Toshiaki Kawada vs. Yutaka Yoshie (NJPW G1 Climax: Heroes of Supremacy N7 8/17/08)

Match Reviews

This review was commissioned by Alex Fyrehart over on my Ko-fi account. As of this writing commissions are still open, they’re going for $10 a pop. If you want to seek out my specific thoughts on a match that I haven’t gone into yet, this is the way to do it.

When people commission matches that I’ve never seen before, I often try to go into it blind. In this case, this is the first time I’m watching Yutaka Yoshie, but the look of him already says a lot. Big dude, broad and bulky, hulking over the crowd at ringside as he makes his entrance to the ring. Got it, big bruiser type, sounds fun.

Kawada, I obviously have a lot more experience with. But this match comes from a period in Kawada’s career I don’t know much about. I haven’t seen much of post-All Japan split Kawada, and this comes towards the very tail end of his career as a whole.

Throw these two together, and just using some visual context clues, I figured this would be a fun little firefight to round out the undercard on a G1 finals night.

This somehow goes to a 30 minute time limit draw.

In spite of that truly odd choice, there’s a lot of good still in here. For one, let’s talk about Toshiaki Kawada. A lot of the old tricks that make him an all time great prove effective in this setting still. There’s his charismatic selling, perhaps the master of the delayed sell, which bring a lot of credit to Yoshie’s striking. He also brings some fun structural ideas to this like switching to working over Yoshie’s legs in the second act to try and knock the big man down.

Also, hey, head bumps. There’s some crunchy ass Dangerous Backdrops in this, and it’s even more impressive to Yoshie going full boar landing on his neck for those things. Truly impressive bumps when they do come around.

Yoshie does a lot of fun stuff in this too. He just has a likeable energy to him, this big hulking dude in his bright pink tights. Hell fucking yeah. He hits decently hard, and as mentioned above, he bumps pretty hard too. There’s a great moment early in the match where he gets whipped into the barricades so hard that the top railing actually snaps and we even see that he gets cut up under his arm where he struck the steel. That’s good stuff.

Much like that barricade though, this match buckles under extreme weight. Thirty minutes is just a little too much to ask of this pairing. There’s a perfectly great match half this length buried in here, both men clearly have the tools to be able to make a fun and even layered firefight work. It’s wild that Kawada’s being asked to do a half hour match at this point of his career, and Yoshie’s strengths clearly lie in something a little more direct and precise.

All that said, more fun than not, but there’s simply too much of it.

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