A couple of years ago I found a TNA DVD that I'd never seen before and haven't seen since. It is TNA Best of 2009. I actually got my copy factory sealed too but without a price tag. So its odd that someone never opened this OR maybe this copy just sat around a warehouse for 10 years until I bought it.
What makes this such a great find for me is that its right about when I really was paying attention to TNA but also becoming less interested in the program. So it features some of the last good TNA stuff on Spike. In the bonus features it has the announcement of Hulk Hogan joining the promotion which was the beginning of the end.
So this DVD features the Top matches of the year and I can't really complain since I can only recall a better Knockout match than the one featured here and that was Cheerleader Melissa vs Ayako Hamada in a no DQ match. That could have been 2010 though. Anyhow, this post is going to focus on the Kurt Angle matches since he's in half of those featured. Personally, his stuff here isn't as top shelf as some of the bouts from 2006-2008 as shown on his TNA solo DVD (Joe matches, vs Nagata). That said those featured here are still very worthy of being some of his best work in TNA wrestling.
vs Jeff Jarrett (Genesis 2009 January, #5 Best bout) : This was a No DQ match that was very much an Attitude Era throw back. Boxes were getting checked off: Big bumps, blood, chair shots, etc. But it felt good given the age of the two. I mean Jeff almost lawn darted on a suicide dive and damn near missed the table on a big spot. It worked because they sold the hate. This was a very, very good match.
vs AJ Styles (Table match, January, Best Impact TV bout) : The intro video does a great job recapping the AJ & Kurt saga...One I'm very fond of. In a nutshell, Tomko (remember him?) and AJ are tag partners and part of Team Angle. Kurt's babe of an (ex)wife is introduced here as well. Kurt is a egocentric tool and AJ is protecting her. Kurt thinks there's romance brewing but AJ & Karen say they're just friends. Haaft They say this is after all of that but I sorta remember that running into this period of the Main Event Mafia (goan) vs the non former WWF /WCW wrestlers. Anyways, this was a good TV match but it should be clear that TNA was becoming WCW part deux.
vs Sting (Empty Arena Match Best Grudge match, Impact TV February): They call it the best grudge match but you'll see the match below is the #2 match of 2009 and that's a grudge match as well. Maybe its the best TV grudge match??? Regardless, this is a battle I remember loving. It felt like something very special to see on TV. I still feel that way (even after all we've seen in the past year). Other than the fantastic and hilarious finish where Kevin Nash yells at them like an angry father (see below), this was a great battle. You could argue that this was more WCW flash backs but, if its done right, there's no problem to me. This was an instance where they did it right. I would give that credit to Sting and Kurt wanting to still put on a good show. It'd be wrong for me to call this a classic match BUT with the match combined with the ending, this was a Classic bit of TNA Impact TV!
vs Desmond Wolfe (Turning Point, November, #2 Best Bout) : Its not great when you don't have anything worthwhile for 9 months from your top star to put on the DVD. But here we are! Desmond Wolfe has been gunning for Kurt and has decimated him on TV. Now they have a match to settle things. OK...I'm going to get my rant from 11 years ago out of the way. Why the hell did they change the name and character of Nigel McGuinness? He had so much hype coming from ROH and they just KILLED it by doing this. Doing this seemed like such WCW/WWF level bullshit. Its not worth going into but even Nigel (I know its not his real name but he's used it everywhere else in wrestling) says in a promo/vignette something like, ' I'm going by the name of Desmond Wolfe at the moment ' when introducing himself. He or whoever wrote the segment knew there was still cross over between ROH and TNA and they should acknowledge that this guy was someone else somewhere else. That is convoluted to write but its because it is a convoluted idea! All I can hope is Nigel didn't want to tarnish the character and his legacy by jobbing in TNA. And I can support that with hindsight on my side because he was a mid card jobber to the stars in the promotion. They tried to do the British team thing again but I had fucking tuned out of TNA a little after seeing what they did to my boy! Spoiler alert!!! The writing above should give you an idea on the outcome of this match. It is a great match. Its Kurt big-match-by-numbers but Nigel...I mean Desmond is masterful. To use a line from The Dark Night Returns, this isn't a wrestling ring. Its an operating table and Desmond Wolfe is the surgeon.
I wrote more than that but I'm going to leave it there. The match is posted on YouTube so I recommend checking it out.
More of the Best of TNA 2009 coming soon!
Thanks for reading If you have pets give them a hug today!
The Good, the bad and the Ugly - Snuka, Hogan & Flair
Andre vs Inoki
Choshu applies the Scorpion Death Lock with Inoki looking on
Andre vs Killer Khan
Flair vs Steamboat
The Dream vs The Superstar
I hope that you dig this stuff. If you're like me, you really enjoy old wrestling photography. It really captures the gritty action of the ring.I want to incorporate more art into my blog and I just thought I'd play around with some picture editing software and share some of my work. I hope to have access to a copy machine so I can start up my collages again. No way am I cutting up my old books and magazines! I had made a great one that was my original id pic here on PWO. It was of Fujinami vs Fujiwara with Cherry blossom trees in the background. I titled it 'Heavenly Dream Battle.' An homage to the great titles that Japanese promotions (especially NJPW) give their big matches. To me Fujinami vs Fujiwara is just that type of dream encounter.
This covering is episodes 108 & 109 of BJW Deathmatch Wars TV show. Its from 01/02/2007 and in Korakuen Hall so we're looking at something that's at the very least going to be fun.
GENTARO & Mammoth Sasaki vs. Isami Kodaka & Yuko Miyamoto - The first team I know a little bit from FMW and the second team I know from watching clipped matches on BJW's YouTube channel. They are pretty good and Miyamoto is a great junior wrestler who reminds me of Hayabusa in his toughness, his agility and charisma. Anyhow this is a really good match with old vs young. Miyamoto makes an impression on the main eventers and they invited him to join them as they're in need of a 4th partner.
Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match: Jun Kasai/MENs Teioh/Yuko Miyamoto/Naoki Numazawa vs. Abdullah Kobayashi/Masada/Takashi Sasaki/Shadow WX - So that leads into this match, duh! Ha But for real, this was a sick match! I mean like ill ya know. There was action all over the place early on. Then things settled down in and around the ring but, there were still plenty of fantastic encounters/pairings. As with many multi-man matches, weaknesses were hidden and strengths were on display. Aside from that Yuko Miyamoto was seen as the junior baby who didn't belong in this war but, like Hayabusa he fought bravely and endured. He made his team believe that the made the right decision in selecting him. I'm not going to give away any of the memorable spots other than Masada dragging Miyamoto around the broken glass by his ankles. That was sick! Like F'd up! Overall this was helluva spectacle and great death match. Maybe a classic as it fed off the previous match, kept the fight interest and interesting throughout and the K-hall fans were on fire!
We're on to the 2nd show
Daikokubo Benkei/MIYAWAKI/Yuichi Taniguchi vs. Kazu Imai/Tomomitsu Matsunaga/Shinobu - Opening comedy type match. I skipped around in this bout.
Mad Man Pondo & NOSAWA vs. Coke & Sam Hain - I started to watch but as Jim Cornette would say this was an "outlaw mud show." In all fairness, Jimmy would hate EVERYTHING on this show.
Kintaro Kanemura/Tetsuhiro Kuroda/Onryo vs Hiroyuki Kondo/Yoshihito Sasaki/Daisuke Sekimoto - Unfortunately we only get 15 minutes of a 30 minute match but, what was shown was a blast! This is a real treat with FMW vs BJW for me. I believe the FMW team is reppin' Apache wrestling but its a real joy to see two generations of hardcore/death match/Indie wrestlers going head to head. Dekimoto and Sasaki as a tag team are something that I need to see more of. Torture Rack - German suplex combo is probably my new favorite tag move!
Really, really good DVD that's still available on Highspots for $10. Not trying to give free ad space but I want to let you know where you can actually get your mitts on this stuff! Certainly worth the cash and maybe wait for a Xmas sale to get it for less. No one really talked about how good BJW was back then... if you can't get into the occasional light tube deathmatch I understand. I felt that way for awhile but its really no worse than the bread and butter thumb tack and barbwire matches of my youth
Generally speaking, I live in a cave with my head under a rock when it comes to contemporary wrestling. I poked it out a little bit last year to see the empty seats of Smackdown for historical purposes. When the Wonder Wall was debuted, I lasted 15 minutes before I became dizzy. I took a small trip away from the cave to see Ring of Honor attempt to return to form with their Pure Title tournament. I thought it was fantastic but they squandered or scared away whatever interest that drummed up.
Now with CM Punk (and perhaps Bryan Danielson) in All Elite Wrestling, I am compelled to lift the stone from my head and check it out. So I watched his return promo in Chicago and man! that's entertaining! He's still got it. I'm not going to watch anything else on purpose mind you but I wanted to see that. You know...for historical purposes.
I liked Punk's speech because he explained his comments regarding wrestling when he was doing MMA/UFC. He acknowledged his time in ROH and made the distinction between that wrestling and what he was doing for almost a decade in WWE. I was confused by a few (hundred) fans booing ROH in a past life. I'd be less confused if they booed ROH in their present form. Who boos a mention of ROH from 2002-2005? Are these folks completely ignorant of the giant influence the company had on both CM Punk and the current American pro wrestling landscape?
