Puroresu Show Reviews
Reviews of puroresu shows in my collection
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Dragon Gate “Battle Junction” PPV 1/27/2006
We kick off the PPV with Do-Fixer coming out to welcome the crowd and wishing everyone a happy new year. They get done, but Blood Generation come out and both sides start yapping it up about “captains”, and the main event is decided as a “Captain’s Fall” match. Magnitude says a few words which brings out a serious Anthony W. Mori to the ring and asking for a shot at Kishiwada, and they decided it to be a 10-man tag, but then Ryo says it’ll only be 8-man, with Mori replacing Genki! Naoki isn’t happy about this but Genki tells him to listen to Ryo, who is the group leader. Magnitude is then named the team captain for the Blood Generation team, and Mori the captain of the Do-Fixer team in the main event tonight.Super Shisa & King Shisa VS Susumu Yokosuka & Kenichiro Arai
Solid opener with a good mix of comedy and fast speed action. I like the opening bit where they did a bunch of comedy spots around Susumu & Araken slapping Shisa on the back hard. REALLY hard. And it still surprises me how quick on his feet King Shisa is for his size. Araken & Susumu showed some good team work, and it was fun watching Susumu do some comedy like he did here, but I can’t wait to watch him get serious again later down the line and chase Ryo and the Dream Gate title.Match Rating: *1/2
The Florida Brothers come out for their match and they wonder who their opponent will be since Anthony is now in the main event spot and was originally supposed to face them in a handicap match. Well, it’s non other than the man Anthony is replacing in the match, Genki Horiguchi!Handicap Match: Florida Brothers VS Genki Horiguchi
I haven’t seen a Florida Brothers match in a long while, and the last time I saw Genki VS the Floridas, it was a screaming match. This time the best way I could describe it was that they were having a HERNIA match as all 3 of them took low blows and continued the match while having difficulty moving thanks to the pain in their lower extremities! This was also one of those rare times where the Floridas won by pinfall instead of DQ, as they pinned Genki with a rather innovative roll-up.
Fun match, only it was a little short.Match Rating: *
Entertainment Rating: ***BxB Hulk & Katsuo VS Vengallys & Tozawa
Tozawa comes out in his Vengallys gear and his personality and entertainment value immediately jump up a few points! He did Vengallys’ gigolo dance intro, but had a little trouble getting his pants off, but it was fun to watch and the crowd loved it too. I think the only thing wrong was Tozawa was wearing his black tights instead of matching white tights with Vengallys, which Katsuo was wearing.
And when match kicked off, Tozawa was rather entertaining with his imitation of Vengallys’ mannerisms, which the crowd again loved, and he gave a solid showing for himself in the ring against both Katsuo and Hulk. I thought Vengallys himself was rather ok, but he did seem out of place and had a few odd spots when it looked like he wasn’t selling his opponent’s offense.
Katsuo was ok looking himself, and it was fun watching him play up his confusion on Tozawa’s gimmick. Hulk had a good showing too and it was interesting to see him get out cheered by Tozawa!
Fun match overall, but I didn’t like what happened after when Araken came out and ridiculed Tozawa for his choice of a mentor and gimmick. What? The old fart would rather he become a boring run of the mill rookie instead of someone with a PERSONALITY?!?Match Rating: *Magnum TOKYO & Masaaki Mochizuki VS Shingo Takagi & Don Fuji
Now this one was really good as you the ace team of Magnum & Mochi against the BG team of veteran Fuji and rookie monster Shingo. Shingo hasn’t been given the rookie treatment in a long time, so it was interesting to see him get slapped around by Mochi & Magnum during the opening moments of the match. But the veterans did a good job of making him look like the rookie monster he was at they had a heck of a time just trying to get him off his feet and he was able to counter almost every suplex or slam attempt on him. He even muscled up Mochi and gave him a Twister! I also liked seeing Fuji in a position where he couldn’t no sell his opponents offense and had his fair share of trouble with the ace team throughout the match.
Magnum seems to be slacking a bit during his dance intro, but it’s still one of the best entrances in the business today. He worked a solid match and started off with a great slap exchange with Fuji, and the rest of it was solid as well even if he didn’t break out his full arsenal. The same could be said for Mochi who’s arsenal was mostly down to his stiff kicking ability.
