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Strong Style: G1 26 is here!

Mar 11 // Soul Tsukino
Have a look at who made the cut this year: [embed]35623:6147:0[/embed] We start things off with two hours of action from the first night of the tournament and Block A's action from July 16, 2016, along with the Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center. So with that, let's get to the action! We are greeted for the first show by Tenzan! Block A: Sanada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi Sanada is Los Ingobernables's killer. He was a dojo trainee at one time who left and trained under The Great Muta instead. He's made a big impact for the group but has an uphill battle here against Tanahashi who has won this tournament in 2007 and 2015. Being the "Ace" of New Japan Tanahashi is probably the man to beat in this tournament. I'm surprised they went with this one first. Cold Skull enters first, by himself. It's uncharacteristic of LIJ but one of the things about the G1 is that New Japan tends to keep these tournament matches to one on one so I'm not surprised here. JR explains the rules real quick during the entrance. Tanahashi is out next with his usual cheers. JR mentions Hiroshi's been out with a left shoulder injury and even missed last month's show because of it. The bell rings to start the match and Barnett mentions that both guys had trained under the Great Muta to some degree. Wonder how that will play out? Despite the injured shoulder, Tanahashi doesn't have it wrapped or bandaged at all. Tanahashi gets a waistlock, Sanada reverses into a headlock. Then he reverses into a full nelson into a hammerlock, and he reverses again-- no slouches here. Sanada goes for the dragon sleeper early and Tanahashi counters out real quick into a drop toe hold. Tanahashi uses a headlock. Shoot off gets nowhere for Sanada as Hiroshi hangs on. Shoot off again but Tanahashi gets the headlock right back on again. Another shoot off the ropes and Tanahashi wins a shoulder tackle. Sanada tries the hiptoss but Tanahashi gets it instead, and Tanahashi goes right back to the headlock on the mat. There's a turnover into a cover try by Sanada but Tanahashi counters. Into the corner, Sanada gets a kick. He whips Tanahashi into the opposite corner but when Sanada charges Hiroshi leaps over the top rope to the apron. When he tries to get back in Sanada gives him a straight kick right to the face! Tanahashi goes outside and Sanada tries to whip into the barrier but Tanahashi reverses. Tanahashi makes the charge but Sanada gives him a drop toe hold right into the barrier and Sanada goes right for the bad arm as he wraps it around the barrier and yanks on it. Back from a break, as Sanada rolls into the ring. Tanahashi gets in at 18 as Sanada gets in some shots on the arm as he kicks and stomps on it. Armbar as Tanahashi gets to his feet and gets some shots in. Tanahashi shoots off the ropes and Sanada wows the fans with two HIGH leapfrogs before delivering a high dropkick. Very nice! With Tanahashi down Sanada locks in a short arm scissors with his legs, but Hiroshi gets to the ropes. Sanada breaks the hold but lays in some kicks on the bad arm. Tanahashi tries to get up but an elbow to the bad shoulder puts him back down. Sanada lays in more strikes as Tanahashi gets up. Sanada whips him into the ropes but Tanahashi comes back with a flying forearm. He drives Sanada down with a slam and goes up to the second rope before landing the senton. A cover only gets a two count. Tanahashi tries the whip but it's reversed. He tries a low dropkick and misses, Sanada tries a standing moonsault but misses. Tanahashi gets in the dragon screw legwhip and then lands the low dropkick to send Sanada outside. He climbs up and delivers the high fly flow on the outside! Don't know who got the worst of that one. Tanahashi rolls right back in the ring and the count is on. Sanada gets on the apron and Tanahashi grabs the leg and gets the dragon screw again! He hits a dropkick to the leg and then another leg whip! Tanahashi goes right into the Texas cloverleaf and locks it in! He leans back hard on it but Sanada nearly gets to the rope but Tanahashi pulls him out. Sanada looks about to tap but he jerks forward and gets to the rope! Tanahashi whips Sanada into the corner but he counters into a springboard dropkick! Back from commercial, and both guys are down. They slowly get up and Sanada lands some forearms but Tanahashi kicks the leg. Sanada strikes the arm again but they go back and forth with forearm shots. They then switch to uppercuts. Hard thrown ones too. Sanada scoops him up and gets a cutter out of nowhere for a two count. He goes for the dragon sleeper but Tanahashi counters the move but Sanada counters that back into the sleeper and locks it in! Tanahashi nearly passes out and scrambles for the rope. He makes it and breaks the hold! Sanada goes up and nearly gets a moonsault but Tanahashi brings his knees up, but Sanada lands on his feet! He tries for a clothesline but Hiroshi ducks it. Tanahashi tries for one and Sanada ducks it. Tanahashi lands a slingblade and then another but only gets a two count. Tanahashi goes for a German suplex and he gets the bridge for two! He goes to the top rope and goes for the high fly flow but Sanada catches him into another cutter! Cover gets only two. Sanada slams him down and lands the snapping moonsault but it only gets a two count. Sanada lands another moonsault and locks in the dragon sleeper again! Tanahashi is screaming and Taps out! Sanada gets two points! What an upset! Backstage Tanahashi is on the floor. He's come back before and says it's all right. He hasn't lost sight of his goals. Sanada says this is just a checkpoint He won against the face of pro wrestling but there is more to go. Studio words from Tenzan. Good pick of host here has he is the more interesting story. He was surprised he identically wasn't in the tournament He tried to appeal to NJPW with all he's done in G1's past but no dice. He was happy his buddy Kojima gave up his spot, but with him initially being left out and him getting on in years, this might be his last go at it. He saw the comments people had online about why he was in and Kojima out so now he has to refute those fans who undercut him. Block A: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan Well, this will be a fight. Ishii is CHAOS's big bruiser. But in these tournaments, he sometimes ends up losing to some guys who are underneath him. Tenzan, on the other hand, is a three-time winner if the G1 (2003, 2004, 2006) but is a last minute replacement after his partner Satoshi Kojima stepped aside (and a hellish public workout) so that his friend could go on into the tournament. He's no spring chicken but he will give you a fight. No beauty contest here! Ishii comes out first as JR mentions Tenzan has been in more G1 tournaments than anyone this year and first appeared in the G1 10 years ago. Barnett mentions that Ishii is a tough draw because if you win or not, he's going to hurt you. Truth to that. Tenzan comes out with Kojima in his corner but I don't expect him to interfere. JR mentions Tenzan's 45 years old. He may be older, but he can still whoop your ass. Back from break, and the bell rings. Both look ready to go as they go right into the lock up. Push into the ropes as they reverse on the other as Ishii gets the chop. They just hit each other a few times as Tenzan gets the advantage with Ishii going down. They start whaling away at each other as Tenzan does