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NJPW 2020 NJ Cup


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I gotta say, I've loved the arena configuration they've been using for Korakuen for these empty arena shows, even though there's a zero chance they'd use it when they're up to 100% attendance shows because of how many seats it removes.

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6 minutes ago, EVA said:

Here’s hoping this bastard run that EVIL is on leads to him pulling the upset on Sanada.  I have zero interest in another Okada/Sanada match.

EVIL cheating his way to a win everyone knows was "supposed" to be SANADA's ascendance would be interesting. It does seem like living up (down?) to his name should lead to... something. Especially since LIJ have basically been faces for a while now. 

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1 hour ago, Raziel said:

I gotta say, I've loved the arena configuration they've been using for Korakuen for these empty arena shows, even though there's a zero chance they'd use it when they're up to 100% attendance shows because of how many seats it removes.

I think they have some Korakuen shows announced for July so we'll probably have maybe 50% crowd for those? Will be interesting to see how that configuration "feels" with some fans present.

As for the tournament, I think that Sanada still takes it and this whole Evil thing is just them trying to create some doubt. Don't take me wrong, this is good thing and preferable to predictable Sanada/Goto or Sanada/Yoshi matches.

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I was really into SANADA at some point last year & then it just stopped working. It doesn't help that the Skull End looks like complete dogshit, but I don't know, I thought he had it 12/15 months ago & now I really just find more & more to gripe about. Which is sort of the opposite of Taichi really (except him being good goes back to 2018).

My own bracket is completely blown now as I had a final of Ishii vs Taichi which was probably always wish fulfilment on my behalf but I kind of justified with "they won't want to do a SANADA EVIL match with no fans" (because I wasn't aware that the semi-finals were being live broadcast on BS Asahi) plus thinking that no way Hiromu beats another heavyweight, fool that I am. As it is, the 2 tournament matches tomorrow could be extremely good depending on how much of the LIJ match is spent in the Skull End.

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14 hours ago, Raziel said:

I gotta say, I've loved the arena configuration they've been using for Korakuen for these empty arena shows, even though there's a zero chance they'd use it when they're up to 100% attendance shows because of how many seats it removes.

I hate the look of it with the bleachers pushed up and the curtains. I don't like it when companies run there with the entrance and stage instead of the north bleachers. They should curtain of those horrid seats on the south side that are tough to fit into if you are over 5'6" 160 lbs..

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Well some things happened here.

Kawato returns as Master Wato and gets his ass kicked by Douki. I mean, it probably all makes sense. He returns from Mexico and Douki hates lucha hipsters, Wato is also probably going to beat him at finals show and challenge Hiromu for Jr. title at Dominion next day. So it all kinda makes sense, but it was bad visual and bad first impression I'd say.

Sanada might be crippled or not. Was that an audible? I doubt it, I think they would have went with Sanada win either way and if shit is bad then they would have replaced him with Evil for finals show and I think everyone would have understood it. Besides, if he is really crippled then maybe taking chair shots and Evil's finisher wasn't the best idea. But what do I know.

Either way I understand going all in on Goto and Yoshi, but stomping on your tag team partner's balls feels like going a bit too far. Maybe they both stay in LiJ, but I can't really see how after that you do another tag team run.

Edited by Archibald
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Well, EVIL did win. I wonder what happens now? It's hard to see him beating Okada; but it's hard to see Naito/Okada being run again so soon, in front of very few fans. And if they do run EVIL/Naito, what does that mean for SANADA? 

Kawato did look like a geek. Even before the beatdown. But, the beatdown did happen. He'll win the match, and get to show off his moveset; and I'm (still, for some reason) pretty high on the kid, but this was inauspicious. 

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EEEEEEEEVERYTHING

 

I think it was really smart by Okada to use this no-fans tourney to build up his cobra clutch finish.  He’s kinda stopped and started trying to get that over in recent years, but I feel like he’s always dropped it because it got flat crowd responses.  Perhaps now that he’s scored a bunch of wins with it, it’ll get more respect when fans get back.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, EVA said:

EEEEEEEEVERYTHING

 

I think it was really smart by Okada to use this no-fans tourney to build up his cobra clutch finish.  He’s kinda stopped and started trying to get that over in recent years, but I feel like he’s always dropped it because it got flat crowd responses.  Perhaps now that he’s scored a bunch of wins with it, it’ll get more respect when fans get back.

 

 

I've liked all three of Kazuchika Okada's submissions, Deep in Debt (remember that oldie?), Red Ink and trying to bring back the Cobra Clutch again.

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What. the. fuck.

edit: For real. If that was Kawato's doing, why the FUCK didn't somebody above him tell him to stop trying to kill his career? If it was Gedo or somebody high up, why are they trying to kill this kid's career? There is no good reasoning whatever the circumstance. Truly awful. 

