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Found 60 results

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSONU1F9Uuc Ah yes, the infamous "worst Fujiwara match ever", so bad that it apparently made Phil Schneider loathe Fujiwara for years. I had a really hard time imagining a scenario where these two would have a shitty match honestly. I mean I could easily imagine it being disappointing or dull, but actively bad? No way. Let's see what he had to say about it: Ok. So: "Fujiwara no sells almost everything" "gets kicked in the head, starres at Kawada" "no sells German suplex" hey! I'm the one guy that likes Tatsuhito Takaiwa! I have a thing for wrestlers with recklessly dangerous offence. It adds to their aura I guess. "takes a ton of the match with JYD headbutts" "shitty Choshu finish" Ok. Let's break down the match now. Match starts with Fujiwara playing with the streamers. This is pretty much where I stopped buying this as a potentially bad match. They grapple a little bit. Kawada gets on top to establish dominance and they slap each other around. Re-start. More grappling. Fujiwara grabs a neat wristlock, Kawada gets out, grabs a Sleeper and Fujiwara's selling goes from his usual dismissal of the peril of the hold he is in to selling as he fails to get out of the move. Kawada hits a great looking knee drop. This is pretty good so far. Fujiwara is clearly rocked after the big knee drop. This is what is known in professional wrestling as "selling". He gets up and Kawada starts kicking his head in, Fujiwara quickly fires back with punches and great looking headbutts. Fujiwara grabs a Sleeper, Kawada pushes him back in the corner for the break. Fujiwara breaks it with a big slap and Kawada goes after Fujiwara. Fujiwara moves back to the other corner as Kawada is going after him (you could understand this as either him selling the threat of Kawada or as defensive positioning). Kawada kicks him a bit after which Fujiwara makes awesome "fuck you" facial expressions, grabs Kawada by the throat and shoves him into the other corner and starts rocking Kawada with punches and headbutts. First Fujiwara Armbar tease. Fujiwara transitions into a "regular" Armbar instead. Kawada gets out and start kicking Fujiwara in the back with his signature kicks. Fujiwara gets up and goes back into the corner. Kawada starts kicking him again and right as Fujiwara is about to fight back like he did earlier in the match Kawada rocks him with a big chop that Fujiwara sells the shit out of. Another big chop and Fujiwara falls down. Kawada starts stomping Fujiwara's head but Fujiwara counters it by grabbing his leg. It is a theme in Fujiwara matches (especially against kickers) that he will counter their kicks by grabbing their leg often, I remember that making the 1989 UWF match vs. Maeda especially gratifying as Maeda just shitbeat him to hell. That was also played up in the Super Tiger matches and the Hashimoto matches etc. Fujiwara stretches Kawada a little and hits him with a nasty headbutt to the back of the head. They headbutt each other for a bit and Kawada does his awesome staggering selling after headbutting Fujiwara. IDK much about JYD but these dueling headbutts are clearly making real contact. Fujiwara controls the match for a little bit but does nothing of note before Kawada takes over and slams Fujiwara's head into the ringpost. Come on, you're not going to throw "no selling" at that? That's an awesome signature Fujiwara spot, even if it is tehnically no selling. Fujiwara hits a few more headbutts but Kawada hits a huge slap to fight back (Fujiwara is "selling" again). Slap-off! Those are fun! Big Spin Kick from Kawada knocks Fujiwara down. More "selling". Stretch Plum. Ok Fujiwara is totally guilty of no selling here. He kicks-out at 1 and starts headbuttings Kawada as soon as he gets up. I don't really care for the big boot/headbutt battle BUT! They start slapping the taste out of each others mouth again! He does pop up again after the controversial German but at that point I'm fine with it as Kawada quickly cutting off Fujiwara's futile attempt to fight back fits into the narrative to the match and worked for me. Come on. That's not even top 20 for worst Choshu finishes. It's not even a bad Choshu finish. I mean surely everyone watching Fujiwara's pro style matches has grown accustomed to him doing Choshu finishes but come on. His late kick-out was pretty weak and he continued to lay on the mat after doing so. I was expecting he was going to instantly pop up and put Kawada into a Wakigatame or something. So there you have it. I don't think this was complete shit. Disappointing for a Fujiwara-Kawada match? Sure. But perfectly solid.
