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Charles (Loss)

[1998-06-19-FMW-King of Fight] Hayabusa & Daisuke Ikeda & Hisakatsu Oya & Ricky Fuji vs Kodo Fuyuki & Koji Nakagawa & Kintaro Kanemura & Gedo

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Of all the late 90s multi-man matches I've seen, I think this one came closest to evoking the spirit of the New Japan multi-mans of the 80s. It's not at that level, but it's the closest. Kanemura is the lead heel in this and does a great job. I think the way they bring weapons into this is pretty smart too. It's fun to see Ikeda in a completely different environment than BattlARTS, wearing military fatigues and doing more of a traditional wrestling comeback. Oya is a machine when he's in - for pure mechanics, he's the best guy in the match. This is equal parts chaos and structure, just as it's equal parts wrestling and brawling. Add in the sharp face-heel divide and all the crowd-pleasing spots and this is a tremendous match.

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I like the 1990 New Japan multiman match a smidge more but this was a shitload of fun and featured everything I like in these types of matches. Some new feuds occurring, old feuds rekindled and uncharacteristic guys getting a chance to shine. Fuji is that guy here as his strikes aren't as stiff and on point as anyone else in the match but he makes up for it with his enthusiasm. Him getting the win was a supremely satisfying moment. (****1/4)

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I actually expected to like this more, but my attention drifted both times I tried to watch it. Perhaps I simply don't feel enough affinity for a lot of these wrestlers. And I didn't like seeing a semi-neutered Ikeda. I did enjoy the heel team overall, and the last few minutes were exciting, making excellent use of -- wait for it -- Hayabusa! Yes, my most hated wrestler of '98 hit a run of spectacular offense and then got the hell out of the way. Bravo, sir.

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Hey, Hayabusa was a good face-in-peril, too. This was loads of fun and I'm starting to warm up on FMW again after a string of disappointments. Even Ricky Fuji looked really good here. Kanemura was definitely the man of the match, a big fat tornado of offense and bumping, with way more velocity than you'd expect for a rather fat guy (as opposed to the obese Fuyuki). Seeing Ikeda in this environment was a treat and he adapted very well. Team No Respect was full of charisma and could have carried the match on that alone, but they all provided some fun offense and quadruple-teaming while also setting themselves up well for the babyface comebacks. I dunno if there was something on the line in this match but the crowd seems to treat this win by Team FMW as something pretty monumental. As an aside, who the fuck was doing color here? He had the worst voice for a broadcaster since the days of Pete Doherty: Boston Garden Announcer.

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It may have been the mood I was in, but I didn't like this. Other than a WarGames style match, I think anything over a 6man tag is usually too much. That's meant for 90s and later.

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