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NJPW Honor Rising 2018


Beech27
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23 hours ago, Beech27 said:

I don't think so, though it strikes me intermittently as totally logical or nonsensical that New Japan insists on presenting things (more or less) that way. That is, if perpetual faction war is your standard undercard filler, I understand why you'd want the factions to seem relatively equal. But it does contradict how their tiered, stratified booking helps make singles feuds and matches so compelling. It seems to me they should (as you suggest) be able to apply the same principle to factions. Tama can lead his group without being an absolute gold star main eventer; someone like Goto or Ishii (or at least half a dozen other guys) could do the same. People would complain that more factions would be confusing, but I don't think seven or eight well-defined and more tightly-knit factions would be harder to keep track of than the sprawling five they have now. (I'd also totally be happy with more unaffiliated wrestlers/tag teams, but don't think there's a chance they go that way, so more and smaller factions is my concession to that.)

As a bonus, with more and smaller factions they could do... faction tournaments? These 5vs5 elimination matches that they do from time to time could use some improvement, but at the same time audience is (or at least looks like) interested in them and doing some tournament with these rules to determine "best faction" sounds like something fun for smaller tour.

And I'm unsure if it really would be any more confusing, while there aren't any hard rules in the undercard we still can see mostly same people teaming up with same people so not that much would change if they actually got a proper faction. 

21 hours ago, Hagan said:

Also, and I may be way off, but wasn't the purpose of the Bucks and Omega spinning off into The Elite to get away from the NJPW Bullet Club branding, which they felt was watered down? 

I guess I always got the sense that The Elite thing was something they had more control over, but I have like zero knowledge of how that shit works with New Japan.  

 

Yeah, I forgot about that while writing my previous post, but IIRC one of the Bucks has said that they created The Elite so they would have their own brand while NJPW owns BC. In part this is the answer to "merch money" argument, because The Elite brand is more important to them long term.

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I would be very curious to the business behind all this. The Bucks created the Youtube show well before anyone else was involved, though it became more of a scripted angle-driven show I guess after Cody and Marty came along. I assume Omega and the Bucks created/own The Elite brand but even that brand plays off of NJPW properties.  

It really is a fascinating, unique deal in wrestling where these handful of guys have created almost an interpromotional brand that they have a lot of autonomy over. 

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Crowd was hot for main event and I gotta think that they won't finish with Kenny/Cody at RoH Supercard and we'll get at least one match in Japan too.

Baffled a bit that Flip got the win. I guess that is a strong hint that he will participate in BotSJ? Not a fan of that.

Goto is having exact same year as in 2017, first decent defence against Juice/Evil followed by irrelevant stuff in RoH show. So probably couple of more months before he loses the belt again.

Nothing else really got my attention asides of thinking that White/Lethal would be way cooler match than White/Page. Meanwhile Castle looked rather irrelevant even in his own match let alone the show itself.

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As we all mentioned, you could have held the GL reunion match at a much bigger venue, but probably not a better one. Perfect balance of satisfying in and of itself, while mostly serving as escalation, and the crowd was there for all of it. Can’t wait for tomorrow, but I’m happy right now.

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A few bits of miscellany from the main:

-Cody bringing back Brandit. (Honestly, he nailed everything today, even down to the twitter trolling.)

-Chase debuted his own music. Maybe we can speculate that he'll be a little more important going forward, wherever he lands. Or maybe it's just a song. (Either way, the crowd did seem to get behind him. Maybe it was heat by association, but.)

-Kenny was announced as The Best Bout Machine, not The Cleaner. I also think this is the first time he was introduced second, while teaming with Kota. Not that it's a surprise, given their relative trajectories since last time; but it's one small way in which things are not the same.

-I think that's the second time Marty has worn his white Final Battle outfit, which, combined with his lighter hair, I'm going to read too much into and suggest its meant to tease that he's leaning away from wearing the (literal and metaphorical) villainous black hat. 

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Fun show overall. Golden lovers look great, Kenny's character change seems like just the right thing for him right now in ring. Was surprised to see Flip get the win, but he also seemed to be over as hell. Still not a big fan of his and not excited for his likely super juniors run.

If this years BOTSJ doesn't culminate in Hiromu's redemption I'll be very dissapointed. It's a huge bummer watching him eat pin after pin and I hope they book him back on track. 

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I still can't get over a New Japan crowd going nuts for a DDT team. Probably because of my memories of Choshu's booking of all outsiders getting killed 20 years ago.

I might like Cody and the Bucks someday. They are as annoying as Rush was 3 or so years ago. Now I love Rush's stuff.

 

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I have to give Cody major props.  Top shelf heel work from Wrestle Kingdom onwards.  Really incredible.  The main event last night was tremendous.  

