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!
Stardom All-Star Dream Cinderella PPV 2021.03.03
I have no idea why they booked such a big show in a big venue where you can’t fill it with people.
High Speed Championship: AZM (c) vs Natsupoi
Of course, they do the superfast paced matrix intro for the match. First diving double stomp looked pretty weak, but the second one looked ok. AZM pretty much was dominating and did a flying nothing so Natsupoi could get a dropkick in. Natsupoi bridges are gorgeous. Lots of pinning attempts in the home stretch, Natsupoi hits three bridging/rolling German and gets the straight jacket suplex for the pin! New champ! Match was a pretty good spotfest, most of the moves hit pretty well. AZM being only 18 is crazy.
Goddess of Stardom Championship: Maika & Himeka (c) vs Natsuko Tora & Saki Kashima
Cool spot where Himeka gets both Oedo Tai members in the Torture Rack. This match felt like filler, they just didn’t get a good rhythm going.
Nice to see that the WWE let Io Shirai cut a promo for Stardom. Tanahashi! Kairi Hojo!
I do prefer the Rumble format over Battle Royales, it’s just strange they don’t give more time in-between entrances but granted this isn’t the main event. Because of this the ring fills up really fast. Lots of comedy spots. Lady C is the first to get eliminated by Kyoko Inoue. Inoue gets another Lariat for another elimination but is ganged up afterwards and gets pinned. Mima Shimoda! Chigusa Nagayo and Kikutaro are the last to enter. Kikutaro doing his schtick, being a creepy old man, really could have done with this. Unagi Sayaka ultimately wins over the Cosmic Angels girl in the final three.
Momo Watanabe vs Nanae Takahashi (SEAdLINNNG)
Lots of strikes to start off, Nanae gets the early advantage after a german suplex and more strikes. These girls were working their asses off! Very good, though short match, barely 10 minutes long.
SWA Undisputed Title: Syuri (c) vs Konami
Matwork opens with Konami getting the extension of the armbar, and the control of the opening moments. Konami brought some cool armwork, but we go to suplexes almost right away. Pretty short match, I would’ve preferred if they got more time for what kind of match they were going for. Konami taps out to a cool submission. Pretty decent match.
Mayu Iwatani vs Yoshiko (SEAdLINNNG)
Akira Hokuto on commentary! Yoshiko gives Mayu the bird before the match. Clear roles to begin with, Mayu – the babyface technical wrestler, Yoshiko the power rudo. Mayu’s tope was so fast, looked like she could’ve hurt herself. Mayu sells the backbreaker like death. The women definitely worked very hard, and the finishing stretch was very good. Match of the card so far, almost great.
World of Stardom Title: Utami Hayashishita (c) vs Saya Kamitani
Clearly defined roles again, Utami the more powerful wrestler, Saya the flashy type. Saya’s flashiness gets her controlled by Utami, and Utami starts hitting power move after power move. Saya comes back with a dropkick and a huracanrana and hits a tope con hilo. Saya pretty much had control afterwards and gets a springboard huracanranda for a 2.9. Saya hits a Stardriver, but was slow to cover letting Utami get a kickout. Phoenix splash misses, and Utami goes back on offense hitting a Torture Rack bomb for a two. Black Tiger Bomb gets reversed into a huracanrana for a HUGE 2.9. Two lariats and a Black Tiger Bomb later and Utami gets the dub. Utami definitely made Saya look like a million bucks even though Saya probably shouldn’t be in a title match. Very good match. Bea Priestly calls out Utami afterwards.
Hair vs Hair Wonder of Stardom Title: Giulia (c) vs Tam Nakano
Here we go…grudge match for a long feud and a lucha de apuesta to up the ante! Things get going pretty quickly, and Giulia hits a piledriver on the table! Tam is definitely selling Giulia’s beatings and even after reversing a Glorious Driver to a reverse DDT, Tam still can’t get up. Eventually she gains her strength, hits a plancha and a Tiger Suplex. Tam can’t hit a second Tiger, but hits Giulia’s Glorious Driver instead. Tam kicks the shit out of Giulia, but Giulia hits a backdrop driver. Glorious Driver by Giulia for two. Both women slap the shit out of each other, with Nakano selling being loopy and then slaps Giulia while Giulia has her hands tied behind her back. Giulia returns the favor, the last one sounding real hard. Nakano with two spin kicks then a Tam Screwdriver!!!! Twilight Dream for the win and Nakano’s first white belt!!!! Damn what a match! Tam and Giulia deliver promos afterwards and Giulia sits in the chair to get her hair cut. Nakano doesn’t want to cut Giulia’s hair, so Giulia gets one of the guys nearby to do it, but he doesn’t finish. The two talk afterwards and Giulia shows Nakano respect.
Great show, I would say this is a borderline 5-star show, but I have to give it a 4 since the rumble match was awful and the longest match of the show. Everything else is completely watchable, with every match except the tag being ranging from good to great, and a MOTY contender main event makes this a HIGH RECOMMENDATION. 4.5/5 show.
Stardom 10th Anniversary 2021.01.17
Tokyo, Korauken Hall
Watching the Samurai TV version.
Future of Stardom: Saya Iida (c) vs Unagi Sayaka
Huge cut into the match, pretty much the finishing sequence, after the introductions. You would think Iida, with her power, would be able to get a good spinebuster, but nah. Match was mediocre at best, no real flow whatsoever.
Natsupoi vs Konami
Big cut into Konami controlling Natsupoi and then Natsupoi takes over with her flashy offense, and she is hitting things pretty clean. Konami goes for two armbars and gets a cool a tarantula type armbar in the corner. Konami goes for a kimura type thing and gets Manami Roll’d in return, but ends up getting a Rings of Saturn. Konami didn’t want to let go of the hold and hits the ref and gets DQ’d. This looked like it could have been really decent in full.
High Speed Title: AZM (c) vs Kaori Yoneyama
Nice quick sprint, lots of action packed in for sub 6 minutes. The only thing I wasn’t really a fan of was that huracanrana thing that AZM did, it looked really awkward. Seemed like some slight miscommunication during all those quick maneuvers during the final stretch (waiting on Yoneyama, also being a mile away from the high kick). Overall, pretty fun. Natsupoi challenges for the title afterwards.
Tam Nakano vs Starlight Kid
Match is JIPed and starts with Nakano controlling Kid with very basic offense and heeling. Kid gets a nice plancha. Girls have a forearm war which Nakano wins convincingly after a minute. Both girls attempt tiger suplexes, but after a quick sequence, Kid hits the tiger for two. Kid struggles to hit another one and Nakano hits a spin kick. Nakano goes for another tiger suplex, which gets reversed and we get multiple reversals into pins, but Nakano hits two shining wizards (including to the back of the head) and gets the Tiger Suplex Hold with a sick bridge for the pin. Pretty good match, probably could have had fewer pin reversals.
Queen's Quest (Momo Watanabe & Saya Kamitani) vs Donna del Mondo (Himeka & Syuri) vs Oedo Tai (Bea Priestley & Saki Kashima) vs STARS (Mayu Iwatani & Ruaka)
Match starts with a three-way, which thankfully ends quickly, once Priestley is in and the ring gets cleared. Then Iwatani is the only girl left and she is posing and smiling to the crowd. Mayu hits a plancha to all the girls on the outside. STARS get eliminated first after Iwatani gets launched off the top rope. Oedo Tai gets eliminated shortly after a dragon sleeper. Watanabe hits a shitload of strikes on Syuri and hits a release tiger suplex. Kamitami has to fend off Donna del Mondo for a lot of the final fall, until Donna fuck up and Watanabe gets involved. Kamitami hits the Star Crusher for the win. This match didn’t work for me, felt like filler match. Somehow how too much going on and too little going on in the same match.
Wonder of Stardom No Rules Match: Giulia (c) vs Natsuko Tora
Worked sort of like a Dump vs technico match. Lots of use of weapons, some contrived use of chairs, and having the technico use their technical ability to outlast the monster and her team, Oedo Tai. Tora is a much better technical wrestler than Dump, but doesn’t really have the charisma or presence of her though. When the match was purely technical it was decent. Oedo Tai interferes big time and Tora does a splash through a table, which Giulia practically no sells, that or there was a big cut. Tora with blue mist to the eyes and a diving leg drop. Ref almost counts Giulia down and her team, Donna del Mundo, bails her out. Tora tries to use a chain again but it backfires and gets choked, Giulia struggles to get her finisher, but hits it to get the three. Definitely not a great match, but it was ok. Giulia does a promo quickly afters, and she looks pretty cool covered with the blue mist.
World Of Stardom Title Match: Utami Hayashishita (c) vs Maika
Maika grounds the champ early with some armwork. She gets a Fujiwara, a standard armbar, and an armbar/triangle choke combo. I like the struggle for Maika's superplex. Maika's backdrop driver looked brutal. Utami is able to make comebacks with lariats, goes for a Black Tiger Bomb, but Maika escapes to get the katahajime and Utami uses the ropes to slam Maika down. Maika eats a huge bitchslap and a torture rack slam for a two count and then the Black Tiger Bomb for three. Not bad, I liked how just about everything had some kind of struggle, nothing was easy, but this did meander when Maika was on offense.
Overall, the show was decent, but there was nothing great to watch. Matches of the night were the undercard matches of Konami/Natsupoi, Nakano/Kid, and AZM/Kaori. Nothing was really bad either, so I can say this show is very mild recommendation.
Back once again for Full Impact Fridays. This week we're looking at In Full Force - 2007. Without further ado, let's go!
Seth Delay vs Hallowicked - A fun opener and a good showing for both guys. Lotsa kids in the audience tonight.
Shingo vs Jigsaw - This was a really good match with lots of action and great heel work from Shingo & Prazak. Gotta love fans who chant U-S-A to a Japanese guy in 2007. One meat head adult was getting up in Shingo's face but, Takagi worked him. Good for him, I probably would have punched the guy. This was a little off-putting but, it didn't detract from the match. ***3/4 stuff they, really didn't hold anything back with the time given. It reminded me of a PWG show where an undercard match was trying to steal the show.
Black Market vs Claudio Castagnoli & Sal Rinauro (Loser Leaves Town) - I ended up skipping this. There is a period of Castagnoli that comes across as really cheesy and this fell into that category.
Sean Waltman vs Chasyn Rance - Skipped this. I'm just not interested in spending time on this.
The Briscoes vs Necro Butcher & Mad Man Pondo - First Pondo match and I was impressed. I dug the heck outta this match since I'm an old ECW fan. Lotsa brawling around the venue and hardcore stuff...they went overboard and it probably was too violent for the kids and old folks but, this was a great indy hardcore match. Fans of the Briscoes should like this a bunch!
