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[1998-01-20-BattlARTS] Yuki Ishikawa vs Alexander Otsuka

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First portion of the match is a lot of jockeying for position without anyone being able to dominate and some quick reversals. I must say this is not one of my favorite things when shoot style matches do this as one of things I really appreciate about most of the matches in RINGS is the heavy emphasis on everything that they do. Otsuka is able to control the match with his headbutts and he ties Ishikawa up in some nasty looking holds. Otsuka displays his athleticism by giving a standing hurricanrana without a running start. Ishi not to be outdone, lifts Alexander up deadlift style and powerbombs him. Check out the sly, sinister smile he gives after executing that move before he goes into the leg lock. The match seems to be a battle over who can lock in the one deadly leg submission. Ishikawa gets a beatuiful straight right cross when he is sitting on the top rope that stuns Otsuka and allows him to take over. Yuki focuses on the arms of Otsuka and sprinkles in some suplexes and nasty punches to maintain the advantage. Alex mounts a comeback and destroys Yuki with a series of suplexes giving him a 9 count. He then hits a Tiger Suplex and Yuki is barely able to reach his feet before the 10 count and he looks out of it. Alex goes for a german, but in mid-air, Yuki catches the arm in an armbar and wins the match by TKO. Great finish to a really good match. (***1/2)

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The early parts of this match are really great. Otsuka sort of leads the way and looks great doing so. I am told that Ishikawa (who is fine here) doesn't get really good until later on, which was sort of evident throughout the match. Lots of nice, subtle action going on like Otsuka punching at Ishikawa while the two are tied up on the mat as a way of getting Ishikawa to break his grip. The best element of this particular match was how seamlessly they incorporated "normal" pro wrestling moves (hurricanrana, power bomb, suplexes, ect.) into the shoot-style environment. Even when they end up on the top rope, it felt somewhat natural and lead to a beautiful flying arm bar. The match lost some steam in the last couple of minutes I thought, but nothing too bad. They picked it up with a great finish as soup mentioned. Good match.

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Sounds like we had almost opposite thoughts Paul. I can say with the shoot style stuff I have watched in the past few years, that I have a less clear sense of what really can draw me into matches of that style vs. other styles in wrestling. What I saw as meandering and nonthreatening in the first portion of this match, you saw as a chess match being waged which is vantage point I can understand.

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Sounds like we had almost opposite thoughts Paul. I can say with the shoot style stuff I have watched in the past few years, that I have a less clear sense of what really can draw me into matches of that style vs. other styles in wrestling. What I saw as meandering and nonthreatening in the first portion of this match, you saw as a chess match being waged which is vantage point I can understand.

 

The opening minutes of a match tend to impact my overall enjoyment of a match somewhat disproportionately. I love a good opening in the same way some people some love a hot ending stretch. In addition, under "normal" circumstances (ie. there is no feud, gimmick, or story that would dictate otherwise) my ideal match opening in any style of match is a methodical, mat-based feeling out process. It is one of the reasons I like shoot style so much because those matches tend to have those kinds of opening segments (although admittedly, I have just gotten a lot more into shoot style recently). I am not sure why I like those feeling out, mat-based, exchange of holds openings so much but they just really appeal to me. A match that starts that way and builds off of that "foundation work" effectively will usually completely hook me.

 

I should also clarify that by "last couple of minutes" I really mean the last couple of suplexes from Ishikawa before they get to the finish. I enjoyed the body of the match a lot and was just nitpicking the fact that maybe they could have got out a minute or so right before the finish.

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I thought this was a great match. They did all of this fantastic matwork, just as you'd expect, but I always love when pro-style spots like a dropkick, vertical suplex and a GIANT SWING(!) can be worked into a match where almost everything else resembles the shoot style feds, and those moves don't seem even slightly out of place. The BattlARTS style really does manage to encompass most of the great things about the in-ring aspect of professional wrestling.

