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Notes In Observance – NJPW English 2/11/17: Manifest Destino

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post. 

 

 

 

 

 

(Aired 2/11/17) 

Manifest Destino 

– The Taka Michinoku-Henare match started things off with a proverbial bang. Michinoku had a variated version of his old WWE entrance music. As commentary sifted through the card, we could tell it could be no less than great. This one was your typical “Young Lion Battles Established Veteran” story, but Henare had all to gain and none to lose. Early mat-based grappling dictated the action as Taka was also under the weather. It was definitely physical, but maybe that’s why it was a bit short. Taka maneuvered a transition to get the pinfall. An anticlimactic finish, but it was what it was with these two. We like the story of Henare showing some frustration after the bell. Gives him some depth.

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Notes In Observance – NJPW English 2/7/17: Gunning For Osaka

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.

 

 

 

 

 

(Aired 2/7/17) 

The Breakdown 

– As if you didn’t already know, 2017 was off to a blazing start in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, as IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada outlasted Kenny Omega in that “Six-Star Classic” at Wrestle Kingdom 11 and successfully defended against Minoru Suzuki at the New Beginning In Sapporo. With all the ingredients set and one more show until The New Beginning In Osaka on Feb. 11, we had to hunker down and get through some filler and entertainment mostly by way of fancy tag team matches. The opening video was flashy (and Japanese!) but was right to the point about recent events.

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Notes In Observance – NJPW English 2/5/17: The Paintaker

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts on television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.

 

 

 

 

 

(Aired 2/5/17)

The Paintaker

– It’s 2017 and New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s all the rage these days, so we figured why not put them in the same review family? Granted, we can only cover the English commentary shows, but by the looks of 2017, there’s quite a few shows already. Where we last left off, we saw the sudden onset of the Suzuki-gun faction, with a fierce return not seen since the days of Nexus. A moment of silence please for that ill-fated group. For an exclamation point, they laid out IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada, as the group’s leader, Minoru Suzuki, laid claim that every Title would soon be theirs. How nice. Now, no matter what they say in it, it’ll still be incredibly difficult to understand the video packages per se, but damn, their production skills are sleek AF and a little extra on the side. So flashy and easy to follow. Everything looks damn near epic. Plus, that voiceover guy? Forget about it. We’re hooked. Also liked the onscreen broadcast presentation graphics of all the matches for this show laid out, as it felt quite sports-like. To the first contest – Kushida/Hirai Kawato against El Desperado/Yoshinobu Kanemaru. Obviously, Kushida will stand out off the bat here, but this was a story all about Suzuki-gun’s return momentum and the Chaos representatives with a goal to shut that down immediately. Also oddly enough, Don Callis fits right in with Kevin Kelly on commentary, though he’s got a big chair in Steve Corino’s absence to fill. A lot of attention was paid to Kushida getting in Kanemaru’s face, conveying that it was purely about Championship gold. The heels began aggressively, with Kawato selling like a Champion, undergoing such punishment. They pulled out this cool spot where Kushida German suplexed one opponent while he held the other in a bridge. They certainly established Kawato’s fighting spirit well here. ED’s single-leg half crab was thwarted when he got to the ropes. Close near-falls towards the end on both sides. All you could ask for here. In the end, ED pinned Kawato with a move similar to a spinning blue thunder bomb. Good for an opener and to continue Suzuki-gun’s momentum. Post-match, they attacked the winners outside. Well, damn. 

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Notes In Observance – NJPW English 1/5/17: New Year’s Dash 2017

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez 

 

“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post. 

 

 

 

 

 

(Aired 1/5/17)

New Year’s Dash 2017 

– The Six-Man Tag between Kyle O’Reilly/Ricochet/David Finlay and Jushin “Thunder” Liger/Tiger Mask/Henare set New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s version of “Raw After Mania” off to a hot start. The commentary team of Kevin Kelly/Steve Corino superbly painted storyline pictures to mix with the action. Here, they relied upon the fact that O’Reilly/Ricochet/Finlay were all losers at Wrestle Kingdom 11 (which included six Title changes, mind you) and looked to bounce back. Given the caliber of talent involved, it was expected that the action would be quick. Ricochet and Liger had a cool exchange, even if Ricochet slipped up in the corner. Commentary hyped up Henare and put him over as a young lion that had the privilege to train with two legends like Liger/TM. In many ways, that’d build someone’s career and it was smart of them to point that out. Liger’s tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on O’Reilly looked downright cruel. Another fun spot was where Henare had the Boston Crab locked in on Finlay and didn’t let go, even when subjected to Ricochet’s fierce kicks. The highlight of everything was the triple submission spot, as it wasn’t long before Finlay secured the pin for his team. All in all, it set out what it meant to – let O’Reilly/Ricochet/Finlay get back on track and Henare’s in-ring abilities were a focus. The post-match sportsmanship was nice, even with the added detail that cameras followed Finlay as he went to embrace his mom up in the crowd. Awwww. 

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Wrestle Kingdom 11 Reaction

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

Jan. 4, professional wrestling and the Tokyo Dome have been a longtime polyamorous relationship, to the point where it has become tradition.

After last year’s Wrestle Kingdom 10 when Shinsuke Nakamura and WWE World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles stole the show, New Japan Pro Wrestling began to make a global buzz.