his Mongolian chops and Ishii hits forearm shots, but Ishii goes down. A few kicks to the heads as Ishii is into the corner. Big forearm by Tenzan. Whip into the opposing corner but Ishii runs right over him with a shoulder block. he chops right to the throat and a few to the chest and another one right in the throat. Man, Ishii is not messing around tonight. Ishii goes for a suplex but Tenzan tries the block it. Ishii gets it anyway and goes for the cover but only gets one. Ishii kicks him softly a few times to get his attention while yelling at him to get up and fight some more. Tenzan is up and here we go again with the chops back and forth before Tenzan gets a rolling kick! Ishii gets up and more chops for him. Back and front with Mongolian chops. JR jokes that Mongolian chops sound like something he'd have with BBQ sauce. Lariat that knocks Ishii back in the corner. Marty the ref tries to get them out of the corner and Tenzan yells at him before he shoves the ref back. He gets Ishii back down and gets a two count. Headbutt and more chops by Tenzan but Ishii gets in a powerslam. Tenzan pops right back up and delivers a mountain bomb but Ishii is back up. He gets Tenzan in the corner and smacks him around. Big clothesline with more chops and elbows. Jesus these guys are gonna hurt in the morning. Ishii gets the post to post clothesline and tries for the cover but only gets two. Back from break, and Ishii is in control. He lifts Tenzan on the buckle and goes for the big brainbuster. Tenzan's fighting for it and Ishii gets in some elbows before Tenzan gets him down, and he jumps off with his knee to Ishii's head! Cripes! He goes up and lands the diving headbutt to the shoulder and gets a two! Tenzan locks in the anaconda vice! Ishii gets up but Tenzan hits the anaconda buster but Tenzan only gets a two count! The crowd is roaring for Tenzan now. Tenzan goes up the ropes but Ishii catches him and gets a running powerbomb! Both guys are down as the crowd really cheers for Tenzan. They both get up and are trading chops and elbows. Ishii lands a strong headbutt and then run him over with a clothesline-- close two-count. Ishii gets up and hits the running low lariat into a cover but Tenzan kicks out! Ishii goes for the brainbuster but Tenzan escapes. He chops now, and they are exchanging headbutts! You can hear the brain cells dying in this ring during this exchange. Ishii then launches up and gets a swinging kick that connects right to 'Tenzan's forehead! THAT is impressive. Tenzan counters with a strike and sends Ishii down. Tenzan scoops him up and gets a tombstone! Only gets a two count! Tenzan hits the lariat Tenzan hits the scoop slam and he's going up. The big guy lands the moonsault! Cover and Tenzan gets the win and earns himself two points! WOW, that was good! The crowd is cheering for him, and he thanks Kojima at the ringside. Backstage, he says he got his first win of the tournament, and he thanks Kojima. Studio words from Tenzan and he surprises me with how soft spoken he really is. He had imagined a lot of outcomes for him in this match and was happy that people cheered for him. The cheers gave him power. Having Kojima give up his spot so he could enter made him feel like he now represented both of them in the ring. He mentions the summer was a happy time for him and says that team TenCozy will make a run for the World Tag League tournament later in the year. Onto hour two as we are greeted by Marufuji. We are still at Night One of the tournament. Block A: Bad Luck Fale vs. Hirooki Goto *Deep breath* Welp, in life a little rain must Fale. Fale is representing the Bullet Club. He plays mostly a spoiler in these tournaments and is the only time of year anyone really cares about him. Goto, who won this tournament in 2008, representing CHAOS and is determined to win the big one. Fale makes his entrance first and looks about as thrilled as I am for a Fale match. He attacks the ring announcer for some reason as JR mentions his podcast again for the third time in an hour. Goto comes out in CHAOS colors. They mention Goto winning the tournament years ago but hasn't won it since. He's also been in a bit of a slump as well. Bell rings and nothing happens. Size mismatch for this one. Goto goes right for strikes on the big guy but tries for a running shoulderblock. That doesn't work as everyone in the world would expect. Goto pops right back up and goes for the lock up. Fale turns it around and gets a waistlock and a takedown. Goto slips into a reversal and gets a hammerlock and cranks on it. Fale gets to the ropes but Goto goes right back to the arm and gets him down again as Goto locks in an armbar. Again, Fale gets to the ropes. Goto keeps the lock on and hammers the arm a few times. Goto tries for the whip but Fale reverses it into the corner. Goto stumbles out and Fale then just runs him over with a big clothesline and sends him outside. We return from commercial, and Goto is on the outside. Fale tosses him into the barrier.  Again to the barrier hard. A Jim Cornette mention from Barnett as he and JR joke about the metal barrier getting its own t-shirt and gimmick. Fale rolls into the ring as Goto barely gets in at 18. Fale just steps on top of him on the back and then again on his chest. Fale chases the ref onto the apron for nagging him. Big slam from Fale and tries a one-foot cover that gets two. He grabs Goto by the hair but Goto counters with some shots, but a knee to the gut ends that. Goto whipped into the corner and Fale tries for the splash but misses and Goto hits a few clotheslines to get Fale down. Goto gets the rolling heel kick into the corner and then goes up for a top rope elbow. He tries for the cover but only gets two. Goto tries for a fireman's carry but Fale just conks him on the head and down goes Goto. Fale lands the splash and nearly gets a pin. Fale picks Goto up and lands the grenade! Cover only gets two. Fale gets Goto up for the outside edge but Goto squirts out. Fale tries a clothesline but it misses and Goto lands a headbutt. He gets the kick right to the heart. Goto gets the big guy up momentarily but he can't get anything out of it and switches to the sleeper instead! He gets the big guy down. Goto gets him into a dragon sleeper position and drops him with the GTR for the win for two points! Backstage Goto says it doesn't matter who it is or how big they are, he has to beat them all. We come back to studio words from Marufuji. After being on the outside for four years, he felt fans had changed since he last was in a G1. This made him look forward to the audience reaction to him. We see footage from the press conference where Okada says it's just Marufuji so he will have some fun. Marufuji counters that he is no pushover. Since Okada won the belt, he felt the fans had high expectations for him. Okada is one of the best in the world, no matter the organization. He feels Okada is younger but had a lot that he was jealous of. Interesting comment. Block A: Naomichi Marufuji vs. Kazuchika Okada DREAM MATCH! For those that don't know, Marafuji is the top dog for Pro Wrestling NOAH and I believe the GHC champion at this point. Okada just regained the IWGP title from Naito as we saw last week. While it makes this match all the more awesome, it seems kind of silly that the sitting IWGP champion is competing for a title shot against himself. Ah well. Okada would have the historical edge here, having won the tournament in 2012 and 2014, but let's see what Marufuji can do. My suspicions are confirmed as Marufuji comes out