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[1999-05-22-RINGS] Tsuyoshi Kohsaka vs Yoshihisa Yamamoto

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This was a war and Kohsaka is a machine! Koshaka is a guy who can pretty much do it all and Yammamoto has to pick his spots, but he makes them count. There was a lot of awesome drama here. I loved Kohsaka applying the knee bar and Yammamoto immediately rolling as quickly as possible to the ropes. TK teases a KO for several minutes, paint brushing Yammamoto with kicks in some cases but missing him completely for the most part. It’s clear they are setting up a payoff there. Kohsaka’s ability to apply holds from any position is pretty great. They bring the drama near the end of this and end up in a spirited strike fest that feels like a boxing match. I wanted Kohsaka to win this but I have to admit that was a great finish - just pelting Kohsaka in the corner relentlessly until he gets a KO. MOTYC.

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Incredible match. Really had a sense of progression here with the stand up getting more and more intense and the grappling ending up with progressively more dangerous submission predicaments. The grappling was great and there were some really awesome moments. The stand up was great too, there was a really good moment where Kohsaka just blasts Yammamoto with a flurry of strikes and Yammamoto gets a count for being out on his feet. By around the 10 minute mark this started to feel like a really grueling fight. Yammamoto is in a lot of trouble at the end, taking some knockdowns and having to grab some rope breaks, but comes back for the win with a huge flurry of palm strikes.

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Again, this isn't my favorite style but I appreciate what they did. Some of the strikes just sounded brutal. Nice leg submissions by Yammamoto and the finish was dramatic. Good match.

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Excellent match and draining at 15 minutes. I go back and forth whether this or their 30 minute 1997 match is my favorite. Yammamoto used his size here to try to ground KOhsaka but he had to be ever weary of the strikes and leg submissions of TK. My favorite moments was the kidney punches that each person peppered the other with sickening thuds. The ending strike exchange felt dramatic and opened the match up big time. I was surprised with the result of Yammamoto winning but it felt well deserved. ****1/4

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FYI, it's Yamamoto not Yammamoto.

 

This was a nice match, especially the early mat work before they abandoned the grappling for a stand up contest. In the end, it was a bit one sided towards Yamamoto, who already had a big height advantage. Kohsaka got a few licks in, but it felt like a comprehensively beating regardless of points. Not as epic as their '97 bout.

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Gnarly, mondo and way cool. Yammmamoto had gone up a level or two since I last saw him. I never knew he got this good. Kohsaka ruled as well although that didn't come as a surprise. The opening matwork was lightening paced and so fluid. No that wasn't Han or Tamura in there. The intensity was so high that both guys were soon sweating buckets. The standing/striking that followed was really stiff and crisp as well. Both removed their gumshields as they were gasping for breath. If there's one thing I'd add it would be a few longer perilous submissions. That's what really does it for me down the stretch in shoot style. They kept the pacing tight with not a wasted moment. Crunching knockout to finish. I'm now starting to buy the hype about the next Rings bout on the set.

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Lots of urgency all throughout this, equally spread throughout the stand-up and mat portions. I can't say that I was super-emotionally invested but this was great work with some pretty compelling strike exchanges, leading to one of the better shootstyle matches of the year.

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Yoshihisa Yamamoto vs Tsuyoshi Kohsaka - RINGS 5/22/99

RINGS would go full shoot by the end of the year and this is one of the last great worked matches. It is funny if you watch enough RINGS you can actually call the spots beforehand. For instance, on the first rope break by Yamamoto I knew they were going to do the stand up portion next. This follows the usual formula of the wrestler who goes down early wins the match outright at the end. I agree that this is not quite as good as their '97 classic, but thought this was a fantastic Kohsaka performance. Was it just me or was Yamamoto kind of out of it at times. I couldnt tell if he was selling or selling the idea he was being overwhelmed or was just lost. At one point, he just gave up on the ground game and stood up, then as Kohsaka was standing threw a kick. When I first got into RINGS, I thought Yamamoto was better, but now I am second guessing myself as Kohsaka has really given some brilliant performances. 

I thought the opening matwork was great. Yamamoto is cat-like quick in trying to re-position himself, Kohsaka was great at not getting lost in the blur. He was letting Yamamoto do his thing, blocking and then at the right moment grabbing an ankle and cinching in an anklelock. On the second scrap, he forces the rope break. Yamamoto wants to turns this into a stand up fight after getting bested on the mat. He eventually overwhelms Koshaka sending him down for the count. Kohsaka roars back trapping Yamamoto in the corner and knocks him silly on his feet. Amazing selling by Yamamoto here as he is bouncing off the turnbuckles and the ropes just to stand up right as the ref is counting and then clenches his fists to let the ref know he is ready to return to action. They return to the ground and every action drips with struggle. It is at this point Yamamoto just gives up and stands up and throws a kick like a dick when Kohsaka is returning to his feet. I think Yamamoto is selling haveing his bell rung. Yamamoto catches Kohsaka good with a slap. Good crack. Kohsaka takes him down with a front facelock. Watch Kohsaka's right knee how he uses to create distance between him Yamamoto at all times even as Yamamoto is doing all his quick spins. Kohsaka feels like the ultimate counterwrestler. Yamamoto tries 8 millions ways to try to reposition himself and keeps finding himself in holds such as a triangle choke that forces a rope break. Yamamoto cant crack the code on the mat. Kohsaka rifles him with a kick in the midsection and then a flying knee! Holy shit! Yamamoto Hulks Up! He starts throwing slaps! RINGS is a great standup promotion! This is a fight! Kohsaka throws a knee in the clinch and goes for a flying cross armbreaker, but Yamamoto pancakes him on his head. Nice block by Yamamoto! Yamamoto is just riding him and Kohsaka is breathing heavy but Yamamoto cant do anything and another Kohsaka flash hold with a heel hook forces rope break. On points, Kohsaka is killing him on the mat. It is even on stand up. Yamamoto traps him in the corner and KOs him with a relentless flurry of strikes. 

Kohsaka was the ultimate counterwrestling genius. Yamamoto is a whole lot of show on the mat, but it was Kohsaka who was the go. Yamamoto was trying to reposition himself but reposition himself into another hold. The stand up was exhilarating and very even. I didnt think the KO was that convincing and didnt feel like Yamamoto earned the victory. I did think up until the finish that this was an incredible defensive wrestling performance coupled with amazing stand up making this one of the best RINGS matches I have seen. ****1/2

 

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