- Yeah, so Linus came up with this neat idea for an issue
of RIM where various board members names were put into a giant hat
and drawn alongside the name of a show from the new wrestling channel
(Fuck Off NTL); the idea being that you review the show
picked after your name, kinda like a footie cup draw only a lot
Oh, and Martin also reviews some non TWC puro :)
Well, it could have been worse; this channel does show CZW and
3PW you know. And anyway, reviewing just ONE show for an issue of
RIM is a hell of a lot easier than my usual habit of reviewing multiple
puro shows over a course of about two months. Happy happy joy joy,
happy happy joy joy etc:
The Stampede Bulldogs are TJ Wilson and Harry Smith, son of Davey
Boy. Puma is also known as Pinoi Boy, and he and Quance are the
NJPW LA Dojo reps here. This match ain’t particularly awful,
but nothing special, as the most talented guy of the four (Quance),
is in the ring for the shortest amount of time. Puma gets beat up
a lot, and I notice he’s a lot bigger than when I saw his
matches around October 2002. Wilson is good, but Smith is pretty
bland, and you just know that if he had anything special going for
him, he’d be on a WWE developmental to appease his family.
The commentators are awful, and take away from the match so badly
it’s unbelievable. Firstly, Julius Smokes:
On a double-team by the Bulldogs - “Shades of the Midnight
On a comeback by Puma after an extended beat down - “Shades
of Ricky Morton!”
On a tombstone by Smith - “Shades of the Undertaker!”
Me, on the next time Smokes breaks out a tired cliché or
fills the air with unintelligible gibberish - “SHUT THE
FUCK UP YOU ANNOYING PRICK!!!!!!!!”
Then of course there was Eric Gargiulo shouting “JUST
LIKE HIS FATHER!!” in that neutered cat voice of his
every time Harry Smith did something resembling a power move. In
truth the only thing he did that resembled Davey Boy was an attempted
running power slam. The Bulldogs did a line in springboard based
double-teams that either look good or horrible depending on what
way the recipient lands. Quance eventually got in and looked good,
why he ain’t been in NJ yet is beyond me, as he was awesome
in Mexico as Rocco Quance. Bulldogs won a decent contest via another
rope based double-team (Wilson blockbustered Puma of Smith‘s
shoulders), and advanced in some theoretical Tag Carnival, theoretical
in that the company went tits up before it got a chance to conclude.
This was the first time I have seen Jack Evans, and he breaks a
record in my house as I develop a violent hatred towards the little
faggot within about 30 seconds of seeing him for the first time.
I blame it on the break dancing, and looking like a fucking backyarder
who couldn’t be arsed buying some proper wresting attire.
He is seconded by Teddy Hart, who goes on commentary and sounds
like Pat Patterson. Gargiulo makes a bunch of insider references
to his backstage antics, which no doubt goes over the heads of half
the viewership because THESE THINGS TEND TO DO THAT! Dutt at least
looks like a wrestler, albeit a skinny junior who should get his
head kicked in by any self respecting heavyweight. This match is
for a title of some description, but within two minutes Jack Evans
is so fucking shit that I have to hold the urge to boot my telly
in, so I switch to MTV2.
Deep breaths, right, let’s go. I’ve put a good 400 yards
between myself and the remote to ensure I watch the WHOLE thing.
Evans manages to flub something early, and flubs it so badly it
isn’t clear what he was actually intending to do, but you
know he fucked it right up. Dutt immediately takes the control after
this, to ensure no more horrible looking mistakes take place, and
does a somewhat respectable job of it. Meanwhile, Gargiulo and Hart
continue with the boring insider references to Hart’s supposed
backstage bust-ups that make no sense to anyone who doesn’t
religiously scour wrestling dirtsites for news (ie, 95% of the world’s
population). Dutt grounds Evans pretty much, with only bursts of
high-flying. Nothing memorable here, as Eric and Teddy screaming
over the top of the action take away from it, they try some elaborate
cradle of some description that doesn’t really come off at
all, and the look Dutt’s face afterwards screams “pissed
off”, as he quickly uses a standing SSP (the most annoying
move ever) to get the win. Hart runs in and he and Evans beat up
Dutt afterwards. A pretty bad match, Evans looked terrible, and
Dutt could only try and do a respectable job of controlling it.
Having typed this up I am now going to violently smash my head of
a brick wall in the hopes of erasing it from my memory.
They are going on about a mysterious power broker being behind this
match being the main event, which, if you look at this match’s
position on every other indy card it’s taken place, is pretty
ludicrous. This follows the annoying US strong-style route, as the
match attempts to take in as many famous puro signatures, moves
and sequences as is possible to try and make the smarks pop, but
here it doesn’t really work, as the crowd is fairly quiet
for the most part. If you’ve seen these two go at it previously,
you aren’t missing anything. Slow opening mat work, going
a bit shoot-style, then we play “guess which AJPW main eventer
they are impersonating today?” to the finish. About the only
‘highlight’ is a Homi tope where he winds up accidentally
kicking a woman at ringside in the mouth. Ki counters a Cop Killa
into a Dragon Sleeper for about the 5th time, only Homicide is able
to roll Ki around into a pinfall to get the victory. The power broker
turns out to be Gary Hart (the guy who managed Great Muta back in
the day), who encourages Ki and Homicide to attack Jerry Lynn, all
the while calling Ki by the name of “Ki-Low”. The two
attack a fan, then appear to attack someone who could be Court Bauer,
but all angles mean nothing because MLW went bust a month later,
so I fast-forward to the end of the show.
All in all, not particularly good. The opener was all right, but
after that, Sonjay vs. Evans was awful, and the main was just two
guys looking to go through the motions, and an angle that meant
nothing at the end of it all. I was pretty sceptical of MLW when
I got it in the random drawing, now I’ve done this show, I
doubt I’ll be watching again.
Well, let me start by saying - I’ve never “got”
lucha, and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of
lucha libre matches I’ve ever liked… so bear that in
mind when reading the rest of this article.
I actually tuned in at a couple of minutes past the hour just in
time to see some masked dudes beating some other dudes. Yes, that’s
as scientific as I can be. Told you lucha wasn’t my thing.
Actually, I tell a lie… there’s a voice inside me suggesting
that the masked dude with his hand raised may have been Olympico.
Anyway, they couldn’t have shown more than 60 seconds of that
match, so I’m willing to bet I didn’t miss anything
Next up is a skit with Shocker and some of his Guapo friends -
and a blue and yellow monkey~!~! I might have taken this up entirely
wrongly, what with me not understanding Spanish, but they seemed
to be auditioning for a new member for their group - and everyone
from apparent strippers to fat homosexual devils have applied. Not
sure what the outcome was, but I was too busy digging the little
monkey. You know, between this little fella, Toryumon’s Venezia
and AJPW’s ape-oriented BAPE Star shows - monkeys are taking
over the wrestling world!
We start the show proper with a trios match (no, really) with some
people that I actually know~! It’s like they knew I was coming
or something. Vampiro’s mannerisms are great. I know people
say he can’t work and he’s rubbish - but really, this
match was all about him, and the fans were totally into it - so
that makes him a pretty decent worker in my book. I really enjoyed
watching L.A. Park in this match, as he seemed to be into it. No
crazy struts, sadly. There was some pretty bad clippage in this
match, which I believe is one of the hallmarks of this programme.
Well, in this example, Park was the recipient of a big rudo double
team on the ramp, and seconds later was seen walking around ringside.
That sort of negates the impact of the whole move, no? Vampiro,
possibly upset at the clipping, wanders off - leaving his partners
to be double-teamed and pinned by Los Rudos. Vampiro eventually
wanders back again but seems uninterested in joining the fun.
Hey, the action here is quite good actually. Park and Shocker hit
stereo topes on Guerrero & Bucanero, and VAMPIRO GETS IN THE
RING and gets major heat for using a Stunner. What a guy! Unfortunately
for Vamp, he should have stayed out because Shocker and Park turn
on him and refuse to tag back in - allowing Black Warrior to surprise
Vampy and hit a legbar for the submission win~! Holy cow! Even Shocker
& Park were encouraging the crowd to cheer for the rudos! Anyway,
that submission seals the 2-0 straight falls win for the Rudo team.
OK, I’ll admit it - I actually quite enjoyed that match…
but don’t tell anyone, OK?
In all seriousness, that was a great match for someone like me
to watch who isn’t a lucha fan because it had a good, simple
storyline that even a non-fan like myself could get into, some cool
offence (especially from Guerrero & Bucanero) and a happy ending
which saw the weirdo tap out. Shocker & Park complain about
Vampiro (presumably) to the commentary team. Incidentally, I saw
absolutely nothing special about Shocker, despite the constant pimping
from everybody and their mothers.
After a collection of highspots featuring guys I can’t recognise,
we come to the second feature bout of the show
Well, I’m at a considerable disadvantage here because I only
really know Negro Casas out of this selection, and I am significantly
put off by the simply hideous outfits worn by Caras & Ano 2000
- and for crying out loud, why doesn’t Mascara Ano 2000 just
go by his real name??
This is quite a different match to the opener, and the first fall
is simply Caras’ Rudo team forgetting about the concept of
tags and absolutely dominating Aguayo’s team - and before
I know it, Los Rudos are 1-0 up! The Segunda Caida (ooh, a technical
term!) was more even, with the Technico team getting in a few flurries
of offence. Unfortunately for me, Negro was never really involved
in the match all that much, except for one impressive whoopee cushion
type move off the apron. The ref gets bumped (I didn’t even
know they did those in Mexico) and misses a low blow from the Rudo
side… but apparently didn’t miss the retaliatory blow,
and disqualifies Aguayo Jr for booting his opponent in the nuts…
so Los Rudos win in straight falls for the second time in the programme!
Man, that was a poor ending.
Well, shitty finish aside, that match wasn’t actively bad
either - so I think I’m going to have to grudgingly admit
that I quite enjoyed both matches on CMLL tonight as neither subscribed
to the over-choreographed armdrags and rubbish pins that have invariably
hampered my previous lucha experiences. The first match was saved
for me by Vampiro’s weird shenanigans, and the second match
was more of a brawl than a traditional lucha “contest”.
If they can continue to produce shows like this, I think I could
grow to sort of like lucha… and believe me, I didn’t
expect to see myself typing THAT when I sat down to watch the show!
Oh, the show finished with a short flashback clip to the third
fall of some tag match featuring a team led by Super Crazy against
a team led by Satanico. Not much to say other than Satanico tried
to rip the mask of some guy in red and eventually got pinned. For
all I know that might have been a really famous match or something…
but give me a break, I’m still amazed I’ve managed to
get this far without slipping into a coma…
Anyway, thumbs up for this show and I’m going to have to
try to catch some more.
Good evening grapple fans
and welcome to what will undoubtedly be one of the most exciting
hours of wrestling you will see all year, as the draw has been made,
the first round completed, and tonight, we will see the semi-finals
and final of the tournament to crown the 35th International Wrestling
Grand Prix Heavyweight champion. Joining me at ringside for this
tremendous evening of action is a highly skilled judo fighter, a
former amateur wrestling champion, a professional wrestling superstar,
and one of the finest analysts in the game, Pete Scenerca. And Pete,
what a show this promises to be, as we see the ring introductions
You're absolutely right there
Kenny, this is going to be an amazing night of professional wrestling.
You got four of the best in the world, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Genichiro
Tenryu, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Yuji Nagata going at it for the chance
to hold the title held legends like Antonio Inoki, Riki Choshu,
Big Van Vader and Hulk Hogan.
And now the bell rings and
the fighters come to the centre of the ring, That's Yuji Nagata
on the left in the black trunks, and Hiroyoshi Tenzan in the red
shorts. Tell us a bit about these guys, Pete.
Well I'll tell ya that Tenzan
is gonna be bleeding pretty soon! That bandage round his head is
gone! That's gonna hurt him Kenny - he got cut in his first round
match with Kensuke Sasaki, now he's bleeding again in his second
match. I'll tell ya - wrestling three times in a night is tough
enough, but if Tenzan loses much more blood, there's no way he can
go on in this tournament.
Nagata's looking for a test
of strength now. They lock up for it, and this may not be a good
idea for Nagata. Not many men can match strength with the 280lb
Buffalo Soldier, Hiroyoshi Tenzan. He's showing that now, as he's
got Nagata down to his knees.
Nagata's coming back up though
Kenny. This move is more often about leverage than it is about strength,
and Nagata knows leverage. He is without question one of the greatest
wrestlers in the world today. He was the longest reigning IWGP champion
of all time, and he's known as "saikyo" or "the strongest"
in honour of his mastery of the New Japan style of wrestling.
That's very true, as Tenzan
now with the standing armbar, reversed by Nagata but Tenzan goes
down into a drop toehold, and floats over into modified reverse
chinlock. You can see he's bleeding pretty badly right now. He's
working that chinlock, but Nagata's shifted his weight, and he's
working his way back to his feet. He's turning Tenzan's headlock
into a top wristlock and he takes Tenzan down to the mat. Nagata
hooks in a snug armbar, his knee's across Tenzan's face but Tenzan
gets his foot to the bottom rope. Nagata needs to maintain his wrestling
advantage, and use his skills to keep Tenzan grounded. The big man
prefers a stand-up fight - Nagata needs to use his mat skills here
to keep on top.
