Friday, May 19, 2017


World Mega-Battle Tournament 1998: 1st Round
November 20, 1998 in Osaka, Japan
Furitsu Gym drawing 4,380

WELL SO FAR THIS 団体戦 DANTAISEN "TEAM CONTEST" FORMAT HAS NOT TURNED OUT TO BE ALL THAT GREAT HAS IT and while we are not getting out of this anytime soon we are asked to look ahead to February when 前田 日明 will face Александр Александрович Карелин which is to say Akira Maeda will face Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Karelin and the knowledge of that eventuality will see us through whatever this might turn out to be tonight. These super-short team-contest matches have not been very good so far and it's maybe a little hard to even see how they could be all that much better, but it's important to remember that I don't know anything about anything and maybe they'll all be great? Also before we properly begin I would like to call your attention, if I may, to something buried deep in the darkest depths of an especially cavernous WHAT DID DAVE MELTZER SAY last time, but I would suggest to you that Dave's recap of Tsuyoshi Kohsaka vs. Pete(y My Heart) Williams is a true tribute to the gentleness (柔) of TK's way (道), let's revisit it: 

"2. Kohsaka (2-0) beat Pete Williams (4-1) via a split decision after 12:00 regulation and 3:00 overtime. It was announced by ring announcer Bruce Buffer as a unanimous decision, but that was actually incorrect as the Brazilian judge voted for Williams. From a technical standpoint, this was the best match on the show. Once again this also showed that nobody watches UFC for technical brilliance as the fans booed this match, actually chanted the Portuguese word for "fake" at the two because neither would hit the other on the ground until late in overtime since the two are friends and in the past have been training partners. When they were on the ground both only worked for submissions. Williams used his reach to dominate the standing portion of the match, while Kohsaka dominated the ground portion and to me clearly should have won the decision. Williams connected with a few punches and some nice high kicks early, one of which bloodied up Kohsaka's nose. Kohsaka came back with a beautiful judo hip toss takedown. Kohsaka kept going for various types of armlocks, including straight armbars and keylocks but Williams, who has unbelievable flexibility, never appeared to be close to tapping. At the 7:00 mark, Kohsaka had his best chance and had the arm bent 15 degrees past the normal breaking point, and asked ref John McCarthy to stop the match because he didn't want to break Williams arm. McCarthy didn't, and Williams escaped. He tried it again and eventually Williams got to his feet where they traded a few punches and high kicks. Williams got behind Kohsaka and got him in a mount, but Kohsaka reversed. Fans were booing when Kohsaka wouldn't punch from the mount. In the overtime, they traded until Kohsaka took him down. Williams finally escaped and landed a strong high kick right at the buzzer and the two hugged. This would have been a great match in Japan but since Brazilians are highly nationalistic and there was no Brazilian in the match, and they were fighting a technical match, it didn't get over live."

Wasn't it fascinating to learn, as we did together only recently, that Kohsaka was not booked to win the RINGS Heavyweight Championship (a title I again reject and will never stop rejecting in favour of tournament champions and rankings only because that is part of what made RINGS unique, the best, and uniquely the best) over the slightly improbable Bitsadze Tariel (I mean no disrespect) because TK would not sign a RINGS-exclusive contract because of his hunger for the fight more broadly? And specifically his desire to train with Maurice Smith and Frank Shamrock and take a run at the UFC? And be the best and our favourite? That was all really something to learn! He returns to RINGS on this night, though, to take part in this sort of neat but ultimately probably ill-conceived WORLD MEGA-BATTLE TOURNAMENT 1998 as part of Japan "B" alongside Kiyoshi Tamura and Masayuki Naruse. Sounds like Japan "A" to me! But no, that's different. 

