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Puroresu Show Reviews

Reviews of puroresu shows in my collection

Sunday, April 25, 2004


ZERO-ONE Fire Festival Finals 8/1/2003

Alexander Otsuka VS Tetsuhiro Kuroda- Fire Festival tournament match
- I was really surprised how well Otsuka was working as a wrestler here, unlike many shoot fighters who stick to the shoot style when they try to wrestle professionally. Kuroda was on form here as well, reminding me of the days when he was the top rising youngster from his FMW days. Kuroda worked Otsuka’s knee throughout the match, but Otsuka managed some good offense, including an almost Dead End like hanging German suplex, but couldn’t hold the pin due to his bad knee. Kuroda nailed a killer Lariat before locking on a figure four for the some what upset win.
Match Rating: **1/2

Kintaro Kanemura VS Yoshiaki Fujiwara - Fire Festival tournament match
- Give Fujiwara a lot of credit for working against Kanemura and taking his classic garbage spots like getting splashed through a table! Kanemura also hit a record number of low blows right in front of the referee without fear of getting disqualified! Very sports entertainment like finish when the referee got bumped and Fujiwara locked on his armbar so no one saw Kanemura tap! Kanemura then scored the win on the veteran with a rollup.
Match Rating: **1/2

Masato Tanaka, Hideki Hosaka & Kuroge Wagyuta VS Tengu Kaiser, Wataru Sakata & Yoshihito Sasaki
- You could tell Tanaka was pissed that he couldn’t make the Fire Festival finals as he stiffed the hell out of his younger opposition team. Hosaka has completely changed his image from his FMW days and really looks solid now. Tengu Kaiser looks like a bad Hayabusa copy, but works well at least. Sasaki actually hit his reverse death valley driver on big Hosaka at one point. Near the end, the veteran team hit a cool triple team diving move on Sasaki, ending with Tanaka hitting the superfly splash, but Sasaki kicked out! Tanaka then almost rips his head off with a monster lariat, but Sasaki kicks out again! Sasaki signals for the roaring elbow, but Sasaki ducks it and tries to German suplex Tanaka, and finally hits with the help of a high kick from Sakata! Tanaka finally scores the roaring elbow and hits a brainbuster for the win. This match really put Sasaki over big time as the crowd was SO into him!
Match Rating: ***1/2

Satoshi Kojima VS Kohei Sato - Fire Festival tournament match
- Kojima was in full heel mode here! All he had to do was LOOK at the crowd and they would boo him! Kojima even made young Sato look like a million bucks selling his strikes and submissions well. Sato even countered Kojima’s dreaded Lariat into a triangle arm bar at one point! Sato also did the hanging German that Otsuka used earlier for a near fall as well as hitting a series of urinages. Kojima showed his superiority in the end, almost taking young Sato’s head off with a vicious Lariat!
Match Rating: ***

Hirotaka Yokoi VS Shinjiro Ohtani - Fire Festival tournament match
- This was also surprisingly good! Yokoi is another shoot fighter turned wrestler, but sticks to his shooter roots. But Ohtani made him look like a million bucks selling his hard strikes and submissions! Wait a minute, didn’t I already say that about Kojima/Sato? Yokoi even caught Ohtani out of a Yakuza kick into a Capture Buster at one point. Ohtani being no slouch himself, wins a hard fought battle with a single leg crab submission.
Match Rating: **1/2

Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Naohiro Hoshikawa, Ikuto Hidaka & Jun Kasai VS C.W. Anderson, Josh Daniels, C.M. Punk & Vansack Acid
- This was a seriously FUN match to watch! The first few minutes was standard mat work but then, TONS of spots from all eight men, and even some fun comedy bits! There was the standard multi-man aerial assault as well as the always cool multi-finisher spot near the end. I was really impressed by Josh Daniels and Vansack Acid. At one point, Acid hit a move I can only describe as a shinning headstomp! You gotta see this to believe it! I’m not gonna give any more away, but this match is a MUST WATCH!!!
Match Rating: ***3/4

Satoshi Kojima VS Shinjiro Otani

This was an AWESOME match! Even better than their previous singles bout from the 2002 Truth Creation pay per view! They went at it straight from the opening bell and beat the daylights out of each other to the point of physical exhaustion! Both men unloaded the full extent of their arsenals. Ohtani even borrowed Tanaka’s Diamond Dust and followed it with his trademark Spiral Bomb but still couldn’t put Kojima away! Kojima hits his Lariat but Ohtani pops up and lands his Dragon Suplex for another near fall. End comes with both exhausted gladiators picking themselves up in opposite corners, eye each other, then CHARGE at each other! But Kojima DECAPITATES Ohtani with the padless lariat to win the Fire Festival!!!
Match Rating: ****

OVERALL: This was an AWESOME show from start to finish, with no Hashimoto or Ogawa anywhere in sight to drag things down. Ohtani was the booker for this year’s Fire Festival and boy he did he do a great job! Why Hashimoto doesn’t take the much needed time off to heal his battered body and let Ohtani run things, I’ll never know. But this is a totally watchable show!


