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Found 3 results

  1. The first match in NEW history faces off a shoot style legend and one of the most notorious japanese MMA fighters of today. When you choose to work a mat-based shoot style match in a more conservative manner, with not many nearfalls and highspots, it's not uncommon to see it become uninteresting. These two absolutely nailed it. Aoki seems to intuitively *get* pro wrestling-their sequences just seamlessly flow. It is like a lucha title match, except wacky lucha holds are replaced with armbars and leglocks, and the use of realistic guard positions almost makes it like a high end jiu jitus exhibition. Almost-because the match retains a certain flair of catch wrestling you'd want a Fujiwara match to have, in that how they utilize their joints to put pressure on their opponents makes for a significant aspect of the match, but they also pull guard, block transitions, use ankle picks and so on, giving the match its own unique feel rather than just copying an old style. Fujiwara tones down the goofiness-there's no ramming his head against the pose or cracking jokes, but he can't help but fake a handshake and blast Aoki with some headbutts (which looked great, and way better than some he was doing 25-30 years ago, no holding his opponent's head with one hand, just a quick straight motion). Not something I'd imagine people who aren't big on the style would be blown away with, but I doubt NEW is gonna for them anyway. ****
  2. The build up hypes it as "MMA vs pro wrestling". The idea of Takaiwa trying to bulldoze through Aoki who would in turn try to grab flash submissions sounds great, but it's not exactly what we got here. A promising opening had Takaiwa desperately avoiding Aoki's submission counters and Aoki pinning himself on a sleepr, but the middle of the match wasn't as creative, as it mostly consisted of Aoki grabbing submissions over and over again. He wouldn't lock them in completely and then hold them for two minutes, but it never seemed like he could actualyl win with one of them nor were Takaiwa's escapes especially interesting. Aoki's strikes and kicks were disappointing, and the finishing strech was kickstarted by Takaiwa finally getting some prowres moves in and going for the kill. This created a game in which Takaiwa needs a big move like a Powerbomb or a Death Valley Bomb, while Aoki needs a submission, and both can counter each other. Aoki's last Korauken match had him choke out Funaki while Funaki was trying to deadlift him, so it was a clever thing to build on. ***
  3. The first shoot style match of the show! This was something like a RINGS match with a more focused narrative-some nice matwork at the start before Funaki catches Aoki with a HUGE leg kick, after which Aoki's leg becomes a target and Funaki uses it both for direct attacks and feints. Funaki's dominance lasts until he goes for one his more pro-style moves (the Penalty Kick) which Aoki uses for a counter and they end up in a whirlpool of lightning fast hold counters. It really is saying of both man's talents (but especially Funaki's-since he's the one that's done them regularly for many years) that a mostly methodical short match can be this good. ***1/4
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