Tenzan's tired, look at him,
but a headbutt! And another! That's knocked Nagata loopy! Oh man,
but look at the blood on Tenzan's face now! OOOOH!
Oooh indeed! Tenzan, who
is really wearing the crimson mask now, with his trademark falling
headbutt there, straight into Yuji Nagata's groin.
You know, that move
will get the crowd right behind him, but it's not smart at all from
Tenzan. Using all these headbutts is only gonna open that cut up
further, and as the match goes on, he gets hotter, his heartrate
goes up, he's only gonna lose more blood. That's dangerous if he's
gonna go through to the final, where he'll have another tough match.
He's fired up right now though!
Tenzan now with hard toe
kicks into the spine, another falling headbutt, and Tenzan with
the penalty kicks knotting up the spine of Nagata - that's illegal
It sure is, kicking with
the toe of the boot is illegal, and very dangerous into the spine
Tenzan now with the rear
chinlock, but he hooks in the Buffalo Sleeper! Buffalo Sleeper!
Nagata's struggling for the ropes, and Nagata escapes the Buffalo
Sleeper! That was a close one for Nagata, Pete.
Well Nagata knew he had to
get out of that fast. Tenzan's become a real master of these head
and arm submission holds. That Buffalo Sleeper has been a real matchwinner
for him in the past, and it's also very similar to the Anaconda
Vice that he used to win the prestigious G-1 Climax tournament last
Nagata is up now though,
with hard kicks to Tenzan's body. He backs Tenzan into the corner,
Tenzan is down, OOOOH! Vicious front kick right in the face! Nagata
shoots Tenzan across the ring, follows him in, ANOTHER kick high
and hard in the face! EXPLODER! Exploder suplex from Nagata! Both
men get back up, another hard kick sends Tenzan into the ropes,
SUPLEX! Nagata covers...one...two...kickout! A high overhead belly-to-belly
suplex gets the two-count, and Nagata cinches in the Crippler Crossface!
Tenzan may be done - he's
bleeding badly now, and that flurry from Nagata has taken the fight
out of him. Now he's locked in this painful hold and I can't see
a way back for Tenzan now - he just doesn't have the energy left
to fight the hungry Nagata.
Tenzan makes it to the ropes
though. You're right Pete, Tenzan looks to be out of it. Nagata
with an enzuigeri! Tenzan still on his feet! Nagata goes for the
backdrop, Tenzan with elbows to the base of Nagata's skull, BIG
forearm smash from Nagata, BACKDROP...NO! Tenzan rolled through
the backdrop! Tenzan now mounting Nagata! He's unloading with punches!
Headbutt! Headbutt! And there's the Mongolian Chop!
Look at Nagata! He's checking
his forehead, but I don't think that's his blood - I think that's
just what's splattered on to him from that really ugly wound on
The referee is checking
Tenzan's cut now - he has the authority to stop this match if he
feels Tenzan cannot safely continue. Nagata up to his knees now,
Tenzan checks him with a nice forearm, Nagata with a big shot into
the breadbasket, Mongolian Chops from Tenzan, Tenzan hits the ropes,
LARIAT! One...two...kickout! Nagata kicks out! Tenzan can't believe
I can't believe it! Awesome
lariat from the Buffalo Soldier, but Nagata's coming back, he hits
the ropes and Tenzan nails him with a rolling heel kick and they're
both down. That's gotta be all from Tenzan, Kenny - look how much
blood he's lost. This has been his second match of the night, he's
had the fight of his life, and now he's going again with those falling
headbutts into Nagata's spine - he can't have much left in the tank.
Tenzan now with the bodyslam
and he's going up top...oh no Pete, what's he going for? DIVING
HEADBUTT! ONE! TWO! NO! Nagata kicks out of the diving headbutt!
Tenzan goes for the Buffalo Sleeper again! Nagata goes to the ropes
again! But look! Tenzan is back up quickly, and his adrenaline is
That's bad for Tenzan though.
That adrenaline rush can only lead to more blood loss. It doesn't
matter how fired up Tenzan is now - if he loses any more blood,
the doctors may not allow him to continue in the tournament.
from Tenzan! BACKDROP! Tenzan crawls on top, one...two...kickout!
Nagata kicks out of the backdrop! This has been a punishing match
for both men, Pete.
It has indeed, and the Buffalo
Soldier now letting out that war cry, but Nagata's back up!
Forearm! Nagata hooks up Tenzan for the Exploder, Tenzan with the
elbow, reversal, SIDE EFFECT! ANACONDA VICE! ANACONDA VICE! Nagata
scrambles for the ropes! Yuji Nagata makes it to the ropes and escapes
the Anaconda Vice! That was a close one!
That is one of the deadliest
submission holds in the world, Kenny, and Tenzan can't believe he
didn't get the duke right there.
Tenzan cries out to his
people once again, he's nodding to the crowd, this is it, TENZAN
TOMBSTONE DRIVER! Hooks the leg, ONE! TWO! KICKOUT! Incredible!
Oh my...what's Tenzan doing now? He's on the top rope for a 280lb
MOONSAULT! Oh my...one...two...kickout...Pete, I think Tenzan's
knee may have hit Nagata's skull...
That may not have been a
kickout - look at Nagata's arm shaking...that may have been a nervous
spasm...that knee...oh man, this is bad...
Tenzan covers him again,
one, two, three and that's all. Nagata is out. Fans, we told you
this show would be exciting - nobody said it would be pretty. We'll
be right back.
Damn, they cut away fast.
Yeah, I wanted to say that
nobody wants to see that, Nagata looks to be seriously hurt, and
it looked pretty bad.
True, true, and let's not
forget Tenzan. He's bleeding like a stuck pig right now and he's
got another match to go! Anything you want, you got it...
I'm going back
someday, come what may, to Blue Bayou...
What the hell are you talking
Never mind. Oh! Pretty Woman!
Cut it out man.
No, I was talking about
the Brrrrasil! chick. She's cute.
She's alright I guess. Out
of your league though.
we're back on the air now in three, two be sure, one...
We're back fans, and we've
got word from the back that Yuji Nagata has regained consciousness.
We understand that thankfully there is no fracture to the skull,
but he's being checked for neurological damage as we speak. We'll
give you an update as soon as we have more.
Yeah, that was a scary moment
there, but Tenzan is through to the final, and he'll be facing one
of these men: Mister Pro Wrestling, Genichiro Tenryu, the 54 year
old legend in the black trunks, and The Young Dragon, the student
of one of Tenryu's legendary foes, Tatsumi Fujinami and the current
U-30 champion, Hiroshi Tanahashi. You know, that U-30 title, for
wrestlers under the age of 30, is tailor-made for Tanahashi - he's
really proved himself there, and on the strength of that, he lobbied
for a place in this tournament, which was originally set to be for
former IWGP Champions only. He's already beaten the ultra-tough
fighter Yoshihiro Takayama to get this far, and I wouldn't bet against
an upset over the legend Tenryu. This kid is the future of New Japan
Pro Wrestling, no doubt.
And he's proving it, as
right from the bell, he goes at the veteran Tenryu with a dropkick!
Big forearm! Into the ropes, and Tanahashi hits a big flying double
chop to the throat! Tenryu hits the ropes, Tanahashi with the huracanrana!
Tenryu's up though with a HUGE trademark chop! And what's this?
BRAINBUSTER! Tenryu hits the brainbuster! Oh my Pete...Tanahashi
No he's not. That
brainbuster by the veteran Tenryu. They don't call him Mr. Pro Wrestling
for nothing - this guy made his debut on the day Tanahashi was born,
27 years ago. He's been around the block more than a few times,
and he knows how to hurt people. Tanahashi is still down - it looks
like we might have two knockouts in two matches here!
Tenryu looks at Tanahashi
with contempt. He may not be in the best shape of all the great
New Japan superstars we've seen here, but Tenryu just knows what
he's doing in there. Nothing fazes his at all.
That's absolutely right Kenny.
You know when you see a broken down old man in this sport, you can
be sure of one thing - he's a survivor. Tanahashi looks like he's
But Tenryu's having none
of it as he drops the elbow on the back of the Young Dragon's neck!
Tanahashi now getting back to his feet, and Tenryu's there with
those devastating chops, Tanahashi against the ropes, a big rabbit
elbow from Tenryu and a kick! Tanahashi is down, another elbow drop!
Tenryu is just not giving Tanahashi a chance to react here. Picks
the youngster up and that's the enzuigeri! One...two...kickout by
Tanahashi! They're back up again, and Tenryu now with those trademark
chops and jabs, chops and jabs, and Tanahashi is trying to fight
back but he's got nothing. Tenzan now with a big kneelift...and
another...STANDING LARIAT! One...two...no! Tanahashi stays in it!
Tenryu is back up quickly though...kneedrop! And an elbow drop!
He hoists Tanahashi up and that's the DDT! Hooks the leg, one...two...kickout!
Awesome flurry of offence
from the old-timer. Man, it's like watching your dad fight, if your
dad was the toughest man on the planet.
Tenryu now with
those nasty toe kicks, Tanahashi backed up into the corner, Tenryu
again with the chops, and a jab, chop, jab, chop, jab, he's opening
up that cut, he's almost mocking the youngster now, another rabbit
elbow! Big chop! Another big chop! BRAINBUSTER! Tenryu with the
brainbuster! He's over for the cover, hooks the leg, one...two...no!
Tanahashi kicks out of that devastating brainbuster by Genichiro
Tenryu! And Tenryu now drops another knee into the Young Dragon's
face. He's bleeding from the mouth, Pete.
He sure is, Kenny. After
all those jabs to the face, as well as those knees to the face,
I think he's probably lost a tooth or something in there. That's
something that Tenzan is gonna have to watch out for if Tenryu gets
the duke here, cos you know those jabs and those knees will make
a real mess of the cut on Tenzan's forehead.
That's right Pete, as the
referee now preventing Tenryu from picking Tanahashi up. He's counting
the youngster out, but he's struggling back up, he just makes it
up at nine, LARIAT! Tanahashi was barely on his feet, Tenryu with
the lariat! One! Two! No! Tanahashi kicks out! Tanahashi kicks out!
Tenryu's upset now as he lays in some hard toe-kicks to the face,
the referee warns him about the toe-kicks, and there's a toe-kick
right in the eye! That's vicious!
Well it's like I
said, Tenryu has been around, and he knows how to get the job done.
You look closely at him - he's not enjoying this. But he is not
gonna let anything stand in his way when it comes to the IWGP title,
not the Young Dragon, not the Buffalo Soldier, and certainly not
Tanahashi is backed into
the corner again, and Tenryu lays in those hard chops again. He
shoots him across, follows in with the lariat! And another chop!
Shoots him in again, follows in with a huge chop! Tanahashi caught
his head on the turnbuckle hook, Tenryu with a chop, jab, chop,
jab but Tanahashi now with a slap! And a flurry of slaps from Tanahashi
has Tenryu reeling! Tenryu looks shocked! Tanahashi off the ropes,
Tenryu fires back with a chop! Tanahashi brushes it off, off the
ropes again, ANOTHER chop from Tenryu! Tanahashi off the ropes again,
flying forearm! Tenryu is down, Tanahashi goes up top...MISSILE
DROPKICK! Tenryu backs up into the corner, Tanahashi with a big
dropkick! GERMAN SUPLEX! Incredible comeback here from the youngster,
he's looking for the Dragon suplex, a trademark of his mentor Fujinami,
he can't get it, goes for an armlock, and an enzuigeri! Into a reverse
chinlock...and that's the Dragon Sleeper! Dragon Sleeper! The trademark
hold of Tatsumi "The Dragon" Fujinami applied by his protege,
Hiroshi Tanahashi! Tenryu lunges for the ropes though...he knows
that hold too well.
Pete: That's right Kenny, Tenryu knows that Dragon's Road style
- he's faced them all - Fujinami, his original protege Keiji Muto,
Nishimura, and now Tanahashi, and he knows how dangerous that hold
The Young Dragon goes for
the Dragon suplex again, but Tenryu backs him into the corner, Tanahashi
up, and droppped down by Tenryu! Tenryu into a rear mount, Tanahashi
sneaks out the back, three-quarter nelson, one...two...no! Tenryu
escapes! He's shocked about that one! He's up with those chops again!
Tenryu hits the ropes, Frankensteiner...reversed! Tenryu reversed
into the powerbomb! Tenryu looks exhausted, but Tanahashi is flat
out on the mat. The veteran picks the youngster up again, BIG chop!
BRAINBUSTER! Tenryu hooks the leg! ONE! TWO! NO! Amazing! Tanahashi
survived another brainbuster! This kid has been incredible tonight!
Tenryu picks him up again though, BRAINBUSTER! That's got to be
it! ONE! TWO! THREE! THAT'S IT! TENRYU WINS! What an incredible
Just amazing! The
kid is bleeding badly from his mouth...this has been incredible...
And we've still got the
final to come!
Damn Herbie, what's the
deal with these sudden ad breaks? What kind of story can we tell
if you don't even give us room to breath?
well now to be sure Kenny this whole commentary thing is all just
in your head now, so it is.
Yeah, but come on man, don't
you smart marks even read Foley's books? He's supposed to be your
freaking hero, and he talks all the damn time about how important
good commentary is.
