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Spotlight - FMW 1998 - Part 2

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G. Badger

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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 :P

Keep staying safe!

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