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Hamilton’s The Lookup: September 2020 – Shingo Takagi vs. Minoru Suzuki, More

September 7, 2020 | Posted by Ian Hamilton
NJPW Summer Struggle Minoru Suzuki Shingo Takagi

Welcome back to the second month of The Lookup – a shorter take on the old “match of the month” columns. All pulled from my “big wrestling watching spreadsheet”… hence the pun.

Since we’re still not back to 100% in terms of indies running regularly not everything is going to come from the prior month, for the obvious reasons. There’ll largely be no spoilers in the blurbs either, so if you haven’t seen it, the result isn’t given away…

Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Kazuchika Okada, SHO & Toru Yano – New Japan Summer Struggle 8/9

“No spoiler” kinda goes out of the window, but what the hell. An all-CHAOS final could have had some issues, but fortunately Okada took matters into his own hands and leant into an arrogant sense of self that made his team easier to dislike. What that made for was an entertaining final that ended with a memorable moment for one of the more downtrodden members of the New Japan roster. ****½

Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi & Master Wato – New Japan Summer Struggle 8/8

A semi-final in the NEVER trios title tournament, this was really where the story of YOSHI-HASHI perhaps finally snapping his run of being the “nearly man” really came to the fore. To be honest, if you’re unable to bring yourself up to this level when you’re in the ring with names like Ishii, Ibushi and Tanahashi then perhaps there’s a bigger problem… ****¼

Calvin Tankman vs. Erick Stevens – Black Label Pro Erick Stevens Presents Professional Wrestling 8/22

In another style, we’ve got these two big lads knocking the you-know-what out of each other. Heck, this show had some matches that just missed the cut for this piece, including a Ben Carter/Anthony Henry match that I want to see endless rematches of… as for this match, well, this was a debut for Tankman in a main event that saw him damn near trying to kill Stevens – in the name of getting the BLP title. If you like hoss fights, this will be right up your alley! ****¼

Minoru Suzuki vs. Shingo Takagi – New Japan Summer Struggle in Jingu 8/29

Look, we knew what this was going to be. Two lads who love a scrap, who love to hit hard – and they brought it. I’d dare say that if this was a full Jingu Stadium with fans allowed to react, this would have gone a lot higher, but given the restrictions of the “covid era” this was about as good as it’ll get in front of fans. ****¼

Taiji Ishimori vs. Hiromu Takahashi – New Japan Summer Struggle in Jingu 8/29

Also from Jingu, a match that worked extremely well in context of the tour-long storyline that saw Ishimori consistently attack Hiromu’s shoulder. Hiromu is exceptionally hard to pull a bad match out of, and that was no exception here – leading to a result that could be even more intriguing depending on where New Japan goes with the G1 field later this month.****¼

Thomas Shire vs. Fred Yehi – St. Louis Anarchy Spirit of Spaulding 8/7

St Louis Anarchy haven’t had the best of luck since they announced a year-long round robin tournament – what with their follow-up shows having been cancelled and rolled-up as a result of ongoing covid restrictions. Still, at least the first show they did was wrapped up with an absolute banger of a main event between two names who really ought to be in more prominent spots on the independent scene. ****

Lee Moriarty vs. Josh Alexander – Black Label Pro Erick Stevens Presents Professional Wrestling 8/22

Perhaps the star show of SummerSlam weekend – at least from the indies – Lee Moriarty continued his rise on the indies, with an instant classic against a man that a lot of modern fans perhaps only saw as a tag team guy. ****

Blake Christian vs. Kylie Rae – Black Label Pro We’re Back 8/22

Another big match from SummerSlam weekend, and it’s the main event of Black Label Pro’s second show of the weekend. While the current situation has meant it’s hard for indie companies to really get going with storylines (since few companies are able to book sufficient shows to be able to chain new stories together), it has meant that the “supercard” style shows have had to deliver more than usual. In this case, a Christian/Rae main event may have been unassuming, especially if all you knew of Blake was “he’s a flippy guy” – but what we got instead was a match that told a story of how Blake was reluctant to engage, but eventually got involved. ****

Jamie Hayter vs. Gisele Shaw – Rev Pro Epic Encounters One 8/23

A controversial show to say the least, but headlined by a women’s title match that surprised a lot of people watching. Having won the Rev Pro women’s title shortly before the shutdown, Gisele Shaw was primed to lead the “new generation” in the promotion… and then… y’know. With plans having changed, the first main event back for Rev Pro ended up being Shaw against a suddenly-available Jamie Hayter, which was a whole new test for Shaw. What we got was a real scrap of a match, keenly-fought and one that eschewed the usual “ah, the challenger’s got little chance” mechanic that tends to surround “random”-feeling title matches. ****

Just Missed The Mark

If you’re looking to cherry pick stuff that just missed the proverbial notebook, then take a look at these…

Arik Royal vs. AJ Gray – Black Label Pro Erick Stevens Presents Professional Wrestling 8/22

Benjamin Carter vs. Anthony Henry – Black Label Pro Erick Stevens Presents Professional Wrestling 8/22

Kimber Lee vs. Joey Janela – Beyond Wrestling Wear Sunscreen 8/23

Kyle Fletcher & Ricky Knight Jr. vs. Will Ospreay & Michael Oku – Rev Pro Epic Encounters One 8/23

Other’s Recommendations

For my own sanity, there’s a lot of wrestling I watch but don’t pay too much attention to. Certainly not enough to have any conviction to slap some stars onto it… so here’s some stuff from people who have!

Elite vs. FTR & Dark Order from 8/5 Dynamite – AEW’s in the habit of starting off their shows strong, and this is no exception. A beefy tag team division means you’ve got plenty of talent for randomly-cobbled-together matches like this (Acero, ****)

Thatcher vs. Balor – NXT Takeover 30 (Stewart, ***¾)

Mysterios vs. Rollins/Murphy – Payback (Slimmer, ****)

Rollins vs. Dominik Misterio – SummerSlam (Stewart, ****; Pantoja, ***¾)

Sasha Banks vs. Asuka – SummerSlam (Stewart, ****½)

Blast from the Past

NXT UK’s reached the end of its run of airing archive matches, but one that really leapt off the page for me was Lord Steven Regal vs. Belfast Bruiser from WCW Uncensored 1996. ***½ seems low, but this was a hell of an undercard match with both men showcasing a style that you rarely see today.

Next month, the G1 Climax starts (albeit belatedly), and if things reach the standards they have in past years, October’s Lookup may well resemble the G1 Climax review column!

article topics :

NJPW, The Lookup, Ian Hamilton