Erick Stevens vs Gran Akuma - Another all action match much like Shingo & Jigsaw. Stevens really is coming into his own and Akuma is a sure thing for good wrestling. These two really put on an offense heavy match and it went over big with the crowd. I'd probably put it at ***3/4 as well.
Colt Cabana vs Larry Sweeney - This is a good comedy match but, I don't know if I would have put it right before the main event...I dunno maybe to break up the action. Larry Sweeney had his butt out...I'm thinking he did that on the previous show too. Ha! Still with all the kids there...not sure if that was a wise choice.
Roderick Strong vs Davey Richards (2 out of 3 Falls) - I noticed the crowd wasn't a full for the main event. I'm not sure why - the violent tag match, Larry Sweeney's butt, or perhaps the show was going on long? Kids have always been apart of FIP and I think many indy shows especially at this time. That all being said this was another very good match but, it wasn't great. I felt Davey was playing to the crowd too much (not intense enough, playing to the kids) and there wasn't a great build to the finish. Fall 3 came just a sudden as 1 & 2. Now they had a "I Quit" match the night before so, perhaps this is weaker because of that. I feel that they didn't really know how to structure this match for 3 falls OR perhaps just said 'screw it' and just aimed for 'very good' instead of 'great.' Again there were lots of kids and it looks like people had left. Why kill yourself with stiff chops & kicks, backbreakers, dives etc. when basic well timed wrestling along will do the trick too. I watched the match twice in a row just to check. It is a very good match it just doesn't deliver in a Roddy vs Davey type of way. I kinda felt this way of their Fallout 2006 match actually.
Overall, this was a really good show where everything I watched was entertaining. I wouldn't say there was one MUST-SEE match but, there were 4 very good matches that really make this worth your $5 especially if you are a fan of some of the wrestlers. So no harm in tacking this on to an order and having a good time.
Thanks for reading and stay safe!
Do not confuse this with the original New Year's Classic from 2005. That had James Gibson vs Homicide as the main event. This has old school GeNext vs Shingo & Rave. With that cleared up, let's go! (I know its Thursday and not Friday but, I got it done early!)
Kenny King vs. Seth Delay - Fun opener with nice moves from both dudes. Unique finish too!
Claudio Castagnoli vs. Shane Hagadorn - Skipped
The Heartbreak Express vs. Shiima Xion & Pelle Primeau - Wish I would have skipped this. I want to see more of Heartbreak Express since they are a big part of the promotion but, most of the DVDs I own have them in shitty matches. Its not that Xion or Pelle are shitty. This is basically a squash.
Sal Rinauro vs. Gran Akuma - The show really starts to pick up here. Sal has gone heel and joined the YRR..Young Rich and Ready to Go. I thought that the last "R" was for ruthless. Maybe they changed it. Anyway, this was fun match and hope to see more of Akuma.
Black Market vs. Steve Madison & Chasyn Rance - Black Market are suited for Japanese indies like Zero-One. Madison too...Rance is a dime a dozen. All in all this was all kinds of chaotic fun and was a very good simple grudge match.
Jimmy Jacobs vs. Larry Sweeney - So, the mic audio is not great on FIP since they are recording the ambient noise and not the mics (the commentary is most likely done in post-production). That being said the banter between Jacobs and the late Larry Sweeney is gold! A very good match with nice selling from Jacobs and priceless comedy spots. Very much like CM Punk and Homicide were doing in '05.
Brent Albright vs. Erick Stevens - I had high hopes for this but, both guys need someone with more experience to keep things interesting. There was a sleeper hold section that just didn't need to be there especially when Albright was brought in to hurt Stevens for the next night's show. Either set up an injury angle and use a submission hold or just beat the crap outta each other. They were just using it to talk and go through spots though. It was good but, it could have been better.
Roderick Strong & Jack Evans vs. Jimmy Rave & Shingo - Somewhere along the way Jack joined Dave Prazak Associates, which is DP Associates *wink wink get it? D.P ** They make poor tongue in cheek jokes too...like 16 year old boys. Lame. Anyhow, Jack quit the club tonight and Dave isn't happy. That is the background but, who cares right? This IS the bananas all action 2006-07 ROH/Dragon Gate style tag match that you want. All four guys were working DG & ROH at the time so, you do not get the watered down version here. They went ahead and did it here in front of 50 people. If you're a fan of these guys, the style, etc. then spend the cash and check it out. Also this may be one of the last times Roddy & Jack teamed up. Classic match and blew the roof off the joint.
You could say this is a one match show but, for $5 that's not a problem. You get the Jacobs/Sweeney and Black Market/YRR matches as bonuses. This was a very, very fun & easy DVD to watch so, for $5 this is a no brainer.
Thanks for reading!
Edit: I forgot to add the trailer from the FIP YouTube channel
Glad to be back watching FMW I think it is one of those promotions that might get lost in the sands of time. So, I'm always eager to bring it back to the surface in my little way. Just for reference:I'm using BAHU's best of 1998 matches and the FMW commercial tape Story of F vol. 3 - Best Bouts as my guide here. Do see my earlier posts using the FMW tags or just go back a couple pages for the big list of matches. If there's anything else I come across, I'm going to include that too. Honestly, I just want a reason to get back watching Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling!
Masato Tanaka vs Mr. Gannosuke (01/06) - This was a fast paced and intense battle between foes. Gannosuke stabbing Tanaka was sickening (and great)! Everything looked especially vicious in this match - lariats, chair shots, DDTs, you name it. Some might find fault with prolonged or deep selling but, I think it can be explained away by two guys really wanting to murderize each other. I think everything show really reflects that psychology. This was a classic match to me. I was kinda on that fence like ****1/4+ area but, intensity and pace really go along way for me. I'm not one to have to tick off the "how did long did he sell it" when watching wrestling anymore. Its nice to see long term selling and really can elevate a match but, isn't necessary. That is something to keep in mind when going through all of these FMW matches actually.
Hayabusa vs Masato Tanaka (03/13) - This match is notable as it takes place in the black ZEN FMW ring which if I understand it all was Onita's stable and freelance group/promotion. I'm thinking like Kensuke Office/Diamond Ring was to NOAH. This is also notable as there were zero weapons or tables used. This was a fantastic clean wrestling match of the company's top stars. It easily could have taken place in an NJ or AJ ring and you would not have known the difference. This was 30 minutes of each guy giving it their all whether it be strikes, joint locks, or slams. I would have liked to see the arm/leg work factor into the finish or be given some more attention later but, like above I'm not going to gripe. They didn't blow it off - it just wasn't the story they were telling. It was very reminiscent of later NJPW Jrs. in that regard but also going for longer bouts like AJPW was doing. So, in this "pure" FMW match they weren't going for one or the other but, simply showing that they could do that too. Like, "we can take the barbwire, explosions, chair shots BUT can also wrestle long well executed bouts. We're not Garbage Wrestling." I think this is sort of the same idea behind BJW Strong Style. I thought this was another classic match -great action, great execution, great intensity...it was fantastic.
Jinsei Shinzaki vs Mr. Gannosuke (04/21) - Jinsei is getting crafty against his nemesis by waiting to jump Gannouske as he exits the dressing room. It backfires as W*ING Kanemura is there for back-up and turns into a 2 on 1. Kanemura heads to the back after awhile since it's only a matter of time before Mister finished the Monk off. Or is it? Jinsei has to be legit hurt or dazed after the beating he took so, his fight to come back feels very real. I mean he's bleeding from the back of his head! Every bit of offense he can pull to slow down Gannosuke feels meaningful. Maybe I'm over-rating this but, it felt like another classic match. Much more on the story being told than just the action/intensity aspect. This was a top tier Jinsei singles match. You don't need to know too much about their past matches - just watch how Gannosuke mocks the praying powerbomb *all of the time* and you can understand why Shinzaki want to keep fighting.
Atsushi Onita vs Kodo Fuyuki (04/30) - Battle of the FMW leaders. This is a lumberjack match but, I don't recall that playing a big part in this. It was a good match but, I didn't think it was great. I appreciate Fuyuki as a wrestler much more than Onita. This is especially true following him from AJPW to SWS then WAR. He may not have been clocking classics like his contemporaries Misawa & Kawada but, the man put on great matches in that late 80's Tenryu vibe.
W*ING Kanemura vs Jinsei Shinzaki (04/30) Revenge on the monk perhaps? Team No Respect in full effect - lewd hand gestures & spitting on Jinsei for instance. They even had their own rudo referee! Anyhow, this is a 12 minute 3 act match capped off by a cool finish. There may be more nuances that I'm missing to make this a great match or a classic but, its quick, fun wrestling. Fans of either guy would be glad to check this out!
Hayabusa vs Mr. Gannosuke (04/30) - Damn! What a match! Hayabusa was hitting everything on point but, what made this something special was Gannosuke's Kawada-level selling of the leg. He had to be legitimately hurt, right? But he wasn't out of the fight. He was dodging and blocking moves and went for the patented Gannosuke Clutch early on to try and wrap things up. He was more crafty than normal due to this injury. That's what really makes me appreciate Gannosuke more than I already do. He had the wherewithal to incorporate this pain/limitation into the match rather than hide it. Any complaints of sloppiness or botching that others may mention (there's one particular superplex type move) I think are unfounded. THIS is an instance of deep selling to where even IF it was a screw up, it appeared organic and natural with the ebb & flow of the match. The whole point of selling is to get across the point that the two or more wrestlers are engaged in a legitimate athletic competition which has legitimate consequences. And the point of doing that is to get the audience invested and engaged in what they're watching and they'll want to see more (and spend more). Well, this match did all of that perfectly. And to go back to my point about deep selling elevating a match - this is a prime example. That along with the excitement, the history of the competitors makes this is an all time classic FMW bout.
Man, I hope you get a chance to check these matches out. I'm planning on two more installments of FMW 1998 to do alongside my FIP Fridays just in case you're wondering.
Thank you as always for reading! I really appreciate it!
Whoa! Sorry for the absence. The past month (January) was kind of crazy both personally and as US citizen. So, my focus wasn't really on keeping on task with my blog. That sucks because I really want to stay on track. Good news is that we've got a Full Impact Pro entry here and part #1 of FMW 1998 on the way. So, I hope you are all doing well. Let's check out this FIP show!
*(the listing is reverse on Highspots so the main event is at the top)*
Davey Richards vs. Delirious w/Dave Prazak - This reminded me of when CM Punk was main eventing. There's a ton of kids who are SUPER into the match, they dragged out the beginning playing that up but! once things got going we got a really good match where both guys worked their butts off for a long fulfilling main event. Clean finish too!
Jerrelle Clark vs. Jay Briscoe - This was a pretty good match with the Briscoes playing cheating heels. That made Jerrelle's comebacks that much sweeter. He had all kinds of 'ranas for them. Definitely want to see more Jerrelle after this! I'll see if he's on any other shows.