with the Global Honor Crown title belt. What is noticeable is that JR and Josh refuse to even mention it. I've heard that the relationship between New Japan and NOAH had soured since this match took place, so I wonder if they were told not to mention it. Probably a case more of JR not knowing what the belt meant. Marufuji's outfit reminds me of Ernest Miller's get up during his brief run with the WWE a decade ago. Rainmaker Okada comes out in his usual pomp with Gedo in tow, but again, I don't expect him to interfere in this match. We are back from a break and the bell rings. There is a big stare off to start. JR mentions that with Marufuji we need to watch out for his bicycle knees, his slice bread from the corner, and something called an emerald flosion. They go for a tentative Greco-roman lock up a few times but then just lock up. Okada goes behind but Marufuji counters. Okada gets the arm but Marufuji rolls out into a reversal. Okada counters back but Marufuji gets the headlock. Okada gets shot off and hits Marufuji with a shoulder strike. Okada gets a waistlock and immediately goes for the rainmaker clothesline but Marufuji ducks it. Marufuji tries for his bicycle knees but Okada avoids that. They give each other a look as the crowd cheers. They go back to a basic lock up into the ropes and Okada just gives him a pat on the chest but then lay right into him with a couple of strikes. He lands a snapmare and gets in the sliding dropkick. Marufuji gets up but right into a neckbreaker and a two count. Chinlock by Okada. Marufuji gets to the ropes for the break. Elbow to the neck by Okada and into the buckle. Marufuji gets the reverse on the whip. He comes in but Okada scoops him up on the buckle for the high dropkick, but Marufuji grabs the arm and snaps it over the top rope! Okada yells in pain and rolls right to the outside. Marufuji is like a shark that senses blood and goes right after the arm. He wraps it around the barricade a few times and then takes Okada's hand and sandwiches it inside the metal gate and squeezes on it with his foot. Hey, this guy isn't an angel. Marufuji rolls into the ring as the count gets going and Okada makes it to the apron. Marufuji strikes him a few times and drags Okada in the ring. He locks in an armbar but Okada gets his feet on the ropes for a break. Back from the break as Marufuji gets an elbow to the face! Marufuji replays him with a strike. Marufuji lands another chop to the chest and Okada goes down in the corner. Okada is really hurt. Marufuji wrenches the arm on the rope and lands a few elbows. Okada stands up but Marufuji gets the jumping elbow in the corner. Marufuji goes for something else but Okada gets the backdrop. Okada with a few clotheslines and gets a back elbow. Lands another into the corner and then a DDT on Fuji. Cover gets two. Okada slams him and goes up or the Randy savage elbow. Marufuji is right up and makes the charge but Okada just jumps over the top of him. He turns right into a massive clothesline that shotguns Okada right out of the ring. Marufuji leaps over the rope and lands right on the hurt arm. He snaps the arm on the apron and gives him a straight jacket around the ringpost. Marufuji tosses Okada back in the ring and locks in a wristlock before he just stomps on the arm. Marufuji lands another kick to the arm before locks in the Fujiwara armbar. Okada crawls and gets a foot on the ropes. Marafuji lands an uppercut to the elbow. Marufuji uses some chops and tries a whip in but Okada reverses and gets the flapjack. He gets an elbow to the face by Okada. Then Marufuji uses a chop. They get in each other's face as Marufuji is chopping the hell out of Okada's chest-- elbow to the gut and another chop. Marufuji hits a dropkick and Okada tumbles to the floor. Marufuji launches over the ropes and to the floor again! Back from the break, as we are getting down to the wire. Marufuji goes to whip him into the barrier but Okada reverses it. However, Okada turns around and doesn't see Marufuji blocked himself from hitting the barricade and snuck back onto the apron. Okada gets back in the ring and doesn't see Marufuji come in with a huge slingshot launch into a dropkick! Marufuji covers but only gets a two. Marufuji gets a neckbreaker in but Okada counters. He goes up for the elbow but he uses the bad elbow. He is in pain. Okada gets him up and tries for the rainmaker but Marufuji hits a superkick! He hits another one and then goes for Sliced bread in the corner but Okada counters it. Marufuji is stuck backward on the top turnbuckle as Okada hits the high dropkick. He gets Marufuji down from the ropes and goes for the tombstone but Marufuji counters with a superkick. Marufuji goes for something but Okada lands the dropkick and flattens Fuji. Marufuji lands the bicycle knee and flattens Okada! He hooks him up and lands the Emerald Flosion and gets the pin! WOW! That is unexpected! Talk about a dominant performance. Okada has to be carried out as he was pretty much whipped like a dog in this one. Marufuji talks to the crowd now and says it's been a while since he's seen them at a G1. He thinks Okada is a wonderful wrestler He is the one to conquer this summer. Backstage Okada is disappointed. He will get him back for this. Marufuji says the reason he won was that he kept it his own style. It was a wonderful atmosphere. It's only the first match though so there is a lot more to do. Studio words as he says Okada was a better wrestler than he imagined but he wasn't able to give 100 percent after the arm injury. He sent a message to all the other wrestlers in New Japan that he won't be forgotten. He thanks the fans for cheering him on and taking the pressure off him. The first hit is the most important. He will spread his name all over Japan. Not a bad showing. In the first hour Sanada showed his inexperience a bit I think but him getting the big win over Tanahashi was something. I thought the Tenzan and Ishii match was great! The perfect story and opponent for Tenzan here, In the second hour the Goto match with Fale is about as I expected. I don't think anyone thinks Fale will even contend for this title. The Okada/Marufuji match was the real surprise of the night. I figured it would move much faster but not only was it a slower pace but Okada just got his ass whipped in this match. Even Barnett commented that Marufuji was never n any real trouble. Good shows tonight. In a match from night one we didn't see, Togi Makabe won over Tama tonga so that means that after night one Makabe, Sanada, Tenzan, Goto, and Marufuji all have two points while Tanahashi, Ishii, Fale, Okada, and Tonga all are zip. But we have a lot more action to go. And before I take off for this week I'd like to give an update to the news last week with Tamaoki Honma getting injured after a hangman DDT from Jado. Since then we have been given an update saying that Honma suffered an injury of some sort between his C4 and C5 vertebrae in his neck. He has since recovered movement in his arms and legs and his breathing has been stabilized. He isn't being moved quite yet but it will take quite some time for him to fully heal. Best of luck to you big guy and let's make the kokeshi happy again! See you all with two more hours of action next week!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
The best of the best starts here
Hello everyone and welcome to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we start off the ultra important G1 Climax Tournament 26. We will see the best of the best in NJPW face off and...

