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Found 37 results

  1. This is the infamous match where Choshu gets shoot kicked in the face. Aside from questionable morals, it‘s a really hot match with the crowd being absolutely white hot for all the Choshu/Maeda exchanges. Maeda kicking the hell out of Choshu is fun, but Maeda outgrappling Choshu may be even funner. I wonder if that is what caused Maeda to snap because Choshu seemed not ready for Maeda to actually wrestle him and just wanted to do his usual spiel. The initial moments after the kick are some of the most intense you‘ll ever see in a wrestling ring, with Maeda egging Choshu on further and Masa Saito tackling the big guy. Really a thrill to check out, pity the kick was real because this would‘ve set up an amazing singles match.
  2. Crazy crazy heated match. You don‘t see a lot of matches with the crowd this excited for a bunch of technical guys in black trunks. Not quite a shootstyle match, but really tight action and really intense stuff with Fujinami & Kimura being outgunned by the UWF duo. Kido can always beat you with a slick reversal, and anytime Maeda starts throwing kicks you think he is about to kill someone. Kimura taking it to Maeda was cool to see and he and Fujinami had some inspired exchanges. Lots of cool moments throughout, including an awesome dive tease and a great crafty finish. It happens in a split second and once you realize what happened you smile. Check it out if you‘re a fan of the time period. This happened on the same card as Fujiwara/Yamada. Mid 80s NJPW was loaded.
  3. Man-no matter how much his work gets praised Tamura's character seems to forever remain underrated. HIs determination, stubborness and ego are played to perfectly here-the moment where he look down on Maeda dares him to do something is great, as is the insane fight over positioning that ensues instantly afterwards. The speed of their kicks is something else-them actually presenting the match like a real fight instead of doing trading kicks spots makes the kicks feel a million times more important but the speed and impact and technique in kicks itself is on another level as well. I look at stuff like a sequence in which Maeda locks in a Leglock and Tamura blocks it and tries to escape but Maeda blocks that with a Guillotine BUT Tamura rolls with him and uses that Guillotine to get a Side Mount and transition into a full mount and really get in a dominant spot and you know an Armbar is coming, Tamura is rolling around, trying to trick Maeda into letting his guard down but he slips for a moment and immediately gets Double Wristlocked from the bottom and think-seriously fuck junior wrestling, THIS is true workrate and it rules. The Sleeper/Ankle Lock finish is always great but they milk it to its maximum here. ****
  4. Now we'e talking with the mid 80s shoot style stuff. This is the finals of a mini tournament (Super Tiger over Fujiwara, Maeda over Mark Lewin). Good kicks from both with a slight edge to Super Tiger. The stand-up sequences that led to take-downs got pretty good as this went on. Lot of armbars and rope breaks, as is expected. Both guys do a reversal into a single crab off that submission. Crowd is hot for these big submission take-downs. Super Tiger is the first to break out some wrestling, hitting a somersault senton onto Maeda's back while doing some arm work. Pele kick from Tiger and he goes up for a knee drop but Maeda avoids. Everybody pretty much no-sells anything but the submission work. Things look bleak for Super Tiger but he keeps fighting for the ropes. Finally he just goes "fuck it" and elbows Maeda in the back of the head, works him up for a tombstone and then hits a moonsault (he also works in a beautiful back spin kick to Maeda's head, which was impressive given how tall Maeda is comparably). That'd be your pro-wrestling finish but Super Tiger just goes right back to the arm, which goes nowhere and Maeda is in the ropes. Both guys start throwing some more suplexes but we're only talking one counts here, followed by more rope breaks. Finally Super Tiger works Maeda into the crossface chickenwing and he taps. This match was ranked 20/75 in the Other Japan 80s poll.