Roderick Strong vs. Cyber Kong w/Dave Prazak - Unfortunately this was kind of a 'nothing ' match. Strong really put forth the effort and in the 6 man. I mean maybe there was something to it but, not what it could have been.
Steve Madison, Chasyn Rance & Kenny King vs. Erick Stevens, Roderick Strong & Seth Delay - Yeah, this was a fun six man match. I would have preferred Madison and King vs Strong & Stevens as I didn't think the other two did anything terribly memorable. But watching those 4 are the draw of this match for sure!
Mark Briscoe vs. Canadian Cougar - skipped...I had to get my ass in gear and this just seemed like an unnecessary hurdle to overcome.
Allison Danger vs. Lacey - This was alright stuff. I don't have any notes on this match or that below. From memory, I remember liking it as a very sound women's match that plays into the FIP story lines.
Black Market vs. Colt Cabana & Sal Rinauro - This was a fun opener but, was a little short still I remember liking the chemistry between the teams. The fans loved Black Market.
Overall, the show wasn't a barn burner but, it was a very easy watch. It was a good show and I think delivered for the fans to in attendance. I got this Night #1 show by mistake but didn't want to make a fuss over not getting Night #2. So, I'm happy it wasn't a bust. Maybe I'll pick up #2 and it'll make everything that much better. If they have these on Highspots - pick up both at once.
Thanks for reading and stay safe! Be back soon
I know that AJW is definitely in a transition period with it being post-Crush Gals and not yet reaching the GOGOGO era. The red belt has been vacant for over three months (holy crap) since Lioness Asuka retired. Time to crown a new champion!
First show - Tokyo Korauken Hall (1990.01.04) mixture of La Hora Retro and AJW TV
Mima Shimoda (c) vs Kaoru Ito (AJW Junior Title Match)
Pretty nothing match, good thing it's short.
Manami Toyota vs Suzuka Minami
This wasn't on the OG telecast. I didn't expect to see Toyota Pearl Harboring Minami coming, she doesn't even let the introductions or streamer collection finish. Starts off really fast, with a bunch of brawling and whips into the barricades. Minami eventually gains control and works on Toyota's leg and Toyota was selling it until, you know, she has to go on offense. Nothing but aerial moves, thankfully doesn't botch anything but she was real close once. Minami has the power offense and gets a flying crossbody. She gets a backslide pin reversed and then we go home. Minami gets a flying elbow and misses another one and gets rolled up for the three. Manami goes for a handshake and Minami is like nah bitch. Weird roleplaying here and a crap finish. OK TV match though, goes about 10 minutes.
Madusa & Noriyo Tateno & Kaoru Maeda vs. Aja Kong & Bison Kimura & Grizzly Iwamoto
Only have the OG version of this trios match. We get a heel ref and Aja Kong beating the shit out of an announcer. So much camera time on this announcer (and he leaves and comes back). Grizzly gets away with everything. Definitely more of a match to put over Jungle Jack than a good tag team match.
Yumiko Hotta & Akira Hokuto vs. Toshiyo Yamada & Etsuko Mita
This was on the 1990's yearbook, and I've seen it before, it was a really good tag team match when I watched it then. Loved that the match starts with a botch. Dream Orca is very over with the school girls. Pretty fast match and really puts over the Yamada and Hotta rivalry. Hotta really sells the hell out of that sleeper from Yamada! Hokuto makes Mita look like a scrub! I never thought I'd say it, but I love all the sleeper holds in this match! Pretty good home stretch with Mita getting payback after Hokuto embarrassing her, but Dream Orca fuck up a double team move. Hotta and Hokuto take control and Hokuto hits a diving dropkick for the three. Mita is bleeding and selling that match hard.
Bull Nakano vs Mitsuko Nishiwaki (WWWA Title Match)
And here we go, start of a new era. Love how grimy and 80's Nakano's theme sounds. Nishiwaki tries to get an advantage right away with a clothesline and gets dumped out immediately afterwards. Nishiwaki gets back with a bloody face...and then we get the introductions lol. They were going for a speed vs size/strength thing here, but Nishiwaki just doesn't really have any that much to offer. She eventually gets to work over Bull's arm though and Bull does her best to sell. Cool transition from armbar to sharpshooter. In the home stretch, both girls get German suplexes and power bombs, but Nakano's was way more brutal looking. Pretty short title match, felt strange that a vacant title match wasn't hyper competitive, but I don't think you could really do that considering how much better Nakano is.
Next event: 1990.01.05 in Korauken Hall
Yumiko Hotta vs Toshiyo Yamada
This match uses mostly kickboxing rules but they're also allowed to grapple. I already AJW like to have this matches, but they usually had like Bat Yoshinaga or some person I don't care about doing them. I have no idea why anyone would want to pay full price for this on VHS back in the day (it has one match on it!), hell, I didn't even like the idea of buying a DVD of this. Even from the introduction of the event, you can tell these girls can't throw a punch, they shadowbox worse than Ronda Rousey. The sleeper hold comes back here from the tag bout the previous day, but it doesn't look good with boxing gloves on. Girls get super gassed play boxing, and it goes all 6x3 minute rounds to a decision. Toshiyo gets the decision. Ok, not watching this again, this didn't do it for me at all.
Next event: 1990.02 (have no idea what the full date is, comes from Joshi Mix - I am grateful for the Joshi Mix guy for archiving this stuff, but he adds in his wrestling photos in the ad-breaks, and they are creepy as hell, so fuck this guy at the same time.):
Kyoko Inoue & Kaoru Maeda vs Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda
I think this is the earliest pairing of LCO I have on tape, obviously they're not LCO yet, but this is kinda neat. Kyoko Inoue doesn't have the face paint either. Match starts off real fast, with Mita eating offense. Mima Shimoda with some awful dropkicks. I liked the part where Mita throws Maeda right at Inoue when Inoue is trying to help her teammate. Shimoda and Maeda trade some near fall sunset lips. Shimoda hits a badly executed sunset flip on Inoue for the 3. Match didn't have a good flow until the ending stretch. We get a few minutes out of 12:47.
Akira Hokuto vs Bison Kimura
Kimura slaps Hokuto during the introduction, and Hokuto slaps her back. For some reason, Hokuto held out her hand as a sign of respect before the bell starts, Bison pulls a Ronda Rousey. Man, Hokuto's half crab looks incredible for a while. Bison gets a nice German with a bridge and starts rag dolling the shit out of Hokuto, followed by a tombstone. Hokuto bridges out of everything and she is doing some good selling. Every bridge looks like a complete struggle for her. When it's time for Hokuto to comeback, she lands a huge slap to the face, dumps Bison out of the ring, and hits a great plancha. Home stretch here, girls reverse a bunch of moves until Hokuto slips out of another backdrop and hits a tiger suplex for the win. This was a pretty good TV match, definitely enjoyed it. We get about 10-11 minutes out of 16:57.
Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada vs Fire Jets 2/3 Falls
I think this is earliest I have of Toyota and Yamada pairing also, so kinda neat show. The Hotta/Yamada rivalry continues! Toyota has two sections of selling in the first fall, first time she has her arm worked over, second time over her leg. First exchange of Hotta and Yamada was so weak considering their rivalry, but eventually Hotta beating up Toyota throws her like a scrub into Yamada for the tag, and here we go, this is what I wanted, MORE FIRE. Fire Jets quickly get the first fall after the tag. Hotta and Yamada open up the second fall, Hotta with shit punches. Yamada now the FIP for a while, taking a lot of offense. Nishiwaki totally no-sells Toyota's interruption twice, which I thought was kinda funny. Yamada eventually make a tag to Toyota, I think, Toyota never comes in. Double missile dropkick to Hotta, and Yamada misses by a country mile. Yamada still in this and gets a flash schoolboy pin after a reversal on Hotta for the second fall. That felt really weak. Yamada and Hotta open the third with a kicking contest. Toyota with a hot tag in, hits a like 6 dropkicks on the Fire Jets. Toyota tags out pretty soon after (!), Yamada gets a nice snap suplex on Nishiwaki. Toyota comes back in, hits a bunch of moves on Nishiwaki and totally pulls a Sabu. I should forward this to Maffew. Small brawl on the outside. Toyota gets controlled, Hotta throws her into Yamada to get the tag, Hotta throws Yamada into Nishiwaki. This quickly goes to the ending stretch to the outside. Hotta and Yamada kick each other outside, Yamada and Nishiwaki are brawling also, Nishiwaki barely beats Toyota into the ring to get the countout victory. This wasn't bad, but I didn't think it was that good either. Majority of the match is shown.
1990 Ranking of Matches (so far):
1. Yumiko Hotta & Akira Hokuto vs. Toshiyo Yamada & Etsuko Mita (1990.01.04)
2. Akira Hokuto vs Bison Kimura (1990.02)
3. Bull Nakano vs Mitsuko Nishiwaki (1990.01.04)
4. Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada vs Fire Jets (1990.02)
5. Manami Toyota vs Suzuka Minami (1990.01.04)
6. Kyoko Inoue & Kaoru Maeda vs Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda (1990.02)
7. Madusa & Noriyo Tateno & Kaoru Maeda vs. Aja Kong & Bison Kimura & Grizzly Iwamoto (1990.01.04)
8. Mima Shimoda vs Kaoru Ito (1990.01.04)
9. Yumiko Hotta vs Toshiyo Yamada (1990.01.05)
Welcome to my Best Match Watched of 2020 celebration! We've got big stars appearing and a number of musical performances lined up tonight! Let's get this party started!
Oh wait, never mind all of that...let's just get onto the Big List of my favorite stuff of that I've watched this year. In chronological order:
Mighty Atlas vs Angelo Poffo (Chicago 1956) Honorable Mention, Very good match with nice action and pacing. Simple story but, well worked.
