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Spotlight: FMW Late 1991 to Mid 1992

G. Badger


In late 1991 and early '92, I would say Onita's matches are NOT the "go to" stuff they were in 89- mid 91. He still is the main attraction and the company is just a vehicle for his accumulation of wealth and adoration but, other talent is developing or getting signed. Ezaki and Gannosuke are the big two that are coming up the ranks although not quite featured players at this point. The American talent is who I am considering at this time.


We got Big Titan, Mike "The Gladiator" Awesome, Sabu, and Horace Boulder all really making a name for themselves at this time. Big Titan even beats Onita for the title. That's a big deal! Titan is pretty good in FMW since he and Awesome both bring a athletic big man dynamic to FMW. This is something that hasn't really been featured or displayed in the company perhaps due to Onita's limited ability to work due to his past and probably current injuries. Sabu and Boulder bring this as well. Sabu is also willing to go into the barb wire as much as or more than Onita. Tarzan Goto is coming into his own as a worker as well. He's a bleeder and a brawler but, is much more mobile than Onita. So, Onita-san is being overshadowed in my opinion.


The fan base at the time doesn't care but, I'm sure they see it. The FMW fan is more about the Onita theatre than, overall match quality. I say this for the fact that Quinones and Mr. Pogo have left to help form W*ING so, FMW has brought in The Sheik (who is in his late 60's) and um Leon Spinks (ask Inoki how that went). The Onita 1992 program is kinda lackluster in comparison to '90 & '91 but, there are some highlights. I'm thinking of the FMW in North America matches.


Atsushi Onita & Tarzan Goto vs Big Titan & Gladiator (11/20/91): Wild fighting amongst the fans from the get go. This is a handheld btw. Eventually, things get in the ring and this is more like traditional puro than Onita's Frontier wrestling. So, Onita is the weakest of the three. Titan and Gladiator are like a budget Steiners/Hellraisers/Scott Norton early 90's power team like NJ was doing. It is a nice change of pace to see "moves" amongst the brawling. Goto's kicking ass but, Onita's days of tope suicida-ing are gone me thinks. Recommended match for sure.


Tarzan Goto & Ricky Fuji vs Titan & Gladiator (01/10/92): Ricky Fuji is on the rise skill wise. So, this makes for another recommended workrate handheld match. The highlight was Goto chest passing a fucking table into Gladiator's head. Awesome indeed! ;P


Now we kinda enter clip city for what's available online. BAHU has these in full as handhelds and some may be worth acquiring.


Onita, Sambo Asako & Amigo Ultra (Damien 666) vs Titan, Horace Boulder & Genghis Khan (03/20 or 03/25? 1992): This a clipped match but, here is an example of Onita still having "it." This is wild stuff! 5 minutes of 15 shown. 10 minutes of awesomeness missing or 10 of crap?


Onita & Asako vs Sabu & Horace Boulder (04/23/92): Sambo is a roley-poley (rollie-pollie??) or let's say dumpy fat guy. He's not the type of guy you want to go out to the bar with if you're intent on chatting up some birds. He's not much of a wrestler either but, damn he gets the job done :) No rope barb wire match here and we start seeing some the the death match staples but, remember this is 1992. Hot shotting Sabu on the wire, choking him with it & eventually tossing his ass into it- he gets tangled in it much like his Funker match from '97. If you're an ECW fan, this is the era when 'Bu got all the scars. Not to be outdone Onita gets wrapped in the cut wire which is another innovation...of sorts. Mad Onita theatre at the end of this. It's 3:50 out of 14 minutes but, it compelling stuff.


Combat Toyoda vs Megumi Kudo (05/02/92): Toyoda and Kudo are pretty much the ladies division in terms of talent. Alpha & Omega...the other women just aren't that good. So, these two are starting to get some notice esp. Kudo. According to BAHU, she's the #2 draw behind Onita. Just mentioning that to keep things in perspective regarding FMW's growth as a promotion despite Onita using it as a means to an end. Clips again but, man this looked really good. Kudome shows up in a pink princess gown and the Combative One ain't having that sheet. 6:30 out of 11:36 shown and certainly worth looking for in full especially at that run time. Just show the whole damn thing 1992 FMW!!


Onita, Mil Mascaras & Hijo del Santo vs Tarzan Goto, Negro Casas & Giant Warrior (05/15/92): Giant Warrior is a giant waste of space here. This was done in conjunction with WWA whom Onita has a relationship with. FMW's belts are technically WWA belts (but were made up for Onita and have no history). The FMW in Mexico & US shows were done to help promote Onita internationally in the hopes that he could become an international star to some extent. I think perhaps like Tenryu & SWS/WWF. More on this in a moment. This was random fun and very lucha oriented as it was in Mexico. Certainly a dream tag team would be Goto & Casas. It was great to see them actually working together here. Frankly, Mil in FMW in '92 would have been cool. Onita & Mil vs Sabu & the Sheik in a street fight match would be a dream match regardless of ages or ability.


Onita, Tarzan Goto & Hijo del Santo vs Tim Patterson, Negro Casas & Horace Boulder (05/16/92): This is the 'famous ' one as Dave M. saw it and gave it 5 stars. The pairings are much better and the FMW guys are shining through very strongly. I guess that's why this was given such a high rating. This style was relatively unseen in the States especially at this time. I mean think of '92 WWF and then watch this mayhem :D


Santo Jr. & Casas are tearing it up in the ring & the FMW guys are wild on the outside of the ring. There is wrestling madness happening in every direction here...in the ring, off the top rope, in the bleachers, at ringside with chairs etc. 15 minutes of chaos. The pacing was set for a 2/3 falls match too so, it's at a break neck speed. I wouldn't rate this as a classic but, would say it is required viewing of some sort. The energy & intensity are so high for 1992 that's it's crazy to see. A great match.


Now, the interesting part is that this match takes place in CA (I'm guessing LA). It's mainly a Latino crowd but, there are some Japanese fans there rooting for Onita. It's not clear to me if these are people that flew over for the fight or more likely Japanese Americans/exchange students/visitors who are wrestling fans. It's not important in the context of the match. It's more along the lines of where Onita's mind was headed in terms of business. Per BAHU's History of FMW podcast for the first part of '92, SWS wanted to co-op FMW, Onita, and it's fan base in this period. FMW was drawing very very well (much better than SWS). SWS was working with WWF and this in a sense would scratch Onita's back in terms of international exposure/fame and give SWS a boost in the revenue department.


Ok I'm going to stop there for today :) I'm not going to watch/review the Sheik vs Onita stuff for obvious reasons OR Onita vs Spinks...beyond obvious. I will say- watch the Onita & Goto vs Sheik & Sabu Fire Match. It's only a few minutes and is infamous for being the first Japanese fire match AND nearly setting the ring on fire. All the guys had to bail and it was considered a draw within 3 minutes.


For more details and awesome historical insight checkout Steven Ayy & BAHU's history of FMW, first part of 1992 which is my source as well as BAHU's FMW site.







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