Sunday, October 14, 2007
Performer Analysis: Shinya Hashimoto
1) Innovation- 6/10
Hash was definitley not the first Japanese wrestler to kick during matches, but he made it popular again, revitalizing a stiffer style in the rings of New Japan. He also broke away from the pack right after the huge NOAH exodus from New Japan, except Hash took a different approach and invited wrestlers from all other Japanese groups to join his promotion, including Michinoku Pro, RINGS, and Big Japan. He formed Zero-One and it was a huge success. Hash also jumped to the US, and won the NWA World Title, a move common among big names in Japan now to come abroad and spread their popularity and style with the American fans on a smaller scale, namely the indy scene.
2) Conditioning- 5/10
Hash is obviously not the workhorse at the gym. His over hanging gut is actually pretty infamous now, but it did hamper him in his later years, and lessen his stamina. He never was the marathon man in the ring, but fought with heart and great strength during his career.
3) Skill- 8/10
Even though he was overweight, that didn't deter from his in ring ability. He had a great move set and knew exactly how to work different size opponents and was really good at tempo. His sells were very generous, maybe too much so, as sometimes it was hard to swallow that he could be hurt as easily has his selling would show. He worked very hard in the ring and had some excellent matches to show for it.
4) Psychology- 10/10
Hash was brilliant in the mind game of the sport. He knew exactly how to incite the fans and when to let them back on his side. He started a near riot in Japan when he slapped Riki Choshu out of his shoes and spit in his face. But, in America, he knew that stiff, take no prisoners style would be applauded and he was right. He began playing the Misawa role in later years, the silent hero and his will to win showed and the fans bought it. His facial expressions are pretty one dimensional, but it was always his temperment that would show you what side he was playing.
5) Interviews- 5/10
Hash spoke well and emotionally. He had the same interviews a lot of Japanese wrestlers do which is not to get too violent or threatening, but to get the point across that they were pissed and wanted to hurt someone. Hash is more of a silent killer and lets his kicks and moves do the talking, but he had some decent skills and the crowds seemed to respond to him.
6) Character- 8/10
When Hash had his first big run with the IWGP belt in the late 90's, he played the dominant champion who couldn't be stopped and it worked to perfection with that run. But, later in years, he proved he could play other roles and took on the outsider of New Japan and ran with it. He created Zero One and became the figure head, the man fighting to keep what he had built and did it well by bringing in outside known talent from other Japanese promotions to try and tear it down. Then, he came to America and played revered bad ass brilliantly too.
7) Fans- 10/10
Fans love violence. And they love seeing guys commit violence on each other. Hash was skilled in that area. He was a ruthless assassin in the ring and people came to appreciate his style. He played perfect foil to other long standing legends in New Japan on his first title run as the man who could not be stopped, a heel role without having to play it too much to the hilt. Hashimoto's popularity extended to the US, where he became a world champion and the fans paid to see it. He will always be remembered as an awesome performer.
8) Basics- 7/10
He didn't use them a lot, but he could go hold for hold with many people. He was an excellent striker, no doubt about that and utilized those tools with great success. He wasn't one for chain wrestling, but he understood pacing and used that to his advantage.
9) Feuds/ Opponents- 10/10
As the unbeatable champion, he faced the legend trying to defend the honor of the promotion he helped build, NHO Hall of Famer Tatsumi Fujinami. They traded the World Title back and forth in a memorable feud. Then, there was the redemption of the Great Muta. Hash took the belt from Muto(under his normal name), embarrassing him and destroying him in a rematch. Muto went off to find himself for a year while Hash destroyed every name New Japan had, as well as beating several huge US stars in Ric Flair and Steven Regal. But, then Muto came back with his famous face paint and mist and won the title from Hash in a legendary angle. In addition to that, he's faced tons and tons of great competition from two generations of New Japan names, as well as Misawa, Kobashi, Taue, Taka Michinoku, Masato Tanaka, Steve Corino and Dan Severn.
10) Gutcheck- 7/10
Hash took a big chance by branching off and forming his own renegade promotion and it paid off. He took a big chance by going to America to expand the popularity of Japanese style wrestling and making it more well known. It also paid off. He was someone who went against the grain of what convential methods of promoting in Japan and it paid off. Hash had a great passion for the business and it came through in his work. He never had a retirement and worked until the time of his death. RIP Hash.
PO: Thumbs Up