I also noticed how this match had more heat than any of the previous ones, probably cause they were given more time to work, but I have noticed that Mochi & Magnum still get bigger pops than most of the young studs on the roster.Match Rating: **1/2
Post match Don Fuji isn’t happy about losing the match and takes his frustrations out on referee Yasushi Kanda. This of course begins sowing the seeds of the original M2K reunion later. Ever notice the only way Fuji can get any heat is by abusing rookies and referees? If he didn’t stick with CIMA all the time, he’d probably be the biggest jobber in the company.Captain’s Fall Elimination Match: Ryo Saito, Anthony W. Mori (C), Dragon Kid & Naoki Tanisaki VS CIMA, Magnitude Kishiwada (C), Masato Yoshino & Naruki Doi
Now this was a great fast paced main event with more than a few surprises. First they teased Naoki walking out on Do-Fixer after Ryo accidentally hit him, only for Naoki to run in out of nowhere and eliminate Doi with the Backslide from Heaven! Tanisaki himself put on a strong showing against CIMA before CIMA spiked him with the Schwein twice to eliminate him. They continued to build the feud between Yoshino & Dragon Kid when Yoshino eliminated Kid with his cool Lightning Spiral finisher, showing once again that Kid couldn’t kick out of the move and Yoshino seemingly has the Brave Gate champion’s number for the eventual showdown. And the big surprise of course being Anthony W. Mori beating Magnitude Kishiwada with a triangle-choke to beat the team captain and win the match. The strong finish by Mori more than makes up for the fact that Magnitude was beating him left and right all over the place throughout the match, but showed that Mori could indeed withstand a beating and had a legitimate move that could beat the Dream Gate champion.
A great match overall and good way to close out the PPV after a mostly lackluster show.Match Rating: ***1/2
Overall: The beginning matches were ok, and the opening segment did go kind of long, but the payoff at the end of the show was worth it to see them build up Mori into someone that did indeed have a slim chance instead of no chance of beating the champion.
Labels: Dragon Gate
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
NOAH “Spring Navigation” 4/23/2006
Ricky Marvin & Yoshinori Ota VS Mitsuo Momota & Akihito Ito
I guess with Eigen now retired, Momota gets to play the grumpy senior role to the rookies. I’m still surprised at the rate Momota can work at his age, he doesn’t look like he’s slowed down at all and can still go when needed. He even took a pretty sick sounding enzuguiri from Marvin in this one.
The rookies looked ok against each other, and I like that Ota is indeed using the swinging bulldog for a finisher by the look of things, and Ito has a bit of a grappler style going for him the way he did a sweet float-over out of a butterfly suplex into a cross-armbreaker! Will be interesting to see how these kids develop in the coming months.Match Rating: 1/2*Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Takashi Sugiura & Shuhei Taniguchi VS Junji Izumuda, Kentaro Shiga & Atsushi Aoki
Shiga is still using the bad-ass sunglasses look! Coolness!
This was a fun tag match with another great showing from the rookies, and a bit of comedy from Izumuda & Shiga. I think Taniguchi is going to make a great heavyweight rival to Go Shiozaki, and Aoki has definite junior heavyweight potential considering the punishment he took and the amount of offense he got in, even being able to counter Sugiura’s Olympic Slam!
Like I said before, I love Shiga’s new look, and here’s hoping he teams more with Akiyama as they make a pretty good tandem.Match Rating: *Akitoshi Saito & Kishin Kawabata VS Tamon Honda & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi
Not a lot to this one. You could actually see that they were holding back a bit and just did this one by the numbers. Honda catching Kawabata out of the Axe Bomber into the Rolling Olympic Hell was nice, but that was a really weak Dead End he hit that ended the match.Match Rating: 1/2*Akira Taue & Takuma Sano VS Scorpio & Eddie Edwards
This was short, but entertaining thanks to Scorpio & Edwards bumping their asses off for Taue. Edwards still hasn’t impressed me, even if he did hit a good Shining Wizard on Sano off Scorpio’s back. The gaijins controlled the beginning of the match, but when Taue came in and cleaned house was when things really picked up. Heck, Taue even did a diving foot stomp off the second rope! Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? The stereo Northern Lights Bomb and Nadoa Otoshi double pin finish was fun too. This was easily the first match that brought the crowd alive at the Budokan.Match Rating: *1/2Takeshi Rikioh, Takeshi Morishima & Mohammed Yone VS Doug Williams, Nigel McGuiness & Keith Walker
This was a fun six man tag with a lot of unexpected surprises, like Morishima doing a jumping hip attack, and a cartwheel corner splash! Nigel McGuiness was also rather entertaining with his probably unintentional comedy style. Walker was rather ok playing the thuggish heel calling out Rikioh, and it looked like the two could put on an interesting singles match down the line if Walker wasn’t such a jobber, falling to the Muso tonight.
