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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 11/9/16: All Hail The New Kingdom

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 11/9/16)

All Hail The New Kingdom 

– The Toru Yano-“Unbreakable” Michael Elgin match was odd to say the least. Between Yano’s comedic cheap tactics and Elgin’s serious demeanor, something didn’t gel here. There was a subtle backstory that Elgin looked to get revenge on a countout loss against Yano in the G1 Climax Tournament that cost him two points, but this bout was more about hijinks, turnbuckle pad headshots and general silliness for us to care. It also seemed weird for Referee Todd Sinclair to simply let it go on and not even reprimand Elgin or Yano for their actions. Some decent near-falls towards the end, but even those were anticlimactic. Elgin’s win with use of the exposed steel, lariat and Elgin Bomb was fine for his “revenge” angle, but forgettable. A time killer if there ever was one.

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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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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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