I really think Marty made sure to wear white on purpose.  Those details make the difference.  Everyone involved in this storyline is nailing it, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that they realize that it will only truly work if the New Japan fans get it and fully embrace it.  It was a really complicated story they were telling in the main, but they were making clear through their actions what has happening so that language barriers wouldn't matter and anyone could follow it.  It's not dumbing it down, though;  it's really smart, as it's more like they've figured out how to pull it off given the parameters.  It's impressive.  I'm enjoying watching it all unfold.  

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Just catching up with day 1 right now (hoping to stay awake for day 2 live!) and boy howdy I love so much of the opener. Yujiro with an "oh shiiiiiiit" in response to Kitamura's overwhelming power. Fale is gracious enough to go down to one knee on a shoulder to shoulder early on with Kitamura. The next one Kitamura is supposed to go down and he doesn't fucking budge. Fale immediately hits him with a forearm and then clobbers him with a sledge over the back to put Katsuya in his place. Love this fucking goof. Once he's squashing main roster guys after whatever excursion he goes on, that'll be the big test for not-so-young boy Kitamura. 

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Everyone is doing good character work and it's making their ring work better. Imagine that. This year, thee Bucks have been having matches that make something akin to sense and I actually want to see that heavyweight move. Scurll, of all people... getting a reaction by *not* doing the finger break spot? He's been nailing the kid-stuck-in-the-middle vibe on promos and it's translated to the ring. Just keep him in tags. And hell, I actually kinda know who Hangman Page is now.

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Adam Page and Cody are so good. Cody is doing classic WWE main event heel style work in an NJPW so there's no way he can be cheered, and while Page has some amazing spots he's rocking a "douchebag, turncoat" heel style so no one could possibly cheer for him.

Like dude does a shooting star press dive off the apron and the crowd only kinda cheers for it because he's such a piece of shit.

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Poor Dalton Castle. Poor RoH World Championship. Granted, the belt has a proud history of being featured in strangely booked, heatless affairs (and nothing could ever be worse than Cole/O'Reily), but this one didn't seem fair. The crowd actually cared about Trent and it looked like Dalton had enough pieces to get over - the Boys were popular, there were some decent near falls, and the finish had 'em ooh-ing and aah-ing, but it's too damn bad the rest of the match was flatter than a half-drank two liter of soda the day after a pizza party. I can imagine the logic that would be cited, but they still should have slotted in Lethal instead of Bruiser and had Trent eat the pin.

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This whole main event angle is basically note-perfect pro wrestling, for me. It does sorta put Castle in a difficult spot, though; it felt like his time to win, but now Cody’s moved on to a bigger angle, one that almost feels too big for the title he once held. 

And yeah, poor Marty. The Golden Trigger was only missing “I’m sorry; I love you.”

 

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Another solid main event with rest of the show being forgettable.

Anyway, I think getting Golden Trigger in the face should make Scrull fully team Cody and Kenny calling Golden Lovers best tag team in the world caused some drama with Young Bucks. I think it could be interesting if Golden Lovers managed to get a shot at Evil/Sanada before Young Bucks which would make it look like Kenny is stealing their spotlight just like situation with Hangman.

Speaking about Hangman, still not very happy that White/Page is happening, but at least he brought some heat today.

And RoH world title... Yeah. Fact that they needed to drag in BCB to take a pin says a lot about how much they care about that title. Castle getting overshadowed was bound to happen because Kenny/Cody is hottest thing right now, but this made it look completely irrelevant. I'm not sure if his defence or tag match last night even makes TOP 3 matches of each day. And thats on shows that each essentially had one match.

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Cody almost died on that springboard over the other ropes to the outside. Really good bordering on great match but the bigger picture stuff within the storyline is more important than match quality at this point, and in that regard everything is near perfection. Kenny looked so happy. Marty conflicted night one and then not hesitating night two was really interesting. I know there was some talk prior to both matches between the two and Kenny tried to strictly wrestle and not strike with Marty early on in night 1 but my only criticism would be show a bit more reluctance in going all out with Marty. Other than that, complete success. It sounded like a pop idol duo coming out both nights but particularly Friday's show. I really dig the GL theme even if it's not as neat as their original. While talking about themes, I quite enjoyed the Hiromu/BUSHI mashup. 

The triple threat for the title was pretty good. Trent's selling is some of the best on the planet. You'd think between his physique and selling, he'd have achieved more at this point but there's something missing. He's got this quirkiness about him that is endearing but I don't know if it translates to top guy aura. I think he's been improving though and it's not like he can't get there eventually. Castle seems to have stagnated a bit but there are worse things than plateauing at "really good". 

Lethal is so smooth. He's got a bit of the Alex Shelley/Christopher Daniels to him in that they're all incredibly sound technically but almost never draw me in emotionally. The Gresham match from a week or two ago was damn good though and better on that note. 

Flip was off in the triple threat, trying to do too much too quick to make an impression in a big showcase for him. Was better night 2. Nothing bad on either card but nothing worth going out of your way to see beyond the main events as has been stated earlier. So, in that sense, I think the shows didn't meet expectations but I still enjoyed both. 

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