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Puroresu Show Reviews

Reviews of puroresu shows in my collection

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Big Japan Death Match Wars #48

This show continues from #47 where Kobayashi & Ito faced Numazawa & Kasai in the Fire Death Match main event.

Katsumasa Inoue & Masa Takanashi VS Daichi Kakimoto & Kota Iifushi
Three of DDT’s top rookies in a match here with BJW’s top rookie (Inoue). I like that DDT gives it’s rookies gimmicks or at least a distinguishing look off the bat so that they at least have a personality. These four guys put on an entertaining match here, with Kota & Kakimoto showing a lot of potential. And I loved the SWEET Dead-End style Dragon Suplex move or Kakimoto!
Inoue has a strong following in BJW with his regular tag partner, Hiroyuki Kondo, but I feel the guy still needs to add to his move set before he can actually stand out from the rest of the pack.
Match Rating: *

Hardcore Tag Match: MEN'S Teioh & Daisuke Sekimoto VS Shadow WX & MASADA

This one started off with the usual brawling out into the crowd, which I’m really not big on cause the camera can never catch up with the workers. I don’t even know how Sekimoto got busted open. This wasn’t really much of a hardcore match, other than there being no disqualifications for using a chair, it was mostly a standard tag match. But the ending sprint was pretty good though. MASADA is a big gaijin, but really didn’t do much of note here. WX used to be one of the best, but I guess his age is catching up him as he was rather stiff and didn’t do anything special I would say other than the senior role.
Teioh looked pretty good, delivering some good rolling elbows even if they did look a little weak. It was fun watching him hit the Miracle Ecstasy chokeslam on MASADA though. Sekimoto was all about the power game. I think the best spot in the match was when he lifted MASADA’s dead weight off the mat and gave him an awesome delayed German suplex.
Match Rating: *1/2

Hardcore Match: Mad Man Pondo VS Necro Butcher

These two American maniacs put on another bloody battle. I really mark out for Necro Butcher’s West Virginia Bar Fight, where he sits two chairs in the ring, than the two of them sit there and trade STIFF punches! First to drop loses, and Necro almost always comes out on top of these!
Necro also did one nasty blade job, where you could actually see the gash in his head, and it even freaked out the announce team! It also didn’t help Necro that Pondo started carving away at it with his knife! Necro would get a measure of revenge for this when he would rip open a beer can and carve Pondo’s head with it!
And what Baka Gaijin match would be complete without some sick spots? I think Necro hurt his hand punching the stop sign away from Pondo. Necro also gave Pondo a super Frankensteiner off the top through several chairs, and Pondo gave Necro a sick suplex onto the steel steps!
A good match, but I know they can do better (maybe sicker), which is probably why they requested a death match during the after match interview. I’d love to see what they could do with barb-wire and broken glass myself.
Match Rating: **1/2


Sunday, November 20, 2005


Zero-One MAX Fantastic Fighting #31

“Interception” 10/10/2005

Johnny Storm VS Jody Fleisch
These two Brits put on a fun spot-fest of match. And that’s all it really was, two junior-heavyweights flying around every other minute of the match, which sorta spoiled the ending spot since they seemed to be able to recover from everything they threw at each other, but it only took one rather weak looking SSP to end the match. These two have talent no doubt, but need to work on how to properly structure a match.
Match Rating: **

