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Puroresu Show Reviews

Reviews of puroresu shows in my collection

Sunday, May 23, 2004


New Japan ULTIMATE CRUSH 5/2/2003

This was the first full NJPW show I’ve watched and recently had the chance to watch it from beginning to end again. Watching it fully a 2nd time though, I remember why I only watched it complete ONCE.

IWGP Heavyweight Title No.1 Contenders Match
Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Hiroyoshi Tenzan

- This really wasn’t anything special, you could probably say it was a TV quality match. The rise of Hiroshi Tanahashi may have started around here, but this wasn’t his night as he jumped right into a TTD.
Match Rating: **

Takashi Iizuka VS Ken Shamrock
- This was seriously boring. I can stand watching Nishimura’s mat work, but not Iizuka’s, and I know Shamrock is capable of better than this.
Match Rating: *1/2

IWGP Jr. Tag Team Title Match
HEAT & Tiger Mask VS Jushin Thunder Liger & Koji Kanemoto

- This was a standard NJPW Jr tag match. And am I the only one who notices Liger has to brainbuster someone on the ramp on EVERY Dome show? It’s no secret NJPW Jr. matches are boring to me, but I seriously consider this to be just an average match, though one of the better ones on the show.
Match Rating: **1/2

I won’t rate the MMA matches since there really isn’t any chemistry involved in a shoot.

- LYOTO may be undefeated in MMA, but I don’t think he’s ever actually FINISHED a fight, always winning by decision. This fight was still boring either way.

Vale Tudo: Dolgorsuren Sumiyabazar VS Tsuyoshi Kosaka
- Blue Wolf’s brother was impressive in his promo video, but never got to show any skill as he jams his elbow on a take down and the match is halted.

Vale Tudo: Shinsuke Nakamura VS Jan ‘The Giant’ Nortje
- The future supernova topples the helpless Giant. Nothing much here either.

Vale Tudo: Josh Barnett VS Jimmy Ambriz
- The only MMA match on the card that had any actual crowd heat as the two big Americans slug it out. Ambriz may have been dominant in King of the Cage, but he didn’t have the stamina to even last one round here with Barnett.

Vale Tudo: Manabu Nakanishi VS Kazuyuki Fujita
- If Nakanishi wanted to be an MMA fighter, he seriously needs to learn how to throw a PUNCH! Fujita really didn’t have much trouble in this one.

Kazunari Murakami VS Enson Inoue
- This was another slugfest. I think the Crazy Dogs VS Makai Club feud produced some of the worst wrestling matches. These were two natural shooters, but all the blood and flying leather still couldn’t save this from being dull.
Match Rating: **

NOAH GHC Heavyweight Title Match
Masahiro Chono VS Kenta Kobashi

- The ONLY reason I wanted to watch this event, and my buddy TenzanTeam2K was fortunate enough to actually watch this one LIVE at the Tokyo Dome! This was seriously the best match of the night with Chono fighting an uphill battle due to his knee injury. I could only imagine what they could have done if Chono was 100%! Everything you want in a good match is here: good story telling, good chemistry and WICKED big spots, like Chono’s trifecta of dangerous backdrops and Kobashi’s almost endless barrage of half-nelson suplexes. This is a MUST SEE match and the best bout of the show!
Match Rating: ****

IWGP & NWF Double Title Match
Yoshihiro Takayama VS Yuji Nagata

- I was a bit disappointed by this one, as it was the only other match on the card I really wanted to see. Despite throwing some heavy strikes, this match never felt like it reached it’s climax when Takayama suddenly gets the win on a man who successfully made TEN IWGP title defenses after just ONE Everest German. I would have booked Nagata to kick out of the Everest, but get put away by a second. It would have brought the crowd alive before the actual finish. This was just an OK match.
Match Rating: ***

Overall: Like me, You’ll only want this show to watch the GHC title match and the main event as everything else was just plain stuff they could have done on any regular TV taping or house show.


Sunday, May 09, 2004



I'd like to know what you guys think of my review formats. Would you prefer the detailed reviews like below, or the shorter, spoiler free versions I regularly use? Either use the comments link or email me to let me know your preferences.


