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Jetlag

[1998-03-05-BattlARTS] Yuki Ishikawa & Tomoaki Honma vs Minoru Fujita & Katsumi Usuda

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I really like the Best of BattlARTS comp, however, the fact that matches like this are missing from it – and thus are being overlooked – is crazy. Believe me when I say this was crazy good, not just „eh, why not check out this match, some good matwork and stuff“, seriously probably the best tag they did that year. This matchup the previous month was more of your typical slow building BattlARTS main event with solid mat exchanges throughout and so on, this on the other hand was a fucking house of fire, and it was very different, while still sticking to the story of Honma & Fujita as trying to prove themselves in the house of BattlARTS. So right at the get go Honma starts dropping bombs on Usuda, hitting him with a diving headbutt in the middle of a mat exchange and following up with a huge dive and some crazy high kicks of his own. Usuda desperately using his superior shoot skills to regain the advantage was really great and the opening exchanges really made me believe the match could end at anytime. To follow that up, all the Ishikawa/Usuda exchanges were insanely violent, full punch-you-in-the-face-kick-you-in-the-eye barfight mode, setting the table for their singles match. Fujita was great once again, having an awesome slick mat exchange with Honma and constantly working for his signature submission hold, he also dumped him with one of the most brutal german suplexes I've ever seen, not just from a tiny dude like him. I also loved how he desperately tried to escape Ishikawa's armbreaker. Seriously this whole thing was so intense and hard fought, both the BJW boys really lost their calling as BattlARTS/quasi shootstyle guys. Really loved all the Usuda/Honma exchanges as whenever these two started trading you felt someone was about to get knocked out, and Usuda twisting up Honma on the mat near the end was just spectacular. There is one major goof where Fujita no-sells a brainbuster, but honestly the rest of this was so fucking good and just classic BattlARTS hybrid wrestling material that I can forgive it.

 

 

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I had no idea Honma ever worked Battlarts. I wasn't sure how he'd fit coming from a deathmatch fed and all, but he took to the style pretty well and we knew already that he wasn't shy about hitting and being hit really fucking hard. Ishikawa was absolutely world class here, which shouldn't really be surprising but it's been a minute since I've watched him. His exchanges with Usuda were stellar and there was one moment where he countered a headbutt by punching Usuda dead in the nose. Everything he did on the mat looked great as well, just airtight and ferocious. Fujita is still a touch raw but I thought he was a really good underdog, everything was frantic and his scrambling and striking was rapid fast. Other than that goofy fighting spirit part midway through he was more or less on top form, and even the fighting spirit part was more delayed selling than outright no-selling, so lesser of two evils and whatnot. 

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