NJPW "CIRCUIT 2010 NEW JAPAN SOUL", 11.07.2010
Tokyo Korakuen Hall 1,800 Fans - No Vacancy
B: We've come a long, long way here on Never Hand Over. I remember sitting in my old apartment on Hampshire Dr. and scoring my first show (WWE Velocity 8/27/05). I developed our patented "10 point" system that night and now, five years later, we've given our thoughts on thousands of matches. We've always prided ourselves on watching everything: mainstream, independent, foreign, old and new, MMA, etc. We have a genuine love for all things combat, we wouldn't still be doing this if not, and I'd like to think our appreciation and enjoyment comes out in our work. For this very special 1000th post we're tackling a show from one of our all-time favorite companies NJPW. I'd also like to take this time to say thanks to Jessie, we actually started writing about wrestling together over ten years ago in an earlier, lost incarnation of NHO, and have been watching and talking about wrestling together for over twenty years. We've been to live shows, played out dream matches with action figures, studied countless hours of footage, and even beat the hell out of each other in backyards at one point in our lives. One common strand in both of our lives has always been a fanaticism about wrestling. We're both glad we can share that with you all and hope you've enjoyed and will continue to enjoy our prose on the topic.
J: Five years is a long time, especially in the life of an ant, but within our own lives, we've both gotten married, bought a house, and had a child, all the while continuing to push forth in our undying love and quest to discover everything we can wrestling related. This blog has been a great gift in doing so. Not only has these 1,000 posts not seemed like work but more like a priviledge but I'm still looking forward to the next 5 years and 1,000 posts we can come up with here. My hope is that some people have been entertained, or enjoyed our work, fans like us that enjoy all styles and performers and can get the most out of what we try to do here. So, without further ado, let's get on with it.
1. Hirooki Goto & Taichi Vs Manabu Nakanishi & Tama Tonga - B:3 J:2
B: Oh, how the mighty have fallen (and I don't mean The Mighty Mighty Bosstones although I'm sure you could get them to play your next school function or cruise ship on the cheap) as former champ Nakanishi slums it with wrestling's equivalent of tofu (a bland facsimile of the real thing) Tama Tonga. Manabu has presence and his shoulder block exchange with Goto was a sumptuous way to start. Taichi looks much weirder than he did when I saw him team with Nagata regularly in '09, now rocking a pointy mask, and of course it's Korakuen Hall so somebody had to take it out to the crowd a la BJW and Taichi fills that role by doing a crossbody off of an elevated stage onto Tonga. I didn't buy Taichi's weak-looking kicks on the outside being enough to prevent Manabu from making the save as Goto secured his team the victory by taking Tama's head off with a lariat. This was functional as an opener but had about as much depth as a Beetle Bailey comic strip.
J: I thought Tonga looked like AC Slater's older brother. And talk about bad kicks, just bad everything, he was totally green and brought down more than 4 spots from looking like an inept goof. I've actually never been fond of Nakanishi, he does the strong man gimmick, but my god it's now 2010, it's as passe as a fannypack now. Goto was really Shatnered on having to open in this match.
2. Samurai Gym Special Singles Match: El Samurai Vs Ryusuke Taguchii - B:2 J:3
J: Taguchi so should have had on platform boots to go with his gogo pants, for some reason this review has seemed to center on fashion? i've always thought Samurai would look like a nasty troll underneath his mask and his Smoker's teeth here give me no reason to rethink that position; but I still love the fucker. Just his basic looping downard punches look more real than 90% of a lot of stuff I see in wrestling these days. Terrible closeup on the dropkick in the corner; showed us how far away Taguchi was from that dropkick, bigger than the space between Kim Kardashian's boobs. Fun DDt complete with grade school rollthrough; Sammy also remembered how to lariat, probably from so many years of eating Liger's before they left the arena to smoke spliffs and go play Crazy Taxi on the Dreamcast, 3 years before we got it here! Sweet hammerlock out of kickout, and Taguchi showing some ability to sell a move. There weren't a lot of smooth transitions here, including the rollup into the pinfall, as well as several earlier sequences. I enjoyed this more than the opener, but I was also eating the Skittles with the Skittles inside during it, so you draw your own conclusions.
