I’m sorry to all my fellow hoopers. I wanted this to be a weekly thing but I didn’t realize or I should say I forgot I have a job and I’m not Dave Meltzer. I’ll just to make this a weekly or a biweekly thing. And in the name of CM Punk, amen.
NOAH- Star Navigation (2/5/23)
Masa Kitamiya vs Satoshi Kojima *** ½
I’m not a big NOAH watcher but I know a lot of the big names in the promotion such as Kitamiya and Kojima. This is what I call a Manny special, a match specifically booked for me. I started heaving when I saw this match happen. I looked at it as an extra treat since I only came to watch Wagner Jr vs Soya. I was also hyped to watch Kojima (since he’s one of my favourite wrestlers to watch) because his game reminds me of an old grizzled vet you watch school kids at the local YMCA that are mid-range gods.
It’s a good thing I talked to these men because it was everything I could ever want in a match that’s going to be in the mid-card. They start off with a stiff collar tie up and then both guys say “fuck it” and started chopping each other, leading to Kitamiya shoulder blocking him and Kojima bouncing to the outside of the ring. They start to brawl a bit but again no one can get the edge. Kitamiya manages to get Kojima back into the ring to start working over his leg. While Kitamiya is working on Kojima’s leg I can’t stop staring at Kitamiya’s sick mo-hawk. I need that. Oh shit! Snap out of it! Kitamiya is hitting chops and a DDT on the apron.
But Kojima is starting to fight back. Kojima ain’t a punk, he’s a freaking dawg, you gotta do a lot more to take him out. He starts fighting back by hitting a rolling elbow and a DDT. Just like Kojima found that inner dawg after that DDT on the apron Kitamiya starts to fight back too. He starts blocking Kojima’s offence and starts working over his leg again after Kitamiya hits a desperation chop block to set him up. Kitamiya does the slit-throat gesture to signal that Kojima is a dead man walking, but all Kojima can think of is his victory bread after the match. So that wills him to reach into his belly to do a strike exchange and then collide two massive lariats, but Kitamiya won’t go down and hits a monstrous spear on Kojima.
I can’t believe this is an undercard match. This is way too good, my god. Especially when we entered this phase of the match where they turned into dumb jocks. I can feel this dumb jock energy flowing through my laptop screen. Kojima wins with his patented lariat. *** ½
GHC National Title Match
EL Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr vs Manabu Soya **** ½
Now let’s get into the meat and potatoes of why I’m watching this random NOAH show. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard of El Hijo del Dr Wagner Jr before checking out this match. I was wondering who this guy was and where he came from, as I’m familiar with his father, but I didn’t know he had a son in wrestling. I started to hear the name when he first came to NOAH earlier last year with more hype building after he won the National Title and that defence against Inamura (which I still haven’t watched) but I wanted to make sure I watched his match with Soya to see if he lives up to the hype.
The first thing I’m going to say is WOW, this Soya dude looks like an absolute unit coming to ring with his KONGO boys. The only thing I can think is “ this a big MFer” and that red hair freaking rules. And now I’m thinking, “wait, these guys aren’t Jrs? How big is Wagner Jr?” then as soon as this thought ends Wagner Jr walks through the hall looking like an absolute star and unit. Like I said, this is the first time I’m watching him and he totally gives off star energy. And now all I’m thinking is “please lord don’t let him be a shitter” because he has everything else, now I just need to see the in-ring work.
Holy shit now these guys are standing in the ring together and they’re huge. And now they’re wrestling!! These guys got some crazy speed. These are juniors in heavyweight bodies, I honestly can’t contain my excitement. Wagner is just so smooth in that ring, the way he’s flowing through transitions and running the ropes is just beautiful stuff to watch.
There are times during the match when I’m just forgetting to write things down because I’m so into the action. I can’t believe how athletic Wagner is. For example, Soya Irish whipped him on the outside and he just cleared the guardrails like they were nothing. Like Jesus Christ brother, calm down. But just as I’m fawning all over Wagner, Soya does a monster brain buster on the floor as if it’s to remind me he’s here in the match too.
