Puroresu Show Reviews
Reviews of puroresu shows in my collection
Saturday, July 22, 2006
BJW Death Match Wars #63
The second half of the big 1/27/06 new year’s show.
Show kicks off with a look back at the formation of Mammoth Sasaki & Shadow WX as a tag team and the road they traveled to get a tag title shot tonight from Abdullah Kobayashi & Daisuke Sekimoto. Daikokubo Benkei & GENTARO VS Yuichi Taniguchi & Hyoma
Benkei might be the only wrestler in Japan with less mobility than Mr. Pogo or Tadao Yasuda, but he fits in well to these little comedy matches and actually gets motivated to do little sprints every now and then. His on going rivalry with Taniguchi has lead some fun moments thanks to Taniguchi’s unique comedy style. Though it wouldn’t hurt if Taniguchi went serious for a change as he does have some skills when needed and he does have an amateur wrestling background.
Hyoma & GENTARO added some flash to the match thanks to their mix of aerial and ground skills. Thankfully Hyoma will indeed be getting a push down the line, and I can’t wait to see what he can do in a death match environment.Match Rating: 1/2*
MEN’S Teioh & Onryo VS Yuko Miyamoto & Shinobu
Onryo’s 666 boys gets some TV exposure thanks to his friendship with Teioh. Miyamoto & Shinobu had a good showing despite getting mostly dominated by the senior veteran team. Shinobu did manage to hit the Sex Bomber and S.E.X, but always came up short with the cover. One thing that didn’t make sense though was why Shinobu turned his attention to the referee when Onryo caught the referee’s hand to break the 3 count (like what Yoshinari Ogawa likes to do), and continued to argue with him when Onryo was getting back up to his feet right in front of him while still holding the referee’s hand!
The double Onryo Driver / Miracle Extacy finisher by Onryo & Teioh for the double pin was a great visual and fun end to the match though. The 666 boys are scheduled to make more appearances in BJW in the coming weeks, so it’ll be good working experience and exposure for them for sure.Match Rating: *
Big Japan Tag Titles: Muscle & Fat (Daisuke Sekimoto & Abdullah Kobayashi) (C) VS Team Angogata (?) (Mammoth Sasaki & Shadow WX)
I’m guessing this wasn’t contested under Death Match rules since they already had a big death match lined up for the main event, but it was still a solid contest pitting the champions against physically the largest tag team in Big Japan who have been running through the competition in recent months.
The champions started off strong with Kobayashi hitting a big dive through the ropes on to the challengers. Sasaki & WX took control when they brawled out into the audience and they double chokeslammed Sekimoto off the second ring (set up for the spider net death match main) event through a table, and continued pummeling the champions with chairs and bits of table. Kobayashi managed to get the hot tag leading to the closing sprint where they dished out the big moves, especially the heated lariat exchange between Sekimoto & WX. Sekimoto was almost able to deadlift-German WX when Sasaki whacked him in the head with a chair. The closing saw Sekimoto charge in and almost get his head taken off by a hard lariat from WX, who finished him off with a brainbuster to win the titles.
It was the standard Big Japan brawl style tag match with big bumps and a hot finish, but it did seem rather rushed at just 15 minutes. I seriously think they could have done better.Match Rating: ***
Monday, July 17, 2006
AJPW Champion Carnival Finals 4/20/2006
Show kicks off with a fun recap video of the road the four Champion Carnival semi-finalists took to get here tonight.
The live show kicks off with the usual greeting from TAKA Michinoku & RO&D, which is of course followed by the redundant interruption by Voodoo Murders. Same old same old.Kaz Hayashi, AKIRA & Akira Raijin VS D-Lo Brown, Buchanan & Matt Morgan
2 junior heavies and a green horn VS 3 super heavyweights (D-Lo is announced as weighing 300lbs). The match was short with a quick pace, with mostly the bigger gaijin team dominating. Kaz & AKIRA got some good offense in, but there was never really ever any doubt who would win this. Heck, despite this being a big event, the match felt a lot like filler material. D-Lo scored the quick win with the Lo-Down on Raijin while Morgan & Buchanan kept Kaz & AKIRA at bay.Match Rating: 1/2*Champion Carnival Semi Final: Minoru Suzuki VS Taiyo Kea
I liked the video package they played before this and the promo Kea did where he noted how this year’s carnival was special to him because he’s the last All Japan true born left. Seeing that helps bring home the fact that Kea has mostly been forgotten and neglected up till now.
