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Puroresu Show Reviews

Reviews of puroresu shows in my collection

Sunday, April 30, 2006


HUSTLE-15 3/12/2006

We kick off this edition of Fighting Opera Hustle with an annoying guy by the name of Michael (I think he might be DDT rookie Michael Nakazawa?), complete with an annoying theme song, pushing Hustle merchandise like shirts and DVDs. He reads a letter from the Takada Monster Army than starts dancing like a fool as he gives props to the sponsors of the event.
We then officially kick off the show with a recap video of recent events, specifically Kenzo & Hiroko Suzuki’s arrival in Hustle, Hiroko taking over the role of Hustle GM, Kenzo trying to get into the Takada Monster Army, and the events leading up to tonight’s main event.

We start off in the ring with GM Hiroko welcoming us to the show. God I wish she’d drop the geisha gimmick as it just makes her look a lot older than she really is. She introduces to new co-GM of Hustle, RG! So now he’s known as RGM! The fans boo him though, as he’s a really bad rip-off of HG and seems to get winded from just walking down to the ring and doing his intro! After some bantering which gets zero reaction from the crowd other than some boos, they run a highlight video of tonight’s card which was booked by RGM. It then turns out he booked every match as Hustle Army VS Takada Monster Army matches, but neglected to mention who would be representing each side! Hiroko interrupts the video and after more banter with RG (which again gets zero crowd response), they show the actual card as booked by Hiroko.
It’s than back to the ring where RGM tries to hype the crowd for the show, only to again be met by silence and a few jeers.
NOW the show kicks off.

Recap video of the Hustle Kamens and how they always overcome all the bizzaro enemies the Takada Monster Army can come up with. But they seem to have finally met their match with the Monster Kamens, who seem equal to the Hustle team. Can good overcome bad?
We go backstage to where we see Hustle Kamen Red & Blue warming up for their match. One of the agents meets them and asks if they are ready, to which they are. He then asks where Yellow is and we see him in the back chowing down a plate of curry rice, hinting that it’s his secret weapon or something.
We then jump to the Takada Monster Army lair, where An-Jo and his assistant wonder if the Monster Kamens will get the job done tonight. We than see Generalissimo Takada, sporting jogging shorts below his usual uniform, talking something about a women’s marathon. It finally ends with Takada summoning the Monster Kamens and we finally get to the first match of the night after a half hour of talk.

First Hustle: Hustle Kamen Red, Blue & Yellow VS Monster Kamen White, Black & Purple
The match all the kids in the audience probably came to see. The difference in styles here is that the Hustle Kamens are speedy (even the big Hustle Kamen Yellow) and the Monster Kamens are more power based, and they dominated most of the match thanks to that advantage. The crowd were hot for Yellow though, and he was the only guy that could match size and power with the Monsters. A fun match with a lot of great spots and great crowd heat, but the ending seemed to come out of nowhere and was a bit shocking to everyone when it happened. But I guess it’s believable since the Monster Kamens gave Yellow a big tandem powerbomb-neckbreaker for the win.
The Monster Kamens rip off the Hustle Kamen’s masks as An-Jo taunts them after the match.
Match Rating: **

Shamoji Yuji approaches Erica & Margaret about the next match where he will team with them. Margaret starts laughing at Fuji and Erica seems worried.

Second Hustle: Erica, Margaret & X VS “Monster-K’” Kohei Sato, the Monster-C and Dokron-Z
Just so there’s no confusion with Kawada’s Monster-K name, it should be noted that Kohei Sato is Monster K’, pronounced K-Dash get it? And Dokron-Z is Ayako Hamada’s new more gothic and evil looking gimmick. But she’s still hot in my book.
The match was short, but still entertaining mostly thanks to the high-flying skills of Dokron-Z and the comedic antics of Hustle team. I also loved the way the crowd chanted “C!” for Monster-C’s punches and kicks, and the way he played with the crowd with it too. But I’d easily give the MVP of this match to Dokron-Z who did a whole lot with the short time the match went, using her speed to outdo the bigger women on the other team.
Shamoji Fuji seems to be going the route of Gorgeous Matsuno in DDT: Serious looking worker that can’t do anything right in the ring.
Erica cuts a promo after the match where she’s disappointed at the loss, but still keeps her head up high.
Match Rating: **

A quick video of all the bizarre monsters Takada has brought into brought into Hustle, and they all usually fall short on expectations in the ring. But Takada now has a pair of “G-1 Class” monsters to unleash. But that’s G-1 as in HORSE RACING! That’s right, Miyakinen and Arimekinen are based on two champion race horses!
We than go backstage to the Takada Monster Lair, and Tadao Yasuda requests to be the mystery partner for the two race horses. His wish is granted by An-Jo.

Third Hustle: Masato Tanaka, Kintaro Kanemura & Tetsuhiro Kuroda VS Miyakinen, Arimekinen & Tadao Yasuda
Kanemura comes out with a kendo stick, Tanaka has a guitar, and Kuroda brings a bicycle! They do the TNR dance with a pair of hot Vegas showgirls.
The races horses come out next with Yasuda, who’s wearing a rider’s cap, has a rider’s whip and his newspaper! This could be fun.
And fun it was as they mixed up the bizarre styles of the race horses with the hardcore style of the Hustle team, and Tanaka & Kanemura even hit a pair of stereo balcony dives on the horses! You even gotta give Yasuda credit for actually working a bit in the match, hitting a big double chokeslam on Kanemura & Tanaka, and those horses were just plain weird to watch, but a fun enjoyable brawl overall.
Match Rating: **

After the intermission, we see a video of how ex-NJPW wrestler Hiroshi Nagao joined Hustle, using a volleyball player gimmick thanks to his height. He joined the Takada Monster Army and Generalissimo Takada christens him the name Giant Vabo.
Back to the Monster Army lair andAn-Jo and Vabo are doing squats, and they are up to 58,000+ of ‘em! Vabo finally collapses and An-Jo psyches him up with a picture of Ohtani, showing him the face of his enemy. Vabo spikes a volleyball through Ohtani’s face and An-Jo says they are now ready.
We than see Ohtani doing squats as well and he stops to wonder where his partner is. Ishikari sticks his head through the doorway to tell Ohtani he has a secret weapon, which turns out to be him wearing a swan ballet outfit with the swan’s head protruding where his groin is! Ohtani is disgusted and gives him a good kick in the head.

Fourth Hustle: “Hustle Achichi” Shinjiro Ohtani & Taichi Ishikari VS Giant Vabo & An-Jo
Luckily for us Ishikari doesn’t wear the swan suit to the ring. And Voba really is huge looking compared to everyone else. I also wonder if there was a slipup at the tailor since his name is Giant Vabo, but it says Voba on his volleyball uniform?
Anyways, I wonder if he would have been given the push of a monster big man if he had stayed in NJPW like what he was given here. He used his size and power to dominate early on and only the veteran experience of Ohtani was able to subdue him for a while with multiple running corner kicks which set the crowd on fire. The whole purpose of this match was to get Vabo over as a big monster, and they more or less did the job here as he beat Ishikari with a killer chokeslam.
Match Rating: **

Video package of Wataru Sakata & Ryouji Sai winning the Hustle tag titles off Tenryu & Yasuda from Hustle-14, and Tenryu calling out Sakata afterwards.
We than go backstage to where Sakata and his manager/girlfriend Yuko Aoki (a model known for her well sized “assets”) are watching it on a monitor. Sakata’s partner Ryouji Sai enters and they chatter a bit and it looks like Sakata is leaving Aoki behind as he heads out for his match.

Semi-Hustle: Wataru Sakata VS Genichiro Tenryu
Yuko ends up coming out with Sakata anyway, and she joins the announce team for the match.
The match was your basic “grumpy old veteran VS up-and-comer” type match, with Sakata taking a ton of chops from Tenryu throughout the match, which he gladly replied with chops of his own as well as kicks and punches. Sakata may have lost the match, but he survived 3 brainbusters, a lariat and a powerbomb before a fourth brainbuster finally put him out. Tenryu put him over after the match by telling him to keep up his growth. Sakata than thanks the fans, Ryouji and Yuko for their support. Ryouji than says something which prompts Sakata to hit him over the head with the microphone before they leave the ring.
This was a great match overall with an almost main event feel to it.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Build up video for the main event is shown. We than go to the Takada Monster lair where Kenzo is psyched for the match. Generalissimo Takada shows up and they banter on a bit before Takada zaps Kenzo with a power up.