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Otsuka is one of the most fun wrestlers in history, and here we got him ending a strike exchange with a Frankensteiner and countering out of a grappling sequence with a giant swing. Guy was a fucking whack job, and I love it. This delivered your vintage BattlArts stew of matwork, violence and kooky pro wrestling. Pretty much no chance I wasn't going to love it. I also dug the ending, with Otsuka's huge suplexes and Ishikwa's desperation counter on the last one.

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Really good Battlearts match. Loved the headbutts while in the test of strength in the beginning. Lots of really cool mat stuff and they bust out the big moves toward the end. I love Otsuka's shoot hurricanrana and his leg-trap triangle choke was a particularly cool submission. Otsuka drills Ishikawa with suplexes looking for the KO but Ishikawa reverses on into a Kimura in a really awesome visual -- Ishikawa grabs onto one of Otsuka's arms in mid air and locked it on when they fall to the mat. Not a Battlearts classic but a damn good match.

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Of course the use of all the wrasslin' spots has already been covered extensively. In addition to that and all the awesome matwork there was really good build to Ishikawa's finishing double armbar, with Otsuka really putting over the struggle to the point where you really believed it'd be over if Ishikawa could get it fully applied. A very good match...neither Ishikawa nor any other BattlArts-centered guy made my GWE ballot and I have a feeling that if I could have completed the Yearbooks before the project ended that wouldn't have happened. Oh well, something to keep in mind for '26.

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I hope this doesn't represent a top tier BattleArts match because I didn't like anything, but the finish. This went from competitive hugging to an exhibition match between two BJJ white belts. It didn't help this match that the RINGS match directly followed it because that match was much, much better. I never was a fan of Otsuka.

 

RATING: A Battle to call this Art ... see what I did there?

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I reviewed this match here:

http://prowresblog.blogspot.com/2017/01/battlarts-1201998-yuki-ishikawa-vs.html

 

Some shots from it:

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1-26-2017%2B11-07-37%2BAM.png

 

My thoughts:

Yuki Ishikawa beat Alexander Otsuka with a Kimura at 16:47. Classic pro wrestling right here folks. Two dudes trying to simulate a fight to look as real as they could and they succeeded here. This was basic pro wrestling at its finest with guys getting the most out of basic moves and making it look real. They fought for everything, they resisted everything and they stiffed the hell out of each other. Yuki Ishikawa hit some great punches here. Both guys exchanged lots of nasty suplexes and MMA submissions. Near the end, Otsuka suplexed Ishikawa on his head multiple times and had Ishikawa barely able to answer the 10 count. Then Otsuka went for one too many suplexes and Ishikawa escaped it, setting up the kimura win. Simple stuff here that any one could do, but no one can because they don't get wrestling. It's pretty hard to find any real holes with this aside from maybe wanting to see more striking and a little bit more story. This was an excellent display of shoot style wrestling. Rating:****1/4

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High end BattlARTS epic. The grappling between these two is always really great – just ridiculously slick, inventive stuff. Otsuka's Jason Nolf/Wade Schalles amateur style where he pulls of insane moves in plausible fashion rules, but you already knew that. Otsuka ducking Ishikawa's punches, throwing sudden fast combos and then nuking him with massive suplexes for comebacks was excellent shootstyle stuff. Match was probably a little excessive near the end but the comebacks were good enough and you'll be too busy yelling at Ishikawa to tuck his head to notice anways. Also, those kimuras were insane. Ultra tight stuff, brutal, great wrestling, just a classic betweeen two all time greats.


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This match is incredible. They do a fantastic job of establishing the classic Otsuka superior wrestler with superior throws and Ishikawa being the superior grappler on the ground who is extremely tough to put down. The early portion with the grappling exchanges is great as it's nice and tight. The bit where Ishikawa just blasts Otsuka with a right hand before hitting a backdrop was incredible. Otsuka's throws are a sight to behold, so the finishing run is beautiful with Otsuka endlessly throwing Ishikawa around, yet Ishikawa being resilient enough to continue fighting. A true Battlarts classic.

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