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[1996-01-04-NJPW-Wrestling World 1996] Shinya Hashimoto vs Kazuo Yamazaki


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  • 3 weeks later...

Hashimoto kicks are one of the best things about watching wrestling. I love him casually tossing Yamazaki aside and taking a powder just to give his arm a rest for a second. But may God have mercy on Hashimoto's arm, because Yamazaki will have none. The arm wringer looks really painful because of all the struggle just to apply the move, and Hash's body being turned away from Yamazaki, which is not normally the way this hold is applied, makes it look even more brutal. The arm wringer is kind of Yamazaki's ace in the hole as the match continues, as he keeps going back to it anytime Hashimoto starts giving him more than he can handle. Eventually, it catches up and Hash gives him a dose of his own medicine. Super heated big feeling match. Typically great looking strikes, kicks and elbows from both, and I hope these two have a longer match out there somewhere that I just haven't seen.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This was a nice match. They know there's a big IWGP Title match and Inoki/Vader to follow them so they don't go all-out, but just have a good, simple, smart little match to sow the seeds for further work down the line. And, yeah, as Hollinger said, they work really, really well together.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Gorgeous kicks. Awesome nasty armwork. The last minute is some crazy intensity. I haven't seen a lot of UWFi, but I love the heck out of shoot style.

 

Yamasaki reminds me a bit of 2007 Morishima here, and that's a compliment. He's a big guy who can move well but isn't scared to remind us he's the big dude. I love his chop or punch when Hash throws two kicks in a row.

 

First match on the disc that I have really enjoyed.

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Yamasaki reminds me a bit of 2007 Morishima here, and that's a compliment. He's a big guy who can move well but isn't scared to remind us he's the big dude. I love his chop or punch when Hash throws two kicks in a row.

Er... I think you have them confused with each other.

 

D'oh! I thought the smaller fellow with the shaved head was Hash - who I initially thought was Mutoh, actually, since that's pretty much how he looks these days. :-(

 

I'm just confused about 90's NJPW, obviously. It doesn't stop the match from being great though! This set will be a good exposure for me.

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Yamasaki reminds me a bit of 2007 Morishima here, and that's a compliment. He's a big guy who can move well but isn't scared to remind us he's the big dude. I love his chop or punch when Hash throws two kicks in a row.

Er... I think you have them confused with each other.

 

D'oh! I thought the smaller fellow with the shaved head was Hash - who I initially thought was Mutoh, actually, since that's pretty much how he looks these days. :-(

 

I'm just confused about 90's NJPW, obviously. It doesn't stop the match from being great though! This set will be a good exposure for me.

 

Well, this exchange makes me realize that some people actually don't know who Hashimoto and Yamazaki are, and that makes me feel old actually.

 

About the match, I'm not sure I've seen that one, but Hash vs Yamazaki can't be anything but excellent at least.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Looking back at some of these comments, this seems like an appropriate place to post this.

 

If there's one thing I've learned watching this set, it's not to put too much stock into Internet superlatives.

 

Yes, the AJ heavies were largely having better matches than the NJ heavies, but that doesn't mean the NJ heavies were slouches and should be ignored, just because they didn't get as much discussion.

 

And I've been pleasantly surprised by guys like Yamazaki and Koshinaka on this set. Because most of the buzz has always been around Koshinaka's 80s matches, I expected him to be way past the point of usefulness in 1996. Not at all. Koshinaka has been one of my favorite "discoveries" in watching these matches.

 

Then, you get into Chono. "Chono sucked after his 1992 neck injury" is fairly common talking point. I don't want to say I have no idea where that came from, as Chono was probably more athletic in the early 90s than he would become. But he's such an awesome asshole and does bring positives to a match. I think I took "Chono slipped after his '92 injury" as "Nothing Chono ever did after 1992 is worth seeing."

 

There's a whole discussion to be had about Wrestler of the Year. I will be starting a thread about it after I finish this yearbook. I don't want to give too much away on who my choice will be for that slot, but it will probably be a New Japan heavyweight.

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The problem for New Japan heavyweights was that they weren't producing tons of MOTYCs the way All Japan did, and they didn't have quite the flash of the juniors. I don't think the thought was ever that Chono and Koshinaka were BAD; more that they weren't elite relative to the rest of the world. And I really don't think they were, even with the number of solid/good matches they had. They rarely reached that extra gear in their work that the AJ crew managed several times a year every year. When it was ponderous to trade VHS tapes, it made sense for NJ heavies to get the short end of the stick. Thankfully now, with DVDs being so much easier and the internet offering another means of distribution, the good NJ heavyweight division matches can get the recognition they deserve.

