Puroresu Show Reviews
Reviews of puroresu shows in my collection
Monday, September 25, 2006
Zero-One MAX Fantastic Fighting #54
Korakuen Hall 3/28/2006
American Wrestling School: Steve Corino VS Colt Cabana
OK, I’ll admit it, despite all the Ring of Honor shows I have in my collection, I’ve never actually watched a lot of Colt Cabana’s matches. The only one that does come to mind was the Chris Candido Memorial Match he had against Larry Sweeney & Delirious in IWA Mid South before he headed off to Japan for this very tour. And it was a rather hilarious comedy match too.
So I was a bit surprised to see him and Corino have a fun little match where they mixed in an odd bunch of comedy and chain wrestling. Rather surprising that the crowd was heavily into Cabana too. Like I already mentioned, it was fun watching them do all these chain moves and counters, as they did some things I don’t think I’ve seen before, and kudos to the referee for playing along to some of the comedy. All the grappling and counters going on, and Corino wins it with the Kido-Clutch out of nowhere for a flash 3-count.
I might have to check out more of Cabana after this one.Match Rating: **
A quick look at the rise of Takuya Sugawara since joining Zero-One, scoring a shocking win over Minoru Fujita with some help from ex-Aagan Iisou team mate “brother” YASSHI, and then beating Ikuto Hidaka clean for the International Jr. title. Sugawara puts the bad mouth on Z1M’s junior division, so who should answer the call? Apache Pro’s GENTARO! AWA/Z1M/UPW/WORLD-1 International Jr. Title: Takuya Sugawara [C] VS GENTARO
This was a lot of fun, save for the WWE style heel tactics used by Sugawara and his cohort, Crazy Boy. The more experienced GENTARO focused his attack on Sugawara’s knee for most of the match, and Sugawara did a good job of selling the bad wheel throughout the match. GENTARO controlled most of the match, and actually would have won with his shooting star press if Crazy Boy didn’t pull the referee out of the ring during the count. That lead to GENTARO having to fight off both Sugawara and Crazy Boy while the ref was out, as well as avoid Sugawara’s black box attacks and use it against them. I was rather surprised at GENTARO using a few of Shawn Michaels moves, like the flying forearm/kip-up bit, and the Sweet Chin Music. GENTARO even did this sweet looking sunset-flip into a Sharpshooter chain move. Give Sugawara credit though, despite the bad leg, he was still able to come out on top hitting the Shisanputa for the win. The result of the match probably would have been different if Crazy Boy wasn’t involved though.Match Rating: **1/2
Shinjiro Ohtani, Masato Tanaka & Tatsuhito Takaiwa VS Kohei Sato, Yoshihito Sasaki & Daisuke Sekimoto
This was a great back and forth six man tag, with great showings from Sasaki & Sekimoto. Sasaki just continues to impress, and why they haven’t given him a title yet instead of hot shotting one on Sugawara is beyond me. And Sekimoto looked a whole lot stronger here compared to the tag match he’d have in Big Japan just 2 days later with Sasaki, Tanaka & Tetsuhiro Kuroda. There was also this really cool spot where the next generation team did a triple dead-lift German suplex-pin for 3 near falls at the same time! Sekimoto may have dropped the fall to Ohtani’s King Cobra-hold, but the big man definitely went down fighting as Ohtani himself was rather exhausted as he had to dropped Sekimoto on his head with several big moves before he was able to clamp on the finisher. Great match overall.Match Rating: **1/2
I really need to catch up with my Zero-One MAX! They picked all the right matches to put on this episode as everything was enjoyable, with a good mix and variety too.
Labels: Zero-1 MAX
BJW Death Match Wars #70 & #71
Korakuen Hall 3/31/06 Pt.1
We begin with a look back to Abdullah Kobayashi winning the Death Match Title off Ryuji Ito back in December, and the build up to Takashi Sasaki becoming Kobayashi’s first challenger for the title. During the official press conference, Kobayashi brings out a basket full of nail stubs that will be used in the title match at Korakuen Hall. Those things look nasty!Hardcore 6-Man Tag: Ryuji Ito, Jaki Numazawa & Daikokubo Benkei VS Kintaro Kanemura, Saburo Inematsu & Asian Cougar
I thought that these were two rather odd pairings.
The match was clipped down quite a bit (we didn’t see how Numazawa got busted open), but was still rather fun. I rather enjoyed seeing Benkei in a serious role again, as he played the immovable obstacle that the Apache Army had to get past. Big rub to Saburo Inematsu for being able to powerslam the big guy, with a little assist from his partners. And there was one rather funny bit where Benkei splashed Kanemura while he had Ito in an STF! They probably should have ended the match when everyone piled onto Benkei after Kanemura hit the diving senton, but Benkei managed to kick out with 3 guys on top of him!
Instead, the finish came with Ito cleaning house with a wooden board, followed by Benkei hitting an assisted Liger-bomb on Inematsu, Ito diving off the top with a big moonsault, and Benkei hitting the big splash for the pin. A bit on the short side, but still fun none the less.Match Rating: *1/2
Another quick look back at the build up of Takashi Sasaki, followed by some comments from the challenger and champion. Kobayashi demonstrates the sharpness of the nails by dropping a tomato on them and watching it get impaled. BJW Death Match Title - Light Tubes & Nail Board Death Match: Abdullah Kobayashi [C] VS Takashi Sasaki
You can feel the intensity when these two locked eyes and never broke off contact once they entered the ring, not even during the ring introductions. I sort of dread these matches sometimes when the ropes are all lined with light tubes and the audience are in such close proximity with the ring. There’s also a light tube cabin and a bucket of nail stubs in each neutral corner of the ring.
Starts with both men trying to muscle each other into the light tubes. Kobayashi clamps on a wrist-lock, but Sasaki flips out of it, grabs a light tube off the ropes, and breaks it over Kobayashi’s head! Sasaki now with a rear wrist lock, but Kobayashi powers out of it, and gets behind him with one of his own. Sasaki grabs another light tube, switches around and whacks Kobayashi on the back of the head with it! Sasaki tries to whip Kobayashi into the light tubes, but he manages to put the brakes on. Sasaki tries it again, but Kobayashi reverses it and Sasaki breaks into the light tubes! Kobayashi whips Sasaki again hard into the light tubes. The champion grabs a big bundle of light tubes and tries to break it over Sasaki’s head, but the challenger dodges it and kicks Kobayashi low. Sasaki rebounds off the ropes and misses a sliding dropkick, leaving himself open for Kobayashi to smash the light tube bundle over his head! Kobayashi follows up with a big dropkick, sending Sasaki into the light tube lined ring ropes again.
They exit the ring, and Kobayashi digs a nail stub into Sasaki’s head! Sasaki reverses an Irish whip and sends Kobayashi into the front row. Sasaki whacks the champion with a chair several times before sending him to the other side and breaking a light tube over his head. Back in the ring, Sasaki delivers several hard kicks to Kobayashi, he then switches to breaking light tubes by kicking them into the champion’s body! Kobayashi fights off a scoop-slam attempt, but is dropped by several hard knees to the mid-section before Sasaki breaks a light tube bundle over his head. Sasaki goes for the bucket of nail stubs and empties it out in the middle of the ring! Sasaki tries to slam Kobayashi, but the champion blocks it and tries to slam Sasaki on them. Sasaki floats over and rebounds off the ropes, but Kobayashi catches him with a powerslam onto the nail stubs! Kobayashi than backdrop suplexes Sasaki off the apron to the floor! Both men are bloody and down.
