Volk-Han-A-Thon Part 3- Mid-1995 through 1996 or Work or shoot, you’re still gonna feel it in the morning
I had been unsure going into these matches what nature they would be, cooperation or competition. After watching all of these, I might think that the matches with Oele and Leon-Vri are shoots but there is no way all of these are. And I do of course prefer it that way. But in a promotion that was apparently almost all shoot by this point, it is awesome to think that Han was good enough that you can’t always tell. I watched his first match with Tamura in this bunch and while it was fun it is really his series with Kohsaka that stands out here. Great work by Han at elevating a young gun while still showing that he is king.
Vs Yoshihisa Yamamoto
Unfortunately there was a copyright claim on this match
This is the second fight between these two. They test each other with kicks to start and Yamamoto shoots in but can’t take Han down. Yamamoto goes to the mat and Han grabs his ankle and rolls into a single-leg crab before falling back into a nasty ankle-lock. He has it on for quite a while but Yamamoto hangs in there. Han turns it into a figure four variation then gets into a step-over toehold. He goes for a kimura as Yamamoto gets the ropes. Yamamoto does some kicking again and then shoots on Han and slams him to the mat. Yamamoto gets the mount and goes for a cross armbreaker but Han stays out. Han stands up and then puts on another crazy leglock but Yamamoto twists into one of his own. They battle for control with Yamamoto taking Han’s back and then mounting him and going for a hammerlock and then a cross armbreaker. He gets it on and Han grabs a rope escape. They stand up and Han takes control, taking Yamamoto down and stretching out his arm forcing Yamamoto to use a rope escape and earn a down. Yamamoto recovers and takes Han’s leg but Han sniffs out an ankle of his own. Han is on his feet and seems to be going for a sharpshooter but falls back with a toe-hold. Yamamoto struggles and grabs Han’s ankles for himself and they roll into the ropes. They’re on their feet and Yamamoto unleashes slaps, a knee and a few punches and knocks Han to the mat for a down. Han then takes Yamamoto down and ties his legs up in an uncomfortable-looking manner and Yamamoto grabs another rope escape. Han goes after his arm and Yamamoto fights him off with punches. Yamamoto throws kicks and takes Han to the mat and applies a triangle choke. Han is still on his feet somewhat and is able to get a rope escape. Yamamoto takes a headlock and hits body-punches before mounting Han on the mat and going for an armbreaker. Han battles out and grabs an ankle-lock and turns it into a version of an STF before Yamamoto uses a rope escape for a second down. Yamamoto throws some kicks before getting a rear naked choke for a rope escape by Han. They’re on their feet and Han grabs the arm and basically does an armbar suplex to make my day. The referee gives Yamamoto a count and it’s a third down. Yamamoto’s corner checks with him but he waves them off. Yamamoto throws punches and kicks for an eight-count and a down. Yamamoto does a spinning backfist but Han grabs his arm. Yamamoto grabs a guillotine but Han fights out and gets the cross armbreaker for the submission win. Han does an interview in which he speaks of parastroika and the like. Yamamoto does a forlorn interview in which takes about his arm being sore. We then get an awards ceremony afterward with Pomp and Circumstance playing, thankfully without WCW guitar riffs mixed in.
Vs Akira Maeda (6th match)
Han misses a kick to start and goes after Maeda’s arm, taking him to the mat and stretching it out from underneath Maeda. The fans are chanting Maeda’s name and Han hangs onto the arm for quite a while, making me think the transition to shooting has happened. Maeda gets out and twists behind Han and gets a rear naked choke for a rope escape. Maeda goes for strikes but Han checks him with a kick and takes Maeda down with an ankle-lock. Maeda takes over and gets Han’s ankle but Han manages to finagle a leg-lock. They come to a stalemate and the referee stands them up. Han seems to go for a spinning backfist but it’s just a spin instead. He punches Maeda who grabs a front facelock and suplexes Han. Maeda gets a half-mount and goes after the arm but Han gets out. Han is on his feet and grabs an ankle-lock and transitions to Maeda’s arm. Maeda gets a toe-hold with Han grabbing a leg-lock and twisting Maeda’s legs around. Maeda hangs in there and they both have ankle-locks on and the referee stands them up. Maeda throws a punch and some leg-kicks. They slap at each other and Maeda does another facelock into a suplex and works on Han’s arm. Han gets out and grabs an ankle-lock but Maeda throws him into the ropes for a break. Maeda throws a flurry of kicks but Han fights back with punches and takes Maeda to the mat and goes for an armbreaker. Maeda is in the ropes and they get stood up again. Han throws some stiff punches but Maeda rolls him into an ankle-lock forcing a rope escape. Han then throws punches and knees and knocks Maeda down. Maeda throws leg-kicks and Han tries to roll him into a leg-lock but Maeda grabs a headscissors and gets the submission win.
