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Found 780 results

  1. Calling this match shoot style or just shoot inspired might be the easiest way to get it over it but it would provide a shallow and historically inaccurate description. Shoot style was the creation of 1984 and 1988. New Japan continued to have its own style that would come in contact with the shootiness, but really started seriously flirting with it when they had the UWFi feud and then started bringing in Naoya Ogawa, Don Frye and so on. It peaked in the early 2000s as that was the peak of both PRIDE and Inoki's insanity, and you can see it in this match. It doesn't feel like UWF or RINGS or UWFi or PWFG. There's a distinct flair and style in this match-one that has maximized many of the elements of New Japan training Maeda used when creating the original style, but they also appropriate many of the elements used in modern combat fighting of the times such as soccer knees, knees on the ground etc. I know many aren't really fans of it, and politics and workers that couldn't thrive in the style could detract from it, but as far as looking for a good example of it being done right this might be your best bet. The brutality is just off the charts, but watching them fight for guard positions and takedowns and seeing how they set up the big spots is just as interesting. Shibata soccer kicking Fujita right in the eye is up there with the most brutal spots in wrestling history and you get a bunch of zoom ins at Fujita's swelling too. There was something chilling about the whole thing that's hard to put into words, during his entrance Shibata just completely covered his face with the towel and he ended it laying on the mat looking lifeless, as if he was a young lion going to a battle he wasn't ready for. ****1/2
  2. Man, I love this matchup. Young Punk Choshu was the best. You can say what you want about Inoki, but he was great at portraying himself as an untouchable badass. You look at some of the stuff Inoki does here and it's no wonder people thought he was a genius. He also always has these crazy facial expressions. I think the first 15 minutes or so of this didn't even have a bump but still ended up mesmerizing pro wrestling. This was worked like a technical battle of megastars so that was really cool. Both guys struggled hard and every movement could possibly lead to a finish which is exactly what you want from a match with really high stakes. Choshu was aggressive and really putting Inoki through the wringer, not just when he throw punches and stomps, but also in his grappling, butting heads when looking up and uncorking a super tight front headlock roll. Inoki came across as calm and cool headed so exactly the perfect counterpart to Choshu's rage. His selling was really strong too, at the beginning of the match he was dominating on the ground, but after Choshu really put the torque on him with the Scorpion Deathlock he was limping and stalling. Seeing the cool headed Inoki getting into desperation mode when Choshu tried the move again was great too. A limping Inoki punching Choshu in the face from the knees was epic and so was Choshu trying to bulldoze the legend with lariats and suplexes. I think if they had continued in that vein the match would've cruised into my all time top 10-20, but instead they slowed down again and went back to the holds. It was still really strong work and they delivered a great, clean finish. For a clash of the titans type match in front of a super hot 80s crowd that was mostly built around matwork this pretty much delivered all you can ask for.
  3. William Bologna

    Tatsumi Fujinami

    Fujinami is a wrestler I've long thought I'd like without ever seeing much of his work. As a longtime All Japan mark and all-around wrestling philistine, I've never had much occasion to dive into the work of a man who is, according to the inarguable dictates of science, the 20th greatest wrestler of all time. Of all time! But I have an NJPW World account and some time to kill between their last letdown of an event and upcoming, dog-ass awful tag team tournament, so why not watch every Fujinami match on the service? They didn't make it easy (I hesitate to blame Gedo personally, but who else is there?). Normally a wrestler has two entries in the tag list; one in Japanese, and one in our Roman script. For some reason, there are four Fujinamis in the archive, and each one has a different number of matches. Dammit, Gedo! I choose the first of these, with the largest number of matches (44). It seems to be mostly in chronological order. WWF Junior Heavyweight Championship bout Carlos Estrada vs Tatsumi Fujinami I guess this is the title that wound up in the J-Crown before the WWF demanded it back. Here's what I like about Carlos/Jose Estrada (and kudos to the MSG ring announcer for that rolled R on his last name): The dude starts heeling immediately. He lofts the belt like a dick