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Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

DEADLINE: 11:59PM EST, December 31st, 2014

THE FILE: http://theditch.biz/BestOf2000s_Japan.xls (updated October 21st)
This has pretty much everything: matchlist, download/viewing links, voting instructions, etc. Feel free to share the link wherever. You input your ranks in the file and mail it back.

BACKGROUND: Over at the deathvalleydriver forum, there was a really good year-end vote to cover 2006. I ran it for 2007, then decided to cover the rest of the decade and try to find any hidden gems people had missed. There was so much footage because indies could afford to tape and Samurai TV offered tons of airtime, and I wanted to make sure nothing fell through the cracks. I'm confident that every legit MOTYC is on there.

THE MATCHES: There are 326 matches eligible. That is a lot to get through. I don't expect people to watch everything, which is why I've highlighted the top vote-getters from the annual votes. Realistically, nothing that isn't highlighted will place in the top 20 here. You can do a top 50 or a top 100 based on how much time you want to put in.

Every style and probably every relevant promotion is represented. All the famous matches are in there, plus a lot that YOU haven't seen but really should. I won't promise you'll enjoy everything; I certainly don't. But there will be something for anyone with even the remotest interest in puroresu.

I encourage people to ask questions about the matches (ie. background), offer their thoughts as they go through, etc, in the thread in order to keep it somewhat active through the next 365 days. Any minor suggestions about improving the excel file are also welcome.

Now get to watching.

Ditch fucked around with this message at May 14, 2014 around 16:05

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Price Check
Oct 9, 2012


This sounds awesome. I'm hoping to participate as fully as possible. Thanks for putting in all the work to set this up.

Bard Maddox
Feb 15, 2012

I'm just a sick guy, I'm really just a dirty guy.


We should organize weekly PSP-TV viewings of this to work our way through the list. Like Daryl's night but with cool Japanese puro.

MassRafTer
May 26, 2001

Fundamentals as sound as the WNBA


Certain years being significantly less great than others.

nongdongfongbong
Jul 30, 2006
"Nongnongdongfongbong" is one character too long. : (

Awesome stuff. Good way to catch up on the years when NOAH was in decline and NJPW was still rebuilding.

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

MassRafTer posted:

Certain years being significantly less great than others.
I'm looking at YOU, 2007.

Gyro Zeppeli
Jul 18, 2012

sure hope no-one throws me off a bridge


Sweet christ, this is the motherlode.

I might as well learn bloody Japanese.

Thauros
Jan 29, 2003



Bard Maddox posted:

We should organize weekly PSP-TV viewings of this to work our way through the list. Like Daryl's night but with cool Japanese puro.

I'd definitely be up for this as well.

sportsgenius86
Jun 17, 2008

THE STREAK IS OVER


oh man this is fantastic

STONE COLD 64
Oct 20, 2006

austin 3:16 says shut up. shut hte fuck up. where is my beer. i need hel

i have nothing to open this file with

coconono
Aug 11, 2004

I bet against K-1


John Cena posted:

i have nothing to open this file with

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/down...ails.aspx?id=10

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

OpenOffice is good stuff.

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

I just fixed three links so you'll need to re-download the excel.

Willninho
Aug 14, 2007


Quick thoughts on the first three matches. The Big Japan match does not age well at all. The Dome tag is great; when poo poo goes wild in puro matches are some of my favorite types of matches. Sasaki/Tenryu is fun and exactly what you expect a Kensuke/Tenryu main at the Tokyo Dome to be.

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

I never liked the Honma/Yamakawa matches (that and summer '99), even when I came around on enjoying deathmatches. That's a perfect example of a match that shouldn't be considered mandatory viewing, which is why I did the highlighting.

Oddly enough I can't get into the tag despite it having a lot going for it. I'll be curious to see how it's received by people with less in the way of puro familiarity.

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

Links updated.

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

Every week I will be highlighting a match that I think deserves love and might not get enough eyeballs as people select what to watch, which means not many Kobashi or KENTA write-ups because they don't need any hype. Not much 2000/2001 so it will skip ahead of y'all for a few months.


Kanemoto & Minoru Tanaka vs Liger & Makabe, IWGP junior tag team titles, New Japan September 12th 2000

Background: Makabe was a somewhat plus-sized junior heavyweight at this point in his career, and his simplistic moveset was balanced by the power advantage he had over other juniors.

