The Dangan Yankee and The Muscle Monster go to war, who will wins out in the end? If you want a match that is the prologue of everything that Strong Big Japan would be known for, look no further than this match. Long before Daisuke Sekimoto became the Muscle Monster and was teaming with Yuji Okabayashi to form Strong BJ, he was going up against Masato Tanaka in a match that was a spectacle where he broke out. Sekimoto was 9 years strong at this point but he still had dues to pay and Sliding D’s to take. Masato Tanaka was a 15 year veteran and was already established as a journeyman who was among puroresu’s elite. You want a credible resume? Look no further than Masato Tanaka. FMW, ECW, ROH, Zero-1, Jersey All Pro Wrestling, Dragon Gate USA and NJPW. I’m sure there are more that I’m missing but you get the point. The Dangan Yankee and The Muscle Monster go to war, who will come out on top in the end? Read on to find out.
The Zero-1 Max World Heavyweight Title is on the line and Sekimoto is looking to play spoiler while Tanaka has become incredibly lean-giving up his power but gaining speed so he can be much like his namesake Dangan and be a fast bullet that will go straight through Sekimoto. They go right at each other immediately until they reach a stalemate and both know they must be strategic to ensure any kind of advantage.
Tanaka’s feeble attempts to match tests of strengths with Sekimoto is hugely amusing. Sekimoto just plows through Tanaka and you get the feeling that if Tanaka weathers the storm he may just be able to slay the beast. A chop battle magnifies the brutal nature of both man until Tanaka avoids Sekimoto and Sekimoto runs straight into the ring post in the corner. They battle on the apron until Sekimoto hits a huge suicide dive to turn the tides of the match in his favor.
I enjoy the ebb and flow of this match. Sekimoto decimates Tanaka until Tanaka sees an opening and capitalizes on it. Sekimoto goes for the running lariat while Tanaka is up against the ring post and Sekimoto’s flesh meets steel in a painful moment. Tanaka then starts laying waste to the wounded Sekimoto in an attempt to make Sekimoto a one-armed man. Every shot that Sekimoto throws is pure agony to him and Tanaka is supremely calm and calculated while taking apart Sekimoto piece by piece.
There is focused limb work that actually leads to something and we get a frantic Sekimoto surge of offense complete with fighting spirit and his trademark lariats. Tanaka cracks off a huge top rope superplex and then struggles for a brainbuster that he finally lands. Then, we have a hot finishing stretch with spectacular back and forth between both men. Sekimoto gets to show off his power moves while getting near falls and Tanaka empties his whole clip to put down Sekimoto.
Both men are trading forearms until the bitter end and there is a sweet sequence that I can’t put into words, just watch the match. It involves counters, both men being dropped on their noggins and the loyal fans of Big Japan willing their homegrown boy Sekimoto to victory. The facial expressions of both men are top-notch and put over how excruciating and brutal the whole endeavor has been.
Sekimoto goes for broke with a German suplex on the apron, German suplex from the apron into the ring and a German suplex that still does not put away Tanaka. Disbelief is sold incredibly well from both men thinking what do they have to do to end this war of attrition. This saga — yes, it is a saga, comes to a finale with Tanaka teeing off on Sekimoto with an infinite amount of forearms and then he puts the final nail in Sekimoto’s coffin with two passionate Sliding D’s and Tanaka retains in a 26 minute war.
Incredible work from both men here as this was paced brilliantly and had such a simple dynamic that played off both men’s strengths. If you want a match that is the prologue of everything that Strong Big Japan would be known for, look no further than this match. Sekimoto and Tanaka now have 37 years of experience between them and are in the upper echelon of top puroresu stars. Consider this match a time capsule and look at where both men are now, it’s utterly fascinating and captivating.