Kobayashi recovers first and sets up Sasaki on a table before going up the corner post and diving down with a Bakachinga Press through the table on the challenger! Kobayashi back up on the apron again, and this time he just drops a bundle of light tubes, breaking over Sasaki’s head as he gets up! Kobayashi takes a bite out of a light tube and spits the glass in Sasaki’s face! Sasaki than puts a nail stub in his mouth before digging it into Sasaki’s forehead. The champion than slams Sasaki down and places some light tubes on him before stomping them down on his groin! Kobayashi than digs a broken light tube into Sasaki’s already bleeding head. Sasaki tries to fight back with punches and kicks, but Kobayashi rakes and digs a nail stub in his head! Kobayashi slams Sasaki down in the center of the ring with a Samoan drop, then delivers the Bakachinga elbow drop with light tubes for a 2 count.
Kobayashi sets up a light tube cabin, but Sasaki recovers in time to catch Kobayashi with a kick in the chin. Sasaki tries to suplex Kobayashi onto the cabin, but Kobayashi counters it. Sasaki floats over and tries to German suplex the champion on the cabin! They switch around several times and Kobayashi escapes Sasaki’s waist lock with a back elbow to the head. Kobayashi runs off the ropes, but Sasaki catches him with a backdrop onto the light tube cabin! Kobayashi chant starts up now as the champ struggles to his feet, but is met by several whacks to the head with a wooden board by Sasaki! Sasaki tries for a tornado DDT, but Kobayashi overpowers the move and swings Sasaki back onto the corner post, so Sasaki breaks a light tube over Kobayashi’s head instead before spiking the champion with a jump swinging DDT out of the corner!
Sasaki rebounds off the ropes with a big kick to the head for a 2 count. Sasaki goes up top and hits a missile dropkick. He goes up top again, but Kobayashi recovers and breaks two light tube bundles over his head! Kobayashi sets up another light tube cabin, than gives Sasaki a Samoan drop off the top through them! The champ only gets a 2 count though. He slams Sasaki down near the corner and sets another cabin on his body before going up the second rope and delivering an inverted corner press (Vader-bomb) for another 2 count! Kobayashi tries to whack Sasaki with a bundle of light tubes, but Sasaki catches them, so Kobayashi head butts them into Sasaki’s head! He than gives Sasaki a weak looking Shining Wizard for another near fall. Abby Jr. sets up Sasaki in the corner where the nail stubs are, and looks to want to superplex the challenger on them, but Sasaki slips under and slams the champ out of the corner onto the nail stubs!
Sasaki on the offensive now with a series of hard kicks which knocks down the champion for a 2 count. Sasaki sets up a big bundle of light tubes in the ring and looks to try to D-Geist (Emerald Frosion) Kobayashi onto them, but the champion counters and pick up Sasaki off his feet and gives him the Koba-Driver onto the nail stubs! OH MY GAWD! TWO STUBS ARE STUCK IN HIS HEAD! And one of them is REALLY deep in! Kobayashi covers for a 2 count as a huge “Sasaki” chant starts up. Kobayashi sets a bundle of light tubes on Sasaki and goes up top to hit a big Bakachinga elbow drop for a 2.5! Kobayashi grabs a HUGE bundle of light tubes from under the ring and piledrives Sasaki before placing them on him and going up top again. Sasaki recovers in time and tries to superplex Kobayashi onto the bundle, but Kobayashi knocks him off the top, but the big man himself misses the Bakachinga elbow and crashes onto the bundle of light tubes!
Sasaki hits a pair of stiff lariats which stagger the champion. He tries for a third, but Kobayashi ducks and catches Sasaki with a release German suplex! Remember Sasaki still has that nail stub stuck in the back on his head! Sasaki is able to block a Shining Wizard attempt and hit a big buzzsaw kick to the head, followed by a big time lariat for a 2.8! Sasaki sets up several light tube bundles onto the nail stubs and gives Kobayashi the D-Geist onto them, but only gets a 2.9! Sasaki hits several quick kicks to the head followed by breaking a bundle of light tubes with a big kick to Kobayashi’s head and covers him to finally score the 3 count and win the Death Match Title!!!
This match was really hard to watch once that nail stub got stuck in Sasaki’s head! Definitely one of the sickest things I’ve ever seen, and it didn’t help that they’d zoom in on it every time we saw the back of his head! Kudos to Sasaki for being able to continue the match in that condition, even if the match was still heavily one sided. Kobayashi is definitely a good death match wrestler, but he’s more of a spot wrestler than actually being able to carry the match with wrestling ability like Ryuji Ito can.Match Rating: ***
Wrestlers quickly rush the ring to check on Sasaki, and they even attempt to pull the nail stub out of his head before thinking better of it and just leaving it there so the proper medical authorities can take a look at it. Sasaki seems OK as he cuts a promo on Kobayashi, who congratulates him on the win before promising to win the title back. Sasaki than calls out Ryuji Ito and wants to defend the title against him to avenge his loss to him from last year. Sasaki thanks the crowd for supporting him and Big Japan before finally leaving. The show closes out with Kobayashi giving comments while greeting fans at the merchandise table all bloodied up still, than Sasaki being interviewed by the press with the nail stub still stuck in his head!Korakuen Hall 3/31/06 Pt.2
Death Match Wars #72 kicks off with Katsumasa Inoue & Hiroyuki Kondo doing a press conference announcing their challenge for the BJW Tag Titles. Inoue has a score to settle with the champions as they busted his mouth open pretty bad with a wicked chair attack the last time they met. They than demonstrated their new tandem move where Inoue does a diving head butt off Kondo’s shoulders off the top rope, but ended up short of the target on each attempt! They were still confident they would the titles though.BJW Tag Titles: Shadow WX & Mammoth Sasaki [C] VS Team Wakazaguri (Katsumasa Inoue & Hiroyuki Kondo)
Fun tag match with a lot of tandem moves thrown out by both sides. Team Wakazaguri came really close to winning the belts, and they had the right strategy attacking their bigger opponents with tandem moves, as well as some new, and rather bizarre looking, double team moves. They did manage to perfect that diving head butt move of theirs too. The champions unfortunately had the size and power advantage, as well as the hardcore advantage when they brought some chairs into the match. The big men hit some good tag moves themselves, and the stereo brainbusters they did was a cool visual. Mammoth picks up the win after planting Inoue with a 29-Years Old on a chair.Match Rating: **1/2
Daisuke Sekimoto & Yoshihito Sasaki VS Masato Tanaka & Tetsuhiro Kuroda
Usually, unless your NJPW, the whole purpose of bringing outsiders is to get them to put over your own talent, but by the end of this one I seriously felt that Yoshihito Sasaki came out looking better than Sekimoto. Sure, Sekimoto had some heated exchanges with Tanaka, as well as scoring several near falls, but Sasaki looked stronger the way absorbed some big time offense and showed his never say die attitude. The two of them were even able to put together some cool double team moves, like Sasaki hitting the Argentine Coaster followed by a Sekimoto using his dead lift German suplex for a near fall. And there was a great visual moment when Sasaki & Sekimoto had both their opponents up in Argentine Backbreakers while out in the audience! I thought maybe they were going to battering ram them together from that position!
Give credit to Tanaka for still being able to work and bump like a monster despite his never healing shoulder injury. And Kuroda was fun to watch as well even if his offense is getting rather redundant. A fun match overall that was nicely built up with a great heated finish with tons of near falls before Tanaka finally put Sekimoto away with a barrage of elbow strikes, ala Misawa.Match Rating: **1/2Overall:
Takashi Sasaki with that nail stub stuck in the back of his head definitely is not for the weak of heart, but give the man credit for getting back in the ring just a weak later! All four matches on this show were definitely fun, and I seriously recommend checking it out.
