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NJPW 49th Anniversary Show/New Japan Cup 2021/Sakura Genesis 2021.


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Kojima-Cobb was great as well. That was a smooth finish. Both are having great years. 

Khan-Naito was great. Possibly Khan's best match. He doesn't just bust out the same spots each match, he really works a counter style, martial artist turned wrestler. Easily my early pick for most improved. 

No Despy 4 belts but a noble effort from him, eating two koma-goyes.

First round is shaping up nicely. 

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Just watched night 2. Goto-Taichi was good. Yano-Fale is what you expect.

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I think Khan and EVIL are clashing in the quarterfinals after he chased EVIL off Cobb.

 

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Random observation: People have knocked The Great O'kan because he doesn't fit into what you expect from NJPW but to me that fact makes him stand out and will get him over as the rule in wrestling is generally Different = Good.

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Also I hereby declare myself to be the head of the Master Wato Fan Club. Hey, you all used to laugh at the Dark Order and look at them now. I'm getting ahead of the curve, JOIN ME!

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I think Okada's instant success is forgotten by some. He debuted against the also debuting Yoshi-Hashi. Two different paths since and I think Yoshi-Hashi had a great 2020. Guys need time to grow. Khan hasn't even gotten to hear crowds cheer or boo him. Wato debuted to an empty arena! Karl Fredericks graduated last year to no crowd NJPW Strong and has hardly been on it. I think the current young lions all have bright futures but I expect them to come in still developing. 

Honma-Suzuki was very similar to Nagata-Suzuki last year. If you like stiff crazy old man fights then you too are in for a treat. I loved it but some will just find it okay. 

I'm not a big Juice fan. I enjoy Kenta's current character, he was insincere as a babyface. So this was good overall. This was originally scheduled for Wrestle Kingdom but Juice was hurt. I could have seen them run this exact match there (but Kojima was still good!).

Shingo was my pick for wrestler of the year in 2020. Him vs Okada in the G1 was one of those reasons. I came in knowing Okada supposedly has 2 slipped discs and expecting Shingo to get his win back.

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Shingo wins! And Okada was either selling good or in some pain at the end. I hope he can take some time off. I'd love him to return healthy for the two big May shows if he can. 

 

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So in left side we are likely getting Evil/Shingo semi-final? Interesting that Evil, in my opinion at least, is going to beat two Empire guys.

 

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I've avoided most Will Ospreay since the founding of his stable so I'm not super caught up on O-Khan. But I feel good about most of what I've seen of him. I think the knee-jerk critic response to his shtick has more to do with NJPW's incorporation of heavy heel stuff in their big matches. Bullet Club shenanigan fatigue, the years and years of the worst ref bumps of all-time, the consequence-free nature of it all... Jay White makes it work because he's a megastar. EVIL was doomed by it. Seeing O-Khan win with a Suzuki-esque stoppage was a relief.

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O-Kahn doing the Mary J. Blige dance when he walks to the ring is hilarious. But I'm digging him. Not sure I'll ever get on the Wato train. The matches for the 3/7 show didn't catch my eye so I didn't watch. Looking forward to the rest of the tourney.

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Kidd vs Sabre

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This was good but not great. I thought Kidd could pull off a upset at points even though he is still a young lion.

Ospreay vs Tenzan 

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This was just OK. Ospreay bumped around and made Tenzan look good. I blame the loss on his corner man, Master Wato. I hope this feud ends with this. 

 

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Nagata vs Tsuji

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This was fun. Similar to Kidd-Sabre, Tsuji goes for close to 15 minutes before eating a backdrop into a bridging pin. Tsuji bit his hand at one point, surprised me a little. 

Sanada vs Ishii

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Crowd seemed really into this one. I found myself kinda struggling with this one. I didn't find this match up super intriguing. It didn't seem to have a distinct pace. I almost have come back around on Skull End since he is so doggone hell bent on it. Ending sequence was good. 

 

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Owens vs Finlay

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This was ok. Nothing special. Finlay reversed a package piledriver into a roll up. Owens worked over Finlay's back but it didn't lead to anything.

Yoshi-Hashi vs Yujiro

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This was better than you'd think but skippable. I really had low expectations for this one but they worked hard. Yoshi-Hashi wins with a Big in Japan on Yujiro.

Watching White-Henare later. 

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The match times are killing me. Every main event has the length and style of a Tokyo Dome main event and it's exhausting. 

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Evil said if he wins the tournament and beats Ibushi, he wants to remove the IWGP letters off the new IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.

While if Jay wins...Jay wants to separate the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship into two again with their respective histories, Jay forgets that once unified that's not possible so there would both be IWGP HW and IWGP IC titles without their histories.

Since Tenryu's record is now locked in forever as oldest IWGP champion, Nagata aims to be the oldest IWGP World champion.

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Henare vs White

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This was too long. It felt long for the sake of it too. Needed more urgency from Henare. To be fair, he so rarely gets singles matches I am not used to him. I enjoyed his WTL effort so I hope they keep him.

Next round will be interesting. I could see some upsets there. I only got Juice-Kenta wrong in the first round so I'm bound to start getting my bracket busted. 

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Khan vs Yano

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Loser becomes WON Overrated 2021. This was fun. I wish Khan had won but a loss to Yano doesn't hurt anyone. 

EVIL vs Jeff Cobb

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I was hoping for bruiser, NJ Cup 2020 EVIL to return in this match. I know it's overplayed but I love EVIL throwing people into the timekeeper. It's such a great dick move and the poor guy bumps! This was good despite the ref bump. EVIL hit the exposed turnbuckle hard. Bad ending with the Yujiro interference.

 

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Have been enjoying most of the cup matches so far, the last few nights I do think the mains could could shaved 5 minutes or so off. Definitely agree there was no need for a 25 minute epic White/Henare match (yet).

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Was really enjoying EVIL/Cobb until that stupid ref bump. Disappointed no O-Khan/EVIL though

 

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Kenta vs Suzuki

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This was ok. I think I wanted more hate. Worth watching. 

Goto vs Shingo

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This was great. These two always have great matches. Glad Shingo won. I am rooting for him to win. Him vs Ibushi would be an excellent first match for the new title. 

 

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I saw Togo wander off and figured something was up. Was not expecting that.

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Kenta-Shingo was fun. Some nasty strike exchanges. C'mon Shingo NJ Cup winner! Evil-Shingo should be good.

I am hoping Finlay continues to fill out his moveset. White is winning though. I really hope Ospreay beats Sanada. I am guessing if Sanada wins then White is going to the Finals.

 

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Soon we will know what the Semifinals will be.

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Both Evil and Jay White have their own respective goals for the IWGP World, while the others just want the IWGP World Title as is.

 

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Didn't expect David Finlay to beat Jay. Does end Jay's personal mission for the championship.

 

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