After Soya hits Wagner with that brain buster he picks him up to roll him in the ring for two pin attempts that weren’t successful. So after the second kick out Soya transitions into a high-angle Boston crab. Once Soya finally lets go of the Boston crab Wagner tries to use this opportunity to take control, but Soya doesn’t let Wagner get his shit off, hitting him with a monster shoulder block, lariat, & DDT combo.
Damn, it’s hard to root for one guy in particular when they’re both doing such great stuff in this match. Soya isn’t allowing Wagner to gain momentum because it seems like he has him scouted out and is just snuffing out whatever hope Wagner has. Wagner is just hoping for one little mistake or opening for him to take the lead. And it happens! Soya rolls Wagner into the ring and while Soya is looking around Wagner is able to get up and turn Soya’s mistake into a tope. It seems as though this could be the opening Wagner has been looking for and it is because Soya seems to be out of it. Wagner rolls Soya into the ring and climbs onto the top rope, flashes the middle fingers, and hits a monster frog splash for a two count.
Then Wagner puts on some crazy-looking Mexican armbar that I’ve never seen before. But he isn’t able to hold the submission for long because Soya manages to escape and crawl to the corner of the ring to give himself some distance from Wagner. Soya uses this short time to recover some before landing two corner kicks on Wagner to regain control. That ain’t enough to faze Wagner, however, as he instantly hits Soya with an elbow to the back of his head. While Soya is falling, Wagner goes for a crazy arm drag attempt, but Soya seamlessly transitions that into a pin attempt of his own.
This leads to a great back and forth. No one can get control; they seem to be more 50/50 the longer the match goes. It’s just beautiful pro wrestling. They’re trying to throw bombs but now they’re starting to pick up on each other’s offence and begin producing counters for each other. They’re exhausted but Wagner is able to take the lead once he reaches into the bag of another lucha savage in my boy RUSH to absolutely destroy Soya * chef kiss * I’m adding Wagner Jr to my hoopers list. Then on top of that he lands a monster powerbomb.
Guys Wagner Jr is living up to the hype, (thank god, I didn’t want to lie on Twitter) god he’s throwing these monster forearms and Soya is getting to his feet slowly. The weight of this battle is finally catching up to poor Soya. He’s just chopping Soya trying to wake him up and it works. Soya starts chopping back. Both guys don’t want to back down. They’re throwing shots normal humans wouldn’t be able to take.
Holy shit!!! Soya just hit Wagner with a spear so hard it would scare the shit out of Bret Hart and just like a savage, Wagner no sells it and pops back up. Wagner’s Mexican blood starts to show the only way to stop him is by putting him 6ft under. This has me on my feet. I’m pacing back and forth, no way I’m watching what I’m watching. Then they go into the final sequence of the match where Wagner hits his Wagner Driver twice to lead to a smooth as-butter moonsault for the win. What a phenomenal and a star-making performance for both men. **** ½
WAVE- Detras De Lazona Vol.9~ Young OH! OH! (2/5/23)
Rina Amikura vs Yuko Sakurai ***
This match was so good for a 12-minute match. What else put this match over the top for me was where it took place. It reminded me of those dirty lucha arenas that I love. This match took place in what looked like a little office space with less than a hundred people there.
Well anyways let’s get into this match. This match started off with multiple shoulder tackle attempts that were perfectly executed, even Yuko couldn’t keep up after the 7th or 8th attempt. That’s when Rina takes control of this match early on. Rina just gives it to Yuko with a barrage of offence in the corner which leads to her dragging Yuko’s body to the centre of the ring for a brain buster and Walls of Jericho combo.
Rina starts to pull on Yuko’s hair while in the Walls but Yuko manages to fight through it and get to the ropes. Yuko takes this opportunity to get on her feet to start her comeback but Rina was up for the challenge. They start a chop exchange, but Yuko is quickly overpowered by Rina’s power. Yuko stumbles to the corner and this is where Rina just starts landing these machine gun chops in the corner.
Yuko shows she’s no punk. She begins to eat those chops like they were fresh finger-licking hot wings straight out of the fryer and then starts to hit Rina with her own version of the machine gun chops. It looks like Yuko has finally taken the momentum of this match. Rina feels the pressure of the momentum changing so she begins to try to put a stop to it by landing big forearms and big boots before placing an abdominal stretch on her. Yuko manages to withstand the punishment and doesn’t tap.
