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[MM15] R2: KOTA IBUSHI vs. MINORU SUZUKI


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KOTA IBUSHI vs. MINORU SUZUKI  

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  1. 1. CHOOSE ONE



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My instinct is to vote Suzuki.  Stylistically I prefer what he does.  At his best he is better than Ibushi at his best.  Suzuki can have really good, or even great matches, with people who Ibushi puts me to sleep against (see, Okada).  He is a much more nuanced performer than Ibushi, and has a much higher ceiling.  But Suzuki also vanishes for months at a time, gets caught up in dumb comedy shit, and can be lazy/boring as fuck.

 

Ibushi on the other hand is someone who I think has steadily improved, even if I think he's heavily flawed.  In terms of output of high end matches I don't think anyone has had a better year than he has so far with the Honma, Nakamura and Harashima singles bouts being three of the top ten singles matches of the year up to this point, and the latter two arguably being number 1 and 2.  Last year he missed some time to injury, and didn't have a super deep resume of stuff I liked, but Suzuki didn't have that depth either, and at least Ibushi always feels like he's trying hard.  

 

To Suzuki's credit, NJPW trusted him to do the NOAH invasion angle which has been super fun so far, and I think he's been really good in some tag performances over the course of the last three months.  

 

Still on the fence on this one.  

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This is reasonably close at this point (ten vote separation), but I really think this thread merits more discussion than it has gotten.  I'd be interested to hear what those who watch a lot of Japanese wrestling think and those who only watch a bit think. 

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My gut is to vote Suzuki because he can go out and have the best match in the world basically whenever he wants. NJPW is full of guys like this (Him, Nak, Ibushi oddly enough) but Suzuki has this innate ability to make everything him and his opponent does mean something. I definitely didn't watch much from Japan in the last year, but even as great as Ibushi/Nak was, I don't think it matches up with the best things Suzuki does. I still want to watch the Harashima match, but I don't think it's going to take away from me voting for Suzuki.

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Dylan, you pretty much summed up my thoughts on both these wrestlers. Ibushi was totally not my thing but he's getting better and having a phenomenal 2015. He went from the guy my friend would call "that Tekken lookin' mother fucker" to somebody who I look forward to seeing, though I'm not always happy with what I watched. I think it helps that he's wrestling heavyweights and changes his style away from the spot fest junior style he often used in DDT and in the NJPW Jr division from what I've seen. When wrestling the heavyweight style, he's got waaaaay better pacing in his offense and sells more. His selling isn't great still, but he's a great bumper and can do the concussion selling really well. The problems pick up when he goes back on the shine and drops a lot of the selling in-between his moves. I'm really happy with his improvement throughout the voting period and he's impressed me 3 or 4 times in 2015 alone. I haven't seen the Harashima match yet but should be able to find time to give it a watch today.

 

Suzuki is such a mixed bag. I fucking love the modified UWF style, the Gotch piledriver rules hard, I love his charisma, I love the desperation he brings to everything when he's on including selling submissions and big moves, and I love maybe 3-6 of his matches every year. He also spat in that little runt Marty Asami's face in the Nakamura match. He's great at cutting off comebacks by going back to the arm he worked on earlier in the match. More than any Japanese wrestler, I think he portrays dominance and power over his opponent exceedingly well. The 8/8/2014 Okada match is a perfect picture of this. I do not love his penchant for no selling a tonne of shit he shouldn't, his massive laziness, the comedy shit, and he probably has the worst stable of all times. When he decides to sell, he does it incredibly well - probably the best Japanese wrestler today, but that's the thing. It's like it's optional for him and he can drop it during a match. I think a lot of it has to do with his old school mentality and whether he respects his opponent or not or maybe whatever his mood at the moment may be. The Styles match was in my top 5 from 2014, the Okada G1 match was one of the better tournament bouts, and he rounded out a good G1 with his matches against Naito and Makabe IIRC. The 2014 NJ Cup match against Nakamura was very good but I thought the ending was abrupt. I get that Nakamura basically used his legs, which were largely untouched, to quickly get him out of danger after all the Suzuki armwork but it could have gone a few minutes more. I haven't watched NOAH outside the few matches posted for March Madness, so I don't really know how he's done there. It would seem like a tailor made role for him, being the dickish outsider.

 

So, my bias is definitely towards Suzuki. Looking at the big matches, I think Suzuki does more within the matches to make them special than Ibushi did for his best stuff. I can see why most are voting for Ibushi but I can't do it, not yet. I hope he keeps improving and he could be a top contender for the 2016 (jeez, I'm getting old...) March Madness.

 

And I'm going to disagree with Mag7 and say Suzuki totally makes that haircut work.

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The hardest part of this was mentally blocking out pre-2014 stuff. I agree with Tim that Suzuki has that same presence to make everything he does mean something, almost Tsuruta-level of smarts. However, this last year Ibushi had a year that most wrestlers only dream about and the frightening thing is, he's getting better! Yeah, I went with the future rather than the glorious past.

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This is reasonably close at this point (ten vote separation), but I really think this thread merits more discussion than it has gotten.  I'd be interested to hear what those who watch a lot of Japanese wrestling think and those who only watch a bit think. 

Well it's obvius to which group I belong but I don't think there's really much merit in this discussion. Everyone likes Minoru Suzuki more as he is a more capable worker and a better overall talent but Ibushi had a better year than him. MiSu is still going to get a lot of votes but that's more because of who he is rather than because of the year he had.

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To counter that line of thought, has Ibushi ever had a performance at the level of Suzuki v Okada or Styles? He may have had matches as good or close to as good, but as far as his end of the match goes I can't think of anything.

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To counter that line of thought, has Ibushi ever had a performance at the level of Suzuki v Okada or Styles? He may have had matches as good or close to as good, but as far as his end of the match goes I can't think of anything.

And my counter to your line of thought would be that Ibushi has a different role to play in his matches so you can't have him take 90% of the match like Suzuki did against Okada. Now I don't think there's any chance Ibushi could make a situation like that work nearly as much as Suzuki did but it's easier to pinpoint to a performance where Suzuki carries the entire body of the match with limbwork as a "great" one. But, he got (what I at least thought) was a REALLY good, perhaps even great match-out of Shuji Kondo. And I'd say the Wrestle Kingdom Nakamura match was an equal effort. Also outside of the two matches your mentioned there's next to nothing to help Suzuki's case while Ibushi has matches against Ishii, Ricochet, Honma, HARASHIMA etc. going for him. Suzuki is certainly a worker of a higher aptitude than Ibushi but that doesn't mean much without the work to back it up.

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they really are two of the best, and I swear it's not cos I'm still marking out over having a beer with him ten years ago, but minoru suzuki has just been one of the best for much longer than kota

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I voted for Ibushi because I think he had his best possible year. I think his year is probably a coin flip with Suzuki in terms of quality, but I feel like this is the absolute best that Ibushi can do and he should be rewarded for it. 

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Does anyone else think Suzuki actually benefits from being lazy/working throwaway comedy so much?  It seems strange to say, but in a sense I think his being stuck doing bullshit so much makes you almost forget how great he can be, so when he has a few excellent matches they really hit you hard and remind you "fuck this guy is great."  I also think it helps that he works a very distinct style from those around him.  

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Well I guess it was bound to happen

 

Ibushi - 46

Suzuki - 46*

 

Since I voted for Minoru Suzuki - he wins via tiebreaker.

 

(My other idea for tiebreaker was person most admins votes - which again is Suzuki since me and Schneider were the only ones to vote)

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