Jump to content
Pro Wrestling Only

William Bologna

Members
  • Content count

    144
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Recent Profile Visitors

447 profile views
  1. William Bologna

    Current New Japan

    I would have been more on board with this if the match were better. It's really too bad about the finish. Should have been a bigger moment. Kevin Kelly after White's speech: "A hush has fallen over the crowd!" Nah, man. That hush didn't just get there. Place was dead the whole time.
  2. William Bologna

    Current New Japan

    That Suzuki vs. Sanada match was really something. Sanada's getting better. In their 2017 G1 match, Suzuki kept feeding him babyface comeback spots, but Sanada didn't have the personality to do anything with them. A year and a half later, and he's learned how to be compelling without sacrificing his persona. It's also worth noting that Suzuki is fifty years old, and we're going to have to start figuring out where to put him in the pantheon of great old man wrestlers.
  3. William Bologna

    Tatsumi Fujinami

    '96BATTLE FORMATION 29 days Tokyo Dome April 1996 Tatsumi Fujinami vs Genichiro Tenryu The subtitle here is Battle of Twin Dragon! Half of Tenryu's name is dragon, and Fujinami's always doing dragon stuff: dragon sleepers, dragon suplexes, hoarding gold, killing Beowulf . . . you know, dragon stuff. Fujinami hits two topes early on, and you can already tell that this is one of those matches that benefits from the Dome environment. The roar is tremendous, and it's impressive seeing thousands of people stand to watch Fujinami employ himself as a projectile. Less impressive is the camera work, which completely misses as something goes wrong on the third tope. Tenryu catches Fujinami and breaks his nose, with the result that the rest of the match is covered in blood. The heat takes care of itself from this point. Fujinami bleeds, and Tenryu does a bunch of stuff that he was probably going to do anyway but that's all the more dramatic because of the red everywhere. Face punches, boots to the mouth, acting like a dick, making dick-like expressions, waiting for the ref to stop the match like a dick, being a dick - it's the Tenryu Show. Part of the Tenryu Show, of course, is sloppy execution. His enzuigiri is just terrible, but he does it in every match - it's the Choshu lariat of wrestling moves. He hits a godawful powerbomb followed by a dreadful top rope elbow drop, but it only highlights how invested the crowd is in this as they pop for Fujinami's kickout. Did Tenryu pin anyone with that elbow drop? Maybe Stan Hansen in the post-split Triple Crown tournament, but that's only because Hansen's back stopped working. Fujinami gets little comebacks here and there; the last one starts awkwardly as Tenryu doesn't seem to know it's coming and is in mid-strike when Fujinami takes over. We get a great visual as Fujinami locks in the dragon sleeper and grimaces with blood covering his face. He goes to the top for his shin drop thing and . . . misses, I guess? Once again we have top rope move whose outcome we have to glean from the opponent's response. In this case, Tenryu gets up, lariats him twice, and wins. So I guess it missed. This is the Tenryu Show with special guest star Fujinami's blood, so if you like Tenryu you'll like this. I like Tenryu, so . . . well, I won't insult you by belaboring the obvious conclusion. Fujinami is barely there other than as a vessel for blood to come out of. Maybe getting his nose busted took him out of the proceedings, but he was noticeably less interesting here than when Hashimoto was kicking his ass.
  4. William Bologna

