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  1. superkix


    U-STYLE (11/23/05) Katsuhisa Fujii vs. Kyosuke Sasaki Pretty fun opener with Fujii making his return. He doesn't have much in the way of finesse but he's got a good look and dope suplex throws, and sometimes, that's all you need in life. He's so much bigger than Sasaki and just manhandles him with Germans or pops him in the face with catcher's mitt slaps. There's a fun moment where Sasaki tries to German Fujii and when that doesn't work out, he turns it into a pumphandle suplex. Sasaki's able to take him to the ropes with a double wristlock but in the end, Fujii suplexes him for the KO. Wataru Sakata vs. Hiroyuki Ito Sakata has never been one to excite on the mat. Neither has Ito. And although this match-up isn't great by any means, there is still plenty to enjoy, between Ito nearly murdering Sakata with a capture suplex, Sakata grinding his taped fists into Ito's mouth to escape a hold, and the finish, which sees Sakata dump Ito on his head with a dragon suplex and tap him with the single leg crab. Sajata's slaps and body shots are especially stiff in this but Ito doesn't quite bring the same heat. Okay match. Luiz Azeredo & Yasuhito Namekawa vs. Hidehisa Matsuda & Kazuki Okubo Luiz is easily the highlight of this match, as he's full of energy and manages some awesome takedowns early on, including his triangle and a beautiful leg scissors sweep into the kneebar. Both Okubo and Matsuda seem out of their element here, and poor Matsuda's nose gets busted open by a gnarly high knee and/or follow-up kick to the face by Luiz. Some cool moments, especially from Luiz, but an otherwise forgettable tag match. James Thompson vs. Ricardo Morais Dud of the night. James Thompson looks like Mojo Rawley or something. It's obvious these two haven’t had many worked matches and by the end of it, they're both blown out. Some of Ricardo's knee strikes aren't even close to connecting but Thompson's KO knee finish was about the best thing going in this match. Frank Shamrock vs. Daisuke Nakamura This was a blast, with a high energy opening and fun chaotic scrambles on the mat. Just a good, competitive, well-worked shoot-style match. Shamrock was especially good here, between his taunting Nakamura to punch his abs to just deadlifting him with a front necklock. That looked pretty gross. All of his submissions and strikes looked snug. Nakamura, on the otherhand, kept whiffing on his takedowns, which Shamrock would capitalize on, mainly by wrecking the shit out of his ankle. He's able to get a straight armbar on Shamrock but Frank takes the match with a nice heel hook. Good stuff. Toshiaki Kawada vs. Mikhail Ilyukhin Interesting to see an older Kawada in this setting, and Ilyukhin is not stranger to shoot-style. When Kawada is popping him with slaps, it’s great, and then he cracks him with an elbow and earns himself a yellow card. Mikhail whipping him around by the arm was good stuff, and Kawada's finishing stretch was fun enough. Not bad for a under five minutes. Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Josh Barnett Match of the night, with Barnett in beast mode. He may not as quick as Tamura but he uses his size to his advantage and stays on top of Tamura. Him just flipping Tamura over his head by the leg was a great show of strength. After Tamura downs him with a pretty nasty knee to the face, Barnett rages with a brutal uranage followed by a deadlift German. POWERFUL~! Tamura's able to crank on the armbar but Josh is close enough to the ropes for a break. They trade kicks, Barnett plants him with the capture buster but when he tries to double dip, Tamura grabs the armbar again and finally taps him. A super fun David vs. Goliath match-up.
