Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Thursday, September 10, 2009

BattlArts 7/5/09

Katsumi Usuda & Kyosuke Sasaki vs. Keita Yano & Satoshi Kajiwara

TKG: Sasaki is a guy who was getting a big push in U style and haven’t seen for years. He looked fine here in this more pro style environment. It’s hard to really gauge as he didn’t do a ton of matwork and tagged with Usuda he’s going to look secondary. Kajiwara may have some potential and Yano is still awful. Yano is a guy who clearly watches a bunch of US indy tapes and poorly imitates it.

PAS: US Indy wrestling used to be dudes poorly imitating Japanese puroresu, and now we have puro guys poorly imitating ROH guys, the World is truly Flat. I don’t know what was worse Yano’s Nigel rebound lariat or his Danieslon MMA elbows, but Yano is the single shittiest wrestler showing up on tape. This is the real problem with current BattlArts v. 90’s BattlArts, pretty much everyone in the 90’s was at least carryable, current BattlArts still has awesome guys, but some of the younger guys can just drag a match into the toilet. Usuda looked good in his sections, but he got this completely ridiculous tan, it looked like he was working a Khmer Rouge gimmick.

B-1 Climax - Block B: Yujiro Yamamoto vs. Baisen TAGAI

TKG: Yamamoto is pretty awesome, does a really awesome job selling for TAGAI’s shitty offense. Sells arm well early on, eats an awful corner lariat and makes it work, etc. He’s also got really frantic nice comeback offense where even when stuff missed it came off reckless. Unfortunately he works the match from below and TAGAI is a guy who needs to stick to tags.

PAS: Yamamoto is great, and it is a pleasure to watch him work anyone, but TAGAI really is a load. I haven’t minded him in some of the tag matches I have seen him in, but he looked pretty untrained here. I like that they are using Sasaki, but they need to grab so more ex U-Style guys to fill out these undercards.

B-1 Climax - Block A: Yuta Yoshikawa vs. Tiger Shark

PAS: This was perfectly okay although I didn’t really get much of a BattlArts feel from it. Felt like the third best match on a DDT show. Both guys did some okay kick exchanges, but this isn’t a trained monkey show, lay it in.

TKG: This was an indy match. Tiger Shark hits a really nice diving headbutt. And all the mat work and strikes in this felt like the kind of indy matwork and strikes that is used as filler to build up to dive train. Are Johnny Storm and Jody Fleish still showing up in So Cal indies once a year? They could steal this match as filler before dive train and people would dig it. But this was indy match filler.

B-1 Climax - Block A: Yuki Ishikawa vs. Ryuji Walter

TKG: Ryuji Walter is an entertaining crowbar. As powerhouse guy opposite Ishikawa he sells more than Sekimoto. But I see a guy who is going to punch Ishikawa in the face I want to see Ishikawa punch back. I love toe to toe Ishikawa. Ishikawa as underdog valiantly and smartly fighting back against powerhouse is fun but isn’t as awesome as toe to toe Ishikawa. Still Walter is nasty as fuck and Ishikawa looks tough eating and fighting off his stuff. Feels like a match I’ll dig a lot more on rewatch.

PAS: Ishikawa is a guy who grew up idolizing Inoki and this is the most Inokish performance I have ever seen out of him. Walter was in the Hansen/Brody/Vader mode of dominating monster, and Ishikawa was the veteran legend who was going to take a beating, but was going to use his guile and toughness to pull out the victory. I still don't have much of a sense of Walter as a wrestler, but fuck is he stiff, during the first flurry out of the ring he slams Ishikawa with a straight right hand which landed right on the upper part of the jaw. By the way Ishikawa's mouth was swelling it wouldn't shock me if he broke his cheekbone. There was also an in ring right hand for a near fall which had both of us yelling "Holy fuck." Still I loved how Ishikawa weathered the storm and had Walter on the ropes, with a bell saving him from tapping.

B-1 Climax - Block B: Super Tiger II vs. Munenori Sawa

PAS: This was shockingly good, I think it might have been better then previous match, which is never something I would have guessed before hand. This is by far the best STII has looked, he had been carried to some good stuff previously, but it looked like he had it figured it out here. The matwork at the beginning was solid stuff, but it really got good when they stood up. Lots of really nice exchanges, there was one section where both guys stood in front of each other exchanging sick body shots, it is a drill I used to do in boxing and it brought back some painful memories. Finish was awesome with Tiger landing some really pretty athletic kicks and Sawa doing an awesome half KO sell.

TKG: These guys have signature crowd popping spots and they really didn’t do them here. Instead they just went at each other. Really impressive performance by guys who I didn’t think had this in them. In the past Super Tiger II has been a guy who when his stuff looks polished it doesn’t work as well as his stuff that looks sloppy. Here he came across as a polished wrestler in control of his stuff and it all looked good. The match also built from sections to sections really well. I didn’t really think either guy was capable of that. In this kind of match often times the finishing KO will feel really arbitrary, like the wrestlers realized how long the match had gone on and decided “well I guess this will be the strike that ends it”. Here the selling and the set up for the final kO made it clear that it was the finish.

PAS: First part of this show was a bit rough, but the last two matches got me pretty excited for the rest of this tournament.

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