    Tatsumi Fujinami

    95 Tokyo Dome BATTLE7 January 4 Tokyo Dome, 1995 10TH MATCH SUPERHARD SYNDROME・Tag Match Junji Hirata & Tatsumi Fujinami vs Sabu & Masahiro Chono SUPERHARD SYNDROME! Fortunately this match went only about ten minutes. Once SUPERHARD SYNDROME hits three hours you have to consult a physician. To do something about your SUPERHARD SYNDROME! WRESTLING PRIAPISM IN TOKYO DOME! This match's inscrutable subtitle does nothing to explain why it's happening. In this corner we have a couple old guys sporting some suspiciously bulky traps. Maybe I'm a cynic, but when I see a couple 40-somethings whose necks start just below their ears, I assume they've been training really hard together. And by "training really hard together," I mean "injecting steroids into each other and high-fiving." In that corner we have useless, post-injury Masa Chono and a wrestler who is not only homicidal but also suicidal and even genocidal, Sabu. I always thought that was a bit much. It's just wrestling, Sabu. There's no need for any genocide. Why are these two tagging together? Why are they wrestling the old guys? Why does there seem to be a particular issue between Chono and Hirata? I don't know. Must be something to do with SUPERHARD SYNDROME. Chono and Sabu immediately jump their opponents in a manner than can only be described as SUPERHARD, and Sabu immediately starts doing Sabu stuff. He sets up a couple chairs on the walkway leading to the ring and jumps off them to body press Hirata. It hurt that much more because he jumped off chairs. He proceeds into the ring to try something similar on Fujinami, who's being held in the corner by Chono. But Fujinami ducks, and Sabu leg lariats his own partner; to make things worse, he jumped off a chair so it hurt more! Then they put the chairs away and wrestle for a while, and it's not terrible The focus, for whatever reason, is on Hirata and Chono. Hirata's one of those guys who has surprised me in this project, and though I've always I've always Super Strong Machine is cooler than this version, I will say that he's surprisingly expressive for someone who spent so much time under a mask. His lariats are sub-Choshu bad, but he holds his own in there. Sabu does some stuff that tries one's suspension of disbelief, but he does wrestle a little bit. And I appreciate that he has "SABU" written on a piece of tape on his arm so I don't lose track of which one he is. About nine minutes in, they bring out the props again, and you realize that they had just been killing time until Sabu could play with furniture (hitting someone with a chair in the ring in full view of the referee doesn't get anyone disqualified, by the way. Presumably because of the hardness of the syndrome). Sabu puts a chair on the turnbuckle and then a chair on top of that and then Hirata on top of a table and the crowd here in the Tokyo Dome is super hard excited. He drops a leg from a chaired chair and . . . well, shit. It looks like Hirata was supposed to roll out of the way, but Sabu still clipped him. I think the move "officially" missed because just then Fujinami jumps back in the ring, and Chono and Sabu get beaten up. Finally, Hirata and Chono square off. Hirata hits some bad clotheslines, a powerbomb, and a top-rope headbutt but can't get the pin. He comes off the ropes only to be hit with a chair by Sabu. Chono uses the opening to Yakuza kick Hirata exactly once and win the match. Hunter Hearst Chono really Booker T'ed Hirata on this one. I don't know why this made NJPW World, unless being at the Tokyo Dome is reason enough. Everyone except Hirata was either boring or terrible, and it made Hirata look like a chump. It didn't make my SYNDROME any more SUPERHARD than normal.
  5. William Bologna

    Great <10 minute matches

    Man, that was great. I'm guessing Lance Storm didn't think much of it, though. I'd add the second Kawada vs Sasaki match, for the vacant IWGP.
  6. William Bologna

    Tatsumi Fujinami

    94WRESTLING DONTAKU IN FUKUOKA DOME May 1, Fukuoka Dome, 1994 IWGP Heavyweight Championship bout Tatsumi Fujinami vs Hashimoto Shinya One month later, Hashimoto gets his rematch. He's not wasting any time, either - he picks up where he left off in April, jumping the champ before the bell and kicking his ass right out of the ring. He proceeds to kick Fujinami about three hundred times. Fujinami gets a lil tiny comeback and puts Hashimoto in some holds, but he's just killing a couple minutes before Hashimoto kills him. Which is exactly what happens - lots of kicks, a DDT, and Hashimoto has his title back. This was six minutes long, which is not something you expect from a title match; especially in these days of interminable main events and Meltzer giving stars based on mileage as much as anything else. It was a hell of a six minutes, as Hashimoto really brings out the best in Fujinami. His relentless stiffness forces something compelling out of Fujinami, who's all too willing to go on autopilot when he's not being repeatedly potatoed. As far as Fujinami's opponents go, Shinya Hashimoto is truly the Hulk Hogan of wrestlers.
  7. William Bologna

