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New Japan Pro Wrestling: New Beginning In Sendai (02/14/2015)

This is the second of the two big shows to wrap up The New Beginning tour. You can find my review of New Beginning In Osaka here.




Yohei Komatsu & Satoshi Kojima vs Manabu Nakanishi & Captain New Japan
This was your standard opening tag match. Kojima is the ideal guy for openers. He's an established vet whose move set is designed to encourage fan participation. The story of the match has Komatsu looking to prove himself against Nakanishi. The established vet dwarfs the Young Lion though. It's David vs Goliath. Captain New Japan does his job in the comedy role. There isn't much to the match. The crowd chants for Kojima and laughs at CNJ. A singles match with Komatsu vs Nakanishi would have been preferable. *1/2

ReDragon vs Tiger Mash IV & Jay White
It's a little disheartening to see ReDragon go from defending the belts to 2nd match on the card within the span of 3 days. I'll give them credit, they do one hell of a job making Jay White look like a million dollars. It's no easy task making a Young Lion look believable as someone who can viably beat you. Odd as it is to say, TMIV of all people brings this down a notch. His timing wasn't on at all, messing up a couple of sequences. It's not the first time I've noticed this issue. He may be losing a step in his 40's. The other 3 put on a solid match though. It's a shame it'll be at least a year before we see any kind of real personality out of Jay White. He epitomizes generic white guy right now. **1/4

Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks vs Mascara Dorada & Time Splitters
Shout outs to KUSHIDA for going full on Marty Mcfly in BTTF2 with the jacket and cap. Then he finds a fan in the crowd going full BTTF1 Life Jacket outfit and gives him his chain. Looks like this is a preview of the respective Junior title pictures on the next tour. Splitters & Bucks had my favourite Junior Tag match of 2014 (06/21/2014 ****1/2) so another feud will get no complaints from me. This match was so much fun. They broke out a ton of variations on old sequences and some interesting 6 man variations as well including a Bullet Club Triple Superkick. The Bucks carry the majority of the match. They're so good at working the crowd and making their opponents look great. Dorada is fast becoming someone I look forward to watching. He curbed the Lucha aspects of his offense and you're left with his amazing work. Something to watch is Dorada's insane over the top Sunset Bomb on Omega from apron to floor into the railing. That looked beyond dangerous but it was executed flawlessly. I'd watch this 6 man every show if possible. ***1/2

Chase Owens vs Jushin "Thunder" Lyger (C) (NWA Junior Heavyweight Title)
This is a title rematch from the Power Struggle PPV (11/08/2014) where Lyger took the title. Their previous match was a showcase of how well Lyger could carry a guy who wasn't in the same universe of talent. This time around the match was more even and Owens at least looked like he belonged there. It's worked fine but lacking in drama or any sense of urgency for that matter. At 50 years old, Lyger can still put on a show but he's reached a ceiling on quality. **1/4

Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs Rob Conway (C) (NWA Heavyweight Title)
Conway has been feuding with TenKoji (Tenzan and partner Kojima) for over a year. I'm not quite sure anyone cares to see it run this long but here we are. I'm not even going to get into how far the NWA Title has fallen in stature. This is a match of two halves. The first is frankly awful. It's slow, plodding, punch kick elbow garbage work. The second half, after what everyone thought would be the finish, invigorates the crowd and both guys as well leading to an enjoyable finish. The heat spiked crowd elevates what would have otherwise been a meandering match. **1/2

Tetsuya Naito & Kota Ibushi vs Toru Yano & Kazushi Sakuraba
I never thought I'd see the day where Toru Yano carried a match with so many great workers but here it is. I have no idea what Sak was doing booked in there. He had a couple of nice sequences with Ibushi but otherwise he didn't bring anything to the table. Yano works his comedy style throughout and it actually works well for once. Naito and Yano work the majority of the way. They've got great chemistry and I wouldn't mind seeing a singles match out of this. They teased Ibushi vs Sak as well. Well worked match the crowd was into from the get go. **1/2

Yujiro Takahashi & Bad Luck Fale vs Yoshi-Hashi & Kazuchika Okada
Honest to God, unless Fale goes over Okada in the singles match, I don't get this feud at all. It's never ending tag and 6 man matches with Okada on a redemption quest. The issue is that none of the matches feel like they have any importance. It's like watching the Usos vs Rhodes brother 2x a week for a month. The matches are fine but don't do anything for anyone. The crowd is into Okada so the match comes across more important than it is. In the end though, it's just a standard tag team match burning 10 minutes. **1/4

