Puroresu Show Reviews
Reviews of puroresu shows in my collection
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Osaka Pro 4/25/2001
I've had this tape sitting around for awhile, and have only just recently watched it finish. This show is part of the Osaka Tag League 2001 to crown the first Osaka Pro Tag Team Champions, as well as Chikako Shiratori's retirement show from the Delfin Arena.
Shusaku Wada VS Takashi Tachibana
The standard rookie match to kick off the show. Nothing really outstanding as usual either, though I'm guessing they do get better once they get their gimmicks later down the road.
Match Rating: *
Takehiro Murahama VS Kengo Takai
Murahama being the ace that he is really made Takai look good here as they traded equal offense. A really good rookie vs ace match. From here, Takai would go on to be the dog outift wearing PERRO. I could just imagine how that was like:
Delfin:"Takai, were finally gonna give you a push and a gimmick!"
Delfin:"Good! Here's your dog suit!"
Super Delfin, Kuishinbo Kamen & Chikako Shiratori VS Ebessan, Miracle Man & Policewoman
Shiratori's retirement match. She really didn't have much of a successfull career outside of Osaka Pro and her run as CMLL Japan Women's Champion. The usual fun goodness from Ebessan & Kamen here, though some of the spots seemed rush as if they've been doing it way too many times. Miracle Man & Delfin bring in the speedy wrestling and Shiratori & Policewoman also hit their signature spots. This was good, but the Korakuen Hall 6-person tag they'd have two months later would better both in work rate and comedy entertainment.
Match Rating: ***
Entertainment Rating: Fun
Shiratori's retirement ceremony follows as she gives her thank you speech, then her list of accomplishments are read out before the whole locker room (minus the heels) comes out to pay their respects and present flowers to her. They all then toss her up in the air several times, and she almost hits the ceiling since the Delfin arena is so small!
Osaka Pro Tag League
Kaiju Zeta Mandora & Kaiju King Mandora VS Azteca & Guerrero Diablo
This was fun as you had the brawling style of the Mandoras against the Lucha style of the KAGEKI team. The crowd was even into it, cheering on the outside team when the two fifty foot monster used some dirty tactics like choking them with a chain and such. The ending was kinda fun too as Zeta Mandora (The future Big Boss MA-G-MA), got in the face of a kid at ringside who was wearing a similar mask! He did the Kaiju pose, but the kid was more confused than scared though.
Match Rating: **1/2
Osaka Pro Tag League
Black Buffalo & Tsubasa VS Daioh Qualtt & Gamma
Two of the top seeded teams in the League, who have also developed a rivalry because of it even though both teams are heels! This was a great hard-hitting back and forth contest, with some great tandem moves thrown in and high flying stuff from Tsubasa. This was a good way to end the show, since it also had alot of good crowd heat going for it.
Match Rating: ***1/2
A pretty good show, but nothing really spectacular. You might want to get it for Shiratori's retirement, but match wise, your better off picking the 6/13/2001 Korakuen Hall show.
Labels: Osaka Pro
Thursday, November 25, 2004
All Japan Excite Series 2000
This tape chronicles some of the last big All Japan events before the big NOAH split, and this was also the SECOND puroresu tape I ever watched!
Steve Williams & Vader VS Takao Omori & Yoshihiro Takayama (2/12/2000)
NO FEAR are coming off a big feud with BURNING, and were basically the sacrificial lambs here to make the gaijin team look more of a threat than they already are. NO FEAR were almost totally squashed as they had very little offense in this OK match.
Match Rating: **
Steve Williams VS Kenta Kobashi (2/17/2000)
This was one of the better singles matches these two would have in modern times, but wasn't as good as the stuff they pulled out back in '93/94. They teased the Backdrop Driver several times with Kobashi managing to escape, and Williams busted out a cool release dragon suplex at one point. Good match.
Match Rating: ***
Vader VS Toshiaki Kawada (2/17/2000)
This was a great stiff affair! Kawada unloaded a barrage of kicks and Vader Hammers relentlessly on Vader, who took a heck of a beating thoughout the match. Vader muscled his way back with Vader Hammers of his own and hit a big release powerbomb. Vader may have been 400lbs, but that girth didn't stop Kawada from twisting him like a pretzel in the Stretch Plum! The only thing I didn't like about this match was the one strike ending when Kawada was making a comeback, but I guess it was to continue Vader's push as a dominant foreign monster to build up his Triple Crown title defense against Kobashi later in the tour. But this was definately a great match if you want to see what stiff striking really is!
Match Rating: ***3/4
All Japan Unified Tag Team Titles (2/20/2000)
Steve Williams & Vader VS Jun Akiyama & Kenta Kobashi
The BURNING squad were the underdogs here as they were overpowered most of the time by the big gaijin challengers. Fun spot of the match was watching Akiyama actually tossing Vader with an Exploder! I also liked the ending as Williams & Vader totaly pummeled and squashed Kobashi with multiple elbow drops and body presses to put away Vader's challenger for the Triple Crown and to win the tag titles. The ending was very logical too, pin the guy after a brutal beat down!
