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[1994-12-16-RINGS] Akira Maeda vs Yoshihisa Yammamoto

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The matwork wasn't as sophisticated as in Naruse/Nagai, but the dynamic was really fun. Similar to Takada/Tamura in UWFI, as Yammamoto pushes Maeda to the limit and makes a great showing, but ultimately goes down in the end. Yammamoto does the youthful enthusiasm thing really well.

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Another good match that told a clear story. Yammamo was the clear underdog so he has to ambush and unload the arsenal to take out Maeda. He has some success and has Maeda reeling but in the end Maeda is able to overcome the onslaught and defeat Yammamo. Not as complex or well building as previous match, but also a joy to watch.

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Yamamoto's such a terrific underdog putting in such a great over-his-head performance that the crowd actively BOOS Maeda when he retakes control. Wild. Pretty compelling match for that reason alone.

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Yamamoto's such a terrific underdog putting in such a great over-his-head performance that the crowd actively BOOS Maeda when he retakes control. Wild. Pretty compelling match for that reason alone.

 

I was shocked at this too! Though I thought it was because Maeda's takedowns looked so weak :) One thing RINGS had in abundance was crowd heat - this was intense as anything all yearbook.

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In Rings you can dip under 10m and still have a full length match, sometimes even shorter. They went at it hard from the bell. Yammammotoh's decided edge in the speed department gave him the early ascendancy. I loved his showboating. It's not something I've seen from him before this point. It really put over the young challenger vs grand master psychology. Whilst it seemed likely the veteran would use his know how to win out, there was a scent of upset in the air. Bit of a shame it didn't happen. Breathless action and a red hot crowd made this a treat.

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Very compelling underdog showcase with Yamamoto's fire and speed matched against Maeda's strength and being the owner of the company. One of my favourite moments of the match was early on, when Yamamoto kinda just kinda clapped Maeda's back signalling he was "letting" them stand up, only for Maeda to instantly ankle pick him and drag him back to the ground. Very symbolic and showing of what the match was going to be about-Maeda getting on top of someone and top wristlocking them may not be as flashy and beautiful as the elaborate guard passing of a Tamura match, but it works. In a way the match was essentially Maeda toying with the emotions of the crowd, who rallied behind the flasshier youngster and his pretty stand up combos, and that they did so emotionally (even going as far as booing Maeda) is a testament to both his vision and Yamamoto's ability to make the crowd buy into him. I liked that the finish was as simple as it was too-it really recreated the ambient of watching a big sports team or a player come back just when you think someone's going to pull off an upset. ****

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Terrific match. The best "big boss" Maeda match since he returned from injury, and Yamamoto at his fieriest. Right out of the gate, he's rocking Maeda with big nasty open hands while Maeda struggles to find a takedown. That's one of his only defenses against Yamamoto (he's kind of like the wise tortoise in this match) but even when he's able to grab a submission, Yamamoto finds ways out or reverses the holds. The crowd is loving Yamamoto taking it to Maeda but when Maeda's able to fire back with some big shots of his own, he lays into Yamamoto and quite often, chaos ensues -- which rules. Loved Maeda's surprise palm thrust to Yamamoto's face and Yamamoto losing it and taking Maeda down with a stiff combo. Once Maeda has established that he's going to submit him, Yamamoto sticks to striking and doesn't let up, even at his final down. The crowd doesn't like turtle-mode Maeda but in the end, he's able to snag the leglock for the submission. Probably the best RINGS match of '94, although Han/Nagai later in the month might take that honor. 

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