With the likes of Bullet Club, Chaos and Los Ingobernables de Japon (LIJ) all in a power struggle, many Titles were up for grabs.

WK has become a haven for big moments and unlikely chances for Champions to retain their belts.

Wrestle Kingdom 11 would be right up there with the greats for a main event that actually dragged “Six Stars” out of one Dave Meltzer.

How did the show fare by our standards? Find out below.

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Notes In Observance – ROH Wrestling 10/12/16: Grand Slam Survival

Image provided courtesy of Ring Of Honor.

Image provided courtesy of Ring Of Honor.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.

 

 

 

 

 

(Aired 10/12/16) 

Grand Slam Survival 

– With this the second episode to come from “Field Of Honor” taped in late Aug., Coney Island’s MCU Park was in for a treat (as well as us we guess with two marquee main events) as we flushed out the last of the pre-All Star Extravaganza world. The Kyle O’Reilly-Katsuyori Shibata match with ROH World Television Champion Bobby Fish on commentary looked like a pleaser on paper, but it developed quickly into a tangible success. There was nice chain wrestling to start, while Fish was cleverly tied in since he recently successfully defended his belt against Shibata and could attest to what it was like in the ring with him. Early on, they traded technical moves and avoided each other’s kicks. Shibata zeroed in on O’Reilly’s arm and no-sold a flurry of retaliated forearms. While sometimes we zone out when Fish talks, his commentary was uber effective here, especially when he got into the details of why Shibata’s submissions were painful. Things picked up around the time both guys traded German suplexes and they worked each other into a frenzy as they laid each other out. The crowd stood and applauded this. O’Reilly and Shibata have that similar “pound on their feet, ground on the floor” technical style and it could’ve gone either way. We were iffy about the finish since Tiger Tory stopped it when O’Reilly had a submission locked in for 40 seconds to “save” Shibata, but it was what it was. On the plus side, it protected both men and kept O’Reilly looking good. No sportsmanship after the bell, as they traded words.

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Notes In Observance – ROH Wrestling 9/28/16: A Tightened Grip On Legacy

Image provided courtesy of Ring Of Honor.

Image provided courtesy of Ring Of Honor.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.

 

 

 

 

 

(Aired 9/28/16)

A Tightened Grip On Legacy 

– The Silas Young-Toru Yano match was a randomly thrown out on television to air out the two’s character differences, all the more clear as Young was angry and Yano was a jokester. Kind of entertained at Young’s heel skills, as he even yelled at a kid on his birthday and wished him a terrible one. Yano’s charisma was on display as he purposely ticked off Young several times with his humor and did his signature spots from New Japan Pro Wrestling where he took the turnbuckle pad off and performed a low blow, all behind the Referee’s back. There were some good trades of near-falls towards the finish, as it came down to Young’s use of Yano’s own tactics against him to win on a point where he pulled the tights after a low blow. Young certainly needed the win and that was good to see, but we were baffled at why this would take place on the All Star Extravaganza go-home show, that was until the post-match angle where The Briscoe Brothers saved Yano from a further beatdown by Young. This made sense since Yano and The Briscoes would be partners at ASE as they’d pursue the Six-Man Tag Team Tournament.

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ROH Death Before Dishonor XIV Reaction

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

Less than two months from their previous Pay-Per-View effort, “Best In The World,” you could feel a sense of transition amongst the Ring Of Honor storylines.

The focus had shifted from ROH World Champion Jay Lethal and his dominance with The House Of Truth to that of Bullet Club, now with Adam Cole and The Young Bucks at the helm.

After Cole embarrassed Lethal as BC shaved his head in the ring ropes, he was seemingly written out of the Title picture by Matchmaker Nigel McGuinness.

That was until Lethal begged for Cole’s blood and opted to challenge him for his next Title defense.

So the stage was set in Sam’s Town in Las Vegas, Nevada for “Death Before Dishonor” as a Cole-Lethal ROH World Championship match would lead the card by example.

There were some other high points in a night where the roster delivered top-to-bottom. Was every match a hit? Not exactly, but the studs certainly made up for the duds.

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ROH Global Wars 2016 Reaction

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Ring Of Honor doesn’t hide that New Japan Pro Wrestling has their fingerprints all over their television shows and as you see here, their Pay-Per-View events.

Their 14th Anniversary Show featured notable NJPW talent like Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi as a selling point and that’s all fine and good.

It’s just the fact that it might be misleading to build this PPV as “Global Wars” when there were no true stakes. Besides featuring more NJPW guys on an ROH show, there was nothing extraordinary about this.

In fact, the best things to come from this show were just ROH storylines and talent on their own. You’ll see our thoughts on everything and that oh-so-illustrious ending below, but don’t get your hopes high.

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ROH 14th Anniversary Show Reaction

Photo courtesy of Ring Of Honor.

Photo courtesy of Ring Of Honor.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

Despite the adage, what happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas, since Ring Of Honor held its 14th Anniversary Show live on Pay-Per-View and stars from New Japan Pro-Wrestling were also here for the party at Sam’s Town.

An underwhelming undercard was made up for by a better second half, fronted by the triple-threat for the ROH World Championship between Champion Jay Lethal, Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole and an insane six-man tag.

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