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Ma Stump Puller

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  1. Ma Stump Puller

    Tadao Yasuda

    Recently seen this guy in a Fujita tag in 1998, thought he looked pretty damn good for someone his size. Kinda reminded me of a far worse Akira Taue when it came to "lanky big lad doing shit you wouldn't expect" antics, and said impression only got stronger when I seen him in UWF just belly flopping all over a rookie Sakuraba. Really should do a deep-dive of him in the future because he seems like a fascinating character despite the over-push he got post Le Banner win.
  2. Ma Stump Puller

    Workers who never had their best match

    I would say TAJIRI counts for this given he's never had THE match that was all him at the end of the day. He has a lot of good to great showings (the Rey Smackdown saga, the Nishimura MUGA series, etc etc) but never the "best" match, I would say. Maybe that's because he was never on the top top billing but his career is essentially a lot of reliable work but never really hitting any potential super peak.
  3. Ma Stump Puller

    Kazuchika Okada

    Has his moments but very complacent and is more than happy to stay in the NJPW-bubble of inflated matches and padding through the roof forever more. The Shibata match was the last time he got out of his comfort zone and it was really more of a "kicking and screaming" kind than anything else. When he does something interesting with himself that's not just mildly adding a few extra moves to pad matches out more I'll be ready to discuss his versatility. At the moment he's obviously full of good matches to bring up, but at a point where everything is just starting to melt together into one padding-stuffed cake, how much can that be ignored?
  4. Ma Stump Puller

    Tatsuhito Takaiwa

    Kashin is WAY more varied and has a ton more to work with than Takaiwa for me, namely because Takaiwa never changed or adapted, kept doing the same stuff over and over and over again. I could never handle a deep-dive of the guy because it would all be the same bomb-sequences or recklessness. There's times where it really works and I enjoy his presence in matches, but a lot of the time it's just rethreads of stuff he did in the 90's but slower and less explosive. The NOAH stuff is probably the last time he felt refreshing and if he's not doing his usual bomb-spamming then he struggles to show off much else outside of that. His Black Tiger stuff sucks ass. Idk what happens but he just loses all ring quality he has left and becomes a generic brawling heel that sits around and sucks the energy out of any match he's in with either stalling or very basic wrestling; maybe you might get a Death Valley Driver near the end but it'll always be kicked out so it doesn't matter either way. I get having him on a list like this but his flaws are incredibly obvious and get worse over time.
  5. Ma Stump Puller

    Triple H

    It's short by HHH standards for me given his typical "big match" length lol. I did check the length of the Rollins match and it's only 10 seconds shorter (Cagematch has it as 25:50) but I will say it feels much longer than that given the slower pace based around slow and boring leg work.
  6. Ma Stump Puller

    Triple H

    It's hard to grade the guy because while I think he's had some great matches, was probably one of the few proper hated heels in a long while and was a very competent wrestler, the main issue I always had was the need to overextend, overdramatize, just drag matches WAY beyond their reasonable sell by date to fit in more shit. People have made this claim many times so I'll keep it short, but there are so many HHH matches that would've been great if they'd just cut it way down. Bryan at WM 30 was a perfect example of how shorter matches made his stuff more fresh and interesting; it feels like his position meant that no one could just walk up and say "cut this down" so you have to suffer through a lot of long stuff for the sake of being long. It really harms the positives of his longevity because he wants to work longer than he can realistically do and it shows as he needs a LOT of time in-between sequences because he's gassed up. Throw whatever blame at Misawa and co for extending matches beyond reason, Trips contributed to that culture a ton more than people expect. He got post knee-explosion Kevin Nash to something presentable in a ladder match despite him gassing up 5 minutes in as per his own admission. I mean, it wasn't GOOD or anything but gotta throw a bone to the guy
  7. Ma Stump Puller

