Thursday, 8 September 2016

A Glimpse at 2016 (part 1)

I've been going through some threads on PWO and after reading about the Trauma I/Canis Lupus mask match I feel motivated to watch some stuff from this year (including Trauma/Lupus, eventually). I've been out of the modern Japanese wrestling loop for ages and I'm not entirely sure what's going on in WWE right now and I haven't even kept up with lucha for a couple years now, but we'll see what tickles my fancy and then I'll lose interest again in about a week. WWE also put up the fucking Last Battle of Atlanta the other day so I should probably get on that real quick as well. If I can write up four entries of 2016 wrestling I'll be proud of myself.

Hideki Suzuki & Yoshihisa Uto v Yasufumi Nakanoue & Ryoto Hama (BJW, 5/5/16)

This was my first taste of the Suzuki/Nakanoue feud and it felt like a pretty great place to start. Fairly short, super intense, buckets of hate, etc. Good grief Hama is even fatter than the last time I saw him. It's like Dusty Rhodes absorbed Rikishi Phatu Dragonball Z style and this was the outcome. His fatboy splashes all looked very lung-squashy and I pretty much love his twist on the duelling lariat trope by just diving onto Uto with a cross body. Suzuki/Nakanoue is of course what you come to see, though. No idea what the context of this feud is or why they hate each other to death but I'm fine just sitting back and watching them try and maul each other. Constant cheap shots, looks of disgust, flurries of violence - it was all there. The WAR comparison I've read certainly feels apt and considering WAR is just about my favourite promotion in history I was all the way behind this. I don't actually know if I've seen Suzuki before but I liked him a bunch here. He was pretty Tenryu-ish in the way he'd sort of react to Nakanoue's strikes with condescension early on, to later being thoroughly fed up with them and absolutely plastering him in response.

Hideki Suzuki & Yoshihisa Uto v Yasufumi Nakanoue & Yuji Okabayashi (BJW, 5/30/16)

The Suzuki/Nakanoue relationship has deteriorated even further in the three weeks between this and the previous match and I don't think there's any hope of reconciliation at this point. I still don't know why they despise each other so, but if it keeps leading to shit like this then I hope they never bury the hatchet. This went about fifty seconds before the ref' threw the match out, then he was persuaded to restart it after everyone had calmed down a bit and it only went another four and a half minutes after that. I could see that being too short for someone to really get behind, and sure, I would've liked it to last a bit longer, but if you've got less than five minutes to work with and you approach it by beating the living dogfuck out of everyone else involved then I will never, ever not appreciate that. And by "everyone else involved" I literally mean everyone, which is exactly what Suzuki does here. He mostly wants Nakanoue, but he's not above taking a swing at ring boys and the referee and even his own partner for getting in his way. It was very great. He was pretty much the world's best potato-farming crowbar bastard and everyone got hit in the face by him, especially Nakanoue, who got it the worst and most often. Uto actually got fed up at one point and smashed him back, but Suzuki didn't care and just went back to stomping on Nakanoue's head because who needs a tag team partner anyway? I kinda loved the finish with Okabayashi really putting some torque on the camel clutch while Suzuki, who knows his partner is in trouble, ignores it in favour of throwing Nakanoue into things. This reminded me of one of those Hashimoto v Ogawa tags from the late 90s/early 00s, and if you're successfully aping a Hash/Ogawa tag then you are alright with me.

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