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NEW JAPAN ON AXS- RESTART!


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They started new episodes of New Japan on AXS and they started it off with a crappy junior heavyweight four way.  Robbie Eagles hit a cool toprope rana to the floor. Oh, so that's where Taiji Ishimori has been.  It's good to see him.  And El Phantasmo!  I haven't seen him since his foray into IMPACT!  So I do hate a Triple Threat and I really hate a Four way,  but I was glad to see a bunch of guys wrestle on my TV screen again.  Why, I remember Taguchi's first match....  I heard that House of Torture ruined matches, but they appear to be a nouvelle Japanese Paul Jones Army.  Plus CHAOS has fucking Tomohiro Iishi at ringside, there should be an endless brawl outside the ring the whole time.  They are setting up an old school Southern tag and I dug Hirooki Goto as our inaugural Ricky Morton.  He had real babyface fire- our Ricky Steamboat of the match  YOSHI-HASHI was a good house a-fire.  Goto assuming the Robert Gibson role after the hot tag cooled down was a very Japanese variation on the  Southern tag staple.  The finish was fun as all of CHAOS clears the ring of all of House of Torture and  THEN they have the awesome heel comeback to the superfun babyface final comeback finish.  That was good.  Let's hear it for New Japan being back on basic cable!  WOO-HOO!

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There was already one last week with Ishii vs. EVIL. Kevin Kelly sounded drunker than I was at the time. Interestingly it seems they picked up a side play by play man on this episode and he has to be from the British Isles based on accent, so they're probably biting off our friends that announce in NOAH 😉

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Tanahashi and Sanada FOR THE BELT!  I was confused by Tanahashi's hair.  Is that a French braid?  Sanada has cooler pants of the two.  Man, I really fucking hate the Paradise Lock.  Sooo stupid.  At least there are duelling Paradise Locks.  SO yeah, I hate this match so far.  Tanahashi did cool ways to apply the Texas Cloverleaf.  Sanada did cool ways to apply the SKULL END.  It kind heated up towards the end but never got good.  I dunno.  

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I never watched the AXS stuff before because I was so glued to every card on NJPWWorld. Now NJPW is a company I want to skim. I have something like TV at home and I barely use it, I should watch this every week and have opinions on it. Yup, this is what I need, I'm down.

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Man, I haven't seen Taguchi wrestle in prolly 15 years (that I remember).  He and Master Wato are fun.  Hirooki Goto sold 90% of the match before hitting a few finishers which is fine since the juniors supplied the action and Goto is pretty listless on offense.  Eh, this was perfectly fine.  The main event is a six man match where Minoru Suzuki is the third oldest guy in the match.  Tatsumi Fujinami looks good for a guy two years shy of 70.  Fujiwara looks every bit of 72.  The other four are the MEAT of the match.  This is the first time I've seen Zack Sabre Jr since the last time they had a show on AXS.  He and Okada are all slick and shit.  Suzuki and Tatsumi Fujinami is odd and full of DRADITION!  Fujiwara and Suzuki being partners and yet total dicks to each other is way fun.  Tanahashi and Okada beat on Fujiwara until Fujiwara whips out a few headbutts and I wasn't expecting the 72 year old to be so active in the ring.  Fujiwara and Fujinami have a section and then they get back to the four guys under the age of 68.  Sabre is nasty busting up the joints of Tanahashi,  Suzuki is nasty busting up Tanahashi's skull.  Suzuki and Fujiwara and Sabre all procuring simultaneous Fujiwara armbars is heartwarming.  This was neat, I guess.  I await next week to see a four star match.

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That pulled the four for me! Fujiwara took a bump and Suzuki's wall cracked with him looking mystified. Or maybe it was somebody else. And he even did the turnbuckle headbutts which is mystifying to ME. They told a really fun story in the ring as basically NJPW vs. UWF (and the announcers said there was another, literal version of that matchup done recently that I wanna see). ZSJ also hasn't been seen by me since the last shows and he looked awesome. Give him the damn belt! 

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2 hours ago, Curt McGirt said:

It was nifty turning on the TV to see TAKA vs. CIMA out of nowhere.

I remember when he was Shima Nobunaga and was with Judo Suwa and Sumo Fuji on WCW Worldwide as Ultimo Dragon's underlings.  And who could forget TAKA Michinoku in Kaentai Deluxe with Dick Togo, Funaki, Shiryu, MEN'S TEIOH and Hanzo Nakajima?  Since then, I have a 26 year old daughter who is getting married in August.  And, today, these two guys have a good little match on my TV.  Who would ever think after seeing TAKA in the first Super J Cup that he would be the trainer teaching folks a thousand submissions?  Hey!  It's Okada again!  It's heavyweight versus Junior heavyweight!  In Japan!  They should have showed the Jeff Cobb match instead! 

