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  • Birthday 01/07/1997

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  1. GOTNW

    Volk Han vs Kiyoshi Tamura

    This is actually a gigantic plus. If the best thing a wrestler can say is that they checked a mark three thousand times, their career is lame. If anything, modern wrestling has a plethora of footage we'd have been just fine had it not been taped. Han created moments that people would have either preserved at all cost or would be retold as legends like the Johnny Valentine-Wahoo matches, which is why he's discussed as one of the greatest wrestlers ever by sane people who aren't incapable of processing pro-wrestling only through the degenerate vision of it as a cartoon soap opera with method actors completely divorced from real combat. Anyway. I would probaby side with Tamura, but have Maeda over both
  2. GOTNW

    Masashi Aoyagi

    I think one of the biggest advantages Aoyagi has over, say, a modern worker with a similar background like Katsuhiko Nakajima, is that he worked in an environment that was so much superior for showcasing and emphasizing his strengths. It helps that he often played a big part in helping create said environment, but that also shows he had an understanding of what made it work. In terms of 90s indy karate workers, right now I would put him ahead of Mochizuki (DQed from my list for going to Dragon Gate) but below Akitoshi Saito who had a much stronger 2000s run. He will absolutely be on my list but his appraisement is still a work in progress.
  3. GOTNW

    Masanobu Kurisu

    Few wrestlers have instantly enamored me like Masanobu Kurisu, and he's someone whom I'm gonna be especially focusing on. Here is this gnarly old asshole who can work the mat and whose holds look really tight, but for some reason is is just absolutely in love with destroying people. And when I say destroy, I mean he's up there with Ikeda, Fujita, Yumiko Hotta and friends in terms of all time great violence bringers in pro wrestling. This guy will flat out shoot Headbutt, Slap and Punt Kick people's heads off the canvas, he doesn't care one bit. I believe his match vs Shoji Akiyoshi (that would be young Jado!) is the first one I ever watched, and, I don't remember whether I had watched the full or clipped version (I think it was the clipped one), but there's a handheld of the entire match online, and. Man. Just a truly transcedental experience of violence which had me questioning how come stuff like this is legal in the first place. Five star GOTNW match. Want to hear of another case of Kurisu destroying someone you wouldn't expect? Takashi Okamura, the first president of Dragon Gate, got ethered by Kurisu at a Kitao pro show in 1994. When it comes to japanese wrestling trivia, I don't think it gets any better than that. If the sheer fact that the first president of Dragon Gate used to be a kimono wearing indy karate worker whom Kurisu wrecked with Jon Jones Clinch Elbows doesn't move you, do you really have a heart? Rest assured, his case isn't all about one sided beatdowns. The 1/4/1990 Kurisu/Dragon Master-Onita/Goto tag is a classic, all time great chaotic tag, up there with anything of its kind. Want another great violent tag brawl? Kurisu/Leduc vs Onita/Murdoch features a versatile Kurisu performance: on one hand he acts like a giant prick against Onita, just tearing into him; yet does some quality stooging when he has to deal with Murdoch and his punches. Not every match of his is going to go to those lengths of absurd violence, but even when he keeps the ruthlessness to a medium, Kurisu still feels like Kurisu. The 1991 Aoyagi matches are a good primer of a more restrained Kurisu: the 5.2. match looks more like what you'd expect a Kurisu-Aoyagi match with them immediately going after each other's throat, while the 21.9. one feels more complete and conclusive. By now you've probably processed enough information to be able to assume Kurisu would fare well as an invader. BUT! Not only we do get to see him in that role in New Japan, he squares off against Hashimoto in a terrific singles match with incredible heat: it's violent, but it's at least equally as successful thanks to its smart lay-out as it is the brutality. Along with that, there's a quite unique tag in which he tags with Animal Hamaguchi vs. Choshu and Koshinaka: it's not the hate filled slaughterhouse you might want, but it is still an incredibly fun tag made by the unique atmosphere completely made by Kurisu's presence. He's so super high level at conveying a prick, the crowd almost has no choice but to boo him when he does, well, literally anything. Want to see Kurisu in another role? His 1994 WAR match against Daikokubo Benkei (here known as Arashi) sees Kurisu essentially pinball for a ridiculously looking super heavyweight with sumo offence-and it rules. Kurisu pops up in Big Mouth Loud in 2005/6 as a 60+ year old. He's past his prime, a little slower and maybe not quite intense-but he's still menacing, still hard hitting, still an asshole-still Kurisu. I can only be thankful age doesn't affect one's ability to throw an unprotected chairshot as much as it does a Tope Suicida. He looks about what you'd expect old man Kurisu to do against Usuda and Nakano, while in his match vs. Kido they essentially prove that even as senior citizens they could work an entertaining old school technical bout (the match also had a section of entertaining gimmickery, which they could afford now as veterans). I consider the Usuda match the best of the bunch. So yeah. Based on what I've seen so far and what I appreciate in wrestling, I really have no reason not to conclude this dude isn't, say, a top 20 wrestler of all time for me.
  4. GOTNW