Ah but sure,
come on now Peter...
No Herbie. Your inaction
on this issue belies a fundamental failure to understand how wrestling
Kenny! And to be sure now, just what do you suppose you'd be meaning
by that then?
Wrestling's about telling
stories, OK? Now, how do you tell stories?
Well, to be sure now...
a yell, some furniture is disturbed, and a high-pitched cry of "Begora!"
as Scenerca apparently applies the kata hajime on Herbie, and since
the little leprechaun is wearing a jacket, it actually works)
OK, the guys tell stories
in the ring, right? But you need commentary on TV. Imagine football
without it. If you've got no promos - which you don't really on
Japanese TV, and we couldn't understand them anyway - then you need
commentators to fill in the blanks for the punters. Who are these
guys? Why are they fighting? Where did they come from? WHY SHOULD
I CARE? I'm a smart fan, and I don't really know. So what makes
you think Joe Schmo is going to get it when he tunes in for the
first time? Hell, even when it comes to the matches themselves,
a decent commentator can turn a lousy match into a decent one, a
decent match into a good one and good match into a great one. When
it's a company most people don't know anything about, from a country
most people know jack-all about, you NEED commentary to define the
product. Otherwise, how are the punters going to differentiate between
NOAH and New Japan? You say "the green mat" and I'll have
him kill you.
Welcome back fans, and this
is it - this is the big one. This is the match to crown a new International
Wrestling Grand Prix Heavyweight Champion, and it's come down to
two of the greatest pure pro wrestlers to ever walk that aisle.
That's absolutely right Kenny,
the IWGP title has kinda been messed around a little over the last
couple of years, with a lot of New Japan wrestlers getting involved
in kickboxing matches. In fact, that's why the title is vacant at
all, since Shinsuke Nakamura, the last champion, got his eye all
busted up in a kickboxing match with Alexey Ignashov, then got the
damage exarcebated by another MMA star in Yoshihiro Takayama, and
had to take time out for surgery. You know I was a judo fighter,
and an amateur wrestler, so I can appreciate all this cross-training,
and co-promotion between fighting disciplines, but pro-wrestling
is pro-wrestling, the king of sports, and I'll tell you, I'm glad
to see two pro wrestlers, two men who aren't interested in kickboxing
or MMA, fighting for this title here tonight. I'm sure this will
be a classic pro-wrestling match.
I certainly hope it will.
It's only fitting after two incredible semi-finals that this final
should be a great one, and with the two stars we're about to see
in the ring, I'm sure it will be a barn-burner.
And there you see him, Mr.
Pro Wrestling, Genichiro Tenryu entering the ring. You look at him,
Kenny, with that robe on, that very serious face, and you think
of his career, and he really does represent Japanese professional
wrestling at its most pure. He's the elder statesman now of New
Japan Pro Wrestling, and though you know, and he knows, that he
doesn't have long left in the game, his experience, his toughness,
and his never-say-die attitude have brought him to the dance one
more time, and you can bet he knows he'll never have another chance
That's a great point, Pete.
Tenryu, at the age of 54 may never get another shot at the IWGP
title - this tournament may be the last chance of his entire career
to grab the gold. What's the veteran thinking going in to this match,
Well, this should be interesting.
At his age, Tenryu's problem is not anything technical - whether
his opponent wants to stand up with the suplexes and slams, go to
the mat, or get dirty and just fight it out, Tenryu can do it, and
do it better than anyone in the game. His problem as he's got older
is that he doesn't have the lung capacity or the cardiovascular
output of the younger fighters, so normally I'd say he wants to
get it over and done with quickly, which isn't really his style.
But with Tenzan having lost so much, you know, when you lose those
red blood cells, your blood can't deliver so much oxygen to your
muscles, and you get tired. When you get tired, your heart tries
to pump harder to get the oxygen into the muscles, and so you end
up losing more blood. It's a vicious circle, and it means that Tenzan's
cardiovascular capacity is compromised going in here.
So what's Tenryu's strategy
going to be then?
I think he's going to keep
the pace down. I think he'll go with his jabs early on to open Tenzan
up, then he'll take him down, and grind him down. With all that
blood loss, Tenzan can only get weaker as the match goes on, and
since he's had 2 very tough matches, and Tenryu's had it a little
easier on the road to the final, I think the veteran just has to
use his mat skills to keep the Buffalo Soldier grounded and frustrated.
I don't think Tenzan's got more than 15 minutes of fight left in
him, so if Tenryu can extend him, I have to go with him to win it
And now we see 33 year old Hiroyoshi Tenzan entering
the ring. This man, until very recently, was considered a "nearly"
man. He's a seven-time tag team champion, with three different partners,
and lots of people had him labelled as always the bridesmaid, never
the bride. But last year, Tenzan went to Canada on a training excursion,
and came back a new man. He had learned and mastered the Anaconda
Vice, and he had a new found confidence that led him to the most
successful year not only of his career, but of any wrestler ever
to compete in New Japan Pro Wrestling. He won the tag titles with
Osamu Nishimura, the G-1 Climax Tournament, the G-1 Tag League,
and the IWGP title all in the same calendar year, which no-one else
has ever done. What's Tenzan's strategy going to be, Pete?
Well Tenzan's very motivated.
He's at the peak of his career, and a big win here could set him
up the number one man in Japanese wrestling for a long time to come,
but he's also coming into this match in very bad shape. I have to
think that Tenzan's only way of winning this match is to go in with
both barrels blazing, and try to catch the veteran Tenryu off guard.
We know Tenzan's a heavy hitter, and he's got to go with the big
lariats and suplexes then cinch in the Anaconda Vice as early as
he can. Like I said before, I don't think he's got more than 15
minutes left in him tonight, so he's got to get it done quickly.
Tenzan's biggest problem though might be his pride. We've seen him
already really over-doing it with the headbutts for a guy who's
got a big cut on his forehead, so I'd say that even though those
headbutts are some of his favourite weapons, he's gotta use his
head, and not use his head, if you know what I mean.
That seems like a sound
strategy to me, Pete, as we hear the ring introductions being made.
You can really feel the tension in the air here - every fan in this
building knows that they're about to see something special, as these
two masters of professional wrestling get set to meet for perhaps
the most prestigious title in the world today, the International
Wrestling Grand Prix heavyweight title. 33 year old, 3 time IWGP
champion Hiroyoshi Tenzan facing the veteran, 54 year old former
champion, Genichiro Tenryu. And there's the bell and we're underway
in this one.
And Tenryu goes straight
in with a koppo kick! He caught Tenzan right in the forehead with
that. I guess Tenryu wants to finish this one quickly after all.
It seems so Pete, as the
referee goes down to check the cut and Tenryu is laying in the stomps.
The referee seems content with Tenzan's cut but Tenryu now biting
the forehead! This is disgusting! There's blood all over both men
Oh man! This one is breaking
down early! Tenryu may not show a lot of emotion coming into the
ring, but when it comes right down to it, he is as hungry and determined
as he has ever been.
Tenzan is back up now, and
Tenryu is nailing him with those trademark chops of his. Now with
the jabs, opening that cut up even further, another big chop, but
Tenzan fires right back! Tenryu with a chop, and Tenzan, and again,
big forearm shot from Tenzan, jab, LARIAT! Tenryu covers, hooks
the leg, 1...2...no! Tenryu hit a big trademark lariat there for
the two count but now both men back to their feet and Tenryu with
the jabs again.
Tenryu's looking at his hands.
They're covered in blood from that cut on Tenzan's head, and I think
he likes it! The referee is warning him about those closed fist
punches but Genichiro Tenryu is having none of it! Oh! And he kicks
him with the toe of the boot right in that cut again! Tenryu is
on a mission tonight to win that IWGP title, by fair means or foul.
Tenzan is on his knees now,
and he's getting fired up. Big chops from both men now, Tenryu with
another jab and another, and a headbutt! That's Tenzan's game! Tenzan
with a headbutt to the chest and now the Mongolian chops! Tenryu
is down...and he's out of the ring! Hiroyoshi Tenzan has knocked
the veteran out to the apron!
Yeah, but look now, the referee
is checking that cut again. There is blood everywhere, all over
both men, it's streaming out of his head, there's pools of it on
the mat...I don't know if the referee can let this continue...for
Tenzan's own safety, he may have to stop this match.
Tenzan with the stomps though
as Tenryu finally gets back to his feet. Tenzan looks for the vertical
suplex back in but Tenryu blocks it, blocks it again, and now he
hoists Tenzan out to the apron! I don't like the look of this as
Tenryu lands another jab goes for the crotch hold and...OH MY GOD!
Oh man! That was like a Northern
Lights Bomb off the apron to the floor! Unbelievable! Tenzan's got
to be out now...he landed right on his head. He's gotta be out.
This one is finished, folks.
Well, the referee has started
counting. Both men have a 20 count to get back in to the ring. Tenryu
is up and he rolls back in at 5, but Tenzan is still down. This
is not what we want to see here. Of course we hate to see anyone
hurt, and we want to see a decisive end to this tournament to crown
a new IWGP Heavyweight champion.
It looks like Tenryu wants
to see a winner too, he's out now, and he tosses Tenzan back into
the ring. He wants to make sure there are no question marks over
his victory tonight.
The crowd applaud it too
- they want to see a winner, and they're about to as Tenryu hooks
the leg, 1...2...NO! Tenzan kicks out! Nobody in this building can
believe it, least of all the veteran, Genichiro Tenryu! Hiroyoshi
Tenzan kicked out!
This is just amazing! We
said this tournament was going to be exciting, but even I didn't
expect this! There is just no quit in either of these men!
Tenryu stays on top though
and applies the WAR Special! Named after the wrestling promotion
founded by Tenryu some years ago, home to stars like Gedo and Jado,
Ultimo Dragon and Chris Jericho, we've seen it more recently from
Gedo and Jado, the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Champs...it puts
a lot of pressure on the shoulders, doesn't it Pete?
Yes it does, basically the
feeling is like having 2 Fujiwara armbars applied at the same time.
If you're flexible though, you can alleviate some of the pressure
by turning in a little, as Tenzan's trying to do...
But Tenryu releases
the hold, cover, 1...2...kickout!
Yeah, that quick cover was
a nice idea, but I don't think Tenzan's quite worn out enough yet
to go down like that.
Tenryu is just relentless
though as he hooks in a reverse WAR Special! I'm not sure we'll
see Tenzan submit here, but the referee may be forced to stop the
match if Tenzan can't find an escape pretty quickly.
Well he's turning through
it as Tenryu tries to cinch it in and he's made the ropes. Great
awareness from Tenzan - even with all that blood in his eyes, and
all the shots he's taken in this match, he still knew how close
he was to the ropes.
He's a ring general, no
doubt about it. Tenryu now with a kick right in the face and the
referee is warning the veteran not to attack that cut any more.
Tenzan's back up but he's in a bad way as Tenryu nails him with
a jab! And another! And another! Rams his head into the turnbuckle...Tenzan's
dazed, but what's this? Tenryu dumps Tenzan up on the top turnbuckle...now
he's getting up there, he's got a waistlock...no, surely not...Tenzan
tries to hang on but NO! GERMAN SUPLEX FROM THE TOP! Tenryu hooked
himself up on the second rope to protect himself, but no protection
for Tenzan who got dumped from the top rope, right down on his head
and shoulders. This match has got to be over now.
Tenryu's getting down now
but he's not going for a cover, that may be a mistake!
Not if he hits this lariat...
Good God Almighty! Those
heinous bastards! That's the most ruthless cut I've ever seen in
Geez Herbie, didn't you think
of dropping the ad in after the lariat? There's a double sell there
that would fit an ad break quite neatly.
Man, that was almost
as bad as what you did to Jody. Now I've seen the tape of Uprising,
and I know the camera angles aren't the best on that balcony dive,
but don't you understand? That man RISKED HIS LIFE to entertain
us. How do you suppose he felt when he watched you trying to sell
deodorant instead of showing one of the defining moments of his
all-too-short career? I saw your boy defending himself for it on
your pissant forum too, so tell him this: When the guys are "just
lying on the floor", that's called "selling". It
makes the moves mean something. And when they show the shots of
the crowd going nuts, that's called "heat". It's the whole
point of the game. So when you cut that out because it's "boring"
and "there's nothing happening", you might as well just
suck all the life out of the business, and go round spitting in
the faces of all the boys who destroy their bodies to keep your
station in tapes, you arrogant, ignorant prick. Here's a tip for
next time - show the dive, show the impact, go to an ad break, come
back, show a replay, show the crowd going nuts, cut back to the
babyface getting back to his feet. That may you help tell a story,
instead of belittling one man's dedication to entertaining the fans,
no matter the risk. Now shut up - those of us with something to
contribute to the business have a champeen to put over.
Welcome back fans, as Tenryu
hits a huge lariat! Hooks the leg, ONE! TWO! NO! Incredible kickout
I told you, neither one of
these guys knows what "quit" means. I seriously believe
they would rather die than lose out there.
You may be right, as Tenzan
tries to shake off some of the abuse he's taken tonight...don't
forget fans, both of these guys have fought two matches already
tonight against the greatest wrestlers in the world today.
That's right, and this is
what it's all about, the main event, the championship match for
the most valuable wrestling title in the world, the International
Wrestling Grand Prix heavyweight title.
