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Puroresu General Discussion for 2020


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80 percent chance BJW closes if nothing improves in the following months. Depends on if fans are allowed again, and if financials hit subdue.

The promotion isn't economically viable if it needs to have multiple fundraisers. Also doesn't seem they saved any money up either.

 

Edited by D.Z
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I am usually for strengthening indie rosters by contracting a few promotions here or there but BJW is both a staple of the scene since '95 and unique. It also has some of the best indie wrestlers in the country. I mean, I don't HATE the idea of Okabayashi and Sekimoto joining AJPW full time but it would be sad.

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Even more importantly than those two vets, where does Nomura go? NOAH? He's worked there before and stylistically he fits in with their brain damage form of wrestling. I'd hate it but it probably makes the most sense. 

But really, fuck that because I hope it doesn't come to that.

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1 hour ago, Oyaji said:

I am usually for strengthening indie rosters by contracting a few promotions here or there but BJW is both a staple of the scene since '95 and unique. It also has some of the best indie wrestlers in the country. I mean, I don't HATE the idea of Okabayashi and Sekimoto joining AJPW full time but it would be sad.

All speculation, of course,  but if those two ended up in AJ I’d put them in charge of the dojo.

Also, I hope AJ is more financially robust, but I can’t be sure. I’ve kept up my subscription just because i figure they need it more than I.

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Non sequitur: I watched Takeshi Rikio's first GHC challenge. I should probably say "re-watched", because there is no way I'd have missed it at the time. And yet I didn't remember ever watching this match, and nothing during it triggered an "aha" moment of recognition. 

Anyway, it was really good. Maybe great, and it wasn't all Kobashi. Rikio is bigger, certainly faster, and just bullies the old champ, then targets the knee. He loses, ultimately, because Kobashi is Kobashi, but also because he makes a couple mistakes, and doesn't yet have a big match killshot. Kobashi is more focused on the neck, and is hyper-efficient in his attacks. They do the chop exchanges you'd expect--and one grisly headbutt sequence you probably wouldn't--but it's pretty remarkable how little fat there is on this.The finish comes just a hair after 25 minutes, and everything mattered and led logically to the next stage, from beginning to end. 

I certainly don't recall this match being well-received at the time. Dave gave it ***3/4, and Cagematch has it at 7.27. So, fine. One review says: "Physically Rikio is a stylistic problem for, at this point, Kobashi's immobility."

This--if I may argue with someone writing in 2016, who will never read this--I think is almost precisely wrong. Kobashi, lacking mobility, had become something of a tank: he'll trade his artillery with yours, and trust that he'll come out on top. Only now, he's up against someone bigger, faster, who hits harder. And to make matters worse, his knee is too shot to run the ropes for a lariat, or even think about a moonsault. So, he has to be smart. Counter the biggest moves, when he can. Drop Rikio on his head, then chop his neck, then drop him more. Then clobber him with short-range lariats. It works, but only just. You're left thinking Rikio could have won, if he'd have known how to navigate those deeper waters better. 

(Of course, he would win, and he would not become a major draw or viable company-leading ace. And then--and this is what makes watching this era of NOAH a little tough--he would retire relatively young from neck injuries.) 

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Remember how much money 10 million yen actually is. About 94k at current conversion. Realistically, that isn't astronomical considering what it's for. They're averaging about $100 per donation which is more than doable at the pace they're on.

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I'm gonna risk a bit of groaning by not only returning to the discussion about Okada from a page ago but by suggesting once again that it's not too late to make Ishii the transitional solution. You do a one-night GI/NJ Cup type thing post-COVID to decide who the challenger at the Dome is short notice, you have Ishii win because he's the guy everyone loves and who can still credibly beat anyone in a fluke, and then you run with him winning the belt at the Dome. It's a nuclear option/emergency button type scenario, but it's also giving the crowd what they've wanted to see for close to a decade now and would be enough of a feel good moment to buy the promotion some goodwill while they start new long-term plans. I don't buy that Ishii's age is a hindrance any more than I would if someone were to tell me Iibushi's too old, and unlike Iibushi or Ospreay or SANADA he doesn't have that immediately familiar prettyboy air that Tanahashi, Okada, Omega and even in his own rough-hewn Robert Gibson-ish way Naito all have. Honestly at this point, if it can't be Ishii I'd rather them just reset EVIL's abandoned push from a couple years ago or beef up Hiromu than give Iibushi a title run. NJPW has a fun history of diverse guys on top, and right now I think it'd be worth trying another Hashimoto or Tenzan or Makabe than another Tanahashi or Okada. 

Edited by Belgian_Waffle
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21 hours ago, Beech27 said:

(Of course, he would win, and he would not become a major draw or viable company-leading ace. And then--and this is what makes watching this era of NOAH a little tough--he would retire relatively young from neck injuries.) 

