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Puroresu Show Reviews

Reviews of puroresu shows in my collection

Tuesday, August 31, 2004


New Japan 2003 G-1 CLIMAX Vol.2

8.12.2003 Shizuoka:
Yutaka Yoshie VS Katsuyori Shibata (Block B)

Shibata was SO BORING here. All it seems he could was kicks and a STO. Looked like Yoshie had to carry Shibata in this one. I would have fast-forwarded through this if I wasn’t ripping the tape. Crowd was also mostly dead silent for this one and Yoshie was the man that made it interesting.
Match Rating: **

Masahiro Chono VS Hiroshi Tanahashi (Block A)
Another match I wish I could have forward passed. Even the live crowd was silent throughout most of it until the end. Compared to Nakamura, I still don’t see the hype in Tanahashi, and I wish I could have fast forwared past this.
Match Rating: **

Shinsuke Nakamura VS Yoshihiro Takayama (Block B)
This looked better than their Wrestling World 2004 Tokyo Dome bout. As I mentioned above, I can really see a difference in Nakamura’s work rate compared with Tanahashi. For some reason he actually does draw my attention to watch his matches. Nakamura was ousized and outpowered, but he managed to grond Takayama with his submission skills. Heck, he pushed Takayama to the point of the IWGP champion having to used desperation cradles to try to steal the win!
Match Rating: ***

Hiroyoshi Tenzan VS Osamu Nishimura (Block A)
Tenzan’s power VS Nishimura’s mat game. This was another fun Nishimura bout, though not as good as Nishimura’s first two days. I’ve really come to enjoy Nishimura’s work in this G-1, and this was another excellent showing of Muga that even frustrated Tenzan at some points of the match!
Match Rating: ***1/4

Yuji Nagata VS Tadao Yasuda (Block B)
Am I the only one who thinks Yasuda’s parents were a chimpanzee and an orang hutan? The guy seriously looks like the missing link or something. Heck, he wrestles like one too. Nagata did all he could to make this match look good but I still found it quite boring and again I wish I could have fast forwarded pass this. Maybe they took a look at this match and decided to have Nagata squash Yasuda in the IWGP tournament back in February this year instead of wasting air time?
Match Rating: **

Manabu Nakanishi VS Jun Akiyama (Block A)

Big clash of styles in this one. Akiyama may have been overpowered, but he outwitted Nakanishi. Great exchanges, though it got kinda dull when the pace slowed down. Still a good match to end the night.
Match Rating: ***

8.14.2003 Sendai:
Shinsuke Nakamura VS Tadao Yasuda (Block B)

Another underdog battle for Nakamura against a bigger opponent. Yasuda bullied Nakamura throughout the most of the match, and Nakamura also had to contend with the cheating tactics of the Makai. Still ok and the right guy went over in the end.
Match Rating: **

Manabu Nakanishi VS Osamu Nishimura (Block A)
Battle of two good friends who are VERY familiar with each other. Nakanishi was very aggressive here, not wanting to be locked down by Nishimura's ground game. This was also probably the shortest Nishimura match I've ever seen, clocking in at about twelve minutes compared to all the others so far that went over the twenty minute mark. Still fun though.
Match Rating: ***

Yutaka Yoshie VS Yoshihiro Takayama (Block B)
Now this was FUN and it woke up the crowd too! Two big men trading big shots and power moves! Yoshie really had the crowd behind him here as he took on the reigning IWGP/NWF champion who easily matched size with him. Fun bits included them trading slams over and over AND OVER, and generally trying to one-up each other in a “I can do this better than you” type contest.
Match Rating: ****

Yuji Nagata VS Katsuyori Shibata (Block B)
Punch, kick, submission was the formula for this match as it’s what both men excel at. But Nagata is definitely the better of the two at it! OK match, but hated the Makai interference and the crummy ending.
Match Rating: **

Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Jun Akiyama (Block A)
Thankfully this match lived up to my expectations after watching all the mostly sub-par Tanahashi matches up till now. Akiyama made Tanahashi look like a million bucks, and Tanahashi actually looked like he earned it!
Match Rating: ****