  2. superkix


    U-STYLE (12/7/04) This was actually a super solid show from top to bottom. I'd recommend checking it out in its entirety as there was not a bad match on the card. Manabu Hara vs. Hajime Moriyama The action on the mat was much more interesting here than Moriyama’s previous attempts against Crafter M, and he's also a lot more aggressive. And while Hara is perfectly fine in most of his matches, he seemed a little more “put to the test” here, so to speak - not so much in cruise control. For the most part, he's on the defensive. He gets a nice double wristlock takedown but he can’t lock it in and Moriyama is able to escape out. So Hara rocks him with a combo of kicks and knees, tries a sick rolling heel hook attempt, kills him with the German suplex and taps him with the front facelock. Solid match! Dokonjonosuke Mishima vs. Crafter M Two weirdo grapplers doing their shtick. Crafter makes it hard for Mishima to get a hold of anything - he's like an elegant fish out of water, flopping all over the mat. Mishima pops him with a handstand high kick to the side of the head and his rolling armbar attempt was cute. Some funky holds throughout, which, yeah, makes sense considering the competitors. Crafter's shoot double arm suplex into the legscissors choke was very cool. Likewise, Mishima uses a belly-to-belly to set up a scarf hold. Plenty of close calls with the submissions that builds to a chaotic finish, which sees Mishima using a crossface hold to tap Crafter. This was all over the place in the best way possible. Good stuff. Daisuke Nakamura vs. Kazuki Okubo Daisuke is so quick in this, dropping kneebars, snagging legs where he can, floating over into rear sleepers, trying to keep them locked in backpack mode while Okubo takes him to the corner. Okubo was pretty good here, too, and tries striking to get the advantage but Daisuke was on another level. He hits a nice snap German suplex, and at one point, he distracts Okubo with this little slaps from the front mount before transitioning seemlessly into the armbar. Daisuke throws his own stiff strikes as well, with the high knees and high kicks, and in the end, wins via triangle. Fun match! Alexander Otsuka vs. Hiroyuki Ito Ito’s groundwork is rough but his strikes are always big, and he takes it to Otsuka throughout, busting his nose open midway through the match with a hard palm strike. Otsuka, on the other hand, keeps teasing the suplexes but Ito is able to fight them off. Otsuka's response to the nose busting palm strike was also very cool, as he counters with the headscissors and tries to snap the arm while they're near the ropes. Otsuka as the staggered, bleeding brute is pretty great and he finally comes back, hitting his deadlift German suplexes, cranks him with the front necklock into the DDT, and finally connects with a big slap to pick up the TKO victory. Yasuhito Namekawa vs. Kyosuke Sasaki Very competitive, athletic match-up with some real slick takedowns and transitions from both guys. Plus, some crazy suplex throws from Namekawa but with each throw, Sasaki maintains control over a limb. The strike exchanges are a lot of fun - Namekawa in particular lands a couple of nasty ones, including a kick and knee to the eye socket. Namekawa’s takedown into the double wristlock was also very dope, and ends up winning him the match. More good stuff! Ryuki Ueyama & Seichi Ikemoto vs. Kiyoshi Tamura & Takaku Fuke Super fun main event which gave the younger guys plenty of time to shine against the vets, and they're presented like legitimate threats throughout. Ueyama and Ikemoto are just so quick and spry, making Tamura seem slow at times...well, not really but KIND OF. There’s a fun part where Ikemoto is in the front mount and he and Fuke are just paintbrushing each other with slaps before Ikemoto gets crazy and puts him in a dope indian deathlock choke. The struggle to slow either Ueyama or Ikemoto down with holds is well done, especially the armbar attempt from Fuke. Lots of highlights, although these shoot-style tags never really feel like tag matches. Tamura getting spicy with the kicks vs. Ikemoto was great, Ikemoto's floatover armbar attempt, Fuke's capture suplex into the triangle choke, and the very strong finish for Ueyama as he peppers Fuke with the mounted slaps before transitioning into the calf crusher for the submission.
