New Japan Pro Wrestling
Hiroshima Sun Palace (Hiroshima, Japan)
Ishii and Naito have been joined at the hip since the day after the Tokyo Dome show. By my count they wrestled each other in three eight-man tags, two trios matches, and two tags prior to this match with a wide variety of opponents and partners. Each match was focused on Ishii and Naito going at it to build up to their singles match for the NEVER Championship on the 11th in Osaka.
I have written about most of those matches. In general, I thought they were effective at building building anticipation for their singles match. Ishii’s no-selling, bomb-throwing style is not necessarily up my alley so a singles match versus Naito was not something I would normally be psyched for, but the build at least got me interested. From a match quality standpoint, I also think their chemistry has consistently improved. The first couple of encounters were full of Ishii’s strike-exchanges and no-selling but as they have continued to work together their interaction has become more well-rounded.
Case in point, this match. Naito and Ishii started off in the ring with another. Naito landed some forearms and strikes that Ishii (gasp!) actually sold! Naito can work the big bombs, no selling match as “well” as anyone can probably, but it does play against his strengths. He is better off working a quicker style match and selling to get some sympathy. It felt like slowly but surely Ishii and Naito were figuring that out and it came together in this match. Their interaction was admittedly downplayed here – they were no doubt holding back a bit for their singles match in two days – but the interaction they did have felt came off well.
It will be interesting to see how they work their singles match. Will they continue with the same kind of the action they have built up in their tag matches or will it be an Ishii slugfest?
I also thought Homna stood out in this match. He showed a lot of fire and pulled out some neat stuff including a particularly neat-looking pinning combo on Ishii for a nice near fall. Yujiro could have been changed out for any number of wrestlers, but Homna looked good.
Japan Tag | Common | Build