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Why not W*ING? and IWA Japan too!

The Iceman vs Miguel Perez Jr. (02/92 W*ING): Man oh man! We only get clips of this match the worst fact is that all of a sudden both guys are covered in blood. Come on W*ING! If anyone knows of a full or even less clipped version that'd be awesome.   Silver King vs Texano (05/23/94 IWA Japan): Cagematch is showing it as a very early show...perhaps the 3rd and looks to be the first tape they released. It is a highly recommended match. Lucharesu style, Los Cowboys stiffing the heck out of each other, nice sequences, a match like this I would think to see in Michinoku Pro.   Really dug Cynthia Moreno in early 90's AJW so I was pleased to see that she made some appearances in the sleazies...IWA Japan specifically.   Just watched her murderlize Tomoe Araya on the 3/7/95 show opener (not 100% on the date). People clapped for the usual "we admire your toughness" for Araya but man...Moreno brought the Zenjo level brutality here at times.   Then I see there's Cynthia and Araya's first match at Duel of the Wilds, IWA Japan.   Much better match than the above...surprising since you'd think they'd improve. Here they kept everything simple and spaced out the moves better and more logically. Sure, the 3/7 match had Moreno as death dealer at times but, this first match was actually fun for the right reasons!   Then there's one where Cynthia is in a gold singlet rather than black. This one was shaping up to be good but then Tomoe lost her balance on her Yoshida run up turning cross body block move...so she jumped to the floor. Not sure where in this epic trilogy this match fits in but, hey, its been fun.

G. Badger

G. Badger

The 2010's: wXw 2010

Continuation of day #2 of the 2010 16 Carat Gold show:   Johnny Kidd vs Paul Tracey: This a non tournament match in the classic UK style. I wasn't really in the mood for this I hate to say. So, I skipped. Sorry but, it's not the style I'm geared up for when watching wXw.   Oberhausen Terror Corps (Bad Bones & Carnage) vs Strong BJW (Sekimoto vs Okabayashi): This is what I'm watching for and exactly what I wanted especially at this point on the card. Highly recommended match BUT one thing needs to be said. The action was great yet, the character dynamics confused me. From an observational standpoint, OTC are heels. Bones comes out with an axe, their names are Bad Bones, Carnage, and collectively Oberhausen Terror Corps. That's heel as it gets. So, BJW are then de-facto faces, right? They are the lauded high profile guests coming in to work the tourney.   The "thing" is that Strong BJ wrestled this like heels by controlling the Terror Corps with simple moves & quick tags. Carnage even made the hot tag to Bad Bones and they started busting out swanky moves and showing all kinds of gutz.   I watched the first 2/3rd of the match one day and was nonplussed. It didn't quite sit well with me. It seemed OK but, again something seemed off. Now, this time around I noticed this quirk about the face/heel dynamics and it made much more sense.   Treat the native OTC as babyfaces who just act like heels. Sure they're intimidating and look like they're going to jack some Fred Durst looking fan up but, they're just some tough dudes. They're the home team, the native team, and Sekimoto & Okabayashi probably told them to work like this (perhaps). So, the Japanese are not heels perse but, let's say they're the tough veteran team who are going to teach the youngsters a lesson. So, with this mindset, things run much smoother. This is one of the longer matches thus far but, with that narrative creation, this was totally sweet.   Ares vs Claudio Castagnoli: Tournament match. Wikipedia will tell ya that these guys are friends, countrymen and old tag partners. Lots of history especially in wXw. They were the first tag team champs back in 2001. This begins with some lighthearted comedy wrestling...I tune in and out as I wrote the above tag match's notes in my notebook. However, this picks up into a pretty darn good match. Now, my DVD had a technical hiccup that froze the match but, I worked around to see the last few minutes. I think I only probably missed like 30 seconds but, I wanted to say that. Nonetheless, very good match that I'd recommend to fans of either guy. They are booking this tournament and individual shows really well.   And I thought that was the end of Night #2 as it certainly felt like it could have been BUT there's a 3rd disc! Christopher J. Hero vs Martin Stone and Absolute Andy vs Steve Douglas (coming off his loss to Abe "the President" Lincoln) in a No DQ title match. Nice! Hopefully, I'll be able to watch those soon and share

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G. Badger

Mixed Up Monday: Arsion, WWA, AJW

AKINO & Ayako Hamada vs Mima Shimoda & Etsuko Mita (LCO) (06/09/01 Arsion): This match begins slowly and in a rather loose manner. I don't recall when it picks up but, its sometime when Mita starts bleeding! Yes, yes very good. Then more action, Shimoda's bleeding... Moving along swimmingly. AKINO's really standing out but, I'll skip to the highlights! There are chairs, tables, (aforementioned) blood, dives, double teams, and false finishes. This really picked yp into something special. If you're a fan of Yoshi, women's wrestling, and/or ECW, I highly recommend that you watch this!   Lioness Asuka vs Mariko Yoshida (07/03/01): This is all good. Mariko wrestles, Lioness wrestles. Mariko strikes, Lioness strikes. I couldn't ask for anything more. A perfect mix of wrestling & gimmick spots with superb execution. A match with fantastic build that led to logical submission and pinfall attempts. This really looked like 2 champs battling. This was great!   Hijo del Santo, Yoshihiro Asai & Gran Hamada vs Negro Casas, Blue Panther & Fuerza Guerrero (WWA 1990): If you're a fan of Michinoku Pro like me, I think you'd dig the beans outta this. Its a compact match with everyone pairing off evenly. Hamada & Fuerza leave me with the most lasting impression. Casas & Negro are great as always. Asai (Ultimo) was very good but, with Panther, seemed off their mark. Overall this was 2000 pounds of fun. If you're into M-Pro, I highly recommend the match for you. Its time well spent!   Akira Hokuto vs Manami Toyota (08/21/93 AJW): This wasn't a perfect match BUT is a perfect way to be introduced to Joshi, Hokuto, and Toyota. This bout is full of stretches, stiff kicks, and maneuvers. I think their 08/19/90 match is better (which I reviewed a couple weeks ago) and their 09/02/95 encounter is worth going back to review as well. But! This is the place to start High recommendation!

G. Badger

G. Badger

NOAH Matches You Might Have Missed

Technically, these are ROH matches but, all participants were actively working for NOAH. 2007 was a pretty solid time for Ring of Honor & NOAH's relationship. Heck, Morishima was the champ!   Nigel McGuiness & Doug Williams vs Takeshi Morishima & Chris Hero (04/13/07): This was a very solid B-show tag match. The fellows went above and beyond here. Nice to see the Brit Boys team up too. Hero was fresh back from a NOAH tour and doing finisher tributes like Damien 666. This helped the Nigel vs Morishima feud gain some ground. Fun stuff!   Takeshi Morishima vs Nigel McGuiness (07/16/07): This is from one of ROH's Tokyo shows. Or maybe this is only one in actual Tokyo. Nevertheless, people say this helped contribute to Gabe S.'s ousting as booker. Its neat in theory but, not in practice.   Anyhow, this is some very stiff fighting between these two. Nigel is the better wrestler (legitimately & in story) but, Morishima is as big & tough as a brick house. Nice surprise to see the Tokyo crowd is behind Nigel.   Overall, this was a neo Choshu type title fight. Clubbing, lariats, backdrops yet, with apron spots. I probably could have done without those moves but, I still dug the heck outta it. Nige gave 110%...in it to win it! Highly recommended title match.