But before any of that we have Yasuhito Namekawa, hungriest young lion on the whole scene of RINGS, against Lee Hasdell, go the full twenty minutes in a hard-fought shoot (to my eyes, at any rate, but again, what do I know). And then, for better or worse, we are right into Georgia vs. Australia. The Australians, to their credit, have nice rugby shirts:

Beyond that, I don't know: Bitsadze Tariel--still an enormous man of enormous karate, still our champion-- first strangles Daniel Higgins in only twenty-two seconds with a mae-hadaka-jime front choke, then knocks out Troy Ittensohn in forty-two seconds, before losing the last of his points to Christopher Hasemen whilst strangled in 1:57, who is felled by the Georgian team's other Bitsadze (Ameran) in 1:32 by kicking. These matches are like insanely short, but the crowd is pretty deeply in, and there was a huge reaction in particular for Haseman's win over Tariel so I guess I would say it is going okay? 

YES HIROMITSU KANEHARA this time against Dave Von de Veen, who is a pretty ripped dude but is he, like Hiromitsu Kanehara, ineffable? No I would suggest to you he probably isn't. This is absolutely for sure a shoot, this non-tournament bout, as Von de Veen is absolutely wilding out in like a white-belt-level freak-out. I do not mean to suggest Von de Veen is not dangerous or good or anything like that, but there is this full-on level of wilding that only brand-new white-belts possess (all you who græpple know this) and it a totally different energy from people who train and it is very much its own thing (it dissipates, in time). Kanehara has weathered that early storm and is largely having his way positionally and also his boots say UWF on them. He is securely on top until a juji-gatame attempt goes awry and Von de Veen scurries to his feet. At the cost of a few pretty solid palm-strikes struck as though Von de Veen had been closing a rusty shed-lock, Kanehara gets the match back to the ground and finishes at 7:24 with gyaku-ude-garami in the mode now most closely associated, it would seem, with Masahiko Kimura: 

Again, to my eye that was totally a shoot, and a fine display of waza from young Hiromitsu Kanehara, who even drinks water like a weird star (how can he not shine):

I don't even really like the Stone Roses except for that one song that pretty much everybody likes ("Fools Gold," which was in the one soccer/football game I ever had, FIFA 2004, in what I thought was shaping up to be a pretty good affectation [I went to a couple of major international clubs' games when they came to play exhibitions in Toronto, where I was living at the time] but it really never took) but "Driving South" gets me going as Tsuyoshi Kohsaka is introduced as the taisho of Japan "B" alongside his (græpple)palz Kiyoshi Tamura and Masayuki Naruse. Their foes: the Russia "B" squad of Vladimir Klementiev, Andrei Kopilov, and Nikolai Zouev. Naruse and the extremely larger Klementiev begin and Klementiev is hitting and also kicking Naruse awfully hard, has he not been "smartened up" to the nature of this WORLD MEGA-BATTLE or is it I who have mistaken it? Klementiev loses his second point escaping hadaka-jime at 2:17 (his first point came for grabbing the ropes during I guess a takedown attempt?) and so no it is Kopilov who must remove his pretty nice tracksuit and take to the mats. As soon as I finish writing this and sharing it with you, I am going to order a yellow and black, Game of Death/Kill Bill-esque tracksuit from China off of ebay for a surprisingly reasonable price; I have been meaning to do this for several days but tonight is the night; I am going to do it; it's going to be great. Maybe if I show my friends at judo how awesome this tracksuit is they will be more likely to want to get club tracksuits next season? Or maybe they will think it looks goofy and then never go in for them? But there is no way we can be getting club tracksuits any less than we are now, so this is utterly risk free really. JUJI-GATAME, rope escape, lost point, Andrei Kopilov has defeated Masayuki Naruse in 2:32 and so here comes Kiyoshi Tamura. This could be good? Yeah, some great juji-gatame work, beautiful half-escapes and re-applications, but Tamura grabs a rope only like thirty seconds in. Kopilov stumbles, so he's down a point too, and neither has any more to give and we are like a minute in. Tamura wins by juji-gatame at 1:35 and you know what, it felt a little rushed! This format is not really working out that well!    
So now Russia "B" team taisho Nikolai Zouev against Japan "B"'s "second guy" (I still haven't caught the Japanese there, forgive me), and they pick up very much where Tamura and Kopilov left off in that there is much fine juji-gatame wrangling early; Tamura even grabs a hiza-juji knee-bar off of one neat exchange. Tamura's working a little too fast, on the one hand, but, on the other, his rolling juji-gatame against a turtling Zouev was really slick, so what can you do:

