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Found 36 results

  1. The most baffling thing about "Sad Genius" Yukimasa Watanabe may be that he genuinely looks like a good wrestler in the spare footage we have of him. He kind of reminds me of Ohtani, a balding technician who will work the mat and kick you hard. Every kick he throws lands with a thud and the Lou Thesz inspired moveset is cool. He would've been a great addition to the roster of DDT or Michinoku Pro, hell throw him in there with Yuki Ishikawa to work an undercard ZERO1 feud. But if Sad Genius wasn't hidden in obscurity he wouldn't be so fascinating. This was a pretty good match up until the really dumb finish. Gran Hamada gets to work a serious main event in UNW of all places and it's cool to see old man Hamada work like a maestro and face someone with a ground based style. Hamada really gets to show of his mat skills here. However the ending is really dumb because Hamada taps out Genius with 4 or 5 armbars in a row. Since UNW rules means Texas Death there is a 10 count so Genius just keeps getting up. Hamada gets annoyed at this and just leaves. I almost want to think Hamadas reaction was a shoot because it's so dumb. Really disappointing because the match was just getting good with Genius selling in a big way.
  2. UNW (United Nations Wrestling) was a project run by a madman known as "Sad Genius" Yukimasa Watanabe. Mini-shows that drew less than a 100 people. This might be the absolute null point of japanese indy wrestling. This is filmed with one camera, in front of a crowd so quiet you could hear a pin drop. The match was weird meth lab shootstyle, so just what you expect on this kind of show. Tsunehito Naito is a guy who was rejected from the UWF dojo, I guess because he killed someone there, and afterwards was relegated to lurking Z-level indies. He wasn't untalented. This match was about the skill disparity between Naito and Sawada. Naito would pretty much dominate on the mat and all Sawada could do was go for eye clawing, choke holds and cheap shots. Sawada isn't exactly a polished shootstylist but Naitos grappling was solid enough and the creepy atmosphere really added to the match. Also, for some reason, every UNW match has Texas Deathmatch rules, so you get Naito tapping out Sawada multiple times, which added to the match feeling like some kind of sadistic training session. Highlights include a nasty GAEA Girls level dropkick and a neck crunching belly to belly suplex. The finish aswell as the build to it were grizzly as hell.
  3. Fun CAPTURE-esque spectacle. All the strikes were just brutal and the shootstyle floor brawling a suitably crazy moment. I wasn't sure how Toba would work in this kind of main event singles match but the whole thing comes out fine. He certainly knows how to throw that spinning backfist as an exclamation point. Sasaki muscling Toba around to drop him on his head was suitably gritty. Stiff as fuck brawl, DDT should go back to this stuff.
  4. Another wonderful slice of DDT pro wrestling with touches of BattlARTSian greatness. This wasn't quasi-shootstyle like the tag from the night before, altough it's still quite the stiff-fest. No idea what went into Takagi here, because he has an unusually mean edge and decides to work a rough no nonsense style, even approximating a poor mans Otsuka in his sections against Toba. Speaking of Toba, I think he is a guy mostly everyone with a little japan wrestling knowledge knows as the fun boxing guy from DDT, but is it crazy to say he might actually be an underappreciated indy great? All the involving him where once again manly as fuck and he mixed in some cool unique spots aswell as taking punishment and setting himself up as a foil to make Sasaki & Takagi look badass. Loved his crazy flying apron kick. Mikami was the weak link but still pretty good. He threw some poor punches which especially stick out in a match with Toba in it, but he also had some insane bumps and dives and hit some 2000 sleaze indy level brutal looking high spots, such as a rib crunching twisting senton. All the reckless looking headdrops – which basically saw Takagi muscling Mikami up and driving him headfirst into the mat were pretty nasty too. Sasaki once again handles himself in this kind of stiff main event. Brilliant finish. Crazy to see the DDT crew at one point did a stiff heavyweight potatoefest as good as anyone else.