B: Taguchi used to play with an El Samurai action figure in his backyard sandbox. Put a greasy mechanic shirt and cowboy hat on Ryusuke and he'd be new criminal on Memphis Beat. Speaking of Kim, I saw her homemade porno, she had better facials than either of these guys. Taguchi sold a reverse DDT on the apron like having a brain freeze from eating a scoop of red bean ice cream too fast. I don't think El Samurai sold at all during the rolling snap suplexes bit.
3. Special Singles Match: Giant Bernard Vs Wataru Inoue - B:5 J:5
B: Watching Wataru sell Bernard's opening onslaught makes me feel so beatific. I love that Inoue eats the guardrail with gusto. Bernard must have been studying James Franco as he's got selling that rib pain down. Bernard did one of the sloppiest neckbreakers I've ever seen but Inoue still sold it like a million bucks. Inoue was just on making everything look spectacular. The giant versus little guy trope is a familiar one in wrestling but when done well it's always a lot of fun. This match had much more personality and expressive selling than the matches that proceeded it and I rather enjoyed it.
J: Bravo to anyone studying James Franco's acting, hell, his life, fuck, I'd watch a doc on him eating Frosted Flakes, but did the spear from Inoue really warrant that much selling? On the flip side, Bernard's become a more relevant monster than Smaug. Inoue's selling was on but Bernard puts this extra growl and pump with almost everything he does, this was definitley an Excedrin night for Inoue. Yeah, that neckbreaker was uglier Andy Dick's pussy but the piledriver after it rocked me harder than my first listen of Appetite for Destruction. The spot leading to the German was built beautifully, like the architecture in Millenium Park. I thought the wrestling, as in the moves done and how they built got better as they went along but were nothing special, it was the selling of hurt bodyparts and emotion that drug me in and made me care what happened here. Well done midcard acts!
4. Special Singles Match: Yuji Nagata Vs Yujiro Takahashi - B:4 J:5
J: Big test for Yujiro, especially in this reviewer's eyes as last time I saw him he was catching Jay Lethal on crappy dives to the floor in Dayton, Oh while discussing their 3rd round Fantasy Baseball draft picks in between spots. Nagata's totally like that older dude who you know has lost his marbles but you would neeeeeeever screw with because you don't what kind of ways he could hurt or maim you with a garden hose or something. Imagine how much funnier those Rush Hour movies would have been with him in the Jackie Chan role. Go ahead, I'll wait...
Awesome backdrop suplex, Nagata is one of my favorite guys to watch, not just wrestle, but watch period (Alton Brown is also on that list.) He digs Yujiro slapping him; it makes everything better somehow. He's also never "Samoa Joe"''d himself and toned down his strikes through the years; guy still kicks people's backs like they have unmined gold in their spinal cords. Okay, fuck Rush Hour, Nagata and Ryan Reynolds in a buddy comedy? Anne Hathaway could be the love interest for.....doesn't really matter, hell do an orgy scene but PG it and play some Dido in the background, will sell at least $30 million worth of tickets. At one point they run into each other off the ropes and stand there awkwardly like being at a family reunion for a side you haven't seen since you could remember anything. Yujiro's last offensive run was spirited, more so than James Toney's bid in MMA, and Nagata gives him a lot, I was digging the clothesline/ big boot exchange. This won't go on Nagata's trophy case, hell in his career, it wouldn't make it in his trophy wing, but both guys gave a lot and it had stiff in spades, which always warms my heart.