Zouev needs a rope escape from that one. Ah but there is no escape for Kiyoshi Tamura, who succumbs to a direct-attack juji-gatame like a second later, so Tamura's out at 3:17, a Body Glove-branded ice-bag judiciously applied to his elbow. Kohsaka's nice Adidas warm-up shirt comes off and he is ready to go. This is less dramatic than tracksuit-removal but it is still a solid instance of sportswear removal in the name of readiness. Kohsaka, always big and strong, looks especially big and strong here; he probably got in pretty solid shape for the UFC Brazil fight we discussed earlier. As he works for juji-gatame (say what you will about this WORLD MEGA-BATTLE TOURNAMENT, it has had a tonne of well-applied juji-gatame, so how bad is it really) you can see that TK's boots say TK-RINGS on them look look look:

Not boots, in truth, but kickpads, and you can plainly see that he is barefoot beneath them, can't you. Zouev throws with a makikomi or wrapping or rolling or winding throw (think of maki[mono] or te-maki from when you get sushi) but Kohsaka rides it out and works for a choke from the back and it occurs to me they are getting a proper shoot-style amount of time in which to shoot-style and why shouldn't they, as they are going on last. TK SCISSORS HAVE BEEN HIT as an escape from the chest-hold ("side control" in the debased modern parlance) of mune-gatame and lead to first an attack of juji-gatame and then omote-sankaku-jime, the front-triangle choke (remember the differences in application between omote, yoko, and ura-sanakaku-jime for your nikkyu gradings, everyone) and it is as clear as ever that Kohsaka is the best at this style of professional wrestling. Just as I make this not-actually-that-bold claim, TK transitions from a (rolling) ashi-gatame leg-lock attempt to grindingly half-nelson his way into ushiro-kesa-gatame (a reverse scarf hold) to thud his leg across into tate-shiho-gatame (right on top) to juji-gatame and in every movement his hips are heavy and you hear a thump as he throws a leg over and it lands heavy on the far side; this is why (to me anyway) he's better than even Volk Han or Kiyoshi Tamura, the way these, I don't know, four seconds or so look and sound and feel. That was unreal and yet totally real and so that much more unreal than when Han or Tamura are unreal (in that they are at times actually unreal). Now that I am done yielding to astonishment let us take stock (lol he just hit TK Scissors into yoko-sankaku-jime) and note that we are about eight minutes in and both græpplers have lost a point and so neither has another to give. Kohsaka takes Zouev over with a lovely sumi-gaeshi or hikikomi-gaeshi rolling sacrifice throw and tries a mae-hadaka-jime front choke; the crowd is like AAAAHHHHHH when Zouev's head pops out and he moves to to the side. Kohsaka TK Scissors his way into another yoko-sankaku-jime and the crowd is really, really feeling this waza right now (I always am so for me it's regular to be like this). Ten seconds to go and they are all tangled up in ashi-gatame leg-lock knots near the ropes and that's an excellent time-limit draw! Lostu pointo totala are words I discern on commentary as Maeda consults with other men garbed in the sharp red jackets of RINGS officialdom, so I guess that is how the winner will be decided, total team points? And it is Russia "B" that advances! 

That's pretty weird! Tamura and Kohsaka both out of the tournament! A better show than last time, though, and even in the unkind format we are currently operating under, Kohsaka and Zouev managed to have a really excellent shoot-style time-limit draw, perhaps the finest shoot-style sub-genre? 