1970s & 80s:
Tiger Mask vs Gran Hamada (11/05/81)
Tiger Mask vs Steve Wright (04/01/82)
Tiger Mask vs Black Tiger (05/26/82)
Tiger Mask vs Bret Hart (07/30/82)
Akira Nogami, Tatsutoshi Goto, K. Yamada, K. Hoshino & S. Koshinaka vs Hiroshi Hase, K. Kobayashi, Kensuke Sasaki, N. Honaga & H. Saito (04/27/88)
Tatsumi Fujinami vs Big Van Vader (04/27/88)
Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (05/27/88)
Shiro Koshinaka vs Owen Hart (06/24/88)
Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (06/24/88)
Tatsumi Fujinami vs Big Van Vader (06/26/88)
Riki Choshu vs Antonio Inoki (07/22/88)
Shiro Koshinaka vs Kuniaki Kobayashi (8/08/88)
Antonio Inoki vs Tatsumi Fujinami (08/08/88)
1990s & 2000s:
American Dragon vs Low-Ki vs Christopher Daniels - Era of Honor Begins (2002)
American Dragon vs Christopher Daniels - Round Robin Challenge (2002)
Daniels vs Low-Ki - Round Robin Challenge (2002)
American Dragon vs Low-Ki - Round Robin Challenge (2002)
Jerry Lynn vs AJ Styles - Road to the Title (2002)
American Dragon vs AJ Styles - All Star Extravaganza (2002)
Low Ki vs American Dragon vs Steve Corino vs Samoa Joe Final Battle (2002)
Low Ki & Homicide vs Samoa Joe & Jay Lethal (Punk: The Final Chapter 2005)
Roderick Strong vs Jack Evans FIP Strong vs Evans (2005)
KENTA & Marufuji vs Samoa Joe & Danielson (ROH Best in the World 2006)
KENTA vs Samoa Joe vs Bryan Danielson (ROH In Your Face 2006)
Low Ki (Senshi) vs Chris Sabin (TNA Bound for Glory 2006) Honorable Mention, An action packed match with 0 TNA bullshit to spoil it. Golden era X Division stuff.
Daisuke Sekimoto vs Manabu Nakanishi (BJW 2007) Honorable Mention, A very good to great match that told a great story that that fans & myself could believe. Precursor to the BJW Strong Style revival stuff.
2010 to present:
Sami Callihan vs Tommy End (wXw 16 Carat 2011)
El Generico vs Kotaro Suzuki (same)
El Generico & Emil Sitoci vs Adam Cole & Kyle O'Reilly "
Yoshihito Sasaki vs Sami Callihan "
Davey Richards vs Zack Sabre Jr. "
Daisuke Sekimoto vs El Generico "
Cole & O'Reilly vs Sabre Jr. & Scurll "
Sami Callihan vs Big Van Walter "
KENTA, K. Kanemoto, Minoru Tanaka, Kanemaru & Genba vs Devitt, Taguchi, K. Suzuki, Nakajima & KAI - All Together (2011)
Akiyama & K. Sasaki vs Omori & Takayama - All Together (2011)
Fred Yehi vs Tracy Williams ROH Pure Title tournament (2020)
Mark Haskins vs Alex Shelley (ROH TV 02/20): Honorable Mention, excellent chain wrestling by Shelley and a good fit for Haskins hybrid style. Crowd actually was into this match which can be tough for live ROH crowds nowadays.
-THE BEST of the BEST!-
Pre 1970's...well I only watched a few pre 1970's matches and well Mighty Atlas vs Angelo Poffo (Chicago 1956) was the best of the bunch. The rest of my picks are going to be a little more difficult so, I think I'll do a top 3 or top 5 for the others. Then...just maybe will I actually able to narrow it down.
1970s & 80s: Clearly I was all about NJPW in the 80's although I did dip my toe in AJPW a couple times later in the year. They had some good 6 man matches (British Bulldogs w. Kobashi), I didn't see anything that could touch NJPW.
Tiger Mask vs Gran Hamada (11/05/81)
Tiger Mask vs Steve Wright (04/01/82)
Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (06/24/88)
Riki Choshu vs Antonio Inoki (07/22/88)
Antonio Inoki vs Tatsumi Fujinami (08/08/88)
1990s & 2000s: And now we enter the Ring of Honor K-hole I was lost in for awhile. Hey, I'm glad I took that journey. I was pretty ignorant of Year One ROH and got me excited to keep watching their current stuff. Plus is encouraged me to check out the sister company FIP which I've been digging. Also, I have made some purchases that have fill in some gaps in my DVD collection. I hope to be hitting up a couple of those for 2021. So, my list boils down to these:
American Dragon vs Low-Ki - Round Robin Challenge (2002)
Low Ki vs American Dragon vs Steve Corino vs Samoa Joe (2002) - Perhaps a controversial pick against the Era of Honor Begins but, I think this has the action along with the story lines
Low Ki & Homicide vs Samoa Joe & Jay Lethal (Punk: The Final Chapter 2005)
KENTA & Marufuji vs Samoa Joe & Danielson (ROH Best in the World 2006)
KENTA vs Samoa Joe vs Bryan Danielson (ROH In Your Face 2006)
2010 to present: There's a good chunk from the wXw 2011 tournament here but, what can I say? It was a great show. Perhaps similar to the Ted Petty Invitational 2004.
Sami Callihan vs Tommy End (wXw 16 Carat 2011)
El Generico vs Kotaro Suzuki
Yoshihito Sasaki vs Sami Callihan
Davey Richards vs Zack Sabre Jr.
Akiyama & K. Sasaki vs Omori & Takayama - All Together (2011)
The runners up:
Tiger Mask vs Steve Wright (04/01/82) - a long technical match with beautiful chain wrestling - counters, escapes, reversals, and counter reversals...distinct from his matches with Baby Face, Hamada, Blackman but, still was athletic and exciting as we've come to expect.
KENTA & Marufuji vs Samoa Joe & Danielson (ROH Best in the World 2006) - Felt like a late 1990's AJPW Four Corners tag classic
Yoshihito Sasaki vs Sami Callihan - I think this match best encapsulates the awesome hard hitting style that both guys showed all 3 days. I didn't rate it as a classic at the time but, both guys have stuck in my mind all year.
Here's my top 3 and I'm just going by my gut:
Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (06/24/88) - This was timeless stuff to me. A heavenly dream battle...great grappling, wonderfully engaging storytelling, and a real sense of rivalry.
Low Ki & Homicide vs Samoa Joe & Jay Lethal (Punk: The Final Chapter 2005) - I got an out of body feeling when watching this match that was very similar to the first time I saw Kobashi vs Misawa's matches from 1997. Maybe it was the mild hype that lower my expectations but, this blew my mind.
Davey Richards vs Zack Sabre Jr. (wXw 2011) - As hard as Sasaki & Sami were in the tourney, these two went beyond that. Davey really only does one thing but, when he's in there with the right person it can be awesome. It has grappling, strikes, nice counters & escapes all with an aggressive pace.
Best Wrestler: Fujinami was killing it in '88. Tiger Mask given the right opponent was working magic. Sami, Yoshihito Sasaki, and El Generico were on fire during the wXw tourney in 2011. But I'm going to give it to American Dragon Bryan Danielson specifically for his work in 2002 in ROH. A natural baby face to Daniels' gimmick and Ki's natual demeanor, Dragon is relatable in addition to being a fantastic in ring worker. He has a grip of classic matches but, also elevates his tournament matches into something you want to see as well.
Best Surprise: Yoshihito Sasaki was pretty much unknown to me other than a character in Fire Pro Returns but, he's a guy I want to be on the look out for in the future. Seeing as I got a 4 disc Best of BJW in 2006 set, the future might be pretty soon! But, I think the best surprise of this year was Full Impact Pro being pretty great wrestling. I watched their Unstoppable 2007 DVD a few years ago and for the first time a few years before that and it didn't "wow" me. I think my expectations were too high or something. As I watched it again, I saw stuff that I don't think I appreciated in the past. From that I've seen some really great stuff including Roderick Strong vs Jack Evans which is a lost "ROH" classic to me. I'm looking forward to getting back to FIP Fridays!
Looking forward to: Tackling the mountain of DVDs I've got - AJPW, BJW, NOAH, NJPW, ROH and more including FIP. Duh right? But I'm also swinging back to FMW and specifically 1998 which may be their very best year. I've already watched a handful of matches (although I'm not including them on this year's list) and I am NOT disappointed.
Thank you so much for reading this year! Its been a really crappy 365 days but, I hope I was able to give you a little bit of fun and inspiration. Let's hope for a better new year! Stay safe and keep watching wrestling!
This match is now 20 years old - wow! I cannot believe that to be honest. I can do math and probably can remember a few things from each year to prove to myself that 2000 was 20 years ago but, this still seems somewhat modern to me. Perhaps its the green ring mat? That's probably it. But man what kinda gets me is that I've been meaning to see this match for probably 10 years now. Its one of those matches that doesn't quite reach the essential viewing list of many folk like their 2004 match or the one from 1998 or 1999...I can't remember right now. I want to say its 98 though. I'm getting side tracked but maybe that's the point. The Misawa-Kobashi-Akiyama-Taue-Kawada merry-go-round was pumping out great matches at the end of the 90's but, they all start to run together. I think that may be the case with this as well as the fact that Kobashi was in dire need of knee surgery at the start of NOAH. So, he does a few high profile matches and then goes away until 2002 and I think goes away again until 2003. In that regard, not much gets universal praise until the 2003 Misawa match. I'm getting side tracked again...I guess my point is this bout averaged out to middle of the road in folks reviews. I've seen it around ***3/4 to ****1/2. That can be a pretty big difference.
But I wanted to watch it for This Day in Wrestling and I wanted to try and end 2020 with a banger of a match! I think its fair to say everyone has had a crappy year and I guess this was a gesture of ending it with a classic King's Road or Ark Style match. Ah...it was not to be
Don't get me wrong it was a great heavyweight match but, I felt it was more of a spot match than anything else. It didn't seem to really grab me with a story I could believe in. It had nice attempts with Kobashi working on Akiyama's neck after a particularly nasty ramp DDT. Then Akiyama was able to find some breathing room by drop kicking Kobashi's knees. He then went to work on the arm, as is often the case, but he added some nice twists I thought. This was a slow burner but, it was picking up and I was invested for sure. I just wasn't sure who or what I was invested in beyond enjoying the match and the moves. That slow burn never really turned to rapid boiling. It got close especially during some choice encounters - very stiff and head droppy. So, I think ratings may have been inflated back in the day on those 2 things. Kobashi's eye is swollen shut by the end. And you'd better believe Akiyama gets chopped to a pulp. With all that though, I just don't think there was enough substance in between to say there was a purpose to those moves as you would see in a classic match. I don't think there was enough intensity/spirit of competition to make it feel like a brutal fight either. So instead of being slow yet purposeful building to a dramatic ending OR energetic and violent exploding until there is a victor, it came off as above satisfactory. That is to say, I was satisfied with this as a big match Kobashi vs Akiyama match and was overly pleased with a half dozen spots and strike exchanges. But the socks were not blown off Great but not a classic to me.
I'll issue a disclaimer now - I'm pretty burnt out from working customer service and managing late orders and cancellations this holiday season. It has been the worst few months since I've started working this job 8 years ago. If you were waiting on a package or have had some orders cancelled this month, let me tell you there are about a dozen people behind the scenes trying their hardest to get your gifts out. I know its on the news and whatnot but, let me tell you that it has been especially rough with the pandemic both in receiving a flood of online & phone orders and not being able to keep staff or shifting staff because pandemic safety protocols. Let alone the usual Xmas stuff. So, perhaps I wasn't in the best head space watching this match. I am emotionally and mentally dulled right now. Maybe I'm not giving this bout a fair shake. You should take some time and watch this 20 year old match. You may actually be watching it with a clear head. Heck! I might even watch it again after the 25th when my brain can begin to heal Nothing helps the healing process like some lariat-o's!
