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Jetlag

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  1. Pretty damn good young lion match. This was the earliest Suzuki I‘ve seen, but he was already firmly into the shootstyle thing. Lots of cool slick matwork with Suzuki locking in some clinical looking armbars and doing some really cool stuff, like turning a Fujiwara armbar into a pin. The cool thing was that they didn‘t make it look easy, both guys had to fight even for something like a snapmare. Watching this made me wonder how either guy would have done on a different career path, e.g. Suzuki staying in NJPW and Iizuka doing shootstyle. The last couple minutes rule with Suzuki hitting big throws and a great looking corner dropkick while trying to fend off Iizukas Sambo leglocks, while both guys are laying in the smacks. Good shit.
  2. This is the infamous match where Choshu gets shoot kicked in the face. Aside from questionable morals, it‘s a really hot match with the crowd being absolutely white hot for all the Choshu/Maeda exchanges. Maeda kicking the hell out of Choshu is fun, but Maeda outgrappling Choshu may be even funner. I wonder if that is what caused Maeda to snap because Choshu seemed not ready for Maeda to actually wrestle him and just wanted to do his usual spiel. The initial moments after the kick are some of the most intense you‘ll ever see in a wrestling ring, with Maeda egging Choshu on further and Masa Saito tackling the big guy. Really a thrill to check out, pity the kick was real because this would‘ve set up an amazing singles match.
  3. UWF crew going at it in New Japan. These guys could do no wrong and they don‘t disappoint. Fujiwara is the star here, bringing his trademark great matwork, counters and taking it to the UWF main eventers. Fujiwara doesn‘t care you‘re a megastar, he will punch you in the kidney and slap you like a bitch. Kido is subdued but it‘s cool to see him go toe to toe with Maeda. Lots of choice exchanges and a great finish.
  4. Crazy crazy heated match. You don‘t see a lot of matches with the crowd this excited for a bunch of technical guys in black trunks. Not quite a shootstyle match, but really tight action and really intense stuff with Fujinami & Kimura being outgunned by the UWF duo. Kido can always beat you with a slick reversal, and anytime Maeda starts throwing kicks you think he is about to kill someone. Kimura taking it to Maeda was cool to see and he and Fujinami had some inspired exchanges. Lots of cool moments throughout, including an awesome dive tease and a great crafty finish. It happens in a split second and once you realize what happened you smile. Check it out if you‘re a fan of the time period. This happened on the same card as Fujiwara/Yamada. Mid 80s NJPW was loaded.
  5. Brief but very good match that brought lots of quality matwork. Young Keichii Yamada was really good at shootstyle matwork, no question about it. Yamazaki is a UWF guy himself but Yamada was just overwhelming him here with constant wrestling and staying on him like a terrier until Yamazaki is able to dish out some kicks and catch Yamada in a fast scramble with a suplex. Some cool holds and the constant pressure from Yamada made this really entertaining.
  6. A pair of thick bastards maul eachother something fierce. Odds that I was going to like this match were very high to begin with, but Super Strong Machine bringing probably his finest performance ever here made this special. He was just being super vicious trying to take down Big Hash. The whole thing had a very uncooperative feel to it, guys would fight to the corner or the ropes trying to deal out shots, clotheslines were thrown where the guy being knocked down looked like he really didn't want to go down. Even the matwork feels gritty with Hashimoto really stretching out Machine's shoulder with all his weight, and Machine grinding down on the elbow joint. Most of this is Super Strong Machine surprising and overwhelming Hash, but the champ comes back once in a while with a super vicious flurry or DDT, just trying to kick Machine in different parts of his face, reminding everyone who he is. Machine trying to punch out Hashimotos jaw and legs only to be met with a spin kick to the chin was epic and the last ditch finish was awesome. Machine sold huge and it felt accordingly huge. Great super simple match on for Super Strong Machine probably the night of his life.
  7. Plenty brutal match that was characterized by Hashimoto looking great and and Ogasawara having an absolute meltdown, resulting in some gritty highly uncooperative exchanges. Ogasawara seemed too concerned with protecting himself so Takaiwa at one point just starts decking him for real. To make up for the chaos surrounding the karateka, there were some damn good exchanges between Takaiwa and Hashimoto. Hashimoto looked peak level sharp, including busting out some awesome submission counters dropping his full weight on Takaiwas shoulder, and Takaiwa looked great as a gutsy underdog trying to cut through him with lariats. There were some choice Fujiwara/Hash exchanges too altough Fujiwara went to his comedy later.
  8. This is one of those feel good matches you can just back and enjoy every second of it. Basically Hashimoto & Ogawa waltz in and just destroy everything in their path. STOs, nasty kicks and chops and various cool combination moves abound. Norton & Tenzan don‘t stand much of a chance but they try. You get a great little Norton performance as he sells all the nasty chops and kicks he takes to his shoulder in a big way. There is an art to selling in such a way that everyone can emphatize with you even when you‘re a giant muscled up dude like Norton and he had it down. Tenzan also doesn‘t suck!
