Jump to content
ProWrestlingOnly.com Forums
Sign in to follow this  
Loss

Shinya Hashimoto vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara (NJPW 06/01/94)

Recommended Posts

Despite being the first ever New Japan trainee, this was Fujiwara’s only IWGP title match. This is a match up of two of my favorite wrestlers of all time, I saw Hashimoto maul Dylan Knight live in a tiny gym in Pennsylvania and caught his bandana when it was thrown to the crowd. I still have the bandana hanging in the hall of my apartment.

 

I could see a lot of Puro nerds not caring for this match. This isn’t smooth and dramatic like a classic All Japan match from the 1990’s, this was rough and awkward. Both guys would try attacks, which would get countered and then there would be pauses and restarts in action. It was very weirdly paced, in a way I really liked and could see other people hating. Fujiwara really dominates the opening, working on Hashimoto’s shoulder and attempting to really lock in the Fujiwara armbar. The first pause and shift in momentum comes, when Hash bulls Fujiwara into the corner and wraps his bad knee in the ropes. Hash then points to his shoulder in a real “eye for an eye” kind of way.

 

Nothing was hit really cleanly here, Fujiwara kept trying to catch all of Hash’s kicks. Some he would succeed in blunting, but a lot would go through. The more that landed the less he was able to block, in a way that you could tell he was being worn down. All the blocking and awkwardness was the really the opposite of the big strike exchanges most main event Puro matches have. Everything was a struggle. There is a long fight for the first DDT, with Fujiwara trying a bunch of counter attempts, and Hash laying in the knees. When it finally hits Fujiwara takes an almost Kobashish bump on it . Hash pins him off a second DDT which really was sold the way a tough boxer sells a meaningless second knockdown. The first KO was really enough to win the match, but his heart won’t let him go down. Still there was no fight left in him.

 

I loved this match, it really felt more shootstyle then Hash’s match against Takada. This didn’t have the drama of that match, but it had the rough edges and awkwardness, which really made it look like a fight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So what's the deal here? I haven't seen any of the lead-up to this but is Hash have an injured shoulder going into the match and that's why he responds by going after Fujiwara's injured knee? Or is Hash just a dick by going after Fujiwara's injured knee unprompted?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Rough around the edges" is the best way to describe this. I don't think I loved it quite as much as Phil just because I didn't care for all the restarts in the match at all. I'm in general not a big fan of that. But I do thing the exchanges were good, and the details were done really well. I like how Fujiwara is still selling Hashimoto's onslaught even as he applies the cross armbreaker. The finish seemed botched. I had to rewind it a few times to realize it wasn't. I'll come back to this at some point. I had trouble getting into it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Rough around the edges" is the best way to describe this. I don't think I loved it quite as much as Phil just because I didn't care for all the restarts in the match at all. I'm in general not a big fan of that. But I do thing the exchanges were good, and the details were done really well. I like how Fujiwara is still selling Hashimoto's onslaught even as he applies the cross armbreaker. The finish seemed botched. I had to rewind it a few times to realize it wasn't. I'll come back to this at some point. I had trouble getting into it.

Glad to see I'm not the only one who felt this way. I've seen it several times, and even though I'm now a big fan of both of them it just doesn't grab me at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still waiting on that great Fujiwara performance that makes me get it. I don't want to give up on him, but it just hasn't happened yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think it's going to happen. The closest Fujiwara got to the type of wrestling you seem to like was his 80s New Japan run. Have you seen the match he had with Choshu in '87? I didn't like it because I have funny ideas about Japanese pro-wrestling but everybody else did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think it's going to happen. The closest Fujiwara got to the type of wrestling you seem to like was his 80s New Japan run. Have you seen the match he had with Choshu in '87? I didn't like it because I have funny ideas about Japanese pro-wrestling but everybody else did.

I saw it a while back and loved it, but I don't really remember much about it. I look forward to watching it again. It's not really a style thing, as I like plenty of mat guys. In the 90s, though, everything that people say about Dory Funk Jr. seems like it could also apply to Fujiwara. I hate saying that, because people who like Fujiwara are usually guys that recommend things I like. He's a blind spot for me for whatever reason.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can't really see the Dory Funk comparison as Fujiwara has Terry Funk charisma in my eyes, but perhaps 1990 will be the make or break set.

That's what I'm hoping. He'll be well represented.

 

I did really like the PWFG match from Florida in '92 and the one with Taka in '95, but both seemed like outliers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They probably were, but I don't really know where the dividing line is. It's all worked, it's all pro wrestling, so it's hard for me to make that distinction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One has half an hour of defensive matwork and the other has pro-wrestling spots, I guess. I noticed Fujiwara/Fuke was in your top 50 for 1992. 1990 has matches more along those lines rather than something like Fujiwara/Malenko.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love 90s Fujiwara, but if I were introducing him to a skeptic, I'd start with the 80s stuff. Not just the New Japan but the brilliant UWF stuff against Sayama, Yamazaki and Maeda. I've never seen anyone better at building great matches around somewhat limited strikers. You will get a taste of that in 1990.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm much less into Fujiwara than a lot of people - I recall not liking this much at all a few years ago, nor am I too keen on the Choshu match - but, yes, I loved those Sayama matches in particular.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alright to me. Not every match needs to be completely smooth in execution. Fujiwara isn't one of my favorites but I also haven't seen enough of him to really get him. He does good stuff like showing the difficulty in putting the arm bar on Hash. Seemed like he kicked out before the three count but I guess the referee it saying his shoulders were still down which is hard to tell from the camera angle view.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is an interesting match. I liked what I saw but that was it. It was a shootstyle fight and I enjoyed the struggles for holds and the effort put in every move. I love details like that. I found it to be too short and the finish seemed abrupt and possibly botched. It was good but nothing that I thought blew me away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I am airing on the ok/good match side of this. The struggling of the holds was nice but it was so contested on every single hold that it was kind of tough to get into. Finish seemed really abrupt on first watch. This may be something I have to revisit at the end of the year one I know what to go in expecting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm closer to Loss on Fujiwara than the general PWO/DVDVR consensus, and the idea of a shootstyle match with a ton of resets sounds like my own private wrestling hell. But I liked this quite a bit. It didn't quite reach that NJPW/WAR, Lawler/Snowman "out of control for real" level of intensity, but this was a pretty vicious fight. I thought the finish was blown and even Hash's reaction seemed to be one of surprise, but maybe that was just part of the booking. Not one of the blowaway Fujiwara performances but a good one, and a very interesting side note to his career. Hash ends up going over pretty strong, which he needed after the IWGP title turnaround with Fujinami that I still don't understand the purpose of.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What the hell were you all watching? :P This was MONEY!!!

