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Found 73 results

  1. You look at this matchup, taking place in MUGA, and you think „this sounds like a lot of matwork“. And you'd be correct. Pretty much a purist's dream match with all four guys hitting the mat hard. Perfect blend of shootstyle, 80s NJPW and MUGA psychology. Ishikawa fits like a glove here and looks great. Aside from all the great arm whips, headscissors and armbars and slick grappling they knew how to make basic holds meaningful and spice things up with struggle. Really liked the young guys getting the advantage and old guy Fujinami busting out a huge kneedrop off the top to break up a submission nearfall. Also Nishimura looks awesome and as good as he was in the 2000s. Match is a little short (17 minutes) but as good as it looks on paper.
  2. Murakami and his BattlARTS pal shake things up in New Japan. Tanahashi & Kenzo actually step up here, working shootstyle and look good. Tanahashi's matwork is especially way better than pretty much anything he did from 2006 onward. Kenzo throwing big crowbar suplexes is certainly way better than whatever he did later also. This was basically an Ishikawa section followed by a Murakami section with both guys bringing their signature stuff. Ishikawa doing cool matwork and Murakami punching dudes in the face. Good shit but you come out of this match wanting to see a singles match.
  3. Ono was just unreal here. He's wearing gloves, but MMA type ones and not the boxing ones I'm used to seeing him wear, but he throws all the boxing combinations you loved his 2010 run for as well as all the junior flash submissions you could think of. It was like watching a combination of 2010 Ono and the world's greatest Ikuto Hidaka, a really remarkable performance. Of course Ishikawa is no slouch either, his stiffness and high level matwork added to the match as much as you'd expect but this was more of an Ono showcase. There was no wasted motion, the match pretty much started with a nearfall in Ishikawa catching an Ono takedown attempt into a Guillotine, and from there on it was just non stop smashmouth action. Ono hit a quick head kick combo to pay him back and then dramatically threw himself on the floor to recuperate which was a great spot, melodrama isn't exactly the first thing associated with Battlarts but in a small dose it can work great. ****1/4
  4. It's Ishikawa facing the most insignificant first period BattlARTS guy on a random AJPW card in the 2nd match on the card. It can't be more than just a fun little exhibition? And well that's WRONG because these two just do one of the most brutal under 5 minute sprints of the decade. Crowd brawling that looks legit (why is Ishikawa, a quasi shootstyle working Inoki worshipper arguably the best crowd brawler in japanese wrestling history?), some of the stiffest slaps you'll ever see, and then probably the stiffest Enzugiri you'll see ever, insane Maeda/Fujinami blood, stoppage drama... yeah this kicked ass.
  5. This was an opening round match from some tag tournament and much better than you'd expect from an odd matchup placed like this on the card. Pretty much shootstyle throughout with the PWFG boys wearing wrestling shoes and representing PWFG. Dean looks very good rolling with Ishikawa, him showing that he trained with Joe and Carl is much better than 2 count rollup fest Dean Malenko. Ishizawa looks a total stud super explosive like he should've been the next Minoru Suzuki and not... well you know. Really intense exchanges when he decides to stomp on Funakis head and trade shotais with Ishikawa. Malenko and some awesome slick dropkicks, but he also didn't seem to know how to sell a kneebar. I also blame him for the underwhelming finish.
  6. 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.
  7. This is from the Santino Brothers Battle Arts gym, but worked under Battlarts rules -- no pins, just KOs and submissions. Solid old fan favorite vet vs. cocky young rookie story developed and for the most part a one man performance from Yuki Ishikawa with the British Brawler just coming along for the ride. Ishikawa brings the brutality he usually brings and for the most part the Brawler is timid and holds back which is noticeable as there's a bit where he drops Ishikawa and he hits some strikes on the ground which Ishikawa whiffs off and just stiff kicks him back as an indication to bring the heat as well. Ishikawa also brings his great and brutal looking body shots featuring some particularly nasty shots to the kidney on the ground. Brawler isn't particularly Daisuke Ikeda and I mentioned earlier, he was timid for the most part, but he does blast Ishikawa with 2 brutal lariats on the jaw near the finishing stretch. Also the Canadian fans love them some Ishikawa. Not an all-time classic by any chance, but def. worth watching if you're a fan of Ishikawa.