G. Badger

G. Badger

AJPW Classics 172: 1988

AJPW Classic Selection #172   Stan Hansen & Danny Kroffat vs Robert Gibson & Ricky Morton (10/26/88): Gibson seemed like he had a bad ankle and was really only in for the key spots. Ricky therefore wrestled his butt off with Kroffat and Hansen. The story focus seemed to be on Rock n' Roll vs Hansen which helped in the drama department. I believed that they, combined, could take out the Texan. Kroffat was there as junior talent to keep up the pace and action of the match. It was very clear that he was technically superior to the Express and part of the new generation of stars much like Tiger Mask Misawa. Hmm...didn't write a recommendation or assessment at the time of viewing. Nevertheless, you'll enjoy this.   Jumbo Tsuruta & Hiroshi Wajima vs Abdullah The Butcher & Jimmy Snuka (08/20/88): This takes place prior to last week's episode as Jimmy & Abby are still partners. Abby is using the recently departed Brody's chain. Anyhow, this is a match! Chaotic fighting that's very, very basic. Lotsa heat, Abby's out of control- sticking Jumbo in the eye, choking Wajima with something. Jumbo eventually starts hurling chairs and yup! There's the bell! Abby's trying to slice young boy Kobashi and Baba's even there in his short sleeve shirt. Tons of after the bell mayhem. The Butcher "asks" Jimmy to juice him since his sadistic Sudanese blood lust hasn't been met. Korakuen gets redecorated.   Jumbo Tsuruta vs Stan Hansen (10/17/88): Per Quebrada.net this was a title unification fight. We're talking about making the Triple Crown folks Whoa-oh, this is a rough and tumble match worthy of that prestige. Hard hitting from the outset and neither guy let up even after the final bell. Hansen's throwing a table in the ring and is fuming mad. Highly recommend checking this one out...perhaps a great match. I'll want to rewatch this puppy soon. Nice way to close out the episode.   Another solid as stone episode here. Heavy focus on Stan & Jumbo here. If you've never seen them, this would be a good place to start!

G. Badger

G. Badger

Spotlight: Atsushi Onita & FMW '89 - '90

What's kinda funny is that people will see 1 or 2 of the crazier death matches from original FMW and think they understand or get "Onita." It's probably worse as he's gotten older as he's had to rely more and more on the actual gimmicks to hide his mobility issues. I know I felt this way before I started researching, reading about and watching Onita. There's a notion that Onita was great in AJPW but, got hurt and etc.   So, I think there may be this misconception that Onita sucked in FMW because he moved to the death matches, got sliced, made faces and cried. He was a legitimate baby face in a Japanese wrestlin where there were no old school faces and heels at the time. NJ & AJ wanted to shift away from the Abby, Tiger Jeet madman to the athletic competition of wrestling as UWF's shoot style was so darn popular. Clean matches, no blood, no run-ins, etc. Onita was like, "Screw that! My knee's all jacked and I'm gonna sell my ass off." Well, at first he wanted to prove himself to be a worthy competitor by challenging the UWF. They denied because well, he would have forced himself onto their card by cult of personality/hustling. They had enough personality with Maeda, Takada and Fujiwara.   So the World Karate Association in '89 was game and wanted to put on Onita's challenge to legitimate fighters: Puro vs Karate.   I think there's an assumption (again I felt this way when I first got into FMW) that Onita only saw death matches as the true evolution of wrestling OR that it simply covered up physical or talent limitations. Onita wanted to make a name for himself again. He wanted his names to be in light and wanted the fame, money, and women that came along with it. The death match was a means to an end for him. My impression is that he is a hustler and was going to get what he was after by any means necessary...including sacrificing his body.   Once that WKA feud with Aoyagi was a smash, he and his partners knew they were on to something, even if for a little while. Onita was willing to go where others didn't want to go...either because of taste, sensibility, or fear of harm.   I think that gets lost when people perhaps watch a couple of the landmark matches in FMW. Then, they see a pure wrestling match in AJPW and remark how much they like him there. Yes, Onita could go when young and healthy. That's vanilla. People want to care about there wrestlers. They want the guy who had to quit wrestling because of a bad injury, did manual labor, was in jail, and fought to be someone again. Someone who directly challenged legitimate fighters regardless of the cost to seek his former glory. Someone who was willing to go to the depths of wrestling hell for this- barbwire in place of ropes, barbwire boards, electrified explosion barbwire etc. Not only was this stuff not being done in Japan, it was not even done before. That is quite a story and a character and really isn't that what pro wrestling's all about.   Onita vs Aoyagi (10/10/89): This is the first FMW main event to make commercial tape. The style here is Different Style which was influenced by UWF. Puro vs Karate. The World Karate Association was jointly involved as FMW was I'll say more the name of the show or series than a federation at the time. Kinda like how Big Mouth Loud had less than a dozen shows. That's kinda what Onita and his team were thinking with FMW.   On to the fight! Very exciting stuff- first few rounds Aoyagi was in control by hitting Onita with some really good Karate kicks. Lotsa heat and Atsushi selling it like serious damage has been done. Vicious thunder fire bomb here...best P. Bomb in the biz to me. I thought this was going to be just an OK type of bout but, I'd highly recommend it. The round systems aids in the drama and relatively low workrate. I was into this one!   Onita & Tarzan Goto vs M. Matsunaga & Jerry Bleyman (aka Jelly Greyman aka Jerry Flynn) (12/10/89): 1st Japan Barbwire match. Here the wire is attached to the ring posts so that it surrounds the apron. In deadly essence, it's a wire bound lumberjack match. It's actually more dangerous to be waiting for a tag than in the ring. Well...equally dangerous.   In beautiful Onita fashion, that crazy fucker leans into the wire at every opportunity. He wants to sell to the fans just how deadly this is. Oh and he gets his wish in the form of a foot long 1/2 inch deep gash on his arm. It really is unsettling. I read from Bahu's site that this wire was much stiffer than wire used subsequently. I think this type was switched to the more flexible wire because of this wound. There was no give. Nonetheless, this felt like a real pit fight type match. Kinda like the end of 'Kickboxer' with the taped glass fists. The match itself was OK as Matsunaga was still all karate kicks but, Goto & Onita bled. Onita though was at the theatre. A must see for historical purposes for sure.   Onita vs Masanobu Kurisu (02/12/90): For the first time ever, we get barb wire boards surrounding the ring. Plus we get two AJPW vets laying in the slaps, chops, and headbutts. This isn't a fuck around, tease the wire, do a crappy move or two, do a wire spot type death match. Both guys gave and received some really good shots here...barbwire spots too. It's a great match and and is relatively short. Brief but, intense so, they never overstay their welcome. Brutal finish- go see this!   Onita & Tarzan Goto vs Masanobu Kurisu & Dragon Master (Kendo Nagasaki) (04/01/90 FMW): This match still gets some gab. Rightfully so. This is sublimely violent and realistically stiff. That sounds like some academic bullshit but, these were some of the most haphazard chair shots I've seen. Like, "I'm trying to pound this fucker into sand" attacking. And it ends perfectly at 11 minutes. The finish is tremendous. Showed my better half because it was so gnarly. She goes, "Well...that's violent!" Seal of approval in my book Classic awesome stuff.   Lee Gak Soo vs Atsushi Onita (05/19/90): This match up is kinda a WTF match up but, Onita's WKA agreement was kinda over but, still wanted to have the martial arts component (realism) in the company. I believe he did a tour of South Korea and the company they worked in conjunction with loaned some talent for Japan shows. Lee Gak Soo being a Tae kwon do badass who is a lot of fun to watch. So again, this is a Different style match with rounds and such. First round, they're pretty evenly matched. LGS has got his kicks and speed but, Onita is bigger and can throw and pin down the martial artist. Round 2, Axe kick to Onita's nose but, answers with a hellish backdrop suplex. Round 3, Lee blasts O. in the face right at the bell and opens a cut. There was a saved by the bell moment here too. Nice finish tease! Round 4: LGS is shaky but, manages to put Onita down. It's not enough as he Thunder Fire bombs the will to live outta LGS. Damn that was getting great...I wish this was longer.   Watch the post match as the up close video shows just how battered Atsushi's face is from those kicks. He got fucking blasted! Lee Gak Soo all the way man! He's got a match with Jimmy Backlund/Del Ray from the 04/01/90 show that's good as well. Doesn't top this match with Onita.   Onita vs Tarzan Goto (08/04/90): First ever electric barbwire match. Onita was crazy! The brawling and moves done were really good but, to me there was way too much time spent on the Figure Four leg lock. Apparently, it's a last man standing type match so, it really doesn't make sense. Plus it's boring. In a hindsight kind of way, they really didn't use the wire effectively for any drama. Onita would accidently hit the wire, and it would go off. It looked pretty bad. More like the little kid getting zapped on the fence in Jurassic Park than, the latter firework type pops. It's 11 minutes but, this was just OK. Onita spams finishers and wins. It wins Tokyo Sports' MOTY but, it's for the sheer insanity and spectacle of it rather than the quality overall.   *Hoping this would wash the bad taste of the above match outta my mouth* Tarzan Goto vs Gran Mendoza (08/20/90) This is a JIP handheld that I watched. There's probably a non JIP video but, it's all handheld. Here's it's a wire around the post match like the late '89 tag match. Goto gets cut pretty bad on his barrel chest and left arm. He exacts some serious vengence upon Mendoza by getting him to bathe in the steel spikes. This was fun but, unfortunately not worth going out of your way to see.   Onita vs Mr. Pogo (11/05/90): Per Bahu and match/tape listings, most of the build up didn't make it to commercial tape. So, after the Lee Gak Soo match, Onita wants LGS to be his new tag partner. LGS accepts and Tarzan Goto is pissed as he's the #2 man. Onita's like, "It's my call bro." Then the two fight (see Aug. match) and Goto brings in Mr. Pogo as his secret weapon tag partner. Pogo is like pretty much all of the other stars in FMW as people know him from years past in a major company (NJ in his case) but, have been wrestling in the States and Puerto Rico in the meantime.   Ok on to the fight! Atsushi comes in a like a demon- throwing his belt at Pogo and when he escapes to the out side, the Big O dives right through the ropes after him! Eventually (through the meddling of Victor Quinones) Pogo gets the better of our hero. He's sticking him with some kind of curve handled weapon. It looks like a children's umbrella with all the umbrella bit removed. Ha! Ok, why not!? Then, Senor Pogo decides to take his cowboy boots off and tenderize Onita-san's face. Holy head spike Batman! Pogo straight piledrove Onita on that chair. But, come on that's not enough...it's fucking Onita. He asks to get stabbed for an angle...he's crazy and tough...amongst other things :-I   He fights back with some of the sickest no touch headbutts ever. Pogster is bleeding now and gets thrown to the concrete. He tries to steal back control but, O. says, "Fuck that noise!" DDT! Now he's flying off the apron like a poor man's Misawa. Victor Q. get's his too. Or the table collapses...I can't tell but, this the chaotic shit that is great about early FMW! This is Texas Deathmatch rules and Onita is clearly trying to KO the camo pants villain. It's unfortunately 11 minutes as I easily could have watched another 2-3 minutes said this was a great match. It's NOT but, only because I felt it wrapped up too soon Highly recommended match and an excellent close to FMW's first year.