Main Hustle: TAJIRI & HG VS “Monster-K” Toshiaki Kawada & Kenzo Suzuki
I’m not really surprised TAJIRI comes out to his WWE theme, and he’s announced as a former WWE superstar too.
This started off as a really solid tag match, and I was really glad they gave Kawada & TAJIRI some good time to work together. They had a good strike exchange, and Kawada even did a headstand kip-up to get out of a headscissors! It was good the way Kawada put TAJIRI despite the size difference. Even HG was passable with his limited move set, and he deserves credit for taking his bumps like everyone else.
What spoiled this match was the bad sports entertainment ending, with Kenzo & Kawada not getting along, till they eventually exploded and went at each other. Hiroko, who was really annoying on guest commentary, than gets in the ring and throws powder in Kawada’s eyes, taking him out. Kenzo isn’t pleased for some reason and slaps Hiroko, and lifts up her kimono as he chokes her on the ropes so her ass is out for all to see. Even the commentary team called it domestic abuse! HG than hits a sunset flip and pulls down Kenzo’s pants, revealing that he’s wearing women’s underwear! TAJIRI sprays the green mist at Kenzo and HG completes the role-up to score the win!
Match Rating: ***

Generalissimo Takada and his army then come out for their obligatory closing spot of the show. An-Jo opts to kick Kenzo out of the army, but it soon ends up as Takada & HG mouthing off at each other. They make the challenge for the next Hustle show, bringing out the Yin-egg, and “Captain Hustle” Naoya Ogawa and the rest of the Hustle Army come out to accept the challenge. They do the obligatory 3-2-1 Hustle! spot to close out the show.

Overall: An enjoyable show overall once you get use to the bizarreness of Hustle. Nothing really outstanding, but nothing really bad either.


Thursday, April 27, 2006


DDT Dramatic Dream Fantasia #52 & #53

Day Dream Believer 10/23/2005 Part 1
Interesting video to kick off the show recapping how Dansyoku Dino earned his title shot for Sanshiro Takagi’s KO-D Openweight Title. I’m guessing they were mocking NJPW with Riki Sensyu being given booking power just like Riki Choshu in NJPW has. Sensyu throws Takagi into a 5-on-1 gauntlet match where Dino beat Takagi to get his shot.
When that is done, we get a sit down interview backstage with Sensyu. I really wish I understood what it was they were talking about as the live crowd was laughing by the end of it.

Michael Nakazawa Debut Match: Michael Nakazawa VS Shogo “Jet” Takagi
Was Jet really the best choice to debut Nakazawa against? Either way, Nakazawa was rather impressive for what offense he got in. He’s American educated, and I’m guessing he’s played some football since he did a 3-point stance before hitting a big spear. He also did an impressive running face kick and a sweet spinebuster into a jackknife pin for a near fall. I think it’s also good to note that this kid debuted with a “look”, and not the plain black rookie tights.
Considering his really limited moveset, maybe it was the best place to put Jet against a debuting rookie. I seriously still don’t understand how the crowd can pop for his oh so lame Jet punches. Kudos to DDT for booking Nakazawa to kick out of Takagi’s Jumbo Jet full-nelson slam too. Unfortunately they had to end the match with Nakazawa tapping out to the dreaded single-leg crab of rookie doom. But it’s not like Jet has a proper finisher anyway.
Match Rating: *

NEO VS DDT: Haruka Matsuo, Yuki Miyazaki & Kyoko Inoue VS Riki Sensyu, Yugi Nagata (Shoichi Ichimaya) & Yutaka Yogie (Futoshi Miwa)

Now THIS is one of the reasons I love DDT, when they do crazy stuff like having 3 New Japan impersonators take on three of the best from joshi fed NEO in an inter-gender tag match! This was just a ton of fun watching Ichimaya do a pretty good job of impersonating Yuji Nagata with some sloppy kicks, a sweet backdrop-hold, and a butt-ugly Nagata Lock which ended up more like a double-leg cradle pin than a submission. Miwa on the other hand didn’t take much from the Yutaka Yoshie playbook, only throwing backhand strikes. Nothing much to add about Sensyu since he impersonates Choshu 24/7.
It was fun watching what the NEO girls could do with their much bigger male opponents. Miyazaki also happens to be the current Iron Man Heavy Metal champion, but surprisingly didn’t do much in the match other than trade shots with Ichimaya and hit a sweet moonsault on Miwa. Being the smallest member of the NEO team, took most of the punishment and really couldn’t do much to effect her much bigger opponents. She still looked good, and hey, she survived a Riki Sensyu Scorpion Death Lock. Inoue being the biggest and strongest member of her team was of course the most effective, and scored the win with one of her big lariats on Miwa.
Lots of good fun.
Match Rating: **

KO-D Openweight Title: Dansyoku Dino VS Sanshiro Takagi (C)

I may not have noticed this before, but the ring announcer was screaming his head of at the live crowd to keep out of Dino’s way as he made his way to the ring, making for a really hilarious intro as Dino lunged at the crowd.
This was about as good as it gets as far as a serious world title match involving Dino. A lot of back and forth action mixed in with Dino’s unique style of puroresu (The Pipe Cutter groin stunner, hand on groin STO, etc.). You either love it or you hate it, but remember that this is DDT and nothing is ever serious for too long, like when they brawled out to the crowd and Dino grabbed a fan’s purse to whack Takagi with, or they way Dino got crotched on the top rope after Takagi shook the ropes.
I thought it was also fun watching Takagi do a Dansyoku Driver and Dino doing a Sanshiro Stunner. I wouldn’t say the match was all that great, and the comedic bits may have taken away from the seriousness of it being a big title match, but it was still solid and enjoyable.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Day Dream Believer 10/23/2005 Pt.2
The emphasis of this episode is the big tag title match, so we kick off with highlights of the KO-D Tag League and how the winning team earned their shot.
We than cut backstage where this hot chick, Miri Sugehara, walks past the Suicide Boys (MIKAMI & Tanomusaku Toba) and the B52 Specials (Muscle Sakai & Tomohiko Hashimoto) before entering the locker of Yusuke Inokuma and Masa Takanashi. Apparently Miri is their manager, and Takanashi has harnessed the power of the ninja to secure victory tonight. But Riki Sensyu walks in and shrugs it off.

3-Way Tag Match: Yusuke Inokuma & Masa Takanashi VS the Suicide Boys (MIKAMI & Tanomusaku Toba) VS the B52 Specials (Muscle Sakai & Tomohiko Hashimoto)
Hashimoto was a monster here, giving both Suicide Boys a double-German suplex and mostly dominating on his own while Sakai sat out most of it. It was funny seeing Sakai work the match while still wearing his leopard skin coat throughout the match. He worked well with Hashimoto as the two are pretty big guys.
Takanashi & Inokuma were the underdog team here, and they needed help from their manager Miri at times but got in a fair amount of offense on their own too, with the announcers playing up Takanashi’s power of the ninja which really didn’t work out to much.
It was great watching the Suicide Boys in action as a team again. Even though it is still hard to get used to watching Toba and his boxing gloves, and he did look rather sloppy with his punches at times. MIKAMI of course was all business, and while he didn’t do much in the match, he scored the win with a big 720’ senton he calls the Deep “M” Impact, and it was put over as a cross between his swanton bomb and 450' splash finishers.
The only flaw to this match I guess was that it was just too short, at just under seven minutes. I guess they just wanted to save more time for the big main events of the show.
Match Rating: **

Video montage of the Italian Four Horsemen: Francis Togo, Mori Bernard, Don Maestro and Antonio Honda, and I was kind of shocked that they were pushing their special “Italian White Powder” here, actually showing Honda and Togo shooting up backstage snorting lines of the stuff, as well as using it as a power up in matches. They even manage to get one of their opponents addicted to the stuff. Imagine the uproar if WWE did something like this in the US?
We then go to the locker room where we see the Italian Four Horsemen trying to sell the stuff to Gorgeous Matsuno and a few guys I don’t recognize. Honda pushes the product as a miracle cure of sorts, with Don Maestro faking a bad leg and being miraculously cured after Honda rubs some powder on it! Honda hypes his group some more before we go back to the ring.