I hope to get my Best Match Watched and other things of note for 2020 together before New Year's Eve! Thanks for reading this year! Stay safe & happy holidays!
We are back with FIP Friday and pick up with Fallout 2006. Lots of big names on this show. Let's see!
Black Market vs Jerrelle Clark & Jon Davis - This was my first match and it was fun stuff. Jon Davis was a lot thinner or less jacked than when I saw him in DGUSA. So Cal Val looking hot setting up this #1 contenders match. That aside she is really talented as a manager or valet.
Jay & Mark Briscoe vs Sal Rinauro & Erick Stevens - Val didn't like the results of the above match so she said THIS will determine the contender spot to face her Heartbreak Express. This was a really good match. These guys had good chemistry and delivered in a big way. This gladly could have been a few minutes longer.
Matt Sydal vs Shingo - Another really good bout where Sydal was going to bust out everything. I felt Shingo held back offensively but, really made Sydal shine bright. You have to remember FIP has a strong face/heel style and since Shingo was part of Dave Prazak associates then, he's not going to pull out his crowd pleasing bombs. But it was really enjoyable.
Roderick Strong vs Davey Richards (FIP Heavyweight Title #1 Contenders Match) - This was the match of the night. They wrestled this like an ROH bout and I couldn't be happier about that. I noticed the above matches seemed quicker than usual but, I think it was to give this 20+ minutes. Both guys were drenched in sweat by the end of this battle. A great match for sure. I re-watched this and I do think it could have gone on a little longer since the finish felt quick. But that's a minor quibble.
Bryan Danielson & Cyber Kong vs Davey Richards & Roderick Strong - This was a impromptu main event where DP Associates come out and spoil the mood post match. Eventually Kong and Danielson have a pretty good tag bout to keep all the fans happy. I think the 15-30 year olds there were happy with the previous bout but, the kids and old folks dug this one. We get kind of an upset win here and with a legit finish so, this was surprisingly good.
Fallout 2006 was super super easy to watch. Again, I'm not sure if some of the matches were shorter or what. Perhaps they were "just right" in duration because for $5 I highly recommend checking this out. The Briscoes tag, Sydal vs Shingo, and Davey vs Roddy are worth it. Everything else is bonus.
Thanks for reading and stay safe!
This was a wrestling show held in August 2011 in honor of the victims of the March 2011 Earthquake & Tsunami and the aftermath including the meltdown of the Fukushima power plant. Well, without going and checking dates I'm not sure they knew the scope of the disaster of Fukashima yet. That's one of those things that the company and government wanted to downplay at the time. And they still do. It is certainly one of those things that still exists but, is sadly a footnote in the 24 hour news cycle. It was almost a decade ago but, those people and communities are still gone...and that area is still radioactive. I digress.
Ok so on to the wrestling part. This was a joint venture between AJPW, NJPW, and NOAH as well as some big time freelancers to but on a super show in the spirit of solidarity and togetherness in the face of a national tragedy. What better way to do so then have a bunch of dudes beating up on each other? I kid! All proceeds went to the Japanese Red Cross. It was one of those things that I shied away from at the time because I didn't know if it would be a somber show or if it would be dull due to the nature of the show. Its me being stingy with my wrestling dollar. Don't fret though because this show as well as its follow up (and Kobashi's farewell show) are all available in full on Youtube. I haven't been watching a ton of puroresu and thought "Man, this looks like a good way to get back into it after getting lost in an ROH k-hole." I had pretty low expectations but, this features a pretty complete list of top Japanese talent and I should check it out for the sake of it.
Kota Ibushi, Taji Ishimori, BUSHI & Yamato vs Kaz Hiyashi, Shuji Kondo, Tiger Mask IV & Ricky Marvin - This was a short but all fireworks spot fest! What a way to start the show. My fears of a dull exhibition show have subsided. This was good stuff. Ricky Marvin was my fave.
Naito, Sanada & Taniguchi vs Takahashi, Manabu Soya & M. Yone - I'm not writing out everyone's names. Every match is some form of a tag match and I'm not doing it! You probably know some if not most of the names and the others you can look up Anyhow this was a really good match where Naito got worked over but made a good comeback and tagged out to kick it up a notch - BAM! This was a good mix of guys and although there were some rough patches nothing ruined the fun.
Makabe & Akitoshi Saito vs Hirooki Goto & Kea - This was my jam. Hard hitters hitting each other hard. Good chops and slams. These guys had that good upper card tag vibe going, Taiyo Kea and Makabe had good chemistry against each other. Very good match.
KENTA, K. Kanemoto, Minoru Tanaka, Kanemaru & Genba vs Devitt, Taguchi, K. Suzuki, Nakajima & KAI - Oh man! They could split all these guys up and have a tag tourney and I'd be a happy man. What we get scratches that it nonetheless. Everyone gets in there and does their thing. KENTA and Koji Kanemoto on the same team!? Get outta here! Attitude for miles! So you've got that and everyone just is super talented and wanted to win, this was a great match. 15 minutes but, it was fantastic. Best match so far.
Masakatsu Funaki, Liger & Sano vs Minoru Suzuki, Aoki & Taichi - NJ Dojo classmates united again. Suzuki is right behind them so that's the story of the match to me. Fun little match with good spots toward the end.
The Destroyer battle royale - I skipped this...
Nagata, Tenzan, Nishimura & W. Inoue vs Akebono, Hama, Y. Yoshie & Morishima - Fun match but, this would have been better with Nagata & Nishimura vs Yoshie & Morishima . Its only 11 minutes and its all good for where its at on the card.
Akiyama & K. Sasaki vs Omori & Takayama - So, Takayama was starting to not have "it" by this point but, he could still take a helluva beating. I wanted to say that right off the bat. That being said, this was a near classic macho beat-em up match. All three other guys were still awesome and the crowd was molten hot for this battle. I really really dug this especially at 15 minutes where it was all steak and no sizzle which works wonderfully for this style and the guys' ages. I'm a fan of all 4 so perhaps you think I'm full of it but, I really want to put this as like a ****1/2 match. The final 3rd of the match which had Omori in the ring more really put this up there. Best match of the show and should have been the main event in my eyes.
Kobashi & Muto vs Iizuka & Yano - This won the Tokyo Sports GP Best Match of 2011 award. That like many of their awards is based on mass appeal, nostalgia, and star power. That and the finish is really something beautiful if you're a long time puro fan.
SUWAMA, Tanahashi & Shiozaki vs KENSO, Nakamura & Sugiura - I totally get why this is the main event. These are the heavy hitter, the aces of their companies, the world champions. That being said I would have LOVED this id it was minus Tanahashi & KENSO because the other four guys are absolute beasts! So, it makes their offense look mid card level. SUWAMA and Nakamura grappling to start, Shiozaki & Sugiura blasting each other...it makes the other two guys stuff look soft. It got really really good though. All that talent in one ring, they had to have a very good match in their sleep. This was that match BUT! they threw a story element in there as well. It was kinda goofy but, the fans loved it and we got to see all these dudes in one ring at once. Kinda like a lucha trios match...
Overall this was a really really good show and I think paid off the Dream Show vibe. I would say this would be like getting the '94 Super J Cup tape if you wanted to get into puro but stuff is so easy to come by with Youtube, NJ World, etc. that there's probably more relevant entry points now. But, let's say if you're looking to get into older stuff but, want a more modern presentation and a good introduction than this is a great way for that. I think its also a good reminder of the events that took place all most a decade ago.
Thanks for reading !
Man, it has been awhile since I've covered some straight up Japanese wrestling. That's a sin or something for a wrestling blog with "puro" in the title. I guess I've been covering the "plus more" stuff for a couple months. Anyhow, let's get in our time machines and go back to late 1989 All Japan Pro Wrestling for some good stuff.
British Bulldogs & Kenta Kobashi vs Furnas, Kroffat & Masa Fuchi (11/19) - You'd better believe this is in Korakeun Hall! Dynamite is still physically able to go. Kroffat is doing kicks & kip-ups. Davey and Doug Furnas get in a strong man battle. Fuchi is still tough and mean. Kobashi is great right outta the gate. This match has got all of the 'wow!' moments along with some blood. Watch for that exploding guardrail too! Impressive finish on top of all that - Great match!
Terry Gordy & Bill Irwin vs Stan Hansen & Tenryu (11/19): So, I've dropped us in the '89 Real World Tag League for better or worse. I say worse because there's usually some good stories running here but, if I try to do that I'm just going to be intimidated to watch this stuff. Like "Ok I have to plan to watch this DVD on this date then, watch these two this week, what if I take a break?" I digress...this match is the perfect reason to just drop right in. Four bruisers chopping and elbowing each other like they mean it. You can't beat it! This was fast paced as you can get for these dudes and there's not a thing to hate on. Very good match that's scratching a greatness to me.
British Bulldogs vs Jumbo & Yoshiaki Yatsu (11/25): Tag League match. Yatsu has headgear and that was of course a target for the Brits. It was good but, had a little too much stomping & headbutts to be awesome. Still, its neat to see all 4 in the ring.
Abdullah the Butcher & Tiger Jeet Singh vs Hansen & Tenryu (11/25): Tag League match. Ah yes, I love these matches. Maybe its because my dad is a Abby fan or that I came into my fandom watching ECW but, this was very good stuff. Fighting in the crowd, bleeding, yeah I mean this was very enjoyable to me. Plus we get a pinfall win!
British Bulldogs & Kobashi vs Toshiaki Kawada, Samson Fuyuki & Yoshinari Ogawa (12/04): Perhaps the first match I've seen of Ogawa wrestling for Revolution. Catch us if you can! I think that was their slogan Anyhow, this was a great 13-14 minute match much like the Can-Am & Fuchi one. Dynamite puts together a half dozen moves tags out to let Davey do the heavy lifting (literally) and Kobashi takes Tom's role in bumping & diving off stuff. I've seen better Footloose matches (Kawada & Fuyuki) but, they are still great here. This was a blast!
This was a super easy AJPW Classics DVD to watch. Nothing was a classic but, it was really enjoyable to see the same few guys wrestle. Plus there was a variety of styles. A brawl, a slobber knocker, two 6 man work-rate matches, and a solid story tag bout made this never boring. Now, there were 2 Nasty Boys RWTL matches but, I skipped those. I saw little bits but, eh I only have so much time & energy. If you love Knobbs & Skaggs then you've got to look forward to seeing.
I want to finish off 2020 with a few more puro matches or shows before my year end stuff. So, hopefully I can get that in as well as written up. Work has been CRAZY! So, we'll see about that. I do have a couple DVDs in mind so I'm hoping I can get those in along with another FIP show or two.
