 21 times, and won three. He has an earnest interview about Kojima giving him his spot and he says this might be his last tournament. Ishii is definitely not the man I'd want to face up against in this circumstance. The Mongolian Chop is so silly of a move but the hissing from the crowd makes me love it. No idea how Jim didn't bust up about "a safe with a personality", as Pete noted above, what a pro. Ishii is getting dickish with chops to the throat, Tenryu dick-kicks to the forehead, making fun of his hair apparently, and Tenzan is not taking it at all to the point where he throws the ref off and tells him to shut up while he's retaliating. Ishii takes it back though with another chop to the collarbone/throat that is beautifully shot and incredibly violent. The man is such a fucking powerhouse. Tenzan is, meanwhile, such a fucking idiot for using the diving headbutt, especially at his age; he also continues the current New Japan tradition of bleeding from the mouth. These guys are beating each other to hamburger. FUCK, THAT HEADBUTT EXCHANGE! That was FUTEN level. Tenzan wins with the moonsault and Kojima is practically in tears. This was great. Tenzan says something about "that's the first win" and then I get a phonecall from a friend walking home from the bar so I miss everything else. 

The latter match hit the sweet spot but the way these men are using their heads (literally) in their matches is not going to bode well for their futures. The former match is solid enough so I'd say give 'em both a watch.

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Had to miss the first ep due to work but, World Pro Wrestling Return for G1 Climax B-Block in Korakuen Hall!

NAITO/NAGATA: Naito shows little tranquilo to start; Nagata kicks him in the leg when he tries and they get right to it. Argh, this is clipped. Naito goes for the leg and he does some nice fakeouts to go back to it after Yuji has a stiff little comeback. Such a dismissive little prick. Wow, Nagata just unloads on his arm with those kicks. Then Naito spits in his face and Nagata kicks him in the throat. Naito has a sweet knee scissor leglock that looks like some Volk Han shit (no wonder, Warmaster calls it a Sambo lock) but Yuji reaches the ropes revealing a horribly swollen or disfigured middle knuckle. The elbow exchange is fantastic because of Naito's responses. Right after Nagata hits two BRUTAL backdrop suplexes and beats him! This really should have been aired in full but what's there is great. Pudgy, old, beat-up Yuji Nagata is one of my favorite wrestlers right now. 

SHIBATA/HONMA: Well, here we go. Out of respect to Honma's injury I really hope he doesn't do anything completely stupid in this. Boy is his jacket loud and wild looking. They start immediately with a forearm exchange into a missed headbutt and then slow it down. Shibata of course gives zero fucks and mockingly scrapes his boot against Honma's scalp but Honma isn't having it and kicks him right over the rail into an amused woman at ringside. Nice fire here from him. He reverses a front choke into a Fire Thunder Driver which was a bit of a shocker and then hits another one. Shibata no-selling it pisses me off. Fuck, then Honma hits Omori's Axe Guillotine Driver and does the Kokeshi for the win! Two underdog wins in a row. I guess that's the best way to do it because battering Shibata the whole time obviously will not work. Woof, Honma tosses a suffering Shibata back in the ring, demands a handshake and gets slapped, then tosses him out and Shibata powders. For like the first time ever since he was in Big Japan Honma comes off like a badass. He cuts a great promo after too. JR: "The voice of a choirboy... if he was gargling Drano." 

YOSHI-HASHI/OMEGA: I've seen little of Yoshi so let's see what he's got against Kenny, who happily "Too Sweets" the Korakuen fans while holding his broom. JR brings up Perry Saturn's mop having a name and Barnett says he will refer to the broom as "He Who Shall Not Be Named". God I'm dying over here, when Jim isn't irritated they can be so good of a team on commentary. They start at a million miles an hour but Omega is happy to stiff the crap out of Yoshi and double-stomps him after throwing the outside mat over him (?) after slamming his sorry ass into the rail. Kenny's just treating him like a jobber but he does a nice running neckbreaker to get some hope going. That doesn't last long and Omega hits two of those fucking insanely fast snap Dragon suplexes but Yoshi kicks out. Him kicking out of the Doctor Bomb and going back on offense after that is irrational. I want to know who the one white dude/potential member of the board was sitting at the front row there as the camera passes over. Yoshi has an insane DDT counter out of the One-Winged Angel that will probably end up being a constant in Omega's playbook. Yoshi hits a pumphandle driver called Karma for the win after a bunch of two counts and Boma Yes from both guys. So, we're three for three in the underdog victories which is cool. The match was an absurd sprint with no psychology but it was pretty hard-hitting and enjoyable. Yoshi-Hashi's hair in the interview looks embarassingly like if a certain supposed president had a mullet part attached to his hairpiece. Is he going to go into office and try to defeat Shinzo Abe so we have yet another demagogue in control of a country? Please tell me no, his forearms aren't even good enough. 