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I watched Okada/El Desperado match again this morning and it's actually pretty good.  The finishing section is really good.  I dig Desperado's submission.  They should REALLY invest in the IMPACT! commentary team.

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The whole "Taka as submission master" thing took me by surprise. He wrapped up CIMA like a pretzel and I said "that looks like ZSJ did it" and the commentary team immediately says that he trained ZSJ to do stuff like that. I guess you gotta do something different when your knees are probably oatmeal after all the highspots. 

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Taka has always been nice on the mat, he just rarely got the chance to showcase it.  If you watch some of the MPro/Battlarts crossover shows he does some real cool amateur stuff.

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Okada vs CIMA was good but Okada versus any other Strongheart would have been infinitely better.  Oh man, Okada versus T-Hawk is the dream.  Okada versus El Lindaman is also the dream.  Zack Sabre Jr vs Will Ospreay was good but kinda of Junior Heavyweight-ish.  Could have used more Sabre submissions.  Finishing sequence was balls out.  

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Oh man, Zack Sabre Jr vs Shingo Takagi was fucking awesome.  Sabre has to wrestle Bryan Danielson at the Supershow.  He's the only one in AEW that can hang with him.  Unless Kenny Omega is ready to roll.  Okada/Naito was less than Sabre/Shingo.  Seems like the crowd was sick of seeing this match up. Eh, it happens.   Quite the minor match considering who is in it.

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Naito may take the top belt off Okada.  Not sure what are Naito's plans for the defunct old belts, but probably revival of the IC title (as a ceremonial thing) during this year G1 Climax. They can't call it the IC, because WWE trademarking the IC name in Japan (or so some Japanese says)is one of the reasons the belt was abolished.

I think Tana will get that oldest guy win for the IWGP World HW. Like Tenryu did for the defunct IWGP HW and M.Suzuki for the defunct IWGP IC title.

 

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Maaaaan, Zack Sabre Jr vs Tetsuya Naito for the New Japan Cup was completely fucking balls out.  That was fucking great.  Zack Sabre Jr is the best wrestler on earth? Sure.

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Oh man, Okada versus Zack Sabre Jr is... uh.... REALLY GOOD.  Sabre is magnificent.  I wonder if Great O'Khan and Jeff Cobb are defending the belts at Forbidden Door.

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I just can't watch it anymore. Sabre wraps up Okada in something that would submit anyone, including him, at 5:15 and I turn it back on at 28 minutes and they're doing a high speed complicated finishing sequence as if nothing has happened in the match otherwise. Forget it. 

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They are showing stuff from Chicago and it's Kevin Kelly and Matt Rehwoldt on commentary, so it's already a zillion times better than what we usually get.  Minoru Suzuki versus Tomohiro Ishii is a real fucking hoot.  I've seen both of these guys a thousand times this year but the first time against each other.  This is fun.  It's cool hearing crowd noise.  U-S-A!  U-S-A!  That headbutt to the chest that Ishii does looks REALLY fucking great here.  One night, TWO Ishii Brainbusters!  WHAT A DAY!  First he kills ELP with one on IMPACT! and then he kills Suzuki with one an hour later.  AXS is delivering the unspeakably great Brainbuster today.  New Japan couldn't get "Wild Thing" for Jon Moxley?  Either way, Will Ospreay brawling with Moxley is pretty great.  Will Ospreay looks great in this because Jon Moxley is having such a great year and is having great matches with everyone.   Moxley is such a bladefreak.  He is  the new Wildfire Tommy Rich.  This is like the time the Young Bucks had a street fight with Kevin Steen and Super Dragon.  The fact that the Young Bucks were in such a crazy, violent fistfight, it changed the way I looked at them.  It's like the first time you saw the Fabulous Ones in a bloodbath.  Will Ospreay being in this match elevates him by many magnitudes in my eyes.  I love that Ospreay will trade big shots with Moxley and then hit an elaborately embellished spinning heel kick. Moxley hits two sweet Tequila Sunrise Suplexes.  Ospreay hits a cutter on the apron.  This match is fucking great.  Then he puts Moxley through a table by channeling Sammy Guevara and diving off the ringpost to the floor.  Jesus, that looked fucking crazy,  I love that junior heavyweight finishers don't finish Moxley.  Trading lariats as this transitions into a complete New Japan heavyweight match.  Ospreay no-sells a piledriiver so this switches to complete indie.  They hit a batch of finishers and finally Moxley hits a SWEET Deathrider.  The finish is CONTROVERSIAL!  I assume they will settle it a much bigger venue in Chicago.  That match is fucking great.   

