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NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15.


The Natural
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That was a damn good show.

I think the us already established Western puro fans want to see the company's top stars as it is in Japan. But that doesn't mean there isn't a need to have someone that gets the attention of potential new fans, and speaks fluent English, etc.

Omega was really the best of both worlds for that, and it's obvious why he was the centerpiece to their expansion plans until, well, shit happened. I'm not sure Jay White works in that role as well, even though I like White. 

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The Brodie Tribute Show was maybe the greatest pro wrestling show ever. And then, on a purely entertainment level, we got two great nights from NJPW.

Spoiler

And now The Golden Lovers are on top of the Pro Wrestling world, which is kind of beautiful in a way.

 

Night One was, I think, quite a bit better than Night Two (though that might partly be burnout). But night two was still pretty damned good.

Spoiler

Yano Two Trophies!!!

The Jr Tag Title match was extremely just there.

Shingo vs Cobb was a Big Bomb Hoss Battle. I love Big Bomb Hoss Battles! Maybe my #3 match of WK15. 

SANADA vs EVIL was the match I was least looking forward to out of both nights. It turned out to be fully watchable.

I wanted Hiromu to steal the show. He did his best, as always, but imo the match ranks #4 for the year so far (after Ospreay vs Okada, Ibushi vs Naito, and Shingo vs Cobb) I guess Ishimori had to leave the hairdresser's before they were finished? His haircut was legit distracting.

The main event felt 15 minutes too long for me and after watching the whole G1 I have seen enough of the Jay and Gedo heeling it up act to last a lifetime. My good friend was there live and in person, though, and he loved it. His 2021 MOTY so far ... which is already a VERY high bar to clear. (My pick is Okada vs Ospreay)

Spoiler

Ibushi has proven himself a completely worthy New Japan champion... Which, seriously, who among us could have predicted that 10 years ago? Good on ya, pretty boy!!

I liked the respectful challenge at the end of the show. Not every match needs to be fueled by hatred. Mutual respect is also cool by me.

Edited by El Gran Gordi
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Shingo vs. Jeff Cobb just about stole the show.

I think Ibushi vs. Jay White was actually better than Ibushi vs. Naito, and it went 48 minutes. Kevin Kelly gets my call of the night, "God damn you, Gedo!"

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I am so glad that SANADA didn't lose to EVIL. So, so glad.

Shingo vs. Cobb was fucking insane. It was going to be hard to top that.

Ibushi vs. Jay could have been trimmed a little but I knew they were going for EPIC(!) when they stalled at the very beginning. That was a tell-tale sign. I dunno about the whole Ibushi is god thing, but I think the story worked overall. It was about Gedo's fifth time interfering that I knew 100% that Ibushi was winning. Same with Dick Togo in the ex LIJ partners EXPLODE! match.

I'm so ready for the Great Pretty Boy War of 2021.

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If they were going to do heavy interference in the main as expected, they really should only did it one or two times max in the that match. The table spot was good I guess, but they kept the camera on EVIL's reaction a little too long. I get it that he was distraught or whatever, but I don't think you're suppose to forget you're in a wrestling match. 

Edited by Elsalvajeloco
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On 12/17/2020 at 4:11 PM, The Natural said:

I still think Kota Ibushi beats Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship/IWGP Intercontinental Championship and retains against Jay White the next night. Looks bad if Ibushi loses another shot at the titles and perhaps even more so dropping them only 24 hours after.

Yay me.

Eq9zXVMXcAM_389?format=jpg&name=large

Kota Ibushi vs. Jay White went 48:05 in the longest main event ever at the Tokyo Dome. Ibushi/White beats Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega going 46:45 at Wrestle Kingdom 11.

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2 minutes ago, Brian Fowler said:

They really should've flipped SANADA/Evil and the NEVER matches. Hiromu and Ishimori was good enough and different enough to follow that classic. LiJ explodes was not.

