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matt925

NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed 9/30/18

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Hmm, three way between Cody, Ibushi, and Omega is intriguing if not nearly as exciting as the teased GL 1v1. You'd think Cody is the obvious fall guy but he's a double champion, so does Kenny gain some revenge in pinning Kota for the first time since... Uh... The first fall of their first match? 

But, damn, that main event was truly wonderful. I didn't love the Will/Ishii tag as much as most others but this was everything that tried to be and way more. Omega threw out some new looks with some rad counters, like the death valley driver on Ishii. 

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10 minutes ago, Oyaji said:

Hmm, three way between Cody, Ibushi, and Omega is intriguing if not nearly as exciting as the teased GL 1v1. You'd think Cody is the obvious fall guy but he's a double champion, so does Kenny gain some revenge in pinning Kota for the first time since... Uh... The first fall of their first match? 

But, damn, that main event was truly wonderful. I didn't love the Will/Ishii tag as much as most others but this was everything that tried to be and way more. Omega threw out some new looks with some rad counters, like the death valley driver on Ishii. 

They don’t wanna give away Omega’s first win over Ibushi yet but they need a big main event to sell out Sumo Hall so this is a good option. You could have Ibushi have Cody beat and have Kenny steal the win to increase tensions.

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The Omega/Ibushi/Cody triple threat idea is completely lame to me. I wish they would at least treat the top title like it's above that kind of thing.

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He did at San Francisco too. I'm not surprised that they do not practice the same cognitive dissonance that WWE does. The arena looked pretty full by the intermission.

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12 minutes ago, MapRef41N93W said:

The Omega/Ibushi/Cody triple threat idea is completely lame to me. I wish they would at least treat the top title like it's above that kind of thing.

I honestly think this triple threat is a test to see if the concept gets over and draws. I guarantee we will eventually see an Okada/Omega/Naito triple threat match and this is their test run for that kinda thing.

Also what was the point of having Juice lose to everybody in G1 if he was going to lose the belt to somebody who wasn’t even there?

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7 minutes ago, FlaeBlazer said:

I honestly think this triple threat is a test to see if the concept gets over and draws. I guarantee we will eventually see an Okada/Omega/Naito triple threat match and this is their test run for that kinda thing.

Oh god, I hope you're wrong, but I fear that you're right. Given the other ways that Gedo has drawn influence from American wrestling and specifically WWE, the precedent is there.

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Anyway, I think this was the best NJPW in USA show. Kinda sucks considering it was their biggest drawing failure so far but I think it was top to bottom, the best show so far. It definitely beats Cow Palace and Strong Style Evolved in my opinion and I think it was at least a little better than 2017’s USA debut shows.

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I’m assuming the Bucks are gonna get the belts back before the Tokyo Dome, right? I can’t envision any scenario where they aren’t in the tag title match at the Dome. Meltzer already confirmed that they won’t be in World Tag League so they can’t win that. So logically they gotta win the belts back. Presumably at like Power Struggle.

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King of Pro Wrestling is one of the biggest NJPW shows to me but Omega/Ibushi/Cody triple threat announced so close to the event and the match itself, anticlimactic to past headliners.

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Will Ospreay seems to be getting it a lot more now.  Starting to like him now.

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It's possible that this triple threat is a trial balloon for more--to some extent, every match is a test to see what draws and an indicator of what's to come--but I do think there's an interesting narrative angle that keeps this one from being just that. Basically, it's another instance of Kenny talking over Kota, and making decisions on his behalf. Ibushi's complained about this before, but this is probably the highest profile instance. Kenny still wants to be friends with everyone, while leading everyone, tag with Ibushi, and be champion besides--and he seems, on some level, to have taken Ibushi's friendship for granted in order to balance it all. I don't think any of this needs to promise a heel turn, but the notes of conflict are there. 

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This was one weird show for me:

Undercard tags were strong, but I had trouble caring about them much because asides of opener they were about RoH guys facing RoH guys who are sometimes in Japan. I don't really watch NJPW shows to see Addiction or even worse, to see them winning over people who are at least tangentially related to NJPW.

Liked Evil/Zack, but nothing got announced as far as I saw? Surely we are going towards singles match at KoPW?

Was surprised that White actually got a pin here, but I guess it makes sense and he cut a good promo. Thou it is weird when he talks about how company doesn't want something when he has Gedo behind his back. But I suppose thats the point, he is heel and he is talking shit. 

Not a big fan of either juniors, but I'm happy that Scurll won since it probably means that Ospreay will be headed towards special singles match with Ibushi at WK. And well, while I don't like Ospreay much at least a match with Ibushi is something that I'm curious about.

Probably best GoD match and a good one for Bucks, but I don't know. I mean, whats next? A rematch at KoPW or PS with Bucks winning them back? If I'm not mistaken Meltzer wrote that they won't be in WTL so to me it is their Jr. Tag division run again. Revolves around them, but they are never there long term to actually build it up.

Juice/Cody result makes more sense when we take main event into consideration, but I don't know. Was there no other way to get there than to fuck up Juice? Finally wins a title, gets destroyed in G1, fails on his first defence against a guy who wasn't even in G1. Sure, he is going to crawl his way back, but he was already crawling for last two years and finally managed to score a big win, which gets undone couple of months later.

