Friday, May 26, 2023

Forever Forward Fridays

Ikuto Hidaka/Munenori Sawa VS Yuta Yoshikawa/Katsumi Usuda - BattlArts 7/2/2010

JJZ: It's Sunday morning and I'm sitting in my basement drinking coffee and watching Battlearts. Yumma dum dum. Well Chris, this match is exactly what you think it would be and that makes me so happy. These four wrestlers really bring a stiff ass aggression but then all of the sudden someone busts out with a really slick transition. I don't watch this style enough so when I do it feels like such a treat. Hidaka's versatility to do this style of match but then also have a match like he did with Alex Shelley in the same era is special. Crowd was good not great but came on strong in the end. Now my absolute favorite thing about battlearts and UWF is the fact that the match can end whenever. There is no real final stretch just make sure you don't take your eyes off the TV.

CJD: So first of all I really liked this match. I love this era of Battlarts, not exactly their prime but some of the coolest shit was going on in the years leading up to this. Yuta Yoshikawa was probably the main homegrown talent they were trying to get over, but his career was cut short and this was actually his retirement match. He brought a lot to the table as he always did, taking a tremendous beating and helping give the match structure and purpose. I don't think I've ever seen this before and I wasn't the biggest fan of Yoshikawa so that'd make sense. But I'm so glad you played it forward to me. I haven't watched any shoot style since our last journey into it and for guys like Hidaka and Usuda these matches have to be like jazz. No need to know where you're going next or how you're getting there. Just feel it out and let it flow through you. They built to some great hot tags even though you weren't going to get huge pops from the reported crowd of 156. I'd say that's probably generous. Very interesting footnote in pro wrestling history here, the match is definitely stronger for the first 2/3rds, but overall it's a quality ass kicking and a hell of a way to go out on your sword.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Back Friday

What's up fellow wrestling nerds. CJD here to just let you know we didn't forget about the blog. We'll be back to regularly scheduled programming Friday and next Tuesday. You may see us miss some posts from time to time for the next few months though, as my family is about to embark on an exciting new chapter in our lives. I won't quite be back in JJZ's backyard again but we will shave a few hundred miles off the road trips! We'll be hitting PIF up with content as we're able, but it's going to be a whirlwind summer for us. Thanks for understanding and for checking in!

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Welcome To The SHO

JJZ: We are going back to basics with this one homie. A couple of young boys doing young boy moves. But dare I say doing them extremely well and efficiently. As I sit here drinking a cup of earl grey tea I can honestly say I found this match soothing. Sho and Yoh go on to have a very colorful energetic run together. But in this match both wrestlers put on a basics match that I think you could show to young students in training. The biggest highlight I think came out of this contest was the selling for both guys really made it feel like winning this match was the most important thing in the world at that moment. Hope you enjoy it baby cakes.

CJD: Full transparency here. You watched and reviewed the Sho match last week not realizing Sho Tanaka was the Sho you've seen probably like a hundred matches of since you watched nothing but NJPW one year recently. And I haven't seen a hundred Yoh matches but I sure as shit didn't put together who Yohei Komatsu was until after I looked him up after I was done and then read your review!! All I want out of young lions matches is three things. A feeling of huge struggle for the victory. Execution over wow factor. And single leg Boston crabs!!!! Check, check, mate my man!! Loved this and love you.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Forever Forward Fridays

Super Crazy VS Ikuto Hidaka - Zero1 4/14/2005

CJD: I'm straying from the FFF themes here a bit, but hear me out. Zero 1 definitely ties in with those indy feels as far as Japanese promotions go (although I know the indies in Japan get waaayyy smaller and grimier than Z1). Hidaka is one of those trailblazing spirits that has gone all over and will definitely give you some options next week to get things back on track (I peeked ahead to make sure). And man, I'm just having a bad day and I want to watch this match. You love Ikuto, I love Ikuto, let's do this. These guys are no strangers to each other and I actually played you a match of their's in ECW back before our blogging days that was short and sweet. This one was more fleshed out, although it still was pretty light and breezy. The trading of holds, chain wrestling, wild stuff outside, and finishing stretch all still had a feeling of escalation. Impressive but not exhibitionist. And I know you love a match where it feels like either man can win and I was second guessing how this was going to go.

JJZ: Chris. Ikuto Hidaka is such a soft spot for me in wrestling. I think I could argue that he is almost a perfect wrestler. Super Crazy is so under rated in my opinion and a match like this is the reason. These two put on a show. Technically sound with some wild highspots. Just some shit I didn't expect to see. One of the things that I believe is undeniable about Hidaka is that he can work with anyone and the match is above average. So goddamn smooth and purposeful. I really enjoyed this one so much and can't wait to bang out some more Ikuto matches!

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

KUSHIDA Makes You Rock


CJD: KUSHIDA is one of those great wrestlers who doesn't exactly wow you from the first time you see him. He doesn't burst off the screen and grab your attention. But what he does so consistently is have smart, satisfying matches that leave you wanting to see more of both him and his opponent. That's this tournament match through and through. They didn't set out to do anything spectacular but everyone in that building left thinking KUSHIDA is great and Sho is going to be something special. And make no mistake, Sho holds up his side of the bargain with an awesome little breakout performance that he'll keep delivering for years to come. Crazy strong and explosive. This wasn't the direction I expected to go with KUSHIDA this week but when the bulk of your career has been spent in NJPW and WWE the free streaming options are limited. So thanks to Defiant for hooking this one up!

JJZ: I curious about your opinion on my comment her CJD. Kushida really reminds of a modern day Ikuto Hidaka. If you're keeping score at home check back Friday for an example to compare. But to me they are so equal in so many ways. Juniors that work a more technical style but also pop out with some quick high spots. I think a lot of people underestimate them in their ability. I can't ever remember seeing Sho Tanaka before to be honest. But I liked him. Good moveset with smooth transitions. I agree that this is a great tournament match that kept you guessing. And in these settings you can never be sure who is gonna win. Good pick baybay.

Friday, May 5, 2023


CJD here. It is no exaggeration to say without the Death Valley Driver Video Review, and without the writings of Dean Rasmussen, my contributions to this blog wouldn't exist. Dean and Phil's hilarious, poignant, and trailblazing takes on pro wrestling from all regions and eras took my childhood fandom turned hobby as a teenager in the mid 90s from something I was ashamed of to irrationally proud of to this day. Our thoughts are with his friends and family, and if you can contribute anything to help them the link to do so is below.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Golden God Star

Kota Ibushi VS KUSHIDA - NJPW BOSJ 6/4/2010

JJZ: This some bitch is the definition of making every minute count. Thirthteen minutes felt like twenty. Let's talk about the filming of this one. Just using the single cam gave it such an epic feel. Never seen pre Time Splitter Kushida before that I can remember. The potentional for greatness was dripping off of him. With this being a BOSJ match I couldn't tell one way or the other who was going over so this match had a real edge of your seat viewing to it. Both wrestlers busted out with some shit I hadn't seen from them before also. I really loved this one hope you do too mi amigo.

CJD: One of my all-time favorite matches you've ever played forward to me is Ibushi VS Kanemoto from the 2009 BOSJ. And this isn't quite on that level, but god damn if it's not far off. I'd have a hard time telling you what I'd like to see improved in this match. There was a little whiff here, a slight moment of awkwardness there. That's it. I loved how they used every minute. KUSHIDA's technical work and snug strikes were a perfect balance to Ibushi's wild flying and explosive striking combos. Some cool fake outs and really effective false finishes. Not too long, not too short run time... this match is juuuuuussssttt right!! What a fascinating look into a simpler time for the BOSJ.