IGF NEW Opening Series Day One on April 5, 2017
Korakuen Hall – Tokyo, Japan
Precursor: When reviewing I try to give the overall story, feel, and important moments of a match. I try not to veer off into move descriptions. This keeps it fairly short and sweet. I always put the result of the match in italics as well if the champion(s) defended or if there’s a new champion. I don’t use star ratings or any scale because the system doesn’t work for me. I spew out what I think of the match and articulate my thoughts that way. (Evil laugh…) — you’re forced to read my writing and not glance at the stars! Got it? Enjoy.
Matches are categorized under four sub-categories: don’t watch it; you may enjoy it; highly recommended; you need to see it. These are guidelines to help you pick out matches if you’re not watching the full show. These are used more in an “if you were to watch the card” sense rather than standalone grades.
*Proceeds to ask RealHero Jahmale if everything is worked/actually pro-wrestling on the show*
*We will never be sure but that’s part of the charm*
*But everything is under GENOME rules and we are fired up to review ‘New Exciting Wrestling’!
Shinya Aoki vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwarayou may enjoy it
It’s only fitting that the first ever NEW match goes to a time limit draw. I love Fujiwara more than a lot of people. I have irrational love — one that causes me to enjoy anything he’s ever done. There’s always been a unique flavor that only black tights, wrinkled face, arm bar attempts, Flight of the Valkyries could provide for just me and me only. None the less, the gawd faced Aoki who isn’t on the level of a charisma vacuum but isn’t too enjoyable for my tastes. He’s a part of the ‘EVOLVE fight camp’, fittingly with the same font as EVOLVE’s all over his gear. Don’t ask questions though. This went 15 minutes in the opener and was an enjoyable Fujiwara match for 2017. They tussled, with Fujiwara hitting multiple headbutts and not quite being able to lock in the armbar. Aoki was bland but served as a fun foil to roll around the mat. This was a baseline good way to kick off the promotion, and something to help kick things into gear. As Aoki had Fujiwara in a choke, the match was ruled a time limit draw.
Chang Jian Feng vs. Katsumi Oribeyou may enjoy it
You’d never guess it, being that I reside in Vancouver, BC, Canada — but I’ve seen Katsumi Oribe 10 minutes away from my house. He reminds me of Tajiri in a lot of ways, he’s a very good wrestler! This was no exception on the resume as Jian Feng (trained by KENSO) got to show off some stronk offense. We got forearms. We got some fired up escalation. This was a fun few minute match that swept me off my feet. I wish they got more time to build to more chaos, but a good short match. Oribe rules folks. Oribe won after a Boston Crab.
Alexander Otsuka vs. Lin Dong Xuanyou may enjoy it
This match was all about Otsuka fucking Xuan’s life up. It was an extended young lion type of squash and I am ALL ABOUT IT folks. This was a ton of fun. Otsuka suplexed Xuan, chucked him around like a ragdoll, among other violence happening’s. These two KENSO trained guys are very good, a lot better than expected. They seem to have a lot of the basics down and could work in other promotions without much worry. The best part of the match was the consecutive slaps from Otsuka. Destroying any doubt of an upset win. Otsuka won after a brainbuster.
Masakatsu Funaki vs. Mitsuyoshi Nakaidon't watch it
Nakai’s nickname is ‘Superman Punch’. Unfortunately for Nakai, it was a match full of punishment, and not much else. Funaki was a hoot to watch on offense for the few minutes the match lasted. We got some ground game spotlight on Nakai, but he didn’t win anything on the ground either — though he sold his arm extremely well. Funaki slowly induced more violence working his way toward an easy finish. Funaki won after a Hybrid Blaster piledriver. The match wasn’t much but another extended squash. Enjoyable though.
Minoru Tanaka vs. Minowamanhighly recommended
Minowaman is also known as Tiger Mask #5, for any of you RJPW addicts (don’t take me seriously). This was the first great match in NEW history! Also the best Tanaka performance in some time, and best performance in 2017 so far. He made this match what it was, though Minowaman as the match progressed brought out a vicious side that would make Vince McMahon smirk because of the ruthless aggression on display. The match was obviously going to be mat-based, but beyond the excellent limb work on hand, we had awesome roll-up kick outs, and a great sequence where Tanaka hit two suplexes but Minowaman stayed in. This didn’t feel boringly long for a 20 minute draw. It was paced well and stayed tried and true to the IGF style while throwing in personality, limbwork, selling, and gripping kick outs to the pot to create a fun recipe for a great match. The match went to a time limit draw as both had each other in a hold. The crowd was there with them. So was I.
Josh Barnett vs. Shinichi Suzukawahighly recommended
Suzukawa doesn’t have the best reputation. He’s even been knocked out by Jerome Le Banner in mid-match for trying to turn it into a complete shoot. These two had a match in IGF a few years back, where Shin’ichi started playing dirty with Josh then was choked out. This was a very good main event — I think the co-main was a hair bit better. None the less, the two didn’t take their time to begin throwing bombs. The match started off hot and kept veering off into Suzukawa control segments that you couldn’t take your eyes off of because something was always happening. Whether it was the rare time Josh came back with offense, or Suzukawa changing positions and increasing the damage, everything in the match was at the very least engaging. Barnett is a treasure trove to watch whether it be wrestling or MMA. The story of the match was Suzukawa was in control for nearly all of it only to end up losing to a few moves at the end. The right man won! Barnett won after a backdrop suplex. Suzukawa pounded the mat in anger post-match.
IGF NEW OPENING SERIES DAY ONE ON APRIL 5, 2017
Strong Effort - 7/10
IGF's offshoot New Exciting Wrestling kicked off their history with a strong effort on a card that was anchored by two borderline great matches. Everything was a breeze to watch. The KENSO trained Chinese recruits killed it, I got to see Oribe and Fujiwara among others, and this made me want to scope out every NEW show from now on. An enjoyable show you should check out if you're a puro fan and/or shoot style fan.