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[1999-01-12-BattlARTS] Yuki Ishikawa & Alexander Otsuka vs Daisuke Ikeda & Mohammed Yone

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This was one of my favorite BattlARTS matches ever almost immediately. Ikeda is the guy who stole the show for me as a great heel, staying on Otsuka when he goes out of the ring and pushing the ropes back each time Otsuka is close to reaching them in an attempt to force a hold break. I also like how he gouges Ishikawa's face and constantly runs interference when either guy on the other team suggests they might make a comeback. He's all about making this match a zero sum game, at least at the beginning. This is as about as much of a Southern tag as can exist in this style, and it even has a double heat! They rely on their matwork, but this is a pro-style match all the way, and I love it for that. Otsuka's selling is excellent, and he's good at getting out of nowhere counters when all hope seems lost. They're definitely selling the story that Ikeda is the superior wrestler to both Ishikawa and Otsuka here (or at least the more aggressive one), and they worked this match in a way to build up singles matches with those two where maybe they come back with a new attitude. Otsuka and Ishikawa manage a strong comeback and Yone ends up getting a dose of the medicine his partner dished out down the stretch. Ikeda actually gets in the ring and doesn't help Yone but gets in his face and screams at him to get up. Super dramatic finish with a very earned victory for Ishikawa/Otsuka. A bonafide, top-tier MOTYC.

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Incredible, incredible match. One of the best Battlearts ever had. This is one of those Battlearts matches that absolutely perfectly blends the shoot style with the pro style, giving us equal parts of both but in a way that doesn't feel like a combination of two different styles but something totally seemless and distinct of its own. The heel work from Ikeda and Yone was great, especially Ikeda: loved that spot where he's kicking at Ishikawa while Ishikawa is crawling to the ropes in a keylock. Cool that Otsuka kind of takes the face in peril role and works two segments like that. Ikeda and Ishikawa always feels like the big deal when they're in the ring together or facing off in any way, but I think my favorite part of the match was the Otsuka/Ikeda section that featured a tombstone and a missed moonsault. One of my favorite individual spots here has Ishikawa having taken some big moves with some KO teases and then Ikeda tagging in and going to hit a big running spinning heel kick but Ishikawa counters it into a leg lock. Ending is awesome with the Dragon Suplex having been teased a bunch of times in the final minutes before Otsuka finally connects and murders Yone with four straight for the KO. Made even better by Ikeda getting down and trying to cheer Yone on but Yone collapsing back down while trying to make it to his feet again. Definite MOTYC.

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I was slightly disappointed with this but a lot of that has to do with my inherent bias against BattlArts tags, as the no pinfalls plays strongly in the singles environment but definitely hurts tag matches. Overall, strong match. This is maybe the best Yone ever looked. I really liked the Ikeda/Ishikawa russian leg sweep reversal (gif coming soon) and the finish was well booked (maybe one dragon suplex too many).

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In contention for my favorite Battlarts match up to this point. I think the lack of pinfalls and Bat rules actually helped the drama for me as someone was going to be rendered as a KO or submission. The other thing I liked about this match was the parity of all four competitors. I barely recognized Yone without the fro and I assume he was the youngest guy in here but he still held his own and all of the pairings were great and not entirely centered around Ikeda and Ishikawa. Everyone had a chance to shine and delivered big time. (****1/2)

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BattleArts is a promotion I feel a definite disconnect toward for reasons I've discussed elsewhere. However by the end this had begrudgingly won me over. I'm not convinced that the tag format is ideal for this style, although it works way better than in fully fledged shoot style promotions. Never short on stiffness and of course anger. Everyone is angry in BattleArts. All the time. Going 25m at the level of intensity that they did was quite a physical effort. Plenty of bomb throwing with many 10 count spots as they don't have pins. That aspect felt like a drawback on occasion. The finish was particularly strong.

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Yes, probably my favorite BattlArts match so far, with a convincingly deadly ending with Yone just getting killed over and over until he drops. This will be on the MOTY list at year's end in all likelihood and in a very good position. Yone is almost unrecognizable from a visual standpoint, but his style is pretty much there already.

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http://placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-50-1/

 

#136

 

I thought this was good, but i didn't like it as much as everyone else. It was very stiff, and they beat the crap out of each other ... but I just didn't find it very interesting. I was falling in and out of it. I agree that it was likely one dragon Suplex too many... it lost its impact for me... just felt excessive. It was probably pretty painful but not needed all at the same time. I thought the commentary was sort of drag, even though I couldn't understand anything they were saying. It just sounded like they weren't interested.