Masahiro Chono VS Hiroyoshi Tenzan (Block A)
The story of this match shows how even Chono & Tenzan are and the difficulties they had trying to put each other away. Personally, I thought it went on too long for my taste. There wasn’t even much crowd reaction to Tenzan debuting the now dreaded Anaconda Vice.
Match rating: ***

G-1 Climax Special Matches:
Josh Barnett VS El Samurai

Samurai is wearing 4 ounce gloves like he’s a big time shooter with heavy punches. He gets an early advantage on Barnett, but this doesn’t last long as Barnett quickly puts him away with his Capture Buster. And in case your wondering, I don’t get how it knocks people out either.
Match Rating: *

Manabu Nakanishi & Shinsuke Nakamura VS Enson Inoue & Michiyoshi Ohara

Oh the HORROR of fake shoot fights! They spent so much time on the mat I wished I could have fast forwarded passed it! Nakanishi failed on two attempts at shoot-fighting and still he tries to match fists with Enson Inoue, which almost gets him KO’d! Nakamura played second fiddle to Nakanishi and really didn’t do much of note. Ohara also kept up the wrestling end for his team at least when most of Enson’s offense are just puches and submissions.
Match Rating: **


Monday, August 23, 2004


TORYUMON Japan 6th Anniversary PPV 7/4/2004

WARNING! The following review contains SPOILERS!

Wouldn’t you know the first Toryumon event I watch would happen to be their LAST PPV, before they change their name to Dragon’s Gate that is. I know I got the tape of their February PPV, but I haven’t gotten around to watching it yet, save for the opening match. Anyway, the main story of this show, other than it’s the 5th year anniversary of Toryumon, is the UDG (Ultimo Dragon Gym) title match. SUWA was forced to surrender the title after a nasty shoulder injury (there’s a clip of it in here, makes you cringe and go ‘OUCH!’). CIMA came up with the bright idea that the four main factions in the company would each have a representative in the tournament to crown a new champion. And if you’ve never seen a Toryumon event before, the highlight videos of the promotions brief history will give you a few ideas what to add to your list of tapes to get!

Show starts off with the four participants in the UDG title tournament coming to the ring and given the chance to mouth off at each other before drawing their placing in the tournament. They did that in an innovative way, with four ropes under a canvas. They each take one corner of the rope and the two guys who are holding the ends of the same rope are paired up for their Semi-Final match! We then go to our first match.

Genki Horiguchi, Ryo Saito & Naoki Tanisaki VS Milano Collection AT, Anthony W. Mori & Super Shisa
This was a really fun opener, with a blend of face paced action and some comedy spots from surfer boys Genki Horiguchi and Naoki Tanisaki! Genki is also leader of the HAGE (bald) movement, based on his receding hairline! Milano Collection AT and Anthony W. Mori are part of the Italian Collection faction with YOSSINO. They use a supermodel gimmick, and Milno’s intro with the female models and his invisible dog is pretty cool. He’s also an excellent worker too and worked quite well despite healing a knee injury! Super Shisa is a high-flyer in a wolf’s mask and Ryo Saito is one of the up and comers of the company. I’m not really sure what’s considered a standard match in Toryumon, but this opener truly blew me away with all the innovative and fun spots they pulled off!
Match Rating: ****

UDG Tournament Semi-Finals – CIMA VS YOSSINO
YOSSINO gets a lot of flak from the internet. Sure he’s skinny enough to make NOAH’s Kentaro Shiga look buff, but he does have some good moves. Heck, WWE’s Gail Kim stole a few of his submissions! YOSSINO took his place in the UDG tournament beating his faction leader Milano Collection AT, who’s healing a knee injury. This was to be YOSSINO’s break out moment, but the main complaint about YOSSINO from what I can tell is that he’s got an ego, and didn’t even drop his NWA Welterweight title, rather, surrendering it to get his spot in the tournament.
I’ve only actually seen CIMA wrestle once on the Osaka Pro Super J Cup show where he scored a big pinfall for his team over Super Delfin. But this is Toryumon, and CIMA is THE MAN here. His popularity is arguably tied only with Magnum Tokyo, more on him later. They ran an angle here where Touro Owashi comes down to ringside and shakes hands with CIMA. Despite being part of Shuji Kondo’s heel Aagan Iisou faction.
On to the match, and what we get is YOSSINO doing all he can to beat CIMA, pulling out various innovative submissions and some very FAST paced action. CIMA did an awesome job of making YOSSINO look like a legitimate contender, and the closing spot of the match was really cool too.
Match Rating: ***1/2

