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Daniel's List of Great Puroresu Matches Best matches in the history of Japanese pro wrestling!

#1 User is offline   Daniel 

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 09:15 PM

Match Greatness In Japan Explosion Battle~!

Pre-1980s
Jumbo Tsuruta -vs- Terry Funk (All Japan Pro Wrestling; 1976-06-11) [92%]

1980s
Jumbo Tsuruta & Tenryū Genichirou -vs- Yatsu Yoshiaki & Choushū Riki (All Japan Pro Wrestling; 1986-01-26) [92%]

1990s
Tamura Kiyoshi -vs- Volk Han (Fighting Network RINGS; 1997-01-22) [95%]
Ogawa Naoya -vs- Hashimoto Shinya (New Japan Pro-Wrestling; 1999-10-11) [90%]

2000s
Ogawa Naoya -vs- Hashimoto Shinya (New Japan Pro-Wrestling; 2000-04-07) [90%]
Kobashi Kenta -vs- Honda Tamon (Pro-Wrestling NOAH; 2003-04-13) [92%]
Kobashi Kenta -vs- Misawa Mitsuharu (Pro-Wrestling NOAH; 2003-03-01) [91%]
Akiyama Jun & Saitou Akitoshi -vs- Kobashi Kenta & Honda Tamon (Pro-Wrestling NOAH; 2003-06-06) [90%]

2010s
None yet

This post has been edited by Daniel: 22 January 2013 - 03:44 AM
Reason for edit: Ogawa/Hashimoto

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#21 User is offline   Daniel 

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 02:22 AM

小川直也 ーVSー 橋本真也
1999年10月11日の戦
東京ドーム、東京都、日本


Ogawa Naoya -vs- Hashimoto Shinya
October 11, 1999
Tôkyô Dome, Tôkyô, Japan


http://img577.imageshack.us/img577/1471/screenshot20130120at124.png
(Click image for match video)

As many of you know, my favourite things in pro wrestling are big dramatic counters, shoot-style struggle over moves, sportive excitement, unpredictable structure, and great selling. This match just so happened to deliver all of those things in spades - another iteration of the great stuff that can emerge from a shooter vs pro wrestler dynamic.

The build-up/angle for this match is amazing. I suggest you watch the full package in the youtube link, but here's a quick digest:

Ogawa was a heavyweight silver medalist in judo of 1992 Summer Olympics, and placed fifth at the 1996 Summer Olympics. In 1997 he joined up with Sayama to transition to pro wrestling and MMA. He made his pro wrestling debut against Hashimoto later in 1997 and came away with a shock victory by a sleeper hold. In 1999, Ogawa ditched the judo gi, and sported a new shooter look complete with leg guards and open gloves. Then came the famous 1/4/99 incident, with Ogawa laying into Hashimoto brutally and leaving him a bloody mess. Hashimoto tracked Ogawa down in America (then NWA champ), assaulted him and asked for a shot at the belt. At the contract-signing press conference for the Tokyo Dome title match, Hashimoto angrily threw the table at Ogawa before storming out. Ogawa said that Hashimoto was simply afraid of Ogawa taking Hashimoto's place at the top of NJPW. Fujinami will be the special referee, to stop shenanigans.

The event just felt enormous from the get-go, with Inoki playing ring announcer for the match. Hashimoto came out looking like the most awesome warrior in history, and the tension waiting for the bell was quite unreal. They worked a fantastic transition from the start, with Hashimoto taunting Ogawa, and the over-eager Ogawa running straight into an epic head-butt. Both guys had this amazing presence in the ring, and Hashimoto's attacks on Ogawa went over beautifully. Ogawa sold huge for Hashimoto of course, and then came the second awesome transition from Hashimoto's first rampage into his second with some big back-suplexes. Just when you think you've read the word transition enough, Hashimoto made the big mistake of going after a submission, with Ogawa countering into a nail-biting top wrist lock nearfall.

