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[1996-07-29-NJPW] Tatsumi Fujinami vs Kengo Kimura


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Former top juniors do battle while being much older and all grizzled up. Sounds depressing? Maybe, but this was just a ridiculously fun MUGA style match with tremendous psychology that got Korakuen Hall into a frenzy.


Fun stiff opening before Fujinami lands a big backdrop that Kimura sells huge. Kimura is still junior-sized and never a megastar like Fujinami, so he is the considerable underdog. They do some cool matwork, both guys still moving fast, Kimura desperately avoiding the Figure 4 etc. But the money here is the storytelling as Fujinami keeps getting the advantage on the mat and locking in nasty arm triangles and chokeholds, leading to Kimura desperately going for his kicks, and even an over the hill Kengo Kimura can still lay in some stiff kicks. Kimura finally catches Fujinami with a simple knee strike that Fujinami sells in amazing fashion and it's a testament to the quality of this match that such a basic spot had me verbally marking out. Korakuen Hall gets behind Kimura big time and his final comeback where he's throwing fists is exactly what you want. Matwork, stiff shots, quality underdog story, quality match overall.

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