Hirooki Goto & Katsuhito Shibata & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson & Tama Tonga
Another in a string of perfectly acceptable if forgettable matches. The Bullet Club spent most of the match working over Tanahashi's endured left eye. If you missed it, he received a nasty hardway cut at New Beginning In Osaka (02/11/2014 ****1/4) show doing a High Fly Flow to the outside. They didn't rip the tape off his eye though and no blood so what's the point? The match was fast in pace with the crowd into it from the get go. It felt like the kind of match you'd see as a semi main or main event of a spot show. I'm both surprised and disappointed AJ Styles wasn't booked here. He goes over for the IWGP Title 3 days earlier and there's no follow up. Also, looking at the line up, it makes for a very predictable finish in this kind of format. ***

Tomoaki Honma vs Tomohiro Ishii (Vacant NEVER Open Weight Title Match)
This match was supposed to be Ishii taking on Togi Makabe in a rematch from Wrestle Kingdom 9 (01/04/2015 ****). However, Makabe went down with a nasty flu. He missed the 02/11 show. When it was revealed that he was not able to defend on this show, he was stripped of the Title. I've got serious issues with Honma being in this match from a logical perspective. The crowd loves him but he never wins. In fact, he lost only 3 days earlier in a great singles match with Kota Ibushi. The crowd loves these two. Honma has been a crowd favourite since subbing in for Ibushi during last year's G-1. Ishii is one of the toughest guys in the company and is respected by both peers and fans as a result.

This match was a war. Every so often a match comes along that makes you cringe over the sheer brutality of it. These two beat the holy hell out of each other. An early exchange of Knife Edge Chops that went on for seemingly 2 minutes straight, had me rubbing my own chest. You can see the sweat fly and the neck muscles recoil from all of the Forearm Shivers.

It's a simple story and plays perfectly to both guys strenghts. Honma is a man who desperately wants to win. He NEEDS to win. He gives you everything but can't quite get there. The crowd not only empathizes but lifts him to achieve the greatness he so desires. Ishii is the wall blocking Honma's path to glory. He can not be broken. The brick will not crack under the storm of chops, forearms, or Honma's trademark Headbutts. It truly is a case of The Irresistible Force against The Immovable Object.

I don't think there's any man tougher than Ishii in wrestling today. His ability to withstand punishment and keep pushing through it unreal. There's a point where he takes a DDT the wrong way and I thought for sure he'd separated his shoulder. He legitimately screams in agony but continues to gut through the pain. The crowd, loving both for entirely different reasons, captures you as a viewer pulls you along in their joy of seeing both guys give it their all. There are at least five different points where I thought "this has to be the finish" only to jump out of my seat at yet another impossible near fall. I'll admit there's a point where they go over what I'd consider the perfect peak of the match. While the ending satisfies, it simply comes 2 minutes and one extra sequence too late. This is an absolute classic and will be in high consideration for Match Of The Year. ****3/4

Yugi Nagata vs Shinsuke Nakamura (C) (IWGP Intercontinental Title)
These two were screwed following the previous match. The crowd was simply burned out. The match was worked very stiff. Nagata's facials were fantastic as he showed complete and utter disdain for Nakamura throughout the match. The missing crowd was a major factor but the far bigger issue was the lack of build to the finish. It felt like it was missing the pivotal third act. We got the stiff strikes in the first act. Some great moves in the second act and then you're expecting them to pull out all the stops. The sad reality is those big spots never come. The match ends abruptly. As a viewer I felt robbed. These two had a lot left in the tank and took a pass. I don't know if it's because of the previous match or that's how they plotted it but I expected far more from these two. ***1/2

Final Thoughts: You might think this is an automatic recommendation based on a true high end MOTYC. Even with that match, I don't know if I'd say to chase this card down. Where as the 02/11 show was loaded. This felt like a card full of fun if forgettable matches and then one truly excellent match. If anything I'd say track down the match rather than watch the complete card.

Please feel free to leave questions/comments/constructive criticisms in the comments below. I'll endeavour to answer everybody. I can also be reached via email at NagataLockII@gmail.com or on Twitter @NagataLockII.