  2. The most impressive thing about this match is that in 90 minutes there is literally no downtime at all. Even the Inoki vs. Choshu matwork was compelling. The crowd heat is insane and the fact that that level of heat was consistently maintained for 90 minutes is even more insane. I would say Fujinami was the MVP with Animal as a close second but everyone was great in it. Incredible match to say the least but one I have had trouble rating because it is difficult to distinguish the individual pairings from the overall story.
  3. I wasn't expecting this one to actually GROW on me on a rewatch since I thought it was pretty great the first time I saw it but here we are. Fujiwara jumps Choshu at the bell and dominates the opening with neat punches and headbutts. What really stands out is how much Choshu protecting his image of a badass adds to the match-he's always looking for a way, either with body blows or kicks. Fujiwara dismisses Choshu's comeback attempts initially but quickly resorts to choking once he realises he is in serious peril. And Choshu doesn't let Fujiwara just choke the life out of him either-he grabs Fujiwara by the face, to which Fujiwara reacts by grabbing that arm and Armbaring Choshu. It is a reactionary match. When Fujiwara spends too much time untying the corner post Choshu goes after him and Fujiwara knocks him down. When Choshu tries to counter the Wakigatame Fujiwara changes it into another armlock. The first Wakigatame counter was brilliant-Choshu went for a big move too early and got dropped with a "shooty" counter. Similarly Fujiwara's choke was an excellent way to feed Choshu the Backdrop Suplex counter and the move itself looked amazing. Choshu's arm selling was pretty great-it isn't that it was the focus of the match, but not everything has to (or can) be. It doesn't excuse filling time with nothing as a good idea or mean selling that plays a bigger part in how the match turns out is inherently better-in fact often it's just the opposite. Fujiwara's wobbly selling after Choshu bloodies him up is as great as you'd expect it to be and Choshu modifies his Lariats here by just hitting Fujiwara straight in the face with them, absolutely brutal stuff. Choshu stomping Fujiwara after the match was already over was just icing on the cake. ****3/4
  4. So just a couple days ago after watching that tag I looked up Fujiwaras matches in SWS and how did this fly under my radar? This was really good and an excellent example of how to work a quasi-shootstyle match in a big stadium. Ishinriki has looked good in matches I've seen him in, but he completely blew me away here. Pretty unique structure with Fujiwara not being very dominant at all as Ishinriki constantly pushed him. It makes sense for a sumo guy to have a strong standing game to prevent getting thrown as shown here. The sumo rushes ruled obviously as did Fujiwaras sudden kick combos. This is a rare match where Fujiwara gets frustrated throughout. Ishinriki landing PRIDE stomps on the ground made me wish more juniors would try to set up a flying move like that. Classic finish. This had great heat, nasty strikes throughout and a couple big moments.
  5. Hey, look... it's two ultra charismatic dudes in a hot battle! This was exactly the kind of uncooperative high-resistance technical contest I like so much. Nothing fancy, just two guys who can grapple hitting the mat hard and battling it out. Give Inoki credit where it's true, there are not a lot of aces who could believably hang with Fujiwara in a match like this, let alone come across as the dominant force. When not on the mat, Inoki would constantly increase the pace by attacking Fujiwara with great looking punches and kicks. It's almost needless to say but Fujiwara's selling and was flawless and he had a ton of great facial expressions and thus came across as the most tenacious dude on the planet taking on the legend. Amazing how he can go from a smirking dick to that. Last few minutes were great with Inoki downing Fujiwara with an epic punch and Maeda taking offense to an Inoki kick leading to a near riot. But we still get a decisive finish, so it's all great. Hell of a thrilling contest and one of the finest 80s japan singles matches I've seen.
