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Found 30 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. Uhm... it's these guys fighting eachother for 25 minutes in 2010 FUTEN. We get lot of really good exchanges throughout and an incredibly violent finishing run. The broken down version of Ishikawa/Ikeda is a pretty great matchup in itself, as all their exchanges have this continually exhausted Lawler/Mantell feel. Ishikawa was the far superior grappler by this point and would catch in Ikeda in all kinds of neat submissions, while Ikeda would come through with something incredibly stiff once in a while. It's a testament to Ikedas selling ability that even knowing he can take absolutely insane punishment he can make you believe he was seeing stars after a simple sleeper hold. Ikeda would also keep the grappling violent by just fishhooking Ishikawa repeatedly. Ono was incredible here and may have been the best guy in the match (and the world) at this point. He came across as this super dangerous striker early on (even in a match that has Daisuke Ikeda in it), pounding dudes really violently, flying stomps on the ground. The finishing run is between him and Usuda and it's just this amazing dangerous striker vs. Counter specialist matchup. The cool thing is Ono was avoiding all of Usudas signature spots but Usuda would still catch him, all while fighting for his life. Ono would go for a full force stomp that would likely cave Usudas face in only for Usuda to slip and lock in a submission. Increasingly violent saves were pretty gnarly with Usuda and Ono taking some sick headbutts and kicks while entangled in leglocks. Also, Onos lightning fast submissions were amazing.
  3. 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.
  4. BattlARTS vs. ZERO1 feud continues. And this was a real good match! I mean, that shouldn't come as a surprise, but I was expecting something fishy to happen here. But nope, they get to do their thing for 15+ minutes. Plenty of hate, stiff shots and neat moments, of course. There was lots of back and forth, altough nothing egregious. I guess this was the Z1 guys giving a shot at working a BattlARTS style rhythm. No shootstyle matwork besides a few counters, but lots of nice snug work. Tanaka was pretty efficient working with the BattlARTS dudes and Ohtani kept the crowd into it with his charisma.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. 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. ***
  8. It's another chapter in the series of Improbably Great Usuda vs. Indy Scum matches. I wish Usuda had worked IWA Japan so we could see what he could do with the Great Takeru. I think Honma was already doing regular deathmatches at this point as he looked sleazier and seemed to have forgotten about the finer intricacies of pro wrestling. He just went for big fucking bombs and looked noticably worse during stand up sections than he did earlier in the year. Aside from some slight lack of direction on Honmas part this was a real good match, let me tell you: Usuda pretty much held the whole thing together with his selling, ability to come up with exciting counters and absolutely blasting Honma with brutal kicks. Anytime Usuda was on offense you felt the match could end at any moment. Honma is good enough as your crazy highspot machine. All-time brutal finish.
  9. Usuda vs. Indy junior continues to produce the goodness. This was worked exactly as it should be – Usuda being the far superior shooter who would dominate on the ground and Fujita as the gutsy flyer who'd use quickness and determination to survive. Fujita can get aggressive and Usuda is a great counterwrestler to work with that aggressiveness. The middle portion of this match where both work the mat and refuse to go for ropebreaks while coming up with counters was solid gold. Highlihts include Usuda locking in an ultra tight Chickenwing Crossface which seemed to almost pop Fujita's shoulder, a pissed off Fujita raining headbutts from mount (and receiving a receipt in kind later on), Usuda countering Fujita's finisher etc. Fujita eats some huge blows in the standup section while finding believable ways to come back. This was largely excellent, logical junior vs. Shooter action which is only brought down slightly by 2-3 blown/weak looking spots.
