Thanks to http://www.digits.com for their badass righteous free counters
Battlarts on Samurai TV 8/30/00
Battlarts is a small indy promotion that works most of its matches in a hybrid shoot-style that involves mostly striking and submissions but is also known to encorporate elements from many other styles such as US pro style and lucharesu. There are no three-counts in Battlarts, wins are gotten by either KO or submission. Just like the style of the promotion is unconventional, the workers are some of the most eccentric in the world. From Alexander Otsuka's surreal entrance and color-coordinated singlets to Mohammed Yone's Einstein haircut, the Bat-Bat boys are always way left of center. I put my money on Battlarts as being the most unique promotion in the world. Besides all that uniqueness, the promotion consistently puts on great matches despite frequent talent purges by New Japan.
This tape takes place near the end of a run that saw Bat-Bat put on the best matches in its history. Most of the matches on here are from their annual Young Gen Battle Tournament which is their big "to-do" year in and year out.
Rastaman vs. Ryuji Hijikata
"JAMAICA!!!" It's Rastaman who is Ahmed Johnson with some workrate. Hijikata is a junior and is way out-sized here but makes up for it by being dirty and underhanded. Hijikata reaches deep into the rudo bag and pulls out a gem by hiding under the ring, coming out the other side behind Rasta then kicking him in the nuts. Rasta wins via KO after a backdrop slam.
This match wouldn't be out of place on Jakked. *
1. Mick Tierney vs. junji.com: This is the DEFINITION of the surreal wackiness that Battlarts is capable of. Here we have Mick Tierney, big Irish roughneck taking on probably the least assuming wrestler in the world, junji.com…think Spike Dudley in pink tights with no front teeth. This is the antithesis of the WWF's idea that if you don't "look right", you shouldn't wrestle…just ask Tazz about that.
Tierney is a poor man's William Regal as he likes to mix some brawling with the stretching. Tierney does some nice shooty stuff and sells well for a guy half his size so I've got no complaints. Junji.com is, I think, paying some sort of misguided homage to Bret Hart with his ring attire and his Sharpshooter.
This match is a step-up from the last one but still not something you'll remember. *1/2
2. Takeshi Ono vs. SAITO: It looks like SAITO has ditched that horrible Guardians of the Galaxy spandex suit from earlier on in his career but he still looks like a Romanian gymnast. Ono is a scrawny, pissy asshole who is the dream boy of every little Japanese goth girl. On paper, this looks to be loads of fun.
Ono's trademark is punching and kicking people in the face with little regard for their safety and he doesn't pull much here peppering SAITO's fat head with blow after blow. SAITO hits a really indescribable submission spot that steals the match. Ultimo's influence is really there in SAITO's headstand into a rana and the la majistral. He's usually a sell machine in Toryumon for the bigger stars, but the little guy really gets a chance to show some offense and charisma in this match. The one funny thing about this match is that SAITO's submission attempts come off more legit than Ono's, who regularly works shoot style. Anyway, Ono wins after a flurry of punches followed by an octopus hold that makes SAITO tap.
This is a big cup of spot-fu tea but its really good and creamy like it always should have been. SAITO got a chance to shine and took it and Ono seemed fired up for this. Fun, fun, fun. ***
3. Katsumi Usuda vs. Carl Malenko: Weeeee...its Carl Malenko who is at #17 on the DVDVR 500, rated ahead of guys like Misawa and Lyger. This is my first "Carl" experience so we shall see if he be worthy of such praise. Carl looks like a yuppy rich kid who bucked his parents by pursuing a professional wrestling career out of spite for not letting him hangout with a group of metalheads and go see Slayer down at the club on the seedy side of town. Instead they put young Carl on restriction and made him take piano, the man on this tape is the result of those actions
At the opening both guys whiff kicks at one another ala a real shootfight then hit the mat and jostle for position. Unlike a real shootfight, Carl gets Usuda in the mount and fails to do ANYTHING. The mount in MMA means certain death for the guy on the mat yet young Carl apparently hasn't been watching PRIDE lately. They go through some more matwork, nothing that really standouts though. Carl does get the move of the match with a kick right to Usuda's mug that puts him down for a 7 count. Usuda wins with a series of kicks and a wicked uraken followed by a choke sleeper that makes Carl tap.