G. Badger

G. Badger

SWS: October 1991

Yoshinari Asai vs Bestia Salvaje (SWS 10/29/91): This was all kinds of fun and excitement but, with enough drama to keep me guessing the outcome. The speed and high flying technique was excellent and wasn't marred by a dozen false finishes. Reminded me of Rey vs Psicosis WAR J-Cup '95. Very high recommendation!   King Haku vs Takashi Ishikawa (SWS 10/30/91) This is perhaps the best Ishikawa match that I've seen. Great knee work and Haku sells it like it's legit. That's what happens when you get scoop slammed on a guard rail where your knee is the only thing that makes contact. You sell it because it hurts!   But really the beauty of this match is how they beat the shit out of each other. Straight kicks to the face, headbutts that you can hear, smacks to the ear, and Ishikawa's best lariats. I mean he's got to blast him because it is Haku and he is a Tongan terminator.   I watched this on a whim and I am so glad that I did. Both guys really put it all out there for a short match, no title and no fanfare. Plus, its got a few nice 'oh shit!' surprises. This is pro wrestling for pro wrestling's sake. If you like Tenryu, WAR, 90s Indy puro, check out this little gem.

G. Badger

G. Badger

AJPW You Might Have Missed: 02/28/93

This day in puroresu history...Stan Hansen & Toshiaki Kawada had a really great match here. I didn't think it was a classic but, pretty comparable to Kawada's match versus Jumbo in 1991 in terms of greatness. Here's some of the other matches that happened that you might have missed:   Kenta Kobashi vs Dan Spivey: JIP This was an intense yet somewhat unorganized bout. It was plenty exciting but, not to the effect that is was super engaging. Spivey botched a Canadian Backbreaker Slam or something so it came out as a Headspiking Dominator/Complete Dust which was cool after it was clear Kobashi wasn't dead. Too much was edited to really appraise the match honestly but, fun stuff.   Terry Gordy vs Jun Akiyama: Too short to rate. What was shown was great. Akiyama worked well with Bamm Bamm, who was just brutal.   Masa Fuchi vs Tsuyoshi Kikuchi- Jr. Heavyweight title: Kikuchi played the scrappy youngster who wouldn't quit. He came right out of the gate and bloodied Fuchi with a Zero-ken kick to the nose. There was some average work in the middle and then Fuchi dumped Kikuchi on his head about a dozen times in a row that would make Dr. Death proud. As sweet as this was from a brutality standpoint, it diminished the efficacy of the snap backdrop. This was a very good mid-card match, with moments of brutality.   Mitsuharu Misawa vs Akira Taue - Triple Crown title: Maybe I 'm guilty of buzzed viewing & this isn't all that good but, from what I saw it was a great match. Having seen the Jumbo saga play out really assists this match. I really appreciated the arm-work section where Misawa tries using his technical skills to control Taue. As we know, Taue isn't that far away from Misawa in terms of dangerous-ness so, it's a sound plan to work him over a bit before jumping into the heavy stuff. Where the Hansen-Kawada match was dragging in the middle, this match made up for it with great selling or what I think was a legitimately injure Misawa. He hurt his back performing a move on Taue or he hit the guardrail (can't remember) and Dynamic T when after it in his usual manner. Really good stuff! Also Taue was back up to performing wrestling duties and was doing all kinds of different dropkicks including a missle drop kick from the top! Eventually Miawa came back with some devilish elbows but Taue never looked out of it until the end. There were a couple execution cock-ups early on but they were worked out and what we have here is another great match from today. And better than the Hansen match to me...