That's an aside though.What I thought of after a couple days after is more interesting than the excitement of CM Punk back in a ring. Or more interesting on the historically ignorant fans. What really stuck with me is that Punk's history is kind of not true. Now I know it may have been kayfabe but Mr. Brooks, Phil if you will, has a tendency to blur the lines between a work and a shoot when on the mic. So we can say some of this was true for Punk & Phil. But I don't think any of it was any form of an objective truth. Chick Magnet Punk says that things had run their course in ROH and then went to WWE where he didn't wrestle for almost a decade. Now that's not true because no one wrestled in ROH either. I'll defend WWE's " sports entertainment " ideology in so much that what they do isn't wrestling. Pro wrestling is more dramatized combat with melodrama than wrestling like you'd see in high school, college, the Olympics etc. That's a sport. But frankly, I could say all professional sports aren't sports either but are this sports entertainment since no one's playing in an empty gym (until last year) and people are being entertained either through TV, videos, clothing, games. There isn't intentional and planned melodrama (although it happens organically). It lacks nuance for Punk to say he left wrestling in 2005 and came back now in AEW. It is kinda not true. I've watched his stuff in ROH (as we'll see below) and all in all it wasn't that different from what he was doing in WWE. Punk never mentions UFC. I wouldn't either.
What he left in 2005 was the freedom and identity that ROH and the Indy scene afforded him. He could be himself. Brooks left a community that embraced him for an opportunity to make a living and potentially make a fortune. I don't think he anticipated what it would cost. I don't think he knew it would cost him friends and fans and would embarrass himself in the process...I recall him saying if UFC had been around when he was younger he would have gone into that instead of wrestling. Man, you ever hear of karate or judo? That wasn't true when he said it. And I don't think anything he said the other night is true either.
This is why I stay in my cave and keep my head beneath a boulder. He's not the same person. I just know too much about Phil Brooks to really believe CM Punk anymore. But maybe that's the state of contemporary wrestling in general? I just know too much to really believe any of it.
That's all a lead in to some reviews of when Brooks or perhaps Punk was a wrestler before not being a wrestler (never was a wrestler) and becoming a sports entertainer (always was a sports entertainer) and then a mixed martial artist (a sports entertainer but STILL not a wrestler believe it or not!) and a wrestler again (still not a wrestler).
vs Raven (Death Before Dishonor 2003) : This was a dog collar match and I believe the consensus is that this is their best bout. I don't know since its all I got to watch but this is very much a Raven match. If you like his style and character (which I do) then this is something that you want to watch. Its a bit on the loner side but it pretty simple in terms of execution and scope. Its violent like it needed to be. Its got some stuff ECW fans would like too...remember this is only a couple years after they closed so that wasn't as odd as you might think. Great match
vs AJ Styles (Tradition Continues 2003) : This is almost a 180 from the Raven ECW style match. Instead we see Punk stay in step with the Phenomenal One. It was full of fantastic counters and reversals. The human game of chess cliche is going to be applied to this match because I'm not always very good at describing what make a good match so very good. I think something I appreciate on this viewing is the teasers they chose to do. It just felt organic and competitive and dammit I'm a fan of that. I'm going to say this is a classic match. If you're keeping track, I wouldn't put it in the top tier but its certainly overlooked because it takes place in 2003 which probably doesn't get much love. And if anyone wants to sample 2003/Year 2 ROH they'll usually go to matches of AJ, Danielson and London putting on masterpieces. But in 2021, do people even do that anymore? Other than me?
W/Ace Steel (Second City Saints) vs Dan Maff & BJ Whitmer (The Prophecy) (Death Before Dishonor II 2004) : Second City Saints was an awesome name. BJ Whitmer lousy name. Here's my BJ Whitmer rant: I can't believe that he/they wanted to keep a name with a double entendre in it and not have it purposely imply that 2nd meaning. Case in point D.P. Associates in FIP was a purposeful double entendre for the sake of a bunch of 20 year old guys having a laugh. BJ Whitmer never struck me as the type of talent that had a sense of humor about his in-ring persona. That aside, this was a bananas garbage wrestling spot mtach. This was your typical overkill wrestling to show how tough you were. As a match, it stunk BUT as a violent spot driven spectacular, it was great Its a few years ahead of its time but does bite off more than it needed to in order to get the same message across.
vs Jimmy Rave (Manhattan Mayhem 2005) : Here we see Punk's (Phil's) version of the dog collar match. And you know its not bad at all. Its decidedly more move oriented but with Punk and Rave in there I did not mind. Rave is such a great opponent for Punk because he can stooge when he needs to, he can get nasty when he needs to, and he can do moves when he needs to. Frankly he's much like Punk in that regard. We get a good deal of blood from Punk and we get the Embassy interfering. Its quite great to be honest. I've not seen this before but I have seen their cage match and man this was a great (probably forgotten) feud.
So there you have it. A few matches from CM Punk's time wrestling/sports entertaining in ROH. As you have already figured out, I picked some unsung ones for 2021. They aren't the Joe matches or Summer of Punk ones. 3 of the 4 are quite like stuff you could see in WWE actually. Again, either he never was a "wrestler" or he never left wrestling when going to the WWE. All semantic games aside- He should have been honest in saying he made a mistake in leaving pro wrestling and its fans when going to the UFC. And if he (Phil is Punk at this stage in his career) should have said thanks for welcoming him back despite his mistakes. In my opinion, CM Punk is the best all around pro wrestler of the last 20 years. His return to the square circle is huge and his promo was exhilarating. He will do great business for AEW. However, I think his cleverness in dissing WWE hides the real hurt of his MMA phase. As great as I know him to be, I just can't trust CM Punk anymore. I have to forgive him first.
I'm probably making a mountain out of a molehill. I'll be back in my cave.
Thanks for reading!
Sorry for the delay! No real reason other than I've been watching WCW stuff from the Rise and Fall of WCW, Brian Pillman DVDs and a couple YouTube videos. This is my final Full Impact Pro DVD review and its been a really fun trip. Let's get on to it and then I'll have some closing remarks.
Erick Stevens vs. Tyler Black (#1 Contender's Match) : This started with chain wrestling but this wasn't really their forte. It wasn't bad but it was uninspired. And ya know that's what the match felt like. NOW I'm nitpicking because they could have killed it. The final third proves my point. This part was great stuff. But given that this wasn't at the top part of the card, it did its job. Very good match though.
MsChif vs. Rain (SHIMMER Title Match): This was a good match but ended when it started to pick up.
Go Shiozaki vs. Roderick Strong (FIP World Heavyweight Title Match): This should be the main event so no idea why it's here on the card. Its for the damn main title with Mr. FIP Roderick Strong and the foreign heel. I'll be honest, this was my main event as I watched it last. OK that aside, this was a very well built match. The level of intensity & complexity escalated as it went on, selling along the way. Just about hold or throw was fought over. Their struggle felt real. Things weren't polished or rehearsed. I've been watching NWA/WCW from 87-90 and this felt a lot like that. There were some shenanigans but again that harkens back to that 80's stuff as well. I will call this a classic.
Kenny King & Jason Blade vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe (FIP Tag Team Title Match) : This was a rematch from the best match of Unstoppable 2007...one of the best at least. Its been so long! But not only that but its been awhile since we've seen Jay & Mark together. And man! Its a really good one. This is more of a traditional tag match yet full of action when it counts. Again more shenanigans though.
Sal Rinauro vs. Chris Jones (FIP Florida Heritage Title Match): No clue why this was the main event. Yeah they build it all up the whole show. But neither guy is main event material...I had this inkling ahead of time. It was a nice story but not top billing.
So that's it! Now it went out with a bang since I watched Shiozaki vs Strong last and not Rinauro vs Jones...sorry dudes.
Anyhow parting remarks - Watching this has been fun and is full of lost classics if you're a fan of ROH style. Seriously there are a few shows that are diamond in the rough ROH B-shows...especially 2007 & 2008. Stuff earlier than that is worth checking out but if you just want to get the most bang for your buck..get the 2007 & '08 shows that interest you. But also get Strong vs Evans...I think that might still be my top match of FIP. Read the different show reviews since I probably won't do some matches or shows justice now.
Plainly, if you are a Roderick Strong fan then you would be a fool not to get a few of these DVDs. Strong vs Evans, New Year's Classic 2007, this show Fallout 2008, and Dangerous Intentions 2008 are no brainers. Heatstroke 2007 Night 1 also...stay safe folks!
THANK YOU! I really appreciate you reading and keep watching old wrestling
Let's talk about AJPW in the Spring of 1986! These are the Samurai Classics so no Riki Choshu but hey there's lots of other great stuff going on.
Ted Dibiase/Ron Bass v. Motoshi Okuma/Rocky Hata (04/06/86): Kind of a squash match. Of the Japanese guys, I'm not sure who was who. Respectable start to the show nonetheless.