Remember the E: Masato Tanaka VS The Sandman
These two have never crossed paths in ECW if my memory serves me correctly, so you can understand why I so highly anticipated this encounter between two former ECW champions, even if Sandman is way past his prime and half-assed drunk all the time. He did his usual long intro going to all four corners of Korakuen Hall to share beers with the Japanese fans.
As expected, the match itself was a big garbage match brawl. They did some fun spots though, like Tanaka breaking four chairs over Sandman’s head before hammering a ladder into it with a fifth. Sandman also hit his trademark senton on a ladder spot, the top rope frankensteiner and he suplexed Tanaka off the top through a table. You gotta give Tanaka a lot of credit for willing to bump for Sandman even though he had a bad shoulder. Sandman showed he could still do some good exchanges too when they had a weapons duel with Tanaka using a chair VS Sandman’s Singapore cane. And I guess the crowd here really did “Remember the E” as they chanted “ECW!” for the big bumps.
Sandman may not have been in the best of shape, but if there is one thing he has in common with his good buddy, Tommy Dreamer, is that he’s willing to put over the younger guys despite his senior status. A good brawl overall, and I’m still hoping for that Sandman/Necro Butcher match to happen sometime while Sandman is still able.
Match Rating: **

Koji Kanemoto VS Yoshihito Sasaki

I had mixed feelings going into this one after reading at a certain New Japan fan site that Kanemoto squashed Sasaki here. Well, that really wasn’t the case, and it could be argued that Kanemoto couldn’t even finish off Sasaki and was lucky he wasn’t disqualified instead of the referee stopping the match in his favor. This was heel Kanemoto here laying it into Sasaki, who absorbed everything the Junior Charisma had to give to the point that Kanemoto had to cheat more or less, using closed fist punches just to keep Sasaki down! Sasaki even countered Kanemoto’s tiger suplex into a SICK release German suplex that flipped Kanemoto and dropped him on his head!
The reason the referee stopped the match was because Kanemoto kicked Sasaki right in the face and didn’t seem to respond when Kanemoto mounted and started throwing punches at him. Why Kanemoto wasn’t disqualified for shoving off the referee several times, I don’t know.
Sasaki was really upset at the referee for stopping the match, and he was really pissed Kanemoto was looking past him and wanted Takaiwa instead. Sasaki wanted a rematch with Kanemoto, who smugly shrugged him off and walked away.
Match Rating: ***

Overall: An entertaining show overall, ending with a real emotional angle to help further the Z1M/NJPW feud, though it would be over a month later before they actually followed up on it. Definitely worth checking out.


Saturday, November 12, 2005


NOAH "3RD GREAT VOYAGE" 11/05/2005

Akitoshi Saito, Masao Inoue & Takashi Sugiura VS Yoshinari Ogawa, Ricky Marvin & Kentaro Shiga
I’ve hardly seen anything of Shiga’s in NOAH, but interesting to note he’s changed his look here from wearing the short tights to black long pants now, kinda like Marufuji. He didn’t show anything here to warrant the big push he received two years back before going on the shelf, but the crowd was behind him to get the win when he was in there.
Ricky Marvin was easily the MVP of the match, as he consistently wowed the crowd with his speed and aerial assault. So naturally when he hit a HUGE frog splash from more than half the length of the ring, Ogawa pulled him off so HE could make the cover! Despite that, it didn’t stop Marvin from saving Ogawa’s ass later by hitting a sweet Shining Wizard on Sugiura when he had Ogawa in an ankle lock!
Sugiura could probably be counted as the MVP for the Dark Agents team as he kept things exciting for his team. I also liked that he constantly had the advantage over Ogawa. I didn’t get why he heeled the commentator by kicking the announce table though.
Saito had some good exchanges with Marvin (thanks to Marvin), and the only thing of note he did was a nice and long delayed vertical suplex. Inoue was also pretty fun, so I guess he works best when put in fast sprint matches, not ones that go too long.
Overall, this was a good opener to the show that the crowd really enjoyed. Interesting to note that the Nippon Budokan was already mostly full by the opening bell.
Match Rating: *1/2

