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Tanahashi & the Puro scene


Jimmy Redman
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It appears likely that Tanahashi will be going into the WON Hall of Fame this year. This is sure to cause other parts of the internet to blow up in excitement/rage, but we never really talk about non-US wrestling here. So peeps, who is peeping that New Japan? Or any current puro, or really even lucha or US indies or anything that isn't WWE or TNA or UK wrestling. Do we not talk about it because nobody watches that stuff, or are there secret puro fans still out there? Reveal yourself!
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I'm not a huge Tanahashi fan by any means but I do think he deserves to go into the HoF. I'll watch most of the big NJPW shows apart from Okada main events, I still can't stand that guy. I mean he's getting praised by an awful lot of people, even those who dislike modern puro for the most part, so I should give him another chance but all his matches are just so LONG. NOAH is pretty much an indy these days. AJPW is a pretty funny promotion to follow, and Akiyama is still top 1 in Japan. I mean this match is just beautiful:

 

[video=youtube;KRcHy97HDs4]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRcHy97HDs4

 

Only prefer Shibata/Ishii 1 and Nak/Sak to that match from all the pimped NJPW. Also if you want to watch a total mess of a match from two usually awesome workers, that second Ishii/Shibata match has to be seen, what a disgrace. Anyway I do watch stuff and keep up with news and I'll post in this very thread about it.

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Yeah, I'm interested to hear what people actually think of the product. New Japan, I mean, although other things as well. But I mean it's all the rage, and yet not something we ever talk about here. With the extremes of opinions floating around, I want to know what the relatively normal and centrist TWO Universe thinks.

 

I still need to watch the most recent Tanahashi/Okada that people lost their shit over, even by the standards of Tanahashi/Okada matches. Of the first five, Invasion Attack is the only one that I'd call a genuinely great match, where I felt they put it all together and really delivered the epic that they were supposedly delivering every time out. Their other matches are good, but contain glaringly annoying flaws for my taste (i.e. LOL @ selling anything), and aren't things that I'd put above any of a hundred other "good" puro main events. And yet there are other Tana matches I've seen - Suzuki, Ishii from the G1 - that I really liked and would rate much higher than those "five star matches".

 

Which is why I'm interested in hearing more about them, and Tanahashi in particular, because there's a huge disconnect for me between what I see in him/them, and the outrageous things I hear from Meltzer and NJ fans, where he's one of the greatest of all time, best main even run of all time, it's the best in-ring series of all time, all of this shit. I just, I don't even dislike Tanahashi particularly, but I'm just not buying what people are selling him as.

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Maybe its the style you not getting its different and would be harder to get if looked through an American tinted glasses?

 

I don't think this accounts for everything since I am comparing them to other puro main events of the same style in saying that they don't stand out from the pack.

 

Differences in styles is real, and it's fair to say I don't like the average puro main event as much as I like the average WWE main event, to put it that way. But I am still completely capable of enjoying a puro main event and recognising a superlative match when I see it regardless of what style it comes from. I see the greatness in Misawa/Kawada. I see it in Kobashi/Sasaki. I see it in Tanahashi/Suzuki even. But I just don't see it in most of the Tana/Okada matches, the way that others do.

 

It's not a style clash as much as I just don't like the matches as much as other people, for such and such reasons.

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Which is why I'm interested in hearing more about them, and Tanahashi in particular, because there's a huge disconnect for me between what I see in him/them, and the outrageous things I hear from Meltzer and NJ fans, where he's one of the greatest of all time, best main even run of all time, it's the best in-ring series of all time, all of this shit. I just, I don't even dislike Tanahashi particularly, but I'm just not buying what people are selling him as

 

Yeah I'd agree with all this. I mean, I would never say Okada is at the level of Davey Richards as a worker, ie the dregs of society, but I think there's a parallel with how he, and the Tanahashi matches, have been praised and the way Davey Intensity was hailed as the saviour a couple of years back. I mean you have the same people who loved Richards now saying he's ''gone too far'' when he's always sucked. I don't think Okada/Tana matches will suffer the same fate, just because they are headlining a sucessful promotion and the matches are never as offensive, but I've never seen such an amount of hyperbole over a series of matches (and I'm not being hypobolic there). Like you had people saying their Mania day match was the best ever right when it finished. The best match ever. Maybe it's down to wanting to be a part of something as it happens or whatever, but that's all for the sociological thread I'll start later.

 

I've seen three of the matches, the one the day of Mania (Okada ruined it), the Dome match (really average) and the G1 draw, which was fine.