Otakon '17 photo
Otakon '17

T.M. Revolution to ignite Otakon '17: Anisong World Matsuri


Otakon is about to get electrified
Mar 11
// Salvador G Rodiles
I turn around for one moment and the Anisong World Matsuri event at Otakon '17 has added another singer to their roster, as T.M. Revolution gets ready to ignite everyone's souls this August. From the looks of it, this special...
Berserk photo
Berserk

The Real Black Swordsman returns this spring in this new Berserk teaser trailer


Not like that fake one
Mar 10
// Red Veron
I've heard mixed opinions of the latest animated adaptation of the Berserk manga, with many comparing that the suffering of fans' while watching this adaptation is comparable to (or even more than) the suffering of the B...
WTF Fridays photo
WTF Fridays
Ghost in the Shell photo
Ghost in the Shell

Take a brief tour of Ghost in the Shell history


Not the kind that would scare Scooby
Mar 08
// Red Veron
The live-action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell is almost ready to break through that window to shoot some murderous robo Geishas, but not many know about that this franchise has been around for a long time all starting...
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure photo
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure

Holy heck! Is that a motherfather JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Live-action film teaser???


[Insert classic rock band name here]
Mar 07
// Red Veron
Many were surprised when news of a JoJo's Bizarre Adventure live action adaptation was in the works and even more where caught off guard learning that it would focus the fourth part of the long-running JoJo manga sa...
Macross Frontier photo
Macross Frontier

Macross Frontier's Sheryl Nome returns to celebrate Macross Anniversary


Galactic Fairy Returns
Mar 06
// Red Veron
Screens in Shinjuku and Akihbara just teased a return by Sheryl Nome from Macross Frontier. In a video captured by Twitter user @giantrobo, a "New song" and a "New movie" are teased on March 12 at 14:30 "on screen". Now, thes...
Gundam photo
Gundam

Unicorn Gundam to replace Gundam statue at Odaiba


Hello Unicorn, Goodbye Gundam
Mar 06
// Red Veron
If you never got the chance to have your picture taken with the life size Gundam in Odaiba, well I regretfully must inform you that last Sunday was the final day to view the Mobile Suit from the titular Mobile Suit Gundam. Th...

Weekend Japanatainment - Anime Games Edition

Mar 05 // Red Veron
[Possible mature language for the videos below] [embed]35595:6140:0[/embed] GameSack - Anime and Manga Games A few retro anime and manga based games from the too dudes from GameSack. They aren't fans of anime or manga so it's interesting to hear their take on old games based those mediums.   [embed]35595:6139:0[/embed] Akiba's Strip - Super Best Friends Play If you've not heard of the cool guys from Super Best Friends, then you're missing out because they like anime and video games. They play video games and have some funny commentary and the video above has the crew playing a very Japanese video game about stripping the clothes of vampire-like creatures terrorizing Akihabara.   [embed]35595:6138:0[/embed] Bad Anime Games - Eruption Austin Eruption loves anime and video games, and he made this video about bad video games based on anime. (Direct all your hate mail to him and him alone)   [embed]35595:6141:0[/embed] Berserk and the Band of the Hawk - Super Best Friends Play Another video from the Super Best Friends as they play a game based on the original and one true "Black Swordsman".   [embed]35595:6137:0[/embed] Sword Art Online Games Suck - Eruption Direct all your hate mail to Austin. Not me. Yes, I also thought the first few episodes of SAO were good but the rest were just very different.   Is there an anime-based game you like? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW. I wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
Animu Gamez
[Possible mature language for the videos below] Video games based on anime are never in short supply, anime is a very exciting visual medium that lends well to the interactivity of video games. However, making video games is ...

Review: Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale

Mar 05 // Josh Tolentino
Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale Studio: A-1 Pictures Licensed By: Eleven Arts (NA), SM Cinema (PH), Madman (AU) Directed By: Tomohiko Itou Released: February 26, 2017 (PH), March 9, 2017 (NA) You wouldn't know it from that title, but it's been several years since any of the characters in Sword Art Online - the TV series - have had anything to do with Sword Art Online - the game. Over multiple seasons of television and any number of spinoff stories, Kirito, Asuna, Klein, and the rest have left behind the death game that started their shared adventure, moving into new games, meeting new friends, and having new adventures. And yet no one's really left Sword Art Online behind. The events of the "The SAO Incident" have come to define not just the cast of characters, but even the discourse surrounding the franchise. Virtually every subsequent storyline, be it based in Gun Gale Online, ALfheim Online, or any number of new games visited by Kirito and his crew, has been compared to the original Sword Art Online thread, and often found wanting in some way. There's no denying the way that that first storyline has defined the whole of the franchise, and to its credit, Ordinal Scale incorporates that very notion into its plot, which runs heavy with themes of nostalgia, memory, and the concept of the self as a sum of a person's experiences. And no one been more heavily defined by Sword Art Online than its protagonists, Kirito and Asuna, and in focusing largely on them and their relationship, Ordinal Scale finds the focus that subsequent storylines lacked. The trick is in finding a new competition for the characters to learn and excel in. The disrupting factor here is Augmented Reality. For the unintiated, Augmented Reality (AR), is a form of technology that overlays computer-generated imagery onto the real world, as opposed to Virtual Reality (VR), which replaces the real world. The Augma, an AR device that looks like a fancy take on Google Glass, is trending, enticing consumers away from VR games (like the ones Kirito and friends have been playing) with promises of greater integration with the real world, forgoing the need to be rendered a vegetable just to play video games. The Augma's "killer app" is Ordinal Scale, an AR combat game that pits players against monsters and each other in real-world locations overlaid with fantasy art projected directly into their eyes by the Augma technology. Best conceptualized as a fusion of the real-world Pokemon GO and a prototype version of Reki Kawahara's other franchise, Accel World, Ordinal Scale doesn't carry much detail as a game, but it does provide a compelling snapshot of what people might be playing in the future, as well as a new set of challenges for Kirito and the crew to surmount. Only this time time, it's Kirito that's at a disadvantage. Whereas the VR games he used to play relied on arbitrary stats or futuristic measurements of "reaction speed" to determine performance, playing Ordinal Scale is limited by the players' own ability to move about the virtualized environment. And Kirito, after years spent as a vegetable and then later addicted to VR, is not in the best of shape. Seeing him struggle, stumble, and fall while more physically fit challengers succeed, returns to Sword Art Online a long-missing sense of adversity and progress. Where other stories tended to hinge things on viewers' existing attachment to the cast to make plots about in-game activities feel compelling, the story here feels more natural, and even exciting, once the stakes are raised. That stake-raising definitely happens, as boss monsters from Sword Art Online start appearing in Ordinal Scale, resulting in odd consequences for the many "SAO Survivors" - players who were stuck in Sword Art Online during the original death game, including Kirito, Asuna, and most of their friends - playing Ordinal Scale. Asuna falls victim to one of the monsters and finds herself robbed of all memory from her time spent in SAO, including her recall of meeting Kirito for the first time. Bereft of arguably the most important - if traumatic - experience of her life, Asuna is left unsure: Of herself, of her memories, and even of her relationship with Kirito and their AI "daughter", Yui. Even if she does remember her subsequent adventures, will it be enough for her? Kirito, meanwhile, is left desperate, pained by the loss and needing to somehow succeed at Ordinal Scale, as well as investigate the game and uncover the key to restoring his girlfriend's memories.  This tension and sense of desperation in the film really does bring out some of Sword Art Online's best qualities, marrying its entertaining vision of gaming's future and the consequences facing its characters, while capitalizing on the now years-strong investment fans have in the cast and world of the series. The whole show is steeped in nostalgia for that first arc, and sometimes stoops over to nonsensical levels to throw a fan-service bone to fans that want to see the old outfits and aesthetics of the show rendered in the glory afforded to feature-length productions. Ironically, it's when the stakes are raised to their highest - when lives are at stake, and when SAO fan-service is at its most intense - that Ordinal Scale begins to crumble. The dark conspiracy propelling the mystery, and what it means for Asuna, Kirito, and the SAO survivors would've been enough, but the last quarter of the movie feels somewhat obligatory, motivated less by the need to solve the mystery than by a mandate to have a giant battle at the end featuring all the characters from every game. There's no denying it's entertaining to see, but it certainly could've been brought about in a less transparent fashion. All that's missing is a giant blue laser in the sky and it could've been the final showdown from a Marvel Cinematic Universe film, is what I'm saying.  At the same time, I can't find it in my heart to be too critical of this stumbling block. Films like these are primarily about fan-service, so I can't begrudge its presence. It helps that the action sequences are very pretty, to boot, however wooly the reasons for their taking place. [embed]35592:6136:0[/embed] Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale is best taken less as a standalone narrative and more as a coda of sorts for an era of the franchise, a break with the legacy - and baggage - of its much-lauded earlier days. In doing so it also is a welcome reaffirmation of the reasons behind Sword Art Online's sometimes-baffling popularity, effectively mixing dynamic action, inspired future-nerdery, and personal drama in a plot that reinvokes the franchise's sense of consequence and stakes.  [This review is based on a theatrical viewing of the film by the reviewer.]
Sword Art Online Review photo
Is this the (Augmented) Real Life?
What's in a name? For Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale, the name is everything. I'm not referring to "Ordinal Scale", the word from the title, though. I'm referring to Sword Art Online, the title that has, to this day, loomed large over the series it graces. Ordinal Scale - the movie - is no different, and seems to know it, too.

