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June 11, 2018

New Japan Pro Wrestling Presents: Dominion 2018

Fuck, I needed a Glass of Brandy and a Cigar after this one.

There was buzz in all the corners of my wrestling world about this one. People preemptively calling it the best show of the year, many saying of all time, caught me off guard. Was it going to be really? Wrestle Kingdom was packed, not to mention the other great shows of the year's past.
But Fuck, was I wrong.
This was, as I texted to my brother at 7:30 in the morning, the best wrestling show I've ever seen. Top to bottom the show flowed great, and while not every match was a homerun, they didn't all have to be. Now, I'm going to be reporting every match finish cause that's just how I roll. But if you want to avoid the spoilers, there's a star rating sitting all alone at the end of each match report for a TL:DR recommendation. All the fluff outta the way, let's get started.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships [3nd Defense]
El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru (Suzuki-Gun) (c) vs SHO and YOH (CHAOS)
There was no breaks in this match, and it was definitely better the second time watching it. At 92 days, Desperado and Kanemaru are the longest reigning Jr. Tag Champs in the past 2 years. That's crazy but it's also telling to how the Jr. Tag Titles are a proverbial hot potato. I thought that Roppongi 3K had this easily, their potential as individuals is huge but right now they could be very comfortable at the top of the tag team pile. I would have slated Desperado to challenge for the Junior Heavyweight title down the road, and he still might as one half of the tag champs. Whoops, let the ending slip, didn't I? After several attempts to cheat, Kanemaru planted SHO with his bottle of Suntory, before Despy pinned him with some variety of clutch pin. A good opener, but not phenomenal like I know it could be.
***

March 20, 2018

Zero1 Presents: Dream Series, Sozo no Jin

Alright, its been a month and a half since I reviewed anything. So it's time to get back into the swing of things. I have 50 days worth of All, New, and NOAH to catch up on ( still trying to figure out how I'm presenting all of that), but I figured before I publish my thoughts on all of that, I could take a few days to review one of my new favorite follows, Zero1. If you go back to my first Zero1 review, I really enjoyed what I found, walking in practically blind. So was the follow up show just as good?
 Better?
Horrendous?
Let's find out.

Highlights of Yoshikazu Yokoyama vs. Shoki Kitamura
 Yokoyama has the worst hair ever. It's like some strange lovechild of a Pompadour and a Mullet. I mentioned in the review for the New Year's show that there was obviously some joke I was missing with Yokoyama, and I was so right. He's basically the parts of Ryuske Taguchi and Tichi that no one likes and cranks it to 12. He's cocky and loudmouthed but is beyond satirical in how much he can't back it up. You may think this sounds terrible, but it works so well here/ Kitamura took it to him, including the goddamndest spear you've ever seen in your life from a Young Boy, before Yokoyama hurriedly cut him off and tapped him a Camel Clutch. Shoki joins Kohei Sato and Tomoyuki Oka  as my favorite Young Boys right now.

Highlights of TARU, KAMIKAZE, Hartley Jackson & Chris Vice vs. Super Tiger, Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Shoji Fukushima & Towa Iwasaki
The entire segment was just to show off VooDoo Murder's shiny new toy, Vice. Opening slaughtering of a Young Boy lead to the ending minute of the match with a Package Piledriver from hell on Iwasaki. Iwasaki is currently not one of my favorite Young Boys right now.

February 12, 2018

An Update to the Emporium

So I've been pretty quiet for the last few weeks. Working 40 hours a week and juggling Grad School in with that has made my posting abilities stunted at best. The Falcon Arrow Emporium was always something I held tightly through the years as this madcap idea I'd finally cash in on. Finally, in this age where all kinds of wrestling is available at the click of a mouse, I launched this blog, like a proud father showing his child to the world. I've had two starting dates, a dry run for the Destruction 2017 shows, and what became something of a second dry run at the start of this year. I know how to market my passion now, and I got a lot of good feedback on what I can work with. That all being said, I wanna share with the people already reading my work what I plan to give you all in the future.


Monthly Japanese Reports
I figured out why I got so easily burned out from the All, New, and NOAH reports both times I tried to follow a schedule. While the main cards of Japanese cards are always worth the watch, the undercards were murder trying to review. And not every match needs a starred review, hell not every match needs a Starred review. So I hope to condense the reports I have down to a monthly format, focusing my review efforts on Title matches, and matches of extreme significance or unexpected quality. Hopefully that allows me to stay in the game much longer.

The "New Japan Alliance"
With the birth of the Honor Club either imminent or past by the time you read this, and with Rev Pro's streaming service available, there's all new backlogs of material to watch when I can. I hope I can use the Emporium to spread the good shows to people with subscriptions, or convince people on the fence into getting the subscription services.

Weekly Show Recaps
I'm gonna be honest, I'm jumping on the Impact bandwagon with this one. With new powers that be, there's a chance that Impact may turn around for the better, and I wanna be a guy that chronicles their success, or ultimate and final failure. Along with that, to tie into the Alliance idea, I want to watch Ring of Honor's TV as well, and maybe maybe watch CMLL Friday Nights. While I don't really understand Lucha, I can probably set myself to learn it, and from what I've seen so far it looks really fun to watch despite being a culture shock.