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Yuki Ishikawa & Alexander Otsuka vs Daisuke Ikeda & Mohammed Yone - BattlArts 1/12/99

I tend to love BatBat tags so I am pretty pumped for this match. It starts with Ikeda and Yone double teaming Ostuka in their corner lots of kicks. I am mark for someone clearing out the ringside chairs as Ikeda hurls Otsuka over there. Yone snapmare takeover. I dont know any backstory in BatBat matches I just know it is Ishikawa vs Ikeda and it is the interminable rivalry of wrestling like Tom & Jerry. Ikeda tags in and tries to lock on a chinlock, but Ostuka escapes and hits a nasty headbutt to tag in Ishikawa. Ikeda and Otsuka are both selling as Ishikawa calmly comes in and smacks the loving shit out of Ikeda. Ikeda stands takes nasty elbows and a headbutt from Ishikawa. Ikeda goes nose to nose each time and finally responds with a big slap. This feels more Fighting Spirit than a wild shoot style brawl. Ishikawa traps the legs into an toehold and then into a crossface. Ishikawa hits an enziguiri and it feels like Ishikawa dominated Ikeda in that sequence as he falls out of the ring. Ikeda slingshots himself back into the ring with a lariat but it does not look good and Ishikawa wisely does not sell that weak shit. Ikeda finally gets one up on Ishikawa with a bodyslam and a swift kick to the back. Ikeda can finally tag out. Yone is aggressive early driving Ishikawa back to Ishikawa's corner with kicks, but Ishikawa counters with a Fujiwara armbar takedown, but Ikeda saves. Ishikawa tags out. Otsuka dominates and gets an anklelock, but again Ikeda saves. Another submission attempt another Ikeda save. It sets up the senior/junior partner narrative. Yone is working the arm and this some of the better work of the match. Lots of struggle from Otsuka and different looks from Yone to negotiate a devastating hold. He tags out to Ikeda who looks to pick up where Yone left off, but Ostuka grabs a choke, but Ikeda gets to the ropes. Ikeda still has more gas in the tank and kicks ass. Kneedrop triggers a count from the ref. He tosses Otsuka out and Yone lays the boots to Otsuka. Otsuka shifts weight on the back suplex and squashes Ikeda and wants an arm triangle.  He tags out to Ishikawa who headbutts Ikeda, but Ikeda no sells. It feels like they are going through the motions. Everything is stiff and snug, but it is lacking energy and charisma that these guys usually deliver. They are just standing there and taking each other's best shot. There is usually a lot more defense and struggle. 

Otsuka saves Ishikawa from a Yone choke. Yone is stepping up. More struggle on Ishikawa blocking the Fujiwara armbar attempt from Yone. Ishikawa begins working the arm of Yone, which may be the first thread. Nasty deadlift German from Otsuka that triggers a count. Really tight chinlock from Otsuka, but again it feels like Yone was being ragdolled. Yone escapes and kicks Otsuka a bunch to get the tag out. Tombstone by Ikeda to no heat. The missed moonsault and senton by Otsuka felt more heated and exciting. Giant Swing! Also to no heat but I liked that a but more. Ikeda headbutt and lariat triggers the count. Axe Bomber! Yone tags in series of lariats. Ikeda boots Ishikawa off the apron as the ref counts Otsuka down. Yone hits the MUSCLEBUSTER! I have never seen that before Samoa Joe! Very cool! Yone goes to the abdominal stretch nope pump handle slam, way less cool than musclebuster. Ishikawa backdrops Ikeda on the parquet floor and saves Otsuka from submission. Otsuka catches a spin wheel kick and gets the slam. Otsuka tags out. Fighting Spirit slugfest. Yone wins with a back drop driver and this triggers a count. Ishikawa catches Ikeda into a legbar, which was a cool spot. Ikeda hits a backdrop driver and rolls into a kneebar. Otsuka saves now. Ishikawa applies the Octopus Stretch, shades of Inoki! Ishikawa hits a backdrop driver and tags out to Otsuka. Ishikawa is saying "Take care of my light work." Ikeda hits a Tiger Driver on Otsuka. This does feel like one of those really bloated late NOAH tags from like 2008 where there is a ton of action, but at the same time it feels like nothing is happening. Ikeda whips Ishikawa into the chairs and finally that chaotic feels kinda comes back. Ikeda saves Yone with a headbutt to Otsuka. Enziguiri then Tiger Suplex! This feels really weird from BatBat. Big time Dragon Suplex! Another one as Yone does the glassy eye sell and yet another! It is HEAD DROP PALOOZA! Fourth one should do it... 

Very disappointing. BatBat's ode to All Japan falls flat as this has more in common with NOAH tags c. 2008. There is a lot of action, but nothing is happening. No real feeling of progress or escalation. Not a lot of struggle. Lots of Fighting Spirit Slugfests. It is not the worst wrestling. I do like stiff shots so it aesthetically pleasing, but feels very shallow. ***1/4

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