Takuma Sano VS Mushiking Terry

Man, if they gave Terry the win here, the crowd would have gone INSANE! The crowd was quiet throughout most of the match, save for some individual cheers from the kids in the audience, but when it came down to it, the crowd was heavily behind him! Story of the match was Terry doing all he could to avoid Sano’s sobat kick of doom, and it genuinely hurts if you see the way he delivers it. Even Misawa, Akiyama & Kobashi sell it like getting shot.
Terry had some good offense in, trying to take out Sano’s sobat leg with some unique leg-locks. I’ve noticed he’s still very ground-based when compared to Kotaro Suzuki. The crowd popped big when he hit his modified tiger-suplex pin. The crowd would definitely have been deafening if he got the 3 count there.
Sano of course playing the grumpy veteran role had a good showing here too. But I still think he should have dropped the fall here after seeing how into Terry the crowd were here. Fun match overall.
Match Rating: **

Naomichi Marufuji & Minoru Suzuki VS Shiro Koshinaka & Jun Akiyama

Wow. From the opening crowd reaction, you’d think THIS was the main event, and after watching, it was actually main event caliber! A lot of great action from the get go, and whoever would have thought an old guy would get such a huge pop just for smacking his butt into someone’s face? I actually have a new found respect for Koshinaka here since he actually showed up Suzuki! Actually, both Akiyama & Koshinaka were at their top game here as they seriously irritated Suzuki, who’s usually in that role.
It was fun watching Marufuji try to be a big bad heel against Akiyama & Koshinaka, and it didn’t work! There was even a fun bit where Suzuki tried to distract the referee, resulting in Akiyama giving Marufuji a low blow and Marufuji would complain to the referee about it! There was also a great visual where Suzuki had Akiyama in the sleeper, but at the same time Akiyama had Marufuji in the front neck lock!
And what can I say about the Sterness Dust Gamma? The description of it would be it starts like a wrist-clutch Exploder, and ends in a Sterness Dust! Killer looking move, even if the announcer called it the wrist-clutch Exploder.
This was a great match from start to finish, and the crowd loved it too. It’s pretty obvious at the end that the feud between Jun Akiyama and Minoru Suzuki is far from finished. It was kinda funny that Suzuki choked out Jun Izumuda when he tried to break up a brawl between the two, and Suzuki even tried to toss a chair at Akiyama as he left the ring!
Match Rating: ***1/2

GHC Hardcore Openweight Title: Scorpio VS Yoshinobu Kanemaru

The 15 minute rule was in effect here, meaning Kanemaru could win the title by surviving the time limit. The advantage was even more in Kanemaru’s favor when Scorpio injured himself in a very delicate area! So a majority of the match was Kanemaru beating down Scorpio, with some small bursts of offense from the defending champion but not being able to work properly due to his injured gonads. Kanemaru managed to brainbuster Scorpio several times, but one slip up in the end with about 2 minutes left on the clock cost him the match.
The match was one-sided, and I’m not sure if Scorpio’s injury was a work or shoot, but still good overall.
Match Rating: *1/2

Kenta Kobashi & Go Shiozaki VS Kensuke Sasaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima

If Kobashi VS Sasaki at DESTINY was the Singles Match of the Year, than this hands down gets my vote for Tag Match of the Year!
In an interesting twist, the students came out first, followed by the mentors, and Sasaki & Nakajima wore their All Asia tag titles to the ring. And when the bell rang, the whole match was PURE GOLD! Say what you want about New Japan’s Young Lion System, but I had GOOSEBUMPS watching Nakajima VS Shiozaki here! The chemistry they had for a first time meeting was simply amazing! You can easily tell that years from now these two are going to be main eventing against each other with world titles on the line.
Kobashi VS Sasaki picked up right where they left off at the Tokyo Dome, once again with a great chop battle! But even better were the student VS mentor exchanges! Both Sasaki and Kobashi made the youngsters look like a million bucks! Selling for them where necessary as well as bringing out the best in them. Kobashi even brought out the Texas Cloverleaf, which I believe he hasn’t used in at least 6 years!
There really isn’t a lot more that can be said other than this alone could have main evented the show! A MUST SEE match that alone is worth getting this show!
Match Rating: *****!!!

