25 Matches that Defined 2016 #2 – Yuji Okabayashi vs. Ryota Hama – BJW Korakuen Hall – 24/01/16


BJW World Strong Heavyweight Championship
Yuji Okabayashi vs. Ryota Hama
Big Japan @ Korakuen Hall
24th of January 2016
Korakuen Hall – Tokyo, Japan


The Match: Yuji Okabayashi is the current BJW Strong Champion. Ryota Hama is fucking massive to the point that the audience audibly gasps when his weight is announced. To give you a reference point, he is the Japanese equivalent of Rikishi, only somehow fatter. The entire match revolves around Okabayashi’s attempts to lift or move Hama, with zero success. Okabayashi goes for his trademark brutal shoulderblocks, but Hama doesn’t even flinch. Okabayashi goes for some of the stinging chops to the chest that are staples of the BJW Strong division, but Hama barely even notices, despite the chops being agonising.

Hama takes control of the match, throwing his weight around and destroying Okabayashi with his flab. Hama headbutts and forearms him before crushing him in the corner with his backside. Okabayashi tries another chop, which is no-sold again. Hama then mows Okabayashi down and forward rolls over him, crushing his process. Okabayashi goes fore more chops and gets jawjacked for his troubles. Okabayashi goes for a sunset flip, which is stopped by Hama sitting all his weight down on Okabayashi and possibly crushing his ribcage in the process.

Hama looks to go for the kill with a splash, but Okabayashi rolls out of the way. Now that he has hit the mat, Okabayashi starts to rally. He crushes Hama with four lariats in the corner, but only gets two. Okabayashi realises that he needs to get Hama off his feet. Okabayashi tries to go for an Argentine backbreaker which clearly does not work. He then tries to go for a bodyslam, but collapses under the weight of Hama which crushes him into a pinning predicament which Okabayashi kicks out of at 2.

Hama stinkfaces Okabayashi and then DDTs him for a nearfall. Yuji continues to chop in defiance, as Hama shows signs of wear-and-tear but Hama comes back with forearms and headbutts. Okabayashi goes to the ropes ONLY TO BE ENVELOPED IN A FUCKING GARGANTUAN CROSSBODY FROM HAMA! Okabayashi somehow KICKS OUT AGAIN! Hama is just relentless in his assault, hitting more forearms.

Hama climbs the turnbuckles, looking for a Vader bomb as the crowd looks on in dread. Okabayashi manages to get to his feet and hit Hama with a lariat to his flabby arse to stop BEFORE SUPER POWERBOMBING HIM FROM THE SECOND ROPE! After a huge nearfall, Okabayashi FINALLY hits a vertical suplex. Hama gets back to his feet and Okabayashi nails him with three lariats. Hama wobbles, but stays upright AS OKABAYASHI NAILS HIM WITH ONE HELL OF A LARIAT TO FINALLY TAKE HIM DOWN! Okabayashi hits him with not one, not two BUT THREE GOLEM SPLASHES to put Hama away for the three.


Why Does It Define 2016?: This took the Japanese Indy Puro community by storm. It really showed the effectiveness of Yuji Okabayashi as a top face and added a new wrinkle to the Big Japan Strong Division. Despite it’s consistent quality, the division could always do with fresh ingredients put into the mix. This showed just what Okabayashi could do as a company ace and really redefined what a big man match could really be in 2016. It also went a long way to building on the amazing work of the BJW Strong division from 2015, helping them get away from the Deathmatch stigma that has dogged Big Japan from it’s inception.


My Thoughts: Anyone looking to become a wrestler needs to watch this match. This is a textbook example of how to work a fat man match. Okabayashi has cultivated an image of toughness in his matches with the likes of Sekimoto and Kamitani in BJW through his hard-hitting offence and stoic manner. However, Okabayashi gave so much to Hama here. Okabayashi shows vulnerability, selling all of Hama’s monstrous offence, putting over Hama’s size and even selling Hama’s repulsive fat man odour with some fantastic disgusted facials.

Don’t get me wrong though, it really helps that Hama is not only athletic for his size but also game for a challenge. He was really up for this match and it showed. Hama can pull out some great matches when he has a good dance partner. Okabayashi was the perfect dance partner as he was really able to nail the timings needed to make Hama look like a monster.

This is essential viewing regardless of whether you are familiar with the competitors or the promotion and will probably be in my top 10 matches of the year. Hell, I’d go so far to say that this may be my favourite match from Japan this year. Such a simple story told so masterfully. If you haven’t seen this yet, rectify that immediately.

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