  5. It's always weird watching japanese wrestling where the wrestlers actually over after getting used to mild clapping.This match ruled. Yamamoto goes after Maeda attacking him with palm strikes and takedowns and as a result we see a more defensive Maeda. Maeda opts to attack Yamamoto with Leglocks and wears his leg down throughout the match which Yamamoto sells perfectly by slowing down in the final minutes more and more after every leglock Maeda catches him in. One of my favourite moments in the match was Yamamoto getting overzealous once he realised he was a real threat to him and earning a yellow card for slapping him on the ground or after Maeda went down I couldn't really tell which one it was. ****
  6. This was quite the clash of the titans style match. Picture it like the scene in a western where a big gunfight breaks out and lots of stuff breaks and lots of people get shot. Takada is kind of a slug, but Maeda carries him fine on the mat, and both guys go into standing exchanges as if ready to die. Not the most pure or artful fight, but brutal and dramatic to the max.
  7. One of my favourite matches of the style. The grappling in this match was amazing. Everything looked tight and out right gnarly at times. One thing I loved in this match was everything lead into each other. For example, Maeda's suplexes almost always lead to a submission attempt on the arm. But the focus of the match was Maeda constantly going for the legs. As great as Maeda was, Takada was the star with his all time great underdog performance. His selling of the leg was fantastic and his defence of the grappling from Maeda was great. He got in some great strikes to gain the advantage in parts of the match. Great battle, filled with struggle and top notch grappling. ****3/4
  8. UWF top dog delivers a monstrous beating to New Japan's hero, who will not stay down no matter what. Maeda is good as the destroyer but Fujinami's epic selling performance makes this a classic. The top NJPW match of the 80s. ****3/4
  9. Awesome stuff here. The insane crowd reactions for the entrances clue you in on this being something special and commentary describes it as Maeda's final match in Osaka or something along those lines, definitely part of his retirement tour. The action itself is great as well, they did a great job of building up every transition on the mat and the keylock counter and the fighting over the leglocks were the highlights of the match, and honestly it probably wouldn't stand out if it happened on a smaller show a few years ago, but here it was more important that the action is good enough to supplement the beautiful atmosphere than to try and force a classic, which, with Maeda's detoriating health, almost certainly wouldn't have been as good of an option as a couple of minutes of tight work. ****
  10. Only 4 minutes, but what a great 4 minute match. Volk Han is an undeniable wrestling god, even when he is not on the offense his movements are poetry. I also always get a kick out of Maeda hitting the mat with anyone who's not Takada. I really liked how Volk sold his demise, you'd think how can you sell your demise well in a fluke match, but him howling when Maeda breaks his grip and grabs the kneebar is how you do it.
  11. Talk about it here.
  12. This was quite the shootstyle main event. A little long and directionless at times, but the matwork was good enough and when they threw kicks, they just sliced through eachother. A seemingly gassed Yamazaki nearly kicking Maeda's head off was such a spectacular moment. Yeah I don't have much to write about this. Solid in the first 20 minutes and pretty dope violent stuff in the last.
  13. G. Badger

    Assorted NJPW Tags from 1986

    Here are some really great tag matches from New Japan in 1986 that don't get much talk. Thought I'd share the love! Nobuhiko Takada & Osamu Kido vs Antonio Inoki & Keiichi Yamada (02/05/86): Wow what a great little match! The crowd really lets you know what's up since the work isn't mind-blowing or anything. This is the beginning of the legendary UWF/NJ feud and you can tell right here that dammit! It means something. Each guy just does his job well and it really pushes the intensity. Takada is such a bastard here & Yamada is such a good underdog but, we always knew that! Kido was impressive & Inoki is such a badass that anytime he was in the ring the place blew up with cheers as if the smallest offense could end the UWF guys chances. Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura vs Akira Maeda & Osamu Kido (08/05/86): An excellent strong-style tag match that was awesome when Fujinami & Maeda was were in together. They did some neat allusions to their 06/12 classic with Fujinami dodging the corner wheel kick. Maeda was sort of all over the place with his kicks, in the dangerous kind of way for instance he blasted Kengo in the mouth that almost killed the match. Still that makes him exciting and dangerous...adding to the combat sport aspect of strong-style. I would've liked a smoother finish. Overall pretty great match and fun compliment to the 06/12 match. Takada & Fujiwara vs Shiro Koshinaka & George Takano (09/05/86): A very good tag match with Takano being much better here than as Cobra, Takada was also much better here especially with his kicks, Fujiwara & Koshinaka are awesome throughout. Akira Maeda, Kazuo Yamazaki, Nobuhiko Takada, Osamu Kido & Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs George Takano, Kantaro Hoshino, Kengo Kimura, Shiro Koshinaka & Tatsumi Fujinami (09/16/86): People don't think this one is as good as the one in March & maybe they're right but, I didn't think so. I thought this one was much better from an in-ring stand point. It was a sprint like the last one but there was actual sprinting and much more involved one-on-one action as the feuds had developed & the NJPW team was better without the fat old blonde guy Ueda & Inoki wasn't there to be the spoiler...it helped put the finish in doubt.