Kuniaki Kobayashi v. Masa Fuchi (04/06/86): Now we're cooking! Kobayashi and Fuchi are just beating the crap outta each other and I loved it. Two of my favorites in their prime. Very good match
Tenyru/Takashi Ishikawa v. Ted Dibiase/Ron Bass (04/19/86): Oh man everyone is on fire here. We get the nice introduction to the DiBiase & Ron Bass team and now we see what they can do versus one of the top AJ native teams. This was so basic but absolutely wonderful because you don't need big moves and flash to have a great tag match. DiBiase in AJ is the best. He vs Tenryu is money in the bank!
Tenyru v. Ashura Hara (04/12/86): Holy cow '86 Tenryu is awesome! The Tenryu/Jumbo vs Yatsu/Choshu match from 01/86 is a classic but now I'm seeing more of him and there's more to the story. He's not quite as well defined as a hard hitting wrestler yet but man does Ashura Hara bring that out in him! It makes sense though as Hara is a tank and I love their tag team during the Revolution era of AJ/Tenryu. This totally exceeded my expectations. I want to call it a classic but I'll pull back a little and just say near classic at ****1/4.
Harley Race/Jerry Blackwell v. Tiger Jeet Singh/One Man Gang (03/13/86): Quick bout, Blackwell vs OMG were like 2 sumo but after that it turned into a double DQ.
Shohei Baba/Ricky Fuyuki/Takashi Ishikawa v. Rusher Kimura/Ashura Hara/Goro Tsurumi (04/06/86): Really fun 6 man match! Fuyuki and Ishikawa along with Hara kept this really competitive. Goro Tsurumi is an awesome character looking like a manga heel wrestler with afro pirate mustache and skull adorned unitard. Rusher and Baba do their job and yeah this is the stuff that puts a smile on my face.
Baba/Ishikawa v. Killer Khan/Masanobu Kurisu (05/10/86): OK, thought I'd like it more with Kurisu & Ishikawa but it didn't do much for me.
Tenyru v. Ted Dibiase (UN Title, 04/26/86): Well here is the singles match that I was looking for. And man, it's what I wanted. Great smart arm work by DiBiase. Just a really good give and take in the beginning/middle. This is joined in progress so not sure what the true start is like. Nonetheless, the match goes on pretty long I think. In that time we get solid mid 80's meat and potatoes wrestling from both guys. Its the stuff I could watch for an hour because they have created a world where it looks like their struggle is real and relatable. Not only that but we get two of the best in the world doing it. They are physically and stylistically a great match for each other. A great match for sure!
If you're a fan of Tenryu and what they were doing in SWS and WAR, you really want to check out some of these matches.
Thanks for reading and stay safe folks!
Let's see what is going on with ROH from 6 years ago.
AFTERSHOCK TOUR Saturday, July 11th, 2015 Eisenhower Community Center - Hopkins, MN. A couple matches have audio syncing issues.
Mark Briscoe vs Danny Duggan - Skipped
War Machine (Hanson & Rowe) vs Silas Young and Beer City Bruiser - An all action tag match with 4 big burly dudes. I thought this was a great start to the show (for me at least).
ACH vs Dalton Castle - Wow! These guys emptied their tanks! This match oozed athleticism and charisma. I wish ACH would have been given a belt at some point as he really put on some great work rate heavy matches. I guess they figured he'd do it in the undercard so, why bother? That's a shame. ROH could use someone like him nowadays as an Ace IMO. Anyhow, they gave these two the time and this was a great match and a possible show stealer.
Michael Elgin vs Matt Taven - This looked good on paper but meanders. This is the worse tendency of Elgin and late 2010's wrestlers - overly complex spot matches that have no story or drama. I can't blame them based on where they're at on the card and Elgin was on the way out I think. (Audio Problems)
Michael Bennett w/Maria Kanellis vs Moose vs Cheeseburger vs Will Ferrara -Skipped
Adam Cole vs Bobby Fish - This had room to be a classic encounter. It was a battle of who's knee would be broken first. Very dramatic with solid selling. Didn't reach the heights it could have but, another great one for this show.
Jay Briscoe & O.D.B vs Jay Lethal & Truth Martini - I'm going to overrate this but, I thought this was another great match. It was all about ODB and I'm nostalgic for her and her run in TNA back in 2007-09 or whenever. This was more a TNA type match instead of an ROH one. However, everything was timed and built perfectly for what they were going for. The high end Lethal vs Briscoe teases were fantastic as well. It accomplished a lot without going for broke.
AJ Styles vs Roderick Strong vs Kyle O’Reilly - A sort of dream match as we get 3 eras of top ROH talent in one ring. In 2015, we get a past, present and future meeting of ROH (but, of course everyone bounced to WWE in a year or so). You get that feeling here with these three top talents. It's a damn shame ROH lost not only the Undisputed Era guys but the AEW/Bullet Club guys later. All that aside, ROH in 2015 is fantastic. This is a classic match that pits these wrestling machines up against one another. It didn't break any new ground but frankly I don't want them to. I wanted an intense contest that was engaging and dramatic. They delivered and exceeded those expectations. (Audio Problems)
This was a fantastic show that delivers where you want it to. The little audio issues aren't a big deal because I tend to watch stuff with the volume low or off. If that's a deal breaker for you then that's something to take into account. 2015 has been really good for ROH.
Thanks for reading folks!
This is the second to last Full Impact Pro DVD that I have. Let's see if its a good one.
The Heartbreak Assassins vs. The British Lions - started to watch thinking the Bri team might be someone who is well known now. No one I've heard of...skipped
Mercedes Martinez vs. Lorelei Lee - This was OK. Not good or bad. They both had really good moments and they kept it simple.
Sal Rinauro vs. Chris Jones (FIP Florida Heritage Title Match) - Early in my FIP journey I would make sure to see Sal's matches because he was one of the more talented wrestlers. He still is but, on a packed card like this, I'm going to move on.
Chasyn Rance vs. Shawn Osborne - Not interested
Austin Aries vs Jason Blade - Here we go former ROH heavyweight champion and tag team champion vs current FIP tag champ Jason Blade. Mr. Blade (if that is his real name!) is a pretty good Indy wrestler and works well with Kenny King. Obviously, King is the talent as he has been a ROH mainstay for 10+ years with multiple belts...Blade knows how to work with who he's in the ring with. And for that we get a pretty good 2008 Austin Aries match. That's nothing to sneeze at.
Dark City Fight Club vs Black Market (Weapons Match) - I skipped their match on the previous show but tuned in for this one. This was fun but mindless brawling. I say mindless because there was not an ebb or flow in this match. No give and take and no story beyond the angle at the end. And even then, it made NO sense. Spoiler - The Dark City guys handcuffed one of the Black Market guys but instead of a 2 on 1 beatdown, the lone Black Market dude just whooped two guys asses. So, why the hell did they handcuff the guy??? It made no sense and made Dark City look weak.
Roderick Strong vs Kenny King - Here we go. Kenny King gets to show what he's got vs the MAN of FIP. There's no YRR at ringside. This is the one on one bout you want to see with Roddy & Kenny having a great singles match. Its place on the card is commensurate with the quality of the contest. A great match.
Tyler Black vs Necro Butcher - The fans were digging this but, I thought this was a waste of Tyler Black on this card. I just don't think doing Necro's match is the best way to use him. I think he could have tried to do his athletic match with Necro taking it to the extreme (as they used to say). Plus this went on too long as if they needed to buy time for Stevens or Shiozaki to make it to the show. It was OK.
Erick Stevens vs Go Shiozaki (FIP World Heavyweight Title Match) - Stevens has officially come into his own in FIP. This was a world title classic that sits in the top tier stuff that the company has produced (and I've seen). They put it all out there. It felt like a true competition with both guys fighting from their knees at times. It would have fit in with ROH or NOAH without a doubt. But, I think it was best here in FIP...especially the finish and the after-match segment. Yeah, this is worth watching.
All in all this was a great show capped off by the World Title fight. This is still on Highspots for $5 so this is a no brainer pickup especially if you nostalgic for this era of wrestling.
Thanks for reading!
I'm trying to get the ball rolling again for exploring the early 2010's Puro. Let's take a look at 01/02/2012 AJPW!! (Broadcast 01/10/12)
KENSO, Kaz Hayashi & Yasufumi Nakanoueno vs Takao Omori, Manabu Soya & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi - This was a very good opening match. The energy level was high. Kikuchi was a fun mystery partner that never out stayed his welcome. Kaz Hiyashi will always Shiryu from the glory days of M-Pro and he's still got it here.
Akebono & Ryota Hama vs Yuji Okabayashi & Kazuki Hashimoto - You know what you are signing up for with this match. Says it was 8 minutes but it felt quicker. Hey, that's a compliment! Akebono just doesn't do much for me.
Keiji Muto, Abdullah the Butcher & Kikutarou vs Masanobu Fuchi, Kikutaro & BLACK BUSHI - Skipped
Masakatsu Funaki, Masayuki Kono & Minoru Tanaka vs Taiyo Kea, Shuji Kondo & Takumi Soya - This another really good 6 man match. Minoru was the bright point to me. Masakatsu turns the shooter skills on for the finish and it is sweet. At about 8 minutes, this was easy viewing.
