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[1996-08-02-NJPW-G1 Climax] Riki Choshu vs Shinya Hashimoto


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  • 1 month later...

Wow. What an emotional match, and I love the finish. Hashimoto was incredible here, really getting Choshu over strong. I love the dynamic, like El-P said, of the old veteran wanting to show that he still has a little fight in him, and reaching down deep to pull it off. This isn't head and shoulders above Muto/Yamazaki and Chono/Kojima as a match, but the heat, drama and emotion takes it to another level.

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What's interesting is that it isn't really different from their earlier '90s bouts, which tended to have the ending of "one guy eats big strikes and won't stay down until he's spent". It's just marginally better than the others and in a high-profile situation, so it's famous.

 

I recommend that those who enjoyed this seek out the rest of their series.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The selling is sublime here. The way Choshu reacts to that first couple of chops out of the lock-up in the corner are perfect. Hashimoto returns the favour on the punch a few moments later. Just the match they were made to work; as El-P said, beautiful in its utter simplicity. Only Kawada, I think, could do this equally as well (some might argue Tenryu too). Slightly borders on going a bit long in the middle (there's a dip in the crowd; 15 minutes over 18, say), but a strong heavyweight singles MOTYC.

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  • 3 years later...

There was a big match feel and plenty of intensity. It scores low for workrate and artistic merit, so it's a case of how much the psychology draws you in. There were occasional strikes followed by extended periods of glaring. I found it slow and pretentious. Hash sustained a knee injury in losing, which he would dutifully sell for the remainder of the tournament.

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  • 8 months later...

The previous bout was all about little things--now we have two of the best "big moment" workers in the history of wrestling. The previous matches in this series tended to be about the young dog Hashimoto trying to take down Choshu--he was but the learner, now he's the master and Choshu is older, slower, less in shape, and in general just barely hanging on. The match is compelling on its surface from that point and the selling of both guys adds to it. There's not much to this other than kicks and lariats, but few people in wrestling have ever gotten more out of less. Dramatic match with another surprise finish.

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  • 5 months later...

Choshu still has some fight left in him. A beautiful match with everything feeling like the most important moment of their life. There is a simplistic beauty with watching these guys work that should be marveled at. Choshu winning felt like a crowing achievement for him and the crowd that witnessed this. ****

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  • 1 year later...

This hit desert island for me. We talk about how engaging their lockups are but what makes it better is their willingness to return to them, and putting them to use to actually gain an advantage. What really seeps through here is the clear disdain they have for each other. The way Choshu “blocks” a headlock attempt from Hashimoto by literally just sending both of them crashing into the ropes feels like some uncooperative moment where you question if everything is going as planned. But it also gets across a sense of desperation, the same with Choshu resorting to a straight punch to try and stop Hashimoto’s building momentum. Then Hashimoto has had enough and we know by now that ‘96 Choshu has no business hanging with peak Hashimoto so after he stomps his face into a corner he begins to unleash the beatdown. And it’s again one of those beatdowns where because of how Hashimoto carries himself it feels even more violent than maybe anybody else is capable of. It gets across the difference in ability but it also creates sympathy for Choshu and has you wondering how he can turn the tide. It comes in the form of a leg injury that Choshu goes after followed by the first run of Choshu lariats. I liked how Hash seemed pissed off that he had let it to come to this as he got back into the ring for the assault, as if he had to just take his licks. Another thing is how Hashimoto at his size is capable of shifting in and out of monster heavyweight who you wonder can actually be picked up or slammed. It’s why it’s a Big Deal whenever Choshu gets him up for even a suplex and why the superplex here feels like a major point. Finally, as Choshu now knows he has a shot here if he can destroy Hashimoto with a few more lariats, we get maybe the greatest WWE finish that never took place in WWE. You can’t tell me “CHOSHU!!!!!” isn’t something that fits right in with a Wrestlemania moment compilation as something they’d replay over and over for years. You could probably convince me the 12/6/96 matches in AJPW and CMLL surpass this but I don’t think they turn into the sort of emotional rollercoaster this does. It’s got the violent brawling of the Apuestas match, it’s got the history/"learned psychology" of the AJPW tag and it’s got the definitive and memorable ending. It’s got it all. MOTY.