Another fun match to follow up the previous one. Rather short in length, but still entertaining.Match Rating: *1/2Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa VS Minoru Suzuki & SUWA
Now this was a rather odd but entertaining match. You couldn’t tell if this was really serious considering all the small comedy bits they threw in between Misawa and Suzuki all over the match. The only thing really missing from this one that I was hoping to see was Ogawa & Suzuki trying to out-weasel each other.
But we did get the afore mentioned fun Misawa/MiSuzuki stuff, and SUWA was given a great showing against Misawa, hitting the John Woo and almost getting the biggest win of his career before Misawa kicked out of the FFF. Misawa had to pull out the Emerald Frosion which I think he hasn’t done in a while to put out SUWA, which just adds to SUWA’s stock a bit I guess.Match Rating: **1/2Kenta Kobashi VS Naomichi Marufuji
This was rather better than Kobashi/KENTA from the previous Budokan show as it really felt like it had more structure to it with Marufuji attacking Kobashi’s legs. Though why anyone would think it would be a good idea to have Kobashi’s legs worked over knowing the condition they are already in beats the heck out of me as I would not risk wanting to injure the franchise of the company.
Other than, we got the usual Kobashi chop-spots and Marufuji doing superkicks like they were going out of style. They did innovate some spots though, like Marufuji’s springboard missile dropkick out to the floor on Kobashi! And there was also a good share of near falls like when Marufuji hit a cross-armed German suplex-hold on Kobashi, and the Shiranui. Marufuji also showed that he could take punishment when he able to kick out of a killer top rope half-nelson suplex as well as the deadly Burning Lariat before being put out by a sick Real Brainbuster.
Like Kobashi said, he recognizes the strength of the next generation, but he still doesn’t intend to go down without a fight.Match Rating: ***1/2GHC Jr. Heavyweight Title: KENTA VS Taiji Ishimori
Ishimori makes his grand NOAH debut in a match where he gets stiffed all over the place by his good buddy KENTA. It was pretty obvious the fans knew Ishimori didn’t have a chance as he barely got any reaction for his near falls and it took a lot for him to win the crowd over, but he more or less did by the end of it.
This also wasn’t the all out spot-fest everyone thought it would be as KENTA dominated the early portions of the match by stiffing the hell out of the little guy and no selling most of Ishimori’s strikes. But Ishimori was a treat to see when he finally got some offense going, pulling off some innovative moves I have never seen before like this bizarre flipping cradle DDT move and a top rope flipping fall-away slam!
A fun match, but the major flaw being that Ishimori was no where near established enough for the fans to buy that he could actually beat KENTA for the title tonight. The match probably would have benefited more if Ishimori had at least done a tour with NOAH so that the fans could get a grasp of who he is and what he had to bring to the table.Match Rating: ***1/2GHC Heavyweight Title: Jun Akiyama VS Masao Inoue
Big pop for Inoue when he came out, and he had a whole entourage of wrestlers wearing “Yoshia!” t-shirts accompanying him! The wrestlers were actually the other 7 men in the tournament he won to earn his shot tonight.
Inoue attacks Akiyama right at the bell with a big lariat, then immediately hits a big time COBRA-CLUTCH SUPLEX for a near fall! Inoue quickly lifts up Akiyama in the Argentine Backbreaker, but Akiyama quickly counters into a sleeper and puts Inoue in a front neck lock before slamming him over with a quick Exploder for a near fall!
