Real You Can Feel
Minoru Suzuki vs KENTA, 27 August 2005 (Pro Wrestling NOAH)
KENTA (5'9", 180#) takes on menacing brute Minoru Suzuki (5'10", 225#) in a match that provides many small but telling sadistic touches. Suzuki is co-founder of Pancrase, one of the first MMA promotions in the world. Most Japanese wrestlers have fighting experience, often alternating between MMA competitions and choreographed puroresu. This versatility distinguishes them from US wrestlers with backgrounds in American football, theater, bodybuilding, and modeling.
Suzuki and KENTA are out of bounds from the beginning with the older wrestler taking firm and malicious control of the younger. The small touches are sharp and humiliating enough to give viewers an almost tactile level of involvement in the action. Big-brand American pro-wrestling may make you shout "holy shit!" but puroresu makes you feel ... viscerally even more than emotionally. In this match, the chokeout finisher clutches your adam's apple, whether your sympathies are with the victor or the vanquished. Fans of Japanese wrestling are connoisseurs of pain.