Now this was a really fun match, and interesting the way they booked Suzuki to be the more dominant of the two, but Kea always having the fighting spirit to keep going. And the closing stretch where they were trading counters up to Kea scoring the surprise pinfall countering Suzuki trying to kick out of an armbreaker was excellently done, and got a big pop from the surprised crowd, even Masa Fuchi was clapping from the commentary table. Kea came out looking good, as well as maintaining Suzuki as still being a threat.Match Rating: **1/2Champion Carnival Semi Final: Satoshi Kojima VS Suwama
Despite knowing they still had to fight another match if they got past this one, they still put on one brutally physical match here! There’s a lot of bad blood between these two as pointed out by the highlight video where Suwama first attacked Kojima and joined up with the Voodoo Murders all those months back, following through with Suwama always scraping by a win over the Triple Crown champion.
Kojima was all business tonight with a grudge to settle. He took it straight to Suwama right from the ring introductions, giving him a big backdrop suplex followed by a brainbuster! Suwama was able to take back the advantage thanks to interference from TARU & YASSHI. Interesting to note how Kojima showed one heck of a mean streak in this one, going so far as to no-sell a chair beating on his arm as well as 2 release Germans where he landed right on his bad shoulder! Kojima definitely looked like a really strong champion here, the way any champion should be booked.
The ending of the match was rather questionable, as Kojima and Suwama both fell out of the ring, and the referee laid the count on both of them, and continued the count even though YASSHI got in his face to distract him. Wouldn’t that usually break the count or something? And of course while YASSHI distracted the ref, TARU ran over and whacked Kojima with his pipe, leading to Kojima not being able to have the strength to climb back into the ring. It did make sense that Masa Fuchi left the announce table to complain to the referee about it though, even if the referee’s decision stood.Match Rating: **1/2Yutaka Yoshie, Arashi & Brute Issei VS Kensuke Sasaki, Tomoaki Honma & Katsuhiko Nakajima
Granted he was on the winning team, but I still feel Honma got a bit of a raw deal in this one as he took a beating without getting much offense in, whereas Nakajima was given the rub of flipping Arashi with a half-hatch suplex! We all know any offense Nakajima gets in will result in crowd heat, but the same goes for Honma. Again it’s no wonder he eventually left the company. Sasaki was fun to watch directing traffic for his team. I like his new clubbing lariat combo, but would have liked to see more of him in this match. He only tagged in at the very end and did minimal work before scoring the win on Issei with a lariat.
The super-heavyweight threesome was fun to watch also, the way they were able to come up with a few double and triple-team moves using their girth to their advantage. Too bad Arashi was given the boot from the company as the trio clicked well and Issei was getting a rub from his seniors.Match Rating: *AJPW Jr. Heavyweight Title: Shuji Kondo (C) VS MAZADA
GOOD GOD! How the heck Kondo can even walk after this match is beyond me since MAZADA gave him a frickin’ TOMBSTONE CANADIAN DESTROYER and Kondo landed in a very SICK looking angle right on his head! The match was billed as Strength VS Technique, and lived up to it very well as Kondo battered MAZADA all over the place with his power, whereas MAZADA used his Lucha Techinico skills to counter a lot of Kondo’s offense! It also added to the match that NOSAWA took YASSHI out of the match early so there was no outside interference, making it a true competitive match which ended up as one heck of a slobber knocker with all kinds of insane bumps taken by both men. I guess the only small thing I would have to complain about was how Kondo’s King Kong Lariat finisher didn’t look as hard hitting as all the other sick spots they threw out in the match. But still, this was easily one of the best junior heavy title matches I’ve seen in a long while! Match Rating: ****TARU & “brother” YASSHI VS Keiji Mutoh & Milano Collection A.T.
