Jump to content
DVDVR Message Board



Recommended Posts


Sometimes wrestling sneaks up on you and kisses you on the mouth.






5.) DAISUKE HARADA vs ATSUSHI KOTOGE- PRO WRESTLING NOAH- 8/5/2015- [RASMUSSEN]:  There are some things in this world that just exist and you can't really explain why:  Lynyrd Skynard not breaking up forever after Ronnie Van Zandt died;  The substituting of the word "gun" for "bitch" in the radio version of "The Devil Goes Down To Georgia" (Calling the devil a bitch is beyond the pale. What if it was Hitler?  Do these shitheads want to hug Hitler?  What the fuck?  Fuck those assholes and fuck Charlie Daniels for even recording that version. Have some integrity.); .38 Special having three guitar players and two drummers but sound just like every other Southern rock band; and  28 minutes of wrestling between two NOAH junior heavyweights that doesn't include exploding barbed-wire or a 15 minute intermission where the CMLL ring girls dance to Cold Gin by Kiss.  Nope.  Just straight up Harada versus Kotoge for actually it looks more like 22 minutes.  Somebody posted it on the internet THUS there was a demand somewhere for it.  People at the Differ Ariake paid cold hard cash to watch it live.  They didn't flee from their seats and pour into the streets as soon as the first arm-wringer clued them in that this going long.  It's on my dailymotion feed and THUS- AS IS MY WONT- I would watch five minutes of it at least, and if it actually drew me in, I would feel obligated- TO MYSELF- to watch the rest.  I watched five minutes of it after posting it the Internet Match Of The Year thread- not as a candidate but more of a concise version of everything I've written so far here-  and Kotoge is making a case for me to like him because the first five minutes made me re-think the whole match and thus HERE WE ARE!  HAND IN HAND LIKE LOVERS ARE SUPPOSED TO!  You reading this and Me writing this and from this point on, writing about this match and then I will come back when it is all over and try to figure out how and why I liked this or hated this and hopefully you'll have a laugh or two and I will find some kind of insight into this.  So here we go.  The dullest, most unappealing aspect of Puroresu- skinny junior heavyweights- going at it for 22 minutes, as if you would give a fuck.  I am here to give the fuck that no one else in their right mind would give.  ENJOY THE FUCK.  GIVEN.  Hook-em up. I dig Kotoge.  He has the strangest worked punches in wrestling- that actually work.  They are like Barry Windham's punches.  Barry Windham was a fucking great wrestler for all you kids who weren't around back in the day.  He had these really cool punches that did the thing that nobody until now- with Kotoge (and a few examples that the beloved readers of this review will remind me of, one hopes) could do- he threw punches that were obviously worked, but they were also so cool looking that you actually bought them as an entity of WRESTLING and wrestling unto itself.  Windham's punches were nothing like Dick Murdock's or Jerry Lawler's punches where you go, "Oh man, those look legit but other wrestlers talked about how feather light they were."  Windham's were all about the shoulder dropping when he would punch up and it became like a very short dance, and it was TRUE art because it became a reality created by the artist and you the viewer saw the TRUENESS of the art.  THUS when Windham "this is me punching someone in the face" you didn't say back "this is you PRETENDING to punch someone in the face", you said " why, you ARE punching someone in the face and this is now a part of my wrestling knowledge".  He created an extention of the pre-conceived rules of wrestling and willed through innate talent and perfect execution a new way to convey a punch to the face.  So yeah, Kotoge is like that.  That makes him kinda fascinating.  Harada is perfectly fine.  He doesn't lean into a boot that he is running into like someone I would actively seek out to follow (so far.  This is Dean in the future and this assessment CHANGES!  SPOILERS! ARE FOR PUSSIES!).  Kotoge headbutts a motherfucker like he isn't there to just slap his thigh a lot and dropkick people while they are sitting down.  Harada starts making me love this early by Death Valley Driving Kotoge into the apron.  I think it was Tenryu and Kobashi that created the accepted belief- a belief that all wrestling fans have bought into, that any move done on the apron or off the apron is as devastating as the same move done off the toprope to the mat.  I try not to think about it too much because I like things that aren't much more dangerous looking a lot more dangerous- and this Apron Concept is the pinnacle currently.  I remember how cool the Airplane Spin was when I was a kid, and then everybody thought about it too much and realized that it was kind of stupid.  And the next thing you know, Paul doesn't have a respected finisher anymore and turns his anger on Jimmy Valient, Valient's street people... and eventually... Big Mama. Heartbreaking. I would also add the Claw and the Heartpunch to this list.  Harada lays on the floor a while though it was Kotoge who took the impact, and if they want to fill the extra time allotted to them by selling stuff, I can get behind that.  