BASARA 85 (1.6.19) review

BASARA 85 (1.6.19) review

BASARA 85

 

We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Kitazawa Town Hall. This is available on DDTpro.com/universe.

 

Yasu Urano vs. Masato Kamino

Masato Kamino came back last month after missing a huge chunk of time, with injuries and specifically a nasty concussion. He basically debuted in 2017 so his career isn’t exactly off to a flier. Urano is a more established name, familiar to viewers of DDT. BASARA is a far more raw version of DDT’s programming so you’re not going to see shenanigans here. In the interests of full disclosure I’ve only ever watched matches from BASARA rather than entire shows. Urano works over the back and that’s the focus here. It’s a clever approach because he’s using scoop slams for near falls and I believe in them. When selling is done right it creates the kind of tension and intrigue that you would otherwise need to do a stack of high spots to get to. The background of Kamino and his history of injuries makes it all the more tense. The finish takes away from that a bit as Urano hooks a disgusting looking wristlock and Kamino is forced to tap out. I could have used a different finish but it played off Kamino’s vulnerability.

Final Rating: **3/4

 

Tatsuhiko Yoshino & Takato Nakano vs. Trans Am Hiroshi & SAGAT

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Hiroshi has a monk gimmick so maybe we’re not getting ‘straight’ wrestling and nothing else on this show. DDT have a lot of historical wackiness that they cannot move away from. Trans Am’s weirdness freaks out Yoshino and he can’t get his head around the weird bastard’s posing. He’s mad over and goes from weird freakshow act to maniac in the blink of an eye. SAGAT tries to calm him down when he goes to chokeslam Nakano off the apron onto the exposed concrete floor. SAGAT is all “chill out, remember your monk training” and he gets punched in the face for it.

Once the zen is restored, all is right with the world. I consider myself to be a very big Trans Am Hiroshi fan because he’s so different.

Then there’s SAGAT. The absolute fucking weirdo. The younger guys are fun too. They have a wonderful failed double team where they try to hip toss the one onto a fallen SAGAT and miss. Nakano tries to springboard into something but gets speared out of the air and pinned by SAGAT. This was legitimately a great time at the wrestles.

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

Best Stretchman Amazon, Best Stretchman V3 & Stretchman Man vs. Minoru Fujita, Ryuichi Sekine & Daiki Shimomura

Two of the Stretch Men are Hercules Senga & Tsutomu Oosugi, better known as Speed of Sounds or occasionally the Yapper Men.

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There’s a lot of weirdness here that’s possibly lost in translation. Even by Japanese standards it’s a very odd match. The Stretch Men do a cross slash variant where all of them run across the ring and do dives to the floor. It’s quite creative but like everything else in the match it’s weird. The Stretch Men attempt a triple submission by biting the tails of the opponents, which apparently has no effect as they’re not actual literal tails but rather part of the gear. Honestly, it’s hard to tell sometimes lads so fair play for trying. Sekine gets a high angle Boston crab for the submission. This was a mixed bag of weirdness but I applaud these gentlemen for having this match at their going rate and barely taking any bumps.

Final Rating: **1/4

 

Takumi Tsukamoto & Jun Masaoka vs. Yusuke Kubo & FUMA

Tsukamoto looks quite healthy for a man who’s already wrestled two death matches in the past week. Kubo has longer hair than I remember. Maybe he’s been growing it out. FUMA looks decent here but the match structure is strange as they isolate Tsukamoto. Maybe they’re taking the death matches into account. It doesn’t stick either and it feels very disjointed. The tags are fairly frequent but there’s no focal point. They do these little asides like working Masaoka’s leg and it goes nowhere. The result is a match that takes ages to achieve nothing. Tsukamoto and Kubo try to rescue something at the finish by belting each other and Tsukamoto gets a cheeky roll up pin for the win. Meh.

Final Rating: **1/2

 

Naoki Tanizaki vs. Isami Kodaka

This is Kodaka’s comeback match after breaking his jaw in September at BASARA 78. Masashi Takeda flat out punched him in the face. These things happen.

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Tanizaki is a good opponent for his comeback match. He’s a very good wrestler both on the mat and during sequences and he’ll take care of you. While they tell the jaw injury as a story the closest Isami gets to actually taking a spot on it is getting his mouth bounced off the apron and there’s six inches of air in there and a lot of selling. Tanizaki’s focus is admirable but there’s never any danger of Kodaka’s comeback being a disaster. Isami can tell that story without someone clouting him in the face. Kodaka’s own comebacks are perhaps a little slipshod and lacking on focus. I love Isami getting all fired up after getting punched once. Time to put that jaw to the test! He’d been shying away from a striking duel but when suitably provoked he’s back into it. Tanizaki ends up outwrestling Kodaka after the strike duel and scoring a cradle for the duke. This was a good match based on Kodaka’s injury and having him come back and get beaten worked for me.

Final Rating: ***1/2

 

NWA International Lightweight Tag Team Championship

Ikuto Hidaka & Fuminori Abe (c) vs. Sparky (Ryota Nakatsu & Akiyori Takizawa)

Nakatsu is the ace of BASARA, when Kodaka isn’t around anyway. So he’s got his buddy together for a shot at the NWA junior tag straps. These belts are generally Zero1 titles but thanks to a working agreement between Shinjiro Otani and other promotions we might start seeing Zero1 talent elsewhere this year. It probably helps the relationship that Abe is basically a DDT wrestler with a Zero1 title. The thought of Nakatsu clashing with Abe has me genuinely excited to see this match.

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Hidaka gets no streamers at all and Abe is all “oh shit” and creasing in the corner. The shade! Nakatsu isn’t a traditionally defined pro wrestler. He doesn’t have those chiselled abs because he doesn’t give a fuck at all. What he does do is shoot style on the mat and stand up that looks legit. Abe is the perfect opponent for this and anyone that likes that AMBITION/Tetsujin groove, this should be very much your shit. Hidaka and Takizawa’s interactions are less good. Takizawa getting obsessed with throwing bad knee strikes.

Or kicking the cameraman. Or doing repeated jawbreakers that look like shit. Why is he in a stable with good wrestlers? His sequences in this match are an abomination. I can’t wait for Nakatsu to tag back in. It’s such a shame because Nakatsu vs. Abe is so great. Brilliant striking, smooth technique and it’s nicely snug. The only major issue from their exchanges is Abe working his socks off to the point where Nakatsu is fucking blown up! Either that or he’s selling a lot but he looks gassed to me. Abe traps Nakatsu in the Octopus and taps him out to retain. Deserved win for Abe who’s quickly becoming one of my absolute favourites. Shame he couldn’t carry everyone to the promised land here. So close.

Final Rating: ***1/2

 

Summary:

For a first BASARA show this didn’t exactly blow me away. I’ve seen matches from these shows before and they’ve been good but they’ve been matches specifically recommended to me. There’s none of that here. Just flashes and bits and pieces of good wrestling. It’ll probably stay under my radar based on this outing. I was very into Trans Am Hiroshi though. More of him please!

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