Strong Style: Makin' it Rain

Mar 04 // Soul Tsukino
[embed]35609:6135:0[/embed] We are greeted by Okada! Before we get to the action we get highlights of the IC Title Ladder match between champion Kenny Omega and Michael Elgin (subbing for the injured Hiroshi Tanahashi). Seriously, we just get some highlights of these guys falling off the ladder on the mat or the floor. We see Omega bounce off a couple of tables and then we see Elgin climb the ladder and win. WHO thought reducing a 40-minute ladder match to a short highlight package should be drug out in the street and shot. Multiple times. That match could have been made into its own episode. We get some studio words from Okada as he says that the crowd had an effect in the last match as they cheered for Naito despite his rampant cheating. He hated the way Naito would disrespect the IWGP belt, but since he wasn't the champion he couldn't do anything about it. IWGP Title: Tetsuya Naito vs. Kazuchika Okada This is the big rematch. A few months before Naito won the Title from Okada with help from the other members of Los Ingobernables, especially the debuting Sanada. The match touched off a war between the goobers and CHAOS and we finally get the rematch. Okada makes his entrance first in his usual fashion with him making it rain.  I'm not seeing Gedo walking around, odd. The champion comes out next. JR likens Naito to Steve Austin because slobber knocker. He is wearing a skull mask and a white suit. Kinda looks like Skeletor going to a disco. The other members of Los Ingobernables are with him. Naito goes right up to NJPW owner Kidani sitting at ringside and surprisingly shakes his hand. That was odd. For Naito anyway. We come back from break and both guys are still in their gear. We get the full introductions of both men. Naito gets booed here really badly. Okada solidly has the crowd behind him. Both take their time here, especially Naito. Okada gives Naito flack for having all the other guys at ringside. Naito goes for it and sends the others to the back. Let's see if they stay away. Bell rings and they stand there letting the crowd chant. Naito slowly walks around and Okada is ready to go. Lock up with Okada pushing into the ropes. Naito reverses and gives Okada the pat on the chest. Lock up again as Naito gets the advantage but Okada turns that around into a wristlock, Naito turns it into a hammerlock and Okada reverses it and they get into the ropes. Okada goes for the chest pat but just whips Naito into the ropes through a few leapfrogs and reversals that ends with Naito in a relaxed pose on the mat. We take another commercial as they are stretching for time. We come back as Naito is hanging around outside the ring as Okada just waiting in the ring with his hands on his hips. Naito comes in with a few kicks to the gut and a few punches. Naito gets a snap mare but Okada turns around and lands a low dropkick. Naito in the corner and Okada reverses and sets him up on the buckle and lands his high dropkick to send Naito crashing to the floor. Naito gets up and starts walking away, so Okada follows him. Naito rakes Okada's eyes and then slams him on the rampway. Naito walks back further and then lands a running dropkick! Okada rolls down the entrance as Naito strolls into the ring. Okada gets in at 16. Naito tosses him right back outside and whips him into the metal barrier. Okada gets whipped again into the barrier right in front of Kidani. Naito tosses him back in the ring and lands a stomp before locking in a cravat. Okada gets into the ropes. Naito lands an elbow on the side of the head a few times on Okada. Snapmare and Naito locks in a chinlock.  Okada gets up and counters with a few elbows but Naito breaks him down and hits a dropkick and then a second low dropkick. Lax cover gets two. Stomp on Okada. Okada pops up and lands a few elbows but both guys elbow each other. Okada gets a straight jacket neckbreaker. Clotheslines by Naito gets Okada in the corner but Okada with a boot. Okada counters by just running over Naito and Naito rolls outside. Okada follows him out with some punches but Naito counters and Naito walks back up the ramp again. He looks to be leaving. Naito turns around and Okada dropkicks him!  Okada drags Naito back down the ring and lands some shots for good measure. Naito bleeding from the mouth a bit. Okada tries Red Ink, but Naito counters and lands a neckbreaker. Naito tries the charge into the corner but Okada gets the feet up. Naito catches the feet and turns it into a neckbreaker. Naito goes up and lands a dropkick but gives a crap cover and gets a two count. Naito tries the German suplex but Okada counters into a flapjack. We are back from break. Both guys down. They struggle to get up and Okada lands the back elbow into a DDT. Okada lands an elbow right to the face. Cover gets two. Okada goes for Red Ink but lands some elbows for the fun of it before locking in the hold. Naito struggles and eventually gets to the ropes and Naito breaks. Okada gets a slam and lands the Randy Savage elbow. He signals for the Rainmaker but Naito counters into the urinagi. Hiroshi Hase mentioned as JR remembers the match with Hase and "A partner" against the Steiners in 1991 and Barnett tries to say the partner was Kensuki Sasaki without sounding like a dick. Naito gets his corner trip and dropkick combo and he is booed! Naito gets and inverted atomic drop into an STO and tries for the submission but Okada rolls it into a pin attempt and Naito lets go. Naito spins around and gets Okada in the Koji clutch but Okada gets to the ropes for the break. Naito picks him up and puts Okada on the top buckle and lands the rana off the top! Naito goes for Gloria but Okada blocks it. Naito gets in an uppercut and spits on Okada and Okada slaps him for that and Naito lands the spinebuster. He goes for Gloria again but Okada blocks it and turns it into driving Naito right on his head into the mat. We come back from ANOTHER break. Both guys down again. They start hammering each other on their knees with elbows and forearms. Naito is SMILING. They stand up but keep going back and forth with these stuff forearm shots. Okada falls down first and into the corner. Naito tries the charge but catches him and slings him to the mat. Okada lands 4 low dropkicks.  Okada scoops him up and Naito slips out and hits a slap and then an enziguri. Naito tries for Destino but Okada counters. He hits a rolling kick and then gets in another high dropkick that nails Naito and he lands on his head! Okada tries the tombstone but Naito counters. Okada tries it again but Naito has a hold of the waist. Naito lands a reverse DDT and Naito goes for Destino but Naito reverses it into a tombstone! Okada hits a Rainmaker. Cover attempt and it only gets two! Wow! Okada recovers first and pulls Naito up and lands a German suplex and tries for a rainmaker but Naito counters with an attempt for Destino but Okada counters into a Rainmaker. He hits it again. And for a fourth time! Naito is out and Okada covers and gets the three count. we have a new champion! As Naito is helped from the ring Okada gets the belt strapped around his waist once again. We take our last commercial and come back as Okada has the mic. He goes into his "3 things" shtick as he gives Naito his props and says that is what fighting for the title in New Japan is like. Nest he says he will win the G1 tournament coming up. He doesn't have a third thing to say but he is on another level  Now that he's champion he wants to take the company global. He poses around the ring for a bit as JR and Josh talk about what lays ahead for the new champion. Backstage Okada says it was tough. He again gives credit to Naito for doing it by himself and having a great match. Naito says that everyone must be happy he lost, but it is all his plan. Studio words as Okada says Naito has grown as a wrestler and that the crowd reaction didn't affect him. He says that even though they weren't there, that with this victory, CHAOS stopped Los Ingobernables' momentum. The main event match was very good but taking the ladder match and reducing it to clips is bullshit. That match was actually long than the one shown here and easily could have been an episode of its own. Boo on the producers for doing that and hope it doesn't happen again. So, with the ladder match they've been building up to not really being shown, the hell with it. Here it is for YOU to watch HERE. Next week we come back with TWO hours of action! See you then!   
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
IWGP Title on the line
Welcome once again to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we are back in Osaka and the Osaka-Jo hall for Dominion 2016. We cap off our look of this big show with the IWGP title on th...