Main event was what could be expected from such main event. It delivered, but at the same time it didn't over-deliver. I would be very happy with it if rest of the show was strong, but I felt like it didn't really elevate entire show.

 

Some additional things that are on my mind now:

Three winning teams had Japanese wrestlers on it. Opener had two of them, then Gedo who probably shouldn't even count and then Ibushi who also kinda counts kinda doesn't since entire thing is not about him, but about Omega. Point is that this was NJPW show that featured lots of Americans and majority of Japanese wrestlers eating Ls. Goes back to what Tanahashi and Okada said about genuine NJPW experience and well, this dind't feel like it at all. To me these shows feel more and more like very good RoH shows, which fundamentally is not a bad thing, but at the same time not something that I care about either.

Omega's run so far has been very different to Okada's and I give props to NJPW for allowing different champions to have distinct runs. But at the same time I think I'm ready for Omega's run to end. This type of stuff is not interesting to me.

And well, I like Cody, I think that he is doing great character work, but this is getting a bit crazy now.

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Lesnar vs Fujita vs Chono.

 

Hopefully they do a cage match for the IWGP title someday.

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So we’re looking at this KOPW Sumo Hall lineup...

1. Omega vs. Ibushi vs. Cody - IWGP Title

2. Tanahashi vs. White - Tokyo Dome Briefcase

3. KUSHIDA vs. Marty - Junior HW Title

4. ZSJ vs. EVIL

5. Desperado and Kanemaru vs. Liger and Tiger Mask - Junior Tag Titles

That’s pretty good.

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I just listened to WOR and Dave is definitely dropping the full 5 on the tag match main event.

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not happy that basically Kenny is booking his own title reign though, "sure, I'll have a 3-way, I'll increase my chance of losing, as long as art prevails", ignore that it's Cody or a 3-way, this is just dim

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It seemed like the arena was mostly full midway through, but NJPW has got to do a better job of marketing and announcing their cards if they want to draw better crowds. They didn't announce the matchups here until I think less than a week before. 

Too bad they didn't get a sellout this time. Venue looks great on TV and every seat is pretty much a great view of the action. 

I was sort of disappointed Juice Robinson lost, but it seems they are making this into a storyline for him that he gets too cocky and arrogant in the big matches now having failed at the G1 Climax and losing his first major title in his first defense. In the press conference, he was really down on himself suggesting he might not even be at MSG or Wrestle Kingdom. 

Bucks and Firing Squad had a good match. Enjoyed Haku being ringside to watch the match, and Firing Squad winning clean. Either Matt Jackson's back is shot to hell, or he's a much better "seller" than a lot of his critics would give him credit for. Enjoyed how Nick would constantly have to help him with moves due to his bad back. Firing Squad winning I think keeps the momentum in the rivalry. It gives the Bucks a team to chase, and even Omega hinted at the Golden Lovers taking on Firing Squad for the tag titles after the show.

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I'm not worried for Juice.  They're clearly playing the long game with him, and I think that's pretty smart.  I think there also might be some concern of Juice going back to WWE.  Of all the guys rumored to be on their radar, he might make the most sense, given how crappy his life away from the ring sounds.  (I mean, aside from all the epic partying.)

I'm not anywhere near "Fuck the Bucks" territory, but I do think the layout of the tag title match smelled a little bit.  I feel like there are a lot of ways they could've put GOD over that didn't involve a fluke injury weakening them.  I've generally been kind of annoyed with how the Bucks never really had to struggle with a step up in competition when they moved to heavyweight.  Part of that is the booking, but part of that is also how they choose to put their matches together.

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Golden Lovers are tag team of the year by the way. Young Bucks will probably win the WON awards again and WWE fans will back the Undisputed Era as tag team of the year but nobody has had the quality of matches that GL have had this year. 

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2 hours ago, EVA said:

I'm not worried for Juice.  They're clearly playing the long game with him, and I think that's pretty smart.  I think there also might be some concern of Juice going back to WWE.  Of all the guys rumored to be on their radar, he might make the most sense, given how crappy his life away from the ring sounds.  (I mean, aside from all the epic partying.)

Well question is how long "long game" is supposed to be. Some, as funny as it sounds, still believe that Gedo has a plan for Goto's run at the top.

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3 hours ago, EVA said:

I'm not worried for Juice.  They're clearly playing the long game with him, and I think that's pretty smart.  I think there also might be some concern of Juice going back to WWE.  Of all the guys rumored to be on their radar, he might make the most sense, given how crappy his life away from the ring sounds.  (I mean, aside from all the epic partying.)

Haven't heard anything about his non-wrestling life... what is he dealing with?

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my take on Juice is this: he's a good wrestler and a better promo and ultimately for stylistic reasons he should thrive in WWE. when i saw him in NXT i thought he was the dirt worst scrub and when New Japan signed him i sighed. for all of his improvements and my increasing enjoyment of him, i still need a second to remind myself (fewer seconds than Yoshihashi though) that he is good. i wouldn't miss him too much as he's in there with no real trajectory. i do not see him touching the top belts ever. unless you're a dojo product whose peak has passed, you should not be in NJPW to coast.

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