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[1991-08-23-PWFG] Wayne Shamrock vs Masakatsu Funaki

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So I am going to go on record. Ken Shamrock used to rule at the pro-wrestling. I imagine if he ended up going to New Japan instead of WWF he would have had some great matches and we would all be Shamrock fans. This wasn't as good as the transcendent Shamrock v. Sano match, but it was pretty great. Both guys were clearly great athletes, and work a really fast style. I get the same vibe from this as I got from the Takada v. Yamazaki series although I like this match up more. Not a ton of selling, alot of moves, ext. Still for workrate shootstyle this was great workrate shootstyle. Great ending, with Shamrock and Funaki exchanging really fast strikes, Funaki goes for a German, ends up eating some nasty back elbows and Shamrock does a standing switch and crushes him with a dragon suplex for the KO. I was worried this was going to another 30 minute draw, and was really happy to see a winner.

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I didn't get as into this one as I did the previous Shamrock match with Sano, but it was still a very good match. I was about to talk about the athleticism and lack of selling, then saw that Phil covered that. So yes, workrate shootstyle is a great way to describe this. Really an incredible display in that regard actually, but there was no dramatic arc to really put it over the top.

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PWFG had a pretty decent run going up to this match. Shamrock was non stop in his previous showing but this one is much slower and just not as compelling as some of the other matches we have seen from this group.

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Man i was enamored with this. The pace they were cutting in the first five minutes made it feel like to me it was going to a sprint. Then they toned it down and I was thinking perhaps another 30 minute draw. I really loved the build to the climatic finish and Shamrocks celebration after the Dragon Suplex was spectacular. I watched this match at 1:00 AM last night and was completely attached to it. Wonderful stuff and Shamrock is the surprise of 1991 for me.

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I agree with Pete; there really wasn't much to this except the finish. which was well done, and the strike exchanges. There wasn't even much scoring after the first couple of minutes, so it was hard for me to sustain my interest. I probably won't remember this one for as long as I remember the other shoot-style bouts I've seen, which isn't very long at all.

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It's cool to see Shamrock in this setting, and I think his matches in this style have been the most interesting to me (of this style from 90 & 91). I think that's likely based on a sense of familiarity. I think because I'm more connected to him as a fan from following some of his UFC run in the 90's and WWF run of course. I guess that helps with holding my attention. When he gets to show off his athleticism through this style, it always looks really cool to me. I agree that this isn't as good as the great Sano match. But, I'm enjoying his run with this.

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Shamrock shows off a lot of athleticism and there is a story to this. Funaki gets the better of Shamrock for most of this, with the exception of some Shamrock strikes that catch him off-guard. But Funaki always has a counter on the mat, where Shamrock tends to need to go to the ropes quite a bit. Funaki actually does some foreshadowing when he immediately drops to the mat after Shamrock goes behind for the first time. He'd rather go to the mat and risk Shamrock having his back (remember Funaki has been in charge on the mat) than allow Shamrock a chance at a suplex. Then when Shamrock hits a suplex after the strike flurry it actually does put Funaki away in what seems like a reversal of fortune given the body of the match.

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Echoing some of the sentiments above, I thought the striking, some of the throws, and the finish were the most exciting parts of an otherwise dull match. The matwork was...there, with Funaki mostly going after the ankle and Shamrock using little face slaps and defensive boots on the ground, but it wasn't very engaging and the crowd was getting restless toward the end before they heat it back up for the finish.

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Whilst I can give them credit for making all their matwork look realistic, I can't sit and say that I wasn't bored to death during most of it. This was at it's best when they were getting slap happy and landing suplexes on each other, which was sadly only 20% of the match. I would of enjoyed this a lot more if they trimmed a good part of the ground game. I could only recommend this is to catch wrestling fans, not pro wrestling. 

★★¾

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