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Lord knows I spoke well of Kosh back then. :) I certainly put over Chono's Blackjack persona, and how the fans enjoyed him as a heel... and that he was solid in the ring. I suspect most of my G1 reviews were positive, though they were in the context of tv reviews of matches I'd seen live.

 

Suspect I also said nice things about any number of other heavyweight matches, various spot show tags (such as the stuff leading up to Hash & Hirata vs Yamazaki & Iizuka), along with stuff like that tag title change.

 

But...

 

It's very much what Ditch is saying. The reason that All Japan got the run as heavies is similar to WWF vs Crockett/WCW in the 80s: they high end AJPW stuff stood out, while the NJPW heavies were more often "solid" and "good". I know I pushed the NJPW heavies as being solid / good / watchable in this era, but AJPW's best was a cut above. I recall a pretty funny post by Frank on tOA riffing on my willingness to enjoy NJPW heavies, and he punted me around pretty good about it. Anyway, the point would be:

 

I think a fair number of people have found the 80s WWF stuff a bit of a surprise that there was actual good wrestling in the WWF in the 80s since it never gets pimped. I think it's probably more correct to say it got "less pimped" in the 80s that the promotions that were hot with hardcores, and then as we moved into the 90s just about anything positive said about 80s WWF got forgotten. But if we look at the WON, there are a number of comments by Dave calling a number of the matches we've "discovered" good matches, or excellent matches. One or more of the Tito-Greg matches, for example. They just got buried in time by all the more wicked things he said about the WWF like Junkfood Dog, Anabolic Warrior and Injectable Vitamins. :)

 

It's closer to the truth that there were people, including Dave, who said some nice things about some of the WWF matches in the 80s. In turn, there are some folks in the 90s, including Dave, who said some nice things about NJPW heavies. I think if you look at this:

 

http://www.otherarena.com/z_jdw/njpwlist.htm

 

in 1996, you'll find a lot of heavy matches that raise above the *** ("good") level for Dave. That's an incomplete list for the entire decade, and I probably have Chris' full list for the 90s buried somethere. The other years are pretty similar. Sure, Dave sprinkled a lot more stars on the juniors. But there's also stuff like this:

 

04/13/96 Ishizawa vs. Nagata ***1/2

 

Hell... I don't even remember that match.

 

(1) Tokomitsu Ishizawa upset Yuji Nagata at 12:27 to win the Young Lions tournament. Solid early with mat work and submission. This turned into a very good match as they picked it up and worked well to the finish. Ishizawa used a rolling cradle that initially seemed out of place given the style they were working, but Ishizawa finished the move into a kneelock for a near submission rather than the usual pin attempt. Nagata carried the match to the finish using a German suplex, a front suplex, and a dragon suplex for near falls. When Nagata went for a second dragon suplex, Ishizawa countered into a head scissors armbreaker and forced a submission. The finishing sequence was excellent. After the match, Ishizawa tore the symbolic oversized check in half, giving half to Nagata

Okay, I like that one. :)

 

The entire show was heavy-centric:

 

(2) Shinya Hashimoto & Junji Hirata beat Scott Norton & Hugh Morrus at 8:50. The finish saw Norton powerbomb Hashimoto, but Morrus missed a moonsault attempt. Hirata hit Morrus with a diving headbutt and Hashimoto used a DDT for the pin. The match was watchable at best.

 

(3) Keiji Muto & Kensuke Sasaki beat Yoji Anjoh & Yoshihiro Takayama at 10:56. This was a good match considering the clash in styles. They popped the crowd when Anjoh put Muto in the stepover figure-four, while Takayama tied up Sasaki with a sleeper. Sasaki finally broke free to make the save for Muto. The finishing sequence was well done as Muto leg-whipped both and Sasaki followed by giving each a Riki-lariat. Sasaki used a Northern Lights bomb on Takayama, but Anjoh made the save. Muto leg-whipped Anjoh and put him in the figure-four. Sasaki gave Takayama another Riki-lariat and used the Power strangle hold for the submission...

 

(4) Masahiro Chono & Hiroyoshi Tenzan beat Riki Choshu & Satoru Kojima at 12:21. What aired wasn't pretty but it was all action. Tenzan was taking the punishment early, mostly from Kojima. Kojima looked good using a moonsault, top rope elbow drop, spine buster, and powerbomb for near falls. Choshu chipped in a few Riki-lariats. Chono turned it around on Kojima using the Yakuza kicks and STF. Kojima juiced Hashimoto style from the nose. Chono pinned Kojima with two Yakuza kicks...

