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Puroresu Show Reviews

Reviews of puroresu shows in my collection

Sunday, September 17, 2006

 

AJPW Battle Banquet #104

RISE UP TOUR 6/10/2006
This rather special edition of the RISE UP TOUR 2006 was Keiji Mutoh’s "WRESTLE LOVE ACT 3" 610 FESTIVAL, which took place at the open air Mitsui Greenland Amusement Park Rainbow Dome. I rather like the concept, as along with the pro wrestling show, they had dancing performances and martial-arts exhibitions.

Ryuji Hijikata VS Minoru Suzuki
A lot of mat grappling and submission attempts as expected from these two former shooters. Suzuki did his usual arrogant a-hole bits while mostly controlling the ground work, as well as delivering some hard knees and slaps. But Hijikata is able to hold his own on the ground, and absorbed as much punishment as he could from Suzuki before finally tapping out to a triangle-headscissor armlock submission.
The match was rather entertaining despite the mat work, cause they kept most it short so that the match had a faster pace to it.
Match Rating: **

Funny thing after the match as NOSAWA Rongai was following Suzuki around trying to get him to join the Tokyo Gurentai, and repeating everything he was saying during his post match interview with the press. NOSAWA finally gets Suzuki’s attention when he tells him he’ll rename the group to Minoru Gundan, and Suzuki immediately agrees! It was rather hilarious and reminded me of those old Rock/Mankind segments back in WWE.

A video package of the long feud between Triple Crown champion Satoshi Kojima and “Alligator” Suwama of the Voodoo Murders. Starting in January when Suwama joined VM, to winning a direct pin over Kojima in a singles match in March, beating Kojima in the Champion Carnival semi-finals in April by count-out, and finally throwing a fireball in Kojima’s face in May! After six months, the war between these two reaches it’s climax tonight with the Triple Crown on the line!

