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Found 71 results

  1. 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.
  2. Well shocker, this was good. I've been a wXw sceptic forever, but gotta give it up for them flying in an old japanese guy almost no one has heard of and let him completely outwork their boy and everyone else on the show. I've never been blown away by Thatchers grappling and he didn't do anything great here either, but that may have been the story of the match. Basically Ishikawa outclasses Thatcher the whole way through, making up great counters and doing cool shit I've never seen him do before. Thatcher has to resort to potatoeing Ishikawa and he doesn't hold back. Some BattlARTS worthy smacks here. This doesn't reach the higher pantheon of Ishikawa singles match but that is a pretty high bar and for Ishikawa taking on an unfamiliar guy who looks so much bigger that it's seemingly not the best matchup and have a match this good is really impressive.
  3. 4 guys who can go doing their thing for 24 minutes in a garage. Obviously getting to see Ishikawa in a lengthy match in 2019 is great, but the main reason I liked this is that everyone was pretty vicious. Ishikawa clogged Thatcher in the jaw during their first exchange, no real friendy grappling, lots of punches are thrown on the ground, Ringkampf would work over their opponents with nasty stomps and knees etc. Walter seems to understand how to not get stale as he hitting these Tenryu punts and busted out an awesome uranage. I haven't seen Irie in a while but his matwork was fun and he had these cool swinging Vader Hammers. Ishikawa was pretty much the star of the show always doing something interesting and not only grappling it out but also acting really smart. For example, he would get mount and work over Walters kidneys with glee only to get raddled by that big bear paw like austrian hand. This didn't build to something great but the action was very good throughout and there were a few highlights and smooth Ishikawa submissions to keep you happy.
  4. Uhm... it's these guys fighting eachother for 25 minutes in 2010 FUTEN. We get lot of really good exchanges throughout and an incredibly violent finishing run. The broken down version of Ishikawa/Ikeda is a pretty great matchup in itself, as all their exchanges have this continually exhausted Lawler/Mantell feel. Ishikawa was the far superior grappler by this point and would catch in Ikeda in all kinds of neat submissions, while Ikeda would come through with something incredibly stiff once in a while. It's a testament to Ikedas selling ability that even knowing he can take absolutely insane punishment he can make you believe he was seeing stars after a simple sleeper hold. Ikeda would also keep the grappling violent by just fishhooking Ishikawa repeatedly. Ono was incredible here and may have been the best guy in the match (and the world) at this point. He came across as this super dangerous striker early on (even in a match that has Daisuke Ikeda in it), pounding dudes really violently, flying stomps on the ground. The finishing run is between him and Usuda and it's just this amazing dangerous striker vs. Counter specialist matchup. The cool thing is Ono was avoiding all of Usudas signature spots but Usuda would still catch him, all while fighting for his life. Ono would go for a full force stomp that would likely cave Usudas face in only for Usuda to slip and lock in a submission. Increasingly violent saves were pretty gnarly with Usuda and Ono taking some sick headbutts and kicks while entangled in leglocks. Also, Onos lightning fast submissions were amazing.
  5. Our only BattlARTS main event of the year, but it's a good one. These two always have good matches, and this time they went for a full blown 19 minute main event. What was cool about this was that normally you had Usuda as the aggressive striker with Ishikawa working counters. Here Usuda was still aggressive but Ishikawa gave him back good, so Usuda was also using his defensive tools more, which is something he does very well, and you had a match basically built around who could turn the others aggression against himself first. Match has lots of good matwork and also some insanely stiff headbutts and kidney shots. I especially like anytime Usuda would get aggressive on the mat, normally you would go to the mat to seek safety from a striker, you aren't safe from Usuda though. It really is a crying shame Usuda was so underutilized on the indie scene, atleast Ishikawa got himself a spot on Michinoku Pro undercards that year. Usuda takes as good as he gives, taking some crazy crazy suplex bumps. There are some excellent submission teases and the finish was pretty epic with multiple face shattering kicks and Ishikawa just rattling Usuda with a big punch. The finish plays up the story of the match as it was all about who would get the deciding counter.
  6. BattlARTS vs. ZERO1 feud continues. And this was a real good match! I mean, that shouldn't come as a surprise, but I was expecting something fishy to happen here. But nope, they get to do their thing for 15+ minutes. Plenty of hate, stiff shots and neat moments, of course. There was lots of back and forth, altough nothing egregious. I guess this was the Z1 guys giving a shot at working a BattlARTS style rhythm. No shootstyle matwork besides a few counters, but lots of nice snug work. Tanaka was pretty efficient working with the BattlARTS dudes and Ohtani kept the crowd into it with his charisma.
