Tag Archives: Defrost

Defrost Previews…G1 Climax 26 Block A

njpw-g1-2016.jpg

 

Hey guys been a while. I think I said that last time too. I am very unreliable. Sorry about that. Anyway

The greatest tournament in Professional Wrestling is a mere few hours away when A block action gets underway from Sapporo, Japan. With all the upheaval earlier this year with the WWE raid of New Japan this year’s lineup looks very different than that of the last couple of years. NOAH involvement and several new comers are highlights. Let’s now take a look at the wrestlers in the A block and their chances to advance to the final.

Continue reading

Tagged

Defrost Reviews… Kazuchika Okada vs Tetsuya Naito

vlcsnap-2016-04-06-12h28m07s460

 

Been a long time. Where have I been? Tranquilo. What is the topic of this week’s review? Tranquilo. Do I have anything really funny to say using the word tranquilo? Tranquilo.

Last of CTU ~ CTU Farewell in Korakuen Hall (Korakuen Hall)
Tetsuya Naito vs Kazuchika Okada

NJPW 40th Anniversary Show (Korakuen Hall)
IWGP Heavyweight Championship
IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada vs Tetsuya Naito

NJPW Road to Tokyo Dome (Korakuen Hall)
IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada & IWGP Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura vs Tetsuya Naito & Hiroshi Tanahashi

Wrestle Kingdom 8 (Tokyo Dome)
IWGP Heavyweight Championship
IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada vs Tetsuya Naito

G1 Climax 24 Day 5 (Sendai Sun Plaza)
Kazuchika Okada vs Tetsuya Naito

King of Pro Wrestling 2014 (Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan)
Tokyo Dome IWGP Contendership
Kazuchika Okada vs Tetsuya Naito

kopw2

The difference between Tetsuya Naito in 2012 and 2014 is profound, and explains perfectly how we got to where we are when Okada and Naito step into the ring for Invasion Attack 2016 in Ryogoku. When Naito got into that ring with Okada in Korakuen Hall for that match he was by far the more over of the two. There is a spark to everything he does in this match, and the crowd is molten hot for it. Not to mention the entire match is more about him than Okada bizarrely. When you watch the match the story is basically this beloved babyface coming oh so close to taking the title from this cocky prick, and coming out of it being convinced that the next time Naito is going to pull it off. This was obviously supposed to be the start of a long rivalry between the two that didn’t materialize because of what happened in 2013. Weird to say since I rated his last match of that year five stars yet that was the beginning of a downward slide that Naito only rebounded from when he joined Los Ingobernables. During the 2012 G1 Climax Naito blew out his knee. When he returned from that injury New Japan was a very different place. It was during that year the Bushiroad started pumping resources into the promotion, New Japan began broadcasting iPPVs worldwide, and most importantly a combination of Hiroshi Tanahashi’s excellence and Okada’s rise had culminated the rebuild process of NJPW. In a lot of ways Naito had been left behind. When he returned he won the G1 Climax and the title shot at the Tokyo Dome. He was far from the standout performer in that tournament, and as a matter of fact no sold an actual injured leg despite having his leg worked on in every match. That combined with several disappointed matches with Yujiro Takahashi and Minoru Tanaka led to a situation where he was booed out of the Osaka Gym, and a vote was held leading to Tanahashi vs Shinsuke Nakamura being the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 8 instead of Okada vs Naito. There was just something missing from Naito that he had before. Maybe it was a confidence thing. In his post match promo after winning the G1 Naito thanked the fans for not forgetting him. In his autobiography Tanahashi criticized the promo for being so passive. He had gone from a guy who was a sure fire main eventer to a reliable midcarder basically. He had something then lost it.

Untitled

There is a difference in Okada as well. Not just hairstyle either though we should all petition him to bring back that purple faux hawk thing he was rocking back then. I’ve already mentioned that Naito was more over than Okada was in their first title match. In a lot of ways it was the match with Naito that cemented Okada. For as big as the Rainmaker Shock was there was a lot of head scratching and hand wringing over him ending Hiroshi Tanahashi’s epic record breaking IWGP Title reign of 2011/2012. When Okada brought the goods in that match against Naito that was what calmed all fears about him. Okada had only been the Rainmaker for 3 months going into that match, and was expected to make Naito look good not the other way around. As mentioned in the previous paragraph the match is about setting up Naito as the Generational Rival of Okada not to make the new champion look like a world beater. Okada was just so good in his role as a dickish heel here that his making Naito look good made him look good to the point that it did the trick. Okada’s selling in the match is amazing. He makes it look like Naito is chopping him down bit by bit in such a wonderful way. I wonder the thought process behind the structure of the match beyond their long term goal of making Okada and Naito a decade long rivalry. Was there an assumption that by beating Tanahashi Okada was just going to be made? Even in Japan there was enough blowback at the time that Kidani, the then new owner of New Japan, had to make a statement saying he wasn’t interfering with the booking. I mean it worked perfectly, but seems counterintuitive. Now fast forward to 2014. Okada is not a dickish heel. I mean he was nominally supposed to be a heel still I guess, but he always got cheered and never did anything heelish anymore. The Okada that came out of the first stage of the Tanahashi feud is basically the Okada we have now. He has his moveset. He doesn’t act like a complete douche. The camera pans out for the Rainmaker Pose which didn’t happen in the first title match. He is the collateral damage of Naito not getting over in the moment, but he is every bit the 1A to Tanahashi. Now he is just the 1.