    Kendo Kashin: Best of/Primer

    Introduction I've spent the last few weeks trying to figure out if Kendo Kashin is actually worth his flowers or if he's just a unmotivated/lazy performer. Here are the facts learned from watching 100+ outings, spread out from his rookie years all the way to his very recent RJPW and NOAH stuff. Here's some basic info on the guy "Is Kendo Kashin lazy?" This is the most common complaint about the guy. In some aspects, yes: Kashin tends to repeat sequences over and over, and in a meta-sense the audience know his routine well and respond way before anything happens because they know how things go step by step. He is a very sequence-based performer. He doesn't really improvise, he just has a set of things he wants to do and goes through them one by one. His routine might change somewhat based on him adding in a new element or two depending on who he's with, but his general formula stays the same. This makes him consistent in many matches, but also complacent. There are matches where he's clearly just in auto-pilot, yes, but I would say that's fairly rare most of the time. "What's his defining feature?" Kashin is mostly defined by his trollish antics and character work: the best I could compare him to is someone like The Destroyer, someone who's consistently pulling sneaky shit to mess with people, either in the match or not. This makes him enjoyable as he'll always have something new to throw onto the table that'll grab your attention and the rest of the audience. "How does he wrestle?" Kashin confuses people a lot at first because you generally think a Jr-masked man is going to be a Rey or a Liger or at least some sort of agile performer. The truth is that he's frankly none of those things: Kashin works a very specific style that looks weird at first, but there's nuance to how and why he does it in how he's able to aggravate and annoy his opponents to the point where he can slip on a quick submission and win things fast. If Kashin can win with cheap antics, he will and he won't really care afterwards. Him dicking around is at times just aimless trolling, but there's usually a rhyme or reason as to why he does what he does. "Does he have good matches?" Absolutely. Some people tend to go all the way with saying that Kashin either never had a good match or if he did have one, he was 100% carried, which I really can't agree with. He has plenty of good to outright amazing matches in him when he's working with talent that gets the best out of his style. Yes, there's obvious lulls in his history of performances (especially in his second half where he gets rusty due to working sporadically in IGF and the like) but if you can appreciate how he works, there's plenty to go off. "What are his best matches?" This is a good lead-in to how I'll be formatting his best stuff: mainly into his pre-Kashin days as Tokimitsu Ishizawa, bratty submission lad, his best workrate matches and then his best comedy matches. That distinction is made so that every aspect can be covered as opposed to simply a small look into just one aspect, which while beneficial for smaller wrestlers with less range, it doesn't do Kashin much justice in that department. I'll not ramble about the matches too much bar the really significant ones. Tokimitsu Ishizawa: Best of Through much of the Young Lions around this time was undocumented, there's a considerable amount of material still around and it's definitely enough to warrant a separate section, especially given Ishizawa pre-gimmick change is a more subdued, grounded mat-based wrestler; some say his work here is far better than his later Kashin work simply because of that fact. Under the surface is a more heelish figure who gets easily frustrated and tends to lean into dirty antics when he's not getting his way, something noticeable in a lot of his matches. To appreciate the guy best, there's about five or so matches really worth your time: Vs. Liger (NJPW Dream Win IV 24.01.1994) This match has a bait and switch in that Ishizawa attacks Liger before the bell and tries some heel shit to get a upset cross armbreaker win. Liger gets out and proceeds to beat the ever-loving shit out of the little snot for 9 minutes, to the point that the audience turn and start rooting for his opponent instead of just him. Not much workrate but a great early example of Kashin's selling and psychology, playing the defensive role that he'll be essentially doing for the rest of the 90's, showing a ton of guts as he tries and fails to succeed. Vs. Shinjiro Otani (NJPW Hyper Battle 09.03.1993) While these two will have a long rivalry with each other later on, this is a particularly interesting early battle between them as it's almost all set on the mat in submission work. Of course, these two are still Young Lions at the end of the day, so those trappings are apparent in some areas. That said, it's mostly just a no-nonsense mat-scuffle with some drama near the end as they both get fed up with the slow pace and start bombing each other to a rugged conclusion. Vs.Yuki Ishikawa (NJPW G1 Climax Special Tag 4 24.09.1993) 7 minutes of some really well done, really solid mat work exchanges. Very few submissions as those are saved for rope breaks and as proper match enders, not as rest-holds or the like. The pace is frantic, with both men engaging in a lot of one-upmanship as they both struggle to out-do the