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  • 5 months later...

Just a really great match which I like more and more with each viewing. Wonderful storytelling, hardhitting action, drama and an epic feel. The in his prime ace Hashimoto dominates as expected but old man Riki's resiliency keeps him in it. The knee injury transition was excellent and a believable way to get across the fact that the match had been turned on its head and Hashimoto was in trouble. "CHOSHU" is one of the great wrestling moments, just an awesome exclamation of pride, frustation and disappointment as, yet again, what should have been a comfortable G-1 Climax win for Hashimoto slipped away. Masterful performance by him, borderline carryjob to be honest. **** 1/4

 

This is probably an unpopular thing to say but the storytelling, in the finishing stretch especially, had a real Wrestlemania style theatrical element to it akin to something like HHH vs. Taker or Shawn vs. Flair (stuff people on the board don't exactly like) so I am surprised it connected so strongly with so many people.

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  • 4 months later...

One of those simple, hard-hitting NJPW heavyweight matches with big names and just doesn't exist as a style anymore. This really felt like the two toughest guys in the world duking it out, every strike hit with force and the selling was very believable. They work evenly at the beginning but Hashimoto just overwhelms Choshu eventually; at one point you can see Choshu keep trying to catch Hashimoto's kicks but they're just too powerful for him to grab a hold of the leg. Choshu's comeback is awesome with stiff lariats and a superplex that felt like a major highspot. Microstats has a good point about the theatrical element of the finishing stretch, but in the best way; it really felt like a climactic end to a war between two larger than life asskickers.

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  • 1 month later...

Shinya Hashimoto vs Riki Choshu - NJPW 8/2/96

 

"CHOSHUUUUUUUUUU!!!!"

 

I am so glad I finally watched this. Incredible tour de force. Best Dome match to not take place in a Dome. I look forward to their '97 Dome encounter. The Lock Ups here are just incredible. Tight and snug. I loved Hashimoto getting the headlock and then grapevining the leg causing them to tumble over. This is one of those rough & tumble matches where nothing is gonna be pretty, but you best believe everything will be earned. The battle over that first suplex feels gargantuan. Like whoever gets it will win the match. Oddly enough that is the truth as Choshu gets the Champ over and then applies Scorpion Deathlock.But after that Choshu runs out of gas and this becomes the Hashimoto asskicking show. Hashimoto is OBLITERATING Choshu with kicks. Choshu is left gasping from breathe but he is defiant as ever. He is the Old Gunslinger with one last go around at the OK Corral. No matter how hard Hashimoto hit him and believe you me he hit hard and repeatedly, but Choshu never stayed down. Choshu would not be denied. DDT, massive second rope elbow and a barrage of kicks did not stop Choshu. Hashimoto was literally kicking Choshu so hard he kicked him out of the ring. Choshu kept getting back up. The Old Man was not going down just yet. Hashimoto hurls his entire body at him as Choshu is climbing back on the apron sending Choshu crashing back to the floor. Hashimoto looked ready to destroy the Rockstar of the 80s on the floor, but as he went for his rainbow heel kick Choshu blocked it with a big forearm to the knee. From there, Choshu alternated between attacking the knee and trying to floor the Champ with massive mack truck lariats. Some of the most brutal lariats ever and Hashimoto ate them and his appetite would not be satiated as he kept asking for more. Those lariats, the smack of flesh and Hashimoto not taking a bump is what Clash of the Titans means. Hashimoto blocks a lariat with an overhand chop. Liked the symmetry of how Choshu blocked that rainbow heel kick. Choshu goes back to the knee. I loved the Superplex for Choshu as it is just a huge spot. Choshu only gets two and Hashimoto is great at selling. You can sense he is not just selling the knee, but the fact he knows he is doomed and that The Old Man got one up on him. Hashimoto has his defiant last stand and with one last bellow of "CHOSHUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!" it was all over as Choshu finally floors Hashimoto with a MONSTER LARIAT!

 

This is pro wrestling, muthafuckas. ****1/2

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  • 5 months later...
  • GSR changed the title to [1996-08-02-NJPW-G1 Climax] Riki Choshu vs Shinya Hashimoto

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