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.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
AJPW Battle Banquet #103
RISE UP TOUR 5/21/2006
Starts off with a quick look back to the 4/20/06 show where Shuji Kondo successfully defended the AJPW Jr. title against MAZADA, leading to all the junior heavyweights in All Japan arguing amongst themselves as to who would get the next shot at the champion. Masanobu Fuchi agreed to hold a Junior Heavyweight League to crown the number 1 contender, and amongst the competitors will be the returning TAKA Michinoku, and new Tokyo Gurentai member Katsushi Takemura, who will be stepping back into the AJPW ring for the first time in 2 years since challenging Kaz Hayashi for the junior title.Katsushi Takemura & NOSAWA Rongai VS Kaz Hayashi & TAKA Michinoku
NOSAWA & Kaz start off with some quick and fun mat work before tagging TAKA & Takemura. Takemura has a distinct size and power advantage, as he was quickly able catch TAKA off the ropes with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. They trade chops and Takemura misses a corner splash, leading Kaz to tag in and take control with some speedy aerial offense, tripping up Takemura before quickly hitting a springboard Arabian press for a near fall. Kaz than hits a rather dangerous move where he goes for a backdrop, but flip Takemura over in mid-air to drop him on his stomach to chain it into a Crippler Crossface, but he almost drops Takemura on his head! Kaz really needs to be careful if he’s going to do that move more as there’s only a small margin of error when doing it.
Takemura is able to battle back and hit a big lariat followed by a German suplex-hold for a near fall. He picks up Kaz and hits the M9 (F5/Verdict) for another near fall as TAKA makes the save. NOSAWA goes after TAKA and gives him a Michinoku Driver II as Takemura rolls up Kaz with a Gedo-Clutch to get the win!
Rather short match and it was clipped a bit, but they showed some great work despite a few missed timed spots. Definitely great seeing Takemura in action again since he was seriously overlooked by NJPW when they had him.Match Rating: *
All four men mouth off at each other after the match, promising victory in the upcoming Jr. league, even Kondo & YASSHI come out to bad mouth them saying they have no chance of winning. Kikutaro than comes out and everyone just ignores him and leaves! Just as Kikutaro is about to speak, his music kicks up again signaling for him to leave! He just drops the microphone and walks off shaking his head. Funny stuff.
We than get a look at how the Voodoo Murders have rampaging through All Japan, and how four people specifically have had enough of them and are out for revenge tonight: Akira Raijin, who had his head shaved by Suwama, Kensuke Sasaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima, for VM brutally attacking Nakajima and enraging Sasaki to the point that he got disqualified against Suwama during the Champion Carnival, and of course Triple Crown champion Satoshi Kojima, who’s had a well documented ongoing feud with Suwama and the rest of VM for months now. It’s all out war in an 8-man, 2/3 falls match next!2/3 Falls Match: Satoshi Kojima, Kensuke Sasaki, Katsuhiko Nakajima & Akira Raijin VS TARU, Suwama, Shuji Kondo & “brother” YASSHI
Match starts off as a wild brawl out into the crowd as VM make their entrance through the audience and the babyfaces decide to go out after them. Action all over the place until Kojima & YASSHI are in the ring and Kojima scores a near fall on YASSHI with a brainbuster, leading to the rest of VM heading back into the ring to help their little buddy. They beat down on Kojima till YASSHI tags in again, but he walks one circle around the Triple Crown champion and bad mouths him before tagging back out! Suwama hits a big tilt-a-whirl slam on the champion before tagging YASSHI back in again, and the little bastard again bad mouths the champ while slapping him and pointing the finger in his face. Big mistake as YASSHI rebounds off the ropes and Kojima takes his head off with a VICIOUS lariat as the rest of the team cuts off VM for Kojima to pin YASSHI to take the first fall!Second Fall
You have to feel sorry for YASSHI as he got chopped to high heaven by Kojima & Sasaki at the start of the second fall, to the point his chest turned purple! Referee Wada Kyohei even asked him if he wanted to give up when not keeping the rest of VM at bay while Sasaki & Kojima continued to tenderize YASSHI’s chest! The little bastard finally managed to escape the ring and run half-way back up to the dressing room in pain! You could see Kondo & Suwama actually laughing as they dragged him back and tossed him back in the ring! Raijin works over him for a bit with a hard slam and a falling headbutt, before tagging Kojima who slams him with a hard backdrop and puts on YASSHI’s bandana before pinning him for a near fall. Nakajima tags in now and hits a sweet dropkick, but YASSHI is able to rebound with the testicular claw! Now it’s YASSHI’s turn for revenge as he corners Nakajima and unloads machine-gun chops on the youngster! The members of VM also tag in and take turns chopping away at him.
They continue to work over Nakajima, Suwama using his power and TARU using his heel tactics attacking Nakajima with a chair outside the ring and gauging his eyes in a camel clutch position. Nakajima is finally able to fight off YASSHI & Kondo and makes to hot tag to Sasaki who cleans house with powerslams on Kondo & Yasshi, and big armdrag on TARU, and just pummels Suwama with clubbing forearm shots. Sasaki hits the Tornado-bomb on YASSHI for a near fall. All four babyfaces in the ring take turns charging at YASSHI in the corner, and Raijin hits a big diving head butt for a near fall. Raijin attacks with more headbutts, but the rest of VM get involved to take back the advantage. Raijin manages to kick out of a really cool cannonball double team move by Kondo & YASSHI, and manages to kick out of a German suplex-hold by Suwama, but he finally got put out by a big lariat from Suwama, pulling his shoulders up just microseconds short of the 3-count. That pinfall looked REALLY close, and even the fans were confused, but referee Wada Kyohei called it a 3 giving VM the second fall.Third Fall
Looks like there might have been a valid reason for Wada Kyohei calling the 3, as the medic jumps in the ring to check on Raijin along with the rest of the team as YASSHI grabs the mike and talks thrash on the other team (ie. He’s stalling). They finally get the OK to continue the match and we’re off with the third fall!
Raijin gets beat down, but puts up a spirited fight hitting headbutts whenever he could. He’s finally able to get a break after hitting Suwama with a spinning heel kick, and makes the tag to Kojima who goes to work on hitting a barrage of elbow drops for a near fall. Suwama manages to catch a boot by Kojima and counter it into a capture buster. He powers up Kojima in a neck-hanging tree, and chains it into a belly-to-belly suplex for a near fall. Suwama tries for a lariat, but Kojima blocks it and gives him a Kojikoji Cutter.
Kojima tosses his elbow pad and goes for the big lariat, but TARU kicks him in the back and Kondo hits him with a spear. Sasaki runs in and gives Kondo a dropkick! TARU comes in and gives Sasaki a neck-hanging-bomb! Nakajima comes in with a dropkick on TARU! YASSHI runs in and ducks a high-kick and connects with a zero-sweep kick! And Raijin comes in and takes down YASSHI with an elbow strike before Suwama takes him down with a boot to the face. Kojima & Suwama trade strikes, and Kojima wins with a rolling elbow smash ala Misawa. Kojima tries for the lariat, but Kondo ducks it and tosses the Triple Crown champion with a release German suplex. Kojima rolls right to his feet and connects with the lariat anyway! Sasaki tags in and chops away at Suwama. Suwama tries a low-blow, but doesn’t work as Sasaki clubs away at him before dropping him with a lariat. TARU & Kondo prevent Sasaki from hitting the Northern Lights Bomb, but he takes them out with a double lariat. Sasaki gives Suwama a superplex for a near fall and tags in Nakajima who hits a missile dropkick.
