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Charles (Loss)

[2009-08-30-AJPW] Kohei Suwama vs Yoshihiro Takayama

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So Takayama has moments in this match where he just looks old and broken down. I mean to the point where he shouldn't be in a match this long. One spot has him taking a belly to belly off the top wrong and landing halfway on his head. That being said, when he needs to come through with something big, Takayama fucking delivers. Some of his stuff doesn't have the steam it used to, but he has this way of making suplexes and knees look so damn impactful. Suwama is definitely game and brings some stiff offense himself. Opening has Suwama in control, but soon Takayama is building heat like it's 2002. Finishing run goes on too long with too many big nearfalls. But you know what, it is well-worked and holy shit kinds of brutal. The actual finish itself and the stuff leading up to it hurt me watching. Takayama busting himself open with a ridiculously stiff (yes, one) headbutt is so very awesome. Despite it's flaws, this match is going to be between 50 and 60 most likely.

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AJPW Triple Crown Champion Yoshihiro Takayama vs Suwama - Pro Wrestling Love 8 08/30/09

 

My main main, Takayama has risen to the ranks of All Japan Triple Crown Champion as AJPW continues their run of veterans as champions while they continue to build their only viable Ace, Suwama before they switched to their current penchant for sumo wrestlers. Mutoh is not Inoki weird, but definitely cut from the same cloth. All Japan for their troubles actually was not in that horrible shape when compared to Pro Wrestling NOAH. NOAH has a wider collection of young talent, but Suwama is definitely at the same level as all their heavies and is more consistent. I will say I need to see more Shiozaki and have not seen Suguiria. Morishima has been able to hit higher highs than Suwama, but Suwama is the more even wrestler. The problem is AJPW just has no one to pair him with at all. Suwama is pretty good straight ahead power wrestler that hits his spots and lays it in. He could use a little more fire at times, but as a meat and potatoes wrestler I have seen none better in his generation in NJPW, AJPW or NOAH.

 

Much like Sasaki versus Takayama, this is a fucking war! What I love about Takayama is that he has no obvious weaknesses. He is a giant shooter that can kick your ass with strikes, throws and on the ground. It means his opponent has weather an onslaught and take advantage of any mistake. Give Suwama credit, he does try to take it Takayama first with grappling, but caught in cravat and then a test of strength does not go his way. From what I read of Suwama is that he is country boy strong, the sort of Japanese equivalent of the cornfed farmboys of the Midwest so when his strength is not working then it is not looking too hot for the young stud. Suwama gets an early break when he throws Takayama out on the floor. I dig Suwama's double chops they make a great sound and look painful. Takayama is the King of Clubbering Offense. He makes knees and forearms look badass and interesting. Again, Suwama takes advantage by catching an errant Takayama kick and turning it into a throw. Suwama cant keep the advantage and they end up exchanging chops and throws. I just love two big dudes throwing each other around. SUWAMA BIG DIVE~! HOLY SHIT! Somewhere along the line Takayama's eye is swollen shut! The belly to belly throw off the top rope almost kills Takayama, which probably was not a terribly safe spot given Takayama's age and condition. Suwama steals Takayama's Everest Suplex to only get two, which takes to an All Japan video package is how Suwama beat Takayama in a tag match earlier in the summer. Takayama drills him with a nasty Dragon Suplex. Suwama puts up some resistance so Takayama nails him with a closed fist, a headbutt that busts Takayama open and Everest Suplex for win.

 

The two strikes against this match was that 2009 Takayama just isnt 2002 Takayama. He is a lot slower and not as healthy. He does excel at these gritty contests and his roughhouse style ages well. Suwama is a like a 90s Kensuke Sasaki before he adopted Kobashi-ism. He is a brick powerhouse, but he is has the added advantage of being taller than Sasaki so looking even more imposing. If you watch the video package, you will also see that Suwama has probably best looking powerbomb ever, but we don't get to see it in this match. The other strike is that it is a little two back and forth. At first, the transitions were Suwama catching Takayama, but not being able to sustain offense, but after a while it just became throw shit out at each other. This is one of the few matches where I felt the finish stretch actually helped the match rating because of how nasty Takayama was on offense and Suwama put up a strong resistance, but it was NOT too ZOMG FIGHTING SPIRIT~! Much like Takayama/Sasaki, I really enjoyed this match, but it is not really a MOTYC, but still very entertaining. ****

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Dull, overly long japanese heavyweight slugfest. I'm a Takayama fan and as usual he throws a share of potatoe shots and nearly dies, but Suwama is sub-Nakanishi level and impossible to carry in a match this long as it will inevitably be dull and lifeless. The guy literally does not know how to do basic things such as positioning or transitions and is shockingly unimpressive for a wrestler with an accomplished amateur background background. Like, I've seen 17 year old amateur wrestlers that can do takedowns and throws more explosive and exciting than anything he did in this match. He did look like a stiffer Tom Magee with his double chops and gentle belly to belly throws.

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A slow burner like most of Suwama's big single matches. The match starts of reserved and this makes the bigger moments in the second half of the match feel much more meaningful. Takayama is broken-down and slow, but he manages to turn this into a positive that fits into the narrative of the match; Takayama may be fat, washed-up and past his prime, but he's not afraid to get dropped on his head (he takes a brutal top-rope belly to belly here) and eat some nasty strikes if it means he can walk away with the Triple Crown. The finishing stretch is really something.

★★★★

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