Friday, 22 June 2012

Shinya Hashimoto v Steven Regal (New Japan, 4/16/95)

Hell of a fight. Everything felt like a struggle here; nothing was given up, it had to be fought for. Regal's an especially nasty bastard in this. About 2 minutes in he ends up busting Hash's nose open (not sure what did it), so the bits where he's clubbing him right in the nose with overhands or forearms look especially harrowing. He'll also grind his elbow and wrist across Hashimoto's face, and there's a few close-ups of him really digging the bone of his wrist right into the nose. Awesome moment where he has Hash in a neck crank and he steps on his hand so he can't reach up to pry open the grip, then while Hash's neck is twisted at a weird angle he starts cracking him in the nose some more with the palm of his free hand. When Hashimoto makes his comeback he fucking nukes Regal with this quick enziguri to the back of the head. Looked like it could decapitate a horse. Last ten minutes are all about Regal grinding him down and going back to the bloody nose while Hash does what he does and tries to kick Regal into oblivion. There's a great struggle over Regal's butterfly suplex and Hashimoto's DDT, so when Hash finally manages to spike him after three attempts it comes across as a serious game changer. It's been a minute since I watched any Regal in Japan, but this makes me want to go back and watch the Benoit match from the same year, because he really looks at home as the surliest Englishman Japan has ever seen.