Seiya Sanada, KAI & Hiroshi Yamato vs Dark Ozz, Dark Cuervo & Kenny Omega - The Dark guys are fun but a little sloppy. Yamato was in for a good portion of the match and I got to remember how good he is. Everyone else is their normal selves and brought the goods. This was 15 minutes and ended just in time for this to leave me happy. It was almost like a FMW 6 man in that regard...it got close to going off the rails but never did.
Suwama vs Daisuke Sekimoto - I think I've reviewed this earlier in the blog. This is one of the matches that inspired me to check out 2010's stuff. It was and hopefully is still up on Daily Motion. I've seen it 3-4 times and man is this still classic stuff to me! Right under 20 minutes, it eschews the "longer is better" mantra and keeps this compact yet tells a compelling story. That plus they beat the crap outta each other. I've seen more Sekimoto and SUWAMA since I first saw this and I can say it doesn't fall into any ruts or cliches. They tease or payoff and then move on rather than milk for time or over do it. It is the only singles match on the card and they really make that mean something.
New Year Battle Royal - I watched this on fast forward until the last few guys. Its every guy on the show except SUWAMA and Sekimoto doing a battle royale. I don't like this after such a bad ass battle but, its tradition.
Anyhow this is an easy breezy 2 hours of wrestling. IVP has it for a steal and the singles match is probably still on D.M. so if you're curious, what are you waiting for?
Man, its been awhile since watching Full Impact Pro so I've cut down the # of matches I watched and my plan to post this on Fridays. It don't matter now...here's the teaser trailer:
Davey Richards vs Tyler Black - Alright these guys are not playing around. Davey kinda starts with his goofy heel over- selling but soon he and Black hit their stride. They just started doing their indy-workrate thing and that's what everyone wants to see. I skipped most of the show because I've been putting off the FIP stuff. But there's no easier way to get back into it than seeing these guys do their thing. Very good match that was closing in on greatness. Although this show is the third to last, FIP's style has caught up to ROH circa 2008.
Kenny King & Jason Blade vs Jay Briscoe & Austin Aries - The YRR (still going strong) attack Tyler after the match and Briscoe and Aries come to make the save. We get a great impromptu tag title match. Tons of action and spots. This was a step up in action and excitement from the previous match. Great match
Roderick Strong vs Erick Stevens (Last Man Standing) - A wild brutal brawl for the FIP title. This was absolutely vicious. Stevens has stepped up his game big time and Roderick was glad to match his intensity. I'll still put this behind Roddy vs Jack but this may be my #2 FIP singles match. Probably the best hardcore FIP bout I've seen.
Only watched 3 bouts but man, this was 1 hour's worth of exciting wrestling. Definitely worth the $5 from Highspots and probably better than any wrestling on TV today.
Thanks for reading!
I am biased and try to stay away from the WWF/E as much as I can. Other than a handful of periods in time, it is not for me. So a few years back I was watching the SWS promotion and they had a working relationship with the WWF and some of those mixed matches were pretty good depending on who was in them. After watching the Grizzly Smith Dark Side of the Ring I decided to see what Jake the Snake matches I had. Not many...but I found one from my AJ Classics and I thought 'what the heck! Let's see how these WWF vs Japan matches are!'
Jake Roberts vs. Big Bossman - I wanted to like this but skip it. It was Bossman beating up Jake at a snails pace and sneering at the crowd. Jake was good but this wasn't really his forte.
Bret Hart vs. Tiger Mask - Full match, a lot of the reviews in the Match Discussion Archives are about a clipped version. This is a good match. I'll be frank Bret can be a boring wrestler without a good story or an opponent who he knows well. So we're 0 for 2 here. Misawa was an upper midcard guy here and wrestled like one. The problem aren't those things though. The issue is that they had them wrestle a longer match. 15-20 minutes...Bret's the guy to do it but again he didn't know Misawa & Misawa isn't supposed to be showing up Hart. 'Cause I'm going to be honest, Misawa in later 1990 had IT because Baba took off his restraints of the mask/character/position in the company...this wasn't that Mitsuharu though.
Shoehi Baba / Andre the Giant vs. Demolition - This was fun but only because it was short. Demolition do nothing for me.
Jumbo Tsuruta / King Haku vs. Curt Henning / Rick Martel - All right! This is a match up that I never knew I needed to see...but it did not disappoint! All guys are great workers and speak English and probably shared some locker rooms over the years so we were getting great moves and fun sequences. Not only that but some drama too! This was a very good match...scratching on the door of greatness.
Randy Savage vs Genichiro Tenryu - Randy with Sherri Martel (who was as much a part of the match as the guys) vs Mr. Puroresu. And in the Dome, Tenryu lives up to that. Like New Mr. Puro Kobashi, Tenryu just embodies the style and sport. So it was a treat to have him face a lunatic like Savage...who I think is an embodiment of American style with the fashion, promos, but the in ring excitement to back it up. Like the above tag bout, this was really good stuff...the fans were loving this!
Hulk Hogan vs Stan Hansen - Have no doubts, this is a great match. I avoid Hogan matches but, this is not something to miss especially if you enjoy Stan Hansen. If you have never seen Hansen then this may be your best entry point. At thirteen minutes, we get distilled Lariat - Unsinkable Battle Ship Hansen vs Hulk -I'm in Japan where they still think I'm a badass- Hogan and they live up to it all in my view. I did a big write up and took screen shots to send my dad...it was that great. I mean not to spoil it but give you a taste, we get double blood!
Those last three matches are worth checking out for sure. They aren't in that order on the full show or even on the AJ Classics but this is how I would have booked it.
Thanks for reading! Keep safe!
Here we are at the half way point of 2021...wait what!? Really? Where the heck has the time gone? Maybe 2020 just seemed to be forever. Anyway, here's my top picks for 2021 so far:
Tiger Mask vs Pete Roberts (09/10/82 NJPW)
Masato Tanaka vs Mr. Gannosuke (01/06/98 FMW)
Hayabusa vs Masato Tanaka (03/13/98 FMW)
Hayabusa vs Mr. Gannosuke (04/30/98 FMW)
Tetushiro Kuroda vs Masato Tanaka (06/19/98 FMW)
Hisakatsu Oya vs Tetsuhiro Kuroda (12/12/98 FMW)
Abdullah Kobayashi vs Daisuke Sekimoto (07/22/05 BJW)
Roderick Strong & Jack Evans vs. Jimmy Rave & Shingo (FIP New Year's Classic 2007)
Tyler Black vs Roderick Strong FIP Heatstroke '07 Night 1)
Honorable Mention Tag Matches - Gotta show some love to the tag matches that just missed the cut:
Tiger Mask & Tatsumi Fujinami vs Black Tiger & Pete Roberts (08/27/82 NJPW)
Jado & Gedo vs Hayabusa & Masato Tanaka (05/05/98 FMW)
Hayabusa &Tanaka vs W*ing Kanemura & Kodo Fuyuki (05/27/98 FMW)
BxB Hulk and Yamato vs Roderick Strong and Jay Briscoe (FIP Third Year Anniversary)
I felt like watching some stuff from the 80's after watching 80's wrestling commercials on YouTube. I've got tons of stuff so I went through and cherry picked a disc from my AJPW collection. Only one match actually is an AJ match which is nice since that smattering of wrestling was what I wanted.
Jack and Jerry Brisco vs Bob Orton Jr/Jimmy Valiant (06/12/83 in Savannah, GA): This was a high energy tag match but there wasn't a lot to it. That and three of the guys had red trunks on! It was very good stuff but not much than I can recall. Orton does a great back breaker.
Jumbo Tsuruta vs Brad Rheingans (08/30/83): This was a fantastic technical match that AJPW isn't always known for at this time. This is more like what I've seen in NJ at this time. It makes sense since both are former Greco-Roman Olympians. There were plenty of reversals and escapes and I don't recall one rope break. This is really my favorite type of stuff to watch. Great match
Harley Race vs Kevin Von Erich (NWA Title on 06/17/83 in Dallas, TX): This was a great title match. I've only seen Kerry Von Erich so it was nice to finally see Kevin. This is especially true after watching the Von Erich Dark Side episode a few weeks ago and as the only living brother, I guess I feel for him. So he's a true babyface in this case if that makes any sense. He's up against Harley Race which I think is a good match up since Harley has a more deliberate orthodox style that transfers well regardless of his opponent. Kevin is more like a Ricky Steamboat heavy weight and his awesome dropkicks look devastating against the champ. Mixed with his body scissors hold (something we don't ever see anymore) and the Iron Claw, he's got Race reeling. Eventually Harley gets Kevin to the floor where he crashes into TV equipment (I think) and hurts his shoulder. There's blood in the water for the shark. The champion is a great white in his attack - ax handle smashes and viscous knee drops are the best. The ref wants to stop the fight but Kevin refuses. He still has his big weapons and won't be told to quit...not even when big brother David comes out. What a great match to introduce the Von Erich clan and a great bout overall.