Comments

  1. "I'm not even going to get into how far the NWA Title has fallen in stature."

    When Rob Conway holds it, you really don't need to. Just look at him.

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  2. I kinda like the 'not saying who won' bit. Bravo.

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  3. Honma v Iishi?? That would be money any night. I have no surprise this went 4 3/4.

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  4. I agree on the main event, it definitely disappointed with the abrupt ending - I was really expecting more given how the match had been developing.

    The Honma/Ishii match really was crazy good, although I also agree with you on it just lasting a tiny bit too long. The ending felt a bit flat given some of the sequences that preceded it.

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  5. ....wait, this isn't that guy that was running with La Resistance in WWE way back when, is it? I mean, OK wrestler, but not world champ material.

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  6. I have Ishii/Homna at ****1/2 because there were a few sticky patches where it didn't flow and, actually, I found some of the shots a little too brutal, particularly if they weren't going to end the match. Still, incredible intensity and a definite MOTYC. It's been a good week for great wrestling.

    I make it seven ****+ matches since Wednesday.

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  7. Why do you expect Nagata to have more left in the tank? Misawa was about to croak at Nagata's age.

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  8. I thought it peaked at The Pillar Crush. After that it got odd. They mistimed a Flying Kokeshi sequence and it got a tad messy. Truthfully though you can't really fault the guys. By that point they'd gone 25 minutes and had beaten the hell out of each other.

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  9. The sheer brutality of the match raised the bar for me. Worked a little less "snug" it probably ends up at ****1/2. The little things, like Ishii pushing through that botched DDT, really impressed me and took it up a notch.


    Always appreciate you reading my work and providing insight my friend.

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  10. Left in the tank meaning they had plenty of moves/sequences/near falls.


    Also, Misawa worked a far harder style during his prime than Nagata in his. It's not even in the same ballpark.

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  11. Dear Lord. And we keep saying TNA has gone downhill.

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  12. He's actually not a bad worker and his character is pretty decent. More credible than say... Roman Reigns.

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  13. The announcers clearly mentioned on the Osaka show (2/11) that AJ had flown in the night before, and was booked for a match in the UK three night later.

    He's like Lesnar, except that he actually does stuff outside of NJPW instead of just shoot things on his farm.

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  14. I'll take "damning with faint praise" for $1,000, Alex.

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  15. I appreciate that you understand Japanese but to say "clearly" like everyone understands it is hardly fair.

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  16. I didn't think about it, but New Japan now also have a largely absent champion. Then again, they don't have countless hours of tv every week.

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  17. The point is that they'd probably like AJ to be available at their beckon call, but at least he makes NJPW more of a priority than Lesnar does for WWE (or NJPW, for that matter), and the fact that he keeps on fighting around the world helps elevate the title enough to offset missing the occasional show in the boonies.

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  18. The nice thing about NJPW is that literally every show matters. How great would the Network be if most house shows were televised live, and important shit actually happened on them?

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  19. AJ comes back for his next run from March 22nd.

    http://ajstyles.org/schedule.html

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  20. CruelConnectionNumber2February 15, 2015 at 1:30 PM

    anything that says "NWA______ Title" usually means "inferior talent, just skip"

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  21. The story they were telling in the pre-match promo was that Nagata had fallen so far that he couldn't even even get on the main card of WK9, and he was so distraught that he texted his wife to say that he thought it was time to retire. But then he saw Nakamura/Ibushi, and it lit such a fire under him that he challenged Nakamura for the title. Ever the fighting champion, and out of #sempairespect, Nakamura accepts.

    I thought that the story dictated that it not be a five star affair. Nagata fought hard, and proved that he still has something left to give to the sport...but also proved that he is definitely NOT at Nakamura's level anymore.

    The match was what it needed to be.

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  22. I believe he beat Satoshi Kojima to regain the title at a Cauliflower Alley show in a match that was stunningly mediocre.

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  23. So, what's next for New Japan? Will Tanahashi get a rematch?

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  24. I could see Okada winning the New Japan Cup and getting a shot at AJ. Personally I'd like to see an Ibushi/Styles match, but I'm not sure if he's been rehabbed enough from the loss to Nakamura to be viewed as a credible challenger.