  6. SWS style tag with Fujiwara thrown in the mix. So you have tubby juniors exchanging brutal spin kicks and lariats at a fast pace and Fujiwara throwing in some lightning fast counters and hitting the mat. The 3 young guys are really good and Fujiwaras presence adds just what this kind of undercard match needs. Ishinriki is a former sumo who works like a junior and junior who used to be a sumo is much better than junior who used to be a gymnast. He hits some big dive and also nice palm rushes and lariats. Kitahara and Nakano look good hitting the mat with Fujiwara. Highlights include Fujiwara hitting a huge Bas Rutten style body punch for a near KO aswell as trading some brutal battering ram headbutts with Nakano. Fujiwara fits really well with these energetic dudes. Apparently this match got **** from Meltzer proving he had some taste at one point. It has a few big moves and nearfalls too.
  7. This was my number one match in the Other Japan Best of the 90's voting, and truly a beautiful piece of professional wrestling. It is paced differently then any of the other matches in the Top 15, and I am guessing the odd pacing may have been a reason it finished low on some peoples ballots. Fujiwara, especially in the late 80's and 90's does this really stop-start almost Fugazish pacing, where you have big exchanges or moves, and then lulls, where both guys would circle or feint, before the next attack. I really like this kind of pacing, it is the kind of thing you often see in shootfights or boxing matches, really brings drama to the moments of action. The first part of this match, Fujiwara is really not taking Yamazaki seriously at all. Like he is almost contemptuous, imagine Flair v. Scott McGhee or Ricky Steamboat in their first match. He throws in a cheap shot headbutt, dancing around mugging, puts on a knee bar while reclining with his head resting leisurely in his hand. At one point Yamazaki throws some kicks which miss, and Fujiwara responds with some really assholish thrown kicks of his own. Almost like the Jock Football player taunting the Asian kid with fake Karate. Fujiwara has some of the greatest facial expressions in wrestling history, and he really gets across contemptuous prick. Yamazaki finally gets some respect when he hits Fujiwara with a nasty kick to the stomach for a down. Yamazaki tends to be kind of hit and miss with his kicks, and Fujiwara only sells the ones that land big, unlike a lot of other guys who will sell intent not result. Fujiwara also is always trying to catch the middle kicks, although even when he does, he will sell the shot if it is solid enough. The last ten minutes of this match really bring it over the top. Fujiwara has gotten four downs on Yamazaki so he just needs one more knockdown for a technical decision. So Yamazaki has his back against the wall. He gets fed up with the abuse and you almost get the sense he has decided to dish out some receipts even if he is going down. Like many Fujiwara matches ring positioning is very important, Fujiwara had been trapping Yamazaki in the corner and punishing him with bodyshots. Yamazaki kind of bull rushes Fujiwara in the corner, and just unleashes body shots of his own, seemingly aiming right for Fujiwara's sake soaked kidneys. The downs get close to even, and they announce five minutes remaining. They then go right to the corner with both guys now throwing with abandon and trying to maneuver the other into the corner, Yamazaki gets the final turn and cracks Fujiwara with a knee lift for a nine count. Now UWF2 had booked a ton of 30 minute draws, including one in the opening match of this show. Really the only reason to book so many undercard 30 minute draws is for a main event finish like this. So we are at 28 minutes and Yamazaki unloads with nasty headbut right to Fujiwara's mouth. Now this is a clearly a receipt for the headbutts earlier in the show. Fujiwara comes up with blood dripping from his mouth, and this look on his face "So were throwing headbutts now, Motherfucker," and he just unloads with three nasty headbutts including one right to the eye for the TKO at 29 minutes 30 seconds. Yamazaki was technically fine here, but this was the Fujiwara show. Just an artist at telling a story with smirks and eye rolls and sneers. Every action had a reaction, great great stuff.
