Daichi Hashimoto vs. Hideki Suzuki
April 15 2018
We’re in Sapporo, Japan at the Sapporo Susukino Mars Gym for the final of the Ikkitousen Strong Climb tournament, which also happens to be for the BJW Strong Championship of Daichi Hashimoto.
Ikkitousen Strong Climb Final
BJW Strong Championship
Daichi Hashimoto (c) vs. Hideki Suzuki
Suzuki was champion for most of 2017 until being unseated by Daichi in December in somewhat of an upset. He’s held the belt since is developing into a decent champion, thanks in large part to the ascendance of Yasufumi Nakanoue as a challenger. They could have run Hashimoto vs. Nakanoue again here but instead had Nakanoue eliminated in the semi-final by Suzuki while Hashimoto overcame Daisuke Sekimoto. A fresh final in Sekimoto vs. Nakanoue might have been preferable. Normally the title isn’t on the line in the tournament (although the championship has been vacant in two of three previous tournaments) but Suzuki made a specific challenge here.
The match gets off to a rough start as Suzuki wants to work the mat but doesn’t seem to have communicated his desires and ideas for counters to Daichi. Or the young Hashimoto has entirely forgotten chunks of the match.
So Suzuki just grinds away at holds and makes Daichi scream a bunch, occasionally leaving himself open for brief Daichi comebacks. The Daichi kicks are easily the best part of the match but come across as strangely reserved. While Daichi had been coming into his own as champion, he’s still not comfy squaring off against Hideki Suzuki it seems. Daichi has a very bad habit of roaring in a weird tone. It sounds bizarre and I’ve never noticed it before but here it’s really obvious. It’s worse than Ospreay. It only ever works when he’s landing shots and screaming along with the strikes as they land. When he’s selling he sounds like a moron.
The match has a very sluggish pacing, which sometimes works (when Suzuki is grinding away at holds and you’re anticipating a comeback) and sometimes doesn’t at all (when Daichi is grinding away at a hold and I don’t care). This is one of the worst performances of Hideki’s entire career for planning out the match and for execution. It’s so bad. When he hits the Butterfly Suplex and just wins the belt my jaw drops. That was the whole match? That was the whole plan? Holy shit.
Um, I really don’t know what they were trying to accomplish here. Daichi’s reign hadn’t been perfect but to end it so unceremoniously and hit reset on the entire division, only to go back to a time when BJW was at its least interesting in years is a curious move. I don’t dislike either man in the ring but they didn’t put together a good match here and it’ll hurt Daichi more than Suzuki. Quite frankly the wrong guy won here. Or the wrong guy was in the final to take Daichi’s belt. I didn’t enjoy this at all.
Final Rating: **1/2