Yuko is looking for her next opening but it looks like this match belongs to Rina. Instead of sticking to the game plan, however, Rina makes a big mistake and Yuka takes advantage of this to land a nasty triangle for the win. ***
NJPW-New Beginning in Sapporo Night 2 (2/5/23)
NJPW World Television Championship
Zack Sabre Jr vs Tomohiro Ishii **** ½
Old rivals continue their feud with Zack’s first title defence and boy am I excited because this new title has a 15-minute limit so that means it’s an Ishii sprint. And man this match started off completely different from their other great matches. Ishii is the one instigating the mat work and Zack is trying to keep it on the feet. A nice, unexpected start to the latest chapter of an awesome rivalry.
It’s crazy to see Zack instigate the strike exchanges and he isn’t folding to the nonstop pressure that Ishii is bringing. So far it looks like no one can get the early advantage in this match, with the offence being traded evenly between the pair. In the past, it seemed as though ZSJ’s striking offence isn’t all there but in this match with Ishii his offence feels intense and violent a new gear for him.
Zack is doing a great job using one hand for his strike exchanges because he can’t use his other arm since Ishii worked on it earlier when they were on the mat (also during this point of the match I noticed Ishii has some ashy knees and I need someone to give him lotion) and all I can think was “GOD DAMN THESE GUYS WERE MADE FOR EACH OTHER”. I’m so enamoured by Zack’s offence in this match, it’s giving me early 2008 ROH Bryan Danielson vibes. Maybe New Japan moving Zack into TMDK and making him the number 1 guy was the best thing they could’ve done and it feels fresh for the division.
They start another strike exchange and then I start to notice that yes Zack is landing more blows but Ishii is winning in the power department because that’s where Zack is lacking in this match. Reviewing this match my eyes are observing that Ishii is getting the upper hand on Zack by changing up the pace and constantly moving to OMG OMG Ishi just hit a freaking code red!!! Has he ever done that before ??? OMG ISHII IS BLEEDING FROM HIS MOUTH AND THEY’RE EXCHANGING GERMANS
THE FIGHTING SPIRIT IS STRONG IN THIS MATCH!!!!! My god Zack’s quick pins ain’t working. Ishii has counters for everything Zack has. As soon as Zack found that extra gear that was needed, so did Ishii. And out of nowhere, you hear on the PA that there is 1 minute left in the match. THIS MATCH IS TURNING INTO A FREAKING BOMBFEST!!!!!! HOLY SHIT ZACK SABRE JR CAUGHT ISHII WITH A ROLL-UP!! What a great match and ending to a match. I couldn’t believe 15 minutes flew by. I swear only 5 minutes passed by. **** ½
NJPW- New Beginning in Osaka (2/11/23)
IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
Kazuchika Okada vs Shingo Takagi *****
Oh boy, this match was a hoot I’m telling you. This match starts like your typical New Japan main event; it’s just a really slow feeling-out process. Then it hits the mat with the typical sequences and the patented Okada taps on the chest. Typical good Okada stuff. This is completely random but I got to get this off my chest. I can’t get over Okada wearing all-black gear. But I will say he looks good in the all-black gear and he should keep it.
Well anyways now that I got that off my chest, Shingo took the lead after that early feeling-out process. He starts tearing into Okada with shoulder tackles and a big vertical suplex. Okada is trying to fight off Shingo’s pressure from the corner of the ring, but Shingo is keeping the pressure on him with huge chops. As soon as Shingo lets up, Okada catches and drops Shingo with a dropkick on the top rope. Shingo tumbles onto the floor and that’s when Okada takes control by just throwing him into the guard rails.
Okada uses this opportunity to get Shingo counted out but he slowly climbs back in, although Okada is there waiting to hit a monstrous kick to Shingo’s face. Guys, I’m blown away, I literally have no idea who this Okada is. He’s showing shades of death stare Kota Ibushi. Okada looks like a man possessed out there, he even starts throwing vicious strikes and no-selling Shingo’s offence. And I want to add a little detail that Kevin Kelly added while Okada was no-selling Shingo’s offence, he said something along the lines of “no one knows what it’s like to be at the top of the mountain like Okada.” That hit me like a brick wall. Because at that moment it did look like he was just sad and bored out there and I felt sad for him. Shingo manages to catch a breakthrough when he hits a shoulder tackle and a few lariat combos.