  14. G. Badger

    Assorted NJPW from 1987

    No one really seems to talk about the 1980's Japan anymore. That ship has sailed and people have moved on to other stuff, I suppose. A few years ago...maybe 5 years...I can't remember, NJPW, AJPW, and essentially UWF were being watched in depth and ranked by a good handful of folks. Pretty awesome stuff. I've got the lists saved on a USB drive. I'm not going to even try to recreate or resurrect the 80's projects with my Saturday posts but, I love the 80's Japan stuff. 1986-1988 NJPW is one of my favorite periods in puro. Even in posting these, I realize how much more I need to check out in 1987 NJPW. Nobuhiko Takada & Akira Maeda vs Keiji Mutoh & Shiro Koshinaka (03/20/87): Oh my goodness! This match was awesome! The UWF team was soooo stiff and the NJ team was just totally exciting yet, looked good taking a beating. Maeda wasn't going to kick somebody unless he could kick them in the head. This seriously was bell to bell fun. There were moments where the excitement ebbed but then bam! It flowed right back to where it was before. A true lesson in crowd control that frankly you only witness in the finest of wrestling matches. This stuff is timeless. Takada & Maeda vs Mutoh & Koshinaka (03/26/87): Damn these guys can really go! In six days these guys delivered another must-see tag match. Surprisingly it's in a different vein than the earlier one although there are some similarities. Both teams just have great chemistry and put over each others moves so well. Fast paced action throughout & certainly the stuff tag fans like myself can never see enough of. Not as good as the first but, still really great stuff. The abrupt finish is the only thing holding it back from being an all time classic match. ****1/4+ type scenario. Takada & Maeda vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Kazuo Yamazaki (05/25/87): I'll have to re-watch this as I was a bit tired but, still this was a very good stiff match. I didn't really appreciate Takada killing the momentum in this match with leg locks or arm-breakers when it wasn't really called for. Match was really something with the other 3 guys though as Maeda's perfectly OK with getting kicked in the head. Takada vs Kuniaki Kobayashi (08/20/87): The '87 IWGP Jr title finals. This took a damn long time to warm up as it was Takada's usual stall job. He uses cross-arm breakers and wakigatame as rest holds! Come on! He's a good worker but doesn't know how to use his submission moves to build heat, he just throws them out there. Kobayashi is pretty cool here but sorta lets Takada go which hurts the match until the final stretch which is pretty top notch. Selling of damage would really help in this setting. ***1/2ish perhaps... Takada & Maeda vs Fujiwara & Yamazaki (09/01/87): I felt this was better than the 5/25 match because Takada wasn't in too much to kill the momentum. His time killers were ok because he was in just for a little bit. Still the other 3 were much better and Fujiwara really brought his B+ game here especially with Maeda who continues to be one of my favorites because he strives for realism. Case in point he had a Kobashi mouse on his cheek...take your pick which head shot did that! The big downside with these UWF only matches is that the exciting aspects like double team moves and drama generators like saves are eschewed in the pursuit of a "pure" athletic competition. Re-watched: Saw this a day or two later with my Dad who's pretty critical & he really liked it. That's the confirmation I needed this is a damn good match. I wish the ending was better but, still good and more natural than I thought. Plus it helps push Yamazaki forward. Takada & Yamazaki vs Keiichi Yamada & Shiro Koshinaka (10/25/87): I strongly feel that the best showcase for the UWF guys in NJPW is against regular workers. It lets them work their submission against "trained" sellers so the