Guy Mezger vs Gregory Smit, Truth 1, 28 January 1996, Yokohama (Pancrase)
Hats off to My Wrestling Obsession for reminding me of two of my crushes of the 1990s: Pancrase Inc. and Guy Mezger. Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki founded Pancrase in 1993 in an effort to create kayfabe-free professional wrestling. I was totally on this bandwagon (relatively small at the time). I was already fed up with the directions mainstream wrestling was taking (take your pick: "family-friendly" or "attitude era" or kids doing backflips in baggy plastic pants).
I still loved the visceral impact of kayfabe shows of previous eras, but I wasn't getting that from contemporary professional wrestling, so I didn't mind its absence from Pancrase so much. What Pancrase offered, however, was authenticity, but, more importantly, tight close working of one wrestler's body by another, as illustrated in the GIFs above. It was also a world blissfully free of long microphone rants and high-flying. Virtually every second of ring time consisted of body contact of one sort or another.
Mezger, 28, 6'1", 187#, fulfills my "type" requirements for the decade (and even now): GQ good looks and a muscular yet not severely chiseled physique. That he hails from Texas satisfied a cowboy fantasy as well. His opponent here, Gregory Smit, 25, 6'4", 216#, hails from Australia (another geographical region that tends to produce hot and free-spirited men). He gives Mezger a good fight, but Mezger is all over the guy, finally submitting him with a rodeo calf-roping move that ends in an torturous ankle lock.