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[2019-02-17-DDT-Judgement] Shinya Aoki vs HARASHIMA


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This is the end of Aoki in DDT for now, but there's many IGF matches of his that I haven't seen and are probably good.

The match delivered all I expected from it, and I'd say is an improvement on their already very good first match. I don't see many people excited about Aoki's DDT run, but I am and I think a spot on this match elucidates why. There's even a moment where Aoki deliberately crosses HARASHIMA's ankles, as HARA has his back, and pushes downwards with his leg. This applies pressure on your ankle and you can see it used as a submission in QUINTET Fight Night 2, which took place just weeks ago, but also in jiujitsu dojos all across the world when taking your first lessons. You don't see stuff like that in pro wrestling enough. It makes any given match much richer to have someone with a wealth of submission grappling experience and a willingness to just do new shit that he's thought up. It's kind of a shame that HARA is the only DDT guy who could really trade submissions and keep up with him on the mat, but I don't think Aoki had a single boring match in this run.

I also found the story of this match and the short series between these two very compelling, as HARASHIMA survives and eventually wins with very pro wrestling methods. He bests Aoki in tests of strenght, he pulls off a giant swing and a gamengiri. Even the piledriver, which he'd hit in the first singles match and sets up his finisher this time, is not something he normally uses but differentiates him against Aoki. He wins with the always reliable somato after the piledriver.

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This was a lot of fun. There's a ton of cool holds and transitions throughout, with Aoki obviously being the slicker of the two but HARASHIMA loves to at least try. The way Aoki works his way into the leglock was cool, following that up by just torquing the hell out of HARASHIMA's ankle. The mix of pro-wrestling moves felt pretty organic within the context of the match and although the crowd was pretty quiet, the fans still seemed engaged by what was going on. Pretty quick finishing stretch but I thought this was better than their first match. 

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