    Kensuke Sasaki

    I was watching some Wahoo McDaniel recently, and while the comparisons to Hashimoto and Choshu that have been made have grounds, the one worker whom came to my mind was Kensuke Sasaki. Now, that might not sound as flattering, but coming from me, it's not all that bad either. Just looking at this thread, no one actually makes a proper case for Sasaki, and compared to 2006, he fell something like 70 spots on the final rankings. I have never considered myself Kensuke Sasaki fanboy #1, but I've always revered him for his working capability and he has only grown in my eyes as my taste has developed. The Kensuke Sasaki I'm talking about is the 21th century one (starting with 2000). This is a case making post: if you familiarize yourself with him and enjoy it, know you're gonna see a different worker in the 90s. Maybe you'll like that one too, but that's irrelevant for now. Firstly, just philosophically. I love who Kensuke Sasaki is. I love how he projects himself. I love that he cleary either puts thought into making himself look a certain way or just has a fragile ego. He's the type of wrestler who will kick out at 1, who will win a test of strength against a dude who's a head taller than him, who won't just job to anyone or let anyone just get their shit in and work long control segments on him. Essentially, Kensuke Sasaki is the antithesis to the new school of japanese wrestling where dudes don't care about anything. They don't care about hierarchy, they don't care about winning (or more importantly: not losing), they don't care about seducing a high profile female wrestler when a joint show forces them into the same hotel, they don't care enough to leave their home promotion for leverage. This is how you get to modern japanese wrestling, where the only difference I see between IDK, Goto vs Karl Anderson and Okabayashi vs Sekimoto is the latter is at least following the Choshu tradition in terms of offence, but the structure is the same. Strike, strike, strike. Body language and selling is replaced with the „I pooped my pants“ face. Strike, strike. Run the ropes, get countered, move on. Not with Kensuke. This is a dude who will go on a control segment for 5 minutes just because they're making him do a job, and he wants you to remember he looked strong. He doesn't possess your standard run of the mill jwres move-set either: he'll club your neck, throw a Seoi-Nage, one arm Powerbomb you to hell. Anyway. The matches. I remember doing this for Shinjiro Ohtani, where I wanted to deconstruct the myth of him not having a good output in the 2000s. With the 2000s being Kensuke Sasaki's prime, it's only natural I make a list for it too, though there's no point in it being as comprehensive. It's a mix of personal favourites (whom I do consider great) and canon, I don't think they'll be hard to distinguish: vs Tenryu-NJPW 4.1.2000. vs Kawada-NJPW 9.10.2000. vs Kawada-NJPW 4.1.2001. vs Hashimoto-NJPW 9.4.2001. (If you like the sound of Hash and Sasaki working a proto-Futen match, you're in luck) vs Fujita-NJPW 8.10.2001. vs Naoya Ogawa-NJPW 4.1.2002. vs Nagata-NJPW 7.6.2002. vs Takayama-NJPW 3.8.2002. vs Bob Sapp-NJPW 28.3.2004. (I'm not kidding, this rules) vs Takayama-NJPW 8.8.2004. vs Tenryu-NJPW 15.8.2004. vs Kobashi-NOAH 18.7.2005. vs Ohtani-ZERO-1 7.8.2005. w/Nakajima vs Kobashi & Shiozaki-NOAH 5.11.2005. w/Nakajima vs Akiyama & Kikuchi-NOAH 4.12.2005. vs Murakami-BML 22.3.2006. w/Murakami vs Fujiwara & Minoru Suzuki-BML 19.4.2006. vs Minoru Suzuki-AJPW 28.6.2007. (This will alienate some folks. It's long, has a prolonged headlock control segment and a bunch of limbwork which may be sold in a way that won't satisfy some. However-I love it, and it is absolutely authentic Kensuke Sasaki) vs Toshiaki Kawada-AJPW 18.10.2007. vs Morishima-NOAH 6.9.2008. vs Akiyama-NOAH 10.4.2010. vs Sugiura-NOAH 23.7.2011. w/Akiyama vs Takayama & Omori-All Together 27.8.2011. (Kensuke spends the entire match treating Omori like he's only there because they needed a fall guy. Guess how it ends?) vs KENTA-NOAH 8.11.2011. (I wish this was still online. KENTA had just debuted his GAME OVER submission around this time, and it was treated as an instant killshot. They worked a very smart match built around KENTA trying to lure and trap Sasaki into it with Sasaki using his strength and size to escape the predicaments he'd find himself in.) vs Sugiura-NOAH 14.11.2011. w/Miyahara vs Takayama & Maybach Taniguchi-NOAH 4.11.2012. (This isn't some legendary match, but the context makes it incredibly amusing. Around this time Taniguchi had made the transition from Shuhei to Maybach, motivated by KENTA's Rick Ross fandom. He had started to get a push as monster-type wrestler. Naturally Kensuke's reaction to that was to oblitare Taniguchi and not let him get a single move in during this brief bout, as it ended with the Kensuke Office team winning after a DQ as Taniguchi hit Sasaki and Miyahara with a bunch of chairshots. This both works in the context of the match [getting his ass beat motivated Taniguchi to get DQed] and in the context of the Kensuke Sasaki mentality [the sheer fact he had to sell during the post-match means he had to compensate for it by not giving Taniguchi anything]) vs Nakajima-Diamond Ring 11.2.2014. (this is his retirement match, and really, a perfect showcase of the Kensuke Sasaki mentality. He puts over his protege, Katsuhiko Nakajima, in a match in which he takes basically the entire match and just relentlessly beats the shit out of him-like, I'm used to Kensuke dominating, but he really makes a point here; and then Nakajima just kinda hits a couple of moves and goes over.) Obviously this isn't everything, among others off the top of my head I can remember him having several good in bouts in his AJPW run (some in the Champion Carnival for sure) and a million high-profile tags in late 2000s/early 2010s, but if you're interested you can do some digging of your own.
  5. GOTNW