As much as I love Taichi, I look at the stuff like the constant downed refs and the interference and think about how far they've moved away from what NJPW once was. I really enjoy Memphis wrestling and Gedo's wrestling. NJPW's current stretch is among the best if not the best ever. I like pizza and sushi, but I also wouldn't want them combined. But it is not without its flaws. 

Edited by Oyaji
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Sigh. 😒

Anybody notice Ishii's bulge? ON HIS KNEE. His left knee cap looks like it's protruding way too far out, it's kinda gross. Or am I just seeing things? Anyway, you put two of the best in-ring talents in the company together and give them time, they'll do pretty good things. Hiromu and Ishii: pretty, pretty, pretty good. I really appreciated Hiromu trying to set the tone physically right from the off, showing Ishii he wouldn't be bullied (at least not yet). I get that Ishii is a squat, thicc boi but Hiromu's triangle lock was ugly. Hiromu's selling on the other hand was otherworldly, selling both the struggle from pain and what it took out of his offense. Oh and his bumping: no regard for his own neck on that lariat sell. Fantastic match. How can you not adore those two?

Is Ishii the best wrestler alive? Or at least the best wrestler at empty arena matches? He creates so much drama with his selling, facial reactions, and grunts that gets me invested in his matches even without an audience. I think he may be better than Okada flat out, but perhaps it's my preference for less fancy stuff and more straight ahead violence. Hiromu continues to look even better now than he did prior to his injury, which is stunning. He really should be somebody they build around and perhaps long term should just do away with the divisions. This tournament has been an excellent indicator of what that world could look like. Hiromu, Desperado, and Sho in particular do not look out of place. They can even keep the titles and tournaments but there shouldn't be a strong division between heavyweight and junior. There is obvious money in guys like Hiromu and Sho but the junior division has rarely been a draw in Japan. 

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I don't think that they should do away with divisions, but going forward I feel like Anniversary show and NJ Cup should be about heavyweight vs junior action.

So assuming that Evil wins this and thinking about how he wrestles and Naito's tendencies in big matches... safe bet that we'll have another Naito/Ibushi situation with people talking about how wrestling is too dangerous?

What I expect to see, if we actually get it, in Naito/Evil title match: multiple low blows, direct headshots with chairs, STO thru the table, piledrivers on table and chairs and some blood.

Anyway, anyone watched that Collision show? So far it looks like it will a vehicle to establish Karl in his new role and I'm ok with that.

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Man...with YOH's injury, YOSHI-HASHI destroying his knee, and SANADA getting planted on his head, this could prove to be a very costly tournament for NJPW. Never mind how some of the rest of the roster was moving pretty slowly after their matches - hopefully that's just going to fall in the realm of "banged up" and there won't be any further roster losses. They're already shorthanded. 

Speaking of SANADA - I've been in the camp that complains about his matches and signature moves before. Perhaps it's the effects of isolation wreaking havoc upon my sanity, but I thought he had a rather enjoyable tournament. Bushi gave a recent interview for NJPW where he mentioned that SANADA trained under Osamu Nishimura at one point, and therefore uses a very "classical" style of wrestling. I can see both truth and falsehood in that statement, but if SANADA did away with just two moves in his repertoire and leaned in a little more to the style that Nishimura wrestled - kinda  like we see in his matches with ZSJ - I think a lot of the complaints about him could easily go away. I would say this is a borderline necessity regardless of what happens, and an absolute necessity if he leaves LIJ. 

To @Oyaji's point: I don't know what more we can say about Tomohiro Ishii. He's always great, and to be the guy who excels in these tournaments for years on end is pretty incredible. As much a toll as they clearly take on everyone, it's near-unbelievable that he can keep that up. In story or not, he's got to be a ridiculously tough human. Plus, his style is always enjoyable to watch, and when he deviates from it (like in the G1 match with Moxley), it means something. 

Hiromu being able to pick up where he left off after an injury like his defies belief too. He did it all in the New Japan Cup: comedy and character work with Yano, top-tier in-ring action with Ishii, and now Okada. Based on how the latter match shook out, I have to believe there will be more high-stakes matches between those two in the future - barring further injuries, global pandemics, alien invasions, etc.

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5 minutes ago, Teflon Turtle said:

Bushi gave a recent interview for NJPW where he mentioned that SANADA trained under Osamu Nishimura at one point, and therefore uses a very "classical" style of wrestling. I can see both truth and falsehood in that statement

Until you mentioned this I completely forgot Nishimura joined AJPW in 07. I remember him being there, but not a full right roster member. Soya was a trainee he brought with him which is funny seeing how much more Soya pulls from Choshu. But yeah Sanada probably got extra training from Nishimura then. 

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