And Tenryu now picking his
younger opponent up and a brainbuster! That's got to be all. Tenryu
slow to react though, crawls over, tight cradle, one! TWO! NO! Tenzan
kicks out again! He's like a machine, Pete!
He's very tough, no doubt.
The execution on that brainbuster wasn't perfect, but you're right,
Tenzan ought to be out by now. He's going on sheer willpower right
Tenryu has done exactly
what we said he should do - he's just stayed on top of Tenzan since
the opening bell. Tenzan's bleeding very heavily now as he gets
pulled up and Tenryu with the enzuigeri! Hiroyoshi Tenzan is out!
Tenryu just needs to make the cover here and we've got a new IWGP
But he's not gonna take it
yet! It looks like he's setting Tenzan up now for maybe a piledriver...
No! It's a powerbomb! Sit-out
powerbomb! Hooks the leg, One! Two! NO! Hiroyoshi Tenzan is still
in this! Tenryu was within millimetres of becoming the new IWGP
Champ! Both men are getting back to their feet now - this is just
incredible. Tenryu leans into the ropes and comes out...DOUBLE LARIAT!
Both men with simultaneous lariats!
This is amazing! Both men
down now...it's all about who gets to his feet first. I've gotta
bet on Tenryu now though. Tenzan has lost so much blood, he's taken
such a beating in all three of his matches tonight, and Tenryu,
you can see man, he's on fire tonight!
But they're both back on
their feet again and trading those hard chops! Tenzan with a headbutt
to the chest! And another! And there's one to the head! Mongolian
Chop! And again! But Tenryu with a sharp jab, and another, but Tenzan
with another Mongolian Chop! Crotch hold, is it going to be...the
Tenzan Tombstone Driver! Tenzan slumps down, hooks the leg, one!
Two! No! Tenryu kicks out after the Tenzan Tombstone Driver! But
Tenzan is going straight in for the kill now! He's going for the
That's right Kenny, he knows
he has Tenryu dazed for basically the first time in the match, and
he's got to get that hold cinched in now, because he may not get
another chance to win this one.
That's true, but Tenryu
is struggling hard, trying to wriggle free, and he gets the tip
of his toe on to the bottom rope. Great positioning and awareness
from the veteran there - he knew exactly where he was in the ring.
I'm amazed either of these
guys know where they're at right now!
Hiroyoshi Tenzan, The Buffalo
Soldier, is getting all fired up now though! He shoots Tenryu into
the ropes, goes for the back bodydrop, but Tenryu reverses! Backslide!
ONE! TWO! NO! Tenzan kicks out again! Both men back up quickly,
Tenzan with the Mongolian Chops! And again! TENZAN TOMBSTONE DRIVER!
ONE! TWO! NO! Tenryu kicks out of a second Tenzan Tombstone Driver!
What else can happen here?
It was a loose cover, but
Tenryu is still down, and Tenzan's going up top now...is this gonna
DIVING HEADBUTT! DIVING
HEADBUTT! Cover, ONE! TWO! THREE! That's it! That's it! Tenzan wins!
Hiroyoshi Tenzan has defeated the living legend, Mr. Pro Wrestling,
Genichiro Tenryu with the diving headbutt to become the 35th International
Wrestling Grand Prix Heavyweight Champion and Pete, it's matches
like that that turn champions into legends, isn't it?
That's absolutely true Kenny,
and as we see all the officials, the young trainees, the doctors,
the journalists all swarming round the ring, you can see Tenzan
there, his face is all covered in blood, he's practically in tears
but he's standing tall because he has proved here tonight that he
is, for this one night at least, the greatest pro wrestler in the
world. It's moments like this that make me proud to be a wrestling
fan, never mind a commentator.
I'm sure Tenzan will have
many tough challenges in the months to come - we expect title matches
for Kensuke Sasaki and Bob Sapp to be signed in the near future,
and you can bet that Yuji Nagata will be gunning for a rematch with
Tenzan very soon as well. In fact, there is any number of challenges
out there for Hiroyoshi Tenzan now, but they're all far from his
mind right now. Tonight, I think he'll just want to get that cut
cleaned up, get home to his family, and get a very good night's
No doubt Kenny, no doubt.
It looks like we're gonna hear from the champ now.
(Tenzan in-ring promo with subtitles)
Well, I think that says
it all. Wrestling fans, that's all we've got time for this week.
Join us next week when we'll have action from some of Japan's great
cruiserweight stars, including the legend who trained in Britain
and once held the WCW Light Heavyweight title, Jushin Thunder Liger,
but for now, I've been Kenny McBride.
And I've been Pete Scenerca.
Thanks for joining us! Ichi!
Ni! San! Da!
Mr Mo Chatra is our host and informs us, the discerning viewer,
that this show is a continuation of the series of NOAH’s best
matches of 2001. I hope someone has picked some good matches to
show, as I was up all night on Sunday (and I mean all night) and
NOAH has the tendency to bore the tits completely off my chest at
times. Don’t get me wrong, NOAH can put on ‘big matches’
like no other promotion in the world, but at times it can be boring,
bland and banal. NOAH fanboys, don’t think I’m hatin’,
I’m just telling it like it is. On with the show.
It’s a battle of the pretty boys! Rimmers who like nothing
better than to see two sexy men get angry with each other, make
sure you are sitting comfortably with some tissues at hand. I’m
going to be more of a man and enjoy my wrestling with a tin of Tennents
and some Scampi Fries.
Juvi enters the ring and makes a mess with water by spraying it
everywhere. Yeah, that’s cool…However, his toned body
is now covered in liquid making him look all smooth and sparkly
and his hair is now slicked back and dripping wet. Bet you’re
loving this Rimmers. As if the tight T-shirts and trousers that
he wares weren’t enough of a sign, Juvi confirms his gayness
by putting a couple of pictures of what I can only assume are his
family on one of the ringposts. I’d bet my house that the
pics aren’t of Lady Asspache. Family pics aren’t sweet
motherfuckers, they’re just gay.
Marufuji takes off his match, revealing that he too is a pretty
boy. Now, if I was a pretty boy then I’d be going all out
to fuck the face up of my opponent. However, both these guys must
have a bit of weakness around the wrists as while they play slappy-slappy
with each other, the slaps are so weak, it just looks like they
are homosexually rubbing each others faces. Where’s Abby and
his spike? Getting a place in the RiM 100, that’s where he
Marufuji is the first to try and fuck up his opponent’s face
with a sweet superkick. While it looked pretty good, I’d hope
that after the match, Misawa would put his arm round his student
and say, “you’re nearly there son but go home and watch
some Chris Adams, then come back and try that again”. The
action spills to the outside, where the fangirls get worried that
something may happen to their poster-boy and orgasmically scream
out for Marufuji. I wonder if the NOAH fanboys (and I know y’all
are reading this) went to a show, they’d scream at Kobashi
like all the chicks scream at Marafuji?
Time for a strategically placed advert (a TWC first) and when we
come back, it’s all go in the ring. Dropkicks to the knee
fucking rule, it’s just a shame they are illegal in footie.
With his opponent decked, Juvi brings the motherfucking people’s
elbow to NOAH! Quality. Fuck you Coey! Misawa probably took Juvi
aside after the match, stiffed him with a big elbow to the teeth
and said “son, that’s how we hit an elbow in NOAH”.
Still, Juvi’s bringing tha flava’ to NOAH.
Juvi continues to try and fuck-up Marufuji with couple of sloppy
powerbombs before Juvi bounces Marafuji off the mat with a zinger
of a power bomb for a 2.9 count. Time for roll-ups a plenty and
the fans have woken up. With all this action going on both men are
exhausted, collapse and crawl back to their corners. They struggle
to their feet and it’s time for one final showdown. Juvi finds
the energy (after slyly popping a pill off camera) to rush in and
plant Marafuji. Juvi goes up to the top in an all or nothing move,
but takes too long, giving Marafuji the chance to join him. Bad
decision. Juvi Driver from the top. 1-2-3.
Otani’s got his sword! It would be fucking sweet if he sliced
through all those streamers. Otani jumps the bell and sticks a big
elbow into Misawa’s face. Boot scrapes! Indie wrestlers take
note, in two moves Otani has got me marking out and there isn’t
a triple moonsault in sight. I think Misawa must have called Otani
a “ginger tosser” before the bell for him to react like
that. He was pissed. But, to kill my joy Misawa nails him with a
big forearm and Shinjiro ends up on the outside. His hair is copper
by the way.
How can Misawa be so fucking tough wearing those awful tights?
For the life of me, I’ve never understood that. Does anyone
else think that Misawa has a bit more life in him yet as a Tenryu
like grumpy old fuck? He’ll never pull off that character
in those shiny tights though.
Otani takes control of the match by stretching ratboy. Squeal Ratboy,
squeal. You can tell that Otani likes to hurt people not just by
the look on his face in the ring, but because he takes any opportunity
possible to inflict even more pain on his opponents by cheating.
That’s the kind of strategy I like. Unfortunately Otani is
a little too cocky for his own good and he gets a forearm in the
cheekbone for telling Misawa to “just bring it” while
he was stretching ratboy. Two Rock references in a NOAH review?
Fuck you Coey!
Omori almost has a third division footballers hair cut, but that
doesn’t stop him from playing his own little game with Otani
of who can fuck up ratboy the most. That’s the kind of game
I like. Misawa ruins their fun by gliding in with a dropkick from
the top rope and proceeds to fuck up Otani. Otani’s selling
is a thing of beauty and he really looks like a boxer on the ropes
struggling to stay on his feet as his opponent lays in an onslaught
of blows. Otani valiantly manages to kick out of the Tiger Driver
much to my delight, but soon gets drilled by the Emerald Frosion
and thus his championship dreams and my night of NOAH are over.
Up until a crappy finish (which I assume was build for a blow-off
to the feud), this was a very good match. Hansen comes in with a
big length of rope wrapped around his hand, and all kinds of whipping
fun ensues, before the match proper starts. The crowd are HOT~ for
this; Inoki’s the super-face, and Hansen’s in full-on,
grumpy bastard mood – kneeing the ref as the poor guy tries
to check his boots for foreign objects, the big bully.
The match had a well-worked formula – Hansen works on Inoki
with a nice blend of holds and power moves (at one point, he had
Inoki in some sort of armlock, and just lifted him up from the floor
and slammed him back down again, all the time keeping the hold locked),
before the big fire-bellied comeback, and Hansen gets angry and
starts to lose his temper as his smaller, physically less-imposing
adversary continually fights back and gets the better of him. Hansen’s
tantrums are all kinds of fun – he threatens photographers,
throws chairs and tables about and just generally acts like the
brutish cowboy that he is, causing mayhem in the process.
It’s a shame this didn’t get an extra 15 minutes or
so, and a proper ending, because it was shaping up to be a great
match, but it was still perfectly acceptable as it was, screwjob
et al, and it was amusing to see the fans scatter in all directions
as Hansen trudged out of the building. I wish there had been a lariat
in there, though – I was waiting for one, and he teased it
a couple of times but, alas, it was not to be.
Ah, the Dynamite Kid/Tiger Mask series. Sorry, I’m not a
fan. Yes, they were innovative; yes, the execution was perfect;
yes, it’s great to watch, but the whole feud is highly over-rated
from where I’m sitting. The psychology is there, of course,
but it’s not very complex or deep enough for the ‘greatest
matches ever’ tag that the series often receives, and there
are many junior matches that have came since which have outshined
them (see the next match in this review, which I loved).
Anyway, the match. There’s a big “Classic Dynamite…”
stuck at the top of the screen which thoroughly pisses me off, stupid
TWC (17 hours of TNA/3 hours of CMLL, now this). Oh, and while I’m
moaning about presentation, the Mask worn by Sayama here is this
horrible, plasticy-looking thing that you could imagine your local
newsagent selling at Hallowe’en.
The gaijin is again the heel here – bloody racist Japs (see
what I did there?). It’s all good, though, because DK’s
a fun heel, trying to remove TM’s mask, pretending to go for
a handshake only to KICK TM, the cad. The ref is heckled a lot as
well, and I could swear he calls the match “shit” at
the end as well.
It was a pretty simple match, the only psychology being the old
‘work the leg to demobilise the high-flyer’ story, but,
overall, it’s good stuff. Some of the greatest junior stuff
ever, though? Nah.
I’m not a big fan of puro, but, whether by coincidence or
fate, I seem to have came across Fujinami quite a few times. More
often, in fact, than many ‘bigger’ names, but every
time I’ve seen him he’s been nothing short of amazing.
Admittedly, when I’ve seen him he’s been in there with
guys that are legends in their own right (Vader, Inoki, etc), but
he held up his end of the match, and I’d say he’s one
of the forgotten ‘greats’ of wrestling.
Once again, he proves his godliness in this great (if a little
short) match. Right from the start, he’s bumping his rear
end off for DK (who must have known I’d be watching, because
he’s sporting a nice shaved head). As per usual, those jingoistic
slant-eyes have declared war on all things foreign, so Dynamite
Kid is the conniving heel again – nice and stiff, and he even
hits Fujinami on the plaster on Fuji’s forehead. Now that’s
just plain sadistic.