other in basically everything that matters. Great heel work near the end as Ishizawa gets frustrated and starts bending the rules, with it building to a basic but very well done conclusion that makes perfect logical sense with the rest of the match. Shoot-style mixed with great heat-seeking antics always works really well for me, and it's GREAT here. If you can just watch one of these matches, pick this one. Vs. Naoki Sato (UWF-I All Out Contend Battle 25.11.1995) Sato is a pretty good worker already but this in particular was a fun watch. Ishizawa is aggressive and almost always wired to find ways around Sato's natural advantages, with this going not so well sometimes as he gets caught in submissions and the like. First half is just competent back and forth grappling until Ishizawa pulls another tantrum and starts stomping and cheating, which turns the second half into a desperate fight for survival as Sato and co just start going right into big shots and submissions. Frantic, but not sloppy at all and surprisingly fast-paced in places. Vs. Dean Malenko (Best of the Super Jr III Tag 2 24.05.1996) Malenko is obviously the superior of the two, but Ishizawa shows his intelligent mat-work by managing to handle his mentor a good few times here with his submission wangling, but this is also the best transition into the Kashin persona you are really going to get, as he goes way beyond what he normally does and starts going for the nasty hand-biting and whatnot when push comes to shove. Malenko is smooth as anything here but I think Kashin really shows just how much he can actually do here as he goes step to step against his mentor with his sharp counters and unexpected submission attempts. A fantastic sub-10 minute sprint. If you liked those, here are some extras: Vs. Sakuraba (NJPW Battle Final Tag 15 10.12.1995) W/ Nagata vs Sakuraba & Kanehara (NJPW New Japan Pro Wrestling Vs. UWF International 09.10.1995) W/ Yasuda vs Sakuraba & Kanehara (UWF-I All-Out Contend Battle 11.10.1995) W/ Malenko vs Shoichi Funaki & Yuki Ishikawa (NJPW Super Grade Tag League IV 09.10.1994) Kendo Kashin: Best of (Workrate) Kashin is a tricky costumer because his antics and gimmick don't always allow the wrestler underneath to shine effectively, not helped by the man being massively influenced by the styling of German Catch where sequences tend to repeat into themselves. That said, he does have great matches. Here are the best five for new viewers. Vs. Atlantis (Michinoku Pro 3rd Fukumen World League 24.08.2003) The best example of Kashin's heel antics playing up great with a strong babyface. Atlantis had to crawl through a match earlier in the card to reach this spot, namely after Kashin stole a win against him earlier in the World League, so he's weakened and Kashin has virtually all of the advantages. Absolutely brutal heel work by him throughout as he hones in on the arm and just generally is such a massive bastard: everything he does is spiteful and designed to hurt Atlantis in every measure possible. There's some comedy in the middle half that's fairly alright, but the ring work is the best feature about this, and Atlantis' comebacks are well done and get the crowd going. Great technical work paired with solid heel/face psychology made this a easy inclusion here. Atlantis is great, but Kashin's heat-seeking antics make this more than just a typical Japan lucha outing. Vs. Otani (NJPW Super Grade Tag League VII 08.12.1997) Realistically I could've put ANY of these two in a match together on here because they work so well, but this one is widely accepted to be the best one, namely because of the non-stop action paired with intelligent limb-targeting and counters. Otani's arm gets wrecked here and he doesn't just sell it all the way though the match, but he also baits out Kashin into bad positions by almost using the arm as bait to grab him into submissions of his own. Everyone in the crowd is hot for Kashin and he pulls out a strong babyface performance as he struggles with Otani's bombs and general sheer grit stacking on as time goes on, leading to more risky moves to try to finish things proper. It's a heated match, but it's also a smartly worked one that balances heat with technique in a great combination. Vs. Liger (NJPW Hyper Battle 1998 14.03.1998) Spoilers: Kashin is a big old asshole in this one, namely out of desperation to out-do his former mentor. This is enhanced with the whole 1997 storyline of Liger being in Kashin's corner and trying to help him against the more experienced bullies of the division, with Kashin just completely focused on burning all of that down just so he can get the big win. His shit is fairly minimalistic here but it works so well alongside the vicious nature of how he does it, as well as Liger selling for everything super effectively. It comes down to a matter of fatigue as Liger can't get his bombs in with a crappy arm (and even if he can, he can't make the pin soon enough to win) and Kashin just keeps hunting down the guy with more baggage. It's a great passing of the torch in a weird, twisted way. Vs. Minoru Tanaka (Best Of The Super Junior VI 21.05.1999) The most technical Kashin had been since his Young Lion days, this was a fantastic outing where the two just scramble on the mat over and over for their signature holds: Tanaka with his kneebars and Kashin with his armbreakers. Tanaka's strikes are a bit