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[1989-12-06-NJPW] Takashi Iizuka vs Khabil Biktashev

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Takashi Iizuka vs. Khabil Biktashev (NJPW 12/6/1989)

It's Sambo Pro Wrestling baby~! Biktashev is yet another East European/Caucasian shooter who fought Naoya Ogawa in judo and is decidedly good at pro wrestling. At this point, can we say the Soviet Union produced the most natural pro wrestlers ever? This is really a hidden gem. It's a rounds match with both guys mostly working the mat and it builds to some really big drama. Biktashev wears a jacket, so Iizuka controls the first round dragging him by the jacket. The second round Biktashev gets some more amateur style takedowns on Iizuka. The 3rd round onwards Iizuka just gives Biktashev the business kicking the crap out of him. Iizuka really looks like he was made for this kind of match, busting out cool takedowns and matwork. He would've had a great career if he had more matches in this style. Biktashev sells really well, the problem with Pro Wrestling is it conditions you to view things like a kick to the ribs or spine as minuscule. Here Biktashev was really selling Iizukas knees and stomps as such, struggling to get up and looking anguished. He was selling so well a big Biktashev chant broke out! Japanese love themselves some soviet judokas when they are gutsy. Finish was pretty great simplistic pro wresting, with Iizuka trying to put Biktashev away with the sleeper and Biktashev trying to throw him off and failing. Really big drama for such a basic move and the failed escapes ruled.

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