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Shinya Hashimoto

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I have no idea where he will land but Hashimoto is clicking with me right now. He has an aura that helps his matches feel huge, al least the last couple I have seen. The Choshu 96 and Fujinami matches are a blast and the stretch runs are top notch, mostly because Hashinoto was so badass in the early going. It sets the table for you to be invested. Great stuff and looking to tackle more of that list above soon. 

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Love to see that Michael!

Hashimoto has a shot at being my highest ranked traditional (non-shoot) puro male. Its him or Tenryu. These days I'm leaning more towards Hashimoto

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The way we consume wrestling has changed rather dramatically since even the last run of things. Wrestling is at the same time more easily accessible than ever as well as harder to come by in the same ways. It used to be that YouTube and Daily Motion were the wild west, throw a wrestler in the search bar and you would often be met with dozens upon dozens of worthwhile matches. Those matches are still out there, more likely in walled gardens. Not something I'm opposed to, searching on YouTube would lead to a lot of crap.

This is important for Hashimoto because he's S-Tier in regards to RMT (Random Match Theory (tm)). Searching YouTube still works for Hashimoto. Despite all the copyright holders taking stuff offline, you can still dig up a ton of great stuff on Hashimoto. I only say that because anyone on the fence, anyone on this forum probably isn't but if anyone is, Hashimoto is still easy to dig into. His matches are digestible and can be viewed within a bubble to an extent. Hashimoto sells himself like few others. You "get it" when you watch him. Holds himself like a man with dynamite in all four limbs. A man ready to uncork thunder. You can't teach the vibes Hashimoto gives.

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Going through the 90's, and Hashimoto's stock has fallen with me. Which kinda makes the GWE process frustrating, because if you ask me : are you a Hashimoto fan, do you think he was a great worker, do you love watching Hashimoto ? My answers would be yes, yes and fuck yes ! Still, in the context of the GWE, and considering everything else, yep, I probably will end up being a low vote for good ol' Hash (that is, unless you don't vote for him at all).

In short, because I'd rather focus on more positive things : "short" peak, basically from late 93 to more or less 98-99 (and if I'm honest, I'd go 94-98). Before that, he wasn't that great, after 99 and the god-awful Ogawa feud, he's kind coasting to me (although if I ever get to watch more of his post prime maybe I'll change my mind). Few matches that are classics, and of course it wasn't his fault in a company like NJPW in the 90's where the great dance partners were few and far between, but the issue is that I don't think I've ever seen a truly great Hashimoto match in which I thought he was the better guy (not even talking about getting a great match out of a not so great worker). Not against Hase, not against Takada, not against Tenryu, not even against Choshu in 96 (and this one may be my Choshu bias). The Fujinami matches are terrific, but again, the awesome performances from Fuji are a big part of why they stand out so much from a usual Hash big match. And then there's the fact he never really had those great matches with Mutoh (who had several, from the very early 90's up to 99 and beyond) because, unlike most Mutoh's opponents who would actually try to work with him during the rather dire matwork sequences, Hash, especially in one match in 96, just laid the fuck around doing nothing forever and showed total disinterest. Which really is a black mark to me, as it occurred then that he was a great one note worker, absolutely awesome at what he did as long as it was what he did. But when confronted with a guy with a totally different approach, he could just lay around until he could throw some kicks and chops.

Hash had the huge advantage of being the charismatic top star of NJPW when it was at its hottest in the 90's, so his aura played *a lot* in how he's perceived. Throw him in the dead early 00's for one hour against Nakanishi or useless Yasuda, there's no way he's getting the most out of that the way Nagata did. No way. It was also talked about how he was hurt working in NJPW, and I even mentioned that fact earlier, but it also worked to his advantage to me, I'm not convinced he would have shined as much as a worker in AJPW for instance without the aura of the NJPW megastar. NO idea how he would have fared in post 00's NJPW either. Since this doesn't exist, and from what I have seen, as great as he was, and he was great, to me he absolutely doesn't measure up to the best of the current (Tanahashi and later) generation, nor to Nagata's excellent body of work over 25 years.

So there. I could go on and on about what's great about Hashimoto's game and what I love about it, but it would be being redondant with some of what's been said already. So yeah, re-watching Hashimoto has been both fun (because he was great) and a bit less fun (strictly because of the GWE process, which forces you to position yourself on a list while looking out only for what your perceive as the absolute best stuff). 

Don't hate on me, I still love Hashimoto. One of the greatest theme ever too.

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Well, because I only developed the reasons why he won't be as high in my list as he probably will be in a lot of others (judging from his last rankings and the fact he pretty much gets universal praise and barely any criticism). If I developed the reasons why he will make my list, then you probably would agree with most of what I'd say. ;) But since I don't have a lot more to add in term of why he was a great worker and basically I know I'll be a rather low vote, well, had to explain why. But like I said, this is a case where the GWE process makes it less fun (same thing happened when I was doing the top 25 TNA matches, some matches I really enjoy a lot seemed "lesser" only because they wouldn't get selected in the end, and it would not have been the case if I wasn't worrying about making a ranking list.).

