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Obscure shoot style AND MORE

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#12

Katsumi Usuda vs Masanobu Kurisu-Big Mouth Loud 29.12.2005.   This is my kind of wrestling right here, I was coming in hoping for this to be a festival of ultraviolence but they chose to work the mat which I would have also accepted, I don't really ever remember watching Kurisu roll, he looked good here, doing neat stuff like using his knee to bend Usuda's ankle which you'd expect to see from Fujiwara. This "matwork" section also included Kurisu shoot headbutting Usuda like ten times. The crowd didn't seem to pick it up but I sure did. Just as I was accepting this match for what it was Kurisu fucking threw Usuda out of the ring and started blasting him chairshots, this culminated with him shoot chairshotting Usuda so hard you got one of those situations where you aren't sure if the guy bladed or he just hit him that hard, this was a blast, can't imagine a more fun way to spend six minutes.

GOTNW

GOTNW

 

#11

Naoya Ogawa vs Kazuo Yamazaki-NJPW 6.7.1997. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vG7_3p9rc5Q First Fujiwara-Frye, now this, today has been a good day. Ogawa is still in his gi-wearing phase and his offence is limited to judo stuff, it creates an interesting styles clash against a shoot wrestler like Yamazaki, there were a bunch of good looking slams and strikes in here but what really made it is how smartly they were built up, every offensive maneuver made here made sense from the persepctive of a wrestler trying to use his strenghts to gain advantage over the other, Yamazaki has the advantage in striking and kicking, Ogawa in throws and they overlap in submissions which is played up in a satisfying manner, I can't think of how this could've been any better, every transition is treated as a huge deal and there's a real sense of urgency in everything they do and the finish fits in perfectly with everything they'd had established.

GOTNW

GOTNW

 

#10

Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Don Frye-NJPW 5.6.1998. I had no idea this happened so I watched it immediately as I stumbled upon it. It ruled. It had to. Don Frye isn't a great wrestler per se, so I tried to imagine a scenario in which this match would be disappointing, but I simply couldn't. There was no way the narrow skillset he possesses wouldn't translate well in this setting. Watching them battle on the mat was really fun, one of the first thing Fujiwara did in the match was a leglock hammerlock (it looked as insane as it sounds) from which he somehow transitioned into a full mount, obviously Frye would have the advantage of being stronger than him and that's how they played it up with Fujiwara reversing his stuff with cool holds and transitions, the finishing stretch was amazing, Frye had great punches and Fujiwara's awesome staggering selling made Frye punching him out look even better, great performance by Fujiwara and a really neat find.

GOTNW

GOTNW

 

#9

SHINYA HASHIMOTO VS SATORU SAYAMA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7QXDdHai-c This is probably the most important video of my life. Like I think there's a chance I encountered it somewhere before and then forgot about it but finding it right now, at this stage of my life, holds a meaning that is hard to put into words. It may not even be worked but who cares it's HASHIMOTO AND SAYAMA. This is a boxing match from a japanese TV game show. It's awesome. Great visuals, goofy gloves, punches to the face. Is it even pro wrestling? It should be. It rules.

GOTNW

GOTNW

 

#8

Satoru Sayama vs Yuji Ito-Gracie Tournament 29.7.1994. Firstly I'd like to thank the person that helped me decipher Yuji Ito's kanji/name and made this review possible. One of my favourite things right now is finding as many Sayama shoot matches as possible and their inaccessibility and the convoluted youtube journeys I have to go throught to find them make them even more amusing. They mostly seem to be exhibitions on MMA cards. This was completely badass, just them trying to cramp as much cool stuff as they could, kind of like a highlight video of neat kicks, submissions and takedowns. The lack of struggle is something that could usually bother me but here I thought it was acceptable because of the medium and the purpose of the match. The technique Sayama showcased in his execution was tremendous. A GIF match, but a great one. ***1/2

GOTNW

GOTNW

 

#7

AKIRA MAEDA vs DUTCH MANTELL-UWF 11.4.1984.   OH BOY HERE WE GO. I am sure this is a match that is very famous among pwo elders but I am young and inexperienced and had no idea it happened until today. I envisioned this as a shoot style blog but really I'll post anything that I can somehow connect to shoot style here and this was too bizarre for it to not end up here. I guess this blog's philosophy is closer to UWFi than it is to RINGS. This wasn't even a shoot style match but it took place in a (proto) shoot feud and that's a good enough excuse for me. First thing that stands out is how much Maeda looks like a blowjob babyface. Dutch's heel mannerisms in the beginning of the match were awesome, he was great at trolling Maeda, acting like a dick, throwing streamers at him etc. The crowd started chanting for random wrestlers in the middle of the match which was hilarious, exactly like the stuff you'd see at a post-wrestlemania raw, just without the part where they fuck everything up with dumb chants. This was worked at a very.......american style which the crowd totally rejected and the action was merely solid but you can't go wrong with a match in which you get both Maeda shoot kicking someone so hard it knocks them silly and an enraged japanese crowd.

