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Charles (Loss)

[1996-04-26-RINGS] Tsuyoshi Kohsaka vs Yoshihisa Yamamoto

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This just never built into the match it could have been. I appreciated the story of Yamamoto winning all the early mat exchanges and accumulating a big lead in the scoring system. Kohsaka seemed primed for a great rally with his back against the wall, but it never really materialized.

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There was certainly some impressive technique. Early on some of the counter moves were a little too fast, without enough of a struggle. This improved as they settled into it. The heavy emphasis was on groundwork with occasional strikes. Ultimately it was crying out for more psychology and a rivalry. That would've made a big difference.

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Seeing these guys progression on later yearbooks, this was fun to see in context as it felt a little like a studio match to set up their bigger stuff later on. I enjoyed the technique displayed and the work was solid. Not an overall Rings Standout, but a fine chapter 1 to the feud. ***

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Yoshihisa Yamamoto vs Tsuyoshi Kohsaka - RINGS 4/26/96

 

After relying on Soviet talent, RINGS tries to rebuild around native talent with young mid-20s talent in Yamamoto and Kohsaka. Yamamoto is coming off a victory over the Soviet Maestro, the Russian Wizard of the Mat, Volk Han. Kohsaka has a two match win streak going into this contest. This match is all about establishing Yamamoto as The Man of RINGS Japan and heir to Akira Maeda. He builds an easy 7-0 lead including a wicked knockdown based off an overhand slap. Kohsaka tries to bring the fight to him but is consistently counterwrestled. From the outset he shoots in and gets trapped in a guillotine choke. Or he get a Judo takedown or a submission and everything is countered forcing him into the rope. There is one point where each is trying to figure-4 the ankles and Yamamoto wins. It just goes to show Kohsaka is just one level below. Kohsaka forces Yamamoto into the ropes twice once with a triangle choke to at least get on the scoreboard, but ends up in the ropes one more time himself. It is sudden death time as Kohsaka has run out of rope breaks. He does wriggle out of one heel hook, but eventually falls prey to it and submits clean in the middle. Yamamoto looked good in this. He lacks the poise of Han and the charisma of Tamura, but technically he is very proficient. Kohsaka is a very good wrestler. This features great grappling, but it is a little on the dry side and lacks the strong characters that Han and Tamura provide in their shoot style matches. ***

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I didn't really get into this one overall and my attention waned for a lot of it. But there were some really good moments in here -- Yammamoto hits a nasty slap to score a knock down at one point, and there's a brief but really intense strike exchange towards the end.

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Sorry ya'll but this ruled. At this point, Yamamoto is positioned as the successor to Maeda and TK has been working his way up the ranks. The frantic, back-and-forth scramble and struggle on the mat early on was excellent, and then Yamamoto takes the advantage in terms of successfully grabbing holds and forcing TK to react. Or, you know, slapping the shit out of him. TK turns this around with a beautiful takedown into the calf slicer and then he turns the pressure on Yamamoto with the holds and knee strikes. Good peppering of stand-up strikes throughout to supplement the solid groundwork. The final couple of minutes are sluggish but Yamamoto's able to use the double leg takedown into the heelhook to tap TK. Great match. 

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