In the words of Chuck D., don't believe the hype. Granted I've only seen one match of his so far, Carl certainly doesn't look in the league of guys even 100 spots behind him on that list. But then again, its just a list right? ** 1/4
4. Naoki Sano/Ikuto Hidaka vs. Minoru Tanaka/Alexander Otsuka: Alexander Otsuka's entrance is really something to behold rivaling Ryuji Yamakawa's in sheer ecentricism. His music is really dramatic and powerful but totally doesn't fit the warehouse they are wrestling in. I've yet to see this entrance done at PRIDE, but I'm sure it'll be really fucking cool. Tanaka is the bad-ass looking shooter with Otsuka who is now IWGP Junior Heavyweight champ. Hidaka has the wacky hair, and Naoki Sano is theother guy. Sano had some of the best matches in juniors history with Lyger about a decade ago then dropped off the face of the planet until resurfacing again at J-Cup 2000. All four are workrate monsters and really great all-around performers so this match is extremely promising.
Tanaka and Hidaka start off with a nice counters sequence followed by the ever-stylish synchro dropkicks ending in applause from the crowd. Otsuka comes in with shootstyle fully intact and after working the mat for a few flips the switch and goes totally US Pro style with a brainbuster followed by a DEEP single-leg boston crab. He sets Hidaka up for a superplex but gets knocked off the turnbuckle and taken down by a spinning headscissors from Ikuto. Otsuka rolls outside and Sano gets all spunky and launches his ancient ass through the middle rope with the worst tope suicida I have ever seen. Its sort of like he ducked through the ropes and fell forward...stick to the matwork, Naoki. Back in the ring, Otsuka & Sano go through a really farking sweet mat counters sequence where the move dejour is Otsuka countering a sleeper by rolling through into a short armscissors. Sano thrown out...Otsuka hits a good flip plancha over the top rope. Back inside now...Sano blows my mind with a sunset flip out of the corner into a kneebar submission on the roll-up. This is Grade-A certified stuff. Sano continues the mat party with an ab stretch into a pinning combo but Otsuka is in the ropes. All this goodness taking place with Tanaka standing on the apron! Offensive transition to Otsuka...he and Tanaka combine on a missile dropkick/German suplex combo that drops Sano on his head. Alex goes back to the pro-style with a giant swing then a Sharpshooter. Hidaka gets tagged in as well as Tanaka and its ON! Minoru goes all shooty with his STIFF AS A MOTHERFUCKER kicks and his SHINY submissions even unleashing the Tanaka Special rolling armbar. Hidaka eventually gets the advantage and works the leg over with some nice submissions. Otsuka & Sano spill to the outside eventually giving Hidaka the chance to make Tanaka tap to with a rolling kneebar. To add to the greatness of this, Tanaka sells the knee after the match.
This was as good as it should have been given the names involved. Four top-notch workers decide to throw down in front of about 200 people in an obscure warehouse somewhere. This was really fun and had cool spots as well as being technically and psychologically sound. Get this and get it good. ****
5. Mitsuya Nagai vs. Mohammed Yone: "Inoki, bom-ba-ye!" Yone scores instant points by coming out to Antonio Inoki's super-epic theme. Yone is one of the eccentric guys I mentioned while Nagai is more of a straight-laced shooter.
The two start off with the longest staredown in history before getting things started. Nagai's vicious kicks are put over right away as they almost score a 10 count. Yone stumbles to the outside where some brawling takes place. The rest of this happens in the ring and is all about what kind of match its going to be. Yone wants it to be pro style while Nagai wants to do shoot stuff. Nagai's will wins out and he dominates the majority of this. The one major thing that kills this match is the overuse of the juji-gatame. A juji-gatame is a big move nowadays and here its totally overused. Nagai has it locked in for a good minute or so and applies it several more times in the match but it has no effect on the match whatsoever. Nuts to that. Other than that, this was passable. If Yone would have sold the arm at all this would have been much better
Extreme no-selling and not wrestling with your head sucks. **
This card is a mixed bag with some things that aren't necessarily horrible but just sort of there. SAITO/Ono and the tag match are the whole cup o' tea here and what you need to get this tape for.
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