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Charles (Loss)

[2006-08-02-MUGA] Osamu Nishimura vs Hiro Saito

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This was a great, great match. Nishimura is incredible at matwork and takedowns. Also has wicked elbows. Saito looks to be a big bruiser with some technical skill. They work great long standing surfboard and headlock sequences. Saito looks to have an advantage when he starts beating on Nishimura, but Nishimura does this nifty takedown to the outside from just inside the ropes. Saito's leg hits wrong on the fall and Nishimura pounces. Can Nishimura finish Saito off by taking advantage of the leg injury or will the bigger man be able to physically dominate him to get the pinfall? Good story, excellent work. Also, and this is important....simplicity itself. This match makes extremely simple moves into highspots and it works. Easily top 20. Add a heated rivalry to this kind of match and it's probably number 1.

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Osamu Nishimura vs Hiro Saito - MUGA 08/02/06

One complaint I think you can't levy at Japan as a whole in the 2000s is a lack of variety. Yes, the NOAH style was dominant in terms of getting the most praise, but that bombastic style was limited only to NOAH. You had the American/puroresu style of All Japan, the more mat & strike based style of New Japan (Inokism or Strong Style), the lucha/comedy hybird of Dragon Gate, shoot-style promotions and to add to the list we have MUGA. MUGA was headed up by New Japan legend Tatsumi Fujinami to turn the clock back to late 70s and early 80s when men were men and European Uppercuts and Spinning Toeholds were the end all be all of wrestling. I wish we got more of it during this project.

 

Hiro Saito is built much like the more famous Masa Saito (no relation), but maybe a bit shorter. He was a junior heavyweight for New Japan and All Japan in the 80s and 90s before the junior heavyweight boom led by Liger. At this point, Im hard pressed to believe he would meet the weight limit bu then again Shuji Kondo was able to, but I think he is a pretty short dude. Nishimura is someone I enjoy, but has yet to blow me away in any match. In fact, my favorite match may have been the random match with Al Snow I watched from ECW Hardcore TV in January of 95 the other night. Rest assured, Nishimura finally knocked one out of the park with Saito in this match.

Nishimura shows up Saito a bit early and Saito gets a bit peeved and starts throwing furniture around. Saito is the more powerful of the two and is able to cinch in an armbrar and transform it into an All Japan surfboard spot. Nishimura gets a big pop for reversing it. Nishimura works a headlock like he is Lou Thesz. The face I can accurately say that is why the Chicago Film Archive has to be commended for doing God's work. Nishimura grabs a sleeper, but Saito hits a jawbreaker. The selling from Nishimura is amazing as he writes in pain. Saito hits his famous senton (according to Wiki, he invented that move). Nishimura bails to the outside for a breather. They work an amazing king of the mountain sequence where Saito keeps find new ways to snap Nishimura's throat across the ropes. It was amazingly compelling wrestling. Nishimura needed to break up the momentum of Saito, but is now paying the price. They do a great ab stretch hope spot, but Saito wins. He goes for the coup d'grace in the form of a piledriver, but Nishimura counters. They do the bridge/backslide counter. Nishmura dumps Saito outside who jams his knee. On two separate occasions, Nishimura whiffs on a knee drop to the outside, but they sell a countout finish anyways. Saito gives Flair a run for his money in terms of great verbal selling and really making this credible. Nishimura has to stand Saito up just kick his leg out from under his leg. :)

Nishimura actually misses the knee drop this time. Saito hits two bridging Germans and is able to hold him down on the second. He couldn't stand, but he could bridge. I don't know about that one. The selling was off the charts in this one. Nishimura trying to fight just to get back into the ring was very compelling. Saito's selling of the knee was so great that it make sthe finish all that much more curious. ****

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Nishimura is a fantastic conveyor of struggle and exhaustion and I think against a brusier like Hiro Saito, it works so well. Saito's armwork is real grunty and I like how he uses his head and knee to exert more pressure on Osamu. The standing surfboard escape sequence was fun and when Osamu's finally able to reverse it, Saito just walks over into the ropes to break the hold. Osamu's alternating side headlock wrenches are great and he makes really smart use of the Irish whip to get Saito back into the headlock. Osamu goes after the leg with some awesome elbow strikes to the knee and the final few minutes of the match see him cranking away on Saito, using a sickle hold and these cool falling elbow strikes. Saito's in the moment selling was terrific here. On the first German suplex hold, it looks like Saito's injured leg gives out so he's got to deliver the second and maintain the bridge for the three count. A cool touch. This was definitely a great "less is more" type match and the crowd was into it.

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