Monday, April 19, 2004


Osaka Pro HeatWave 2000

Shusuke Wada VS Takashi Tachibana
Both are the up and comers of Osaka Pro and pretty green in the ring. Thankfully it was short as this match did nothing for me.
Match Rating: ½*

Zeta Mandora VS Super Demekin
Surprisingly this would turn out to be one of the more entertaining matches of the night. It’s hard to take Mandora seriously due to his appearance, but he’s got quite a move set to him, and Demekin is no slouch either, though I think his gimmick is a goldfish or something. Good closing sequence with a lot of big moves used at the end.
Match Rating: **

CMLL Japan Women’s Championship
Chikako Shiratori VS La Roca

This was an OK joshi match, but nothing really special. They even did a few comedy spots which I felt had no place in a championship match that didn’t involve Ebessan and Kamen. I'm not sure, but I think La Roca later became Policewo~men.
Match Rating: **

Monkey Magic VS Ebessan VS Kuishinbo Kamen
I was really looking forward to this one, but was sadly left a bit disappointed as the match was really short. They did some fun 3-way comedy spots, but ultimately this match suffers cause at under nine minutes, was just too short to really get into.
Match Rating: **
Entertainment Rating: Good

At the end of the last match, the tape only just hit the ONE HOUR mark! To that end I was wondering what was going to fill in the space, or would the main event actually go over thirty minutes since it was under elimination rules. How wrong I was as they showed the intermission, which was a singing performance by Chikako Shiratori! It wasn’t all that good either as you could see she was just lip-synching.
After that, the ring announcer, with the help of Ebessan, demonstrated the over the top elimination rules for the main event as referee Matsui hung the purse of one million yen from the ceiling. This was all really a big waste of time and for some reason the mic never seemed to work when Ebessan was speaking. They should have given more time to the 3-way comedy match.

Elimination Ladder Match
Super Delfin, Naohiro Hoshikawa, Masato Yakushiji & Yoshihito Sugamoto VS Dick Togo, Black Buffalo, Daio Qualtt & Police~man

When you got eight guys in the ring, you can expect a bit of a cluster. And that’s EXACTLY what we got in this one! Theres a purse of 1,000,000 yen hanging from the ceiling, and team members can be eliminated by pinfall, submission, or being thrown over the top rope. There were bodies flying everywhere right from the start of this one, with too much action happening at once to keep track of. Luckily, this was the best match of the night as they did some good spots, but they were limited to what they could do with the ladders since the ceiling wasn’t that high up anyway. At least the show ended on a positive note since the rest of the show was pretty drab.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Overall: I was honestly expecting more from this show. It just sucked that they wasted a good half hour on the intermission when they could have given more time to the undercard. This would rank as just an OK house show by many. Thankfully they would be much improved later down the line.


Sunday, April 18, 2004


Osaka Pro Osaka Wars Vol.2 1/4/2000 Namihaya Dome

At the time, this was Osaka Pro’s biggest show to date at the Namihaya Dome. Looks impressive from the outside, but once we get inside it turns into a bit of a very indy looking place. No wonder I hadn’t heard of any other promotion running shows there. And it just screams indy show when all the floor seats are just that, FLOOR SEATS! No chairs for the fans at ringside! And I noticed a lot of open space they could easily have used to fill in with more fans. Weird it is, but this show should be judged on the quality of the matches and not the venue, so here we go:

World’s No.1 Title
Ebessan VS Kuishinbo Kamen

They played a FIFTEEN MINUTE build-up video showing how this feud all got started, and needless to say it was pretty funny. Unfortunately, the match itself was a bit of a disappointment. Maybe they were trying to be more serious due to the storyline involved, but this could be considered a disappointment when compared to the fun stunts they would pull off later down the line.
Match Rating: **
Entertainment Rating: OK