And the win was awesome too. Even better, actually--especially after watching the first challenge, since so much of this match serves to demonstrate that Rikio has improved, and Kobashi simply cannot at this stage of his career.

Rikio dominates early, and then hits the ramp powerbomb he couldn't last time, because this time he softens Kobashi up on the ring-post first. He tries to do it again, but Kobashi eventually fights it off. Only he can't really do anything but roll into the ring and try to recover--the damage is done. Still, he knows what works, and he'll chop Rikio's neck and drop him on his head. Even submissions are creatively applied to this end, as when Kobashi posts Rikio on his head during a super high-angle Boston crab. 

Of course this time, it's not enough. Rikio doesn't bother with knee work; he debuted the Musou to beat Kobashi in a previous tag, and so he can now wrestle to win rather than avoid defeat. So, he just hammer's Kobashi's back, staying on top of the damage begun with the ramp powerbomb. 

That does mean Kobashi is allowed to be more mobile during the closing stretch, and they really lean into that, trading charging shoulders and lariats--this is a beefy finishing run. Still, it's not without some sizzle, as Kobashi--knees feeling ok--goes for a moonsault... and hits it. But Rikio kicks out. The crowd, at this point, has completely gotten behind the challenger. I have to confess, I didn't remember this. But it's pretty clear they want him to do it.

And after a monster lariat, and two Musou's, he does. The crowd rushes the rails, Rikio is beside himself, tears streaming, and Kobashi looks... relieved, honestly. If I didn't know anything else, and just watched this, I'd think the title change worked. Sure, Rikio's a little soft, a little balding, and doesn't have the charisma Kobashi does. But, I mean, who does? Kobashi is Superman and Clark Kent at once. I'll forever think Akiyama should have won his Tokyo Dome challenge; only I now think that perhaps he ought to have done so, not to make himself a bigger star, but because only he was already a big enough one to take the burden.

We like to talk about "making stars" in wrestling, but of course we know it isn't that easy. Maybe Rikio never had it; maybe no younger wrestler on NOAH's roster did, at the time. Maybe if you could time travel a younger Okada, he could have turned the burden of ending Kobashi's reign into his own legendary origin story; or maybe not. Maybe wrestling tastes had just shifted, and NOAH needed to juice up Marafuji and/or KENTA to be their Tanahashi. But you can't just make a Tanahashi; only Tanahashi is Tanahashi.

And of course, only Kobashi was Kobashi. He did have his peers, though, one of whom would take the title from a floundering Rikio. And it's hard not to love that; the crowd reacts to Taue winning with appropriately mid-90's level ecstasy. And Kobashi also had his understudies, one of whom--Go Shiozaki--is presently the GHC champion. It's his 4th reign, tying Takashi Sugiura's record. He defeated Kaito Kiyomiya to win the title, whose whole thing is that he likes Misawa, and wears green. 

There's not anything revelatory in noticing that, of course. NOAH's "what if?" scenarios have been well speculated on, in addition to their (perhaps over-) reliance on their founding mythmakers. 

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And one more Rikio post, because I was really curious where he's ended up, and how he's doing:

I found this interview here, from 2019, in which he talks with Kaito Kiyomiya about expectations, being champion, etc. There is a lot of the boilerplate you'd expect about how you just have to do your best and fight hard, and the translation is not clear in general. Still, some interesting bits, like, "for me it was really difficult to see that I was trying different things in wrestling. Because there is no right answer, it would be easier if I would decide on one, but the answer is different every time. Was it good because the customer was pleased, or was it good because I was convinced? That is a completely different issue. So, you have to keep wrestling while watching the reaction of the customer, make your opponent shine, and I think that is a champion. It is a happy time...but I wonder if it is a fun one. When you debut, your seniors influence you, and that part is the leading of the match, as a champion, you are in that position, and I think in that respect it is a happy time."

Anyway, he owns and runs a ramen restaurant in Niigita, and generally seems very healthy and happy. He went to NOAH's show in Osaka last year, signed some pictures with Kobashi, and introduced the main event. 

70142702_1376034025879008_1326846213848301568_o.jpg?_nc_cat=111&_nc_sid=8024bb&_nc_ohc=zpe4OkmDLlkAX_EbSxG&_nc_ht=scontent-ort2-2.xx&oh=6b73d4d7628fb88b0d8c59b867f4b7a0&oe=5ED6573A

There. Now I feel better.

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Wait, they actually gave Ogawa a run as GHC Jr. Champ in 2020???!!!???

The most recent singles match I saw of his was against TAKA Michinoku at the start of the Suzuki-gun invasion, and even then he seemed completely washed up and TAKA was doing all the work.

 

 

Who the fuck does this guy have pictures of?  Retire already!!!

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DDT not going to hold shows with fans until after June 23rd. They originally had stopped shows until May 17th with a TJP show scheduled for May 23rd. They are planning to have a show at Korakuen on June 28th with social distancing and audience health checks.

Edited by lostinube
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