Thursday, 26 March 2015

Tatsumi Fujinami x 2

I got the urge to watch some New Japan last night.

I may watch more later.

Tatsumi Fujinami v Tony Rocco (9/11/80)

So I figured this was the only Rocco match I'd ever seen, but a search on this here internet tells me he was Don Corleone who had a match on the 80s lucha set there. That match wasn't very good, but I thought Corleone worked pretty well in it (going by what I wrote about it, anyway). He's an oldish barrel-chested dude that looks kind of like Steve Bruce between his eighth and ninth broken nose. He was really good in this; all of his matwork looked super snug and rugged and everything both guys did was fought for. Rocco doesn't go full rudo, but there are points where he takes liberties a little. He'll pull a bit on Fujinami's tights and grab his hair once or twice, but he stops soon enough, like it's more out of habit rather than actually wanting to cheat. Match felt like a long opening fall in an NWA Title match more than a juniors match, with the way it built slowly and methodically with tight matwork and peaked with a short finishing run. Really good match, and if nothing else it shows how versatile Fujinami was.

Tatsumi Fujinami v Johnny Londos (9/19/80)

And here's a different look at Fujinami. Londos is an old World of Sport-ish guy and he's a total blast in this. I thought for sure he was an Englishman, but apparently he's Belgian and his real name is Charly Verhulst. So...there's that. But yeah, I remembered really liking this and it definitely held up. Londos is super slick with some of his matwork, transitioning from a headlock into an armbar takedown so quickly that I had to rewind just to see what had actually happened. At one point Fujinami has him on the mat with an armbar, so Londos starts rocking back and forward until he's balancing on his neck with his legs up in the air and then oh, would you look at that, Fujinami's caught in a headscissors. Fujinami seems content to let Londos bust out the cool stuff and follow his lead, but it's another match that shows his versatility. New Japan brought in a ton of guys to face him for the juniors belt around this time, and on the first disc alone of the New Japan 80s set you get to see him run the gauntlet against a bunch of different guys and styles. Londos, Rocco, Dynamite, Chavo Guerrero, Steve Keirn, Kimura -- all good matches, and all different.

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