In case you couldn’t tell from that opening MINUTE of action from the match, it was a hell lot better than it had any right to be! Seriously, Inoue looked to have a better chance at beating Akiyama here than Ishimori did against KENTA. Inoue took a massive beating from the champion, but still managed show a lot of heart and fighting spirit by getting up everytime Akiyama thought he had him down. And you can’t blame Inoue for almost winning the match twice by count out!
And you could tell Akiyama was loving every minute of getting booed by the Budokan crowd as he intentionally tried to get under their skin and make them cheer for the biggest underdog in GHC title history. Akiyama won the match after battering Inoue with a barrage of running knee attacks and a wicked wrist-clutch Exploder, but for one night, Inoue was a true main event star in my view.Match Rating: ****Overall:
This wasn’t one of the best Budokan shows ever by far, but definitely had one of the more memorable and fun main events. Masao Inoue’s Cinderella story might be over, but it was quite a ride he took to get there.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
AJPW Champion Carnival 4/09/2006
Show starts off with the usual RO&D welcome to be followed by the Voodoo Murders interruption to be followed by the RO&D BOO-YAH bit. This is already getting stale.Kaz Hayashi, Masanobu Fuchi & Ryuji Hijikata VS Kikutaro, Nobutaka Araya & Nobukazu Hirai
OK opener, but I’ll admit I’m also getting a little tired of Kikutaro’s act. Sure it can be entertaining, but it just doesn’t fit when he doesn’t have someone like Kuishinbo Kamen to play off of. Araya playing Kikutaro’s big goof partner is a waste of his potential too. I would really like to see Kikutaro get serious for just one night and challenge for the Jr. title just to see what happens since the crowd always pops when he does something unexpected, like trying to finish Kaz with his own Final Cut move.Match Rating: *Champion Carnival – Block B: Arashi VS Katsuhiko Nakajima
Good God I thought I was having a NJPW Tadao Yasuda flashback with the way Arashi was moving here. Seriously, the big man couldn’t look less motivated to even MOVE and looked to be gasping for breath after EVERY move he did.
The only good thing about the match was when Nakajima was on offense and the crowd was behind him for everything he did. They really should have given him a win over this useless old fatty.Match Rating: *Kensuke Sasaki, Tomoaki Honma & Brute Issei VS AKIRA, NOSAWA Rongai & MAZADA
Now this match was a lot of fun, and NOSAWA & MAZADA were a lot more hilarious with their antics than Kikutaro was in the opener as they made it seem more natural and not forced for the sake of comedy. The Tokyo Gurentai team seriously are a lot of fun to watch in action cause they just work well together. I almost forgot AKIRA was in the match too.
Brute looks like a young Yutaka Yoshie, only a lot taller. He was working with a bad shoulder and still did look a little green, but played his role well. He really needs to work on his spear though as you’d expect a bigger impact when a huge 300-pounder hits a junior heavyweight and they drop straight down instead of the little guy getting pushed back.
It was good to see Honma back in action even if he did have limited in ring time.
And Sasaki was a lot of fun to watch as well as he knows how to work with smaller guys like the Tokyo Gurentai and make it entertaining and both sides looking good by the end of it. And the lariat he gave AKIRA was definitely wicked!Match Rating: **1/2Taiyo Kea, D-Lo Brown, Buchanan & Matt Morgan VS TARU, Kohei Suwama, Shuji Kondo & “brother” YASSHI
This was actually pretty ok up until the DQ ending.
Here’s something I noticed about Matt Morgan: Mutoh is actually doing the right thing by pushing him in small doses. Sure he’s a big gaijin monster, but their not letting him run rampant like they did with the more established Giant Bernard. Most probably the reason why NJPW dropped Morgan for Bernard, because they were too lazy to build him up themselves and want the instant superstar instead of one they can say they made themselves.
Another thing I’d like to note about the RO&D team is now not only does Buchanan do the Bruiser Brody mannerisms, but now has the hairy boot paddings to go with it!
