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[2000-01-09-Michinoku Pro] CIMA vs Minoru Fujita

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I really hate this gym that M-Pro insisted on running. It feels like we are interrupting training camp for a football team or something to have a wrestling match. This match gets off to a hot start and then Fujita takes control by cranking out the arm. Some really good stuff here of him simply but viciously taking apart the arm. Fujita also does a great job of never staying with anything long enough to make the match drag but the work also feels focused. That fine line is what makes for a good control sequence and a bad one. CIMA fires off going after the leg and he does a good job of still selling the residual effects of the arm work done by Fujita. CIMA does an admirable job working over the leg here too. CIMA gets great air on some of his rope squats on top of the leg. A brutal neckbreaker results with Fujita tied in the tree of woe putting more torque on his leg. The match goes into the finishing stretch and they do an effective job of still selling the damage done before. Fujita takes the strategy of using his leg a good bit but always selling the damage afterward. CIMA essentially had his bad arm as completely neutralized. CIMA gets desperate after taking some huge suplexes from Fujita and hits the referee in “accidental” fashion. Nearfalls really get the crowd worked up and I liked how once CIMA gained control that was pretty much it for Fujita as CIMA is able to gain the victory. Really good juniors action. ***3/4

 

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This was outstanding. I get the sense watching this that CIMA was a huge fan of American wrestling. He does an obnoxious entrance, throws a great working punch, places a priority on being a great heel and sells the shit out of everything done to him. They also start the match by Fujita running to the ring during his entrance to brawl, which is not a match start you see very often in Japan. Both guys are very capable of escalating the pace when the match calls for it, but have a good sense of when to speed up and slow down. CIMA in particular seems years ahead of his experience level. Fujita of course does really well for himself too, and they both occupy time going after body parts -- for Fujita, it's CIMA's arm, and for CIMA, it's Fujita's leg. This is the first long singles match I've ever seen from CIMA and he looks phenomenal in it, going more in the tradition of Dick Togo than Ultimo Dragon in terms of his working style. They probably did a little too much at times or I might have gone higher, but this was awesome and gets me excited for what's to come for both guys. ****1/4

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Echoed most of my thoughts before when rewatching but did up the rating to **** based mainly on the back of the leg work CIMA did and how he rolled through the finishing sequence with a ton of confidence.

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Check out CIMA in this match! Check out CIMA building around limb work and long-term selling! Check out the confidence and star power of a 23-year old who hadn't yet been wrestling for three years! It's pretty damned impressive. MiFu's hyper-speed semi-hemi-demi shoot-style work is pretty good here, too. I liked his selling here: He didn't stop being able to use his leg... but every time he used it he sold it more and more so you could see the damage accumulating. That works for me.

 

These guys had a 12-minute match some time in 1999 and it was one of those matches where it was exciting but they were obviously trying to cram too much stuff into a short match... but here they have enough room to breathe and they use it really well, building more logically and selling a lot more. The ending was fast, exciting, and full of big moves but (amazingly for a Japanese indie in the year 2000) they did not overdo the 2.99s! This match ended exactly when it should have.

 

Loved the crowd buying into MiFu's near-falls.

 

Seeing Ted Tanabe in there doing his usual stellar job as ref gave me all kinds of sad and nostalgic feelings.

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Very good match here. CIMA is early in his career and is already looking great. Both guys do a good job of working body parts (Fujita goes after CIMA's arm and CIMA goes after Fujita's leg). Fujita does a great job of selling the leg and continues to do so throughout the match. CIMA showcases a lot of charisma in this one and he seems to have already established a moveset that we still see today. They may have done a little too much in the finishing stretch, but I enjoyed this one a great deal.

 

****

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This feels like something I probably watched on an early Schneider Comp. I didn't really have high expectations for it since CIMA is a guy I haven't cared about for around twelve years, and Fujita has never left much of an impression on me from the first time I saw him, but I wound up thinking this was rock solid. Thought CIMA sold the early work on his arm well, then dropped it when it felt appropriate. It's not like a ton of time was dedicated to working it over, so he wasn't going to leave it hanging by his side the whole match. The legwork on Fujita lasted long enough as well that by the time they moved into the finishing run, it felt like Fujita had mostly recovered from it. He sold enough in the immediate aftermath that CIMA's stretch of legwork didn't feel meaningless (I'll echo that neckbreaker into tree-of-woe being super nasty, btw). The match length probably helped that. I don't remember when it started, but at some point in the last ten years a ton of juniors matches seemed to go half an hour or longer, and it made things feel really wonky. You'd have someone getting their leg torn to bits for ten minutes straight, then a switch would flip and they'd move into the ten minute finishing run without the leg ever being a factor thereafter. That criticism might be old hat these, but certainly used to bug me. With this only going 17 minutes they got to stretch out and build to a hot finish, and the middle portion never felt bloated with limb work that wasn't going to factor into the finish, anyway. They used their time and laid things out really well, basically. And I don't even think they overdid it with the finishing run, either. It ended with the crowd at their hottest and none of the kickouts felt like they were too much.

