Hideki Suzuki v Masato Tanaka (Zero-1, 1/1/16)
I don't really know why, but I'm always a little surprised when I make my brief, annual forays into the current Japanese wrestling and see Masato Tanaka popping up. Feels like he's been around forever, but he still looks to be in great shape. He's not someone I ever really think of as being in that "grumpy old man" category despite the fact he's been wrestling about as long as, say, Akiyama. I wouldn't say he was showing his age as such here, but I did kind of get a vibe of him being out of his depth (kayfabe terms) against the younger ace (who's pushing 40 himself). When he went to his deathmatch roots and brought out the table, for example, you could probably buy it as a sort of desperation move. Match only went 16 minutes so it was fairly condensed, though the opening matwork section still managed to feel substantive rathepthan perfunctory. It was also probably my favourite part. Suzuki is a Billy Robinson trainee so you always get the grittiness to his matwork, pulling legs at nasty angles and really leaning on joints. They moved away from that with a rote forearm exchange, but I should probably just get used to that already and not constantly bring it up if I'm gonna continue to watch this stuff. It is part of the Japanese pro-wrestling. It's embedded in the fabric of the fake fighting. I must come to accept this. Finishing run was short, and while they might've moved on from a few big spots without letting them truly sink in, I'd rather they did that than keep going for another five/six minutes of bomb-throwing overkill.