Edited by Frank Botch
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I admit I really liked the Mania match. I thought it was the only one of theirs (until the latest one, more on that later) to actually reach the levels of a great match. I don't remember anything specific about it now other than they worked the arm, not the leg (which I prefer overwhelmingly), and I liked the final stretch. I feel like it needs a rewatch, which is quite an abhorrent prospect after watching six of their matches and all of them being 1000 hours long.
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It's more Okada's offense that I find offensive, that and the contrived finishing runs, I mean all the tap dancing when he's trying to hit the Rainmaker or trying to slap on his horrible submission. I know people really dig his character as well but he's Miz status to me in that way, like I find it so obvious he's just playacting at being the cocky douche. Douche(i?)ness needs to feel natural. I'll probably bite the bullet and watch their last match though, I don't like being SO out of the loop on wrestlers that are heavily liked.

 

Tanahashi, Kensuke Sasaki, Takashi Matsunaga go into the Observer HoF this year with Dr. Wagner Sr and Atlantis the Mexican contingent.

 

Next year's additions to the ballet

 

Akiyama

Minoru Suzuki

Taue

 

I'd have all these in without doubt, I'm more focused on how much I like them in ring though, I can understand not giving support to them on the basis of drawing, fame, changing the biz etc.

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They are all guys that you look at their names and half think "Why aren't they in already?" But then of course if you actually sit down and examine their candidacy, they probably fall down on concrete evidence of drawing and etc.

 

Work is a funny aspect to this, as all too clearly evidenced by Tanahashi being a "slam dunk" based on work alone after two years, apparently, when I look at him and think that is a completely laughable notion. But it's one that is so widely held and is already kind of smark Gospel, and will continue to be, and it's tough to be on the other side because it has now been validated and you look like an idiot/deliberate contrarian if you disagree. The perils of subjectivity, I guess.

 

With Tanahashi, I'm in the club that it's just way too early to assess his career.

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His drawing is an interesting part of the arguement, I haven't read the Observer yet and I am in no way knowledgeable enough to really lean one way or another, but I guess he's been quite a good draw in the current climate. But I think a guy like Taue or Akiyama gets punished a little for being the 4th and 5th biggest stars of a really strong promotion at a really strong time. I mean you can always just say Taue drew because of Kawada and because he was facing Kobashi but you could switch the arguments around a good many ways. Akiyama doesn't draw as much now as Tanahashi but you have to look at the state of AJPW right now, he still headlined a really sucessful Dome show... but hey that was all Kobashi. I also saw Dave call Tanahashi the greatest iPPV draw of all time a couple of weeks ago which seems to me to be reaching quite a lot. You can go around in circles with this stuff I suppose.

 

I haven't checked on the Observer board yet, or PWO for a few weeks, I'm sure there's lengthy posts to get through, better get to it.

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PWO has blown up on the subject the last few days, you have a million pages to get through there.

 

My WO sub ran out so I haven't seen anything from The Board, but I'm re-upping for the HOF issues so I'll catch up soon.

 

"Greatest iPPV draw" is technically true, but also kind of silly when the technology is barely a few years old and NJ have only just been able to make it a viable platform. It may prove to mean something in the future, but again it's just way too soon to make those kind of judgments.

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I like Tananhashi, but I too believe it's too early for him. Not that I'll be mad when he's inducted, I just think it's too soon. He for sure deserves it, but I say give it a few more years. He's still young enough to have some really great rivalries to cement his position. Whatever though, if they intend on putting him in that's fine.

 

I don't really know why but I love Okada's Rainmaker. I think it's because the fans and announcers always lose their shit when he hits it.

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"Greatest iPPV draw" is technically true, but also kind of silly when the technology is barely a few years old and NJ have only just been able to make it a viable platform.

 

Oh yeah this is excatly what I meant, I felt Dave was just throwing everything at him to make it stick, reaching in that sense (should've phrased that better) He's not really got much to compete with, broken Davey Richards matches and the like.

 

Tanahashi did what may have been a first in this year's balloting, in that every wrestler who voted either from Japan or who had worked significant time in Japan in the past decade voted for him.

 

This got Tana supporters pretty happy, someone wondered if they'd believe fellow workers if they praised HHH or Kane in the same fashion, Dave responded:

 

Bix. Such bad arguments.

 

Nearly every wrestler I know has said Kane is either okay, kind of good or the total shits. So that's a horrible analogy.

 

I think HHH is great, but privately, I can tell you people who publicly say he's an all-time great worker will privately say he was an average 80s main eventer as a worker. I only know one person who has told me he thinks HHH is all-time great, but most will say he's very good, and he is. I would stop short of saying HHH is an all-time great, but he's great.

 

Kane got not many votes among his peers. HHH got a decent amount, but nothing like 80 or 90%.

 

The comparison to Tanahashi wouldn't even be Angle because some of Angle's peers didn't vote for him either. I guess maybe Murdoch, but as a worker, a motivated Dick Murdoch was ridiculoulsly talented. Unfortunately, he wasn't always that way.

 

That's pretty much it for the discussion so far. Not sure if you were around but the Board is modded now, so there will probably be more civil discourse than there would've been.

 

And I just clicked through PWO, that's a lot of writing.

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