UDG Tournament Semi-Finals – Shuji Kondo VS Dragon Kid

These two had met previously in the annual El Numero Uno tournament finals, where Dragon went over Kondo. Kondo is an ex-rugby player and is a big Goldberg fan. He does imitate Goldberg in some-ways, but is still a 100-times better worker than Goldberg. And looking at him in his Ultimate Warrior type get-up here and his ruthless attitude, you wouldn’t know he used to be a member of the Italian Connection! Dragon Kid on the other hand, is Japan’s answer to Rey Mysterio. He’s a simply PHENOMANAL spot wrestler.
The match itself sees Dragon try to outwit the stronger Kondo with his speed, but literally gets tossed around like a ragdoll by Kondo when he gets caught. Kondo showed a lot of innovative power-spots here that I’ve NEVER seen before. At one point he even loss control of his own momentum and dropped Kid on his head in a scary looking spot. Don’t know if he got careless there. But Kid did manage a comeback, battling off all kinds of interference from Kondo’s Argon Assou faction at ringside. Kid took a hell of a beating in this match, which was fun to watch considering.
Match Rating: ***3/4

Post match, Kondo’s heel faction continues the beat down, and Kondo unmasks Kid! The heels smugly walk-off, and suddenly Magnum Tokyo shows up. Magnum says something along the lines of how he respects Kid’s heart and fighting spirit. He then says he’ll “take care” of him. And helps him from the ring.

“Living in America” by James Brown plays and out come the Florida Brothers, Michael Iwase and Daniel Mishima! Looking at them, the first thing that pops in my head is The Fabulous Rougue Brothers circa their All American Boys gimmick! They even speak with an American slang in their tone! Their facing a mystery opponent in somekind of ‘revenge’ match, and it’s none other than KENSUKE SASAKI! The Brothers almost pass-out as Sasaki makes his way to the ring to a HUGE ovation. When Sasaki reaches the ring, they challenge him with the stipulation that if he loses, he has to JOIN the Florida Brothers! Sasaki accepts, but the Brothers protest he doesn’t have a tag partner. Sasaki says he didn’t come alone tonight either. He then says in English, “Come out, My Honey!” And enter his WIFE! Joshi legend AKIRA HOKUTO! The Brothers are even more shocked than before and I think Hokuto got a bigger pop than Sasaki since there were a lot of females in the audience! Hokuto also happens to be my favorite joshi wrestler next to Ayako Hamada by the way. Michael makes fun of Hokuto, calling her “Oba-san”, but Daniel is more aware of Hokuto’s legend as the “Dangerous Queen” and is about to walk out on his partner when suddenly the Lone Ranger theme hits and out comes resident comedy worker/alien Stalker Ichikawa! Stalker rushes the ring and challenges Hokuto to a match!
Akira Hokuto VS Stalker Ichikawa
Hokuto squashes Ichikawa in a short and funny bout, and needs to be carried out on a stretcher!
Florida Brothers VS Akira Hokuto & Kensuke Sasaki
The Brothers gets their guts back and what follows is one heck of a hilarious comedy match! I won’t spoil anymore from here, but this was definitely a fun match that poked fun at American pro-wrestling, with the blatant use of weapons. This whole section was one of the funniest things I’ve seen since the Ebessan / Kuishinbo Kamen match from the 2003 Osaka Hurricane show.
Match Rating: ***
Entertainment Rating: PRICELESS!!!

(UPDATE: This was Kensuke Sasaki's revenge match as he previously lost a match to the Bros back in February)

Katsuhiko Nakajima VS Ultimo Dragon
Another surprise match for the live fans. Dragon stretches young Nakajima with a series of submission locks. The wonderkid barely managed to retaliate with some big strikes and submissions of his own before Ultimo puts him away. Dragon then gives a long speech about his history and Toryumon as this is his last appearance for the company he created and leaves to big cheers from the crowd.
Match Rating: **1/2

Intermission time, and out come the Florida Brothers again! They bring an air-gun with them and shoot T-shirts into the crowd. They then go to clips of more classic Toryumon matches to fill in the intermission space.

