Segunda Caida

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

Monday, February 06, 2017

2017 Ongoing MOTY LIst: Shibata v. RIddle

2. Katsuyori Shibata v. Matt Riddle RPW 1/21/17

PAS: I enjoyed this a fair amount, although Shibata dream matches are not my kind of wrestling. You can tell that Riddle is really jazzed to work Shibata and his enthusiasm is what I liked the best about this. They had some pretty nifty arm bar based matwork, it wasn't Tamura but it was pretty good. After the matwork they got down to business and started cracking each other. Riddle had great facial selling, everytime he got smacked has this look on his face like "can you believe how hard this motherfucker is throwing? Let's go" This had some of the no-selling I can't stand in Shibata matches, and sometimes Riddle falls into the bad habits of his opponents, but overall this was good stuff.

ER: The dumb parts of this were dumb, the good parts of this were really good. The stupid german suplex tradeoffs come off really eyeroll-y to me at this point, they never seem organic or part of the actual match. I would say that we're all tired of turn-based chop and elbow exchanges, but the crowd began flipping out when Shibata started requesting to be chopped, so the formula works for the paying audience. I thought all that stuff was pretty lame, and minimized the actual cool stuff they were doing, and thankfully there was still a lot of cool stuff. All of the mat work is just insanely fast and makes me constantly expect some kind of tear. When I played baseball I remember this guy Nick, an athletic shortstop on my team, dove back into 3rd on a pickoff and his patella had completely twisted to the inner part of his knee. It was horrifying. Everything these guys do seems far more likely to end in a dislocated kneecap. All the armbar rollthroughs are fast but hypnotic, and while all of it is smooth you can very easily see something popping in an instant. I loved when they were each rolling out of each other's wrist control and Shibata rolled through into almost a grounded cartwheel spin kick to land in control. It's a bummer that I thought the suplex trading and planned strike exchanges took away from better, similar moments. Riddle had all these cool tough Karelin lifts that didn't seem nearly as impressive when both guys are bouncing off their heads and popping up to bounce the other guy off their head. And the finish was masterful, like the best Futen/Batt, with Shibata catching Riddle with a hard slap that dropped him, before tapping him In a vacuum the finish was perfection. But it came off lesser than it should have since I just watched these two voluntarily stand (kneel) and trade harder shots moments before. Sure we can make the argument of expected shots not hurting as much as surprise shots, but that would be ignoring that Shibata has a habit of not ending matches on his best strike. Still, the good in this was really good.



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