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Strong Style Evolved: UK

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Didn't see a topic for this upcoming tour. Its status is a bit questionable since it looks like Revolution Pro is doing most of the groundwork and it is not entirely clear if it will even be streamed on NJPW World or if we will be getting VoD at later date, but some of the match ups have some interesting implications for NJPW in general so it probably is worth talking about it. Shamelessly stealing the card information that someone else did:

Milton Keynes - Night 1

- RPW British Tag Team Championship: Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs. Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii
- WALTER vs. Yuji Nagata
- Will Ospreay vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
- YOSHI-HASHI vs. Chris Brookes
- David Starr vs. Tiger Mask
- Bullet Club (Isihimori & Yujiro) vs. Aussie Open
- SuzukiGUN (Taichi, Desperado, & Iizuka) vs. CHAOS (Switchblade, Yano, & Gedo)
- Shota Umino vs. ????

Manchester - Night 2

- RPW British Heavyweight Championship: Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs. Minoru Suzuki
- Kazuchika Okada vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
- Will Ospreay vs. Taichi
- Jay White vs. Chris Brookes
- WALTER vs. Yujiro Takahashi
- David Starr vs. Tiger Mask vs. El Phantasmo vs. Taiji Ishimori
- SuzukiGUN (Desperado, Kanemaru, & Iizuka) vs. CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI, Yano, & Gedo)
- Yuji Nagata vs. Shota Umino
- Danny Duggan vs. ????


So, interesting things to note:

1. Umino traveling to UK sounds like he is going on excursion and this will be his send off. Duggan is from LA dojo, maybe not going anywhere, but NJPW feels like showcasing work that is being done in the dojo. Both will be facing same mystery opponent. Some are speculating that this might be Tanahashi since he is not booked anywhere else, but time will tell.

2. Taichi vs Ospreay is a weird match. This might hint at Ospreay going to heavyweights if he wins, but I think it probably is likely that Ospreay picks up a win on first night and loses to Taichi due to cheating.

3. Walter in NJPW. Match with Nagata should be awesome, match with Yujiro probably should be a squash. Will be interesting to see if this is going to be one time deal or are they working out some deal with Walter. I feel like he would be a big get if they managed to lock him down for a year or two.

4. Ishimori is placed in weird matches. RevPro twitter talked about maybe making 4-way for their cruiserweights title that Starr is holding so I'm thinking, might Ishimori actually win it? He is coming back to Impact and Impact has talked something about wanting to work with UK promotions so this might be a starting point.

5. Dominion probably made it obvious that Ishii/Suzuki is happening and I expect them to deliver great main event.

6. Okada vs Zack in special singles match. Okada is coming after a big loss and Zack has home advantage. Might we see a surprise win from Zack here? Could build towards G1 match which Okada would obviously win.

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Some people are treating Ospreay/Taichi as an unofficial G1 bellwether, though Ospreay has tweeted requests for bookings during the tourney. Admittedly I haven't done the work to see if he's taken a bunch, so I'll just wait and see. (I don't need him as a heavyweight, personally, but they're probably going to have to make that promotion sooner rather than later if they want to keep him from WWE.)

We could, very quickly, plant a seed or two for a hypothetical Sabre/Suzuki match. Win the singles belt, lose the tag, and we're on our way. The British title could also take the place of the IC belt in the G1, giving moderate stakes to matches that otherwise wouldn't decide a block. (True whomever wins here.)

Walter/Nagata is enough to make me really, really hope this streams--though I'm sure it'll make it to VOD eventually. New Japan could certainly use him, or at least, Ringkampf in the tag league.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ishii/Misu spoiler (tagged since the VOD isn’t on World yet, although twitter has it all over):


Walter challenged, and you’d have to figure anyone beating Suzuki in the G1 could get a shot. To get way ahead of myself, it feels like this could lead to a showdown with his British stablemate, maybe sometime in January.


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It's up on Rev Pro's streaming service. Their sound mix is beyond terrible always and for one of the bigger indies going, they really do struggle with production.

The opener has a nice surprise, as the mystery man reveal popped me.

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Just got back from the show, loved it. Some random thoughts below, spoilered just in case:


- It was great hearing random chops to the chest from Osprey to the fans blasting throughout the arena before the show started and during the intermission.


- Osprey and Yano were MASSIVELY over with the crowd, both had some of the loudest reactions of the night.