So here we are...the end of 1998 for FMW. Let's see if the year ends as well as it started. Its the 12/13/98 show and the Over the Top Tournament.
Mr. Gannosuke vs W*ing Kanemura - A great match! I saw this in full and man Gannosuke is so very underrated. Kanemura too...this story has Gannosuke and Kanemura's friendship and team success threatened as Gannosuke wants nothing to do with Team No Respect and is a dark monk like early Jinsei Shinzaki. Its exactly what you want...blood, table violence, brutal finish - I love it!
Hayabusa vs Oya - I own this in a clipped version but, I found the full version. It actually wasn't clipped more than like a minute...weird. Anyway, this was a very good compressed match with all killer wrestling. Hayabusa working with a fit & smart opponent like Oya is just easy to love stuff. FMW is looking a lot better than the last couple months.
Gannosuke vs Bad Boy Hido - Super fast but effective match with both guys going for the quick win. Fun stuff.
Hisakatsu Oya vs Tetsuhiro Kuroda - Wow...just wow this is a classic match to me. We have Kuroda who's essentially the FMW Kojima vs Hisakatsu Oya who is the in house technician (who throws a mean suplex). So Kuroda does his thing as the fire plug but man...Oya is amazing here. Perhaps I'm not as familiar as I should be but there is a lot to like here. There are a couple transitions from one hold into another that it was really masterful. All that can still lose a match when a guy who throws lariat-o's, right? But even Kuroda had nuance by attacking Oya's leg...and actually sticking with it and when he finally hit his Raven drop toe hold it fed into Oya's weakened knee. He just crumbled. Oya then knew that to overcome Kuroda he would need to break his arm or deliver neck death. As this was the main event, it got the time to build and deliver.
Yeah, this show was a return to form for 1998. I was dragging my feet on this show for a variety of reasons but am so glad I watched it. I fitting entry for blog post #200!!!
Thanks for your patience and I appreciate all of you who've been reading. It means a whole lot to me. Stay safe folks!
I watched the Dark Side on the Collision in Korea. It was a thankful return to form for the show. Anyhow it got me thinking about the steiner's match over there and here's a spotlight from the wrestling notebook grooveyard. Everyone has an opinion on the 1991 match vs Hase & Sasaki so I'll omit that...let's get into some lesser known stuff of -The Steiner Brothers in NJPW!!
Steiner Brothers vs. Power Warrior Sasaki & Jushin Liger (New Japan 2/17/94) A pretty good tag match with Liger being the real spark plug of this match. Sasaki is only really capable of a few moves but he used them real well here. Cool finish. ***3/4 (very good match)
Steiner Brothers vs. Jushin Liger/Chris Benoit (New Japan 4/4/94) The junior team was out classed here and Benoit mainly took bumps but once things got real competitive it was fantastic and really exciting. This is why I love tag-team wrestling. **** (Great match)
Steiner Brothers vs. Chris Benoit/Scott Norton (New Japan 10/8/94) A joined-in-progress match that was not very memorable but by no means bad...just not up to the standards of the other two. Once again Benoit was bump-boy...which is a total misuse. (No rating but must be at least fun)
Steiner Brothers vs. Keiji Muto & Hiroshi Hase (New Japan, 1/4/95) The best of the matches here and you could tell from the get go that the Steiners were taking this one seriously. Mutoh was awesome here as the fire plug MF'er that I've heard so much good stuff about. The strikes were never the Steiners strong suit as they either go too stiff or not enough but if you can get past that it's an awesome tag match. If they were responsibly stiff then this would be 4.25+ but as it is I'll give it ****+. Still fun dramatic tag match as Hase's trademark suplex does the Brothers in. This is an added bonus as I'm a fan (Great match...I'll say near classic here in 2021)
Steiner Brothers vs. Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki (New Japan, 4/29/95) This is from the Korea Supershow and it's not too bad as Kensuke brings it to who ever gets in the ring with him and Hase is just great. Unfortunately the native team jobs in essentially a squash match but without the killer double team moves and the producer/editor thought it'd be a good idea to switch to Kensuke & Rick brawling on the outside as Scott hit the Screwdriver on Hase for the pin?! What the fuck!?
Steiner Brothers vs. Scott Norton & Power Warrior Hawk (New Japan, 5/3/95) I wish Kensuke was in this but as it was it was alright. Scott Norton bumps like someone 100lbs lighter and well Hawk was alright at times. Still no one here to supply psychology. The spots were good but they didn't know what to do to carry the drama from one spot to the next. Still we got to see the Steiner DDT & Bulldog to put Hawk down. Would have been better but 2 Amer. teams are working too friendly and comes across as a WCW match. (Guess this maybe this is explained by the Dark Side episode as this takes place a couple days after. Hawk had Hep A and was on medicine and it sounds like the experience for all of American guys was very very rough).
Hope you dug this! I'm working on getting to finishing my ongoing stuff with FMW '98. I've been watching the Darkside stuff, Pillman matches from the WWE dvd, and listening to Cornette's podcast moreso than focusing on the task at hand. Sorry! Also I wrote a Thank you New Jack post but that never got posted or removed and that was discouraging...so anyhow thanks for reading! Getting close to post #200.
Stay safe folks!
This is the start of Disc #4 of 6 and man, I'm really happy that I got this set a year ago. Its taken me awhile to watch it but, I think that's for the best. This stuff has been a real blast to watch. OK let's get to the matches:
vs Villano III (09/03/82): Joined in Progress, This was a fun match with some good moves from Tiger but nothing of much substance. Still a good match to start out with...
vs Pete Roberts (09/10/82): Black Tiger Rocco tried to jump Tiger Mask before the match but he and Roberts handle B.T. and get onto their bout. Interesting since Roberts and Rocco/Black Tiger teamed up earlier in the year. Anyhow, that aside we get a slight skip ahead in the the tape (not much) and wow! We get two technical wizards having a good old fashion duel! Tons of holds, counter holds, escapes and reversals are in this match. This was technical marvel! Classic match...this is Tiger in his element.
vs Chris Adams (09/17/82): The mix of styles here was rather pleasant. Adams could do Tiger's mat stuff but, also had good punches and of course the Superkick/Thrust kick. This busted Tiger Mask's mouth open. I think it loosened a tooth frankly. TM responds with kicks of his own and tries to fight his way out of hole. Not quite a heel/face match but, Adams was no Gentleman Very good match where Tiger has to go for broke!
Tiger Mask & Kantaro Hoshino vs Villano III & Black Tiger (09/19/82): This is a much better showing of Villano III than the singles match above. He and B.T make a great team. I wonder if they were teaming regularly in Japan at this time. There was no problems here despite one guy being Mexican and the other being British wrestling two Japanese guys. That being said, this was a high energy match that is really easy to watch. Everything just seemed to flow together. Now, I would have like a little more drama to have been built by working to a hot tag but that's my opinion. There were some good pinfall break-ups but, they should have been a bit more conservative with them to really make the later ones more thrilling. That is do fewer of them so it gives greater meaning & purpose to them. That's my complaint but, overall another very good go-go match. This was much more of a showcase for Black Tiger & Villano III than Tiger or Hoshino. And there's no complaints there!
6 DVDs of one guy can be pretty repetitive but Tiger Mask is not that repetitive of a wrestler. I was really worried about that and is why I held off on buying this set for a long time. In all honesty, I think I got that feeling from watching the Dynamite matches. And I don't want to knock those (we got one more fight in '83) but, I prefer these other match-ups. Those TM DK bouts stand out stylistically from his other matches and those laid the ground work for much of wrestling that would follow. But I got the feeling Tiger Mask was a flippy-floppy wrestler who did some dives and that was ahead of its time BUT 40 years later...that's old hat. This set and shoot! even the above bouts put that misconception to bed. Its worth the time to watch some of these just to do the man some justice and say "yeah, he's more than just his Dynamite matches." But I think it's worth watching these to see great wrestling in a style that you don't see anymore...and frankly I don't think most folks lack the skills and patience to do it.
Oh before I forget!
Tiger Mask & Tatsumi Fujinami vs Pete Roberts & EL Solitario (09/04/81): A year earlier we find this match. Its NOT on my big Tiger Mask set but on Archives.org. Thanks to the person that posted this! Its 13 minutes of fantastic chain wrestling, rope running action. I'm really not sure why folks don't do this today. Its as athletic as the stuff nowadays and a whole lot more interesting to watch. This was a very good match and Roberts had two amazing chain sequences with Tiger & Fujinami.
Thanks for reading! Stay safe everyone
So let me start by saying I'm not 100% on the episodes because Highspots has them as #41 & 42 (Daisuke Sekimoto Special) and the actual DVD menu has them as #39 & 40 with the dates being 08/02/05 & 08/09/05 respectively. That should hopefully help you should you be looking for these episodes on DVD or in some other form. My goal of this blog is to help people find their way to older /andor perhaps overlooked wrestling. I think 2005 BJW is a good fit for that since I had never really heard much about this time period and really only could relate BJW to the Deathmatch tape I bought im like '98 or '99. I've gone on about that elsewhere. When I got Fire Pro Wrestling returns back in 2007 for PS2, I don't think I recognized anyone on the BJW (NITRO I think was the fake company name) roster. I've become familiar by looking at the match listings on Cagematch or where ever when doing my prelim research but, we're going into this one relatively blind together.
