Hideki Suzuki (c) vs Ryuichi Kawakami
BJW Strong World Heavyweight Championship
Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo, Japan
(reviewed 07/20/2017) Maybe it’s because my expectations were too high, as I mentioned earlier with K-Hash/Shinobu, but this was a major disappointment for me. It opened awkwardly with a long series of striking and grappling, weak and tentative. Having watched these men for years now, I know they’re certainly no strangers to games of face-based patty cake, yet here it feels like they were very clearly holding back. That tentativeness mostly washed away by the end, as they were laying into each other fairly well, yet it felt like too little too late, especially as this match went under 14 minutes and didn’t have a long time to build. I guess it makes sense, being that this is third from the top and thus can’t do ALL the crazy stuff the two title matches above it would require, but still, for what is the title match for the top title in the company on the night of the company’s biggest show, this felt lacking. Fun stuff, to be sure, as I quite like these two guys, but a real bizarrely limp-wristed match.