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  25. I'd like to see that match, but maybe G1 would be a better slot for it.

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  26. If I recall correctly, They were making this out to be Hogan's retirement match so it was pretty much the way to go putting Hogan on last....

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  27. I think it's more a case of smarks hoping that Punk would make wrestling cool and edgy again.

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  28. You're right: IT wasn't the turning point. The booking over most of the year of 1999 was the turning point. But it was the BEGINNING of the change in direction that played out over the next several months. What Bischoff decided was to put all the old stars back on top and basically redo 1996. As the weeks and months went on the fans realized that they were being fed the same old stuff they had gotten sick of. Ratings slowly dipped, while house show attendance started showing big drops: especially in cities they were returning to after the Fingerpoke. PPV buyrates started dropping. Remember: TV ratings are a trailing indicator, not a leading one, because it's free. People will keep watching a free tv show after they've stopped spending money on it. If you go back and dig at the money trail, you see WCW went from the hugely successful year of 1998 to losing something like 15 million in '99. This all came about because of the change in direction, and the first night you publicly saw that was on the Fingerpoke show. The name doesn't so much mean the literal moment of the poke in the chest, it refers to the moment's symbolism.

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  29. Yeah, I agree with you on a lot of points here -- it wasn't a good sign. But it's still undeniable that WCW totally fell off the map once DDP won the title in April 1999. Hell, look at the buyrates:

    Starrcade 1997 - 1.9
    Souled Out 1998 - 1.02
    Superbrawl 1998 - 1.1
    Uncensored 1998 - 1.1
    Spring Stampede 1998 - 1.1
    Slamboree 1998 - .72
    Great American Bash 1998 - .75
    Bash at the Beach 1998 - 1.5
    Road Wild 1998 - .93
    Fall Brawl 1998 - .7
    Halloween Havoc 1998 - .78
    World War 3 1998 - .63
    Starrcade 1998 - 1.15
    Souled Out 1999 - .78
    Superbrawl 1999 - 1.15
    Uncensored 1999 - .77
    Spring Stampede 1999 - .6
    Slamboree 1999 - .45
    Great American Bash 1999 - .43
    Bash at the Beach 1999 - .4
    Road Wild 1999 - .54
    Fall Brawl 1999 - .29
    Halloween Havoc 1999 - .52
    Mayhem 1999 - .45
    Starrcade 1999 - .32

    The buyrates were clearly drifting downward, but in Spring 1999 they fell off the fucking map. The buyrate of Starrcade 1999 -- supposedly WCW's biggest show -- was less than half of that of Souled Out 1999.

    WCW did something in March/April 1999 that completely killed off interest.

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  30. You're all right! But each misses the point.

    Coming out of 1998 WCW was--in hidsight--a company still in great shape. Had they just focused on building for the future they could possibly still be around today. But Bischoff wanted to compete with the WWF. He had grandiose plans to beat McMahon at his own game. So he embarked on a series of creative moves that kicked off with the Fingerpoke. Over the course of the year seemingly every decision he made--as well as things he allowed to take place under his watch--drove fans and money away, to the point they were losing money by the end of the year. Everything that followed with the different Booker's and Russo and Jamie Kellner finally pulling the plug all came about because of what Bischoff did, and the Fingerpoke was the visible beginnings of it all.

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  31. Superbrawl 1999 did the highest WCW buyrate out of all the 1999 PPVs. In fact, it was the last WCW PPV to get above a 1.0 buyrate (1.15).

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  32. Superbrawl 1999 did the highest WCW buyrate out of all the 1999 PPVs. In fact, it was the last WCW PPV to get above a 1.0 buyrate (1.15).

    People were clearly interested in the card.

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  33. Who cares? It brought up some good conversations. Stop being a party pooper.

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  34. YankeesHoganTripleHFanFebruary 15, 2015 at 4:43 PM

    Fuck CM Punk. Skinny fatty, (I am serious)

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  35. I will say on this occasion I was grateful. By 1992 I knew Wrestlemania always had a happy ending, so it really put the outcome of the title match in doubt for me. Which was great, because I was a huge Savage mark and it made the outcome that much sweeter.