and then proceeds to bitch and moan the whole time the ref is checking him. Here is a man who will take a shortcut, you say to yourself. Meanwhile, Fujinami's in the other corner wearing the traditional young lion gear and looking all wholesome and full of fighting spirit. Estrada brings a lot of hip tosses and some pretty sweet full-body-windup punches, and Fujinami gets his fighting spirit comebacks here and there. In response to a couple totally rad dropkicks, Estrada puts on the full heel handshake act. The beg-off, the hands behind the back, the offered handshake, the full drop to the knees one hand behind the back offered handshake. Will this virtuous young man fall for the wiles of the crafty veteran? What if I told you there were no wiles, and Estrada just wanted to shake hands? And the fans boo him for just shaking hands and not cheating? Seriously, this guy's an amazing heel. Eventually Estrada goes for and misses some kind off flip of the top rope. Fujinami hits him with what must be one of the first recorded dragon suplexes, and - making an argument that wrestling in 1978 is better than it is in 2017 - pins him with it. Fujinami reacts with wild, hair-out-of-place enthusiasm - he can't believe he did it! His joy is infectious, as the American crowd seems to be just as excited as he is (at least the collection of sideburns and turtlenecks picked up by the camera is). Estrada sells like he's dead, because he's a pro and he just got nailed with a damn dragon suplex in 1978. An in-ring in-Japanese interview follows, in which they seem to talk a lot about the suplex and about Fujinami doing his best. This must have been fascinating for the audience. This was great. Early Fujinami was like Hirai Kawato, and that's pretty much the best thing you can be.
  4. After a failed attempt to get into the NFL, Brock Lesnar turns his attention to the world of Japanese wrestling. We cite Lesnar's autobiography "Death Clutch" as to get an idea of Lesnar's mindset going into NJPW and touch on his mindset wrestling his what was perceived as his final match in IGF as well. Also get an interesting peak into how the Inokis did business when they were heads on NJPW.
  5. Really enjoyed this one especially the performance of Nicholls. He did everything with aggression and every strike he delivered was stiff even busting open Okada's chest in the process. You can tell motivated and had something to prove. Okada for his part was his standard self but was so giving making the crowd actually believe an upset is going to happen. Good stuff.
  6. I love that Kurashima pops up once in a blue moon on tape and has a nifty undercard bout. This was from a MUGA branded card but worked UWFi style. Nakano still looks good – his holds look extra hurty in that Greg Valentine hard-to-break way, and he will still put the hurt on anyone with his kicks, hands and skull. The turning point of the match came when Nakano dropped Kurashima with a snap brainbuster that left Kurashima groggy with nothing left but a few desperation takedowns which earned him nothing but a couple brutal KO's. Ending really felt like it could have been the conclusion to a classic rather than a forgotten undercard bout, if Kurashima was more over with the crowds.
  7. I'm not the biggest Koshinaka fan, but put him in a heated brawl and he can deliver. This was similiar to Koshinaka/Tenryu, and for old sumo guy who will kick you in the face Ishikawa isn't much below Tenryu. Ishikawa kicks, stomps and lariats were obviously incredibly violent, he just circles his prey and drives his boots really hard into the eye sockets, also seconds start brawling at one point (Kitahara spits on rowdy NJPW fans), Koshinaka bleeds and has some crazy selling... the nearfall ladden finishing run is really fun, and at one point Ishikawa drops Koshinaka throat first on the ropes when he went for his goofy hip attack. In short, it was everything a WAR vs. NJPW main event needs to be.
  8. I'm a Hiro Saito fan so him getting to work semi main event on a card full of nasty violent brawls is excitig. And this was another really fun nasty violent brawl. It needed some blood, but other than that this delivered. Just two dudes dropping each other with one nastier move after another. Some nasty as hell exposed turnbuckle bumps, and old man Kengo Kimura will still crack your ribs. Saito uses about 3 moves but all in about the stiffest possible variation. He does a nosebreaker which is like a jawbreaker except he breaks the other guys nose, he hits some stiff as hell thrust kicks and of course his senton is the greatest thing in the world. For a match that starts violent they continue to escalate the violence pretty well. Early Saito hits a standing senton – which looked like it absolutely sucked, then later a senton from the 2nd rope which almost knocks Kimura out, when he finally goes to the top rope for the big senton you think Kimura is going to die.