 

I'm glad I never skipped this.

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No matter what you think of the ultimate direction this style took, it's hard to argue CIMA was anything less than a big-time talent. Everything he did here, from the basics to the big moves in the finishing stretch, looked great. Fujita looked good too, though his selling of CIMA's legwork was spotty. After initially worrying that this might drag, I was pleasantly surprised by how well they paced it. Very good stuff overall.

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Very good match. Nice showmanship from CIMA in his introduction. They started with fast brawling, but then moved to limbwork. I was impressed that each used varying moves to work on the arm or leg. They both sold enough that the limbwork kept its meaning. I look forward to seeing more CIMA.

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Solid match that was most notable for CIMA's commitment to working as a heel. Its not something I'm accustomed to seeing played up so strongly in Japan and as a result really stood out here. They seemed conscientious to pick up the action before slowing it down again on a number of occasions while building the match. While appreciated, I'm not quite as high as some others seem to be as it didn't quite seem like they had enough material to fill the time allotted. It still built to a nice finishing stretch with some big action that felt significant down the stretch.

 

***1/4

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I'm not 100% sold on CIMA yet. People have been praising him for working like an American heel, but the last thing I want is a Japanese wrestler to work like an American heel. I don't really want him or her to work like a Mexican heel either. I don't know if there's such a thing as an authentic Japanese heel outside of US 50s footage, but I'll keep watching to see if he makes this decade his own as has been suggested. Fujita was okay in this, but quasi shoot style is starting to annoy me. This was a bit too long but struck some sweet notes during the finishing stretch.

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Though I consider myself a big CIMA fan, I have to say that most of what I have seen of him is post Crazy Max era. You can clearly see the American influence on his style in this match that would shape his ring work and persona in the years succeeding. The match itself is solid, if unspectacular to my mind. Some nice psychology and legwork from CIMA coupled with some inconsistent selling brought it down a notch for me. I'm not super familiar with Fujita apart from his run as the slightly less dynamic partner of Ikotu Hidaka in Zero-1, a team I have always had a lot of time for. Fujita was fine here but didn't really do anything that would make me go out of my way to find more of his singles portfolio.

 

CIMA's obnoxious character work pre-match is clearly the standout moment for me. I look forward to following this project and seeing how his character progresses through these early months of the decade.

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I think the most interesting thing in this match was the ref bump that led to nothing. That's new and kinda refreshing. Also refreshing that this was worked mostly clean and didn't feature much Crazy Max interference. Still however, I thought this was kinda boring. Both guys looked the same and didn't really stand out.

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Probably my favourite match so far. Really enjoyed it as a whole. CIMA looks fantastic here, not a lot has changed CIMA wise. Even his gear is pretty similar to what it is bar colour years later.

 

***1/2

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This was a really fun match. I liked Fujita's arm work at the beginning, and thought the way he worked into the Americana and flying armbar attempt were pretty sweet. CIMA is fantastic in this, his work on the leg was wqually as good, but more in a pro-wrasslin' way than shoot style.

 

I am surprised to hear a fee people mentioning about them doing a bit too much at the finishing stretch. Perhaps because I watched Naito/Omega from the G1 finals earlier in the day I am a little desensitised! I thought they did just the right amount in this match, looking forward to CIMA's journey throughout the 00's and am keen to see more Fujita, who looked way better in this match than I remember him being.

 

****

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A really well worked match. I agree with soup about how the kept the arm work interesting at the beginning by never staying too long on one thing, as well as keeping it varied. I liked the finishing stretch. I think it's a bit unfair to say they did too much, as it's not like we had 10+ minutes of bomb after bomb, rather it was actually a fairly short section.

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Hey, it's WCW veteran Shiima Nobunaga! I remember the days when Minoru Fujita got a ton of hate on the Puroresu Fan board during his hot streak with Ikuto Hidaka as members of Skull & Bones in ZERO ONE. That was about 4-5 years after this match took place.

 

CIMA throws a mean elbow in the corner which is a lost art now a days. I enjoyed the second half of the match as they really got the fans going and just before it began going overboard they wrapped it up. Nice touch in them not opting to kick out of each others finishers leading to endless 2.999999 kickouts.

 

***3/4

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Echo a lot of the same comments that have already been made. CIMA was great, his interaction with the crowd in the intro was great and his execution was good. I thought it was a good match but not great, part of it I didn't really like Fujita here. I didn't buy his offense, but CIMA was great.

 

***1/2

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The inconsistent selling and match length brings this down considerably. Great finishing stretch with a super hot crowd almost saves this, but I don't know -- the majority of this match was very average to me. 

**¾
 

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