  9. I wish MUGA had been a full time promotion at this time. This was mostly on the mat, which is where everyone here looks good. This was certainly a good use of Hase whose amateur style stuff still looks very powerful. He and Nishimura with his awesome briding where the standouts here early on. Mutoh just did his usual spiel for the finish, altough Fujinami hitting a flying knee on him was really fun and Nishimuras selling made it look better than usual.
  10. Murakami and his BattlARTS pal shake things up in New Japan. Tanahashi & Kenzo actually step up here, working shootstyle and look good. Tanahashi's matwork is especially way better than pretty much anything he did from 2006 onward. Kenzo throwing big crowbar suplexes is certainly way better than whatever he did later also. This was basically an Ishikawa section followed by a Murakami section with both guys bringing their signature stuff. Ishikawa doing cool matwork and Murakami punching dudes in the face. Good shit but you come out of this match wanting to see a singles match.
  11. Entertaining 5 vs. 5 Elimination Match. Not Peak WAR vs. Other Promotion material, though there are some good smacks and thuds here. Problem with the match is the booking, as they get rid of the spry guys first and soon you are stuck with an old, broken down Steve Williams, Arashi and Mutoh here. Williams can still throw a nice punch and not do much else at this point. Match has it's moments especially thanks to Orihara and Tenryu, while Shinzaki was working hard to get something cool out of Williams. Overall this match is symptomatic of the depleted roster AJPW was dealing with at this stage however.
  12. Welcome to Shinya Hashimoto's ZERO1, where 2 olympic medalists, a japanese megastar and a US nobody with a supersoldier gimmick get together to work Memphis meets Shootstyle with a sports entertainment twist. Ghaffari was pretty grotesque but was a really good monster/immovable object here, no lying. The fact his nasty gut squish attack lead to a credible nearfall aswell as him acting invincible like an olympic level greco roman wrestler should added a ton to the match. Hashimoto struggling to do anything and Ogawa finally taking him off his feet all felt like like big moments. Howard looked really good too at this point as he hit all his stuff perfectly, including braining Hashimoto with a world class superkick. Unfortunately the 2nd half kind of breaks down with lots of ref bullshit happening, altough there is still fun to be had with guys getting bowled around and Ghaffari almost killing Ogawa with one of the most devastating splashes ever caught on film. Should add Ogawa looked great here too heating up the fans and selling very well. Borderline listworthy, must watch if you want to check out something unique.
  13. Hashimoto is the IWGP champion. Ohara is about the lowest ranked guy in Heisei Ishingun. There is some cautious grappling early on which works surprisingly well, but we all know what is in store for young Ohara... he slaps Hashimoto, and about 30 seconds later he is bleeding and getting punched in the face. It won't shock you to hear that Hashimoto was just a vicious beast here, pummeling Ohara on the ground before trying to rip his arm out, braining a bloody Ohara with massive kicks and DDTs... this kind of match is all about what the outmatched lower ranked guy brings to the table, and Ohara does fine. He is able to power out of a DDT in an impressive spot and gets some good shots in and overall is able to just not get destroyed in the span of 2 minutes so this is a little more than a mere squash. Last DDT was just disgusting.
  14. Brutally stiff fight that blows away pretty much all current (2019) pro wrestling. The opening segment alone where they unload in the corner was just disgusting. The submissions here won't make you forget U-Style, but they did everything with a certain intensity, and you'll be too busy wincing at these two lunatics trying to hit eachother as hard as humanly possible to notice. They did a good job telling the story of the match, which was that Hoshikawa was slowly falling apart as he kept getting destroyed by his super vicious, more precise opponent. I liked how both guys used limb selling to put over the punishment, it makes sense that wyou would pick up injuries after getting kicked a dozen times, even without your opponent specifically targetting a bodypart. Sakata was just a bastard here, Hoshikawa is someone you buy as being really tough, but anytime Hoshikawa started to build momentum Sakata would punch him in the liver or knee him in the face. All the big strikes, including Hoshikawas massive enzuigiris were really well timed. I'm not gonna pretend the match was flawless or some kind of classic as Hoshikawa does a pretty lame no sell and at times the match is just going a long but for this kind of brutal fight it was fairly great. It starts out pretty nasty and you wonder how can they keep this going and have some kind of arc building up, but they pull it off and the last strike that left the loser drooling blood from his mouth really feels like an exclamation point.
  15. Really really stiff match. This was a small show, but they were certainly loosening eachothers teeth here with brutal knees and elbows. Ran Yu-Yu was hitting some especially stiff enzuigiris, that is normally not a move that will be done in a stiff manner, but she was punting Genki like a football with them. Outside of the stiffness this match didn't do a ton for me as it had poor structure. Also, like their 2000 match, they both went back to offense whenever they pleased. Ran Yu-Yu is a classy wrestler with a cool moveset, aside from the gross elbows and knees I really liked her leg trips. Genki, I dunno. Her power offense doesn't even look that impressive. I'd say this should go in your „watch“-pile as it may do more for others than it did for me (like the 2000 match) and any Ran Yu-Yu singles is worth watching, nitpicking be damned.
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