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Member Since 27 Sep 2014
Offline Last Active Jun 13 2018 06:03 AM

Topics I've Started

Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Naoya Ogawa (ZERO-1 6/14/2001)

07 January 2018 - 06:55 AM

Fujiwara is a Gotch-trained judo black belt and a total badass, but he’s totally outmatched as a 52 year old trying to fight a 193cm/6’3 115kg judo world champion in his prime. He blindisghts Ogawa-but it doesn’t really work, even in his second step of trying to take Ogawa down he already meets a barrier he can’t destroy in Ogawa’s guard. Fujiwara’s only real chance of winning this is by a flash submission, as his catch training gives him an edge over Ogawa in that regard. Ogawa smartly uses the size advantage he has to control Fujiwara on the mat, while Fujiwara in turn desperately tries to counter Ogawa’s guards or grab a knee once Ogawa presses it against his face or goes for a kick or a knee strike. Ogawa punches Fujiwara on the ground throughout the match which Fujiwara acknowledges by doing really great exhaustion selling, which somewhat makes up for the mild intensity of Ogawa’s punches, and they manage to produce a great nearfall on Fujiwara finally grabbing a killhold, but in the end you can’t beat father time and Ogawa smashes his head into the canvas repeteadly to remind you of how many zealous practitioners of the gentle way got concussed by Masahiko Kimura in similar fashion. ***1/2

Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Eddie Edwards (NOAH 8/26/2017)

05 January 2018 - 06:27 AM

Look-this is modern wrestling-things aren’t perfect. You’re going to get Edwards popping up and doing an enzuigiri at a time where the match would’ve benefited form some patience and a later transition. You’re going to see some predictable irish whip transitions, and counters (though only one really stood out in this match) where long-term selling is ignored for the immediate pop. But, all things considered, I think they did a very good job of building a match around classic NOAH tropes, sticking to their strengths in striking (Edwards’ chops really have improved significantly) and kicking and letting the match play out and gradually increasing the intensity, adding bigger spots and counters as well as managing to make them mean something by not cramming too much of them as well as creating an interesting narrative around Eddie trying to use Misawa’s big moves instead of just having him hit them all straight away on his first attempt. Nakajima’s current move-set doesn’t really lend itself to nearfall fests well, which is in a way a strength of his matches as they’re more built on him killing of his opponents (him grabbing Edwards’ wrist and proceeding to just mercielssly beat on him was a wonderful moment), and even for a big moment like this they didn’t go nearly overboard, along with smartly timing their kick-outs throghout the match. The big spots resonated, the crowd got into it, good stuff all around. ***3/4

Shinobu Kandori vs Victoria Kazunina (FMW 5/5/1993)

24 December 2017 - 09:20 AM

Two highly skilled judokas work a Battlarts match and it rules. I’m not usually a fan of 90s joshi pacing, but a five minute sprint is much more digestible than a half an hour one, especially when it serves as a showcase of legit techniques and not missile dropkicks and half nelson chickenwing suplexes. Kazunina makes me a fan by doing a beautiful O-goshi five seconds into a match, and not that I wouldn’t have liked this if this were just a million hip throws-but they really do a fantastic job of structuring things in such a way that always keeps you guessing by also utilizing hand techniques, sacrifice throws, Kosen/BJJ-like sweeps, creating neat grappling sequences around fighting for chokes and armbars by using legit counters as well as fluently entering into them from standing. Kandori hitting a Seoi Nage could be “just a thing that happened”, but after teasing it and having her be the one thrown a bunch in such a short time the contrast makes it a gigantic, momentum shifting turning point, even if the actuality of the match being a five minute sprint worked in the vein it was forces them to be exchanging maneuvers and not truly be one sided for a longer period of time, that it cons you into feeling like that regardless is a testament to the power of pro wrestling. ****1/4

Anton Geesink vs Gorilla Monsoon (AJPW Judo Jacket Match 6/13/1974)

24 December 2017 - 07:08 AM

The first ever Openweight Judo Olympic Champion faces off against Gorilla Monsoon in a special “judo jacket” rules match. In practice this essentially means they have to wear a judogi and pins last 20 seconds instead of 3, otherwise it’s the standard 2/3 falls formula of the times. I think this was well structured-Geesink carried the first half of the match which looked more like proper judo with him trying uchi mata, ouchi gari etc. but being stopped by Monsoon’s sheer size. Monsoon didn’t really do much there outside of his antics about his belt untying, but really took over in the second fall by going back to the pro-wres playbook and using chops and punches. There were some nice counters built around Monsoon going for the Fireman’s Carry and the irish whip Bearhug towards the end, with the finish being about what you’d expect for 1974. Nothing spectacular, but good fun for those interested in this particular niche of prowres. ***1/4

Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Akitoshi Saito (NJPW 8/3/1993)

09 December 2017 - 09:39 AM

Fujiwara looks like such a badass here. This is a match built as a battle of Saito’s striking and kicking and Fujiwara’s submissions, and Fujiwara just overwhelms Saito with his badassery. Early on as they’re making their first moves he checks Saito’s kicks and then just explodes with brutal chokes, making great use of Saito’s gi and surely making whoever his judo coach was proud with sweet collar chokes. Saito takes the gi off but Fujiwara then just uses the belt to choke him even more violently, really the whole match is just a sweet Fujiwara showcase, Saito has really nice kicks and body blows, and he busts Fujiwara open with punches to the forehead, which just results in Fujiwara rising up like a vampire and headbutting the hell out of him, as well as often just brushing off Saito’s kicks. Fujiwara also basically no-sells Saito when he goes to argue with his second instead of paying attention to Saito and totally super rekts him when he fakes being stunned by body shots to lure Saito in, and Saito takes the bait like a faithless fool. A little bit too one sided to reach “greatness” but a great time to be had watching it. What are ratings anyway? ***3/4