The Italian Four Horsemen are in the ring and the shoot up on their product before hyping it some more. Gorgeous Matsuno than comes out to take the Don Maestro Sleeper Challenge. For those of you who don’t know, Don Maestro’s sleeper has been hyped as a deadly finisher like the Masterlock, only when he clamps it on, his opponents always almost instantly become dead weight! Will the Gorgeous one be able to break the hold? Nope! It gets clamped on and he’s out like a light! Honda starts berating Matsuno and the Italians put the boots to him before Poison Sawada leads the charge out to break it up and kick off the next match.

Francis Togo, Mori Bernard, Don Maestro & Antonio Honda VS Poison Sawada, Seiya Morohashi, Jun Inomata & Gorgeous Matsuno
I liked the spot where all 4 Italians had submission holds locked simultaneously on Inomata, and when the referee made the 5 count, they’d all yell “FOUR!” while holding up the Four Horsemen hand sign!
This was mostly your average eight man tag, with the only truly notable bit at the end when they more or less bribed Inomata with their Italian Powder, which he is addicted to, and it ultimately cost them the match. Inomata even sold out his best from Poison Sawada just to get a fix as the Italians treated him like a dog after the match.
Match Rating: **

KO-D Tag Titles: Kota Iifushi & Daichi Kakimoto VS Darkside HERO! & Touru Owashi (C)

Dang! Iifushi & Kakimoto really earned this one! The underdog team took a beating throughout the match, including interference from Shogo “Jet” Takagi at ringside, but worked on all cylinders when they finally had the advantage. Kakimoto was actually able to T-bone big Owashi and even dead-lifted the big man up for a Dead-End German before HERO! made the save. Iifushi was also on fire as he took the brunt of the punishment for his team, but was able to kick out of some serious finishers like Owashi’s running chokeslam and diving body press! He also hit this simply amazing hands free springboard sky-twisting 450’ splash!
Owashi and HERO! of course played up their ever cheating heel roles to a tee, and Owashi even got into an argument with a fan that wouldn’t let him use her sign to whack Kota with. He would taunt her throughout the match also while beating down her favorite pretty boy.
A really solid match overall, though some would complain that the underdog team’s rise and subsequent no-selling of the big moves to take the tag titles was a little rushed, it was still an enjoyable match.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Overall: A really good show overall, with probably my only complaint being that the 3-way tag match was too short. And I could probably do without the Italian Four Horsemen’s pushing of substance abuse, but definitely recommended to check this one out.


Sunday, April 23, 2006


BJW Death Match Wars #59 & #60

Big Japan Pro Wrestling's first show of 2006 from Korakuen Hall, featuring the big Daisuke Sekimoto VS Masato Tanaka match and another chapter in the Big Japan/Apache Pro interpromotional war.

1/02/2006 Pt.1
Katsumasa Inoue & Hiroyuki Kondo VS Shadow WX & Mammoth Sasaki

Great match with the Wakagumi next generation team taking on the super-heavyweight veteran team, and they pulled off a really entertaining match up.
Inoue & Kondo continue to impress as a tag team, pulling out some great double team moves like a double-bow & arrow submission as well as a double Wakagumi buster on WX. Once again Inoue showed the fighting spirit of a future star as he took some insane punishment, including a modified con-chair-to which busted his lip open.
WX & Sasaki pulled out some good teamwork themselves, albeit a little sloppy (like the double-enzuguiri they pulled). I thought it was interesting that the team that would be challenging for the tag titles later would let the next gen team get in as much offense as they did. The two of them also seem to be a lot more entertaining when doing fast sprint matches and don’t have to slow things down too much.
The first Big Japan match of 2006 was a good way to kick off the show and got the crowd psyched, as well as further establishing the Wakagumi team as future contenders getting the rub from the current tag title contenders.
Match Rating: **1/2

MEN’S Teioh & Onryo VS GENTARO & Shinobu

These two teams put on a really solid junior heavyweight tag match, with lots of fast paced none-stop action from start to finish, and easily rivaled the junior tag matches from the big league promotions. It was a good showing from 666 workers Onryo & Shinobu too, especially for Shinobu at the end when he pulled out multiple counters to Teioh’s Miracle Ecstasy finisher. I think the only small flaw would have been Teioh’s role as the no selling senior of the match, but it’s not really that big a deal and doesn’t detract from the overall match enjoyment.
Simply put, if you enjoy those TNA X-Division type tag matches, you’ll easily enjoy this one.
Match Rating: ***1/2

No Rope Barb-Wire Tornado 6-Man Tag: Abdullah Kobayashi, Ryuji Ito & Jaki Numazawa VS Takashi Sasaki, Kintaro Kanemura & Bad Boy Hido

The Team No Respect dance is always a ton more fun when more people are involved, so it was really fun watching the entire Apache Pro army come out to do the dance tonight.
I’m guessing the spot at the beginning of the match where the barb-wire ropes snapped when Kanemura was whipped into them and he crashed out to the floor wasn’t part of the original booking. But is seemed like they were able to cover it up with the six-man pile up outside the ring which of course lead to the big brawl into the audience.
While Sasaki & Numazawa were brawling up into the stands, Hido & Kanemura gave Kobayashi a double suplex off the ring apron through a table on the outside. After Sasaki hit a bit running kick on Numazawa, Ito threw a table at him before giving him a splash through the table off the balcony. While Kanemura was brawling with Kobayashi in the ring, Sasaki countered a double-suplex attempt by Ito & Numazawa into a double DDT.
All six men brawl back to the ring with the Apache Pro team in command. Kanemura wrapped Ito in barb-wire as Hido grinds a barb-wire bat into Numazawa’s head.
Ito & Numazawa then get a ladder placed on their head before Kanemura & Sasaki start wailing away on it with chairs. Kobayashi is bleeding like a pig as Hido whacks him with a barb-wire bat. Hido gives Numazawa a piledriver on the ladder as Ito reverses a whip and sends Kanemura into the barb-wire ropes, which almost snap again.
The Big Japan team takes control as Ito goes to work whacking everyone with part of a table. Ito hits a moonsault off a ladder for a near fall. Kobayashi with a German suplex on Sasaki for a near fall. Kobayashi hits a double elbow drop on Hido & Sasaki before Kanemura destroys what’s left of the table board by whacking him over the head with it and gives one stiff ass punch! Kanemura tries for a powerbomb, but it’s countered into a Koba-Driver!
Ito sets up the ladder and Kobayashi goes up and drops a big time elbow drop, but the cover is broken up Hido who goes to town on the Big Japan team with a barb-wire bat. Sasaki charges at Ito, but is dropped on the barb-wire with a stun gun! Ito slams Sasaki and hits him with a barb-wire bat before going up the ladder to try for a Dragon Splash, but gets cut off by Kanemura. Sasaki shoves the ladder down and Ito lands ribs first on the wire.
A pile of chairs are tossed in the center of the ring, and Hido & Kanemura give Kobayashi a double backdrop on them. They then give Ito a superbomb off the ladder onto the chair pile for a near fall. Numazawa blocks a head kick from Sasaki and gives him a death valley driver on the chairs. The Dark Angel goes up the ladder, but is cut off by Sasaki who proceeds to superplex him off the top of the ladder! Sasaki hits a hard lariat for a near fall followed by a buzz-saw head kick and an Emerald Frosion on a barb-wire bat to finally pick up the win!
Great solid match overall, though I wish they could have done more with Numazawa in this one.
Match Rating: ***

1/02/2006 Part 2
Daikokubo Benkei & Hyoma VS Tetsuhiro Kuroda & Yuichi Taniguchi

Match is joined in progress.
Benkei might have less mobility than a brick sitting on the sidewalk, but the big man actually can be entertaining when needed and at least he’s not in the main event picture. He gave a good showing here using his size and power, and the fans were in to him.
I’m still digging on Hyoma and I still want to see more of what this guy can do.
I’ve always loved Kuroda in FMW, and it was fun watching him in action here. He had some good exchanges with Benkei where he took down the big man with his lariat. I’d rather be seeing more of Kuroda in the main event scene over Hido any day of the week.
Taniguchi might be a comedy wrestler now, but I can’t wait to see what he can do when he finally gets serious. The fans are already really into the guy and his “corner running cross chop of doom” move. This kid definitely has a ton of potential and him scoring the win here is a sign of good things to come I hope. Heck, he teams regularly with Benkei, and I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing them challenge for the tag titles.
Match Rating: **

