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Volk Han vs Kiyoshi Tamura

Volk Han vs Kiyoshi Tamura  

19 members have voted

  1. 1. Who you got

    • Han
      4
    • Tamura
      15


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This isn't fair.  Today I choose Tamura but tomorrow it could be Han.  Probably could go back and forth every day over a 365 day period.  

I think if you value carrying limited to no skill kickboxers, low end pro wrestlers, and being absolutely dynamic with his high spot (on the mat and on his feet), Han is the answer.

I think if you value making a worked match look real and having legit standing and ground skills, the answer is Tamura.

Both are amazing.  Both are easy top 50 for me.

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(Braces for impact) Volk Han could only work in one setting - king of a touring grapplefuck troupe. Didn't even try to work anywhere else, because...well, he couldn't. He has one match (I've seen about a dozen versions of it), and it barely resembles pro-wrestling - they don't even lock up, for example; rather, they assume kickboxing stances.

Volk is a Sambist or a karateka or a judist or whatevever before he's a pro-wrestler. I think he's fantastic at what he does, but it's 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover Leglock, 50 Ways to Leave An Armbar.

Yes, there's different forms of pro-wrestling, but Volk's form is the most removed (deliberately) from what we know and love and call pro-wrestling. I don't know if RINGS even call themselves "pro-wrestling" (Wiki says, "puroresu promotion from its inauguration to 1995, mixed martial arts promotion from 1995 to its 2002 disestablishment, and the revived mixed martial arts promotion from 2008 onward." Not sure how accurate that is), so it's unlikely Han ever viewed himself as such.

And just like "You Must Be This Tall To Go On This Ride", sixty-two matches? So no longevity, no durability, to go with little adaptability and little versatility...meanwhile, someone like Killer Kowalski working all over the world, getting over all over the world, facing the best, working at the highest level for decades, probably won't get a look-in, in favour of this flash-in-the-pan who is so disgusted by pro-wrestling that he and his promotion did everything they could to distance themselves from it. Dav'oh wept.

And as for carrying, any decent wrestling-school teacher could take you or me by the hand and have  a passable match. No points for that.

I think that's everything. Wait -  very obviously pulled "shoot" punches and very obviously pulled "shoot" kicks look a thousand times more pissweak than worked punches and kicks. 

It takes more than worked finishes to be pro-wrestler.

(INCOMING!!!!!!)

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2 hours ago, Dav'oh said:

(Braces for impact) Volk Han could only work in one setting - king of a touring grapplefuck troupe. Didn't even try to work anywhere else, because...well, he couldn't. He has one match (I've seen about a dozen versions of it), and it barely resembles pro-wrestling - they don't even lock up, for example; rather, they assume kickboxing stances.

Volk is a Sambist or a karateka or a judist or whatevever before he's a pro-wrestler. I think he's fantastic at what he does, but it's 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover Leglock, 50 Ways to Leave An Armbar.

Yes, there's different forms of pro-wrestling, but Volk's form is the most removed (deliberately) from what we know and love and call pro-wrestling. I don't know if RINGS even call themselves "pro-wrestling" (Wiki says, "puroresu promotion from its inauguration to 1995, mixed martial arts promotion from 1995 to its 2002 disestablishment, and the revived mixed martial arts promotion from 2008 onward." Not sure how accurate that is), so it's unlikely Han ever viewed himself as such.

And just like "You Must Be This Tall To Go On This Ride", sixty-two matches? So no longevity, no durability, to go with little adaptability and little versatility...meanwhile, someone like Killer Kowalski working all over the world, getting over all over the world, facing the best, working at the highest level for decades, probably won't get a look-in, in favour of this flash-in-the-pan who is so disgusted by pro-wrestling that he and his promotion did everything they could to distance themselves from it. Dav'oh wept.

And as for carrying, any decent wrestling-school teacher could take you or me by the hand and have  a passable match. No points for that.

I think that's everything. Wait -  very obviously pulled "shoot" punches and very obviously pulled "shoot" kicks look a thousand times more pissweak than worked punches and kicks. 

It takes more than worked finishes to be pro-wrestler.

(INCOMING!!!!!!)

You are aware that Tamura also wrestled exclusively shoot-style, right? After all, he quit UWFi rather than participate in the New Japan feud.

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It has to be the worst take ever on shoot-style since Parv's stuff during GWE 2016. :lol:

I mean, I've reach the point where I have zero time for any prescriptive approach of pro-wrestling anyway ("should be this, should do that, shouldn't do that" bullshit), but really now... 