November 23, 1998: 

Dave tries to navigate the Observer Awards through the rocky shoals of the shoot-style Japanese 90s in all its many intricacies: 

"We also want to clarify certain categories, mainly as things involve shooting and working. The two have to be differentiated for obvious reasons since the goals are entirely different. We have categories specially for real combat--Shoot wrestler of the year and Shoot match of the year. All MMA, Pancrase, legitimate RINGS (as opposed to worked RINGS) or legitimate matches from other promotions are eligible for the awards. Consideration for Shoot wrestler of the year should be based entirely on participation and results of legitimate matches between 12/1/97 and 11/30/98 and nothing else. Performances in shoot matches can be taken into consideration if relevant for the Wrestler of the Year award, since that award encompasses the entire pro wrestling world. That award is for overall excellence in whatever craft your company is presenting and value to the promotion over the past year. However, Most Outstanding Wrestler is an award for best worker, which means shoot matches which inherently aren't worked, are ineligible, however there are people who do worked and shoot matches who certainly would be strong qualifiers for this award, and this should only consider their worked matches. Best Box Office draw is self explanatory and work vs. shoot doesn't matter and anyone is eligible. Feud, Tag Team and Most Improved (since it's a working award) are all having to do with working and thus shoot matches shouldn't be taken into consideration. Best on Interviews has nothing to do with shooting or working although I can't imagine any non-workers being considered. Most Charismatic is open to everyone. Best technical wrestler and Bruiser Brody Award are meant within a worked environment, as are Most Overrated and Underrated. Best Promotion is open to everyone. Best Weekly TV is irrelevant since only working promotions have weekly TV. Match of the Year is only open to worked matches because there is a separate category for shoot matches and it's unfair to compare one with the other. It's the goal of the match and not the company. For example, Steve Williams vs. Bart Gunn would be ineligible (not that it's getting any votes) for Match of the Year, while Tsuyoshi Kohsaka vs. Kiyoshi Tamura would be ineligible for Shoot match of the year. Rookie of the Year is open to anyone within the pro wrestling world, as are the TV announcers and best and worst major card awards. Of the Category B awards, only Shoot Athlete of the Year and Shoot Match of the Year are categories open to legitimate matches. These categories should only be for performers who performed regularly in shooting matches and not people like Ken Shamrock who have in the past but didn't at all this year."

November 11, 1998: 

"11/20 Osaka Furitsu Gym (RINGS - 4,380): Yasuhito Namekawa d Lee Hasdell, Gruziya vs. Australia tournament: Bitszade Tariel b Daniel Higgins, Tariel b Troy Ittensohn, Christopher Hazemann b Tariel, Bitszade Amilan b Hazemann (Gruziya wins 3-1), Hiromitsu Kanehara b Dean Fenn, Russia B vs. Japan B tournament: Masayuki Naruse b Vladimir Klementiev, Andrei Kopylov b Naruse, Kiyoshi Tamura b Kopylov, Nikolai Zouev b Tamura, Zouev d Tsuyoshi Kohsaka (Both teams tie 2-2-1, Russia B advances by judges decision). RINGS ran the second set of first round matches in its annual Battle Dimension tournament before 4,380 fans on 11/20 in Osaka. In a huge surprise, the favorite Japan B team which has the two biggest stars in the company (Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, Kiyoshi Tamura and Masayuki Naruse) lost to Russia B (Vladimir Klementiev, Andrei Kopylov and Nikolai Zouev) and was eliminated. After Zouev beat Tamura in 3:17 with an armbar, it left Zouev vs. Kohsaka and they went to a 10:00 draw. The judges, ruling over the five matches, then awarded the overall decision to Russia. The other first round saw Gruziya (RINGS heavyweight champ Bitszade Tariel, Bitszade Amilan and Grom Zaza) beating Australia (Daniel Higgins, Troy Ittensohn and Christopher Hazemann) by a 3-1 score which saw the upset with prelim fighter Hazemann beating world champ Tariel in 1:57 before losing to Amilan. This puts the Netherlands vs. Japan A and Gruziya vs. Russia B in the semifinals on 12/23 in Fukuoka with the finals on 1/16 at Budokan Hall. The 2/21 Akira Maeda vs. Alexander Karelin match at Yokohama Arena is being scaled for a sellout to be the biggest indoor gate of the year as a sellout would be about $1.75 million which I believe is more than Wrestlemania is scaled for in Philadelphia."