G. Badger

G. Badger

The 2010's: wXw 2010 & 2011

Finally got back to the 2010 16 Carat Gold Tournament:   2010 16 Carat Gold Show: Day #2   Big Van Walter vs Munenori Sawa: 10:30 run time. David and Goliath match here. It was fun but, nothing too deep or engaging but, good for the opening match. A little disappointing though.   Erick Stevens vs KAGETORA: 8:30 match. Whoa!! This was quick energetic and really good. Lively as all hell. Stevens brings a star prescence that this venue demands. Otherwise the show feels smaller than it is. He & KAGETORA had some very nice sequences. Recommended match right here!   Plus a bonus from 2011 that's free on wXw's YouTube channel:   Zack Sabre Jr. vs Dick Togo (11/24/11 wXw 11th Anniv. Show): This kicked maximum butt! It was near perfect to me. Togo & Sabre scrambling on the mat- in & out of holds, pulling pinning combinations out, fighting for pro moves, and stiff as the day is long. Man, 30 seconds of a little more work and this would have been an all time classic. This was a classic match nonetheless. I could see people not digging this but, screw it if folks aren't digging this then, we're looking at this all different.

G. Badger

G. Badger

Mixed up Monday: FMW, Michinoku Pro

Hayabusa vs. Mr. Gannosuke -Mask vs. Hair match - (04/27/97 FMW) This was very good stuff with no blown spots, no awkwardness but, again it's Gannosuke & Hayabusa, like Misawa & Kawada or Benoit & Eddie. They know one another inside & out because they're close. This was good because they focused their "extreme" spots toward the beginning & brought it back inside & duke'd it out there. I would have liked a little more back & forth but since they hit their sequences to 9/10th of perfection along with their power moves, I shouldn't complain. Also the nearfalls were pretty believable with many of the big moves being kicked out at just the last second. As a bonus this match sets the feud up with Jinsei Shinzaki as Hayabusa's #2 man. This of course leads into some really cool tag matches including their participation in the Real World Tag League.     Hayabusa & Jinsei Shinzaki vs Mr. Gannosuke & W*ING Kanemura (March '98 Michinoku Pro): 13 minutes of a 19 minute match which is typical of M-pro commercial tapes to save a little off the front end. Picks up with agressive, violent heel work focused on destroying the Hakushi. Jinsei's bleeding bad, get the falcon man in dammit!! With his home fans rooting him on, he's able to tag in emerald outfitted Hayabusa. He is electro like Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force! All right! These guys know what they are doing- the crowd is rocking and the camera work is only enhancing the viewing experience. Highly recommend checking this out!

G. Badger

G. Badger

AJPW You Might Have Missed: Kawada 1995 Champion Carnival

Toshiaki Kawada vs Jun Akiyama Champ Carnival (03/21/95): This seemed like that match people were talking about when they were discussing Kobashi vs. Jumbo back in '91. Just an excellent match that really made Jun look like the future star and it made Kawada look tough yet beatable. Really cool match with Kawada getting really stiff at times. ****1/4   Mitsuharu Misawa vs Toshiaki Kawada Champ Carnival: Talk about a grisly wrestling match. Hit the guy in the shoulder- fine, hit the guy in the chest-good, hit the guy in the fucking neck-even better, break his face- alright then! This is not the pretty AJ match that we usually get from these two but by God they bring it in this match. Any & everything counts and no one is going without a fight. It waivers a little bit toward the end but then you realize Shit! this isn't the end. This is the end! It gets nasty where Kawada's Stretch Plum is messing up every part of Misawa that's hurtin' and they keep going! A great carnival match. ****1/2 but in sections it could be more...   Toshiaki Kawada vs. Akira Taue Champ Carnival (04/08/95): You know I thought the beginning of this match was really very good but somewhere the intensity from Taue got lost and it was really apparent he was having a hard time keeping up with Kawada. On paper the moves and exchanges sound good but seeing it is another matter. You could predict when he was going to put a boot up to counter a run and you could see the apron chokeslam coming. Now I don't know maybe this is the first time he did it but the announcers didn't seemed too thrilled by it. Like, "Oh there he chokeslamed Kawada off the apron...so anyways..." Kawada was masterful throughout and if you will led Taue through a very good match much like people claim Ric Flair did all of the time. However, I don't think he's the best opponent (Kawada) for Taue since Kawada is all about stiffness & you've got to try and keep up with that if the match is going to be believable and dramatic. Maybe since I knew the finish it ruined things eh...I'm starting to get that impression from stuff I watch. Re-Watch: This was better on the re-watch but it did drag in bits like the stretch plum attempts...I just fast forwarded past them & other time killers. With that done this thing really picked up to 4 1/2 star level stuff. Taue was a bit lethargic in his movement but I don't know if he always is or not. It was still pretty good since Kawada was so stiff and Taue's power moves are some of the most impactful. It's hard to rate this match but it is really good stuff.   Toshiaki Kawada vs Takao Omori Champ Carnival (04/12/95): A very fun match that was just perfect for what it supposed to be. Omori is a very credible mid-carder and his elbow drops are brutal. If you're in the mood for a quick enjoyable AJPW match this is a good place to go.

G. Badger

G. Badger

AJPW Classics 171: 1988

So, this is where my official massive block of AJ Classics starts. Boy, its a good start   Great Kabuki & Akio Sato vs Jimmy Snuka & Tiger Mask II (09/15/88): A really enjoyable match with great offense from Jimmy & Tiger. Kabuki was really effective when inside the ropes & Sato made everyone look good. I recommend checking this out especially for Superfly & Misawa's team work.   Stan Hansen & Terry Gordy vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshiaki Yatsu (07/29/88): Tag belts on the line. If Ted DiBiase was big then, Gordy is a giant. The foreign team is massive. The Bad Man from Borger's ribs are taped up and that's a target for the Japanese stars. Thing is...there's a lot of stomping & toe kicks in this early part of the match which is lame. But man, when Gordy finally gets in, hot damn! Things pick up in a big way. The Meat Loaf-esque Gordy is wrecking the shop. Hansen's recovered but is still selling the damage. Watch that finish! Ambitious but, wonderfully vicious. Aside from the slow start, this was a great match!   Jumbo Tsuruta vs Abdullah the Butcher (09/09/88): This is an old feud but, this bout was just plain old. Way too one sided for too long BUT the post-match is what you're wanting too watch out for. Snuka & Tiger come out to help Jumbo. Snuka is on Abby's side and just trying to calm the Mad Man from Sudan. Good luck! He gets a spike for his troubles. Then, he and Tiger team up to take the big man down. Eventually, Jimmy goes after Abby and they're fighting in the crowd. Abby actually takes a bump from the stands to the floor. This is wild fun stuff. Honestly, there's no shame in fast-forwarding through the match to get to this.   A very nice episode of wrestling!

