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Found 19 results

  1. Hardcore Tag Team Match: Ryuji Ito & Shuji Ishikawa vs. HARASHIMA & Togi Makabe Holy shit. HARASHIMA blonde. I don’t like it. He looks like a scummy dude from Freedoms. I guess that makes sense in the match though. The match is a pretty action packed brawl. They waste no time using the chairs and assorted weapons around the ring. HARASHIMA gets bloody fast and the deathmatch duo takes advantage - I know I said I don’t like the hair but a bloody face plus the hair is always a great look. Ito smashing a chair into the forehead was a total dick move, and he doesn’t redeem himself with those chair shots to the back either. Makabe puts in a shift as well. He is known for not always being up to his best but he knows he is in Budokan and he wrestles like it. He lays in the forearms when against Ishikawa, who replies with headbutts. HARASHIMA was a superb underdog, taking the brunt of the offence then working for the comeback. His selling of the weapon shots was great. He levels Ito and Ishikawa with weapon shots of his own. His offence was full of aggression and poise. Damn, he was good in this match. This was such a good match. ***3/4
  2. This could've been an amazing match but it being modern puro this is about as good as you're going to get. I liked the beginning with Kamitani getting some shine before Ishikawa took over. Then Kamitani makes his comeback and they, uhm, do stuff for a couple of minutes before transitioning into the finishing stretch. It seems fine. My biggest problem with the match was how they connected the dots. You have Ishikawa ragdolling Kamitani on the outside, throwing him into the chairs, dumping him with a brutal Bodyslam, yet he's kind of limping for no reason, not really acting like you'd want a monster in control to. You don't really actively think of how stuff like how a wrestler walks affect the match quality but even that plays a part. I think they could've milked control segments and the comeback better and that the match definitely could've used more struggle and purpose in the middle. The finishing stretch is really great, as every move gains more purpose, every transition and nearfall holds more weigth, everything is more significant, they build to stuff better and the action improves. ***3/4
  3. I feel like by the end this did drag a bit & went a little overboard w/ all the nearfalls, but it was still a damn awesome underdog tale. Shingo finds himself in a very unfamiliar position as his usual bruiser bully like offense isn't working too well against the much bigger Ishikawa - the big dog basically has an answer for every comeback Shingo gets. Both guys put on rockin' performances in their respective roles, and of course when a match like this happens at Korakuen Hall, it's always a little more special than it would be anywhere else. ***3/4
  4. Rematch from the RWTL. I thought this was slightly better, mainly because I actually cared this time around for the first half of the match. This is mostly 20 minutes of bomb throwing. There's not a lot of subtleties in it and the control section from the champs is really short - which is a good thing because I think Yoshi sucks as a FIP - so Kento can get in and pick up the pace. For what they were going for, this was good, wouldn't call it a MOTYC or anything like it but I was entertained throughout.
  5. This ends up being the de facto block final, and it is very hype. I love a battle of two big guys where one is slightly bigger and slightly higher rated and they actively play into that. The striking towards the end here actually feels like a slugfest - two brawlers trying to win a fight, not just trading shots to see who has the most fighting spirit or whatever. I might be the biggest Higuchi fan around, but his selling ability and athleticism are always impressive as the big man in a match, and in a rare opportunity as the smaller man they really shine. This is my favorite match in the excellent group stage of this tournament. ****1/2
  6. Had to get the DDT Universe 1 month free trial just for this match, and it was exactly what I had hoped it would be - an amazing David vs. Goliath battle. Loved the opening w/ Speedball going for those lightning quick kicks right away, he stuns Shuji briefly with those, getting the early advantage. That doesn't last long as Shuji gets the control while Speedball was looking to do a dive on him to the outside. Then BIG SHUJI starts to just throw Speedball around like a baby. It's amazing. Speedball bumps & sells that amazingly. From then on it follows that formula of Shuji having the advantage due to his size, throwing him around, striking him down - but Speedball makes some TERRIFIC comebacks. One slight complaint is that I think by the end they went slightly overboard w/ the nearfalls - had they shaved off a few of those, this could've been an even better match. But yeah, it's just a minor complaint in an otherwise fantastic match. ****1/4
  7. This show aired on a two week delay, the same day the show took place (July 17th) bjw held their biggest show of the year in sumo hall. On that show Ishikawa showed up to do colour commentary for the second half of the show he had a huge amount of damage to his right eye that made the wait for this show and match even more agonising. The match as expected was super stiff and really heated. There was a split crowd as these two monsters clobbered each other for 19 1/2 minutes for our enjoyment. The work all the way through was snug and visceral. Finishing with the incredible sight of ishikawa doing a splash mountain powerbomb on suwama and the giant slam. This match also features a great moment where late on Suwama tried for a strike exchange but is easily beaten and does some great jelly legs selling. This match is another feather in the cap of Ishikawa as he continues to increase his claim on wrestler of the year. ****1/4 on a level with the Jake lee match but slightly below the kento match from three months ago.