too light and tend to wiff a lot, but outside of that I thought this was a heated exchange, but also essentially just a spotshow of submissions as the lads just go back and forth with them over and over, with a lot of cheating from Kashin alongside brilliant transitions from Tanaka into offence. It's really a difference between a experienced heel and a hot-headed babyface in a fantastical race to the finish. Isn't going to be for everyone but lots of fun. Vs. Ryuji Hijikata (AJPW Summer Action Series 19.07.2003) Ryuji is mostly a pretty bleh Battlarts guy but he gets his big break here in the middle of Kashin's title reign to get his moment in the sun. Great bombs and strikes from the former as Kashin struggles to get any lead on him and outright gets destroyed in places because of just how much this guy can pull out. Don't expect a masterpiece but it's a great example of Kashin selling and bumping to get over a guy to the point where you think this random mid-card bloke might actually nab the belt for himself. No easy task, yet done here quite easily. Extras: Vs. Carl Greco (AJPW Champion Carnival 2003 12.04.2003) All of his German Catch footage (Vs Eckstein, Kovac) Vs. Fuchi (AJPW Grand Champion Carnival 13.04.2002) His 1997 Struggle series (Koji Kanemoto duo matches, Yamazaki and Liger tags) Vs. Suwama (19.09.2016) W/ Kojima vs. Fuchi & Kawada (AJPW Super Power Series 2003 25.03.2003) Kendo Kashin: Best of (Comedy) This is a bit harder to grade because comedy is subjective and I really, REALLY don't like most of his NOAH shit, half of which is the same gags over and over. There's enough to include here, through. Vs. Fuminori Abe (RJPW Strong Style Pro-Wrestling 17.12.2021) Abe is talented but he gets the memo here and decides to use that talent in wacky and goofy ways, which works for him at the start until it doesn't. He's also young enough to essentially fangirl over Kashin to the point of trying to copy his style, but of course failing at it as he can't outdo the master cheater. It's nothing special in terms of moves or whatever but there's some competent mat work and the finish makes sense given Abe's eccentric attitude. Fun stuff. Vs. Masato Tanaka (NOAH Gain Control in Nagoya 23.02.2022) Tanaka in a comedy match sounds dumb...and it is, but it surprisingly works well here. Kashin pulls out the usual gags but you can tell underneath kayfabe-wise that he's got it in for Tanaka and pulls out some more serious offence. Of course Tanaka is the straight man and doesn't give two shits about Kashin doing whatever he's doing, leading to a frantic and bizarre ending that felt right out of COVID-era wrestling. Not for everyone but I thought this was a solid watch given the two having decent chemistry and Tanaka being a trooper as per usual. Vs. Atsushi Aoki (AJPW 4th Royal Road Tournament 2016 (17.09.2016) The whole thing here is that the ref is massively biased against Aoki and allows Kashin to cheat, leading to a pretty dumb match where Aoki's just bitching about the unfairness or hitting some good moves. Kashin works well with what he's given and he's pretty entertaining when just pulling out nonsense for the win. Nothing much else to say, it's just a simplistic match format with some fun sequences. Vs. Super Sasadango Machine (DDT Judgement 2016 (21.03.2016) I could really put all of Kashin's DDT material here but this was so out there that it had to be added. This is a "Ultimate Royal Barbed Wire PowerPoint No Power Blast PWF Rules Match" which is pretty simple as you can imagine. First half is literally Sasadango selling merch via Powerpoint, the second is a weird trip of a match where it's just gag after gag. Not everything hits, but it's a lot of confusing nonsense as per DDT standards, and it's just a experience to try to figure out what is happening in places. Bizarre, strange....yep that's it. Vs. Toshiaki Kawada (G1 Climax 07.08.2005) Kashin really doesn't have any chance in hell of handling Kawada even in the state he's in, so Kashin just fucks around with him and keeps beating up a young Taichi on the outside casually when he's on the backend. There's some good work in here as Kawada has to keep control of things and succeeds: mostly. Kashin is as sneaky as ever though so we get a lot of fun character interaction between the pair as Kashin keeps messing around and his opponent keeps throwing bombs and huge shots to keep things under control. It's a simplistic dynamic but Kashin naturally has a lot of charm and the audience really got into this in the last minute or so. Interesting watch between two guys who'd you never think shared a ring with the other. Extras: The rest of Kashin's DDT reign W/ Abdullah the Butcher vs. Fuchi & Daijiro Matsui (AJPW Royal Road 30 Giant Battle 2nd 30.08.2002) W/ Nagata vs. Sasaki & Nakanishi (NJPW Nexess 03.05.2004) Vs. Necro Butcher Vs. Rob Van Dam (IGF Genome6 Toukon Bom-Ba-Ye 15.08.2008) Vs. Kenoh (NOAH Great Voyage 2021 In Yokohama 07.03.2021) Conclusion Hopefully this has helped to widen your spectrum of how capable Kashin is in terms of what he can do in the ring. It's probably not going to make him a top ten super pick for yourself, but I figured he was worth something considering his huge career and how much I'd watched of the guy. He's definitely not some hidden gem or anything but I firmly believe he's very much underlooked in many circles.
  8. Ma Stump Puller