G. Badger

G. Badger

Spotlight: AJW 01/04/91

AJW TV January 4th 1991 (1/4/91)   Yumiko Hotta vs. Bat Yoshinaga- Nothing too awesome here other than Hotta kicking Bat in the face a few good times and busting out a top rope backdrop. ***   Mima Shimoda & Etsuko Mita & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Takako Inoue & Miori Kamiya & Mika Takahashi- Really weird seeing Mita with short hair like Yamada and Takako was a little chubby here but, not in a bad way. Kind like you could tell she was 18 or so. Surprisingly Mima was the worst here but, she was trying and of course would be one of the best ever. Yamada was badass already and the two other girls I didn't recognize were pretty good too. Just really super fast paced albeit loose mid-card 6 person tag stuff. This is the type of stuff that makes Zenjo special. ***3/4   Aja Kong & Bison Kimura vs. Manami Toyota & Suzuka Minami- Pretty sweet tag team match but, was over way too quick with Suzuki only being in for one segment. Jungle Jack isolated Toyota who was maybe low girl on the totem pole. It was pretty sweet while it lasted & Jungle Jack is an awesomely violent tag team. ***3/4   Bull Nakano vs. Akira Hokuto-WWWA Championship Who the hell is this chick looking like Lioness Asuka and with feet wraps instead of boots and wearing a white & blue get-up? Shit that's Hokuto!? Bull is the ice queen wearing a Napalm Death t-shirt with full on blue hair and her awesome make-up. Okay so getting over that this is 1991, we've got two of the greatest Joshi facing off. It's probably everything you could hope for EXCEPT the awesome explosive finish. Instead we get Bull beating Hokuto via a sort of flash-pin off a bridging leg-lift backdrop. It's ok because Bull's the #1 in the company & the vet and Hokuto is a spunky babyface follower of the Crush Gals (but still her own woman) and she can't make a slip-up with the champ in the ring. For it to have that awesome blow-up finish it would put them as equals and for what I can ascertain they're not equals. It's the #3 trying to take on the clear cut #1. I don't actually know if Hokuto ever had the red belt or would be more than third but, she stopped begging for a rematch as she cememnted herself as possibly the greatest Joshi in the months to come. ****1/2

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G. Badger

SWS: Akira Katayama

Akira Katayama was one of my favorite little discoveries from SWS but, sadly found out the he was paralyzed from a dive sometime in 1992. These are two matches found online.   Akira Katayama vs Kenichi Oya SWS from 9/17/91 and man, this was some good stuff! For whatever reason I thought Oya was gonna be some skinny crew cut rookie but, nope. He's a solid man with a beard and shit...perhaps rockin' a surfer gimmick?? I guess it was '91 so those orange and neon yellow trunks were pretty standard... I think I had swim trunks like those actually so, perhaps that's why I'm thinking surfer...I digress. Two relatively unknown wrestlers, mid carding a short lived promotion putting on a solid meat & potatoes, steak & eggs match...all under the watchful eyes of papa Tenryu. This is fun   Kitahara vs Akira Katayama from 10/29/91 and my goodness that was Kawada, Aja Kong level stiff. Lariats, kicks to the face, head spikes :S Katayama was wearing tiger print trunks and maybe Kitahara is a vegan and took offense...I have no clue. It was a very good match as Akira was fired up too and focused on taking out Kita's legs with some nice submission holds. At around 11 minutes this was compact, physical, and engaging stuff for something never on my radar.

G. Badger

G. Badger

Matsunaga and the Bed of Nails

They don't call Mitsuhiro Matsunaga "Mr. Danger" for nothing! Along with Jun Kasai, he's got to be my favorite death matcher.   I'm not positive but, the Bed of Nails has to be one of his signature death matches...although they aren't always the most spectacular. The fans love it so, I guess they keep doing it! Of course, they probably take too far nowadays but, here are some goodies (baddies?) with Mr. Danger!   Leatherface vs Mitsuhiro Matsunaga (Original Spike Nail Death Match) 12/20/92 W*ING   Eh this was just alright... Leatherface was pretty bland on offense and frankly Matsunaga was as well. At least I can sense his kicks being harmful rather than Leather's paltry punching and stomping. They tease the nails, kill the heat by incorporating a knee brace story element, and the match ends with one guy rolling onto a single nail board :-/ Mind you they (W*ING) have set up like 5 boards on each side of the ring so, it really looks they're trying to put the 'death' in death match but nah...1 board and then they (W*ING wrestlers) carry the defeated man off in a blanket like volunteers carrying a rehabilitated dolphin back to the ocean. Its Matsunaga...he lost...am I spoiling anything at this point?   So, I found the rematch with higher hopes.   5/5/93 Spike Nail rematch   So, the rematch was better. The general offense was pretty lame and meandering but, they teased the nails a lot better this time including fighting on the apron. Leatherface went off the top rope a couple times which was an improvement. This finish was a lot better and appropriate for the stipulation. I won't really recommend this match in full form but maybe a clipped version is out there worth checking out.   Yuki Ishikawa vs Mitsuhiro Matsunaga (Bed of Nails Death Match, 05/14/99 Battlarts): I thought this really good for awhile as they were teasing the bed of nails so well and the non-wrestling was very good in getting across just how much they wanted the other guy to eat it but, it was not to be. It turned into poorly executed slice and dice and then was over. No one took the nails which was a bit of a letdown since they were teased beautifully. *** but at one point 4 stars, if that makes sense.