Then Shingo hits Okada with a lariat to the outside. Once he does that he gets revenge on Okada from earlier when he threw him into the guard rails. Shingo then rolls Okada into the ring and just starts destroying him. The crowd starts firing up behind Shingo but while he’s listening to this crowd fire him up Okada is able to recover some. But even though Okada recovered some it still wasn’t enough to fight Shingo. He was a few steps ahead of Okada.
I don’t know why Shingo would take this to the floor when he was dominating in the ring but this is where Okada was able to cut him off and take control. Okada cuts him off by hitting a big tombstone on the floor. He rolls Shingo into the ring and puts on his famous “money clip” but Shingo is getting cheered on by the crowd. This helps Shingo get to his feet to escape, but Okada is starting to feel the tides change so he tries to snuff any chance Shingo has at making a comeback. He’s able to get Shingo to the mat and he uses this opportunity to hit his famous elbow drop but can’t get the pin.
Okada gets him up for the Rain Maker,but Shingo counters it. Both guys are up on their feet throwing some nasty forearms. You can literally hear them and see the sweat fly off them after every hit. THIS IS PRO WRESTLING. These men go into assassination mode. They’re trying to take each other’s heads off. But Okada was the first one to crumble. OH MY GOD OKADA MIGHT LOSE!! SHINGO HITS THE MADE IN JAPAN!! OH NO HOLY SHIT OKADA KICKED OUT!!! COME ON SHINGO YOU KNOW BETTER THAN THAT!!! WOAH WOAH WHAT SHINGO JUST HIT THE TAKAGI DRIVER !!!! I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M SWEATING THIS EARLY IN THE MORNING AHHHH PUMPING BOMBER!!!! OH SHIT OKADA AIN’T DOWN HE JUST LANDED A RAINMAKER RAINMAKER!!!!!
I CAN’T BREATHE THEY’RE BOTH DOWN, BUT OKADA SEEMS TO BE THE FIRST ONE TO HIS FEET AND OH SHIT HE HAS THIS DEMONIC LOOK ON HIS FACE!! HE’S CRAWLING TOWARDS SHINGO!!! RUN SHINGO RUN!!
BUT SHINGO AIN’T SCARED, HE’S FIGHTING BACK!!! HE JUST REVERSED THE RAINMAKER!!!! SHINGO HITS THE LAST OF THE DRAGON!! OH SHIT OKADA KICKED OUT AT TWO!!! AT TWO!!!
Shingo doesn’t let that get to him because he’s holding onto his wrist. He picks up Okada to try to hit another Last of the Dragon but Shingo is exhausted. Both guys are trying to use their offence but they’re tired and their moves are lacking impact. BUT THE CROWD GIVES THESE MEN THE SECOND WIND THAT THEY NEED AND THE FIGHTING SPIRIT TAKES OVER THEIR BODIES!!!! THEY HIT EACH OTHER WITH TWO MONSTROUS LARIATS. OH MY GOD OKADA JUST HITS THE RAINMAKER!!!!!!! OKADA WINS!! OKADA WINS!!! THIS IS PRO WRESTLING. THIS IS 5 STARS!!!! OKADA AND NJPW IS BACK!!!!! *****
CMLL- Super Viernes (1/27/23)
10 Man Elimination Tag
Atlantis Jr vs Dragon Rojo Jr vs El Barbaro Cavernario vs Fugaz vs Gran Guerrero vs Mistico vs Panteria del Ring Jr vs Stuka Jr vs Templario vs Soberano Jr ****
Look guys this match was awesome, but it was way too much to write down. I actually took many……. many …… notes. I’m actually sick. There was too much action going on for me to really type it out. But I’ll just give a mini summary of this match.
