Post by wrestlingfan55 on Feb 5, 2021 21:03:48 GMT -5
IiRC the Swing Circle was a bit different in 25-26 compared to the Jumping Rings in 27. In the latter, the rings were held in place. In 25-26 the rings were able to shift (judging by the tester footage after the tournament), which made them harder. And between that and the Rope Junction (?), there was no rest break.
It's not like in 18, where Nagano may have cleared Stage 3 if he'd somehow gotten past the jump in the Cliffhanger. THAT version of Stage 3 was arguably easier than 17's after the Cliffhanger.
The ultimate job:
A retired steel working, fire fighting fisherman turned district manager of a massage clinic.
Yeah, the 25-26 Swing Circle was at least much harder than the Jumping Bars which they directly replaced due to them moving back and forth. Yeah, I agree the Bungee Rope thing was a bit of a cop-out but given the gauntlet of obstacles the competitors would've had to face beforehand it's not too much of a negative imo.
The main aspect of this Stage 3 that I liked the most was that while the Cliffhanger was inevitably made much harder, it felt like the rest of the course was also buffed up proportionally, which meant that while the UCH was absolutely crazy for the era, the course surprisingly didn't feel too 'Cliffhanger-centric'; any competitor could've slipped up on the Roulette Cylinder, Doorknob Grasper, Floating Boards, etc. and if you look at the ANW results we got a lot of guys who failed those first few obstacles e.g. ANW5 where 6 out of 7 competitors failed before the UCH, and the one guy that didn't passed the obstacle.
Compare this to literally any other renewal post-Nagano's victory and the first halves of the stage trail miserably in difficulty while the Cliffhanger is always made harder. Like in 18 as wrestlingfan55 mentioned, and the 28-31 iteration where LITERALLY no one failed before the Crazy Cliffhanger. Granted this was likely done on purpose to guarantee that someone would attempt the new version of the CH in its introductory tournament (as it obviously sucks to advertise the obstacle in the Navis etc and then have it unattempted), but after that it backfires as it makes the results largely mundane and predictable. Recent Stage 3s have been a bit better, but even the Vertical Limit has been overcome of recent which further serves to increase the Cliffhanger's already irrationally large role in determining the results of the stage.
Interesting, as that's probably my favourite tournament, at least since Nagano's win. I've never seen so much drama and excitement in any tournament after that. Basically a 10/10 tournament for me, especially considering it followed the shock of 22 (which was also a great tournament in its own right).
Did the course designers even bother with Sasuke 18's Stage 3, outside of the Cliffhanger? I wonder if they even expected anyone to get past Stage 2. In hindsight it just looked so ill-prepared, compared to the one we saw in 21.
I also think 23 was overrated but defo not to the same level as 36 or 38, mainly because I still think it was one of the best tournaments but not THE best as a lot of others believe it to be. Personally, I prefer 24 due to the huge mix of unexpected and unprecedented levels of successes as well as surprise early exits from All-Stars and the two previous finalists; it had by far the least predictable and most nail-biting Kanzenseiha, as everyone expected it to be Nagano but he shockingly failed Stage 1, and we got 5 Final Stage attempts so it was literally anyone's game. 23 didn't have that same shock factor, with most of the competitors who did well either having done well in the previous tournament or at least having been expected to do well, except for maybe Shingo who's return to Stage 3 was super anti-climactic. There were no real breakout runs either with all of the promising trial qualifiers going out on Stage 2, unlike in 24 where we saw Tajima and Hashimoto really show their true potential. So yeah, I'm in favour of 24 over 23.
R/e Sasuke 18, I'm surprised Stage 3 was so poorly revamped, given that even back in the All-Star era it was still by far the hardest and most gruelling stage based on results alone, so it would've made sense to get especially creative for Stage 3 above all else. As I mentioned before the first half of the stage was definitely made easy on purpose just to guarantee an attempt on the Shin-Cliffhanger which had been heavily marketed as the new 'Ninja Killer'. The back half which was left basically unchanged bar the Spider Flip I think they just didn't bother with as they were expecting everyone to fail on the Shin-Cliffhanger anyway, which turned out to be the case (it almost didn't i.e. Nagano). I'm certain that they only added the much harder Sending Climber in 19 because given the Nagano situation in the previous tournament they were genuinely scared that Nagano would otherwise clear the SCH, then destroy the underwhelming back half to clear Stage 3, and potentially Kanzen only 2 tournaments after this massively time-consuming and expensively designed renewal. I've said this before and I still maintain that their reasoning behind 19's design vs. 18's was purely to halt Nagano in his otherwise unstoppable tracks during that era.
Sasuke 8, kind of similar to SK12 in that it was a one man show, this time it was Kane rather than Nagano. The third stage left unchanged on paper was a no brainer, it still did damage the previous tournament, but when 3 of 4 people attempt it and make it past the cliffhanger, than their are problems, and that 4th person (Shoei) shouldn't even have been their because for some reason they upped the second stage time to 100 seconds.
I get most of the hype comes from Kane, but that's it it's just Kane, and if he didn't do what he did to make the tournament watchable, our memory of the tournament would have only been Jovtchev doing the splits in the final stage.