Anyways, I did some digging and it seemed like 2005 would be a good place for me to jump in. Again, no one really talks about this time period anymore and really not a lot in the late 2000's early 2010s. But there are names that I know from more recent BJW stuff that I see on their Youtube page (clipped matches from 2011-2014ish) and guys from FMW and the Indies from the 90's. I'm down with that
So let's start:
07/22/05 - Korakuen Hall
Daikobubo Benkei & Asian Cougar vs Mammoth Sasaki & Hyoma - This was a good match. I'm familiar with Mammoth Sasaki from FMW and fellow user Gordi has shared some great stories and pictures of he and his pal Asian Cougar here
So this should be a lot of fun! And it is. Both Mammoth and Cougar are the best here. Cougar stole the show to be honest. He took a sick bump off the apron into the crowd and did a spectacular tope con hilo ( over the top somersault senton if you will) to his opponent lying prone on the ring floor...on a pile of chairs no less!
Gran Hamada & Men's Teioh vs Katsu Inoue & Hiroyuki Kondo - This was cool to see Hamada and Teioh in the ring again. I love that 93-97 M-Pro stuff. I look forward to seeing the younger guys in future matches they have potential. But this was only a good match since Hamada is getting long in the tooth and Teioh is only going to work so hard with youngsters. Hamada does his back body drop flip though!
Abdullah Kobayashi vs Daisuke Sekimoto - From what I could tell after the match (which isn't a lot since I don't understand Japanese), this was fought as a Strong Style match. Kobayashi wanted to prove to Sekimoto that he could beat him at his own style, let alone in deathmatch style. Holy crap! This was like early '98 FMW greatness! Stong style but with hardcore rules which is perfect for the ECW kid in me. And frankly this is as about as perfect a ECW/FMW athletic style match as you can have. Sekimoto at this stage is like Masato Tanaka...he hits hard and can get hit even harder. Abby Jr. drops him on his noggin a couple times to make Dangan shudder. In the end, both guys are bleeding, and this is an All time classic match in this style. Both guys were absolutely brutal and not a light tube or roll of barb wire to be found. So glad this was shown in full.
-Now we're on to the next show which is called the Daisuke Sekimoto special but also features some clipped matches of Jaki Numazawa. This will make sense at the end of the show. Again, if I understood Japanese, it would have made sense from the beginning!
Daisuke Sekimote vs Ryuji Ito (08/10/99) - Baby match- wow! Ryuji is a string bean! 5:30 match
vs Naoki (Jaki) Numazawa (03/01/01) - 6+ match..possibly Numazawa's debut match? Looked nothing like how he does nowadays (or even'05 for that matter).
vs Men's Teioh (02/03/02) - 10 minutes and the best one so far. We're seeing shades of what Sekimoto will become later on. Very enjoyable match and Teioh is very generous.
vs D. Benkei (08/18/02) - Benkei is as big as a port-a-potty. JIP but this is good and represents Sekimoto's style of lariats, fighting spirit, etc. He wins the BJW Hvy Wt. belt here.
Now this is when I get confused as they show the following:
Mad Man Pondo vs Numazawa (11/10/02) - Numazawa looks completely different from a year ealier with Daisuke. He's a fine wrestler but gave that up to be put through glass tubes. Numazawa goes to the hospital for his injuries. This has some sick spots but the execution could have been better.
Numazawa vs Ryuji Ito (01/15/04) - Lights out electric lighttube deathmatch. I always liked these at it seemed more dangerous and stuff This too was clipped but this was crazy! Ito has bulked up and he's mixing his kicks in with the light tube stuff. That looks awesome. Numazawa was impressive here as well.
Numazawa vs Sekimoto (01/28/05) - OK so full circle now...the focuses of the show meet here in 2005 (earlier in the year of this TV tape). This was clipped was well and I wish it was shown in full. It looked amazing. Still I'm not complaining on what was shown at all. *Looked this up on Cagematch and it looks like the next show was a Numazawa produced show and the main event was Numazawa vs Sekimoto in a Prison Hall Deathmatch. SO this episode was building up to that show...cool!
And thats the end of the DVD. I would say both episodes had their merits. The first one had the classic Daisuke vs Abby match and the second episode had a lot of material that was condensed to the best stuff. All in all this was a great into to BJW at this time period. I know Ito is a big deal and I've seen Jaki Numazawa on BJW clipped stuff so this was neat. I totally want to hook up my PS2 and go through the BJW roster and play some matches.
There'll be more on the way. I think the next batch is from 2006. Also I've not forgotten FIP and Tiger Mask. TM stuff should be coming out soon. There's a real doozy you'll want to see on there.
Sorry for the delay!
Let's get back to 1998 in the FMW promotion in Japan.
Hisakatsu Oya vs Kodo Fuyuki (10/06): This was a more traditional match with Fuyuki trying to get the better of Oya at his own game. A good match especially if you have the patience for Inoki type stuff.
W*ing Kanemura vs Tetsuhiro Kuroda (10/06): I loved Kanemura's 'dance routine ' to The Offspring. This got really good when Kuroda got his comeback. It was real cat & mouse stuff. This is #90 on BAHU's list. That seems fair to me.
Koji Nakagawa vs Hayabusa (10/06): I jumped ahead in this because Nakagawa isn't beating Hayabusa but I want to see what's up. And this ain't bad! Nakagawa is going at Hayabusa with a fork and this is something different.
T. Kuroda vs Mr. Gannosuke (11/20): Gannosuke is back! The version I saw was clipped but this was good. I feel like the Kanemura one was better.
Hayabusa vs Kodo Fuyuki (11/20): I was going to go into Fuyuki's role in FMW and how he changed the direction of FMW away from the deathmatches and really even the traditional style of early 1998. He changed the style to Entertainment style which was what WCW & WWF were doing. You can see that the mat has changed and there's fancy U.S. style entrances now. But I'll leave it there but let's say the outcome of the match is indicative. This was a very good title match. Hayabusa was was really going after Fuyuki's lariat arm & early on Fuyuki was keeping 'busa grounded. Bird man was doing what he could with fat Fuyuki so not everything worked like it would have with someone more agile. Again it was very good and even great at times. But could have been better and well the outcome changed the direction of the company (kayfabe) but also was an indicator of things to come.
I've been kinda bummed out about this later stuff because the year started out on a real high note. I mean, it was AJPW level classic stuff but as guys like Tanaka and Gannosuke were out of the picture, the matches suffered. There's one more installment and will cover 1998 FMW Year End Sensation which is a tournament. Let's hope it's good!
Thanks for reading and stay safe!
So I'm going to pick back up my project of watching Tiger Mask #1 in NJPW and I was having trouble finding where I left off. Little did I remember that I'd actually a few matches for part 5 already watched! I got into a giant ROH tangent and been doing those reviews along with FIP. Anyhow here's part #5!
Tiger Mask vs Dynamite Kid (08/05/82) - I watched this twice and know I've seen it at least a few other times. It's a pretty good match still but, the set-up and pacing is where I have a problem. In fact its one that's a common problem nowadays...there's no real build or story. There's problems with the psychology that keep this from being great. It is a collection of neat sequences & the finish was sick...so this doesn't lack action or excitement just substance.
w/ Tatsumi Fujinami vs Black Tiger & Pete Roberts (08/27/82) - Oh yeah! Rocco Black Tiger (R.I.P.) is just there to throw shade & mug Tiger every chance he gets. Even Roberts has words with Black Tiger at one point. That said, this is fantastic fast paced technical tag wrestling overall. These type of bouts is where TM Sayama shines brightest. Even more so with Rocco acting like a dirt bag villain amongst the technicians. Great match! Something I would skip over had I not got this DVD set.
vs Dynamite Kid (08/30/82) - The steroids are really kicking in for the Kid now...holy crap! So this is the widely known MSG match and is a condensed version of what they're doing in Japan. So, their getting their stuff in without killing for time and it works. I wouldn't say it's as complete as their NJ stuff but, if you want to show someone classic puro without taking up too much time - it's a good start!
I believe that there's only one more Tiger vs Dynamite match left. They are still very good matches and the Kid is probably the most consistent opponent our hero has. So, they might not have the best match thus far, he's a quality opponent and I know that they "wow" the audience and first tim viewers. I don't think many people can say they did love the Tiger vs Dynamite stuff the first time around.
Thanks for reading! Looking forward to picking this project up again shortly.
Sara Del Ray vs Lacey vs Daizee Haze - It was a good triple threat match with nice action. It started out slow but improved as it went on. It was just nice to see women's wrestling especially in this setting.
Necro Butcher vs Gran Akuma (NO DQ Match) - Good but not great. I didn't think that Grand Akuma got a lot of offense in. It was a fun match nonetheless.