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22 minutes ago, Ramo2653 said:

I might be in the minority but Moxley's NJPW theme > Wild Thing

WHOA!

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This was the most entertaining episode possible. Suzuki and Ishii went full Ultra Fighting Spirit We Will Sell While No Selling Multiple Strike Exchange Super No Vacancy with all the cringeworthy strikes and agonized facial expressions that entails. Then Mox and Ospreay have the best match they could. Ospreay actually hits a very good Hidden Blade (then a terrible one later) and the Macho Elbow through the table is beautiful. His blade job isn't any good but Mox seems to blade a second time after the table to make up for it. I think they wanted to steal the Yuta finish but the ref fucked 'er, bud. Ospreay really really needs a haircut. 

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Posted (edited)

OK, I went to my local - local as in half-a-cigar walk - venue the 2300 Arena (formerly the you-know-what bingo hall, now it's all nice) this past Friday to see MLW and then two day hence Sunday to see the New Japan Pro Wrestling. Wow, I wonder what the poor people are doing?!?! Anyway, tonight I posted both show reviews, but they are not just show reviews, 'cause it's ----

Johnny LaRue Presents: thee RAF's STREET BEEF. Dig itjohnnylarue.jpg

 

Anyway, same rules as the MLW entry, lookin' at my notes and trying to be positive (and that may mean skipping over a lot). The cheap NJPW tix were 2x the price of the cheapo MLW ones. Neither show was sold out, but they were full. This here was another taping and they got a lot of footage, daddy. Maybe spoilers, but to me that's nerd talk. There will be more feeling and emotions than facts anyway, because it is the currency of my heart.

- This whole thing was very expertly & efficiently run, with fancy backdrops for photo ops, video displays and colorful multi-lingual banners. Indies take note. Lots of shilling for their new game/app. I got a free pin. Dojo boys and girls everywhere cleaning, looking pensive, applying ice packs, ushering, selling merch, tightening up the ring...

- Speaking of which, those were the tightest top ropes I have seen in a long time. In contrast, the MLW ring looked a bit janky. I expect no less from either one.

- The merch booth was well staffed and monstrous and 'spensive. And yet, the great O-Khan, out of gimmick, had his own and some seemingly remaindered merchandise for sale on the pool table by the bathrooms with a makeshift sign. It was very endearing somehow.

- There was a bit of confusion as to when the show was supposed to begin w/multiple start times available. However, the action went from 5pm to a bit after 9pm with one short intermission and very little between match delays.

- RAF's open admission: I am not a big fan of modern the NJPW style. The most interesting workers involved for me are usually the most different ones. That said, it was a loaded card. 

- There was SO MUCH pottymouth on this card, in the ring and on the promos. I mean, past XPW or ECW house level - is this because the gaijins can get away with it? I dunno, maybe the Japanese workers were cussing too. My pals barely speak English goodly.

- The crowd was slightly younger, slightly more hipster-ish, less drunk and more filled with females. In fact, there were gaggles of ladies w/o accompanying menfolks roaming around. Very unusual for a wrestling show in my experience but obviously I am going to the wrong shows. Don't worry, there was a healthy dose of South Philly genetic defectives and grotesques of all sizes. Ah, my people...

- Another complaint, and a serious one: literally every match had "letting your opponent hit you" exchange of blows. Every damn one. In this and other ways, the "strong style" displayed here was just as stylized and ritualistic as any mocked fed house style, like the WWF '80s or WWE 'everyone does all their signature spots' ones. Everything in moderation, kids.

- On the plus side, there were several Castro Street-worthy manly mustaches being sported. Messrs. Frye, Severn and Tom of Finland would be proud. I know I was (sideburns and goatee I can do, but RAF's own lip hair is a shonda). 

- Oh, yeah, wrestling. I've lost all the cool posters already. Sorry, thank you for reading this far. How about this - I was really interested to see David Finley (v. Danny Limelight, a fave from CHIKARA). The kid is good but he's not there yet. He's all offence with no flow. It would be fine if that was his gimmick (like a monster heel beserker) but he wants to do everything. Give him a little time, it's in his blood.

- My man Yan said his favorite Irish wrestler was here and I said who is that and he said "The Great O'Khan" and now that's my favorite thing to thing about. We both shoot adore TGOK anyways, even before his odd lot merch gimmick made us learn to love again.

- Good matches: the 8 Man (Great O-Khan, Kyle Fletcher, Mark Davis, and Aaron Henare vs. Jonah, Shane Haste, Bad Dude Tito, and Mikey Nicholls), I really liked this one. Willie Mack vs. Jeff Cobb stood out, as it was worked in a more traditional US style. Mack was over like zero-G flapjacks here in Philly and JC is no slouch although I think he needs better ring gear. Brody King and Jake Something were also a crowd favorite. 

