Hideki Suzuki v Daisuke Sekimoto (Big Japan, 3/11/18)
Nice little match that was predominantly built around solid grappling exchanges. It only lasted about twelve minutes and the first ten kind of felt like the early goings of an old NWA title defense. It was methodical and meticulous, and I quite liked how they worked it like they'd at least entertained the possibility that they might end up going long. Sekimoto is fine enough at the actual working of holds, but more than that you can buy it being difficult even for a guy like Suzuki to handle him. He's a roided up wee monster and he does a lot of shouting like the maniac at the gym deadlifting a small house, so he at least gives you the impression he won't be letting go of that top wrist-lock freely. My favourite Suzuki moments were the ones where he was bending fingers to set up an abdominal stretch or octopus hold. His headscissors/tarantula spot was pretty cool as well and you knew that when it came to smacking each other they'd lay it in. There weren't a ton of people in the building, but you don't have to worry about the folks at the back not hearing these two throw lariats.
Hideki Suzuki v Yoshihisa Uto (Big Japan, 3/21/18)
Another fun Strong Climb tournament match. I actually preferred this to the Suzuki/Sekimoto even though Uto isn't as believable or solid working holds. They still had some nice grappling, but Uto was prone to leaving himself open in obvious fashion and at times Suzuki had to do the same as a prompt. "Okay, you're hammerlocking me now, just grab this arm here." Suzuki was great with the little things again, adding mean little touches to holds and countering things in unique ways. He had Uto in a sleeper at one point and as Uto tried to run up the turnbuckles to push himself back, Suzuki just let go and ran his face into the buckle instead, which allowed him to grab the sleeper again as Uto bounced back out in a daze. I liked the finish as well. Suzuki grabbing the chair backfired on him initially, so I was cool with him taking advantage of the moment and going for the count out. A win's a win, isn't it?
Takuya Nomura v Yuya Aoki (Big Japan, 3/21/18)
Really cool little fight. Every match I've seen Nomura in he's been the young guy stepping to the established stars and he's been super fun just about every time. This was him having to deal with a younger version of himself, basically. It wasn't young guy with a chip on his shoulder up against established star/vet. It was young guy with a chip on his shoulder up against slightly older young guy with a chip on his shoulder. I liked Aoki a bunch. He wasn't about to back down and took it to Nomura like Nomura had earned it. I don't know what Nomura had done TO earn it, but Aoki was potatoing him all over the place and put him on his neck with a huge German. I could've done without Nomura popping up from it to land a head kick, but he did drop down afterwards so I guess I'll take delayed selling over no selling. For his part Nomura was really good as well. He threw potatoes right back, his chokes looked air tight and he put the kid in his place when he needed to. The early matwork didn't last very long, but it was more UWF than 70s NWA and they made it look slick. Nomura could be awesome in a few years and if Aoki is willing to crack folk in the jaw like this then I guess he could too.