The story of this match is great, with each guys working over the
other’s upper body – DK to set up for his headbutt;
Fuji for his Full-nelson. When the Kid does eventually get the headbutt,
it only gets two, and he’s SHOCKED~! In desperation, he takes
it to the outside for some fun brawling. By this point, he’s
got blood all over the back of his head from butting his way out
of the Dragon hold.
They make their way back into the ring, but DK’s second headbutt
misses, and Fujinami takes his opportunity and works the shoulder-head
region. Twice, he goes for high-impact moves onto DK’s head
(a top-rope dropkick and a plancha) and twice DK just does the arrogant
lucha sidestep~! Great stuff, and the win comes from a rollup onto
the neck – more storytelling goodness.
I think this just about edges match of the show. Maybe if Hansen/Inoki
had went a little longer and had a better finish, it would be a
different story, but this was a great match, and I might just watch
Classic Japan again next time it’s on.
Okay, so Ring of Honor is all about the "Code of Honor",
which I've always thought is a bit gay. Yes, gay. But, ho hum, if
you're gonna try and be different, may as well gay it up while you're
at it. Except that Xavier - because he's a member of The Prophecy
(which really doesn't make sense as a stable name - who prophecised
them? What does The Prophecy portent? Doom? Crappy wrestling? But
I digress...) - doesn't shake hands. Great. Your big defining feature
and the heel group doesn't do it. Ooooh, they're *bad*...
The arena is way too dark here, which seems to be a Ring of Honor
(and there FWA, too) trademark. It doesn't help, it just looks minor
league. There are many, many things *not* to do like the WWE - a
dark arena isn't one of them. I don't want a fucking supernova in
there, just a little light.
Now here's the first problem: the stalling on the outside by Xavier
is better than the "shootstyle" matwork that preceded
it. I guess the biggest problem is that, as a casual viewer of the
product, nothing these two exude makes me give one shit about either
of them. They're too bland, especially Walters. Imagine a show headlined
by lots of Sonny Siaki's. Go on. And tell me you don't shudder.
What are the point of corner chops? I mean, Flair does them, and
they're his signature and everything, but they're fundamentally
crap. And they just make the crowd go "whoooo!". Which
is probably why people do them. Seriously, though, chopping someone
across the chest - in a "let's pretend it's a real fight"
frame of mind - ain't much of a punishment.
Xavier delivers the first totally business-exposing move of the
match by doing a huracanrana off the top that reuired Walters to
stay still for two seconds while he set it up. It's okay, though
- Walters returns the favor later by exposing the business with
a middle-rope powerbomb that required Xavier to look dumb for 2
seconds. Easy come, easy go.
The story of the match so far is mostly Xavier treating Walters
like a bitch - which is okay because Walters *looks* like a bitch.
Hey, here comes the finish! Xavier goes up top for an inverted ddt
off the top rope. It gets a 2 count. Stupid nu-wrestling. CM Punk
on commentary reminds us that ROH is not about run-ins - we can
apparently tune into RAW every Monday for that. We can also tune
in for main-eventers that look like main-eventers, great production
values, and French-Canadien pederasty, rather than its American
Oh, here *is* the finish - Walters with a weird-looking (and not
in a cool Niebla way) cradle. Weak.
Oh joy - it's Euroboy, wearing his gay hooded bodywarmer. Jerkoff.
Hey, this isn't a TV show - it's just a collection of matches! I
feel cheated! I know they're all about selling DVDs, but why can't
they at least make the effort? Or isn't The Wrestling Channel worth
the effort? Don't answer that.
Okay, I've seen bits of Samoa Joe. I'm mixed on him. He seems like
a cool guy but the last match I saw him in he was dangerously stiff
and me no likey. Hey, his huracanrana has him landing like he's
powerbombed himself. Way to look great!
They do some nice matwork - not too loose, but still a little Lynn-Euro.
Ah, I'm too harsh. It's perfectly acceptable. And anyway, I don't
have to wait too long for Euro to show himself up - he nearly drops
Joe on a bodyslam, and only just gets him over for a *suplex*. Way
to botch simple moves, spot monkey! It's not as if dropping people
on their necks from simple moves is dangerous. What? It is? oh...
Joe hits a nice tope through the middle rope, but I do have to
wonder if a guy his size should be doing that shit. I mean, huracanranas
and topes? Hmm. As they're on the outside, he sets Euro up for the
ole kick, but jerkoff runs out of it - straight into a superkick.
That'll learn him.
Euro hits a powerbomb, but it's all Joe from here on in. And you
know what? Weird moveset or not, I'm getting to quite like the guy.
His facewashes are cool (that's scurf kicks to you & me) and
he has a little *something*. In fact, TNA would be far better off
giving a top roll to a guy like Joe than the schlubs it has there
now. And look - an oklahoma roll~!
The fucking commentators are getting on my nerves. Not content
with being all awful and bland, they now talk of "receipts".
Stereo Mike told me of one instance where they were calling a match
and a move didn't go right - the commentator said "slight miscommunication
there". Way to keep it real, guys! Oh, it's CM Punk - whaddya
know! Hey Punk - two words: Teddy Hart. Two more: punch punch. Hahahahahaha.
Okay, Joe kicks out of the EuroClash - *after* a powerbomb, to
boot - which says to me "Euro is weak". Oh, now Euro kicks
out of an Island Driver - but I don't see Joe as weak. because I
don't want to. Joe wins with a Muscle Buster and a rear choke. Not
a *bad* match, and much better when Joe was on offense. I've seen
worse Euro matches, but I've also seen better *anyone* matches.
(Four Corners Survival Match)
So this is the main event? A throwaway featuring half a stable
and two random singles guys? Yeah, I know it probably wasn't the
main event on the show that this was filmed at, but to the viewer
of the show, the match put on last should be built to, and feature
your biggest guys, not some schlubs (and Jonny). And let me get
that out of the way: I love Jonny. He's the UK's number one right
Totally unremarkable. Just random flippy floppy spots and weak
comedy. Talking of weak, Hydro delivers the worst attempt to clothesline
someone over the top rope since that Gladiator gay at Revival. In
fact, Jonny's acrobatics are the only true *highspot* of this match.
The others try hard, I'm sure, but don't have it. Although Deranged
seems to be a *big* fan of Jody Fleisch. Must have all the tapes
The big question here is "what does Slyk Wagner Brown have
on Gabe Sapolsky?" because he's really not very good. And he
almost kills Jonny with a sloppy top rope sidewalk, dropping him
on his head, and leaving his leg underneath the landing spot for
Ehh, Deranged gets the pin with a reverse huracanrana on Jonny,
which was quite nice, it pains me to admit. But this was disposable
So that's my first exposure to Ring Of Honor on The Wrestling Channel.
As someone who is a fan of wrestling but not really a fan of ROH,
it was hard-going. I felt little connection with the wrestlers -
only Samoa Joe & Jonny Storm had any kind of charisma, and there
was far too much "must get my spots in" going on. Maybe
it would have helped if it was a) a proper TV show, and had better
commentators to carry the thing along. As it was, it was a darkly-fillmed,
poorly-announced collection of three random matches with little
or no story to them. And that's so *not* Real In Memphis...
Well, it just so happened
that New Japan and All Japan ran two pay-per-view shows within just
over a week of each other back in late 2003. And it also just so
happened, in early 2004, that I had both tapes laying around waiting
to be watched. So, All Japan has become the WWE old-boys club, which
is a sound progression from low-rent impressions of current WWE
guys I suppose. In fairness, their product has been pretty damn
solid when I’ve seen it, and only gets the negative press
because it is no comparison to the mid-90’s stuff. The sooner
people realise that AJPW in the mid-90’s is unlikely to be
replicated by ANY promotion in the near or distant future, the better.
That way, current day, All Japan of now can be judged on its own
merits, and not an untouchable yardstick. New Japan, well, I really
haven’t been feeling the love for the promotion at times,
and have gone long periods of not watching the shows, and haven’t
missed it. Inoki and company should be very thankful for such a
vocal Western fan-base, even it at times pushes out-and-out mediocrity
as the best thing in wrestling today. That said, the junior and
heavy tournaments weren’t all that bad.
Anyway, all thoughts previously are out the window here. Knowing
my luck, after all this preamble, the AJPW will suck donkey cock
while NJPW deliver gold…
Hirai is using the name Crusher Bam Bam Hirai, and is wearing tights
that are somewhat close to what Mr Bigelow wears I suppose. As I
write this, Okumura has quit the company, more than likely sick
of missing pay cheques so that Mutoh could finance the pay of the
stars he can’t afford to lose, plus his gaijin guys such as
D-Lo and Buchanan. It’s sad really, and had I written this
a week ago when my mood was a bit more grumpy, it would likely have
resulted in a lengthy diatribe about why the company should quit
flying in expensive ex-WWE guys, and build a solid undercard with
the talent they have. Now though, I can only bothered to outline
what the rant would have been. The two deliver a technically sound
match, but because no effort was really made to make anything of
the two by the bookers, the fans respond in kind by not giving a
toss about it. Okumura wins a ground Cobra twist pinfall, Hirai
is pissed off, and I’m left to wonder why two wrestlers who
can deliver the goods if needed are held in such low regard by their
seniors, and am therefore pissed off too.
For whatever reason, All Japan signed a deal with Metallica to use
their music on the show. A 50+ Fuchi coming down the aisle in a
Metallica T-shirt, with Enter Sandman playing in the background.
It actually happened. Miyamoto has been taking some damn strong
vitamins. He looks massive, and is playing up his strength all through
the match here, as we see Fuchi and Miyamoto have a lengthy full-nelson
exchange that results in a lot of grunting and groaning as they
struggle for position. Fuchi rules as the old man knowing he is
outmatched by the young buck. Hijikata proves he is the most underrated
man on the All Japan as he constantly delivers the goods every time
he is in the ring. Hi69 manages to avoid being even worse than the
last time I saw him, and avoids doing the stupid stuff he was doing,
which was made even worse by the fact he couldn’t do it correctly
(sky-twister presses that missed by a mile etc). Lopez is fresh
of a lengthy run in Osaka Pro, but is kept out of the ring for large
parts of the match, mainly working with Ishikari. He is in for the
finish though, as the home-grown rookie Ishikari is able to score
the pinfall against Lopez with a super-fast cradle. The impact of
the win however, is kinda lost by the second botched count of the
night. Were they not telling the refs the finishes or what? Perfectly
decent tag match, but two of the guys here (Miyamoto and Hijikata),
should be a lot higher on the card. That seems to be a running theme
of All Japan cards when I watch them. Why is X that low on the card?
Why push Y when Z has so much more talent and stuff? Why am I using
fucking algebraic expressions in a wrestling review?
King loved the fact that he could wrestle without having to wear
black lip-gloss, so took a series of bookings as Silver King, as
All Japan are in a financial situation where they need to ask the
accountants permission before they switch the kettle on, so they’re
damned if they are gonna buy the rights to the Black Tiger gimmick
in Japan. Ki is popular here, even if he still throws a facial expression
that looks like a spoilt child at times.
The match itself is a bit of a disappointment. Ki seems to have
stepped straight of a plane, into a series of Zero-One shows, found
out at the last minute he’s up against Silver King for his
All Japan shot, and is now trying to work as slowly as he can to
get accustomed. The result is that the opening exchanges are wrestled
a bit like the first fall at Arena Coliseo, with the slow matwork
and reversals, and nothing too complex. This would be good if it
built to something later on, but for this match at least, nothing
really builds to anything at all. They do a bit of crowd brawling,
as Silver attempts to take advantage of Ki’s popularity by
knocking him about a bit at ringside and into the crowd. There is
a cursory tease of finishers, King goes for the Black Driver (don’t
ask…), Ki for the Ki Krusher. Some other stuff takes place
as well, and I’m thinking this might as well have taking place
somewhere in New Jersey, because it involves Low-Ki and I couldn’t
give a fuck who wins or loses. King does not like one bit having
to do the indy spots either, the Hanging Dragon springs to mind
here Ki eventually nails the Ki-Krusher, which would be good as
an ender, but then Ki manages to horrifically balls-up a Phoenix
Splash, as he lands short and ends up doing a tribute to BATA…yan
(that sorts the obscure Toryumon reference for this review), and
quite possibly landing knees first on Silver’s face. This
match was a real disappointment, as you might have guessed. Shame
really, because if both guys wanted to, they could have delivered
one bad-ass match. Still, at least we got the Doc later on. Oh shit,
he’s against Kendo KaShin.
And an interesting thought to finish. HUSTLE-1 took place after
this match. Low-Ki was originally booked on that show to go against
Mil Mascaras in a tag match. Then the show was changed over at the
last minute, and Ki got put in the opener against some other juniors.
Did Silver King/Black Tiger have a word back in Mexico I wonder?
Mask of Tiger is the latest lawsuit avoiding wrestling gimmick of
Satoru Sayama. Sayama always looked stocky, even against Dynamite
in their respective primes, but in 2003, Sayama is the answer to
the question of “Who ate all the pies?” To say he looks
little blubbery is an understatement.
With both men being, to put it delicately, seniors, the work is
his fairly slow and methodical. They do a lot of matwork, with wristlock
reversals being the order of the day, rather than the more obvious
tactic, utilised by the likes of Dick Togo, of causing Hamada to
lose his focus by whispering in his ear “I heard Ayako takes
it up the ass”, and going on to describe in detail how you
found that one out. Sayama attempts to do his deal with the fast
spinning around the body of his opponent into a drop-toehold. It
doesn’t look in the slightest bit pretty, as he loses his
way around, and Hamada doesn’t react fast enough to cover.