AJPW Triple Crown: Satoshi Kojima VS Suwama
Both men seem evenly matched as the match gets underway, absorbing shots and testing each other with shoulder blocks. Suwama manages to catch Kojima off the ropes with a front suplex, but Kojima pops up and gives him a big backdrop, sending him to the outside. Kojima runs to ropes to dive out on Suwama, but “brother” YASSHI trips him and pulls him out to the rampway and stomps him, leading to the ring seconds jumping YASSHI and dragging him off! Suwama on the other hand goes after Kojima out on the ramp and they trade chops with Suwama winning out.
Back in the ring, Suwama continues to pound away on Kojima. He puts a foot on Kojima’s chest for the pinfall, but referee Wada Kyohei refuses to acknowledge it as a pin attempt unless he actually covers him! TARU mouths off at Kyohei, and Kojima rolls out of the ring and cheap shots TARU! Kojima rolls back into the ring to be stomped by Suwama, who follows with a sleeper. Kojima reaches the ropes to break the hold, and Suwama gets the steel pipe from TARU, but it’s just to distract the referee as the Voodoo Murders sneak in behind his back while trying to get the pipe from Suwama, and TARU gives Kojima the upside-down axe-kick to the crotch! Suwama goes back to work on the champion, and YASSHI distracts the referee while TARU holds Kojima for Suwama, but Kojima ducks and TARU eats a lariat from Suwama!
Kojima on the attack now with elbow strikes followed by a big lariat that sends Suwama out of the ring. Kojima dives out on Suwama with a big plancha, and sends him into the guardrail before giving him a DDT on the concrete floor! He continues to work on the challenger out on the floor for a bit before bringing him back in the ring with a suplex. Kojima unloads machine-gun chops in the corner ala Kenta Kobashi, and follows up with a corner elbow smash and the Ichauzo Bakayaro Elbow drop for a 2 count. Kojima tries for a German suplex, but Kondo distracts the referee and Suwama hits a low-blow to escape. Suwama tries for a lariat, but Kojima ducks it and delivers a release German suplex. Kojima tries for another German, but Suwama spins around to try one of his own. Kojima fights out of it and delivers a barrage of short elbows. Suwama ducks a rolling elbow and delivers a release German, but Kojima gets right back up with more elbows and connects rolling elbow before collapsing himself.
Both men struggle to their feet, and Kojima runs right into a knee to the gut. Suwama quickly rolls through and grabs Kojima in the ankle lock, but Kojima is able to reach the ropes to break the hold. Suwama charges at Kojima in the corner, but eats a pair of boots to the face. Kojima charges at Suwama, but gets caught and driven in a complete shot. Suwama again goes for the ankle lock. Kojima manages to get to the ropes again to break the hold, and Suwama slams him down with a powerbomb-hold for a near fall, and switches it to another ankle lock when Kojima kicks out! Kojima tries to kick off Suwama, but Suwama catches his leg, crosses it with the other, and twists both of them as he drops down in a grapevine, a submission move he calls the Voodoo-Lock! Kojima is a lot of pain now, and fights with all he’s got to finally reach the ropes to break the hold. Suwama signals for the finish, and sets up Kojima for the Last Ride. He jacks up Kojima, but the Triple Crown champion escapes it by taking down Suwama with a frankesteiner! Kojima struggles to his feet and backs Suwama into a corner before setting him up on the second rope. He bites Suwama in the head before delivering a big time top rope frankensteiner! Kojima goes for the lariat, but Suwama ducks it and delivers the half-nelson suplex! Kojima groggily gets to his feet and drops Suwama with a Koji-koji Cutter!
Both men struggle to their feet, and Kojima gives Suwama a brainbuster for a near fall. Kojima picks up Suwama again and drives him with the CCD for another near fall. Kojima removes his elbow pad and hits a lariat, but it only gets a ONE! Kojima tries for another, but Kojima ducks it and delivers a big time backdrop-hold for a near fall. Suwama regains his senses, and picks up Kojima to off the ground in a BEAUTIFUL dead-lift German suplex-hold for a near fall at the 20-minute mark!
Suwama hits a hard lariat which staggers the champion. He goes for another, but Kojima swats his arm away and tries for one of his own, but eats a discus lariat from the challenger! Suwama sets up Kojima and connects with the Last Ride! Suwama covers arrogantly like he always does after the move, but doesn’t have enough leverage as Kojima manages to pop a shoulder up after 2! He picks up Kojima and sets him up for a lariat, but Kojima counters taking his head off with a standing lariat! The Voodoo Murders are in panic mode now as YASSHI distracts the referee and Kondo tries to attack Kojima with a chair, but Kojima lariats the chair in his face! TARU tries to hit Kojima with the pipe, but Kojima grabs it from him and actually breaks it in two over his knee before taking out TARU with a lariat! Kojima signals for it, and blasts Suwama with a big lariat to put the challenger down for the 3 count to retain his title!
OK, I enjoyed the match, but what’s with all the inconsistencies? I thought there was too much of one guy hitting a big move only for the guy receiving it to not sell it and suddenly take control after taking several big moves previously. It just didn’t sit well with me, even the finish didn’t look convincing as Suwama had a long break in between lariats before Kojima hit the one that finish him, but that’s become a standard in Kojima title defenses by now. The match was still enjoyable though, even if I was expecting a little more intensity after all the months building up to it.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Champion Carnival winner, and next challenger for the Triple Crown, Taiyo Kea enters the ring and congratulates Kojima on the successful defense. Kojima closes out the show thanking the crowd for their support.

This episode of Battle Banquet ends with a quick News Banquet look at the latest Mutoh training session at Gold’s Gym on 6/18, with Mutoh, Kojima, Kaz Hayashi & Brute Issei leading an exercise session with 70 fans. Fun.

Overall: While I was a bit disappointed in the Triple Crown match, almost like the finish of all of Kojima’s title matches, it was still a strong match well worth checking out. I also liked the open air venue of the show, as we don't see much of those anymore.

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