Baka Gaijin 3-Way Match: Mad Man Pondo VS MASADA VS Mad Dog

Pondo actually cuts a promo in Japanese before the match! He says he doesn’t speak Japanese, but he loves death matches!
As the ring announcer names the combatants, Mad Dog brings a huge board into the ring and all 3 men fill it with thumbtacks! This gets a HUGE Baka Gaijin chant from the crowd!
All 3 men do an excellent job at the beginning of avoiding getting dropped on the mini pit of tacks, which the crowd really get into. Pondo then moves the pit of tacks into a corner and sets up 3 chairs, leading to a 3-way Louisiana Bar Fight, shades of the Necro Butcher! Pondo is winning until MASADA & Mad Dog double team him and take him out before going to work on each other with some quick mat grappling. Mad Dog & MASADA move surprisingly well for their size, and Mad Dog does some things I wouldn’t expect from him, like a huge flipping senton off the top on Pondo to the outside!
MASADA & Mad Dog brawl on the outside, and Pondo gets back in the ring and uses the referee to do Undertaker’s Old School, only he flips out of the ring on Mad Dog & MASADA! Back in the ring and Pondo shoots MASADA in the groin with a staple gun! He than staples a piece of paper to MASADA’s forehead! Pondo’s rampage continues as he jabs Mad Dog in the head with a scissors and then carves his head with it! MASADA retaliates and jabs Pondo in the head several times with the scissors!
They than do the obligatory brawl out into the audience and Pondo tries to whack both of them with a fan’s umbrella, but is met with a double superkick instead. MASADA & Mad Dog start brawling as Pondo sets up 2 tables and some chairs at ringside. Mad Dog whacks MASADA with a chair and trades big punches with Pondo back in the ring. Pondo misses a big right hand and Mad Dog picks him up and drops with a death valley driver in the pit of thumbtacks! Mad Dog than sets him up face first in the tacks and drives his face in with a leg drop! Mad Dog tries to just slap Pondo’s face into the tacks, but the veteran moves and he gets a hand full of tacks!
MASADA back in and brawls with Pondo. They go up top and Pondo is looking to superplex MASADA out of the ring onto the tables & chairs he set up earlier. Mad Dog tries to intervene, but gets tossed onto the pit of thumbtacks! MASADA than gives Pondo a super frakensteiner off the top through the tables and chairs! Another big “Baka Gaijin” chant starts up! Mad Dog gives MASADA a big suplex back in the ring, but hurts himself since he still has thumbtacks in his back!
MASADA flips out of a backdrop and hits an inverted atomic drop on Mad Dog. He tries for a tombstone, but Mad Dog reverses it and gives MASADA a tombstone on the thumbtacks for a near fall! Pondo back in and whacks Mad Dog with the stop sign before giving MASADA a flipping senton off the top while MASADA is laying in the pit of tacks with the stop sign on his face! Pondo covers, but Mad Dog breaks the count. Mad Dog whacks Pondo with a chair and goes up top but is crotched by MASADA. MASADA tries to super frankensteiner MD off the top through some chairs, but Pondo whacks him with the stop sign and now both MD & MASADA are crotched on the top rope! Pondo hits MASADA upside down with a chair and sets up the pit of tacks on several chairs. This can’t be good. Pondo than piledrives Mad Dog off the top onto the makeshift platform, and it DOESN’T BREAK! Pondon pins him on the pit to take the win!
Damn, this was better than it had any right to be! And hats off to Australian worker Mad Dog for taking all those sick bumps, and he wasn’t even wearing a shirt!
Match Rating: ****

Daisuke Sekimoto VS Masato Tanaka

These two bulls go right at it, testing each other with big shoulder blocks and a stiff chop/elbow battle. Things heat up as they trade more furious elbow strikes, which Tanaka wins and tries for a lariat, but Sekimoto ducks it and gives Tanaka a hard lariat of his own! Tanaka takes a breather on the outside before getting back in at the 17 count. They lock horns again and put on a good showing of mat grappling which the crowd applauds.
They lock up in a test of strength which the more buff Sekimoto wins. Tanaka reverses an Irish whip into the corner and charges in with a hard elbow and a big release German suplex, now sending Sekimoto out for a breather. They brawl on the apron and Sekimoto gives Tanaka a big suplex on the apron! Tanaka rolls off to the floor and Sekimoto quickly back into the ring, but quickly rebounds the ropes and comes out with a big suicide dive sending Tanaka into the first 4 rows!
They brawl up to the stage and have a chair battle, which Tanaka wins. Tanaka sets up some chairs and suplexes Sekimoto on to them. He sets up more chairs and gives Sekimoto a swinging DDT off a standing chair onto a pile of chairs. They brawl through the audience back to the ring. Tanaka gives Sekimoto a drop toe-hold on a chair, followed by dropkicking the chair in his face! Tanaka gets a near fall and they start trading really hard chops again, which Tanaka again wins.
Tanaka now attacking Sekimoto’s legs. Sekimoto fights to a sitting position, which turns out to be a mistake as Tanaka puts him in a headlock while his legs are also still locked! Sekimoto manages to escape, and Tanaka continues to stomp and pound on him as the Zero-1 ring seconds place a table in the ring. Tanaka sets the table up in the corner and rams Sekimoto face first into it for a near fall. Tanaka tries to whip Sekimoto into the table again, but Sekimoto reverses it and Tanaka puts on the brakes. He charges at Sekimoto, but gets picked off his feet and speared into the table!
Sekimoto whips Tanaka into the corner and charges in, but eats a big elbow and a swinging DDT out of the corner, but to the surprise of everyone he pops right back up and gives Tanaka a big spear! Sekimoto gives Tanaka a big lariat in the corner followed by a big superplex off the top. Sekimoto goes back up top and hits a big frog splash for a near fall. They fight for a brainbuster, and Tanaka wins out dropping Sekimoto on his head. Tanaka hits a big running elbow before both men collide with hard lariats. Sekimoto than lifts up and drops Tanaka with a brainbuster!
Sekimoto off the ropes but runs into a big Dangan Lariat! Tanaka hits another brutal brainbuster but only gets a 2 count! Tanaka goes up top and hits the Superfly Splash, but only gets a ONE count! Sekimoto to his feet now and they trade elbow strikes. Tanaka tries for the roaring elbow, but Sekimoto almost takes his head off with a hard lariat for a near fall! Sekimoto with a beautiful German-suplex hold, but only gets a 2 count!
Sekimoto tries for a lariat, but eats a boot followed by the roaring elbow for a near fall! Sekimoto reverses an Irish whip into the corner, but runs right into a big boot. Tanaka immediately follows with the Diamond Dust to pick up the win!
Great match!
Match Rating: ****

A ton of fun from Big Japan’s first show of the year. The second half was surprisingly a lot better than the first, with the Baka Gaijin 3-way and Sekimoto/Tanaka being really impressive and a lot better than the actual main event of the show.


Friday, April 21, 2006


BJW Death Match Wars #58

Hardcore Tag Match: Mad Man Pondo & Jason Ray VS Bad Boy Hido & MASADA
You gotta love Pondo. One minute he’s trying to stab Hido with a switchblade, and the next he’s busting out a la majistral cradle to try and get a flash pin! Pondo & MASADA were easily the guys to watch in this one. Despite his mostly brawling tactics, Pondo really is enjoyable to watch since he knows to play to the crowd, unlike say Hido. It’s good to know Pondo doesn’t rely solely on garbage spots and can actually wrestle when required.
Somebody tell me why I’ve never heard of MASADA on the US indy scene? This kid has a lot of potential seeing how he’s willing to blade and bump like he does (remember the flaming punch a while back?). He took Pondo’s knife to the head, and a sick bump when Pondo hit a flipping senton onto a stop sign on MASADA’s face! This kid is definitely earning his stripes and hopefully one day he gets recognized for his hard work in BJW.
I don’t really get Jason Ray’s homage to Jimmy Snuka gimmick where he puts on a leopard skin bandana. He really didn’t do much here other than missing a moonsault and dropping the fall to MASADA courtesy of a Death Valley Driver.
Hido = Boring. Nuff said.
Match Rating: *1/2

