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Puroresu Love: NJPW: Dissidence – 5/6/09

July 23, 2010 | Posted by Mike Campbell
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Puroresu Love: NJPW: Dissidence – 5/6/09  

May 6, 2009

Sometimes taking a break isn’t a good thing. The feud with NOAH gets put on hold, and the void is filled by the 207th match between the various incarnations of Tiger Mask and Black Tiger, as well as an appearance by Takao Omori, and Nakanishi challenging for the IWGP Title.

Koji Kanemoto . . . smacks around Kazuchika Okada like Okada is Koji’s little brother.
Tomohiro Ishii . . . makes his fellow CHAOS cohorts look like a bunch of choir boys by comparison.
Manabu Nakanishi . . . scores the biggest win of his unremarkable career and does so with very little real effort.

Although this is very short, four minutes and change, it’s rather fun to watch. The green boys try to make an impact by jumping the veterans at the bell and triple teaming Lyger. To his credit, Lyger puts over the beating nicely, but once his partners break things up, Lyger hits a single shotei on Okada to turn the match around. Koji has some fun with Okada as well, as only Kanemoto can do, nearly winning the match for his team with the ankle lock. The match breaks down and it looks like AKIRA is going to be in trouble and outnumbered, but Lyger and Koji intervene again, and it’s Yoshihashi who winds up on the wrong end of the handicap odds and is easily put away by the shotei from Lyger and Musasabi press. If nothing else, it’s fun to watch the young lions put up a fight instead of getting squashed like bugs.

Considering that these two teams had worked together quite a bit during this time frame, this comes off disappointing. It never feels like they’re trying to take the match somewhere or develop any real themes with their work. The only theme to the match is that Ishikari is the weak link, which is obvious before the bell even rings. There are some cute spots and fun moments from Milano, he shows that he can literally work for two by giving Devitt and Taguchi simultaneous dragon screws and then a dual crab hold. Ishikari comes in and does little pose while this is going on, showing what he’s able to add to the match. There’s a cool moment at the end, when Milano breaks up a double team attempt and allows Ishikari to get a near fall on Devitt, but once Taguchi eliminates Milano on the floor, Ishikari is quickly finished off by Devitt’s brainbuster. It’s not horrible that the match is built around a weak link. The Misawa/Akiyama tags in ‘96 played that game to perfection. But, those tags featured some of the best in the world, while matches like this come off as a mere nod to that story and have little else of substance.

Everything I’d read about this show had Honma listed as Makabe’s partner here, but he’s nowhere to be seen. Anderson and Jado double team Makabe for a bit, he ducks a double lariat and hits them both with one of his own. Makabe sends Anderson to the floor and quickly finishes off Jado with the King Kong knee drop. That’s the whole match.

Some people might complain about the finish, with Iizuka running in to cause Tenzan to lose, but it was the best thing about the match because it actually led to something, the Tenzan/Iizuka chain rematch. Tenzan and Nagata’s intensity is nice to see, but the CHAOS guys don’t really play along to make it mean much. Watching Machine try to work was reminiscent of watching Baba in the 1990’s. It looks like this starts to get interesting when the heels trap Machine in the corner and Yano yanks out the hammer and starts wailing on him, but it doesn’t lead to a CHAOS control segment, and Machine tags in Tenzan soon after. Tenzan winds up three-on-one against the heels, but the heels look Larry, Moe, and Curly, the way they blind charge and hit each other. Iizuka intervenes with the glove and Nakamura finishes Tenzan with the Landslide. I’m hoping that the heels purposely downplayed themselves for the Iizuka angle, because if this is an indication of heel Nakamura, I’d rather watch Chono.

TIGER MASK © vs. BLACK TIGER (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title)
At first this seemed like it’d be at least amusing, TM actually looked a bit fired up and BT was cheating all that he could. But then, TM and Takaiwa went back to being TM and Takaiwa, and any chance of something even watchable went down the drain. BT lariats the post and then TM kicks the post, and neither spot means anything a minute later. TM did try to tap out BT to a chickenwing, but he was about seven minutes too late with the spot, and it’s one of his usual spots anyway. Neither of them really cared to make the other look good, except for taking signature stuff (lariat, DVB, Tiger suplex, etc.) and laying on the mat like a sloth. TM is the worst, he takes a second rope DVB, a lariat, and then a regular DVB, and then counters the powerbomb like he’s totally refreshed and starts doing his own stuff until he finishes off BT with the Destroy suplex. I’m not sure if I should find it funny, sad, or relieving (I’m leading toward number three) that their rematch (and blowoff to their feud) went less than half the length of this.