G. Badger

G. Badger

The 2010's: Kenny & the Bucks

Work was busy and the weather was nice so, I didn't get around to watching day #2 of wXw's 2010 tournament   I thought about skipping today but, figured I'd share my take on the most popular wrestlers not in WWE- Kenny Omega & the Young Bucks.   Although both are sort of the antithesis of the blog as they are just so darn well known and praised by Dave M. And that's cool because I do like them both. No, they're not my favorites or wrestle according to my stylistic preference. But, shit they make it fun and sometimes even great.   Tetsuya Naito vs Kenny Omega (NJPW 08/13/2016): I liked this one especially towards the end. All in all this reminded me of a souped up 90's NJ Jr's. match. Didn't get the spitting schtick but, whatever...   I'll say this: selling a hurt leg is easy to do. Hop around a little, rub the knee etc. but, selling it well is much more difficult.   Omega did a pretty good job down the stretch with nice little touches especially toward the end. Was it Kawada-like? No but, I was believing in a submission...   So much modern offense is based on running and jumping that basing a match of a bum wheel can be a recipe for junk but, I have become more lenient in my judgements though. I will give Omega credit for sticking to it as best he could based on his style and the current NJ style. I mean he very well could have blown it off by hulking up, calling upon his fighting spirit or whatever but he did not. Naito was excellent in his selling too...just in a more generalized fatigue/brain damaged kind way. Some of the looks he made after a big move or counter were priceless!   So, overall it got me engaged and invested. I bought the leg damage and thought it was a great match. Glad I went out of my way to watch it! The speech afterwards was a nice bonus. Go see this!   Kevin Steen & Super Dragon vs Young Bucks (PWG FEAR 12/10/11): The outset of the match appeared to one sided. The hefty Super Dragon & even heftier Steen were mauling the Jackson Brothers. Elbows, punches, chairs, you name it.   Obviously, the Bucks mount a comeback and we get one brutal hardcore match. What makes it so special (in addition to Dragon's return) is the intensity that Steen & Super brought. It legitimately looked like they wanted to hurt/kill the other team. The Bucks were heel but, man they garnered sympathy.   Every move even if just a punch or stomp gave a little hope that they would survive. It even looked like they had a chance of winning when they'd isolated Steen from Dragon.   Its a wonder no one was hurt more than they were. A really well done hateful No DQ (Guerrilla Warfare) match. No glitz no glamour.   Kenny Omega vs Hirooki Goto (NJPW G1 Climax Final 08/14/16): I watched this match twice since I saw that people gave it ****3/4.   Here are my thoughts from both viewings:   Omega is charismatic and his mannerisms and expressions are indicative of a character he's playing rather than "himself." He engages the crowd very well with these attributes which have a tinge of dark humor. It's fun to watch.   I am a fan of Goto especially in his IC fights with Nakamura. I thought this would be similar since Omega is playing something like Nakamura's but, Goto came across as bland. He was not as stiff and or intense as I would have liked.   They could have traded out Goto for any big/strong wrestler as I felt this was all Kenny. Watching this made the Naito match all that more worth watching again.   All in all this was a great match with the powerbomb fake out and the tributes to Ibushi and past Bullet Clubbers. I was hoping that they would play more off of Omega's knee from the Naito match from the previous night...that would have been awesome and a recipe for a classic but, i just had higher expectations than what this turned out to be. Great match nonetheless!   Generation Me vs. the Motor City Machine Guns (Full Metal Mayhem match, Final Resolution TNA 12/05/10): This is a recommended TLC match which I'm a little down on as a gimmick. Oh excuse me...Full Metal Mayhem® match! Duh!   I liked this mainly because they keep the action moving despite the death trap made in the middle of the ring. The MCMG provide some psych in building this too. "Oh man, I can't get both belts! Its too tall for these ladders!"   The Bucks are restrained in their shenanigans but, bring the Indy wackiness. The Guns wisely abstain from their combos (either due to age/injury or a stylistic choice). They still go off the turnbuckles and stuff but, it wasn't a Junior acrobatic type train wreck. And it wasn't a plodding "set up the high spots" match either. I liked it a lot actually.   Should mention: Sabin damn near fell off the contraption after the match.   Now I will sing Kenny & the Bucks to the tune of Sir Elton's 'Benny & the Jets'   Come on and join me!

G. Badger

G. Badger

Spotlight: Big Mouth Loud

Ah Big Mouth Loud we hardly knew ye! Now twelve years passed and you are forgotten by all but a few! Seriously though, I remember hearing about this promotion and not knowing what the hell it was about. I think my understanding was that it was a shoot style group. I no longer was into that so, I walked away. Recently however, I'd come across matches recommended by YouTube. Kurisu vs Kudo isn't shoot style! OK, this is something I've got to take a look for myself.   It does start out as more shoot based but, ultimately its not really a promotion as much as it is a series of high profile Indy shows. So, it becomes whatever it needs to be based on whatever talent is booked. Its more like NJPW in that regard. Well, older NJ.   I haven't seen every match but, these were best that I saw. For those interested there is a thread in the Microscope section here with more details and such: http://prowrestlingonly.com/index.php?/topic/36227-big-mouth-loud/   My reviews below are there but, I've consolidated the best here:   Kazunari Murakami & Kensuke Sasaki vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Minoru Suzuki (04/19/06): Wow, this was fantastic! Awesome character & heel work from Suzuki and Fujiwara. Sasaki had minimal in-ring time but, was maximum in his effectiveness. Match showcased some comedy, hard way blood, and a really satisfying finishing stretch. Fujiwara at 100 years old here still was very very dangerous and didn't hold the match back one bit. Great match!   Katsuyori Shibata vs Katsuhiko Nakajima (04/19/06): Battle of the young stars in K-Hall! Kicks, slaps, elbows and all the other stuff you'd expect outta these two lads. 'jima is outranked and outclassed in 2006 so its a lotta guts and guile from him...well and kicks...he does kick a bit. 12 minute match is just right. Nice compact stuff. Not sure I would have booked this after the tag but, Shibata is the ace so to speak. Highly recommended.   Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Munenori Sawa (07/02/06): Hot damn this was nifty UWF in NJ type match. Plus its around 7 minutes long so, its all good stuff. Nakajima looks badass in it. Highly recommend checking this one out.   Minoru Suzuki & Yoshihiro Takayama vs Kazunari Murakami & Yuji Nagata (08/20/06): This one, the last match of BML did not disappoint. It is all the striking grappling goodness that I'd hoped for. Minoru Suzuki and Takayama are total awesome destroyer heels. Referee Wada even won't put up with their crap. Nagata is the awesome hero. But, man Murakami was great too. The finish is good but, after the bell was rung and Suzuki starts redecoration of K-hall, that's when I thought this was a damn great match. I'd like to rewatch it because it seems like it could be a mid 2000s Indy classic.

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G. Badger

NJPW You Might Have Missed: Keiichi Yamada

I really enjoy puro from the late 80's so, I'll admit that I probably get more rewatch value from pre-Jushin Liger Yamada than most. I think when I think about his work with and without a mask, he's probably in my top 10...I think! There's been a backlash against the 90's NJ Jr. style but, I've also seen that with the 80's Jr. stuff as well. That's cool but, that ain't me.   Keiichi Yamada vs Marc "Rollerball" Rocco (09/01/87): JIP, All action plus a leapfrog face to the nuts spot! Yes! This is PWG style complete with Shooting Star Press in '87! Go see this! It's timeless fun stuff plus short.   Yamada & Nobuhiko Takada vs Rocco & Owen Hart (09/07/87): Headbands, flashy jackets, it's 1987 alrighty! The Japanese team come out to the Rocky Theme. Oh snap, Rocco's got a studded leather glove like Judas Priest or Iron Maiden. British Metal in full effect sucka!   Starts fast with Yamada & Rocco but, Takada's in soon. Fan's chants are loud as a jet engine. Owen's in with the T-man. It's a little slower but, still great. Yamada and Rollerball are back and again they are working cobra quick. This is frenetic yet, beautifully executed wrestling. All 4 guys are cardio machines. The finish, while not my favorite, works for this match. I would have liked something ultra brutal or cool but, it'll do Really great match especially if you're open to a Junior workrate match.