 

IWGP Heavyweight Champion Shinya Hashimoto vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara - NJPW 6/1/94

 

After regaining the championship from Fujinami at the May Dome show, the 80s strike back continue as Fujiwara is his next challenger.

 

Superb! Had all the chippiness you would expect plus a ton of the little things that make both these men great. Fucking Fujiwara, God Bless this man, he rules the school. We get a lock up in the corner and he throws some great rabbit punches. Hashimoto throws one wild haymaker in the corner. I guess Hashimoto has an injured left shoulder because Fujiwara goes after it with ferocity. He takes Hashimoto down with a vicious armbar. Hashimoto makes the ropes and then tries to give Fujiwara a taste of his own medicine, but Fujiwara quashes the armbar takedown as they end up in the ropes. Hashimoto frustrated throws a wicked stomp. Then the best thing ever happens. Fujiwara backs him into the corner and gives him a CLEAN break. What a fucking asshole! I have never marked so hard for a clean break. :D

 

Other things that are characteristic of Fujiwara is the organic transitions into holds and the struggle over holds. Hashimoto starts to the throw kicks and Fujiwara catches his foot and gets a single takedown. The fight for the single leg crab is great and then Fujiwara just settles for a chokehold. Which just reinforces how much that clean break was such a dick move. FUJIWARA PUNCH TO THE FACE! Punches in puroresu always make me mark out. That was awesome. Fujiwara going back to the choke was great. Then Hashimoto bulrushes Fujiwara and wrenches the knee. Then he points to his shoulder. Fucking love it! Two fucking assholes going at it. Fujiwara goes back to the arm. Rope break. Good selling from Hashimoto.

 

Hashimoto misses his rainbow kick in the corner. Fujiwara just bounces on his feet as Hashimoto looks like an asshole worried that Fujiwara is going to pounce. It takes a real man to make Hashimoto look like a jackass. Hashimoto overwhelms him with kicks in the corner. Fujiwara catches the foot, this time Hashimoto gets a guillotine. Then backs him into the corner, Hashimoto gives Fujiwara a receipt and PUNCHES him in the face and then he catches him really good with a kick to the chest. Fujiwara does his classic collapse selling. Fujiwara sells so well. Desperately clinging to the foot.

 

Then there is the one bad egregious spot. Fujiwara puts Hashimoto in a cross armbreaker for a long time. No real struggle or selling. I know PRIDE wasn't a thing yet, but a cross armbreaker is an endgame. I didn't like the disrespect for that hold. The ease at which Hashimoto got out and he elbows the bad knee. I like the double psychology, but just one bad moment. Hey it happens.

 

They stand up. I love all the resets. Makes it feel like a chapter book. Fujiwara feigns with some slaps and Hashimoto says bring it, don't sing it. Hashimoto gets him in the clinch, Muay Thai knees, Fujiwara goes for the armbar takedown, HASHIMOTO DDT!!! MARK OUT CITY!!! YES! YES! Hashimoto running enziguiri, kneelifts, VICIOUS DDT! Fujiwara fucks up by kicking out, but I don't care, THIS WAS FUCKING AWESOME! Great character work, great build, dripping with psychology, tons of great offense. Only thing this from being in the tippy top is the cross armbreaker spot, watch this match! ****1/2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a terrific little title challenge, with Fujiwara trying to play defense against the increasingly aggressive Hashimoto. Hashimoto comes into this match a target for Fujiwara, and it isn't long before he has him on the ground in the armbar, making him work for the ropes. Love that Hashimoto gets pissier and pissier as the match progresses, starting with that nasty stomp to the head after forcing Fujiwara to the ropes with an armbar of his own. You get the feeling that Hash really wants to let loose on Fujiwara. Of course, Fujiwara is a dirty old man with the blatant chokes, the ref counting him off before he goes right back to choking Hash. When Hashimoto ties him up in the corner, Fujiwara's sells it so well. Hashimoto keeps trying to kick him off but Fujiwara keeps catching or ducking the attempts, until Hashimoto kicks hard enough that he can't block it. He has to beg Fujiwara out of the corners and when he gets him in the front facelock, the knee strikes he uses to set up the DDT looked awesome. Nasty finish, too -- really liked this one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

as much as i love hash this match was one Fujiwara weeker ones this is come form some hwo gave Fujiwara vs suzuki form last year match of the idea and some who hold shootists in high regard this is also one of hash meh matches imo *** 60%

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×