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[2018-03-14-WRESTLE-1] Shotaro Ashino vs Manabu Soya


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Ashino's guy who looks like a million bucks but he often comes off as cosplaying a "technical wrestler" and lacked the edge that fit his throwback aesthetic. While I enjoyed his match against Soya from last year, his performance didn't quite connect with me on the level I was expecting. That being said, his rematch with Soya from last month checked most of my pro-wrestling boxes. Here, Ashino played the self-assured badass champ, and Soya the loveable Manabu Nakanishi underdog. Ashino's aggressive armwork was great as he tried to neutralize Soya's lariat while still teasing his signature ankle lock, which he's used to win all of his previous matches. Soya's selling was really good, even when mounting a comeback on offense. After he blasts Ashino with a gnarly headbutt, he thinks he can finish him off with the lariat but Ashino bitchslaps the attempt away and drops him with a German suplex. Ashino works the ankle lock for awhile, which results in him maneuvering around the mat in order to maintain control, but the next turning point in the match was Soya's awesome superplex, which felt like the biggest move of the match, despite later hitting Ashino with a Death Valley Bomb and package piledriver. He's able to deliver a lariat to the back of Ashino's head but when he tries again to finish him off, Ashino catches him in a Fujiwara armbar, working that a bit, before he proceeds to remove the tape and destroy the arm with a fall-a-way armbreaker. Then he smartly traps the arm and re-applies the ankle hold. The finish was teased and built throughout the match and despite having his arm worked on extensively, Soya was determined to finish Ashino off with that lariat -- but he really had to really fight for it. Easily Ashino's best overall performance and probably the best W1 match in recent memory.

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  • 1 month later...

I thought the arm work was overdone just a tad, but loved just how brutal and merciless Ashino was. Soya was also a great babyface who had just enough gas and power in the tank to overcome Ashino. However, pinning him with the lariat arm that had been worked over so severely was a bit off.


Still, a wonderfully violent match and nearly picture-perfect way for Ashino's reign to come to an end. ****1/2.

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  • GSR changed the title to [2018-03-14-WRESTLE-1] Shotaro Ashino vs Manabu Soya

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