Haste versus Sugiura
Here I was worried August would go by without a single Shane Haste match to munch on. The video definition is low, and the sparse crowd oddly restrained (even by Japanese standards of polite reserve), but the 14-minute video on YouTube shows both Shane and his leathery opponent Takashi Sugiura in splendid form.
Shane could use a better haircut, but I'm still crushing on this six-one sandgroper, crushing bad. What did it for me first was the guy's self-deprecating sense of humor. Also there's his angular face--not flawlessly handsome, but pleasant and strong*--and a half-sneer jut of the jaw I've seen only Australian men do. Topping it all off, Shane's beefy build is 100 percent right for pro wrestling.
As for the match, taped two weekends ago for Pro Wrestling NOAH, it's got plenty to like, also:
- a bullish lockup, arm in arm, chest to chest manliness,
- 24 seconds of detailed hand work (at the 3:49 mark), as Shane torturously bends Sugiura's fingers backwards,
- a cool body-bounce off the ring ropes, and
- a tasty choke, with Shane's shin grinding Sugiura's adam's apple into the middle rope.
Add to that the usual close two-counts and Japanese hard-style body blows, and a completely convincing three-count pin at the end. It may not be my favorite Haste, but it does the trick for me, plus some.
* Shane somewhat resembles two film actors I'm drawn to: Brian Geraghty (Jarhead, The Hurt Locker) and James Badge Dale (World War Z, The Lone Ranger), often cast in supporting roles as sensitive GI/cop types (I'm a ridiculously easy mark for this type).