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Charles (Loss)

[1996-10-30-BattlARTS] Yuki Ishikawa & Alexander Otsuka vs Daisuke Ikeda & Takeshi Ono

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Most of the BattlARTS is closer to the end of the year, but this is the first BattlARTS match of the year that's really stood out to me in a big way.

 

Really aggressive match. All four mesh really well, and it's nice to finally watch in front of a crowd, to see this stuff with actual heat. The earlier match really felt like big fish small pond wrestling, in that it was wrestled with plenty of spectacle, but there was no audience really there to react and back it up. Now there is.

 

There's also a lot of hate and fire, with guys from each team doing a lot of saves for their teammates.

 

This is a match that really makes me appreciate pro wrestling, in the sense that there are so many ways to accomplish the same basic goal -- deliver a good simulated athletic contest that makes a crowd care. When you think you're pretty familiar with all the approaches to doing that, here comes yet another.

 

This is different from UWFI or RINGS because the pro wrestling elements are more overstated, which is something I appreciate. I don't want to call it showy, because it's not like New Japan, but the personalities are definitely a big part of the appeal. Tempers flare. People make mistakes. It's not sloppy, but it's not annoyingly clean either. It feels spontaneous. Guys want to win and show each other up. So as much as I want to make fun of Takeshi Ono's hair, I can't, because the match is too good.

 

This is more "Hmm, fun to discover this style" stuff than match commentary. But this really is a basic, common sense approach to wrestling under all the stiffness, hate and great matwork. And Otsuka does a fucking GIANT SWING in the middle of a RINGS-style mat exchange! This stuff really demands close attention because you're guaranteed to see something you don't expect at some point.

 

I can't wait for the late 90s yearbooks to see this style continue to develop and peak. I've seen one-off matches before like the well-regarded Ikeda/Ishikawa match from '98. I really did enjoy it, but the match didn't feel like as much a commentary on the style as this does.

 

Very hard-hitting. I wouldn't call this realistic, but great wrestling doesn't need to be realistic or believable. It just needs to be plausible within whatever universe it sets up for itself. And the great thing about this is that the style is broad enough that nothing really looks out of place.

 

Great match! I don't know if it's an MOTYC and I'm not sure I really care. I just know I had tons of fun watching it. These guys can do everything.

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I was surprised at how many times someone ran in to break up a submission. Didn't think they did that in Battlarts? Other than that, I really enjoyed this match. Otsuka was really outstanding with his suplexes and Ono/Ikeda were just total dicks.

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What an amazing badass violent brawl. I think UWFi did "shooty" tags before this, but I don't remember any of them having this kind of violent, out of control flair. This is really US style tag psychology fused with shootstyle at lucharesu pace. Ikeda and Ono are an awesome pair of bruiser heels. Right at the start they double team Ishikawa pasting him with kicks and cutting off the ring to isolate him while he busts out cool mat counters to defend himself. Otsuka has these really awesome moments of explosive hot tags where he just runs in and dumps somebody on his head right off the bat. Just like the Ishikawa/Ikeda dynamic (who spend most of the early going shoot punching eachother in the mouths) he has this dynamic with Takeshi Ono, who spends most of the fight on the apron waiting to sneak in and kick somebody in the eye to break a submission. At one point, Otsuka is visibly fed up with it an pummels Ono really aggressively into the corner almost like a sumo. He was looking pretty irate and Ono just taunts him even more. When Ono actually was in the ring, we got to see either his slick skinny ratboy grappling or his reckless kicks. We also get to see what Ishikawa is really about as later in the match he gets his comeuppance hooking one nastier and nastier submission on Ikeda. The finish is absolutely picture perfect as Ikeda and Ishikawa go back to the shoot punches while Otsuka finally catches Ono. Perfect introduction to the style. I've watched some top level 90s AJPW tags in the past weeks and I wouldn't hesitate to put this up there with them.

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I didn't find this to be the most dynamically-worked shootstyle match by any means, but it was memorable because the character work was so strong and it had possibly the strongest face-heel dynamic in the history of the style. Plus they incorporated the wrasslin' elements like the giant swing beautifully. This is gritty and sloppy and tough and feels like a war of attrition. That said, I wouldn't put this quite at ****1/4, and I'm not sure it's even my favorite BattlArts match of '96, but it was a lot of fun.

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My god, this was just brutality at its finest. The Bat Bat match in early October felt restrained but that wasn't the case here as Ono was doing huge kicks a minute in. Ikeda and Ishikawa also really worked in a lot of striking and had some grotesque exchanges even for those two. Who does that leave but ultimate utility player Otsuka who executes some exciting throws and other elements to keep the match engaging. This was honestly one of the better BattlARTS matches of the 90's. ****1/4

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The best from Battlarts thus far in the year. And man was this match awesome. Especially violent and hated-filled for a Battlarts match, and just chock full of incredible stuff. The extended beginning where Ikeda and Ishikawa are just killing each other, Ikeda dropping Ishikawa on his head over and over again with suplexes while Ono kicks him while he's down between each one, Otsuka hitting the greatest big swing of all time, Ono hammering Otsuka with strikes as Otsuka keeps diving in for a takedown. Some out of this world great moments in a match that overall doesn't quite hit MOTYC level.

