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NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 *contains King of Pro-Wrestling 2019 SPOILERS*


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1 hour ago, Craig H said:

Naito revealed that he was all kinds of fucked up last year. For about 6 months he was performing with double vision and dizziness,

I seem to recall Shibata saying he had similar issues before the headbutt ended his career.

Nakanishi announced he's retiring 2/22, 2 days after Tiger Hattori.

 

Edited by Ace
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New Beginning USA cards out.

Looks like mostly Chaos/Main Unit/BC mid-carders.  Tana and Ibushi are the headliners.

They're adding Colt, Rock N Roll, Mysterioso to the usual suspects as well.

 

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Jado and Chase Owens are a part of the main event at the Nashville show, and Hiroshi Tanahashi is facing Yujiro Takahashi.

What in the actual hell?

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Night Two! 

The final Liger match was solid, loved the heels cutting off the tag and Liger showing off his lucha on Hiromu at the start. Sano looked pretty old in the previous match but they keep him out of the way mostly here and he hits a nice lariat, no Savate kick at all though which surprised me. Liger laid there for awhile at the end and I thought "he might be crying under the mask" which is when the weight of it all hit. The man looked like he hadn't missed a step, he should be proud to have gone out in such form. We should feel blessed to have lived while he was around.

Of course I liked ZSJ/Sanada. Sanada does bust out the preposterous rolling cradle, but he tightened up on the Skull End so I can overlook it. He also cut his beard down to an acceptable length; with the curly hair he now oddly looks like a bust of a Greek or Roman figure of antiquity. ZSJ is ZSJ. 

Juicey Boy, god, that hairstyle/facial hair combination... somebody needs to get my man a new look. Like seriously. He looks like he stepped out of Boogie Nights, but worse. Mox is always fired up in Japan and the match devolving into a slugfest at the very end was nice. Mox vs. Suzuki is gonna be so awesome I hesitate to contemplate it. 

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8 hours ago, Casey said:

Jado and Chase Owens are a part of the main event at the Nashville show, and Hiroshi Tanahashi is facing Yujiro Takahashi.

What in the actual hell?

But yeah, lets blame the failed US expansion entirely on Kenny, Cody, and the Bucks leaving.

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14 hours ago, Ace said:

Nakanishi announced he's retiring 2/22, 2 days after Tiger Hattori.

Am I the only one who thought the September NYC show was supposed to be his retirement? Or was that billed as his USA retirement all along?

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So far I’ve watched Takahashi/Ospreay, Mox/Archer and Naito/White. Really enjoyed all 3. I plan to get through Ibushi/Okada, Tana/Jericho and Okada/Naito tomorrow, should I add Kenta/Goto and White/Ibushi to the list?

Ospreay is my MVP so far.

Thanks in advance.

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20 hours ago, alstein said:

New Beginning USA cards out.

Looks like mostly Chaos/Main Unit/BC mid-carders.  Tana and Ibushi are the headliners.

They're adding Colt, Rock N Roll, Mysterioso to the usual suspects as well.

 

Nice to see Jeff Cobb doing some matches for New Japan again as well at NBUSA. I really hope they give him another crack in the G1 this year. Shit I hope he ends up in New Japan full time because I feel RoH has done nothing but botch him.

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5 hours ago, peterien said:

So far I’ve watched Takahashi/Ospreay, Mox/Archer and Naito/White. Really enjoyed all 3. I plan to get through Ibushi/Okada, Tana/Jericho and Okada/Naito tomorrow, should I add Kenta/Goto and White/Ibushi to the list?

Ospreay is my MVP so far.

Thanks in advance.

I had little interest going into those matches and enjoyed them more as a result. I'd see them. 

I'm not sure if I want to watch Naito/White again and see if I liked it more second go round. It was too long and dragged for me.

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On 1/9/2020 at 12:28 AM, The Natural said:

I had little interest going into those matches and enjoyed them more as a result. I'd see them. 

I'm not sure if I want to watch Naito/White again and see if I liked it more second go round. It was too long and dragged for me.

I would give that a re-watch.  I really loved the story it told and dare I say enjoyed it more than Okada/Ibushi.  Though to be fair I find myself needing to re-watch that one as it didn't appeal to me the first time around.

The one benefit of having to call out sick Tuesday was that I could catch up on both nights.  It was quite a marathon  but ended up enjoying it overall.  I did giggle at my wife who also had to call out and after all that when asking about New Year's Dash she let out an emphatic "No!"  But we did see the Liger ceremony which merits every superlative one can think of.