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  36. YankeesHoganTripleHFanFebruary 15, 2015 at 4:46 PM

    CM Punk was never that good anyway, (ok the elbow with the steel chair which I called the daughter banger was sort of cool)

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  37. I agree that the boos are somewhat overstated for his tossing. They are pretty noticeable after the match when he does the hand cup thing during the Sid/Hogan pull apart.

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  38. YankeesHoganTripleHFanFebruary 15, 2015 at 4:48 PM

    Who fucking cares about fucking Japan.

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  39. You should be banned for reminding us of that!

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  40. Which he then decided to steer into a second fucking iceberg.

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  41. The booking was all just such a mess really. DDP winning the belt was seen as a positive by the diehard WCW fans, but by then you couldn't help but notice that fans were really giving up. They just didn't believe the guys that they liked could win or be used positively on a weekly basis. Fans were really starting to realize that there was a system of backstage politics, and that on any given show things could spill over on TV, and that realization turned people off. Too often Goldberg & Ric Flair and others seemed woefully misused. And as the year went on and the numbers got worse the changes came more often and seemed more desperate.

    And if any of that sounds familiar to the WWE of today...

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  42. HHH swears up and down in the Austin podcast there's no heat between him and Punk.


    I don't buy it, but still.

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  43. Those Big Show heel turns only happen once, maybe twice a year.

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  44. Yeah based on WWF Magazine, Sarge & Duggan were slotted in.

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  45. They were trying to relieve the glory days of Sting instead.

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  46. Another thing about Hogan -- he wasn't leaving to do Mr. Nanny, I am pretty sure he filmed that in mid 1993. He was leaving to duck out of the spotlight once all the steroid and sex scandal news hit. The whole "last match" angle came out of nowhere and was basically slapped on last minute -- I don't think it was at all his intention to go on hiatus.

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  47. I am someone who got some major heat on here for being critical of his disinterest in weight lifting. That being said the guy was just tremendous in the ring, on the mic, and clearly connected with a huge portion of the fan base. They were wrong not to go all in on Punk after Money in the Bank, it is very rare to catch lightning in a bottle like that.

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  48. Dear Scott,

    What's the deal with Wrestlemania 8?

    YOU know what I mean.

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  49. I 100% believe that WCW's biggest misuse was Goldberg. The guy was the company's biggest homegrown star since Sting. Fans were rabid for him. He had a very natural organic storyline leading him to win the belt. And then the late summer/fall of 1998 handled Goldberg in the worst possible way, making him an afterthought to the main tired nWo storylines. Even when they took the belt off him via screwjob with Nash there was still hope. When WCW showed they had no interest in having Goldberg get his revenge on Nash/the nWo and put him in a program with Bam Bam Bigelow, fans lost interest in Goldberg.

    Honestly, the parallels between WCW's handling of Goldberg and WWE's handling of Daniel Bryan are scarily similar.

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  50. This is probably going to come across as typical HHH-blame, but his reign of terror where he just lorded over every part of the show and never looked bad was when WWE went from fun to a chore for me.

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  51. Because Punk is a natural heel, a feud between him and face Bryan would've been great.

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  52. They obviously despise each other.

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  53. I think that was a Hogan/Flair match? David turned on Flair and joined the NWO.

    So of course a month or so later they turned Flair heel. Sting was back up in the rafters. DDP was added to the main event mix. Goldberg & Nash weaved in and out of the main event at random.

    And the 3 hour Nitros were becoming a real chore to sit through. Hmmm...

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  54. You remembered to use "fucking" twice, but forgot the question mark. Clearly puroresu is too much for you to handle.

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  55. Possibly. If you go back and look at things then, what made sense is to build everything back up as obstacles for Goldberg to eventually overcome. But that's not what happened. They kept careening all over the map with Hogan vs. Flair, Goldberg vs. Hart, and DDP suddenly getting the push. It was all such a mess.

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  56. Hush lambkins--I know. Just trying to keep all the ducklings in the box and playing nice. Now give poppa a hug...

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  57. Oh, the storylines made no sense, and adding DDP -- a guy who had no main event cred except for the Goldberg match in October 1998 -- to the main event mix made even less sense. Meanwhile, their hottest star Goldberg was feuding with Bam Bam Bigelow except with the guys who stole his title.

    But again, that all came after the fingerpoke.

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  58. Out of the big three in the modern era, Hogan was huge, Rocky was really big and Austin was a decent size (though definitely smaller than the other two). If we're talking second-tier guys, HHH, Cena and Batista all had/have great/huge physiques too.

