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Stiff strikes always make for an easy point of entry. I’m not too well versed in BJW lore and history but when the wrestling’s this good, it’s not hard to get invested. Coming in at a brisk thirteen minutes, Aoki and Abe put together an excellent junior heavyweight showcase here. Abe lays in some great looking kicks and goes after Aoki’s leg early on. Loved the struggles in the submission holds with Aoki and Abe trading strikes. I don’t know what trick Abe uses to work his punches but they land with such a thud that I can’t help but think they’re shoots. Aoki, for his part, did well to sell the leg for the first half of the match but once his comeback kicks in the action ramps, he does let it fade away more and more. But to compensate, we get great strike offs, some worryingly convincing headbutts, and some pretty good suplexes and bombs. All in all, thirteen minutes that breeze by for anyone. Unlike a lot of matches that I review that make it on my MOTYC, this one I foresee potentially going up in its rating down the line. Look forward to revisiting this one.


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