Hideki Suzuki & Yoshihisa Uto v Shuji Ishikawa & Kohei Sato (Big Japan, 9/21/15)
Big Japan truly is the land of the crowbar-wielding potato farmers. I've had that impression for a while if only from reading about it, but watching this stuff confirms it. Ishikawa, Sato, Suzuki, Okabayashi, Kawakami, Sekimoto, even the rookies -- everybody thumps the absolute dogfuck out of each other. It's a bit of a departure from the barbed wire landmine deathmatch focus of yore (though Abby Jr. and the deathmatch crowd are still doing their thing. It's sort of surreal seeing Yuko Miyamoto as grizzled old bastard with criss-cross scarring all over his back when a decade ago he was the pretty young fella being hurled off scaffold. So...surreal yet understandable, I guess). This was all around badass to begin with, but the added hook with Uto stepping to the plate against the big dogs really kicked it up a few notches. And by Christ did Uto get abused in his stepping to the plate against the big dogs. Kohei Sato has been around for a while now but he's always been a guy on the periphery of my attention. I couldn't tell you if he's always worked like this, but based on recent evidence he might throw the hardest elbows in wrestling. He was just plastering Uto here. Ishikawa is someone I now want to watch more of independent of this little project and he was a super fun bully again. His knees to Uto's body were outrageous, but it was the interactions with Suzuki that ruled the most. There was one strike exchange where they were just hammering each other and laughing along like a pair of sadists, gumshields half hanging out mouths and spittle flying. Everybody and their granny and their granny's dog knew who was taking the fall here, but it was the journey that you came to see and a heck of a fun journey it was.