drama and importance is really played up. Also the UWF guys are really good pro-wrestlers too so they have no problem taking the pro moves as well as incorporate some of their own. This really helps the variety of the match. In any case the best guys to face the shooters are Fujinami, Koshinaka & Yamada. I also liked Mutoh in '87...anyhow...this was another really great match...which I've forgotten the ending of but, I just love how these guys work together Koshinaka, Yamada & Yamazaki vs. Hiro Saito, Kintaro Hoshino & Kensuke Sasaki (12/03/87): This was an all action 6 man match. It really was a showcase for the stars. I cant say it was back and forth as 5 minutes were skipped ahead. Nonetheless this was a fun action packed match. I dont think there was much drama but, that doesn't take away from how enjoyable this was.
  15. Tamura is wildly outmatched but comes out all guns blazing out of defiance. Maeda is stunned but quickly counters with a leglock and brutal knees to the face. Tamura's selling is amazing. A 2 minute, 19 second match that almost hits the great mark. Tamura and shoot-style are the best. *** 3/4
  16. I'm not sure how my taste in wrestling managed to change so quickly, maybe it's the insane GWE-related amounts of wrestling I've watched, but last time I watched this match wasn's so long ago, maybe a year or two ago. I thought it was good, this time I thought it was absolutely marvelous. Super Strong Machine trips Maeda as he's entering the ring and attacks him, that whole angle was so great and really puts into perspective how amateur a lot of angles even major promotions do cime off. Maeda does a disgusting blade job, so naturally you need a million people to hide it well, and the commotion a pre-match attack causes is the perfect opportunity for that. All you really see is Maeda eating shots and the ringpost and by the time he gets up he's just covered in blood, it's insane. Maeda falls down as he enters the ring and sets the stage for the match. Maeda is on the verge if defeat the entire match, as Masa Saito just nuked him with Suplexes and Lariats. They cool it off with a Boston Crab and while the crowd senses Maeda isn't losing to such a hold they use it to transition to Maeda's comeback, as Maeda pushes Saito off him by going backwards. From then on it'a a matter of life and death, and they pack so much neat stuff into the finishing stretch it feels kinda redundant to name every singLe thing done and why it worked. Saito's punches could've been better, but that's just nitpicking. ****
  17. I believe this was the second show of UWF 2nd stage and so they did this match as a bit of strong style in it's stiffest format. For example, they picked one another up, there was a snap mare and a large number of rope breaks instead of escapes. So with that said, it's totally understandable that they opted to do this. They had to ease people back into the U-style and not discredit everything they did in '86, '87, and the first half of '88. That's wild when you think about it. There was a three year gap and three years in wrestling is a long time...basically a seachange from 1985 to 1988. Ok so we take this more as a NJPW match. If that's the case then this is awesome! The submissions aren't as believable until later but the kicks are vicious. Even the submissions were very dramatic because you never knew the one Takada was going going to tap to & Maeda was eating kicks. Really cool brutal stuff. The stiffness didn't take this over to the level of violence that was shown in 7/24/89 & that was beautifully teased in the Yamazaki/Fujiwara match. Not quite the same type of match though so it's hard to reconcile where this fits in the shoot-style paradigm. A classic for a strong style match but not up to credibility standards for UWF or shoot style...got to rate it more as straight pro-wrestling.
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