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Shuji Kondo vs. Kaz Hayashi, All Japan on 8/27/06

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Generally anytime Ditch requests something I go out of my way to find it since I have downloaded so many matches off his website(s) over the years.  


(CHAMPION) Shuji Kondo vs. Kaz Hayashi
for the All Japan Jr. Heavyweight Championship


kazkondo2.JPG kazkondo1.JPG


Date:  August 27th, 2006
Event:  All Japan Pro-Wrestling Love in Ryogoku
Reason:  All Japan Jr. Heavyweight Championship
Link:  Download Here

Size: 378 MB


My thoughts of the match at the time:


Let me preface this by saying that I am fully aware of the problems in this match. Yes, Hayashi stopped selling the leg the last 10 minutes of the match. Yes, their selling in general was suspect at times and they were just throwing bombs at the end of the match. Now that you know I actually did notice the things that might need some work, allow me to say that I loved this match. Kondo has single-handedly saved the All Japan Jr. Heavyweight division, as he is so much fun to watch and can put on a good match with just about anybody. Their execution here was flawless, which is saying something since they did quite a few high-risk moves. Hayashi threw everything at Kondo, going through his entire moveset, but couldn't pick up the win. The WA4 from the top would have done the trick, but when that was reversed by a wicked flipping DDT that was it. Lots of near-falls is in general the puroresu style for big matches, if I didn't enjoy it then I wouldn't be watching it. The match was fun and exciting, and the crowd was really into it. Really entertaining match. Score: 8.0


And stolen without permission, Mike Campbell's thoughts of the match at the time just to give a different perspective:


Aside from the lariat overkill and some ill advised timing and spots from Kaz, this kills every other AJPW Jr. Title match of the decade, and smokes every match for the GHC Jr. Title, aside from KENTA/SUWA, from the past twelve months. Shuji and Kaz are both on fire, bringing good spots, good execution, and (for the most part) good selling. At first Kaz uses his speed and flying to offset Kondo’s size and power, and he does so in good ways, like his rana counter to Kondo’s pancake attempt. When Kaz’s charging kick misses, Kondo is a magnificent punk about going after Kaz’s knee, the errant kicks were a very nice touch, and when it looked like Kaz was about to do something stupid like a jumping rana from the top, Kondo had a Boston Crab counter ready to save the match. And, thankfully, Kaz never does go full out and do something stupid to kill the match. When he goes back on offense after countering the Irish whip into his handspring jump kick, he sells the leg, and sells it again after his Quebrada.


My personal favorite part of the match was the little fight on the apron. Hayashi’s DDT counter of the charging spear was genius, and a couple minutes later when Kaz charged into The Original off the apron, they made sure to treat the biggest spot of the match like it was actually the biggest spot of the match. They both spent time on the floor selling, including Kondo selling the DDT he took, and Kaz selling his back. When they finally roll back into the ring, they spend a couple of more minutes selling the effects of what they just endured. Kondo finally hits a simple suplex and Kaz oversells (in a good way) the simple back bump, and then Kondo locks in the Gorilla clutch, both working Kaz’s back *and* his leg, which had all but been forgotten about by this point.


Even though this the smartest by far that I’ve seen Hayashi work, it’s still not perfect. Offhand, I can think of about ten different ways that Kaz could have gone back on offense, all of which didn’t have him get planted by The Original and then jump back to his feet. And he’s still got that annoying habit of doing the WA4 for no reason at all, and even sillier this time around is that he does it dead center of the ring, so Kondo has to kick out, instead of the foot on the rope. And Kaz’s bright idea is to throw all of his finishers at Kondo at this point, including the same spiking rana that AHII used to down Kondo’s stablemate in the opener. It all built up to Kaz attempting the WA4 off the top and Kondo getting some payback for the DDT on the apron with a flipping DDT counter. And then descending into the usual two-minute long nonsense with various attempts, blocks, and kick outs, with the King Kong Lariat, before Kondo finally puts him down for good. This pretty much has it all, good spots, good selling, (mostly) smart work, and a climactic ending, I could watch this until the end of time. ***3/4




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