What the hell were you all watching? This was MONEY!!!
IWGP Heavyweight Champion Shinya Hashimoto vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara - NJPW 6/1/94
After regaining the championship from Fujinami at the May Dome show, the 80s strike back continue as Fujiwara is his next challenger.
Superb! Had all the chippiness you would expect plus a ton of the little things that make both these men great. Fucking Fujiwara, God Bless this man, he rules the school. We get a lock up in the corner and he throws some great rabbit punches. Hashimoto throws one wild haymaker in the corner. I guess Hashimoto has an injured left shoulder because Fujiwara goes after it with ferocity. He takes Hashimoto down with a vicious armbar. Hashimoto makes the ropes and then tries to give Fujiwara a taste of his own medicine, but Fujiwara quashes the armbar takedown as they end up in the ropes. Hashimoto frustrated throws a wicked stomp. Then the best thing ever happens. Fujiwara backs him into the corner and gives him a CLEAN break. What a fucking asshole! I have never marked so hard for a clean break.
Other things that are characteristic of Fujiwara is the organic transitions into holds and the struggle over holds. Hashimoto starts to the throw kicks and Fujiwara catches his foot and gets a single takedown. The fight for the single leg crab is great and then Fujiwara just settles for a chokehold. Which just reinforces how much that clean break was such a dick move. FUJIWARA PUNCH TO THE FACE! Punches in puroresu always make me mark out. That was awesome. Fujiwara going back to the choke was great. Then Hashimoto bulrushes Fujiwara and wrenches the knee. Then he points to his shoulder. Fucking love it! Two fucking assholes going at it. Fujiwara goes back to the arm. Rope break. Good selling from Hashimoto.
Hashimoto misses his rainbow kick in the corner. Fujiwara just bounces on his feet as Hashimoto looks like an asshole worried that Fujiwara is going to pounce. It takes a real man to make Hashimoto look like a jackass. Hashimoto overwhelms him with kicks in the corner. Fujiwara catches the foot, this time Hashimoto gets a guillotine. Then backs him into the corner, Hashimoto gives Fujiwara a receipt and PUNCHES him in the face and then he catches him really good with a kick to the chest. Fujiwara does his classic collapse selling. Fujiwara sells so well. Desperately clinging to the foot.
Then there is the one bad egregious spot. Fujiwara puts Hashimoto in a cross armbreaker for a long time. No real struggle or selling. I know PRIDE wasn't a thing yet, but a cross armbreaker is an endgame. I didn't like the disrespect for that hold. The ease at which Hashimoto got out and he elbows the bad knee. I like the double psychology, but just one bad moment. Hey it happens.
They stand up. I love all the resets. Makes it feel like a chapter book. Fujiwara feigns with some slaps and Hashimoto says bring it, don't sing it. Hashimoto gets him in the clinch, Muay Thai knees, Fujiwara goes for the armbar takedown, HASHIMOTO DDT!!! MARK OUT CITY!!! YES! YES! Hashimoto running enziguiri, kneelifts, VICIOUS DDT! Fujiwara fucks up by kicking out, but I don't care, THIS WAS FUCKING AWESOME! Great character work, great build, dripping with psychology, tons of great offense. Only thing this from being in the tippy top is the cross armbreaker spot, watch this match! ****1/2