Mitsuharu Misawa VS Genichiro Tenryu

Wow. When this match was first announced, I was one of the few who didn’t expect much from it, knowing the shape these two are in. But there were many who still expected this dream match to deliver, and of course they were all disappointed when the reports said how bad the match was. Well, after watching it for myself, what else can I say but, “I told ya so!”
The problem with the match was basically what I expected it to be. Tenryu is old and stiff, and Misawa is just lazy. There were a few fun bits, like when Tenryu gave Misawa a stiff kick to the head that left an ugly mark there, and Misawa retaliated with one himself later in the match, and a bit of comedy where Tenryu wanted a handshake at the beginning of the match and wouldn’t give up till he got it, only to cheapshot Misawa! But than there were the sloppy bits, like Tenryu losing Misawa on a powerbomb attempt, followed by barely being able to get Misawa up for a brainbuster. Their timing was also a bit off at times. And of course there was the ending of the match where Misawa once again used his running elbow smash for the win, which from the crowd reaction felt very anti-climatic as the match really never felt like it built up to anything.
Match Rating: *1/2

GHC Tag Team Titles: Takeshi Morishima & Mohammed Yone VS KENTA & Katsuyori Shibata

KENTA & Shibata came out wearing these cool “TAKEOVER!” t-shirts. I didn’t think it was possible, but KENTA & Shibata actually got me to not want to support them due to their arrogant heelish tactics and personas! I know KENTA has always been a bit of a cocky SOB, but having two guys like that who share the same attitude and an almost identical move set is a bit much even for me!
But when you get down to it, this was a GREAT match, more than worthy of being in the semi-main event spot on the card. Looking at the two in action, you couldn’t tell that this was actually KENTA & Shibata’s first time teaming together, as they worked together so well with some great tandem offense. There was a fun spot where Shibata did KENTA’s strike combo followed by a Busaikyu Knee! And KENTA actually managed to get big Morishima up for the Go 2 Sleep!
Morishima & Yone also worked extremely well together here and it was just fun to watch. Though I noticed Yone tends to go for his Rolling Thunder spinning heel kick more often than I’d like. Despite his girth, Morishima also moved rather well for a big guy, delivering some wicked lariats and killer backdrops!
There were a few miss-timed spots, as well as a few awkward looking bits where Yone or Shibata would just stand there waiting for the other, but the match overall was a lot of fun and definitely worth checking out.
Match Rating: ****

GHC Heavyweight Title: Takeshi Rikioh VS Akira Taue

Before the match started, before the introductions were made, even before his entrance music played, there was HUGE Taue chant! Like I said before when this match was announced, the key to making it a success was for both guys to bump their asses off for each other, and that’s exactly what they did here, and that’s exactly why the match worked! Of course, the crowd yelling their lungs out for Taue added a lot of emotion to the match too. There were some Rikioh chants at the beginning of the match, but those were quickly drowned out.
Things started out odd a bit, but once they found their rhythm, they pulled out a solid match with incredible crowd heat that probably would have rioted if Taue lost here. Taue went at it with everything he had, and pulled out everything in his arsenal to keep the champion down.
Rikioh admittedly didn’t show a lot here. He used his power and threw a lot of lariats throughout the match. But to his credit he also pulled off a cross-body block off the top rope as well as a splash! The crowd was severely on his case and booed him when he signaled for the Muso, and didn’t like it any better when he hit it, but was won back when Taue kicked out of it.
Noticeably, Taue was in charge for most of the match which is what brings out the best in him. It wasn’t an easy victory though, he hit two I AM TAUEs and the Chihibu Concrete before hitting a final I AM TAUE to end the Rikioh experiment, and the crowd reaction was INSANE for the win! The fans rushed the ringside area and there were even a few that were CRYING for Taue’s win! NINE YEARS since his last singles title (the All Japan Triple Crown), Akira Taue is the old dog back on top of the hill again.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Despite some pitfalls, this show easily rivals DESTINY as one of the best overall Puroresu shows of the year! A whole lotta goodness on the show makes it a show you HAVE to check out!


Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Big Japan Death Match Wars #47

We start off this episode in a parking lot somewhere in Japan, aka the open-air venue for today’s show. The main event is a Fire Death Match, and we have interviews with the participants. Team No.1, Jun “Crazy Monkey” Kasai and Jaki “I’m Crazier Than Kasai” Numazawa. We than go to Team No.2, Abdullah Kobayashi & Ryuji Ito. As they give their comments, Kasai & Numazawa show up and try to run them over in a mini-car! The two maniacs get out and Kasai says he’s going to demonstrate the fire bit of the match they are in tonight. He lights a board on fire and takes a swing at Kobayashi and the flaming towel wrapped around the board comes off and hits Kobayashi in the face! I think there was a SNAFU here, but the two crazies get back in their mini-car and insult Kobayashi some more before driving off laughing like the maniacs they are!
Back to our heroes, and cue the COMEDY music as Kobayashi is okay and they get some last comments in before the opening credits start.

Daikokubo Benkei & Yuichi Taniguchi VS Futoshi Miwa & Hyoma
DDT’s Futoshi Miwa was wearing this horrible green egg suit reminiscent of Akebono!
The match itself was loads of fun and filled with comedy (both intentional and unintentional), and even Benkei had a hard time keeping a straight face! There was a big pop for Benkei VS Miwa, the two super-heavies in the match, it’s just too bad they didn’t have more time in the ring together. Taniguchi did his usual loud mouth comedy stuff, which the crowd easily got into.
I really like Hyoma’s rocker gimmick, and he’s a pretty good junior heavyweight too, it’s just too bad he’s usually regulated to being the fall guy in matches. I think Taniguchi is even higher on the Big Japan food chain than him which is a shame cause I’d really like to see what he can do in a big match environment.
Very entertaining match overall.
Match Rating: **

Back to earlier in the day for more comments about the upcoming death match from the participants. We got the comedy music going for Kobayashi again, and he seems to get it lot for what I’ve seen.

Fire Tag Death Match: Ryuji Ito & Abdullah Kobayashi VS Jun Kasai & “Kokutenshi” Jaki Numazawa
We’ve got a ring with barb-wire ropes which also have pads on them that are to be set on fire for the match, as well as barb wire board and light tube around the ring area. Yup, we definitely are in for a good time with this one! There really aren’t any rules to this one, only that after about 5 minutes, the ropes will be set on fire.
Kasai & Numazawa come out to “Wait and Bleed” by Slipknot, which instantly scores them even more coolness points with me as it totally matches their insane tandem. And needless to say the match was dangerous, not just for the wrestlers, but for the audience as well when we got a maniac like Numazawa running around ring side swinging a flaming 2X4!
The match starts off with a whole lot of brawling into the crowd that the cameras can’t even catch up with the action. Even one of the commentators got heckled by Numazawa who spat water in his face.
Kobayashi was dubbed “King of the Fire Match” going into this due to his past experience, and he ended up taking a lot of punishment from the his opponents. Their in ring mobility was severely limited once the ropes were set on fire, but they once again showed a lot of innovation. Like one really sick spot where Kobayashi drove Numazawa through a roll of light tubes onto a flaming chair with a Axe Guillotine Driver! I also wondered how Ito and Kasai would pull off their finishers since there were no corner pads, so they brought out a ladder and Ito hit a huge Dragon-Splash out over the flames to put Kasai through a table!
The fire didn’t play along for some of the spots though, since some of the props wouldn’t stay lit for too long before the wind blew them out, but they still managed to pull off a great main event for this show and the crowd was wild for the whole thing.
Match Rating: ***1/2

After the match, Kobayashi challenges Kasai & Numazawa to one more tag match at the upcoming Korakuen Hall show with his regular tag partner, Daisuke Sekimoto. I might not be the best Jap speaker around, but I definitely understood Numazawa say he would KILL Kobayashi at Korakuen, before laughing like the maniac he is.