It was good to see Milano working in Japan again and he fits right in to Mutoh’s AJPW. He’s also still in great shape and hasn’t lost a step with a strong showing against his ex-Toryumon/T2P running mates TARU & YASSHI. Interesting to see Mutoh do a few comedy spots in this one, like using the towel on YASSHI’s pants to wipe his bald head! But much like the other tag matches on this show so far, this just felt like a throwaway as they never really built up to anything other than to showcase Milano to the AJPW crowd.Match Rating: *1/2AJPW 2006 Champion Carnival Finals: Suwama VS Taiyo Kea
Here’s a little something that boggles the mind. You’d think Suwama would be winded after the beating Kojima gave him, instead he’s looking more fresh than Kea who gets winded easily from a few blows! I liked that RO&D chased off the Voodoo Murders and let the two men settle it like it should be done, just like the junior title match earlier. And the results again was a great competitive match, with a good old-school build leading to a climatic finale full of big bumps and near falls! They even did the old Kobashi/Akiyam suplex exchange spot, with Suwama doing half-nelsons and Kea dropping Suwama on his head with the cobra-clutch suplexes! This match was easily levels above their first round match back when the Carnival started, and it was definitely good to see Kea bust his ass to win his much deserved first Champion Carnival win.Match Rating: ****
RO&D celebrate with Kea in the ring. TAKA congratulates Kea, and Kea cuts a short promo in Japanese, challenging Kojima for the Triple Crown and saying that he IS AJPW.Overall:
Despite the rather throwaway nature of the tag matches on the card, the main matches on the card definitely delivered on a grand scale; the two fun semi-final matches which helped to develop on-going feuds, the INCREDIBLE Jr. title match which significantly raised the stock of MAZADA, and the emotional Champion Carnival win of Taiyo Kea, setting the stage for his Triple Crown reign after being forgotten and overlooked for so long. Definitely a great end to the 2006 Carnival, and it will be interesting to see what they come up with for next year!
Saturday, July 15, 2006
AJPW Battle Banquet #97
AJPW Champion Carnival 4/15/2006
Highlights of Champion Carnival matches from the past few days and the current point standings.Champion Carnival Block B: Matt Morgan VS Arashi
A battle of the super-heavyweights. Arashi is a big man, but Morgan is HUGE compared to him. The match was sloppy in places, like the bizarre spot where Arashi looked like he was going for a belly-to-belly, but instead dropped back to smash Morgan’s face into the turnbuckle, and Arashi actually doing a sunset flip which came off rather horribly! They did do some things right though. They sort of established Morgan as a big monster with incredible strength when he was able to scoop slam and chokeslam Arashi, and Arashi showed his strength when he was able to Arashi-otoshi Morgan. They also showed Morgan’s inexperience when Arashi was able to get the pin fall on him with a sloppy small-package hold.
Short fun match. And Morgan definitely has room to grow in his abilities if they keep him around.Match Rating: *
Taiyo Kea, D-Lo Brown & Buchanan VS Yutaka Yoshie, Brute Issei & Akira Raijin
Surprisingly Yoshie’s team controlled a good part of this match thanks mostly to Yoshie’s power. The man in pink had some good hot exchanges in there with Kea. I haven’t seen much of Raijin recently, but other than his look, he doesn’t seem to have changed or improved much, and still doing the hard cranium thing as it took 4 DDTs by Kea to put him down. Interestingly enough, Issei only tagged in at the end of the match, where he was allowed to go wild on Buchanan with a barrage of suplexes, including one front belly-to-belly that almost dropped the big man right on his bald head! Despite the beating he took, Buchanan rebounded to catch Issei in the Iron Claw Bomb for the win.
