I’ve reviewed a lot of tournaments this year and the bit that I always find the hardest is coming up with some shite to put up here. This is me solving that problem by moaning about having to write shite up here in lieu of coming up with something, you’re welcome.
Shota Umino (5-1) defeated Yota Tsuji (1-5)
Yota Tsuji both looks like and wrestles like a New Japan Dad. He’s not as good as them yet (although he’s slightly more mobile), but there’s something in his beefy stature and simple power moves that reminds me of the likes of Manabu Nakanishi. I hope his career goes onto last long enough for him to eventually grow into the role.
It was nice to see a couple of the cubs forego the usual grappling and get straight to business. In this case, that business was Shota and Yota running into each other and seeing who remained standing. This felt like a proper heavyweight battle as these two threw their power around in an attempt to get the win.
That built to a fantastic closing stretch as they beat on each other while showing some real fire. People are generally of the opinion that Tsuji is at the bottom of his class, but the big man looked good here even as he eventually fell to the Fisherman Suplex.
Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars
Karl Fredericks (5-1) defeated Michael Richards (1-5)
Fredericks marched down the ramp with a determined look on his face and got straight in Richards’ grill. That made it a bit of a shame when they then started grappling. If you’re going to set-up the idea that you’re pissed off, don’t go for takedowns, fucking wallop the cunt.
That’s inexperience, though, and hopefully the kind of thing these two can learn from. They better learn something from this match anyway because I took no fucking pleasure from it. Christ, it was dull. Michael Richards is turning into the anti-Tomohiro Ishii as he’s having everyone’s worst matches.
Still, it went like six minutes and wasn’t awful, just lacking in, well, anything. My highlight was that cool Dropkick Fredericks does where he twists in the air afterwards. It doesn’t make much sense (what does the twisting achieve?), but it looks awesome.
Verdict: Two And A Quarter Stars
I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out that this tournament is coming down to the winners of the matches on this show. The good thing? Either one would be a worthy champ, and I reckon that the combo of the two could produce something great.
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