Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Thursday, December 14, 2017

IGF - NEW Opening Series 4/5/2017

PAS: NEW is a new shootstyle fed offshoot of IGF, and at this point we will review every new shootstyle fed. Looking forward to see how this compares to AMBITION as this has a bunch of actual MMA fighters along with masters like Fujiwara and Otsuka

Shinya Aoki v. Yoshiaki Fujiwara

ER: So Fujiwara is in his late 60s, and I pray I have this mobility in 30 years. This is a match made of classic and telling Fujiwara faces. We start and he's the smug overconfident vet, taking Aoki down to the mat and tying him up in some cool ways (especially loved him picking Aoki's ankle and pulling it closer to his face while also wrenching a headlock). Before long Aoki is meeting him in a stalemate and as the tide turns a bit, we get that wonderful Fujiwara smile, recognizing that maybe he's fighting from underneath, but grinning at the challenge, almost welcoming Aoki's attacks. But by the 10 minute mark when their legs are impossibly tangled while they're fighting over wrists, the ref has to separate them and Fujiwara rolls to the floor with almost fear in his eyes. He looked like a man underwater and he needed to calibrate and try something else. So he suckers Aoki into a knucklelock that allows him to land a thrust headbutt. He wasn't making any avenues on the mat so of course the man goes to the head. Later on he lands another using the same trick. But Aoki is lanky and knows how to befuddle Fujiwara by tangling him up in limbs, and as we hit the 15 minute mark we can see a bit of desperation creeping onto Fujiwara's face as Aoki is patiently waiting for an armbar, perfectly content to play the waiting game as Fujiwara starts reaching and soon scrambling for ropes. And as soon as Fujiwara lets his guard down Aoki pounces and maneuvers into a side triangle. Killer lo fi stuff here.

PAS:  I assumed that the days of Fujiwara classics had passed, I have been working on the C+A Fujiwara project since 2009, I have found a couple of EPIC's since then, but they have all been tags and trios matches which included great performances from other wrestlers as well. Fujiwara is 67 years old, how is it possible for him to be able to work a 15 minutes singles match this good? Aoki isn't a guy who has done much pro-wrestling before, although he is one of the greatest MMA grapplers ever, he fits in to shootstyle great, he is so skilled and fast. I love how Fujiwara was working this as a guy a little outclassed on the mat, it is a foreign role for him, but Aoki is so slick that Fujiwara keeps finding himself in a compromised position. He has to resort to cheapshot headbutts to get an advantage (and man what a cheapshot headbutt it was, one of his best), I also loved how Fujiwara used wrestling grappling in a shoot context, at one point he uses a headlock to drive Aoki's knee to his temple, another time he does almost a drop toe hold to get back position, credit to the skill of both guys that it looked natural.

Katsumi Oribe v. Feng Chang Jian

PAS: Jian I would assume is a rookie from China, and this was kind of a lame rookie match. We had a long forearm exchange, which is a bummer if that is thing in rookie matches. We get some kicks, and Jian kind of blew a bodyslam. Finish was a boston crab. I didn't see much in either guy, but who knows what will happen later.

Alexander Otsuka v. Xuan Lin Dong

ER: Otsuka is looking beefy as hell now. Have we ever seen him and Negro Navarro in the same place at once? I'd never seen Lin before but I enjoyed him (he should have worn black gloves to complete the look though), came off like kind of a meathead and I dug how Otsuka handled him. There's a lot of standing grappling and Otsuka goes for his big German early, finds Lin grounding him too well, so just sidesteps and throws him backwards to the mat. Eventually he gets tired of grappling and just cracks him with a slap, and I loved how Lin stopped and staggered around before following up with an admirable forearm. But Otsuka slaps him again, and then slaps him to cut off an elbow, and THEN we get our big German. Otsuka smugly saunters over and picks him up for a big delay vertical suplex, the result academic.

PAS: Yeah Otsuka has been hitting the buffet, but he still looked awesome, I didn't think much of Dong (Eric loves Dong however, can't get enough Dong), for an MMA dude he really should hit harder, but all of the standing switch grappling looked good. Those pair of finishing suplexes are a pair of Alexander Otsuka finishing suplexes with all that that entails.