Japanator LIVE photo
Japanator LIVE

Japanator LIVE: Let's unlock Bunny Must Die! Chelsea and the 7 Devils' true route


The real star must shine
Mar 03
// Salvador G Rodiles
[Update: The stream is over, but you can watch it here.] I may have sworn that I was done with Bunny Must Die! Chelsea and the 7 Devils, but it seems that I might be able to unlock the game's real ending and its second m...
Ghost in the Shell photo
Ghost in the Shell

Plug in your eyes for some new Ghost in the Shell trailers and a Japan-exclusive poster


CYBERPUNK
Mar 03
// Red Veron
As the premiere of the live action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell film nears, we get to see a bit more of the very pretty looking and controversial film. Setting aside those issues for a bit, I must confess that t...
Otakon '17 photo
Otakon '17

FLOW joins Otakon '17: Anisong World Matsuri's roster


Right here, right now!
Mar 02
// Salvador G Rodiles
It was only a matter of time until we got to hear more about rest of the performances at the Anisong World Matsuri event at Otakon '17. This time, FLOW is on the list of singers who'll perform at the con. Considering that the...
Pokemon photo
Pokemon

Pokemon: I Choose You! takes us back to the beginning with Ash and Pikachu


GET IN THE BALL
Mar 02
// Red Veron
The Pokémon anime (or Pocket Monsters) first aired 20 years ago in Japan back in 1997, and this latest movie is all about celebrating those two decades of the show by going back to the beginning. The new movie, Pocket ...
Hurricane Polymar photo
Hurricane Polymar

Hurricane Polymar live action trailer features song from Good Morning America


I prefer Al Roker from Today show
Mar 02
// Red Veron
Wait, first let's clear this up. There is a band in Japan named "Good Morning America", which for people outside the US, is also the name of a long-running morning show on the channel ABC that has been airing since 1975. This...
Gundam Wing photo
JUST COMMUNICATION with the staff
The fine folks from Nozomi Entertainment just announced that they will be releasing the Blu-ray and DVD of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing in the US later this year. Soon, you shall be able to relive the glorious moments of...

DEADLIFT LOLITA photo
DEADLIFT LOLITA

Ladybeard and bodybuilder wrestling idol Reika Saiki form idol unit Deadlift Lolita


Kawaii x Muscles x Energy!
Mar 01
// Red Veron
Ladybeard, former member of the idol unit Ladybaby and crossdessing professional wrestler whose real name is Richard Magarey, has now teamed up with the bodybuilder idol Reika Saiki to form the new idol unit "DEADLIFT LOLITA"...
Ghost in the Shell photo
Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell's 'motion posters' are gif-tastic


Very Blade Runner, I dig 'em
Mar 01
// Josh Tolentino
With just a few weeks to go until the Ghost in the Shell live-action film actually happens, I continue to find myself surprised it exists and even more surprised that it looks kind of rad. What we've seen so far isn't th...
Pokemon photo
Pokemon

Usain Bolt and Pikachu Thunderbolts us all by joining Team Skull on Pokemon Day


Happy Pokemon Day!
Feb 27
// Red Veron
Happy 21st Birthday to Pokémon! Now get those legal drinking age jokes out of your system because today is the anniversary of the Japanese release of Pokémon back in 1996. Now, Pokémon is strong...
Japanese Manholes photo
Japanese Manholes

Meet the Manholers: Fans of Japanese Manhole cover art


Manhole Masterpiece
Feb 27
// Red Veron
Just when you thought the "Japan is so wacky" thing is overplayed and nothing will surprise you because the internet lets you see everything in Japan, we learn about art in the most unlikely places: Manhole covers! If the tit...
Boomslank photo
Boomslank

Boomslank's latest poster will make you feel magical


Innovation is the name of this spell
Feb 27
// Salvador G Rodiles
February is almost over and Boomslank, the guys behind Ai-Fi's design, hit us with a new piece of art to commemorate their view on humanity's ability to invent things. While the title "Paladin" sounds strange for a poster wit...

Japanator Unboxing: TokyoTreat - January 2017

Feb 26 // Red Veron
There are three tiers for TokyoTreat: Small, Regular, and Premium. Check out the images below to get an idea of what each package might look like: More details at the TokyoTreat site (Don't forget to use the code "Japanator")! Small - About 5-7 full sized Japanese candy and snacks   Regular  - About 10-12 full sized Japanese candy and snacks with DIY candy   Premium - About 16-18 full sized Japanese candy and snacks with DIY candy, special item, and drink. Use the code "JAPANATOR" to get $3 off your first order of the Premium box! Free shipping included! 
TokyoTreat photo
Happy New Treats!
[TokyoTreat provided the box and the reviewer has an affiliate partnership with TokyoTreat] The nice folks over at TokyoTreat sent me a box from their New Year 2017 to check out and it is a greatly delicious way to ring the ...

Japanator LIVE photo
Japanator LIVE

Japanator LIVE: It's time to conquer Bunny Must Die! Chelsea and the 7 Devils' Wabbit Heck


Why is it a bad thing to have cat ears?
Feb 25
// Salvador G Rodiles
[Update: The stream is now over, but you can watch it here.] So our last segment was supposed to be the one where we wrap up Bunny's journey through the hellish labyrinth, but things didn't go according to plan. It seems like...