Only a second delay on his part, but enough to well and truly make
a great spot when hit correctly look like shit. Return to the matwork
for a bit then, but then the next time they attempt to speed up
the tempo, it becomes painfully apparent that Satoru Sayama is nowhere
near the level he was at even during his late-1990’s nostalgia
run. Having seen this man against Dynamite Kid and others, watching
him crap out on a quebradora, then on the spinning fake-out onto
and through the top and middle ropes he originated (if you are drawing
a blank, think Rey Mysterio before he did the 619), is a sad, sad
sight. Perhaps realising this, Sayama seems to lose all confidence
in himself, as if he had seen footage of Tiger Mask in his heyday
minutes before he came out, then reality hit in the ring. Hamada
tries to hold things together, but Sayama’s lack of conditioning
also kicks in. Even Hamada selling a tombstone piledriver like he
died on impact isn’t enough to deflect from Sayama’s
badness. A diving headbutt seals the win for Mask of Tiger, but
what was probably intended as a nostalgia attraction, and a return
of a legend, instead showed up in hard focus just how far the once
mighty have fallen. I have never seen a wrestler so obviously gassed
out in all my life as Sayama was in the post-match. Do not watch
this straight after viewing a Billington/Sayama feud tape.
The lights go up for the interval, which is the perfect time for
some genius on the camera crew to do a panning shot of the Budokan.
Way to show the tons of empty seats right before showtime pally!
The pre-match stick work sees TAKA try to recruit Kaz in some sort
of KDX reunion, via RO&D (this new faction TAKA is leading full
of ex WWE guys, a bit more later). Kaz takes the shirt, then throws
it back and we have a match underway. The other pre-match antics
saw Gigantes (RIP and all that) do his Stan Hansen impression by
beating up the ring announcer, impression being the word as the
original didn’t give a fuck whilst Jerry was giving him a
few light taps with a bullrope. So, with no ring announcements,
people throw streamers when the match starts, resulting in TAKA
and Hayashi doing fast-paced headscissor takedowns whilst kicking
up red tickertape at the same time! Honma is the bump freak of the
All Japan team, as he makes up for not being able to cut himself
silly – he was subconsciously trying to blade at points in
this match when hit in the face – by selling like he is in
agony. Kono has improved a fair bit since I last saw him and the
crowd dig his “fuck you” stance against Gigantes the
most. At it is however, this is about getting the heels over, as
Gigantes squashes everyone, pinning Honma with a chokeslam. Nothing
to get excited about, though the Hayashi/TAKA exchanges are promising
for a singles match in the future.
OK, so KaShin may not be as shit as I made out earlier, in fact,
he is quite decent as a cowardly champion. Except a cowardly champ
shouldn’t hold a title belt for 18 months. The Doc is using
Bad Medicine, and things look promising. For some reason, a guy
I assume to be Silver King has come out in a Doc mask as well, though
the reasons become clear later. Kendo brings down K-DOJO guy Yasu
Urano and the former Yone Genjin, now known as Kesen Nummajiro (or
words to that effect).
After finally working out which of the Doctors was THE Doctor (I
thought it was one, then found out it was the other), we start off
with some slow work. Wagner rules it as he violently rushes KaShin
before allowing him to even ATTEMPT the Dr Wagner trademark “I
own your ass!” pose. From that fair start though, things hit
the buffers pretty quickly. Kendo KaShin isn’t very good at
times, and is quite content to bust out a few token moves, then
stall the rest of the match with comedy (that isn’t funny)
and flash cradles. He decides to do it here unfortunately, so what
could have been a decent tussle between former tag partners is as
lukewarm as anything. With the wrestling really not going anywhere
at all, things get even more ridiculous when the second Wagner (who
the announcers call Silver King anyway) comes in and starts attacking
KaShin. A few double-teams almost go awry due to Kendo wanting to
go to bed or something, then we get the coward KaShin, as he throws
Kesen into a Wagner somersault bodyblock off the apron, then throws
Urano into the path of a Silver King dive.
So at this point we are getting aspects of a standard Toryumon
match without any reason to give a shit. Back to one-on-one action
again, and KaShin uses his one move that isn’t a cross-armbreaker
(that tarantula thingy). Twice. To no real effect. Wagner is back
on offense and goes for the Michinoku Driver, hits it, but only
gets two. KaShin then plants Wagner on the top-rope, and goes for
a flying cross-armbreaker, except on landing Wagner is able to cut
back into a cradle. However, KaShin then rolls back, hooking the
arm and leg to get yet another flash cradle win. At least I kinda
dug the finish. I won’t even comment on the goings on post
match, as they made precisely no sense to me. Chalk up another on
the disappointment scorecard, as this show is starting to become
full of them.
Araya is back from an absence he took to improve, or something,
after he got destroyed repeatedly by former WAR ally Arashi over
the summer. Kojima still hasn’t broken through the way people
expected him to after he left NJPW (I’m writing this after
the 2004 Carnival as well), though he does have the awesome Fire
Festival winners sword he took from Shinjiro Ohtani.
My main problem with recent Kojima was the way he wrestled his
own show, regardless of selling or otherwise. It reared its head
big time against Ohtani last September for whatever reason. Here
however, he is a hell of a lot better as he is able to put over
the improvement of Araya by ditching The Kojima Show. Araya steps
it up as well (though he should never execute a plancha again, ever.),
as he shows he ain’t gonna be pushed around by any fucker,
new outfit and new moves equalling new attitude it seems. The best
example of this came with Kojima going for his running elbow smash,
that leads to an elbow drop, complete with call-and-response to
get the crowd moving (ICHAUZO!!). He throws Araya down to elbow
drop him, but the crowd call is more muted than normal. On turning
around, he sees Araya standing in front of him, with a look that
screamed “That shit don’t work anymore…”
This putting over of the new and improved Nobutaka Araya is getting
a thumbs up from me anyway.
As the match goes on, Araya focuses more on the lariat arm of Kojima,
as he knows he got taken out with it before, and it simply ain’t
gonna happen again. Kojima trys to power up to his lariat, as he
rips off the armpad and all, but Araya ain’t taking this shit
again, so he belts Kojima in the arm as he comes in, and locks on
a modified armbar in the process. Kojima gets the upper hand again,
and the fans start getting behind Araya to comeback once again.
By this point, we already have our best match on the card thus far
by a long way, even when Kojima starts breaking out the OTT no-sell-hit
move-collapse sequence that dogs most of his matches late on. Araya
is still looking competitive, but the end is near, and a sudden
end it is, as he runs for Kojima, who absolutely TWATS him with
a standing lariat, that might as well have been a right-hander the
way he threw it. Araya is dead, and the three count is nigh. Kojima
walks out, only to collapse halfway down the aisle due to Araya
handing him his ass more than he ever expected he would do. Hell
of a contest, easily the best on this show so far. Kojima gave Araya
the platform to kick ass, Araya went with it and showed he can go
in All Japan, and the finish was just brutal. I liked it a lorrtttttt.
Arrgghh. Follow the best match on the show with this why don’t
ya? The desire to hit the Douglas Button on my VCR remote was overwhelming
for large parts of this, because Buchanan was pretty horrible, Arashi
wasn’t much better when lumbered with him, and it was down
to Mutoh and Brown to deliver the goods for the best part of 25
minutes, which is a little bit like me expecting Adrian Mutu and
Hernan Crespo to be the strikeforce to get us some results in the
Premiership. Mind you, that is an expectation, or hope, I’ve
had at various points since August through to today regarding the
Chelsea front two, but I digress, only because to talk about this
match at any length of time could force me to kill somebody (Fernando
Morientes would be a nice start). I think this can be best summed
up by Brown nearly choking himself on the ropes, an utterly horrible
fuck-up between Buchanan and Arashi (well, the most obvious one
anyway), and referee Kyohei Wada getting a bigger pop in the intros
than the 4 combatants. Brown and Mutoh did their best (unlike Mutu
and Crespo in my view) to put together some fair to middling stuff,
but it wasn’t enough to save this from the doldrums. Mutoh
pinned Brown with a moonsault (Brown nearly took the bosses face
off with one earlier in the match, not a good move), and I’d
like Ranieri/Morinho/Capello/whoever our gaffer is come August to
spend some money on a striker who puts the ball between the posts,
and can relocate Eidur Gudjohnsen’s form while he’s
Kawada likes hurting people in worked matches, Frye just hurts people.
These two elements should equal a grand clubbering fest. Kawada
gets the most streamers of anyone on this show, and so he fucking
should, as he really is All Japan’s last hope and beacon,
and should he go, the banners might as well come down and be replaced
by MUTOH PRO-WRES or BAPE STA FIGHTING ARTS or some such equivalent.
My prediction starts off correct, as Kawada refuses the vale tudo
gloves from Frye and elects to go bare knuckle, because the punches
will FUCKING HURT more. It starts off as a slugfest, with Frye the
MMA fighter, who has now got famous for his smacking up of pro-wrestlers
(Takayama at PRIDE 21), getting the upper hand with flurries of
fists and knees. Kawada gets the occasional slug in (and Kawada
throwing bare fisted right-handers is a thing of bizarre beauty
here), but is well and truly outmatched in the striking/battering
department. Frye also decides to try and punk out Fuchi while he’s
at it. Kawada has to switch style here to get an upper hand, but
unfortunately, the crowd are so stoked for the two just wailing
away on each other, that when it does go to ground, at the start
with a fairly clumsy attempt at some UWF-I, the people there don’t
really want to have anything to do with it. The result is that instead
of the crowd getting high for Kawada getting his way with Frye,
we get silence, which is a pity, as this was a pretty good match
(mind you, after the last one, anything would be an improvement).
Kawada is starting to boss the proceedings now, as he wears Frye
down with a rear mount choke. Frye is getting back to feet, but
Kawada is feeling it as he launches a jumping high kick to put him
down again, which Frye took full on in the back of the head. The
build is pretty clear, as Kawada starts attempting to lock the Stretch
Plum, but Frye is kicking out of the pinfall attempts that follow.
Kawada eventually decides to get it over and done with, and instead
of locking the move then releasing for a pin, he decides to put
on the Stretch Plum and hold on for dear life. The ref keeps checking
on Frye, who is groaning as the pain kicks in, but is fading fast.
Eventually, he completely passes out, and Kawada retains via stoppage.
I liked the match, a complete slugfest that was worked smart with
Kawada going to ground due to being outdone for once on the standing
stuff. Just a pity the crowd wasn’t into it that much. That
said, Hashimoto did come out afterwards, so the challenge for the
future February match between the two must have been laid down here.
Anyway, that wraps the first PPV, and while not sucking completely
like I feared it would, it was one poor show. With the exception
of Araya/Kojima and the main event, the rest of the show ranged
from disappointing (Ki/King, Wagner/KaShin) to out and out crap
(the tag championship match). All Japan have generally delivered
some decent shows when I’ve seen them, but this was one of
the worst I’ve seen in full. Anyway, let’s get onto
the second of the two PPV’s forming the point of this review.
The ring announcer here is the NJPW equivalent of Tony Chimel when
The Fink and then Lillian Garcia were the main ring announcers in
WWE (pre stupid-ass brand split). In other words, when he does the
announcements, you fucking KNOW the match don’t mean shit.
Liger not bombing down the aisle to his own music is a fucking crime.
Having to enter to a Japanese wrestling music equivalent of Jamie
‘cuntface’ Cullum when you own the rights to the puroresu
Bad Medicine is wrong. Makai Hirata does the headstand (“~~”),
then Nish does the same, only for uber-heel Yasuda to do what common
sense says to do. Kick him in the bloody stomach. Liger sells for
his team as the small guy. Chikuzen is about the only guy on his
team with some talent, though Yasuda owns the gormless facials to
piss the crowd off. Shinzaki ropewalks for the crowd pop, then Yasuda
does something evil to someone to get the heat off the crowd (no
jokes!!!!!!!!!). He gets his comeuppance however, as Dory Horiguchi,
oops, Osamu Nishimura, gets the win by backsliding the gormless
one “ALL THE WAYDAHELL!!!!!!”
Don’t ask me what compelled me to that JR’ism. If you
couldn’t tell I was filling space before then, there is no
hope. Another match stuck in the NJPW vacuum, where nothing is particularly
horrible, but you’re fucked if you can find anything interesting
to say about it.
Murakami was a guy I hated when I first saw him, but then he gradually
worked his way into my heart by being a murderous psychopath who
made no attempt to wrestle, and preferred to punch your lights out.
This is one of the matches where NJPW put a bounty on Kaz, and NJPW
guys try and collect the dosh. It is a basically a roustabout way
of booking Different Style Fights. And it fucking works.
Koji brings the shoot gloves with him, and the usual Koji Kanemoto
goes out the window, as he and Murakami just punch the shit out
of each other. Kanemoto gets early advantage and lets fly with one
of the most brutal looking dropkicks into the corner I have ever
seen. It didn’t go onto Murakami’s gob, it went fucking
through it. A few more punch exchanges later, and Murakami gets
knocked out the ring. On his return the gumshield goes straight
out the door, and he wears a sick smile that says “I ain’t
playing now motherfucker!!!” And so it proves, as Kanemoto
gets absolutely decked by a sweet left-hander that sends him straight
down. Worked match or not, Koji definitely did not see that one
coming. Fight over, and the bounty gets ever higher (did Leko collect?).