Why I think it's underrated: This aired on New Japan's somewhat obscure SXW program, which meant it was hard to come by initially. I only found it because of a positive review by Stuart of puroresufan.com. The match relies on Japan's standard "young lion underdog tries to make good" story, with Makabe holding his own against the much more skilled champions. This isn't an earth-shatteringly great match, but it's very solid and builds to a few excellent nearfalls off of relatively small moves.

What it deserves: Top 100 consideration / on the bubble.

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

Kanemoto & Minoru Tanaka vs Dr. Wagner Jr & Silver King, IWGP junior tag titles, New Japan February 3rd 2001

Background: With WCW behind him, Silver King joined real-life brother as a regular part of New Japan's foreign contingent. Wagner is a former junior tag champion, and it stands to reason he would do even better with King as his partner now.

Why I think it's underrated: Another year, another under-the-radar match that Stuart put a spotlight on. This is carried by the luchadores. Their teamwork and interaction make the body of the match enjoyable, and a good finishing run is to be expected with the combined level of talent at work here.

What it deserves: Top 100 consideration / on the bubble. The crowd could be better, and there are several superior junior tags, but it's on the list for a reason.

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

Crazy MAX vs M2K vs Seikigun, trios titles, Toryumon August 14th 2001

Background: The three original factions duke it out for trios supremacy. This was the first multi-way trios match the company attempted, and it tended to be saved for special occasions until recent years.

Why I think it's underrated: Toryumon wasn't nearly as well-known outside Japan as Dragon Gate is today. It was the 4th or 5th biggest promotion in Japan and got treated as such. Add in the fact that this wasn't at a big event and it was easy to miss, but I'd say it was the best spotfest that they produced in the first three years of the promotion. Plenty of fun sequences and excitement.

What it deserves: Top 100. They went on to top themselves, but this set the standard.

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

Tenryu & Araya vs Kea & Miyamoto, All Japan April 27th 2002

Background: Miyamoto, a young lion, seeks to prove himself against much larger competition. Tenryu shows no mercy whatsoever and Araya follows his lead.

Why I think it's underrated: As a small-show tag this didn't make headlines, but it's one of the best 'young lion shows fighting spirit' bouts of the decade. Kea might be the biggest heel in this by virtue of how quickly he tags out every time, no matter how much punishment Miyamoto has taken.

What it deserves: Top 100. It doesn't quite have the greatness of a top-tier bout, but they really accomplish what they were going for.

HulkaMatt
Feb 14, 2006

CHEERS, LOVE.
THE CAVALYAAAY'S HERE!


Sticking this for a few days to get this noticed more in hopes others will check it out.

I'm going to start really marathoning matches tomorrow.

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

Updated 5 links, please re-download the excel.

Willninho
Aug 14, 2007


Misawa/Akiyama from early 2000 is really really good. It feels like top 10 worthy. Also the ending surprised me because even though it was building to it; I expected something different by the end.

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

I enjoyed it so much I put it on top for 2000, which has the most stacked top 10 of any year. So top 10 for the decade is a lock for my ballot and top 5 is probable.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Anybody remotely interesting is mad in some way or another.


HulkaMatt posted:

Sticking this for a few days to get this noticed more in hopes others will check it out.

The sticky made me notice it, but I kind of assumed it would require prior knowledge and only just clicked on it out of interest now.... loving wow, this is a gently caress-ton of quality product, I hope to dive in once I get a little extra time put aside to really look into it.

Sprecherscrow
Dec 20, 2009


Ditch posted:

I enjoyed it so much I put it on top for 2000, which has the most stacked top 10 of any year. So top 10 for the decade is a lock for my ballot and top 5 is probable.

It's a great match but I gotta put it behind Kawada/Sasaki from October. Also, haven't watched all the independent stuff for the year yet.

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

Crazy MAX vs M2K vs Do Fixer, trios titles, Toryumon July 7th 2002

Background: The second of the three-way trios matches gets the honor of headlining the company's annual supershow in Kobe.

Why I think it's underrated: As with the 2001 match, this didn't get attention based on Toryumon's perceived status as a second-tier promotion at the time.

What it deserves: Top 100. I put this ahead of the rematch a week later by virtue of the rematch's repetition; I credit the original over the sequel every time.

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

Takayama vs Nishimura, G-1 Climax semifinal, New Japan August 10th 2002

Background: Takayama was a hot commodity at the time due to his famous fight in PRIDE against Don Frye, and was a main eventer in both New Japan and NOAH at the same time. Nishimura is a throwback, using '70s-style technical wrestling to combat the brutal bruiser.