    Johnny Valentine

    There's also a 4 minute clip from September of the same year which has some artistic interventions in it, but by what we see it might have been even more heated than that one.
  6. GOTNW

    Johnny Valentine

    The Bull Curry match and what we have of the 1974 Wahoo one are great, but OJ's recent thread has inspired me to take a look at some of that stuff and man, Valentine looks like an absolute world beater in the Florida footage. Him and Thesz in particular seem to have had fantastic chemistry, just working super tight, going after each other's throat. There's a nice amount variety in the footage too: Valentine works as a vicious aggressor in the Jack Brisco match as well as in the tag vs Brisco and Paul Jones, but is in more of a selling role when he eats a big beatdown from Tim Woods. But the best match of the all looks to have been the Paul Jones one, it helps the clip we have isn't that short (around 6 minutes), but by all means it had to have been an amazing brawl. If you enjoy quality face punching you're really doing yourself a disservice by not checking it out. This dude has to rank for me, I refuse to even entertain the idea there are 100 people who were better at fake fighting than him.
  7. GOTNW

    Randy Savage vs Riki Choshu

    To make this fair we need to bring about 50 japanese salarymen whose favourite wrestler growing up was Choshu to the board Savage has to be the most "I don't get it" US wrestler to me. Meaning, for example I'm not gonna sing swan songs about Flair, but it's clear the man has a very strong GOAT case if you like the style he does. Reading through Savage's thread, most of the focus there is on the emotional connection, charisma, favouritism etc. I feel like out of famous North American wrestlers I have the worst sense of what his "case" is, whereas I have a pretty good feel of what they are for Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Lawler, Austin, Hogan, Terry Funk, Golden Age workers, whomever. I know I've seen some of his pimped WWF matches, but that had to have been about 10 years ago, and I am not *that* old...yet. I remember enjoying his matches vs Warrior and Steamboat. Would anyone care to make an argument for him that wasn't so much character based? Is there even a point? If he was a Wahoo McDaniel/Johnny Valentine type I'd probably feel a catharsis and just agree with the praise of his aura, but I don't really care for his gimmick.
  8. GOTNW