  7. This was a disappointing match, but I gotta atleast write down why. This was during the period when Ishii was with FEC and he was trying to work like a western heel, so instead of epic BattlARTS vs. CAPTURE exchanges we get Ishii kicking Ishikawa in the balls a bunch. There are still some stiff blows and neat Ishikawa reversals altough that is to be expected. Ishikawa even does a shitty no sell off a back suplex, something I've never seen him do.
  8. See this is why Yuki Ishikawa is special: he is not as athletic as the top tier U-Style guys, but he will add character and psychology to any match. So you have the resident whacky matwork artist Crafter M taking on wily veteran technician Ishikawa. In itself this is bound to be a good match, but because it's Ishikawa we also get a STORY~! and every exchange here ends up not just being technically excellent and beautiful to watch, but also meaning something. There are not a lot of vets who would be willing to show this much ass against anyone let alone a young nobody in a geeky mask, but Ishikawa is totally willing to let Crafter look great. So we get lots of really entertaining Crafter working at his highest level to outsmart and twirl around his bigger opponent and forcing him to the ropes again and again. Crafter gets to look great and Ishikawa does a nice job selling the increasing worry. Especially loved when he seemingly got his groove on when got the indian deathlock but M reversed his next attack and sent him for the ropes again. Due to this the final exchanges end up being super intense with both guys slapping eachother in frustration and Ishikawa trying everything he knows to find a counter. And then a great finish to top it off. This not a big match or anything but it still ends up coming across as one of the greatest tricks Ishikawa has pulled off.
  9. This was pretty much a BattlARTS style match. Saito represents karate but he is a pretty versatile worker, he can do stuff on the mat and he hits a huge suplex on Ishikawa. This was mostly Ishikawa outclassing his opponent on the mat and getting brutalized in return which is a match formula that works perfectly fine. And this was a nice showing from Saito too who was pretty underutilized in the 90s, he could've made a great addition to the BattlARTS roster or secondary guy in some big WAR/NJ tags.
  10. This was an opening round match from some tag tournament and much better than you'd expect from an odd matchup placed like this on the card. Pretty much shootstyle throughout with the PWFG boys wearing wrestling shoes and representing PWFG. Dean looks very good rolling with Ishikawa, him showing that he trained with Joe and Carl is much better than 2 count rollup fest Dean Malenko. Ishizawa looks a total stud super explosive like he should've been the next Minoru Suzuki and not... well you know. Really intense exchanges when he decides to stomp on Funakis head and trade shotais with Ishikawa. Malenko and some awesome slick dropkicks, but he also didn't seem to know how to sell a kneebar. I also blame him for the underwhelming finish.
  11. It's Ishikawa facing the most insignificant first period BattlARTS guy on a random AJPW card in the 2nd match on the card. It can't be more than just a fun little exhibition? And well that's WRONG because these two just do one of the most brutal under 5 minute sprints of the decade. Crowd brawling that looks legit (why is Ishikawa, a quasi shootstyle working Inoki worshipper arguably the best crowd brawler in japanese wrestling history?), some of the stiffest slaps you'll ever see, and then probably the stiffest Enzugiri you'll see ever, insane Maeda/Fujinami blood, stoppage drama... yeah this kicked ass.
  12. Welp, here's two matches I didn't even know existed on tape until last week. They didn't make the Best of BattlARTS comp – which is some serious bollocks if you ask me, because both these were excellent and immediately skyrocketed towards the top of my list of favourite Greco matches. (...)The second match also had a cool atmosphere as it took place in a hotel with folks watching from fancy dining tables. The tag had a cool layout too, as Ishikawa and Ikeda avoided eachother for the first half of the match, allowing for lots of good matwork involving Greco early on, before all hell broke lose in the second half. Even after watching so much Greco footage, I was surprised with all the cool shit Greco came up with in these two matches. I've said it before that Greco brings the best out of his opponents, but it was striking that Usuda and Ishikawa never looked better on the mat in 1996 than opposite Greco here. Another thing was how brutal Carl could get: the Ishikawa singles obviously had a lot of pride involved, and maybe Ishikawa's cockiness is what lead Carl to angrily waffle him with shotais and eventually rattle his brain with a series of kicks to the skull, but he did it the next night aswell when the beef was between Ishikawa and Ikeda... maybe it's cause he was fighting Ishikawa, maybe he toned down the striking later on to focus on his submission work, maybe April of 1996 just wasn't Ishikawa's month... one thing wasn't out of the ordinary: both matches had Carl ensnaring people like a python. Regardless, 4/13 was an intense contest with a crazy finish, and 4/14 another top notch BattlARTS tag that told an excellent story, and both matches delivered both brutality and crazy mat stuff in spades as you want. Highly recommended stuff
