Tuesday, 23 February 2010

How Great is Sasuke (part six of thank you, eclectic mix of matches from DVDVR message board matches folder)

Sanshiro Takagi and Great Sasuke vs. Yasu Urano and KUDO, DDT, 23rd September 2009

This match alternated between boring indie-ish tag match and parody WWF hardcore brawl, with a couple of ridiculous spots thrown in along the way. This didn't work as well as the Weapons Rumble, because it wasn't a consistently ludicrous in a way that made it a self-contained piece of absurdist theatre. I didn't think the silly spots were as impressive looking as that earlier match, and the only thing that kept me entertained for the twenty or so minutes is the fact that Sasuke's earnest (yet incredibly wrong-headed) risk-taker act never seems to get old to me. I laughed when he crashes over the barrier inside the barrel, then when Takagi signals they try one more time, he nods and agrees immediately.

Great Sasuke and Yuki Ishikawa vs. Gulliver X and Gulliver XX, BattlArts, 26th December 1996

First of all, Gullivers X and XX do a pirate gimmick replete with an eyepatched manager wielding a rifle and a megaphone, so already they have scored the maximum points (thirty) in the category 'Does this match feature wrestling pirates?'. They are perfectly solid rudos here, which I guess leads me into my main talking point that the match is a real hybrid of lucha and Battlarts. A little weird, maybe, but it worked well, and only lost momentum a couple of times nearer the end with odd manager run-ins. Ishikawa didn't have as much in ring time as Sasuke, but when he was in he was fun working a submission section around the smaller Gulliver. Gullivers were a fun team, they did plenty of cutoffs, the smaller one launched himself into the ringpost near the end and the larger one threw a surprising dropkick. Sasuke leaping into some headbutts was unexpectedly stiff, he followed up with a perfectly aimed spinkick to the head, and he pulls out his no hands somersault tope near the end, which is always impressive. Oh, and the smaller of the Gullivers also has a great tope, followed by Ishikawa immediately jumping off the apron and putting the boots in, in my favourite moment of the match. So, loads of nice moments and generally flowing tag match made this very enjoyable.

Tiger Mask IV & Hiromi Yagi vs Great Sasuke & Chapparita Asari, M-Pro, June 24th 2000

This was a well worked little mixed gender tag match, with the novelty of the male-female interactions providing most of the fun stuff. Both guys, but especially Sasuke, were good at giving the women plenty of offence without it looking contrived or unbelievable. Yagi is one of the smallest wrestlers I can remember seeing, but her stuff looked good - she had some fun sequences leading to her armbar submission with Asari at the beginning, and all her armdrags and counters against Sasuke were nice, as was her top rope plancha. I thought they probably went back to the Yagi-outwrestles-Sasuke well a couple of times too many as it got a little repetitive, but overall this was very worthwhile, with a little comedy and plenty of entertaining action.

Hayabusa vs. Great Sasuke, FMW, December 11th 1996

This, to me, is how you do a spotfest. They open up with a couple of minutes of feeling out matwork, but really everyone is waiting for the high spots. From then its high impact moves all the way down the line. First half is all of Hayabusa's big stuff - somersault dive, quebrada, 450, brainbuster. I liked him cutting off Sasuke's quebrada with a chair to the face, as he set it up early so everyone could see what was going to happen except Sasuke, who was facing away. Second half was pretty much all Sasuke's doing big stuff - handspring somesault dive, tiger suplex, thunder fire bomb - before the final cut off and the top rope Falcon Arrow. This works for me for two reasons. Firstly, there are distinct segments of control, which tells a simple yet effective story. There are small fightbacks in between so it seems competitive, but no ridiculous back-and-forth, so it doesn't seem overly contrived. Secondly, each high spot has impact. Flicking back through the match, there was quite a bit of downtime after each big move. There is a real sense of fatigue and damage at the end of what is a reasonably short match. Ah, simpler times.

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