This review was commissioned by Mason Rollyson over on my Ko-fi account. As of this writing commisions are still open, they’re going for $10 a pop.
The names here are more alluring than the final product. There’s something intriguing about the idea of big Dr. Death taking on one of the Soviet Union shooters that New Japan brought in at the turn of the decade, but whatever images it conjures in the mind simply don’t live up to the reality here.
The match seems trapped by a constant sense of hesitation. While this can be read as caution and trepidation on the part of the competitors, it does very little to spark the intrigue of the packed Tokyo Dome crowd or myself. The first half of this short bout gets built around the two going for and trading big takedowns. A fine way to start things off, but it gets tedious sooner than later. It doesn’t help either that the takedowns themselves never come across all the snappy or explosive on their own, something especially disappointing give what Doc would achieve later on in his career.
There’s flashes of this potentially developing into something more interesting. When the action goes to the floor, some decent strikes get traded. But those are pretty inconsistent especially when they get back into the ring. Doc has some real feather light clubbing blows to the back when something this compact should be packed with heaters instead. Hashimikov, for his part, also never seems to press his advantage. When he gets Doc in the corner and peppers with strikes, Hashimikov backs up and things just reset to what they were.
There’s nothing really outwardly bad about any of this, but it’s pretty forgettable stuff. Where I often talk about how especially compact matches can come across as epic when done right, this match felt like the inverse. It’s nine minutes that felt twice its length.