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Found 82 results

  1. These two have a go at establishing themselves as the lamest workers in all of BattlARTS history. This went 14 minutes but felt like half an hour. Some slow, unimpressive matwork to begin with, with the standing portions resembling Takada/Bernardo. They move into some contrived sequences for nearfalls. Funakis poor mans Dean Malenko style is just boring and Tanakas just does the same spots as always. Not all 90s japanese wrestling was great.
  2. 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.
  3. Always nice to see the M-Pro crew show up on another promotions card and try to steal the show. This was maybe slightly faster worked and more chaotic than their usual formula tag, which wasn't a bad thing. You are really kept on the edge of your seat when any minute 4 guys might run in to drop elbows all at the same time. A chaotic brawl breaks out halfway into the match and Naniwa gets bloodied and his mask ripped open, which just sets the crowd completely on fire for him. The Sasuke/Hamada/Yakushuji technico shine sections are really fun – Yakushuji fast complicated headscissors and armdrags are still the best, and I don't remember Hamada working as Fujiwara but he does a good job at it here. Still the massive blood and mask ripping portions and Naniwa getting to shine really set this one apart.
  4. I miss BattlARTS. The style is such that even two undercard workers can just come out like this and have a very good little match. Some very good shootstyle mat exchanges here. Super Rider is the more complete fighter and dominates early, including catching Junji with a brutal kick during a leglock exchange. Junji would get a lucky armbar but get stretched again soon after. Junji however is able to hang on and beat down Rider with some good looking NWA TV squash offense... nice headbutt to the shoulder, knee drops etc. Really liked Riders subsequent low kicks. Nifty finish.
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. BattlARTS vs. MUGA, baby. We all know Otsuka can be a really great grappler when he wants to, but he is often tangled up in doing all kinds of weird experimental stuff. MUGA boy Takemura is the type of guy to get a nice all-grappling shootstyle match out of him. Takemura isn't GREAT and doesn't bring a ton to the table here but he meshes really well with Otsuka a and they move nicely from smooth rolling to zit-poppingly tight holds. Takemura's unpolishedness may have added to some of the reversals towards the end feeling more uncooperative. Of course Otsuka also just ragdolls him and it's beautiful.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. This was alright, though more like your red hot New Japan juniors fare than what you'd typically associate with Battlarts. Still, red hot is red hot and it had excellent heat. You'd think they'd hit a point of diminishing returns with the nearfalls considering literally every pin attempt from word one was a 2.999 count, but the crowd didn't seem to peak early. Tajiri was rolling out all sorts of lucha submissions like a nippy little Blue Panther and you're reminded that he worked Mexico for a minute there. I don't love Tanaka, but he's crisp and his stuff looks good so...that's a thing, I guess.
  12. They don't call Mitsuhiro Matsunaga "Mr. Danger" for nothing! Along with Jun Kasai, he's got to be my favorite death matcher. I'm not positive but, the Bed of Nails has to be one of his signature death matches...although they aren't always the most spectacular. The fans love it so, I guess they keep doing it! Of course, they probably take too far nowadays but, here are some goodies (baddies?) with Mr. Danger! Leatherface vs Mitsuhiro Matsunaga (Original Spike Nail Death Match) 12/20/92 W*ING Eh this was just alright... Leatherface was pretty bland on offense and frankly Matsunaga was as well. At least I can sense his kicks being harmful rather than Leather's paltry punching and stomping. They tease the nails, kill the heat by incorporating a knee brace story element, and the match ends with one guy rolling onto a single nail board :-/ Mind you they (W*ING) have set up like 5 boards on each side of the ring so, it really looks they're trying to put the 'death' in death match but nah...1 board and then they (W*ING wrestlers) carry the defeated man off in a blanket like volunteers carrying a rehabilitated dolphin back to the ocean. Its Matsunaga...he lost...am I spoiling anything at this point? So, I found the rematch with higher hopes. 5/5/93 Spike Nail rematch So, the rematch was better. The general offense was pretty lame and meandering but, they teased the nails a lot better this time including fighting on the apron. Leatherface went off the top rope a couple times which was an improvement. This finish was a lot better and appropriate for the stipulation. I won't really recommend this match in full form but maybe a clipped version is out there worth checking out. Yuki Ishikawa vs Mitsuhiro Matsunaga (Bed of Nails Death Match, 05/14/99 Battlarts): I thought this really good for awhile as they were teasing the bed of nails so well and the non-wrestling was very good in getting across just how much they wanted the other guy to eat it but, it was not to be. It turned into poorly executed slice and dice and then was over. No one took the nails which was a bit of a letdown since they were teased beautifully. *** but at one point 4 stars, if that makes sense.