As for the matches I enjoyed Moxley/Archer and Naito/White a ton for night one.  And Ospreay/Hiromu was damn near a masterpiece.  For night two I liked Okada/Naito best as the energy from the crowd made me more into it than I expected.  I was fine with the post-match as it fits KENTA's "Fuck your traditions" mentality.  I would have done this after Naito got to the top of the ramp but it was effective.  I did find it strange that the rest of LIJ wasn't there for the roll call as the image of all them sans Sanada with titles would have been really cool.

I also really loved Liger's retirement matches a lot.  Everybody involved in the first one looked great all things considered and it was nice seeing Otani in a NJ ring again.  The second one really drove home the fact that along with regaining the title Hiromu is very much a made man.  Which is great because we adore the shit out of him.  It also drove home how incredibly selfless Liger was for not only losing both matches but also doing everything at the beginning of the show (same with the ceremony)  What an incredibly wonderful man he is and I hope he has the best damn retirement possible.

EDIT:  Oh, shit, I somehow forgot about Tanahashi/Jericho.  While Okada/Naito may have been the best match Tanahashi/Jericho was my favorite of night two.  Two veteran showmen fucking with each other was just so insanely fun to watch.  For all the talk of there being no working agreement between the two companies it was still quite a mind-fuck seeing the AEW title and the announcers talk about it.  I don't know what the future holds but at this point I'm very cool with what we got.

Edited by NikoBaltimore
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I really enjoyed White/Naito, thought it flowed nicely and told a great story. 
Ibushi/Okada was insane, the first half took a bit of time to get going but once it did it was fantastic. 
Couldn’t get into Tana/Jericho and I enjoyed Kenta/Goto more than i thought I would. 

Okada is possibly my favourite big match wrestler of all time, such a presence, he never looks uncomfortable and just makes everything look so easy. I wasn’t tuned in to NJPW for Tanas main run as the ace so I’m open to argument but for me Okada is untouchable in that role.

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I finally finished Wrestle Kingdom,  Jericho vs Tanahashi was good but it was probably the least of his New Japan matches he was too heavy with the heel tropes, but I get it. Judging from his IG after the match he seemed to really want to work Tanahashi probably vise versa. I dont know if Tanahashi went in to business for him self by initially challenging for a shot at the AEW title, but it sorta added interest going in. I wonder how need that Jericho wants to work with in New Japan.

I really enjoyed Okada vs Naito too, I'm not a fan of Spitting to get heat. Unless you're going Hansen vs Vader throwing bombs it's ok. It's the only problem I had with Naito vs White too much spit in that match they should've been murdering each other.

Really great shows overall and I'm excited for the next couple months. I really want to go to the Atlanta show. I don't really have the time to follow everything but I'll try to catch the important things and recommended stuff but I just love this roster right now.

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Finally catching up with this as well. Figured Naito over Okada was always the most likely route, but Okada/Ibushi was definitely my favorite match. Jericho/Tanahashi was good stuff, surprised to see Tanahashi lose by tapout. Archer/Moxley was a fun brawl. All the Liger stuff was great.

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Late to the party, but after working my way back into NJPW a little over the second half of 2019, Naito Two-Belts and Hiromu coming all the way back and taking gold has me bought way the fuck back in right now.

I dug a lot of stuff over the two days, with Ibushi/Okada maybe taking the cake, but special s/o to the emotional crescendo of Naito/Okada.  Also: Okada is probably the best big match wrestler and purest "top guy" in the business right now, and he's out here taking avalanche poisoned ranas on his fucking dome (...at the Dome! 🙄).  Insane.

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the DAVEs for anyone who gives a fuck, which he caveats by saying he was watching from an exec box and hasn't seen on TV and may not ever

1/4
Stardom tag 2.5
Young Lions tag 2.5
Old man tag 1.5
Liger tag 2.75 ("The fans hated this finish")
Suzukigun vs LIJ 2.75
CHAOS vs Bullet Club 2.75
Finlayjuice vs. GOD 3
Moxley vs Archer 3.5
Hiromu v Ospreay 5.25 ("This was the third best match in Tokyo Dome history at this point, although that only lasted about an hour")
Naito v White 4.5
Okada v Ibushi 5.5

1/5
Gauntlet 6-man tag star ratings for each match: 1.5, 1.25, 2, 2.25
Liger FINAL 3.5
Jr Tag 3.5 ("Yoh put Sho's cup in his mouth to celebrate. You really don't know where that thing has been. Actually, now that I think about it, you do, which makes it even more unnerving.")
Zack-Sanada 4
Moxley-Juice 2.75
Kenta-Goto 2.5 ("I want to make clear that most had this match far higher but where we were live it was dead. Evidently it was super hard hitting and in the Tokyo Dome that doesn’t mean as much.")
White-Ibushi 3
Jericho-Tanahashi 4.25
Okada-Naito 4.75
 

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I'm with Dave on liking Ibushi vs Okada way  more. Now, I did watch Night 2 spoiled so I admit that can have an effect. 