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  59. He was not very athletic, sometimes just plain clumsy. His charisma got him over

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  60. Wasn't Show on SmackDown at the time?

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  61. Matt_INDEED_Was_Bayless'd!February 15, 2015 at 5:24 PM

    You really seem to be working on your trolling skills today.

    Rating: meh.

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  62. I'm under the impression that NJPW is AJs number one priority and he bucks things around their schedule. If They want him at a show he'll be there.

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  63. Charismatic eNegro Jef VinsonFebruary 15, 2015 at 5:29 PM

    I thought Nash beating Punk and not returning the win was worse.

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  64. The answer with Punk and HHH made me put on Night of Champions 2011. Just watching the video package, it shows how little has changed. Everything looks like it could have been Raw last week, and it's almost four years later.

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  65. Yes, but as I keep noting, the Fingerpoke was the start of it all. Putting Hogan back on top and reforming the NWO was Bischoff's master plan to reignite the war with the WWF. It's everything that followed through the spring and into the summer that damaged the company, but it all started with the Fingerpoke. Don't forget the damage done before that with Nash ending Goldberg's streak. WCW needed to repair that, and the Fingerpoke was where the fans started to sense the company totally going off the rails. Yes, the crash came later, but you follow the track back and the Fingerpoke was where you see the engineer grabbing his lunchbox and jumping completely off the train.

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  66. Charismatic eNegro Jef VinsonFebruary 15, 2015 at 5:31 PM

    Define amazing physiques. I mean Yoko was a top draw for awhile so you can exclude him but I don't know any other top draw that didn't have an amazing physique..

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  67. The NEVER match was, as always, top shelf. I don't necessarily understand people's "it got sloppy in this one spot" criticisms in these kind of matches. Spotfests need to be perfect, but these are fights, and no legit fight goes 20+ minutes and results in every shot getting landed. It's as realistic as pro wres gets, and is so easy to watch upon a live viewing.

    I've see so many greats live, from Dory Jr to Misawa, from Hogan to Flair, Bret, Benoit, Angle, Lesnar, Styles, etc.. But if I don't get a chance to see Ishii live before he's done, it'll be a shame, because I'm convinced he is the single finest matchsmith I have ever witnessed.

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  68. I'm not just speaking for myself - if you ask A LOT of people, WWE stopped being the same when they stopped being WWF. Hell, their ratings fell from the mid-4's to the 3s almost IMMEDIATELY after the name change.

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  69. Hogan was HOGAN because he had an absolutely amazing body. Cena is ridiculous, HHH's run at the top he was roided to the gills and bigger than a house but still rarely flabby. Rock is an amazing specimen, especially once he got his gyno taken care of. Brock had to lose huge weight to be a UFC champion and still have the best body in the UFC. Bret and Shawn were small but at least they were in good shape. Diesel, Yoko were at least huge and when Nash gave a shit he was in pretty nice shape. Goldberg was a house. Austin had the worst body of any draw in that he wasn't huge or particularly cut but was still decently muscular just not incredible.


    Punk is the worst "top guy" body and it's not close. I mean if Austin is the worst body of the draws, Punk is Austin +5-8% BF and -40 lbs of muscle.

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  70. "Take a shower, hit the weights, get a clue"

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  71. Amazing meaning cut/ripped. For every Hogan there's a Dusty.

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  72. Absolutely, as well as being representative of New Japan everywhere else he wrestles. More like Flair in the 80s.

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  73. Dusty had an awful top draw body. Jerry Lawler was just some guy, Harley Race had a beer gut. Paul Roma never sniffed the top. Character matters way more than body.

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  74. And all those guys are from a long gone era. For better or for worse, we've been trained to accept guys who look the part.

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  75. Nash faced Punk? I honestly don't remember that. When was it?

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  76. I agree with this, while maybe punk should have went over hhh. What did it really hurt in the long run?

    "You're just a guy who held out for a couple of perks"'

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  77. Charismatic eNegro Jef VinsonFebruary 15, 2015 at 6:04 PM

    My fault. I meant not getting revenge on Nash.

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  78. "Yep Mode" Abeyance Brown ©February 15, 2015 at 6:06 PM

    Well, in all honesty, it would be the very Nash thing to do if he beat him, then never returned the favor.