Masakatsu Funaki v. Mitsuyoshi Nakai

ER: This didn't do much for me, as Nakai looked like he didn't want to be there and Funaki looked like he was doing things at 3/4 until it was time to finish. They spend a lot of time with Funaki working a rear naked on Nakai, and there's plenty of times he has openings to do something, but it looked more like he was setting potential traps to see if Nakai could get out of them, and then just moving on when he had the satisfaction that Nakai couldn't. He easily maneuvers into an armbar, Nakai gets ropes, then Funaki decides things are just over and hits a huge high kick, then another one to the forehead, then a punt that he pulls back on. I did like him suckering Nakai into slapping him, allowing him to hit an awesome rolling kappo kick. He ends it with some kind of brutal capture piledriver. Neither guy seemed that interested in this match.

PAS: First part of this was kind of dull although it picked up a fair amount at the end. Nakai lands a nasty teeth cleaning knee lift and it wakes Funaki up and unloads on Nakai. He throws a big kick right to Nakai's temple and a punt to the chest, he finishes him off with a arm capture piledriver. If the whole match was as good as the last two minutes it would have been awesome, but the dull stuff at the beginning drags it down.


Minoru Tanaka v. Minowaman

PAS: Minoru Tanaka was never my favorite BattlArts guy, he was a little juniorish, more likely to do a flip then a punch to the mouth. He is reall skilled, and there were a lot of cool moments in this match. Minowaman is a MMA guy who doesn't fully translate his MMA charisma over to wrestling, but again he he has a ton of skill. I really liked some of the leglock work here, Minowaman has a cool reversal of a scorpion into a leg lock. This goes to a draw, and I feel like with a better finish and maybe one or two more special highlights this would have made a list, but it was still pretty enjoyable.

Josh Barnett v. Shinichi Suzukawa

PAS: I really enjoy watching Josh Barnett wrestle. He doesn't do anything flashy, but every forearm lands with a thud and he has these great slow powerful looking suplexes where he just yanks a guy up like a sack of flour. Suzukawa is a big guy with Yakuza looking tattoos who comes out really aggressive powering Barnett to the corner and hits him with some clubs. Suzukawa works a head and shoulder choke a bunch, and Barnett isn't afraid to punch him in his sake soaked kidneys to go for the break. Barnett ends up escaping and tossing him with a nice side suplex. Just a big boy shootstyle scrap and I dug it a bunch.

ER: 40 year old MMA fighter vs. disgraced sumo wrestler is about as NEW Gen  WAR as you can get, and this played like a WAR match via RINGS fight. This was filled with hard knees to the ribs, forearms to the back of the head, and these nasty as hell hardway suplexes where neither guy jumped; you just had these low angle brutal suplexes that looked like science class rockets tipped over and shot right into the ground. There are no free rides in this one, every single ankle lock and kneebar had a twist and some squirm, the head and arm chokes looked sunk, and those knees just kept getting buried into Barnett's body. Suzukawa has a great boss charisma and Barnett looks to be in better shape than during most of his MMA career. Neither guy gives the other one space, Suzukawa presses his knees into Barnett's throat in the corner and against the ropes, both competitively sandbag, and that was all kinds of awesome. Go watch this.

ER: We would have had this posted 8 months ago, but Phil needed to construct *just* the right Dong joke. And after 8 months of workshopping it, I think it's safe to say...we got it! We are adding the Fujiwara and Barnett matches to our 2017 Ongoing MOTY List, deservedly so.


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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

2017 Ongoing MOTY List: Reigns v. Jordan 2

15. Roman Reigns v. Jason Jordan WWE Raw 12/4

ER: I really  loved their first match a few months ago, but  this was straight fire. Roman went into their first match cocky and then got surprised by the fight Jordan brought, dropping his guard before confidently finishing him off. Here Roman doesn't mess around for a second, throwing strikes with an immediacy he doesn't always have, really high energy, and Jordan gets whipped around by all of them. Jordan isn't backing down but it does look like it's going to be a mauling, and then we get an awesome callback to their first match: Jordan is throwing everything at Reigns, managing to pick him up and run him back and forth into the corners, picking him up and running with him Matt Hughes style. Jordan goes for his vertebrae squishing spear in the corner, Reigns dodges like last time, but Jordan doesn't fully commit and when Reigns goes for his own spear Jordan moves and Reigns crashes violently into the post and hard down to the floor. Jordan starts taking apart the shoulder and Reigns is good at selling it, even feeling the pain while he's punching with his good arm, wincing bad while trying an Irish whip. But Jordan is fading and Reigns throws several awesome standing lariats in the corner. Standing corner lariats can look awful, but Jordan was making these look world class, really getting his whole body rocked by them. And from there the match kept ramping up and surprising me. Reigns comes after him on the floor, Jordan catches him and just like earlier, picks him up and drives him hard into the steps. We get some huge nearfalls and the fans are going ape, clearly thinking it's over when Reigns hits a Superman punch but Jordan kicks out. The crowd reaction was infectious. I love when you can see people jumping up and down with their hands on their head, flipping out over what they're seeing. This is one of the biggest babyface reactions Roman has gotten in ages, but Jordan has the fans too as Roman goes for a spear and Jordan times a perfect counter with a kneelift. Without thinking he uses his bad wheel, but Jordan still hits his gorgeous rolling northern lights and bridges on one leg, not able to put weight on his bum knee. Reigns manages to kick out and awesomely capitalizes on Jordan's injury, knocking him halfway across the ring with a Superman punch (great sell by Jordan) and finishing him with the spear. All of this was so damn good, with a note perfect build and all the execution delivering in spades. They had the crowd buying everything they were selling. The segment and this match was easily the best 40 minutes of Raw all year.

