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Puroresu Show Reviews

Reviews of puroresu shows in my collection

Sunday, July 18, 2004

 

All Japan Excite Series PPV 2/22/2004

The show opens with TAKA Michinoku and his RO&D faction coming out to rile up the crowd. TAKA pulled a very DX promo where he introduced each member of RO&D. The live crowd didn’t seem to ‘get it’ though.
 
Shigeo Okamura, Gran Hamada & Taichi Ishikari VS Ebedullah Butchan, Yasu Urano & Abdullah The Butcher
- This was a bit of a disappointment. Ebedullah was fine for what he did, but really wasn’t entertaining as Ebessan has been in the past. Abdullah surprisingly to me doesn’t look like a guy in his sixties, but then he starts MOVING and you can see his legs have trouble keeping up with the rest of him! Butcher is still as over with the Japanesse crowd as he's always been though. The match was just an ok opener.
Match Rating: *1/2 
 
Nobutaka Araya & Hideki Hosaka VS Nobukazu Hirai & Ryuji Hijikata
- This was a good look at the new blood of AJPW, and it still surprises me how much Hosaka has changed since his FMW days. There’s a lot of potential in Hirai & Hijikata for what I can see. The ending did seem rather sudden though.
Match Rating: **
 
TAKA Michinoku, The Gladiator & Bull Buchanan VS Arashi, Masayuki Kono & Hi69
- Another fun match. I like Kono. He’s a big guy (as big as Gladiator) and I see a lot of potential in him. This was also the first time I can recall seeing Gladiator do a running Awesome-bomb INTO the ring instead of OUT of the ring. Good stuff throughout.
Match Rating: **1/2
 
Hardcore Tag Match
NOSAWA & MASADA VS Tomoaki Honma & Kazushi Miyamoto

- This was a fun match where Honma returned to his garbage wrestling roots. For those of you who didn’t know, Honma was involved in some of the best death matches back in Big Japan Pro Wrestling. They did some innovative spots and one dangerous looking one when Honma took a killer bump off the entrance set and his back just grazed the table instead of him going through it. NOSAWA even looked really different here compared to his appearances in TNA. This was definately one of the best matches of the night.
Match Rating: ***1/2
 
They show highlight clips of Great Koji & Shiryu defending the All Asia tag titles against Honma & Miyamoto, and Kojima & Hayashi defending the tag team titles against Gladiator & Buchanan. This was a good way to fill in the intermission space on the live show. The All Asia title matched looked really good and the crowd there really wanted Honma & Miyamoto to win, even booing the champs at one point.
 
Masanobu Fuchi VS Genichiro Tenryu
- The battle of the grumpy old men. This was good, but I did not enjoy the way Tenryu wouldn’t sell for Fuchi at some points. Tenryu really needs to act his age and start selling a bit, even when he’s not in the main event picture. Fuchi is still one of my favs and the live crowd was way into him when he got his offense going.
Match Rating: **1/2
 
All Japan Junior Heavyweight Title (Vacant)
BLUE-K VS Kazu Hayashi

- BLUE-K grabs the mic and as soon as he speaks the whole crowd knows who he is! What follows is a pretty good contest to decide the new Junior champ after Kendo KaShin was stripped of the title. Good back and forth action with Hayashi going over his former Kaientai boss in the end.
Match Rating: ***
 
Taiyo Kea VS Satoshi Kojima
- This dragged a bit and the only way you can understand the finish is that you know Kea is using a loaded knee pad. He’s been doing it for a while now, but the finish of this match would leave you scratching your head if you didn’t know that bit of information. Kea is kinda like Triple H, in that being he hasn’t regained his form since being out on injury so long. It could also be said he was just lazy here. Kojima sold like the pro he is, but the pace of this match was just a bit too slow.
Match Rating: **1/2

D-Lo Brown & Jamal VS Bob Sapp & Keiji Mutoh
- This was surprisingly the best match of the show, and Jamal on record right now is the ONLY person I’ve seen make Sapp look human. And compared to Jamal, Sapp looked REALLY green here. Give D-Lo a lot of credit too for taking the Shinning Impact in the end which led to him getting a scary drop on his head. The end match brawl also set up one heck of a possible ten man tag which I don’t think they followed up, since Sapp also is currently MIA.
Match Rating: ***3/4
 
All Japan Triple Crown Title
Shinya Hashimoto VS Toshiaki Kawada

- This was the second best match of the show due to the incredible crowd heat it generated. Though the workrate probably leaves much to be desired, since about 85% of the match saw the two of them throwing stiff kicks and strikes at each other. The other 15 was mostly submission holds as they targeted each other’s weak spots. Give Hashimoto credit however, for pulling off probably the best avalanche-style brainbuster I’ve seen in a LONG time! I wasn’t that big on the towel being thrown in at the end though. This bar-none was Kawada’s BIGGEST title defense, and he was denied a decisive victory.
Match Rating: ***1/2
 
Overall: I was expecting this to just be a two match show, but everything was also surprisingly good and entertaining. Honma & Miyamoto are definitely a team to watch for, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they became future tag champions as they are very over with the fans. Jamal VS Sapp was also surprisingly fun as both big men would hardly sell for the other. And the main event could have been a lot better probably if Hashimoto was at 100%. Still, you can’t go wrong picking up this event.


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