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  1. This was a strong match in really showcasing the feud of M2K vs Crazy Max that will carry the company for the foreseeable future. It also was interesting seeing how the rudo/tecnico roles shifted immediately with M2K being the skateboard punks and Crazy Max becoming defacto faces. It was done a lot more organically than I would have imagined. I think having someone like Stalker on your side is an easy way to generate sympathy. Ditto for Fujii wearing the comedic wig to get a pop from the crowd when his nearly bald head was exposed. CIMA seemed enthusiastic to be a face as when he gets the hot tag off of a great sequence, he comes firing in and is jumping up and down all excitedly. The finishing run was strong too with Stalker getting some hope pinfalls before being defeated. Really strong opening chapter to this feud overall. ***3/4 (7.6)
  2. A shorter match than I expected but they packed a good amount of stuff into 8 minutes. Fuji was looking strong because he was losing his hair and CIMA maintains his WOTYC status. The finish felt well received in that it kept the narrative that these two are still partners and not even teasing dissension but someone had to lose here. Fuji hits some good emotional moments in the final stretch of the match. ***
  3. THis stipulation is one of my favorite in wrestling and these guys performed it admirably here really going after each other with intensity and hatred to prevent having to go into the apuestas match. I think CIMA in particular was a prick ripping the mask of both of his opponents. We have seen Crazy Max run roughshod for a lot of the 1st half of 2000 so seeing them fail here and having to be pushed into a wager match against each other felt justified. ***1/2
  4. Here we are at M2K vs Crazy Max. Pretty much the feud that really put Toryumon on the map and sustained them for the next year at least. Makoto is in there besides SUWA but the other classic pairings are set up. M2K comes to the ring on their skateboards like the punks they are. Mochi goes through the biggest stylistic and cosmetic change and he looks really good in his interactions with CIMA and of course Fujii. CIMA has a little cut based off the pace and stiffness of this match. I think it was important for M2K to establish themselves with a win and they do that here when Makato gets pin. After the bell, the fight continues showing that this dilemma was far from being over. ***1/4
  5. I kind of keep justifying myself from not calling these Toryumon multi man matches as great because I don’t want to be seen as just blindly loving everything they are throwing out there but it hasn’t happened yet. I was weary of the face side of things here with Tiger Mask and Magnum but they turned in some of the best respective performances of themselves I can recall seeing. Magnum had a lot of energy and didn’t botch much of anything of note. He was paired off with CIMA for the bulk of the match and held his own. The other big thread throughout this match centered around Mochizuki and Fujii and this was great stuff. Fujii is already showing that amazing charisma that he will carry throughout his career and he brings a different edge to the Crazy Max faction that allows for comedic relief while he also is menacing. Fujii ends up taking the loss here and is pissed off going on a bit of a fit post match as the faces cut a celebratory promo to close us out. Loving all of the Toryumon so far. ****
  6. I really hate this gym that M-Pro insisted on running. It feels like we are interrupting training camp for a football team or something to have a wrestling match. This match gets off to a hot start and then Fujita takes control by cranking out the arm. Some really good stuff here of him simply but viciously taking apart the arm. Fujita also does a great job of never staying with anything long enough to make the match drag but the work also feels focused. That fine line is what makes for a good control sequence and a bad one. CIMA fires off going after the leg and he does a good job of still selling the residual effects of the arm work done by Fujita. CIMA does an admirable job working over the leg here too. CIMA gets great air on some of his rope squats on top of the leg. A brutal neckbreaker results with Fujita tied in the tree of woe putting more torque on his leg. The match goes into the finishing stretch and they do an effective job of still selling the damage done before. Fujita takes the strategy of using his leg a good bit but always selling the damage afterward. CIMA essentially had his bad arm as completely neutralized. CIMA gets desperate after taking some huge suplexes from Fujita and hits the referee in “accidental” fashion. Nearfalls really get the crowd worked up and I liked how once CIMA gained control that was pretty much it for Fujita as CIMA is able to gain the victory. Really good juniors action. ***3/4
