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[1998-05-29-RINGS] Volk Han vs Tsuyoshi Kohsaka

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This was going along swimmingly until the finish that seemed out of nowhere. I'm not even quite sure what happened. This went ten minutes and I could have easily watched them for twenty.

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The rhythm was off from early in the match, with the ref constantly stopping to fix Han's knee pads and such. The wrestling was excellent, as you'd expect from these two. But the weird finish almost seemed fitting given the herky-jerky body.

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This had it's moments but ended up being better on paper than it was in the ring. The counters were too quick, the end came too soon, and the flow was disjointed by the referee adjusting Han's knee pads intermittently.

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I was having flashbacks to Joe vs. Balor at the last Takeover with all the blood check stoppages. Not totally sure what that or the ending was about, since this match was clearly a work--it almost seemed to me like Han instinctively tapped the mat while in a wristlock and the referee interpreted it as a proper tapout. Anyway, the countering and counters-to-counters on the mat, first with the cross armbreaker by Han and then the dueling cross armbreakers and sleepers by both guys are just gorgeous and incredibly dramatic. Han also throws in his standard get-shot-in-the-stomach sell for a dramatic early near-KO and there's some pretty fun stand-up in addition to the requisite matwork. This was a pretty good and suspenseful match that sort of breaks an axel at the ending.

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Han looked godly, as he always does. Some really exciting moments but also some breaks in the matwork. Kohsaka looks tough just by surviving 30 seconds against Volk while he went 30 minutes against Tamura. Weird finish makes this look like a set up.

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This was great, up until the finish. I mean, the way Han keeps pushing TK away as he’s got the full extension on the armbar is the definition of ring awareness, which Han co-wrote the book on. Just slick work as usual from both guys - the dueling holds on the mat were flawless and compelling. Loved Han putting some spicy mustard on his strikes at the end, popping TK with open hands and downing him with a big knee, which you don't see often. Clearly, Han was frustrated with how things ended and it seemed like a mistake on his part, either inadvertently tapping or tapping before TK could fully lock in the hold. Regardless, there was excellent wrestling taking place.

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