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  79. THIS! Bischoff was the biggest fucking mark. He was being worked by Hogan and Nash and was more interested putting himself on TV and being one of the boys than he was being a boss and actually focusing on running the company and booking the angles. That's one of the major things that killed company.

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  80. There is a huge difference between what someone does in their prime and when they come back a special attraction, part-time performer. Hogan was clearly the latter in 2002.

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  81. Ah gotcha, I thought maybe I missed something. Yeah, he should have gotten revenge.

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  82. Guess we'll agree to disagree. I just don't see Hogan as this selfless, beneficent presence who always put the best interest of the business ahead of the best interests of Hulk Hogan. I'm sorry, I don't. And I believe there is plenty of evidence to support this fact.

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  83. Well, in Rob's defense, Satoshi Kojima.


    YEAH I SAID IT.

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  84. Vince Russo, ladies and gentlemen.

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  85. Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I've liked what I've seen from the Bulgarian Brute, but I don't think he's ready to main WM just yet.

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  86. Dear lord, I wouldn't watch that 6-man just to see how bad it is.

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  87. When that man dies, it should be declared a national day of mourning. Flags at half mast and everything.

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  88. Yeah he also tells other promotions he can't job since he's the iwgp champ.

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  89. Well that's not completely true. Most of the "house" shows (the non televised smaller shows) are just all throw away tag matches. They're probably fairly good but they don't do anything earth shattering on them.

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  90. I think I would at least put AJ on the tv shows (the mid sized shows that promote the big events). Or just pay him to do full tours.

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  91. I hated Benoit dropping to Orton but I would've been fine with Orton if WWE didn't halfass it and give it back to HHH in his first defense and have HHH dominate the feud with Orton.

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  92. He actually managed to get a decent match out of Nakanishi though. He completely ripped off Savage during the WTL last december though.

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  93. Makes sense. Michael Elgin was ROH champ until he decided to lose in the early round of a tourney for some indy. (That wasn't THE reason they took the title off of him, but it was part of the reason.) Champs should look strong as much as possible, otherwise you wind up like the secondary champs in WWE.

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  94. If you're gonna steal, steal from the best.

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  95. I was there. Booed out of the building is an understatement. I saw an old man with grandchildren yell, "Hulk, you suck, you shithead!"


    There was nothing else after that moment either. On the PPV, they went to the backstage for the Flair interview, but for the live audience, the last person in the ring was Hogan, who I presume possibly would have done his posedown routine to "send the fans home happy." Instead they rained boos down on him and he meekly left the ring.


    Make no mistake, he was way over in the match. Big pop when he came out. But I think the combo of a markish audience that was pissed Ric Flair just won and mindbogglingly bad booking that left Hogan looking like a complete poor sport led to the boos.

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  96. I can't really think of anything post-2001 I'd classify as being as bad as the Fingerpoke...until the 2015 Royal Rumble. Paying The Rock to make a quick cameo because you KNEW the crowd was going to boo the hell out of Reigns' victory instead of just giving Bryan the win and running the Brock-Bryan match people actually want to see is straight up pissing on your audience...just like the Goldberg-Nash bait and switch to get the belt back on Hogan in WCW was.

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  97. if we agree that it's WrestleMania 27 then that means I was at both WCW and WWE's "fingerpokes."

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  98. mlw radio had a former head writer state that HHH buried punk in his debut match along with shawn michaels. maybe it was a one time thing but then in 2011 HHH pulled his b.s in the punk fued so yeah hes covering his ass

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  99. That seems...excessive. I mean, the booking plan for Orton-HHH was pretty solid, as evidenced by the fact that it made Batista a huge star. That Orton didn't work out at the time sucks, but it's not something that's never happened before in wrestling, and they salvaged things by audibling Batista into being The Guy instead.

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  100. Crikey Mate Down Under AussieFebruary 15, 2015 at 7:14 PM

    Thanks for the review Justin. Count me in for people that like the no-result writing style.

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  101. It really has to be the whole handling of Summer of Punk 2... it was an ultra-hot angle, so of COURSE HHH had to insert himself into it for no reason except to insert himself into it. It built nobody, and was the start of the destruction of the goodwill of the fans.