Shadow WX & Mammoth Sasaki VS Kintaro Kanemura & Yuchi Taniguchi
Who would have expected this match to be mostly comedy spots? Sure I was expecting Taniguchi’s unique brand of loud mouthed comedy, but I wasn’t expecting everyone in the match to fool around like they did here. Just when you think they were getting serious, something comedic has to happen thanks to Taniguchi. Bare in mind this is also the semi-final match of the show and not an undercard match!
But like I said, Kanemura, WX & Sasaki all played up the comedy bits themselves, from Kanemura being Taniguchi’s cross-chopping oniisan, to WX working the two-handed butt poke attack and Sasaki playing the big dumb guy! There was even a fun spot where Kanemura put an STF on Sasaki, than WX locked one on Kanemura, and Taniguchi locked one on WX!
There was some good stuff also when they weren’t all playing around. Other than the usual brawl into the audience and ruin the seating arrangements, WX stole Kanemura’s table dive spot when he dove off the top and put Kanemura through a table! Also an interesting spot where Sasaki gave Taniguchi & Kanemura a double backdrop off the top while they superplexed WX!
This was an enjoyable fun match overall, and the closing double brainbuster spot was cool too. Just another match on the road for WX & Mammoth to the tag titles.
Match Rating: **1/2

Backstage the comedy music is playing as we see the tag team champions Abdullah Kobayashi & Daisuke Sekimoto cutting a promo of sorts. Kobayashi says a few things and some of it gets bleeped out before he gives Sekimoto a headbutt and walks off! The ‘Macho Man’ song by the Village People hits and Sekimoto does his muscle pose before following after Kobayashi.

BJW Tag Team Titles – 200 Light Tube Death Match: Abdullah Kobayashi & Daisuke Sekimoto VS MEN’S Teioh & “Kokutenshi” Jaki Numazawa
I loved the way this one started off with Teioh & Numazawa “blending in” to the audience by sitting with them and attacking the tag champions from behind when they came.
The usual fun broken glass brawl in this one. It didn’t take long for the light tubes to be broken all over the place and sometimes it looked like the glass could hit the audience. The challengers dominated early on thanks to their subterfuge attack, and I liked the way Teioh breaks light tubes over his opponents heads with rolling elbow strikes. Teioh even did this unique move where he place Kobayashi & Sekimoto’s legs locked in a figure four around a bundle of light tubes before he sits back pulling on the light tubes and breaking them between the tag champions legs!
The champions were finally able to mount a comeback and they took out Teioh by attacking his leg which had a history of problems if I’m not mistakem, with Kobayashi breaking light tubes on it with a big elbow drop! With Teioh out of commission, it was up to Numazawa to do all he could to win the gold, including breaking a bundle of light tubes on Kobayashi with a flipping senton off the top rope!
Just when it looked like Numazawa had the tag titles in the bag, Sekimoto did his always impressive dead-lift German suplex by lifting Numazawa out of the pinning position and flipping him over! Kobayashi then drops Numazawa on his head with the Koba-Driver, Sekimoto hits a big powerbomb, and Kobayashi finishes off Numazawa by breaking a bundle of light tubes on him with a big diving elbow drop off the top to retain the tag titles.
Really strong match overall, but I guess I expected just a tad bit more like some table spots or something. It gets boring when all they do is break light tubes over each other, even if it’s funny watching Numazawa giggle like a little girl when he does it.
Match Rating: ***

Overall: A good show from start to finish with something for everyone. I was just a tad bit disappointed in the main event as the more I watch these light tube matches, the more redundant the spots seem.


Sunday, April 09, 2006


AJPW Champion Carnival 2005 Finals 4/20/2005

Since the 2006 All Japan Champion Carnival just kicked off last night, I finally decided to sit down and watch the finals of last year’s tournament.

Show kicks off with RO&D coming out to rile up the crowd, with TAKA introducing Buchanan, Kea, Jamal and himself, while assuring Jamal will win the Carnival, and TAKA himself successfully defending the AJPW Jr. title against Katsuhiko Nakajima despite having Akira Hokuto as the special referee later.
TARU than leads the Voodoo Murders out to interrupt the fun. After TARU & TAKA mouth off a bit, “brother” YASSHI rants something about Keiji Mutoh before VM leave. RO&D rile up the crowd one more time (R-O-D-BOOYAH!) before the show kicks off.

The four Carnival semi-finalists are then introduced to the crowd and the two semi-final matches are announced: Jamal (Block B) VS Satoshi Kojima (Block A) and Kensuke Sasaki (Block B) VS Toshiaki Kawada (Block A).

Nothing to do with the show, but during the commercial break they aired an ad for a CD compilation, and the ad featured the lovely YinLing in a skimpy gold outfit jumping around on a bed. Sweet.

Arashi, Toshizo & Ryota Chikuzen VS Masanobu Fuchi, Taichi Ishikari & Akira Raijin
I like Fuchi’s snake-skin Hello Kitty jacket. Fuchi does a short promo welcoming the crowd, and after the official ring introductions, tosses several Hello Kitty souvenirs out to the audience.
Short match with Fuchi’s rookie team mostly getting owned by opposing team. Ishikari was a punching bag and got tossed around like a sack of potatoes by Arashi. Fuchi does his “bodyslam the guy and hurt his back cause he’s old” thing, Raijin gets in a few head butts, but the Toshizo is able to tag in and take out Raijin with his fisherman’s buster in just over 5 minutes.
Not a whole lot to it, but did the job as the opener of the show.
Match Rating: ½*

Back from commercial break and we recap the roads traveled by the four Champion Carnival semi-finalists to get where we are today, followed by short comments from the foursome.

Champion Carnival Semi-Final: Jamal VS Satoshi Kojima
Jamal controlled the match early on with his size and power, then he missed a big elbow drop on his bar arm and Kojima took over, targeting the big man’s weakness. I like how Kojima messes with the crowd now when doing his “Ichauzo bakayaro!” chant after hitting the corner elbow attack. Kojima hits a diving elbow drop on Jamal’s bad arm and gets a two count. Jamal tries to fight back, but Kojima flips out of a suplex and hits a big DDT. Jamal rolls to the apron, and when he gets up, Kojima hits him hard and he hits the timekeeper’s table, almost knocking the poor guy over!
Kojima tries for a plancha, but Jamal dodges and Kojima hits the floor. Jamal than hits a big shoulder tackle off the apron to the floor and drags Kojima back in the ring for a near fall. Jamal hits his kick combo for another near fall at the 10 minute mark. Jamal hits a corner splash followed by a stink face (running hip attack into a seated opponent in the corner). He hits another stink face that the referee just barely manages to jump out of the way off, and covers Kojima for a near fall.
Kojima manages to pull out a Koji-Cutter out of nowhere, but Jamal gets right back up only to eat a second Koji-Cutter. Kojima covers for a 1 count, and quickly locks on the shoulder submission move of his, again targeting Jamal’s bad arm. Jamal reaches the ropes to break the hold. Kojima than hits a brainbuster (!) for a near fall. Kojima tries for a lariat, but eats a superkick instead, giving Jamal a near fall.
Jamal hits a big powerbomb for a near fall, and quickly goes up top and hits the Flying Sausage for a near 2.9! Jamal goes up for a moonsault, but Kojima catches him and powerbombs him for a 2 count! Enzu-lariat by Kojima, followed by a big running lariat which flips Jamal for another close near fall! Kojima goes for another lariat, but Jamal catches him off guard with an elevated Samoan drop followed by the Flying Sausage for the big win!
A really strong match, and a convincing win for Jamal.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Champion Carnival Semi-Final: Kensuke Sasaki VS Toshiaki Kawada
Rather long feeling out process at first, but Sasaki than asks Kawada to bring it, and they start exchanging big chops, culminating with Kawada taking down Sasaki with a running face kick. Sasaki goes to the outside, and Kawada kicks him off the apron twice when he gets up, Sasaki hitting the timekeeper’s table both times! Kawada goes out and gives Sasaki’s arm an axe-kick on the guardrail! They get back in the ring and Kawada continues to work Sasaki’s arm, trying to take away the lariat.
Back to the outside, and Sasaki is whipped into the guardrail, and Kawada continues attacking the arm with elbow strikes and an armlock on the apron. Kawada with several armbreakers, an armdrag and tries for a cross-armbreaker. Sasaki manages to roll to the ropes to break the hold and Kawada stomps away on the arm. Sasaki gets to his feet as Kawada pounds on the arm, and explodes on Kawada with a big lariat!
Sasaki pounds away on Kawada despite the pain in his arm and hits a neckbreaker at the 10 minute mark. Sasaki hits 3 coconut crushes and a side-Russian leg sweep, all moves shades of the late Giant Baba. Sasaki with a sleeper now. Kawada gets to his feet and Sasaki hits a running neckbreaker drop, another Baba move! Another coconut crush by Sasaki, and the two start trading elbows and choops, Sasaki winning out with a short lariat and applies the stranglehold for a submission attempt.
Sasaki tries for a lariat, but runs right into a jumping face kick from Kawada! Kawada unloads a barrage of kicks, flooring Sasaki again. Kawada with a running face kick in the corner followed by a suplex. Kawada tries for the running soccer kick to end the match, but Sasaki blocks it. Kawada lands several kicks to Sasaki’s back and tries for a backdrop, but Sasaki escapes and they trade chops. Kawada kicks Sasaki in the face and tries for a lariat, but Sasaki catches him with a powerslam for a near fall. Sasaki now tries for a lariat, and Kawada blocks it with a lariat of his own! Both men’s arms are hurting. Kawada tries for the jumping face kick, but Sasaki bats him out of the air with a lariat, hurting himself again! Kawada quickly up and hits a jumping head kick, but Sasaki pops up to give him a big lariat!
Kawada unleashes a barrage of elbow strikes and a big backdrop, but Sasaki pops up and spears him into the corner! He whips Kawada to the opposite corner and runs right into a big boot. Kawada hits a STO for a near fall. Sasaki escapes a powerbomb attempt and hits Kawada with a lariat. Sasaki tries for the Northern Lights Bomb, but Kawada escapes so Sasaki hits a lariat instead. Kawada pops up and Sasaki hits another lariat for a near fall. Sasaki hits a short lariat followed by the Northern Lights Bomb for the win!
The beginning part of this match seemed to drag on for too long, and it wasn’t anywhere near the caliber of their previous Triple Crown match. Still a solid match though.
Match Rating: ***