  8. This match was totally badass. Hideki Suzuki is a Billy Robinson trainee and someone I always love to see make tape and Ishikawa is one half of my favourite modern tag team and has also grown into a really strong singles worker in the last few years. I liked the matwork here a lot, you have Suzuki using his skill by applying cravates, leglocks, wrenching on Ishikawa's fingers, doing neat takedowns and transitions, Ishikawa can't really compete with him in that so he'll put him in an Iron Claw and grab him and just throw him off himself to combat Suzuki's superior ability. Some really great stuff happens outside of the ring as Ishikawa replies to Suzuki lowering the middle rope and asking him to come back to the ring by sitting in a chair and challenging Suzuki back, they proceed to just insanely stiff each other with elbows and it looks much more like the finish of that one Black Terry/Hechicero match than modern puro elbow exchanges. Ishikawa drops Suzuki on the apron in a absolutely disturbing and disgusting manner, I think Roderick Strong did something like that to like Mike Bailey last year in PWG, imagine that spot but even more violent looking. They get back into the ring and continue to produce greatness, Suzuki throws some beautiful suplexes and Ishikawa is just uberviolent, they do a great job of teasing comebacks only to cut them off in satisfying and unexpected ways and while they sometimes do the puro pop-up after being hit with a move they always sell the imact of the move once the sequence finishes and they never temporarily "no-sell" anything huge. Finish is something I've seen botched so many times I thought they were just going to screw it up differently here or it wasn't going to be the finish but IT WAS! And it was done right! And it looked really great and totally caught me off guard. ***3/4
  9. This had a promising start, with Ishikawa beating on Daichi and focusing on his mid section, but quickly went to shit once it was time for them to work back and forth. There was a cool moment in the beginning of the match where they were doing shoulder blocks, and as Ishikawa is bigger it's expected he'll know Daichi down, so Daichi booted him in the face before he did so, which was cool since it broke the flow of the sequence and made the inevitable shoulder block that would take him down a little bigger moment. That was completely absent later on in the match, they were just doing empty rope running counters, it doesn't even mattter who hits their move or catches the opponent as they're bouncing off, the crowd will politely clap and move along. It's a ritual really, but one that completely sucks the energy and the meaning of control. And it's not like this is some nitpicking nonsense you have to look super into to see-you see that philosophy clearly moments later in a sequence where first Ishikawa hits a Thunder Driver, but then Hashimoto does a Penalty Kick, and then it's Ishikawa that cuts off the "meaningless rope run~" with a Lariat. They don't even try to half ass pops up in the most cartoonish, Sekimoto-esque eat a headdrop>fighting spirit no sell way. They just get their stuff in. And I don't think that's good wrestling. **
  10. I'm torn on Endo, I really liked how he sold bodyslamming Ishikawa early on and he generally did a good job of selling his stuff but too much of his offence required elaborate set-ups which would just completely take me out of the match. Ishikawa relies too much on the spot where his opponent slips from the Fire Thunder Driver as a transition. My favourite thing here was probably Ishikawa grabbing Endo by the throat and slamming him into the corner, I hope he does that in other matches as well. **3/4
  11. Yoshihisa Uto is a Big Japan young boy most famous for pissing off Jun Akiyama in a tag match. Judging by this match he is also the proud owner of the world's worst diving back elbow. I watched this mainly to see Big Dog stiff him-and the match delivered on that part, but they did work it more evenly than I would've preferred. I didn't care much when Uto was in control but it did Ishikawa an excuse to just blast him with brutal strikes in the finishing stretch and bust out his amazing indian deathlock-repeated shoot headbutts finisher which is appearantly now permanently entrenched in his move set. He also did a running shoot headbutt here which came out of nowhere and looked amazing. To Uto's credit he did do a couple off cool Lariat variations here, including a Lariat/STO which will always have a soft spot in my heart. ***