Good match, but the pace was somewhat lagging.Match Rating: *
Champion Carnival – Block B: Katsuhiko Nakajima VS Minoru Suzuki
You could either look at this as your standard Katsuhiko Nakajima match (cheer for every bit of offense he gets in) or your standard Minoru Suzuki match (Crafty punk that will get under your skin and use your aggression against you). Either way, this was a rather fun mach with the usual “Nakajima gets his ass handed to him, but comes back strong with a hot series of offense, but still comes up short” storyline. I kind of like the way MiSuzuki seems to be innovating new ways to trap people in his sleeper lock, and the way he pulled back on Nakajima’s back with the sleeper in a camel clutch position looked nasty.
The match could have been better, but this was still passable and a good match to end this edition of Battle Banquet TV.Match Rating: *1/2
Please note I'm skipping Battle Banquet #98 since the only Carnival match on that show was the time limit draw between Keiji Mutoh & Suwama, and I don't think I could take watching Mutoh hobble around or TARU's cheating tactics for 30-minutes.
AJPW Battle Banquet #96
AJPW Champion Carnival 7/07/2006
Did I mention how the Battle Banquet show has one of the most fun intro themes ever?
On to the action!Champion Carnival – Block B: Minoru Suzuki VS Arashi
Short, but very entertaining match! This was one of those rare matches where Arashi had his working boots on and was motivated. And MiSuzuki was his old cocky self. I’m sure like many there are a lot of guys who like watching MiSuzuki act like a pr*ck only to get the taste slapped out of his mouth by his opponent like what Arashi did here. Arashi was fun to watch countering a mount by Suzuki into a chicken wing armlock! And of course using his size and power to his advantage, hitting a big powerbomb and showing his agility with a big dropkick! Suzuki also showed his craftiness countering a chokeslam into a triangle-lock, and his heel side by shoving referee Wada Kyohei aside, which literally sent the veteran referee thumbling! I also liked the finish where Suzuki looked like he was going for a Sling Blade, but instead kept his grip on and caught Arashi in a sleeper for the win!
Fun match, and Suzuki is definitely a breath of fresh air in AJPW.Match Rating: **Champion Carnival – Block B: Katsuhiko Nakajima VS Satoshi Kojima
Now this was a treat! How often do we get to see Kojima as the grumpy veteran? The Triple Crown champion definitely looked like he was in a foul mood the way he abused Nakajima all over the place! He powerbombed the kid out on the floor, no sold a missile dropkick (didn’t even budge him!), and almost decapitated him with a lariat! There are a lot of people who are envious of Nakajima’s position in the wrestling world, but you can’t say that the little guy isn’t earning every bit of it the way he takes a beating every time! It wasn’t a total squash though, as Nakajima got in some good kick flurries, as well as a really close near fall with a backslide!
A whole lot of fun this match was!Match Rating: **1/2Kensuke Sasaki, Tomoaki Honma & Brute Issei VS Keiji Mutoh, AKIRA & Ryuji Hijikata
You really gotta feel for Honma here. Even though he has seniority over Issei, he was still treated more like a rookie than Issei! Sasaki even had to make the save at one point than mouth off at him to get fired up! It’s really no wonder why he’d leave the company later when you’d think they’d at least give him some advantage over junior heavies like AKIRA and Hijikata. Honma looked good initially, than it was all down hill from there. He took quite a beating, including a barrage of dropkicks to his back from all 3 opponents. Didn’t help that he was fresh as a daisy, but still dropped the fall from ONE Shining Wizard from Mutoh.
Haven’t seen much of Issei, but the guy definitely seems to be lacking something. And he did seem green in certain spots, even almost missing his timing at one point. He does have some good suplexes though.
Even with his bad knees that can’t bend all the way, Mutoh did a better looking STF than John Cena does in WWE!