"11/6 UFO: This was the TV version of the 10/24 Sumo Hall debut card. Overall it came off like a major league production with some really bad angles and matches since the matches looked like badly worked UFC matches rather than a RINGS or New Japan style. The show opened with Antonio Inoki at Rikidozan's grave site in Tokyo and getting his head shaved at the grave [. . . ]" 

Yes; yes

Also, a reader writes:


I've been a RINGS fan since 1991. I'd rather watch it than any other promotion and Volk Han has been my favorite wrestler of the decade. But their new changes are terrible. There is no reason to do shoots when you've got state-of-the-art workers like Han, Kiyoshi Tamura, Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, Ilioukhine Mikhail and Hiromitsu Kanehara. I quit watching Pancrase well over a year ago because I resented ten minute time limit matches that ended in decisions. A couple of shoot matches early in the card are great, but if you do more, they become boring because they all start looking the same. A good RINGS worked match is a thing of beauty. They accomplish their goals without using illogical flying moves, b.s American angles and screw-job finishes. It's pure wrestling and I love it. Shoots eliminate the brilliant holds and counters and all you have left is a bunch of guys laying around in the guard. The scoring and rule changes are also crazy. They are just going to result in fans being cheated and open the door to more cop-out finishes. They've already made a royal mess out of the Battle Dimension tournament, which use to be the highlight of the year. In 1997, I thought RINGS was the only major company in wrestling that improved its product instead of deteriorated. Now they're joining the club.

I don't think Tamura's loss to Valentijn Overeem hurt them as badly as you do. It was a competitive shoot match with a great young athlete and he got caught. It was Tamura losing the title to Bitsadze Tariel in a squash match that killed him.

Akira Maeda's matches in 1998 have been adequate. He looks terrible, but they've kept his matches on the mat and he works on the mat well and hasn't appeared to blow up even in his longer matches. He looks like a strong candidate for Most Improved Wrestler for 1998.

Everything WCW touches turns to mush. Eric Bischoff and whoever helps him kills every program he tries to promote. They would have sold more PPV orders by just having one Warrior interview and putting them both in the ring. I've heard Bischoff is tired of having his ass kicked by Vince McMahon every week and has hired Jimmy Snuka to write Warrior's interviews. I've been taking compazine to settle my stomach and overcome the effects of seeing Scott Steiner's handicap matches against two ex-Lucha Libre world champions, Silver King and Norman Smiley. The racist lawsuit against WCW should be a class action case. We're all suffering.

Steve Yohe

Montebello, California"

Dave does not offer a published reply

December 7, 1998: 

Notes on Pancrase rules:

"When the Pancrase organization runs its 12/19 Japanese PPV from 7,000-seat Tokyo Bay NK Hall, there will be a different twist since the show will include three Vale Tudo rules matches.

When Pancrase introduced actual competitive matches and a set of shooting rules to pro wrestling in 1993, derived from the worked shooting UWF style pro wrestling offices of the 1980s, the specific intent was to have competitive non-predetermined matches, but within a "safe" sport-like framework. It had its original flaws, the fact that with the guys relatively new to actual shooting, like with the early UFC matches, most of the matches were very short and spectacular. The first show contained something like 11 minutes of actual wrestling in six matches. Although well received, the feeling was the sport couldn't continue as a financially viable one with a night full of one minute matches. That's where the occasional works, spots, guys putting other guys over for business reasons and rule changes such as banning heel hooks because the injury rate was getting out of control, seeped in.

The thought process in those early days is that Vale Tudo, which existed as something of an underground sport in Brazil, with very few rules, was uncivilized fighting as opposed to a sporting contest, a belief system largely held in the Pancrase organization when UFC gained worldwide popularity and Ken Shamrock, who was one of the founders of Pancrase, became that groups biggest star.

Even when RINGS introduced legitimate Vale Tudo rules matches to pro wrestling a few years back, Pancrase stuck to its rules. UFC in its heyday when the purses were a lot higher, was very interested in using Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki in its tournaments, but the Japanese considered UFC as not a sportslike environment and even though most felt because they were so much farther advanced skill-wise than most of what UFC had in those days, that they would have done very well.