Koji got his face smashed in as a result of the match, and sure,
Murakami can’t work for shit, but then, it made this a hell
of a lot more exciting because of it.
The first of the NJPW vs K-1 series, and as it’s a pro wrestling
match, NJPW have some control over how things go! Holy fuck Silva
is huge. Imagine El Gigante when his head got shaved, with a little
less weight and with a slightly less stupid expression on his face.
Yoshie is still wearing a T-shirt emphasising the fact that he’s
got an arse the size of an elephant. I bet they all wear those on
the hip Tokyo nightclub scene.
When I made the El Gigante comparison, it also included ability.
Silva is absolutely clueless. Yoshie does some of the fat-boy offence
on him, but spends a lot of time selling piss-weak worked MMA strikes.
The finish is absolutely ludicrous. Silva goes up top, and somersaults
short of Yoshie, and then applies the weakest cross armbreaker I
have ever seen in my life. I think Yoshie was embarrassed to tap
out, it really was that bad. So, New Japan guy made to look like
a joke by gormless kickboxer in a worked fight. Maybe they didn’t
have as much control as I thought. Total embarrassment.
Credit to the NJPW camera crew here, as they skilfully pick out
the ONE female headbobbing to Tanahashi’s music. TOA is the
Tank Abbott of K-1. Beer gut, little talent beyond punching someone
in the gob (worked against Nakanishi mind), and now, the wrestling.
In fact, TOA seems a lot more game for the world of prowres, and
is a damn site more use than Montanha Silva was earlier. And of
course, TOA does the fucking Haka on the aisleway. Tanahashi could
have topped it by doing the same dance, to the tune of Humpty Dumpty
(“couldn’t put Humpty together (jump up) AGAIN!!!”).
TOA looks rickety in some spots, but otherwise does a decent job
as the bigger guy punching fuck out of Tanahashi, whilst screaming
“The belt is mine!” Whilst I didn’t hear the sound
of females in distress whilst Tanahashi was getting beaten up, he
got some decent comebacks, as he tried to clamp a sleeper on TOA,
eventually doing so before locking a Dragon Sleeper after a bunch
of enzui kicks to retain his title. Not bad while it lasted, and
TOA would have some potential if he kept going as a pro wrestler.
I guess this one also had the advantage of following an absolute
stinker of a match before it. In any case, this marks the interval,
whilst they set up the K-1 ropes.
I ain’t gonna go into detail about the 3 kickboxing matches,
for reasons of this being a wrestling show review. TOMO vs some
unpronounceable guy was saved by TOMO staving his opponent’s
head in with a brutal high-kick for the KO. You need to see it Even
woke me up. Jan Nortje vs Ivan Rudan lasted 19 seconds. Rudan will
never be heard of again. Katsuyori Shibata vs Hiromi Amada was mysteriously
cut from my tape. Was Stu Max editing the PPV footage for Western
Nish pulls double-duty tonight, as Masahiro Chono was forced to
pull out after a Yutaka Yoshie German suplex fucked his neck up
even further (look a few matches above, and don’t tell me
Chono didn’t get his own back). Sapp is the biggest star on
this show so far, and he knows it.
Sapp is also the best person in this match. While him going at
it power-style with Nakanishi is OK, Bob Sapp’s exchanges
with Osamu Nishimura could well be the greatest non-junior related
stuff I have ever seen in a New Japan ring. It rules enough that
Sapp is getting foxed by Nish’s constant bridging out and
flipping over to escape holds, but then Sapp gets head-scissored.
The fans have half an idea what is going to happen, but still, Sapp
doing a headstand absolutely rules. Then he manages to top that
by bulling Nish into the corner, onto the top buckle, and then doing
the two handed slap to the chest (with Nish perched sideways on
the top-rope a la Shawn Michaels showboating) that says “Ha!
In this exchange I was SOOO much better than you!” Bob Sapp
fucking rules, and I haven’t even mentioned that he was using
Sprach Zarathustra as his music (Ric Flair’s music to the
rest of ye peons). Nakamura was all technically good and everything,
but fuck it, this was all about Sapp. That said, come the finish,
it was time for the match to have a larger purpose. It did, but
at the same time the finish was rushed beyond belief. Team Gotchism
use the double submission spot, Nish on Nakamura with a figure-four
(Nakamura’s shoulder was taped, call me naïve but…)
with Nakanishi racking Sapp. This situation gets reversed, with
Sapp using a sleeper on his opponent, and Nishimura almost falling
to a backslide in a move-you-use-getting-used-against-you thing.
Nakamura then slaps on a Fujiwara armbar at a VERY high angle, practically
right-angles, and we have a winner via submission. While it was
a way of starting to build Nakamura by having him submit established
guys, the way it was done here was rushed beyond belief, taking
the idea of flash wins to ridiculous levels. It also took the life
out of the crowd instantly. That was a pity, as the stuff that went
on before it was a ton of fun, and was the best match on this show
since Kanemoto vs Murakami.
Before this, we get loads of footage of the Ultimate Crush 2 main
event elimination match, where Suzuki won it for his team by forcing
Nagata to be stopped after passing out whilst trapped in an octopus
hold. Nagata is out for revenge, and is now blessed with dance remix
of his old theme. It is such a great track, but they gave it to
the wrong wrestler. In any case, Nagata is in the same mood as he
was in NOAH against Kobashi, which means a lot of trouble for whoever
is on the receiving end.
Except we start out with some chain wrestling. Okay then. While
not quite the exhilarating, furious, brutal start I was expecting,
things did pick up, as Suzuki got the upper hand using his groundwork,
and Nagata struggled to escape and stuff. It all leads to Suzuki
clamping another Octopus on Nagata. The crowd was gradually getting
into this one as well, first match on this show to have the attention
of the fans as the match went on (fans were just popping for Bob
Sapp before that). Nagata was able to escape from a sleeper, and
then kicked Suzuki hard in the elbow. Suzuki went down, but got
back up, loads of vicious slapping exchanges, then Nagata whacked
him in the arm again, and eventually used the Inoki armbreaker across
the shoulder, followed by a modified armbar for the referee stoppage
victory. Afterwards the two went for each other again and slapped
the shit out of each other some more. And made it perfectly clear
that they do not like each other, and Nagata hates Pancrase cunts
walking in on his turf. A match built on hatred and disdain, and
it was a rather decent one as well.
Heh, if anyone wants to know what tapes Brock Lesnar and Goldberg
watched in preparing for their WMXX suckfest, look right here. Not
the whole match you understand, but watching two matches in a fortnight
that involved the opening exchange being a two-minute stall did
not do me a damn bit of good. Thankfully, this one picked up. If
you judge wrestling and wrestlers solely by movesets and sequences
(and in this case, you are a special type of moron), then Takayama
sucks. “GUUUH, but he only duz a kneelift and a German suplex!”
Only because it’s all he needs to do. Rather than break his
bollocks working out a complex sequence of suplex variations that
end up in someone landing headfirst, he knows he can use simple
stuff and get the crowd heated even with that. He does it here to
great effect, as he batters Tenzan with forearms, punches, kicks,
and the aforementioned two moves of doom. Indeed, at one point we
get a recreation of Takayama vs Frye from PRIDE 21, only this time
they trade the forearms rather than the eye-socket busting punches.
Takayama does a great job here as the dominant champion as he lays
into Tenzan and batters him to such an extent that the crowd get
solidly behind Tenzan. This shouldn’t be seen as a special
event, seeing as it is the essence of pro wrestling, but we are
talking about NJPW not at Korakuen or in one of those buildings
in Osaka. Anyway, Takayama does such a great job that Tenzan is
ready for a comeback, and so are the fans. But this was during Tenzan’s
‘kill my old finishers to get over the new one’ phase,
so the TTD is done straight away. Minor irritation aside, the last
few minutes of this actually felt like a World Championship match,
which is one of the first times I could say that about modern NJPW.
Takayama got back on top, and layed in more punches, then remembered
he started his career in UWFI as he applied a cross-armbreaker.
Tenzan got the Anaconda Vice submission (listening to the announcer
call that move is my new favourite commentary call “AANNNAAACONDAAA
VICUUHHHHH!”~~~~), but Takayama made the ropes. However, the
G-1 winner would not be denied, and won the IWGP title for the first
time with a moonsault after another TTD.
A hell of a main event. Takayama was king-sized for this match,
and Tenzan was able to go with it as the battling homegrown hero
out to avenge his losses in major bouts from earlier in the year.
Easily one of the best matches of Tenzan’s career, to go with
his G-1 matches against Jun Akiyama. And on that title change the
show ends. For the most part, it was pretty forgettable, the undercard
was irrelevant with the only highlight being the Kanemoto/Murkami
dust-up, and in the case of Yoshie vs Silva, out-and-out awful.
The K-1 matches should never be allowed to take place again on a
pro-wrestling card, as attempting to fuse the two audiences results
in driving both away. The novelty of Bob Sapp was worth seeing,
and he added to his match, while the last two matches were enough
to leave a positive impression on me overall. Just a pity some of
the more stupid elements of New Japan management had another crisis
of confidence in their new champion just over a month later…
After Yokohama Dead Out finished, my tape cut to another match,
and it was without doubt the fucking coolest thing to pass through
my VCR so far this year. If it wasn’t for World of Sport and
Lucha on my Sky Digital box, it could have been the overall best
No, they haven’t stuck a Welshman under the Hayabusa mask,
but they have put a certain Mr Genichiro Tenryu under it. If you
can imagine Tenryu, lumps and all, in the long Sabu-like britches
and the full mask, you only go halfway towards seeing how out-and-out
fucking great this is. He launches with the chops to Hido and Gannosuke
to give the audience half a clue as to who he is (if they didn’t
know already), then decides to tour the Korakuen with Gannosuke
in tow. Now, apparently, the Super Furry Animals dedicated The Man
Don’t Give a Fuck to some ex-footballer named Robin Friday.
It fits Tenryu to a tee as well. As he brawls with Gannosuke he
knocks over a fuckload of tables and chairs with scant regard for
the crowd, even the bloke whose rucksack he ripped off to lob at
his opponent. Meanwhile, Sasaki does the gutsy channelling of Hayabusa
and Masato Tanaka as the FMW trainee left standing when the hammer
fell, but unfortunately is stuck with Badboy Hido, who has regressed
to bollock punting. Eventually, all four get back to the ring, and
it is then this match rules by an even bigger factor when I realise
that FAT SLEAZEBAG M-Pro ref is in charge! You know that fat fuck
operates the casting couch when it comes to deciding what joshi
matches get on which M-Pro shows, just to get more pussy than Sasuke!
Oh shit, we still have a match going on here don’t we? I’m
finding it easy to remove thoughts of Ted Tanabe on the job from
my head here (shocker that one!), so lets keep on.
In his role as the last ember of FMW, Sasaki is obliged to sell
for Gannosuke and Hido, and juice as well. He does so, and it rules
much more than the last time I saw Mammoth Sasaki (did all this
WMF gold happen overnight or something?). Eventually, a still masked
Tenryu comes in, and all of a sudden Hido transforms from a god-awful
bore brawler into a super-bumping machine for all of Tenryu’s
(soz, DAI HAYABUSA’S) offence. I would imagine that getting
smacked up by a guy like Tenryu would leave you no option. He takes
up the barbed-wire bat the two heels were using on Sasaki earlier,
and starts dishing out some revenge in the name of Hayabusa and
WMF motherfuckers. Then Gannosuke grabs for the mask, and pulls
it clean off. BIG mistake.
Now that his identity is known, Tenryu decides its time to ditch
the charade and unleash some full-blown pain. Chop. Punch. Chop.
Punch. All done with such a savage demeanour you have to keep turning
your head away from the screen at moments. It also lights Sasaki
up as well, as though the ‘revelation’ of Tenryu gives
him the strength to overcome the odds. Mammoth becomes Kensuke with
the lariats and stuff, and dishes ‘em out twofold to both
men. Then Gannosuke starts brawling with Tenryu again, leaving Sasaki
to put Hido away with exactly the same move Tenryu uses, and calls
53 years old, but with Mammoth the name is different to account
for age difference. The good guys win, and the fans rush to start
banging on the ring apron to voice their approval. It is, of course,
absolute sod’s law that WMF deliver the goods on my screen
a month after the promotion was wound up, but I’ll heartily
recommend this to all of you. Watch every minute of this and love
Or, chronology bites me in the ass once again. This happened a
month after the lame duck PPV I reviewed earlier, but whatever.
This was pretty much a stand-alone show anyway, as the title indicates.
