Daisuke Sekimoto & Kohei Sato vs Yuji Okabayashi & Shingo Takagi
Saikyo Tag League 2017 Strong Block Match
taped 09/20/2017, aired 09/28/2017
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
(reviewed 10/24/2017) Between BJW, Fortune Dream, and the like, I’ve seen a number of these “Strong BJ + friends” time limit draw tags over the years. They follow a certain formula (opening third with everyone pairing off to explore the new matchups, middle portion with an escalation of violence that often contains some crowd brawling, and a meaty final act that is all bomb-throwing and increasing desperation as time slips away) and usually live and die by the effort and fire exerted by the participants. This one, thanks to a healthy portion of effort from these four, is probably the best match of its kind since the May 2015 classic. A lot of that energy comes from Shingo, who is really letting loose now that he’s temporarily free from the Dragon system, but everyone is great here. Okabayashi is a real force of nature, giving his best performance in about 20 months as he wallops guys with clubbing blows. Sekimoto is in the thick of it for most of this match, taking all sorts of punishment from his protégé and one of his finest contemporaries. Sato, not nearly so explosive as his partner and opponents here but certainly just as capable, provides some much needed variety by approaching this match in a slightly different way than his sprintier counterparts. With a full thirty minutes there’s a lot to take in here, certainly too much to break down move by move, but the highlight for me is a twist on the usual Strong BJ double German suplex spot that sees Okabayashi land real hard on his head and shoulder. In that same vein, there’s nothing explicitly new here, nothing I haven’t seen before from these four men even if this is a first-time meeting between this permutation, but the little twists on the formula are what make this interesting as well as the general level of effort. If you’re already into this sort of style, this match will probably strike you as another pleasing entry in a long-running tradition. If you’ve never seen this sort of thing before, this match just might blow you away. Regardless of who you are, though, it’s well worth watching.