Suzuki September N4
January 4 2004
Minoru Suzuki vs. Osamu Nishimura
This is going back to a different time. We’ve advanced 14 years since the Nakano match in UWF and now Suzuki has established himself as a legit badass. Going away to establish Pancrase and then returning to pro wrestling in 2003 after a decade away. During his time in MMA he went from being a brash youth to an established star in the field. Given Antonio Inoki’s well known love of realistic and legitimate fighters it’s not a surprise the door was left open for Suzuki to return.
There’s an interesting parallel here as he’s fighting Nishimura; another guy with a mat wrestling background but one who, after debuting with New Japan, generally stuck around. He got loaned out a few times but after spells in USA and Germany he settled into a decent spot in New Japan. In 2004 he was actually approaching the end of his New Japan run, opting to head over to Fujinami’s Dradition promotion (or Muga as it was called back then) before spending a decade in All Japan. Suzuki himself has less loyalty and is technically freelance. This would lead to an array of appearances in NOAH and All Japan before settling into the NJPW star we now know him to be.
If you’re keeping tabs on Suzuki’s appearance he’s glowed up here and is blonde. Nishimura tries to get cute with him and gets treated with utter contempt.
fuck yo headstand bitch pic.twitter.com/EeOHjfLG08
— Arn – doing World Cup of Rock films (@ArnoldFurious) September 2, 2018
Suzuki clearly not pleased with having to deal with pro wrestling bullshit but at the same time loving that Nishimura has the nerve to attempt it with him and showing him unreal disdain. Suzuki is all kinds of great here. Refusing to be Irish whipped, hanging on the rope to avoid a dropkick. He brings a lot of psychology to avoid traditional wrestling spots through common sense.
Nishimura has to be tough as well as competitive and Suzuki spends a decent chunk of the match demolishing the poor bastard and laughing in his face.
Or refusing to let go of armbars. Or countering everything Nishimura attempts. It’s a virtual procession up until the Gotch Piledriver but Suzuki wants to win by submission. This proves to be his undoing.
Suzuki still has a few tricks up his sleeve and his traditions into armbars in this match are a delight but he gets too caught up in that armbar and wanting a tap out. Nishimura catches him with a backslide and that’s enough. The three count is all you need. This was a lovely little capsule match to show how Suzuki changed his game from pre-MMA to post-MMA. The emphasis on submissions was there for all to see and here it cost him the match.
Final Rating: ***1/4