FTR, I voted Tamura, but obviously both are out of this world awesome.

(edit : fuck, I should have swept a "You and your odd tastes" ref in this post, it really was now or never)

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1 hour ago, NintendoLogic said:

You are aware that Tamura also wrestled exclusively shoot-style, right?

I am now. I probably should've put this in the Volk nomination thread, rather than a comparison thread.

 

52 minutes ago, El-P said:

It has to be the worst take ever on shoot-style

That's all well and good, but it's not much of a counter-argument. You've disagreed with my "prescriptive" viewpoint - that I think pro-wrestling should resemble pro-wrestling, not resemble fake kickboxing or fake MMA - which is purely a matter of personal taste. Let's talk versatility, durability, shitty pulled strikes, actually considering yourself a pro-wrestler, let's chuck in "couldn't work face or heel because there are no faces or heels as far as I can tell" - you know, all the things we look for and look at in the GWE discussions. I think Volk fares horribly in those categories, standing alone, let alone standing next to other contenders. 

Fuck, he wasn't even presented as a pro-wrestler, yet he we are discussing him as one of the greatest pro-wrestlers ever? Who's next - Andy Kaufmann? ;)

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1 hour ago, Dav'oh said:

That's all well and good, but it's not much of a counter-argument.

You did not make any argument either. You're take is that shoot-style is not pro-wrestling. From there, there is nowhere to go and nothing to argue.

1 hour ago, Dav'oh said:

Let's talk versatility,

Who said you had to be versatile to be great ? Again, prescriptive argument which holds no water in actual reality. Put Bret Hart in a lucha libre ring or a shoot-style ring and he'll suck at it. There's nothing wrong in being a specialist.

1 hour ago, Dav'oh said:

durability,

He had a decade of being arguably a top 5 worker in his style.

1 hour ago, Dav'oh said:

shitty pulled strikes

Well, that's something you can argue in term of execution, for sure, if that's your take on it, fair enough.

Then again, your apparent complete inability or unwillingness to even consider shoot-style as pro-wresting kinda invalidates the entire point of judging something in a context and a landscape you don't seem to understand. Case in point :

1 hour ago, Dav'oh said:

actually considering yourself a pro-wrestler, 

Wait, what ? Volk Han is not doing pro-wrestling ? He's not a pro-wrestler ? Says who ? Apparently WWE is not pro-wrestling either since the *word itself* is forbidden and they are "sports-entertainment" and not concurrent with pro-wrestling companies but Disney. Sport-entertainer John Cena should not be eligible, he's never worked in an actual pro-wrestling company. Fuck, even CM Punk said WWE is not pro-wrestling... B)

1 hour ago, Dav'oh said:

"couldn't work face or heel because there are no faces or heels as far as I can tell"

If there's no face or heel as far as you can tell, well, that's a totally invalid argument because you can't criticize someone not doing something that doesn't apparently exist in said context.

1 hour ago, Dav'oh said:

Fuck, he wasn't even presented as a pro-wrestler,

Wait, what ? Says who ? RINGS was a shoot-style pro-wrestling promotion. Saying it was not doesn't change the reality of what it was (and yes, they did MMA fights too and even became a full fledge MMA promotion after a while, but that was at the very end, and it's not a first in pro-wrestling history than a pro-wrestling promotion present some shoot-fights, hell, even WWF did it). Japanese pro-wrestling is loaded with guys and promotions (or stables) being presented as "shooters" put into a pro-wrestling context, and it's been especially prevalent with NJPW up until the early 00's for instance (basically the entire Inoki legend "fighting" against shooters, the feud with UWF, the Russian wrestlers, the judo guys, the feud with UWF-I etc...). Fuck, some people argued that Pride was pro-wrestling back in the days, which was pushing it to me, then again the promotion was built at first on Takada, and for sure some of his fights weren't actual fights.

And yes, Andy Kaufman did pro-wrestling. :) 

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53 minutes ago, El-P said:

You did not make any argument either.

...but then you go on to dissect my argument. To wit:

1 hour ago, El-P said:

He had a decade of being arguably a top 5 worker in his style.

62 matches in ten years does not come close to "durability" - the ability to withstand wear, pressure, or damage. Think Flair's Great American Bash tour schedule - or Flair's schedule, period. If Flair is "durable", how does Volk enter the conversation? He's not even a pimple on Flair's - or Bret's, or Kobashi or a countless others' - arse in that respect.

1 hour ago, El-P said:

Who said you had to be versatile to be great ?