G. Badger

G. Badger

AJPW Classics 153 & 154: 1987

More 1987 AJPW goodness!   AJ Classics Selection #153   Takashi Ishikawa & Mighty Inoue vs Isamu Teranishi & Masanobu Kurisu (07/30/87): Well, this was a barrel full of monkeys! I loved it. All kinds of different offense or should I say 'awe'fense. Cheesy like Kraft. This took a little bit to get going in terms of direction and pace but, turned into a smile worthy Asia Tag match.   Jumbo Tsuruta & Tiger Mask vs Stan Hansen & Ted DiBiase (07/11/87): PWF tag belts on the line. This was pretty good and had a nice finish. I was groggy when watching this so, probably worth a rewatch. DiBiase was very good as was Tiger.   Stan Hansen & Ted DiBiase vs Yoshiaki Yatsu & Shinichi Nakano (07/17/87): A great energetic match! Hansen and DiBiase gave great performances. Yatsu and Nakano were vicious in attacking both villiains' knees. If you want working-a-limb psychology that's exciting, watch this! Remarkable selling by Ted & a great emotional performance by Stan. Tough as dirt Yatsu and gutsy Nakano taking it to the larger than life tag champs. Great match! Again, watch this!   AJ Classics Selection #154   Yoshiaki Yatsu & Haru Sonada vs Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara (10/31/87): Haru looks like he's gonna suck but, does not! Revolution kill him anyways. Yatsu vs Tenryu is always good. This IS the hard hitting stuff you want! Haru is surprising the heck out of me. This was very good stuff. Recommended match   Stan Hansen & Ted DiBiase vs Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara (07/23/87): PWF title is on the line. Very evenly fought match between the top 2 teams in AJPW. This looked like a really competition for the title and gave them real importance. Tenryu was really brutal with his head kicks. I know that may seem wrong but, hey it's true! Classic Hansen freakout after the bell too. Highly recommend this whole thing!   Giant Baba & Tiger Mask vs Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara (07/30/87): I've come to love Tenryu vs Baba because Genny chops Baba as hard as anyone & vice versa. No one works better with old Baba than Tenryu. TM Misawa's kicks were fantastic looking. I wish he would have kept the kicks along with his elbow based on his use here. Baba took a surprising amount of punishment to the point where I believe he was legitimately hurt. I gotta recommend watching this match. It's like watching Misawa in a WAR match. Tenryu & Hara are real bruisers and generally beat the piss from the bodies of their foes- win, lose, or draw.   HIGHLY RECOMMENDED couple of episodes

G. Badger

G. Badger

Spotlight: FMW pt. 2

Here's 1997 til 2000. 2001 kinda looks so-so and 2002 (the last year that FMW was open) didn't make the list.   1997 - (8 matches in the top 50) M. Kudo vs M. Ozaki 04/18 - #9 Onita, Kanemura & Hido vs Tanaka, Nakagawa & Kuroda 05/25 Tanaka vs Kanemura - 08/02 Hayabusa & Shinzaki vs Mr. Gannosuke & H. Oya 08/02 Gladiator, Gannosuke & H. Oya vs Hayabusa, Tanaka & Nakagawa 08/31 Hayabusa & Shinzaki vs Kenta Kobashi & Manukea Mossman 09/28 (handheld) - #5 Gladiator vs Tanaka 09/28 - #26 Hayabusa, Shinzaki, Tanaka & Nakagawa vs Kanemura, Kuroda, Hosaka & Hido 10/21 Kanemura & Gannosuke vs Hayabusa & Tanaka 11/28 - #34 Hayabusa vs H. Oya 12/05 - #45 Tanaka vs Kuroda 12/05 Hayabusa & Shinzaki vs Kanemura & Gannosuke 12/19 - #18 Onita vs Tanaka 12/19 - #36 Hayabusa, Shinzaki & Tanaka vs Onita, Gannosuke & Kanemura 12/22 - #3   1998 (7 matches in the top 50: 5 in the top 25) Tanaka vs Gannosuke 01/06 - #19 Hayabusa vs Tanaka 03/13 - #22 Gladiator vs Hayabusa 03/17 Shinzaki vs Gannosuke 04/21 - #12 Kanemura vs Shinzaki 04/30 - #41 Onita vs K. Fuyuki 04/30 Hayabusa vs Tanaka 05/19 - #2 Fuyuki & Kanemura vs Tanaka & Hayabusa 05/27 Tanaka vs Kuroda 06/19 Hayabusa, Daisuke Ikeda, Oya, R. Fuji vs Fuyuki, Nakagawa, Kanemura & Gedo 06/19 Kanemura vs Kuroda 10/06 Hayabusa vs Fuyuki 11/20 - #13 Gannosuke vs Kuroda 11/20 Hayabusa vs H. Oya 12/13 - #40 H. Oya vs Kuroda 12/13   1999 - (9 matches in the top 50) Hayabusa vs Kuroda 01/05 Tanaka vs H. Oya 01/05 Tanaka vs Kuroda 02/27 - #35 Hayabusa & Shinzaki vs Tanaka & Kuroda 03/19 - #16 Tanaka & Kuroda vs Hayabusa & Fuyuki 03/29 - #49 Gannosuke, Oya, Kanemura, Hosaka & Hido vs Ishikawa, Ikeda, Yone, Hijikata & Usuda 05/05 - #14 Hayabusa & Shinzaki vs Tanaka & Kuroda 05/05 - #25 Gannosuke, Kanemura & Hido vs Hayabusa, Tanaka & Kuroda 06/15 Tanaka vs Gannosuke 08/20 - #6 Hayabusa vs Gannosuke 08/25 Tanaka vs Kanemura 08/25 Fuyuki vs Tanaka 11/23 - #33 H vs Gannosuke 11/23 - #39 H & Gannosuke vs Kuroda & Oya 12/11 H & Gannosuke vs Tanaka & Kuroda 12/12 - #37   2000 - (3 matches in the top 50) Tanaka vs Kuroda 01/05 - #28 H vs Kyoko Inoue 03/27 Hayabusa vs Tanaka 05/05 - #32 Ryuji Yamakawa vs Kanemura 05/05 H vs Kuroda vs Gannosuke 05/28 Hayabusa vs Fuyuki 09/21 Fuyuki vs Hayabusa 09/26 - #7   2001 The only in the top 50 is Hayabusa vs Kanemura 08/11 (#10 out of 100). Just out of the top 50 is Kuroda, Kanemura, Gannosuke & Mammoth Sasaki vs Tenryu, Fuyuki, Arashi & Kitahara 12/09 at #51. FMW vs WAR in an 8 man tag sounds pretty great.