Erick Stevens vs Jack Evans - Very good to almost even a great match. Lots of great moves from Jack. Erick provided a great base for Jack's aerial moves. Not everything hit 100% perfection but it all still looked good and worked great in the setting. This was where the show got started in my opinion.
BxB Hulk and Yamato vs Roderick Strong and Jay Briscoe - This was a great match. Lots of fast paced action with good moves. BB Hulk was all over the place and you couldn't even tell it was a small show since he was doing so much. Yamato was still coming into his own but was hitting as hard as Roderick. Yamato had some good moves with excellent German suplex on Roderick. Briscoe and Roderick on offense was really good stuff and everyone really brought their A game. Probably could've been a classic but the structure of the match was more American than the typical ROH/Dragon Gate matches.
Black Market and The Heartbreak Express vs The YRR - Good fun brawl the night before the Cage of Pain 2 match. I don't think anyone was going all out considering they had that on the horizon. There were a couple good moves but I would not have made this the main event. However, the booking makes sense in the context of the story lines.
In summary, a good DVD. It wasn't blow away awesome as I would have hoped. You can tell from the reviews and the number of matches that I skipped that I wanted to get to the meat of the show. Even then only 2 of those matches were truly memorable. The Erick vs Jack and the Tag match were worth the $5 on Highspots especially if you're looking to get a taste of this era of ROH without hunting for DVDs.
Thanks for reading!! Stay safe
P.s. I used a different pic for the entry since they advertise the DVD as Dragon Gate vs FIP...change things up a bit.
Man, what is going on with Ring of Honor again? They just seemed to go right back to where they were before the pandemic and the Pure Title Tourney.
The problem as I see it is: They have too many wrestlers for the amount of TV time and PPVs they do. They've got one hour of TV to fill and a PPV every three months right now. As I've followed it some guys are making an appearance once a month on TV and frankly this isn't just the low end guys like LSG, The Bouncers, and others. I don't know the last time I saw Jonathan Gresham, Tracy Williams, Rhett Titus, Mike Bennett, Vincent and it goes on and on. These are supposed to be their upper card guys. Same with Brody King who other than a little scuffle the other week has been off TV for sometime. I mean he was the # 1 contender at Final Battle and he's just made like a couple appearances at most in the past two months!?
ROH doesn't put enough content out right now/past year to be having as many lower end guys in singles matches as they do. Does Dak Draper, Tony Deppen, Eli Isom need a singles match on TV where they feature 2-3 matches a week? I don't think so when it means we don't see guys from their "big" story lines once or twice a month. I say this because it is really hard for me, a weekly viewer, to even remember or care about the "big" matches on the PPV. I'm too busy watching fun throw-away matches that don't amount to anything again - just like pre-pandemic ROH was doing.
Case in point is Dak Draper beating Fred Yehi in a Pure Rules match. Firstly, Pure Matches have nothing going for them anymore because they are not wrestled any differently than regular matches. OK there's the closed fist thing but, there's no real danger there because no one has been DQ'd for doing it twice yet. That being said Fred Yehi, who was THE standout of new comer to ROH during the Pure Tournament, is a fantastic talent for ROH to get behind. Dak Draper is a recent (somewhat) winner of the Top Prospect Tourney which isn't saying a lot but, he's in good shape and he's tall. Why is this guy beating a Yehi, who beat vet Silas Young and took Tracy Williams to the limit? It doesn't make any sense if you've been watching the show. And I think ROH or Sinclair think that people don't watch the show regularly enough to actually follow/remember/care about such things. Why show this match instead of Yehi vs someone from Los Ingobernales? That would at least be Foundation vs LFI or at least Pure Rules vs LFI's rudo-ism...
Where ROH hit a type of gold was limiting their roster and having a tournament during the Pure Title stuff. A tourney has built in drama because there are stakes to every match and we see the results of those wins and losses. I got used to them throwing in non-tourney matches like a 6 man or perhaps a segment (like with Taven & Vincent) to keep things fresh or different with the wrestling style.
Unfortunately, ROH did exactly what I was afraid of when they started showing promos of Rush & crew. It became the same old crap and the big reveal of The Foundation group has turned to be a whole-lotta-nothing like most of their factions the past couple years. That is unless you actually want to feature them on your one hour of TV a week. So now we have all of these little story lines that are not very interesting and the ones that actually have the potential to be good are so few and far between I can hardly remember what happened last. And from what it seems to me, it is because ROH wants to get their money's worth by showing every wrestler they have for a singles match or two over the course of 2-3 months...regardless if that wrestler is any good, anyone wants to see that person, or there is a story involved for a PPV. Now, if they are doing this due to COVID-19 safety then, that's OK. But they have got to be a little bit better in how they plan things in terms of story. If anything pepper in a little footage or a match every week from their top 2 stories per week.
I've admitted that ROH is pretty much running midcard type matches and their TV show is like WCW Worldwide but, honestly it isn't even fun anymore. The draw of watching stuff like that is that every once in awhile something very good or great will be shown. A match or an interview that will suck you into the world their presenting. The Pure Tourney had moments like this, matches after the tourney like had this like Dalton vs Brody King and Woods vs Castle...perhaps Dragon Lee vs Rey Horus (IIRC). So they have it in them to do this...and I think if they ran more tag matches (2v2 or 3v3) then they could still use their roster BUT keep people fresh in the fans minds. And this would keep matches exciting and cover-up any weak spots for newer guys...and you could make a tournament out of it! So, the booking is the story line (I'm no genius). Tag teams to fight for Dragon Lee & Kenny King's belts are: Woods & Young (they seem to want to put them back together...but we'll have to wait a month to see if that to happens), Moses & Kaun, The Bouncers, anyone from The Foundation (Rhett and Lethal?), Rey Horus & Flamita, Bennett & Taven, Vincent and Bateman, Dalton Castle and Tony Deppen (why not?). Boom...there you go eight teams. Two matches every week and their using two more guys/week so they're getting their value there. Plus they could have the LFI, Foundation, or other stable mates come out a ring side if they need more folks. That's a helluva lot more interesting than random mis-matches.
Anyhow, here's what ROH's 19th Anniversary line-up looks like thus far:
Dalton Castle vs Josh Woods - OK this makes sense. Its their 3rd match and they mesh well with one another.
Danhausen vs Brian Johnson vs LSG vs Eli Isom - Freebie match in hour 1 of 4. Maybe don't do 4 hours...
Mark Briscoe vs Flip Gordon - I could do without Flip anymore. This was some convoluted set-up where EC3 (remember him?) paid off Flip to interfere in a Briscoes match. Who cares...
Gresham vs Dak Draper (Pure Title) - See above...no reason Draper gets a title shot for beating Fred Yehi. This looks like a B.S. match no fan asked for. The Foundation as a gimmick would be fine with two like-minded athletes fighting for the belt. God-forbid we get a potentially great pure match with Yehi & Gresham (what I wanted for the Pure Tourney Finals).
Titus & Williams vs Lee & Kenny King (Tag Titles) - What should be a TV match to build the feud has been fast tracked to a PPV match. This is EXACTLY the problem I have...there has been no build for this particular match. Which is fine for TV but asinine for PPV.
Williams vs Lee (TV title) - That's right folks! Lee and Hot Sauce face off again or for the first time (?) for the TV title. Here's an idea...maybe only give 1 person a title at a time ROH. They are giving belts to people in order to justify matches on their PPV but are afraid to give them to anyone different. Again fine for TV but asinine for PPV. Also, they probably can retire the TV title.
Vincent vs Matt Taven - Fight without Honor match. They call it an unsanctioned match and will take place off site in Boston. Its supposed to be the blow-off to the feud but, we've hardly seen enough of this lately to anyone to be invested in this. Probably still will be fun though.
Shane Taylor Promotions vs Mexisquad (6 man titles) - Isn't this the match where STPromotions won the belts? Did they even defend them once? Is ROH just going to give them back to Mexisquad here? When everyone has won the championship then, it kind of makes the championship meaningless. Can probably retire this title as well.
Jay Briscoe vs EC3 - Final Battle Rain check match...then I'm guessing EC3 will be gone. He seemed to come back just for this PPV...I'm guessing that was in his contract. Who knows...he's on the ROH roster page.
Rush vs Jay Lethal (ROH World Title) - They might give it back to Lethal since it seems he's the only person who can carry it and the company right now. If they don't then perhaps they can drag a quality program out of Rush vs Lethal for a couple months...if they do some of the things I mentioned above. Otherwise, they will have to stick with it for half the year and have multiple interactions (tag, 6 man, brawls etc.) to keep the heat up. It might actually be great stuff and give some prestige back to the belt. Not optimistic though...
They are having a Foudation vs Ingobernales 8 man match the week before 19th Anniversary (this upcoming show) so, perhaps that will fan the flames of interest for the 4 Foundation vs LFI matches on the bloated PPV card. Again trying to get in as many guys as possible at the cost of match quality or fan interest But! At least other than Draper it features the company's many players...so again why is Draper on it? I'm guessing Yehi is paid on as needed basis where Draper probably is on contract. But still why not Brody King, LSG or Deppen? All would actually have a good match at least.