Me. I thought we could form our own opinions with our own eyes and our own brains and our own words

 

1 hour ago, El-P said:

Well, that's something you can argue in term of execution, for sure, if that's your take on it, fair enough.

Just throwing this in because, again, you said I made no argument...

1 hour ago, El-P said:

Apparently WWE is not pro-wrestling either

Daddy, what's a strawman? What's "whataboutism"?

 

1 hour ago, El-P said:

If there's no face or heel as far as you can tell, well, that's a totally invalid argument because you can't criticize someone not doing something that doesn't apparently exist in said context.

 Does it exist? I don't know. I do know I've never seen him work as either face or heel. We can revisit this when you tell me if it "apparently doesn't" or just doesn't.

1 hour ago, El-P said:

Wait, what ? Says who ?

Wait, what? You're saying he was presented as a pro-wrestler? We'll agree to disagree on that.

 

1 hour ago, El-P said:

You're take is that shoot-style is not pro-wrestling.

Me: "Yes, there's different forms of pro-wrestling, but Volk's form is the most removed (deliberately) from what we know and love and call pro-wrestling." You ignored that so that you could say "From there, there is nowhere to go and nothing to argue", i.e you created an imaginary, false, starting point for yourself, before going on to argue every point I made...That seems a lot more "invalid" than anything I wrote.

And isn't "wrestling shouldn't be prescriptive"...prescriptive?;)

I love your work brother El-P. I don't love pro-wrestling as MMA sparring. Part of my problem with Volk is something Cornette once said, about a punch in the face being the easiest thing to get over, because everyone knows what a punch in the face feels like. I've never been kneebarred in my life.

 

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1 hour ago, Dav'oh said:

62 matches in ten years does not come close to "durability" - the ability to withstand wear, pressure, or damage. Think Flair's Great American Bash tour schedule - or Flair's schedule, period. If Flair is "durable", how does Volk enter the conversation? He's not even a pimple on Flair's - or Bret's, or Kobashi or a countless others' - arse in that respect.

I can understand this argument, but then again, it's not one I really care about. If you had 62 matches in which you displayed fucking genius ability at what you do, you're a GOAT contender. 

1 hour ago, Dav'oh said:

Me. I thought we could form our own opinions with our own eyes and our own brains and our own words

That doesn't mean I have to agree. Versatility can be an element of greatness, but it doesn't *have to be* to me. One reason I believe Kenny Omega is of the the GOATs is actually his ability to have the greatest matches with *everyone and everybody* in any kind of style he tries. One reason I believe Volk Han and Tamura are some of the GOATs are their absolute genius at shoot-style pro-wrestling. There's no preconceived, mandatory element to greatness, especially when workers don't exist in a vacuum but in very specific contexts which allows or not to display such and such qualities (not to mention stuff like booking which influence what they will be allowed to display or not).

1 hour ago, Dav'oh said:

Daddy, what's a strawman? What's "whataboutism"?

I thought pushing the logic of what defines pro-wrestling or not was kinda funny actually. Well it was, especially considering the linguistic quirks of WWE which actually kinda define what they want to be perceived as, and even more in the lights of that CM Punk promo.

But really, it all comes down to you not considering shoot-style as pro-wrestling.

1 hour ago, Dav'oh said:

 Does it exist? I don't know. I do know I've never seen him work as either face or heel.

So it doesn't matter and you can't make it an argument for or against his work.

1 hour ago, Dav'oh said:

Me: "Yes, there's different forms of pro-wrestling, but Volk's form is the most removed (deliberately) from what we know and love and call pro-wrestling." You ignored that so that you could say "From there, there is nowhere to go and nothing to argue", i.e you created an imaginary, false, starting point for yourself, before going on to argue every point I made...That seems a lot more "invalid" than anything I wrote.

I ignored it because it's a flawed argument. I actually replied to it in my first version of the post but then deleted it because I'm lazy and maybe I felt it was a bit aggressive (I'd rather make jokes and stay light-hearted). So here's what I wanted to reply to the bolded part

Who are "we" and what is "what we know and love and call pro-wrestling" ? In the name of whom are you talking exactly ? I've been a fan of pro-wrestling for 30 years. I've seen my first straight shoot-style stuff about 10 years in. It caught pretty much immediately for me and I became a fan of that style in a flash. Meanwhile, it took me forever to get hooked to lucha-libre and to catch up with whatever contemporary style that evolved from the US indies and 00's japanese stuff. So, first off I'm not included in that "we". Second, it's very much a UScentric point of view, I'm sorry to say. Japanese shoot-style is not that far off the old classic world of sport UK style in spirit and form. And if you're a Japanese salaryman brought up with Inoki or even with the 80's generation of NJ, the UWF pretty much looked and was sold as the purest form of pro-wrestling that was, and RINGS was just an extension of this. Shoot-style was much more "real pro-wrestling" than the goofy ass shit americans were watching on TV (funny thing, that's how the UWF-I was sold on the Bushido programs too for english-speaking audiences). So, that first statement holds no water whatsoever and only displays ignorance for a different kind of pro-wrestling culture, really. It's only foreign and removed from your own perspective.