For selling connoisseurs, the way Ogawa got back up after the first STO was just perfect - nodding to the kicks and leglocks Hashimoto had tried earlier. Truly world-class selling from both guys made Hashimoto's leg-based comeback this exhilirating and meaningful thing - ultimately punctuated equally brilliantly by Ogawa's desperation STO. Really, you couldn't script out a smarter and more dramatic 5 mins of pro wrestling than the middle 5 here.

That essentially led into the final segment of the match, which had this really intriguing and unorthodox approach. Hashimoto was pretty much God of expressiveness and toukon - which you knew already - but he cranked it up to a different level here. He keeps getting up, but slower and slower each time. Forever clinging onto the hope that just one big strike or leg kick and he could be back into it. Ogawa meanwhile is recovering, and just keeps putting Hashimoto down. But the question still remains: can Hashimoto comeback? Can he? All it would take is just one leg kick or chop. Just one! This was all writ large across Hashimoto, and sits right at the forefront of our viewing minds.

In short - this was an operatic spectacle. A real showcase of some of the best selling you will ever see, and this really unique and clever match layout. The big moves are there, but it's the struggle, desperation and transitioning that gets across the intense 5-mins of awesome. The climax is very original, and should tickle making-sense fans the right way, with the perfect psychology throughout. Overall, a joy to watch.

Spoiler

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#22 User is offline   Jake 

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 03:29 AM

Unfortunately, I've only seen the 1/4/2000 Dome tag match. But that was also great despite wacky wacky booking. So this sounds like awesomeness.
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#23 User is offline   Daniel 

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 05:26 AM

View PostJake, on 20 January 2013 - 03:29 AM, said:

Unfortunately, I've only seen the 1/4/2000 Dome tag match. But that was also great despite wacky wacky booking. So this sounds like awesomeness.


It really, really is.



Watch the whole package!!
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#24 User is offline   Jetlag 

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:12 AM

Glad to see someone's not falling for this cliche about Ogawa being a crap wrestler. Guy always brought the big match atmosphere. Be sure to also check out his match against Kawada if you haven't already.
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#25 User is offline   Daniel 

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:56 AM

I was one of the proponents of Ogawa/Kawada in the DVDVR 2003 vote. I definitely want to rewatch it soon, as I've grown to like that style even more now than back in 2010 or whenever that vote took place. It's sad that IWC consensus wants to paint Ogawa as useless, because if one actually watches his matches, he's pretty damn great on occasion. I'm going to track down the whole Hashimoto/Ogawa feud, because I think I might just find another top-level match (the 2000 singles, obvious candidate!).
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#26 User is offline   Sean Carleton 

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 06:32 PM

I think Brock Lesnar may be an Ogawa fan.

Phenomenal atmosphere in the Dome. Man, they loved Hashimoto like no one else. As for the match itself, gritty, brutal, not a wasted motion. I was pulling so hard for Hashimoto it was tough to watch him get blasted in the face with kicks and see his head stomped on like he was in a street fight. But Hashimoto's heart, and his hail marry like thunderous strikes kept me believing in the man.

82%

By the way, I watched Terry Funk vs. Jumbo from your list again, and somehow it got better. 90%+

This post has been edited by Sean Carleton: 20 January 2013 - 08:22 PM

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#27 User is offline   Daniel 

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 03:41 AM

小川直也 ーVSー 橋本真也
新日本プロレス・導夢衝撃~DOME IMPACT~
2000年04月07日の戦
東京ドーム、東京都、日本


Ogawa Naoya -vs- Hashimoto Shinya
New Japan Pro Wrestling • Dome Dream Impact ~ DOME IMPACT
7th April, 2000
Tôkyô Dome, Tôkyô, Japan


http://img541.imageshack.us/img541/6812/screenshot20130122at209.png

Here we are again, another great Hashimoto/Ogawa match. I've seen 4 of their 6 matches against one another in the feud, and it really looks like one of the best feuds in puroresu history. This review won't be nearly as lengthy as the last, as most of the strengths of the 2000 match are the same as in the 1999 iteration (struggle over everything, world-class selling, strong psychology, big counters etc.). This time though, Hashimoto's career was on the line: he was to retire if he lost. It still however revolved around that shooter-vs-wrestler dynamic that brings a "holy fuck, this is chaos" vibe.