Solid match, just wasn’t big on the ending of it.Match Rating: *1/2
Show ends with some highlights from other matches from the 4/07 Korakuen Hall show, including Kikutaro VS Masa Fuchi. It went only about 2 minutes, but Kikutaro definitely looks better doing his comedy bits in singles matches. He had the advantage on the old veteran thanks to his comedic antics, but lost due to trying to beat Fuchi with one of his own moves, the small-package hold. They also showed Matt Morgan and D-Lo Brown dominating Nobutaka Araya & Nobukazu Hirai, and Morgan using his Mount Morgan Drop (F5) on big Araya for the win.
Friday, July 14, 2006
AJPW Battle Banquet #95
Champion Carnival 4/07/2006
We kick off the show with an introduction of the 12 men taking part in this year’s Champion Carnival:Block A:
Katsuhiko Nakajima, Arashi, D-Lo Brown, Matt Morgan, Minoru Suzuki and Satoshi KojimaBlock B:
Yutaka Yoshie, Buchanan, Taiyo Kea, Suwama, Keiji Mutoh and Kensuke Sasaki
After the opening speech, followed by last year’s winner Kensuke Sasaki returning the Champion Carnival trophy, it’s time to get down to action!Champion Carnival – Block B: Buchanan VS Yutaka Yoshie
Fun match to kick off the Carnival with these two big men going at it. I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t get to see more power moves from these, even though he lost weight, Yoshie looked like he had trouble moving around. Buchanan manage to hit Old School, the scissors kick and the Iron Claw Bomb, but it all wasn’t enough to keep big Yoshie down. There was even this one funny spot where Buchanan used a stomach claw instead of the regular iron claw, but Yoshie was easily able to stomach out of it. Yoshie managed a comeback by giving Buchanan a second rope diving body press for a near fall, but hit his uraken back blow followed by a top rope flying body press for the win.Match Rating: *1/2Champion Carnival – Block A: Suwama VS Taiyo Kea
I sort of hated the way referee Wada Kyohei had to act like he didn’t see TARU cheating when he clearly saw everything after getting “bumped” from behind. I really like the progress AJPW has done with Suwama to make him the top heel of the company, the look is just so natural to him. If only he didn’t have TARU in his corner to cheat all the time. I also didn’t like that he more or less no-sold Kea’s Hawaiian Crusher. But the guy came up with a new variation on how to apply the ankle-lock that even Kurt Angle hasn’t done yet, and he throws half-nelsons that would make Kobashi proud!
Kea is definitely one of those guys who seemingly gets lost in the shuffle despite a prominent spot on the roster. His offense does seem to be redundant (he did the Kea Rush more than once), and does seem like a bit of a big-move spot wrestler (like the main event guys in NOAH), but the guy definitely has talent if booked right, just like he did here. Sure Suwama cheated a little, but Suwama more or less won this one clean, being able to counter and avoid some of Kea’s big moves before finishing him clean with a barrage of suplexes before hitting the Last Ride. But Kea showed a lot of fire the way he was able to get up after each big bump and get back in Suwama’s face!
A great match overall, and I can’t wait to see the finals between these two but this is any indication of what to expect!Match Rating: **1/2
Back from commercial with a quick look at the feud between the Tokyo Gurentai and the Voodoo Murders, and the push of MAZADA who will face Shuji Kondo for the AJPW Jr. Title in a few weeks.NOSAWA Rongai, MAZADA & Kaz Hayashi VS TARU, Shuji Kondo & “brother” YASSHI
Everybody worked to make this match a fun fast paced affair, even TARU! There’s just something inhuman about the way Kondo can manhandle people. And likewise the push for MAZADA continues as he squared off with Kondo and tried to catch him in a sleeper multiple times. I’m not sure if they are pushing that as a finisher, or that Kondo has a bad neck, but MAZADA’s cradle DDT finisher that he blasted YASSHI with here for the win should be enough. I also like NOSAWA, but I think he needs to quit with the Mutoh impersonations.
Great match to end the show.Match Rating: **
This episode of Battle Banquet ended with the regular NEWS Banquet report. This week it was about Mutoh, Kojima & Hayashi hosting a special training session with fans at Gold’s Gym on 4/02/06, where they did a lecture and lead a workout session with about 80 fans that turned out for the event. The next session is being planned for 6/18!