Nakajima drops Suwama again with a barrage of kicks. Nakajima rebounds off the ropes and gets caught in an overhead front suplex, but pops right back up on his feet to deliver a big jumping spin kick for a near fall! Nakajima off the ropes again, but TARU hits him in the back with the pipe! Suwama hits him with a lariat for a near fall. The rest of VM than take out the rest of Nakajima’s team as Suwama finishes him off with the Last Ride to win the match for the Voodoo Murders!
This match was definitely a lot of fun from start to finish, and shows that VM can actually work well in the ring without resorting to insane cheating tactics. A good showing from everyone, but only Raijin stands out as not being very impressive and still needs to work on his offense. VM’s win of course furthers the ongoing war with AJPW, as well as building up Suwama for his upcoming Triple Crown challenge.Match Rating: ***
Post match TARU talks some smack about Sasaki and the VM try to attack the babyfaces again, but are unsuccessful as they get run out of the ring by Kojima & crew. VM brag some more about how Suwama will be the next Triple Crown champion before finally leaving.Masanobu Fuchi VS Kikutaro
Just a few quick highlights from earlier in the evening. Kikutaro hits a barrage of butt pokes on Fuchi, till he falls out of the ring. The referee steps over the middle rope to check on Fuchi, and Kikutaro yanks the ropes intentionally giving the ref a low blow! Kikutaro than goes to check on Fuchi, and the referee crotches him in the same way! Jump to Kikutaro setting up Fuchi for a moonsault, but takes too long doing the Mutoh Puroresu Love hand gesture, giving Fuchi the chance to backdrop him off the second rope than score the win with a pair of small package-holds.Match Rating: -Overall:
The 2/3 Falls match alone is reason enough to check out this one.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
HUSTLE-AID 2006 ~ SAVE THE WORLD BY HUSTLING 6/17/2006
The big Hustle show that almost didn’t happen due to DSE losing it’s TV deal, but was able to go on as a PPV.
They actually kick off the show with a video promo for the next Hustle House Show, which will be a Shinya Hashimoto tribute show by the looks of it. Back live to the arena and they run down the card for tonight’s big show.
We than get a GREAT opening video of the show, showing the history of the promotion and all it’s ups and downs for both the Hustle and Monster armies, leading up to this big night.
RGM comes out and does his usual boring banter, saying something about the recent DSE scandal that was in the papers, than a Generalissimo Takada imposter comes out and says a few words before dropping the red Takada uniform to reveal a PRIDE FC shirt. He enters the ring and says a few things of the recent scandal. He than says something about the puroresu love, which brings out “Captain Hustle” Naoya Ogawa, and the rest of the Hustle Army to welcome the crowd and kick off the show with a song and dance number much like the Hustle-Mania show last year. They sing the official Hustle-Aid song and throw some gift-balls out into the audience to officially kick off the show.
Next up we get a video montage of the rivalry between the Hustle Kamens and the Monster Kamens. This is the long awaited rematch between the two teams, as the Monster Kamens won the rather dominantly the first time out, and this is the Hustlers chance at revenge, with each team debuting a new member.First Hustle: Monster Kamen Black, White, Purple & Brown VS Hustle Kamen Red, Blue, Yellow & Orange
The usual great fast paced spot fest we’ve come to expect from the Hustle Rangers. The Monster Kamens were dominant for most of the match, much like their last encounter, but fan favorite Hustle Yellow was able to turn the tide after getting the hot tag. Both teams pulled off some fun quadruple team moves, but there was some really bad camera work when the Hustle Rangers did a four man aerial assault out of the ring onto the Monsters, as they missed two of the dives. The Rangers are finally able to avenge their loss after Hustle Kamen Red pinned Monster Kamen Purple with a shooting star press, after Hustle Kamen Yellow hit a frog splash and after Orange & Blue gave him a doomsday missile dropkick! Great stuff to kick off the show.Match Rating: **1/2
Back in team Hustle’s dressing room, and Ogawa & Ohtani are guarding their Hustle Egg and at the same time discussing if TAJIRI can get the job done. They get an intern to keep an eye on the egg while they go check on TAJIRI.
Video package next for the upcoming Hustle Super Tag Titles match, billed as a battle of the sexes instigated by Wataru Sakata with he pissed of Erica, to which she and Margaret reminded him and everyone else why exactly the two of them also happen to be the biggest and toughest women in joshi puroresu today when they attacked his bad leg (given to him by multiple attacks from the Takada Monster Army) at Hustle House Vol. 16.Second Hustle – Hustle Super Tag Titles Match: Wataru Sakata & Ryouji Sai (C) VS Erica & Margaret
Rather funny start to this one as the Hustle ring announcer continued to casually do the ring introductions while Sakata attacked both tag challengers!
Once you get past the comedic antics, you’ll notice how both teams are really stiffing each other here! I’m not sure how bad Sakata’s knee is, but it looked like it was really giving him trouble here and affecting his mobility. But he could still throw chops like no one’s business, and once he got fired up enough, he even powerbombed Erica onto Margaret! Sai did a lot of the work for his team due to Sakata’s injury, and he’s definitely a trooper for taking a double stink-face from both of the large ladies!
I think it was only disappointing that we didn’t see more of Margaret in the match, as she mostly only did comedy spots. The main focus of the match was between Erica & Sakata, and just when Sakata thought he had things going his way, he gets tripped by Margaret and Erica pulls out a rolling leg-lock for the shocker submission win!
Sakata is more or less humbled after the loss, and gives the two ladies their props. And a bit of a funny scene after when they can’t wear the belts around their rather wide-waists!
Hate to say it, but a fun match like this is how you mix the sport with the entertainment!Match Rating: ***
Video package of Carolyn “Caiya” Kawasaki and how she got involved in Hustle; apparently she was a huge WWE fan and was really interested to work Hustle after watching stage actor Motoya Izumi take part in the Hustle-Mania show last year. So that lead to her actually getting into Hustle and training with Naoya Ogawa to develop her finishers: The Caiya Bomber, The Caiya Clutch and the Space Tornado Caiya. But she has a tough task ahead of her as the Takada Monster Army decided to throw their biggest gun at her for her debut: Giant Silva!Third Hustle: “Captain Hustle” Naoya Ogawa & “Fighting Santa Maria” Caiya VS Giant Silva & Giant Vabo
They call her the “Fighting Santa Maria”, I’d call her the “Hustle MILF” (I’m not responsible for what might turn up should you search out it’s meaning on the internet!)!
To get under her skin, An Jo wheels out Caiya’s car to the arena, then Vabo & Silva promptly bust it up with a pair of sledge hammers! The tactic works as Caiya can’t wait to get her hands on Silva now!
Despite all the hype, Caiya really came off as ordinary and really couldn’t do anything to hurt either of the two giants! And I’d say that’s a good thing as it seems they can play her up as the rookie just getting her start in the business. She really didn’t get to do anything other than throw a few weak punches, and a dive off the top even resulted in her getting caught in mid-air by Silva to be saved by Ogawa hitting an STO to take down the giant with Caiya on top for a near fall! Most of the match was worked by Ogawa & Vabo, probably a good thing, but I enjoyed watching Silva playing the old-school giant role. And Silva ended up scoring the win for his team with the Giant Press on Caiya.
The match wasn’t anything special, but there was a ton of heat for Caiya as the crowd were really behind her.Match Rating: *
After the intermission, Izumi Motoya comes out to cut a promo, something to do with training the crowd in how to do the Hustle pose in theater dramatic fashion. Waste of time since I had no idea what was going on. He takes a seat at the VIP ringside area after.
Back in the Hustle locker room and one of Takada’s right hand men sneaks in and tries to steal the Hustle Egg from the intern. The intern manages to trap him in a triangle choke, but he sprays him with something that puts him to sleep and manages to run off with the egg!