Top to bottom this one was great if you can deal with the absurd pacing and resultant lack of selling in the last match so definitely give it a watch. 

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The YOSHI-FUCKING-HASHI match totally had psychology. Listen to what Omega says to the camera during his entrance. He hates the G1 and doesn't want to be here. You nailed it with his early offense, he treats YOSHI-FUCKING-HASHI like a jabrone and takes him way too lightly. This catches up with him and when he realizes YOSHI-FUCKING-HASHI is no longer just a jabrone it's too late. He sells the shock in his face as the match goes along too. That is a story, which is the definition of psychology. The crowd didn't buy YOSHI-FUCKING-HASHI as a threat to begin with but with how the match unfolded and they kept building up to the ending, they completely rallied behind him as the underdog and bought into him winning.

I think the first episode had the Ishii/Okada match which finished 3rd in Observer MOTY polling. 

Fuck, I'm starting to sound like Burgundy with Roman Reigns. I just feel like Omega gets a raw deal from a lot of people. He has a tonne of crazy spots in his matches but they certainly tell a story. His goofy facials may turn some people off, the less is more people may not like all the craziness, but he's certainly trying to tell a story.

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Okay, I'll buy it. The sprint stuff makes me forget the psychology (which btw, Jim and Josh brought up which I didn't think about). If you're moving so goddamn fast and people are just blasting off finishers towards the end in record time it looks like there's nothing there. For example, I've never been able to watch Dragon Gate, so you can see the problem I have there. I'm not Jim Cornette but you gotta throw me a bone, and the match did that well enough.

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I don't think there were any "finishers" being thrown out other than the one that finished the match. Could Omega's gorgeous snap dragon suplex be a believable finisher in New Japan? Fuck yeah. Same with the V-Trigger, which looks more vicious than the Boma Ye a lot of the times.

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There are the Okada/Ishii and Tanahashi/Marufuji matches you missed.

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Also take in mind I probably haven't even seen a YOSHI-FUCKING-HASHI (hehe) match so didn't know his status (I actually had to look him up on Wiki and then realized who he was). As far as finishers there were three Boma Yes and yeah I count the DDT and the Dragons to be close enough to be finishers. The problem is not the use, but the pacing. Let's not get up to math with this shit though, all I wanted was for them to ratchet down the pace a bit. 

And thank you for the extra matches! I'll come back to 'em when I'm not in fear of running over in net time... again (sneaky fucking Verizon, can't truss 'em)

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That's fair. YOSHI-FUCKING-HASHI is a long-time undercard goober who was basically there to eat the pinfalls when CHAOS was set to lose a multi-man tag match. He's got zero charisma/fire though he's shown more babyface passion in the last year and prior to 2016 was a complete snoozefest in the ring. Now he's pretty fucking good at figuring how to garner sympathy, make his opponent look really good and come out better in a match even if he loses. He's improved a tonne and the G1 was kind of a coming out party for him. I wasn't watching a lot of the smaller shows, so he may have been gradually getting better (I'm sure he didn't just hit a light switch). I'm trying to go back and watch smaller shows from last year while keeping up with this year's stuff and more indies from around the world and it's fucking difficult. 

Okada's death selling in the Ishii and later the Omega matches is pretty underrated.

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For a second I thought I was actually gonna watch Yoshi Tatsu. They really need to vary these names a bit (see: Kamaitachi)

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I still can't believe they had Kamaitachi go back to his name, fully knowing Yujiro sullied the surname.

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It would be funny to have Gedo have them do a battle of the surnames. Have Yujiro just show up and bribe him with some of his hos to keep it and we get Kamaitachi back!

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Okay, AXS TV decided to do the THIRD replays (plural) in reverse and not list this at all in the guide so here is the (I think I saw this) Osaka Hall show. (BTW, the YOSHI-FUCKING-HASHI match is way better on second watch) We really needed that second replay of The Best of Legend I'm sure. It's 4 in the morning now and I've drank a ton and just ate so I'll review until I drop I guess. 

TANAHASHI/MARUFUJI: I have no serious love for either of these guys but they can step it up when they want. Marufuji especially is better in NJ than most anything I've seen with him in NOAH. I guess because both of them are getting older and smarter they just decide to go to the legs; Tana is using an Indian Deathlock for chrissakes. That doesn't stop Maru from piledriving Tana dead flush on the apron... then we cut AGAIN to him rallying. These JIP big matches hurt. So does them not going back to the simple legwork of the start, but what did you expect? The flying dissolves into a mean-ass chop battle where Tana's chest gets turned into steak tartar. Maru's bicycle knee is the stiffest strike I've ever seen him throw aside from those chops. Both guys are selling like mad and I love that. Tana wins after two Hi Fly Flows. This felt ugly for these guys (and looks it, from Tana's chest) and it's much appreciated. Kind of more an NJ Juniors match from the '90s overall, guess what is missing is in the file above so tell us what you think if you watch it. 

