by Daniel Johnson
Masakatsu Funaki vs. Kyotaro
If you are a puroresu fan and have been able to avoid watching any NJPW from the early 2000s then I suppose congratulations are in order. The early 2000s are known as the dark days of NJPW for a reason and in a word it can be summed up as “MMA-lite.” Basically, at that time arguably the greatest Japanese wrestling promotion of all time put their traditional style on the back burner in favor of trying to imitate MMA. While if you look back at their tapes you will see some neat stuff like a rookie Hiroshi Tanahashi you will also see that they are littered with Katsuyori “The Kicking Machine” Shibata (who unfortunately recently returned to NJPW). Shibata is a funny character because for as much as his legit toughness was played up, in the only professional kickboxing match he ever had he ate a second round loss to this guy. For those who clicked the link, yes I know despite the awkward picture Hiromi Amada is a beast who could kick a hole through my chest.
So what does any of this have to do with AJPW? Well, watch the clip and you will see some imitation MMA at its worst! It starts off as a slow striking contest until Funaki catches Kyotaro’s leg…and that’s more or less the match. Seriously, the closest thing you get to wrestling for the first half of this affair is when one guy catches the other’s leg and then puts on a resthold. The second half is a little better and Funaki almost even puts on a sharpshooter. Yet, the only ones who get screwed here are the fans. Mercifully, the video ends right at the eleven minute mark.
Categories: Wrestling Clips