    Tatsumi Fujinami

    1994 Battle Rush April 1994 4 days Hiroshima Green Arena IWGP Heavyweight Championship bout Hashimoto Shinya vs Tatsumi Fujinami This is a title match, but I don't know which one is the champion. For some reason, NJPW World isn't big on showing us entrances. It's been a while since we've seen Hashimoto, and I never noticed how much he looks like Jack Black, star of such motion pictures as Nacho Libre and School of Rock. He's also had quite a recording career as one half of Tenacious D, whose albums include The Pick of Destiny and Rize of the Fenix. But enough about that; it's time for the ring announcer to make the introductions. And this guy is in such a cheesy red velvet tuxedo that he looks like a nightclub entertainer in the hit film Goodfellas, which I still can't believe lost out on the Best Picture Oscar to Dances with Wolves, which Kevin Costner adapted from the memoirs of one of the early Dudley Boys. Our competitors spend some time circling and looking for the advantage, accomplishing little except making Hashimoto jiggle. At the six minute mark, though, they set the tone for the rest of the match: Fujinami commences to slapping Hashimoto in the face as hard as he can, and his opponent responds by kicking Fujinami right in the back over and over. At this point I was marking out like David Arquette and Scott Caan when they met Jimmy King in Ready to Rumble. We get the best Fujinami in this match. As I already mentioned, he's hitting Hashimoto really hard, and then he does a magnificent job of conveying that he's in danger of losing not just the match but also some brain cells and years off his life. He's slumped in the corner and almost out when he mounts a comeback and locks in a dragon sleeper, turning crimson from exertion and trauma. They reenact a couple of those Maeda matches from the 80s - Hashimoto keeps kicking Fujinami, who staggers and falls down. We get a little extra spice as the ref keeps trying to keep Hashimoto off of his comatose opponent, even jumping on his back at one point (this prompts Hase to jump up on the apron and get ref-kicked off - Hase hasn't been having a lot of luck on the apron lately). More kicks, and Fujinami's close enough to dead that Hashimoto can't even pick him up. When he finally does get back up, Hashimoto comes off the ropes to administer the coup de grace only to get caught in a cradle, which Fujinami screws up just like back in the day. He can't get his arm around Hashimoto's expansive waist, there's an awkward pause, and they're under the ropes as the ref counts three. I haven't enjoyed something so much only to be let down by the ending since the 1997 Sylvester Stallone vehicle Cop Land. Hashimoto is just as annoyed and stomps the victor before being peeled off by his corner men. We don't get entrances, but we get to see Fujinami getting a belt and a trophy and a microphone with which he can make a speech. This was great. I can't remember the last time Fujinami looked so good; his intensity made this compelling.
  8. William Bologna

    Tatsumi Fujinami

    NIPPON REGULAR ARMY VERSUS HEISEI ISHINGUN SINGLE SEVENTH GAME (ROUND 7) TATSUMI FUJINAMI VS SHIRO KOSHINAKA WAR went home, so we're back to the phony-baloney Heisei Ishingun fake-ass outsider faction faux invasion ersatz bogus feud. Heisei Ishingun is the Monkees to WAR's Beatles. Which makes Shiro Koshinaka the Michael Nesmith to Genichiro Tenryu's McCartney, Lennon, Harrison, and what the hell Ringo too. As cynical as I am about this, the crowd is at a fever pitch as we head into the climax of a seven match series to decide once and for all if Heisei Ishingun, the Bush to WAR's Nirvana, is better than New Japan (Great Kabuki is Krist Novoselic in this metaphor). The result may surprise you. We're all tied up at 3 following what I'm assuming was a clutch performance from Osamu Kido in defeating Akitoshi Saito (we'll just say he's Micky Dolenz). Fujinami whips off his shirt and away we go. The story they told was that Fujinami kept trying for his dragon-prefixed finishers, while Koshinaka was focused on his opponent's shoulder and arm, which were covered in tape. They told it well, keeping the fans on the edge of their seats during the dragon suplex teases. Koshinaka's anti-arm offense was pleasantly unboring. And they weren't just wasting our time with this stuff, either. The finish comes after some extracurricular activity, as the New Japan team gets so frustrated that Fujinami is enduring a number of armbars that wouldn't look out of place on Chris Jericho's printer paper that a couple of them hop up on the apron. Koshinaka is forced to slap Hiroshi Hase around a little bit, and he follows that up by hitting Fujinami with a sloppy 1988-style powerbomb and then locking in a final armbar. Heisei Ishingun, once considered the Crazy Town to WAR's Limp Bizkit, has proven itself to be the greatest faction in pro wrestling history.
  9. William Bologna

    Tatsumi Fujinami

    FIGHTING SPIRIT '94 February 1994 5 days Sapporo Nakajima Sports Center Tatsumi Fujinami & Osamu Kido VS Akira Nogami & Takayuki Iizuka Nogami and Iizuka have dopey-looking matching tag team pants with fringes on them, and I don't know which one is which. I used to recognize Iizuka because he wore pink, but he traded those in for the fringes; at the turn of the century he was the guy who looked kind of like Dave Grohl who stood next to Yuji Nagata; now he has a metal hand and is in obvious pain when he moves - I recognize all of those guys, but not this one. I couldn't pick Britt Baker out of a lineup either, though, so maybe it says more about me than about these losers. They're really playing up the tag team thing here. In addition to the matching outfits, they do all kinds of lame double-team maneuvers. There's a double clothesline, a double dropkick - they're the poor man's New Rockers! They do all this stuff to Kido and then hit him with a body press, but Fujinami comes off the top with his shin attack, hits one of them (which one? who cares?) with the backdrop into a backbreaker, and puts him to dragon sleep. This accomplished very little other than making Nogami and Iizuka look like jobbers.
  10. William Bologna