  8. This is one of those matches where I'm kind of stunned how it's been lost to time. It aired on Samurai TV, it has 4 quasi-big names of japan independent wrestling, and it's a 25 minute match in front of a big crowd where everyone goes all out to give the fans what they want. They could've easily coasted here and just done their crowd pleasing signature spots, but in between that there were some really good exchanges and a number of smart spots. Otsuka working lucharesu exchanges with Sasuke is all kinds of fun, and he and Ishikawa have some brief but great sections where they hit the mat and brain eachother with nasty headbutts. Both Sasuke and Shinzaki had their working boots on. Dug all the well timed thrust kicks from Shinzaki and Sasuke was laying in all of his kicks aswell as busting out all his big highspots. The bomb throwing at the end was something else. I don't associate the BattlARTS crew with the kind of big bombs you see in junior matches so seeing Otsuka eating a massive powerbomb off the top or Ishikawa getting dumped with a huge double German Suplex was wild. There was also some nifty team work emphasing moments and they switched control in such a way that you couldn't guess the outcome. Ishikawa countering Shinzakis rope walk was great and just the kind of character moment you want from a weird stylistic crossover match.
  9. 4 guys who can go doing their thing for 24 minutes in a garage. Obviously getting to see Ishikawa in a lengthy match in 2019 is great, but the main reason I liked this is that everyone was pretty vicious. Ishikawa clogged Thatcher in the jaw during their first exchange, no real friendy grappling, lots of punches are thrown on the ground, Ringkampf would work over their opponents with nasty stomps and knees etc. Walter seems to understand how to not get stale as he hitting these Tenryu punts and busted out an awesome uranage. I haven't seen Irie in a while but his matwork was fun and he had these cool swinging Vader Hammers. Ishikawa was pretty much the star of the show always doing something interesting and not only grappling it out but also acting really smart. For example, he would get mount and work over Walters kidneys with glee only to get raddled by that big bear paw like austrian hand. This didn't build to something great but the action was very good throughout and there were a few highlights and smooth Ishikawa submissions to keep you happy.
  10. Well shocker, this was good. I've been a wXw sceptic forever, but gotta give it up for them flying in an old japanese guy almost no one has heard of and let him completely outwork their boy and everyone else on the show. I've never been blown away by Thatchers grappling and he didn't do anything great here either, but that may have been the story of the match. Basically Ishikawa outclasses Thatcher the whole way through, making up great counters and doing cool shit I've never seen him do before. Thatcher has to resort to potatoeing Ishikawa and he doesn't hold back. Some BattlARTS worthy smacks here. This doesn't reach the higher pantheon of Ishikawa singles match but that is a pretty high bar and for Ishikawa taking on an unfamiliar guy who looks so much bigger that it's seemingly not the best matchup and have a match this good is really impressive.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Ohtani is not terribly fond of Ishikawa and goes all out trying to murder him (literally speaking at one point in the postmatch). Ishikawa fights back with fire and disdain. A super heated and extremely intense sprint, with zero letup. All time great squash. ****
  14. This was a disappointing match, but I gotta atleast write down why. This was during the period when Ishii was with FEC and he was trying to work like a western heel, so instead of epic BattlARTS vs. CAPTURE exchanges we get Ishii kicking Ishikawa in the balls a bunch. There are still some stiff blows and neat Ishikawa reversals altough that is to be expected. Ishikawa even does a shitty no sell off a back suplex, something I've never seen him do.
  15. 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 first match was a full shootstyle main event and as cool as you imagine it to be. They had the BattlARTS roster (and even Dieseul Berto) watching from ringside. (...) 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
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