Dynamite Kansai VS Chikako Shiratori
Shiratori’s CMLL Japan women’s title wasn’t on the line here, which was lucky because she totally got squashed by the bigger and more powerful veteran Kansai. I haven’t seen a good joshi match in awhile, and this wasn’t it.
Match Rating: *

Kaiju Zeta Mandora & Monster King Mandora VS Ultra Ace & Ultra Monkey
I’m guessing this was suppose to be some kind of comedy match as they also had a pretty good buildup video before the match started. But the match itself was really hard for me to watch, probably due to all the over the top gimmicks in the match.
Match Rating: *1/2

Black Buffalo, Daio QUALLT & Police~man VS Yoshihito Sugimoto, Tsubusa & Super Demekin
Finally! A good match! Dick Togo’s heel faction, Legion of Violence (L.O.V) take on Super Delphin’s JUSTICE group. This match seemed to push Super Demekin to the moon as he carried most of the match for his team. Still, this was pretty enjoyable to watch.
Match Rating: ***

Different Style Match
Naohiro Hoshikawa VS Takehiro Murahama

Hoshikawa’s shooter style against Murahama’s kickboxing style, set for five three minute rounds with a three knockdown/takedown rule. I still wonder if this was a legit shoot as Hoshikawa actually hit a beautiful German suplex when Murahama had his back turned. Was OK overall though.
Match Rating: **

Osaka Pro Championship Title Match
Dick Togo VS Super Delphin

The only other good match on the show. Togo is fresh off his return from the WWF and has an annoying manager here. This match was to decide the first OPro world champion, so you can pretty much predict who was gonna win. Still, a solid match to end a mostly drab show.
Match Rating: ***

Overall: This would be the first Osaka Pro show that I could probably rate as just OK, with nothing really outstanding. It runs three hours long, but about an hour of it was for all the buildup videos they used and let’s not forget the ring entrances. Thankfully, Osaka Pro would get much better than this down the road.


Thursday, April 15, 2004


New Tapes are in!

Just received a new batch of tapes in the mail today, I'll be adding them to the tape list as soon as I'm done watching them, as well as posting reviews of the shows.


AJPW Best Bouts Fall 1994

The All Japan Best Bouts Fall 1994 tape I ordered turned out to actually be two commercial All Japan releases on one tape. The first being the lone All Japan Triple Crown Title Match commercial tape that features only ONE MATCH! But what a match it is!

All Japan Triple Crown Title Match
Steve Williams VS Kenta Kobashi

1994 was a big year for Steve Williams in All Japan as he would have the some of the best matches of his career in that year alone. The biggest win being when he defeated Mitsuharu Misawa for the prestigious Triple Crown championship, becoming the 21st champion and the 3rd gaijin to hold the title.

Kenta Kobashi was the rising ace of the company, teaming successfully with Misawa on several occasions to win the double tag titles as well as winning several Real World Tag Leagues. Kobashi had a big singles match with Williams in 1993, and this would turn into another of Kobashi’s big breakout singles matches at the time.

Match starts and Kobashi steals a quick two count with a rolling cradle early on. The two then lock up in a test of strength that brings up the crowd heat level, neither man giving an inch. The two then trade chops and shoulder blocks before Kobashi dropkicks Williams out of the ring DDTs him on the floor! Kobashi then body slams Williams on the floor, climbs up the top turnbuckle and hits a HUGE flying cross body press on Williams on the floor!!! Kobashi follows up by leg dropping Williams’ head while straddled on the steel guard-rail (Ouch!).

Back in the ring, Kobashi continues control as he works on Williams’ neck, and lands a big delayed suplex before locking on a rear chin lock. The two then trade chops and jabs and Kobashi nails a big jumping knee in the corner for a two count. Kobashi tries a top rope flung shoulder tackle, but Steve dodges it and drops Kobashi on his head with an avalanche brainbuster! Williams then wears down Kobashi with a ground cobra-twist and a camel clutch before nailing ANOTHER avalanche brainbuster for a two count!

Kobashi tries to chopping his way back, but Williams spikes him with a spinebuster pin for another 2 count. Dr. Death locks on a bear hug, and then leans Kobashi forward for a pin while still locking on the hold for a 2 count! Still holding on, he over-head release suplexes Kobashi! Kobashi’s feet never touch the floor the whole time the hold was locked on! Williams sets up in the three-point stance and runs in but Kobashi counters with a neckbreaker drop!