  9. This was fun but didn't quite live up to the violent potential of the match, due to SS Machine not really living up to it. Mostly Machine works over Aoyagis bandaged arm while Aoyagi makes fun kick based comebacks. Machines rudo work okay but he really needed to bring a little more violence on a card that was full of violent braws, just don't buy his noodle arm lariats putting away Aoygi. Perfectly fine stuff and there was some good close quarter fighting at one point but feels like a waste of an Aoyagi singles in a heated feud.
  10. Uuh what to you think happens in this match. Two thickly built japanese dudes have a tea party or something? No they beat the hell out of eachother. Hara starts this match working like Kurisu, trying to take the match to the outside and brain Saito with chairs. Meanwhile Saito just tries to cave Haras chest in with kicks. I've no idea why no japanese promotion (besides W*ING for a brief moment) has tried to do more with Saito in the 90s because he was a perfectly good b-side Hashimoto and the crowd loved him here. Lots of nasty kicks and lariats, Hara takes bigger bumps than you'd expect from a thick old dude, and they keep it short and sweet.
  11. A nice reminder why the NJPW vs. WAR feud was one of the greatest things in history. A mix of great heat and messy out of control violence. This is really pro wrestling vale tudo, two guys trying to fuck eachother up, they would go to the ground, but there would be eye gouging there and as soon as they got up they would throw kicks and headbutts again. Kitahara was just killing Kobayashi here with brutal kicks to the eye and Kobayashi holds up his own just running into Kitahara with headbutts repeatedly. The rules in this were a little weird, there doesn't seem to be pinfalls and Tiger Hattori is watching from ringside like a super libre match. At the end one guy takes a series of brutal DDTs and is choked out and after lying motionlessly for what felt like an eternity they decide to stop the match. Pretty unique and stands out as one of the most brutal match endings in the feud which covers a loooooot of ground.
  12. Thank you for your patience! I'm going to conclude the singles portion of this project here so, read on!! (6/10) Yoshihashi vs Ryusuke Taguchi: This was OK. I liked the opening mat section but, this felt like a by-the-book junior match. I think there is some drama here as Yoshihashi was part of the NJ main crew but as in a Young Lion/Junior member capacity. I say that as I've seen him paired with Taguchi in some tag matches. So maybe there's something here along the lines of YH proving his worth yadda-yadda but, I'll be honest I might even say SKIP this one. It just wasn't worth the 10 minutes in my mind. Gedo vs Kota Ibushi: Gedo's swearing and trash talking has been a real treat with the project. I crack up every time he tells some one off This match was no exception. His smack talk also strenghtens his dislike for his opponents especially Ibushi. "Come on, Golden Boy!" as Gedo slugs the comely Kota in the jaw. Oh man! That's good stuff K.I. comes back like a technico by finding that opening and wow-ing the fans and his foe with spectacular offensive maneuvers. And dammit! It works here because there's a reason he's doing his flips and dives. He's gotta his skill and agility to best the tough, crass vet! GO KOTA GO!This was a really standout bout in the 2010 BOSJ. 10 minutes of very good stuff here, go see it! (06/11) Jushin Liger vs Davey Richards: A good match that featured a Davey going after Liger's arm. Richards played the young aggressive gaijin going after the never-say-die veteran Liger. If this was a larger show, they could certiainly have put on a great **** match with this story/layout. I really enjoyed this one even though it was only 9 minutes long. Ryusuke Taguchi vs AKIRA: A match of parity and dueling leg work. This was a neat little story as both guys decided they'd hobble each other. There was some good selling and neat transitions but, neither took it so far to delegitimize the previous portion of the match. That is to say, they didn't sell it like a torn ACL only to be running and diving a second or two later. I like this. It was a different match and told a story most people shy away from nowadays. Good match. (06/12) La Sombra vs Jushin Liger: Shades of Liger vs Hayabusa Super J Cup 94 baby! La Sombra was like 'Screw it! I came here to highspots!' JTL hits his backbreaker and shotei palm strike and is looking to make an opening but, the young luchador shuts him down. We get a countout win after he hits a springboard inward somersault facecrusher on Liger on the floor! Now I think it was supposed to be like AR Fox's inward somersault plancha