Next up we get a video package of Team 3D’s rampage through Hustle, and how they plan on continuing kicking ass and putting people through tables tonight.Fourth Hustle: Team 3D (Bubba Ray, D-Von & Spike) VS Kintaro Kanemura, Masato Tanaka & Tomoaki Honma
Except for the one bit where they all brawled out into the arena and there was too many things to follow at once, this match was a TON of FUN! The match did seem a bit one sided, but I guess that really didn’t matter since the were SUPER OVER with the Japanese crowd!
You had all the usual garbage spots with chairs, ladders, tables and barb-wire bats, and Bubba Ray probably became the first person to take a cheese grater to the groin! Bubba was rather vocal throughtout the whole match actually. D-Von showed great mobility for his size and it was great seeing Spike in a position where he’s not the smallest guy getting tossed around all the time. The announcers even acknowledged Spike’s finisher as the Acid Drop!
The Japanese Hardcore Dream Team (Kanemura – W*ING, Honma – BJW & Tanaka – FMW) had a good showing too, despite some uneasiness between Tanaka & Honma not getting along. Kanemura bladed and bumped his ass off for the Americans, Tanaka looked like the only one that could go toe-to-toe with them, and Honma looked great in there as well, despite dropping the fall after taking 3D.
Just a whole lot of fun from start to finish and probably the best match of the night up to this point.Match Rating: ***1/2
Post match, Team 3D do the ultimate bit of fan service when they brought in a kid from the crowd, gave him a Team 3D T-shirt, as well as a piece of table from the match and autographed it too! Everyone obviously had a whole lot of fun in this one.
Video package next of the arrival of New Yin Ling-sama, and how she took down HG at Hustle-16, leading to her unleashing Sodom & Gomorrah on HG for Hustle-Aid, and HG is without a tag partner since Ogawa teamed with Caiya earlier and Ohtani & TAJIRI already have a match later as well, so HG looked outside and brought in All Japan Triple Crown Champion Satoshi Kojima!Fifth Hustle: Sodom & Gomorrah VS HG & Satoshi Kojima
You got to wonder why the heck when WWE had him, all they could do with Matt Morgan was give him a dumb stuttering gimmick and end up releasing him cause they didn’t have anything for him, where as he goes to Japan and Hustle gives a pair of leather pants and some face paint and he instantly becomes a monster?
Now the match itself was seriously a ton of fun from start to finish also, and HG has improved his ring work considerably since the last time I saw him. His movements and timing were all spot on this time around, and the crowd cheered for everything he did.
It was weird when the one missed spot of the match actually came from Kojima when he lost his footing and slipped off the top rope while going for his elbow drop! He managed to rebound from it though, and he also gave a great showing like the Triple Crown champion he is.
Fun finish of the match was HG hit a diving body press after Kojima dropped Gomorrah with the lariat to pick up the win. HG just needs to work on his stamina I think as Kojima worked most of the match and seemed to hardly break a sweat, whereas HG was rather run down for the short sprints he did. Short match, but a ton of fun.Match Rating: ***
Quick video package looking back at the debut of New Yin-sama, followed by how TAJIRI has been getting under her skin in recent weeks, first by trying to hit on her only to spray the green mist in her face, and than making fun of her mask and promising to unmask her at Hustle-Aid tonight!
Back in the Takada Monster Army lair and Monster-K is warming up for his big match tonight when Yin Ling steps in and wishes him good luck. The Takada Monster Army lackey then runs in to inform them that Sodom & Gomorrah were defeated by HG & Kojima, he rushes off to inform New Yin-Sama, who screams something at him off camera and begins whipping him as Kawada & Yin Ling look on before Kawada goes to fetch New Yin-sama for their main event match, which is next!Main Hustle: “Monster-K” Toshiaki Kawada & New Yin-sama VS “Hustle Achichi” Shinjiro Ohtani & TAJIRI
This match was rather fun, but the one thing I didn’t like about it was TAJIRI playing more of a comedy role, resulting in him getting beat up more Kawada cause he kept getting distracted by wanting to get at New Yin-sama. And when Yin-sama was in there, she didn’t look half as good as when she made her return against HG at Hustle-16, resorting back to using her whip and weak kicks and just lacking the fire and intensity she had.
There were some good exchanges between Ohtani & Kawada at least, and the finishing sequence was rather cool as both TAJIRI & New Yin-sama received hot tags, and Yin-sama ducked a high kick from TAJIRI followed by TAJIRI ducking a whip slash from Yin, followed by Yin ducking a green mist attack by TAJIRI and TAJIRI ducking another whip slash from Yin before connecting with a low kick, dropping Yin to her knees and giving TAJIRI the opportunity to unmask her, revealing a huge scar on her face! Yin-sama was in shock leaving herself open to TAJIRI to quickly roll her up for the pin! Yin-sama is still in shock at being unmasked that she runs off screaming, covering her face.
The match wasn’t quite as good as I expected, but was OK for what they did.Match Rating: *1/2
Ogawa & HG join Ohtani & TAJIRI in the ring as TAJIRI jokes about unmasking New Yin-sama. Yin Ling shows up on the monitor and says she herself was coming out for revenge for Yin-sama, but is stopped by Generalissimo Takada, who assures her he’ll handle it. He addresses the Hustle Army and brings out the Hustle Egg they stole earlier and infuse his Monster energy into it.
Back to arena and a giant egg is lowered from the ceiling as the Hustle Army looks on stunned. The egg lands on the entrance ramp and opens up revealing a hooded figure who slowly walks to the ring. TAJIRI is left alone in the ring as the figure reaches the ropes, and unmasks to reveal The Esperanza (Being played by Takada himself!)! He steps into the ring and we got us an impromptu match!TAJIRI VS the Esperanza
Well, it’s not really a match as it was worse than a squash match even with both of them moving slower than slow motion. I really didn’t need to see TAJIRI whimper like a little girl when his kicks didn’t work and Esperanza’s were totally decimating him. Even the Tarantula had no effect and Esperanza won the match with a sick sounding kick right into TAJIRI’s head for the KO win.Match Rating: DUD
Esperanza turns to leave, but Ogawa confronts him only to be blown away by an energy blast than sends Ogawa, HG & Ohtani flying! Paranaza walks off as the Hustle Army looks on in shock!
