Michael Elgin vs. Tetsuya Naito from NJPW 2017

naito

This was for Naito’s IWGP Intercontinental Championship.

This was a far more interesting match than one might have expected going in or when you heard afterwards that the match was 36 minutes long.

That length was excessive obviously. They did use about 65-75% of the match at least to tell a very clear story. Naito was able to progressively damage Elgin’s left leg more and more. It was a long con strategy from Naito, and the pace of the match suggested it was going to be successful.

Elgin’s selling was a tad too inconsistent, but it was mostly successful enough all things considered. He wasn’t selling as well as some might have liked. However, he wasn’t exactly flying around at a rapid pace or whatnot out there.

The final 10 minutes or so were pretty dumb though given all of that. The leg work seemed to no longer matter. They were kicking out of finishers all over the place. None of it felt earned, but it all got over as well as you would expect.

If you don’t care about needlessly long matches, leg work that gets pushed aside when the match suddenly matters, and then having wrestlers kicking out of finishers, then this match will be for you. (**3/4)

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