Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Japanese Indy Sleaze!

Tadahiro Fujisaki & Makoto Saito v Cosmo Soldier & Sato (Wrestle Yume Factory, 6/10/97)

This had a real Battlartsy recklessness to it, just fifteen minutes of uncooperative crowbarring and potatoing from all four involved. Honestly, I had no idea who any of these guys were and didn't bother trying to identify them until after I'd watched the match. Cosmo seemed fairly obvious given the mask with the big star on the front and therefore it would stand to reason that whoever he was teaming with was Sato, but I didn't put names to faces of the other two until afterwards. I'm not sure who you'd point to as the best guy in the match (I'm not sure you'd be bothered to), but you might point to Fujisaki (he's wearing the singlet) as the one who gave the least shits about his opponents' safety. He really brutalised Cosmo and flung him about with abandon, hitting this weird body slam that left Cosmo crumpled beneath himself in a tangle of ACLs and ruptured patellar tendons. Beyond that he was stomping him in the face and hitting lariats right around the throat and dumping him on his ear with back suplexes. Saito (the future K-Ness of Dragon Gate fame (I would never have known this, btw, if it hadn't been pointed out by Jetlag on PWO)) was throwing brutal high kicks and dropkicking guys at weird angles, across the lower spine, upper thigh, just below the shoulder, right under the chin. Almost nothing in the match looked pretty but it did look like it hurt a lot. There wasn't a ton of structure, but the messiness worked for it and the heat segments certainly made it feel like someone was in peril. Pretty much the definition of Japanese indy sleaze. The very best kind.

Masaaki Mochizuki, Yoshikazu Taru & Takashi Okamura v Masakazu Fukuda, Kamikaze & Hiroyoshi Kotsubo (Wrestle Yume Factory, 6/10/97)

What the fuck was this? I'd never even heard of half these guys, Mochizuki is a Dragon Gate mainstay I've never had anything but apathy for, Taru has been doing his half-baked Voodoo Murderers shtick for years...and yet this totally ruled. Mochizuki, Taru and Okamura are all kitted out in karategis and I assumed they were playing the role of invaders (they're from Koji Kitao's dojo, courtesy again of Jetlag), but the crowd were 100% behind them and spent near enough the whole match chanting for Taru. It was rabid, honest to goodness heat in this dingy little gym. Match was very much your Aoyagi-booked wrestler v karateka affair, but it was less outlandish spectacle and more balls out sprint that happened to be between karatekas and wrestlers. Taru spent most of the match being worked over by the home team and they really kicked the shit out of him. I don't know the difference between any of those guys but one of them was trying to burst Taru's lungs with double stomps. Another would rake his eyes across the ring ropes and crush him with portly sentons. We even got nasty little punts to the face while he crawled around the ring helpless. As far as I know this is the only Takashi Okamura match I've ever seen and he was just destroying guys with crazy stomps and head kicks. He did a wheel kick at one point that connected full force across the nose, total disregard for the face of whoever took it. The last stretch had guys laying into each other on the floor, dives through the ropes, Mochizuki running up turnbuckles and drilling guys with wheel kicks, and while all this chaos is going on Okamura and whoever are in the middle of the ring trying to tap each other out. I seriously thought this was as good as any of the high end MPro tags on the '96 yearbook, and in some respects it was even wilder. Great match.

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