B: Always love watching Yuji do his thing, usually decidedly less excited when Takahashi is on my TV. Yujiro ate a boot great on floor. I dig Yujiro putting some personality into his attack on the floor, maybe Eric Young helped him with that. Takahashi's clubbering shots reek of C-level Ron Garvin. After seeing Hathaway's fuck scenes in Brokeback Mountain and Havoc I'd rent it. I loved Nagata blocking a bulldog with back suplex. A bad botch where Yujiro came off the ropes and ended up looking like he was trying a chest bump like a post-NBA Finals Lakers fan.
5. Special Singles Match: Tetsuya Naito Vs Karl Anderson - B:4 J:3
B: Anderson is the storyline GM of a fed that runs shows literally a block from my house so my views have softened on him and Naito is the better of the Team No Limit boys so I was kind of looking forward to this. A missed tackle sends Karl flying out of the ring in a nice spill. Naito chokes him outside with a chair and Karl is probably wishing he was back home eating Richard's Pizza. I don't know if Japanese children traditionally celebrate Halloween but if so, I wonder if any have ever dressed up as "Machine Gun" Anderson? Tetsuya flies back from a missle dropkick like he just got hit by a cannonball from Captain Hook's ship. I'm always a sucker for a superplex and there's doesn't disappoint. Tetsuya's "Stardust Press" looked gorgeous and was a nice finish.
J: Boss, I'm just waiting for Anderson to walk into that same Buffalo Wings joint so I cannot buy him a beer......takes a hell of a guard rail bump though. I am kind of tired of the forearm spots off the ropes where they don't even make contact, saw it in an earlier match as well as here. Anderson looked more comfortable here than in any match i've seen him in before, I will say that, but learning the steps to taking Naito's offense must be like taking a Merengue class at your local university rec center. Agreed, nice air on the superplex but his missed Senton from the top was even more devastating. Something was off here, though, because this match is leaving my mind like my Jumbo Shrimp Habachi dinner did my bowels earlier.
6. Super Jr. Special Singles Match: Koji Kanemoto Vs. Kenny Omega - B:6 J:6
J: Omega was as giddy as Dean Moriarity jumping in the back seat of a '67 Pinto not having a damn clue where it was headed. He just emits enthusiasm and excitement from every single action he performs. Koji is on here, as usual, just throwing kicks like he's trying to break a rhino's leg every time out. There's a botched superplex that ends up on the floor outside in a spot so crazy I made a robot Kenny Omega like from Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey out of empty oil cans, a broken mop and my coffee table. Loved the 4 corners face wash spot they set up, you could see Omega beaming after that one like a proud parent whose kid just made honor roll and banged his art teacher all in the same week. Wasn't buying the anklelock spots even though Koji does them in almost every match, but the reversal up on the top rope was cool and the ending tiger suplex from there was 1 egg, 1 cup milk, 2 cups sugar and 3 cups balls out adrenaline to make a Sweet Ass Spot Pie and that's enough dessert for any man. Great effort but would like to see what they could do with more time and a different pace.
B: I asked my Magic 8-ball about this match and it said: "rocks your fucking face". Omega has a set of balls like Bear Grylls. Koji's got some sort of egyptian crave drawing hieroglyphics on his tights; trying to figure him out is like trying to beat my wife at board game Blokus -- it likely won't happen. As Jessie pointed out, Koji fucking reversed a superlpex and turned it into one on Omega but out to the floor. The lenses in my glasses started to melt after that shit...