Nobutaka Araya & Nobukazu Hirai VS Taiyo Kea & Buchanan
A short high-sprint match.
Araya & Hirai were given a fair amount of offense in the match, but it still looked like Kea could have handled both of them by himself! They could be doing so much more with Araya instead of this, and that was one really sick iron-claw bomb Araya took at the end where he actually landed head first to drop the fall to Buchanan.
Match Rating: *

Build up video for the events leading up to the junior title match, and how Akira Hokuto came to be the referee for the match.

AJPW Jr. Heavyweight Title: Katsuhiko Nakajima VS TAKA Michinoku (C)
Special Referee: Akira Hokuto

TAKA takes control and deliberately gets on Hokuto’s case by not breaking submissions when he should just to piss off Hokuto and the crowd. He leaves himself open while arguing with Hokuto and Nakajima unleashes a barrage of kicks at him, sending him to the outside. TAKA gets back in before the 10 count, but Nakajima gives him a stiff kick to the shoulder that sends him back out. Nakajima brings TAKA back in and continues working the shoulder.
TAKA reaches the ropes, but Hokuto doesn’t call it till Kyohei Wada on the outside does! Nakajima continues to work the shoulder till TAKA rakes his eyes and mounts him to land several punches. They get back to their feet and Nakajima hits several middle kicks before pulling TAKA down with a Fujiwara-armbar, continuing the work on the shoulder.
Nakajima continues to his assault, but TAKA reverses an Irish-whip and tries for the Just Facelock. Nakajima escapes to the outside and is kicked off the apron by TAKA, who follows with a plancha but misses! Back into the ring and Nakajima with a flurry of mounted slaps before applying a cross-armbreaker! TAKA gets to the ropes to break the hold. Nakajima misses a corner charge and TAKA lands 3 big kicks to take down the youngster.
They struggle to their feet and Nakajima hits two middle kicks before TAKA connects with a huge slap and a super kick! Springboard kneedrop by TAKA and he applies the Just Facelock! Nakajima manages to gets to the ropes to break the hold. TAKA misses a jumping knee in the corner and Nakajima tries to give him a superplex, but TAKA knocks him off so he hits him with a big spinning heel kick instead! Nakajima catches TAKA with a big dropkick after he escaped a German suplex attempt, but TAKA reverses an Irish-whip into the Just Facelock again! Nakajima gets to the ropes again, and TAKA signals that the end is near.
TAKA tries for the Michinoku Driver II, but Nakajima floats over and tries for the German suplex but TAKA flips over and lands on his feet. TAKA charges right into a sobat kick, but catches a high kick and tries for the Just Facelock again, but Nakajima slips out into a Fujiwara armbar! TAKA rolls out, but Nakajima turns it into a cross-armbreaker! TAKA reaches the ropes and Nakajima tries for the German again, but TAKA escapes and tries for the Michinoku Driver, but his bad arm can’t hold the weight!
Nakajima lands a strike combo that ends with a big jumping spin kick to TAKA’s head which gets him a near fall. Nakajima hits the German-suplex, but only gets a 2.9! TAKA comes back out of nowhere with a jumping head kick, followed by a superkick, but Nakajima gives him several head kicks of his own which TAKA barely is able to block. TAKA suddenly catches Nakajima out of a high-kick and hits the Michinoku Driver II to retain his title in a hard fought battle.
Overall I thought this match was rather sluggish, and they blew the ending spot when TAKA couldn’t lift up Nakajima properly and they had to re-do the spot. Solid match, but it did seem to drag a bit. TAKA actually shows a little respect by rising Nakajima’s hand at the end.
Match Rating: **1/2

All the junior heavyweights in All Japan come out and challenge TAKA for the next shot! Taichi Ishikari grabs the microphone, but before he could say anything, TAKA’s theme hits and everyone leaves the ring!

All Japan VS Voodoo Murders: Keiji Mutoh, Tomoaki Honma, Kaz Hayashi, NOSAWA Rongai & Kohei Suwama VS TARU, Giant Bernard, Chuck Palumbo, Shuji Kondo & “brother” YASSHI
Big brawl to start off this war before it settles with Honma & Palumbo in the ring. Palumbo wins a strike exchange but runs into a boot in the corner. Honma charges and is backdropped by Palumbo. YASSHI & Kaz tag in and Kaz goes to work on YASSHI with a big dropkick and a nice delayed springboard senton. Muto tags in and give YASSHI the rushing elbow and an STF! Palumbo breaks the hold and Honma tags back in.
YASSHI hits an side Russian leg sweep and tags in TARU, who kicks Honma with a hidden object in his pants! YASSHI tagged back in and he starts talking smack, taunting Muto about being bald and that he has a big head of hair! He than tags back out to TARU, who beats Honma around a bit before tagging in Kondo who kicks him down in the corner. YASSHI tagged back in but is taken down by a big back elbow by Honma, who tags in NOSAWA!
NOSAWA in with a head full of steam, but he…bad mouths YASSHI and VM like what YASSHI did earlier, only no one on his team wanted to tag back in! YASSHI recovers and gives NOSAWA a testicular claw while Bernard distracts the referee. Palumbo tags in and drops a big elbow for a 2 count. Palumbo tries for the 187, but NOSAWA escapes and hits a few punches before getting floored by a big lariat from Palumbo. Bernard now tags in and hits a big lariat followed by a hard slam and a delayed double-arm suplex. Bernard hits a hard knee and tags in YASSHI.
YASSHI & Kondo give NOSAWA a double dropkick to the head before holding him upside down for TARU to give him an axe-kick in the groin. YASSHI charges at NOSAWA in the corner, but the founder of RonKaz ducks and flips him with a big release German and makes the hot tag to Kaz. Kaz hits a spinebuster and a Lionsault for a near fall. YASSHI recovers and misses a heel kick, but he bounces off the ropes and lands on his feet! He catches Kaz with an inverted atomic drop and hits a flipping neckbreaker for a near fall. Kondo tags in and lifts up Kaz in a military press before dropping him in a gutbuster on his knee. Kondo tries for the King Kong Lariat, but Kaz ducks it and tries for a German but Kondo uses his raw power to flip Kaz over by pulling his hair! Kondo charges at Kaz again, but eats a big heel kick.
Honma tags in and goes to work on Kondo with a charging elbow strike in the corner followed by a bulldog. Honma charges off the ropes again, but Kondo again shows his power when he jacks Honma in the air and catches him with a hard slam! TARU tags in and hits a choke-bomb on Honma. Honma flips out of a suplex and hits an enzuguiri before tagging in Suwama.
Suwama overpowers TARU and hits a bodyslam for a near fall. TARU escapes a German attempt and hits an axe kick before tagging Palumbo in. Plaumbo hits a superkick for a near fall followed by a snake eyes and a running face kick for another near fall. Palumbo misses a corner charge and Suwama hits a big shoulder tacjle and tags in Mutoh who goes to work with a pair of low dropkicks and than proceeds to dragon screw everyone of the VM except Bernard who wisely stays out of the ring. YASSHI breaks up a figure four and Bernard is tagged in who pounds on Mutoh, and hits a big lariat for a near fall. Mutoh rolls under another lariat and hits a dropkick before tagging in NOSAWA, who tries to utilize his speed but is met by a big boot for a near fall. Kaz, Honm & NOSAWA hit a triple team dropkick on Bernard and Suwama takes down the big man with a shoulder block setting up Muto to hit a Shining Wizard. NOSAWA, Honma & Kaz hit Shining Wizards in succession and Suwama suplexes the big man before Muto hits another Shining Wizard for a near fall. Everyone brawls to the outside leaving Bernard to hit a big corner splash on NOSAWA followed by a Baldo-bomb for the win.
As fun as the match was, I honestly expected just a little bit more. It probably would have been more interesting as an elimination match.
Match Rating: ***