Why I think it's underrated: G-1 finals always get the spotlight, and understandably so. This not only wasn't a final, but it wasn't wrestled as an "epic". What they do pull off admirably is the sort of style-versus-style matchup that lies at the heart of the G-1 Climax concept. Nishimura gets Takayama into his own 'Muga World' and is able to be competitive, but in the back of your mind is the nagging suspicion that Takayama can crush him with a single blow. The crowd has those same doubts...

What it deserves: Top 100. I don't see it as a MOTYC, but it is both distinct and memorable.

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

Dick Togo vs Tiger Mask 4, junior title tournament final, Michinoku Pro August 25th 2002

Background: Michinoku Pro had used several singles titles over the years, typically obscure ones from Mexico. In 2002 they decided to create their own belt and had a huge round-robin tournament to crown a champion. Togo and Tiger Mask 4 were the top two and advanced to the final.

Why I think it's underrated: MPro's heyday was 1996, with the Kaientai stable helping to generate one great sprint after another. The promotion lost its consistency when most of the roster went elsewhere, since MPro tours the relatively poor and very rural north part of the country and thus doesn't pay particularly well. A case in point is this bout, with two Michinoku trainees who now only worked part-time for the promotion. Due to its lack of great match production, MPro shows tended to fly under the radar. This match went completely unnoticed from what I can tell, yet I'd say pretty much anyone will enjoy it. Life-long heel Togo is able to push life-long babyface Tiger Mask 4 to the breaking point in a very compact, intense battle. After watching it the first time I thought it was quite a bit longer than it actually was; they cram a lot in there.

What it deserves: Top 100. This feels like the climax of a US-style feud more than a Japanese title match, but it will have a hard time going ahead of matches that are twice as long and still great throughout.

Willninho
Aug 14, 2007


I really like Kobashi/Takayama from 2000. Just a great big dude slugfest; some of Takayama's knees looked great. I missed most of the big Takayama matches from the 00s so will be interesting to watch all of these. On the flip side I couldn't really get into Omori/Kobashi.

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

Willninho posted:

I really like Kobashi/Takayama from 2000. Just a great big dude slugfest; some of Takayama's knees looked great. I missed most of the big Takayama matches from the 00s so will be interesting to watch all of these.
Takayama had a really solid match with Misawa in September '99, but the Kobashi match was a gigantic step up and set the template for what was to come. Somehow he got even better when he stopped being in good shape.

Fauxhawk Express
Oct 28, 2007

I'M THE LORD JESUS CHRIST


Willninho posted:

On the flip side I couldn't really get into Omori/Kobashi.

I like their match in NOAH that fall so much better. Psychotic pissed off Kobashi rules.

Having watched it recently, Kawada vs. Kojima from June '01 is loving fantastic and blows away their TC match from 2005 while going about half as long. It takes a lot to look better than Kawada during this period and Kojima does exactly that. Maybe his best ever singles match, and a definite top 100 (maybe top 50) for me.

Fauxhawk Express fucked around with this message at Oct 4, 2013 around 21:46

Rodney the Piper
Sep 19, 2005

family sticks together


Misawa-Akiyama, 2/27/00

This is my second AJPW match I've ever watched. Really good stuff; only complaint I have about it is that the psychology of Misawa getting the utter poo poo kicked out of him and surviving was fine, but his comeback against Akiyama seemed to be too short. Story of the match was Akiyama just couldn't put Misawa away, despite being vicious and more or less being the better wrestler for 80% of the bout.

This is the first on this list that I've watched yet, but I'd be shocked if this wasn't top 40 or so.

Rodney the Piper
Sep 19, 2005

family sticks together


Yamikawa vs. Honma, 1/2/2000 - I'm completely unimpressed by this one. Basically, it's just guys doing moves. I hope BJPW has better offerings as we go on.

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

Rodney the Piper posted:

Yamikawa vs. Honma, 1/2/2000 - I'm completely unimpressed by this one. Basically, it's just guys doing moves. I hope BJPW has better offerings as we go on.
It was rated pretty highly at the time but I never enjoyed it, and it barely qualified. It's better than the absolute poo poo that most '90s deathmatches were, but that's a low bar to clear. The mid-decade matches on the set are considerably more brutal and engaging, albeit not for everyone.

