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Charles (Loss)

[1996-07-16-RINGS-Maelstrom] Volk Han vs Tsuyoshi Kohsaka

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Tremendous mat work, but I have trouble calling this a great match because it all seems like cool exhibition stuff with no consequences.

 

Wrestling is all about selling to me. It's the most important part of wrestling, I think. Without selling, nothing else really works.

 

Fun to watch in some ways, but I couldn't get into it much.

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This reminds me how much I used to adore RINGS. The most beautiful wrestling matches I've ever seen come from this promotion. Selling is not an important part of the style, I guess it takes some time to get used to it. It's really a different kind of wrestling, but it's wonderful when done by guys like Volk Han, Khosaka or Tamura.

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I'll come back to these matches in the next week or two... but selling isn't really needed in the style to get over character/drama. It's been a good few years but I remember the September Han/Tamura match having a great veteran/underdog theme to it (and a great, great spot where Tamura thinks he has him and suddenly Han snaps his arm out and Tamura finds himself tied up in a cross armbreaker and the crowd pops huge...). I always remember the matwork being tight enough to avoid the 'exhibition' tag that I could maybe see labelled at other noted matworkers/pairings.

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Good match and the finish was just nice. Han's reversal's were great but I just don't see how he was a GOAT?

I don't think he's touted as a serious GOAT candidate; more as someone to compare to within shoot-style, someone who is in a lot of people's top 20, maybe the best worker ever match-for-match.

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Two fine mat technicians in action, with an emphasis on counter holds. There was no shortage of variety and imagination. Combined with the strong selling from both men that made the moves feel important and injected a sense of urgency. There weren't any strikes until the end, and when they happened the fight was over in a hurry. Han caught Kohsaka with a brutal knee lift and it looked like he broke his nose. Yikes! I don't know if that was the planned finish, but you can't argue with a legit KO in shoot style. Really good stuff.

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Yeah, that didn't seem like the planned finish, but it did add an air of realism to a style that still can't help but resemble wrasslin' in terms of building up to a dramatic ending. I also loved the spot where Kohsaka countered a kimura by wrapping his leg around Han's and basically suplexing himself just to get into a better position on the mat. This is a good match that I can't really call great in good conscience, though I do think Loss would like it more if he viewed it again today.

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I have no doubt Loss would be more into this match now. It was really great with what we saw with some tonal shifts centering around the leg work each guy threw. Volk has an uncanny ability to turn and maneuver himself and still get caught to really convey danger. Some of the torquing on the knee was just nasty. I don't think this was the planned finish either but the action we saw was more than enough to satisfy me and really showed what RINGS would become in 97-98. ***1/2

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Volk Han vs Tsuyoshi Kohsaka - RINGS 7/16/96

 

After getting shown up pretty drastically by Yamamoto, Kohsaka needed a good showing here and I think he provided it even though he ended up losing via knockout. Kohsaka acquitted himself well on the mat against the Russian Wizard and went toe to toe with him standing up. Kohsaka showed a lot of aggression and ingenuity against the always creative Volk Han. There are so many cool moments in this match. Volk Han is amazing at wrist control and you are so focused on what he will do that you don't see Kohsaka figure-4ing his leg from underneath and all of sudden Han is on defense. Han is a really selfless performer as a gaijin in Japan he had to be. He applies a great organic figure-4 (great struggle) but he does not tuck his leg in underneath and this leaves him open for a heel hook. He gives his opponent an out. I loved his selling of the cross armbreaker. Once Kohsaka had it applied his foot SHOT OUT LIKE A CANNON for the ropes. There was another great moment where he has Kohsaka all tied up and Kohsaka looks ridiculously trying to feel for the rope with his foot. Like I said Kohsaka stayed poise down the stretch and never let the overwhelming mystique of Volk Han get to him. Volk Han has done the impossible gotten me into the bundle of leg locks. Now that I am more cognizant of ankle crosses I am super into them. I will say because Volk Han treats them special I am into them. Other people doing it still kinda sucks. Volk Han goes up 3-1, but in an amazing comeback Kohsaka rattles off three straight forces of rope breaks to go up 4-3 including a very tight choke. I think this big come from behind with three big time submissions helps his standing a lot. I loved the front chancery/hammerlock combo from Han only for Kohsaka to get the back heel trip and roll through to break it. SHORT ARM SCISSORS~! Triangle choke! Han in the ropes. This is how Kohsaka goes up 4-3.

VOLK HAN SNAPS~! Barrage of slaps and a KNEE THAT BUSTS KOHSAKA WIDE OPEN! TKO! Great finish which may have been a shoot. Insane. Volk Han is so good at sucking you into matwork and is great at selling from the way he quickly gets the ropes in a cross armbreaker to his sense of shame grabbing the rope in that Triangle Choke and that shame turning into anger. Kohsaka to his credit never wavers. So many times in puroresu, we see the lead horse choke, but here Volk Han turns that sense of choking into unbridled anger blasting Kohsaka so hard he knocks him out and leaves nothing to de decided. Great story and match. ****1/4

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Awesome mat work, and this was well on its way to being a great match until the untimely ending. Worked very evenly on the mat with both guys pulling out some really sweet moves; Volk Han trapping Kohsaka's legs while in a kimura and his standing hammerlock were some particular highlights. Very smooth and fast paced, and the stand up spots felt pretty brutal.

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Echoing a lot of the same sentiments here -- tons of compelling matwork, with each trying to pretzel the other and win out on the ground. But the strikes added something visceral to the match, especially that final catfight flurry from Han in the corner with the palm shots and knees that end up busting TK open and winning Han the match. We've already established that Han is a master of unique holds and transitions and reversals, as showcased in this match -- I mean, his hammerlocked necklock is so cool. But TK has answers for him and Han has to go to the ropes more times than he's usually used to. Neat rolling necklock from TK and toward the end, he keeps going back to the choke, since Han would turn any leg submission attempt against him. Great stuff. 

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