Thanks for reading everyone! Be safe!
I would have loved to been able to get a new FIP show watched this week. My job in online retail has been absolute bonkers though. It is usually pretty bad just because its the holiday season. This year has been especially rough due to the pandemic. I thought maybe people would be chill since folks have been home and able to online shop probably more now than ever. So perhaps they shopped early...I don't know what I was thinking! Hahaha maybe it was wishful thinking. Anyhow, I wasn't able to watch more Full Impact Pro this week but, I've assembled my watch list for the remaining DVDs. I snagged a new on during Highspots Black Friday sale. I was supposed to get a second one but, it was sold out and I got a refund. Bummer but, it was one I was on the fence about so, I'm not to sad.
I wanted to put this list together for folks interest in what's out there beyond what I have already reviewed. As of writing this, these are still available on Highspots website. They usually do an after Xmas sale or a New Years Sale so, if you're interest in scooping a few up I wanted to give a heads up on what I'm digging. So if we have the same tastes then maybe this will help you without having to wait for my slow ass to watch all of these
The Heartbreak Express vs. Jaison Moore & Bobby Hopkins, Jr. - will skip
Black Market vs. Jerrelle Clark & Jon Davis - worth checking out
Chasyn Rance vs. Canadian Cougar - will skip
Seth Delay vs. Steve Madison - ehhh might check out...perhaps
Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Sal Rinauro & Erick Stevens - yeah looking forward to this. Sal & Erick are good stuff in this setting for sure.
Matt Sydal vs. Shingo - Sydal was wrestling Dragon Gate and ROH had their DG matches so, this is one to watch
Roderick Strong vs. Davey Richards (FIP Heavyweight Title #1 Contenders Match) - Can't go wrong with this match especially in this small setting
Bryan Danielson & Cyber Kong vs. Davey Richards & Roderick Strong - Other than Cyber Kong this would be a main event on a ROH 2006 B-show. Swap Delirious in for Kong and there you go!
Second Year Spectacular Night 1
*(the listing is reverse on Highspots so the main event is at the top)*
Davey Richards vs. Delirious w/Dave Prazak - Speaking of Delirious - yup this should be good stuff
Jerrelle Clark vs. Jay Briscoe - Interesting to see Jerrelle this high up but, I'm all for it.
Roderick Strong vs. Cyber Kong w/Dave Prazak - I'll watch it but, Cyber Kong is an unknown to me. Could go either way...
Steve Madison, Chasyn Rance & Kenny King vs. Erick Stevens, Roderick Strong & Seth Delay - Yeah, a 6 man match...this should be fun
Mark Briscoe vs. Canadian Cougar - I'm watching it for Mark.
Allison Danger vs. Lacey - Yup I'm down for this. Its been awhile since I've seen either wrestle.
Black Market vs. Colt Cabana & Sal Rinauro - I liked Black Market from Unstoppable 2007 and Cabana & Rinauro are a fun team. I might watch this whole show!
New Years Classic 2007
Kenny King vs. Seth Delay - Maybe based on Kenny King
Claudio Castagnoli vs. Shane Hagadorn - Probably will skip but, this is probably a squash
The Heartbreak Express vs. Shiima Xion & Pelle Primeau - same as above
Sal Rinauro vs. Gran Akuma - yeah, I think I'll watch this.
Black Market vs. Steve Madison & Chasyn Rance - Not crazy about this match but, we'll see how I feel when I get there!
Jimmy Jacobs vs. Larry Sweeney - I've only ever seen Sweeney as manager so, I'm interested. Him vs Jimmy should be entertaining for sure
Brent Albright vs. Erick Stevens - This is an ROH match I remember seeing and it reminds me of an AJPW undercard match. It should be stiff and have some suplexes- I'm game
Roderick Strong & Jack Evans vs. Jimmy Rave & Shingo - The selling point of the DVD. Seeing as the ROH guys have experience together and Shingo has been working with them as well. This should be very good stuff.
In Full Force 2007
Hallowicked vs. Seth Delay
Shingo vs. Jigsaw (FIP Florida Heritage Title Tournament Qualifier) - I'll pick up here...I'm a Shingo fan if you can't tell
Black Market vs. Claudio Castagnoli & Sal Rinauro (Losers leave Town) - Hey a tag match with an old school stipulation...I'm hoping its a brawl
Sean Waltman vs. Chasyn Rance - Probably will skip
The Briscoe Bros. vs. Necro Butcher & Mad Man Pondo (FIP Tag Team Title Match) - Yeah, my hope is this is indy deathmatch crazy. Just see for the spectacle
Erick Stevens vs. Gran Akuma (FIP Florida Heritage Title Tournament Qualifier) - Stevens is working his way up the card
Colt Cabana vs. Larry Sweeney (FIP Florida Heritage Title Tournament Qualifier) - This is looking like a good comedy match
Roderick Strong vs. Davey Richards (FIP Heavyweight Title - 2/3 Falls Match) - Selling point right here. These guys are like bread & butter. Violent bread & butter.
Heatstroke 2007 Night 1
Steve Madison vs Danny Daniels (w/SoCal Val)
Seth Delay vs Austin Amadeus
Trik Davis vs Scott Commodity - yeah I'll be skipping the first three matches...
Erick Stevens vs Davey Richards - Odd position for this match but, I've got hope.
No Disqualification Match - Delirious vs Necro Butcher (w/Dave Prazak) - Even if just for the chair spots I'll watch this!
The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) (c) vs Irish Airborne (Dave Crist & Jake Crist) - Brothers vs Brothers plus Airborne were the new thing at the time as well.
Roderick Strong (c) vs Tyler Black - Would be ROH main event stuff in a year...yeah I'll watch this.
Eight Man Tag Team Bunkhouse Brawl - The YRR (Chasyn Rance, Jason Blade, Kenny King & Sal Rinauro) (w/Becky Bayless & SoCal Val) vs Black Market (Joey Machete & Shawn Murphy) & The Heartbreak Express (Phil Davis & Sean Davis) - This is seemingly the acutal big storyline of FIP at the time and it should be chaotic so, why not. I'm guessing the wrestling main event is Black vs Strong though.
Third Anniverary Show
Kenny King vs. Seth Delay...
Jigsaw vs. Jason Blade...
Sara Del Rey vs. Lacey vs. Daizee Haze (Triple Threat Match) - I'll be starting here. Nothing against those guys but, this looks like a good card
Irish Airborne vs. Hallowicked & Scott Commodity - I will be skippinh this for the same reason as above
Necro Butcher vs Gran Akuma (No DQ Match) - Unless I'm just bored of Necro doing wacky stuff, I'm interested
Delirious vs. Larry Sweeney - It depends if I'm in the mood. Sometimes I LOVE a good comedy match. Othertimes, I can't be bothered.
Erick Stevens vs. Jack Evans (Florida Heritage Title Match) - Jack in Florida is gold.
Roderick Strong & Jay Briscoe vs. BxB Hulk & Yamato - This is whats on the cover and again this could be an ROH B-show main event.
Black Market & The Heartbreak Express vs. The YRR (Anything Goes Match) - Clearly these guys haven't settled their differences from the previous show. If that one grabs my attention then, I'm down for this.
Dangerous Intentions 2008
Jigsaw vs. Chasyn Rance - No
Rex Sterling vs. Chris Jones - Nope
Damien Wayne vs. Seth Delay - No way Jose
Sal Rinauro vs. Delirious - Again, only so much time and when this is following those then, I'd rather cut to the chase.
Black Market vs. Dark City Fight Club - These are some clubbering dudes so this should be good
Tyler Black vs. Davey Richards - Again, ROH Main Event in a couple years
Kenny King & Jason Blade vs. Jay Briscoe & Austin Aries - Certain to be an all action match
Roderick Strong vs. Erick Stevens (FIP World Heavyweight Title Match - Last Man Standing) - Oh yeah, the top half of the card looks awesome
The Heartbreak Assassins vs. The British Lions
Mercedes Martinez vs. Lorelei Lee - Might as well pick up a Women's match where & when I can!
Sal Rinauro vs. Chris Jones
Chasyn Rance vs. Shawn Osborne
Austin Aries vs. Jason Blade - I'm gonna go with this next. Blade is alright of all of the Streets of Rage indy wrestlers
Dark City Fight Club vs. Black Market (Weapons Match) - These are some clubbering dudes WITH WEAPONS so this should be good
Roderick Strong vs. Kenny King - ROH match right here
Tyler Black vs. Necro Butcher - Ditto
Erick Stevens vs. Go Shiozaki - If they chop and lariat each other like crazy then I will be a happy person.
(This is the end of the road with the FIP DVDs available. I think this was billed as Impact of Honor 2 but the DVD was called this.)
Shawn Osborne vs. CJ O'Doyle
Dark City Fight Club vs. The Lifeguards
Chasyn Rance vs. Nooie Lee
Damien Wayne & Rex Sterling vs. The British Lions
Erick Stevens vs. Tyler Black - Wow, we're just skipping all of that and this looks like a great place to start
MsChif vs. Rain (SHIMMER Title Match) - Sure why not!
Go Shiozaki vs. Roderick Strong - Sign me up yes, please!
Kenny King & Jason Blade vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe - I know these guys can all go so I'm looking forward to this. FIP guys challenging the ROH guys again
Sal Rinauro vs. Chris Jones - No idea what this is doing here in the top spot. Its here on the DVD case too. Alright...I'll give it a shot!
Whew! That took longer than I thought! Well I hope it helps you if you're thinking about checking old Full Impact Pro stuff out. If you're on the fence then I highly recommend Strong vs Evans as a place to start. I hope these above shows are very similar. If you look at the cards they look more like ROH year One in that the undercards are a little shakey sometimes but, the last 4 matches look really great. There are plenty of other shows that I guess were TOP shows at the time and I might try and find those on eBay but, that's what we're looking at right now. I'm digging it!
Thanks for reading!
I don't want to do a week by week review of Ring of Honor TV. Although it did help keep my blogging on track, I just don't want focus too much on ROH. And besides when do I end it? OK I've said that and so now I no problem doing a "once in awhile" catch up with ROH TV. Anyone reading this maybe wondering why I don't look at WWE or AEW or Impact as well. What about the Indies? Yeah, that's another good reason I am not planning on covering ROH TV on a regular basis. There's just so much new stuff out there and plenty of folks here on PWO do a great job of that already. ROH TV is my jam because #1 is free on TV and #2 I've been a Ring of Honor fan since 2007 or 08. But also because they still have really good no nonsense wrestling. It may not be as AWESOME as the mid 2000's stuff or even as good as it was a few years ago but, man! they are coming back.