All Japan October Giant Series 1994

The second half of my All Japan Best Bouts Fall 1994 tape featuring a big tag match and Dr. Death Steve Williams’ second Triple Crown Title defense. That’s right, this commercial release features only TWO matches! But watch them yourselves and I’m sure you’ll agree that both are AWESOME contests!

Kenta Kobashi & Akira Taue VS Mitsuharu Misawa & Stan Hansen
This was a special ‘dream’ tag match, and would turn out to be a really awesome contest. All four guys worked really hard here, and this was when Misawa and Kobashi were in their prime. But the older Hansen and Taue also showed their worth here. A lot of credit has to be given to Hansen for the awesome work he did in this match, the old Texan did some wild stuff including a springboard elbow drop off the bottom rope (!?!) and a suicide dive through the ropes out of the ring! Heck, Taue even did the same! Another cool sight was Misawa and Hansen hitting a stereo tiger driver and powerbomb. Hansen even instrumented a cool double elbow drop with Misawa. Kobashi and Taue wouldn’t be outdone, as they hit the tandem backdrop-chokeslam combo usually done by Kawada and Taue! At one point the announcer went nuts when Kobashi almost scored the pinfall with a picture perfect moonsault on Misawa. But this was Hansen’s night as he showed how powerful the Western Lariat can be when he blasted big Taue off his feet with it for the win at 28:22! Great tag match and one of the few Hansen would have in his later years.
Match Rating: ****

All Japan Triple Crown Title Match
Steve Williams VS Toshiaki Kawada

Up to this point in his career, Williams had won the ’94 Champion Carnival beating Kawada in the finals, ended Misawa’s two year Triple Crown title reign with his ever dangerous Backdrop Driver, and successfully defended the title against Kobashi in an incredible contest just a month earlier. This match would be Kawada’s 7th Triple Crown challenge and a rematch of the Champion Carnival finals with Kawada looking to avenge his loss and win his first Triple Crown.