vlcsnap-2016-04-06-12h16m27s244

That was a lot of talk about their first and second title matches. How about the rest? Now it’s time for the potpourri section of this review. So the match at the CTU farewell show, CTU was a heel stable led by Jushin Liger consisting of Liger, Minoru Tanaka, Jado & Gedo, Hirooki Goto, Milano Collection AT, and Prince Devitt, was a fairly standard Young Lions match. They showed some fire and someone won with a Boston Crab. Though even as great as Naito and Okada are this match shows, maybe especially because of how great we know these two would become in hindsight, just how spoiled New Japan fans have been recently with Yohei Komatsu, Sho Tanaka, Jay White, and David Finlay. Korakuen was dead for Naito and Okada and those four would always bring it and have the crowds with them. The tag match was the main event of the go home show for Wrestle Kingdom 8 and ended up blowing away everything from that show. Funny enough after everything Naito and Okada did have the best match on that show, but even then it wasn’t a MOTYC or anything whereas that tag with Tanahashi and Nakamura was very much so. If not for the insane series of matches Tanahashi and Okada had with each other in 2013 it might have been MOTY. Their G1 match later in 2014 was basically a sprint consisting of their greatest hits from their other matches. Both men had had far stronger matches in that tournament notably AJ Styles for both. Their last singles match prior to Invasion Attack 2016 was also in Sumo Hall at King of Pro Wrestling in 2014. Interestingly Naito is working subtle heel in that match. He was still about 6 months away from becoming tranquilo so who knows what plans were in the works. The match is notable again for Okada’s selling. Okada sells like he has a concussion complete with a doctor running in while as noted Naito heels it up by attacking Okada. Okada sells the idea he is out on his feet so well that I remember thinking he actually was messed up watching the match live. The dynamic of this match is the closest to where they will be at Invasion Attack. The quality of the match portends good things for Invasion Attack because it is easily their second best singles match with one another.

Results and Ratings
Last of CTU ~ CTU Farewell in Korakuen Hall
Tetsuya Naito defeated Kazuchika Okada via submission at 9:34 with a Crab Hold (Star Rating: **)

NJPW 40th Anniversary Show
IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada defeated Tetsuya Naito via pinfall at 28:50 with the Rainmaker. Kazuchika Okada retained the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. (Star Rating: ****3/4)

NJPW Road to Tokyo Dome
IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada & IWGP Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura and Tetsuya Naito & Hiroshi Tanahashi went to a time limit draw at 30:00 (Star Rating: *****)

Wrestle Kingdom 8
IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada defeated Tetsuya Naito via pinfall at 30:58 with the Rainmaker. Kazuchika Okada retained the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. (Star Rating: ****)

G1 Climax 24 Day 5
Tetsuya Naito defeated Kazuchika Okada via pinfall at 13:54 with the Stardust Press (Star Rating: ***1/2)

King of Pro Wrestling 2014
Kazuchika Okada defeated Tetsuya Naito via pinfall at 19:17 with the Rainmaker (Star Rating: ****1/2)

Average Rating: ****

Was I ever concerned that I’d miss my self-imposed deadline of any time before Invasion Attack? Tranquilo.

Tagged ,

Greatest Match Ever

hqdefault

 

It has been said that the greatest era of wrestling was the 1990s in All Japan Pro Wrestling. So it stands to reason that the greatest match of all time must come from that place in that time. You just have to narrow it down. Even amongst a litany of the most amazing wrestling matches ever there are three matches that by consensus stand above. It is these three matches that will be the subject of this edition of Defrost Reviews.

AJPW 6/3/94 (Tokyo Nippon Budokan)
Triple Crown Championship
Triple Crown Champion Mitsuharu Misawa vs Toshiaki Kawada

AJPW 6/9/95 (Tokyo Nippon Budokan)
AJPW World Tag Team Championship
AJPW World Tag Team Champions Mitsuharu Misawa and Kenta Kobashi vs The Holy Demon Army

AJPW 12/6/96
1996 Real World Tag League Final
The Holy Demon Army vs Mitsuharu Misawa and Jun Akiyama

Continue reading

Tagged ,

Defrost Reviews…Bret Hart vs Diesel

WWE-WWF_King-of-the-Ring-1994_Bret-Hart_vs_Diesel.jpg

 

King of the Ring 1994(Baltimore Arena)
World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Heavyweight Champion Bret Hart(w/ Jim Neidhart) vs WWF Intercontinental Champion Diesel(w/ Shawn Michaels)

Royal Rumble 1995(USF Sun Dome)
World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Heavyweight Champion Diesel vs Bret Hart

Survivor Series 1995(USAir Arena)
No Holds Barred Match/World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Heavyweight Champion Diesel vs Bret Hart

In Your House #6(Louisville Gardens)
Steel Cage Match/World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Heavyweight Champion Bret Hart vs Diesel

Continue reading

Tagged ,

Defrost Reviews…Bryan Danielson vs KENTA

1.jpg

 

Bryan Danielson’s wrestling career has come to an end. His career being that of one of the greatest in ring workers of all time. The fact that his amazing wrestling ability is not the first thing that comes to people’s mind as the standout attribute of his career is far more amazing than said ability. However, for the sake of format we’ll be sticking to matches and not how badly Vince McMahon squandered him until given no other choice by his rapidly dwindling customer base. Instead we will take a look at Bryan Danielson and the man who, in my opinion, was his greatest rival, KENTA.

Continue reading

Tagged ,