Also, after Night 1 I'm in the camp that Okada is the greatest wrestler of all time. If he retires tomorrow, he is. Maybe he falls off a cliff as he ages but does anyone think that's likely? 

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1 hour ago, Hagan said:

I'm with Dave on liking Ibushi vs Okada way  more. Now, I did watch Night 2 spoiled so I admit that can have an effect. 

Also, after Night 1 I'm in the camp that Okada is the greatest wrestler of all time. If he retires tomorrow, he is. Maybe he falls off a cliff as he ages but does anyone think that's likely? 

Taken with however much salt you think Dave's ratings need, somebody crunched all the numbers of 4 star and up matches he's ever done. Kobashi has the most with 142. After WK, Okada is at 127. And he's 32.

The caveat Dave pointed out is important though: We get to see basically every match Okada and the other current NJ guys have. If we had gotten to see every Ric Flair house show match in the 80's and 90's, this likely wouldn't be close.

Here's the top 20, through the end of 2019, so not counting WK

 

1. Kenta Kobashi 142; 2. Mitsuharu Misawa 139; 3. Toshiaki Kawada 129; 4. Okada 125; 5. Tanahashi 115; 6. Ishii 108; 7. Jushin Liger 97; 8. Ospreay 95; 9. Chris Benoit 89; 10. A.J. Styles 85; 11. Tetsuya Naito 84; 12. Akira Taue 81; 13. Kota Ibushi 80; 14. Rey Mysterio Jr. and Nick Jackson 79; 16. Matt Jackson 78; 17. Kenny Omega 73; 18. Kurt Angle 71; 19. Hirooki Goto 68; and 20. Shinjiro Otani 66.

Edited by Brian Fowler
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Also, I think it's one of those things where watching Okada in real time means more to me than going back and watching Kobashi greatest match DVDs or Misawa DVDs. 

Flair I watched in real time from 89 up (good year to jump on that) and then have gone back and cherry picked the greatest matches. 

Bret and Shawn I watched all in real time. 

It's why like Michael Jordan is the greatest player to me.  Or Federer is the greatest tennis player. Seeing it as it happens hits harder. 

This Okada run - I mean, even with the Sanada matches that bore the shit out of me - the work is so good and business is so good and even though Okada has his style the fact that he has had such a variety of opponents and matches...I think this is as good as it gets. 

I saw a lot of comments with the caveat that he's the "best big match wrestler ever." Well, if you're the best main event wrestler ever you're probably the best wrestler ever.  

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Night 2:

Pre Show:

6 Man Tag Gauntlet - I think I liked last years gauntlet better. This one was ok. Evil and Ishii beating each other up was cool. I dug Makabe and Shinjo mixing it up too. Match wasn't bad I just I don't know I wasn't feeling it. 

Main Show:

Ligers Retirement Match, Part 2 - Here it is the final match! Dragon Lee is wearing his ROH TV Title that has to mean something right? Right? RIGHT? Is Hiromu still in LIJ? Different match than Night 1. Liger and Sano kept up with the young fella's for a bit and showed them a thing or two while they were at it. Ultimately youth won out and Liger fell to the timebomb. Himoru is still a mean spirited twerp, nice to see that if he out of LIJ he's still heel. I couldn't think of a better way to go out for the Junior Heavyweight GOAT to put over the future. You'll be missed Liger. Dragon Lee paid respect, he gets it.

Bullet Club vs Roppongi 3K - I thought this match was badass. It started off with a bang that double dive. And it stayed wild for a bit before settling down into a match. That way be the best way to do a JR tag match everyone expects outside dives and all the crazy shit so give it to them early and trick them into watching a wrestling match by the time you realize they had slown down you are already invested into the match. El Phantasmo is so obnoxious, just blatantly breaks the rules. 

Zack Sabre Jr vs Sanada - Two of my fav's right here. I'm a big fan of Sabre's unorthodox style, Sanada can go to. Together, they put on a clinic. Scientific wrestling and a cruiserweight pace. They also brawl which i'm all for, variety being the spice of life. That finish was one of those Sabre can get a pin from anywhere type of things. I was expected Sanada to win but I guess now we are gonna get a chase for the title as he now has something to prove against Sabre after getting rolled up out of nowhere. That was like a double wristlock into a roll up, fucking Sabre dude.