That's the reason I wanted to do this post. The Pure Title revival has been a success, and like I was hoping for, ROH has stuck more to this athletic focused wrestling. I gotta say I like it a lot better than the stuff when Cody was there. Sure you had the Elite guys who could fart out very good tag matches but, it was too corny for my tastes. Plus too many hi-jinks. That's been a couple years but, after they left and until now ROH seems like it has been searching for it's soul. The Pure Tournament seemed like they had found it again. I really hope they bring some of those guys back especially Yehi & Sydal.
So, the weeks after Gresham won the belt have been just as good or even better. I'm acutally digging the Taven vs Vincent stuff despite my initial reservations. The return of Bennett and the introduction of Bateman into the feud seems like great hate filled tag team stuff with a potential for a Ladder War match. EC3 didn't light the world on fire with his stuff but, he's been keeping it interesting nonetheless. I'd like to see him wrestling in actual wrestling boots though. Brody King, who I was waiting to get pushed, has been getting pushed big time. His matches with Dalton Castle and Shane Taylor have been nothing short of great puro battles. Those two deserve a ton of credit too. Longer TV matches that very much would be PPV level bouts in my book. Shane Taylor had a very good match with Kenny King that also was PPV level. And the franchise Jay Lethal has been working his magic with LSG and Josh Woods. Both guys really were great in their fights with him in their Pure Rules bouts. I would have to say LSG's fight against Lethal was about as good any the best matches in the Pure Tournament. It was a great match for sure. As was today's match with Josh Woods. Man, Woods looks better and better with each match. If he can get his confidence up on his strikes (like confident he can go harder without KO-ing someone) then, he really is big star material.
I'm just going to speculate on Final Battle 2020 and say that there's going to be a big shake-up with the belts. If they can get the Mexican wrestlers (or if its pre-taped "GOT" the Mexican wrestlers)...if they can get them for the show, I think they're dropping the titles. And if they can't get them there then, perhaps they will be forced to vacate? They have been sitting on the shelf for a pretty long time without being in an ROH ring or doing an ROH promo or TV show. SO, I'm not sure what value they'll be to Ring of Honor back in Mexico. Even Marty Scurll who's gone did a COVID lockdown Best Of show...but not the World Champion? I think Rush was a mis-step as he really didn't connect with the fans. I was excited early on but, again ROH was still soul searching. Getting bailed on by the AEW guys and muddying the relationship with NJPW really forced them to take a look in the mirror. Kinda like getting dumped or fired. Maybe you're more familiar with all of the dirt and inside baseball than me. Maybe I'm off the mark or missing some details but, the way I see it is ROH wants to get back to its roots. That's not a gimmick. Its been shown in the fantastic TV shows they've been having since they started back up.
If its not your cup of tea then, that's OK. I really don't have much contemporary wrestling to compare it to than Smackdown and Impact. Both of which I watch sporadically...I usually forget they're on and then miss like 75% of the show. I saw the Bryan vs Zayn match from the other night and that was the only thing that held a candle to what ROH is doing. Even then there was a load of crap I had to wade through to get to it. And that Thunderdome BS hurts my eyes. Impact which is the most analogous show really needs to be trimmed to 1 hour. But I'm watching that on Twitch...so I think ROH knows they're doing OK in comparison. So, again ROH TV might not be your thing but, I think it fares pretty darn well in comparison to its closest competitors. Its not as flashy but, perhaps that's why I like it so much. I'm a fan of puroresu especially older stuff. I favor the simple production, the intense battles, and no nonsense stories. I feel like ROH has been delivering on that and am a happy fan.
Thanks for reading! Stay safe and be kind
P.S. There will be more puro reviews coming up! Its been awhile but, I'm sure of it! Plus my 2020 Best Match Watched round up is around the corner.
Welcome back to FIP Fridays! Hopefully I can get this puppy in before midnight! Also if you're interested all or at least most of the FIP DVDs I'll be reviewing are available on Highspots. They are having their Xmas sale so, that's a tough deal to beat. Tonight I'm going over the best FIP show I've seen yet - Strong vs Evans!
As always I cherry pick but, this has quite a few matches I want to see.
Austin Aries vs Jerrelle Clark - This is a really good athletic match with Aries playing heel alongside his stablemates Bryan Danielson & Dave Prazak. For my "opening match" it sets a great tone. They only thing holding this back is that it could have been longer. Clark's handspring moonsault thing was awesome!
Bryan Danielson vs Jay Fury - Fury comes out for a little payback for what DP Associates did his tag partner in the previous bout. Very similar athletic match with some heeling from Danielson. He is such a good chicken shit heel! Milo Beasley who is DP's wheelchair riding goon does senton atomico off the apron at one point and it nearly kills him & Fury! Good payoffs here and good wrestling...very good stuff. We are off to a wonderful start. Oh and let me say the venue is much bigger, the crowd is bigger, and the camera angles are spot on. That makes a difference and glad to see that FIP is growing...I mean 14 years ago...
Tony Mamluke & Jimmy Rave - Mamaluke's girlfriend is there again I liked this one a bit better than the Homicide match from Heatstroke last review. He and Rave have good chemistry and I think worked on the FL indies together for awhile. It shows..I would says its a good match for sure. Rave gets his mouth busted open...Rave stalls like a goon at the beginning and I loved it. He's probably one of the best heels of the 2000's.
Colt Cabana & Sal Rinauro vs Erick Stevens & Steve Madison - First Stevens match I've wanted to see from this period. He and Madison are working their way up the card. They go as The Miracle Violence Connection which of course works since I'm guessing no one there knows about the Gordy-Williams team of the same name from the early 90's They too are a hard hitting team so, the good time Sal & Colt team have their hands full. But man they are a good pair - Sal is underrated as a worker and Colt can still go in 2006. He's in no laughing mood. I thought this was a great match. We get an 80's finish but, man it works and it sets up a revenge pair of matches. Might have to check that out. These teams just clicked in terms of working the crowd but, keeping the action exciting.
Main Event time and the name of the show. The first meeting of former tag partners and Generation Next members
Roderick Strong vs Jack Evans - To save you some time - this was the best ROH style match in FIP that I've seen so far.This is Messiah of the Backbreaker Strong vs using his offence at the right times Evans. I don't know if they had an encounter in ROH as good as this one and from what I know its their first. Jack was bent like a pretzel and chopped red but, he would not quit. His selling was so excellent because it really looked like Strong was destroying him. Perhaps he was but, like I mentioned above, he was able to get some space and hit some spectacular stuff that really sent Roddy reeling. It reminded me of some of TIger Mask's best matches when he was fighting from underneath and would pull a counter or reversal to turn the tide. Or hit a dive to to show his heart and desperation. All on top of Roddy shit talking the fans made this a classic match to me.I was hesitant to pick this up because I'm not a giant fan of Evans all of the time but, this is the perfect setting for him. The fans LOVE him and he plays such a good face in peril here to all of the kids and girls. Yeah, it just worked so well and they really did not hold anything back believe it or not.
If you're an old time ROH fan and are looking to revisit that era or uncover something new from that time, I highly recommend this show. It's $5 and I really think the matches listed above are worth that. If you're a Roderick Strong fan like I am, you will want this in your collection.
Thanks for reading! I think I might get this in on time after all!
P.S. If you work retail, hang in there! I'm there with you - we'll make it!
Back with FIP Friday after a week off! Here we have Night #2 of the inaugural edition of Heatstroke in Bushnell, FL. I'm cherry picking matches so, this isn't a full show review. And yeah Night 1 didn't interest me as much so, let's roll!
Samoa Joe vs Ace Steel - My opening match and its really odd to have Joe being in this position in 2005 or really any year but, he and Ace have a good match with lotsa nice action. It set the tone pretty well for the show. The static camera angle is from around the entrance way and although it catches the crowd and the apron, does seem far away. Plus the lighting here is not that hot. The venue is more typical of an indy show than a a bar or some of the other weird places we saw back on the Best of CM Punk vol. 2 DVD. So, FIP is growing
Adam Pearce vs Azrieal - Azrieal is no longer with Punk as the New Dawn sold out. So, Pearce (representing DP Assoc.) is going to teach him a lesson. I forgot what a hard chopper Adam Pearce was! This was a good match. Nothing terribly memorable other than Az not having enough room to stand on the top turnbuckle since the ceiling was so low! (see the tag match above)
"Fast" Eddie Vegas & Jimmy Rave vs Spanky & Sal Rinauro - Vegas and Rave are Dave Prazak goons are are the FIP tag champs. Sal is Spanky Kendrick's protege and they're fighting for the belts. To me this is the match of the night. Rave and Vegas do such a good job being heels here along with Prazak. Now that's not an uncommon thing in FIP where those roles are much more defined than ROH. However, Sal & Spanky are just the most baby face team - good looking, wearing pink & teal shorts, the kiddies are screaming for them etc. So, Rave & Vegas decide to work a traditional tag match where there's a face in peril and they gotta make that hot tag. What makes this really tops is that both teams wrestle this like they're at an ROH show with many of their big moves. Hell, they even dislodge some ceiling panels on a move! This is a great match for sure.
Homicide vs Tony Mamaluke - The chick in the front row is Tony's girlfriend is pretty funny throughout this match and really all of the matches to some extent. 'Cide jaw jacks with her a little bit which is good for a chuckle. I thought this was a good match and very good at times but, it just didn't keep the excitement level up for me. At these small shows, where it is poorly lit and the camera angles aren't the best mat grappling just doesn't have the same in impact. It really just looks like laying around. When they do switch to the close up camera (as opposed to the far away one also at floor level) you can appreciate the action but, for some reason they use the far away one for a good deal of the match. There are some really good parts though so perhaps you'll like it more than I did. DP Associates attack Homicide afterwards and some good guys make the save including Roderick Strong which leads to the main event...
CM Punk vs Roderick Strong - This was a great match with really solid and well executed pro wrestling. Punk was on his tour out of FIP (and ROH) and each show was going to be his last. This night he faced Roderick Strong who was having a breakout year. This match was no exception but, a bit different from his ROH matches in that he wasn't necessarily destroying Punk with chops and backbreakers. In fact, there were 0 backbreakers. And I kinda take that back regarding chops...there were some pretty mean chops here. Punk was able to control Roderick with abdominal stretches, chin locks and sleepers. He knew the Florida native as very explosive and he needed to tire him down. Strong would get breaks but, was quickly cut off by Punk or the meddling head of DP Associates Dave Prazak (Prazak had bought out Punk's New Dawn stable). When Roddy was able to get an opening though he would explode with chops, running elbows and kicks and everything else you want from him (except his trademark breakers). The fans were really loving this match and we get a Punk moon sighting which was pretty funny. I would have liked a 100% clean finish but, under the circumstances it totally works and keeps the breakout 2005 for Strong still going. Don't go in expecting classic ROH style but, both guys really can work a great wrestling match without hitting every big move and tons of false finishes.