I like what VM have done for Suwama, giving him an image and an attitude, but I still don’t dig the big push he’s getting. Sure he’s gifted, but his push does seem rushed as he’s already kicking out of finishers from the likes of D-Lo & Kea who are years above him in seniority and experience.Match Rating: **Champion Carnival – Block B: Satoshi Kojima VS Minoru Suzuki
Even if you didn’t know the results of this one, it’s pretty obvious it was going to a draw since they did all the stalling that usually comes with a 30-minute draw. Actually, it was like your standard Minoru Suzuki match where almost everything he does is a time waster, which is his style. He did the top-rope octopus-hold to Kojima, which looked a lot more painful than the one he did to Akiyama since this time he sat all his weight down on Kojima’s head while his throat was on the ropes! He also did a great cross-armbreaker variation where he also hooked Kojima’s leg to make it a double-submission move. Other than that, it was the usual MiSuzuki slap, grapple and stall match format.
I didn’t like seeing Kojima get dominated here like he did, but I guess I’m used to him being booked as the longest reigning, but most vulnerable champion in Japan. Not sure what it does for him since he was winded by the end of it and MiSuzuki was still fresh as a daisy, even getting a “Minoru” chant from the Korakuen crowd.Match Rating: **Champion Carnival – Block A: Keiji Mutoh VS Yutaka Yoshie
Two things to note about this match: 1) Yoshie has obviously loss some weight, and 2) He carried Mutoh to one of the best matches I’ve seen from the bad kneed genius in a long time!
Seriously, give Yoshie a lot of credit here for making Mutoh look like a million bucks, and of course Mutoh himself deserves some credit for making Yoshie look like the big monster that he is the way Yoshie dominated the power game using his size like he always does to pummel and squash his opponents. He even brought out the old Air Bag German suplex!
Of course I really would have liked it more if Yoshie won, but to his credit, it took Mutoh SIX Shining Wizards at various angles to finally put the big man down. I really hope Yoshie sticks around AJPW for a bit, and Mutoh books him well as Yoshie is a great native talent to have on the roster.Match Rating: ***Overall:
Not a whole lot to this one, nothing really bad, but two entertaining main events and a fun six-man tag give it some watch value.
Monday, May 08, 2006
NOAH “Spring Navigation” 4/02/2006
Interestingly enough, they start off with a clip from earlier in the day of Mitsuharu Misawa, Kenta Kobashi & Haruka Eigen visiting the Tokyo Giants during their training at the Tokyo Dome next door to Korakuen Hall.Mohammed Yone & Daisuke Ikeda VS Tamon Honda & Yoshinori Ota
It’s interesting to see that NOAH aren’t holding down the rookies to just doing basics, as Ota managed to get in a pretty good swinging bulldog on Ikeda, and tried for something out of a fireman’s carry before Ikeda escaped. He also took some wicked punishment including several painfully stiff kicks to the head from Ikeda. I also liked that it was the Ikeda-Lock and not the Boston crab or single leg crab of rookie doom that ended the match.
There was also this really fun spot where Honda locked Yone in a standing shoulder lock, and swung him like a weapon at Ikeda before slamming him down in the Rolling Olympic Hell.Match Rating: 1/2*Minoru Suzuki & SUWA VS Akira Taue & Atsushi Aoki
Hats off to Aoki as he took a heck of a beating, but still showed some fire here. MiSuzuki pulled a Nakamura here when he locked a chicken wing armlock on Aoki out of a German suplex, but Aoki actually managed to fight to his feet instead of tapping out! He also did this sweet armlock counter out of a bodyslam on SUWA!
I like the MiSuzuki/SUWA heel tandem. They just fit each other as a team and it was fun when they played up dissention between them only blindside Aoki! It was also interesting seeing MiSuzuki counter Taue’s nadoa otoshi into an armbar. And Taue of course was just his old fun self to follow.Match Rating: 1/2*Takeshi Rikioh & Takeshi Morishima VS Scorpio & Keith Walker
This was really forgettable. Walker is a big buff American from WLW and resembles Batista a bit, but is still a bit green and has nowhere near the presence Batista has. He didn’t even show anywhere near the level of skill that the rookies in the 2 previous matches had. Give me Bison Smith anyday.Match Rating: 1/4*GHC Heavyweight Title No.1 Contenders Tournament: Shuhei Taniguchi VS Masao Inoue
The beginning of the Masao Inoue Cinderella story, and they seemed to put him as the underdog since the first round as Taniguchi controlled a majority of the match! Taniguchi looks a bit like a young Takao Omori, and is actually bigger than Inoue here and showed some good mat skills. But Taniguchi was given more offense than that, as he was also able to counter many of Inoue’s moves, including the Argentine Backbreaker at one point in the match. Is it just me also, or do all the NOAH rookies have SWEET German suplexes? Taniguchi even almost did a dead-lift German on Inoue!