Like the previous couple of matches, there’s some nice intensity early on, but it’s not very long lasting, and there’s not much to see beyond that. This is a bit better, thanks to Omori of all people, he takes an early opening and hurts Goto’s leg, and works it over for a bit. He even manages to throw in a nice spot where he blocks Goto’s vertical suplex, takes a shot at the knee, and then hits an Axe Bomber to the leg. Not that Omori is a genius, when Goto blocks an Axe Bomber, he decides it’s a good time to spike him with the Axe Guillotine driver, and it’s only purpose is to set up another attempt at a charging Axe Bomber. But Omori is a genius compared to Goto, his selling of the leg is so-so at best, not a good sign when it’s the only real theme to the match. He’ll limp and clutch it occasionally, but it never prevents him from doing anything, including charging lariats. The armbar submission finish isn’t a bad one in theory, but it’d have been nice if Goto had done something to build to it, he could have spent the time that he spent doing pointless lariats working the arm, or countered the first Axe Bomber into an armbar or something. Instead of something sensible like that, Goto counters the Axe Bomber to a rana and does a sloppy transition to an ugly armbar. When you’re being outworked by Omori, you’re in big trouble.

WATARU INOUE vs. TOMOHIRO ISHII (Falls Count Anywhere)
This is certainly an odd match to give twenty-five minutes to. It’d have been just as well to chop ten minutes off this and give it to the CHAOS trios match and let CHAOS do their thing for a bit. It’s mostly a brawl, which makes sense, but it’s not always one that’s done very well. The best thing here is Ishii being as big a dick as he can be, which was sorely lacking in the CHAOS trios match. He bloodies Wataru with a chair and works over the cut, he takes off the turnbuckle pad and then belts Wataru with it. He even puts him through a table, and then uses the remnants of it as a separate weapon. Inoue looks like the second wheel of a unicycle by comparison, all he really adds is playing along with the brawling, his best spot which is the diving foot stomp to the floor, and the finishing spot, the Oracion Flame onto a pile of chairs. His selling when Ishii is working him over isn’t anything special, and it never feels like he’s digging down deep to either keep on fighting, despite what Ishii does to him, or to find the vicious edge that Ishii has.

I wonder if Nakanishi really has a big fan following, or if the Korakuen fans simply wanted a title change? Either way this is certainly a watchable match, no matter how horrid the booking is. The Tanahashi that showed up here isn’t the same Tanahashi that had been champion for the previous four months, maybe it was laziness due to a challenger that hadn’t been considered a viable threat in years, or fatigue from the Goto match three days previous and the tag from the day before, or something else entirely. The way this Tanahashi gives Nakanishi easy openings, it’s no wonder he wound up losing.

It starts off with Tanahashi looking like he wants to outwrestle Nakanishi, it’s a sound enough plan, nobody will ever accuse Nakanishi is being a mat wizard, but the way Tanahashi does so, by trying to keep him on the mat and lay on him, puts him right into position for Nakanishi to use his considerable strength advantage to hurt him. Tanahashi switches gears and goes after Nakanishi’s knee, again, good idea in theory and it’s more successful for Tanahashi, but he doesn’t show the same fervor that he did when ripping Goto’s leg apart in their first title match or even the same urgency he did against Mutoh. Tanahashi’s Texas Cloverleaf winds up with Nakanishi almost doing a headstand, and his figure four opens him right up for a claw hold that breaks the submission. Tanahashi tries to wear down Nakanishi with Sling Blades, but charges right into an axe handle shot on more than one occasion and he tries to wear him down with the Dragon sleeper, but doesn’t put enough pressure on and Nakanishi counters to a bodyslam. The real Tanahashi does show up as the match winds down, but it’s too little too late, he drops a High Fly Flow on the knee, and tries against for the Cloverleaf, and he finally looks like he’s fired up, Nakanishi fends off the hold long enough and forces Tanahashi to lower his base, which allows Nakanishi to use the claw to break his grip. Nakanishi hits the Hercules Cutter, a release German (with a sick bump from Tanahashi) and a bridging German brings him the title.

It’s certainly nice to see them going out of their way to tell a story, but you’d think that with Nakanishi being on the verge of the biggest win of his career, that he’d put more effort into things. Nakanishi seems perfectly content just to take the openings, more or less following the directions on the proverbial ‘Kick Me’ sign. There were better ways to go, such as Morishima beating the tar out of the Tanahashi the day before and Nakanishi taking advantage of his weakened and injured state. But, it’s just as well that Tanahashi carried things, considering that Nakanishi seemed content to do the very least and nothing else. It may have been Nakanishi’s night, but it was Tanahashi’s match. ***

The 411: This is really forgettable stuff. Even the main event leaves a bad taste, not just the booking, but because of Nakanishi’s lack of performance. You can safely skip this card.
Final Score:  5.0   [ Not So Good ]  legend

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