Segunda Caida

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

Sunday, January 12, 2020

2019 Ongoing MOTY List: Suzuki vs. Shiozaki

50. Hideki Suzuki vs. Go Shiozaki NOAH 7/27

ER: With less free time than ever these days, I watch 2019 Japanese wrestling maybe slightly more than I did in 1997, when I had never seen one second of Japanese wrestling. But there are still guys I like, and I typically check out matches that are recommended to me. If someone says a Hideki Suzuki match will make our list, that's something I'll watch. This ends up going to a 30 minute draw, which isn't something I love in wrestling, but I'll say that it definitely didn't feel like 30 minutes. I was surprised when the bell sounded, not only because they hadn't really built to a big finish, but because the work was still at an engaging enough level to leave me wanting more. I'm not a big Shiozaki guy, and so I liked how this was mostly structured as Shiozaki showing moments of hanging with Suzuki, but mostly Suzuki wearing him down while Go survived. Suzuki's facials and bully nature, worked in a deliberate and sadistic pace, were the stars of this one. Go shone bright during one of the best corner chop sequences I've seen in a long time, really the moment that felt like overcoming Suzuki was possible. But Suzuki was a real meathead jerk here, working over ever joint in Shiozaki's body: loosening a knee cap with twisting, wrecking an elbow and shoulder by yanking it behind his body and locking in a hyperextending armbar, throwing out a back with a bearhug, tossing Go around by a cravate, really wearing him down and working through limbs like a game of Hangman. When Suzuki wore him down enough he started throwing him with brutal suplexes, and going after that taped up arm even more. I dig these kind of matches where the hero comes up against some unstoppable force, and gets ground down and only saved by the bell, and after the match the unstoppable opponent looks calm and cold. Shiozaki seems like he won by default, and that's a really cool way to work the first singles match. It feels like the first chapter, and I'm already wondering how Shiozaki is going to strategize, and he has not been a wrestler I typically think about.

PAS: I really enjoyed this, Suzuki is a really throwback guy strong, slow and violent. He is like an old school post player in today's space and pace NBA. Shozaki is a little dry, but was great as an underdog getting violently picked apart. I also liked the Misawa elbows felt like a cool tribute and also something organic. You have to love a guy coming in with a taped shoulder and having the whole match be about ripping apart said shoulder. I actually liked the draw finish as it came off like Suzuki's deliberate pace coming back to haunt him. He probably has Go beaten if he pushes the gas pedal, but that isn't how he is built.


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