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NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13 in Tokyo Dome 1/4/19

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2 hours ago, The Natural said:

 

Hats off to all three of these gentlemen(especially crazy old man Jericho). But, I can't stand the look of the US title. The IWGP and Intercontinental titles just look leagues better.

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By the way, does anyone know what happened there with the High Fly Flow finish? Was Kenny Omega out of position, or was he just awkwardly bracing himself to take the impact of the move?

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That's the dramatic trying to avoid it but can't move that lots of guys take big top rope moves. It looked great even if it broke my heart. 😩

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I marked out like an 8 year old.

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10 minutes ago, Oyaji said:

That's the dramatic trying to avoid it but can't move that lots of guys take big top rope moves. It looked great even if it broke my heart. 😩

OK, I think I see what he was trying to do now. Like trying to struggle back upright but thought it looked sort of weird at first. 

Either way, it was a good finishing sequence. If Omega is leaving, I hope we at least get one more match between these two. 

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Bicycle clip time for Evil and Sanada. I think even ZSJ is weirded out by the time Suzuki is done.

 

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Rewatched the show with some friends here in town. Calling them “casual” wouldn’t be accurate—they watch NXT and 205 live every week—but they might only see one or two non-WK New Japan matches a year. 

I always think it’s noteworthy how quickly Ospreay and ZSJ get over with people who don’t see them often, given the expansion implications. I do think White struggles a little with the same sort of audience by comparison. To his credit, he makes every random tag add up to a compelling whole; but if you’re only tuning in for the ~big fights~ he doesn’t yet have the visceral novelty or dream match go-go style down. The finishing run with Okada showed some of that, though; and to be honest I’m not sure I’d want him to shift too far in the other direction. It was also even more clear, watching again, how strong all three were made to look—Ospreay most of all. He got to look faster and cleverer than Ibushi, which isn’t shocking—but consistently hit harder too, which was. 

I also think, somewhat ironically, that the Omega/Tana animosity made more sense for their not following it all along. The English announce crew did a good job explaining things; Kenny wasn’t rambling/contradicting himself; the match itself was very narratively consistent. It’s a real credit to both men, and perhaps an even bigger credit that I don’t think it’s close to either’s best. (It’s also a real credit to Okada, a better opponent for both, who also did better with White than either. It’s weird, but I’m honestly ready for another stupid long run with the belt for him. I want more main event happy-clap dropkicks and rainmaker swing dancing, all of it.)

The whole show was also way, way easier to watch a second time than previous marathons. I still don’t wish anything went longer, and every match but one was at least very good. Still nothing in the classics tier for me, though. 

(Of course friends such as these badly want Kenny to sign with WWE. It reminds me a bit of the argument that New Japan should have a women’s division, or the general wish that they buy up some of the smaller men’s promotions out there. A lot of people say they want options, but fundamentally it’s easier to pay for one streaming service and centralize your viewing. That’s not a value judgment on my part—I only sub to World at the moment—but an interesting observation, I think.)

 

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7 hours ago, Nice Guy Eddie said:

I think I'd replace White/Okada with Ospreay/Ibushi. I don't what it is, but something just isn't clicking for me with Jay White. Maybe it's his ringwork. He's great at being a slimy, scumbag heel. That match should have been hate filled, but I didn't get that feeling at all. 

I'm not that excited about a Tanahashi/White feud, and I love Tanahashi.

I've only seen a little of Jay White and White/Okada turning out the way it did was a surprise to me. Kazuchika Okada's one of the greatest wrestlers of all time as is Hiroshi Tanahashi. If a big match disappoints, the opponent will get most of the blame.

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7 hours ago, Phil4126 said:

Hats off to all three of these gentlemen(especially crazy old man Jericho). But, I can't stand the look of the US title. The IWGP and Intercontinental titles just look leagues better.

I don't like the IWGP United States Championship and how it looks. NJPW didn't get the Intercontinental Championship right at the first attempt but nailed the second try. 

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Original. 

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Current.

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7 hours ago, Beech27 said:

(It’s also a real credit to Okada, a better opponent for both, who also did better with White than either. It’s weird, but I’m honestly ready for another stupid long run with the belt for him. I want more main event happy-clap dropkicks and rainmaker swing dancing, all of it.)