  12. This was fun as expected, it's always a joy to watch Big Dog vs smaller guys and Shinobu is a pretty good in the role of a junior who will just die but can pull off comebacks with insane highspots. This wasn't the greatest thing ever but there was a lot of good stuff in there like Ishikawa using his strength to brush off any serious attempts of obtaining control Shinobu had and the general intensity Ishikawa brings in any match he's in. One of my favourite moments in this match was when Shinobu hit Ishikawa with a series of elbows and was about to run the ropes to do the classic spot where he takes the bigger man down but Ishikawa just grabbed him from behind and killed him with a sleeper suplex. I wasn't big on Shinobu pulling the top rope to transition into offence and didn't really buy his Asai Moonsault, at least kick the guy in the face before jumping on him. Some stuff was a little rough around the edges but the finish was excellently build, Shinobu uses an Armbar as his flash finish and has beaten the biggest names in Big Japan with it and I loved how they tied that in to Ishikawa getting more frustrated and just killing Shinobu with shoot headbutts for the finish. A strong ***.
  13. I have no idea what's going on in DDT ever so I'm trying to figure out how the short match time figures into the match and whether Takeshita is one of those young guys DDT gave title shots or whatever but actually isn't that high on the pecking order and could still get run over by Big Dog and end up freaking out when I realise he actually has a chance of winning. A very exciting four minute sprint for sure.
  14. I guess this is why people go to All Japan house shows these days, to hear Shadow Explosion live and see young lions pay their dues. I really liked the spot with Nomura grabbing a waistlock and Ishikawa trying to counter it with strikes only to push Nomura into the corner when he failed to counter it the aforementioned way, looked like something that could be milked out in a big match with a significant size difference. I was surprised how much he gave Nomura, a couple of suplexes and even let him take him down with repeated shoulder blocks, Ishikawa has good enough offence that he can afford to give a guy a little more without losing credibility as a monster, this was very fun and totally makes my list of 2016 *** matches you probably won't watch but would enjoy if you did.
  15. Both guys tend to dominate matches due to their size/weight. This could've easily been just another completely serious evenly worked match from the country of Japan in the year 2016. Instead Hama here is presented as the one dominating, and his character is almost Fujiwara-esque, in that he is ostensibly but will still crack jokes at times. Ishikawa's selling of Hama's corner Hip Attack had me in stitches. Ishikawa is of course big enough that he can believably come back just by doing what he normally does, still that he used it to as a means of comeback instead of domination made it feel very refreshing and he busted out a bunch of awesome headbutts, lariats and knees in order to do so. Hama's fat man offence is great. ***1/4-***1/2
  16. It shouldn't be so hard for japanese wrestling to be good. Look at this match. It didn't exactly set the world on fire but it was really fun. No one did anything stupid. Ishikawa and Daichi start striking each other, Ishikawa strikes Daichi out because he is bigger, Daichi transitions into offence by utilizing kicking and continues to rely on kicks and running moves to take the bigger man down, Ishikawa continues cutting him off with brutal knees and eventually hits one too many. That was 8 minutes of my time used well thank you BJW. ***-***1/4
  17. This is kind of like your classic All Japan tag in that you have a tag of made of a guy higher on the pecking order (hama) and lower on it(Kamitani) and they work that into the match. Twin Towers squaring off is super fun, but watching them absolutely wreck Kamitani is even more so. They work this like you'd want them to with Hama saving Kamitani, cutting Twin Towers off when it seems like they're gonna finish him etc. but that can only last for so long before they eventually finish Kamitani.