This year has been relatively an AJPW focused year. So I thought I'd squeeze in a quickie spotlight on my favorite NJ wrestler, Tatsumi Fujinami. No real theme or anything beyond matches I found online that looked cool
Bob Backlund vs Tatsumi Fujinami (NJPW 01/01/82): Man, this is 40 almost 41 years old. Anyhow, this is 15 minute technical duel and I loved it. Its the type of match (and time) where they escaped or reversed holds rather than use rope breaks. This could have gone on much longer but we get a weird finish. It legitimately looked like the ref counted in an odd manner and the finish didn't go as planned. I know its the 80's but this didn't even look like a finish. These two are master technicians so I don't think they would have had this look or end as clunky as it did. But screw that, everything else before was gold. I'd say it was a great match except for the finie.
Dos Caras & Jimmy Snuka VS Kengo Kimura & Tatsumi Fujinami (NJ Tag League 1985): Fun tag match with Dos Caras working his ass off. 1985, it could be 1995 with all of the springboard moves he does. Otherwise nothing terribly remarkable but a fun high energy go-go tag match. It's typical of most NJPW tag matches of the era. What is remarkable is again Dos Caras AND he's posted the full match on his YouTube channel. So I figure it is OK to share it here:
Kevin Von Erich vs Tatsumi Fujinami (NJPW in Shizuoka 1986): 80's finish but this is off the hook so it doesn't matter. Kevin is a wild mad man! Everything he does looks fantastic. Scoop slams and snap mares even. Credit due to Fujinami for bumping like this. It really sells the match. You know Kevin reminds me of Muto in his explosive athleticism. Imagine those bursts from Muto but for 12 minutes. On top of that they work a little story with the claw and Fujinami going after the hands in order to take that away from Von Erich. Really good stuff. Fujinami has a pink ring jacket that I don't think even flies in 1986...check that out too
Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Tatsumi Fujinami (NJPW 12/11/1991): I think this is one I've wanted to see for some time. It was good but nothing terribly remarkable. And that probably sounds like crap when it was actually good wrestling. I figure they wanted to show how Liger would stack up against Fujinami. He does very well but it feels like an off night for him or something. I just wasn't as excited as I expected to be. This was neither a technical duel or an all out action match. Too high of expectations? I don't think so. I just felt like they wanted to have a 'just a pretty good match' and they totally accomplished that.
Tatsumi Fujinami vs. Genichiro Tenryu (NJPW 09/26/1993): Fucking great match! I haven't seen enough of the NJ vs Tenryu feud as I want to but have seen enough & know enough. This is a big deal. Tenryu is beating Fujinami from pillar to post. The Dragon does not quit and will find a way to turn the tide if he can. Not a long match but that doesn't matter. The pace is all right for the bout. Glad to see Tenryu too, it's been awhile!
Keiji Muto vs Tatsumi Fujinami (NJPW 2001 AJPW Triple Crown match): 15 minutes long or so. This was a really neat match that focused on actual wrestling on the mat. Fujinami in particular showed moments of brilliance in his counters. Towards the end they sprinkled in some bigger moves like the Shining Wizard. Perhaps this match worked around some physical limitations of the workers or maybe it was just really clever, focused and unique. Shit, maybe it's all those things! I thought that this was pretty darn good...perhaps great depending on your preferences.
Pretty fun little project to do after work this week. I totally recommend sneaking in a match or two this holiday weekend. I don't think anything was longer than 20 minutes. Just sneak out on Xmas day B.S. and watch some great wrestling instead.
Thank you as always for reading, be safe and happy holidays folks!