Tag Archives: KUSHIDA

KUSHIDA vs. Volador Jr. (CMLL – 07/08/2016)

KUSHIDA vs. Volador Jr.
July 8, 2016
*** ½

CMLL bringing in the foreigners for an extended period around the International Grand Prix has been a welcomed change of pace from the normal monotonous CMLL cards but I am not sure it resulted in significantly better matches & shows until this one. As mentioned in the second match trios review, normal upper card workers were pushed down the opening matches which made for a better all-around show. Then this match was easily the best of the foreigners versus CMLL guy matches, unless Elgin/Ultimo Guerrero miraculously causes me to rethink that opinion. I liked this better than the Grand Prix and thought it was an impressive resume building performance for KUSHIDA.

The way the match was worked felt like a bit of a compromise. Volador got in a lot of his big offense, but the pacing was more deliberate and the moves were more spread out than in your typical Volador Jr. singles match. Kushida mixed in some cool stuff of his own as to not be overshadowed by Volador in the neat offense department. Kushida catching Volador in a cross arm bar when Volador was attempting a spring board move was hit as smoothly as I have ever it done. I know stuff like that is a Kyle O’Reilly staple, but I think that’s the best I have ever seen that counter look. It was an appropriate capper for the first fall. This had more limb work than the usual Volador match as well, with Kushida locking in on Volador’s arm. Volador sold the arm rather well and sold it consistently, so it added a nice little thread throughout the match that Volador Jr. matches are sometimes lacking.

What impressed me the most is that the third fall went really long – almost 15 minutes – but I never thought it reached the point of near fall tedium. They did a nice job in allowing the action to continue to build and progress, rather than flat line into a row of consecutive near falls. The pre-match promise from Kushida was that if Volador Jr. won the match and retained his title, that he would give Volador a shot at the IWGP Jr. title. I am hoping against hope that wasn’t a typical grandstand challenge because based on this match and Volador’s work in the BOSJ, that’s a match I wouldn’t mind seeing on a New Japan card. Almost zero chance of this happening, but that would be a cool special attraction match for the G-1 finals at Sumo Hall. The Super J Cup will still be going on which means Kushida won’t have a new challenger yet (assuming he doesn’t lose in the first round). Volador has reason to be given a title match and just wrestled a New Japan tour in May/June, so it would seem like a good match choice assuming they want to highlight Kushida in some way at Sumo Hall.

KUSHIDA vs. Gedo (NJPW – 03/20/2016)

KUSHIDA vs. Gedo
March 20, 2016
New Japan Pro Wrestling
Amagasaki Baycom Gymnasium (Amagasaki, Japan)
** ¾

New Japan has done a fine job in varying up its house show lineups during the ongoing Invasion Attack tour. In addition to this unique pairing, this same show included a Ring of Honor TV title defense by Ishii as well as a NEVER Trios title match. The day before, Shibata defended his NEVER Open Weight championship against Satoshi Kojima on a normal house show. I had reached the point where I was skipping entire New Japan house shows on their digital service because there was not a lot of substance there. Not that I am canceling appointments to watch Ishii wrestle EVIL or anything now, but the effort has not gone unnoticed.

Anyway, this was one of those unique matches in the sense that they could have given KUSHIDA a couple of partners and ran a trios match with Gedo, Romero, and Beretta as a means of building towards KUSHIDA’s upcoming Junior title defense with new CHAOS member Will Ospreay. Instead we get this rare pairing that is filled with all kinds of on-paper possibilities. The match didn’t bowl me over like it had the potential to, however. I thought the first 80% of the match was rather pedestrian, save for Gedo amusingly swearing and trash talking in English. I saw this hyped as a great sub-10 minute match. When I think of good sub-10 minute matches, I think of matches that are wrestled with a sense of urgency and are wrestled differently than your typical 15-minuter. A lot of times short matches will have a sustained theme to compensate for the lack of time. Gedo and KUSHIDA largely wrestled a standard house show match. I was hoping for Gedo to work his Memphis tribute match or spend eight minutes on the mat with KUSHIDA, but instead it was more or less a standard throwaway Best of Super Juniors type match.

The last 90 seconds or so were very good I thought and elevated the match a little. They wrestled a frantic back and forth finish filled with pinning and submission reversals. Had they done more of that stuff elsewhere in the match, it might have made more of an impression on me.

Kenny Omega (c) vs. KUSHIDA (NJPW – 01/04/2016)

Kenny Omega (c) vs. KUSHIDA for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight championship
New Japan Pro Wrestling
January 4, 2016
Tokyo Dome
** 1/4