Katsumi Usuda vs. Carl Greco (BattlArts Young Generation Battle 1996 N4 8/5/96)

Match Reviews

As was seen in the April tag, Usuda seems to be the worker that’s got Greco’s number in BattlArts. Despite basically smothering Ishikawa with his grappling, Greco really struggles when put up against Usuda who often gets the better of him on their feet with his kicks and then continues to control him down on the ground.

It’s a cool dynamic where Greco now becomes the underdog, and the drama of the match comes from finding how he learns and adapts to Usuda’s attacks. What works for him is paying attention to Usuda’s repetition. If Usuda leans on the kicks one time too many, he’s liable to get caught and taken down to the mat where Greco’s able to try to bend him apart with a variety of great looking holds. Even when Usuda escalates by going to German suplexes, Greco’s still able to adapt and finds a sneaky arm lock after absorbing one.

It’s simple stuff, consistent to their dynamic from April, just given more space to breathe here. It’s all the little narratives combined with the shoot style riffing that makes something like this so rewarding. Not one of those screamer BattlArts matches, but certainly one that displays the promotion’s subtler qualities for the better.

Rating: ***¾

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