Match Rating: ***1/2
Jun Akiyama VS Mitsuharu Misawa (2/27/2000)
The passing of the torch and Akiyama's big break out match! Akiyama surprisingly led most of the match against his mentor and former tag partner. Misawa took alot of neck-breaking punishment here. Other than a ton of Exploders and some of the best wrestling sequences I've ever seen, Akiyama also busted out a sick looking cradle tombstone piledriver and an insane apron-to-floor Exploder! Cap that off with avalanche-style brainbuster and the rare (back then) wrist-clutch Exploder, and Akiyama scores the biggest singles win of his AJPW career!
Akiyama was obviously destined for a run with the Triple Crown until the NOAH split happened. But it may have been for the better. And the only reason I didn't give this match a perfect 5-star rating is because the match was very one-sided, with Misawa not getting in any of his big moves (Tiger Driver '91 & Emerald Frosion) for Akiyama to kick out of to make the win more hard-earned.
Match Rating: ****3/4
All Japan Triple Crown Championship (2/27/2000)
Kenta Kobashi VS Vader
Kobashi is working with taped ribs, which of course becomes the focus of Vader's attack. This match wasn't as great as their 2000 Champion Carnival Final match, but it's still pretty good. Since Vader was willing to bump for Kobashi, it made the match more enjoyable, as Kobashi even hit a sweet vertical suplex on Vader even! And Vader of course hit all his spots, including a pair of nasty chokeslams. The finished they did was reminiscent of the of the Champion Carnival, but Kobashi came out on top this time as both men charged at each other and Kobashi connected with the Lariat for the win.
Match Rating: ****
The aftermath of this tape is that Kobashi would go on to make two more title defenses, first a 60-minute draw against Kawada, and one final defence of the Triple Crown against Takayama before vacating the title and splitting off with Misawa to form NOAH.
This is a MUST HAVE tape for your collection, and a good tape to introduce you to puroresu like it did for me. The Akiyama/Misawa match alone is the reason to get this tape. I HIGHLY recommend it.
Monday, November 08, 2004
All Japan Battle Banquet 7/18/2004
All Japan's big Sumo Hall show featuring several big outsider names, including the return of Mitsuharu Misawa to All Japan! This review is based on the televised version of the show, not the live PPV, so only the key matches were shown in full with everything else clipped.
All Japan Jr. Title
Katsushi Takemura (NJPW) VS Kazu Hayashi
Jado, Gedo & Jushin Thunder Liger accompany Takemura to the ring, along with MAZADA. This was pretty good, save for the outside interference by the CTU members. They eventually get ejected from ringside, but MAZADA sticks around to try to whack Hayashi with a snowboard (take that Dragon Gate's blue/red box!). Overall, this was just a good match, though nothing really spectacular.
Match Rating: ***1/4
Osamu Nishimura (NJPW) VS Keiji Mutoh
This was a great old-school mat based match, as only Nishimura could do! You pretty much know what to expect if you've ever seen Nishimura in action, but Mutoh is himself a student of Muga, so he knows how to work with Nishimura here. This match features one of the coolest spots ever as Mutoh floats over Nishimura's backslide attempt and connects immediately with a Shining Wizard! It also includes the biggest excuse of a rest-hold ever when Mutoh locks Nishimura in a figure-four, and both men start meditating to the point that the referee has to break the hold since both men were basically on another mental plane!
Match Rating: ***1/2
Next up, highlights from the preliminary matches are shown. I would have loved to have watched Taichi Ishikari VS Ryuji Hijikata in full. Even the big six-man tag with Road Warrior Animal was chopped down to just the ending. I would liked to have seen how Animal matched up with Jamal here.
Nobutaka Araya & Arashi VS Masanobu Fuchi & Genichiro Tenryu
I tell ya right now, if their is one thing I'm bored with in puroresu, it's Tenryu not selling for guys half his age! Seriously, you could almost see Araya having to hold back his lariats just so Tenryu wouldn't get knocked down! Also didn't like that this match barely went 7 minutes. Definately could have been better if they Tenryu's ex-WAR buddies get a bit more offense in.
Match Rating: **
Mitsuharu Misawa (NOAH) VS Satoshi Kojima
This was definately the big money match of the show, and the best match of the night! All the praise this match got was rightfully deserved! They worked the classic Oudou match style, starting out slow with the ground holds and slowly built to the big spots, including one insanely crazy bump that has only been done one other time if I'm not mistaken, but won't spoil here. Misawa definately made Kojima shine in this one, proving he still has the big match magic in him when required. Kojima himself was no slouch either and definately earned his spot here.
Match Rating: ****1/2
All Japan Triple Crown Championship
Takao Omori VS Toshiaki Kawada
Omori has been with All Japan for a number of years before the NOAH split, but never received a Triple Crown Title match. The Closest he came I believe was the 1999 Champion Carnival Finals where he lost to Kobashi. A victory there would have earned him a title shot.
Anyways, I'll admit I didn't expect much going in, since Omori is a great wrestler, but he is limited in the moves he does. Luckilly the match was paced so he wouldn't run his arsenal dry too quickly. Alot of fun spots here, including teasing an apron to floor backdrop and a Guillotine Axe Driver to the floor!
Kawada of course was his brilliant self to watch here, though I would agree that him selling the bad leg is gettng redundant. Heck, Omori didn't even work his leg here, more like Kawada blew it out while throwing kicks! But this was still a great match to cap off the night at the Sumo Hall.
Match Rating: ***3/4
All Japan have slowly been turning the page this year, and this is another fine example of the right direction the company needs to be going in. I definately recommend this show, whether you can find this version, or the full unclipped version.