Harada stomps like a junior heavyweight but does start leaning into his forearms- one of which he REALLY lays into Kotoge's chest of which Kotoge sells it like he is in LOVE and his heart just skipped a beat and now he's dying from his heart beating wrong now.  This is cautionary tale about the youth reading this falling in love!  Don't do it kids!  Smoke cigarettes instead!   Why don't other wrestlers do this match structure?  When you know you are going long, don't do ten minutes of head scissors and arm-wringers.  Do big nasty things and actually sell them for a while.  Maybe this match is genius.   Harada body slams Kotoge and it is enough for Harada to actually hit a toprope elbow smash- as this becomes the opposite of a MENG match, in that wrestling didn't affect MENG at times, wrestling really really affects these two in this match.  New ideas in wrestling psychology- I wasn't planning on that when I woke up this morning.  Harada wrenches Kotoge's head and tries to break his neck like Pam in ARCHER did to her last remaining kidnapper, but slowly and not so lethally.  Kotoge elbows out and hits a sunset flip for two, then hitting a leg lariat, of which, Harada sells the FUCK out of- which I don't think I have actually ever seen.  They run at each other and Kotoge hits him in the face with a running knee and they crawl around on the mat like Misawa and Tsuruta after 35 minutes.  This is the anti-junior heavyweight match.  I back its play 100%   Kotoge does the Ode To Tajiri thigh slappy kick because he goes straight into an INVERTED Tarantula With Handstand- so there are junior heavyweight shitty vestiges in here still.  They then run the ropes and Kotoge hits a just BEAUTIFULLY timed Running Diamond Cutter that Harada Misawa sells by kicking out at 2 98/100ths.  Kotoge procures the Sharpshooter for a moment but Harada hits the ropes so Kotoge body slams him and goes up top but he plods along so the level of selling he did for Harada's bodyslam is equal to his own body slam, thus making the fact that Harada catches him at the top of the turnbuckle psychologically sound.   I like the tight shot of the two wrestlers struggling for dominance to hit the move off the top, because they do little things to convey the struggle: re-adjusting stances, punches to the stomach, and especially leverage as Kotoge tries to avoid the inevitable top rope suplex.  Post inevitable toprope suplex, both crawl to a vertical base without even a pin attempt, as the time recovering justified it, I would say- and they start punching each other in the face.  Kotoge's punches- I swear, works of art.  Harada's forearms- good strong style forearms.  This is a good batch of guys beating each other to death in the middle of the ring (possibly my next Airplane Spin Concept victim).  Kotoge ends it by sneaking in a headbutt and hitting a Toprope Flying Cross-body Block!   Just like Mil Mascaras!  But Harada was prone on the mat so it would suck more.  Harada desperately kicks out but it looks like the beginning of the end- unless they are channelling the structure of the  Honma-Ishii match, which would actually be three days into their future.  I SMELL A LAWSUIT! Harada sells it like a motherfucker.  I will start watching his matches.   Kotoge crushes the back of Harada's skull with a headbutt and just runs and punts Harada right in the face.  This is a great fucking match because it a juniors match based on damage, the selling of the damage and the response to the damage- en lieu of killing time until the most spectacular finisher makes the crowd think they've seen a great wrestling match. (Dean from the future~! here.  I realize that that is the most dickish I've ever said about wrestling, but we are super fans here at the DVDVR.  This ain's a damn Sunday school!) Harada kicks out and this is the beginning of the end.  Harada finally gets in a running forearm to go on offense after the endless drubbing by Konoge, hitting a SUDDENLY LETHAL Leg Lariat before hitting one of those new-fangled Shoulderbreakers that looks like they start off as a Falcon Arrow.  Awesome!  Harada goes for the fucking EVEREST German Suplex to finish Konoge off with one last spurt of offense, but Konoge hits the ropes and holds on, allowing Harada to bounce off the ropes and fly into the back of Konoge's head with a forearm.  Suddenly. Konoge is desperate and hits a roll-up and tries to get his own Butterfly suplex in, but Harada counters out and goes for his German again in a really nice sequence where both of them are both doing roll-ups and also trying to get the opponent into position for the respective finishers!  So complex!  I find it de-light-ful.   Kotoge fights out of that and comes off the ropes and Harada just fucking CRUSHES Kotoge's head with knee to the face and this match is FUCKING AWESOME.   Harada gets in another big forearm and murderlizes Kotoge with his GTO variation for TWO!  Ah crap, is there going to be eight minutes of finishers?  I was there when they ruined a great match!  One day these young punks will learn..Oh wait!  Harada grabs the corpse of Kotoge and hits the German Suplex With A Bridge that he was fighting half the match to land and THAT IS THE FINISH!  This match motherfucking GREAT.  Ah, the last 6 minutes is Global Junior Heavyweight League Trophy presentation. So yeah, 19ish minute?  You got no excuse not to watch this.  Don't be a pussy. 


