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[2000-09-02-AJPW-Summer Action Series II] Masa Chono vs Masa Fuchi

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Fuchi is fun and the crowd reaction is awesome but 2000s Chono isn't a pretty sight. It's funny that the old man is the least broken down of the two. The Kawada vs Fuchi match is a much better singles match from the early 2000s Fuchi resurgence.

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Masahiro Chono vs Masanobu Fuchi - AJPW 9/02/00


I have even more respect for Takayama after this Chono performance. Team 2000 (TenKoji, Masa Saito, Masa Chono) is in enemy territory looking boss. Chono does have a unique, cool badass aura for Japan. Fuchi is a lot bigger than I thought he was for being a career junior heavyweight being almost as tall Chono. Fuchi is quite obviously the best part of the match working the babyface dirty old bastard. In fact, the appeal of this match is the two cheating bastards going at each other, but was underwhelming.


My favorite portion was up front where Chono disrespectfully slapped Fuchi and he did not take it lying down unleashing strikes, a vicious Back Drop Driver and some energetic facelocks. Chono slows the pace way down by stalling up the aisle. Chono resorts to using a closed fist, which Fuchi sells like a million bucks. Chono stomping and general heel-ery is quite boring, but Fuchi sells it well. Fuchi grabs a quick sleeper to wake us all up. Fuchi reminds me why he is my hero by stepping on Chono's face and setting him up in the ropes to stand on Chono's head. The heat gets turned up with each trading eye-rakes. Fuchi enzigiuri! Back Drop Driver! Only gets two! Chono uses his leg to hit a ballshot to avoid the second Back Drop Driver. Team 2000 leaves their seats to intimidate the ref. Chono hits a piledriver and a Yakuza Kick, but only gets two. Chono presents the STF better than anyone else I have seen building it up as a huge moment. A barrage of Yakuza Kicks polishes off Fuchi.


I enjoyed the two bastards trying to out cheat each other, but this just really did not have enough meat on the bone. One of the takeaways from 00s is to track downn more 90s Masa Fuchi footage.

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The atmosphere here is off the chain. I am such a sucker for interpromotion wrestling feuds and this felt like the perfect kickstart. Chono is one of the biggest stars in NJPW and has a ton of cool charisma. Him being the head of Team 2000 gives him a natural in as an invader. On the other side of the ring is Fuchi, the ultimate loyalist and gatekeeper who can also still be a grumpy old bastard. The match plays off this. Fuchi hitting the back suplex and front face lock two minutes in was electric. Chono retreats like a coward and has to regroup to regain the advantage. Chono is not a worker I enjoy but I did enjoy him in this match and thought his meticulous manner worked in the fact that he wanted to make his appearance count. The big emotional spots are saved for Fuchi and the step over the face to get to the ropes was excellent. The finish was inevitable with Chono winning but again this was a strong match that was completely satisfactory as a first match in a series but not the end destination or a dream match in any way. Something about watching this match today felt like this was a theme in wrestling that wouldn’t happen now. Chono and Fuchi had decades of commitment to their promotions and it was assumed they would never come together. I may be overrating based on the big picture stuff but this was certainly one of the more memorable matches of 2000 and both competitors played to their strengths. **** (8)

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Loved this. Loved Fuchi saying "you can't cheapshot me, asshole" and backdropping Chono before Chono has to cool off outside the ring and commiserate with his Team 2000 homies. Chono is limited, sure, but he makes the most of his dickheaded-ness here and manages to piss off Wada in the process. But really, this is Fuchi's performance. Him putting Chono into the corner and riding him like a surfboard was great -- I mean, Chono pretty much no sells most of Fuchi's offense but Fuchi's final rally was good stuff. Firing off the two backdrops for his biggest nearfall of the match, only to get lowblowed on the third attempt but refusing to go down. He makes the ropes on the STF and survives two back-to-back Yakuza kicks but the third one puts him away and it looked pretty nasty.

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Ha, go Fuchi! He was like a man possessed in the early going. Chono looked stupid wrestling in a black shirt and pants but his cheap tricks fired up Wada and the crowd. The match started off fun but it went on for too long and Fuchi's comeback lacked the bite that his early work had. I really wanted to see him get one big nearfall before Chono put him away but it didn't happen.

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Fuchi was awesome in this, proving himself as a badass against Chono. Such a hot start before Chono asserts himself only for more great offensive firepower from Fuchi. Chono gets the win but Fuchi made it fun and heated while it lasted.

 

***3/4

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Maybe it's just me but this gave me Attitude Era vibes. Even though it's not a brawl, it's very shenanigans based and built upon the emotion and charisma of Chono. Chono's stalling at the start was great. I loved him trying to piss Fuchi off, with maybe an idea of wanting him to bait Fuchi into coming into the crowd, Chono's game but Fuchi staying calm until the second Chono touches the ropes. The only thing I would add from that spot is Kawada coming from the back and causing Chono not to go back into the crowd again but I suppose that's not really All Japan's thing. There wasn't much to this in terms of depth but that's okay, it was still enthralling to watch. Sometimes you don't need to do a bunch of moves. The biggest/most dramatic parts of the match was Fuchi locking on a sleeper/rare naked choke variation. The atmosphere was great with the crowd fully behind Fuchi and more or less against Chono, although they didn't boo him until he started to cheat. Great match. ****

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