Generalissimo Takada than appears on the big screen and says they just had their asses whooped by the Esperanza! And he bad mouths them some more before signing off, leaving the Hustle Army in the ring to rethink their strategy to beat the Monster Army. HG is actually still cheerful and even calls out Esperanza, leading to the big finally of HG leading the Hustle Army and the live crowd in attendance in doing the 3-2-1 Hustle! Hustle! Fooo! pose to close out the show.Overall:
OK, I’ll admit the much anticipated return of Takada to the ring was a real big disappointment, but the overall show was a lot of fun and definitely worth checking out. Everyone was bummed by the attendance of this show, so you could probably guess how much better it would have been if they had actually advertised the in-ring return of Takada.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
NJPW SXW Best of Super Juniors X 6/11/2003
I like the funny intro bit they did with the commentator and Kotetsu Yamamoto, which sort of resembled the old WWF skits with either Lord Alfred Hayes or Gorilla Monsoon with Bobby Heenan, and this case when had the commentator guy trying to analyze the semis of the BOSJ and Yamamoto is busy eating instead! The commentator picks Kanemoto to win it, whereas Yamamoto picks Kakihara.El Samurai & Toru Yano VS Tatsutoshi Gotoh & Hiro Saito
Not a lot to this one other than the standard veteran schooling the young lion match. Samurai got some good offense in and sold Gotoh’s backdrop finisher to make it look more brutal than it really was.Match Rating: 1/2*
Jushin Thunder Liger, Jado & Gedo VS Tiger Mask, Masayuki Naruse & Ebessan
I really miss the original Ebessan, and it was great seeing him here having some fun at the future CTU’s expense. The crowd popped for him even more when he was serious and hit his trademark moves like the Shining Ebe-zard and the Kankun Tornado. Kudos to Liger for playing along with his gags. Naruse is another guy I’ll miss since he was a seriously underrated junior heavyweight, and it was good seeing him in action here. Fun little match overall, with Ebessan dropping the fall in the end to the Gedo-clutch, which received almost ZERO reaction from the crowd.Match Rating: *
Shinya Makabe & Minoru Fujita VS Dan Devine & Stampede Kid
Devine looked ok playing the tough shooter gaijin here, though he seemed to be acting too much like Ken Shamrock for my taste. Things only pick up near the end when they start busting out the big moves, and Makabe scores the win on Kid with a big short lariat.Match Rating: *
Best of Super Juniors Semi Final: AKIRA VS Masahito Kakihara
This was rather surprising as AKIRA dominated Kakihara for most of the match, targeting his leg with multiple figure-four attempts and ankle-locks. AKIRA really wanted this one, but one slip up lead to Kakihara hitting a pair of leg lariats, followed by the Kaki-Cutter and a modified head-and-arm ground submission lock for the big upset win.Match Rating: **
Best of Super Juniors Semi Final: Koji Kanemoto VS Takashi Sugiura
Now THIS was loads of fun! Back and forth action with both men bringing the big guns. Kanemoto stiffed Sugiura all over the place with kicks and knees, and Sugiura tossed him around like salad with multiple suplexes. Both men had the same idea targeting the legs with ankle-locks though, and Kanemoto sort of lucked out in the end countering an Olympic Slam into a ground ankle-lock with Sugiura’s foot twisted in a sick position causing him to submit to the pain.Match Rating: ****
Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Osamu Nishimura VS Rick Steiner & Perry Saturn
Seeing Saturn here, he looks like Mini Giant Bernard.
Whole lot of back and forth brawling between Tenzan & Steiner, while Nishimura & Saturn mixed it up on the mat. Steiner seems like he can’t do anything other than a Steiner-line, and Tenzan seemed to mock him by hitting him with one of his own! It was sort of sad seeing Saturn, one of the best grapplers at one time, reduced to being a slow paced brawler due to the mass he’s put on. He did managed to bust out a springboard dropkick as well as a springboard Asai-moonsault though. Tenzan had really limited offense here, mostly just Mongolian Chops, but it was enough leading up to the finish where he spiked Saturn with the TTD for the win.Match Rating: *
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yutaka Yoshie VS Yoshihiro Takayama & Scott Norton
This was a ton of fun, mostly due to watching Yoshie & Norton go at it. Yoshie is big, but Norton is till HUGE compared to him, and the two went at it throwing power moves at each other like they were trying to one up each other! Takayama had some good exchanges with Tanahashi, as well as taking some double team offense from the young duo. But the Norton/Yoshie stuff was definitely what made this a lot of fun to watch, and it’s awesome watching Norton actually powerbomb Yoshie at the end for the win.Match Rating: **1/2
Yuji Nagata, Takashi Iizuka & Shinsuke Nakamura VS Manabu Nakanishi, Enson Inoue & Blue Wolf
This one was pretty much forgettable other watching Nakanishi trying to be a bad ass shoot fighter while teaming with Enson. It was fun watching Nakanishi actually do an Exploder to Nagata after Nagata had given him one, and funny watching Nakanishi call out for help from Enson everytime he got caught in a submission near the end. He does manage to pick up the win for his team with a cross-armbreaker though.
Incidentally, watching Nakamura in the rookie black gear made him look like a jacked up Kaz Hayashi.Match Rating: 1/2*
2003 Best of Super Juniors Finals: Masahito Kakihara VS Koji Kanemoto
A whole lot of support for Kakihara right at the start of this one, and both men quickly target each other’s bad knees as they grapple all over the mat, reminiscent of old Battlarts style shoot matches. Kanemoto takes control after a cheapshot kick, and follows up with even more brutal kicks. Kakihara remembers Kanemoto’s bad leg, and once he had an opening, he jumped right at it with an ankle lock, and when Kanemoto was able to escape, Kakihara was able to transition it to an armbar, and to a headlock, and back to the armbar! Kakihara was like a submission machine here! Kanemoto was able to battle back again with his arsenal of kicks and knees, and thought he was going to put away Kakihara with his trademark ground ankle-hold that put away Sugiura earlier, but Kakihara was resilient enough to get to the ropes. Kanemoto tried for the moonsault, but landed on a pair of knees, giving Kakihara the opening to hit a leg lariat to the back of the head followed by a big time release German suplex and a head kick for a near fall. Both men struggle to their feet and exchange strikes, and Kanemoto gets the better of it but rebounds off the ropes right into a leg lariat! Kakihara quickly follows up with a Shining Wizard for a 2.9! Everyone was sure Kakihara had it there! Kakihara drags Kanemoto to his feet and gives him a Kaki-Cutter, followed by a second more sick looking Kaki-Cutter to finally put him away and win the 2003 Beat of Super Juniors!
This was a really good match, and made even better by all the underdog crowd support Kakihara was getting.Match Rating: ****
This show was easily the highlight of Kakihara’s career, and it’s a shame NJPW couldn’t do better with him when they had him and he had to retire earlier this year. I’ve actually been a fan of Kakihara’s since first watching him in AJPW, and the finals he had here was easily one of his best performances ever. Definitely recommended if you’re a fan of Kakihara, as well as wanting to check out some good singles junior heavyweight action.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
We kick off this edition of Fighting Opera Hustle with a look at the events leading up to tonight’s big 5 on 5 war, as well as the announcement of Hustle Aid.
Live in the arena now, and GM RG (or RGM) comes out to a chorus of boos. He comes out in Hanshin Tigers baseball team gear, but than goes for the cheap heat by revealing a Tokyo Giants uniform underneath as he bad mouths the local team. After a bit more bantering, the card for the show is shown.
Generalissimo Takada than appears on the screen and does a quick promo on the main event, mixed in with a bit of comedy.First Hustle: Neo Devil Pierroth #1, Neo Devil Pierroth #2 & Kyo Itako VS Hustle Kamen Red, Hustle Kamen Blue & Hustle Kamen Yellow
Kyo Itako (aka Fear Psychic Medium) is the mystery partner for the Neo Devils. He looks like a masked monk in a straight jacket due to his posture. An odd pairing for sure, but anybody teaming with the two evil clowns would make for an odd team. The Hustle Kamens on the other hand have some new shiny uniforms on.
As weird as he looks, Itako actually ends up being the highlight of this match! He starts off acting really fragile and weak, but than he channels a spirit into his body and suddenly he’s the late Giant Baba! Throwing Baba’s signature overhead chops, as well as hitting the 16tn Kick and the side Russian leg-sweep before the spirit leaves his body and he’s back to being normal! The second time he channels a spirit, it turns out to be the late, great Jumbo Tsuruta! And the crowd goes absolutely NUTS as he hits the jumping knee attack and does Jumbo’s classic “OH!” pose! He than hits a big backdrop for a near fall as the other Kamens break the count. His final transformation is into Riki Choshu! But just as he’s about to hit the Riki-Lariat, he suddenly changes into some disco dancer and is ejected from the ring by Yellow, leading to Red hitting a big top rope 619 on one of the Devils followed by a West Coast Pop for the win.Match Rating: **
(Simple, but REALLY funny and memorable!)