    Tatsumi Fujinami

    94BATTLE FIELD IN Tokyo Dome January 4 Tokyo Dome, 1994 Eighth game single match Tatsumi Fujinami vs Hulk Hogan I realize that whenever one of these Hogan matches shows up I'm the victim of my low expectations, but damned if he isn't one of the Fujinami's best opponents. When they last hooked up, back in 1985, Hogan was so good that I had to re-examine a number of my long-held wrestling beliefs. In the US, Hogan was the examplar of style over substance wrestling - a man capable of nothing but posing, someone who needed the full force of the WWF's media machine behind him for anyone to like him. But in Japan, he brings the goods. His charisma is effortless; he doesn't need Rick Springfield to get over. And he's not out of place when it comes to the work - he runs fast, hits hard, and only occasionally looks completely embarrassing on the mat. I realized that Hogan's US work wasn't lazy, obvious, and predictable because that's all he was capable of; it's because he knew that that's what the people wanted. If it's stupid and it works, it's not stupid: that's the philosophy behind Hogan's work in the WWF. And in Japan, the people need to see you wrestle if you're going to get over, so that's what Hogan does, and he's really good at it. Hulk Hogan makes being Hulk Hogan look easy. Examining his work quickly shows that it's anything but. This is a typical Hogan in Japan match. He does all the matwork, and I enjoyed it. It's strange - when he's on the receiving end of the takeovers, he's downright graceful. When he's the one doing the taking over, it's noticeably clunky. But there's some good stuff in here. He and Fujinami do a long headlock sequence that's really impressive Eventually they get up, and goddamn does Hogan have some good offense when he's in the Tokyo Dome. He axe bombers Fujinami onto that walkway leading the ring, and Fujinami lariats them both back into the ring. At one point Fujinami's trying to sink in a sleeper, and Hogan backs him into the corner and just wrecks him with back elbows. These were seriously stiff. Fujinami briefly pretends he has a chance by kicking Hogan in the leg a few times after a missed legdrop, but Hogan hits an axe bomber in the corner and then another for the pin. The (reasonable) criticism here is that Fujinami got eaten up and was merely a bystander in the match. That happens to him a lot, particularly against the iconic champions of 1980s US wrestling. But - and I never thought I'd think this - the Hulk Hogan show is good enough for me. I'm probably overrating this because I saw Jimmy Hart there with his megaphone . . . and he never used it.
  11. William Bologna

    Tatsumi Fujinami

    G1 CLIMAX August 7, 1993 Ryogoku Kokugikan Tatsumi Fujinami VS Hiroshi Hase This was an interesting study in Fujinami working a more modern style. When I saw the roster for this one, I thought there'd be a lot of matwork to endure. That's Fujinami's MO, and I figured Hase would follow the older worker's lead. Instead, we got a very 90s-ish moves-based match. Fujinami goes so far as to take a couple of his old-timey submissions and turn them into moves - an abdominal stretch becomes a German suplex, and a dragons sleeper is turned into some kinda slop drop-looking thing. Hase takes the advantage by hitting two Rocks Bottom (that is the correct plural - it's like attorneys general) outside the ring and proceeds to work on the old man's back. Fujinami regains the initiative by booting Hase in the knee, and then we do sit in holds for a while. Hase hits all his big moves, including a dragon suplex and a northern lights suplex, but he can't put Fujinami away. The veteran takes over with a pair of his own Rocks Bottom (not quite as cool-looking as Hase's but not bad) and gets the win with a deathlock of the scorpion variety. It turns out (I didn't know this until checking Wikipedia after the match) this was the finals of the G1, and Fujinami wins! So belated congratulations, old-timer. I liked this a lot - it's the best Fujinami singles match we've seen since . . . I don't know, maybe Vader? He was in his element working with Hase, who's just great.
  12. William Bologna

