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September 21, 2011 / Bryan

Tetsuya Naito vs. KUSHIDA from NJPW 2011

Pre-Match Thoughts from Bryan Rose:

I enjoy both of these guys in today’s New Japan. I think Kushida, for example, is pretty damn great. He’s got everything, including the workrate and charisma, to make it higher than he is right now on the roster. Plus, Back to the Future is a pretty cool movie. Who doesn’t like the first or second movie (I’m too uninterested to watch the third for whatever reason)? Tetsuya Naito is pretty great as well. He had a rocky 2014, but 2015 looks to be a better year for him. And despite him not winning the IWGP championship, he still had a hell of a year in terms of match quality. So the question here is…how were they a few years ago? I wasn’t following New Japan back then, so it’ll be interesting to see how far they’ve come along in recent years.

The Match:

This is clearly some house show event because this arena is DARK. Like, 2015 TNA levels of dark. I’m guessing maybe 200-300 are here from the way they shot this. The start of the match was fine. They each cut each other off back and forth and did simple stuff that was executed well. Kushida got some pretty good near falls including a la magistral cradle. Naito trips him but misses the Stardust press. Kushida tries to counter but Naito takes him down, lays him out with a German then defeated him with a modified side slam. Haven’s seen him used that one before.

Final Thoughts:

This was alright, but it came off as just a showcase to see what they could do with one another, like as if they were wrestling a match in the dojo or something. Both guys looked fine, but if I had stroke in New Japan, I’d probably pick Kushida as the guy to go with here. Now, not saying Naito wasn’t good here, or that he’s not charismatic, because he is, but Kushida seems to have it more. He could be the next junior ace, which I hope is the plan somewhere down the line. Naito is fine where he’s at now on the roster, but they could do more with Kushida. But yeah, this match was fine, but nothing special.

Star Rating: **1/2


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