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BEST OF JAPAN 2000-2009. DEADLINE SOON(ISH?)

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THE FILE: http://theditch.biz/BestOf2000s_Japan.xls This has pretty much everything: matchlist, download/viewing links, voting instructions, etc. Feel free to share the link wherever. You input your ranks in the file and mail it back.

 

Once we figure out what's going on with the old DVDVR posts and whether they can be restored fully or just as an archive, I'll determine how to set up discussion here. I lean towards creating one thread for every one or two years.

 

Thanks to everyone who helped in the selection process, and to Mookie for help with the excel.

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has the excel been updated since the original one you put up?

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Indeed! Thus my delay. I was lazy in looking at the update Mookie sent, then after agreeing with his changes I updated a few upgraded cap links.

 

Also, I just fixed three links so you'll need to re-download the excel if you grabbed it yesterday.

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Is someone putting together a DVD set of all of these matches?  Just wondering because it would make an awesome set!

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Not at the moment. Plus a lot of that isn't even available on DVD, at least in full.

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Every week I will be highlighting a match that I think deserves love and might not get enough eyeballs as people select what to watch, which means not many Kobashi or KENTA write-ups because they don't need any hype. Not much 2000/2001 so it will skip ahead of y'all for a few months.

 

Kanemoto & Minoru Tanaka vs Liger & Makabe, IWGP junior tag team titles, New Japan September 12th 2000

 

Background: Makabe was a somewhat plus-sized junior heavyweight at this point in his career, and his simplistic moveset was balanced by the power advantage he had over other juniors.

 

Why I think it's underrated: This aired on New Japan's somewhat obscure SXW program, which meant it was hard to come by initially. I only found it because of a positive review by Stuart of puroresufan.com. The match relies on Japan's standard "young lion underdog tries to make good" story, with Makabe holding his own against the much more skilled champions. This isn't an earth-shatteringly great match, but it's very solid and builds to a few excellent nearfalls off of relatively small moves.

 

What it deserves: Top 100 consideration / on the bubble.

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Here are ten matches that aren't on the list yet that Meltzer gave ****1/2 or ****3/4.  The Mutoh-Kawada match from 2002 is a great match.

 

 

 

2/24/02 Keiji Mutoh vs. Toshiaki Kawada (All-Japan) ****1/2

 

6/1/04 KENTA & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Kotaro Suzuki & Ricky Marvin (GHC Jr. Tag Titles) (NOAH) ****1/2

 

7/10/04 Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Jushin Liger (GHC Jr. Title) (NOAH) ****1/2

 

8/8/04 Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Kensuke Sasaki (New Japan) ****1/2

 

11/3/04 Kensuke Sasaki vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (New Japan) ****1/2

 

12/4/04 Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Takashi Sugiura (GHC Jr. Title) (NOAH) ****1/2

 

12/5/04 Toshiaki Kawada vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan (All-Japan) ****1/2

 

7/18/05 KENTA vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru (GHC Jr. Title) (NOAH) ****1/2

 

3/5/06 Ikuto Hidaka & Minoru Fujita vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Takashi Sugiura (GHC Jr. Tag Titles) (NOAH) ****1/2

 

10/29/06 Naomichi Marufuji vs. KENTA (GHC Title) (NOAH) ****3/4

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Here are ten matches that aren't on the list yet that Meltzer gave ****1/2 or ****3/4. The Mutoh-Kawada match from 2002 is a great match.

Dunno if you're gonna find a lot of support for that claim here

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Here are ten matches that aren't on the list yet that Meltzer gave ****1/2 or ****3/4. The Mutoh-Kawada match from 2002 is a great match.

Dunno if you're gonna find a lot of support for that claim here

 

 

What, too many shining wizards?  :)

 

Maybe "great" isn't an appropriate label, but it's fun for Mutoh fans.

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Takayama/Sasaki prolly should be on the list but that's a lot of junior movez matches that Dave jizzes over. I enjoyed Mutoh/Kawada. I remember not thinking much of Kanemaru/Liger when I first saw it. None of the Kawada/Tenzan matches ever got in full gear from what I remember.

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I can only find their G1 match from that year on dailymotion. '04 was a great year for Kensuke, though. It took him a long time but he finally put it all together at that point. That's not to say he wasn't good before but I think he fully matured as a rassler then.

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Have that match on a dusty old DVD. It's been years since I even remembered that's how we used to watch stuff.

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Two of those matches are actually on the list (bolded!) and pretty much all the rest were available online when we did the year-by-year votes. I am shedding no tears over Meltzer **** matches that people didn't care for in 2013. Meltzer loves long "epic" matches, but those rarely hold up.

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Two of those matches are actually on the list (bolded!) and pretty much all the rest were available online when we did the year-by-year votes. I am shedding no tears over Meltzer **** matches that people didn't care for in 2013. Meltzer loves long "epic" matches, but those rarely hold up.

 

You're right.  Sorry about that.  It looks like the Sasaki-Takayama and Kenta-Marufuji matches are on the list.  It sounds like most of the others aren't worth including.

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Didn't Takayama have a fucking stroke after that match? Yeah I'd put that in my top 25 probably.

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Yup that's the match that nearly killed Takayama. Brutal shit. That might have made Kensuke the first guy to kill 2 wrestlers.

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IIRC, Takayama got dinged vs Sano on 8/1 (also brutal as hell) or vs Nakanishi on 8/7 (pretty stiff); the Sasaki match exacerbated things.