The thing is they probably won't going to put SANADA/Evil match low on the card if SANADA is challenging Ibushi. As soon as Kevin Kelly said SANADA was thinking about challenging Ibushi at the conclusion of that match, it was a dead giveaway that was the direction they were going in if Ibushi won later on. It would be strange for him to say that unless he knew that match itself had some sort of ramifications other than two former partners concluding their feud.

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7 minutes ago, TheVileOne said:

That table spot for EVIL/Sanada was goofy as hell. It did not look good.

It got a good pop from the crowd. Probably one of the only non golf clap pops of the night. Problem is it took forever for something after that. We were on Dick Togo being strewn about for about 10 seconds. Then they cut back to EVIL. That part was awkward. 

Edited by Elsalvajeloco
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15 minutes ago, quackhell said:

Takagi and Cobb should both be charged with assault. Good lord was that a slugfest.

I preferred night 1 to night 2, but overall it was a great time and really made my 3rd shifts fly by. 

I think Cobb has always been a solid worker, but that was easily one of, if not the, best performances of his career.

Edited by TheVileOne
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Watched most of night one and I feel like with the atmosphere due to the pandemic finishing stretches should be shorter not longer. Gimme a Kensuke type of old school '90s 15-20 minute bomb fest over these bloated epics with polite clapping (bless the fans for following guidelines for real though). 

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2 minutes ago, Jiji said:

Watched most of night one and I feel like with the atmosphere due to the pandemic finishing stretches should be shorter not longer. Gimme a Kensuke type of old school '90s 15-20 minute bomb fest over these bloated epics with polite clapping (bless the fans for following guidelines for real though). 

My guess is whoever is putting the matches together believes it's going take 5-10 minutes for viewers to get fully invested in these matches. The drawback is about six false finishes in you're marching towards feeling like a goddamn David Lean film. Doctor Zhivago wasn't as long as some of these matches. 

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19 minutes ago, Jiji said:

Gimme a Kensuke type of old school '90s 15-20 minute bomb fest

I can't find a YouTube or Dailymotion link, but Wrestling World 2004 with Sasaki vs Nagata... one of my favorite matches ever.

NSFW gif:

Spoiler

NiQmxCK.gif

 

Edited by Casey
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My nit-picky gripe regarding match structure in this is era is that, if we're to believe audible fan support really helps wrestlers power up, harness fighting spirit, etc., then a lack of it should manifest somehow. And yeah, steering away from big epics would be a great way to do that. 

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Just gimme some flash finishes here and there too. These fans are polite and will play their part, similar to indie/AEW fans in America, but we know NJPW matches don't end until a finisher is hit and probably at least twice in big matches like this. Njpw has done some truly amazing things these past ten years but I feel like it's fallen victim to its own success and become very predictable. The short Hiromu/Kushida match from 2017 iirc and Akiyama/Ogawa* type of matches go a long way in keeping us honest and in the right circumstances can be super helpful.

*not the right circumstance. 

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17 minutes ago, Elsalvajeloco said:

My guess is whoever is putting the matches together believes it's going take 5-10 minutes for viewers to get fully invested in these matches. The drawback is about six false finishes in you're marching towards feeling like a goddamn David Lean film. Doctor Zhivago wasn't as long as some of these matches. 

I need more Brief Encounters in NJPW. 

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25 minutes ago, Beech27 said:

My nit-picky gripe regarding match structure in this is era is that, if we're to believe audible fan support really helps wrestlers power up, harness fighting spirit, etc., then a lack of it should manifest somehow. And yeah, steering away from big epics would be a great way to do that. 

Like the secret "bad ending" they wrote for Peter Pan if the audience doesn't clap for Tinkerbell!

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Favorite match of both nights was Shingo and Cobb. Easily. Loved it.

The two bumps that popped me the most were the snap head scissors from Ibushi to Naito (apron to floor) and the crazy belly-to-belly Cobb hit on Shingo out on the floor. Not the biggest or craziest bumps but the two that caught me off guard and looked the best (to me).

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