Overall: Two fun matches on a one hour TV slot makes this a show definitely worth checking out. And it’s no secret right now I’m pretty much a mark for that maniac Numazawa!


Monday, November 07, 2005


Zero-One MAX Fantastic Fighting #29

“Interception” 10/09/2005 - Korakuen Hall

Takehiro Murahama VS Rikiya Fudo

Clipped down and looked to be a very mat based match. Fudo looks a lot like Tomoaki Honma now, even with the same hairdo and white colored tights! Since it was clipped down, not a lot was shown other than Jr. heavyweight Murahama using his submission skills to lock down and eventually get the submission out of Fudo.
Match Rating: ½*

Kamikaze VS Lingerie Muto

Wow, they actually had a build-up video for Muto. For the life of me I will never understand why ANYONE would want to be a Keiji Muto impersonator who wears lingerie in the ring.
Anyways, not really a lot to this one. Crowd pops for Muto hitting Keiji Muto’s spots like the dragon screw, space rolling elbow, rushing elbow etc. He even did an impressive Shining Wizard off the referee’s back! Unfortunately he would botch the moonsault and lose the match. Not a lot to say about Kamikaze either. Just applied a few rest-holds, bumped for Muto’s offense, than finished him off. I would have preferred if they cut this out and put in the Tatsuhito Takaiwa VS Takuya Sugawara match that was originally on the card but cut out of the broadcast.
Match Rating: ½*

NWA International Lightweight Tag Titles
Minoru Fujita & Ikuto Hidaka VS Johnny Storm & Joedy Flash

This was clipped a bit, but still REALLY good. A lot of fast paced, high-flying action from the gaijin duo. Flash (or Fleisch?) has a really good springboard shooting star press, and is a great high-flyer. Storm is equally as good and is definitely an insane risk taker as he hit a HUGE dive off the BALCONY of Korakuen Hall onto the defending champions! They duo even pulled off this really awesome looking double-team move where Storm German-suplexed Flash off the top rope and Flash flipped into a moonsault on Hidaka! I was really surprised at the amount of offense they got in on the champions here.
I noticed Fujita didn’t do much but bump his ass off, and Hidaka carried most of the offensive load for the team. They did have this one cool double team where Fujita would alley-oop one of his opponents into Hidaka, who would catch them out of mid-air with a sit-out powerbomb!
I guess letting the gaijins get in a ton of offense added emotion to the match as the champions were really challenged here to hang on to their titles and pushed to the limit.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Shinjiro Ohtani & The Sandman VS Masato Tanaka & Yoshihito Sasaki

They showed the Sandman’s full intro, and I literally had goosebumps seeing the reaction the Hardcore Icon received here as the fans sang along to Enter Sandman and shared beers with him on his way to the ring. But when the match actually starts, you can see Sandman is a little wasted from all the beer he’s been chugging. He got his nose busted when Tanaka smacked a steel case into his face, but he fans loved him anyway. To his credit, he hit the top rope frankensteiner on Sasaki, as well as launching him through a table. And he took several good whacks to the head with chairs and table bits too.
You could tell Tanaka wanted to soften up Sandman for their upcoming singles match as he took it to the Hardcore Icon. He was the guy trying to take Sandman’s head off with the chair and table shots. I can’t wait to see their singles match.
Ohtani seemed to have to keep Sandman in check throughout the match. But he did his usual spots and had some great exchanges with young Sasaki, taing some of his signature moves including the Argentine Coaster, and the big combination attack from Sasaki and Tanaka.
Despite Sandman’s awkwardness in the match, this was really fun to watch and I hope Sandman comes back to Japan soon. Heck, I’m secretly praying Big Japan books a death match between him and Necro Butcher!
Match Rating: ***

The two tag main events of the show were really fun to watch, and you should pick this one up for them alone. And of course you will definitely want to check it out if you’re a Sandman fan. Thumbs up from me once you get past the first two matches.



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