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I remember it being the Sano match too. Probably a whole lot of second impact syndrome going on in the G1.

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Gonna try to post regular reviews/thoughts as I go through and watch some random matches here and there. Sometimes it’ll ones I’m already familiar with and want to rewatch, other times it’ll be ones that I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen. This first match definitely falls into the latter category and boy am I glad to see it now!2000 – Fuchi vs. ChonoSo I have no idea what the macro storyline was that was at play here (if there even was a cohesive one) but Chono and his Team 2000 pals are coming onto All Japan ground for what looks like a Budokan show and Old Man Fuchi is gonna stand strong on his turf! The heat is insane for every little thing. I love the opening with Fuchi eatching Chono’s lunch as the crowd goes mad. I also love how disgusted Fuchi is by the audacity of Chono to wear a shirt in the ring like some kind of indy scum. The mid-portion of the match would be boring in a lot of situations but you couldn’t take your eyes of it here. Then in the last few minutes Fuchi pretty much writes to book on effective use of fighting spirit. Great stuff.Probably no chance of getting near my top 30, but I could see this comfortably landing in my 70-80 …. Which for a decade vote I would say is impressive.

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2000 - SUWA vs. Dragon Kid

SUWA was absolutely amazing here. The ultimate bully punk. DK isn't as smooth as he is now but that was part of his charm here and he hit everything clean enough that it worked. The first portion of the match and everything around the restart is decent, but it's the last third which is what really makes this match special. SUWA hits an absolutely gorgeous Sweeter Bomb (which is a move that if you haven't see, you need to) in probably my highpoint of the match, but the finish is nothing to sniff at either. Post match features a surprise debutant who seemed oddly tentative, and some epic heeling by SUWA.

Where I'll have it: Maybe top 40.

2000 - Kawada vs. Kensuke AT THE BIG EGG DOME!!!

Talk about big fight atmosphere! As much as I love modern New Japan, I don't think they've been able to create a big fight feel like this had. Then again, they don't have Kawada. Sasaki's entrance jacket is bad ass, and it goes swimmingly with his haircut at the time. First really great moment of the match is when Kensuke hits the kind punchy type strike and I don't think he was happy with how it landed but Kawada being the absolute master that he is, staggers and falls to his ass, selling the rough looking strike as though it knocked him loopy. One of those matches that you can't take your eye off for a second. You know it ain't going long, so any strike could be a key moment in the match.

Where I'll have it: I'd say it's a lock for top 20, but top 10 ain't out of the question.

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2000 - Aja Kong vs. Kaoru

Well this was different.....

If I find a match on the ballot as unique as this I'll be surprised. The violence was plentiful, but it all told such a great story that it wasn't mindless violence for the sake of it. There is one spot in here which I won't spoil with the full details but it involves Kaoru getting thrown to the floor and when you see it you will lose you're freaking mind. The story is great. Kaoru is completely and utterly outmatched so she goes with the only gameplan that gives her even the slightest chance - taking out Kong's arm and eliminating the Uraken Backfist. Her armwork though.... it's less than traditional.

Overall I loved this. Parts of it are disjointed, and it could have done with a little bit more crowd heat but the effort and story are there in bucketloads.

Where I'll have it: Best case between 30 and 40.

2000 NJPW - TenCozy vs. Nagata/Iizuka

Not even close to the best tag match in this post but man it's still soooo much better than modern NJPW tag matches. Guys like Naito, Okada and Tanahashi need to watch this to see how to structure a tag match that doesn't just come off as run of the mill. The break-ups were all timed perfectly, the double teaming was all great, just a really good energetic tag.

Where I'll have it - touch and go for a spot on the ballot. If it gets on it'll be in the 90-100 range.

2000 NJPW - NJ Juniors vs. Osaka Pro

The more I watch young Makabe, the more I feel he got a raw deal on his rep at the time. He was a perfectly acceptable chunky junior with a sweet German Suplex. That's not why you're watching this though. You're watching this for TANAKA VS. MURAHAMA - SHOOTBOXERS COLLISION! These two have amazing chemistry together and I'd venture to say that their kickboxing exchanges are better than any I've ever seen in wrestling. Crazy amounts of heat and hate, fast paced action and a great finish. Only thing holding me back on this match is that there was no real build in it. Not a major complaint though considering the style of match it was.

Where I'll have it - Should make the ballot, but like the match above, it's 90-100 at best.

2000 NJPW - Iizuka/Nagata vs. Kawada/Fuchi

One of the best tag matches ever? I'd put this up against any 90s Kawada tag from All Japan. The AJPW matches sometimes lose me for a minute here and there but on this one, I didn't look away for a split second. Fuchi and Kawada may be the two best wrestlers ever for making every little tiny thing seem important (Finlay would be in that conversation too) and this match was a great advertisement for that. This was in the same building as the August 4th G1 show and if you thought those matches had heat, well this may have trumped them all. It was just a constant wall of noise with the reactions being insane to every twist and turn. I love how every guy is completely fucked after about 20 minutes and they're all just hobbling around broken in one way or another. This is how you do a tag match, this is how you do an interpromotional match and this is how you get five snowflakes.

Where I'll have it - Top 10 for sure. I get a feeling it won't be top 5 as I can think of at least 3 or 4 matches I'd definitely have ahead of it. But yeah this is very very elite.

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