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Found 23 results

  1. In the Secret Santo thread, @Jetlag gave me Toshiaki Kawada vs. Tamon Honda (AJPW 1/21/96). I once again can’t sleep and this is long overdue, so here goes… The match starts off with some amateur type wrestling before morphing into a series of suplexes (very reminiscent of Taz, who obviously borrowed heavily from guys like this) to strong style kicks. Then some nice psychology with Honda trying to ground Kawada to prevent more of those devastating kicks and nice selling from Kawada. Everything looks snug and tight. No one was calling these guys fake, that’s for sure! Kawada turns the tables by grounding Honda in return. These two seem pretty even, matching each other move for move and strategy for strategy. Following more hard kicks by Kawada, Honda goes on a crazy flurry of flopping headbutts with an insane airplane spin along the way for good measure. After a few more minutes of back and forth action mixing strikes with submissions, Kawada gets the hard-earned tapout victory. Really fun little match. The only disappointment is that I didn’t get to see the “Kawada smile” made famous on this board by @KawadaSmile.
  2. One year later, Sugiura looks much more rugged. Can he take down Honda now? He can't, but here's another really fun match. Plenty of grappling, and that is a good thing because Honda rules so much on the mat. His cradles, takeovers etc. are so much cooler than your average UWF matwork. His super tight headlocks etc. also help emphasize how much it must suck to wrestle this guy and they also have significance, he might just lock in a basic front headlock then yank the guy over and crank his neck. Sugiura brings a lot more to the table in this match. Not outstanding and he does look a little awkward at times but he is a fun dance partner for Honda. The finish was pretty fun and unpredictable even if you've seen a lot of Honda as he wasn't doing his usual finishers (yet?) and instead some more experimental things.
  3. Amaresu shootstyle! This was a really cool match. Apparently this was Sugiura's 3rd match ever so it's good that he gets to fight Honda, who is a master of a nifty short match like this. The early matwork here felt a bit like Negro Navarro doing an exhibition in Coliseo Coacalco, quick movements and then a break, but they get into some good extended mat sections later on. Really cool stuff that feels different from your typical UWF inspiried japanese shootstyle matwork. Honda looks like a troll but he can move really fast. Sugiura (in his amateur singlet) looks good throwing the much bigger Honda around. He survives some of Hondas unorthodox submissions and even hits a massive Karelin throw on the big guy. Nifty Fujiwaraesque finish.
  4. Such a neat match. They're both former amateur wrestlers and that's what the match is focused on, you see a lot of mirror spots and one-upmanship. Mostly it's Albright throwing Honda around, since he's the bigger man, but Honda gets some stuff in too and the crowd goes wild when he does, and it's beliavable enough since he's a pretty big man himself and they didn't go all the way with it. Honda would try to German Supley Albright, but instead be forced to go for a takedown or switch it into another Suplex since it was just too ambitious. Albright's Suplexes (and offencein general) are beautiful, but it's really Honda who carries the match-milking the most out of submissions and giving everything urgency. The way he desperately fights off a Dragon Suplex and tries to roll out of the ring are reminiscent of the classic he had with Kobashi. There is some repetition, in that they go for Armbars a lot, and Honda relies on the Headbutt, but both of those are given satisfying pay-offs, akin to a long headlock in a Thesz match-there's something special about going "really, another Armbar? I think they're going overboard" and just as you're processing that thought Albright escapes the hold and punches Honda straight in the face. ***3/4
  5. This match is ugly, folks. But really fun too. But ugly, really. The one issue that appears really quick is that Makabe, a few weeks removed of being renamed Togi, is not very good. Not good even. So the beginning of the match with a long sequence against Honda just drags forever. Each time Takayama tags in, the match comes alive. Each time Makabe gets back in, it's a yawnfest with his boring, plodding brawling style. So, from there, Kobashi beats the shit out of him and now it gets fun, as soon enough after another heat sequences that works a bit better (Takayama gets things moving), the match loses it's structure and it's just a bunch of brawling outside, Honda suplexing Takayama from the ramp to the inside, Makabe getting blood and Kobashi beating the fuck out of him even more. And finally, a short but nice teaser sequence between Kobashi & Takayama, foreshadowing a title match in the future maybe. Kobashi was just the Man at this point, he could adapt to any situation. So he brawls, tries to make Makabe's stuff look good (but fails, as Makabe can't even do a powerslam right) and then, fuck it, beats him even more. Meanwhile, some Honda ugly goodness too with him trying to smothers the outsiders one after another. Well, it's an ugly match, that moves from boring to a fun mess, to the point I'd call it quite good in the end, but man, Makabe was not good and really took that one down a bunch of notches. Watching the other three make up for it and Kobashi beating on Makabe (who 's only good for that use at this point) unmercifully finally made the match fun, basically.
  6. Another great Tamon Honda underdog tale. I’d previously only seen the last seven minutes of this match before but seeing it in its entirety really fleshes it out. Here, Honda’s the dopey but mat dangerous Deputy Dawg. They work the opening few minutes to a stalemate, before Akiyama DDTs Honda on the rampway and continues working the neck, using his knees, legscissors, and at one point, slapping on a rear headlock and cranking Honda around into a modified front facelock. Akiyama is able to keep cutting off Honda's momentum – hitting an Exploder in response to Honda’s backdrop and then putting him in a crossface hold – but eventually, Honda breaks out, delivering a couple of awesome slow German suplexes, yanking Akiyama off the ropes, then he goes to the ground with the STF and anaconda vise. Alas, Akiyama’s the man, and he goes back to that neckwork he established so well, utilizing the front necklock, dropping Honda with Exploders to break him down even further before finishing him off with that necklock.
  7. Apparently this Mashita guy worked Battlarts and Real Japan, it still doesn't ring a bell, I don't remember ever hearing about him. He's basically a poor man's Munenori Sawa here-nothing bad, but nothing especially good either-he throws some kicks and that's about it. Honda is still a joy to watch-the way he grinds a Headlock is a thing of beauty so watching this goof try to escape it over and over again and constantly failing was quite fun. Honda busts some of his signature submissions and pins, not many as the briefness of the match didn't allow him to. A fun and easy watch if you have four minutes to kill. ***
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