  7. I'm already in love with Toryumon. I really respect what they're aiming for so much. Yes, there are moments where their inexperience shows, but they have made a real commitment to building their fundamentals, keeping a strong face-heel structure and cultivating strong personalities. They haven't downplayed their great high-flying moves at all, but they've found ways to incorporate them in a way that's most effective instead of just rolling them out mindlessly. Michinoku Pro did this too, but Toryumon has borrowed far more from the American approach to pro wrestling than Michinoku Pro did, and this style is very much distinct from Pro. In fact, I'd say that if this match is any indication, Toryumon was probably the best-booked Southern style fed in the world at this time, and that includes OVW and Memphis Power Pro. The match itself starts with a wild brawl that spills all over the ringside area with an overzealous manager running around everywhere before finally settling back in the ring (Who do they think they are, the Midnight Express and Fantastics?) and working a great trios. You see potential from those involved in different ways, with CIMA looking like the most complete wrestler of the six and Dragon Kid as the best high flyer. Mochizuki looks like he's almost there, but not quite yet. The post-match angle was awesome too, with the manager immediately hitting the ring to help unmask Dragon Kid and commence a chaotic heel beatdown before a tuxedo-clad Ultimo Dragon makes the save, hitting everything in sight with a variation of kicks to clear the ring. Bring on the Toryumon! ****
  8. It is nice that with Toryumon taking a break, we are still getting to see CIMA do some great work in Mexico. Here he is a strict rudo like in Crazy Max and leads his team IMO from a cheating and overall work stand point. Cool to see Super Calo as I have always liked his look. Ciclon showed he still had a little left in the tank in the second fall as he really went after Cerebro perhaps setting up a singles match down the road. I don’t believe I have seen Black Dragon before but he was fine here if not too spectacular. Bombero just wastes Calo with a clothesline after he dances around in a funny moment. Finish is fun with CIMA in a surfboard and when he gets released from that, he slams his neck over the top rope. We get a crowd shot of someone holding a baby in almost the exact same manner as I was holding my newborn son while watching this match. Third fall has more brawling and things opening up. They have done a good job sustaining the heat and the finale occurs with a race back to the ring with the tecnicos making it for the countout win. Sort of a cheap win but one you don’t see often so it worked. Good, longform lucha trios. ***1/4
  9. Just looking at the lineups had me salivating and this didn’t disappoint at all. Fuji and CIMA fit like a glove vs Kanemoto and Otani that it is a shame we didn’t get a long form series between them. Everyone had a chance to deliver here though. Taikawa and Fuji especially had a brutal exchange in the middle and prick Liger being the mentor to Crazy Max warmed my heart. I know he has been stuck in multi-mans but Kashin continues to be not atrocious at all and learning where to pick his spots to attack. Otani is getting a nice push and picks up the win here. Give this a couple of more minutes and a molten Korakuen crowd and you might could have had a MOTYC. Still a great match. ****
  10. Crazy Max are still the biggest bullies in the Japanese schoolyard. This starts with a brutal beatdown on Tokyo including him bleeding which really added a wrinkle into everything and got over the violence. Magnum is able to tag out and TM comes in. A really good exchange with him and Taru culminating in a back kick right to Taru’s face. Then Fujita and CIMA come in and have an even better sequence than that before. One thing I appreciated about breaking up the tropes was Fujita came in again and they teased doing the pairings and stuff until Crazy Max has had enough of that and uses their number advantage to take back over. Magnum is really selling the damage and has wrapped a towel over his head. Magnum’s pride gets the best of him as he comes back in but gets worked over by the CM stable. A quick flurry and he is able to make another big tag to Fujita. This starts the match into the finishing stretch. Big dives for the faces which I appreciate because them getting the shine is a face move and not really needed for the CM stable. Fuji and Mochi continue to battle and it continues to entertain me every single time. That gives way to Magnum and CIMA. I again keep waiting for Magnum to suck but much like HHH, it hasn’t happened so far. In fact, he was for sure the leader of the face side for me in this match just from the sympathy he built up from the blood. Heat is a little off in this match as in Korakuen, it could possibly be a MOTYC for me. TARU’s kicks looked brutal here and even TM is showing some surprising fire getting a nearfall on a Tiger Suplex that needs a Fuji save. Big tombstone to Fuji and a dive for Fujita and now TARU has to save him. Great stuff and shows Crazy Max sticking together even though shit is going awry. Just when the faces look like it is in the bag, CIMA hits his palm strike and a huge lariat from Fuji gets 1, 2, …. NO! I bit big time on that one. A chokeslam from Fuji and Crazy Max prevails again. What a great fucking match to start the month. The long term critic in me could say that this makes Crazy Max look just a tad strong again but knowing that M2K is coming as a way to counteract that has me really excited and it has been a hell of a ride getting to that point. ****1/4
