Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 Ongoing MOTY List: Hero v. Shibata

55. Chris Hero v. Katsuyori Shibata RPW 11/11

PAS: In many ways this reminded me of the Samoa Joe v. Kenta Kobashi match, this absolutely delivered what the crowd wanted to see. They wanted to watch a big indy star work a signature New Japan Shibata match and that was what they got. I can understand why someone might have this as their MOTY, even though it isn't really my type of thing. Hero added some very fun flourishes to this, he was kind of a shitstirrer, talking trash, slapping Shibata in the face, doing a douchy kip up. When it came time to hit hard, Hero can do that as well as anyone, and they pounded each other, there was an especially great knee counter when he looked like he broke Shibata's ribs. I also really liked the way Shibata kept grabbing the sleeper hold, he was tenacious, got into it in a bunch of fun ways, and you really bought it as a finish. Still this had a bunch of elbow..stare..elbow spots, which really can take me out of a match, it is a stylistic thing I just hate. I imagine I will like this more then any New Japan match this year (unless Liger works a rookie or something) but I can't see it super high on my overall list.

ER: Not my favorite Hero match of the year, but Hero is on such a roll this year that he's spinning gold everywhere. Shibata is game and they work a nice condensed version of a modern Hero epic. What's ironic is I've complained about Hero matches going too long, therefore making his opponents seem too strong; and here, we get a 15 minute match and I didn't think Shibata took ENOUGH abuse. Will I ever be pleased? I line up pretty well with Phil on this one, could have done without the New Japan-y elements, loved the moments that felt more like Hero vs. an indy guy. Shibata is a great modern kicker, and Hero is a guy who will lean into kicks, and while the fans were dying to get behind Hero he kept doing all these great little dickhead cutoff spots, the best being a straight punch to the jaw to an unsuspecting Shibata. Every American watching knew Hero was going to work heel right when he came out in the Duke U gear, but I'm not sure how well that specific brand of white privilege translates over the pond. I would have liked to see some selling from Shibata as he mostly worked that chug chug chug NJPW style of "stand up and do your shit", but Hero made sure he stayed down a couple of times with some absolutely beastly knees that I don't recall seeing from him. Both looked like they should have permanently wrecked Shibata, so he's obviously a real man for taking them, but man they looked like finishers; the rolling knee (when he usually does a pump kick) as Shibata ducked in was just so nasty looking. Shibata not winning the strike game and going for sleeper chokes was a great plan, and loved how that's where we ended, with Hero going down to the sleeper through gritted teeth, long enough for the PK to do him in.


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