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Puroresu Show Reviews

Reviews of puroresu shows in my collection

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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