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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 9/21/16: Prepped For Ladder War

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 9/21/16)

Prepped For Ladder War 

– This episode was best known for Steve Corino’s “return” to color commentary on Ring Of Honor television after a one-year suspension. Yes, the catchphrases are back and they won’t have to sub in “Mr. Wrestling III” anymore. Of course, we have our fears of BJ Whitmer back in the picture, but let’s stay optimistic.

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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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Notes In Observance – ROH Wrestling 3/16/16: Gauntlet War

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 3/16/16)

Gauntlet War

– With one show left before the post-ROH 14th Anniversary Show tapings, it wasn’t a bad idea to fill television time with a seven-team tag team gauntlet to determine new #1 contenders, but we figured it’d feature highlight teams like Matt Sydal/ACH, Silas Young/Beer City Bruiser or The All Night Express, but that didn’t happen. Anyhow, let’s get to the coverage. With War Machine as the Champions, we were pulling for either reDRagon or The Young Bucks for that spot. With the first match being reDRagon-Will Ferrara/Caprice Coleman, we were curious if they’d pull that “first team up, last team standing” story, which carried us through the match’s first half. Ferrera showed some aggression and Coleman some nice athleticism, but it wasn’t long before Bobby Fish made Ferrara tap out to his kneebar. The second match (reDragon-Joey Daddiego/Chris LaRusso) continued the storyline of Truth Martini looking for an acceptable replacement for Donovan Dijak, giving them opportunities to impress him or suffer the consequences. Looking at the “martial arts lawyer” LaRusso, you could tell which way it’d go. The crowd dumped “Justin Bieber” chants on him, which wasn’t wrong per se. LaRusso accidentally kicked Daddiego and he received a “thumbs down,” as they left him to dry, reDRagon getting the second fall. It was so-so thus far, until The Young Bucks came out. Now, it’s exciting. This was the second best fall of the match, with some creative spots. Also liked how they built up to the first Superkick until towards the end when it led to the finish and YB finished them off. You could guess who won between YB and Tough Guy Inc., though that was entertaining while it lasted, with the heels constantly strategizing and Tim Hughes being too dramatic. The sixth match (YB-The Addiction) was unexpectedly short, but Addiction made their presence felt by attacking YB from behind when their music hit and did some fancy “Too Sweet” mocking before getting pinned. They heeled it up by attacking YB and hitting Celebrity Rehab on them and then attacking the final team, Roppongi Vice. At this point, we thought they were setting up YB to win this and the last fall was certainly competitive, as the two teams had some history surrounding the IWGP Tag Team Championships and worked well together. YB was teasing the Indy-Taker enough but couldn’t hit it and RPG got the upset win, seemingly disappointing everyone in attendance. We thought the torch was going to be eventually passed to YB, but every time they come close to teasing it, they always pull the curtain back. RPG-War Machine doesn’t sound as exciting to us. Neither team talks, so that’s even worse. RPG’s credible in the ring, but all we know about them is their cool theme that simply says “Roppongi Vice” and things that rhyme with it. Also didn’t get why the last four minutes went to the finish of The Briscoes-“Unbreakable” Michael Elgin/Hiroshi Tanahashi from ROH’s 14th, perhaps to hype the New Japan Pro-Wrestling talent appearing on ROH TV next week, but it felt out of place.

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Results

  • Seven-Team Tag Gauntlet To Determine #1 Contender’s For ROH World Tag Team Championships – Roppongi Vice def. The Young Bucks, The Addiction, Tim Hughes/Brutal Bob Evans, reDRagon, Joey Daddiego (w/Truth Martini)/Chris LaRusso and Caprice Coleman/Will Ferrera 

Notes In Observance – ROH Wrestling 1/13/16: The Boys Are Back In Town

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 1/13/16)

The Boys Are Back In Town 

– Ever since returning to Ring Of Honor unannounced, it has been expected that fans would buy back All-Night Express as an unstoppable force, with no explanation of their whereabouts the last three years. We only know they’re doing well and want the World Tag Team Titles, like any team should. The lack of explanation and character development for ANX has alienated fans from embracing them and that led to the story told in the opening match between ANX and Roppongi Vice, which was a keen way to kick of the hour with good action. It appears ANX – already the #1 Contender’s – are showing more heel tendencies and reacting to the crowd’s lack of enthusiasm for their moves and maneuvers. As the match progressed, their actions became more ruthless and calculated. The finish served to make ANX look clever by way of ring awareness, as King blindly tagged in right before Rhett Titus was seemingly finished off, as King snuck in the winning pinfall. Rocky Romero stood out in the match for his enthusiasm and Trent Barretta also shined in his aerial moves. Wish we knew more about Roppongi Vice from an ROH perspective, because they rock a swagger all their own. Creatively, this was a better way to tell the story with ANX going forward and with War Machine as Champs, it makes it possible.

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Notes In Observance – ROH Wrestling 12/16/15: Primed For A Final Battle

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 12/16/15)

Primed For A Final Battle

– The Adam Cole-Corey Hollis match served as a basic squash (guess Hollis doesn’t only job in NXT) but we still think Cole gave up more offense than necessary, but it did its job. Cole messed with first-row fans by telling them to get up and move acting like he’d throw Hollis over the barricade only to tease them by tossing him back into the ring. It wasn’t long before Cole put Corey to sleep and as expected, he promised to end Kyle O’Reilly at Final Battle once and for all.

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