2005 Champion Carnival Finals: Jamal VS Kensuke Sasaki
Starts with a faceoff before they start throwing lariats and chops at each other, which Sasaki wins. Sasaki whips Jamal into the corner, but misses a corner charge. Jamal with an armbreaker and starts working Sasaki’s shoulder; there’s a big bruise on his bicep from the previous match. Jamal misses a corner charge Sasaki now works on his bad shoulder which is heavily taped. Sasaki drops Jamal with an armdrag and tries for a cross armbreaker but Jamal rolls to the ropes.
Jamal mounts a short comeback that is ended when both men give each other lariats with their bad arms. Sasaki clotheslines Jamal out of the ring and then misses a corner charge, ramming his bad shoulder into the ring post. Jamal takes advantage and uses the corner post to further work Sasaki’s arm.
Back in the ring and Jamal continues the assault with an armbreker and a leg drop on Sasaki’s bad arm before ramming it into the corner pad. Jamal than hits a pair of stink faces for a 2 count. Jamal hits a bit slam and goes up top, but Sasaki recovers in time to give Jamal a big superplex for a near fall. Back to their feet and Sasaki spears Jamal into the corner and lays into him with short lariats and a face crusher. Jamal battles back, but Sasaki ducks a lariat and gives him a Rock Bottom for a 2 count!
Sasaki hits 2 big lariats before hitting a running neckbreaker drop to take down the big man for another 2 count. They struggle to their feet and now Jamal floors Sasaki with a Rock Bottom followed by a kneedrop for a near fall. Jamal off the ropes but runs into a jumping heel kick from Sasaki! Sasaki tries for a German suplex and hits it! A pin attempt only gets 2, so Sasaki tries for the Tornado-bomb and hits that too for another near fall! Sasaki off the ropes, but now he runs into a big heel kick from Jamal!
Samoan drop by Jamal for a near fall followed by a big powerbomb for another near fall at the 15 minute mark. Jamal hits the Samoan Driver, but only gets a 2.9! Jamal goes for a moonsault, but thinks better of it and hits the Flying Sausage instead, but gets another 2.9! Jamal tries for the moonsault again, but Sasaki recovers and slams him off the top with a crucifix powerbomb followed by a big lariat for a near fall!
Sasaki signals for the kill and actually picks up big Jamal for a Northern Lights Bomb! Instead of pinning him, he gives Jamal a second NLB and covers him to win the Champion Carnival!
Solid match, with a lot of emphasis on both men having bad shoulders, but didn’t really play a factor in the ending of the match so I didn’t really see much point in it. Still, it was a really impressive showing from both men here.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Sasaki helps up Jamal and the two shake hands and embrace in a sign of respect for each other. Sasaki then celebrates with his family and Nakajima in the ring, posing with the huge trophy Sasaki won. Sasaki does a short thank you speech and poses for a few more shots with his new trophy to close out the show.

Overall: A lot of fun in this one with a lot of good matches and a strong final to one of the most prestigious tournaments in Japan. I really should have watched this show sooner.


Monday, April 03, 2006


HUSTLE-MANIA 11/03/2005

Show starts with a really good intro video, which chronicled the history of the promotion leading up to this event.
We than get a rather funny start to the show as after some dramatic music, the lights were supposed to centre on Hustle GM Kusama in the centre of the ring, but they kept missing their mark and they had to restart 3 times! When they finally get it right, GM Kusama welcomes us to the show and thanks the crowd for their support, all to a chorus of “Hage” (baldy) chants. We than get a video rundown of the card for tonight’s big show, followed by “Captain Hustle” Naoya Ogawa leading the Hustle Army to the ring to do a song & dance number! It wasn’t the best choreography ever, but you could tell everyone from Masato Tanaka to the buxom beauties in the ring were all genuinely enjoying themselves.
When all is done, it’s time for our first match…err, First Hustle!

Opening Hustle: Kota Iifushi & Taiji Ishimori VS Kaz Hayashi & Jimmy Yang
This was a great match which was all action from start to finish and all 4 men worked really well together here. I haven’t seen Jimmy Yang in a long time, but he looked great here in this mini-Jung Dragons reunion, and he even stole of a page from Eddie Guerrero’s Lie, Cheat & Steal book when he faked getting hurt after flipping out of a German suplex from Iifushi. Yang definitely hasn’t lost a step as he moved very smoothly here with Ishimori & Iifushi, who I don’t think he’s worked against before.
Kaz & Ishimori continued their rivalry here and worked most of the match for their teams. Kaz played the grumpy veteran, but still sold enough for Ishimori & Iifushi. Ishimori blew one spot in the match, but that’s expected I guess when you work a speedy style like his.
A fun match to start off the show overall, only it was a little short.
Match Rating: **1/2

Backstage, some guy tries to get an interview with Kenzo & Hiroko Suzuki. The dressing room door is wide open, but when he steps in he gets chased out by one of Suzuki’s agents or something, who slams the door on them.

Next up is a recap video of the joshi feud going on in Hustle between Erica’s army and the Takada Army Amazoness group. We then see Erica & Margaret in their dressing room anticipating their match next, but Mrs. Devil is a bit worried as she found out that Arizin Z & Blanca X’s tag partner tonight is Jaguar Y

First Hustle: Margaret, Erica & Mrs. Devil VS Blanca X, Jaguar Y & Arizin Z
Jaguar Y is none other than joshi legend Jaguar Yokota, and the 3 Amazoness’ do a cool XYZ (get it?) pose on the ramp-way for their entrance!
Once you look past the wacky comedic gimmicks these six ladies have, they actually put on a really solid match here! I’ve been a fan of Devil Masami for a while now, and I love her gimmick here as the “Godmother of Puroresu”, and the comedy spots where she barks at her opponents to be quiet silent is hilarious! This match also pushed her old rivalry with Jaguar Yokota, and Yokota played up her cat gimmick excellently, scratching away with those really sharp claws/nails of hers and even adding the cutesy “nyan” to the end of her sentences!
I think the MVP of this match is a toss up either to Ayako Hamada or Aja Kong, as Arizin Z played an awesome heel here and showed her ability, and the same goes to Erica who switched between being a loud mouthed comedy wrestler to the stiff bitch we all know and love.
You gotta give Blanca-X her props as well for bumping her ass off for the bigger face team, but she also was given fair offense, including a great German-suplex on Erica in addition to her high-flying speedy offense. Margaret seemed to sit out most of the match, but what she did was cool as well, including the funny spot where she tried to give Jaguar a flower!
Like I said at the beginning, look past the comedy bits, and this was a really solid joshi match, and they gave it enough time even for everything to come together nicely.
Match Rating: ****

Guy backstage tries to get an interview with Izumi Motoya, Kenzo Suzuki’s opponent tonight. Instead he runs into the old lay that will be accompanying Motoya to the ring tonight. She does a promo and gives him a cookie.