The match starts with a long feeling out sequence and a lot of mat work for the first five minutes or so. Kawada then takes the advantage as he mercilessly attacks Williams’ knee. Williams escapes to the outside to catch his breath. Back in, Williams makes a comeback, teasing a backdrop before himself going to work on Kawada’s knee! Williams switches his attack to a surfboard, and Kawada reverses it before Williams reverses it again then drops Kawada with a release tiger suplex! Kawada immediately gets to his feet before stumbling out of the ring! Another example of his masterful selling!
Back in the ring, Williams goes to work on Kawada, wearing him down with rest holds and some blatant choking. They start slugging it out and Williams gorilla presses Kawada and launches almost halfway across the ring landing throat first on the top rope! Williams whips Kawada into the corner and follows in with a lariat twice before Kawada drops like a rock! More classic selling from the master!
Williams gets some major heel heat as he stands on Kawada in corner, choking him out. Dr. Death follows with a splash in the corner and drops Kawada on his head with a brainbuster! Williams make the first cover of the match for a two count.
Kawada escapes a head-scissors submission and a second attempt at a backdrop, and nails Williams with a spinning back kick out of an irish whip! Kawada starts laying into Williams with some stiff shots, but Williams no sells and decks Kawada off his feet with a big right hand! Back to his feet, Kawada hits two big face kicks, gets shoved off attempting a third, but nails a fourth!
Williams fights off an Irish whip and gives Kawada a face kick followed by a big shoulder tackle. Dr. Death dropkicks Dangerous K into the corner and follows in with another dropkick! Williams barely lands the Oklahoma Stampede as he knee gives out. Both men struggle to their feet and Kawada lands a big right hand and dropkicks Williams out of the ring. Kawada gets shouldered in the gut trying to drag Williams back in, and Dr. Death goes up top but almost loses his balance due to his bad knee. He dives in with a shoulder tackle, but Kawada barely dodges and nails a kick to the mid section as Williams crashes and burns.
Both struggle to their feet and Kawada nails a big running face kick followed by a hard hitting lariat, but only gets a ONE count! Williams starts bleeding below the eye from the big kick! Kawada tries for a powerbomb, but Williams breaks out of it and the two start trading slaps and jabs, Williams winning the exchange till Kawada takes out his knee with a big leg sweep! Kawada then FOLDS Williams with a big backdrop of his own!
Cover only gets a two count, so Dangerous K locks on the Stretch Plum! Kawada gets two for a pin attempt, so he locks on the Stretch Plum again! Another pin attempts gets another two count and Williams escapes out of the ring to catch his breath.
Back into the ring and Kawada slams Williams and follows with a knee drop off the second turnbuckle. Kawada tries for backdrop, but Williams escapes only to get caught in a sleeper hold, which Kawada turns into an illegal choke and is forced to break the hold by the referee. Kawada tries for the powerbomb again, but Williams picks him off the ground and plants him with a high angle spinebuster at the thirty minute mark!
Both struggle to their feet and escapes a tiger suplex attempt and a backdrop attempt, but Williams nails a second big release tiger suplex and Kawada lands in a heap! The crowd goes nuts as Williams immediately picks up and slams Kawada down with the Doctor Bomb but only gets a two count! They get to their feet and Kawada struggles to escape but gets dropped on his head by the BACKDROP DRIVER!!! Kawada quickly escapes getting pinned by exiting the ring! Williams follows and picks Kawada’s limp body off the ground, rolls him into the ring and covers for a near fall! Williams can’t believe it as Kawada rolls out of the ring again!
Williams goes out and tries to backdrop Kawada on the floor! But Dangerous K manages to kick off the corner post and send both their heads crashing back into the guardrail! And it’s not the padded type of guardrail WWE uses! Back in the ring, Williams slams Kawada down hard for another two count. Kawada comes back with some strike and takes down Dr. Death with a rolling heel kick right in the head!
Kawada fights for another powerbomb and manages to get Williams’ near 300lbs frame up and down into a pin for a near fall! Kawada tries for ANOTHER powerbomb, but Williams flips him over only for Kawada to immediately connect with a face kick! Kawada runs in for a lariat, but Williams takes him down with a judo hip throw! Williams comes back with some big punches and tries for the backdrop, but Kawada holds on to the ropes. Williams tries to pull him off but Kawada stuns him with a big back fist followed by a low kick, taking his knee out!
Williams gets to his feet. Enzuigiri by Kawada! Williams gets up and blocks a second enzuguiri! He then blocks a rolling heel kick but immediately get plastered by a GAMENGIRI (jumping face kick)! Williams staggers off the ropes, ENZU-LARIAT!!! Williams rebounds off the ropes from impact and right into ANOTHER GAMENGIRI!!! COVER! ONE! TWO! THREE!!! SHIMATA!! SHIN CHAMPION!!
The announcer and the crowd go APESHIT as Kawada has won his first Triple Crown at 37:58!!! Kawada’s cornermen (Takao Omori, Masa Fuchi and Masao Inoue) lift him high on their shoulders for all to see with a deafening ‘Kawada’ chant going! Kawada then does the post match interview and the tape ends with an awesome highlight reel of the match played to Kawada’s Holy War theme!
Match Rating: ****1/4

Overall: I’ll admit the Triple Crown match wasn’t as good as the Kobashi/Williams match due to all the mat work that started it off and that lasted for about the first ten minutes of the match. The big spots also weren’t as many, but both men did a masterful job of selling and taking each others offense. Add that to an awesome all-star tag match and this is a must see tape even though it only has TWO matches on it!!!


Wednesday, May 05, 2004



The first Zero-One show I’ve ever watched and a really good show at that. The show kicks off with the COOLEST theme song/video of any of the puroresu promotions before the formal run-down of the card.