Masaaki Mochizuki, Kenichiro Arai, Second Doi & Susumu Yokosuka VS Brother YASSHI, Touru Owashi, Takuya Sugawara & Shogo Takagi
Other than Mochizuki, I have NO IDEA who everyone else in this match is, but I took one look at Brother YASSHI and said to myself, “This is a guy that needs his ass-whooped!” Seriously, he’s one of those guys who hide behind the bigger guys and likes to take cheap shots. Hell, his look alone annoys me! The story behind this match is that Mochizuki (who looks freakingly like NOAH’s Makoto Hashi) got kicked out of Kondo’s heel faction, for acting to babyface like.
Mochizuki was the original heel of Toryumon when he formed M2K when Toryumon was just getting started. He’s a heavy striker. Kenichiro Arai or AraKen is the hardheaded veteran, Second Doi uses a baseball player gimmick since he used to be an actual baseball player, and Sususmu Yokosuka uses somekind of cyclist gimmick. He used to be Susumu Mochizuki, but had to change his name after losing a match to Masaaki with the stipulation being that only one of them could use the Mochizuki name. I don’t think their related though.
The Aagan Iisou team is comprised of the loudmouth and annoying Brother YASSHI, the well rounded Takuya Sugawara, Shogo ‘Jet’ Takagi, a striker who’s only offense is his Jet Punches and a shoulder block, and the monstrous Touru Owashi, son of a sumo wrestler with incredible size and power.
The match was totally awesome as the mostly underdog face team had to outdo the constantly cheating heel faction, and the monstrous power of Touru Owashi was a huge hurdle to overcome. Lots of faced paced action and innovative offense like most of the other matches so far. Overall, this was just a really great grudge match, and I don’t think it ended here.
Match Rating: ****1/2

Post match, K-Ness (Formerly Darkness Dragon) makes his way to the ring carrying several jackets with him. K-Ness convinces Mochizuki to have one last run and reform M2K, the original heel faction of Toryumon, but this time as a face faction with the five of them. Final M2K is born!

They play a video of Magnum Tokyo visiting Jinsei Shinzaki in the countryside to undergo “spiritual training” to rebuild himself.

Magnum Tokyo & Jinsei Shinzaki VS Don Fuji & TARU
Hands up who remembers Magnum Tokyo from his short run in WCW? I don’t actually remember seeing him wrestle there, but his skits with Alex Wright and Disco Inferno was funny. Here in Toryumon however, he’s the company’s meal ticket, along with CIMA. And hands down, Magnum’s got THE BEST intro I’ve EVER seen in puroresu. Don Fuji & TARU are the heavyweights of CIMA’s C-MAX faction. And I probably don’t need to say anything about Shinzaki.
The match itself is a step down from the prior bout, but everyone involved got to show their stuff to make the match watchable. The C-MAX team even showed some fun double team moves. I really want to see some of Magnum’s big matches to see what he can really do in the ring, and he looks freakingly like WWE’s Batista, but minus the muscles!
Match Rating: ***

UDG Tournament Finals: CIMA VS Shuji Kondo
No doubt Kondo is all set to be the next big heel of Toryumon/Dragon’s Gate. They continued the angle with Touru Owashi supposedly being on CIMA’s side, as he constantly stopped his team-mates from interfering in the match. All the interference sounds like WWE level sports entertainment, but this is all done the RIGHT way, as the interference always seems to backfire, and the match in the end is won on the sure skill of the wrestlers alone. And these two put on a very good heavyweight style match to boot that they build up very well.
Match Rating: ****

After the match, CIMA calls out the entire locker room, and everyone comes down except Kondo’s Aagan Iisou heel faction. This was a really great moment as CIMA gives props to the entire roster as everyone had something to do with Toryumon lasting its five years in business. Even CIMA’s arch rival, Magnum Tokyo, acknowledge each other as they greatest rivals and they thank the fans for their support. Show ends with CIMA and Magnum actually going into the crowd to personally thank everyone in attendance!