Five years in this world is a complete generation, as the original stars of Pancrase, created within the pro wrestling world as former New Japan wrestlers, are burned out or in the process of doing so because in real shooting one only has a finite time at the top. Like other companies in trouble, the ones who have succeeded them don't have the charisma of the originals. And many of the later stars Pancrase created who had no experience in traditional pro wrestling, have left for greener pastures. This has led to interest in the game dropping from the early days when Pancrase shows could sellout mid-sized arenas and nearly pack big arenas for major events. The other problem as discussed many times, is that when the quality of fighters increases, the cool finishing submissions and knockouts that made the sport, happen with less and less frequency. Pancrase has turned into, to the detriment of spectators, into shows featuring evenly matched 180-pound guys maneuvering on the mat looking for submissions that usually aren't there to be had, before the time limit expires and it goes to the judges. This style of matches shows how much the sport has evolved and that the overall quality and skill level is far higher than in its infancy, but it is also is a harder sport to create new superstars and for mainstream fan appeal. Those who have competed in both Pancrase and Vale Tudo or UFC say that Pancrase is physically harder on the body, joints in particular, because it's largely trying to do maneuvers that attack the foundation of the joints, and because there are few easy fights, but it's more of a game with less chance of being brutally pummeled, whereas Vale Tudo is more about going into a physical war.

So as its own form of a pro wrestling gimmick match, Pancrase will be promoting three "No Rules" matches on its next PPV event--Masakatsu Funaki's Vale Tudo debut against unheralded John Renken from Peoria, IL, Jeremy Horn (9-4-2 including 0-2 in UFC competition) against Keiichiro Yamamiya, and John Lober (3-2-1) against charismatic rookie Kengo Watanabe. Horn and Lober both lost earlier this year when challenging UFC middleweight champion Frank Shamrock, a Pancrase alum. The Funaki match will have a 30:00 time limit while the other two matches will have 15:00 time limits, and if the match goes the time limit, it's a draw as there are no judges for these matches. As mentioned last week, this puts Funaki in particular in a no win situation. Renken is unheralded and unless Funaki, who is 29, wins via knockout or submission, it'll be viewed as something of a disappointment. Due to all the poundings of five years of Pancrase and eight years of pro wrestling before that, he's past his fighting prime and hasn't looked particularly good in his last several matches. The rules of this "no rules" series of matches that will be fought inside the Pancrase ring are no attacking the groin or eyes, and no hair pulling or trunks pulling or holding the ropes to steady balance, along with no kicking if shoes are worn. It appears by the rules announced that head-butts and kicking on the ground, if bare footed, are both legal tactics.

The other Pancrase rules matches on the show have Guy Mezger defending the King of Pancrase title against Yuki Kondo, ranking matches with Ryushi Yanagisawa vs. Evan Tanner and Osami Shibuya vs. Minoru Suzuki, plus prelims with Jason DeLucia vs. Manabu Yamada and Daisuke Ishii against Takada dojo student Minoru Toyonaga which at least up to this point is the extent of the Takada team vs. Pancrase interpromotional deal has gone."

and, in a note on "Major Show Four Star Matches" and suchlike:

"More than anyone, Kiyoshi Tamura is victimized because his working matches this year except when matches with Yamamoto, Mikhail and Kohsaka, have been with exceedingly poor workers and his style is so totally limiting in that he can't do any showy moves that aren't legitimate, he's still top 20 which may actually be confirmation he's one of, if not the, best worker in the game today."

