Hideki Suzuki vs Ryuichi Kawakami
taped 02/10/2017, aired 02/16/2017
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
(reviewed 10/19/2017) Weirdly this feels like a bigger and better version of their Sumo Hall title match. It’s got many of the same elements, such as a weird, laid back grappling section early on that doesn’t lead anywhere and feels lacking, but fairly soon Suzuki takes control in a big way and both men are putting in the oomph that was lacking from their match on the biggest show of the year. Kawakami looks to be in control after a pin sequence puts him in the perfect spot to wallop Suzuki with an elbow that puts him down, but Suzuki recovers when Kawakami tries to follow it up and stuffs him with a butterfly suplex for the win. It’s only an 11 minute match on what is very much a non-major Korakuen show, but I think there’s a lot to like here if you’re a fan of the style.