January 2015 Month in Review

Hello everyone! Welcome to January 2015 in Review. This is where I look back at the previous month and talk about what I watched. This started as a Random Match Roundup, but I felt it would be best as another series entirely. Next month I hope to have this be more of an article. Now on to the matches!

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TMDK (Mikey Nicholls & Shane Haste) vs. The Dangan Yankees (Takashi Sugiura & Masato Tanaka) – (NOAH New Year Navigation 2015)
            What a match. This is another MOTYC from a stacked January. The match started a little slow, and the redundant heat segment was unwelcome, but, otherwise, this match was fantastic. The action was fast, furious, and hard-hitting throughout. The slapping sequence between Nicolls and Sugiura was awesome and will be one of the best sequences of the year. The Yankees beat the holy hell out of TMDK and that made TMDK look like world-beaters. Keep and eye out for TMDK because they are going to have a big 2015. Highest recommendation.

Rating: ****1/2

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Negro Casas vs. Máscara Dorada – (CMLL on Fox Sports 01-10-15)

            I love this match. Sure, it wasn’t a ***** classic, but it was so much fun. Great high flying, perfect and crisp maneuvers, and some absolutely gorgeous counter wrestling is what makes this match special. The psychology around the La Magistral was glorious and a joy to watch. The crispness and fluidity of lucha is one of the greatest parts of this style of wrestling, and it is present here. There was a beautiful seated senton by Negro that absolutely took my breath away and it wasn’t even the best spot of the match. The only gripe I have is gripes with most lucha matches, the first two falls, while fun, are short and/or not special (Sidenote: I plan to do an article critiquing the Lucha psychology, so stay tuned). Other than that this was great and falls just under MOTY consideration.

Rating: ****1/4

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Satoshi Kojima vs. Naomichi Marufuji – (NOAH New Years Navigation 2015)

            Great match from NOAH. Kojima shows why he is one of the most underrated wrestlers in the world and deserves a singles run. Marufuji was great too and complimented Kojima perfectly. These two just threw bombs at each other for 20 minutes+, which made this match very entertaining. Also, Marufuji took some nasty bumps in the match, but he returned the favor with some beautiful and stiff strikes. All of that was capped off with Kojima playing a wonderful subtle heel to Marufuji’s babyface. This was rock solid and adds another great match to a stacked 2015.

Rating: ****

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Flamita, Hijo de Fishman, & Skyman vs. Fénix, Pentagón Jr. & Hijo del Fantasma – (Cara Lucha 01-01-15)

            This felt like a PWG 6 man tag match. It started slow with some comedy but then devolved into absolute madness. Unlike PWG, though, the insanity lasted nearly 30 minutes. The length of this match is unheard of for the pace they were going at. It was 100 miles per hour, non-stop, for almost the whole match. All 6 men looked amazing and made me want to search more of their matches. The only thing holding this match down is that there were a few awkward and botched spots as well as this match being a fan cam match. Even with those gripes, this match is worth watching right now. Seriously, open a new tab, watch it, and come back. 2015 started with a bang and, if this is the precursor for the rest of the year, we are in for a wild ride.

Rating: ****1/2

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Eita vs. Jimmy Kagetora – (Dragon Gate Open the New Years Gate 2015)

Another great match from 2015, what a shock. These two put on a beautiful match that may sadly be lost in the shuffle of great matches this year. These two worked a blistering pace but they still told a great story and had fantastic selling. Jimmy sold his arm like a champ and Eita killed it in this match. Both guys looked great by the end of this match and I am excited to see both men in 2015. I feel like a broken record but January 2015 is awesome. With matches like this, I can’t wait to see what August, and the G1, will bring.

Rating: ****

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BxB Hulk, Masaaki Mochizuki, Dragon Kid vs. Akira Tozawa, Shingo Takagi, Shachihoko BOY (Dragon Gate Open the New Years Gate 2015)

Another great match from a year already full of them. This match was high-octane action with some story and comedy laced in. The main story of this match was the story of Akira Tozawa vs. BxB Hulk that was so prominent in the second half of last year. This match also has Mochizuki being somewhat Kawada-esque in his grumpy veteran persona, punishing Shachihoko for his comedy. The near falls in the closing stretch may have been excessive, but, nevertheless, this match was fun. If you have a heart or a soul, you will enjoy this match.

Rating: ***3/4

January 2015 was simply spectacular. It was so good, with each match surprising me in a different way. I’m shocked at the sheer number of ****+ matches from this month. There was even a show of the year contender on the 4th day of the year! All these matches are worth a watch, so find these ASAP. Also, watch Wrestle Kingdom 9, and then watch it again.

Top 10 Matches of 2015:

  1. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kota Ibushi (NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 9) *****
  2. Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 9) *****
  3. Go Shiozaki vs. Joe Doering (AJPW New Years Wars) ****1/2
  4. TMDK vs. Dangan Yankees (NOAH New Years Navigation) ****1/2
  5. Flamita, El Hijo de Fishman, & Skyman vs. Fénix, Pentagón Jr., & El Hijo del Fantasma (Cara Lucha 01-01-15) ****1/2
  6. Brock Lesner vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (WWE Royal Rumble) ****1/4
  7. Negro Casas vs. Máscara Dorada (CMLL on Fox Sports 01-10-15) ****1/4
  8. Tomohiro Ishii vs. Togi Makabe (NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 9) ****
  9. Satoshi Kojima vs. Naomichi Marufuji (NOAH New Years Navigation) ****
  10. Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata vs. Karl Anderson & DOC Gallows (NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 9) ****

-Terrance Smith

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