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I'm interested in why you dislike the Hash/Ogawa feud. From a booking standpoint the way it finished is to me emblematic of everything wrong with 00s New Japan. The matches themselves though, those were some of Hashimoto's best performances. 

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13 minutes ago, club said:

I'm interested in why you dislike the Hash/Ogawa feud. From a booking standpoint the way it finished is to me emblematic of everything wrong with 00s New Japan. The matches themselves though, those were some of Hashimoto's best performances. 

It killed Hashimoto dead and he never was the same after this. It hurt the promotion. The work was shit. Totally disagree in them being some of Hash's best performances (those would be against Fujinami, Tenryu and Choshu). He had such an aura that of course it got super heated, but Ogawa was abysmal and Hash himself did not really shine doing the pseudo-MMA bullshit. Some super heated comebacks don't balance taking a dozen FTO in a row until the match dies (very proto Lesnar in term of finisher spamming on repeat, btw). Rewatching them with a fresh eye did not help their case at all, in a way it made it worse because it still pisses me off how they ruined Hashimoto. Their match in 97 was actually pretty good, although Hash really never was that great at the pseudo-shoot-fight stuff, ironically enough.

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Clunky yes, but I thought the pair had chemistry. The matches had such emotion. That sense it could all go off at any minute. Particularly the tag with Iizuka & Murakami and the last singles match. I'd put a lot of this on Hash in the way he held himself, and his style could fit in well with guys like this.

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Wait a second, the '95 Hashimoto/Mutoh match is a great match with one of the all-time great cinematic endings in a pro-wrestling match. They had another match in '95 that got 4 stars in the WON which I haven't seen, and now I kind of feel like watching their '93 match. 2000s Hashimoto has been extremely disappointing for me. I agree that Hashimoto has a short peak, though I would extend it to '89-98 because I like his early work a lot. I also want to add that I haven't watched every random Hashimoto match ever because New Japan is a boring promotion. I also have no problem with a short peak. It's better to have peaked than to have never peaked at all. I haven't been to this world where Nagata is a better pro-wrestler than Hashimoto but perhaps I will visit there someday. 

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Nagata beats out Hashimoto when it comes to consistency by a country mile through, and I'd say he's FAR better at carrying lesser talents given his big title reigns typically had him have to carry some downright bad guys to presentable stuff.

 Obviously if you were to weigh them by charisma or just raw intensity that would be a whole other deal but Nagata has a LOT to work with, and most of it is arguably past his prime

 

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How is a ten year old peak considered "short"?

I think Hash and Ogawa did show some chemistry, but only on the few moments of their big matches that weren't heavily marked by booking. If they let them had usual wrestling matches, I'm sure they would have been at least great.

And yeah Nagata > Hash isn't anything crazy at all. I'm not sure I'd rank them that way on GWE, but I don't have any problem with it, think it's pretty fair. I can buy the argument of Nagata having a clearly higher floor than Hash.

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I'm coincidentally on a round of Hashimoto viewing right now and I'd say all 3 of the matches I've watched so far he was clearly the best wrestler in (IWGP title defense VS Tenzan in 95 after his excursion, the US 4 way with Corino, VS Choshu from WK 2001) and were all great matches in their own right. And even against Dylan Night and Gary Steele, and especially against Tenzan, he did a great job of elevating his opponents while always looking like a world beater. I was much higher on that Tenzan match than most reviews I see out there and give it a strong recommendation. I will definitely recant my 2016 opinion that he lacks career defining feuds after digging deeper into the Tenryu and Choshu matches in particular since then. I also 6 years later find the wide range of opponents Hash had good to great matches with much more endearing, and now that I've made the commitment to vote this time around am more excited to keep exploring his career because of that variety. The question of who was better at elevating opponents between him or Nagata is an interesting one, and makes me really wish we could have seen Hash have a rivalry with an up and coming Tanahashi.

I'd also say he was great as early as 89, with performances in matches VS Zangiev, Vader, and Choshu as evidence.

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10 hours ago, ohtani's jacket said:

Wait a second, the '95 Hashimoto/Mutoh match is a great match with one of the all-time great cinematic endings in a pro-wrestling match. 

Thought it was excellent overall, with a great ending stretch, but Hash was sleeping on his ass when Mutoh was controlling at first. Not my favorite Mutoh match and clearly not my favorite Hashimoto match nor performance.  Hash vs Mutoh was usually very good, sometime better, but never reached the peak of great Mutoh matches.

9 hours ago, Tetsujin said:

How is a ten year old peak considered "short"?

I mean, of course if you consider his peak to be ten years, then it's not short, obviously. To me his peak is 5 years at best (which honestly is also not that short when I think about it).