A quick look at how the feud developed between Kenzo Suzuki, who has been struggling to find his place in Hustle, and Wataru Sakata, the next generation star of the promotion. This mostly has to do with Hiroko Suzuki making fun of Yuko Aoki’s ample assets.Second Hustle: Kenzo Suzuki with Hiroko VS Wataru Sakata with Yuko Aoki
Seriously now, they are trying to hide Suzuki’s lack of talent with comedy? Hiroko tried every trick in the book to cheat on her husband’s behalf, but Suzuki just looked really bad in there that the only given explanation would be to do the comedy spots he did, losing a really short match when he got dizzy giving Sakata an EIGHT rotation airplane spin, with Sakata slipping out into a sunset flip pin for the win.
Note to Sakata, we know Yuko is your woman, but how about letting her wear something other than a track suit? And why the heck wasn’t Kenzo wearing any underwear?!?Match Rating: DUD
A quick look at how our next match came about. Hustle is known as the Fighting Opera due to the fact they are “sports entertainment, and as such, they have brought in actual celebrities in the past to take part in the shows, be it in or out of the ring. The Yoshimoto Kogyo are a comedy group, who seemed to have differences with each other after doing a wrestling sketch or something, which leads to our next match where they hope to settle the score in tag action.Third Hustle - Yoshimoto Kogyo Special Match: Joji Shimaki & Yuki Rock VS Captain Bomber & Masumi Yagi
On one hand you could say that you need to know who these guys are, as well as know the Japanese sense of humor to understand the bizarre comedy antics of these guys, and on the other hand you could say this was a wrestlecrap worthy bad idea which mocks the business to the nth degree. Personally, I didn’t like it and really could have done without it, but hey, that’s Hustle for ya.Match Rating: DUD
During the intermission, we are shown supermodel Carolyn “Kaiya” Kawasaki announcing her participation in the upcoming Hustle-Aid show, and a demonstration of her Kaiya-Bomber lariat finisher.
After the intermission, the rules for the main event are explained. Two persons start off, and the loser is out and is replaced by the next team mate. This keeps going until an entire team is eliminated.
We than go backstage to the Hustle Army locker room where “Captain Hustle” Naoya Ogawa fires up his team. Erica, Margaret and Hustle Kamen Yellow are also in the room, and TAJIRI wonders who their mystery partner is. HG jokes that the “X” could be Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman! And just before Ogawa announces who the fifth member is, we go to the Takada Monster Army lair, where team representatives are warming up for the match, while the Yin-egg is glowing! Generalissimo Takada fires up his team, and it’s on to the main event of the show!Main Hustle: Hustle Army VS Takada Monster Army – 5 VS 5 Survival Match:
Match #1: Giant Vabo VS “Captain Hustle” Naoya Ogawa
Story of the match is Vabo continually attacking Ogawa’s left leg. Vabo hung Ogawa up in the Tree of Woe and hits a volleyball-like spike into Ogawa’s vital area and gets some big boos from the crowd for it. Vabo thinks he has things going his way, but the Hustle leader is able to rally back and hits an STO to eliminate Vabo.Match Rating: *
Match #2: “Captain Hustle” Naoya Ogawa VS Sodom
Sodom is the new 2m tall giant Takada promised to debut, and it’s actually Mark Jindrak in face paint and leather pants. He goes to work on Ogawa’s bad leg, but gets floored temporarily by an STO. Sodom comes back with a big double jump lariat out of the corner followed by a big splash on Ogawa’s bad knee to pin him and get the 3 count! This really shocks everyone as you could actually see the jaws of several spectators drop as the referee counts 3!Match Rating: 1/2*
Match #4: Sodom VS Erica
So Erica turns out to be the mystery partner of the Hustle Army. Sodom can’t believe he actually has to fight a woman, and doesn’t want to. This then turns into sort of a comedy match as Sodom tries to get his hands on Erica, but tires himself out when he can’t catch her, leaving him open for Erica to hit the Uraken for a near fall. This enrages Sodom even more and he starts pounding on her and hits her with a hard lariat to a chorus of boos from the crowd. Sodom hits the Side Effect on Erica to eliminate her.
Match Rating: DUD
Match #5: Sodom VS “Hustle Achichi” Shinjiro Ohtani
Sodom attacks Ohtani as he enters the ring, but Ohtani fights him off and gives him multiple running corner kicks. Sodom battles back, but misses his springboard lariat moves and Ohtani capitalizes on his mistake by pinning him with a diving sunset flip off the top rope.Match Rating: *
Match #6: “Hustle Achich” Shinjiro Ohtani VS “Monster-K” Toshiaki Kawada
It was short, but these two had a little great match here. Kawada counters Ohtani’s running corner kick with a kick of his own, and they trade strikes which Kawada wins and shows a mean streak as he slams Ohtani and drops knees on him. Kawada locks Ohtani in a single-leg crab followed by a painful looking bow & arrow lock. Back on their feet, Ohtani absorbs some strikes from Kawada only to come back with a big face kick of his own. Ohtani tries for the dragon suplex, but Kawada blocks it so he hits him with a backdrop instead for a near fall. Ohtani goes up top and misses a missile dropkick, leading to Kawada hitting a big powerbomb for a near fall before finally putting Ohtani down with a sick brainbuster.
Damn that was awesome!Match Rating: ***
Match #7: “Monster-K” Toshiaki Kawada VS TAJIRI
TAJIRI tries to steal a win by sneaking in out of the audience and rolling up Kawada, but only gets a 2 count. TAJIRI starts working on Kawada’s leg, but Kawada rallies back and works on TAJIRI’s leg instead! TAJIRI survives a barrage of strikes and tries multiple attempts to cradle Kawada for a flash pin, but can’t get it. Kawada gets pissed and himself tries to cradle TAJIRI but only gets a 2 count. Kawada levels TAJIRI with a lariat for another near fall. Kawada tries for a powerbomb, but TAJIRI counters into a frankensteiner. Kawada charges TAJIRI in the corner, but TAJIRI tries for the Tarantula only to get shoved out of the ring. They brawl way out into the audience, and TAJIRI is able to stun Kawada enough to tie him to some scaffolding with duct tape! Unfortunately, TAJIRI takes too long to tie up Kawada and BOTH end up getting counted out and eliminated!Match Rating: *1/2Match #8: “Mr.300%” An Jo VS HG
I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised with HG’s in ring ability since he used to backyard wrestle with Hiroshi Tanahashi when he was a teen. He might not have a lot of moves, but everything he does gets a pop from the crowd, even if he did borrow a few of his gay moves from Dansyoku Dino, the original gay gimmick wrestler. And again HG shows he’s more than just a mascot character when he’s willing to bump and get stretched the way he does. Just when An Jo thinks things are going his way, HG gives him a superkick, followed by a rather sick looking 69 Driver for the win.Match Rating: *Match #9: HG VS the Yin-Egg
TAJIRI quickly grabs the Yin-Egg from the entrance ramp and brings it to the ring. HG gives it an atomic drop and tries to pin it, but the egg has no shoulders for the referee to count down! Generalissimo Takada than appears on the big screen and calls HG an idiot for trying to wrestle an egg! And the truth is that that’s not the real egg and brings out the actual egg which is HUGE! The egg hatches, and out comes HG’s actual opponent: NEW YIN LING-SAMA! Match #9: HG VS New Yin Ling-sama