Hashimoto really mixing it in with Ogawa made for a more steady quality over the full match length, and the big selling was there to make every little transition special. It lacked the 5-mins of perfection that the 1999 match had, but I'm confident that the 2000 match is slightly more viewer-friendly with its more orthodox structure. Hashimoto blazing spirit was there in abundance again, and if you don't start chanting for him out loud, you're not doing wrestling-watching right. His comebacks were just so good. In complement to that, Ogawa's desperation selling to keep Hashimoto looking like a formidable threat was something that even I underrated. It wasn't just good in this match, his desperation selling (and selling in general) looked briefly Kawada-level.

This match is great for many of the same reasons as the 1999 match, and the smartest way to have ended the feud. Part of me wishes that there was a big Hashimoto Vertical DDT of Death in there, but that fantasy doesn't belong in a match like this. In that interesting way, both of the matches toyed with our fantastic hopes of impossible feats, but in thwarting those fantasies we got a really great match without the cliches. I think it's quite interesting, from that perspective. Plus, it's a freaking awesome match.

★★★★★
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#28 User is offline   joe 

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 03:57 AM

The 4/7/2000 Hash v Ogawa match, anywhere on the net where I may find it? Thanks
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#29 User is offline   Jake 

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 04:13 AM

Once I get time to watch wrestling again, I'll start watching/rewatching all the high profile Shooter vs. 'Rassler matches from Japan I can find. Well, mainly the worked ones :P/>/>

Daniel, have you rewatched Kawada/Ogawa from '03 since you started rating these Hashimoto matches? Any opinions changed on that one?

This post has been edited by Jake: 23 January 2013 - 04:15 AM

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#30 User is offline   Daniel 

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 04:20 AM

View Postjoe, on 23 January 2013 - 03:57 AM, said:

The 4/7/2000 Hash v Ogawa match, anywhere on the net where I may find it? Thanks


Kanji search wins the day again!






View PostJake, on 23 January 2013 - 04:13 AM, said:

Daniel, have you rewatched Kawada/Ogawa from '03 since you started rating these Hashimoto matches? Any opinions changed on that one?


No I haven't, but I certainly plan to do so very soon. I'm in a bit of a shooter/wrestler phase after Saku/Nak delivered so emphatically. :lol:/>
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#31 User is offline   Jake 

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 03:36 PM

Quote

I'm in a bit of a shooter/wrestler phase after Saku/Nak delivered so emphatically.


OMG! ME TOOOOO!
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#32 User is offline   Matt 

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:21 AM

Have you got links to the '97 and 1/4/99 bouts? I'll watch the whole series tonight, if so.
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#33 User is offline   Daniel 

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:53 AM





I can't find the 1/4 match.



Footage availability woe :(/>
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#34 User is offline   Matt 

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:11 AM

I've found it!

3 parts:
http://www.nicovideo...watch/sm3130046
http://www.nicovideo...atch/sm3131336 
http://www.nicovideo...watch/sm3135788

This post has been edited by Matt: 24 January 2013 - 09:13 AM

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#35 User is offline   Daniel 

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:20 AM

Awesome, try and find the May 97 match while you're at it.

http://www.cagematch...1&nr=200&page=2
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#36 User is offline   Matt 

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:06 PM

You linked that match (second video) a couple posts up. I'm fairly sure it's the full match outside of a cut back inside after one of them goes to the floor.


1. (10/11/99) - I watched this twice. The first time through left me questioning if it even broke the four star threshold. However, I knew my view was tainted knowing I had allowed myself to come in dismissive and sucked into mark anger over the 1/4 incident and at the monumental stupidity of the booking here. "Let's take our ace, tainted by getting his ass handed to him unprofessionally in an infamous shoot incident... and job him to the exact same guy!" As well, the shift in atmosphere from "fuck yeah! Different Style FIGHT!" to "Okay, let's pretend this is real!" was uncomfortably present. I wanted to counter some things Daniel said in my writeup and without specific examples, watched it again I did.