Strong Style: Aerial Assassin vs Time Splitter

Feb 25 // Soul Tsukino
[embed]35591:6105:0[/embed] We start off with a greeting from Kushida! IWGP Tag Titles: Guerrillas of Destiny vs. The Briscoe Brothers The Guerrillas are brothers Tanga Loa and Tama Tonga from the Bullet Club. The Briscoes are Mark and Jay from Ring of Honor. Dem Boys are pretty much getting the title shot because they are ROH's best team and copromotion and all that. The entrances of both teams are cut down as we get everyone in the ring. It's camo night as the Briscoes have on hunting camo and the sons of Haku have on red urban commando gear. Mark and Tama start as Mark goes for a clothesline and Tama just knees him in the guts and pounds on him. Tama backs him in the corner with a headbutt and kicks him some more. Welp, didn't expect a technical showcase in this one.  Tama tries to whip Mark into the other corner but Mark leaps over Tama and meets him with a big chop. Mark keeps chopping away sending Tama into the corner and Mark tags Jay. Jay comes in and lays in some boots before standing on Tama's throat. Jay6 gets him up and lays in some European uppercuts as JR talks about the Briscoes being Chicken farmers in Delaware. Barnett has chickens so he respects that. Jay hits Tama a few more times before Mark comes back in and gives us a little Redneck Kung-fu with a crane kick to a fallen Tama. He puts Tama on the middle ropes and launches some crossface forearm shots before he straight up punches Tama on the nose. Mark whips Tama in but Tama turns right around and does his weird running around avoidance counter as he tags Tanga Roa while nobody notices. Roa comes in and plants Mark with a huge clothesline. Roa picks up mark and shoulder blocks him right in the corner before laying in some punches and yells at the ref. "This is a striking contest"-JR. YA THINK?! Tama tags back in and lays in some more shots on Mark. He whips Mark into the ropes but Mark makes a tag before ducking Tama's clothesline and answering with a jawbreaker. Jay comes in and runs over Tama with a big clothesline. Jay makes the cover but only gets a one count. Jay delivers a headbutt and an elbow as JR and Josh get bored and talk about the upcoming matches. Seriously, guys, this is a one-hour recap show, not a pay-per-view. Knock it off. Jay chucks Tama outside and then pulls off a suicide dive through the ropes!  Roa goes to the floor to go after Jay but Mark runs and delivers a dropkick to him through the ropes! We jump ahead a little bit as both Briscoes are in the ring with Tama and they go for the Doomsday device but Roa trips up Mark on the buckle. Tama slips behind and delivers a reverse spinning neckbreaker on Jay. Tama rolls over and tags Roa who scoops Mark off the top turnbuckle into a fireman's carry. Tama comes in and hit the combo neckbreaker Samoan drop. Roa goes for the cover but only gets two. He gets up and sets up Mark in the powerbomb position as Tama comes off for a super blockbuster! He goes for the cover and Jay saves it at two! Tama goes outside and Jay soon follows. Roa turns right into a missile dropkick by mark and sends Roa flying back into the buckle. Mark hits a fisherman's bomb but the cover only gets two. Mark rolls over and tags Jay who comes in and delivers the jay driller! Cover only gets two. Jay sets up Roa for the Doomsday again but Tama pops up to stop Mark. Mark pushed Tama to the floor and goes up. He hits it! Jay makes the cover and gets the three count! We have new champions! As the Briscoes celebrate in the ring, Yujiro Takahashi and Hangman Page come running out and attack them. Jay gets tossed out to the floor and Page puts a noose around Mark's neck and tosses him over the top rope. They hand Mark there for a bit before letting go and he flops to the floor. Page makes sure to go out and get his noose back and JR bitches about saving his gimmick or something. NEVER Openweight Title: Yuji Nagata vs. Katsuyori Shibata This feud started months back when Shibata got into a war of words with Nagata, Nakanishi, TenKoji. Shibata then took it in the ring and beat the other 3 guys of the previous generation and after one of the matches kicked Nagata down. They had a match and Yuji beat Shibata for the belt, bringing us to this rematch. Shibata enters first and he has his business face on as he marches to the ring. Nagata comes out with TenKoji and Nakanishi in his corner as he represents the 3rd generation. We skip some stuff and cut right to the bell ringing. Nagata gets a big chant and they stand off in an MMA style stance. Both guys launch kicks but they don't land. Greco-roman lock up goes nowhere with Shibata getting out. Lock up again as Shibata tries a low kick. Lock up again and they get into the ropes Nagata backs off and Shibata drills him! Nagata with a kick to the head, Shibata answers back with the same! Shibata with a high knee and a snapmare into a chinlock. Shibata already tries for an arm breaker but Nagaya turns him over and tries for a toehold. Shibata reverses into a cross armbreaker into a triangle choke. They get into the ropes for the break but Shibata gets him in the corner and nails him. Shibata gets a hammerlock and locks him in Nagata's own armbreaker!!  Shibata locks up the arm and snaps back with it before laying in the kicks and stomps. Nagata ain't going for it though as he stands up, but Shibata drills him in the face with a forearm. Nagata answers back with a kneelift that takes Shibata down. Nagata gets some kicks into Shibata on the canvas but Shibata is like "Hit me more!". Another kick sends Shibata down. Nagata lays in some forearms and he gets a facewash. He tries for the exploder but Shibata blocks. He reverses the whip and gets Yuji in the corner and hits the hanging dropkick. Man is that sweet to watch. Shibata with the half hatch suplex and a cover for two. Nagata gets up and now they are just laying each other with forearms. Back and forth and not holding back. Yuji with a face kick and hits the exploder but Shibata gets right back up and hits two Germans of his own! Shibata first up and kicks the arm and then the guts. He kicks Yuji down in the corner. Shibata runs across the ring and gets another kick to Yuji's arm. Shibata gets him up and tries for the Octopus but Yuji is fighting it and gets to the ropes, but Shibata gets in the rear choke. Yuji gets to the ropes and Shibata kicks him in the ribs. Shibata gets a suplex on him with a bridge but Yuji gets up. Shibata tries for the PK but misses. Yuji gets up and gets the armbreaker on Shibata and his eyes roll back. Shibata fights and gets to the ropes for the break. Yuji kicks him right in the elbow joint for that. Yuji gets him in the corner and is kneeing him right in the chest. The ref is trying to break it up as Yuji gets a high knee to the chin and a backdrop suplex but Shibata gets out of the cover! Yuji hits a brainbuster! Yuji hits a PK of his own! Shibata is knocked stupid. He tries for a side suplex but Shibata blocks. Yuji counters but Shibata grabs the rear choke. Yuji tries a shoulder throw but Shibata stays on it. Yuji tries and armbar but he can't get it! Nagata is going out! Shibata releases the hold and hits the ropes. PK lands! Shibata makes the cover and gets the belt back! They stare each other down and Shibata bows to him in genuine respect. Yuji raises the champ's hand as both generations got to feel what the other is capable of. Back from commercial now as we get some studio words from Kushida. He says Will has a lot going for him from their previous match against each other. He felt proud of the tournament final. He called Will a champion as a way to express how he felt about the competition in the tournament.  IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title: Kushida vs. Will Ospreay This was covered last week, but here is a quick refresher. Ospreay was recruited to CHAOS by Okada himself, with the goal of Will winning the Jr. Title for the group. He fought his way through the Best of the Super Juniors Tournament and as we saw last week, beat Taguchi in the finals. This is his payoff for the victory. Ospreay makes his entrance first as he is wearing Union Jack colors for this match. He has the BOTSJs trophy with him as well. Kushida comes out and you can hear the distain from JR about the Back to the Future thing Kushida does. I swear Jim Ross is becoming more of a parody of himself with every gripe and moan he does during these shows. Anyway, both guys have a stare down before backing into their corners. We come back from commercial as the bell rings for this one. They take their time coming out of the corner. Lock up goes right to the ropes as Will fakes a punch but pats Kushida on the chest.  They go right into a lock up and Will gets the wristlock but Kushida gets the wristlock and Will reverses out. Kushida goes for a single leg and gets an ankle lock. Oh lord, Taguchi is on commentary. Wonder how that went. Probably needed subtitles even for the Japanese audience! Will gets in a headlock and a takeover. Kushida reverses and rides him before going back to the ankle. Kushida gets the surfboard and Will counters with a barrel roll and gets pin attempt but only two. Will with a facelock but Kushida counters with a wristlock.  Kushida gets an inverted atomic drop and a dropkick before getting the snapmare into the low dropkick. Will gets up and lands the rana and goes for a second but Kushida holds on and kicks him right in the arm. Will rolls outside for a bit to walk off the pain and Kushida goes right out after him but they jump right back in the ring. Kushida goes right for the hoverboard lock! Will counters into a suplex but Kushida grabs the armbar into a bulldog! Pin attempt gets two and Kushida gets in the short arm scissors. Will gets his feet on the ropes. They get up and Kushida lands some arm kicks but Will counters into a spinkick. Kushida sends Ospreay into the corner but misses the charge as Will goes to the apron. Will lands a springboard forearm to send Kushida out and Will lands a cartwheel cannonball. Back inside Will gets a standing corkscrew that doesn't land right but gets a two count. Will lands a diving forearm and gets Kushida tied in the corner with the headtuck but he slips out and kicks Will right in the arm. He lands a round kick to the arm again. Short kicks to the face only wake Ospreay up and they start in with forearms. Will goes for some offense but Kushida sends him flying outside. Kushida goes up the buckle and lands the cannonball to Ospreay on the floor. Kushida rolls in and gets ready to strike as Ospreay rolls in at 19. Kushida strikes with his missile dropkick. Kushida tries for a moonsault but Ospreay gets the knees up. Back from commercial as both guys are trying to get up. Kushida lands kicks to the arm but Will counters with a bunch of short kicks. Will gets Kushida up and tries for a powerbomb but Kushida counters down the back into a sunset bomb. Gets a two count. Kushida cranks the arm over the should but Will counters into a moonsault and then leaps up to the buckle for another one but lands weirdly on his feet and doesn't do much. Pin attempt only gets two. Will stuffs the head in the buckle and lands the kick. Ospreay goes to the apron for the springboard but Kushida is smart and rings into it making Will miss. Will tries a punch but Kushida counters. Kushida winds up for the baseball punch but Will counters with a headbutt to the jaw. Never seen that from him before. Will tries for the C4 but Kushida counters into a triangle! He transitions to the armbreaker. Will gets to his feet and muscles him up for a fireman's carry. Kushida counters as he tries for the wristlock. Ospreay tries for a Styles clash but Kushida blocks it. Will turns it into an inverted lung blower instead. Kushida is hurt. Ospreay goes up and lands a big splash. The cover only gets two. Will lands the twist kick and goes for a second one but Kushida grabs the arm! He turns it into the double wristlock and cranks it in! Ospreay taps out! Kushida retains the belt! Both are understandably exhausted. Will is upset as he rolls out of the ring and starts to head back, but turns around and thinks about it before getting back in the ring. Kushida greets him and they shake hands before Kushida collapses from exhaustion and Will leaves. Backstage Will is really upset., He says he visioned capping off this run for the British fans with him winning the belt. Kushida says that he has been really challenged in his last few defenses but that he is taking things to a new level. Studio words as Kushida admits he was desperate to keep up with Ospreay's offense and that it kept him thinking. He was afraid of letting down on his promise to take the Juniors to the next level but that the crowd got him through it. He has never felt the help from the fans that much before. He was disappointed in not winning the tournament but he is still the champion.     Two out of three ain't bad. The tag title match just did not work for me. The Briscoes do better facing guys who can actually wrestle with them and the Guerrillas are not that team. This was not the place for that match. The other two matches though were really good! Yuji Nagata still showing he can have good matches and Shibata was the right guy for him. The juniors match was great, even with Will missing some of his moves. Good show all around. Next week we get the main event of Dominion as Naito defends the belt against Okada. See you next week!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Two belts on the line!
Greetings mat fans and welcome to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we are traveling to Osaka (waka laka party time!) to the Osaka-Jo hall for Dominion 2016. Our first look at this BIG card has three titles on the line so let's get to the action from June 19. 2016!

