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[1998-08-02-NJPW-G1 Climax] Shinya Hashimoto vs Kazuo Yamazaki


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  • 2 months later...

These guys just beat the hell out of each other and crafted what has easily been my favorite match of the G1 to this point. Those kicks were brutal and there was a strong focus to this, with Yamazaki going after Hashimoto's leg repeatedly. Hash is so great as the credible guy who manages to still get over the idea that he might get beat. He manages to weather the storm from Yamazaki here - and it's a big one - before finally finishing him off with a brainbuster. This was hard-hitting and simple wrestling, which I love.

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  • 1 month later...

This was a hell of a match, with excellent attention to detail in addition to bombs. The story was simple, with Yamazaki targeting the leg of a bear he couldn't beat in a straight firefight. But the kicks were so sharp and Hash's selling so good that the match really popped. And Hash put the whole thing over by treating his win as a big deal. I still liked the Tenryu match better, because of the aggression and the star power. But Hash pulled off quite a pair in two days.

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Sad that the G-1 is over already as I really enjoyed the matches added. This was a great final that packed a lot of punch into 15 minutes. Yamazaki really attacked the leg and I loved his crossbody to the outside setting up the leg submission tease finish. The build to the finish here was great with Hashimoto giving a classic comeback and hitting and absolutely beautiful elbow drop from the top. He puts Yama away with a brainbuster to the delight of the crowd. (****)

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  • 1 month later...

This is neck and neck with the previous night as the NJ MOTY. On the commercial tape they showed clips of Hash's previous failures to win the G1 on seven prior occasions, despite being a top contender each year. The way this tournament unfolded was a perfect way to end his long journey.

 

The crowd in a jam packed Ryogoku was molten hot. Nearly all of the offence was strikes. They kept laying into each other and the selling of the damage was superb. Hash had his injured knee targeted and it actually felt like he might tap when Yamazaki applied a series of submissions down the stretch. Yet this time Shinya would not be denied. Displaying great toukon he fought back for an emotional victory that resolved a seven year storyline. The finish was amazing as he unleashed an animalistic roar and downed his prey with a brutal Brainbuster. This was his moment, but give major props to Yamazaki too. He delivered an outstanding performance and this was one of the highlights of his fine career. Great tournament.

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  • 1 year later...

Few guys can get more out of less than Hash and Yamazaki. This is another outstanding minimalist performance from Hash specifically, not doing a lot until the end but making every strike both delivered and received count, with the crowd just molten for each one. A MOTYC for sure.

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  • 2 months later...

Shinya Hashimoto vs Kazuo Yamazaki - NJPW G-1 Climax '98 Finals

 

Hashimoto is going for his first ever G-1 Climax victory. NJPW booking as it has been explained to me is that Hashimoto was IWGP Champion of the 90s, Chono was the G-1 Climax winner of the Musketeers and Mutoh was sort of the gimmicky star, blood feud guy with a little of both IWGP/G-1 Climax wins in the 90s. Yamazaki is a former UWF shoot-style wrestler that I have never seen before and damn did he look good in this.

 

Having read other reviews, Hashimoto is coming in with a bad left leg (his striking leg) from his semi-final match with Kojima. If you pay close attention to the beginning when Yamazaki gets an armbar takedown, after Hash quickly escapes he comes up favoring the leg. This led me to look up what had happened. Yamazaki like a shark smells blood and starts wailing on the leg with kicks. Hashimoto's strategy seems to be to use the overhand chop to quite literally chop Yamazaki down and then set up his kicks. Hashimoto sells really, really well. Some of the best fightinfg through the pain selling, you will ever see, Also he gradually sells more and more. As the match goes on, he is less and less likely to throw a kick. Yamazaki's offense which in I love is to lunge at the knee at every opportunity. These are not the chop blocks from behind, but from the front even leading with the head and the knee is NOT supposed to bend like that. I will say it does get a little stagnant. Hashimoto does not seem to have a strategy to win the match at first. Even though he is in control, it feels very defensive due to the bum wheel. He is fending off Yamazaki more than taking charge. Match picks up once Yamazaki gets a dragon leg screw and Hashimoto ends up on the outside and Yamazaki does a plancha to the outside. Love when people use their body as a weapon. Nice legbar by Yamazaki. Hashimoto gets the ropes. Hashimoto tries kicking Yamazaki with his bad leg (he has no other choice) and ends up back in a kneebar. I like that. There is a difference between doing something stupid and blowing off selling. Hashimoto was selling, it was just stupid, but we all do stupid things under pressure and injured. Hashimoto needs a Hail Mary at this point something targeting the head. He gets that in the form of a massive enziguiri. The move is made by Yamazaki's selling. Awesome groggy out on my feet selling by him. Slop Drop and WAIT! Whats this Hashimoto is heading to the top...A MONSTER TOP ROPE ELBOW FROM THE BIG MAN!!!! Popped huge on the airplane (watched this on a JetBlue flight, what a time to be alive!). Hashimoto unloads on him with some massive kicks and then BRINABUSTAAAAAHHHHHH!!!! HASHIMOTO WINS HIS FIRST G-1 CLIMAX!!!!