Fauxhawk Express
Oct 28, 2007

I'M THE LORD JESUS CHRIST


Jado & Gedo vs Sasuke & Tiger Mask 4, Michinoku Pro August 19th, 2001

Jado/Gedo coming out to Caboose is always hilarious to me. Crowd brawling in puro usually annoys me, since it mostly comes off as just filler, but the champs use it pretty well to gain control of the match after getting outwrestled early on. Champs heel it up like crazy on TM4 and tell him to "GET UP, rear end in a top hat~!" so they can do more. Sasuke blows a spot in a really scary manner about midway through this, but is back up in like a minute and is back to being his usual self. The finishing run and the associated nearfalls are terrific here.

A very good match with a super second half, but I really wish Jado and Gedo got more time to heel it up and control the first half, because they were awesome here. Possible top 100.

Rodney the Piper
Sep 19, 2005

family sticks together


Hashimoto & Iizuka vs. Ogawa & Murakami, 1/4/2000

I really liked this match a lot. Ogawa and Murakami are just MMA dicks who don't need your rules, man. Iizuka does a real good job as a plucky underdog type who's more than willing to fight (is this modern day "crazy guy who will steal announcers' shirts and spray paint them"? If so, it is really weird to see him in this role), and Hashimoto - holy poo poo, was Hashimoto over. And this crowd was super into it, too. The downside is that there was a false gently caress finish - which did lead to a big crowd pop when Inoki restarted the match and helped establish that Ogawa and Murakami were rude dudes, but at the same time it did really halt the flow of the match.

I'm still trying to establish my baselines for where things will fall into place, but this definitely deserves consideration for the bottom half of the top 100, if not higher.

Ditch posted:

It was rated pretty highly at the time but I never enjoyed it, and it barely qualified. It's better than the absolute poo poo that most '90s deathmatches were, but that's a low bar to clear. The mid-decade matches on the set are considerably more brutal and engaging, albeit not for everyone.

I figured it was a case of that. I just don't see the appeal of it - it didn't really seem hyperviolent enough to appeal to the big death match people, and as a normal hardcore match I was underwhelmed. I look forward to getting to the later stuff, then. I guess I'll try to do this semi-chronologically.

Rodney the Piper
Sep 19, 2005

family sticks together


Okay, I watched one more today.

Tenryu vs. Sasaki, 1/4/00

Not a bad match at all, but I don't think this will stand out enough to stay in the top 100. A lot of punching and chops, and built to the big moves nicely. Seems like it'd be a solid ***1/2, maybe a bit more, but I'm almost positive the 100th best match of this decade will be above that.

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

Kanemoto vs Hashi, New Japan August 29th 2002

Background: New Japan versus NOAH was the hot feud of 2002, and this show captured the dynamic as well as any other. Because of the unusual makeup of the card (mostly junior heavyweights from many promotions and no full-time NJ heavyweights) and the location (traditional All Japan/NOAH haunt Tokyo Nippon Budokan), the crowd was a mix of New Japan and NOAH fans, with NOAH's fans often winning out. This is the second of three NJ vs NOAH junior matches. Kanemoto is the IWGP junior heavyweight champion, and as such is the overwhelming favorite.

Why I think it's underrated: Despite taking place at Nippon Budokan, the event didn't get the coverage that standard big shows did due to the makeup of its card and the lack of a coherent overall theme. Also, this wasn't a "dream match"; Hashi wasn't nearly as athletic and explosive as Marufuji and KENTA, and didn't attract headlines the way they did. This match takes advantage of the strengths of both men: Kanemoto as the cocky superstar and Hashi as the tough underdog.

What it deserves: Top 100. Really solid, plenty of heat, and it doesn't overstay its welcome.

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Rodney the Piper
Sep 19, 2005

family sticks together


Sano vs. Tanaka, 1/30/00, Battlarts

Pretty okay match with good submission work. Took a long time to build to the climax, but when it did it was a pretty good finish. I doubt this will be in the top 100 for me though. I could see it sneaking in on a few ballots though. Worth a watch.

Question about Battlarts - I realize this is kind of supposed to be based on catch wrestling, but it honestly doesn't hit me as more "shoot style" than the other Japanese stuff I've watched. Was this just an outlier?

I'll edit this in instead of making another post:

Aja Kong vs. KAORU, 2/13/00, GAEA

I loving loved this match. It was brutal, it told a really good story that was easy to pick up (Kong: huge, brutal, loves hitting with her backfiist; KAORU: scrappy, brutal, loves blocking backfists with giant chunks of wood), and it looked great. This is definitely top 100 material for me, if not higher, and I have to really encourage everyone to check it out for their lists. I'm still hyped from watching it.

Rodney the Piper fucked around with this message at Oct 8, 2013 around 19:53

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