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Charles (Loss)

[2008-11-16-BattlARTS] Yuki Ishikawa & Munenori Sawa vs Manabu Hara & Super Tiger II

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The teacher/student relationship between Ishikawa and Sawa comes through pretty strong in this one. It was sorta there in the last two matches they were both involved in, but this one cements it. Great tag match, with Sawa playing the face-in-peril really well before Ishikawa has to try and make up all the lost ground. It's like a Battlarts version of the Misawa/Akiyama or Kobashi tags. Only there's more. Ishikawa beat Tiger in a match just about a month earlier and it seems like Sawa and Hara have a rivalry. If you pay attention to how the match is built, you get the idea that the finish from last match isn't happening here. And it doesn't, but it's still damn good. I'd say it's better than the lead-in singles bout by a ways. This will be around the 30-40 range.

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Yuki Ishikawa & Muneori Sawa vs Super Tiger II & Manabu Hara - BattlArts 11/16/08


Tremendous. Fucking Tremendous. BattlArts serves up its second Match of the Decade Contender with its take on my favorite Japanese staple: Veteran/Hungry Young Lion versus two pricks. Sawa is a ton of energy and seems to have a bit of a chip on his shoulder. He takes offense to Hara's introduction and gives him a quick low kick. This is going to be chippy. The opening is some great jockeying for position. Then Hara opens it up on Ishikawa who is held by tiger with wicked kicks to his midsection. The way Ishikawa sold this was just amazing. Tiger and Ishikawa start to got at it and one shot to the gut and Ishikawa just crumples. I love how Tiger was going for the axe kick while it happened and then realized Ishikawa collapsed. That is "Think Shoot, But Work", baby! Tiger goes after Ishikawa's legs. I loved how all the holds were sold in this. Everyone was desperately lunging for ropes and selling when the timing was right. Tiger freaking out when Ishikawa gets a quick leg bar on him just when we think Ishikawa is done for is a great example. Ishikawa wisely tags out and thus begins one of the best damn face in perils of the decade.


Sawa starts off in control, but quickly it becomes more even as they are trading blows on the mat. Tiger hooks in a choke and now Sawa freaks out until he gets the ropes. Tiger comes in all kicks blazing. Hara cuts Ishikawa off with a knee to the midsection. This leaves Sawa prone to be kicked to death by Tiger and Hara mercilessly. I like how Sawa starts off chippy, but is progressively worn down by the barrage of kicks so as not to die too quickly. Hara still has to work hard to get holds on, but when Hara does Ishikawa has to bail Sawa out. Everyone looks great. Sawa fighting through the odds, Hara is earning his takedowns and Ishikawa is doing the right thig. There is none of this deadfish selling and then miraclous kickouts that makes everyone look like an ass. Sawa dragon leg screw, WIND UP, HERES THE PITCH, STRIKE! PRO WRESTLING LOVE! SHINING WIZARD! Hot tag to Ishikawa.


The rest of the match is basically a handicap match because Sawa has been so debilitated. He is still great for a save, but Ishikawa goes it alone against Tiger and Hara. At first, he fares well suplexing Hara and applying a wicked deep double wristlock, which Tiger breaks up. Hara suplexes Ishikawa!?!?!?! Tags out to Tiger.Tiger roundhouse kicks him right in the chin and Ishikawa fires up. Tiger catches him with an elbow and he goes down like a ton of bricks. You realize here that Ishikawa and Sawa are in deep shit. Tiger gave Ishikawa a run for his money in August and now he is weakened Tiger will be looking for that knock out blow. Just like in August here comes the Ishikawa comeback with the same staples, jumping kick to head, catching kicks to heel hooks and even a suplex. We all know how weak Tiger's neck is. It looks like Ishikawa is going to pull it out. Ishikawa goes for the submission and Hara and Sawa have this amazing skirmish where Sawa actually puts up a real defense. Hara actually has to beat him back and lunge at Ishikawa to break it up. That's type of shit that takes for you from Match of the Year Contender to Match of the Decade Contender, baby! Now Tiger has Ishikawa in a double wristlock and the same awesome skirmish breaks out and this time time Sawa breaks through. Awesome, awesome, awesome! I am not going to spoil the finish because it something that should be viewed with no foreknowledge.

Is it better than elimination match? It is damn close. Damn close. These BattlArts matches have sure made things interesting. I thought my Top Ten was locked up, but shit is going to be tossed around now. Shoot-style tag team matches may be my new favorite thing in this world. ****3/4

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