If anything this show solidified what I had already thought. I know people were getting tired of him in the stretch run of his reign but Okada is clearly the best wrestler of the big 4 in my opinion. It’s not even particularly close to me. The only wrestlers in NJPW that I’d even put in his league are Ibushi and Ishii. Right now, he’s way ahead of Omega, Tana, and Naito as a worker.

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In what way is he "way ahead" of Tanahashi or Omega? Like what are we talking about?

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I was going to say "In what is he "way ahead" of Tana and Naito?" Omega's face pulling and monitor watching annoys the fuck out of me,  but I can tolerate him in small doses. Tana's match proved he's one for the ages, I'll give Kenny all the credit in the world for holding his end up, but that Tana can still work at this level at 41, is a testament to just how good the man is.

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think when it comes to Tanahashi / Omega / Okada you're talking 3 of the highest level guys in the industry ever and you go for the one you like most and make a post-facto justification. i like Tanahashi more than the other two because he's an old school proper non-geek non-cool babyface who wrestles a coherent and basic style with a premium on a psychology of the type of wrestling I grew up liking (Flair, Hart, Steamboat). if someone said they liked Okada more then I'd be like cool. but that they're clearly waaaaay better? suspect.

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Because I’m me, I’d also have to suggest Ibushi belongs in that conversation—even if he’s never been trusted with the same level of belts/matches. If we never get him—him, not Tiger Mask version whatever–versus Okada, I’ll consider it this generstion’s biggest miss. But I guess “what if?” has always been an essential part of the Ibushi experience. 

My appetite for another long Okada run really just stems from how unsick of his epic formula I (somehow) am. The (potential!) downside to a long Tana title run right now, to me, is his best work recently has relied on being blatantly overmatched, and yet enduring his way to victory—I’m not sure that can be done against much of the roster. Ibushi, Okada, and Omega are such physical savants that that’s easy to tell—especially since the latter two have been presented as god-tier too. But I mean, he’s an all-time genius, who’s always been amazing when working from on top. So... you know, never mind. No concern. In part, that’s because I don’t think he’s getting a long run. But if he did, there would at least be the knowledge that he could lose it to anyone, at any time. It took an act of god for him to win the thing; but how many acts of god can god actually call down? 

(Anyway, Tana’s been beating my favorites for a decade, so he can’t also be my favorite. But no one has his body of work.)

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I like all of them, but there's zero question in my mind Tana is still the best of them. That was my favorite Omega match ever Friday. My favorite Okada match is one of the Tanahashi ones, probably Dontaku last year. My favorite Ibushi match is probably that G1 final with Tana. I was strongly arguing in 2017 Tana/Naito was the best in ring NJPW feud that year.

It's obviously just my personal opinion though.

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Naito must be chopped liver. 

Anyway pic not related.

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To be fair, Naito didn't exactly light it up in 2018 relative to what he's shown before. He's great but I'd put him at fifth currently behind Tana, Okada, Omega, and Ibushi (not in order). Look at his G1 even... The only match that sticks out in a positive way is his opener against Omega.

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Well, don't worry, now he gets to work with Taichi....

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Both of his 2018 matches with Taichi were 4 stars+ BUDDY! It was all downhill after that.

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Per Tokyo Sports, Kenny is leaving NJPW.  

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... As part of AEW who will later announce a working agreement with NJPW?!

Fuck.

Image result for deflated

The article.

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Grasping at straws here but somebody on the WON board made a good point that this hiatus sounds like a Bret Hart post-Mania XII possibility. I can only hope. 

Apparently "NO".

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Takashi Iizuka Is retiring, Kushida is leaving.

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“And not just from New Japan” is... something. He kinda did this after losing to Okada, so I’m not convinced he’s gone until someone else announces they’ve signed him. And of course, the announcement is in-character. I know he’s kinda always working, but still. I want to believe what I want to believe. 

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Yeah, I just read his comments the last time we were in this position and while they were less concrete than this announcement, it still gives me some foolhardy hope. There's still so much more for him to do with NJPW.

Ibushi is off the January/Feb tour due to concussion. KUSHIDA's going to America (205! 205! 205!).

That IWGP tag title match will be fucking great. I hope Suzuki-gun win all of those titles (won't win the jr tag titles) because the world needs IC champion Taichi and Suzuki and Zack teaming for a lengthy period.

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