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[1995-06-24-NWA New Jersey] Dan Severn vs Yoshihiro Tajiri

Phil Schneider

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This was probably a bad match to start this project with, because it really sets an impossibly high bar. This was on a high school football field in Williamstown New Jersey, and Tarzan Goto is sitting on a folding chair on the track watching the match. This is worked like a super amped up PWFG match, with Severn aggressively shooting in for takedowns and suplexes and Tajiri throwing kicks and using his speed to counter Severn's power, it feels like I was watching an Earth 2 Tajiri where he ends up trained by Funaki and fighting in Pancrase. Tajiri hits a plausible shootstyle enzigiri. Severn is awesome in this, he is totally amped up and just hurls Tajiri with suplexes, he reminded me a bit of peak Brock here especially in the where he walks through a low kick by Tajiri, hurls him with a belly to belly suplex, right into a german suplex, right into a choke. I couldn't believe how good this was, I would have lost my shit watching this in the bleachers at a 1995 indy show.

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Yeah, this was a really good claustrophobic little match. Maybe even better than the Mochizuki/Yasuraoka match I called the best 3 minute match ever like last week. I'm a huge fan of early career Tajiri, and I had no idea he could handle himself this well against such a beast. Severn was a lot like current Brock except - far more interesting...? The primitive mat- and submission work was really cool and the psychology was right aswell with Severn looking in danger despite literally being twice as big and launching his opponent around like a sack of potatoes.

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This match was an interesting caricature of shoot style, which doesn't seem like a style that ever fully developed or was often used anywhere (I'm having trouble recalling similar matches outside of maybe Super Porky vs Rey Escorpion, and even that was a different subgenre). Not a case of shoot style implementing pro-style elements for flash of vice versa, just a shooty style done more elaborately. The kicker-wrestler dynamic was a logical way to start things off-I loved how Severn would roll through with Tajiri once he got his back but them just exchanging top positions didn't really fit in. Tajiri countering a leglock by a slap rush was awesome and a somewhat fascinating spot for a 1995 New Jersey show. Severn killing off Tajiri ruled too-ragdolling Tajiri into the ropes, setting up suplexes by getting control on the ground and then lifting him or bouncing off the ropes while already holding him for momentum, swell stuff all around. ***1/4

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  • GSR changed the title to [1995-06-24-NWA New Jersey] Dan Severn vs Yoshihiro Tajiri

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