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[1991-12-12-SWS/WWF] Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Ishinriki

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So just a couple days ago after watching that tag I looked up Fujiwaras matches in SWS and how did this fly under my radar? This was really good and an excellent example of how to work a quasi-shootstyle match in a big stadium. Ishinriki has looked good in matches I've seen him in, but he completely blew me away here. Pretty unique structure with Fujiwara not being very dominant at all as Ishinriki constantly pushed him. It makes sense for a sumo guy to have a strong standing game to prevent getting thrown as shown here. The sumo rushes ruled obviously as did Fujiwaras sudden kick combos. This is a rare match where Fujiwara gets frustrated throughout. Ishinriki landing PRIDE stomps on the ground made me wish more juniors would try to set up a flying move like that. Classic finish. This had great heat, nasty strikes throughout and a couple big moments.

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This might be the most non-WWF match to ever take place on a card that WWF had anything to do with. It was more PWFG than even SWS and the Dome setting made for a cool atmosphere. What a fun, niggly little fight. I really have no clue how good Ishinriki is. He's an ex-sumo guy but way smaller than your other ex-sumo guys who turned to pro wrestling and to my knowledge I've never seen him in anything else. I'd need to see more to get a proper handle on him because this could've been a Fujiwara broomstick show for all I know. I mean, Fujiwara was spectacular. He was at his derisory best here, ruffling Ishinriki's hair on a corner break, giving him a mocking "well done, champ" pat as he would catch strikes, waiting until Ishinriki went to the top rope before walking away with a smirk on his face, just fucking with the guy as the crowd ate it up completely. Then Ishinriki would turn up the nastiness and you could see it getting to Fujiwara. The first headbutt he threw was an absolute peach and I don't think Ishinriki expected it, but it was Ishinriki who started it with a slap. You don't usually see Fujiwara throw kick combos and often when he does they're sort of condescending, but he about took Ishinriki's jaw off with a head kick and it was one of the all-time great Fujiwara spots. Ishinriki getting frustrated and throwing crowbar uppercuts, head stomps and liver kicks ruled. It annoyed Fujiwara in kind and as the match went on that attitude of his had a growing menace to it. I don't even know how he managed to apply that armbar the way he did but you can add it to the highlight reel of Fujiwara flash finishes. These guys had another match this year which is...well that's pretty random, right?
 

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