PAS: Really fun match, which showcased the strengths of both guys. Jordan is a really fun counter wrestler, I loved how he kept avoiding the superman punch, stopping it with a dropkick one time and turning it into a side suplex a second time. Jordan catch the diving superman punch on the floor was awesome too, it showed great strength and timing. That kneelift counter to the spear was great too, I really wish the commentary would focus on how good Jordan is an anticipation. Reigns meanwhile is just getting better and better, how about his smooth as fuck headlock takeover counter, when did Reigns starts breaking out Dean Malenko style counter wrestling? Jordan had the big showy bit of body part selling with the one legged northern lights suplex, but Reigns did a lot of really subtle stuff in the match, including stretching out and rotating the shoulder and wincing on punches, little things to show that the shoulder wasn't 100%.  Loved the finish too, the WWE has cut down on finisher spamming lately and this kind of finish works so much better for me.


2017 MOTY MASTER LIST


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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Lucha Worth Watching: Templario + Metalico, Dinamitas vs. Pierroth Familia

Templario/Metalico/Arkangel vs. Astral/Pegasso/Starman (CMLL 10/3/17)

ER: Who is Templario and why do I need to watch so many more of his undercard matches!? I have never seen him before (though I think he only recently started showing up on occasional Arena Mexico undercards, so I don't think I've missed tons), and he's like a 4th Dinamita. He works really fast in this match, bumping big for the tecnicos, but gives as he gets: he's a guy who will whip fast on an armdrag but also snap one off. I'm not sure I've ever seen Astral look better working fast mat exchanges and quick rope running than here opposite Templario. They matched up most of the match and I came away really impressed. The best was in the tercera when he took and awesome somersault bump through the ropes to the floor after getting faked out by Astral, then perfectly catching Astral's gorgeous handspring rana to the floor (where he vaults from in ring, handsprings off the apron, and flips into a rana). He fit in great with best buds Arkangel and Metalico, always quick with a save (and throwing nice clubbing forearms during saves). Metalico's ham was especially delicious here. He comes out wearing tattered office attire and carrying a rocking horse. Why? For he is Metalico. Later he kisses a woman in the front row. And this was no grandma kiss, he planted one on her lips, lips that have kissed before but never so publicly, paying attention to her, noticing her nice sequined dress, telling her with his eyes that she looks good for her age, making her sister giggle and the woman herself blush and wave it away. The cameras cut to a young lady holding a baby. One might think that lucha camera crews just like cutting to cute ladies. One might also think that this camerawork was implying that this particularly lady was just another in a long line of ladies who have been gifted a child by Metalico. Later, he would eyeball the big butt of the tercera ring card girl. Later still, he would take a nice bump on the floor from a slick Pegasso headscissors. The rudos got each others' backs, I loved the three of them stomping the flipping tecnicos, and again, this was the best my memory can recall Astral looking, and it sure felt like it was because of his dance partner: Templario, my new dreamboat with horrible torso tattoos.

