New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV Episode 11 Workrate Report
1. Tetsuya Naito vs. Tomohiro Ishii (4/6/14)
Well hey this was pretty fun! It's still a bummer when they clip these matches as they aren't actually very good with their clip choices. They'll keep in fairly bland moments where you know there has to be better stuff in the 10 minutes they didn't show. Is their goal to show the best moments? Is it to capture the vibe of the match while eliminating the dead time? Because they don't do that. Part of the time they feel like they just play a few minutes, and then skip ahead to a different part of the match, with really clunky edits. Here they show Naito throwing a suplex off the top and then before Ishii practically lands we cut to Naito throwing a different suplex in a different part of the ring. But then other parts they are incredibly slow to edit, just showing guys lying around. If they're so obsessed with showing all the spots, then show them. I just don't get their goal. But anyway, the match was indeed fun. Naito threw out one of the very worst performances I've ever seen a few weeks back, and here he was very much palatable. He was actually able to move his facial muscles to appear to be showing some sort of...emotion? Ishii had a lot of great moments in here, and while Naito looked lousy with strikes a lot of the time, but damn did he eat a bunch of Ishii's offense really great. Maybe even too great. Great enough sometimes that I feared for his cranium. He got dumped HARD a couple times right on his head, after Ishii lariats. One was a great lariat from the top rope while Naito was on the apron, and Naito just folded in half, braining himself on the apron. Nasty. When I think of someone who makes offense look good, I'm not thinking of Naito. But here he was, and I appreciated it.
2. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (4/6/14)
Wow, I really liked this. Like really, really liked this. Last week we saw their flat out dud from the Tokyo Dome show, so my expectations were lowered, but even if they were high I think this delivered. Alright, get it out of the way, Nakamura didn't totally sell the leg. I think he sold fatigue, and I think he sold damage, but he didn't overtly limp or anything, though I bought into it when he would clutch it after offense. Yes, there was certain offense that he did anyway, and that can sometimes really annoy me. But here it didn't. Sorry for the inconsistency. I was invested enough in each man in the match that the selling didn't really bug me at any point. Can't necessarily explain it, but still felt the match was killer. I really liked a LOT of Tanahashi's leg work, loved him snapping it over ropes and rails, bending it and stomping on it. Spots like Nak flying knee first into the rail were great, and Tanahashi was also a complete lunatic for taking some of Nak's brutal offense. Some of the Boma Ye's that Tanahashi took were just so so unkind. There was an incredible shot where the camera has Tanahashi in the foreground, and Nakamura runs straight at him (and this the camera) and just obliterates the back of his head with a Boma Ye. All of Nak's leaping front kicks were on point and nasty, and Tanahashi leaned right into all of them. At one point Tanahashi daintily slaps Nak with the tips of his fingers, and without missing a beat Nak punches him right in the fucking face and then caves in his eyeball with a Boma Ye. Both guys were on point during this, Tanahashi had great snap on a lot of his stuff, and fearlessly smashed into Nak's knees with a missed HFF. So yeah, I loved this shit, some of the selling be damned.