  5. Here's your 2000 indy MOTY. No kidding, this was just awesome and shockingly better put together than you'd expect. Really makes me wish there was more footage of the DDT crew doing BattlARTS style matches. I liked the opening matwork between Sasaki and Rider a lot. It felt very raw and unrehearsed, but they still whip out some cool transitions. Watching Sasaki here made me extra sour he spent the rest of his career as a go-through-the-motions bleeder because his stuff was inspired and he hit everything with a lot of snap. He looked like a rich mans Yuji Nagata here, a slick pro style wrestler who can hang doing stiff shootstyle. Ishii was in CAPTURE mode here - basically trying to crush his opponents with every single move he did. He opens this with one of the nastiest lariats I've ever seen against skinny thaiboxer Toba and basically doesn't let up after that. Even his basic "throw guy into corner to set up a tag" looked really violent. Toba is the DDT guy who works as basically a boxer which works very well in this kind of sleaze shootstyle match. He does exactly what you want, by punching guys in the face hard a lot and getting ragdolled around. I was also really impressed with Super Rider here - he made some brief Sasaki legwork that could easily have been filler compelling by selling vulnerability. He would then shoot for takedowns and submissions to protect himself, and also maul opponents on the ground. I also loved his Volk Han like ragdoll throw on poor Toba. The Ishii/Sasaki pro style section was probably the weakest point in the match but still had enough neck compression and potatoe shots to keep you entertained, with Sasaki doing some cool things that he would later drop - presumably because his athleticism declined. I liked how Ishii, when reversing a basic suplex, immediately went for the kill by dropping Sasaki on his head. The finish is between Super Rider and Takashi Sasaki, which is a match up only the most hardcore tape nerds (i.e. me) would anticipate and it totally delivers with Rider whipping out some genuinely awesome reversals. So there you have it, great ultra stiff quasi-shootstyle action that was actually well put together while retaining some of that sleazy underbelly of pro wrestling rawness. Maybe a low end nomination when it comes to all-timer discussion, but golly I loved checking this out. The whole thing is on the DDT Universe streaming service.
  6. Oh but this match is a goodie. You have Tomohiro Ishii pre-Choshuism and CAPTURE boy since the beginning, aswell as the unseen should-have-been-a-star DAISAKU (Shimoda) and his twin brother YUSAKU (Shimoda and half a dozen other names) rocking the gloves and ready to throw down. I'll never understand what motivates these indy guys to get punched in the face in a basement in front of 70 people but I'll always enjoy watching. This goes about 6 minutes and it's basically all 4 guys kicking the crap out of eachother. Really liked the lumpy boys who like to kick hard sections between Ishii and YUSAKU and the attempted fraticide between YUSAKU and DAISAKU was pretty brutal aswell. Daisaku has some huge kicks and thai knees while Yusaku sticks to more traditional pro wrestling stuff punches and knees stuff executed with a CAPTURE sized vicious streak. Also really liked Ishii in his Kawada wannabe tights flying at Kitahara with huge kicks. By no means is this intelligent or well rounded pro wrestling, it's arguably shootstyle in it's most primitive form, and that's why I love it and want to see every single match in this style ever done. So Kitahara if you're reading this there's someone who cares, and Kitahara's neighbours if you are reading this please break into his garage and steal all his VHS tapes for us and don't get spin kicked in the face doing that. 
  7. With this and their MUGA appearance from the year before, these two are on a hot streak of cool 10 minute bouts. This was less hold intensive and more like BattlARTS match as they go for the hellish kicks and breakneck moves. I really hope these two had an excellent 20 minute match at some point which had the matwork of the MUGA match and the brutality of this match edited together. Actually this match was suffering a little from them cramming a lot into a short time while not doing the interpunctuation. Eventually though Kato's kicking Meiko really hard in the gut led to some strong selling from Meiko to atleast give the impression of the match having a red thread. One thing about the GAEA younglings crew that doesn't get brought up much is how inventive these girls were especially Meiko, and you can see it in this match from her, hitting her opponent from all kinds of unusual positions. Liked this match as the girls have the brutal offense and fundamentals down, but in terms of selling or structure was still lacking.