Cuatrero/Sanson/Forastero vs. Mistico/Dragon Lee/Comandante Pierroth (CMLL 11/24/17)

ER: This was the finals of a mini tournament that included teams made up of dinasties. You had the Panther family, The Munoz family, the Dinamitas, Felino's family, fun little concept and I love the family tradition in lucha. All styles of wrestling obviously have generations, but the family aspect in lucha seems to be more much powerfully respected in lucha. This is super fun and energetic, with the Munoz family all being heels. I've seen Lee work rudo with Rush on an indy show, but I don't recall seeing Mistico and Lee working rudo on CMLL TV, with their nefarious father. The Dinamitas work tecnico for the first time I've seen, and it's funny as they don't really wrestle any differently, but they're now doing their offense against three guys acting like dicks, so the fans are into it. Munoz familia has some great bullshit in the primera, with the three of them working a new twist on their soccer ball volleying as they instead play a little game of baseball with Lee tossing an invisible head to Mistico who blasts it for a home run, holding the pose. Later, Pierroth fakes the crowd into thinking he'd actually attempt a dive, and ends up slowly bouncing off and flopping through a somersault to pose like Burt Reynolds in Vanity Fair or Shawn Michaels in Playgirl with the belt (which was used as Segunda Caida's masthead from 2007-2008, before I joined. The Dinamitas are all lanky and mean, which makes them seem like valiant tecnicos. I love their catapult monkey flip spot that flings Cuatrero fast and upside down into the corner. They do axe handle attacks and act as great bases for Mistico and Lee, and there's something about rudos doing gracious highflying that seems deliciously disingenuous. It feels like showing someone up, flashy hubris, even if it's done the exact same when they're tecnicos. The rules force the concept force the perception. Lee hits a wild rana leaping from the ring to grab Cuatrero on the apron, with Cuatrero flipping onto the floor. Cuatrero is the best. Naturally Rush comes sliming out at one some point, and I know they rarely do 8 mans but add Rush to one side and Masacara Ano Dos Mil to the other and I'd love to see that. There's mask yanking and shenanigans, but you knew that. This was a real fun role reversal, well worth the time.


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Monday, December 11, 2017

2017 Honorable Mention: 1993 in 2017?

Great Kabuki/TNT/Great Muta v. Tatsumi Fujinami/Riki Choshu/Hiroshi Hase Keiji Muto Produce 7/26

ER: Without knowing who was involved in the match, someone could have said to me "Hey, a trios match just happened in Japan where the average age of the participants was literally 60 years old..." and that really all the information I would have needed to convince me. Vega is the youngster in this one, clocking in at 53 and looking like he's working a Headhunter C gimmick. Kabuki is the oldest at 69, and it honestly wouldn't shock me if he was older. Everybody in this is probably better than expected, especially Hase who to my knowledge hasn't even wrestled in a decade. He's still got a crazy muscular chest and Hitler mustache, and while he adorably couldn't quite stick a kip up, he did a freaking 17 rotation giant swing on Kabuki. After the swing he stumbles around, does his old hip swivel taunt at Muta, and then staggers right into a great TNT lariat. TNT was super chunky here but can still go, and I'd really like to see him in a match with younger guys. His spinning heel kick still looks exactly the same. Hase gets thrown into chairs, scattering poor elderly wrestling fans; we get several instances of mist, with Riki getting sprayed by Muta, Kabuki accidentally spraying TNT, Muta, Muta accidentally spraying Kabuki; We get a Riki lariat, Muta still moves fairly spry and lands a coupld Shining Wizards on Hase (including a brutal one in the corner), and Hase impressively finishes off the match with a flat out awesome uranage and an even better northern lights. He did them on freaking TNT, the biggest dude in the match, and really hoisted him up and over. This was 16 minutes of smiles and good feelings.


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Sunday, December 10, 2017

CWF Mid-Atlantic Worldwide Episode 130

Episode 130

1. Mace Li vs. Snooty Foxx

PAS: I thought this was a really good 5 minute match, by the far the best Li has looked. It was the story of Fox's superior strength versus Li's guile. The spot early on where Fox spinebusters Li into the corner and then cannonballs him was awesome. Li takes over with a DDknee and then works over Fox's knee. Fox did an awesome job selling it, trying to do all of his same moves but a little tentative and awkward, great vulnerable babyface performance, and another quill in Fox's rookie year performance, he has been overshadowed a bit by how legendary Cain Justice's rookie year has been, but Fox has been a strong #2.

ER: What a fun little short story match, super impressive performance from Foxx. Phil makes a good point about how Cain's rookie year has overshadowed Snooty's, it's totally true. Foxx has this assured confidence of someone who has been there longer than he really has, and it makes me forget he is even a rookie at times. Mace Li doesn't do tons for me yet, but I liked half his strikes here. He tried a bunch of different strikes from different angles, and I think that's a pretty smart plan with iffy strikes. You have bad corner punches? Weak punches from mount? No worries, through in some body shots and downward elbows to the traps, doing that makes it all look like part of an aggressive attack where individual strikes don't really matter as much. Snooty's knee selling was great. Before that we get that awesome corner spinebuster with the huge rolling hip attack, so Li wisely works to flatten Snooty's tires. Snooty climbing the buckles with a weakening knee actually had me inch forward in my seat, dude's selling was so good it was making me picture a horrific Sid scenario. The more I think about this match the more I like it.

