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Charles (Loss)

[1996-09-25-RINGS] Volk Han vs Kiyoshi Tamura

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This is ridiculously great, and it's really hard to keep up with all the reversals. The early struggle for whatever leglock they were both trying is probably the hardest I've ever seen two people ever fight to lock in the same hold. This seems to be a case of dominance vs surprise, as Tamura is on defense for a big chunk of this, but also has the ability to catch Han by surprise when he least expects it. Tamura's kick when Han is walking toward him for a lock-up is case in point, and is one of my favorite spots of the match. Really an epic battle with lots of dramatic momentum swings, and my favorite RINGS match to this point.

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Actually, this was my favourite match of the three the last time I watched them. I just think it had the most fun dynamic. That spot where Tamura thinks he's gotten an advantage and BOOM he's trapped in an armbar and FUCKED is one of my favourite spots ever. Absolute MOTYC (ignoring that we know what'll be #1).

 

Side note - as soon as this popped up online 6/7 years ago, I sent the link round everywhere, because I'd pimped the match for years (I think I got the tape in '00, maybe '01). The amount of people who thought it was a shoot... if only UFC fights were like this.

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Watched this earlier and I'm in agreement on how good it is. It's probably my *least* favourite of the three, but I still agree with MJH in that it's one of those MOTYC level matches.

 

That spot where Tamura manages to slip in that kick to the stomach was great, but Han going postal with a flurry of palm strikes and knees shortly after felt like a fucking awesome receipt. That final armbar was gorgeous, too. Also gotta mention Tamura refusing to let Han lock in the Kimura at the beginning so Han just flips him with a suplex.

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So far this is my favorite Han match. He looked great on the match and the spot where he just slaps Tamura is awesome. I don't think I've seen much Tamura but he sure was energetic in this. Very good match.

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Of the five RINGS matches I have ever seen, this is either #4 or #5 on the list. And that isn't a bad thing when the other matches were huge classics, which is exactly what this match is. A classic.

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This had started ruling within seconds, and there was more where that came from. These were the two quickest thinking and most instinctive mat workers in shoot style. Overall they were quite possibly the best two at the time. Some delightful technique on display and a few nice strikes also. It went just north of 10m, and I'd love to see them take it further next time.

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Excellent match as everyone has said--this is about as good of an intro to RINGS and to Han as you'll find to this point. It's got all of his cool submission work, it's got a great opponent, it's got Han throwing some strikes like a motherfucker, and it's not too long. Han's kimura suplex thing was NASTY and I don't know how Tamura didn't break his arm or tap out instantly after that, and the match kept going from there.

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11 minutes of some of the best, most aggressive wrestling I have ever seen. The reversals and fighting for the leg locks and arm bars were amazing. Tamura struggling out and trying desperately to reach the ropes. Even the finish is insanely dramatic as Tamura is just grasping for anything that can turn the tide but Han has finally been able to totally neutralize him and he is forced to tap. These are two masters and they give a master class performance in this match. SHoot style is something that I have really been gaining an appreciation for over the years of watching and this match felt like the culmination of that style to me as before I would have thought it was too short to be this great. Fuck it, they did all they good in 11 grueling minutes and made a memorable, beautiful match. ****3/4

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Volk Han vs Kioyshi Tamura - RINGS 9/25/96

 

Volk Han in all his glory double wristlock rips, ankle crosses galore and him taking a straight front kick to the gut. Tamura is a great opponent because he is so energetic and feisty. That opening double wristlock rip is godly. Tamura is a champ for taking that. As soon as Tamura wriggles free, it is right into the ankle cross. This is Volk Han 101 and it looks great because of Tamura's energy and struggle. I love how Han has an answer for everything. Tamura goes for a legbar to counter the ankle cross and Han goes for the cross armbreaker. Han grabs heel and had good control, but squanders the control and on the takedown almost cost himself by ending up in a cross armbreaker. Han is able to counter into an amazing double wristlock and forces him to go for the ropes. Amazing ability to stay on offense by Han. Han has great takedown defense for Tamura who tries to switch up by shooting for a double leg. These are great opponents because Han is so cool under pressure and Tamura is feisty. Han can get cocky though like his showy pulling arm through Tamura's legs and Tamura catches him with a heel hook forcing the rope break. Han grabs a choke and of course his ankles get crossed so you believe a submission is possible. They end up in the ropes and Tamura gets charged with an rope escape. Weird. DEEP Tamura single leg crab then floats into an armbar. Great struggle in this. I loved Han's short leg scissors amazing bend. I love when wrestlers figure-4 random body parts. Always looks amazing. Another tremendous Han spot is when Tamura tries to apply a figure-4 to his leg and leaves his arm just out there and Han grabs a cross armbreaker. Tamura is just writhing around in pain and flaying. It really feels like a finish and I know Han has finished a match like that before. Just great drama. Han goes up 4-1 in rope breaks and then in classic Han runs into a straight front kick for the knockdown. That sort of levels the playing field and looks like Han could fall after controlling the first portion of the match. Tamura is working so hard. Look at how much effort he does getting a side headlock and the way every single muscle is focused on making a Volk Han head pop. Han slaps the taste out of his mouth and gets a knockdown. Tamura tries desperately for a choke, but Han is able to grab his favorite hold, the double wristlock.

 

Amazing match! Before I always I thought I liked and appreciated shoot style, but I could never really love it as much as traditional pro wrestling. I loved this! The struggle and energy were off the charts. I liked the strategy and the distinct characters. The matwork was incredible and the way he kept going for double wristlocks and ankle crosses gave the match a touchstone that a lot of shoot style matches lack. Highly recommended. *****

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Great to see this get some major praise, this gets overshadowed by their 97 matches. I actually think this is even better than the highly praised 1/97 match and only a little bit below the 9/97 match. I had reviewed all 3 matches in the Kiyoshi Tamura GWE thread in terms of how each match builds off the previous one narrative wise and how their characters evolve and adapt. For this match:

 

Tamura is a definite underdog here and wrestles with a ton of desperation and urgency against the top fighter in RINGS. Han doesn't take him lightly but isn't too concerned for the majority of the bout. Tamura's resilience does frustrate and hurt him at the end though but he eventually manages to school him relatively comfortably. Of course, the sequences are mindblowing and the struggle is off the charts but the storytelling puts it (and the series in general) over the top. **** 3/4

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Man this was awesome. The matwork was just beautiful, amazing counters and transitions one after the other. Tamura's single leg into a half crab was especially awesome. The two big stand up exchanged looks great and were really dramatic. Ending was perfect with Han sneaking in that leg hook to block Tamura rolling out and forcing a submission. Only flaw was I wasn't ready for this match to end when it did, good as the ending was.

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Incredible. The two of them slip slidin' in and out of submission attempts, the drama built around the escapes and counters, Han's usual attempts being thwarted by the younger, quicker Tamura. I mean, right out of the gate, you've got Han carrying Tamura around in a hammerlock before he throws him down and the scramble begins. Loved Han slipping under the kicks to grab the choke and drag Tamura down, only for Tamura to snag a heel hook to force the break. Han's armbar out of the knee crusher attempt was so slick but Tamura doesn't let it breath and fights his way into his own armbar. Tamura's straight kick to the gut ruled. By the end of it, they're both fairly exhausted and missing their executions, and Han seems fed up when he starts peppering Tamura with face palms and knees. Great finish too, with Tamura's last choke effort and Han extending the arm with the double wristlock for the win. What a match. 

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