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[2001-01-04-NJPW-Wrestling World 2001] Shinya Hashimoto vs Riki Choshu

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This was Hashimoto and Choshu beating the crap out of each other -- just tons of kicks, lariats, chops, and punches. One DDT from Hashimoto but it was mostly him being a dick, stalling at the beginning, and then not letting up on Choshu at the end, forcing Fujinami to throw in the towel. The selling was pretty great from both guys and Choshu comes off as the sympathetic defender of NJPW. Tons of heat with a hot crowd.

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It's incredible to see this match only a year after the absolutely insane tag match he had with Iizuka against the invading UFO guys in Ogawa and Murakami. Always liked how these guys matched up.

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Really last NJPW for Hashimoto properly.  This has a shit finish that really derails what up to that point was setting up to be another splendid Tokyo Dome Hashimoto encounter.  This was worked clash of the titans style but both men just beat the crap out of each other for the duration of the match.  Choshu was certainly wounded but he could potato the shots that needed to carry the intensity and stiffness of the match overall. Fujinami coming in again is bullshit and the crowd didn’t respond well. I can see some saying this was too old and plodding and chalking the match as a whole as bad inoki-ism but I was captivated up to the very end and these two are still some of the most charismatic wrestlers inside the promotion at this moment in time. **** (7.9)

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Wonderful pride-driven slugfest.  Hashimoto not engaging Choshu at the start is great stuff.  Of course they hit hard and sell well as they trade back and forth.  Hashimoto specifically has some incredible facial sells to get things over.  I didn't hate the finish either.

***1/2

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I did hate the finish, and I'm finding I hate a lot of Choshu finishes in singles matches, but I loved everything else. Two guys that excel painting in broad strokes having the type of match they both thrive in. Big moments, huge strikes, even a simple lock up feels like it moves the ground under the ring. They both project such huge personas and back it up with everything they do in this match. The only Inoki-ism criticism I have is the dud of a finish, and that that's what the fans had to settle for after an epic war up until that point.

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