Segunda Caida

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

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

He Who Bravely Fails Must Risk Yoshiaki Fujiwara

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Minoru Suzuki PWFG 11/3/91-EPIC

PAS: Fujiwara had been mostly working undercards up to this point, but man does he deliver in a main event spot. Suzuki is your young guy desperate to overtake the veteran ace of the company, and he dominates here, although he is never able to put Fujiwara away. This is really all about Fujiwara as a defensive wrestler, he blocks and eludes and counters and while Suzuki would easily win a decision, there are no judges in PWFG. There are a ton of nifty little things in this match, but I especially loved the way Fujiwara used hand and wrist control. Suzuki is rarely ever able to lock anything in solid, as he is always getting his wrists and hands grabbed and twisted. I am not a big fan of the draw booking, but the finish here was great, Suzuki is getting more and more frustrated, and he and Fujiwara start shit talking at each other, and then at the end they both are working on ankle locks as the bell rings, and Suzuki refuse to let go. Then when he does he is punching the mat in anguish and frustration. Just great stuff.

TKG: Both guys were working defensively as you had sense that Suzuki was fighting to block headbutts before they were unleashed. Fujiwara tries to establish distance to headbutt and Suzuki pulls him in. Really Phil’s covered the whole story here so pretty much all left to talk about are the cool little pieces like that, the multiple ways Fujiwara fights out of a choke (my favorite being this thing where he uses his feet to push his way out). Cameraman did a pretty great job here getting really expressive shots during long sleeper segment where Fujiwara spouts different types of bubbles till getting to the ropes. For a show that really had only two matches,,,this was a fucking great match.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Jushin Liger NJ 9/23/94- GREAT

This was kind of the 90's version of the Fujiwara v. Tiger Mask matchup. Liger is the striker flurrying with palm strikes and slipping in sneaky kappo kicks, while Fujiwara is trying to take him down and slow him down. Some very cool stuff here, including Fujiwara being pretty punishing, landing a big right hand in the corner, and really laying in a beating on Liger when he had the mount, including some nasty bodyshots. Finish run was pretty nifty with Liger having Fujiwara on the ropes with a big kappo kick and a nasty dropkick to the knee, Fujiwara however reverses an irish whip and when Liger dives off the ropes, he side steps him and slaps on the Fujiwara armbar for the finish, it is the kind of counter wrestling finish which Fujiwara is the master of.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Tatsumi Fujinami v. Nobuhiko Takada/Masahito Kakihara UWFI 6/26/96-GREAT

This was a main event of a UWFI show during the UWFI v. NJ feud, with Fujiwara and Fujinami representing NJ. Pretty cool match with the frisson between the styles providing a bunch of neat moments. Of course Fujiwara is a master at shootstyle wrestling, but it was cool to see Fujinami throw in stuff like top rope diving knees and clotheslines off of the ropes. The crowd reacted big whenever Fujinami used pro moves, and it nicely demonstrated the battle of styles. I haven't watched any UWFI in years, and I was impressed in Takada here, he was still a little bland, but he was laying in the kicks and he projects a big star aura in a way he didn't in the 80's. Kakihara has impressively fast hands, and I loved the little story that he and Fujiwara were telling throughout the match. In the early part of the match you could tell that Kakihara's hand speed was bothering Fujiwara, he was getting caught with flurries and kicks and got knocked down several times. By the end of the match though he had started to time Kakihara and was able to block and avoid most of his shots. The finish was awesome with Fujiwara dancing away from an increasingly desperate and reckless Kakihara until he catches a leg on a kick and sinks in a kneebar for the tap. Totally cool story, reminded me of the Juan Manuel Marquez v. Juan Diaz fight, with the wily veteran initially overwhelmed by the athletic freak, but able to use his guile to adjust.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara/TARU v. Minoru Suzuki/Yoshihiro Takayama RING SOUL 4/19/07-SKIPPABLE

This is from a TARU vanity fed, and the concept behind this match is TARU wanting to work a UWF style match. TARU is a guy who is fun in a pro-style brawl, but is really out of his element here. Takayama and Suzuki are kind of walking through this as you might expect them to, with Takayama looking especially shot. Fujiwara and Suzuki have a couple of fun exchanges, including kind of a nifty knuckle lock where Suzuki keeps parrying the Fujiwara headbutt. Still this is a 20 minute match, and 17 minutes or so were pretty dull.




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