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Found 9 results

  1. East Europeans were pretty much carrying the RINGS undercard in 1998. This was a genuinely great Ilioukhine performance as he basically manhandles Naruse for your amusement. I wouldn't say Naruse was carried but he wasn't doing anything super exciting either. Atleast he has a nice backhand. Some really good exchanges in this one.
  2. Here's a rare creature: a bad Tamura match. There's a few injuries happening in this match, but it wasn't even good up to that point. I blame Naruse, who was way too limited at this point to be going 20+ minutes. Pretty dull opening matwork as it was mostly both guys moving from positions in not partiularily interesting ways. Nothing felt hard fought and I think there wasn't a single submission attempt in the first 14 minutes. Then Tamura injures Naruses leg with a kneebar. Ironically the following short stoppage woke up the crowd and produced some hot striking exchanges, but the match quickly fell apart again as Naruses knee started buckling. The leg injury may have been an abstract work to keep folks believing in the realness of RINGS. Eitherways Tamura beats easily Naruses after 24 minutes of mostly dull shootstyle. See, not all shootstyle is great. Supposedly Tamura got his nose broken too but I didn't notice when.
  3. Hey, this was a really nice, spirited little contest. The stand-up was sharp and clean and I dug Naruse playing underdog. He sold getting knocked around pretty well and I loved how he used the ref' to drag himself back to his feet after the penultimate knockdown. Nagai hurled a few mean leg kicks but still wasn't the full crowbar Nagai that I'm used to, as it was crowbar Nagai that was my first introduction to Nagai way back whenever. They sure telegraphed Naruse catching that high kick, but to their credit they threw a curve ball and switched up the finish nicely. Not spectacular by any means, but definitely fun and a super breezy nine minutes.
  4. This is all about the crowd heat as the crowd explodes when Kashin shows up to challenge for the IWGP Jr. Title unmasked. Match is fine-Naruse hits Kashin with a couple of solid shots where he visibly held back, Kashin catches him in a Flying Armbar for the flash finish and that's all she wrote. Might not sound like much on paper but it is a very enjoyable and unique experience to watch one of these weird matches only Inoki could book, and also to see someone like Kendo Kashin better reactions than most of today's heavyweights ever will.