G. Badger

G. Badger

Spotlight: FMW

I've been really getting back into FMW from reading BAHU's FMW website. It is really chock full of great insight and history on the promotion and the wrestlers. Take a look:   http://www.fmwwrestling.us   Also he's been doing a podcast on the history of FMW but, this also touches on other like promotions such as W*ING. Here's his post here on PWO:   http://prowrestlingonly.com/index.php?/topic/40981-history-of-fmw-podcast/   BAHU is the master of FMW so, his top 100 FMW match list is another awesome resource that's listed on his site. I've been going over this list like all week- organizing it by year, how many top 10, 25, and 50 matches per year, how many top 100 matches the stars like Onita, Hayabusa, Goto, and Masato Tanaka have. I probably should have counted Kuroda as well! Here's the link to the original list:   http://fmwwrestling.us/FMW100.html   Here's my chronological rearrangement for '89-'96 but not with any ranking:   1989 Onita vs Aoyagi 10/06 Onita vs Aoygai 10/10   1990 Onita and Goto vs M. Kurisu and Dragon Master (K. Nagasaki) 04/01 Onita vs Lee Gak Soo 05/19   1992 Onita, Goto, Santo Jr. vs N. Casas, H. Boudler and T. Patterson 05/16 B. Nakano and A. Hokuto vs C. Toyoda and M. Kudo 09/19   1993 Onita vs Terry Funk 05/05 M. Toyota and T. Yamada vs C. Toyoda and M. Kudo 05/05 Ontia vs Mr. Pogo 08/22   1994 Onita vs Tenryu 05/05 C. Toyoda vs M. Kudo 06/19   1995 - (4 matches in the top 50) Ontia vs Hayabusa 05/05 - #15 Hayabusa vs H. Oya 06/27 - #29 H. Oya vs Hayabusa 08/31 - #4 Hayabusa vs Gladiator 09/05 W. Kanemura and M. Tanaka vs Haybusa and M. Matsunaga 10/28 Hayabusa, Sasuke, K. Nakagawa vs Delfin, R. Fuji and TAKA 12/21 - #47 Aja Kong and M. Kudo vs C. Toyoda and Bison Kimura 12/21   1996 - (8 matches in the top 50) Matsunaga, W. Kanemura and Hido vs Hayabusa, Tanaka, Nakagawa 01/10 Matsunaga, W. Kanemura and Hido vs Tanaka, R. Fuji, and T. Kuroda 02/23 - #27 C. Toyoda vs M. Kudo 05/05 - #1 Hayabusa and M. Tanaka vs Terry Funk and Mister Pogo 05/05 - #24 K. Nakagawa vs TAKA 05/05 W. Kanemura vs M. Tanaka 08/01 - #20 M. Tanaka, T. Kuroda and K. Nakagawa vs Kanemura, H. Hosaka, and Hido 09/01 - #42 Hayabusa vs H. Oya 09/20 Terry Funk and Gladiator vs Hayabusa and M. Tanaka 09/24 - #48 Hayabusa vs TAKA 11/16 - #31 TAKA vs W. Kanamura 12/10 W. Kanamura vs Gladiator 12/11 - #43 M. Kudo vs S. Kandori 12/11 Hayabusa vs Great Sasuke 12/11   I'll have to wait to put 1997-2002 up but, from my count Hayabusa has 46 & Masato Tanaka has 31 of the top 100 matches to their credit. Hopefully, I'll be able to get more up tomorrow in this by year format. I'm hoping to use this list as a guide to go down the Frontier Martial Arts rabbit hole

G. Badger

G. Badger

Why not W*ING?

The Japanese garbage wrestling scene in the 90's is really interesting. One that I was ignorant of until a while ago was W*ING. I'd seen the wrestlers before in IWA Japan, FMW, or Big Japan. Honestly, the matches aren't too different as essentially IWA Japan was started from the ashes of W*ING. BJPW upped the kooky death match stipulations but, many of the guys were there in the early days like Mr. Danger Matsunaga & Nakamaki.   W*ING featured some really exciting matches though. I'd like to say the heavy Puerto Rican influence & talent contributed to that. Miguel Perez Jr. & the Headhunters especially...   Here's a few of my favorites with the qualifier- any & every death match has the potential to suck based on the performers relying upon the gimmick (weapons, wire, a fall) to make the excitement and drama. These are not those kinds of matches. The gimmicks only enhances the matches.   Miguel Perez Jr. vs The Iceman (3/13/92) I thought it would be Kanemura or Mitsuhiro Matsunaga so I was surprised it was The Iceman vs. Miguel Perez Jr. duking it out. OK fellas...good luck!   Seriously, its a crane scaffold and they raise it to damn near the ceiling. At start, I'm just thinking 'OK, that looks about right...what!? Why is it going up more..no...no they're going to bring it down a lil bit.' Nope...looks like near death height.   The camera shots were great at playing this up and they were able to actually wrestle & brawl and do a few spots including a insane one by Perez Jr. that I won't spoil.   I'm not a scaffold match fan (who is?) but this is well worth a watch!   Elimination Match Puerto Rico vs W*ING: Mr. Pogo & Super Invader & The Headhunters vs. Jason the Terrible, Masaru Toi, Hiroshi Shimada & Mitsuteru Tokuda from 6/92...this was a really great Korakuen multi-man match and pretty straight for a W*ING match. Super Invader did 3 dives in a row, Toi, Shimada & Tokuda brought the wrestling to the wing-ring, Kanemura was at ringside but couldn't help but get involved as well as a surprise W*ING hero. Oh eliminations can come from getting thrown over the top rope. Surprisingly, shown in full so watch this puppy. Its hard to go wrong with these type of matches in the sleazies...   Shoji Nakamaki, Crash the Terminator, Fukumen Taro, Masayoshi Motegi & Nobutaka Araya vs Freddy Krueger, Jado, Gedo, Invader II & Invader III (W*ING Hollywood Nightmare 08/25/93, Captain's Fall Barbed Wire Bat Bunkhouse Deathmatch):First and foremost, watch Victor Quinones' promo for the heel team. Absolute gold   On to the match: This is all out chaos and I loved it! 4 out of 10 people have masks, 6 out of 10 people are wearing red, Nakamaki isn't wearing jeans and a tee shirt, Crash legit looks like he could win the thing since *ahem* Freddie fucking Krueger is the heel team captain.   All kinds of wackiness but, its the good early 90s Indy puro kind you want in this match. There's wrestling in the ring, brawling around the ring, Freddie in the stands chasing fans, Nakamaki laying somewhere in Korakuen bleeding...All the fans chanting his name despite being only visible to 5-10 of them due to the aforementioned bleeding, Indy juniors trying to shine, Crash no selling like a Road Warrior, a guardrail, seats popping off chairs, more Nakamaki chants...   This is W*ING in the best way.

G. Badger

G. Badger

Valentine's Day: Wrestle and Romance

I would have to think that Tenryu's WAR promotion has the most love themed name. Wrestle and Romance...ah yes, that is passion!! I feel like they were also Wrestle and Roses too. I could have made that up, I dunno. I love it anyhow!   Other Valentine appropriate wrestling names in my opinion are the AJW tag teams Tokyo Sweethearts, Crush Gals (crush like a school boy not as in skulls) & Honey Wings.   That was just an aside. Here are some of my favorite Romance matches:   Tenryu, Kitahara & Masao Orihara vs Koshinaka, Kengo Kimura Aoyagi from 10/21/92 War vs NJ. Orihara's awesome opening...hell Orihara's awesome performance overall. The dude made the match. All of the Tenryu vs Koshinaka interactions...straight up windpipe chops. I love both of these guys' enthusiasm/hatred. Kitahara vs Aoyagi kicking the crap outta each other is good. Would like me to see more...The violent chaotic finish...I mean Kimura is eating chops to the face...how is that not fantastic!? Women are crying, men are shouting, Ishikawa comes out, streamers...oh yeah!!   The main event to WAR's 02/14/93 show: Tenryu & Ishikawa vs Fujinami & Hase. This was a dream match for me. Marky Mark for all four wrestlers but, this wasn't some exhibition or feud transition match. This was fiery and exciting as heck!   All four guys were quick and on point all match with that WAR gang rumble pace. Everybody really impressed me...this was a great match. Then when Hashimoto came out after the bell, it sealed the deal. This whole segment, or whatever you wanna call it in today's terms, was classic!   WAR 05/05/97 Tenryu, Kitahara & Jun Kikuchi vs. Abdullah The Butcher & Tarzan Goto & Ryo Miyake Cage Match. Pandemonium from the get go with the heel team waiting with chairs by the WAR team's entrance. Tenryu nearly falls thru the cage at one point, he & Abby have a nifty strike exchange, Goto brings glass into the mix, Kitahara is rocking camo pants and ups his manliness quotient by 10% (like he needed it), and this is random awesomeness.

G. Badger

G. Badger

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