ER: Can't believe Phil didn't mention the Aric Andrews shaved face comedy politician vignette. I'll say, on its face, I don't like it. I liked the Lee/Andrews dynamic that we had. Andrews suddenly being Bob Backlund stumping for a title shot seems like a big step back. Add to that, he had an awesome look with that beard. Now suddenly he shows up with no beard, and goes from looking like a pill dealing Black Crowes roadie to looking like Tim Robbins in High Fidelity. Jesse Adler coming back has just gone and messed everything up.

2. Michael McAllister vs. Nick Richards

PAS: I loved this match. It was an old fashioned potato fest, reminded me of some of the great Ian Rotten matches from IWA-MS, just a pair of guys laying in meaty chops and forearms, no leg slapping here all of the sound was thudding impact. Every shot felt like it was a little deeper and nastier then you would expect. I really dug the story of Richards constantly going for the cutter and getting cut off in nasty ways, at one point McAllister pegs him in the back of the head. I also really liked all of the work around the Cobra Clutch.  Richards also takes a couple of crazy bumps to the floor because he is nuts. This is the first chance I have had to see McAllister since we started watching CWF, and he was great, he does a good job of seeming nuts without overdoing the facial expressions.

ER: Man what a great fight. McAllister hasn't done a lot for me in the year we've spent watching, but it also feels like even though we've seen in him in several matches, we haven't really seen him. He was in a goofus gimmick in a tag team where his partner SIS outshone him, he's been in pull aparts and rumbles and multimans, this is I think the only actual singles match we've seen. And what a way to debut! Both guys are rocking a good pudge, McAllister has a grumpy mug like scowling Patton Oswalt, and Richards keeps trying to escape with a cutter. Every time he goes for that damn cutter McAllister makes him PAY and that's the whole match, and that's all the match you need. These two both land with some thump here, and I loved how we started with both a little tentative, both making fists but knowing that once it starts, it's on...and once we're on we never look back. Richards takes a nice backdrop, and McAllister starts landing heavy elbows and palm strikes to Richards' head and nose. They brawl all over without it ever seeming like a brawl, if that makes sense. It felt like Richards was always trying to veer this to the finish of a wrestling match, but McAllister kept immediately derailing him. The stuff on the floor was great, with Richards missing a dive (and I know I point this out a lot, but the guys here are such pros that they keep the family vibe during crazy matches without taking away from the match: Richards takes this huge missed dive bump while not making any of the regulars need to scramble out of the way) and McAllister splats him with a splash off the apron. Every time one of them turned their back on the other they paid for it, with McAllister running into boots and knees or Richards getting caught with elbows, a nice sliding lariat, and a nasty cobra clutch. This whole thing had meanness running throughout, and I love that they never hammered any kind of redemption story for McAllister, just let the action speak.

PAS: Ethan Sharpe gives a pretty great promo about losing the iron man rumble record, and how that was his big achievement. Serious Ethan Sharpe is pretty great.

3. Arik Royal vs. Chet Sterling

PAS: Really great match, easily the best Sterling match (at least tied with the Logan Easton Laroux match I saw live) I have seen. Sterling comes into the match with tape on his neck from being jumped by Brad Attitude at the Rumble, and Royal even calls him out on it at the beginning of the match. With Mark Henry basically retired, Royal is the best in ring shit talker in wrestling, and he is at peak form here as he takes apart Sterling's neck. I loved him just shoving Sterling awkwardly into the rope to take control, and the big ring apron powerbomb was a great huge move, and I loved the Coach and Jerry Carey raising his hands victoriously in the ring. Same with Royals low tackle which sent Sterling flying into the camera man. Couple of minor quibbles, I really liked how Sterling's blown dive worked in the context of the match, but they really should have audibled and delayed his comeback a bit, here he violently crashes on a blown dive, but still moves right into the planned comeback. I also really am lukewarm on Sterling's offense, he is a great seller and underdog babyface, but then he comes back with these lame half nelson suplexes where he barely lifts Royal at all. I also thought it maybe went one kick out too much, that powerbomb near the end was super brutal and probably should have ended it. Still a great Royal performance and some great Sterling selling and a really nifty main event.