  8. These two had a match in JWP earlier in the year that was solid but rather unspectacular. This was much closer to delivering the promise of the match up, as it was faster paced and livelier. Too bad we only got a clipped version. Match is mostly flash submissions with Bolshoi adding in a slick Clown-Sambo move here and there. Eventually Amano focusses on the arm while Bolshoi tries to counter by going for leg attacks. These two actually know something about timing and not to infuse too much bullshit, benefiting the match greatly. Amano doesn't even go for any headbutts here and it goes to a draw to make the 70s studio scientific wrestling clinic analogy perfect. Probably not that interesting match if you're not already a fan of these two, but I liked it.
  9. Fun lucha dance partners go HARD for japan type match. Virus looked almost indistinguishable from his current form, meaning that was great here. Marvin looked a little green and sloppy, not always 100% with his form, but didn't blow anything. Virus on the other hand executed all his stuff effortlessly. To be fair, Virus has probably done 500 matches like this, and equally as many matches of this type have happened over the years in japan, there was nothing particularily outstanding here. Still it's a chance to get to see Virus do his thing, which is better than most wrestlers doing theirs, honestly.
  10. It's sleazy IWA japan brawling vs. sleazy UWFi shootstyle. Anjoh is thrilled to wrestle a guy this grotesque and goes nuts with the Looney Toons spots! Watch as Anjoh points to his head to signify his cleverness then falling on his ass the next second, getting MMA mount position only to play belly drums on Goto, STALLING~, etc. However there are also some slick takedowns and submissions in this match, and given that it's Anjoh and Goto, lots of nasty violence and uncooperativness. Goto actually isn't afraid to go on the mat and give out stiff lariats and punches, and Anjoh was right there kicking him in the jaw a bunch. Eventually Anjoh lands a series of stiff knees and elbows, bloodying Goto, who promptly goes nuts bloodying Anjoh with punches and a fork in return. Crowd boos the hell out of the DQ finish, I guess because they enjoyed watching these two murder eachother so much. Post match a bloody Anjoh tries to drag a police officer into this, as if to question why the police always sit there watching when a heel is doing something seriously wicked.
  11. Really fun meeting of two absolute wrestling masters. Both guys were working double hard here, as if trying to prove at the big show that they can outwork anyone else in the country. Starts like MUGA match with some tricked out matwork, before they mix in BattlARTS stiff savate kicks and headbutts, then Sano busts out his junior dives before they do Lawler/Mantell exhausted elbow exchanges into an awesomely timed Ishikawa enzuigiri before going back to the MUGA again. Real tour de force from these guys, but there were lots of cool details aswell, such as Sano using his legs to extend the arm and get the sleeper, Ishikawa bridging out of a choke attemept, Sano doing some center of gravity shifting (which eventually backfires on him) etc. Really cool match and I dug the hybrid style they were aiming at here.
  12. This was the longest singles match on this show. And it was pretty much a DVDVR dream match, as they pack all their ultra choice swank junior moves into a well worked basic opening match, and doing a really good job at it. Just the way they set up the big dive by teasing a Hidaka dive, then following it up with Saito's headstand scissor to the outside and finally leading into the big suicide dive makes me think these two are better at this stuff than any current non-mexican junior. Maybe it's because I've developed a burning hatred for stupid over the top junior wrestling, but this type of well worked basic wrestling leading into well timed, graceful rollups and submissions without any inane flips'n'headdrops bullshit is really endearing to me. Saito gets a nice nearfall with a great looking bridging butterfly suplex and yeah this match is the logical consequence to 70s junior matches. Lovely bout, altough I may be overrating it slightly.
  13. This was a fun match between a low ranked BattlARTS guy and an indy nobody. Nothing BattlARTS here as it's just a technician vs. Flyer match. They do some fun mat based arm work early on, junji has really fun ways to spin into armbars. Azteca impresses me by being shockingly decent, able to go on the mat, selling his arm, taking a really nice whiplash bump for a Junji flying clothesline, taking a nasty kick to the gut and doing a fine job at imitating a graceful luchador in some of the sequences here. Perfectly good down to earth junior match, having matches like this is the reason why BattlARTS was such a fun quirky fed.