but, how Liger caught Sombra and vice versa made it look like a face crusher/bulldog on the cement. Hells yeah! 5 minutes...sorry to spoil it but, you gotta see it for yourself. Davey Richards vs Kota Ibushi: This wasn't the most developed match and my favorite part was when they were hitting each other BUT dang it! It worked! This was an all action bout and other than an iffy frankensteiner this was spot on. Probably not as good as their ROH bout around the same time (I think) but, this was good to very good stuff. I mean if you're interested in this you'll want to spend the 11 minutes on this match. If you dislike either guy then, uh yeah...I can't say it's what you want Kenny Omega vs AKIRA: I really dug this bout - high level of energy and excellent laser focus from AKIRA on Omega's knee. The Canadian sold it very well. He let us know it was hurting him enough to throw his offensive momentum off but, when pushed he could pull it together. AKIRA kept on it though. Kenny was in real trouble and he needed to put that fact at the forefront of his mind for the rest of the contest if we was going to win. He gave a great performance in building up hope, showing fighting spirit, yet still impressing us with his maneuvers. Likewise, AKIRA put on one of the best outings of the BOSJ round robin in constructing a spirited, intense battle that was believable and interesting even though it focused on a submission based attack in 2010 AND was only 10-11 minutes long! Very good to perhaps great match. So, the MVP of this is totally Gedo! Maybe I'm biased from growing up seeing him in all the sleazies and ECW (check out Jado & Gedo vs Impact Players) but, dammit- he really brought a real sense of hate to his matches. Many of the others we're technically great but, lacked emotion. There were exceptions, notably AKIRA vs Omega and the Hayato matches. This has taken me longer than expected but, it's been fun and something neat to do during the middle of a snowy afternoon. And really, that's the real treat here, NJPW has a bounty of good to great 10 minute matched on Youtube for people to enjoy. So, yeah watch Fujita Hayato's, Gedo's, Omega vs AKIRA and a Davey and Ryusuke Taguchi match and you'll be all set! Thank you wrestling fans!! We'll take a slight detour to some recent NOAH You Might Have Missed and then hitting the 2010 Jr. Tags. There are some real bangers in there!
  13. Typical Choshu match with all that entails. You get Choshu slapping the shit out of Chono, and Chono bleeding and trying to take the megastar down. Pretty rough around the edges in terms of layout and Chono isn't very compelling (though I loved his full speed yakuza kick to Choshus face) but the big moments of the match felt brutal.
  14. Well, this seems like a no-brainer matchup. Williams is a aggressive and physical. Hashimoto may be the greatest ever at building a match around a physical challenge. And well this is a pretty sweet big burly guy fight in front of a molten hot crowd that was dying to see Hashimoto destroy this mutant. Williams is a little goofy at times but largely holds up his end. You some intense basic holds as well as the freak spots, such as Williams press slamming Hash and a great finish where they avoid the obvious in nice fashion.
  15. Takashi Iizuka vs. Khabil Biktashev (NJPW 12/6/1989) It's Sambo Pro Wrestling baby~! Biktashev is yet another East European/Caucasian shooter who fought Naoya Ogawa in judo and is decidedly good at pro wrestling. At this point, can we say the Soviet Union produced the most natural pro wrestlers ever? This is really a hidden gem. It's a rounds match with both guys mostly working the mat and it builds to some really big drama. Biktashev wears a jacket, so Iizuka controls the first round dragging him by the jacket. The second round Biktashev gets some more amateur style takedowns on Iizuka. The 3rd round onwards Iizuka just gives Biktashev the business kicking the crap out of him. Iizuka really looks like he was made for this kind of match, busting out cool takedowns and matwork. He would've had a great career if he had more matches in this style. Biktashev sells really well, the problem with Pro Wrestling is it conditions you to view things like a kick to the ribs or spine as minuscule. Here Biktashev was really selling Iizukas knees and stomps as such, struggling to get up and looking anguished. He was selling so well a big Biktashev chant broke out! Japanese love themselves some soviet judokas when they are gutsy. Finish was pretty great simplistic pro wresting, with Iizuka trying to put Biktashev away with the sleeper and Biktashev trying to throw him off and failing. Really big drama for such a basic move and the failed escapes ruled.
