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Charles (Loss)

[1999-01-15-AJPW-New Year's Giant Series] Yoshinari Ogawa vs Masahito Kakihara

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Kakihara seems to be having fun working a pro style. I only really know him from UWFI. His kicks look awesome in this setting, and he’s really good at working a crowd. Great transition when Ogawa ducks a high kick in front of the ring post and fucks up his ankle. Ogawa jumps on it right away. Ogawa is great at working over an ankle. I love the ring post thing he did where he was pulling on his kickpads, and I also like that they chose this as a direction because it’s the biggest thing Ogawa can do to neutralize Kakihara. It also gets Ogawa over as a slimy opportunist, which is a great role for him. The heel hook on Ogawa was a great moment. The finishing stretch of near falls is incredibly dramatic and Ogawa starts sneaking in eye pokes and knee cheapshots between the pin attempts to make it even better. Kakihara tries a mid-air cross armbreaker to counter what I think was an Ogawa superplex attempt in an amazing spot. This is probably going to end up as one of my 500 matches in the e-book because of Ogawa’s great performance. This is just greatgreatgreat.

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Great match and with a really cool, unique feel that's different from an NJPW juniors match. Ogawa is awesome in this and defintely adds to the uniqueness. The structure of the match is really good with some nice opening work leading to Kakihara getting control before he blasts his ankle on the ring post which is a very convincing-looking transition. I liked his comeback a lot too with the inverted atomic drop into the three big kicks that he sold his leg for. Ending is really dramatic and cool with Ogawa getting a big run of roll-up near falls that the crowd got really hot for and the very ending sequence was just great, Kakihara pulls off a really cool armbar takedown only for Ogawa to pull the ref down onto him to break it up. Ogawa charges at Kakihara but eats the post to the shoulder to set up an arm bar in the middle of the ring -- it looks like Ogawa is getting his comeuppace but Ogawa quickly turns it into a pin for the three. Very distinct match and very good.

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The write up Loss gave this made me have some unreal expectations in my head and that's totally on me.

 

I thought this was very good, maybe even great and certainly the best undercard AJPW match since at least 1995, if not earlier. Ogawa is such a smart worker. Unless he trained Marifuji, I would want him to instruct at my money mark wrestling school every day.

 

Kakihara teasing a dive with a big grin was fantastic, the transition spot was well done, and Ogawa was getting a lot of mileage out of the roll up near falls 3 years before we would make it a staple of his NOAH GHC run.

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I thought this was great. Ogawa takes some shortcuts here and it pays great dividends including the finish which was amazing, but he also shows more focus on the leg and works this as him gaining some momentum and not feeling quite as over matched as he portrayed himself in the late 98 tags. Kakihara was one of those guys that never offended me when he would show up on puro commercial tapes but he never really impressed me. He did here and had some great strikes and selling. This was a match I had seen about 5 times before but never really watched. (****)

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I've seen Ogawa before but never Kakihara. This is my MOTY so far. I loved how everything they did had a purpose like Kakihara going for his armbar and how that was his ultimate downfall. Great match.

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It was a well structured bout. Ka-ki kicked Ogawa's ass early doors before the champion caught a lucky break. He worked over the injured leg to complete a good build. Now here's where my problems with this start. Ogawa's high end moveset, or total lack thereof. If I didn't know to the contrary I'd swear he was a gaijin. He's got the most Americanised offence I've ever seen from an AJ native. If he was working for an alternate promotion it would be different, but low impact blows and sneaky flash pin attempts just isn't what I want to see from 90's Zen Nihon. I don't mind the guy in a tag environment I should point out as assets can be harnessed and deficiencies can be covered.

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Fun as hell, especially down the stretch. Ogawa isn't exactly Mr. Offense, so giving him an opening by having Kakihara fuck up his ankle on the post is a perfect match layout as he can utilize all kinds of routine offense and it's effective as long as it focuses on the leg. This goes from good to great with Kakihara's comeback--if only he hadn't stopped to clamp on a chinlock when he really had Ogawa on the ropes. The rear naked choke would have gotten over in a UWFI or even NJPW setting but in front of an All-Japan audience is sort of dies, but that's quickly forgotten about. Kakihara takes Ogawa off the top turnbuckle with a cross armbreaker, but in a brilliant move Ogawa desperately grabs at the referee and "accidentally" knocks him onto Kakihara, which breaks the hold. One more cross armbreaker attempt turns into a rollup and Ogawa steals a win and keeps his title. I get what Zenjo is saying about this sort of style in AJPW, but I like it out of Ogawa precisely because he's the *only* guy doing it. It's sort of like Jim Cornette's philosophy of having a crazy cartoony gimmick in your promotion being fine, if he's unique.

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Very cool match. Kakihara working over Ogawa with stiff shoot-like offense like a Mini-Kawada and getting the better of him with his shoot submission skills was pretty great. The legwork, aswell as the selling of it, were pretty sharp and because both guys are good defensive wrestlers, the finishing stretch was a ton of fun and not once bordering on overkill. I didn't think this was a classic or something but one of the more interesting junior matches of the 90s for sure.

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Kakihara has shown that he’s one of the best wildly unpredictable predictable underdogs in pro-wrestling and deserving of more hearts but Ogawa is one of my favorite sneaks ever and this is a terrific performance from him. Kaki really wants to high kick Ogawa in the head but he gets caught up in the ropes and Ogawa tries to take advantage…but it backfires, and we get an awesome dive tease from Kaki. In general, Ogawa’s able to avoid a lot of Kaki’s big swings, relying on his wiliness to save his skin, but as Kakikara begins to build some momentum, the tide shifts in a cool moment when he throws Ogawa into the ring post and Ogawa slumps to the floor just as Kakihara tries to kick him. Ogawa then goes to work on Kaki’s leg, pulling out the rolling legbars, the legwhips, and the ring post figure-four. When Kakihara’s able to reverse with a hold of his own, Ogawa taps out…err, no, he just repeatedly smacks the canvas. Shrugs. Kakihara stuns him with a big running slap but Ogawa answers with back-to-backdrops. He holds on to a third backdrop but can’t finish him off so Ogawa goes up top and Kaki cuts him off with an armbar takedown. Ogawa being Ogawa yanks the ref in to break up the hold and when Kaki tries again for the armbar, Ogawa’s able to pin his shoulders down to retain. Lovely.

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