Blade of the Immortal photo
Blade of the Immortal

Find Vengeance and Death in Blade of the Immortal live action trailers


Neo Period Drama
Feb 24
// Red Veron
After seeing the live action of adaptation of Rurouni Kenshin a while ago, I've been hankerin' for some more live action adaptations of manga featuring samurai and it seems Kami-sama has heard my wish. These trailers for...
ReLife photo
ReLife

New ReLife music trailer gives us that youthful feeling again


Youth is wasted on the young
Feb 24
// Red Veron
A new music trailer of the live action adaptation of ReLife just came out featuring a cover of the song "Sakura", performed by singer-songwriter Sonoko Inoue with the part rap done by the film's lead actor Taishi Nakagawa. Th...
Sankt Gallen Sakura photo
Sankt Gallen Sakura

Kick off the cherry blossom season with Sankt Gallen's sakura beer


Petal Dance Type Booze
Feb 23
// Salvador G Rodiles
There comes a time when you just want to bring out the booze to commemorate a joyous occasion. Of course, it's important to do this responsibly. With the cherry blossom season hitting Japan, Sankt Gallen is making sure that e...
BLAME! photo
BLAME!

BLAME! anime film to hit Netflix this May


It's not pronounced how it's spelled
Feb 23
// Red Veron
The cyberpunk anime BLAME! will premiere worldwide on Netflix on May 20, 2017. Animated by Polygon Pictures, the same folks behind the anime adaptations of Knights of Sidonia and Ajin, BLAME! is based on the cyberpu...
SoftBank photo
SoftBank

Justin Bieber and Piko Taro smash together for SoftBank ad campaign


PHRASING
Feb 23
// Red Veron
From the same people that brought you "Oto-san" (which means father), a talking white Hokkaido breed dog that is somehow the patriarch to the human Shirato family (video of that below), comes the newest advertisement campaign...

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