    I'd say the Invasion was their "Sting/Hogan" moment -- something that seems so easy to get right, but they managed to mess up big time (and the start of people really saying "what the hell?")


    It's like WWE right now is like WCW's last few years in "super-slo-mo"

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  102. well the first fued back was with kevin nash.and nothing against nash but he was 53 not on wwe tv in 8 years and the fued wasnt good.the real money was punk vs HHH with punk winning.i dont know if buisness would have skyrocketed but it was worth a try he had alot of outside eyes on him espn GQ etc.it came down to a 42 tear old semi retired guy refusing to do whats right. because of whatever excuse at the time

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  103. Yes, and then you repeat Wrestlemania 9! Lana can throw Vodka instead of salt in Cenas eye, and he can pin Cena. Cena then tells Hogan to go! Hogan hits the big boot and drops the big leg for the win! Pyro everywhere!

    The money is falling off the table!

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  104. I dislike that he spoils the quality of that match, and that he spoils some of the things that happen.

    I also dislike that he spoils the match order. And the matchups themselves.

    This post should be just the subject with a blank body.

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  105. 3 Hour RAW's were my moment I literally couldn't watch the show anymore.

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  106. Goldberg should've beat DDP for the belt after Spring Stampede. Goldberg took out Nash on that show and he should've got the title shot after that. Spring Stampede was actually WCW's last great pay per view. Things got really bad after that.

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  107. There aren't many celebrities whose deaths will affect me, even ones that I like--I'll shake my head and move on. The exceptions are few: Stephen Fry is one. Bob Pollard is another. And without exaggerating, Bobby Heenan is definitely a third. Even though I know it has to be coming sooner than later.

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  108. Um, they ABSOLUTELY booed Hogan during the post-match showdown with Sid. That isn't even up for debate.

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  109. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogFebruary 15, 2015 at 8:55 PM

    If Hogan was sticking around, it would have been awesome if Flair retained to set up Flair vs Hulk for Summerslam at Wembley. Do Savage vs Warrior and Bret vs Bulldog as triple main event

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  110. While HHH booking himself to go over Punk at the height of Punk's popularity was indeed stupid, I think the height of stupidity of that time period was Summerslam. They jobbed someone who was on the precipice of potentially becoming the E's first elite star since Cena to Alberto del Rio just so that they could have a Latino person holding the belt while they toured Mexico. The HHH job was just the salt in the wound after that.

    Personally though, the moment that broke me was Orton's cash-in on Daniel Bryan at Summerslam 2013 and the start of the "B+" bullshit. That's when it became obvious to me that the WWE was never going to change or listen to the fans again unless they had competition or something equally serious (like, say, weeks of open fan revolt - and even that still isn't enough).

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  111. Thanks for these reviews. I signed up for njpw world a few weeks ago (thank you Google translator) and have been really enjoying it. I'm completely new to njpw and the match descriptions with expansions of the context really help.

    I only had time to watch the Honma/Ishii match but holy shit what a match. Honma is one of my new favorites after his performance here and against Ibushi. Ishii is exactly the kind of wrestler I love. Just a brick of a dude but he can actually go. Planning on watching the main event tomorrow.

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  112. Find Honma's stuff from last years G-1. There's some amazing matches in there.

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  113. I have fingers crossed for Ibushi vs Styles. He won't (can't?) win but the match will be off the charts good.

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  114. New Japan Cup brackets:
    Tanahashi/Yano
    Ibushi/Gallows
    Naito/Anderson
    Okada/Fale
    Makabe/Honma
    Yoshi-Hashi/Takahashi
    Nagata/Goto
    Kojima/Shibata

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  115. Shibata or bust. Shibata/Styles will be so awesome

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  116. I'd like to see an Okada/Shibata final, but I doubt that Okada goes over Fale this soon (unfortunately). Lots of potentially excellent second round matches here.

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  117. I'll take a look, thanks.

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  118. Interesting brackets. I like Ibushi to win it all. He may not even challenge Styles, he could go after Nakamura for a rematch.

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  119. I just don't see how he gets past Tanahashi or Okada (assuming those two make it that far). I'd like them to test the waters with Shibata as a baby face challenger. Him against Styles could be great.

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  120. Makabe Honma is an interesting paring since they tag together a lot.

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  121. I'd love to see Honma get to the semis against Shibata.

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