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[1987-06-29-NJPW] Riki Choshu vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara

Superstar Sleeze

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Riki Choshu vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara - NJPW 06/29/87

They had a corker of a match about 20 days prior to this. This one is just as heated but the finish is so abrupt it makes the match feel incomplete. Fujiwara comes out of the gate red hot, slapping Big Match Riki down, stomping him and throwing those Fujiwara headbutts. Fujiwara really loved choking Choshu in this match. Riki fires up and starts giving as good as he gets. You know those silly stand there and eat shots that New Japan does all the time in 2010s this is how it ought to be done. These dudes are standing & banging! The crowd is going wild! Fujiwara is the one who finally takes it to the mat with a cross-armbreaker attempt. Everything in the match feels so gritty. They have to work for every inch. Choshu has his hands so tightly clasped. Fujiwara switches to the classic armbar attempt when that doesnt work he tries slaps the shit out of Choshu. Choshu had enough of this shit and tosses him out. Love the corner collar & elbow tieup fits in so well with the grit of the match. Choshu maniac back elbows to the head in the corner while the rest of his body pins Fujiwara to the buckles was sick! Ref peels him off Fujiwara and Fujiwara applies a leglace. Never count Fujiwara out of it. Choshu slaps Fujiwara in the hold, stomps him in the ropes, chokes him. This is ferocious! Fujiwara punch combination and headbutt! Chokes Choshu! Such a great performance by both men! Fujiwara lures him in the corner but the ref forces Choshu to the middle. Fujiwara has Choshu's long locks and is using it to throw headbutts and then CHOSHU DEMOLISHES HIM WITH A LARIAT! I LOVE BIG MATCH RIKI! Choshu Saito Suplex, Block, FUJIWARA ARMBAR TAKEDOWN! Mark Out City! Crowd went wild. Choshu drags Fujiwara to the floor. Choshy does the 'ol ricochet off the railing with a Lariat on Fujiwara. Fujiwara on the apron, INCOMING RIKI CRUSHES HIM WITH A MACK TRUCK LARIAT! Countout is declared as Choshu was ready to fire off another one. Awww man it was just getting good. I felt like they were on a trajectory to be an all time classic. Thank God we have the 6/9/87 match. Watch that match first, it is the classic and then when you are hankering for a midnight snack pop this in! ***3/4

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  • 1 month later...

Rematch of their bout from earlier in the month, which is almost certainly the best wrestling match to ever happen on the date of June 9th in any year in history. So a lot to live up to, and it doesn't quite, but I don't think they were going for that anyway and taken on its own it's Choshu v Fujiwara, so you will watch it and you will be glad that you did. It's been a minute since I've watched much Fujiwara from around this period and I'm wondering if he wasn't the best wrestler alive in 1987. He was incredible in this, in much the same way he was incredible in their first match. The man is a menace, unshackled and rampant, constrained by no rules, out to drag Choshu down to his level. Straight away he's throwing wild headbutts and grabbing Choshu by the throat, really forcing him to the mat while we get these close-up camera shots of his fingers clinching Choshu's windpipe. Everything is nasty and uncooperative and all of the strike exchanges are amazing - the slaps, the punches, nothing fancy or pretty, all of it ragged and GRITTY. Awesome bit that Sleeze also mentions, where Choshu backs Fujiwara into the corner and uses his weight to pin him there, then hammers him with back elbows to the head and neck. Every time Choshu does something offensively Fujiwara gets a little more rabid in response, which means the GOAT of crazed grinning facial expressions does a whole lot of crazed grinning, extremely satisfied that he's under Choshu's skin and extremely happy to keep digging further. Everything around the Choshu lariat and Fujiwara armbar was unreal, similar in a lot of ways to their previous match. The first lariat Choshu throws here is one of the best spots I've seen in a wrestling match in forever and I'm dead ass serious. Fujiwara is caving Choshu's head in with amazing Fujiwara headbutts, properly reeling back and clonking him on the forehead while he has Choshu by the hair, then as he rocks back for another Choshu uncorks a lariat and DESTROYS him on the spot. The camera work really amplified it as well, the way it was zoomed in on Fujiwara, anticipating that headbutt to connect, so we never saw the wind-up from Choshu before he took his head off. The way Fujiwara sold each lariat was perfect, not just in the moment but as the lingering effects took hold. There was one brilliant bit of selling where he sort of stumbled out of the corner with glazed over eyes, his entire body language loose like you could tell he wasn't quite right, whereas earlier he was smirking and circling the waters and even the roll of his shoulders looked dangerous. He had that one Fujiwara armbar attempt, but by the second lariat it might've been academic. These two are perfect together and this was another very badass match. 

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