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Big Japan Death Match Wars #62
Kicks off with a look back to Apache Pro’s 1/15/06 Blue Field show where Takashi Sasaki turned his back on Apache Pro and joined forces with Big Japan, teaming with Ryuji Ito & Daisuke Sekimoto in the main event to defeat Apache Pro head honcho Kintaro Kanemura, Bad Boy Hido and GENTARO in the main event of the show.
The war continues tonight with a huge double-ring scaffold six man tag death match!Katsumasa Inoue & Asian Cougar VS Hiroyuki Kondo & MASADA
The big selling point of this match was the confrontation between regular tag partners Inoue and Kondo who make up Team Wakagumi. The two of them looked pretty even going back and forth trading some loud thudding headbutts, and a rather funny spot where they both tried to get fisherman’s busters on each other, leading up to both men hitting the move individually. They even managed to kick out of each other’s finishers at one point, but Inoue won out in the end hitting a tombstone piledriver followed by a big diving headbutt for the win.
You take a look at a guy like Asian Cougar and you really wonder why he isn’t signed with a major promotion, or at least make a few appearances in the big leagues based on his talent. The guy is even willing to take it to the extreme doing things like a slingshot senton out of the ring onto his opponent laying under a pile of chairs!
And then there’s MASADA, who I can never give enough praise to as one of the most underrated gaijin workers in Japan, considering I’ve never seen him in any US indies. I would really like to see this kid get a shot in either of the big leagues in Japan as there is definitely more to him than just being a hardcore garbage wrestler, and Big Japan definitely see it too since they bring him back more often than guys like Mad Man Pondo and Necro Butcher.
Overall, an enjoyable match to kick off the show, and no hard feelings shown between Inoue & Kondo despite the outcome.Match Rating: **
Backstage and the Apache Pro team of Kanemura, Kuroda & Inematsu cutting a promo and promising victory in the main event.
When than see the Big Japan team and Ito & Sasaki argue a bit over the name of the team (Takugi-ken Gundan or Takashi Gundan?) while Numazawa plays with his Pokemon toys. I love this stuff!Double Ring Spider-net Death Match: Ryuji Ito, Takashi Sasaki & Jaki Numazawa VS Kintaro Kanemura, Tetsuhiro Kuroda & Saburo Inematsu
The set up for this match is that there are 2 rings, one is a regular ring, and the other is lined with a barb-wire spider-net and a scaffold overhead.
This was a fun wild brawl as expected, and that barb-wire spider net sure didn’t last long as all it took was Kuroda & Kanemura tossing Ito off the scaffold and Inematsu super-plexing Numazawa onto it to completely take it down and out. Good to see they were still able to make use of the scaffold set up though, as Kuroda & Kanemura did this fun spot where they jacked up Numazawa and hit his head on the bottom of the scaffold several times, and Ito did an insane plancha off the top of the scaffold down to the floor to take out everyone.
Everyone got to hit their spots in this one by the end of the night, with no one really standing out I would say. Ito hit a crazy springboard Dragon-splash out of the ring, Kanemura did his usual table splash and senton spot, as well as a powerbomb to Ito up on the scaffold, Inematsu seems to be able to generate some good crowd heat when he gets his offense going, same with Kuroda who I still say is very overlooked, even in the indies, Sasaki brought the stiff kicks, and Numazawa became the first person I think to ever use the blood dripping from his head as a mist attack!
A great main event won by the Big Japan team after Ito hit the Dragon Splash on Inematsu.Match Rating: **1/2
Funny that they end the show with a backstage interview with the winning team, and Ito & Sasaki still haven’t decided on the team name yet while Numazawa is still playing with his Pokemon toys! So how do they decide the name? Leave it up to the fans to vote at the BJW website!
Preview for the next episode shows the Big Japan tag title match between champions Abdullah Kobayashi & Daisuke Sekimoto defending against Shadow WX & Mammoth Sasaki.