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Charles (Loss)

[2009-03-26-BJW] Isami Kodaka & Masashi Takeda vs Takashi Sasaki & Yuko Miyamoto

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The 2009 MOTY talk made me want to rewatch my own pick at the time for MOTY and it delivers.

 

Here we have two of the biggest names in the promotion in Yuko Miyamoto teaming with his former rival and longtime veteran Takashi Sasaki to take on the two big underdogs in Isami Kodaka and Masashi Takeda for BJW's Maximum Tag Leage. From what I understand, Kodaka broke into the business around the same time as Miyamoto but got passed over for years while Miyamoto got his big push in 2007 that culminated in the classic scaffold match with Sasaki. Meanwhile, Takeda has only been wrestling a few years by this point but started out as a big fan of the promotion getting autographs from and taking pictures from some of the wrestlers, including his opponents here. These teams also had a much more low key match at a smaller venue earlier in the year with Miyamoto and Sasaki winning, setting the stage for Kodaka and Takeda to get another shot at pulling off at the upset at the magic Korakuen Hall in the biggest match of their career to this point.

 

The beauty of this match is how smart these guys are with using the props. Usually in deathmatches, the beginning of the match serves to build up and tease the big spots done in the latter half. This results in a match that lives and dies by how much you buy into the spot and the style as a whole. This is no time wasted on the teasing or on building up spots. Kodaka and Takeda hit each other with light tube shots before the bell even sounds and the opening the minutes of the match see them take bumps on barbed wire and do spots on tables. Rather than merely being done to shock the viewer, these spots play the far deeper role of establishing Kodaka/Takeda as being just as well adapted to the environment as Miyamoto/Sasaki and how much and what they're willing to go through this time around. The prop merely provide a backdrop to what is, at heart, a very well worked tag match between the underdogs and the establishment, and that's why I'd call this match accessible even to people who don't normally watch deathmatches.

 

As things settle down, we get a nice middle section mostly consisting of Sasaki and Miyamoto laying on a stiff beatdown. The deathmatch format really works well here when combined with the face in peril, giving the nice visual of Kodaka and Takeda covered in blood as they take shots from the comparatively unscathed Sasaki and Miyamoto. The spots I described as taking place early on might lead one to the impression that this peaks early, but that isn't the case at all, as they're smart with spacing out big spots and sprinkling in comebacks that things get red hot for the finish run. Crowd is fantastic for the finish, pulling so hard for the upset they even start booing Sasaki and Miyamoto, meanwhile the commentators are going crazy and screaming for the underdogs to go for the cover at one point. Kodaka and Takeda are so good with their progressive selling that when they finally get a big opportunity for the upset there's still a lot of drama surrounding the question of if they have enough left to fully to capitalize on it. They dig down deep, find just enough to pull it off, and it's an incredible moment in itself. ****3/4

 

I remember this kick starting an awesome year for the promotion that included several other matches that made narrowing down a single MOTY difficult. Eager to revisit them.

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