All this being said, ROH still isn't using their signed Women of Honor wrestlers as well as their UK talent in Joe Hendry and big player and #1 contender prior to lock down Mark Haskins. Where the heck do you fit all of those folks in AND try to get a more cohesive narrative for your company? If you don't do more 6 man matches and tags...you don't get better, you get worse. It will be a jumbled mess like AWA on ESPN or MLW Underground (from what I watched).
Thanks for reading my rambling
Apologies for typos and that kind of stuff. Should be back on track for more FIP next week and the final installment of FMW 1998 soon thereafter.
I watched these in a different order since I kinda know how FIP is booked and they don't really escalate as expected. Sometimes the main event isn't the biggest match of the night from a drama or work rate perspective. That was the case here so, I'm going to post the matches I watched in the order that I watched them.
The Briscoes vs Irish Airborne (OI4K aka OvE): Quick action packed tag match with lots of good moves. The teams of brothers clearly are in sync so they were able to execute everything cleanly and quickly. Not a story match but a good to very good tag bout. Nice start to my show
Necro Butcher w/ Dave Prazak vs Delirious: A very good anything goes match that had a bunch of moves done on the piles of chairs. That seems like an odd thing to say but, its true. Everything looked really hurty. It definitely would appeal to the ECW fans without being overly gory like perhaps the Necro/Pondo matches with the Briscoes were...No one is getting staple gunned for instance. Its more family friendly lets say. That being said, it was good grudge match with Delirious breaking away from Prazak and was good in both that story and execution.
Davey Richards vs Erick Stevens: FIP Heritage title match...Great match! This was fought like it could have been the main event of the show. Tons of stiff strikes, very great arm work by Davey as he actually has an arm submission with the Double Wrist 14:59 lock. Stevens sold it throughout the match without over-selling it.Really good finish and a great encounter...Stevens is really coming into his own now.
YRR vs Black Market & Heartbreak Express: This was the show's main event but, these are mainly mid card guys but "locals" so they do get the top slot from time to time. Here we have an Bunkhouse Brawl...its a street fight with a bunch of chaos in the audience for 85% of the match. A couple guys bled, good action and stuff going on most of the time. A very good match and a good send off for the live crowd. It wasn't a good match in the truest sense but, with 8 guys and SoCal Val all over the place it was very entertaining. Again, if you're an ECW fan (I say that a lot) but, if you can appreciate the whole being greater than the sum its the parts then, you would like this type of match.
Tyler Black vs Roderick Strong: My main event and the 2nd from the top is for the FIP title. This is a near classic bout with lots of hard hits from both guys. This was a match that really escalated into a high octane ROH level match and is one of Roddy's best defenses that I've seen. His second best singles match next to the Jack Evans one from 2006. Tyler was really game to have an FIP classic and I think it really was. They didn't empty the tank like Evans vs Roddy and that's probably what stops me from putting it up there but, man Tyler was hungry at this time and Roddy was more than happy to go toe to toe.
Overall, probably one of the best shows (cherry picking matches of course) that I have. All of the above matches are worthwhile but the Stevens/Davey and Roddy/Tyler matches are excellent and just what you would want or expect. No shenanigans or cutesy playing to the crowd. They came to wrestle. The same goes for the other 3 matches I watched. If there's one show to pick up from Highspots for $5 if you're on the fence, I would go with this one. If you want to spend $15 to get 3, get this, New Years Classic 2007 and Strong vs Evans. A fourth would probably be In Full Force 2007. FIP seems to really be the true sister promotion in terms of style and match quality to ROH in 2007. If you're fans of these guys, you won't be disappointed.
Thanks for reading!
Oh I actually remembered to include the promo video! See below:
So AEW did their barbwire explosion match and it was a bust. I kinda saw that one coming. If you've seen any recent Onita explosion stuff its not really the same quality of boom-boom explosions from the 90's. Its more sparkles on speed than scary !BANG! type stuff. I also heard that they didn't time the match properly and the had to stall for 4 minutes for the finale. That sounds worse than the big explosion not working. But for real...it was not going to be early 90's FMW explosion stuff...people had to know that in 2021. Those ones looked damn near illegal...even for Japan. That's my G. Badger hot take that no one asked for
Anyhow lets get on to the Frontier Martial Arts wrestling! We go to May of 1998.
Jado & Gedo vs Hayabusa & Masato Tanaka (05/05): This was the match you expected from all four guys. It was all action with Gedo & Jado being the heels to the max and our heros have to overcome their cheating ways. It feature a bunch of great exchanges and really would be on my Top 100 FMW list. It was a ton of fun. A great match to me!
Masato Tanaka vs Hayabusa (05/19): Bahu's top singles match of FMW so I had high expectations. But man, I was disappointed. It was not as good as their 03/13 classic. It wanted to be consciously epic by having a load of false finishes but, it just does not work in 2021. I don't think it works in 1998 to be honest because the lay out was all wrong. It starts with a wonderful opening exchange then gets to the wrestling to injure a limb type stuff but, that goes nowhere because it leads right to the false finish portion. This is the MIDDLE of the match mind you because then we get to the strike exchange and 2-3 move sequences. These things are the logical escalation when mat wrestling/joint locks aren't working. A guy gets angry and starts throwing bones. The short sequences work because they have enough energy/stamina to still counter/parry/reverse. This does NOT make sense after getting dropped on your head a half doesn't times. Maybe one or two strike exchanges that are out of desperation OR going for a knockout blow. But that should be the finish. Even if they kept the layout, it could have been shaved down to 20 minutes (five minutes from the middle) and it would have been very good to great. It was good on the things mentioned above and maybe you would like it more than me so, I can't trash it. But, their match from earlier in the year is the classic to me.
Hayabusa/Tanaka vs W*ing Kanemura & Kodo Fuyuki (05/27): Thank goodness another great all action tag match with a tried and true structure to cleanse my palette. This is sort of the big stakes version of the Jado & Gedo match. It was a near classic to me as FMW seemed to have their tag matches down like 88-90 AJPW...I would give Fuyuki some credit there as he was right in the thick of many of those bouts.
Ricky Fuji vs Gedo (05/27): Another face/heel match but, this was not as crazy or anything. Fuji is a midcard star so this pretty much what you get.
Tetushiro Kuroda vs Masato Tanaka (06/19): This was like 95-96 Kobashi vs Misawa in that it pits lariat against elbow. Plus they laid a good foundation with arm work then escalated in the fast paced action with counters, reversals, and improvisations. Although Kuroda & Tanaka have about the same experience, Kuroda is the up and comer at this point so, again the Kobashi/Misawa analogy works to some extent. That being said, these two's chemistry is just as good as Hayabusa/Tanaka IMO. This was Classic stuff.
Hayabusa, Daisuke Ikeda, H. Oya & Ricky Fuji vs Fuyuki, Nakagawa, Kanemura & Gedo (06/19): Multi-man matches are usually pretty good and this is no different. At the very least, you get a little bit of everything here and that's pretty much the best way I can sum up this bout. It went on after the above singles match since it was Team No Respect vs Team FMW.
Tetsuhiro Kuroda vs Hideki Hosaka (07/10): Dull-ish start as Hosaka wanted to work the arm and Kuroda wasn't having that. After that though things got entertaining and they traded moves and it was good opening match and was only 10 minutes.
W*ing Kanemura vs The Gladiator (Mike Awesome) (07/10): Of all of the matches I've seen so far, this one is most like a "FMW match." It is very reliant upon the table & chair spots and other highspots as opposed to the more NJ Jrs./AJPW athletic matches we've seen. As a Mike Awesome fan, I'm going to say this is because of Mike Awesome (RIP). This is what he does and this is what you're getting in a bout with him especially a singles bout with a bigger name opponent like W*ING. His 6 man and tag matches are more dynamic and brawling but, in these big encounters you'd better believe his opponent is getting bombed through a table to the floor. That all said, this is no problem to me! I'm game for all types of wrestling and if you're going to do that kind of match then these two are some of the best at this time. Pretty good match and much better than their 12/11/96 match IMO.
Hayabusa, Daisuke Ikeda, H. Oya & Ricky Fuji vs Fuyuki, Nakagawa, Jado & Gedo (Elimination Match) (07/10): This was the fancier and longer verion of the 06/19 match. It was a good match but honestly nothing tremendously distinguishable from that match. I didn't keep notes on this one so, that perhaps is my fault for having these blur together. I tend to enjoy elimination bouts so, I would say check it out. Its not some 80's NJPW level stuff but, its fun and now that I remember it - it has a surprising finish.
This was not a mind meltingly awesome of an installment as FMW '98 #1 but, if you're a Masato Tanaka fan then, you really ought to check the matches out. The two great tag matches with Hayabusa and the classic with Kuroda are totally worth your time. Then you have an old school spot match with Kanemura & Awesome that will still impress you. Search Bahu FMW and you will find a wealth of FMW stuff online.
Thanks for reading! Sorry for any delay too - I've been watching odds &ends stuff and pulled my old copy of Fire Pro Returns out. I've been messing around with playing my edits of FMW and BJW guys
Keep staying safe!