Segunda Caida

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

Monday, September 21, 2009

There is One Pain I Often Feel, Which You Will Never Know It is Caused By Yoshiaki Fujiwara

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Ken Shamrock PWFG 12/5/92- GREAT

PAS: Very cool match, Shamrock is really athletic and has great spots, you get a guy like Fujiwara or Sano to put that into a match it will be really great. The first part of the match has Shamrock using that athleticism to take Fujiwara down and get him into submissions, but Fujiwara has an answer for everything, and keeps doing awesome reversals into submissions. I really think Fujiwara is the greatest counter wrestler ever. Shamrock finally gets fed up with taking him down, and starts kickboxing. He gets a quick down, and then knocks him out with an enziguri to Fujiwara's face. The match feels a little truncated, especially considering how rarely Fujiwara loses. The standup section really should have gone a little longer, as Fujiwara kind of got squashed as soon as they stood.

TKG: I don't have much to add to what Phil says here other than I really liked the process of Fujiwara getting escapes. As he goes from guy caught to guy struggling to guy coming up with something in a visually exciting way When Fujiwara is beat you can tell he's beat as he seems just completely unprepared for the change in tactics.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Tatsumi Fujinami/Riki Choshu v. Shinya Hashimoto/Power Warrior/Masa Chono NJ 7/8/94-FUN

Pretty nifty legends of the 80's vs. stars of the 90's match. Focus was on Choshu v. Hash, as the match begins with Choshu kicking the middle rope into Hashimoto's junk, so he spends the first couple of minutes on the floor grabbing his man tonsils. When Hashimoto comes back he laid in the kicks something fierce. Fujiwara was a bit player here, although he did have an awesome karate showdown with Hashimoto, which included a great little asshole Fujiwara dance after the stand off. Fun finish with Choshu lariating everyone, but Chono catching Fujiwara with a yakuza and Power Warrior hitting a big powerslam.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara v. Toshiaki Kawada AJPW 3/21/01- SKIPPABLE

This is a match I a have watched several times. The first time I saw it was in 2001 and it ruined Fujiwara for me for years. I rewatched after getting into the Other Japan Fujiwara stuff, and then rewatched a third time for this project. It may be the most inexplicably bad match I have ever seen. I mean on paper this seems like it should rule, two of the greatest Japanese wrestlers ever, seemingly compatible styles, Kawada isn't a guy who did much shootstyle, but you always figured he would be great in it, and it isn't like Fujiwara can only work one way. Sure Fujiwara is past his prime a bit by 2001, and you knew this wouldn't be as good as it would have been in 1994, but this wasn't just a little disappointing, it was down right shitty.

As much as it pains me to say it, the blame goes pretty squarely on Fujiwara's shoulders. I have run across other bad Fujiwara matches in my travels, but no other match where he is the reason it is bad. He eats Kawada alive here. It is 2001 AJPW, Kawada is clearly the top guy in the promotion, and Fujiwara treats him like shit. He basically no sells almost all of Kawada's offense, Kawada will kick him in the face and he will just look at him, this isn't the Fujiwara tough it out sell, he just waves it off. At one point he gets German Suplexed, rolls out of it and goes on offense. There wasn't even a shitty Takiawa Fighting Spirt yell. He also takes a ton of the match, not really with cool mat holds or nifty punches, but mostly with JYD headbutt stuff. Even when he loses, he kicks out at the three count in a crappy keep his heat kind of way. Kawada seems to be trying pretty hard here, but Fujiwara just doesn't give a fuck. I don't know if this was a NJ v. AJ thing, or Kawada tried to fuck Thundercrack, but this was a total stinker.


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