  3. superkix


    U-STYLE (10/9/04) Crafter M vs. Hajime Moriyama Still a big fan of Crafter M, despite the terrible look. Floating all over Moriyama, grabbing limbs like he’s at a buffet. His hammerlocked leg scissors to set up the armbar attempt was very dope. Moriyama’s strength, I guess, is his strikes and he’s able to take Crafter down after a flurry. Crafter keeps after the legs with some cool stuff, and barefoot high kicks Moriyama in the head. The finish looked rough as Crafter high kicks him, crotch DDTS him and taps him with the kimura. Not a bad opener and Crafter showcase. MAX Miyazawa vs. Yoshinori Oniki At least, MAX was trying...but Oniki stunk. The KO finish was the best part of an otherwise awful match. Manabu Hara vs. Kyosuke Sasaki Perfectly solid match-up with some tight submission work and some nice shoot suplexes from Hara. At one point, Sasaki just stands there and willingly eats a few open hand slaps from Hara, who then follows that up with a deep STF. Sasaki lays into Hara with some stiff kicks in the corner, and the finish was pretty hot, with them just being the crap out of each other - slaps, kicks, knees, and Hara finally popping Sasaki with the face slap for the KO. Alexander Otsuka vs. Tomohiko Yoshida I've always got time to watch Otsuka throw suplexes and work the mat like a beast. Here, he seems like he's toying around with Yoshida. Yoshida's able to stagger him with a high kick to the head but that's about as close as he gets to upsetting Otsuka, who powerbombs out of a triangle attempt and deadlift German suplexes him for the KO. Decent. Yuki Ishikawa vs. Hiroyuki Ito Good stuff here as you've got that veteran grappler (Ishikawa) vs. feisty striker (Ito) dynamic, which is always a joy. Ito lands some nasty knees and head kicks early on, but then Ishikawa does what Ishikawa does best, which is bend and twist on the mat, and spoon up those nasty strikes like a true big boss. He catches one of Ito's kicks, turns it into an Indian deathlock and then grabs a choke. When ito grabs a headlock, Ishikawa dumps him with a backdrop suplex. But Ito is relentless with the strikes, catching Ishikawa with a dirty kick to the face. Ishikawa also lets Ito have it with some open hands, hit the deadlift German and finishes him off in style with a dope submission. I liked this a lot! Ryuki Ueyama vs. Seichi Ikemoto Good stuff, part two. You know you're off to a good start when you've got a pre-bell slap to the face, which leads to a quick, back-and-forth stand up before the action on the mat takes center stage. Very good, competitive groundwork from both guys, with some cool submissions pulled out. Ikemoto is so spry on the mat, flipping every which way for position, as Ueyama is basically trying to snare him in a hold, which he tries with armbars and chokes. But Ikemoto will crank on an ankle when given the opportunity, or roll back into a choke of his own. Ueyama lays out Ikemoto with a quick flurry of slaps, and at the end, he lays into him with kicks and a big KO head kick. I liked this a lot, part two!
  4. This is what you paid for - two of the feistiest going at it on the mat, supplemented with Slappy Kaki's signature slapfests and Tamura landing a few hard kicks to stun Kaki. They really worked and fought for every hold and counter. It really would've been an interesting sight had Kakihara followed Tamura to RINGS, as he's got the agility, strikes and colorful trunks to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Yamamoto, Naruse, TK, etc. After playing a little chess on the ground, Kaki's able to snag a toe hold to send Tamura scrambling. He tries to follow up with a dropkick and misses, which allows Tamura the opportunity to kick him in the head. Tamura's able to avoid the armbar and the spinning heel kick, popping Kaki with face and head kicks in response, but a heel hook takes Tamura to the ropes and the knee bar does the trick as Kaki comes away with the big win. Great stuff!
  5. UWFi tags are rarely anything but decent and this was no exception. Some cool moments peppered throughout but not a very good tag team match. The exchanges between Sano/Severn may have been the highlight. Sano's good suplex fodder as Severn takes him down with a sweet belly-to-back into the rear naked choke. And Sano fighting for the STF was a cool moment of struggle. Takada gets to "shine" vs. Severn, blasting him with a high kick to the cheekbone to open the match and kneeing him a couple of times in the gut to close the match. Nothing special.
  6. What a joy to watch these two dick each other around. Yamazaki sets the stage by attacking Anjo in the corner, and Anjo immediately being the king shit he is by taunting Yamazaki. Whatever negative stigma Anjo has, he's one slick cat on the mat when it comes to turning a strike into a takedown and transitioning into holds. At one point, he takes Yamazaki down into a dope armtrap face crank, which Yamazaki is able to escape out into a single leg crab hold. Of course, Yamazaki is no slouch - I loved his standing facewash to set up the leglock early in the match. But in the end, Anjo takes it by destroying the ankle with a short legwhip and then tapping him with the knee bar. Very good back-and-forth contest.
