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Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Shinya Aoki (NEW 4/5/2017)

Yoshiaki Fujiwara Shinya Aoki NEW 2017

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    save all japan pro wrestling

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 11:39 AM

The first match in NEW history faces off a shoot style legend and one of the most notorious japanese MMA fighters of today. When you choose to work a mat-based shoot style match in a more conservative manner, with not many nearfalls and highspots, it's not uncommon to see it become uninteresting. These two absolutely nailed it. Aoki seems to intuitively *get* pro wrestling-their sequences just seamlessly flow. It is like a lucha title match, except wacky lucha holds are replaced with armbars and leglocks, and the use of realistic guard positions almost makes it like a high end jiu jitus exhibition. Almost-because the match retains a certain flair of catch wrestling you'd want a Fujiwara match to have, in that how they utilize their joints to put pressure on their opponents makes for a significant aspect of the match, but they also pull guard, block transitions, use ankle picks and so on, giving the match its own unique feel rather than just copying an old style. Fujiwara tones down the goofiness-there's no ramming his head against the pose or cracking jokes, but he can't help but fake a handshake and blast Aoki with some headbutts (which looked great, and way better than some he was doing 25-30 years ago, no holding his opponent's head with one hand, just a quick straight motion).  Not something I'd imagine people who aren't big on the style would be blown away with, but I doubt NEW is gonna for them anyway. ****

#2 MattOL

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 05:47 AM

Wow, aoki. Where can I watch this show?

#3 MattOL

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 07:02 AM

No need, it's on YouTube :|

#4 Microstatistics

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 02:52 PM

How great is Fujiwara at pro wrestling? Having great matches at 68 vs. a guy relatively new to pro wrestling. Awesome match with some really nifty attention to detail matwork and an interesting experience vs. skill dynamic. I am unusually high on shoot style so I suspect not everyone is going to like it nearly as much as I did but I would definitely recommend it to fans of the style. ****

#5 Jetlag

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Posted 25 April 2018 - 10:14 AM

Been a while since Fujiwara faced someone who gave him this much material in terms of mat skill an personality to work with. This was basically the nearly immobile Fujiwara using his old style hooking against the highly flexible Aoki. Watching these guys twist eachother up was so much fun, and Fujiwara did a strong job as usual directing traffic and leading his opponent. Finish came sudden (for me...) but a cool moment. It was an exhibition-y finish to a match that actually felt very unlike the exhibitions Fujiwara has done here and there over the years, both in terms of competitiveness and technique.

#6 Phil Schneider

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Posted 26 April 2018 - 04:17 PM

 I assumed that the days of Fujiwara classics had passed, I have been working on the C+A Fujiwara project since 2009, I have found a couple of EPIC's since then, but they have all been tags and trios matches which included great performances from other wrestlers as well. Fujiwara is 67 years old, how is it possible for him to be able to work a 15 minutes singles match this good? Aoki isn't a guy who has done much pro-wrestling before, although he is one of the greatest MMA grapplers ever, he fits in to shootstyle great, he is so skilled and fast. I love how Fujiwara was working this as a guy a little outclassed on the mat, it is a foreign role for him, but Aoki is so slick that Fujiwara keeps finding himself in a compromised position. He has to resort to cheapshot headbutts to get an advantage (and man what a cheapshot headbutt it was, one of his best), I also loved how Fujiwara used wrestling grappling in a shoot context, at one point he uses a headlock to drive Aoki's knee to his temple, another time he does almost a drop toe hold to get back position, credit to the skill of both guys that it looked natural.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Shinya Aoki, NEW, 2017

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