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Showing results for tags 'Junji Izumida'.
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A very good 20 minute match that could've been a great 10-15 minute match. Akebono is the focal point of the match-whenever he's in the ring the match is on track. The crowd is livid at the idea of him facing off with Kobashi, and the early sequences clash Kobashi's tenacity with Akebono's sheer size, and it ends up with Akebono running over Kobashi. Unfortunately the Akebono-less pairings deliver nothing for most of the match, you'd think Kobashi was Go Shiozaki by the reactions his offence was getting and his insistance on doing shitty downward chops. The action picks up once Rikio fires up, no-sells Kobashi's pedestrian offence and corners him with sumo palm strikes. From there on Akebono stops playing the invicible monster and embodies a more vulnerable, Vader-esque monster, peaking with Kobashi relentlessly chopping him down in the corner and getting both his payback and moral victory in the clash of the titans. Akebono's slaps and slams are brutal enough that he doesn't lose credibiltiy even if Izumida was beating him up moments beforehand, and him and Rikio come up with neat ways to sandwich their opponents and put their weight to use. A neat glimpse into an alternative universe where a more mobile and better booked Akebono was a great wrestler. ***1/4