  14. This was a 10 minute match and pretty much a highlight reel of their stuff. Meaning Ishikawa looks like a superstar on the mat, and Usuda attempts to turn him into a vegetable with rotten kicks and headbutts. Despite the short length and both guys being familiar I was impressed by how well worked and elaborate their exchanges were, and even while being very familiar with both workers I bit on a few of the submission nearfalls. Nifty little bout.
  15. This was the first clipped up match that looked real good. There was a bit of selling and neat transitions going on elevating this above your standard move exhibition. Instead you had Akino being all spunky underdog, pulling off all kinds of wonky complicated spaceman headscissor type moves and turnbuckle climbing dives. And well, Apache when on offense is just blasting her opponent and they kept things interesting with nifty spots. The best move was Mary countering a weird Akino rollup in mid-air by stopping her, pulling her back up and just splatting her with a fat powerbomb. Akino's a tiny girl but still looked like a freakish spot.
  16. D'aaawww look it's the little cubs fighting for their first big win! And this was actually really, really good! You could tell this was their „young workers trying their ideas for an epic“ match. Except... their ideas worked? This was closer to a lucharesu match than anything and it had to have been the best singles match in that style since... since... Sasuke/Tokyo from the previous year? Oh whatever. The matwork was real good, the lucharesu exchanges looked great and most importantly, fresh. Ayako had great instincts – just little things like doing a kneedrop while working for a submission add so much. They also played up the fact that Hamada was pretty dominant in the tournament while Akino had gone by using her flash rollups. Making Akino's intricate rollups and wonky twisted headscissors into great nearfalls. That's economic working baby! Awesome nearfalls for ROLLUPS!!! Rollups that actually add to a match! Man fuck why can't we get more wrestling like this and less headdrops and thigh slapping. Terrific little match.
  17. This was quite the badass little war. At this point they had matched up a few times, so to keep things interesting Mariko Yoshida had now started using GLOVES. Which means she absolutely goes nuts with stiff punches on Aja here to even things out a little. Aja also has a barrage of crazy stiff offense, altough that's nothing new. Still, she just ragdolled Yoshida around in ways that just had to absolutely suck and I winced at her brutal kick to Yoshida's hamstring. This had the usual cool matwork were Yoshida has to work hard in order to lock her holds on the beast that is Aja. Also really loved Aja's modified ankle hold here she just hugs and squeezes Yoshida's heel into her thigh. That is such an angry bear grappling move. This matchup is great everytime but this was especially compact, the selling was flawless and you get the usual neat, well timed, violent spots. Plus, punches to the face.
  18. This was clipped but we get a good picture of it. I imagine this would have been really good if we had gotten the early build, because what was shown was really good. Asari is really sharp, and the contrast between her lucha headscissors and flash armbars and Akino's more basic style made for an entertaining match. They had great rhythm and Akino's arm selling was right on the money. The finish was really neat aswell. Even without the ARSION trademark gone these two are still a welcome antidote to the more overkill-y joshi workers.
  19. Ayako has done it all in ARSION in 2000. All she has left to go for is the gold. Aja remains unimpressed and thrashes her like she was still a 1st year rookie anyways. Aja really may be the ultimate „do the same shit in every match“ wrestler. If you can get over that this was really good. Aja just gives Ayako a monumental thrashing. I thought it wasn't quite right to have Ayako work this match the same as she would have in her rookie year given how much she had achieved previously, and Aja no-sold her a little too much, but when you get past all that and look at this in isolation this was brutal and efficient pro wrestling. Ayako is just the gutsiest wrestler you've ever seen taking every painful shot Aja has to dish out and getting caught in the ribs with a chair while doing an Asai Moonsault. The finish was fucking brutal aswell and easily one of the best moments ARSION has produced so far.