Highlight video of the Wataru Sakata/Riki Choshu feud where Sakata has been calling out Choshu, and tonight Choshu has a mystery partner.

Second Hustle: Wataru Sakata & Mark Coleman VS Riki Choshu & Yoshiaki Fujiwara
Leave it to Choshu to no sell everything Sakata threw at him like the stiff grumpy veteran that he is. You gotta give props to Fujiwara though, being able to work the mat like he does at his age. He even got to show off that hard-head of his when he no sold getting rammed into the corner post twice, the second one even busting him open!
I liked that Sakata showed his heel side rather well, coming off as a more interesting Minoru Suzuki here, with an almost matching haircut. Coleman looked ok for what he got in, including powering out of a Fujiwara-armbar attempt by lifting him up into a sidewalk slam!
Unfortunately just when it looked like this one was getting good, the ended surprisingly quick with Coleman giving Fujiwara a knock-out punch for the surprise pinfall. So Sakata & Coleman kind of get elevated, but Choshu gets off without having to sell anything and keep himself over and untouched.
Match Rating: *1/2

Video highlighting theater actor Motoya Izumi making the jump into puroresu to face Kenzo Suzuki. Motoya is being trained by fellow stage actor and former NJPW wrestler AKIRA.

Kenzo & Hiroko make their way to the ring, and when it’s time for Izumi to come out, instead we have a large group lead by Izumi’s colleague, Sachie Onigawa, along with a masked man & AKIRA. They jabbed on mic for a bit, and the old lady announces Suzuki must first take on masked man Mr. Onigawa & AKIRA first.
They disrobe and hit the ring, but Suzuki quickly makes short work of them with his iron-claw/legsweep finisher. Kenzo than moons the old lady as the lights go out and Motoya makes his grand entrance, made to look like he’s being lowered from a helicopter!

Third Hustle: Kenzo Suzuki with Hiroko VS Motoya Izumi
Man, where do I begin with this one?
First we got Izumi in full theater garb going at it with a guy that’s almost twice his size. Of course Kenzo no-sells his slaps and elbow strikes, and begins to have his way with the actor. Give the kid credit for taking Suzuki’s big slaps and a big back breaker.
All Hell than breaks loose as Mr. Onigawa & AKIRA get involved to help Izumi and are rather effective, and gives Izumi an opening to hit a big sliding dropkick which flips Kenzo in mid-air, and also hit a big knee drop. Hiroko gets involved and throws powder in AKIRA’s eyes and gives Mr. Onigawa a low kick. She tries to throw powder at Izumi, but he ducks and Kenzo takes the powder to the eyes! Blinded, Kenzo accidentally spears Hiroko, and Izumi takes advantage to give Kenzo his finisher, the Kuchu Motoya Chop, where he jumps on Kenzo like he’s gonna do a frankensteiner, but instead delivers chops to Kenzo’s head. Kenzo buckles and Izumi falls on him and gets the pinfall!
If your gonna look at this match at a work rate stand point, it’s a complete dud. But it did have some entertainment value since the live crowd were heavily behind Motoya here.
Match Rating: DUD

Hustle intermission time. When we come back, we go backstage where Naoya Ogawa & Shinjiro Ohtani are training backstage pulling each other back and forth with a short rope. Camera pans to the left and we see Taichi Ishikari helping HG train, also by pulling on a rope, but HG’s side is tied around his waist and he’s doing hip thrusts to pull his side!

Video recap of how Generalissimo Takada hypnotized the Just Raizers to fight for the Takada Monster Army, and how now the Justraizers have to team with the Hustle Rangers against him to bring him back tot eh side of good. This is one of the reasons why we got a ton of kids in the audience to night, and why the match is so high up the card.

Fourth Hustle: The Neo Devil Pieroths #1, #2 & Just Raizer Great VS Hustle Kamen Red, Hustle Kamen Blue & Leo Sazer
First of all let me say that no matter how corny it might seem, I think it’s actually quite a stroke of genius to put Power Rangers into pro-wrestling matches. You have a good gimmick to bring the kids to the shows, and you can put any junior heavyweight under the costumes and have them put on a display much like what the kids see on TV, just minus the super powers.
This was another highflying match, and they got some pretty good workers to work the Sazer/Raizer gimmicks, though it was the Hustle Kamens and Neo Devils that did most of the work. I just think they could have done more with the Sazer/Raizer characters than what they did here as the match did come off rather flat since the crowd were rather quiet till the end.
Match Rating: **

We go to the Takada Monster Army lair backstage where Generalissimo Takada, along with Monster-K and An-Jo, gives Yin Ling a new whip. She demonstrates it’s power by whipping a post. An-Jo comments in a comedic manner that it didn’t work. Yin Ling does her M-pose, and the post splits in 2. Monster-K gives a thumbs up for it.

Quick rundown of the mini-tournament where Masato Tanaka & Kintaro Kanemura qualified over Monster-C & Giant Silva, and now have to face Tadao Yasuda & Genichiro Tenryu in the finals. They show Tenryu making his Hustle debut at a recent Hustle House show under his rarely used Hayabusa gimmick.

Semi Hustle – Hustle Super Tag Titles Decision Match: Masato Tanaka & Kintaro Kanemura VS Tadao Yasuda & Genichiro Tenryu
Tanaka & Kanemura come out accompanied by Neko Hiroshi, I think he’s some kind of celebrity in Japan as he gets a big pop from the crowd and they improvise the TNR dance for him too.
Hate to say it, but you gotta give Yasuda a lot of credit for bumping his ass off like he did here, taking all the hardcore punishment Tanaka & Kanemura had to to dish out, including table shots, chair shots, and getting a table hammered into his groin! You also gotta give Tenryu credit for taking the table bump like he did when Tanaka splashed him through a table.
I think the only downside was the rather quick ending to what would probably have developed into a solid match. Tenryu had to go into grumpy no selling bastard mode and totally decimate Kanemura with just a lariat and a 53-Years Old for the win. I was really hoping to see some good Tenryu/Tanaka elbow/chop exchanges, but we didn’t get any.
Match Rating: **1/2

Video recap of HG coming to Hustle and causing all kinds of chaos with his hyper hip thrusting ability. Even the Takada Monster Army can’t seem to keep a straight face the first time he came out thrusting his hips like jackhammer. Even Kawada, Ogawa & Ohtani couldn’t keep a straight face either. His debut match tonight should be interesting since they showed HG in training, learning his new signature moves like the 69 Driver.

Main Hustle: “Captain Hustle” Naoya Ogawa, “Hustle Achichi” Shinjiro Ohtani & HG VS Yin Ling-sama, “Monster-K” Toshiaki Kawada & “Mr. 300%” An-Jo
Wow. HG got the pop of the night when he came out, and he actually earned his wrestling stripes here as the crowd popped for everything he did, and even I was impressed since he worked rather well in the ring and didn’t blow any spots. They protected him rather well by having him come in, do his thing, and getting out quickly before he got winded. I think it’s also needless to say the crowd went insane for everything HG did, and you also have to give him credit for taking a few bumps from the likes of Kawada here.
Honestly, I think Yin Ling would also make a good wrestler if she didn’t wear the high heels all the time. She had two innovative submission moves, utilizing her M-pose as part of an Indian Death Lock and an arm-lock.
The main focus of the match was of course on HG, but the other four guys in the match all worked hard too. I really find it hard to believe HG received bigger pops for what he did compared to Ogawa & Kawada’s exchanges in the match, but that’s Hustle for you I guess.
Match Rating: ***

Kawada carries Yin Ling up the rampway and Generalissimo Takada comes out, does a promo, and Kawada lays Yin Ling on a platform, which lowers her under the stage. Kinda like a lowering a casket.
They gab some more, than the Monster Army leaves, leaving the Hustle Army to do the obligatory 3-2-1 Hustle! with the crowd to close out the show.

Overall: Okie, my first Hustle experience, and it was rather fun. The company has come a long way since their debut, as they’ve actually added work rate to the bizarre gimmicks. Granted, not everything was top of the line quality, and this probably wasn’t the best card you could put together as the first HustleMania show, but it was all really entertaining once you get past all the wacky gimmicks in the company.



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