 

Incredible, back to basics, fundamentals pro wrestling match, no frills, just kills. It is what Hasimoto & NJPW excel at. The leg injury was an awesome hook, which both wrestlers took a unique take on (no real heat segment) that really impact every moment of the match. I love matches where the wrestler in control feels really tenuous. You just knew at any time Hashimoto knee would give way and Yamazaki would take over. Submissions were hot and the headshot was a great transition to Hashimoto finish run. In a match with only two highspots they made the most of it with the top rope elbow and Brainbuster. Little stagnant in the middle and could have used one more Yamazaki nearfall to really bring it up. Killer minimalist match and one of Hashimoto's best of all time. ****1/2

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  • 2 months later...

Yamazaki is a dark horse candidate for my favorite Hashimoto opponent and this is probably the best match that they had. The first two minutes of this are so incredible as just a feel out portion but you get this insane level of tension for when somebody is finally going to gain an advantage and when Hashimoto finally corners Yamazaki and completely obliterates him with a chop you can't help but go crazy. I remember ditch on his site saying Yamazaki had been submitting guys left and right so that added to the crowd buying that he might get a sub win but that was also aided by the awesome Hashimoto selling performance in this. He kept kicking away with that leg but he also kept shaking it out throughout his comeback.

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  • 1 month later...

#256

 

God, this was a great fight. Hashimoto absolutely pulverized Yamazaki in this fight. The only thing that kept Yamazaki in the match was Hashimoto's knee injury and didn't he go after it like he may never have a second chance at a G1 yusho? Some folks may argue that they went away from the knee toward the end, but I'd argue that Yamazaki was simply in no condition to go for it. Great match. One of the best in New Japan history and about 200 places too low if not more. This ate Vader vs. Takada's lunch. I don't think there's ever been another wrestler like Shinya Hashimoto and this was one of the biggest moments of his career. Savor it.

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  • 2 months later...

Some great, great stuff right here.

 

Yamazaki knows he ain't going to win against Hashimoto on a head on fight - a chop on the early moments of the match sends that message pretty clearly - and as such develops a strategy to take the big man's leg down.

 

This ain't pretty, and it's not supposed to. Yamazaki uses whatever he can, from low dropkicks to ramming his shoulder and head into Hashimoto's left knee. Turns out it paid off, with Hashimoto's kicks becoming less effective at one point in the match, which leads to Yamazaki building up more and more for a submission which almost gets him the win.

 

Being a damn warrior, Hashimoto fights through the pain in one of the most believable ways possible. He knows it hurts him when he kicks or moves around, but as long as he can hurt Yamazaki more, he's fine with it. His striking superiority gets him the win in the end, to cap it all off with an amazing brainbuster.

 

**** 1/2. Hashimoto's the best.

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  • 1 year later...

These ultra minimalist Hashimoto epics are the perfect antidote to that overly convoluted AJPW trash. Yamazaki targets the leg and this is just another freaking great beat-him-till-he-goes-numb Hashimoto trademark spectacle. Kingsized selling from both guys. Also loved Yamazaki constantly tackling the knee. Folks flip out for an achilles hold and elbow drop. This is how you do pro wrestling. A nice low kick and stiff neck chops will get you further than 10,000 headdrops. So in the span of 48 hours Hashimoto pretty much had the ideal clash of the titans sprint against Tenryu, the ideal youngster beatdown and now a textbook epic performing as a wounded beast, man I should have put him #1 on the GWE ballot.

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  • GSR changed the title to [1998-08-02-NJPW-G1 Climax] Shinya Hashimoto vs Kazuo Yamazaki

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