  20. This was a fast paced joshi match. One thing that stands out about these JD' matches is the slick spots these girls do. It almost feels like watching a CMLL Minis match integrated into a joshi bout. Yabushita was a maniac here taking one psycho bump after another, eating a dangerous spill down a flight of a stairs and a huge german suplex on the floor aswell as getting dumped on her head multiple times including with a Dragon Suplex off the top rope. I thought the match wasn't quite great, as I thought the rhythm was off, there were some slight upfucks and some of the selling and transitions where... you know what they were. Still, I liked how Bloody was able to reverse Yabushita's armbars so Yabushita resorts to vicious palm strikes which they built to a strong finish, and because the match was interesting I enjoyed it.
  21. The infamous seven second match! But this being All Japan nothing is ever as simple as it may seem. Omori attacks Akiyama before the bell, which he actually evades, and hits a big knee knocking Omori down! He then goes for the Exploder, Omori evades it, does an awesome ref shove, blindsights Akiyama with an Axe Bomber and THEN the bell rings, and Omori hits a quick back of the head/regular Axe Bomber combo for the win. Hard to slap a rating on it, but it was an efficient and exciting way of getting someone over, and almost certainly the best executed one in such a short match.
  22. Holy shit, this was amazing. How this didn't make it to the Best of BattlARTS set but three dozen fucking Minoru Tanaka matches did is beyond me. Taira was this really talented dude who could put on awesome weird leglocks and also had devastating kicks in his arsenal. It's a shame he disappeared after BattlARTS closed. This was like a hybrid of those matches against Ikeda and Yujiro Yamamot we've seen from Otsuka. He tries to teach this newbie some manners and busts out a few pro style moves executed with complete lack of regard for his opponents safety, including dropping him square on his head from an armlock attempt, a neckbreaker that looked like it really would break your neck, and doing a freaky Cesaro deadlift spun into a backbreaker in mid-air. While Taira isn't goofing around and looks to finish the match with every attack, forcing Otsuka to do some really freaked out grappling leading to some great nearfalls. When Taira is throwing kicks he is wasting Otsuka, including charging at him and connecting a knee strike that looked like nobody would get up from it, and coming back later in the match with a pele kick that produced the sound of a rotten melon and had me verbally marking out. Both the finish and the build to it were great. I'll have to watch Ishikawa/Murakami again because this maybe the best BattlARTS match of 2000.
  23. Ono was just unreal here. He's wearing gloves, but MMA type ones and not the boxing ones I'm used to seeing him wear, but he throws all the boxing combinations you loved his 2010 run for as well as all the junior flash submissions you could think of. It was like watching a combination of 2010 Ono and the world's greatest Ikuto Hidaka, a really remarkable performance. Of course Ishikawa is no slouch either, his stiffness and high level matwork added to the match as much as you'd expect but this was more of an Ono showcase. There was no wasted motion, the match pretty much started with a nearfall in Ishikawa catching an Ono takedown attempt into a Guillotine, and from there on it was just non stop smashmouth action. Ono hit a quick head kick combo to pay him back and then dramatically threw himself on the floor to recuperate which was a great spot, melodrama isn't exactly the first thing associated with Battlarts but in a small dose it can work great. ****1/4
  24. A match I haven't seen anyone talk about that I randomly stumbled upon when looking for Lawler matches. Lawler has The Kat representing him and Malenko has Terri Runnells with the rules being that each time a wrestler is thrown over the top rope their representative must take off a piece of clothing. The match itself is ok-Lawler throws some nice punches, they build to the throwing over the top rope as good as you could in a three minute match, but the bizarre angle is what really makes it memorable, combined with a Right To Censor interference that prevents the "pay off". Very much a product of its time so opinions on it will depend on how you feel about the era and the prevailing political and social climate of the time.
  25. WCW Saturday Night where they would throw out any match just for the heck of it and here we get Parka and Silver King vs Villanos, just days after Villanos were ringside watching his brother murder Atlantis. A fun start with Villanos destroying Silver King as he was face in peril. Hot tag to La Parka who hit some fun moves, before Silver King and Parka both did some dives. Back in the ring and Silver King is face in peril again A woozy King goes for a double jump moonsault like an idiot and of course misses. A front roll DDT by Villano almost kills King. Parka tags himself in and hits a twisting moonsault for the win. ** 1/2