  10. No sane person will look at this matchup and expect any oustanding wrestling exchanges. However, as a spectacle this was insanely effective and super entertaining. This mostly stays in the ring, Matsunaga is in his gi and anytime he's throwing crazy kicks it's great. But of course, this is about heatmongering and the BattlARTS dudes doing their best to come across as slimy pricks, so the biggest pop for the crowd is when the Big Japan guys finally get them outside the ring and get to bowl them into the chairs. I also liked Yamakawa as the worlds bravest white belt trying to roll with Usuda, right at the go he goes for a feeble takedown and ends up eating a bunch of stiff knees and high kicks in a moment that mirrored real life fighting. Him struggling to lock in a basic Figure 4 when he finally got the advantage was the icing on the cake. Some effective nearfalls at the end, Matsunaga bringing in a baseball bat (leading to some amusing attempted disarming), and of course Matsunaga punching a bloody Ishikawa in the face. No #1 babyface Matsunaga coming to save the day swinging weapons and fists may be almost as good as evil psycho Matsunaga.
  11. 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.
  12. Man I forgot how good this match was. DAMN. The first 30 seconds alone are utter brutality. This was a total shootstyle gangwar, which plays to their strengths. Lots of guys piling up and kicking and stomping the crap out of someone 2 on 1. If you know anything about BattlARTS or these guys you will know those kicks and stomps were no joke. Between the hitting and getting hit there were a bunch of fun, slick as ice mat scrambles. Hell, even Minoru Tanaka's shit looked good! Even Yone's shit looked good!! My only problem was the slight clipping, robbing us of 2 or 3 minutes of BattlARTS goodness. Still, the rest of this was great trademark BattlARTS violence & grappling at an awesome pace with a killer finish on top of it. Great sprint.
  13. This was a 10 minute match and pretty much a highlight reel of their stuff. Meaning Ishikawa looks like a superstar on the mat, and Usuda attempts to turn him into a vegetable with rotten kicks and headbutts. Despite the short length and both guys being familiar I was impressed by how well worked and elaborate their exchanges were, and even while being very familiar with both workers I bit on a few of the submission nearfalls. Nifty little bout.
  14. The two most relentless strikers BattlARTS had in 1996 face in a big deciding match, so this was a quality match up. There was some shootstyle matwork but this was mostly brutally violent standup, Usuda may have out-Ikeda'd Ikeda here. Ikeda's selling was absolutely fantastic. He got in some good shots, but Usuda was just relentless sending Ikeda into desperation mode and you got the sense the match was a hair away from being done. This was a brutal and great sub-10 minute war.
  15. Katsumi Usuda was rampaging through BattlARTS in 1996. He lays an absolutely murderous beating on Ishikawa. Ishikawa comes back with his excellent grappling technique and throws, but Usuda just crushes him with kicks to the face and blows on the ground. Short clip but both guys looked awesome.
  16. This was a spotfest, in the sense that there wasn't really a theme established during the match and it was more about the flashiness of the work. And it was a very good one. Hara is the least noteworthy guy here but even he is good, I always have time for a midcarder with nice kicks even if he doesn't offer much more. I loved the way Sawa used ring positioning in his striking exchanges vs Hara to express both dominance and peril and his usage of pro style moves was amusing. Ishikawa really is the master of making simple holds look deadly-it's not just that he knows how to properly apply them, he really wrenches on them and contemplantes them with great facial expressions and body language. I think they could've gotten more out of what they did here by attaching clearer roles to everyone involved but as an exhibition of violence and flashy matwork this was pretty neat. Also popped big for Usuda's Shining Wizard counter and Sawa cutting Usuda off near seconds before the finish. ***1/4-***1/2
  17. Ito looked somewhat unpolished here, he has nice kicks and I liked his palm strike flurries but he doesn't seem to have much clue how to work and time his stuff. Usuda carried him through the mat exchanges and executed some really cool holds, love his Wakigatame/bodyscissors. Finishing stretch was neat as they finally started going after each other with brutal stand up exchanges but the match didn't really seem to click before that as they'd just awkwardly reset after every sequence, though a great TKO finish will make me quickly forget the bout's shortcomings. ***-***1/4
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