    Tatsumi Fujinami

    WRESTLINNG DONTAKU IN FUKUOKA DOME May 3, Fukuoka Dome, 1993 Antonio Inoki & Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu & Genichiro Tenryu Wrestling Dontaku used to take place in a dome. New Japan's 2010s resurgence is great, but don't get carried away with how much they've resurged. I'm sure there's some kind of interesting backstory that explains how these teams came together, but I don't know anything about it. On a functional level, this is the final result of the problem that's bedeviled every instance of this WAR incursion: WAR only has one guy. Who can stand next to Tenryu and main event a dome show? Scan the lineup of in the last three matches in this thread - you don't main event Wrestling Goddamn Dontaku with Koki Kitahara. So it's Tenryu and Choshu vs Inoki and Fujinami, which highlights how much the ring attire game changed in the 90s. These 80s relics are all wearing black trunks. Imagine trying to keep it straight if you weren't a puro obsessive who already knew all about them. It's . . . uh . . . the short one and weird-looking one against the ugly ones - the guy with the perm and the other one with the mullet. It winds up being exactly the kind of personality-reliant New Japan main event that made all the tape-traders love All Japan. It's not bad or anything, but the work's not compelling enough on its own; it relies on you being really invested in these dramatis personae. It's your typical lay around on the mat and then every so often get up and stiff one another kind of match. It's the game Tenryu was born to play, but Fujinami's not great at it - once again he doesn't have the presence to stand out in this company, and he's not one of these fighting spirit tough guys who can get over by standing motionless and trading punches. Inoki, on the other hand, is just great at it. It's really a shame that he spent do much of his career rolling around trying for octopus holds, because even I marked out at the end of the match when he's aiming these deliberate, dramatic punches at Tenryu's face. With his stiff strikes and awful-looking enzuigiri, he could have been the rich man's Tenryu. Choshu just doesn't work for me. I get that he has charisma, that people buy into him. But the highlights of his matches are supposed to be when he lines it up and levels some chump with a lariat, and his lariats are just terrible. They do not look like they hurt, and there's no excuse for it. Is he not hitting guys hard enough? This is a main event in Japan - you can hit them as hard as you want! I guess my advice for three quarters of the participants in the match is: Be More Like Tenryu.
  13. William Bologna

    Tatsumi Fujinami

    Tatsumi Fujinami & Riki Choshu & Osamu Kido & Hiroshi Hase & Takayuki Iizuka vs Genichiro Tenryu and Ashura Hara & Takashishi Ishikawa & Hiromichi Fuyuki & Koki Kitahara 2/16/1993 It's all hands on deck in this installment of the NJPW vs. WAR feud. Fujinami gets top billing for the home team, while Tenryu gets a bigger pop than anyone during the introductions. The crowd is beyond excited for this; they roar every time a new contestant enters. Even Fuyuki. Even Iizuka! Inevitably, Tenryu is the MVP here. He's menacing, well-permed, and hitting people just as hard as he possibly can. But it's Choshu who wins the glory: We get our first fall when Fujinami hits Ishikawa with a couple enzuigiris and tags in Choshu, who lariats him for the pin. The second fall sees Kido (who's just great in this, as is almost everyone else) ( not Hara, whom we haven't seen since 198,0 and who got old in the interim) as the surprise hero for New Japan. He's been pulling out these super nifty armbars all over the place, and one of them takes Tenryu out of commission for a while. Kitahara eats a uranage from Hase and then a lariat and deathlock from Choshu. New Japan presses their power play advantage and wins in two straight falls. This was great. Everyone got to shine, even the pack of nobodies backing up Tenryu. The New Japan guys were surprisingly generous with their opponents, although I guess it's easier to be magnanimous when you're winning in two. Iizuka and Hase did a lot of the actual wrestling for their team, and they were certainly up to the task. Fujinami once again doesn't get treated as a legendary main eventer - he got beat on as much as anyone. But this was about building Choshu back up, and it did that. It looks like we only get one more match in this WAR feud. I'm going to miss it. Programming notes: During my post-G1 wrestling fatigue, it appears that Gedo sneaked in and added a bunch of matches to the Fujinami categories. The good news is that we get some Dick Murdoch. The bad news is that this is never, ever going to end. The damn thread turned a year old on Thursday.
  14. William Bologna

    Dave Meltzer stuff

    Just trying to figure out why you think you know so much about everyone's business that you can summarily dismiss the idea of strategic leaks to Dave. Is fantasy booking contract negotiations a thing? Is that what you're doing?
  15. William Bologna

    Dave Meltzer stuff

    You just restated my premise there, so the answer is yes: They couldn't have leaked that information because that's not how you would have handled their contract negotiations.
×