  13. Welp, here's two matches I didn't even know existed on tape until last week. They didn't make the Best of BattlARTS comp – which is some serious bollocks if you ask me, because both these were excellent and immediately skyrocketed towards the top of my list of favourite Greco matches. The first match was a full shootstyle main event and as cool as you imagine it to be. They had the BattlARTS roster (and even Dieseul Berto) watching from ringside. (...) Even after watching so much Greco footage, I was surprised with all the cool shit Greco came up with in these two matches. I've said it before that Greco brings the best out of his opponents, but it was striking that Usuda and Ishikawa never looked better on the mat in 1996 than opposite Greco here. Another thing was how brutal Carl could get: the Ishikawa singles obviously had a lot of pride involved, and maybe Ishikawa's cockiness is what lead Carl to angrily waffle him with shotais and eventually rattle his brain with a series of kicks to the skull, but he did it the next night aswell when the beef was between Ishikawa and Ikeda... maybe it's cause he was fighting Ishikawa, maybe he toned down the striking later on to focus on his submission work, maybe April of 1996 just wasn't Ishikawa's month... one thing wasn't out of the ordinary: both matches had Carl ensnaring people like a python. Regardless, 4/13 was an intense contest with a crazy finish, and 4/14 another top notch BattlARTS tag that told an excellent story, and both matches delivered both brutality and crazy mat stuff in spades as you want. Highly recommended stuff
  14. No sane person will look at this matchup and expect any oustanding wrestling exchanges. However, as a spectacle this was insanely effective and super entertaining. This mostly stays in the ring, Matsunaga is in his gi and anytime he's throwing crazy kicks it's great. But of course, this is about heatmongering and the BattlARTS dudes doing their best to come across as slimy pricks, so the biggest pop for the crowd is when the Big Japan guys finally get them outside the ring and get to bowl them into the chairs. I also liked Yamakawa as the worlds bravest white belt trying to roll with Usuda, right at the go he goes for a feeble takedown and ends up eating a bunch of stiff knees and high kicks in a moment that mirrored real life fighting. Him struggling to lock in a basic Figure 4 when he finally got the advantage was the icing on the cake. Some effective nearfalls at the end, Matsunaga bringing in a baseball bat (leading to some amusing attempted disarming), and of course Matsunaga punching a bloody Ishikawa in the face. No #1 babyface Matsunaga coming to save the day swinging weapons and fists may be almost as good as evil psycho Matsunaga.
  15. I really like the Best of BattlARTS comp, however, the fact that matches like this are missing from it – and thus are being overlooked – is crazy. Believe me when I say this was crazy good, not just „eh, why not check out this match, some good matwork and stuff“, seriously probably the best tag they did that year. This matchup the previous month was more of your typical slow building BattlARTS main event with solid mat exchanges throughout and so on, this on the other hand was a fucking house of fire, and it was very different, while still sticking to the story of Honma & Fujita as trying to prove themselves in the house of BattlARTS. So right at the get go Honma starts dropping bombs on Usuda, hitting him with a diving headbutt in the middle of a mat exchange and following up with a huge dive and some crazy high kicks of his own. Usuda desperately using his superior shoot skills to regain the advantage was really great and the opening exchanges really made me believe the match could end at anytime. To follow that up, all the Ishikawa/Usuda exchanges were insanely violent, full punch-you-in-the-face-kick-you-in-the-eye barfight mode, setting the table for their singles match. Fujita was great once again, having an awesome slick mat exchange with Honma and constantly working for his signature submission hold, he also dumped him with one of the most brutal german suplexes I've ever seen, not just from a tiny dude like him. I also loved how he desperately tried to escape Ishikawa's armbreaker. Seriously this whole thing was so intense and hard fought, both the BJW boys really lost their calling as BattlARTS/quasi shootstyle guys. Really loved all the Usuda/Honma exchanges as whenever these two started trading you felt someone was about to get knocked out, and Usuda twisting up Honma on the mat near the end was just spectacular. There is one major goof where Fujita no-sells a brainbuster, but honestly the rest of this was so fucking good and just classic BattlARTS hybrid wrestling material that I can forgive it.