Overall: This was simply an AWESOME show! I have never seen any other Toryumon show to compare this with, but I was really impressed here. Even though this was their last PPV under the Toryumon banner, this is a good place to start if you’ve never seen a Toryumon show before, and you can move straight on to Dragon’s Gate. Another observation I made is that there was a lot of female fans in the audience since the wrestlers were mostly pretty boys, but man can they work!
I only have a few small complaints. That being the bad directing, where they sometimes they would suddenly cut from one camera to another and miss something that happens in the big tag matches. The camera angles also looked awkward at times, like they zoom in too close and miss something just out of screen.
Despite that, right now this stands as my pick for best show of the year! You can’t go wrong getting this show!


Thursday, August 12, 2004


NJPW G-1 Climax 2003 - Day 2

Shinsuke Nakamura VS Yutaka Yoshie
This was a really fun, entertaining skill VS power match. Yoshie used his bulk well and even powered out of a few of Nakamura’s submissions. I think Nakamura even impressed himself when he manage to body-slam the bigger Yoshie. And it was cool watching Nakamura sell Yoshie’s back hand blow like someone blew his head off with a Magnum near the end! Good way to kick off day two of the G-1!
Match Rating: ***1/2

Katsuyori Shibata VS Tadao Yasuda

Yasuda beats Takayama convincingly the previous day and just lays down here for Shibata who reluctantly takes the win.

Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Hiroyoshi Tenzan

I’m really trying to be impartial in my reviews, and it’s no secret I’m not big on Tanahashi. But much like the previous day’s match with Nakanishi, this looked kinda sluggish. I’m not sure why, maybe cause Tenzan was still beat up from his match against Akiyama the previous day? Even the end sequence when Tanahashi emulated Yoshinari Ogawa with a plethora of quick cradles, it just didn’t seem to go as smooth due to Tenzan’s bulk. OK match overall.
Rating: ***

Jun Akiyama VS Osamu Nishimura
This was just pure GOLD! Akiyama really underestimated Nishimura here, and Mr. Muga even showed some real fire as he traded some big elbow shots with the NOAH ace at one point. It was fun watching Nishimura do more than his standard fare of Muga grappling. I was really expecting a replay of Akiyama/Hase from the 1998 All Japan Tokyo Dome show, but was really surprised by how this one turned out! Great match!
Match Rating: ****

Manabu Nakanishi VS Masahiro Chono

Started off as a good back and forth brawl before they settled down with the mat work. Kinda funny when they both collided in mid-air with jumping knees not once, but twice! One cool spot looked like Chono dodged Nakanishi’s spear, but Nakanishi actually clipped Chono’s knee which made for a wicked mid-air flip for Mr. G-1. Rest of the match from there is Nakanishi attacking Chono’s bad leg. OK match overall.
Match Rating: ***

Yoshihiro Takayama VS Yuji Nagata
This was very reminiscent of their Ultimate Crush IWGP title match, which is good or bad depending how you look at it. Started off with a good exchange of strikes, but when Nagata started the wear down process with his submissions, it just kinda lost my interest till Takayama picked up the pace again. To summarize, it started off good, got slow in the middle, but finished rather nicely.
Match Rating: ***

Josh Barnett & Koji Kanemoto VS Minoru Suzuki & Masayuki Naruse

Special attraction tag match from 8/15/2003. Kanamoto was acting all tough against Suzuki, acting like “you’re a big shooter, but I can take you!” but man, Suzuki sure schooled him in submissions! Naruse seemed to fare better against Barnett than Kanemoto did against Suzuki! This was an OK match, but watching Kanemoto & Naruse going for shoots at each other instead of wrestling makes me even more convinced that NOAH has the best junior heavyweights in the world.
Match Rating: **

Overall: Vol.1 of the 2003 G-1 was really good overall. Check back for reviews of Day’s 3 & 4 from Vol.2, Coming Soon!


Wednesday, August 11, 2004


NJPW G-1 Climax 2003 - Day 1

Since my 2003 G-1 collection covers the entire tour in a total running time of 12 HOURS, I've decided to post my reviews of the shows after I watch each day of the tour. Starting here with the opening day, which had a bit of everything. I'll save my final overall thoughts on the entire set when I get to the end.