ER: WOW this was a blowaway great match. I just got back from seeing a great noisy violent show (the screaming high energy of METZ with killer band Moaning opening for them in Portland) and I came back from the cold and threw this match on and was treated to a different kind of violence. Before the match Royal points out Sterling's bright red kinesio tape and yells out "You just gave me a target!" We've all seen guys work over a knowingly injured body part, but rarely do we get a heel calling his shot right before the match. And man does that neck get targeted in some nasty ways. Royal does something that more wrestlers should do, but you somehow don't see enough: use the ropes. Finlay was someone who was really great at using the ring as a weapon, but it's not something you see outside of apron spots thrown often awkwardly into matches. You don't even see anyone using a hotshot anymore. But early on Royal violently throws Sterling backwards into the bottom and middle ropes, and from there I knew I was going to love this. Royal used the ropes to cross Sterling up with rope running, throwing him through the ropes and to the floor (which later gets used against him), and then doing an actual apron spot that added to the match, brutally powerbombing him into the apron (with his neck hitting the bottom rope). Sterling couldn't be kept down but his comebacks always felt smart and fit nicely within the match. I actually liked his half nelson suplexes, as he really shouldn't be able to lift Royal that much, and they weren't treated like killshots but more like hard takedowns. I also liked how Royal didn't take them on his neck. No need to. Royal keeps working in shots to the neck, even Gemini sneaks in a shot on the floor. Sterling gave a great gritty performance, stumbling around, bringing fight, hitting a nice senton off the apron after Royal misses his Thesz press. But Royal is one nasty MF and he absolutely wrecks Sterling with a sick powerbomb. That powerbomb really should have been the finish, and watching it back you can really see Sterling's head whip. Gross spot. But Royal has tons of great offense and looked like a mega star here, and Sterling's performance really kept me into this beyond just being a great Royal singles. This match was just what I wanted and then some, the kind of stuff that makes me recommend CWF to everybody.

ER: On paper I didn't think too much of this show. It didn't look bad but wasn't something I was rushing home from work to watch. And it might be the under the radar best hour of wrestling TV of the year. The opener was a hot 5 minutes with a great powerful-but-vulnerable babyface, we got a killer slugfest in McAllister/Richards, a great promo after that match from Cain Justice and Ethan Sharpe, and then a 20 minute main event that stands up to some of the best main events of any fed this year. This episode slayed, McAllister/Richards and Royal/Sterling are easy additions to our 2017 Ongoing MOTY List, and I can't say enough nice things about these guys. I gotta get my butt to the Sportatorium in 2018.

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Every Grain Offering of Yoshiaki Fujiwara's You Shall Season with Salt

Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Daisuke Ikeda v. Great Kojika/Hiromitsu Kanehara Kana Pro 6/16/14 - FUN

Fun on paper shootstyle tag, with the odd insertion of the 73 year old Great Kojika. The Fujiwara v. Kojika sections were actually pretty fun, with Kojika throwing some nice hard chops. When Kanehara tagged in he brought the heat, throwing big stiff kicks. There was some cool Kanehara v. Fujiwara sections including Fujiwara moving him into the corner, throwing a slap and the countering the return slap into a Fujiwara armbar. Ikeda was weirdly neutered in this, wasn't in the ring tons, really dominated by Kanehara in their exchanges, hit some lariats, but that was it. Ends up having Kojika throw salt in his eyes for the DQ. I kept waiting for Ikeda to break out and be Ikeda, and Kanehara seemed ready to go there, but it didn't happen. Still I enjoyed this thoroughly.

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE YOSHIAKI FUJIWARA

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE DAISUKE IKEDA

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Saturday, December 09, 2017

Be Joyful in Hope, Patient in Affliction, Faithful in Yoshiaki Fujiwara

Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Yuki Ishikawa v. Hiroshi Hase/Yuji Nagata NJ 9/20/93-EPIC

Hase is one of Fujiwara's all time great opponents, especially considering they didn't match up that much. There are two awesome singles matches and this superb veteran/rookie tag. Baby Ishikawa and baby Nagata were both great in this, but the highlight was really Hase and Fujiwara's brilliant grappling. Hase was a world class amateur and his matwork with Fujiwara always has this wrestler versus submission fighter feel. I love how fast Hase's takedowns are, and how you can see Fujiwara's brain working to find openings to counter. Ishikawa versus Hase was also really fun, as it was worked less equal, but Ishikawa was still capable of finding moments to shine. We get another classic Fujiwara finish here, Nagata comes in and is rolling, throwing kicks to Fujiwara stomach, and dumping him with german suplexes. However at this point whenever I see a young boy getting on a roll against Fujiwara I am just waiting for the floor to fall out, and Fujiwara spins out of german suplex and locks on a painful looking kneebar for the tap.