  16. 3 out of these 4 guys had an absolute banger the previous month in BJW, and now swap in Yuki Ishikawa. This wasn't a state of the art inventive junior sprint like the january match, but just a really good BattlARTS formula tag. It is really cool to see Honma and Fujita adjusting into this environment, they aren't shootstylists, but they can grapple and hold their own and you can totally see them getting the hang of it, aswell as believably working moves like armdrags and huracanranas into shootstyle exchanges. These two having lengthy quasi shootstyle runs would have been awesom- ah let's not talk about it. Aside from lots of quality mat exchanges there is some nice disdain, as Ishikawa disrespects Fujita in the opening minute of the bout, so later Fujita to break up submission nearfalls would just pounce on Ishikawa like a mad dog. Fujta would get one back on Ishikawa by actually hitting him with a suicide dive. It was a cool dynamic that got paid off nicely in the second half of the match when Fujita took a sick beatdown. Honma is a guy who can drop bombs and after 15 minutes of matwork something like a piledriver or brainbuster has extra snap. Of course Honma is a guy who has no problem to get powerbombed into barbedwire so he also has no problem getting kicked in the skull by Usuda. Brutal finish. Gutsy as hell match and they worked this for like 70 people in attendance, current indy wrestlers aren't that stupid anymore, but it has made wrestling less fun.
  17. Sneaky BattlARTS guys always sneaking into joshi cards. Obviously there were some jokes in this match with Otsuka having to defend Fukuoka from creepy Ishikawa, but most of this was straight exchanges. Ishikawa/Otsuka is an all time great matchup and every single instance is worth seeking out, this being no exception. They did the bulk of the work and had some high end exchanges. I've been watching these guys for almost 10 years now and they still surprise me with some of the stuff the bust out, for example Ishikawa hits an awesome clean deadlift suplex on Otsuka, there is a nifty judo trip and some cool triangle scissor work. The exchanges between Hyuga and Fukuoka almost felt stale in comparison. Otsuka was a total stooge eating stiff dropkicks and double stomps from Hyuga and even a stiff Rider Kick from Fukuoka in a miscommunication spot. Of course the best moment is when Ishikawa finally gets ahold of Fukuoka and the first thing he does is lock in a chokehold with glee, fuck that's creepy. Hyuga and Fukuoka do the finish and they pick up the action which was good. This was 19 minutes which is pretty long for a novelty match but the whole thing went by in a breeze.
  18. Ohtani is not terribly fond of Ishikawa and goes all out trying to murder him (literally speaking at one point in the postmatch). Ishikawa fights back with fire and disdain. A super heated and extremely intense sprint, with zero letup. All time great squash. ****
  19. Small show BattlARTS tag, but all 4 guys had their working boots on. The Ishikawa/Ikeda exchanges are very good, as you'd expect, but don't take a big focus in the match. Tanaka and Hoshiakwa are two iffy guys at this point, but don't drag the match down. Hoshikawa is a guy who plays shooter in his lucharesu home promotions, but looks really pro style in BattlARTS, so that's always a little weird, but he was pretty good in parts here and didn't look lost wondering what to do. Lots of cool, sometimes slick and always competitive grappling throughout and the finish actually felt like a big moment. Not a huge adrenaline rush like the greatest BattlARTS matches but it delivers everything you want.
  20. This was pretty good... No one really stood out for me here and everyone played their part well. We get some Malenko-Ishikawa exchanges which were nice, but I know they can do far better. Hijikata gave this a little less of a Bati Bati feel whenever he was involved, but he had some firey offence at times and Usuda had some great looking kicks and some flashy submissions such as going for an enzuigiri after a catched kick and transitioning into a triangle choke from the bottom. The finish was sweet as its signaling towards the Malenko feud seems like the next path Ishikawa will take post Murakami feud. ***
  21. 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.
  22. 18 minute match clipped down to 10, making this a sprint. Ikeda and Ishikawa start the match with a crazy headbutt exchange and they are just fighting like feral animals. Oh boy the sheer CONTEMPT Ishikawa has for Ikeda. Usuda and Tanaka blast eachother with kicks to the face. Tanaka, for once, was pretty tight here. It never ceases to fascinate me how these guys would go to any japanese town hall and proceed to kill eachother night in night out. EDIT: It's of course Ikeda teaming up with Katsumi Usuda.
  23. An excellent teacher vs. pupil bout. Ishikawa busting out ridiculous counters to Sawa's offense was really clever from a narrative standpoint because who knows Sawa's style and approach better than Ishikawa? At the same time though he sells a lot and puts Sawa over as a resilient and dangerous opponent. A great, complete performance. Lots of struggle and many intense, dramatic mat and strike exchanges. ****
  24. 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.
  25. More MUGA slick matwork. At times the exchanges here resembled intense IWRG maestro scraps. Ooya is perfectly good in this environment, and Ishikawa is just off the chain. This wasn't as psychologically sharp as the previous tag with Fujinami, but I especially liked the Ishikawa vs. Nakano sections, as it was really cool to see Ishikawa use his his skill against a bigger, beastly opponent, and the Fujinami/Oya finish, for two guys who are about as random a pairing as you can get, was really good.
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