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Charles (Loss)

[1994-12-24-RINGS] Volk Han vs Mitsuya Nagai

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This was a stellar match, the yearbook equivalent of an October surprise. Han is incredible, at times tying Nagai in such ridiculous knots that he's almost applying painful holds to himself! He has a ready-made counter for everything Nagai throws at him and bends him into a ridiculous pretzel. Nagai gets in his shots too, but he can't seem to string together any momentum. This was a master's class in matwork, and it's my new favorite RINGS match. I don't know how much this is talked up, but I thought it was a bit of a lost classic.

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Holy shit this was great. There was not a wasted second in this match. Davey Richards and Kyle O Reilly need to quit complaining and set down and watch Volk han in this match to see how to have a dangerous, believable hybrid style of wrestling.

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Volk continues to amaze. His technical skills are always off the charts, but he finds new ways to surprise me, whether it's by throwing awesome strikes in previous matches or his great selling here, giving Nagai just a few openings and putting himself in danger without hurting his perception as the more skilled athlete. I loved how chippy things got down the stretch, with both guys mocking each other.

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Volk Han was putting on a show and wowing the crowd. Even more so than he usually does. It was a contest he could've won quite comfortably, but today he was showboating and not taking Nagai all that seriously. This resulted in a much tougher nights work than he had anticipated. Really good storytelling. It puts over both Han's character and Nagai's growth. It also allows a main eventer to have an even match against a midcarder without it seeming contrived.

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I am weirdly high on the Han vs. Nagai series and this is my favorite. In the previous matches, Han owned Nagai no problem but here Nagai's growth frustrates him and poses a challenge. High end struggle and matwork. Awesome character work too with both guys taunting and mocking each other. ****1/4

 

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Yeah, this was the best of their series and no doubt one of my all-time favorite RINGS matches thus far. There's so much to love about this match. Both guys play their respective roles so well, with Nagai being the pesky shithead underdog and Han the leggy takedown submission artist. Tons of cool shit from Han on the ground and that hammerlock suplex. I loved him using the triangle as a means to stop Nagai's barrage of knees and kicks. The fans love it when Han's getting rocked with kicks or Nagai's mocking him, and when Nagai briefly gets him in the STF, they collectively lose their shit. But Han keeps throwing him off and taking him to the ropes with submissions. One of my favorite moments in the match comes when Han has him in an armbar and he uses his own legs to block Nagai from being to flip out of it, and then he traps the leg to prevent any escape. Just smart wrestling. At one point, Han drags him into the middle of the ring just to apply a hold. He's always using his feet to break up Nagai's holds. Nagai does get to show off on the mat as well and has some good  attempts of his own, like the rolling kneebar. I loved Nagai's struggle to pry open the armbar and when it finally gets it, Han touches the ropes to break it. Tons of excellent struggle on the ground, an incredible pace and a great finish, with Nagai's frustration at its peak when he's just pummeling Han with body shots before Han finishes him off via submission. Chef's kiss. 

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Volk Han vs Mitsuya Nagai - RINGS 12/24/94

There is cool and then there is Volk Han cool and none of us will ever be Volk Han cool. Volk Han is just so damn accessible. He makes every takedown and submission look like the coolest thing you have ever seen. I think this may be the best match to introduce someone to shoot style because there is so many cool moments, the point structure gets involved, theres a lot of struggle and some great character work down the stretch. I found this is actually the climax of a series of matches so I kinda feel bad jumping in at the end, BUT theres not much time left before Greatest Match Ever. I guess if you want to introduce someone to Han maybe start at the beginning of the series, but I still think this is a damn good place to start. 

Nagai wants to do this standup pretty much the whole match and I dont blame him as Volk Han is a wizard on the mat. That first armbar takedown is fucking sublime. Sublime is the only word to describe it. Then they both end up with figure-4s on each other. RINGS: Human Pretzel-Making. Han gets an armbar out of this. He is a Wizard, Harry, he is a wizard, I tells ya! Volk Han is also only person who has ever gotten me excited about the bundle of legs lock because he does such a great job selling and executing. His double ankle cross actually looks good. Nagai is the first to use the ropes. Old RINGS rules so it is Two Escapes = One Down. Nagai on reset is all about that stand up game and Volk Han nips that in the bud with a Triangle takedown. Volk Han is also the master of applying the figure-4 from crazy positions in the most organic way possible have them be deep as fuck. Somehow Han ends up in an STF a deep one too and has to go to the ropes. Volk Han happens to be the best seller in shoot style history too. If you did not already realize he was a God from this review. So Nagai just starts blasting him with kicks again so Han just SLAMS him to the mat. Han grabs this tight double wristlock. You know what this match is missing is one of those classic Volk Han double wristlock RIP TAKEDOWNS! Han gets a cross armbreaker for a rope break. It is 1-0 Volk Han. I love that Volk Han can throw an axe kick out of nowhere to create separation. Nagai is stunned and Han makes a fucking pretzel out of him. I dont know how else to describe it. Another rope break, this is too much fun. Volk Han is taking this man to school with a nice hammerlock and suplexes him on his fucking head! For a knockdown! Volk Han 2-0! He is killing this dude. Nagai sneaks in a liver punch and Han crumples to the mat. Volk Han, what a salesman. 2-1! Ruh roh! Nagai throws a wild spin kick, Han avoids but falls over. Intense ankle cross from Volk Han, great selling here from Nagai. Volk Han ends up getting him in this intense front crab with his leg in between for a rope break. 3-1...classic Volk Han takedown single leg and then KICKS OUT THE PLANT LEG! Volk Han is The Man! Volk Han has a double wristlock but for some reason the ref breaks it. Volk Han is starting to throw some meaty strikes. Nice rolling heel hook from Nagai to close the gap 3-2. Nagai does a great job quashing a Volk Han takedown here. Just close contact, gritty holds and wrestles Volk Han down to the mat. Good for him. Han does a bunch of twisting and turning but ends up in a bad position for a cross armbreaker and needs to use the ropes. Now Volk Han starts acting like he has abs of steel and throwing big smacks. Nagai tauns him sticking his face out twice. Han is not fucking around anymore and isnt going to sell shit it looks like. He kicks Nagai off in the face, but is still wrapped up. Nagai is not going away you got to give him credit. Han forces a figure-4 out of nothing and Nagai needs the ropes. 4-2 Han and one more knockdown wins it. Volk Han is Superman now and those fists of fury dont affect him anymore. He is just going to brutally force him to submit to a Full Nelson just wrestles him to the ground uncles him. Volk Han's celebration is just the best! I had the biggest grin of my face. 

I watched that match twice back to back. Couldnt not stop smiling. What a fucking clinic from Volk Han! If you want to get into Volk Han watch this match. I need to go back and watch the Yamamoto '95 and Kohsaka '96 matches because I think underrated those in retrospect. ****1/4

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