I appreciated their callbacks to the 1/4 incident in worked form even more on the second view. That headbutt spot was fucking perfect. I'd actually agree with almost everything Daniel said about the match with the exception of his description of Ogawa's selling. Not that it was less than good or even great, but it was a little inconsistent towards the end and not of the general quality needed to be dubbed on par with the best selling ever. That's about it for my stubborn nitpicking though. What I paid more attention to the second time through was the final section, specifically Ogawa's cut-offs and the miniature hope spots Hashimoto would squeeze in. The layout is stunningly intricate and Hashimoto rivals Terry Funk in expressiveness; I'd argue it even more impressive because it was not cartoon-like nor a trademark of himself. On top of that, he had to call the match for the most part, something Terry rarely did. Hashimoto expertly executing his role deserves an Oscar equivalent for how perfectly he played it. Keys to the match's success were Ogawa's timing, facials, selling and cooperation with Hashimoto's work. Props given where due. ★★★★★ or 90%

2. (4/7/00) - I also watched this twice. Hashimoto's performance in this match is chilling. If he won the 1999 Terry Funk award for expression, he sure as shit retained in 2000. Speaking of Terry Funk, this reminds me of Terry's initial retirement match in how Hashimoto wrestles as if it really were his last match. His attitude, language and aura in general is unique to any of his matches. He comes in with dead eyes and he dominates. He is there to survive and to destroy, not to fight. He has an answer to everything Ogawa throws at him. The apron suimengiri and STO->DDT counters are up there with the suimengiri from the Takada match in terms of highlight reel moments, and a bunch of other counters added so much. Flaws to the match include the opening portion of the bout being weak, the pacing was a bit off in the first half, an overall weaker Ogawa performance and the bewildering Murakami interference spot. Although bit more microscopic, Hashimoto defenselessly giving into the first STO that would begin Ogawa's career ending string of offense, given that the superbly demonstrated psychological theme of the match was Hashimoto's preparation and focus to prevent and adapt to all things threatening, was a glaringly poor transition the second time through. The feud's climax is transcendent. Without its flaws this match surpasses their fourth match. As it is, 87%

3. (5/3/97) - Essentially a collection of callback spots from their first match worked a lot tighter and more interestingly so than in match #1. The final stretch is wrestling gold. The good kind of unsatisfying; the kind that begs for more. 78%

4. (4/12/97) - 60% Ogawa looks fine for a debut match. He still has an air of humility about him and Hash backpacks him to something acceptable.

5. (1/4/99) - "Cancerous to the industry" It's shoot-shaky and troubling from the get go. Ogawa unleashes a barrage of cheap shots that did hospitalizing injury. Awkward and abominable. The aftermath was fun for me waiting for Choshu to punch Ogawa. 5% for entertainment factor.


The 1/4/2000 tag - Murakami's sloppiness brings with it shoot atmospheric excitement and this match is wacky chaos. The way it works out is as if they tried displaying the deteriorating 'health' of the seconds à la some video game and it was wicked to see. Ogawa only tagged in once Murakami truly needed the tag, and that kind of logic doesn't usually apply. The build to the clash of the titans is what the match is about and like I said, it was done exceptionally well. It all breaks down in the end as Hashimoto applies a double wrist lock on the floor (professional wrestling!) and Iizuka earns himself a humongous win. Hashimoto probably needed the fall but this was a damn good Dome spectacle. ★★★★ or so.



Jake - Watched the Kawada match. It's a gigantic, crowd pleasing, mess. Ogawa looks clueless and Kawada wasn't on top of his game. It's big match exciting and they do a good job making it "2000s epic" but it's not a great match.

This post has been edited by Matt: 24 January 2013 - 04:34 PM

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#37 User is offline   Daniel 

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:05 AM

View PostMatt, on 24 January 2013 - 02:06 PM, said:

Not that it was less than good or even great, but it was a little inconsistent towards the end and not of the general quality needed to be dubbed on par with the best selling ever.