Katsuyori Shibata VS Shinsuke Nakamura
Probably the best “wrestling” match I’ve seen from these two, despite the constant return to their trained shoot style. Shibata showed a lot of aggression while Nakamura remained his calm, observant self. One I thing I noticed about Nakamura is he likes to take a beating, but always looks for an opening to get his shots in.
Match Rating: **1/2

Yutaka Yoshie VS Yuji Nagata

This started off rather slow but ended up being really excellent. The really slow pace that started the match was really dull, but when they finally kicked it into gear, You get a really excellent match! Yoshie took some big moves from the NJPW ace, like the top rope Exploder and a barrage of enzuguiris, but kept getting back up for more! One part I didn’t enjoy was Nagata laid out on the floor from a big shot by Yoshie, the referee counts up to 18, and suddenly Nagata springs to life and gets back in the ring, only to again be a lifeless body on the mat! I hate to say it, but Yoshie made this match a lot more fun to watch than Nagata did, and the crowd was way behind Yoshie here.
Match Rating: ****

Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Manabu Nakanishi

This looked really sluggish to me. Tanahashi may have started his rise in the ranks, but both just didn’t seem to click that well with Nakanishi. The crowd was into to it, but I thought it was just an OK match with nothing really special, save for the ending when Murakami and Shibata beat down Nakanishi.
Match Rating: **

Osamu Nishimura VS Masahiro Chono

This was fun! I really enjoyed watching Nishimura here, and even Chono was very cautious about every move he made against Mr. Muga. No doubt, Nishimura can be really dangerous if you underestimate him, and he even pulled out some aggression of his own, hitting some big lariats on Chono and even attempted a suicide dive out of the ring! By the time this match was over, and it almost went the 30 minute time limit, Chono was obviously exhausted, but Nishimura was still working on all cylinders! Muga at it’s best!
Match Rating: ***1/2

Tadao Yasuda VS Yoshihiro Takayama

I don’t know what surprised me more, that this match went as long as it did, or that Yasuda actually won a decisive vidtory over the then IWGP/NWF champion! Give credit to Takayama for making this match watchable when he controlled the pace. But it got boring real quick with Yasuda in charge. I didn't like the interference from the Makai members outside either when they ganged up on Takayama. Ending was a bit of a shock like I mentioned above, but the match itself was the worse so far.
Match Rating: **

Jun Akiyama VS Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Tenzan fought with a lot of brute force in this one, but Akiyama played a smart game! The NOAH ace absorbed a lot of punishment as he played mostly defense against Tenzan’s power moves. Akiyama was in trouble a lot of times near the end of the match due to his cockiness, with the crowd heavily behind Tenzan. But Akiyama proved to be the better man in the end (on this day at least). And if this opening day match was this good, I can’t wait to watch the finals between these two!
Match Rating: ****


Friday, August 06, 2004


FMW Brain Buster 12/13/98 Direct TV PPV

I'm not really sure as to why, but FMW held huge single elimination tournament. There was also the dissention in the ranks of Team No Respect as Mr. Gannosuke left the big heel group and turned into a holy man, much like Jinsei Shinzaki, only in black! This show features the quarter and semi finals of the tournament, as well as participation from ECW stars Tommy Dreamer, Sabu, Rob Van Dam, ECW Tag Champions The Dudley Boyz and the ECW World Champion, Shane Douglas!

Over The Top Tournament: Mohammed Yone VS Tetsuhiro Kuroda
This was OK. Yone representing BATTLEARTS spends most of the match trying to lock down Kuroda with submissions and strikes, but the more experienced Kuroda got in his fair share of offense, including some submissions of his own. Slow paced match, but the ending sequence was pretty good.
Match Rating: **

Over The Top Tournament: Hido VS Masao Orihara
This match is a prime example of why it’s not always good to have a no-disqualification rule. There were so many low-blows in this match that it really sucked any credibility these guys have to be called “pro-wrestlers”! Plain and simple, this was just horrible.
Match Rating: *

Over The Top Tournament: Mr. Gannosuke VS Yukihiro Kanemura
As good a garbage-brawl as you would expect from these two. Kanemura has a score to settle with Gannosuke for quitting Team No Respect and taking up a Jinsei Shinzaki holy man-type gimmick, but in black instead of white! Gannosuke started rather tame, but when his temper picked up, so did the pace and the rate of in ring violence! The match was capped off by one seriously sick Fire-Thunder Driver!
Match Rating: **1/2