  8. Just a notch below their 1984 matches but still really really good, which tells you about the general quality of the series. It continues the theme of Fujiwara the superior grappler vs. Tiger the superior striker. Snug matwork, good strikes and great selling. Terrific finish as well. **** 1/4
  9. This is my favourite Fujiwara/Super Tiger match. They work it with Fujiwara having the upper hand on the mat and Tiger being the dominant striker but the gaps aren't huge and both can hang and fire back in both departments. Fujiwara is awesome here, busting out awesome takedowns, countering Tiger's strikes, reversing his holds on the mat etc. but he also has all time great punches and just rocks Tiger with them when they're standing. There's a really great moment when Fujiwara starts choking Super Tiger with a Sleeper and Sayama sells it with this disgusting cough. Finishing stretch is just unreal with Sayama killing Fujiwara with brutal kicks seemingly forever and his knee drop is also up there with the best there have ever been. Fujiwara is the master at blocking kicks and reversing everything so you can buy he could come back at any time but Sayama just keeps on kicking him in the head and destroying him and it's this super dramatic struggle and then one time when Fujiwara finally gets a comeback in he gets cocky and throws a headbutt that knocks HIM down. That spot played up so many things, from Fujiwara's arrogance to the damage of Sayama's offence neutralizing a spot that I don't think had ever been neutralized before. And he just keeps on killing him and pretty much invents the shoot style KO/TKO finish in the process. FIVE STARS.
  10. Fujiwara is a Gotch-trained judo black belt and a total badass, but he’s totally outmatched as a 52 year old trying to fight a 193cm/6’3 115kg judo world champion in his prime. He blindisghts Ogawa-but it doesn’t really work, even in his second step of trying to take Ogawa down he already meets a barrier he can’t destroy in Ogawa’s guard. Fujiwara’s only real chance of winning this is by a flash submission, as his catch training gives him an edge over Ogawa in that regard. Ogawa smartly uses the size advantage he has to control Fujiwara on the mat, while Fujiwara in turn desperately tries to counter Ogawa’s guards or grab a knee once Ogawa presses it against his face or goes for a kick or a knee strike. Ogawa punches Fujiwara on the ground throughout the match which Fujiwara acknowledges by doing really great exhaustion selling, which somewhat makes up for the mild intensity of Ogawa’s punches, and they manage to produce a great nearfall on Fujiwara finally grabbing a killhold, but in the end you can’t beat father time and Ogawa smashes his head into the canvas repeteadly to remind you of how many zealous practitioners of the gentle way got concussed by Masahiko Kimura in similar fashion. ***1/2
  11. This was previously available as near unwatchable post stamp size handheld from a japanese site, however, due to recent flood in new japanese handheld footage we get a proper quality version where you see all the details of the grappling. Damn what an intense contest. Almost all on the mat, and Yamada looks really impressive. It's crazy that he was only in his 3rd year as a pro wrestler, but Fujiwara puts him over really strongly. Yamada was a stud and going at Fujiwara like a relentless amateur wrestler. No surfboards or anything from him here, instead he was rocking banana splits and flying legbars, even busting out a credible shootstyle Figure 4. He could've easily gone on and become a high end shootstylist - well, if he wasn't too small maybe. Fujiwara is awesome as you expect from a grappling master, doing lots of cool shit such as using his head to dig into Yamada's elbow joint or reversing the figure 4 into a toe hold. Early on Fujiwara seems to be disrespecting Yamada and mocking his submission attempts, bitchslapping him in the corner, but Yamada keeps pushing him, fighting back with huge slaps and a dropkick that almost kicked Fujiwara's head into th 3rd row. Fujiwara refuses to uses the ropes, but eventually is forced to resort to them. There are like half a dozen great armbar counters from Fujiwara in this match proving why he is the master of the move, several times he seems to be luring Yamada into a trap in order to snap him, but Yamada immediately curls into a pyramid in order to defend against the submission. My favourite moment my have been Fujiwara getting the armbar and flatting Yamada in order to prevent his defense and using his leg to apply the pressure, never seen him do that anywhere else. Yamada keeps pushing and escaping though and going after Fujiwara like a terrier until he goes for one shot too many. Great match.
