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[1991-08-09-NJPW-Violent Storm: G1 Climax] Masa Chono vs Shinya Hashimoto

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If the Choshu match made Chono look like someone who could pull off an upset, this match made Chono look like someone who could go toe-to-toe with anyone and put up a hell of a fight. This was a great match, and I love how Chono gave Hashimoto a taste of his own medicine every time Hashimoto tried something. He countered kicks with kicks of his own, and limb work with limb work of his own. By the last ten minutes, this really feels like anyone's match to win, and they both look gutsy and tough for surviving so much of the onslaught the other guy is throwing their way. And in addition to that, Chono was just reacting to Hashimoto's violence in the early stages and by the end, he was setting the tone. This was a really clever way to put him over, and it's something that I'm not sure anyone but Hashimoto could have pulled off. Muto definitely could not have. I suspect the Muto/Chono match will be a great match too, as that is the rep it has. But I really thought this was a great match within the context of the tournament, and I'll be surprised if their ability to get over key points both in the match itself and in the big picture will be surpassed in the final.

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Who are you to doubt Keiji Muto? :D :D :D

 

In fairness to your prognostication, Muto didn't work that match and I agree with you he couldn't have pulled off this match, but to his credit we both agree for that one night on August 11, 1991 he did produce something better with Chono.

 

I had seen the finals once about six months ago and last nigh due to me scanning through this section. I just finished watching this match. I don't know how wildly this claim may come off, but I think if Chono didnt get injured he could have been the greatest Japanese babyface heavyweight of the 90s. Kobashi and Misawa are very good in their own ways, but I feel like Chono reigns in the histrionics of a Kobashi, while being more expressive and having better matwork than Misawa. Now of course, the injury derailed this and Chono turned into one of the greatest heels in the history of puroresu, but am I crazy for seeing how friggin good Chono is as a babyface in these matches against two very different opponents. 1990-1991 NJPW heavyweight action was so very good it is disappointed it became hit and miss as time progressed before it really went to hell.

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This was a perfect match in the context of the tournament, because both guys came away looking great, and it set up real suspense for their match two nights later. I guess it was clear that they were going long from the early work, but none of it felt boring, and by the middle of the match, they conveyed plenty of urgency. They did an excellent job selling fatigue and also dialing up the nastiness in the last 10 minutes. And the crowd hung on every moment when they did their handful of big nearfalls at the end.

 

I don't know if Chono had the potential to be as good as Kobashi or Misawa. He wasn't as dynamic athletically as either, even pre-injury. And I've never seen him express anything as dramatic as Misawa's grace under duress or Kobashi's raw desire or Hashimoto's ferocity when challenged. But he did have excellent timing and a strong connection with the crowd, so maybe there's something I'm not seeing.

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Great job of putting over both guys, not just in the context of the tournament but knowing that this rivalry is going to be carrying the New Japan heavyweights in the months and years to come. Chono pays Hashimoto back for everything he does to him and Hash gets to survive the STF that put Choshu down. One can generally call a lot of time limit draws in advance but I didn't get that vibe here at all until the last few minutes when you started hearing more rapid time calls.

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The first ever G1 draw which stands comparison with any to follow it. Both men worked their asses off and gave everything they had to give. A fantastic demonstration of the Strong Style with strikes, submissions, high impact moves, rivalry and intensity. After about 12m it looked like the start of the stretch and a draw didn't look on the cards. As they tired the action slowed down and it became more submission based. The quality level remained high throughout and the closing stretch was also strong. If you want a criticism this was only the 3rd best match of the tournament!

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I remember those AKI N64 games and being such a big fan of that leg sweep move. Not sure why nobody still uses that one anymore. But Hash is great at it. After the 10 minute mark this had the feeling they were going to a draw. It happens in these tournaments but they still managed to put together a very entertaining match the rest of the way.

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Great match, one of my favorites for the year and an effective way of making a time limit draw mean something and help both competitors. The mat work was snug and had a purpose showing the countering of Chono, then the final 15 minutes were just dramatic great stuff that even though I was guessing would result in a draw, I wasn't sure up to the end. I especially liked the Samoan drops that Chono would give. Really glad I saw this one.

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This one lived up to its billing; it was a tremendous back-and-forth bout. Every time I thought one of them had the advantage and would ride it to victory, there would be a momentum swing and the other guy would take over. Neither man could really execute his game plan to perfection since the other was so tough: Hash tried to kick Chono into the middle of next leap year, but Chono kept getting up, and Chono tried to make Hash submit to both the STF and a slew of other holds, but Hash not only held on against all odds, but had Chono on the verge of quitting several times himself. The draw finish didn't disappoint me at all, and I'm glad we'll be seeing these two face off again from time to time as we wend our way through the nineties. After a hot start like this, it will be interesting to see how their rivalry progresses over the years.

 

On to Muto and Chono in the tournament final. It should be a real treat!

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Man, both guys were great, but Chono blew me away in this. This match is one of my favorites of the year and a MOTYC for me. I thought the time limit finish on this was great. They didn't work it so obviously in a way that so many draws usually end. You might anticipate it's coming, but the work itself didn't give it away IMO.

 

I came back and watched this a second time after finishing the tournament. I was a little distracted for the first few minutes or so the first time I watched it, so I wanted to make sure I still felt it was a MOTYC. I still do. I love the defense of Hash in this match. I also really enjoy how they each piss each other off from time to time that causes these little jolts of brutal slaps or kicks. The spot where they get so angry they both start choking each other in the corner was great. There was a time I thought Chono could have been a little more defensive. I couldn't tell if he was actually selling fatigue, or asking for more when he was letting Hash throw some kicks his way. NBD, as I thought his selling was really good and his offense super impactful. Great match.

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This is great work from both that gets both over. But the idea that they didn't work it like a draw is just not clicking for me. Once their first striking battle ended and went nowhere I had my suspicions. Then Chono gets the STF and Hash hits every one of his finishers and it's still going? At that point there is no other finish. I don't think it detracts from the match, and I think it's the right finish for both of them. This tournament seems like it was booked to put Muto, Chono and Hash over big and a well-executed draw here has all kinds of good future implications.

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The first five minutes of matwork is rather dull, but they reach a stalemate and a frustrated Hashimoto violently kicks away at Chono, setting the pace of the rest of the match. Chono's good, but a few stikes by Hash is enough to derail his momentum. The crowd are solidly behind Chono as he tries everything to get to the finals of the G1. The finishing stretch is all kinds of fun, a total bombfest and finish that really puts over Chono's STF as a big deal. 

★★★½

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