GOTNW

GOTNW

 

#6

Jushin Thunder Liger vs Satoru Sayama-NJPW 1.5.1994. An exhibition match with a ten minute limit-you know how those end. Glimpses of this were really great (Liger's Abisengiri, the slap-punch exchange and Sayama avoiding a shoulder block by just walking away) but it looked like they were too tentative to create something that would be more than merely good. It was completely devoid of conventional drama and had almost no highspots so I can't see traditionalists liking it much. I was curious how Liger would do in a strange environment like this, the grappling was fine but Sayama reacting to Liger's wacky takedowns made the match for me. The drama present here was based on whether a takedown would work or not which was solidly designed and executed and kept me entertained. ***

GOTNW

GOTNW

 

#5

Satoru Sayama vs Yoshinori Nishi-LUMAX CUP 13.10.1995.   This was an "exhibition match" that took place during a shoot tournament. I always thought worked judo would be an amazing form of pro wrestling and this is probably the closest we'll ever get, they still used leglocks and punches/kicks but wore gis and fought on tatamis. Nishi looked really great in this, his kicks were wonderful (there was a great counter spot where he sweeped Sayama's legs with one) and his flying armbar looked devastating. Sayama managed to get a flashy escape in without it looking silly and they did a variation of the spot where both guys grab a leglock and then roll around until they fall out of the ring which looked really cool in a different environment. It doesn't go long and is definitely a good use of your time if you enjoy shoot style, at least for how bizarre it is. A pretty neat find. ***-***1/4

GOTNW

GOTNW

 

#4

Satoru Sayama vs Tiger Mask IV-BJW 25.7.1995.     This was short and a really great Sayama carry job, his kicks looked beautiful, he performed a couple of great looking takedowns and punches the shit out of his protege when he was in a position that allowed him to do so. There's a really cool moment where TMIV goes for a wheelbarrow leglock and Sayama tries to quickly block it by grabbing TM's foot an pressing his stomach/chest with a knee but doesn't execute it fast enough and gets caught in the leglock regardless. A lot of really cool escapes and grappling are displayed here, well worth your time if you're into the style. Sayama also reversed a ful mount into an Armbar and it reminded me of a judo escape I'd have learned by now if life hadn't killed my enthusiasm for practicing martial arts. Oh well. I'll get back into it. ***-***1/4

GOTNW

GOTNW

 

#3

JAPW 6/7/2002: American Dragon vs. Low Ki This was a submission match that would've stylistically fit right into Battlarts, hence its inclusion here. The great thing about early 2000s indies is that they could've done an amazing experimental match like this because there weren't really any indy tropes established at the time. They go out of the ring and use some pro-style offence but about 90% of this is based on grappling and struggling for submission attempts and escapes. They don't shy away from using any holds-they didn't whore out their finishing subs but they really played up to the fact that every hold is escapable in the pro wrestling universe. It made me wonder what they'd use to finish the match. The finishing sub came out of the blue and looked amazing and Danielson's use of the suplexes in the stretch was very Otsuka-esque. Pretty fascinating to watch as you get transitions from lucha submissions into rear naked chokes and such preposterousness. I could see some criticising the (lack of) selling in the closing moments but it didn't bother me as I'm used to that in shoot style and here it was clearly a stylistic choice. ****1/4-****1/2

GOTNW

GOTNW

 

#2

Yuki Ishikawa vs. George Terzis - BATTLE ARTS: GENESIS - June 14th, 2014 First two moves that happened were a bodyslam and an elbow drop so this is either going to be amazing or incredibly frustrating. Ishikawa punches George Terzis (seriously, that's the best pro wrestling name he could come up with?) square in the face and I am ALL IN. I googled George Terzis and there's a video of him wrestling Ken Kennedy on Velocity where Kennedy introduces him as "George". It was really funny, kind of like a Seinfeld skit and probably the best thing Kennedy's career has produced. Nifty matwork ensues and all is right in the world. Ishikawa's Enzui/Gamen-giri is a weird spot, it ranges from looking OK to out of this world stiff, thankfully he really rocked George here. George has good kicks, they won't make you forget about Katsumi Usuda but Ishikawa can produce greatness with them regardless. I'm not even sure how to describe Ishikawa's matwork it's too beautiful for my vocabulary. They have the best New Japan 2K Elbow exchange ever that is appropriately ended with a shoot slap to the face. George hit a pretty brutal knee strike that would've fit in in a high end Futen tag and then followed it up with a Dropkick which was pretty bizarre, it was something you'd expect to see in a 1987 Takada match. George really laid his shots in in the stretch, I may have undersold his kicks. They even busted out a couple of nasty Headbutts. Great submission battle before the finish. My only real complaint would be the annoying crowd noise, it was very UFC-esque and pretty cringeworthy, my favourite part of watching Pancrase was always the crowd silence and if the fighter had "seconds" their instructions would probably be hilarious (hands inside!). Easy ****.

GOTNW

GOTNW

 

#1

Yuki Ishikawa vs. Sansyu - BATTLE ARTS 4: PUSH - November 15, 2014 As you'd suspect this was a pretty obvious carry job, kind of like Taue-Nagata or Goldust-Orton. Sansyu really makes you appreciate the things you've grown accustomed to from most puro workers, no one really talks about Super Tiger II as a great worker but he has great kicking technique and makes his stuff look absolutely devastating, Ishikawa is a great seller but there's only so much he can do when about 15% of Sansyu's kicks would look good if he wasn't doing all in his power to put them over. There's a really great moment where Ishikawa locks in a Crossface Chickenwing and just grabs Sansyu's face, it looked super nasty. We got some nice slaps and punches but nothing out of the ordinary. Finishing stretch was pretty dope despite it looking like Ishikawa was grappling with himself, I have zero doubt he'd have a great match against YOSHIHIKO. I'd have it around ***1/4-1/2, it's well worth watching if you rate Ishikawa highly.

GOTNW

GOTNW

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