Thursday, August 17, 2017

Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Brian Cage (NOAH, 7/27/2017)

NOAH - Summer Navigation 2017 ~ 11th Global Junior Heavyweight Tag League ~ (7/27/2017)

GHC Heavyweight Championship: Katsuhiko Nakajima (c) vs. Brian Cage 

This was unreal! Brian Cage brings his PWG-pacing to a ring that's known for slower main events, and it's one of the freshest GHC Heavyweight Title defenses I've seen in a while. It feels like a well-worked American indie spotfest taking place in a NOAH ring -- Nakajima even hits a Canadian Destroyer! 

****3/4

Kota Ibushi vs. Kenny Omega (DDT, 8/18/2012)

DDT - Nippon Budokan Peter Pan 2012 ~ DDT 15th Anniversary (8/18/2012)

KO-D Openweight Championship: Kota Ibushi (c) vs. Kenny Omega

This was the biggest DDT show at the time, an epic collision between the Golden☆Lovers. Ibushi does not care to sell armwork, but he's one of the best when it comes to selling the toll that a match like this takes on the body. Omega as well. They were just going from extreme spot to extreme spot, in a way that flowed smoothly. DDT UNIVERSE cuts out Ibushi's moonsault spot. I know they got into trouble over it, but it seems silly to remove such a historic spot. Really good match, regardless. An epic!

****3/4

Kenny Omega vs. Kota Ibushi (DDT, 8/6/2008)

DDT - Kota Ibushi Produce: Beer Garden Pro Wrestling (8/6/2008)

Hardcore Rules - Two Out of Three Falls: Kenny Omega vs. Kota Ibushi

Fucking mad man Ibushi taking a Michinoku Driver onto a chair to concrete. The Phoenix Splash from the vending machines to Kenny on top of tables (that didn't break) was fucking bonkers. Omega does a dropkick from the bleachers and takes a flat back bump on the ramp. These guys were fucking destroying themselves. When they get back to the ring, they have a mini-epic, the crowd is hot, they're trading nukes; Ibushi murders Omega with an avalanche Dragon suplex. This felt so organic, and it was a thrill to watch.

****1/2

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

BASARA - 40 ~ Banquet ~ (7/20/2017)

1. Fuminori Abe vs. Takato Nakano

Fuminori is a fascinating dude, and Takato seems easy to work with. Decent opener.

**1/2

3. Cavalry (Ryota Nakatsu & Ryuichi Sekine) vs. Best Stretchman V3 & Tsutomu Oosugi

Probably the best BSM match ever.

**3/4

4. Hardcore Match: Gunso & SAGAT vs. Isami Kodaka & Takumi Tsukamoto

This was great when Gunso wasn't involved. 

**1/2

5. IRON PRIEST (FUMA, Hagane Shinnou & Yusuke Kubo) vs. Trans-Am ★ Hiroshi, Trans-Am ★ Ryuichi & Trans-Am ★ Tanaka

The Tran-Am ★ Family and their act is getting tiresome, but they were really over with this crowd so what are you gonna do... the F5 counter from Yusuke was very cool, and Ryuichi's shock when he's beaten was brilliant. I'm not looking forward to this title match because I know Ryuichi isn't losing the belt here and I just want his reign to end already.

**1/4

TAJIRI vs. TAKA Michinoku (WNC, 10/31/2013)

WNC (10/31/2013)

WNC Championship: TAJIRI (c) vs. TAKA Michinoku

Sho Funaki is the guest referee, and he counts to FIVE when TAKA applies a figure-four on the ringpost. Took me out of the action a bit, but this was otherwise excellent. This is a TAJIRI match in 2013 so he isn't going to be doing a lot. It was very simple, but these are two pros who know how to make everything count. The danger of TAJIRI's kicks were sold very well here, with just one kick to the stomach almost knocking TAKA unconscious. TAJIRI's proteges are flanking the ring, and they're rallying along with the fans for him to make his comeback; the atmosphere is amazing. Really good match.

****

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tokyo Gurentai - Tokyo Carnival 2017 (7/19/2017)

1. Kikutaro & Koharu Hinata vs. Heidi Katrina & Kotaro Suzuki

Better than it looked on paper. Heidi!

**1/4

3. BxB Hulk & Kaz Hayashi vs. Chikara & SUSHI

Haruku getting dominated by Chikara & SUSHI is something. This was an enjoyable match; the joke wrestlers actually looked like a legitmate threat, until BxB makes his comeback and starts fucking them up.

**3/4

4.  Hikaru Sato & Rocky Kawamura vs. Kazushi Sakuraba & Kendo Kashin (w/Machine Corps)

This was largely a comedy-based with Rocky punching out masked men (including his own partner!). The opening between Sato and Sakuraba was neat... but yeah, just a couple of shoot guys not taking themselves too seriously.

**1/4

5. Tokyo World Heavyweight Championship: Masaaki Mochizuki (c) vs. Yuko Miyamoto

This was not a good match. The ending was weak, and what lead up to it didn't really hold up either. I've seen Yuko's work in Big Japan's strong division, and he's definitely a tag/deathmatch specialist first. Mochizuki was on the defensive, and selling the leg as Miyamoto was focused on it, and he delivered his great kicks, but that wasn't enough to save this match. Just meh and forgettable.

**

6. Eight Man Tag Team Mexico-Style Elimination Match: Over Generation (CIMA, Eita, Kaito Ishida & Takehiro Yamamura) vs. Tokyo Gurentai (FUJITA, KIKUZAWA, MAZADA & NOSAWA Rongai)

This was packed with action, and fast-paced, with all sorts of nifty team moves, but it felt like it went on for centuries. Could have used some trimming; still a great match, though. Probably the best Tokyo Gurentai match ever.

****

「Kotori」vs. Shanna (Gatoh Move, 8/11/2017)

Gatoh Move (8/11/2017)

「Kotori」vs. Shanna

This was far from「Kotori」's best match, but I think it was one of her strongest singles performances yet (of what makes tape). She can be rough around the edges in execution, but she was very fluid here and nailed her shit perfectly. Shanna held up her end decently enough. Her swift and brutal comeback was great.

***