  13. 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. ***
  14. This was worked under Pro Wrestling Rules so this wasnt what youd expect from a Bati Bati match, however its not that good... They got a decent looking strike exchange in early on, but aside from that there wasnt anything else they excelled in. Forgettable.
  15. I didn't really care one way or the other about Hijikata and his fighting spirit business, but Ono was outstanding again. He looks like one of the best wrestlers in the world in 2000/20001 and yet he mostly seems to be dicking around in barely-spotlighted undercard fights. Surely the one major blemish on Yuki Ishikawa as a booker/human being. Hijikata jumped Ono before the bell here, running him into the barricade before throwing him into the first row, and as Ono made his way into the ring for the first time he had this "okay so we're doing that, are we?" look on his face and you get a little giddy at what you fully expect him to do. Naturally he went and kicked the shit out of Hijikata. Some of his selling towards the end was incredible, like the crumpled sell of a lariat and the way he made it back to his feet like a cobra in answer to the snake charmer's punji. And like most dealings with a cobra, Hijikata wound up getting bit when he came too close.
  16. 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.
  17. 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. ****
  18. Nothing like celebrating christmas through a big ol' BattlARTS style asskicking. This was Ikeda & junji vs. two big damn crowbars. For someone who is notorious for laying epic beatings on others, Ikeda is really good at fighting from underneath and making the opponent look like a menacing force: he sells sympathetic, makes a strong comeback and then in turn levels the other guy with stiff shots. This was one of those pro-style leaning BattlARTS matches were they don't do much matwork and just beat eachother to a pulp, which plays to the strengths of Yone and Nagai. Junji was pretty fun here, as he got basically no offense and was beaten and stretched badly. The finish has Nagai laying a series of brutal kicks on junji and finally finished him off with a huge spinkick to his mouth. He totally executed the little guy. Match probably needed a little more Ikeda to get on the high end BattlARTS side, but was still pretty fun.
  19. Pretty fun BattlARTS spotboy match. Kinda veered into trained monkey show at times, Minoru Tanaka was even slapping his thigh, but Hidaka & Fujita were pretty fun to check out here. It has fallen into complete obscurity, but once upon a time Minoru Fujita was a talented little dude who had all the ultra choice moves. His La Casita into Calf Slicer and Terry Funk rolling cradle into the same hold were really post modern and steal-worthy. He does some good legwork on Mochizuki (who of course doesn't bother to sell) then some fun finishing sequences ensue.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Greco and Ikeda looked really good against eachother in the previous tag. So here's them in a singles match! For such a short match, this was GREAT. Ikeda is a guy who is comfortably „very good“ on the match, but Greco just guzzles him here. Greco has ridiculously high end technique. High end slick ground grappling. High end headscissor work. A bloody high end sidewalk slam! Greco really was a master at taking the most simple things and turning them into something amazing. Ikeda is all outmatched bull here and he has some great brief spurts of pissed off bull rushes. This was like the best 9 minute Velocity match ever.
  24. The ring here is terribly squeaky. It appears to be in a TV studio in front of a psychedelic background. It's Post-Modernist Shootstyle Wrestling Daddy!!! You may want to watch this for gorgeous Otsuka suplexes. A little uneventful undercard match otherwise. The BattlARTS matwork was pretty rough in 1996, and they didn't quite succeed here in making it compelling. I do appreciate the the uncooperativeness, though. Usuda looked legit as hell.
  25. I enjoyed this a lot. They really put a lot of compelling stuff into a slow, mat-based encounter. Funaki could really, really go on the mat, and the pudgy little technician vs. dirty heel mauler was a good story for the match. Ikeda was super gritty here. His legbar was such a Johnny Valentine move. Great finish. Check it out if you're a fan of this stuff.
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