Kobashi unleashes the machine-gun chops and Williams punches back and tries for his ever dangerous backdrop, but Kobashi counters out of it with a sweet DDT. Kobashi tries for a suplex, Williams tries to counter with one of his own, but Kobashi counters his counter with a DDT! Kobashi locks on a big sleeper hold and turns that into a neck-breaker when Williams reaches for the ropes. Kobashi runs in and Williams takes him over with an arm drag, but Kobashi pops right back up and nails the LARIAT! Kobashi then lands a backdrop, but had some difficulty getting Williams huge frame up.

Both men get up and Kobashi tries another lariat, but Williams blocks it and nails a quick right hand that staggers the challenger. Kobashi come back with a big right hand of his own and hits a running LARIAT!!! But only gets a two count for it. The crowd goes nuts sensing were close to crowning a new champion! Kobashi slams Williams and nails a leg drop, followed by another leg drop to the back of the head, and a big chop to the back of the downed champion’s head. He then hangs Williams head on the second rope and drops another guillotine leg drop on his neck! Kobashi covers to only get another two count.

The two trade some big shots before Williams counters a lariat and takes down Kobashi with a modified overhead slam. He then whips Kobashi into the ropes and picks him off his feet with a gorilla press before tossing him right out of the ring to the floor!!! Kobashi struggles to his feet only to get taken down again by a flying shoulder tackle off the apron! Kobashi finally gets back in the ring, but it’s the hard way via a super over head belly to belly suplex off the top rope! Williams quickly back up to his feet and connects with the Doctor Bomb! 1-2-2.5!!!

The crowd then PANICS as Williams tries for the backdrop, but Kobashi escapes only to get caught in the Oklahoma Stampede! Kobashi manages to hold on to the corner ropes to escape the hold though. Williams loses his footing on a second attempt at the Stampede which gives Kobashi a two count.

Kobashi lands an enzuguiri and smartly takes out Williams’ leg with a low dropkick. Backhand chop by Kobashi! Neckbreaker drop! Kobashi goes for the moonsault, but Williams gets up so Kobashi does a flying shoulder block instead as we hit the thirty minute mark! Then hits a big backdrop and lands a German suplex hold to get a two count. Kobashi then goes up top and nails a PERFECT MOONSAULT!!! Williams kicks out at 2.8! Kobashi goes up again, but this time misses the moonsault!

Both men stagger to their feet and Williams gets knocked out of the ring by low dropkick to the knee, referee Wada Kyohei checks on Steve as he clutches his knee in pain. Back in the ring, Kobashi lands a sobat kick followed by a famousser! He then nails two consecutive leg drops before going up top and hitting a HUGE guillotine leg drop from almost three quarters of the ring away! Cover! ONE, TWO, KICK OUT!!! Kobashi gets psyched and lands a powerbomb into a jackknife pin! ONE, TWO, KICK OUT!

Williams fights back to his feet and takes down Kobashi with a big shoulder charge, followed by an overhead release suplex. Back to their feet, Kobashi escapes a backdrop attempt, misses a spinning backchop! DANGEROUS BACKDROP!!! The crowd goes ape-shit as the Triple Crown champion finally lands his move!!! Williams is exhausted as he crawls over for the cover, ONE, TWO, KICK OUT!!! Williams is dumb-founded as he can’t believe Kobashi kicked out of his finisher! Kobashi struggles to his feet and still tries to fight back, but Dr. Death backdrops him HEAD FIRST INTO THE CORNER TURNBUCKLE!!! But Kobashi STILL struggles to get to his feet!!! Williams then hits a THIRD DANGEROUS BACKDROP and holds on to FINALLY get the three count and retain the Triple Crown at 41:23 and end a KILLER match!!!
Big sign of respect between the two battered combatants post match as Williams celebrates a hard fought title defense. After the post match interviews, the tape ends with an awesome music video recap of the match played to Dr. Death’s entrance theme.

Overall: THIS is the reason All Japan can put just ONE match on a tape and make it worth your money! Collectors and fans of classic matches MUST own this match! Heck, get this if you wanna watch an awesome match in general. This ONE match is so worth it! To quote George Mayfield, this tape is short on matches, but HIGH in quality!
Match Rating: *****!!!!!

There are two other matches on the tape, taken from the All Japan October Giant Series '94 commercial tape which I'll review and post at a later date, so check back.