December 21, 1998:





11/20 RINGS: 1. Lee Hasdell drew Yasuhito Namekawa after 15:00 with no points scored. This was a shoot match with some decent standing exchanges. It slowed down as it went on. Namekawa controlled most of the match, but got tired at the end and Hasdell was pounding on him toward the finish. Hasdell was cut under his eye. A draw was the fair decision; 2. The team from Georgia (as in the Soviet Georgia) beat Australia in the World Mega Battle tournament first round. These tournament matches are all worked. It started with Bitsdaze Tariel putting Daniel Higgins in a front guillotine in only 21 seconds. Tariel weighed in at 319 and Higgins was 195 so you can imagine what this looked like and why it lasted so short. Tariel then knocked down Troy Ittensohn, at 198 pounds, twice in 42 seconds. This left 209-pound Christopher Hazemann by himself, and he scored the biggest upset in the history of the promotion in 1:57 with a tap out from a choke. Hazemann's head was busted open as the two were really trading good shots. It was real good for what it was. This put Hazemann against Bitsdaze Ameran, who was like 6-7 1/2 and 292 pounds. Ameran lost the first point from a yellow card. Hazemann scored a takedown but Ameran made this really cool escape and rolled into a guillotine for a rope escape point. Ameran then scored a knockdown at 1:32 to end the game, set and match. Hazemann once again proved to be one of the most underrated workers in the business here; 3. Hiromitsu Kanehara beat Dave Van De Veen in 7:29. Van De Veen is a powerlifting champion from Holland who proved to be a pretty good striker. This was a shoot and a pretty good shoot match, even though Kanehara is far more experienced, he ended up respecting Van De Veen's stand-up fighting. They traded a lot of blows standing before Kanehara got the messages to take him down. Kanehara wasn't fooling around as he would throw a lot of blows from the mount to try and force Van De Veen to move into a submission. Whenever Van De Veen would escape, he back off and stand up, figuring that was to his advantage. Finally after a takedown, Kanehara maneuvered him into a shoulderlock; 4. The Russian B team beat Japan B in the tournament. It started with Masayuki Naruse beating Vladimir Klementiev. This was kind of weak as Klementiev grabbed the ropes when Naruse got behind him to lose his first point, even though Naruse hadn't even started going for a submission. Klementiev, who was way taller, used his reach for a knockdown. Naruse again got his back and Klementiev simply rolled to the ropes, but since two points are out in the tournament, that was the end of the match in 2:16. Finish was real weak. Andrei Kopylov then beat Naruse in 2:32 after an armbar, after scoring his first point in about 40 seconds with an armbar. Not much to this. Kiyoshi Tamura beat Kopylov in 1:35. Kopylov got an armbar right away and Tamura made the ropes, but it told the story that Tamura was "injured" in the arm. Tamura, who was outweighed by 82 pounds, came back with a kneebar for a rope break point. The end got funny as Kopylov lost his footing from a stiff low kick, but since that wasn't the "finish," it was ruled a slip. Tamura then kicked the hell out of him high and since that wasn't the finish, Kopylov didn't go down, although I have no clue as to how he didn't. Finally Tamura got the armbar. Tamura was pretty much a miracle worker in this match. Nikolai Zouev beat Tamura in 3:17. Really good matwork. Tamura was totally carrying things but Zouev is good enough to hang and be believable. Zouev scored the first point with an ankle lock and rope break. Tamura kicked Zouev hard in the head and he stayed up, and this was even more impressive than Kopylov not going down. Tamura then got an armbar for a rope break point. Finally Zouev got the armbar on the arm that Tamura had been selling since Kopylov damaged him, and he immediately tapped. Tamura was real good and the match told a good story. This left Zouev vs. Tsuyoshi Kohsaka. This was an amazing performance by Kohsaka, as he carried Zouev for 10:00 in a match that on its own would have to have been ***1/4. It was even more impressive given that it was all matwork, and each could only get one rope break point so you could only do two false finishes. Kohsaka just rolled from move into move and did nothing short of a brilliant job of carrying the match. Kohsaka basically dominated the entire match since he was the only one who had a clue how to do this style of match without winning. Zouev got his point with a kneebar and Kohsaka got his at 7:12 with an ankle lock. The final three minutes saw Kohsaka nearly get one move after another. For whatever reason, and with the final match being a draw, they went to the judges to pick the winning team and they picked Russia, probably because when you add up the points, Russia won 7-6, because Kohsaka controlled the last match basically from start-to-finish. Flat ending to a good series of matches."

On to the semi-finals! Let's end the year! Thank you once again for your time and for your attention to these matters. 

No comments:

Post a Comment