Vs Pieter Oele
This is part of Mega Battle Tournament ’95 and this footage is part of the entire card being on youtube. Oele throws leg-kicks and knees to start but Han dances around him. They trade leg-kicks and Han trips him to the mat. They’re on their feet and trading leg-kicks again. Oele gives Han a knee to the gut and grabs a front facelock but they’re in the ropes and get broken up. It’s a festival of leg-kicks here in the land of shoot and Oele grabs a headlock before Han takes him to the mat. Oele crawls under the ropes for an escape. Oele throws leg-kicks again with Han eventually catching his foot and taking him to the mat. Han tries for an armbar but Oele uses a rope escape to earn a down. Back to leg-kicks again and Han stumbles after a kick to the gut. They battle for position and go to the mat with Han grabbing a sweet cross armbreaker for the submission win. The action isn’t as exciting in the shoot matches but it is that much cooler to see Han eek out that submission. And so it goes with work vs shoot.
Vs Dick Leon-Vri
This is from a full event that is in this clip called Maelstrom, which sounds like a name for a 2001 WCW event. I will refer to Leon-Vri by his first name here for giggles and for space. Dick does some dancing pec action during the referee’s instructions. They both try for kicks early on and Han catches Dick’s foot briefly. Han kicks Dick in the calf and sweeps him to the mat. Han springs like a cobra and grabs an armlock with Dick quickly grabbing a rope escape. Dick does a spin-kick but Han fights back with his own kicks. Han shoots in but takes a knee to the head. Dick throws a strike and a kick but Han geos after his arm. More strikes from Dick and Han shoots on his leg and takes him down. Dick is on top but Han gets a headscissors for a rope escape. More Dick-kicks followed by punches and Han is knocked down for an eight-count. Dick tries to follow up with strikes but Han fights him off before getting knocked down with a hard strike to the face. Dick goes for leg-kicks again and Han goes after his leg but Dick does a rope escape. They clinch in the corner and Han grabs an arm-lock for another rope escape. Dick throws some awesome punches and a head-kick and knocks Han down for a count of seven. Dick is throwing kicks and knees everywhere but Han pushes him into the ropes and grabs a hammerlock before switching to an ankle-lock for a rope escape. Dick throws body-punches and a head-kick and Han crumples in the corner for an eight-count and doesn’t have many chances left. Dick does a spin-kick but Han grabs his arm, rolls him to the mat and grabs a beautiful cross armbreaker for the submission. I was hoping for a chance at a See Dick Run joke but didn’t get it. Great fight though.
Vs Nikolai Zouev
Ah, it’s Zouev again for the third fight between the two. Han dominates him with knee-strikes at the outset and knocks him down for a seven-count. Zouev fights back with a spinning backfist. Han goes for the arm and then grabs a single-leg crab for a rope escape. They trade kicks and Zouev takes Han to the mat. Han goes for the arm but Zouev takes his back and grabs a choke briefly. Zouev rolls into an armbar attempt but Han grabs a cross armbreaker for a rope escape. Zouev grabs a front facelock into a suplex and goes for a cross armbreaker and Han uses a rope escape. Zouev shoots on Han and takes him down but Han grabs a leg-lock. Zouev wriggles out but Han still manages to take his ankle and twist away forcing a rope escape. They stand up and Zouev grabs a headlock and lays in some knee-strikes but does so to a downed Han to earn a yellow card from the referee. Zouev then shoots on Han and takes him down and tries for an armbreaker. Han manages to get a headscissors but Zouev switches into a cross armbreaker briefly. Zouev has the ankle but of course so does Han who moves to Zouev’s back and grabs a choke. Zouev gets to his feet and has Han’s arm and tries an armbreaker. Han struggles but Zouev gets a cross armbreaker for a rope escape by Han. They’re standing and Han does some great wristlock work, taking Zouev down in an armlock and headscissors for a rope escape. Zouev then does a legscissors into a leglock but Han rolls through and grabs an armlock and ends up with an ankle-lock. Zouev gets out and manages to grab his own ankle-lock but Han ends up on top and rolls into a single-leg crab and moves to a rear choke and body-scissors. Han then grabs a cross armbreaker briefly but Zouev gets a rear naked choke forcing Han to use a rope escape. Zouev takes Han down and works away at his arm but Han hangs in there before rolling under the ropes for a break. Zouev again goes an armbreaker but Han manages to grab an ankle-lock and Zouev uses one of his last rope escapes. He looks rather cranky afterward. Zouev shoots on Han who grabs his arm. They’re on the mat and Han holds a headlock. Zouev transitions from that headlock and stretches out Han’s arm and forces him to submit to s pretty sleek finish. Good stuff here with the upset win.