7. Special Eight Man Tag Match: Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka & Gedo Vs Togi Makabe, Hiroshi Tanahashi, TAJIRI & KUSHIDA - B:5 J:5
B: As Max from Where the Wild Things Are said, "Let the wild rumpus start!" It's weird seeing a freshly shorn Yano. TAJIRI gets taken out early which is a major bummer as I love watching the guy work. Iizuka move around like a Gibdo but sells like a Dodongo. You know, the mummy and giant rhinoceros from perennial NES favorite The Legend of Zelda? I swear, you guys, don't make me spell everything out for you. The inclusion of KUSHIDA in this bout makes me pause and scratch my head like Doc would every time Sprocket the Dog scratched and sniffed at the hole in the wall on Fraggle Rock. What, was Honma or Hirasawa gone fishing? But, speaking of that Henson masterpiece, is it me, or could Gedo pull off Marjory the Trash Heap in a stage adaptation of the beloved children's' series? Would that make Inoki Uncle "Traveling" Matt? I'd assumed the worst, thinking it'd be a throwaway multi-man match, but it actually had some nice ups and downs, momentum swings, excitement, etc. TAJIRI did eventually return only to get his lights turned off by a patented Nakamura knee. Shinsuke had knees aplenty, looking like the total badass he is, and really carried much of the match's interest. Tanahashi had his face all wrapped up like he was a victim of a dog attack and this wasn't top-shelf stuff of his, sort of a malaise about it, a common complaint about his more recent work.
J: I would agree some of the outside brawls just lingered on like those terrible scraps you'd get into on Final Fight where you couldn't kill one of the worst thugs ever and you just kept exchanging weak hits for what seemed like forever? KUSHIDA was a strange addition, but I thought he was one of the more lively guys here. Iizuka's plodding around with weapons is worn out like anything with the name Gosselin attached. And to answer your question about Marjory, Gedo would be best saddled with a role where he is piled under trash with only a mouth to speak; he looked pretty bad here as well. I was totally leaning towards a 4, but Nakamura's onslaught against the face team at the end made what Thurman's "The Bride" did in Kill Bill Vol. 1 look like a friendly game of flag football. And why did Tajiri disappear for a long duration of the match? Was he scheduled to give blood, semen or show off his 1992 commemerative Duck Tales postage stamp collection at the local library for community day? At least he misted some poor shmuck for a highspot.
8. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title: Prince Devitt (c) Vs Atsushi Aoki - B:5 J:5
J: I didn't love this match, unlike the first time I played TMNT 2 for the NES, which was love at first sight. I reviewed Devitt in the Super Juniors last year against Koji and said (paraphrasing) he still needed a year or two to really learn the art of selling and being in the moment, but this match proves despite his amazing physical gifts, he still isn't there yet. Countless times when both men were transitioning to the next spot, there would be these strike exchanges that were as empty as Mel Gibson's soul. Aoki was guilty too, don't get me wrong, it was an irksome element to this match because it kept happening over and over again. There were some downright nasty bumps in this though, the superplex outside and then the Danielson superbackdrop later on both left me as giddy as a 7 year old watching the morning news awaiting official Snow day closings. Aoki also put on some neat armlocks throughout, the best stuff he did as his kicks just weren't working and his transitions were shit too for the most part. If not for the strangeness of a sudden outburst while at home with my daughter, I would have let out a warcry declaring "Sell That Punch Before You Go To Your Next Spot" like Waaka Flaka in the "Short Bus Shorty" video but left it for this review. Devitt will still be a great hand in the years to come and I dug his teasing of his finishing move then hitting it with devastating results, akin to the Smoke Monster blowing through Dharmaville but I can't quite recommend this match due to there are 1,000s of really physical matches out there done by a plethora of different guys and there's probably more realism in them than this one due to just being in character and making the match feel like a fight instead of a collection of spots.
B: Seeing Aoki main event a New Jap show? That as surprising as seeing E.T.'s fetid cock. If the kids from Weird Science used that computer of theirs to make a junior wrestler he'd probably turn out a lot like Devitt.. except perhaps with some sort of tentacle and a better hair-cut. Some of the arm work seemed superfluous like that She-Ra: Princess of Power villian Mantenna's pop-out eyes. Suplex off of guardrail onto floor would make Angelina Love do a semen spit-take. Is Devitt playing Henry Osborne in the Spidey reboot? Aoki rarely bumped and when did all we got were delicate dainty bumps like children organzing their Zhu Zhu Pets collection.