ISHII (YAY!)/OKADA (BOOOO): Unfortunately the opening interview, once again, is as much of a spoiler as this review. CHAOS vs. CHAOS is interesting though, and there's always Ishii. Jesus his head looks like a dark grey/purple like it's about to explode as he walks to the ring. Guess it's the lights. Okada looks like such a twat with letting Ishii off the ropes and deserves Ishii immediately trying to steamroll his ass. Honma wasn't having it but Ishii REALLY isn't having it, and he only needed the slightest provocation. How much do I love him channeling his inner Tenryu and dick-kicking Okada. You can just hear him thinking "go home, pretty boy, you've got women to harass on the Internet". HIs nip-up after the vicious DDT that Ishii gets spiked on just underlines my thoughts. Ishii nastily twists his leg after getting dropkicked off the top and takes a kick over the rail and we get a Hangman's DDT which reminds of Honma and should definitely not be done on the outside. Ishii however says FUCK YOUR POSE and chops the shit out of him right in the throat! YES! He comes back with more of his Big Mooves crap though. Ishii opts to use a straight right and a dropkick to counter. Okada is shaking and has the 1000 yard stare but can somehow still bust out his dropkick and then three more really vicious low ones. But you can tell he's dying on the vine. Ishii with the footstops is great but another dropkick but then Ishii does a double counter of the Rainmaker into a headbutt! Then the Fire Thunder Driver is the crowning move, though it still takes a lariat and a brainbuster to finish Okada off. This was a pleasure. Slick-dick Money Boy got stomped by the guy under him on his own team who is uglier and tougher and looked like he was gonna die from it. Yeah, great match. 

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It bums me out when Makabe seemingly aims 4" over Ishii's head when throwing punches, while JR compares it to Dick Murdoch vs. Killer Karl Kox. 

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TENZAN/SANADA I only half watched and it looked pretty sloppy. Sanada seemingly hurt his shoulder and was down for awhile trying to recover from that or something else at one point. Emotional end for Tenzan in his last G1 match supposedly ever though. 

ISHII/MAKABE: Well, you know exactly what this is gonna turn out like. Goddamn those chops to the throat are disgusting. And like five in a row! That'll make Makabe fucking sell for a change. Really, really don't like him getting up right after a Dragon suplex. And for like the third episode in a row we get the NJPW Bloody Mouth!!! A new record! Makabe does hit an enormous powerbomb to put him back in my good graces. I kinda liked him kicking out at one for the lariat, kicking out at two for the sliding lariat, then getting pinned by the vertical brainbuster. Dunno why I've never seen that before, especially in a puro match. Ishii's selling makes this one work because watching Makabe fighting a mirror vision Makabe, which this well could have been, would have me throwing my remote. 

3 hours ago, EricR said:

It bums me out when Makabe seemingly aims 4" over Ishii's head when throwing punches, while JR compares it to Dick Murdoch vs. Killer Karl Kox. 

At least Warmaster called them "Vader Hammers"/forearms instead of punches, which they weren't. Also JR was comparing the match to that, not that particular exchange to that (which would have been horribly inappropriate. The comparison to the match itself is just regular inappropriate). 

GOTO/MARUFUJI: Introducing Naomichi Marufuji, GHC Heavyweight Champion, soon showing up on an episode of Impact near you! Ugh, don't even want to think about that. Jarrett would probably have him throwing salt if he had his choice in the matter. For a second there I thought we had our second NJPW Bloody Mouth of the night after Goto's face went into the guardrail. Holy shit what chops Maru unleashes! They are flat out Kobashi/Tenryu level. Who would have ever expected that from him after all these years? It makes sense given who he's worked with but doesn't fit his style; the crowd is as stunned as I am by them. They have a really sweet exchange avoiding each other's moves that ends with Goto cracking Maru's head against his knee; he comes back with a sick knee in the corner. These guys are now suddenly on fire. Marufuji's force is equal to his speed these days with those chops and also his kicks. Goto is smart enough to turn the Shooey Nooey into a sleeper and GTRs him out of it for the win. Nice, simple, no overkill. Very smart match that only had one dive and was 90% strikes. Marufuji has turned the curve to me after changing up his style whereas I used to hate him. That and the latter half of this picking up so much makes it a very solid watch. 

And now they put up an "In Memory of Jan Ross" photo and I'm crying. Goddammit. 

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