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE FUJIWARA

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Friday, December 08, 2017

One of the Soldiers Pierced Yoshiaki Fujiwara's side with a Spear and Blood and Water Came Out

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Akitoshi Saito NJ 8/3/93 - EPIC

PAS: Holy hell was this awesome. Fujiwara attacks Saito at the bell and starts choking him with his black belt and it was on. Fujiwara versus a kicker is always the best, and Saito wasn't afraid to throw huge kicks especially to Fujiwara's belly. Fujiwara is the greatest body shot seller in wrestling history, he always sells them like he is about to throw up, but is keeping it down to fight through a Crossfit workout. Saito gets Fujiwara down and opens him up with knuckle punches to the head. Then a pissed off Fujiwara fires back with big headbutts as blood is running down his face. Finish was great Fujiwara crumple to the ground after a couple of nasty body kicks and Saito comes into finish him off, Fujiwara though grabs the next body kick and turns it into a nasty ankle lock for the tap. He then does this awesome strut around the ring with a shit eating grin on his face. He jaws a bit with Aoyagi who was seconding Saito and then offers his hand. Saito throws a kick at him, and Fujiwara has this great "look at the tough guy" smirk and struts out of the ring. I saw this on Ditch's site and got excited, but it totally exceeded my pretty high expectations.

COMPLETE AND ACCURATE FUJIWARA

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Thursday, December 07, 2017

New Japan HandHeld Bonanza: Lucha Cherry Picking



Pete over at PWO has gotten his hands on a ton of New Japan HHs from the 80s. I am posting the Fujiwara matches in C+A posts, but I figured I would do some reviews of the lucha guys showing up and my buddy MattD showed up as well!


Tiger Mask/George Takano v. Brazo De Oro/Brazo De Plata 9/6/81

PAS: Slim and trim Brazos looking great. We have a couple of other 1981 Brazos New Japan matches and we don't have any lucha Brazos this early. They are here to serve as foils for the technicos and they do a great job eating fancy arm drags. We get a nasty Plata top rope senton which is less lung collapsing in 1981 then it was later. Takano is a big dude and he flies around quite a bit with some nice arm drags. Mask is at his best when he comes in, hits his stuff and leaves and he had some cool flipping sentons. Nothing mindblowing, but a great chance to see a couple of lucha greats early in their career.

MD: I'm going at this in a more comprehensive way than Phil, watching everything (including Tiger Jeet Singh handheld matches). He is a wiser man than I. For 81 Brazos, I jumped the line though. The setting on this is amazing. It's some sort of outdoor bathhouse with steam rising up in the foreground and a crowd that seems eager for all of the Brazos' relatively outlandish stuff. Tanako competently takes most of the match with Tiger Mask hitting just enough of his signature stuff at the beginning and end to leave you satisfied. Oro and Plata, despite being very young here, base perfectly both on offense in taking stuff (goofus and gallant) and fit in just as well as they would in Japan ten years later.

Tiger Mask/Gran Hamada/Kengo Kimura vs. Steve Wright/Coloso Colosetti/Black Man 3/5/82

Totally fun trios match, that was a better finishing run away from being a real lost classic. Black Man had a couple of fun lucha exchanges with Hamada, which included Hamada taking a couple of his legendarily high backdrops. Colosetti wasn't in a ton, but I liked his exchanges with Tiger Mask where he kept trying to brawl like a rudo, and kept getting caught with spin kicks, I loved how he finally got frustrated and just palm thrusted TM in the eye. The rudo star of this match was Wright, totally awesome performance, he may look like an accounts payable manager, but he is remarkable agile, at points looking more agile then Tiger Mask. He has really great looking cartwheels out of arm bars and a cool kipup, and when it got time to get nasty, he through some really nice uppercuts and some vicious bodyslams and an awesome looking judo throw. Match kind of ended abruptly, which is a problem for a lot of Tiger Mask matches, but it was a real treat to watch.