1 hour ago, Clayton Jones said:

I'm coincidentally on a round of Hashimoto viewing right now and I'd say all 3 of the matches I've watched so far he was clearly the best wrestler in (IWGP title defense VS Tenzan in 95 after his excursion, the US 4 way with Corino, VS Choshu from WK 2001) and were all great matches in their own right.

The Tenzan match was *good* at best to me, obviously Hash was the better guy. Haven't seen the four way with Corino, but those two factors only makes me doubt it can be a great match (4 way + Corino, whom I enjoy but...). The Choshu match at WK001 was very good, and Choshu was as much responsible as Hash to me (again, maybe my Choshu bias, did I mention I love Choshu ?). I will probably end up watching more of his 00's stuff eventually though, but that's really adjustment. Won't hurt him, won't help him that much either I don't think.

1 hour ago, Clayton Jones said:

I'd also say he was great as early as 89, with performances in matches VS Zangiev, Vader, and Choshu as evidence.

Zangiev, Vader and Choshu were great then (I totally mean it including for Zangiev).  To me Hash really did not figure it out before late 1993 and was the great Hash for the first time at the Tokyo Dome against Sasaki in 94 (BTW, Sasaki is a guy who really got a bad rep for his 90's stuff, but his stock has risen quite a bit, maybe not to the point of getting into my list, but still). And at his very best I'd say until G1 Climax 98. Doesn't mean he wasn't still very good after that point, but not at the same level to me.

To be clear, there are 4 guys who will get in my list in solely on their NJPW career in the 90's (and by that I mean that it was enough for them to make it, not that it's the only thing taken in account) : Liger, Hase, Ohtani and Hashimoto. That's a pretty elite company no matter what.

9 hours ago, Ma Stump Puller said:

Nagata beats out Hashimoto when it comes to consistency by a country mile through, and I'd say he's FAR better at carrying lesser talents given his big title reigns typically had him have to carry some downright bad guys to presentable stuff.

9 hours ago, Tetsujin said:

And yeah Nagata > Hash isn't anything crazy at all. I'm not sure I'd rank them that way on GWE, but I don't have any problem with it, think it's pretty fair. I can buy the argument of Nagata having a clearly higher floor than Hash.

Well, I'm glad it doesn't seem that crazy. :) I'm currently going through Nagata's prime years, and I'm really, really impressed. I liked the guy before but wasn't too sure how his best years would compare... But that's for another thread.

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I quite enjoyed the 12/93 Hashimoto/Mutoh match. Mutoh spent the early part trying to take away Hashimoto's arm and leg, and Hashimoto grew increasingly frustrated at not being able to make any inroads in the match. Mutoh worked a strong defensive match, which makes sense when you're facing a guy with Hashimoto's striking power. Hash came off second best on one of their offensive flurries and bust his nose open. The blood trickling down his face seemed to add to his frustration, and you had a strong sense that things weren't going his way in the match. Even when they started trading near falls, Hash never stopped selling what a struggle the bout was. He wound up putting Mutoh away, but it took a huge effort and he had to battle to get the win. It wasn't a great match by either man's standards, but I'm not sure they were really shooting for an all out epic. I think they probably would have added extra near falls and made the finishing stretch longer if they were trying to go that route. Instead, what we got was an enjoyable and fairly realistic encounter between the two, which in some ways, was quite refreshing. There was no real overkill, in part because 90s wrestling was still on its upswing and the workers hadn't exhausted the audience yet but also because they didn't oversell any of the aspects I spoke about. Just a straight forward, enjoyable Hashimoto match. 

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46 minutes ago, ohtani's jacket said:

I quite enjoyed the 12/93 Hashimoto/Mutoh match. 

This is actually the first match I truly identify the debut of Hashimoto's peak with. I thought the Sasaki match at the 94 Dome was even better, and the first true Hash ace performance. Enjoyed both matches a lot.

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The 5/3/95 Hashimoto vs. Mutoh match has the kind of matwork that most people would say goes nowhere and is a waste of time. I'd be inclined to think those folks are expecting too much from New Japan matwork, but just as Hashimoto is starting to do some interesting armwork on Mutoh, they drop it and never touch the mat again. They don't even tease a big armbar submission or anything like that. They basically start running the ropes, which leads to bigger moves like suplexes. You can almost seem the clogs in their minds move as they run about. Now, I don't mind how simple the bouts are. I prefer simple New Japan heavyweight bouts to workers trying to outdo themselves with excessively long bouts. However, this had Mutoh's stamp all over it and came across as somewhat erratic. He had this weird vagabond beard and was obsessed with using a three quarter stance against Hashimoto's kicks. He looked jumpy the entire bout like he was on something. And he blew the finish. It wasn't a bad bout, but I would have preferred a match where Hashimoto was this impossible mountain for Mutoh to climb rather than Mutoh balling. It felt like Mutoh controlled too much of the bout to me and wasn't in peril enough. The action was more than okay, but the layout could have been better. 

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