This was a 10-man elimination tag and when it came down to the final 3 it became a triple threat no matter if they were teammates or not. To me, the standouts were Mistico, Atlantis Jr, Templario, Soberano Jr, and Panteria del Ring Jr. These guys were just phenomenal. I saw everyone go crazy for this match and whilst it didn’t fully live up to the hype, I would still watch it because it was still memorable. ****
Atlantis Jr, Panteria del Ring, and Panteria del Ring Jr vs El Sagrado, Los Gernelos, and Diablo 1-11 *** ¼
This match starts off with the old dudes Panteria and Diablo doing super slow lucha grapes! While I type how awesome the old man lucha is, the match just breaks down. It wasn’t even 3 minutes into the match. What a huge pop. This leads to the rudos taking the first fall.
The next fall starts with the rudos just beating the shit out of Panteria Jr which leads to his father Panteria trying to save his son, but unfortunately, Panteria got his ass kicked too lol. Maybe he should’ve let his son get that beating so he could’ve learned a lesson or two. And then there’s my boy Atlantis Jr. He tried being a hero and got his ass kicked too. It was an incredible visual.
So it’s still 1-1 in this last fast fall and the rudos have all the momentum. I’m kinda shocked about the direction this 3rd fall was heading in. It was like this match was moving in slow motion. Or maybe it’s because the rudos are old. But thank god the tecnicos took control because they helped pick up the pace. And the match quickly ended with a Panteria Jr shooting star press.
This is probably the “worst” CMLL main-event that I’ve seen so far. I would still recommend it if you’re a completes when it comes to watching CMLL main-events.
GCW Jersey J-Cup (2/11/23)
Komander vs Arez *** ¾
Look this match started off badly with the production flaws already. I couldn’t hear the commentary. I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing. I guess it was a good thing. But who cares because Arez and Komander are having a fun little match. They’re doing a lot of beautiful technical lucha libre submissions and don’t get me started on all these arm drags. They’re keeping this match grounded so far. They’ve both teased going to the ropes but they haven’t been successful so far.
There was a sloppy spot or two, but fuck it man these guys took this to another level, they’re going crazy. Man Cagematch might be cooked. They had this match at a 6!!!! A 6!!! I should be writing but man I’m so into this match. Komander is finally able to hit a huge dive on Arez on the outside. He was able to roll Arez into the ring and hit a standing shooting star press for a 2 count.
They throw some chops and end up on the ropes where they continue to battle. Arez is thrown off so he tries to outsmart him by rolling to the other side of the ring so Komander can’t hit him with an aerial move, but Komander starts walking the ropes to the other side of the ring to land a monstrous moonsault. WHAT A HOLY SHIT MOMENT!!!! They’re hitting another gear altogether! This closing sequence is awesome.
Komander hits two dragon-ranas (my jaw is on the floor) and Arez kicks out. And Komander does it again! He walks the ropes and HITS A MASSIVE PHOENIX SPLASH FOR THE WIN!!!!! WHAT AN AWESOME 13-MINUTE MATCH!!!!
GCW Jersey J Cup (2/11/23) night 2
Komander vs Mike Bailey **** ¼
After some crowd work, these awesome wrestlers started by running the ropes and doing some great duck-under sequences. It was just fantastic stuff. This is just two high-level wrestlers having an awesome match. This isn’t something we see on the indies as much. Man, I love how Mike Bailey isn’t letting Komander get to the ropes. He’s doing a great job cutting off the ring.
Speedball is keeps nailing Komander with dragon screws, but the masked man doesn’t let that stop him. He’s up and trying to match Mike Bailey chop for chop. Speedball is being a complete dick. He’s just kicking Komander in the back and hits a standing shoot star press for a two-count. Now both guys are going back and forth but no one can get the advantage.
Komander is finally able to get to the ropes but Mike Bailey manages to cut him off again with an avalanche dragon screw. Speedball then locks on an inverted figure four but Komander is able to escape when he gets to the ropes.
They’re having a beautiful strike exchange on the top ropes before Komander is knocked off, but he quickly reverses it to hit a Spanish fly. These guys are putting up 50 right now. It’s disgusting how good this match is. These guys are head and shoulders above everyone else on this show. Honestly, this should’ve been the final. THEY JUST DID A ROLLING PINNING SEQUENCE!!!! THIS IS REAL MF GRAPS!!!!! Maybe people will disagree with me, but I feel like I’m watching a random night main-event match during a BOSJ tour. This is must watch.