Monday, April 12, 2004


Osaka Pro Wrestling TV 6/13/2001

Osaka Pro's big Korakuen Hall show which was taped on 5/29/2001 and main evented by a big inter-promotional tag match. Much like their previous show I reviewed, I didn't really know what to expect from this one, other than high anticipation for Ebessan and Kuishinbo Kamen!

Show starts with the usual wrestlers' in ring welcome ceremony, and Ebessan is already up to his old tricks as he interupts OPro head honcho Super Delphin several times during his welcome speech which expectedly gets a laugh out of everyone!

Tigers Mask VS Azteca
I wonder if the Pro Wrestling Kageki is even still in business since Azteca works alot of OPro shows? Anyways, this was a descent show starter with a good mix of fast paced action and some mat work. I heard alot of hype for Tigers Mask, but still can't figure out why.
Match Rating: *1/2

Nise Great Nita VS Monster King Mandora
For all you who were wondering, it's not THE Great Nita, just some guy borrowing his gimmick. This was the only match that was clipped and thank God for that! Mandora looks out of shape and out of place, but HE'S the guy that has to carry the load for this match cause the Nita wannabe is just CRAP! They did a few garbage spots (sickle attack!), but that still doesn't save this match from being a DUD!

Takashi Tachibana & Shusaku Wada VS Kengo Takai & Super Demekin
This started slow, but ended up being suprisingly good. The OPro youngsters really got to show their stuff here as Tachibana & Wada try to overcome the senior team of Takai & Demekin. Good spots and double teaming made this enjoyable.
Match Rating: **

Policewo~men, Ebessan & Zeta Mandora VS Chikako Shiratori, Miracle Man & Kuishinbo Kamen
I had some high hopes for this one, and every expectation I had was surpassed ten-fold! This was honestly the most hilarious match I've ever seen! Even better than Ebessan & Kamen's 2K3 Osaka Hurricane match! The two clowns did a handfull of spots I hadn't seen before, which were hilarious of course! Then there's the joshi work from CMLL women's champion Chikako Shiratori (who's quite a babe) and Policewo~men. She might not look like it, but Policewo~men is a suprisingly good worker, and Shiratori's exchange with Ebessan is must see stuff! Miracle Man and Mandora round off the teams and eventhough they were only in a supporting role, did some good work in the match. This match is definately a must see not just for the comedy as there was also good work being done. It was good to see Ebessan and Kamen mixing it up with different opponents for a change, and the joshi wrestlers were treated as equals to the guys. This is one of those matches where it's OK for forgotten little things like logic and selling to take a back seat. I like this match so much that I've already watched it several times this week alone!
Match Rating: ***
Entertainment Rating: PRICELESS!

Tsubasa & Black Buffalo VS Daio QUALLT & Gamma - Osaka Pro Tag Team Titles
Essentially a match between two rudo teams. Gamma & QUALLT are the tag champs, but function more as individuals. This was also before QUALLT started wearing the cool masks and instead is wearing face paint, and looks more like Kane than ever! Gamma also had a manager/ valet here, though I couldn't catch her name due to the blurry audio. Match itself rocked and INFINITY were the definate underdogs here. Still, a very good match.
Match Rating: ***

El Samurai & Jushin Thunder Liger VS Takehiro Murahama & Super Delphin
The two senior aces of New Japan's Junior Division VS the two aces of Osaka Pro! This was a VERY good and entertaining match and the crowd was really into it! Great action throughout as well as a great finish made this a worthy main event and good way to top off the night.
Match Rating: ***3/4

Overall: This was a VERY good show overall and I highly recommend it! Great stuff with another must see match from the kings of comedy, good work from the regulars, and topped off with a big heated main event.


Friday, April 09, 2004


Dreamstage Entertainment bars sales of ZERO-ONE and AJPW bootlegs!

This was a huge shocker to myself when I first read the report. Since Dreamstage Entertainment now has ties to All Japan (WRESTLE1) and Zero-One (as well as PRIDE), they will be taking legal action against bootleggers and tape dealers in the United States that sell unauthorised tapes of shows and events from the promotions. What that means now is that if any of us want to watch any Zero-One shows (and maybe AJPW later), then we have to wait for official releases. It's kinda like the video piracy deal that goes on here in Malaysia, except they actually know where to look for the bootleggers since they sell their wares online.
Already many of the sites I regularly get tapes from have pulled their complete Zero-One tape lists from their sites and some have removed their All Japan tapes as well. Curse the luck as I was planning some big Zero-One orders.


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