The Bookshelf
I have a shit ton of Wrestling autobiographies and historical revues. They're just sitting on my shelf begging to be read, and it'd be a great excuse to read them if I was reviewing them for the Emporium. I don't expect this one to happen anytime soon, or to be very popular, but I want to give it a go.

And that's it. Thanks for sticking around as long as you have for the return customers. For the new people, I hope you'll join me next time I post.

Oh, and Support Indy wrestling. Not just ROH, PWG, or the megashow type promotions. Support the VFW/High School promotions, the new guys looking to make something of themselves,  the people selling shirts and tchotchkes from their cars. Just support wrestling.

January 30, 2018

Pro Wrestling NOAH Presents: Navigation for The Future 2018

2017 could definitely be called a year of rebuilding for Misawa'a company. With Suzuki-Gun and the last of New Japan's influence gone, the fate of the company was in question more than ever as the year began. But, these men persisted, and all things considered it's looking much better than they were last year. Coming into 2018 we have a new Champion figurehead, a returning Young Boy, and one of the most solid midcards in Japan right now. Will the Navigation for The Future set a great pace for 2018 to come? Or will it set us up for a year of limping? Let's find out.


Junta Miyawaki vs. Yoshinari Ogawa
Junta, being a Young Lion who makes stupid decisions like this, jumped Ogawa hard before the bell. Streamers were still in the ring. He showed great courage, like Jack Burton of old, but was killed with a back suplex out of nowhere. I chortled.
*

January 25, 2018

All Japan Pro Wrestling Presents: New Year's War, 2018

I don't want to surprise anyone, but Grad School while working full time eats up any decent gaps for wrestling.


But I will persist, because people need to know about All Japan Pro Wrestling! (And NOAH, but we'll get to that). New Year's War is the usual 2 day event that sets the tone for the year in a whole. We had most of the company's titles on the line (Sorry, All Asia Tag) and some of the undercard shows a good amount of promise. We're losing watching time for NOAH before New Japan's New Beginnings, so let's get rolling


Night One

Atsushi Maruyama, Dick Togo and Masanobu Fuchi vs. Osamu Nishimura, Ultimo Dragon and Yohei Nakajima
Fuchi is so, ridiculously not good. I'm sorry if I'm missing something here, if he was much better when he was younger, or if I just have a lack of nostalgia, but I will never complain about Manabu Nakanishi again. Opening comedy about closed fists between Fuchi and Dragon, and thank Shinya that things picked up after Dick Togo and Yohei came in to bring life to the whole thing. Togo puts on the greatest crossface of all time, Yohei bent in angles that shouldn't be possible in a submission like this, and tapped out.
*1/2

January 18, 2018

Lions, Pillars, and Arks: NOAH New Year's Navigation 2015

Pro Wrestling NOAH, a company that has worn a mantle of both fame and infamy over the years. Those who don't know the history of NOAH, I'll give the most barebones of it. In 2000, practically the entire All Japan locker room left that company to form their own, naming it after the biblical story of Noah and the Ark escaping the flood. Through a series of deaths, retirements, and the Yakuza (No, I'm not kidding) we find NOAH in 2015 not in the best of sorts. It's around this time that New Japan stepped in to help, for what ends I have no definite reason. But what means? Well, one of the major means was to send Jado to help with the booking. We'll see another major means at the end of this show, but for now we'll just go down the card.

Hitoshi Kumano vs. Yoshinari Ogawa
Hitoshi, a future member of the Back Breakers tag team, and Day One NOAH member Ogawa managed to get a little more than the usual out of each other. Kumano here either is full Young Boy, or just coming out of it, so the offense he got was limited. There was some brilliance out of the young man, but Ogawa stiffly ended it with a high angled back suplex.
*3/4

Jonah Rock (TMDK) vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
I love Sabre's work normally, and besides being shorter here than recent bouts it was very good. Jonah is a larger man, and watching Zack try and work submissions around someone his size was a fun change of pace. Between the size difference and Zack hurting his leg early, the Technical Wizard had to avoid anything close to a power move and somehow manage to work in holds. As good as Zack is though, Jonah's size and strength were too much, and he put Zack down with A Blade Runner/Sister Abigail.
**

January 16, 2018

Lemme Tell You About: Zero-1 Happy New Year

I'm trying really hard to expand my tastes and viewing in Japanese Pro Wrestling. Beside the New Japan that was already on my plate, I started watching All Japan and Pro Wrestling NOAH last year. I was richly rewarded with refreshing match up and wrestlers, and I walked out of it with a handful of new favorites to follow as they go on to other promotions, and maybe even come to New Japan. But, it's time to make the same, pointed effort to watch other companies. I've taken it, regardless of advice and warnings, to take a look at ZERO1 and Wrestle-1 throughout the year. Will I be left hurting, as such things as hotshot booking and Bob Sapp claim? Or am I going to have my curiosity rewarded? Only one way to find out.

Highlights of Ganseki Tanaka & Tsugutaka Sato vs. Shoji Fukushima & Towa Iwasaki
The two young ZERO1 men, Shoji Fukushima in red and Towa Iwasaki in black, want me to know their name. They threw themselves at their Wrestle-1 opponents (who were given no entrance on TV), and it doesn't go as well as they would hope. Towa was laid out with "A Judo throw that could kill a Bull Elephant" as I wrote, and Shoji was caught in the Boston Crab. He tapped out but showed great spirit.