Junji Hirata v. Luis Mariscal 8/29/82

Mariscal is a 70s and 80s luchadore who worked as a Baby Face and Scorpio trios partner and lost his hair to Villano IV and Perro Aguayo, I don't remember seeing him before, but he was a fun discovery. Young Hirata was svelte but hit hard, and these two had a nice scrap. It started with some basic but solid grappling, and then Hirata actually got snippy and they had a bunch of nice punch and chop exchanges. This was an undercard match with little heat, but I could visualize Mariscal having similar exchanges with Enirique Vera and tearing the house down. Really liked the multiple in ring topes by Mariscal to set up the pin

Kantaro Hoshino v. Villano III 8/29/82

PAS: Pretty strange match, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. V3 jumps Hoshino at the bell throws him to the floor, posts him, and hits a plancha. The match never felt in control, with Hoshino ripping at Villanos mask and Villano constantly biting Hoshino's head. It really felt like someone should be bleeding, and I enjoyed seeing a real lucha brawl in New Japan. Finish had Hoshino DQed for trying to rip off Villano's mask, and he goes nuts and beats up the ref. Then he ties up V3 in the ropes and tries to tear off the mask again. Really felt like a match setting up an apuestas, and I guess we need another batch of handhelds for that.

MD: Yeah, this was enjoyable. V3 rushes Hoshino and just doesn't let up for a few minutes. Pure rudo beatdown to start a match. I love how he keeps things moving, using the ring as a weapon, leaping off the ropes inside and out for extra leverage, pulling Hoshino half out to hit a knee on the apron, bulldogging him into the turnbuckle, etc. If Villano was doing this here against a guy working a different style, what the heck was he doing in Mexico at this time, right? When it's Hoshino's time to fight back, he goes straight to the mask and then follows it up with some revenge usage of the ring as well. The finish is where the weirdness sets in as they move on to rope running and submissions, like the end of a title match primera. Thankfully, it cycles back to hate with the mask ripping finish and the never-ending post match with the two trying to get their hands on each other. This left me wanting to see about three dozen more 1982 V3 matches. Then I made the mistake of looking at what else he did in 82. Not much, just, you know, feuding with Los Misioneros, including apuestas matches with Signo and Texano. This was definitely better than nothing though.

Black Cat/Isamu Teranishi/Kuniaki Kobayashi v. El Signo/Negro Navarro/El Texano 1/1/83

PAS: This was one of the most exciting matches to show up on this batch of footage. We have so little prime Missonaires de la Muerte, we know how awesome all these guys were as oldsters, and their rep is so great, that any time 80s MDM shows up it is a lucha fan holiday. This was more like an awesome first fall of a great trios match, then a great match on its own, but it was a awesome demonstration of what made this team so special. They were just relentless, attacking at the bell and always moving forward. Their pace was really something to watch, never not moving, never not attacking. They didn't take many bumps but every bump was athletic and crazy. We don't get a ton of offense from the Japan team, Kobayashi has a couple of cool armdrags, which Texano bumps huge for. For some reason Kobayashi and Teranishi start brawling post match, as the MDM just strut out victorious.

MD: Los Missionaries were the prototype for a rudo trios side for a reason and here you can so clearly see why. Relentless is exactly the word I'd use, too. This was just the perfect combination of complex spots and improvisational bridging. They kept working back into their corner, kept switching up, kept helping each other whenever possible while their opponents weren't on the same page at all. This would have played well as a Guerreros primera twenty years later (give or take a powerbomb), maybe even thirty. You saw hints of the stooging and miscommunication that would have, in another match, been part of a tecnico shine or comeback. You saw hints of them basing and bumping. At times they were moving so fast that you'd think that there was no way they'd feed an armdrag in time, but they do. Primarily, though, this was their showcase and they brought it, from the initial ambush to the triple team hanging seated senton on the floor and the nasty, nasty tombstone that finished things. Again, it just leads you to imagine all the things we don't have.

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I will Still Be Carrying Yoshiaki Fujiwara When He is Old, His Hair Will Turn Grey and I Will Carry You

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Masa Fuchi AJPW 7/11/00-GREAT

This was the battle of the two legends of old man grumpy puro. The Walter Matthau invitational. This was a 30 minute draw which All Japan clipped up on their commercial tape much to my chagrin. I imagine a full version might hit EPIC status. We did get a bunch of cool moments, Fuchi working a headscissors with Fujiwara trying and failing multiple escapes. Fujiwara ripping off some great Fujiwara armbars, with Fuchi fighting to the ropes, and a headbutt and slap fight. I liked the finish, with Fujiwara escaping a headscissors only to get caught in a choke and almost going out. Lets hope AJ Classics eventually gets to 2000.


COMPLETE AND ACCURATE FUJIWARA

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