This was a really good show and very enjoyable. I cherry picked the matches I wanted to see most so, if you're interested in buying this DVD there's more in store for ya. I think this is the last CM Punk in FIP show that I have so in a way this is his final match to me. Here and with all of his matches I've seen, he was a true professional wrestler meant for the big time. Not only did he know what to do in the ring but, he knew what to do with the fans. Also, I'm a Jimmy Rave fan from a lot of the 2005 ROH I have and man that tag match is another feather in his cap. What an interesting heel wrestler here and there. He really is a talent where the sum is greater than the parts. I dunno...I'm rambling. But if you're interested in this era of ROH, I would consider picking this DVD up. Its $5 on Highspots and is definitely worth the money if you're still buying DVDs like me
I wonder how many people got into Ring of Honor through through the mass market Koch DVD releases. I know I count myself as one of those folks. I picked up their "Best in the World" release (not to be confused the 2006 Milestone Series show) and knew that this was a company I should check out. For whatever reason, I stopped there and did not get the three other Koch releases. Now like much of ROH's past releases these are out of production and are pretty desirable themselves. They do a pretty good job of compiling ROH's golden years of 2004-2007 and because they were mass produced, they are a little bit easier to come by than the show DVDs. You might actually find these at a cd/game exchange type store too! Although don't hold your breath.
But really, why didn't I purchase the other DVDs? I think I was super eager to get my paws on anything puro and the 'other three' didn't feature Japanese talent. I've eventually come in to possession of these compilations and want to let you know (over a decade later) if you should check these out.
The first one I'm going to review is the final one I bought. That is 'Stars of Honor.' As someone who's not a big fan of WWE style stuff, it makes sense why I put this one off. There are two Matt Hardy matches, a Christian match, and an MVP match. But! There is also guys like CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Spanky Kendrick, and Jay Lethal. So, I got it
I watched these in order of least to most interested. Let's take a look!
Homicide vs Antonio Banks (MVP): This match took place 02/19/05 and is for the FIP Heavyweight title in Elizabeth, NJ. However, that doesn't make sense since 02/19 was the Second Anniversary show Night #1 and 'cide faced Danielson in a Taped Fist Match. I had to research this a little bit and this was probably a dark match and was not shown on the ROH DVD. I'm guessing it was added as an extra on a FIP or ROH show that needed some padding. Why they added this here is beyond me. I never though MVP was a big star back in 2008 when this was released. No disrespect to him but, the gimmick was goofy as hell. He looks way better here versus The Notorious One. This was a fun match with Banks powering the champ around.
Matt Hardy vs Homicide (Redemption 2005) - Matt Hardy had already been resigned to WWE but, wanted to fulfill his commitment to ROH during what would become the "Summer of Punk." Hardy's three show participation had to have some effect in getting more butts in the seats. He wasn't a welcome addition to the roster as the fans, much like ECW's, were very hostile toward big company outsiders. I belive Jeff made an appearance earlier and that did not go as well despite Jeff's style being much more conducive to the ROH style. Matt Hardy wanted to prove he was a top wrestler especially with James Gibson/Noble doing the same in '05. Gibson was never given the limelight like the Hardys and many felt by this point in time they were company men. What better opponent for Matt to face than the no nonsense Homicide? That being said, everyone wanted deep down for Matt to do well because he and Jeff had been instrumental in introducing the high risk action of a new generation to WWF. So, it was a 'we hate this guy! (I hope he does well!' sentiment. I was really impressed as they punched and slammed each other all over the place. Homicide can take a beating but, kudos to Hardy for taking a king-sized lariat. Some might not love the finish but, it was smart and it worked! Very good stuff!
Roderick Strong vs Matt Hardy (Punk: The Final Chapter 2005): We're going to come back to this show later. ROH has two matches from two shows on this compilation which is pretty weird since it sorta discourages a person from getting those actual DVDs. Anyhow, this is Matt's final appearance and has one final opponent in Roderick Strong. At this point, people were happy to see Hardy but, since it was known he was jumping ship back to WWE, they wanted to see him get destroyed. I think there was no better person than Roderick. And you better believe me & the fans get what we want. This was a great match where Roddy almost kills Matt with a back breaker combo. I mean I lost it when he hit it! That flurry should have been the finish IMO! Things are picking up!
Christian Cage vs Christopher Daniels (Generation Now 2006): The second of I believe Christian's 2 ROH shows. I think this was sort of a warm up before he went to TNA. And that's kind of what this match is with Daniels. It never goes into 4th gear but, is very good. Christian isn't one of my faves but, I can't fault them putting this on the DVD.
Spanky (Kendrick) vs Bryan Danielson (Best of the American Super Jrs. 2005): For as awesome as 2005 ROH was there was still goofy stuff like this show where Kendo -freaking- Kashin wins a tournament with Danielson, Rocky Romero, Kendrick, Roderick Strong, James Gibson, and more participating! To top it off Kashin dogged it and didn't even wrestle under his own gimmick AND this tournament was supposed to grant the winner a spot in the 2005 BOSJ in NJPW...but that never happened! SO, there was no point in even having the tournament let alone letting Kashin win. That show did produce some really notable matches. This being the first. Many have described this as the BEST opening match in ROH history. I don't know about that but, this was in no way wrestled like a tourney match. Danielson was brutal in grinding Kendrick down but, Spanky would not quit. Great match
James Gibson vs Roderick Strong (same show): Strong manhandles Gibson and Jamie is selling the heck outta it. Lotta great mat action here. They leave stuff on the table here but, there is a rematch at the Unforgettable 2005 show which I might have to snag. Very good match. Also may have to find their Full Impact Pro matches too.
Now I'm going to say the selling point of this DVD for most (including me) is Joe vs Punk III at All Star Extravaganza 2. Per my guidelines above, I would leave that match last. However, I find that is is not THE BEST bout on this compilation in my view. So, let's take a look now and then get on to the final and best match.
Samoa Joe vs CM Punk (All Star Extravaganza 2 2004): I've seen Joe vs Punk II and loved that match. It is a classic in my book. This match is not a classic though. The story of it did not connect with me as strongly. The layout of this did not strike me as much. There are some execution issues that while not egregious do take me out of the moment. All that said, this is a great match. **** stuff to me but, I am in the minority. I have not seen their first match at World Title Classic. I think I might want to.
Low Ki & Homicide vs Samoa Joe & Jay Lethal (Punk: The Final Chapter): This is the best match on this DVD and the one I probably knew the least about...other than people recommending it. This is the 3rd Homicide match, the 2nd Joe match, and the second match from Punk's last ROH show. Its an odd inclusion for those reasons. Was it trying to recognize Low-Ki and Lethal? Lethal was building but, Ki was Senshi at this time which was just weird (which would get weirder). I don't care at the end of the day though. This was a WAR! Ki & Homicide are heeling in the worst way and Lethal is the little brother to the juggernaut that is Samoa Joe. This is like an updated version of The Funks vs Abby & The Sheik or the best ECW brawls. There's blood, chair throwing, crowd fighting, and more. This was a classic fight to me. There's an 80's finish but, I mean that in the very best of ways. That bell don't mean a thing. This is the Samoe Joe you wanna see, this is the Homicide you wanna see, Baby Jay Lethal learning how to be a champ in this match. Yup, this is a classic.
Get this puppy used online and I'm sure you'll be happy. Its a weird pick of matches and talent especially with the benefit of hindsight. 2 Matt Hardy matches, an MVP dark match, and three Homicide matches seems like they were piecing this one together at the end. I would have preferred a 2nd Gibson match or a Paul London or an AJ Styles match instead. I think they were really focused on the Best Buy or Amazon customer snagging this and seeing those WWE names and going "Yeah why not!" With that in mind, they probably should have put another Punk match on there if they wanted to have 2 Joe matches. But, I'm Monday morning quarterbacking something from 12 years ago You get two very good-great Roderick Strong matches from his break-out year, you get two great-classic Samoa Joe matches, you get a great Bryan Danielson match from a show you probably don't want to track down...so it's a no brainer if you can get this under $10. If you look at this as a show DVD, there's a ****1/2+ match and 3 **** matches. That's a must buy in my book.
I've got Bloodstained Honor (terrible title) and Greatest Rivalries to tackle in the next few weeks.
Thanks for reading! Stay safe!
Full Impact Pro DVD review for this week goes back to early 2005 and covers CM Punk. Duh right? Its a really good DVD, lets just say that from the start. The big reason why I say that is because it includes matches, promos, and run-ins that feature Punk. So its really easy to get sucked into the story line. Punkster is basically public enemy #1 by feuding with FIP champ Homicide and getting up in James Gibson's and Bryan Danielson's business.
Azrieal who was a member of Special K, the raver group in ROH, is his toady and features in some of the early matches. Anyhow, enough explanation.
First match is against Antonio Banks and its a fun match. Banks is MVP by the way. Next we gets Azrieal vs James Gibson which gets good after it gets going. This sets up the main event tag match.
CM Punk & Azrieal vs Homicide and James Gibson (Unfinished Business 2005) - This is an Anything Goes Match. Punk doesn't want this. He wants a regular match because he's a chicken shit heel. It takes a minute to get going but then, its good in- ring action. Eventually, the fans get we want and the fighting goes to the outside...literally. They're in the gravel parking lot duking it out. And when they get back inside they end really strong. Very good match!
CM Punk vs Puma (New Dawn Rising 2005) - Puma is TJP early in his career. This is a fun match but, nothing awesome.
CM Punk vs Bryan Danielson (Dangerous Intentions 2005) - Great match. Punk loves working the crowd early on in FIP. There's like 20-30 fans at these shows so, good on him for engaging the crowd and getting some good heat. The fans in the audience love hating on him Anyhow, this was an intense match and the best bout thus far. Danielson always brings it and Punk is game. This is a long match in a good way. We get a cheap win but, it doesn't sour my opinion of the fight. And it works out...you'll have to get the DVD to see what I mean.
CM Punk vs James Gibson (With Malice 2005) - Man, it seems like Punk is really turning it on now. I think he already knew he was leaving the Indies and wanted to put on great matches with everyone. I think FIP at this point in time was a place for their talent to work with each other to gain experience and chemistry in front of small but vocal crowds. Then they could bring their dialed in matches to ROH. I really think that is the case with Gibson. If you're a fan of his in ROH but wish there was more available then, check these early FIP shows. He and Punk have a great match. A similar ending as in the Danielson match. It works out and sends the fans home happy.
It sets up the next show's big match of Punk vs Danielson 2/3 falls!! And...its not on this DVD. Bummer...I really want to track it down on eBay as its supposed to be pretty awesome.
Overall, this is a very good DVD and its $5 on Highspots. Its totally worth buying if you're jonesing for vintage Punk.
Here's the video trailer:
Thanks for reading!