(01/19) Taiji Ishimori (c) vs. Hajime Ohara

Hakata Star Lane (Fukuoka, Japan)
GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion

Ishimori – still entering to Gangnam Style – does a full-on dancing performance of the song complete with eight or so backup dancers. He might want to think about retiring that – that song (as great as it was) is passed his expiration date.

This was a perfectly fine junior title match. Ohara targets the lower back early on. The lower back is not the most common body part to work over so that was a nice change of pace. He throws a few drop kicks targeting the back from different parts of the ring, drives his forearm into the small of the back, and cranks hard on a half-Boston crab.

The match suffers a bit when Ishimori is on offense. He suffers from Tanahashi syndrome in that he has some strong qualities but his offense drags down his overall performace. You get a lot of goofy moves to the knees and other goofy looking things. In this match, he is dropping Ohara across his knees for near falls and it is just a little too goofy looking to buy. Ohara, however, gets a couple of decent near falls late the crowd buys to some degree.

Maybe it is just the sad state of junior wrestling in Japan, but NOAH probably has the strongest division. Ishimori is okay, Ohara has looked so far this year, Zach Sabre Jr. is sound, and then you have guys like Nakajima, Ricky Marvin, and others rounding it out. Ohara challenges Ishimori to a re-match afterwards which might not be a bad place for a title switch.

Juniors | Watchable | Quality

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