 

(5) Tatsumi Fujinami & Shiro Koshinaka beat Genichiro Tenryu & Boutaka Aroya in 14:04. Koshinaka carried the match, with Fujinami and Tenryu picking their spots well. Aroya is not good, and tries too many moves that are beyond the limits of his skills. For what it was, this was a very entertaining, particularly when Tenryu got involved in short bursts. In the obvious finish, Fujinami forced Aroya to submit to the dragon suplex...

Wasn't terribly positive on Match #2, though I ws usually positive on Hash+Hirata matches. Like #3, wasn't negative on #4, liked #5 other than Aroya.

 

Overall a pretty watchable show even without the juniors.

 

On the other hand, the show the week before (Muto & Sasaki vs Hashimoto & Hirata, Fujinami & Koshinaka vs Chono & Tenzan, Fujinami & Koshinaka vs Muto & Sasaki) was extremely flat and way below what one would have hoped for / expected for the guys involved.

 

One tends to miss that when watching something like this: there was a fair amount of NJPW that was flat, even when the "big guys" were involved. It's understandable when spot shows are flat, and this was a period when AJPW matches in Korakuen Hall weren't very thrilling anymore. But this wasn't really a case of spot show matches: those were part of a mini tag tourney going on.

 

I'd love to have Ditch upload the 4/20/96 World Pro show. Folks can watch it, then watch the AJPW match what was on TV the same weekend:

 

1996 Carny Final between Taue and Doc.

 

That's the thing that kind of hammered home the differeces. When it came across the fax that Taue-Doc was the Carny Final, it was a pretty big disappointment: that's not the match folks wanted to see. I remember being on a conference call with two other people who got the same fax, and it was a groan. :) Yet it ended up being a pretty good AJPW Budokan Main Event.

 

John

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Nothing like breaking news via. fax transmissions.

Koji's faxes were great back in the 90s. :)

 

 

I had a long reply eaten. Argh. I'll just add that I thought Tenryu was the man carrying that tag, and ARAYA~ was a fine whipping boy. Oh and the mistake on the finish is hilarious.

Haven't watched the show or match since then getting the tape originally from the video store: watch, write up, return. Looks like I was fine with Tenryu in it, though clearly liked Kosh quite a bit more from the comments. Suspect that my issues were less about Araya getting his ass kicked than about what he did when it was his turn to do something. :) Don't even remember the finish.

 

John

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  • 4 months later...

One of the central debates on the aesthetics thread right now, in my opinion, is about the contrast between good work and effective work.

 

And this match was very very effective. It didn't have all the bells and whistles and flashy moves and near-falls of Liger/Kanemoto, but what was here was very tight, and told a very effective (there's that word again) story with a sound structure.

I loved the finish, where Hashimoto basically said "screw it" and beat Yamazaki down with one authoritative flurry of moves.

Great stuff, and the first Hash match I've seen.

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  • 1 year later...

On the match, my favorite thing was the ref admonishing Hash using a closed fist midway through the match only for Hash to respond by chopping Yamazaki in thr throat, which both put over his desperation and the hatred in the match. I had never heard of Yamazaki before this and he seemed pretty good, but Hash looked like a total boss badass throughout match. Between this and his short contests in '89 against Zangiev and Vader, Hashimoto seems like the King of the Stiff Sprint.

 

I am still learning about the New Japan heavies as they are definitely a dark spot, but I will say that I do like the fact they incorporate a lot of matwork. Watching a lot of All Japan, makes the heart grow fond for some chain wrestling and mat work, which is why I usually add some NWA and New Japan interspersed with my All Japan viewing.

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  • 6 months later...
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  • 3 months later...

This was frustrating, and I'm sure glad they had future matches in this rivalry. They set their stall out to go 15m+ and it felt like it had a fair chunk of it chopped off. Hash won before it could develop into a full length encounter.

 

As an aside the "Chono sucked after his 1992 neck injury" is one of these stupid assumptions that emerged from a little insider knowledge and woefully insufficient viewing in the 1990's. There are good Chono matches you can find in the mid 00's even.

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  • 1 year later...

10 minutes of awesomenss and these guys had a good little feud with each other. Yamazaki really torques on the arm and Hash stays away from that for the remainder of the match. His comeback was succinct and brutal ending with a single Brainbuster. The simplicity of this match was endearing and they accomplished exactly what they set out to do. (***1/2)

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  • GSR changed the title to [1996-01-04-NJPW-Wrestling World 1996] Shinya Hashimoto vs Kazuo Yamazaki

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