Over The Top Tournament: Hayabusa VS Hisakatsu Oya
Finally! After a rookie match, a boring brawl and a basic garbage match, we get the WRESTLING! Ohya always looked plain, but was definitely one of the best workers in FMW! And do I really need to say anything about Hayabusa? A great grappler VS high-flyer match!
Match Rating: ***1/4

Ricky Fuji, Super Leather & Flying Kid Ichihara VS Kodo Fuyuki, Koji Nakagawa & Gedo
Another waste of time match which sees Team No Respect just totally squash young Ichihara and Super Leather didn’t even get to tag in, which led to a post-match rampage by the big maniac gaijin with a chainsaw.
Match Rating: *

Some fun footage of the ECW contingent doing a meet the fans session. First up was Bill Alphonso, Sabu & Rob Van Dam. Fun bit where Sabu cleared his throat as if he was about to speak, but instead did his pointing to the sky hand motion! RVD was his classic ECW self. Next up was the ECW tag team champions, the Dudley Boyz who were also sharing a dressing room with ECW World champion, The Franshise, Shane Douglas with Francine! The Dudleys did their usual ECW promo, but I felt they disrespected the Franchise when they FAST FORWARDED his promo! They tried to make it funny by having a timer in the corner to let us know how long he was talking, which went about 10+ minutes. I would have preferred to hear his promo in full though.

ECW World Heavyweight Title Match (12/12/98)
Shane Douglas VS Gedo
Douglas was not in his prime at this point and was still healing a legit busted arm which he had for most of 1998, but he still seemingly had dumb down his offense to get Gedo over! Seriously, it looked like Douglas had to carry Gedo to make this match passable! If this was ECW, Gedo definitely would not have lasted even five minutes with the Franchise!
Match Rating: **1/2

Hayabusa & Tommy Dreamer VS Sabu & Rob Van Dam (12/12/98)
I was looking forward to this, but was disappointed by how little Hayabusa was used here. This was a fun match with a lot of big spots, but in the end, I seriously would have preferred more of Hayabusa in the match, other than doing some big dives.
Match Rating: ***

ECW World Heavyweight Title Match
Shane Douglas VS Tommy Dreamer
A match I had always wanted to see in ECW! It’s pretty obvious they way they were moving that neither man was at 100%, but they still did they best they could and delivered a very American-style match, which the Japanese audience seemed to be able to relate to, even though it was sports entertainment infested like Francine’s constant interference. Dreamer’s show of respect at the end didn’t make much sense to me though.
Match Rating: ***

ECW World Tag Team Titles Match
The Dudley Boyz VS Sabu & Rob Van Dam
Another match I highly anticipated! And it delivered! Sabu & RVD RULED here! This was a great match, though the ending was a bit surprising. The after match activities where Sabu went on a rampage with a nine-inch nail ala his uncle The Sheik also looked over-done and I could have gone without it. I think he even hit a fan with the nail on his way out!
Match Rating: ****

Over The Top Tournament: Mr. Gannosuke VS Hido
Another match that was more of a brawl due to Hido’s limited abilities. I still can’t believe he’s married to an awesome worker like Megumi Kudo, and can’t learn anything off of her! Gannosuke took a bit of a beat down, but again showed why he’s superior to Hido in the end.
Match Rating: *1/2

Over The Top Tournament: Hisakatsu Ohya VS Tetsuhiro Kuroda
If there’s one thing FMW was known for in its later years, it was how to put on an insanely entertaining main event! This was no exception! I haven’t seen a match on tape where I was cheering out loud in support of someone in a LONG time like I did here! Ohya dropped Kuroda on his head several time with some big homicidal backdrops, and Kuroda tried to hack off Ohya’s head with big time lariats! A great match to end a mostly good show!
Match Rating: ****

Overall: This PPV showcases some of the good and the bad of FMW’s World Entertainment Wrestling years. You get some good stuff as well as some stuff that sucks. The after match rampage of Super Leather and Sabu for instance, which really wasted time. But if your like me, you’ll most probably want to get this to watch the ECW participation, which was good. Also notable was the two matches involving Ohya! Good show overall.