  16. Victor Zangiev vs. Osamu Kido (NJPW 12/6/1989) YES! I love me a Zangiev match and I love me a Kido match. And here they are, doing their thing. Some really cool matwork – Zangiev just goes into an unbreakable bridge whenever Kido puts him on his back, while Kido is constantly grabbing armlocks. Really nice finish with Zangiev coming across as this ferocious force only for Kido to trap him.
  17. Sorry for the delay! The weather has been a little bit better the past two weeks and I've been able to get some skating in. Plus I think I needed a little break from wrestling. Nevertheless, I'm ready to pick up where I left off and get back to NJPW's Junior scene circa 2010. We're still watching the Best of the Super Jrs. round robin matches. From June 2nd (06/02/10) Tama Tonga vs Yoshihashi: I missed this one on the previous post but, no biggie. It was an OK match. Nothing fancy but, it was not bad. Just a quick little match. (06/04) KUSHIDA vs Kota Ibushi: It was weird seeing KUSH in something other than his McFly get-up but, even weirder was seeing him in red & gold shorts with bleached blonde hair. Whoa! Anyhow, this was very much an offense oriented match and was quite impressive. The crowd was digging it but, for some reason it didn't "get to me." It was good though and others may like this more. Fujita "Jr." Hayato vs Tama Tonga: A fun match pitting Tonga's power against Jr.'s kicks. It's very simple yet quite satisfying. 9 minute match and I've read that Hayato injured his foot during the match and had to pull out of the rest of the shows. Watch this bout and see if you can figure out where/when it happened. This is a shame since I was very much enjoying his shoot style leanings. (06/05) La Sombra vs Davey Richards: So, we get the first appearance of the American Wolf Davey Richards. Yes! This time with NJ created some buzz back in the day as he used to appear with NOAH fairly often and now he was going to be working with New Japan. His hard hitting style is very puro influenced so, to see him working in NJ gave them impression that they were looking to mix things up in the 2010's. To be honest, the 2000's for NJPW had some high points but, overall it was pretty stale what with dabbling in MMA-centric bouts, tired match ups and uninspiring stables. So, for a big name in the US scene like Davey to align himself was exciting. But to the match at hand - it was a good bout with nice moves. For a small show round robin match, it delivered. Some folks on the YT said it sucked but, that's B.S. They probably thought they were going to go buck wild despite the circumstances. Well, this is a New Japan house show folks... (06/06) Kenny Omega vs Tama Tonga: Bullet Club battle right here! No but, it was a nice Junior power vs power type of match. Like many of these matches, there wasn't a ton of selling but, it was fun watching these guys toss each other. I gotta say the Hadouken and Croyt's Wrath are great here! Prince Devitt vs Gedo: Gedo jumps Devitt from the get-go and dominates him for a good portion of the match. Of course, the Irishman comes back and damn! does it feel good! This is the best match so far in the project. The in ring story is there, the selling is there, the action is there, and we get humor too! Like Gedo telling the ref to "Shut the Fuck up!" on a couple occasions and pretending he's not going to use the ring bell mallet as a weapon AGAIN. Hahaha! Not to be out done, during Devitt's comeback, the Prince advises Red Shoes, in an un-princely manner, "Get the fuck outta the way!" I dug the hell outta this match. - It becoming clear to me that NJPW was trying to rebuild their Junior division much like they did in the 90's Golden Era. Get those talented Gaijin! Thanks for reading! Comment below if you see when Hayato got injured and I hope to be much quicker with my next installment.
  18. Iizuka returns to wrestling. And he gets to fight Nishimura in a long technical battle! Is this the longest singles match Iizuka has ever been in? Does anyone even remember any significantly long Iizuka singles matches?? As far as lesser known 2002 Nishimura singles matches go, I'd say this was better than Nishimura/Shiga. Iizuka was much less luggage than Shiga, instead he was actively trying to crack the stoic grappler, while Nishimura seemed to have an answer to everything. Iizuka finally found what he was looking for when he got Nish in one of his sambo leg locks. An awesome battle of leg entanglements ensued that left both guys struggling to get up. Couple brilliant nearfalls down the stretch that I bit on. Nishimura was the man in 2002 and Iizuka more than held up.
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