Kazuki Hashimoto, Daichi Hashimoto & Toshiyuki Sakuda vs. Atsushi Maruyama, Tatsuhiko Yoshino & Kazumi Kikuta (BJW – 01/04/16)

Kazuki Hashimoto, Daichi Hashimoto & Toshiyuki Sakuda vs. Atsushi Maruyama, Tatsuhiko Yoshino & Kazumi Kikuta
Big Japan Wrestling
January 4, 2016
Shin-Kiba 1st RING

Daichi Hashimoto might be in the need of some career counseling.

Daichi’s decision back in 2011 to begin his pro wrestling career in the promotion is father founded (ZERO1) not only made sense from a legacy standpoint but was also a fine from a career development point of view. ZERO1 was low profile enough but with enough veteran workers that it made sense as the home base for an inexperience wrestler who was going to have a lot of expectations placed on him. From an outsider’s perspective at least, Daichi’s career appeared to be heading down a fine path through the end of 2012 as he gained some experience wrestling on some NOAH tours and was scheduled to debut in New Japan by teaming with Keiji Mutoh at the Tokyo Dome. New Japan has always seemed like his ultimate destination – particularly if he is as interested in upholding his father’s legacy as he appears to be – and that would have gotten his foot in the door. Instead an injury caused him to pull out of the show. Another injury in 2014 again altered Daichi’s career path. While sidelined, Daichi’s ZERO1 contract expired and he decided not to renew.

After a brief run as a freelancer, he made the curious decision to sign with the Inoki Genome Federation. To be fair, his rationale was logical. By Daichi’s own account, his father greatly admired Antonio Inoki and as we know, Shinya Hashimoto shared a similar affinity for mixed martial arts and mixed-style matches as Inoki does. However, IGF is no place for any young wrestler in the need of pro wrestling match experience to be. After spending a year and a half in IGF – during which he only sporadically appeared in matches – Hasimoto signed with Big Japan at the start of 2016. At best, the move feels like a lateral step. At worst, it feels like it could end up being a step backwards in his development. I do not expect him to grow all that much as a wrestler while working the undercards in Big Japan. There is also the added concern of Big Japan not being the best place for a wrestler who has been rather injury prone during his brief pro career.

On a more positive note, Daichi continues to grow physically and is starting to look like a legit heavyweight. It might have helped that one of his partners (Sakuda) is for all practical purposes a mini, but Daichi looked like a true heavyweight in this one. All of the positives he has flashed in the past were on display in this match. Those positives included stiff kicks that would have made his father proud, decent forearms, and a generally strong presence. The negatives were the tacked on no-selling bits and the lack of fire. Going off of memory, I am not sure that Hashimoto looked noticeably improved in the ring at the start of 2016 over how he looked in 2013 and 2014.

That is not to say he has not improved at all, but rather that any improvement was not noticeable in this ten minute six-man tag. For what it was, I enjoyed Daichi’s match with Yuji Nagata this summer. He flashed a lot of positive tools in that match including a rather basic but well executed submission game that he does not often show off. Say what you want about New Japan, but I think it is very likely that it would be far better for Daichi’s development to work veterans like Nagata in that promotion rather than GUTS-based wrestlers in Big Japan.

As an overall match, this was inoffensive. The no-selling spots were kept a minimum, nothing was blown, and the match had enough high energy to qualify as a passable opener.

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