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.