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Found 82 results

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. 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. ***
  11. 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.
  12. 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
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
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