Moxley vs Juice - This was a fight. Pure and unadulterated. Different fight from Night 1, this was more personal, the Texas Death match felt like two guys just wanting to see who was tougher so they did everything to put the other down. Moxley and Juice have some unresolved issues to say the least, Moxley brought the agression of course but at Juice's urging. When Juice started swinging on Mox before he even entered the ring I knew this was gonna be an old fashioned slugfest. I was surprised by the finish, second match in a row, keep em guessing I guess. Moxley's evidently staying in New Japan for the time being, calling out Minoru Suzuki and all. Suzuki is such a bad ass him and Moxley are gonna have a fucking war at New Beginning. Like I said in my Night 1 write up it'd a little strange to have a US Champ that can't wrestle in the US during US Expansion but if I had to guess (so good at it) I'd say Suzuki ends up as Champ and he's a guy you could build the US expansion around.

Kenta vs Hirooki Goto - Goto has had a pretty eventful year from finally getting his hands on and shutting Jay White up after 9 months of being called a loser to exacting revenging for his buddy Shibata here. Like the match before it this was a fight, this ran deep. As most of you know Kenta turned on Shibata and joined Bullet Club so Goto took up for his buddy. I do like that Shibata's resisted the temptation to attempt a comeback and get in the ring for a match with Kenta, its better to be able to walk and continue to train at the LA Dojo then to have one more Wrestle Kingdom match. Kenta, like others has been rejuvenated since he left the WWE last year. I was expecting Kents to retain but I'm ok with Goto winning the Championship, he's cool.

Jay White vs Kota Ibusha - New Japan the Next Generation. Whites wobbly knees on that Bladerunner, almost loosing his footing at the end made the match for me. It was fun to watch this two try to kick each others heads off. This seems to just be leading to something and i'm ok with that. Keep Kota busy until Naito is freed up. White is such a tremendous dastardly heel he is such a dickhead. Kota put up a valiant effort and even gave Jay a little taste of his own medicine. I'm sure this two will be headlining a WK for The Strap in the nest years to come.

Jericho vs Tanahashi - Jericho brought the belt and I love it, gotta rep the set. It's I don't wanna say remarkable but its rad as fuck how Jericho has been able to adapt and reinvent himself after all these years and staying relevant. The Painmaker and Inner Circle Jericho have differences to them which is tight. Jericho is that dude but so is Tanahashi. Tana himself has stayed relevant after all these years himself. It's cool to see them finally lock up. Jericho was a prick throughout this match i loved it he just want out of his way to bend the rules and stick it to Tanahashi. Tana responds by just hitting Jericho as hard if not harder then Jericho is hitting him. This match was fun as hell different match from the one it followed but Jericho and Tanahashi realized thye couldn't do what Kota and Jay do so they went out there and had a completely different match. This was more chaotic. Jericho thrives in chaos. I guess I should have known with that stip that Jericho was gonna retain AEW and New Japan have a long way to go before they have any kind of working relationship It would have been tight to see Tanahashi challenge for the AEW title.

Okada vs Naito - It finally happened! Naito is walking out of the Tokyo Dome as Worlde Champ. The match was absolutely incredible. They spent the first 15 minutes trying to figure out what it was gonna be, finding the flow, the pace. Very jazz like in approach. These two advisories know each other in and out, they know what buttons to push. Okada, much like Jay the night before Okada targets Naito's knee. He's a little more despicable about it than Jay believe it or not, driving Naito's knee into a table, those Japanese tables are stiffer than Bruiser Brody. They built on the drama did they not, The last ten minutes from Okada kicking out of that Destino at 2.999 it was nailbaiting action from then on. That crowd was buzzing and the longer Naito went the louder they got. They lost their minds when Naito won. I lost my mind when Naito won. He deserves it dudes been badass for like 3 or 4 years now. Good for him. Naito's promo at the end was really good. It's nice to see Naito taking it all in, He is the Stone Cold of New Japan in unconventional hero sense. Then Kenta had to rain on the parade setting up the next angle. Blizz Clizz strikes again. Poor Naito can never have a moment can he? 

Edited by Web Conn
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7 hours ago, Hagan said:

I'm with Dave on liking Ibushi vs Okada way  more. Now, I did watch Night 2 spoiled so I admit that can have an effect. 

Also, after Night 1 I'm in the camp that Okada is the greatest wrestler of all time. If he retires tomorrow, he is. Maybe he falls off a cliff as he ages but does anyone think that's likely? 

Kazuchika Okada fights it out with Daniel Bryan and Kenta Kobashi for my Greatest of All Time top spot. Just outside that tier: Bret Hart, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Mitsuharu Misawa and Ricky Steamboat.

It's cool how with Okada/Bryan, I've watched them in real time - close to it while Kobashi, just his NOAH work.

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