I’m liking what I’m seeing in Taniguchi, and team of him and Go Shiozaki should make for a great underdog team, if not a heated rivalry.Match Rating: *1/2GHC Heavyweight Title No.1 Contenders Tournament: Junji Izumuda VS Takuma Sano
They both worked hard here, but this was one of those matches that felt like it went too long. There were some fun bits, like Sano breaking a chair over Izumuda’s head, and Izumuda no sold it due to his hard cranium. Izumuda than hit a barrage of diving head butts, followed by Sano hitting a barrage of German suplexes. Sano even managed to hit a second rope brainbuster on big Izumuda, and Izu managed a second rope diamond cutter! The fans were in to it, but not all that much, like me.Match Rating: *Mitsuharu Misawa, Yoshinari Ogawa & Ricky Marvin VS Doug Williams, Nigel McGuinness & Eddie Edwards
I guess this match was mostly about pushing Marvin since he has a Global Hardcore Crown title match coming up in a week. I don’t really have any complaints since the guy is seriously talented and entertaining to watch. He even did a tribute to Eddie Guerrero as he hit a springboard frog splash while shouting “Ariba la Razza!”, and I was surprised though that he picked up the win with one of Mike Modest’s finishers.
Ogawa & Marvin worked a brunt of the match, and it was interesting seeing Ogawa trade mat holds with Williams & McGuinness. I enjoy the rather unique offense the two brits bring to the match. Edwards on the other hand was seriously nothing to shout about here. Good look, but nothing much else.Match Rating: **Jun Akiyama, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Kentaro Shiga VS Akitoshi Saito, Takashi Sugiura & Kishin Kawabata
Rather fun start to this one as GHC champion Akiyama came out wearing sunglasses, and he then brought out Shiga who was doing the same! Shiga looked rather bad ass in the shades, compared to his usually dorky look. I think Akiyama is taking Shiga under his wing since they have been tagging together a lot recently.
The match was a good back and forth affair with everyone getting their shots in, and even a bit of comedy from Akiyama & Shiga, Akiyama repeatedly covering Kawabata and asking the referee to count for a handful of 2 counts, and Shiga seems to be playing up a some kind of suave pretty boy look as he adjusts his hair a lot.
There wasn’t a lot from Akiyama in this one, but everyone else worked hard to make it enjoyable. Kanemaru really does seem to be in the process of being phased out as Sugiura controlled a lot of their exchanges, and Shiga and Kawabata had some good exchanges as well, and Shiga picked up the win with a modified cross-armed cradle move.Match Rating: **Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi VS KENTA & Naomichi Marufuji
The story of the match was the rivalry between Kobashi & KENTA, and how they constantly try to cheapshot each other, but sentimental favorite Kikuchi’s performance won the fans over more in my opinion. He took a beating, but more than held his own and dished it out with his younger opponents. Kikuchi even did a awesome modified variation of his Fireball-bomb where he flipped KENTA over and dropped him on his head with a DDT! His facial mannerisms when he blocked KENTA so he couldn’t help Marufuji was priceless too.
I hate to admit that sometimes it’s hard to watch Kobashi with his limited mobility thanks to his bad knees, and I do tire of his heavy chop offense after a while, but it was still fun watching him here. There was this great spot where he did the machinegun chops to Marufuji in the corner, and Marufuji held both his hands up to block the chops, but Kobashi chopped away anyway till Marufuji’s arms hurt and he dropped his defense leaving him open to the chops!
KENTA continues to be the arrogant little bastard as he took every chance he got to cheapshot Kobashi. He really did seem to stiff Kobashi with his kicks now and then too. It’s good that he’s not intimidated by a guy that’s bigger and stronger than him. I really would like to see him have a junior title defense against Kikuchi though.Match Rating: ***Overall:
Good show overall with a solid main event as they start the road to the Budokan and the Cinderella story of Masao Inoue. Check back soon for my review of the Budokan show.