  11. Was happy to see a long form six man between these two teams and it didn’t disappoint. This felt more basic in the heel Crazy Max faction vs. three established babyfaces but the roles were presented well and the match moved along nicely. Tokyo is back with some highlighted hair and he picked his spots throughout and didn’t have any blunders to detract things. Genki was the standout for me on the face side as he was great at picking his spots, taking a beating and kickstarting the final portion of the match with his highspots and speed. I loved how they built to that moment and then the match broke down. Crazy Max is a well oiled machine by this point and this is the best trio they can roll out. Tokyo getting the pin on CIMA felt like a big moment and it was surprising to see given the M2K vs Crazy Max feud that is dominating most things Toryumon by this point. **** (7.8)
  12. Hilarious opening with Stalker and Mochi starting out, CM revving Stalker up and then he gets kicked and pinned in five seconds. One of the funniest spots of 2000 right up there with the best Porky stuff. Theme of match after that had a big focal point on TARU and he probably looked the best he has the entire year fighting from underneath with M2K just swarming on his shoulder. The action was frantic and very enjoyable. Once TARU is able to tag we go to the final stretch which is really exciting. I thought Kanda was a complete dick and Masaaki was excellent like usual. CIMA is able to come in and pick up the win to a big pop for Crazy Max. Helluva fun match. ***1/2 (7)
  13. This is my peak Crazy Max team. They do all the great stuff that I hope. I thought Genki looked a little shaky at points here and it is clear that him and Saito are really young and just kind of finding themselves. Tokyo whiffs on a back spin kick but otherwise looks pretty damn good and his sequences with CIMA were the highlight from a technical standpoint. Fuji continues to maybe be my absolute favorite wrestler in 2000 so far or at least in contention. The comedy stuff he mixes in works and doesn't overstay its welcome and his move set and execution is spot on. I am thinking he might land on my GWE list in 2026. This didn't reach the tip top form of the other Toryumon multi mans but still made me craving more from the competitors. ***3/4
  14. Still loving the CIMA/Fuji team. Fuji and Mochizuki continue their rivalry by just wailing on each other here. KOBE was mainly fodder for CIMA to pick on but he did a good job being the feed man for CIMA’s offense. Crazy Max gets the win and then we get mayhem afterwards with C Max still looking like the most boss unit in wrestling along with Infernales right now. Toryumon keeps chugging along nicely. ***1/2
  15. This the Toryumon I have loved in 2000. I was interested in seeing CIMA in there with the two weakest Crazy Max members and sure enough, Stalker nearly gets rolled up right away. The result was that Stalker took a big beating and tried his damndest to hang on. CIMA bullies Stalker around but he is their buddy to bully around so he takes exception to anyone else doing it and goes after M2K with vigor throughout the match. I thought this may have been the best Kanda and Susumu have looked this year as they were given a lot of chances to shine with their beat downs and double team moves. Kanda is in there for the climax and picks up the win continuing the momentum for M2K. **** (7.8)
  16. This was quite a shock to see these guys performing for AJ in front of a Budokan crowd. This whole card shows how AJ really brought in as many other people and special features they could to keep interest up. They did a 12 minute match which packed a ton of action. This Crazy Max trio is my favorite. CIMA looked like he was out to impress. He takes some great bumps here including one to crotch himself. M2K works over him and before he makes a hot tag he also is able to springboard off the middle rope, deliver a dropkick on the apron and a moonsault. That was amazing to watch. Masaaki and Fuji also were fired up and they are the feature pairing at the end with Masaaki picking up a big win for the M2K faction. Up there with the M-Pro tourning style matches from KDX. ***1/2 (7)
  17. A great final that really was trending towards a MOTYC for me until it stopped. What these two did in twelve minutes were really craft a great story and intense action. CIMA and Liger are the two stars of the tournament so it is refreshing to see them in the final. CIMA using the palm strike which is such a Liger staple against him was an awesome visual and again the young up and comer certainly looks like he belongs and that he is very very close to Liger’s equal. In the end, this was Liger’s tournament to win. This whole tournament makes the Sasaki match even more maddening because how great would this have been for Liger’s momentum if he was coming off a win vs. a top heavyweight and then he grits his way to this victory. As of April 2000, I feel confident in saying CIMA and Liger are two of the 10 best workers in the world. ****