  12. Brief match in which Frye makes Fujiwara look like a huge threat. Frye sold really well and I would have liked to see him working longer singles matches. Worth checking out to see Fujiwara and Frye trading punches.
  13. 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. ****
  14. Really strong storytelling here as Fujiwara comes across as the stronger, more-seasoned wrestler, who is content on grinding Super Tiger down at all times. It's a great dynamic for the entire match. He starts the match by grabbing Super Tiger and giving him a huge atomic drop, and then catches his first kick and just releases his grasp. Good dickhead type stuff there. Fujiwara grabs a triangle choke and, while it appeared Super Tiger tapped, the ref breaks the hold and the match continues. I'm not sure what happened there, he didn't seem to be under the ropes. Fujiwara catches a second kick, and turns it into a dragon screw takedown and we're back to the mat. Any time Super Tiger can get a break from having a limb worked over, he fires off exciting kicks which really gets the crowd going. Twice he lands these and goes up for a big move (knee drop was one of them) but Fujiwara moves out of the way. While nothing from the top is executed, there is a payoff later in the match when Super Tiger drops a vicious knee on Fujiwara's skull. Fujiwara hits the first piledriver but Super Tiger's follow-up tombstone later is fantastic, with Fujiwara selling it like death and staying balanced on the top of his head for a slow fall. When Fujiwara fights for another later, there's a great subtle touch of him locking the leg with his arms to be able to lift Super Tiger up for the move. The finish sees another kick caught and we get the big payoff with a huge back spinning kick from Super Tiger. A couple other kill shots are laid in and he locks in an arm and neck submission and Fujiwara gives up. We get a handshake and show of respect post match. This match really resonated with me when I reflected back on it. Lot of connected pieces here that told a good story. This match was ranked 7/75 in the Other Japan 80s poll.
  15. This was some neat gritty pro-wres. Both guys bring some hate and they headbutt and punch each other a bit. Fujiwara also pulls out a sweet toehold rope counter into an armbar and he also pulls off a sweet transition from one of Anjo's throws into a rear naked choke. The finish sucks as Fujiwara refuses to break the rear naked choke and Takayama who's working as a second for Anjo pulls them out of the ring and attacks Fujiwara and there's a double count out.
  16. Looking at this matchup I was expecting a wild brawl but instead this starts with Nagasaki and Okumura exchanging knucklelocks. Hm, okay. After about a minute of that this delivers though as all the good guys in this match step in and bring the goods. Some really fun exchanges between Mochizuki and Fujiwara, and once Tenryu steps in Fujiwara goes MAD and goes after him like a pitbull, bloodying him with headbutts and biting. Now Araya is punching a bloody Tenryu while Nagasaki is throwing tables in the background. Match stays in the ring though and it's really good with Tenryu doing his best Terry Funk impression with wobbly selling and wild swinging chops and lariats, and Fujiwara is a mad bugger throughout, going after everyone and trading stiff headbutts with Nagasaki. The finish is between Okumura & Nagasaki which is the least exciting matchup here, but I guess Nagasaki was running the event so he gets to play star at the end. Still, this was a really good little match with Tenryu and Fujiwara as the centerpieces.
  17. So Momota is Rikidozan's son? He's also spent the majority of the later years of his career doing opening card comedy matches in Noah. Here he breaks away from the comedy and works a serious match and he is the main focus on this and he's mostly worked over by everyone which is crazy considering his age. We get some brief exchanges between the big boys, but aside from Akiyama briefly wrecking Super Tiger with knees and kicks, there's nothing else noteworthy. The finish is worked smartly with Kensuke's trio catching Momota in submissions so he can get a rope break and draw some sympathy on him and he can get some hope chops in before he gets chopped down and put away with a Northern Lights Bomb.
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