Korakuen Hall (Tokyo, Japan)
A lover of “big fat Japanese guys hitting each other hard and no selling each other’s offense’s” dream match up.
Actually, that is unfair on both accounts. Okabayashi has the big, fat, Japanese, and hard-hitting parts down. However, he usually sells quite a bit (particularly for a guy his size) and this match proves no exception. Ishii is the one with the selling issues, even though he is hardly a big man by wrestling standards. Even working with Okabayashi who hits just as hard and is much bigger, Ishii gives very little.
It is pretty funny watching these two work a body slam spot where Okabayashi cannot lift Ishii off his feet but Ishii is able to slam Okabayashi with ease. It’s one thing for Ishii to play the world’s smallest super heavyweight in NJPW where nobody really dwarfs him in height or mass, but here is was just silly. Got to hand to Ishii though – he sticks with his schtick not matter how silly it looks.
There were elements of the match that I thought we’re strong. I liked how the first long strike exchange was chops because no-selling chops bothers me less than forearms. I can buy the notion of a guy shrugging off the sting of chops. When you don’t flinch at forearms delivered right to your jaw, it just makes the opponent look weak. Okabayashi’s bumping and selling was generally good. Ishii laid in his forearms nicely and all of his suplexes looked good in part thanks to how Okabayashi took them (although he did seem to struggle getting him up for the power bomb). The match also avoided going into overkill mode and ended at a good time.
My main complaint was the roles should have really been reversed. If someone was going to take most of the offense and no-sell, it should have been Okabayashi. Ishii hanging in there and giving it back at times before pulling out the victory would have made some sense from a visual standpoint but that has never been Ishii’s primary concern.
Nothing terribly wrong here and if you are a fan of the style, this won’t disappoint. I personally find Ishii’s style to be distracting so this didn’t do a whole lot for me.
Stiff | Common | Spectacle