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[2006-03-22-Big Mouth Loud] Kazunari Murakami vs Kensuke Sasaki

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This might be the greatest squash I've ever watched. I love watching Kensuke beat the shit out of people, there a lot of guys that use offence similar to Kensuke today like Sekimoto, Okabayashi, Hino etc., part of the problem with them is probably that they're too selfless and end up doing shitty modern puro tropes and as a result neither guy in the match looks good, Kensuke only cares about looking strong and he is much better at projecting himself as a badass asskicker than the modern guys and he also does a lot of great looking combination and moves current guys don't like the sandwich lariats, chops to the throat and neck etc. His matches are also a lot less likely to feel stale-there is a lot more urgency behind his movement and it feels like he is trying to win when he throws himself at his opponent with these big power moves. So yeah. That should have been my Kensuke Sasaki GWO case. Sorry mate. I'll do you justice by 2026 I promise. Anyway. Kazunari Murakami is amazing at getting annihilated-he takes an insane bump over the top rope for a chop and just generally does such awesome facial expression while getting beaten up and tries to fight out of the position he's in. He never quite does-he hits some nice punches and kicks for a moment but quickly loses control. Still the match feels like a lot more than just a squash. I loved Kensuke's Ipponseoi counter to Murakami's haymaker and liked the restart of the match-the thirty additional seconds we got felt like an ending of an all time classic. I hope their match from Kensuke's vanity fed is still preserved somewhere I have to rewatch that one as soon as possible now. ***1/2.

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Great review. This sounds really fun. I love me some Kensuke and you do a good job explaining why Kensuke stiffness and power is better than most. Sugiura was exposed against Sasaki because Sasaki was so much better. I love me some Murakami so this is very intriguing.

 

I know you love Sasaki the asskicker but to show some versatility watch the 2008 Morishima match nobody has ever made Morishima look as good as Kensuke. Best Kensuke individual performance

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watch the 2008 Morishima match

Like I haven't watched it already :) It's a great match. I'll see whether or not internet wayback machine preserved my review.

 

I'm a big Sugiura fan as well but he's definitely not as good as Sasaki. I think the NOAH style was doomed once it became about "the stuff" rather than about constructing matches that happened to include "the stuff", but for a while they still had enough workers good enough to have great matches in that style. I still think peak Sugiura was a great performer-but getting that style right took a lot of effort , and he was never the type of wrestler to get more out of doing less and never seemed to grasp how to build a match in a way to get the crowd invested in it and maximize the reactions to what he's doing. He just went out there and did his stuff, sometimes to thunderous applause and sometimes (and predominantly in recent years) to crickets.

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Very entertaining match. Sasaki murders Murakami in this. Absolutely bulldozes him with a lariat at the opening bell. Chops him over the top. When Murakami avoids the Northern Lights Bomb with a knee Sasaki goes high to the throat with the chop was that great. Corner stuff was great with the chops and lariats. Murakami's facial expressions as always are just money and Sasaki was just lighting him up. I love how once Murakami has the advantage in the corner and the ref pulls him off he is all like WTF where were you when that was happening to me and then all of sudden BOOM Kensuke just WRECKS HIM! Sasaki special armdrag takeover and Lariat win him the match. Agreed one of the best squashes ever. ***1/2

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