    Jumbo Tsuruta vs Shinya Hashimoto

    This thread has fallen into the trap of cyclical repetition of cliche arguments, so I'll try to spice it up. I don't think this thread is going to gain anything if I once again express my opinion on 80s ace Jumbo or how watching more 70s All Japan with a wider context has changed my opinion on rookie Jumbo, or if I say, well-basically anything about Hashimoto at this point (I reserve the right to be provoked into eating my own words later). That's all good and relevant for the debate, but not terribly interesting. What I think needs to be said instead is that that this whole "where are Hashimoto MOTYCs" is a pretty good reflection of pro wrestling greatness canon. The canon that is very much based in big parts on 90s AJPW, which Jumbo obviously played a big part in making happen. So, in a way, its his house. The case with Hashimoto is much more interesting. You ask what is the best Hashimoto match and you get thrown something like the Mutoh 1995 G1 match. It's a great match. Maybe others rate it higher than me, but to me, it's not a classic. It's a template Hashimoto beatdown match I've seen him have many times, and I can think of several examples where I thought it had been better executed (vs Fujinami 4.4.1994., vs Hase 3.8.1993.), and I don't even think it's the best Hashimoto vs Mutoh match (that would be the 5.6.1997. one). Compare that to something like the Fujinami 5.9.1998. match, which I think is an obvious classic. That's not a match that had a lot of traction five years ago. In fact, looking at it now it didn't even have a thread until 2017 when Jetlag checked it out on my recommendation/pimping/whatever (I reviewed it in 2016). I haven't seen anyone who has watched that match think it wasn't great, and I certainly think it's a much better representation of what Hashimoto was capable of as a worker-and just plainly what Hashimoto was as a worker. Yet this classic just plain out didn't exist in prowres fandom consciousness five years ago. There's also just the simple fact Hashimoto was a different kind of worker than Kobashi or Jumbo or Misawa or whomever. You can hate on Inoki the wrestler all you want (and be wrong-that's another case I'm gonna be making sooner or later) but his influence on the way Hashimoto works is pretty self-evident. If, and I use the term reluctantly with a heavy heart, true "strong style" is something you hold dear and feel like you can emerge yourself in completely, it sounds almost unreasonable to me you'd think (booking aside) Hashimoto vs Naoya Ogawa from 11.10.1999. and 7.4.2000. aren't at least great matches, if not more. And that becomes relevant because the question isn't "does Hashimoto have the matches", it's "do I value the matches Hashimoto has as much as I do the champion matches of another style?". And there's also just the fact the documentation and awareness of Hashimoto epics isn't on the same level as it is for some other great wrestlers. Fore example, to say his 2004 match vs Kawada is a classic is hardly a contrarian or fresh opinion, but it wasn't something people immediately thought of here. Ditto the Yamazaki matches. I think that in itself shows he has a respectably deep catalogue of very high-end matches.
  9. GOTNW