  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm so happy to read this review. I've been talking these guys up for 6 or 7 years now. They were superbly entertaining and likable as a young speed (Kotoge) and power (Harada) tag team in Osaka Pro. In addition to being exciting young wrestlers, they were flat-out great guys. I mean, Osaka Pro at that time was filled with fine human beings but Kotoge and Harada often went above and beyond... making a huge effort to reach out to me despite the language barrier, having my back in social situations, and so on. They would sign autographs and pose for photos all evening long if that was what the fans wanted. At various Osaka Pro drinking parties, parents who brought little kids and wanted a few minutes to drink and joke around in peace would just drop their offspring into Harada's lap and he would laugh and smile as they crawled all over him. He was unfailingly gentle and patient, with the kids. 




One time, a dumb fat racist drunk was trying to start something with me in Namba and I was kind of in a no-win situation  considering that odds are very good that hitting him would end up with me in trouble with the law. Out of nowhere, here comes Harada. He stares the guys down, says a few soft words... the would-be troublemaker slinks away, pays his bill, and leaves. 


Last time I saw Kotoge was at a NOAH show, in the gimmick area, and he seemed pretty busy so I decided against going over to say hello. A minute later there's a hand on my shoulder. He'd made his way through the crowd to greet me, warmly and sincerely. 


So, I mean... even if these guys were typical skinny indy juniors... I'd still have their backs.



  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites



Right from the start (and probably the main reason we have always got along) it's been clear that these guys just DEEPLY LOVE pro wrestling, to the bone, and that they truly care about being the absolute best pro wrestlers that it's possible for them to be. They were always down to talk pro wrestling, to watch a match, to get into the details.... And you could literally watch them grow and improve from month to month as their abilities increased and their psychology deepened.


I... No... WE have missed them SO MUCH since they moved on, but it's been a real pleasure to watch them grow and flourish in their new expanded environment. If they were just great guys, it really wouldn't matter to anyone who isn't lucky enough to know them... but... maybe... maybe they are on their way to being great pro wrestlers. Everyone here ought to care about that. 


The two of them making the finals of The Global Junior Heavyweight League has me busting with pride. It's genuinely gratifying to read that they did that opportunity justice. Thank you very much for posting this, DEAN.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...