Sunday, July 26, 2015

BJW: Sekimoto vs. Okabayashi Review - 7/20/15

After months of wanting to watch more of the beast that is Daisuke Sekimoto, I finally got around to it this week. Sekimoto is a mainstay in promotions such as Big Japan Pro Wrestling and DDT. He can do deathmatchs however he also does straight up strong style encounters that represent the greatest side of puroresu. He's been making waves this year in particular and is many people's dark horse pick for Wrestler of the Year and his performances reflect that as he's currently in the Top 5 of our Elite 80 Rankings here at Pro Wrestling Truth.

Sekimoto has had a number of fabulous singles contest this year against the likes of Ishikawa and others, but he also has had produced a ton of great tag bouts. Some of which, I'm planning to watch and possibly review after this. His partner in many of those contests is none other than his opponent in the bout I'm about to discuss, Yuji Okabayashi.

Together they are Strong BJ. They're the current KO-D Tag Team Champions in DDT and just a month ago took the BJW Tag Team Champions, Kohei Sato & Shuji Ishikawa to a 30 minute time limit draw. They've been teaming together off and on since around 2011, but here they are opponents with one of the biggest prizes in Big Japan on the line.

Both men make their entrances and the introductions begin. Okabayashi looks focused as streamers rain down on him during his introduction. There's the feel of a title change in the air at the start of this contest during that moment. I haven't seen anything that led up to this so I honestly had no clue who would win. In that particular setting however, that was the first time I got sort of an indication as to where this was going. From the start, it felt like Okabyashi's night.

As I said before, this is almost completely fresh viewing to me considering I've only seen these men compete a handful of times. This will make for an interesting review going forward because you'll not only get my thoughts on the match itself, I'll also be esentially giving my first impressions of both gentleman. I have a comparison to make although that's going to be saved for later on so back to the match itself.

I got a true taste of what I was in for as the two locked up in a vicious manner that left Okabayashi's nose bloodied. We're only seconds into this thing! It wasn't the most brutal lock up I've ever seen despite certainly leaving it's mark. Stand offs between the two heavyweights came early AND often during this contest. It seemed like neither man could take the other down and one thing I've always loved about puroresu became embodied during this contest as both guys just beat the shit out of each other, for lack of a better word. It was stiff, it was hard hitting, and in a phrase, it was the "most real" example of wrestling you'll find.

The initial feeling I got of it being Okabayashi's night looked to continue as he would end up taking control of this contest by purely holding nothing back. The big man found himself in the air for a crossbody to the outside after a short brawl with the champion that began when he cut off a dive attempt with a chop to the chest. Sekimoto just couldn't seem to get anything going which almost led me to believe we would see him fire back. The period of time that Okabayashi had control took away any sort of idea I had about who would win, once again.

I say this as if Okabayashi controlled alot of the match when really it was an extremely competitive contest. It just felt like the challenger was one step ahead of the champion for much of the time despite the two remaining neck & neck for the majority of the match.

The inability of either man to gain a distinct edge over the other led to an absolutely awesome final stretch. Sekimoto & Okabayashi were nearly 15 minutes deep into this battle and they were still trading shoudler blocks & lariats that couldn't knock the other down and by the time they finally did the trick, no one could capitalize on it because both men fell to the mat in exhaustion. Elbows, slaps, kicks, strikes of all kind made contact in the most brutal manner possible. Not to mention the back drop drivers and german suplexes we saw here.

All the spots/hard hits, I guess you could say, weren't the only thing great about this match. It was really well done as a whole in the sense that they wouldn't just do things for no reason. For instance, Sekimoto rammed Okabayashi's head into the post outside. When he got control in the ring, he had him in headlocks, he hit a back drop driver, etc. He kept working the head/neck area. For Okabayashi, the back was clearly his target as he nailed Sekimoto with a powerbomb in the corner at one point and then immediately applied a boston crab like manuever in the center of the ring.

I just really enjoyed this match. I've been watching alot of US indies as of lately whether it be PWG or CHIKARA, but there's really nothing in the US that can provide what matches like this can. It's what makes puro a one of a kind brand. The closest thing that I can compare this to that happened this year was the Ishii/Honma match from NJPW and while I gave that match a higher rating than I'm giving this one, I'd say this was easily the more brutal of the two.

This was the kind of match that I feel like you could show a non-fan and convert them or atleast cause them to respect the world of pro wrestling. Considering most people who are adamantly anti-wrestling are that way because "it's fake", a match like this would undoubtedly leave their jaw dropped, in my opinion. Even as a fan who appreciates the hell out of every facet of wrestling, matches like these that feel real are a joy to watch because everyone loves to get lost in a bout like this at times.

None the less, in the end, it was a fucking insane powerbomb that would finally finish this match off and Yuji Okabayashi pinned Daisuke Sekimoto to the mat for the three count to become the new BJW Strong World Heavyweight Champion. What a match!

Earlier on, I made the point of a comparison I had in mind that I'd mention later and that comparison was to Kenta Kobashi & Mitsaharu Misawa. Those are the two guys who made me get into puro and for the first time since, I've discovered two men here that remind me of them. I'm not saying they are on that status/level yet because I'm still new to Sekimoto and extremely new to Okabayashi, but the point is that they won me over and I'm going to be watching their work every time I get the chance.

For the past 6 months or so, I've been really into the Junior Heavyweight and American styles of wrestling. Probably because that's what is most readily available for me to watch although it's obviously something I enjoy. Checking out this contest today really gave me the itch to get into more strong style so luckily I have a few more matches downloaded to check out.

But with all that being said, I'd highly recommend giving this a watch. For more experienced puro watchers, this may seem like just a really great contest because from what I've heard Sekimoto AND Okabayashi had singles matches with Shuji Ishikawa that were even better than this. However, for people who may be new to this side of wrestling or possibly haven't watched it in a while, you'll probably enjoy the hell out of this just like I did. So, whatever category you fall under, this is a match that is definitely worth your time.

Match rating - ****1/4

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