Why was 96 pancrase so good?

Just think about it, all the match-ups they had that year were incredible. The mat work in pancrase at that time was at its peak. Suzuki and Frank Shanmrack had a great technical fight that year. 1996 is also the year we saw Yuki Kondo blast Frank Shamrock out of the ring. That year also had a great fight between Ken and Takahashi where Ken displayed some very technical striking. But the match that made 96 is Rutten vs. Funaki. That match is the best match ever, period. The way Funaki pointed to the crowd to tell them he was not out and they responded by chanting his name. I have never seen the japanese fans get so hype. The strikes in that match were just brutal. Does anyone have any matches to add to this list?


I think Bas/Frank III was in 96. Damn good fight.

I agree godzillafuria,

The bas/frank saga is classic. I think that the third match was the best of all of them. Bas was so deadly by 96, because his submission skills were so good by then, it didnt matter if he was going to the ground.


I am pretty sure that nothing in 96 looked too fishy. I don't think there were too many works in pancrase(if any) in 96.

There has yet to be a more emotional involving fight than Bas vs. Funaki. That was when they used that great yellow ring canvas.

1996 Pancrase is the standard that all promotions should measure themselves by. Never has there been a more talented and charismatic pool of fighters coupled with bookers who had the brains to put together some incredible fights... K-1 had some very good years in the late 90s also.


I don;t think that the talent has really gone up or down, I think it is a combination of the pancrase rules(the stand ups, rope escapes, and knock down rules made for such exitement) and how much heart those men fought with at that time. Those are the two factors I feel are why 96 pancrase was so good. It's like they had so many guys so closely matched in talent and all of them had multiple matches with each other. Guys like Suzuki, Takahashi, Delucia, and Kondo showed so much drive during that year. You could see it in Delucia in his match with Funaki that year desperatly try and stand up to continue fighting with funaki after taking multiple low kicks which was even visible from the large bruise on his right leg. He showed so much warrior spirit in that fight even in defeat. Those fighters at that time were all out to win that King of Pancrase title and be considered the best.


I always wonder why more of the fans of this sport don't speak more about the emotion involved in the funaki/rutten match. When watching the fight the first time, I was yelling into the the tv screen wishing that funaki would just stay down and not get up before he got seriously hurt.

Plenty of (awesome) fights in Pancrase in 1996.

"I was really dissapointed when the event started and I found out there is no striking on the ground."

Pancrase has always allowed striking on the ground.

Pancrase was very cool with the old rules, I think they still occasionally do have special old rules matches.

I have never seen a Pancrase event that did not allow striking on the ground, and I have seen many many pancrase matches.

I have seen matches where the fighters did not do much striking on the ground.

I have not seen the match between F. Shamrock and Suzuki when Frank won by kneebar. It may have been a one time rule. I would love to see it.

cool thread

either way is was fun to watch back then. although i have nothing but respect for funaki who took a beating for years for nothing. i had hoped he would actually beat rickson. i was wrong and that is that.

I just watched Frank vs Goes the other night at work. That is one of my all time favorite fights to watch.

how about Bas and Funaki. That was sick. That was a shoot though I believe. Any word on that? Funaki got beat to hell and if real is an all time fight.

If we're going to play conspiracy theory...

The worst "dive" I ever saw Funaki take was against Guy Metzger for the KOP. Funaki mounted absolutely no offense and he had a weird, perplexed look on his face during the whole fight--like he wasn't sure he was doing the right thing. He would get pushed into the corner and do nothing but take body shhots from Metzger.The fans we're completely livid are were screaming at Funaki to do something.

I saw that same look on his face during his match with Rickson. I'm not necessarily either of these matches were works, but it was a case where either Funaki froze or decided he wanted to take another beating like his 2nd Rutten match in order to go over witht the fans.

interesting. i guess we will never know until these guys speak more freely about it, and i mean more than one of them.

"rumors spread that the Shamrock/Hume match was a work"

Not a rumor, it was billed as an exibition match.

And to anyone who thinks a jiujitsu blue belt would beat those pancrase guys, how do you think a blue belt of a limited Gi style could beat the pancrase guys that had a complete grappling style?

I tear throgh jiujitsu blue belts and I woud get ripped up by any of those pancrase names. I have grappled with alot of people from Brazil and elsewhere, and I have grappled with Omar Bouische (a pancrase fighter) and he impressed me more than any belt guys of jiujitsu.

yesterday I went to the pancrase show and this time it was so so. but I like the shows because it will always give descent fights and sometimes amazing fights. but always solid shows well organised. and good performace by most of the fighters. only yesterdays match between Kikuta and keith rockell was a sleepfest. very boring fight. but that can happen sometimes too. but pancrase is like a small very solid family. and all the top fighters of Pancrase are always around. supporting the show. selling t-shirts. even Funaki still come to the shows and sell pancrase stuff. very loyal. that is what I really like about it. also yesterday bas rutten was there too.

if your a real fan of the sport. you just cant miss a pancrase show. it is really good! also tickets are not to expensive too. for about 50 usa dollars you have a good seat.and a lot of talented fighters fight there.like Dave Terell, Ricardo Almeida, Josh Barnett, Yuki Kondo.

"and I have grappled with Omar Bouische (a pancrase fighter) and he impressed me more than any belt guys of jiujitsu."

kansetsuwaza, The funny thing is that Omar trains lots of BJJ for his groundgame. He´s trained in Brazil and is one of the guys who has seen Rickson Gracie tap out a room full of worldclass grapplers...

...and jiujitsu is heavily influenced by shoot. I was in the bookstore today looking at submission style books that were written by jiujitsu people. Doesn't really resemble jiujitsu to me.

I have been to a Rickson seminar and was impressed with his jiujitsu.

95% of Omar's training has been with submission wrestlers.

But, if you have 2 twins, same weight, height and age. Twin A trains with a top submission guy for 5 years and twin B trains with a top jiujitsu guy for 5 years then twin A would most likely be a far better and more well rounded grappler.