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In defense of Kaz Fujita

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I started arguing with @El-P about Kaz Fujita. Rather than continue to derail the RWTL thread I thought I'd start a new thread in the microscope. Fujita was a hell of a talent who was booked horribly. New Japan had several talented amateur wrestlers/shooters in the late 90s and early 2000s which I consider to be a good thing. Having legit badasses on a wrestling roster is a good thing. Ogawa, Nakanishi, Fujita, Kendo Kashin, Nagata, Don Frye, Shibata, Nakamura, etc. A few of these guys could actually work and had some charisma and personality too. Possibly my favorite of the legit basdasses in NJPW from that era was Kaz Fujita. He could work. He had an aura, a natural dickish heel charisma. His stuff looked reckless yet he never hurt anybody in the ring. In a lot of ways his in ring work was like Brock Lesnar. A scary legit fighter who looked and acted like he could kill somebody with his bare hands and whose work was perfectly safe yet looked incredibly violent and reckless.

Any complaints about Fujita aren't his fault. Those complaints rest solely on Inoki and Inoki-ism. Most people think of Inoki-ism as blending MMA and pro wrestling. But its more that. Its blending MMA with terrible pro wrestling booking. Its Russo style shoot angles and frequent title changes. Its legit Brawl for All type tournaments with second rate fighters on a pro wrestling card. Its Dusty style hot shotting of programs. Its fucking top workers around on payoffs. Its pro wrestlers jumping into MMA fights without a proper training camp, and then getting fucked around on their payoff for the MMA fight. Its not Fujita's fault that he was Inoki's hand chosen poster boy for this shit show style of booking and promoting. Even though Inoki was incapable of booking and promoting anybody but himself, he was able to recognize talent. Fujita was a hell of a talent and should have been an absolute monster. He should have been the top guy in NJPW for the early-mid 2000s as he was head and shoulders better than Nagata, Tenzan, Kojima, etc. Again not Fujita's fault his title reigns were booked so poorly.    

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I watched every bit of turn of the century New Japan I could find online during the Purotopia 2000-2009 MOTD project several years back. That included a bunch of stuff that hadn't been nominated for that project though I'm sure I still have a few blind spots. Fujita is one of the guys I thought looked good coming out of that viewing. I'd still put him behind Naoya Ogawa but I also found Fujita to be more reliable than Murakami, who I like but I also think is sightly overrated in these corners of internet wrestling discussion.

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Parts of me would be kinda interested to check out some of this stuff again, because there was a sense of total randomness , which is someone I can always enjoy. Back then I really disliked all these crappy pseudo-MMA guys like Ogawa (who suuuuuucked the life out of Hash, thanks for nothing) and Murakami (who was only good for punching people in the face), as a UWF/RING fan. This was really an odd period with the Zero-1 stuff happening at the same time, Choshu having his little crappy promotion for a while, the Wrestle-1 (the first one, not the Mutoh promotion) stuff with Bob Sapp. Yeah, kinda crazy when you think back. I'm sure there are some hidden fun stuff in there.

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@William Bologna

His 2005 G1 run is where I'd start. that whole tournament is a blast. Its Chono's last win and Kawada, MiSu, Nakamura, Tanahashi, and Fujinami are all in there.  

Also his IWGP title defenses against Shibata, Tanahashi and Nagata. The one against Shibata especially. 

Some of his work from 2015 to 2019 ish against the BJW crew. 

There were a bunch of tags in 98 and 99 prior to going into MMA and becoming a part timer where he's green but shows a lot of promise.

 

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Have only seen a handful of Fujita matches, but from what I recall he was basically like if Goldberg could work longer matches. Tons of physical charisma and power. Would definitely recommend the G1 match with Kawada.

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