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William Bologna

Member Since 21 Mar 2017
Offline Last Active Today, 02:06 AM

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In Topic: Tatsumi Fujinami

09 December 2017 - 10:30 AM

WWF World Heavyweight Championship bout Hulk Hogan vs Fujinami Tatsumi 6/11/1985


This is for the WWF title, so we know who's not winning. Can you imagine an American company putting the title on Fujinami? And then headlining a pay-per-view with him? Why, a company that did that would have to be run by idiots.


It's interesting that since it's Japan, the WWF title gets the full treatment - they haul out a trophy and a certificate at the end and have someone doing the Lord James Blears-style awkward speech into the mic announcing the title match. Doing the honors tonight is . . . holy crap, that's Vince! He's showing no hint of the character he would become, as this speech is just as stiff as it usually is on these occasions.


Danny Hodge is the special guest referee. He does OK. He doesn't Kiniski it up or anything.


They repeat this sequence a few times: Hogan dominates on the mat and whips Fujinami into the ropes (which always gets a pop since the crowd is waiting for the axe bomber). Fujinami ducks and gets in some offense. Then we go back to Hogan holding him down.


It's better than I'm making it sound. Hogan looks awkward standing (he opens with that go behind hammerlock thing he always does in Japan, and it looks terrible), and their height difference makes some of the upright exchanges look silly, but he's fine on the mat. He throws out some nifty stuff - a running powerslam, a Jumbo-style jumping knee, a backdrop suplex, and a weird-looking double club to the back of the head off the ropes. He even busts out a surfboard. He's laying in his shots, too. Hogan is very, very good in this match, and it helps that once again the crowd is infected with Hulkamania.


Finally, they resume running the ropes. Fujinami ducks an axe bomber but gets hit on the rebound for the pin.


This was worth watching, and the weird thing is that Fujinami was the second-best guy in the match. He's still not really making his presence felt in these heavyweight matches, and he plain screws up a couple times here. At one point he's on offense and bodyslams the Hulkster. Then he stops, does nothing for a moment, and bodyslams him again, deflating a previously noisy crowd. Worse is the finish. On the axe bomber, he apparently forgets to bump, and Hulk has to kind of push him over with his arm. It looks awful, and it takes away from what should have been a hot finish.

In Topic: Tatsumi Fujinami

07 December 2017 - 09:10 PM

Antonio Inoki & Fujinami Tatsumi vs Masa Saito & Riki Choshu 5/24/1984


Our first Saito sighting, and man is he cool. He looks like some kind of giant steroid caveman, and he can really move.


The bad guys - and we'll see just how bad they are later on - dominate. We get a just fantastic heat segment on Fujinami. Choshu's got his working shoes on, Saito is awesome, and they're tagging in and out contantly and keeping things moving as they work over Fujinami.


Inoki gets similar treatment, amid short comebacks from our heroes. Well, from our hero and the butthole who signs everyone's checks.


To be fair, Inoki doesn't hold this match back at all. He's generous with his foes this time, and he really does get his ass kicked.


Which brings us to the finish. Choshu puts Inoki through the ringer - Inoki gets blasted with a lariat, spike piledriven, and then lariated again. Choshu is absolutely sure he has the pin, but Inoki kicks out so subtly that we can't even blame Choshu and Saito for being upset. I'm even willing to cut Choshu some slack when he winds up and sends the ref to the shadow zone with a clothesline.


Fujinami is not as understanding as I, and his attempt to intervene earns him a lariat of his own. Choshu and Saito, disqualified, treat it as a moral victory.


This was pretty good. It started out hot, as the villains really put a lot of work into beating up their opponents. They weren't just sitting in holds; they kept it going. It did slow down, though. They spent far too much time taking turns putting Inoki in the scorpion deathlock, but it picked up again towards the end as the anti-Inoki violence reached a crescendo. This was a good 20 minute match that would have been a great 15 minutes.

In Topic: Tatsumi Fujinami

06 December 2017 - 09:06 PM

Fujinami Tatsumi vs Riki Choshu 2/3/1984


I hope your happiness doesn't count on reading my opinions of a fifth Choshu vs. Fujinami match, because this one doesn't happen. There's a tussle outside the ring, and some dude yells into the mic for a while. Eventually we see Choshu emerge from the fracas, and he's all bloody. Dirty work at the crossroads!


The rest of this is basically the aftermath of one of those patented 80s bad finishes, but at least they didn't make the guys wrestle for 15 minutes beforehand. Fujinami beats up on Choshu and gets blood all over himself, the crowd throws streamers, the cornermen get involved - the usual.


It ends with the referee standing in the middle of the ring holding that fake-ass belt they were always fighting over, looking as befuddled as I was.


Cagematch informs us via Google translate that the match didn't happen because Yoshiaki Fujiwara attacked Choshu and I guess made him bleed with an armbar or something. So thanks for coming, Sapporo, and drive safe!


It's amazing that the 80s didn't kill wrestling in this country.