Cage Death Match: Nathan Jones VS The Predator
One of the main reasons for me to get this show was to watch Zero-One’s Steel Giant take on the one of the gaijin aces of the promotion. Also to see Nathan Jones wrestle since he never did while he was in WWE. These are two big men going at it in a steel cage, and was a good power match as they traded big moves like chokeslams, iron claws and choking each other with Predator’s chain! Both men even had no difficulty going up top to hit some big diving moves. I only didn’t like the ending as Predator’s big knee drop finisher looked really weak. Post match, Jones gave a farewell speech where he said his good-byes and claimed he would come back to Zero-One after beating Brock Lesner for the WWE title to finish his business with Predator and Hashimoto. Too bad it never happened.
Match Rating: ***

Cage Death Match: Kintaro Kanemura & Tetsuhiro Kuroda with Kodo Fuyuki VS Josh Dempsey & Sean McCully
Two Hardcore wrestlers VS a boxer and a shoot fighter! This was short but FUN as the WEW team tore into the gaijins from the start and took out the ref! Fuyuki even did his Screaming Lariat which got the crowd going and Kanemura did an insane dive off the cage! Unfortunately, the gaijins made their comeback as big Josh Dempsey KO’d Kuroda with a series of strikes for the win.
Match Rating: **

Fugofugo Yumeji, Yoshihito Sasaki & Kuroge Wagyuta VS Don Arakawa, Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Masanobu Fuchi
Mostly a comedy match with some fun spots. Fuchi was over big time with the crowd even though he was an outsider, and he didn’t hesitate to drop his opponents on their head with his backdrop. This match was OK, though I felt it really went longer than it should have.
Match Rating: **1/2

Low Ki & Frankie VS Masato Tanaka & Tatsuhito Takaiwa
This was probably the best match of the night! Low Ki was at his best here and was out to prove he could hang with the heavyweights in Tanaka. Lots of great spots in this one including Low Ki single-handedly taking on both opponents, Frankie’s always impressive Flux Capacitor, and Takaiwa and Tanaka’s awesome offense. This match is definitely a MUST SEE
Match Rating: ****

Kohei Sato & Hirotaka Yokoi VS Dos Caras Jr & Jimmy Snuka Jr
From one really good match, to one really bland one. I don’t know if Caras & Snuka are really related to the originals, but Caras does have a background in MMA. Sato and Yokoi played heel as at one point the even un-masked Caras Jr! It still wasn’t their night though, as the young Zero-One team lost when Caras hit a beautiful Gorilla Press into a German Suplex hold on Sato for the win.
Match Rating: **

Kazuhiko Ogasawara VS Kendo KaShin
Keiji Mutoh makes his way out to do guest commentary for the rest of the night before the match started. Another rivalry started by KaShin’s disrespectful ways. The match is mostly Ogasawara striking and KaShin trying for submissions, and finally getting his flying cross-armbreaker for the referee stop victory.
Match Rating: *

King Joe & King Adamo VS Steve Corino & Jeff Jarrett
Jun Kasai was in the NWA team’s corner as the Philadelphia Monkey! This was an OK match, and was interesting to see Jarrett actually do some comedy spots! Nothing really special though, save maybe Jarrett bringing back the old guitar and adding to his list of greatest hits.
Match Rating: **

World 1 Junior Tournament Finals
Naohiro Hoshikawa VS Wataru Sakata

The veteran (Hoshikawa) VS the rising star (Sakata). This was a good match as both are stiff strikers and submission experts. Add that Hoshikawa has a bad knee and Sakata a bad shoulder, and you can pretty much tell how things went with both men targeting each other’s weak spot. This is actually reminiscent of an NJPW Jr match, but it interest me more than most NJPW Jr matches.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Satoshi Kojima VS Shinjiro Otani

The second best match on the show next to the tag match earlier on. An awesome contest from two of the future aces of All Japan and Zero-One. Both men hit their spots and Ohtani would borrow Tanaka’s Diamond Dust to try and put Kojima away. But it would be Kojima’s pad-less Lariat that would take Ohtani’s head off for the win. Another MUST SEE match!
Match Rating: ****

NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship Match
Tom Howard & Matt Ghaffari VS Naoya Ogawa & Shinya Hashimoto

This was not a pretty match, and not just because of the sight of Ghaffari’s HUGE stomach. It started off good, but then ended up with a sports entertainment type finish as the referee got bumped and the gaijin side double teamed OH-GUN team ending with the Ghaffari Press, a weak looking big splash, to crown new tag champions.
Match Rating: ***

Overall: I would still recommend this show just for the two **** matches alone. There’s something here for everybody and was a good introduction to Zero-One for me, and I’m sure would be a good intro for other newbies.



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