Juice Robinson vs Cody – NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11

Juice Robinson vs Cody

01/04/2017

Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan

(reviewed 01/04/2017) This could either be some real solid, understated, professional-ass wrestling, or it could be the drizzling shits. Don’t foresee it falling in the middle too much, but hey, I’m going to try to give it a chance. After some feeling out, Cody sends Juice to the floor with a hiptoss (the brother smacking his back on the apron on the way down) before going for a big springboard nothing that Juice catches and reverses into a belly to belly suplex on the floor. Juice pops right up and screams “I’M IN THE FUCKING TOKYO DOOOME”. Neat little spot to get things started hot, which is sort of necessary in a match like this. As they show a replay of the spot, Juice hits a cannonball to Cody as he’s seated on the floor up against the guard rail, and we’re only able to see that after another replay. Back in the ring, they start doing their usual spots and Cody takes over with an Alabama Slam. The dude is trying his goddamn hardest to come across as a heel, yelling at referee Tiger Hattori and commentator Kevin Kelly a bunch and also doing the token Bullet Club finger guns, as well as his Stardust lay-on-stomach-and-look-at-you pose. It’s all very obtuse and obvious, like the guy’s cosplaying as a heel as opposed to just being a heel. When Juice stands up to some weak strikes, Cody goes after his knee, and to his credit, Juice sells it quite well as he makes a comeback. A sloppy fireman’s carry gutbuster (which sort of looks like Cody was meant to reverse) earns Juice a two count, but when he takes too long with a stalling suplex, Cody goes after his knee again, and while Juice fights through it and responds with a real good right hand, he’s clearly feeling it now. Cody reverses a crossbody into a trailer hitch, and Juice has to crawl to the bottom rope to escape. A completely ghosted Disaster Kick (which honestly is the fault of both men, as Juice simply was a little too far away) sends the flower child neck-first onto the apron, and Cody follows it up with a rope-hung DDT and a bunch of obnoxious “OH? OH? OH?” grunts. Juice avoids a Cross Rhodes and hits a real snug falling clothesline for a two count of his own. His knee prevents him from capitalizing, though, and Cody reverses his Unprettier into a Cross Rhodes for the win. Fun stuff here, more along the lines of the understated quality I figured this could be, though it’s really built on the back of one man. Cody does his best but is just too heavy-handed and cute here to be anything other than vaguely enjoyable in a mechanical sense (just like the rest of the Bullet Club, really). Juice, on the other hand, clearly came to play, and while his constant yelling is a little over the top for my taste (and I often complain that wrestlers should be more vocal), his selling and personality go a long way, elevating a completely middle of the road match to something a bit above that.

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