Sunday, August 01, 2004


NOAH "Great Voyage" PPV 12/24/2000

NOAH’s big debut year end show, though in the future it would be their new year opening show, with cards that would rival that of New Japan’s annual Tokyo Dome shows around the same time of January. The show is highlighted by four big singles matches, the main event being the second ever NOAH singles encounter between Kenta Kobashi and his former best friend, Jun Akiyama. Akiyama won their first encounter six months earlier due to Kobashi’s nagging knee injuries, but Kobashi would be at 100% for this epic encounter! The semi-main event was an old All Japan rivalry resurfaced as Vader took on his arch nemesis, and NOAH boss, Mitsuharu Misawa. And the team of No Fear would each be in a big singles match, Takayama taking on senior veteran Akira Taue, and Omori would be having the biggest singles match of his career at that point against Zero-One ace Shinya Hashimoto! On to the show!

Takeshi Morishima, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Kentaro Shiga VS Takashi Sugiura, Takeshi Rikioh & Masao Inoue
Sugiura’s debut match, and he made quite an impact! The crowd was heavily behind Sugiura the second he tagged into the match, and from his first grapple you could just tell he’s destined for greatness! Watching Morishima and Rikioh go at it here, you would never guess that a year later they’d be one of the premiere tag teams of NOAH. Kanemaru was still evolving after being given the ball here in NOAH, and the early signs were all there of the greatness that awaits him! Really a great opener!
Match Rating: ***

WEW Tag Team Titles
Tetsuhiro Kuroda & Kodo Fuyuki VS Naomichi Marufuji & Tamon Honda
The crowd loved Kuroda, but hated Fuyuki! I still wonder how an odd pairing like Honda & Marufuji could be WEW tag champs, but the different styles of all four men made for an entertaining bout.
Match Rating: ***

Akitoshi Saito & Masaji Aoyagi VS Daisuke Ikeda & Yoshinari Ogawa
Saito is one pissed wrestler in this match as he’s looking to make a name for himself, and is stuck paired up with an old-timer. Luckily for him he would be teaming with one of the best in the promotion in the future. Aoyagi stuck to his martial arts style, meaning throwing strikes which look pretty weak. Ikeda was his intense self, and Ogawa is his usual trickster self. Good stuff.
Match Rating: **1/2

Yoshihiro Takayama VS Akira Taue
Takayama started off this match really cocky, but then Taue showed once again that there’s still some big fight left in the old dog! What follows is a match of stiff kicks and big bumps by two big powerful men. This was a really fun match, but the sudden ending really ruined the momentum it garnered.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Shinya Hashimoto VS Takao Omori
The crowd heat for this match was off the charts! But the problem with this match was Hashimoto. Yes, this was the infamous squash job that everyone buzzed about back int eh day, and you could even see from the look on his face during his entrance that Omori wasn’t a happy camper, being the sacrificial lamb. Omori sold Hashimoto’s stiff shots like a real pro, but Hashimoto sold next to NOTHING for Omori, and thus one of NOAH’s shinning stars is squashed for no purpose.
Match Rating: ***

Vader VS Mistuharu Misawa
A classic All Japan feud, and this was right on par with all their previous encounters! Vader dominated the match with his power, and surprisingly sold a busted arm that Misawa targeted with sloppy arm-locks all the way to end of the match! I don’t think I’ve seen such a convincing sell job in a long while, especially from someone like Vader! Great match!
Match Rating: ***1/4

Jun Akiyama VS Kenta Kobashi
This is the kind of match that makes me proud I turned into Japanese pro-wrestling! The classic formula of mat-work, submission tactics and big drop sequences combined with incredible psychology that these two were almost equals with a long past history made this a must see match for all puroresu fans! It really made me cringe watching all the sick head drops Akiyama took in this match. This was a killer contest from start to finish, and the only flaw I see that made me drop it a notch from a perfect 5-star rating was Kobashi’s lack of selling the bad arm late in the match, unlike Vader in the previous. But hey, that’s just my opinion! Watching how awesome this contest was makes me REALLY want to see their DEPARTURE Tokyo Dome match.
Match Rating: ****3/4

Overall: If you have NEVER seen a NOAH match before, this is definitely the best place to start! The four big singles matches, if not the main event alone, are reasons you MUST get this show! This is the reason why despite all the killer new shows that come out every month, I’m still happy to back-track and get a few classic shows every now and then.



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