  7. Decent match-up with Miyato working on top for much of the match, going after legs, kicking, suplexing, armbarring, trying whatever he can to get rid of Kanehara and Kanehara as the underdog is always a treat. Miyato eventually wins with a scarf hold.
  8. Not bad. Takayama’s wild opening minute is always great and sloppy as he forces Nakano to take the defensive with smacks and knees. At one point, Takayama gets hung up on the ropes with a missed kick and Nakanko takes advantage, targeting the leg, and he gets so into kicking Takayama’s leg that he falls down. Like chopping down a mighty oak. Shitty finish with the poorly executed takedown into the half ass submission from Takayama.
  9. As a side note, Sakuraba’s entrance theme is very dope. This was a perfectly solid opening contest. Nelson's one of the better white boys in the company. Nice fireman’s carry and after getting armwhipped, Nelson does a good job of blocking the follow-up armbar attempt. I liked Sakuraba fighting for the German suplex and when Nelson drops down in defense, Saku grabs the rear sleeper. Saku picks up the kicks late game and Nelson goes to down with the rolling leglocks, eventually grabbing one, albeit poorly, and tapping Sakuraba for the win.
  10. Pretty fun exhibition match with Tiger Mask Dos able to show off against then NWA champ and pick up some hot nearfalls off the frog splash and German suplex hold. Steamboat's chops are something else and the fans weren't happy with Ricky "stealing" the victory. Finish wasn't great and lots of headlock action but still worth checking out.
  11. Yeah, this was solid. Suzuki is already so slick here, and the sense of struggle throughout was great. Iizuka fighting for the snapmare, Suzuki working through various armbar setups and takedowns, Suzuki's selling of the leg as Iizuka goes after it in the second half. Of course, this builds to Suzuki's comeback with a sick high corner kick to the dead, that big dropkick, and some neat judo throws. They slap it out before Suzuki hits the armbar takedown>armbar for the submission.
  12. superkix

    Wrestle Kingdom 14

    This would get me back into watching NJPW, honestly. As I get older, I realize I need my wrestling in bite-size fun. Can't do the 30+ minute "modern epics" anymore.
  13. Non-finish aside, this had some very cool moments - of course, it would, considering the names involved. If anything, it's got me pining for a Sakuraba/Hideki singles match, as their interactions were easily the highlight of the match. Them rolling around the mat to start, with Sakuraba still showing off his spryness, snagging Hideki's arm with his leg in a slick counter. Then later, Hideki going nuts with the headbutts and killing Saku with the Robinson backbreaker. Of course, Fujita's lughead in there against Sakuraba playing opossum was fun. Loved Fujita slamming him down and then getting caught with the kneebar when he tries to drag Saku to the corner. The stuff between Sugiura/Fujita is your typical hoss interactions but Fujita's powerbomb looked very gnarly.
  14. Very solid match-up - admittedly, I haven't seen much of Gordy outside of tag matches but he looked strong. Great clobbering lariats, big elbow exchanges with Misawa, and yeah, the blood added a little something-something to the overall struggle. The fans were eating up the finishing stretch - the nearfall off of Misawa's German suplex hold was especially great. Gordy did a good job selling for Misawa's offense, and Misawa's ultimate win felt huge.
  15. Another dope Astronauts match with plenty to love on. Abe getting caught with that open hand early from Sato and his staggered sell. The intensity of the Nomura/Wada exchanges, which leads to nasty slaps and corner headbutts -- Wada's Northern lights suplex is snappy as hell. Loved Sato going nuts on Nomura with the ground-and-pound, and then Nomura German suplexing Sato as he's reaching for the tag. Another neat spot came with Abe catching the double wrist-lock off the German suplex hold by Wada and slickly keeping it locked in through Wada's struggles. His set up to the cross kneebar on Sato before turning that into a legtrap German was also very cool. Fun mix of shoot-style and pro-wrestling with a motivated Sato turning up the heat and Abe getting plenty of time to shine.