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[1999-10-17-BattlARTS] Taka Michinoku vs Minoru Tanaka

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This is an outlier in terms of the usual BattlARTS style, if only because these guys are much smoother than your Ishikawa-Ikeda types, for whom being rough around the edges is part of their appeal. So this is not at all something I'd put on a BattlARTS starter comp. But it's a great, great match otherwise. They decided to do a New Japan juniors match with a lot more matwork than your usual New Japan juniors match, and they rely on traditional pro wrestling staples to build drama in a more overt way than BattlARTS normally does. It reminds me of the Otani-Samurai matches, but even more in that direction. That's probably a part of why it got some play at the time. This was a late-entry MOTYC, which is a breath of fresh air in a time where the talking segments are getting out of control.

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Only in Japan could you get a WWF guy vs a new Japan guy in another promotions ring. This was a little long but good. A mix between NJ junior/WWF heel style and Battlarts. Love that the first move is a kick to the head that Taka sells great. Good match in a time that those weren't happening much.

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The first move of the match is a devastating head kick. Taka fails to make the referees 10 count and the match is over. What? It isn't over? See the ref stopped his count at 9 because that wasn't the agreed upon finish. Well that's okay then.

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Really awesome match that really gets going into the home stretch. There's definitely a strong juniors influence here that makes it unique. They may just have went overboard with leg submission after leg submission but each one was set up really well so it's hard to complain. The last minute or two are really great with a nice tease a payoff to the Taka driver and a camel clutch of all things finishing it. Lacks the brutality and attention to detail a lot of BattlARTS matches have but more than makes up for it with the unique juniors influence. Tanaka's having a good month!

 

And despite not having the great grappling to the level of a lot of BattlARTS classics, Tanaka does pull off a really cool head and arm choke.

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This was a great match. I loved the opening with Tanaka just getting a huge head kick and then wanting to pounce on Taka and being proud of his accomplishment. Taka gathers his bearings and then comes back with some grounded work and the match flows from there. The home stretch really opens up and shows the strategies of both men. Each leg submission felt brutal and the final submission attempts felt like a climax of the match that was laid before it. I was surprised but enlightened by Taka winning with the camel clutch. A great match that kind of comes out of nowhere but does feature two very good workers overall. **** (8.1)

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A really good match where Taka looks completely overwhelmed for most of it but manages to make a big comeback, starting with a killer German suplex, to pull off a pretty shocking win. This was a longer and more competitive version of Taka vs. Fujiwara.

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