- Folks also loveloveloved Hiroshi Tanahashi - hey, what's not to like. Workwise, there were too many signature spots jammed in there for my picky tastes but he looks great doing it. The crowd knew what to expect and "made" him do his guitar poses after the match. Yeah, twist his arm, why dontcha. He faced a returning Chris Dickinson who is a 2300 Arena vet. He is slimmer now and looked and moved like a proper New Japanner. Strangely, he worked Tanahashi's right leg the whole match so that distracted me. Also, it was the last match and I thought it was going to end over an hour before and my poor daughter was waiting for us to pick her up to go get dinner BUT WRESTLING FIRST KIDDO you gots to learn that ASAP but Yan and I grabbed her and we went to Nifty Fifties, ooh RAF loves thee NF. it was a school night and there was to be standardized testing the next day, example #279 in an ongoing series "Why RAF Is An Unfit Parent". She'll be OK, she's tough'n'smart, even though her mother is from New Jersey.

- Fred Rosser challenged Tom Lawlor and it was great. Rosser seems... clumsy? hesitant? Is it just me? He comes off as not being "ring smart", as in a newbie babyface who gets outsmarted way. Is that how he works or how he's booked? I mean, he's not inept by any means, don't get me wrong. Now Lawlor is doubleplus good, such an underrated heel and he busted his butt here getting both of them AND the match AND the title over. Here's the weird thing: I have spoken of the PA Athletic Commission color ban, and the "accident" on Friday at MLW, but here they did this - after a little while in the ring, they fought up the ramp to backstage (no cameras), we heard shouts and loud crashes like an off screen car wreck in a '50s sit-com and thee Filthy One dashes back to the ring. Rosser makes it back at the 19.5 count with the crimson mask. I figgered it was an external application of some plasma-like fluid to get around the embargo, but it kept bleeding. What secret deal was done to allow this? Doctor administered blading? Sushi off of a naked geisha? One of the dope-ass NJPW track jackets (retail $265) to the state officials? I dunno, Fred my man, but if you are trying to get on RAF's good side, a top level color job is a good way to go. Anyway, it was a very good match.

- The Bullet Club show, I mean match (Jay White, Juice Robinson, Hikuleo, Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows v. Tomohiro Ishii, Rocky Romero, Mascara Dorada, Chuck Taylor & Ren Narita), was too much "cool heeling" for me. It is always a blessing to see Mr. Chuck Taylor, Ishii is a delight, Dorada stood out and there isn't a bad worker anywhere in here, even if the Bullet Club gimmick is a drag by this point.

- Minoru Suzuki was matched well with Tony Deppen but it did not approach the bone-grinding level of misanthropic punishment that my fevered brain had conjured. Could anything? Those shorts boots still do rock my fashion world, oh yeah.

- Will Ospreay against Homicide was done as a classic grudge match between two different styles. It almost worked but there was much to unsuspend one's disbelief, not the least of which was the glaring weakness of Ospreay's strikes (primarily forearms). I mean, they were really bad live. It made it hard for Homicide to sell, and I can't believe that WO does not have any close friends who can pull him to the side for a serious talk about this. If Homicide couldn't keep up with some of the fancy shmancy spots that Ospreay does, well that's fits the match's gimmick, y'know, but Will Ospreay's love taps were just embarrassing. At any rate, they tried to tell a story, there was a surprize guest, Homicide got a fork, the ref slapped it out of his hand and my chum Jason hipchecked a preteen out of the way to grab it Philly-style. Long story short, he got it autographed and authenticated and he's putting it on eBay, probably to get scratch to buy Phish tickets.

- My money's worth? Yeah, sure (again disputing this bogus $6 surcharge), but not twice as good as MLW in that sense. This is for me, because I like the style and presentation and fat workers of MLW. There are a few too many younger workers here who grew up on NJPW and puro tapes and are so happy to ape that style and chase an ideal and end up so similar in work, look and presentation. They are all great workers but you can't all be strong. You can't be all hard without first understanding the soft, the yielding and the gentle, and don't forget about the midgets and dancing skellingtons and the savage Samoans and vampires and Strange Style and stuff, yeah granted you got the shrieking Mongol shaman and grizzled old vet but it's all about diversity these days, man.

It was a festive time. If I am bitching about a quality product like this stuff here, that must mean life is pretty good. Or that I am self-defeatingly petty, or have very particular standards. Probably all three, but this was fun and I learned a lot.

 

edit - I didn't see that there a better thread for this here blabbermouthin'. If a mod thinks it would do better in the "npw strong and usa..." spot, feel free to move it. Thankee.

Edited by thee Reverend Axl Future
the japan folder is a strange and intimidating place to this one
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