    Satoshi Kojima

    I think there's a case for Kojima given his longevity: even at 51 he's still having consistently good matches and hasn't shown any major signs of decline apart from not being as prone to big bumps and taking out some of the more agile moves out of his matches. Outside of that, he's still the same dude he was 20 years ago more or less, which can be a positive or a negative depending on how you look at it. It's just a shame that his Pro-Wres Love days are so unknown because Kojima was a supreme force when it came to keeping a crowd focused and loud, as well as being a really underrated carrier when the chips were down. Seriously, lots of great stuff once you start looking around. He's most definitely not superior to Nishimura or Fujita but that's another thing altogether.
  9. Ma Stump Puller

    Tiger Mask/Super Tiger/Satoru Sayama

    To add on to this, there's a solid semi-squash in 1985 UWF with him against Mach Hayato as well which is a super strong outing. The first half is just Sayama eating up the guy until they go more into the usual routine after they build up his comeback for a good while. It's maybe not as bombastic as the above mentioned, but it's still a compelling performance given how ape-shit the crowd gets from him working on top.
  10. I remember watching this for my UWF-I Taka deep dive and thinking it was fine enough, but definitely a carryjob by Kanehara. Taka tends to be kinda clumsy and stumbles over himself a few times, with his most strongest feature being how he uses his size to loom over the smaller guy and hammer him with slaps and brute strength; a attitude Taka would master in the early 2000's to become the peak monster that every company wanted. The match itself also tends to kinda keep going back in on itself with the same formula of Taka getting wrestled down, attempts at submissions and lots of rope breaks, with no real increase in tension or change in tactics. It's not a bad match per se but Kanehara was definitely the one that kept control and managed to make Taka look better than he actually was, a luxury that he wouldn't have often. His strikes also need a LOT of work, some of his kicks were downright horrible. I would suggest watching their 28.08.1992 and 20.12.1992 matches above this one, mainly because you can tell how much of a marked improvement both men have just looking at the sheer difference in quality between those matches and this. It's a good start to their multi-year rivalry but like with many starts of feuds, the best is yet to come.
  11. Ma Stump Puller

    Dean Ambrose

    Yeah I made that point as well: when Mox is engaged and all systems go he's amazing at building up crowd energy and getting everyone hype, but at the same time he kinda wears his emotions on his sleeve and if he doesn't care then you REALLY know it just by how he acts and wrestles. Him being apart of BCC is a bit of a weird choice but if it means we get more of his NJPW self where he's more grounded and focused on physicality without trash brawls then I'm all up for it tbh.
  12. Ma Stump Puller

    Dean Ambrose

    Here Surprisingly not half bad despite it falling into the usual lulls that his matches tend to do
  13. Ma Stump Puller

    Hiroyoshi Tenzan

    Honestly, I feel like even Nakanishi has more dynamic performances than Tenzan does and got over the "big powerhouse" style way better than Tenzan did. People love the guy and he has his bright spots, but if you can ONLY get a "it's alright, I guess" quality from working with the God-King of carry-jobs Osamu Nishimura, you are not a very good wrestler. I appreciate more his tag stuff but there's honestly not a lot there worth really checking out. His singles stuff is even more barren but he tends to work best in short bursts of action where he can get all of his stiff shots without tiring out or gassing up. Those matches are executed rarely super well but there's some strong work when he's paired off with great talent that can take the reins. Top 100? Very doubtful. Even a NJPW only list would be somewhat debatable.
  14. Ma Stump Puller

    Hideki Suzuki

    His NOAH stint for what it's worth is fairly enjoyable. The Funaki match he had this year in particular alongside the Nakajima stuff was fantastic and he's really worked as a UWF-throwback in tags and the like. It's not going to swing you towards him being a huge star or anything but it's a extra something towards his history of ring quality.
  15. Ma Stump Puller

    Kendo Kashin

    Lol yeah that was a goofy matchup and actually quite common with IGF cards, which generally felt like they were made at random: Stuff like Nakajima vs the Hurricane, Rikishi vs Orlando Jordan, Vader vs Fujinami, etc. This match in particular is perfect for RVD because he just gets to do spots with no consequence, which I'm not complaining about.