The way I looked at it (applies to both matches really) is that as Hashimoto's building damage stopped him from attacking effectively, Ogawa recovered - and to sell the recovery, he stopped pretending to be hurt. Obviously that's perfectly realistic, but then was it the right choice for drama? I think so. The thing about both of the 5-star ones according to yours truly, is that they defied pro wrestling fantasy. Having Ogawa recover as he put Hashimoto away was the best possible option, it made Hashimoto's determination fade into futility - which strangely made it more compelling since it wasn't some cheap template face turnaround.

Ogawa was essentially just doing what he was told, but he did a great job of doing it. I think combined it's best ever selling level. Hashimoto's determination/damage/drama selling - Ogawa's desperation/realistic selling. Hashimoto was the better of the two in the first match, but I think together they were seriously great. Second match Ogawa's selling was probably matched up to Hashimoto's. I always felt in the second match like Hashimoto was a juggernaut that could only be stopped by a world-class judoka's biggest weaponry... en repeat. And I think it was 90% Ogawa's selling that got that across.

I agree regarding the fairly easy first STO being well... too easy. But I wouldn't call it a deal-breaker.
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#38 User is offline   Shotokan 

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 08:59 PM

I want to hate this feud, I really really did; the 1.4 incident and the way Hashimoto was treated was worse than unprofessional, but downright disgusting. And it just felt weird because, if they were going this far to make Ogawa look like a monster...why didn't they have him win the IWGP title and dominate? Hell, have Tenzan be the one who ultimately dethrones him; might leave a bad taste in some people's mouths, but every-day brawler with a nineties mullet, taking the belt off the world-class athlete and monster fighter? Shit writes itself. I guess no one wanted to work with Ogawa and risk being his next victim in the event of another Choshu/Inoki money-spat.

Ultimately though, both matches and especially the first are just too good to be denied, and went a long way in turning my opinion around on Ogawa. However, this is undeniably the Hashimoto show; he is beyond description in these matches, to the point of where his performance might adequately spoil other matches who's selling I might before have found "acceptable" but would now categorize as, "an insult to Hashimoto." Fujinami in the first match was also great, full on slapping Ogawa in the face when he wouldn't cut out his punching shit.

Spoiler

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#39 User is offline   MrMoonlight 

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 05:36 PM

I recently watched the top 30 for 2000 from DVDVR's poll (they've done it in 2009). I thought that way i'd see for sure everything there is to see (understand very good & great matchs) for that year in puro. Now, i wandered in the five star section and realized Daniel has one from 2000 that i haven't heard about! WTF?

The Hash vs Ogawa match from 2000 definitly deserves to be in a top 30, let alone a top 50 for that year (it's not even mentionned on dvdvr's when the tag match with murakami from WK is). Now i wouldn't give it 5 star, it's really good but i feel it stops before something even bigger could have happened. It's awesome for what it was but what it was was too basic and undercomplicated a layout for this big of a match feeling to me. I've no problem with the first half, i just felt it turned into a status quo when something new by Hash to counter the STO and really get back would have put it to another level. It's not fantasy it's just something they made us want so much that it has to be considered here. Else, that end would have been cool with more variations beforehand maybe. Still i'd give it **** 1/4, and rank it right below Misawa vs Akiyama 02-27 and Kobashi vs Akiyama 12-23 from that year.

This post has been edited by MrMoonlight: 05 April 2013 - 06:48 PM

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#40 User is offline   Daniel 

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 02:58 AM

It is a match made much more for me than for the average puroresu fan on the internet. For whatever reason, most IWC folks think Ogawa sucks and are so closed-minded about it they won't even watch the matches - or if they do, will only watch it to come up with a list of trivial things to complain about to try and sell their Ogawaphobia as rational. That's why the match gets no love in the more conventional places. I think it would be my MOTY for 2000 unless a rewatch of the Akiyama matches shows me something I didn't see in them before, and it would be a top-20 match across the decade.

Anyway, I'm very happy that my pimping of them has got people watching the match :)/>
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