There you go. I did not make any "imaginary, false" starting point for myself. I totally accept the "shoot-style isn't for me" point of view, I totally get it. But "shoot-style isn't pro-wrestling" is factually false, and saying Volk Han or Tamura can't be considered pro-westlers because they only worked that style just doesn't make any sense to me. 

1 hour ago, Dav'oh said:

And isn't "wrestling shouldn't be prescriptive"...prescriptive?;)

Yes it is. :)

1 hour ago, Dav'oh said:

I love your work brother El-P.

No offense taken, I never make or take things personal :) (unless I'm trolled by assholes of course)

1 hour ago, Dav'oh said:

Part of my problem with Volk is something Cornette once said, about a punch in the face being the easiest thing to get over, because everyone knows what a punch in the face feels like. I've never been kneebarred in my life.

Well, I never took a punch in the face either so...

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Volk Han didn't thumb his nose at pro-wrestling. He was scouted at a sambo tournament and invited to join the RINGS promotion. You're barking up the wrong tree if you think it was Volk who was disgusted with pro-wrestling. We're talking about a martial arts practitioner who agreed to do worked shoots. If he had been disgusted by pro-wrestling, he would have never agreed to do works. By his own admission, he was "working" in the sambo tournament to attract Maeda's attention, and he got over with the Japanese press and fans in large part to his charisma and the pro-wrestling licks he used in his matches.

There was never a question of Volk working anywhere else. He was fiercely loyal to Maeda and called himself Maeda's soldier. You can hold that against him if you wish, but it was never on the cards. 

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11 hours ago, Dav'oh said:

He has one match

Out of everything you said this is the part I disagree with the most. Every Han match tells a unique and different story. There's no Han formula, there's no set of moves or spots that he always has to get in. Every match is different based on the skills and level of his opponents. A Han squash is very different from a Han epic.  A Han vs rookie match is way different than a Han vs experienced vet match. A Han match vs striker is wildly different than a Han match against a grappler. Han had an amazing ability to tell a story not just during a match but over the course of a feud.  We see this in the Yamamoto series, where there first match is a squash, the second is onesided but Yamamoto comes out looking like a bad ass for not tapping, their third match is even with Han sort of getting lucky, and their fourth match Yamamoto scores the upset. Each match is great but it really shows great long term storytelling on Han's part.

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13 hours ago, Dav'oh said:

And just like "You Must Be This Tall To Go On This Ride", sixty-two matches? So no longevity, no durability, to go with little adaptability and little versatility...meanwhile, someone like Killer Kowalski working all over the world, getting over all over the world, facing the best, working at the highest level for decades, probably won't get a look-in, in favour of this flash-in-the-pan who is so disgusted by pro-wrestling that he and his promotion did everything they could to distance themselves from it. Dav'oh wept. 

This is actually a gigantic plus. If the best thing a wrestler can say is that they checked a mark three thousand times, their career is lame. If anything, modern wrestling has a plethora of footage we'd have been just fine had it not been taped. Han created moments that people would have either preserved at all cost or would be retold as legends like the Johnny Valentine-Wahoo matches, which is why he's discussed as one of the greatest wrestlers ever by sane people who aren't incapable of processing pro-wrestling only through the degenerate vision of it as a cartoon soap opera with method actors completely divorced from real combat.

 

Anyway. I would probaby side with Tamura, but have Maeda over both :)

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@ohtani's jacket Thank you for the info. I'm in the cheapest of the cheap seats when it comes to the background of RINGS. I thought Sayama and Maeda were "disgusted" by pro-wrestling and formed their own group, and foolishly assumed that all the off-shoots (and their workers) shared the same motives. I happily stand corrected.

@joeg Yeah, that was a bit hyperbolic. As I said, I've seen only two handfuls or so of his matches, and they tended to be the big, pimped matches. I found them somewhat "same-y", is all - maybe because of the constraints of the style?