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Violent, chaotic, beautiful. Ono is such a little prick throughout this match, you just can't wait to see him get smashed. From the start, he's kicking and stomping Ishikawa from the apron, and whenever Ishikawa or Otsuka manages a submission hold, he's quick to interject himself and break it up with more shitty kicks. At one point later in the match, Otsuka delivers a Northern Lights suplex to Ikeda and tries to transition into the double wristlock...before Ono comes in and kicks his fucking hand while he's trying to apply the hold! No submission is safe. Ikeda is a dick, too. He manages to piss off Otsuka on the apron, who comes in and dumps Ikeda on his head with a gnarly suplex before the two are back-and-forth, trading headbutts. Ono continues to pissing on everyone until Otsuka finally grabs him and gives him one of the best Giant Swings I've seen. Otsuka's also there to throw some dope suplexes, including a deadlift German to Ikeda. I loved Ikeda kicking his way out of Ishikawa's leg hold before it breaks down into them punching and smacking each other. Otsuka finally takes Ono out of the equation by German suplexing him in half, which allows Ishikawa to secure the Fujiwara armbar on Ikeda for the submission.

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Yuki Ishikawa & Alexander Otsuka vs Daisuke Ikeda & Takeshi Ono - BattlArts 10/30/96

Am I alone in thinking BatBat tags are superior to their singles matches? Everytime I watch a BatBat tag, I am blown away. Immediately, I reminded by this feeling when Ikeda positions Ishikawa towards to Ono who rifles him in the back from the apron. The ref has to keep Otsuka at bay while Ikeda and Ono kick ass on the outside with kicks. I love BatBat tags! You know who is who from the footwear. Ikeda & Ono are the kickboxing specialists with their shoot style boots with kickpads. While Ishikawa & Otsuka are the wrestlers with their short, high-ankle wrestling shoes. We see Ishikawa grab a kick at one point and try to turn it into a heel hook. When Ikeda gets sloppy in a rear naked choke, Ishikawa crosses his ankle to force the break. We see Ishikawa go for a lot of wristlocks as counterholds as he is getting his shit kicked in. A good wrestler can force a stand up specialist to play his game and thats what Ishikawa and Otsuka do early on by closing the gap and forcing a lot of the action on the mat. Dont get me wrong, Ikeda & Ono get their fair share of licks in but they are trying to finish on the mat and thats where Ishikawa & Otsuka can counterwrestle. Ishikawa and Otsuka can also throw a suplex with the best of them. Ishikawa used a Northern Lights Suplex to create enough separation to tag in Otsuka. Otsuka's first order of business drop Ikeda on his head with a suplex. This is very All Japan with liberal saves from their partners in holds. Your partner is in trouble just casually walk in and rifle your opponent with a kick. There was one time Ishikawa came in and kicked the clasp of I think Ikeda so that Otsuka would have a better arm triangle I thought that was cool. One weird thing is Ishikawa and Otsuka were not abiding by normal tagging rules. They basically would rule to their corner and the other would just come in. It didnt seem like Ikeda and Ono were doing the same thing. There was one point where Ono was legal but Ikeda had broken the hold so Ishikawa just treated Ikeda as legal. It was odd to say the least. The big highlights of the match in my eyes were Ishikawa got a series of three big arm-related submissions (two cross-armbreakers & 1 Fujiwara armbar) in very short order. That was quite dramatic. Another moment of high drama was Otsuka gave Ono the biggest, fastest Giant Swing ever and then hurled him. He launched his ass. He then looked to submission finish him but Ikeda saved. Then Ikeda & Ono had Otsuka on the ropes quite literally. Ikeda just BLASTED Otsuka with a wicked forearm. Finally, Ikeda & Ono were playing to their strength late in the match looking for KOs. Otsuka nails a desperation German to get out of the Hell out of Dodge. After Ishikawa was able to rotate in for Otsuka, Ikeda blasted him for a near KO with a wild forearm. Ishikawa gave as good as he got with a wicked straight right. WOW! Ikeda no sold it in the most beautiful way. Ishikawa catches a kick into a heel hook. Ono saves, but Otsuka tackles him and Germans him. Otsuka detains Ono in All Japan style as Ishikawa submits Ikeda with the Fujiwara armbar calling back to the fast & furious arm submissions in the middle. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this as an all-action match that dripped with struggle and urgency. The offense was what you expect from BattlArts ultra-violent strikes, head-dropping suplexes and snug submissions. I think tag match allows for more chaos and creates more intra-match stories. One of the best BatBat matches of the 90s I have seen. ****1/2  

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