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[2017-03-05-BJW] Daisuke Sekimoto vs Hideki Suzuki

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Suzuki's one of the most engaging wrestlers to watch in the ring but works in such a cool-headed, almost nonchalant way, reserving most of his energy to unleash these micro-explosions of offense throughout. There's very little downtime with Suzuki and his spontaneity is incredible. There's a lot of great examples of this throughout, like the small package on a doubled over Sekimoto, the sleeper hold off the pin attempt, and kneeing Sekimoto off when he tries to cover him. And because Suzuki's such a maestro on the mat, I think I underrated him as a striker but he throws great strikes -- some of the best snap elbows and I love the way he lays into his uppercuts.The story was technique vs. power, with the hyper-alert challenger taking the powerhouse champ a few clicks past empty. Suzuki immediately sells Sekimoto's strength in their first lock-up but he's able to shows off his ring smarts early on with some take downs and ground control, leaving Sekimoto huffing. They do a really good job of teasing Suzuki's dragon and double arm suplexes. The match loses a little bit of steam when Sekimoto takes over on offense but he's still as intense as always. There's some great counter sequences and ultimately Suzuki comes back out on top and starts targeting Sekimoto's head and neck. It turns into a war of attrition as they empty bombshells and slug away at each other in exhaustion. This is where Suzuki's energy reserve comes into play as he tries to capitalize on Sekimoto's lack thereof. Terrific selling in the end as they're both so drained, they don't even have the energy to effectively execute their respective finishers. Maybe this wasn't the match I was hoping for but it became a match I really enjoyed. There wasn't a particularly loud crowd but that's been the trend with these BJW Strong Heavyweight title matches. I won't be shocked if Sekimoto retains in their rematch but Suzuki came away looking like a true badass.

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If you are gonna do a long back and forth match, THIS is how I want it to be. There's no control section, there's a lot of moves (though not a huge amount) and there's spotty selling, BUT almost everything felt earned. The struggle for control in this match was fucking awesome and I loved it, each guy had to either battle like crazy or outsmart the other to hit a big move or pull off a submission, even the reversals felt like a legit struggle to gain the upper hand instead of choreographed bullshit (loved the little things they did, specially in the beginning, like Suzuki getting out of the test of strength, Sekimoto waiting for the right time to lock in the Boston Crab).
Suzuki was very impressive in this, his focus on outsmarting Daisuke's with headlocks, sleepers and submissions was compelling as fuck to see. I also loved how he avoided getting german suplexed like it was the plague. The only criticism I have for him is that he can't emote for shit, so every time he no sold it looked like he was just shrugging shit off to get to the next sequence instead of showing fighting spirit or resilience.
I was curious about this match because Daisuke tends to get worse the longer the match is, and considering it was for his title I thought this was going to be a lot of filler with a big ending sequence. But not at all, this was focused Sekimoto instead of "ram against your opponent 100 times as fast as possible" Sekimoto and it worked for the kind of match they were going for. The times he no sold or went full speed felt more like desperation attempts to regain control or to spot Suzuki's momentum than just crashing against his opponent to get a pop.
It did surprise me how Korakuen never really came unglued. They were really into both of them, they popped for real simple stuff but didn't really buy the nearfalls, it was like they expected the result from the get go and were just enjoying the ride. I hope they are hyped for the rematch later this month and I really hope Sekimoto and Suzuki do something similar to this with a better final sequence to get a real winner.

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I'm going to go ahead and say they missed the mark on one of the more important things in this type of match, which is really making the crowd buy into the drama. A big reason for that is probably the first pin in the match resulted in a 2 count and at least half of the kick-outs were 2.9 counts, that's completely against the philosophy of how a match like this should be worked (with the timing of the kick-outs getting later and later and the 2.9 counts being reserved for the finishing minutes). I mean, it's not like the match couldn't have been any better, but aside from that it really feels like nitpicking. I agree this is a great example of how to build a long back and forth match-which makes their mistakes that much more devastating and regrettable. One of my favourite things in the match was that, even when they did the rope running transitions I'm allergic to, they were really good, as Sekimoto was actually attempting a move (and one quite important in his arsenal as well) and Sekimoto would until the very end to sway and grab onto him. That's just so much cooler than countering nothing with a move you can do from some other situation. Sekimoto is a meathead whose COM logic would be quite easy to edit in Fire Pro-you know what you're getting out of him, you know what he does in what scenarios. I think that limits the quality of his matches most of the time, but there's an a solid foundation in what he does, which probably explains why he's such a good trainer. Suzuki really pushed to match in the direction it went-with the emphasis on struggle instead of a ridiculous war of attrition and repetition. Whether it was Suzuki Uppercuting Sekimoto on the Lariat attempt he always does (usually successfully) after eating a German Suplex, Suzuki blocking a Boston Crab by grabbing Sekimoto's ankle and neck and Sekimoto having to earn an opening by pinning Suzuki to transition into the submission, the the sandbagging of the opponent's finishers, desperately throwing themselves into pins or continuing to strike away when when they were floored, this match was full of great, memorable moments and a rare modern japanese wrestling showcase of how I envision great wrestling. ****1/4

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