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Masahiro Chono vs Hiroshi Hase, G-1 Climax 1993 Semi-Final
Hase was a junior in the '80s, and though he won the tag titles previously and got the honor of facing Inoki on the 1/4/92 dome show he was not a top-ranked heavyweight coming into this single-elimination tournament. Of 16 wrestlers in the G-1, Hase was around 6th or 7th at best. Then he pulled off a big upset in round 1, pinning Hashimoto in by far the biggest win of his career. While a good showing it wasn't exactly a dominant performance. Chono? 10-0-1 to this point in G-1 tournaments, having won the first two. His first two '93 round wins were with the STF, and he won the '91 and '92 tournaments with a powerbomb and a top rope shoulderblock respectively. Hase was lucky to pin Hashimoto, and he almost certainly isn't making it to the finals on luck.
Hase does nicely in the opening exchanges before going to work on the neck, which had been injured last year by Steve Austin. Hase even does a proper Stone Cold Stunner, something I don't recall seeing before Austin started using it in '96. Hase is relentless and comes up with a wide variety of ways to impact the neck, looking much more in control than he did against Hashimoto. Chono eventually gets control and works over the left leg, the only bullseye Hase has. After fending off a Hase comeback Chono is able to use some deft maneuvering to put Hase in a great deal of peril, and from that point on the finish seems imminent.
Before the match ends Chono makes use of all his big moves and goes back to the leg, especially for one payback spot in the closing minutes. Hase hits a uranage suplex as a counter and then seems to have the match won but his leg gives out. In past years that might have broken him, but Hase sucks it up and keeps going. By the end Chono tries to turn out the lights with yakuza kicks but he never lands the dramatic match-ender, and Hase manages to lock in an STF variant to put enough pressure on the neck and force the tap-out. It's not a flawless match but it has plenty of strategy, psychology, and an especially long closing stretch. Hase gets a big and satisfying singles win to propel him to the G-1 final, one of the highlights of his career.