    Shinya Hashimoto

    It had been a while since I had watched a Hashimoto match until today, at least 2-3 years, if not more. For whatever reason, after getting some life stuff out the way and breathing a little easier, I decided to put on Hashimoto vs Tenryu (1994-2-17). I hadn't really thought I'd ever need, much less want to post in this thread again, but when a match basically provokes me into a structuralist analysis, I almost have no choice. Obviously, it's a great match. But what is crucial in making it great? Is it that Hashimoto and Tenryu hit really hard? Is it their body language and the way carry themselves? Is it that they intertwine their personalities with how they work and adapt it to this particular match-up? Is it the choices they make in selling? Is it what transitions they chose? The answer to all of those is obviously yes-but all things mentioned above are just parts of the greater sum. What is most crucial in why this match works is its atmosphere and its rhythm. And really, they make a whole. This rhythm-atmosphere is absolutely the most important aspect of this match, and likely Hashimoto's (and probably not just his, but I'm not willing to make big arguments yet) work in general. It takes precedence over everything. It takes precedence over sense itself. Because fights don't make sense. They're not supposed to. This is something that has shaped my view on e.g. limbwork. I don't care if limbwork is sold or not sold. It doesn't matter. Selling is not inherently good-it is only good if it results in good artistic work, and that depends on the wider context. This match, for example, had a little bit of armwork. It would have been absolutely moronic for them to turn armwork into the focal point of a heated brawl. Maybe not even that-it would have been moronic for them to do that in THIS heated brawl. This match was a war of attrition-a your turn/my turn, my beatdown/your beatdown slugfest of medium length, with focused exhaustion selling until someone finally succumbed. The last thing it needed was Tenryu holding his arm while going for a Powerbomb or a Lariat: the way they rhythmically set-up the match required them to clash over and over again, not work dramatic teases over whether something was going to happen. Maybe that would have fit a 30 minute match, but not here. That Armlock is still needed: because the match needed a breath. Constant clashes can be cool too, but when you're trying to provoke emotions out of a crowd, milking rhythm changes is a much better option. You can guess whether it worked. The presence of rhythm is absolutely holistic. It's why some sells need to be small, some need to be big. Sometimes a Tenryu Chop provokes a Hashimoto kick in response, sometimes it sends him to the floor (well, when it sends him to the floor it's likely it's aimed at his throat which is another layer to take in consideration, but you get the point). Some transitions are creative and unpredictable-some are not. But the predictable transitions took part in the middle of the match, during the building of the heat. They were like the punchlines at the end of a verse-you knew they were coming, but you wanted them anyway. However, when the closing of the match came along, you got to the creative work that kept you guessing and added to the dramatic finish (the corner struggle over DDT being a perfect example of that, and also of turning a spot you can imagine being an absolutely throwaway note in 95% of wrestling matches into an epic scene). I said rhytm-atmosphere takes precende over sense itself, and here's another example to show you it does. Late in the match, Hashimoto falls down after a sequence in which he hits several moves on Tenryu. Yes, this is exhaustion selling. Yes, you can explain this by the fact him and Tenryu just went after each other's throat non-stop and there was enough violence prior to it to justify this sell. But it's not expected. We know how pro wrestling selling works: you don't sell after hitting your own move, and if you do, it's because you were hit with a move priot to executing your own. But Hashimoto falls down nonetheless: and it's crucial he does, because it intrigues the crowd. It helps build the atmosphere of tension and curiosity through another rhythm change. This artistic choice is no small feat to pull off: most wrestlers, some even great ones, would look silly if they tried to do it. Hashimoto CAN do it, because him and Tenryu have already created this atmosphere of a legitimate, incredibly violent battle. And now he can choose to take it to the next level by playing with logic itself. Like a wise man once said: "Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them." And this is why, to me, Hashimoto is, at worst, a top 5 wrestler of all time.
  10. GOTNW

    Mitsuharu Misawa

    I don't want to waste time on canonical candidates, but the idea Misawa didn't have "great matches" as an older worker is just silly. Just in his last title run you have matches vs Marufuji, KENTA, Taue, Sano and Morishima that have had that rep. Honestly I'm not convinced Kobashi has a bigger resume of quality singles matches in NOAH. If you're looking for weak spots, I think the idea he didn't "click" (i.e. find the solutions to work a match under the right dynamic) with everyone as he got older is much more fair. But I would punish him more for having a lackluster match with Rikioh than I would any of the matches mentioned, because that's when he absolutely should've performed. Nothing's gonna happen if you have a mid match with 2002 Chono, unless he's facing Hashimoto I'm not getting my hopes up. And honestly any good work he produced in 2008-2009 should probably count x2 considering Morishima nearly killed him in 2007.
  11. GOTNW