4 hours ago, GOTNW said:

he's discussed as one of the greatest wrestlers ever by sane people who aren't incapable of processing pro-wrestling only through the degenerate vision of it as a cartoon soap opera with method actors completely divorced from real combat.

I'm pretty articulate for an insane person! Didn't know I was "incapable of processing blahblahblah", but you learn something new every day. Cheers for that. (I also thought "real combat" had king-hits, bottles, someone's mates jumping in, occasionally knives, sometimes a gun, ball-shots biting gouging hair-pulling, cops, hospitalisations. Didn't know "real combat" had ropes and a referee!:D And ring-girls! Never seen one of them in any of my pub brawls or street fights - what a jip!). 

@elliott Yeah, I know. The wink was partly for you

@El-P Thanks. I'd only like to add that I think it barely resembles pro-wrestling, and deliberately so, not I don't recognise it as pro-wrestling. I acknowledged it as a form.
And apologies for "we".

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Dav'oh, it might be fair to say that Tamura & Han were the greatest pro-wrestlers of their era because they were able to truly modernize what the early greats were doing.  The Tamura vs Kohsaka 6/27/98 masterpiece takes place a day before Mankind vs Undertaker Hell in a Cell. What is closer to Thesz vs Gagne?

You should watch some early UWF1.0 and see what they're up to. Its really fun. Sayama is doing flying headbutts and tombstones. It reminded me a little of BattlArts. Its very much pro-wrestling. 

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Fuck, watch Takada's big matches in UWF-I. He's the most pro-wrestling shoot-syle guy ever (which is why shoot-style "purists", whatever that means, don't like him). He's all about the big epic matches against monsters and douchebags. He's the John Cena of shoot-style, his stuff doesn't always look the smoothest, but there's no one making a better bigger spectacle than Takada, which is why he was arguably the biggest star ever produced in this style (which is, as I said, pro-wrestling).

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Thanks for the recommendations. I watched both Takada as a jr and Vader's UWF run contemporaneously, and liked Takada from the start. I enjoyed the Thesz-era UWF matches, I think they're very very good at what they do; what they do just isn't for me in larger doses.

I actually came here because i feel I need to redeem myself, and what better way than with some champagne comedy. Better sit down, this one's a doozy.

Spoiler

He shoulda gone to WWE so we could all get aboard the Volks Wagon

Yeah baby.

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I've seen literally every show up until the original KoK tournament where they went full shoot and a common thought on Han is that "He didn't have many matches, but he was amazing 100% of the time" which to be honest didn't prove EXACTLY true, but he was pretty damn great a vast majority of the time and at his peak he's one of the best ever and certainly as a wrestler. I will definitely rank him, but I can't put him too too high despite his great matches and honestly my fondness for his wrestling and general awesomeness.

 

Tamura to me takes this one because while he did wrestle in other companies, but more importantly in RINGS this is actually one of the more fair comps you can make in this vs. critique which often crosses styles and generations and often the two were wrestlers were trying to accomplish entirely different goals. Here you can have a nearly direct comparison with two guys who faced nearly the exact same opponent list and worked essentially the same style, and yet, all the best matches with the other guys Tamura's were all just better. It's best RINGS match? Tamura. Yamamoto? Tamura. Ilioukhine? Tamura. Tariel? Tamura. Maeda? Probably Tamura and he was completely broken down on top of it by the time he wrestled him. I always have wondered why Han is the face of RINGS to most modern fans or at least the first name brought up and known when in reality Tamura was pushed much more at the time, almost always in main events and probably had pretty much all the best matches in the company in comparison. 

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What makes you say Han is regarded as the face of RINGS? Not saying you're wrong; I've just never thought of anyone other than Maeda as the man for that designation. 

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I don't mean face is in biggest star or anything in reality, I mean among outsiders who have little knowledge or only developing interest in RINGS and it's style, Han is the go-to guy of interest that gets brought up almost every time over Tamura or the others.

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Got you. I voted for Tamura as well, even though Han was such a unique, fully formed worker from his first match on. Tamura hit higher peaks and hit them more often in RINGS, and I like the fact that he had to make his way in UWFI before he ever got there. Han just doesn't have anything like the Vader match in his career. I have Tabe's excellent career comps for both, and I'm more apt to throw on the Tamura discs. I see him in the 15-30 range with Han more like 40-50. I guess I hold it against them slightly that they were specialists; otherwise, Tamura would be a No. 1 contender. But I love the style, so it's not much of a knock.  

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