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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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ROH Final Battle 2016 Reaction

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

Ring Of Honor’s Final Battle signifies both the end and new beginnings.

While we initially saw this as counterproductive to host an annual “payoff”-themed Pay-Per-View typically saved for December’s last week on the month’s second day, you couldn’t knock this card.

It’s funny, since ROH didn’t hammer home the hype until the final two weeks of television, but alas, it came together enough for the in-ring action and events to bring it full circle.

We had Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Cody, hell, even Broken Matt Hardy made a cameo appearance.

A fitting main event too, as we’d see Kyle O’Reilly get his last shot (seemingly) against ROH World Champion Adam Cole.

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Notes In Observance – ROH Wrestling 11/2/16: Time To Go To Work

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 11/2/16)

Time To Go To Work 

– Ring Of Honor’s mainstream storyline as Final Battle draws near seems to be a steady “war” between Bullet Club and ROH. It helps BC that they have the ROH World Championship (Adam Cole), the ROH World Tag Team Championships (The Young Bucks) and someone who has the ROH World Television Championship (Hangman Page) on the radar. BC made their quest for complete domination known, plus they seamlessly weaved in Page as an unhinged henchman of sorts, as his main job is to incapacitate Kyle O’Reilly (blood rival to Cole) from World Title contention, their biggest obstacle from complete ownage. The opening video looked at last week’s interaction between Cole/Page and reDRagon, as ROH World Television Champion Bobby Fish came to save his partner.

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ROH All Star Extravaganza VIII Reaction

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

As the days wind down to Ring Of Honor’s biggest show of the year, Final Battle, at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Dec. 2, we could see pieces begin to take shape.

ROH World Champion Adam Cole was on a tear.

While he had foes like Jay Lethal and Kyle O’Reilly on his tail, he seemed destined to go to war with the two of them eventually.

On a show remembered best for some great headline matches, the first thought that’ll come about is the Ladder VI main event that was for the ROH World Tag Team Championships between Champions The Addiction, The Young Bucks and The Motor City Machine Guns.

Lowell, Massachussets was in for a treat.

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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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Notes In Observance – ROH Wrestling 4/27/16: Elite: Dangerous

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 4/27/16)

Elite: Dangerous 

– There were some aspects to the tag opener pitting Tetsuya Naito/ROH World Champion Jay Lethal against Kazuchika Okada/Yoshi Hashi. On top of the initial hesitant dynamic between Naito/Lethal for both having massive egos, it was always a pleasure to see both the ROH and IWGP World Heavyweight Champions square off in the ring. This match was actually at its highest points when it was purely Okada-Lethal. Commentary was okay here, but more could’ve been done to explain the factions involved and what significance they had on the bout for those of us who don’t nosedive into New Japan Pro Wrestling. Taking place in February from Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, it always offers a unique environment, where the crowd’s more appreciative of the art of wrestling and whatnot. We liked that they didn’t pretend this was a few months back and made it feel “exclusive,” to help hype ROH’s “Global Wars” Pay-Per-View airing this Sunday, May 8. Anyways, as the match progressed, good action on both ends with an excitable pace that ended when Naito clonked Okada over the head with Truth Martini’s book to help Lethal score the pin. Post-match was telling in that Naito/Lethal embraced, signifying an alliance between The House Of Truth and the Los Ingobernables factions headed into the PPV.

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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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