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Saturday, March 07, 2015

New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV Episode 8 Workrate Report

1. Yujiro Takahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito (10/14/13)

Wow Naito is a really, really horrible pro wrestler. Not only does he just have no charisma to speak of, but he is just completely detached from what is happening within his own matches. He has no clue how to build a match, and he's not even one of these "execution" guys, who can execute moves they see in a video game, but have no idea how to tie them together. He's a guy who can't tie them together, and executes them really badly half the time. He also has the magic ability to make his offense look like soft pillow strikes. There was one super soft moment where he ran up Yujiro in the corner, swept his leg from the apron, then did a slingshot seated dropkickā€¦and none of them came off like anything that would hurt a human. This match was bunk right from the jump as Yujiro jumps Naito and puts his leg in a chair to "Pillman-ize" him, and everybody in the ring handles it in hilariously bad fashion, with Yujiro taking forever to set it up, Naito just sitting in the ring not attempting to remove a chair from his leg nor making any expressions (not sure he's capable of this) that would seem like he was in danger. He just sat there, blank faced, waiting, the way you blankly stare ahead when a stranger is looking for a seat on the bus and you don't want it to be next to you. It all looked so bad and went on for so long that Josh Barnett even had to say that it didn't look like Naito was doing all he could to help himself. Then there's a bad exchange with Red Shoes trying to wrestle the chair away and literally two minutes into the match it felt like my evening was being wasted. Now I mentioned how bad Naito's offense usually looks, but at the same time Takahashi wasn't doing anything on his end to make it look good. Over the course of the match I liked a couple of Takahashi's deadlift Germans (I will pretty much always like a deadlift German) but man this was such a bad match. Naito brings absolutely nothing to the table. Except his "Polvo de Estrella" kneepad. Because I like to think it's a tribute to an exotico and not just the name of his bad Stardust Press. I'll change my opinion of him to positive if I ever see him wearing a May Flowers kneepad.

2. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Naomichi Marufuji (10/14/13)

The battle of my favorite NJ guy of the last decade and my least favorite NOAH guy of all time! And there was nothing in this match that threatened to move him up my all time NOAH worker rankings. He looked so, so bad in this. The kind of bad where you could not show this match to someone with virgin wrestling eyes, because they would have too many questions, like "what was that supposed to be?" "Why is that guy pretending to be hurt? Was that move supposed to have hit him?" "Which guy got hurt taking that move?" "Was that a move or did one guy decide to fall over when the other guy ran sorta close to him?" These were all questions that *I* had while watching this match, so I can only imagine how someone watching this with new eyes would feel. Marufuji has just a wild collection of implausible offense, with bad set-ups, bad execution, and so much stuff that I'm just not sure how it would hurt if it actually landed the way I think he wanted it to land. It's all thigh slaps and really bad missed strike dance fighting and a series of moves that see him take really dangerous bumps while he's doing offense, so that his bump looks way more painful than the move his opponent is taking. Marufuji tries working too fast for his own good, as he's not fluid enough to make quick exchanges look good. Nakamura tried his damnedest here, but damn Marufuji is just B-A-D bad.

By far the best thing was Suzuki challenging Nakamura post match. I do really love that they put the subtitles up over these promos. Guys like Rusher Kimura and Suzuki always cut promos that get tons of laughs from the crowd but I never had clue one what the heck they were saying.

This was a really horrible episode of wrestling television right here.

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