- First time seeing Walter and he has amazing presence during his entrance.  Felt like Ivan Drago was walking into the ring.


- Similar thing with David Starr, didnt know too much about him but loved his over the top entrance and overall character.


- El Phantasmo had the spot of the night when he walked across the top rope to the middle of the ring and then did a fucking moonsault to the outside. The place exploded.


- I still can’t get too excited about Jay White’s but I’m liking his character work more, he plays a good asshole. He had a good match with the Aussie guy and wrecked his chest with chop after chop.


- Suzuki Gun’s “Titantron” video is just so cool.


- Zack Sabre Jr. flipping off the crowd while going down for a bridging roll up was glorious. Probably my favourite moment of the night.


- Okada’s pop was simply out of this world loud. It’s very weird seeing him make his entrance in a shirt and without a belt.


- That twisting Tombstone from Okada looked like it completely killed Sabre tonight.


- Main event was exactly what you imagine a Suzuki vs. Ishii match being and the crowd ate it up. The delayed piledriver in the end got a huge pop.


Great show and can’t wait to rewatch it to see how it comes off on TV.



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I like Okada's extra goth pants, replacing gold with black, and him losing. It's the second match in a row an inability to really hit the Rainmaker cost him--too fatigued against Omega, too hurt here--so it's not just "oh no, a losing streak" but adds the extra dimension of his biggest and best weapon failing him. If he's going to win the G1, this at least creates a little doubt. If he isn't going to, it's perhaps even more interesting.

Suzuki and Ishii beating one another up is, of course, tremendous.

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Have only seen Suzuki vs. Ishii from night 2 before leaving for SF. It kind of felt like a greatest hits played for a foreign audience in a sense. Was very good but I know they can do better. Walter laying out a defeated Ishii post match was great and I'm so psyched for that bad boy. 

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Hard to have a greatest hits when they have only had one other singles match in history. If you mean their general spots from other matches, well that's going to happen all the time. It was still a big indy show, not Sumo Hall or something. I felt it was different enough and brutal enough to work. Ishii can only do so much his stuff with Suzuki since he can't take a lot of the big bump type moves and has to stay looking strong for his aura anyway. His history of head and I guess neck issues from Pancrase is pretty extensive. It's why he bumps so weird.

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I did notice he was taking some bumps on his hips rather than back. That's nasty. And yes, they transplanted ideas from tags into their singles match, and while not unique, I don't feel like it had the full emotional range of an Ishii classic. It was very much a Suzuki match.

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One of my favorite weird moments in last year’s G1 was seeing Suzuki nope right out of Kenny’s reverse rana. About as clear an example as you’ll ever see of someone just refusing a bump, midmove. (Honestly I was shocked they even tried it.)

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For me best part about production was on first night when Suzuki Gun started their usual all out brawl and camera guys had no frigging idea what they should be showing. I guess it shows that we take many things for granted without realizing that some of that stuff isn't easy to pull off.

Oka's new gimmick is a bit weird to me due to Mongolian Chops. I would get it in Japan since Tenzan is still somewhat relevant there, but at the moment I don't recall anyone really using it in the west. So to me it feels a bit strange that he is going to do that move a lot. And when he returns he is probably getting different gimmick? Feels like it is being done backwards.

I don't like that Zack doesn't sell Toombstones.

Suzuki/Ishii was a bit underwhelming due to already stated reasons.

I'm not sure if others follow RevPro (and I do it only as long as it involves NJPW guys), but their next big main event is Ishii/Walter. Probably winner takes on Suzuki. Oh, and the poster looks absolutely great:



One last thing, Suzuki Gun are taking over RevPro. I won't be surprised if in near future Desperado will win their cruiserweight title. And it looks like it is working out better than what happened when Suzuki Gun invaded NOAH. Which brings me up to crazy speculation land: is NJPW thinking about buying RevPro and setting up their own UK promotion? Probably not.

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On 7/8/2018 at 1:01 PM, sevendaughters said:

yeah Suzuki does 2 big matches a year, he's no dope, he ain't doing it at the arena of a second tier ice hockey team in Britain

I watched this this weekend and thought it was pretty good actually, Suzuki is doing good work outside of NJPW (as you would hope from a supposed freelancer) - this and his anniversary match in the rain are both solid ***3/4 region matches that are cool and a bit different.

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