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[2000-05-05-FMW] Hayabusa vs Masato Tanaka

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I wasn’t crazy about watching the build in real time but the five minute video package they do here really is well done and gets you hyped for the match. The entrances and presentation feel big time. Jinsei Shinzaki comes out to take a rindside seat. As for the match proper, this was a tremendous Hayabusa performance. Much like Sabu, he can be inconsistent but he was completely on point here with his execution and his more emotional tones. Sometimes Hayabusa’s selling is suspect but I thought he gave more openings here that Tanaka didn’t take advantage of for whatever reason. An example is him going forearm first into the table a few minutes after Tanaka hit him in the arm with the chair on the outside. The story revolves around Tanaka trying to ground Hayabusa’s attack with huge bombs and rest holds at the scent of Busa gaining momentum. Tanaka hits a huge powerbomb from the ring to the floor where Busa just barely catches a table and takes a ton of punishment. That is tough to watch for someone we know got so physically broken down pretty soon after this. I can see some criticism of the fact that Busa fires off a couple of suplexes that Tanaka no sells and gets right up from. I think in a weird way that worked for me here in that Tanaka is a huge bomb monster where it takes a combination to take him down. Busa finally is able to get some sustained offense for a nearfall as we near the end of the match. Tanaka busts out the whole arsenal in trying to put Busa away but is unable to with Shinzaki looking on as stoic as ever. Busa blocks the running forearm and hits the Kanemura powerbomb followed by the Emerald Flowsion to win as the crowd rushes the ring. They certainly went big here with a ton of kickouts and as many moves as both men could possibly through out. It will be a point of subjective taste, but it felt earned and deserved for me in this match. This match wont be for everyone but it was for me. ****1/4

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This may end up the match where we are farthest apart. I thought this came across like a bad ECW fancam match that would never end, with an excessive finishing stretch tacked on to the end. I actually feel guilty when I don't like matches in this project, especially those otherwise praised, but this was a bunch of dumb table spots with no heat, then a finishing stretch with no heat. And when you're relying on whatever melodrama they were going for with Shinzaki and all the nearfalls, you sort of need that for it to click.

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I felt like the flow, pacing, and spacing of moves throughout the first half of the match was really great and this felt like it was building so beautifully. But the further it went on, specifically after Hayabusa's sort of blown phoenix splash, it just felt like it dragged on a bit too much. I don't mind the idea of both guys emptying their tanks against each other but it felt sort of overkill here or at least diminishing returns.

 

***

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There was a point about halfway through this match where I thought it was going to be something great, but then it just kept going and seemed excessive. To give it credit though, this match is ahead of its time and fits in perfectly with what seems to be in vogue today with modern wrestling. The crowd seemed really into it and we get a great visual of Jinsei Shinzaki sitting stoically while the crowd rushes to the guardrail when Hayabusa picks up the win.

 

***1/2

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This felt like one of those NXT title matches from the Nakamura era like Nakamura/Joe. The story is good and the action is fine but they give no reason to care. Like Hayabusa has his mask on but it doesn't really change anything. Just couldn't get into this at all.

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I thought this was pretty good... Easily the best and only memorable match from this card we've seen. Giving the backstory to it, this was the perfect way to end it with Hayabusa finally getting one back for FMW. I also agree this was worked in a similar vein to a lot of the modern stuff we see get highly praised.

 

***

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This started off slow, and Tanaka isn't compelling when working from underneath. It picked up when they switched to working with the table, which played more to Tanaka's strengths. Hayabusa hit everything cleanly in his middle of the match comeback, though when you have seen a Hayabusa match, you know none of his spectacular flying moves ever put anybody away. Watching Hayabusa's neck during the overshot throw onto the table was painful. The headdrops and the kickouts gave it a big match feel, but Hayabusa and Tanaka lacked the selling to really push this to a great match.

 

***

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I had no idea what the story was here and couldn't be arsed reading up on it. The beginning to this match was as heatless and rudderless as you could possibly imagine. I actually thought it was pretty terrible pro-wrestling. Then Tanaka woke me from my apathy by absolutely abusing Hayabusa and after that they threw some decent bombs. The match as a whole felt like a failure, though. I don't know what it is with Hayabusa. He aims for the sky with every single match and always falls to the ground. 

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As far as spectacular bombfests go, this is... certainly one of them. I actually did enjoy the reckless excessiveness of it all -- because cool spots are, well, cool to watch -- but it severely lacked the selling and pacing that great, or even very good, matches of this ilk have. I’d probably rate this higher if this was a ten-minute sprint instead of a pretend epic.

Stray Observations:

  • Hayabusa lands straight on his neck in a massive table bump, and then follows it up by bumping straight on top of his head on a sleeper suplex. Knowing his fate, this is kind of hard to watch. 
  • Jinsei Shinzaki sits stoically in the crowd, and we get multiple cuts to him throughout the match of him just staring at the match while doing his best Drax impression of staying so still that he becomes invisible.

Rating: ***
 

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