    Minoru Suzuki

    I'm torn on Suzuki. On one hand just being a Pancrase founder that had good work in UWF2 and PWFG should be alone for him to make my list. In his later career it's clear he has developed a unique mind for crafting matches that can result in true epicness: when watching something like the two matches he had vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima in 2016 or the infamous Tanahashi match you get a feel for what he is capable of. On the other hand, he spent such a big part of his late career playing a clown I almost want to disqualify him so my list doesn't have "uwu murder grandpa" on it. The environment he worked in surely doesn't help: I remember one time watching some match he had vs. Okada that wasn't even that revered, where it looked clear to me that if he was facing just someone competent in pro wrestling basics, literally just take an old school New Japan name: Osamu Kido, Kengo Kimura, whomever; the match would've been a classic. Instead Suzuki would do great work for a couple of minutes and Okada would do something dumb and I'd just wonder I even bothered watching the match in the first place.
  12. GOTNW

    Tatsumi Fujinami

    It truly is. An absolutely epic match, and a great performance by Fujinami too! It's also the only spectacular performance I ever saw from 90s Fujinami that I would put on the same level he performed at before the injury. The 94 Hashimoto match is great, but the amount of matches Hashimoto had that are around that quality or even better makes it hard to really put is as a feather in injured Fujinami's cap. If you look at Fujinami's post-prime stuff, it's not like he suddenly forgot how to work, but I think it's clear he's not performing on the level he once was. "He had some good matches here and there" is a nice thing for me to say about Mutoh or Chono. It's hardly a compliment to Fujinami when I compare it to his previous work. Now that I think about it, Fujinami is probably a worker whom I like more the earlier he was in his career. His junior run was absolutely phenomenal: if he had a longer run like that, he'd probably have finished as my #1 in the last poll.
  13. GOTNW

    Jumbo Tsuruta

    I'm ambivalent. I've been watching some 70s All Japan lately and it seems pretty clear to me he wasn't as good as I remembered him to be from watching the big time singles matches from around that time. But even so he'll sometime show some nice fire so I'm not terribly down on that stuff even if I don't hold super rookie Jumbo in the same esteem as I used to. Early 80s Jumbo I could do without. For all the talk about how much it took Tenryu to put things together, Tenryu feels like Tenryu earlier to me than Jumbo does. From about 1988 to until his body could follow him, he's as good as anyone in the world, and just an elite, elite pro wrestler. So he'll rank somewhere for me but his placement is not a priority.
  14. GOTNW

    2026 Nomination Thread

    Kim Duk Kintaro Oki's fellow Korean tag team partner is someone whom I'd never heard get hyped, but almost instantly impressed me. From what I've seen he works as a very capable worker laying his stuff in nicely, with him and Oki basically inventing W.A.R. wrestling by working these hateful chaotic brawls. If you want a summary of what he's about, there's a 4 minute clip of him wrestling Wahoo McDaniel where he absolutely goes toe to toe with him. vs Rusher Kimura-IWE 25.11.1978. w/Kintaro Oki vs Rusher Kimura & Great Kusatsu-AJPW 14.12.1977. w/Kintaro Oki vs Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta & Giant Baba-AJPW 28.10.1976. Kendo Kashin „Kashin is just a troll“. „He sucks“. „He was booed at an ROH show in 2004 once“. This is what I learned growing up reading through the archives of the prowres interwebs. Actually watching the footage, you see he has a cool mask and a catchy theme song. Ok, a good start. Then I watched him tap out Masayuki Naruse in half a minute with a Flying Armbar. I like Flying Armbars. I kept watching his stuff, I kept enjoying it, and by the time I saw him carry clueless Yuma Aoyagi to a really fun match I could safely conclude conventional e-wisdom was wrong and Kendo Kashin does in fact rule. He really is a troll though, but it's part of the charm. vs Shinjiro Ohtani-NJPW 8.12.1997. vs Kazuo Yamazaki 3.5.1997. vs Kenoh-NOAH 7.3.2021. Tadao Yasuda The alleged „worst IWGP champion in history“, Yasuda is another wrestler I was supposed to dislike but then I actually watched his matches and it turned out he was quite good. Coward shooter is one of the more unique gimmicks you're gonna find in wrestling, but even before then he knew how to use his strong points like clinching and sumo offence to create meaningful focal points around which to build matches. vs Naoya Ogawa-Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 31.12.2000. vs Yuji Nagata-NJPW 16.2.2002. vs Shinsuke Nakamura-NJPW 14.8.2003.
  15. GOTNW

    Riki Choshu

    Greatest of all time.