In Topic: Tatsumi Fujinami

04 December 2017 - 07:25 PM

Fujinami Tatsumi Akira Maeda vs Choshu force Yoshiaki Yatsu 1/1/1984


These two ancient rivals ring in the new year by locking up again. They've brought allies with them this time. We've seen Maeda once, and I'm happy to report that he resists the urge to punt Choshu right in the orbital bone.


For now.


Meanwhile, we see Yatsu for the first time. I don't have good memories of the man. I had a compilation of 1988/1989 All Japan that had about 20 Tsuruta/Yatsu vs Tenryu/Kawada matches. As I recall, Yatsu's main thing was artlessly to shrug off Kawada's offense and bring everything to a grinding halt. I've since seen him touted as a superworker, so we'll see.


Since we last saw them, Choshu has grown his hair out, while Fujinami looks to have gotten a giant pile of steroids for Christmas.


Choshu vs Fujinami remains a big ticket rivalry; when Maeda tags Fujinami, he demands that Choshu get in. They do a hot sequence, and the crowd goes crazy.


Yatsu is not an asset in this. He noticeably screws up on three separate occasions, and he's got "Japan" on the sides of his tights. Is it the most interesting thing you could think of? There are three other guys from Japan in this match. Four if you count the ref. Five if you count the ring announcer. Six if you count the guy in the classic t-shirt and trunks combo who helps Choshu blast Maeda with a lariat later. This isn't like Will Ospreay sporting a Union Jack.


He does have a cool way of throwing himself into the ropes when he's running. That's the only thing I like about him.


Everyone except Choshu takes a turn getting beaten on for a while, and it's not bad. They attempt a bunch of double-team maneuvers, including variations on putting a guy in a hold and having your partner jump on him. Also popular is holding a guy up and having your partner come up off the top rope with a half-assed forearm. It's 1984, so while these highspots aren't mind-blowing, I appreciate the attempts.


Maeda winds up getting his ass kicked pretty hard. Yatsu and Choshu hit him with a damn spike piledriver, and Choshu follows up with one of his bad lariats (this gets another "Stan Hansen!" from the announcer, which is just unfair to Choshu. Don't be reminding the people of what a good lariat looks like!).


They take Maeda outside, where Yatsu holds him for Choshu to deliver the coup de grace. Choshu winds up, gets a running start, and fucking trips on some streamers. Just completely eats it out there. This did not seem to be a planned spot. The t-shirted crony takes over the holding duties, Choshu hits Maeda, and Team Choshu wins by countout.


Decent piece of business here. The work and pace were good, and there was enough heat to keep you invested in the characters. The finish was acceptable by the low standards of the 1980s.

In Topic: Tatsumi Fujinami

28 November 2017 - 09:15 PM

MSG Tag League regular season Antonio Inoki & Hulk Hogan vs Tatsumi Fujinami & Akira Maeda 12/7/1983


This might be the first Maeda match I've ever seen. He's tall, but there's nothing much that stands out about him.


You can't say that about the Hulkster. I don't know what it is (I never have), but the people are in love.


Here he does the holds he busts out whenever he's in Japan. We get some armdrags, the hammerlock, and so on. He looks a lot better dishing out the armdrags than he does taking them - there's a certain awkwardness to him, but he does move very well for such a big guy. 


Inoki is as bad as always. There was a lively debate in his GWE thread over whether he was any good, and I just don't see any pros. I'll admit I came in biased against him, but he really hasn't done anything in any of these matches. I guess he was a little more lively in singles matches?


Here he works holds, for certain very generous definitions of "work." He refuses to give Fujinami anything. He'll hold Fujinami in a headlock or whatever, Fujinami escapes, and Inoki immediately locks him back into a headscissors. He's a bit more generous with Maeda.


The problem with a team like Inoki and Hogan (other than it being at least 50% terrible) is that one of these invincible headliners has to get beat on. Hogan takes the brunt here, and the crowd clearly doesn't buy into it. They're silent when Maeda does something to Hogan but perk right back up when the Hulkster goes on the offense. He hits a very nice kneedrop and a vertical suplex before going for the big legdrop and missing. Fujinami and Maeda pull off a double vertical suplex, and then Maeda hits Hogan with a legdrop while Fujinami has him in a leghold. Nifty.


Decent finish: Hogan whips Maeda into the ropes, but Fujinami runs in and hits a dropkick to prevent the dreaded axe bomber. Maeda tries a dropkick of his own, but Hogan blocks and hits the bomber for the pin. And the crowd goes wild because they really do love Hulk.


Having typed all that, I realize that made the match sound better than it was. Other than the fun sequences I described, it was listless. I'm comfortable blaming most of this on Inoki, but not all.


Hogan was pretty decent. You don't want to go too far with that - this is a Japan that still has Stan Hansen in it - but he did some cool stuff, and he could really move. This might have been a hell of a match if we had Choshu or Hamaguchi in there instead of the boss.