The new Yin Ling is more evil looking, wearing all black with half a mask and horns on her head. She charges to the ring and whips a shocked Ogawa before entering the ring to face off with HG. HG tries to fool around, but New Yin gives him a pair of middle kicks and drops him with a back elbow off the ropes! She kicks him twice while he’s down, than starts shouting “Kill!” before whipping him a few times and driving the butt of her whip handle into his gut. She then chokes him with the whip before tossing the whip out of the ring and actually wrestling HG by taking him down with a pair of armdrags into an armlock! She definitely moves so much better now that she isn’t wearing high-heels in the ring. She puts HG in a stepover armlock, shades of Antonio Inoki. HG gets to the ropes to break the hold, and Yin Ling continues her assault with several middle kicks and a high kick to the head. She does the Masochist Lock pin for a 2 count! HG blocks a slap and puts her in a chin lock, but she slips out and turns it into an armlock! HG reaches the ropes to break the hold, and TAJIRI distracts Yin Ling long enough for HG to recover and hit the 69 Driver! He makes the cover, but only gets a 2 count! Everyone can’t believe it! Yin Ling recovers and charges at HG with a cross body, but he catches her in mid-air and tries to swing her around, but she uses the momentum to turn it into a Fujiwara armbar and she changes that into a La Majistral cradle to score the 3 count and give the win to the Takada Monster Army! The whole Hustle Army is shocked at this turn of events!Match Rating: **
(Entertaining just to see Yin Ling actually try to wrestle)
Show ends with the usual back and forth banter between the Hustle Army and the Takada Monster Army, but there seems to be some trouble in the Monster camp as Kawada isn’t too happy to see Yin Ling back and Takada refuses to let him speak either.Overall:
For me, the most memorable thing about this show was definitely the opening match, mostly due to all the impressions that were done by the masked Kyo Itako. The 5-on-5 elimination match wasn’t bad either, with a lot of entertaining matches, especially the Ohtani/Kawada match. I still haven’t seen any good TAJIRI/Kawada encounters yet though. Imagine how awesome it would be if Kawada & TAJIRI had a match where the size and seniority level (and ego) didn’t really matter.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Big Japan Death Match Wars #65
We begin this 2/04/06 edition of Big Japan Death Match Wars with a look at the recent death match push of Saburo Inematsu, who despite looking like your everyday jobber, seems to have found his niche as he worked pretty well against Ryuji Ito & Takashi Sasaki in a light tube death match on the last show, and it took the combined efforts of both Sasaki and Ito to take him down after a spirited fight. Tonight he takes another step into the death match environment as he faces the resident psycho of BJW, Jaki Numazawa in a Fans Bring The Weapons Death Match!Daisuke Sekimoto & MEN'S Teioh VS Katsumasa Inoue & Hyoma
You could just imagine how stiff those elbow shots Sekimoto & Inoue must have been throwing at each other when you can hear each and every thud when they connect! Interesting to see Sekimoto as the tough, no selling grumpy senior in this one, when a few month’s later he’s going to get the same treatment when he starts working in Zero-One MAX. We didn’t get to see a lot of Hyoma in this one, as it was mostly about the growth of Inoue as he showed he could hold his own against the seniors of the company. He scored several near falls on Sekimoto before getting doubled teamed by both Sekimoto & Teioh, leading to Sekimoto ending the match with his trademark dead-lift German suplex-hold.Match Rating: *1/2Daikokubo Benkei VS Yuichi Taniguchi
The commentary team got a good laugh out of Taniguchi when he came out using the old Hardy Boys theme! Benkei & Taniguchi usually team together a lot, but they’ve also developed a bit of a rivalry. The match was clipped down a bit, most probably because big Benkei moves so slow. But what they did show looked fun, as the match sort of became a handicap match due to Hyoma running in to help Taniguchi here and there, like breaking the count when Benkei had Taniguchi pinned! They even double suplexed Benkei and did Taniguch’s running corner cross chop move. Benkei was still able to shrug off the double teaming and deliver a big chokeslam to Taniguchi followed by a big splash to win the match.
Not a lot to this one, but you can’t really expect much from an immobile person like Benkei anyway. Taniguchi should be good when he finally gets serious.Match Rating: *
A quick look back to earlier in the day as Numazawa checks out the plunder being donated by the fans as they arrive. There’s all sorts of stuff being placed in the dumpster, from a bag of thumbtacks to a devil mask! This one should be fun.Fans Bring the Weapons Death Match: “Kokutenshi” Jaki Numazawa VS Saburo Inematsu
Numazawa comes out wearing a new leatherface type mask as he torments the crowd in attendance, chasing them around with his chainsaw. Inematsu attacks Numazawa before the bell and continually knocks down the Black Angel before grinding his head with a mini-baseball bat lined with thumbtacks! They brawl out to the floor and Numazawa takes over, breaking a drawer over Inematsu’s head and smacking his back with a shovel! Numazawa than puts the devil mask on Inematsu’s face and spits snack foods at him! Numazawa finds a Freddy Krueger claw in the weapon’s dumpster and tries to carve Inematsu’s face with it, but gives up when he realizes it’s plastic! Numazawa continues by breaking a loaf of French bread on Inematsu’s head, followed by swatting him with a fly swatter. Inematsu mounts a come back, and Numazawa tries to use a Mickey Mouse doll as a shield! Inematsu hits him with a toilet plunger, and Numazawa tries to fight back with anything he can get his hands on.
Numazawa grabs a folding chair from under the ring and breaks it over Inematsu’s head, and then tries to choke him with a dog chain. He than whacks him on the head with a frying pan, before leaving it there and hitting it with the dog chain several times. He gives him one last hit with the frying pan which lets out a big “gong” sound that gets the crowd laughing. Numazawa grabs a big thumbtack lined baseball bat and tries to take a swing at Inematsu, but Inematsu knocks it out of his hand with the frying pan, and smacks the pan over his head a few times! I’m kind of surprised the two are bleeding more by this point.
Inematsu mounts his comeback with some actual wrestling moves, hitting a side Russian leg sweep followed by a big knee drop for a 2 count. He tries to backdrop him on a Tamiya model kit, but misses it. Numazawa fights back hitting a triple-jump dropkick out of the corner, followed by a modified suplex and a short powerbomb for a 2 count. Numazawa places a mini-CD player on him and goes up top, but Inematsu recovers in time, tossing it in Numazawa’s face before giving him a superplex off the top, but Numazawa gets up laughing! They block each other’s lariat attempts, and Numazawa hits a DDT and goes to grab the bucket of thumbtacks!
Numazawa pours the tacks into a pile in the center of the ring, and tries to fireman’s carry Inematsu onto them, but the fights out of it and tries to Rock Bottom Numazawa on them instead! Numazawa breaks free and they both give each other low kicks before Inematsu delivers the Rock Bottom on the pile of tacks! Numazawa gets to his feet and Inematsu floors him with a running double sledge for a 2 count. He gives him a death valley driver on the tacks for another near fall. Inematsu with an enzuguiri and another double sledge for a near fall. Inematsu goes for another running sledge, but Numazawa hits him with a dropkick, himself falling on the tacks again!
Numazawa sets up Inematsu on the top and hits a frankensteiner, Inematsu landing just short of the tacks. Numazawa tries to slam him on the tacks, but Inematsu counters with a small package followed by a double sledge for a pair of near falls. There are tacks all over Numazawa’s body as they trade elbow strikes. The two lunatics are laughing and smiling as they go toe-to-toe, and Numazawa picks up Inematsu and death valley drives him on the tacks for a near fall! Numazawa slams him and uses the frying pan to gather up the tacks and pour them all over Inematsu. He gives him one more whack in the head with the pan before going up top and hitting a big senton roll onto Inematsu’s tack covered body to win the match!
Not as bloody a match as I expected, but the brutality was definitely there thanks to the thumbtacks. Fun match overall.Match Rating: **1/2
Show ends with Numazawa meeting Inematsu backstage, giving him props and a rematch if he ever wants it.