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[1996-04-29-NJPW-Battle Formation] Nobuhiko Takada vs Shinya Hashimoto


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  • 3 weeks later...

Awesome match! Fun to see a match this heated in front of this many people, and the match seemed much shorter than it was because it flew by. It was a little one-sided though. Hashimoto targeting Takada's leg felt like a call back to the Muto match in October, which is why the crowd popped so huge when Hashimoto locked in the figure four. Hashimoto doesn't have as many matches as many guys who are on this set, but he was as good as anyone in 1996.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 years later...

An incredible atmosphere for such a huge encounter. Fans were jumping up and down at the end. From my observations Japanese people seem to be either very quiet and reserved, or very excitable, with no middle ground between the two! This was like a Wrestlemania main event with the face getting the feelgood world title win. It was well worked for the Dome with straightforward action and no wasted motion. They combined well as Hash always used shoot style elements and Takada had learnt his trade in the Strong Style. I found it to be satisfying and a really good match, but wasn't blown away. They'd have to of taken it longer to reach higher levels. Because of the setting and the historical significance it's naturally overrated.

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  • 11 months later...

Hash plain and simply has a better flair for the dramatic than Muto (or almost anybody else for that matter), and I think that's the #1 reason why this match smokes both of the Takada/Muto bouts. Takada also works harder, but the intensely dramatic stand-up moments and kick exchanges, climaxing with Hashimoto's incredible ducking legsweep, are what make this. Of course Takada wasn't going to get in a ton of offense, for reasons we've already established, but as a blowoff to this story it worked perfectly. On my running MOTY candidacy list this is currently at #4 (behind Otani/Samurai, the MPro 6-man, and Taue/Doc). Time will tell if it finishes in the top 10.

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  • 1 month later...

Another awesome match and I thoroughly enjoyed this show overall. This felt like a great thinking mans match with counters and each person not wanting to get caught. This match didn't last very long but packed a lot of stroyline and grappling into the twelve minutes it lasted. Hash winning feels like one of the career highlights for him. ****

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  • 9 months later...

Great match with cool matwork, stiff strikes and a great story with Hashimoto restoring New Japan's honor by beating the UWFi invader at his own game (submissions and strikes) and regaining the title. Not to mention incredible crowd heat with the two pops for the brainbuster and the finish being among the loudest ever. **** 1/4

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  • 1 year later...

Biggest match of the year! Biggest match in modern Japanese wrestling history? And with this famously being the match that inspired Bischoff to do the NWO angle, this is a hugely significant match for 1996 on top of everything else. This match definitely feels enormous. The crowd goes nuts for the introduction and the entrances are great. Lots of gravitas to the pre-match proceedings.

 

The match itself is definitely worked like a big match. It's not about constant competitive exchanges and bomb throwing, it's about building to a couple huge moments where Hashimoto or Takada land a series of big shots. And when those moments happen the offense looks great and the crowd erupts. Takada landing some nasty looking clean kicks on Hashimoto only to have one flash countered with a leg sweep is one of the best spots ever, and that pop for the final brain buster is epic. I don't think this is a high end MOTYC type match, but it's worked very well in context and is awesome to see.

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  • GSR changed the title to [1996-04-29-NJPW-Battle Formation] Nobuhiko Takada vs Shinya Hashimoto
  • 5 months later...

IWGP Heavyweight Shinya Hashimoto vs Nobuhiko Takada - NJPW 4/29/96

The only thing greater than the Right Hand of God is the RIGHT HAND OF HASHIMOTO! Incredible Dome match with insane heat! Nobuhiko Takada is a genius for a dude who cant fight a lick he made the entire world believe that he is the greatest fighter. He had the successful UWFi, three Dome matches in the 90s and then a big feud with Tenryu after this and then started PRIDE & Hustle. He may be the greatest worker of all time in the truest sense of the word meaning he made people believe the unbelievable. 

Takada gives a very selfless performance here for Hashimoto. He does not just lose clean as a sheet in the middle of the ring via submission. He sold every Hashimoto kick like it was death and he had fear in his eyes. That first kick to his leg look how nervous he looks and then how Hashimoto is staring a hole right through him. Hashimoto gives one of his greatest performances ever as Hashimoto The Destroyer just stuffing everything and mercilessly brutalizing the leader of the UWFi leader. Is there anybody you would want defending your territory against invaders? I dont think this is quite as good as Hashimoto vs Tenryu matches, but this is great. You do need to create drama so when it comes time for Takada to get offense it feels electric. My favorite moment besides the finish might be Takada rifling Hashimoto's left leg with kicks and then hitting this tremendous kick combination to the head that fells Hashimoto to the mat. The crowd went crazy. Takada went for the cross armbreaker but Hashimoto scrambled for the ropes. Hashimoto destroying the legs comes back later and boy does Takada sell his ass for it. Credit to Takada for not letting his shooter badass character get in the way of looking vulnerable. Hashimoto applies a figure-4 and the heat is off the charts. The one problem with focusing on Takada's legs is that is the source of his offense so he blows it off to hit his trademark kicks and a backdrop driver, but againt cant finish the mighty Hashimoto who powers out of a Boston Crab. On the next standup is when the Right Hand of Hashimoto sends the crowd into a frenzy. The ref tries to back him off but he runs through and hits a big meaty elbow drop while Takada is under the ropes. I love the big fight feel! Takada tries to kick his way out of trouble...he is landing some big shots...he is rocking the head...he pushes Hashimoto off to create distance for a full extension...Takada throws HASHIMOTO SWEEPS THE LEG! OH MY FUCKING GOD! I LOST MY MIND!

The rest of the match becomes about Hashimoto trying to hit the Brainbuster and Takada desperately trying to avoid it. Takada's last gasp is a Fujiwara armbar, but Hashimoto makes the ropes and Takada reapplies it in the ropes to Booos. Great heeling there. Hashimoto caves in the solarplexus with a massive kick. Takada is still avoiding his death sentence. Hashimoto rips him down with a DDT. BRAINBUSTER! Headscissors/armbreaker finishes him with a submission. 

All will bow down to Hashimoto The Destroyer! Perfect Dome match for these two, the Takada knockdown of Hashimoto feels huge then Hashimoto's offense feels like the coolest most badass thing ever. This match also gets a boost for being a really damn great blowoff match to a hot angle and being really influential in not just Japanese wrestling, but in American wrestling as the NWO was born from this match. ****1/2

 

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  • 3 years later...

Whoever still peddles that myth that Japanese crowds sit on their hands and stay silent needs to watch this as the crowd here was absolutely electric here, and in a venue with famously terrible acoustic too! Takada and his UWFi goons represent a changing of the guard when it comes to the philosophy of pro wrestling in Japan. Takada is IWGP champion, but Hashimoto is going to fight tooth and nail to defend the company that made him and get that belt back to New Japan. I love how Takada presented himself here. He looked like a top-level confident athlete, but he also had a smug, condescending look on his face and it will leave you wanting Big Hash to smack the shit out of him. Hashimoto tells a better story with a few leg kicks than he could ever do with a thousand words. The mat-work wasn't anything to write home about, but it didn't need to be. Every time Takada would get Hashimoto in a hold, Hashimoto would fight with such urgency and passion, that it's enough to make you forget that there is so much flashier mat-wrestling out there. All the strike exchanges featured bucketloads of drama and I thought the roof of the building was going to come off when Hashimoto scores a desperation DDT. I also have to mention Hashimoto's counter-sweep to Takada's surefire death-blow kick too. NJPW showed AJPW that you can craft a compelling match without it needing to go 25+ minutes and featuring a million head-drops. ★★★★¾

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