Held at Korakuen Hall, there were no gaijin (which is a bloody good
thing if the PPV was anything to go by), and the card had a pretty
darn strong looking main event, with AJPW trueborns vs. outsiders
in an 8-man tag. A small card it is, so lets get moving. But before
we do, the AJPW roster for this show comes out to Mutoh’s
music, Mutoh does a speech, then the entire roster starts lobbing
those tennis balls out to the crowd. Toshiaki Kawada is a team player,
as he lobs racket fodder with Honma and the rest, but deep, deep
down, you KNOW a part of his soul has died of a broken heart, Next,
we get the refs playing game show host for the evening, as a bunch
of wrestlers gear is given away. Nothing special, but seeing Kawada’s
old ring jacket from when he teamed with Tenryu rules all. It even
has that funky slogan that is always on a Tenryu/WAR jacket. Anyway,
Déjà vu strikes. It also seems like it’s open
mic night, as these two guys go back-and-forth about something or
other, whatever the dispute, its getting serious when Masanobu Fuchi
steps in to propose a Coke chugging contest. Okumura cheats to win,
as he realises the best way to get early advantage is to shake the
fucking bottle before opening to let the initial gas out. It works.
As for the wrestling? Oh, Hirai attacks Okumura in his gassy stomach,
rolls him up and gets 3 as his opponent is too bloated to kick out.
In 14 seconds. Remember, if you insist on necking a bottle of Coke
before your match, make sure you let out a good belch before you
The stand-up routines aren’t over yet sonny! Hi69 refuses
a handshake with the cheating prick KaShin, KaShin backs him into
a corner, then forces a handshake. See, if ROH did stuff like that
occasionally rather than take itself way too seriously, they would
be all the better for it.
When Kendo KaShin is responsible for controlling the flow of a
match, it generally means problems, as Kendo ain’t all that
good. Thankfully this is kept short, so Hi69 (or Hiroki) can’t
fuck things up too much, and KaShin doesn’t do too much stupid
comedy to completely break the flow of a match. Unfortunately, the
finish is poor. Hi69 manages to keep things simple until the end,
when he monumentally fucks up a sky-twister press variation, to
the point that KaShin is hit right in the back when he is supposed
to avoid the move. Kendo ain’t too happy, does that eternal
rolling cradle he does, before going into a KV knee lock from the
rolling cradle position for the victory. The look on KaShin’s
face afterwards tells a story on its own. Someone got a right bollocking
backstage afterwards. I put my lack of vitriol reviewing this down
to a combination of booze and that bloody D Kay & Epsilon track
that has been stuck in my head for ages.
Kono is the AJPW trueborn here, so gets all the fan support against
fat bastard Arashi. Kono also gets to show a bit of trueborn fire
as well, but not enough to make this competitive. This could have
ruled with Kono looking for the high profile victory, but it doesn’t
pan out like that as Kono takes an ass-beating, comes back a little
bit, gets cut off then takes another ass-beating before losing decisively
to a power bomb. Ah well.
Kojima is the first guy to get treated like a superstar by the crowd
here. Shigeo Okumura has his lowly status relegated even further,
as he goes from jobbing in 14 seconds to reffing for the superstars
that aren‘t good enough to carry the company fully. Well,
he is for two minutes anyway, as he fast-counts Koji and gets replaced
by Wada. There is some sort of 10 minute thing going on here, with
Kojima carrying a stopwatch to see if he can beat the junior in
less than the time he has given himself. It offers a pretty mundane
match at least something, as Kojima is priceless with his panic
as the announcer calls for 5 minutes, and cranks the pressure on
Hayashi, who really sucks here for whatever reason, doing nothing
of any note. For the last minute of the 10, Hayashi keeps rolling
in and out of the ring as Kojima gets even more frantic. Then the
10 gets called, Kojima slumps on a turnbuckle, Hayashi and Okumura
celebrate, then the match keeps going. O….KAY…….
Koji hits with the chops, Hayashi runs off the ropes, and Kojima
breaks out the “TWAT!!!” Standing lariat of Death. Easy
three. I really don’t know what the fuck was going on with
the match here, but Kojima was fun at least. The same cannot be
said of Kaz Hayashi.
Main event time, and they loaded this one with the AJPW trueborns
vs. Outsiders theme, spanning the generations whilst at it. As this
is a Fan Appreciation show, there are a few cool touches, including
Kawada and Mutoh using old theme music rather than the current stuff.
There was seemingly an agreement of “Don’t plug the
old geezers with running forearms, as Honma and Miyamoto get a bollocking
each from Hamada and Fuchi for hitting their respective oldster
with one of them. Mutoh and Kawada eventually get it on, and launch
into the dropkicks and high kicks, before both hit the deck. Cue
every one jumping in to stamp either Kawada or Mutoh. Only Honma
keeps going. And going. As he keeps going, you start thinking more
and more about the horrible death that awaits him. Kawada gets up
and OH GOD it hurts as he flattens Honma with a left and right.
Landing on beds of nails is a piece of piss compared to taking shots
from that maniacal fucker.
The body/cool stuff of this contest is made up Kawada using Captain
Bladefreak as his own personal punching and kicking bag, with Hijikata
also getting decked a few times to try and prove Yuki Ishikawa hit
harder, or something. Honma rules it up as he keeps coming back
full of “fuck you” attitude against the one person it
is advisable not to show attitude to. He even starts taunting Tosh
by using the Misawa one-two forearm combo. Kawada has flashbacks
to that June night in 1994 by smashing up Honma’s ear hardway.
Fuchi gets in on the act as well, carefully body slamming Honma
on the outside to ensure he misses the ringmats. Kawada shows the
coolness by killing Honma, then tagging the young pup Ishikari in
to give him the chance to pin one of the outsiders he has been brought
up to loathe. The match keeps going at a fairly fast pace throughout,
before the second Kawada/Mutoh skirmish is the cue for everyone
to rush in. Hijikata and Ishikari end up centre ring, with Ryuji
destroying Taichi with strikes, before killing him dead with a Fisherman’s
Buster to win the match for the outsiders. This card needed a strong
finish, and it got one. Great contest, plenty of brutality on display,
with the bits of fun needed for light-hearted shows such as this
one. Hamada and Fuchi kept out, and the younger wrestlers on both
sides really looked good. This match also managed to be better than
anything on that October PPV as well.
This review is very difficult to write in the scheme of “let’s
all watch some Wrestling Channel and tell everyone about it”
as for the most part, the output is shit. Pure drivel. When people
are handed the chore of reviewing stuff like CZW or 3PW they’re
actually getting the easy work; hand out as many insults as possible
and rag on their infinite flips/garbage spots. Point and laugh.
Review done. I see the job that I have here as that bit more difficult.
Everyone who has seen World of Sport in its ‘new venue’
has loved it, almost universally. It’s encouraging an older
generation to sit and watch it again, claiming it to be “the
real stuff” as opposed to the namby-pamby RVD-punching WWF.
Wherever I read about it, people are really into World of Sport,
and digging the old-school mustiness of it all. That’s an
awfully high pinnacle to look down from, and makes me feel like
I must treat the programme with respect if not reverence. Objectivity
seems like quite the peak.
I have to explain my early memories of World of Sport; it was not
essential viewing for me but still something I enjoyed. I was possibly
too young to get hooked on it as when the WWF appeared in its superfast
technicolour glory I was immediately hooked. I remember the names
because everyone in your family knew them all religiously (particularly
your Nan… why was that?). Whenever I grudgingly mention that
I am a wrestling fan to new people, they play games with each other
trying to remember Skull Murphy’s weight and Pat Roach’s
shoe size. Without exception. And I always have this memory of it
being quite dark too.
So I set-up the tape to record a show from the week of 19th –
24rd April 2004, and despite TWC’s best efforts to muddle
with the late night schedule while I’m not looking, I manage
to grab the WOS show. Along with some screaming women in between.
I’m hoping that’s GAEA, and not some random Men + Motors
following-a-lapdancer-around skit. Oh well, on with the WOS TOSS!
This, I am reliably informed, is the ‘telegram challenge’.
Quaint. I can see FWA using the “txt challenge”:
shane u &ur manager
suxI wil cu in ring fuk u&ur mum lol jackx x xX
I don’t pretend to know the real booking reason for this,
so I have to go on what the commentator gives me. I guess it was
considered impolite to talk over the tannoy system twenty years
ago and so they would send each other messages with STOP written
at the end. Or use Pony Express, I dunno.
The first thing that strikes me is the darkness of it all. And
how the crowd look like they could just as easily watching a summer
special down the end of the pier. They probably think they are.
So much age range, you wouldn’t think it would look that odd
but years of modern (read “young”) audiences on TV really
brainwashes you. On comes smooth-talking leopard-stroking Kent Walton,
surely with his mind on something else, like whether to have fish
fingers or faggots for tea. And the referee, old Ward, so darts
player-esque. I can see why he refuses to get on his knees to make
a count. He does that cool pumping “I’m pretending to
shoot you with my tommy gun, dakka dakka” sequence which I
will now perform… wheeee, I’m playing a mini trombone…
Kendo was one of the characters that shone foremost in my mind
from youth. It’s good to see he doesn’t disappoint over
time. I went to see him at a local show in about 1991, they were
still doing the “yank his mask off but he palms the towel
quickly so you don’t see his face” routine then. And
I daresay whenever and wherever he appears he does it again. Ahh,
just like the territories. I have no idea what Kendo’s style,
nor what any of his moveset is – but his character still comes
through, and it’s the mask that sticks in your head. His manager
and partner for the night George appears to have borrowed Andy Kaufman’s
singlet. Oh, and his entire set of mannerisms too. I’m sure
he’s facing Peter Butterworth from the Carry On films, going
under the pseudonym of Logan. It doesn’t matter that he died
in 1979, it must’ve been a cover to keep kayfabe. Of course.
It seems that Nagasaki’s work is all knees, according to
my jotter. Funny, recalling the match I can’t remember a single
move of his. This also includes the baffling “double knee
hold” (?) which claims a fall. Has a more terrifying move
ever existed? In with the sneaky stuff warrants a Public Warning~!
The concept is so amusing. Nothing spells ye olde Briti?h Wre?tling
like the doom of an announcement publicly berating you. More so
when the over-cockneyed announcer bellows it out as a “pahblic
woornin’ ”. Next comes some double-team tactics that
in US wrestling are strictly heel-only – distracting the ref
so that the other team-mate can come in for double beatings. It
looks really odd when a face team does it. Butterworth is mugging
furiously, trying to avoid staring down Barbara Windsor’s
Out of nowhere, we are treated to a “hold of the chin”
finish. Petrifying. Not a classic match by any standards, but it’s
the differences I’ve been paying attention to most of all.
Clive Meyers is “the martial arts expert”, AKA “Iron
Pissed”… I’m sure that’s what Kent said.
I’m also pretty sure that he is Mr Sparkle’s avatar.
Unwittingly, I have caught the much-discussed Disco Challenge.
The disco fucking challenge. I’m sure someone explained part
of this at the time, and it still doesn’t make sense. I definitely
remember watching the last ever WOS on ITV, and I have a fairly
vivid recollection that this was the last match shown, although
no doubt my memory has been pissing in my tea and laughing behind
my back as well.
Now this is more of a Kendo that I want to see: stiff and tight,
wasting little energy. And the music begins. Classical disco. Liszto
Inferno. Brahmsy M. All the banging tunes down at the Waltzotheque
Meyers is all kicky-bashy. Notably he does turns-caught-kick-into-enzuiguri
that I didn’t see for the first time until 1990 when Big Boss
Man (!) did it to someone, and I was suitably amazed at the fat
guy’s agility. This guy must have been Steve Blackman’s
idol; same moves, attitude and inverse charisma. This classical
stuff would be really cool if the wrestlers timed their strikes
with the BOOMs of the music. How cool would that be. Like the Disney
fireworks show, but less mice. Meanwhile, an OAP passes away unnoticed.
Three classical tracks later the actual disco music kicks in. Oh
look, they’re doing the Kendo mask-tease. Last part of the
match, where both guys appear to remember the decorator’s
stepladder has a part to play. I can see JR calling this now: “Oh
my gawd, he musta fell five inches! His ass could be broken in half!”
I know this was a long time ago, but the lack of height in the falls
does this serious credibility damage.
Somebody won; I have no recollection who but I’m sure it
furthered the feud tremendously to know they had beaten someone
to the backing of Earth Wind & Fire.
A lightweight contest. I’m glad they told me, because these
guys are so obviously a lot lighter than the previous wrestlers…
I’ve heard of Jim Breaks, and was pleasantly surprised by
my first viewing of him. I’m sure he’s Mark Radcliffe’s
dad though. This wonderful squeaky voice pierces the auditorium,
snapping at the audience in a spiteful heelish manner. Brilliant.
The audience participation is also highly amusing: “bend his
ears Jackie!” Someone start that chant at the next ROH show,
I dare you.
Now this is what I call proper old-school British style. Breaks
spends the entire match working over the arm and the chin, particularly
lots of arm work. They’re generating so much tension from
a hammerlock, and will he turn it into a chickenwing? Great stuff.
MUGA fans rejoice, for there is indeed a HEADSTAND SPOT. ‘Nuff
said. A superb match: clear-cut face and heel who clearly hate each
other, and both wrestlers clearly love playing to the crowd and
are experts at it. More please.
A pleasant surprise. Some was duff and really doesn’t need
to be repeated. Others contained were strikingly simple stuff about
remembering that you’re there to entertain a crowd and little
else matters if you get that right. This programme should be recommended
viewers for wrestlers looking for longevity. An emotion sticks in
the brain longer than a piledriver (well, unless you’re Steve
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