  18. Sano goes into this match with the same strategy that worked vs Sasuke and why not. I really like how CIMA is being presented in the 1994 Great Sasuke role for this tournament as the up and comer stepping up on the big stage but he is a rudo so for instance he will break a submission attempt by Sano by raking the eyes. He will go for not necessarily cheating tactics but rough tactics like drilling multiple strikes into the corner. CIMA also sold his leg damage that was conducted in the early going in a wonderful way throughout the match. It wasn’t emphasized enough by Sano that it should have been completely neutralized but it was bothering CIMA’s mobility and he made sure you knew that. Sano amps things up as he realizes the match is slipping away so he hits a German, missile dropkick and nip up which is a bunch of flash for him in this tournament. He then goes back to breaking CIMA down utilizing a Boston Crab, surfboard, and Indian deathlock. The big bombs then come from Sano with a double stomp, splash mountain bomb and working towards a tiger suplex. CIMA was able to find an opening and run through his finishing repertoire although he is unable to hit the Iconoclasm. After a struggle he pops it off, hits the frog splash and advances to the final. I really appreciated the tonal shifts in this match as they were really assertive. This was a match that really paid off watching the tournament as a whole. ****
  19. April starts off with a bang. Super fun five minute match that didn't feel lacking in any way. I noticed when they did the wide shot that people were still filing in, but based on the heat, you wouldn't know that had they not done the wide shot. This was fast-paced and a total bombfest, and a great way to start the tournament to get people excited about what would be ahead. ***1/4
  20. M2K vs Crazy Max has arrived. This is the first super sized match between the two and Korakuen is rocking for it. It sort of reminded me of the Jumbo and Co. vs Misawa and Co. tag from May 1990 as you could tell the momentum was changing for the promotion and this was going to be the main focal point for the foreseeable future. Fuji gets worked over for a majority of the match and shows some sympathetic tendencies which is different from what he has been asked to do in his career so far. The match has an extended finishing run with a ton of chaos and action. M2K has instituted wanting to have a double countout and they succeed here. I don’t know how long that is going to be acceptable for me as a viewer chronicling this stuff, but it worked here. **** (7.9)
  21. Man, this was great. Crazy Max may be sort of the good guys in the M2K feud but they are still rudo at heart and dickheads here just wailing on TM and trying to unmask him. Fujii does his sumo nut shot that gets a big pop out of me. I also love the assisted giant swing with CIMA landing a dropkick in the end. This was the perfect mixture of compelling action telling a story and having some comedic elements sprinkled in. The Sasuke drama was a little hard to follow but led to a dramatic finale where the real Great Sasuke stood up and did some amazing dives leading to TM obtaining the submission. Awesome match. **** (8.1)
  22. As Toryumon grows in 2000, the new people that are being inserted mainly Genki and Saito here are adding a lot of depth that retains interest of the viewer. This was the best Saito has looked so far with some great strikes against SUWA. We got an abbreviated match but I appreciate the variety of matches Crazy Max has vs. up and comers here, vs their new rivals in M2K and vs the established stars like the Dragon Kid/Tiger Mask tag a few days earlier. ***1/4 (6.4)
  23. The comedy added a nice new facet to this promotion as Stalker has really extended sequences throughout this match and him and Fuji especially shine. I liked how Crazy Max revamped their double and triple team offense to be more comedic as well including the momentum swing into the lowblow via CIMA. A tag that shows you can have fun within a promotion and still produce good in ring action. ***1/4
  24. This kind of felt like a holdover match from the old Toryumon to the new era with the M2K vs CM feud but it was a really good entry into the CIMA as WOTY resume and Suwa being his best tag partner in the Crazy Max faction. They work impressively here as the clear rudos utilizing every advantage they can get a hold of. Between the Suwa singles match and this one, the stiffness that Arai displays is something I did not expect given my familiarity with him in current day. He adds a lot to these matches in a classical junior sense. Dragon Kid was also mostly on point here and this led in nicely to the Suwa singles match coming up at the end of August. The finish was fun with Suwa getting his win back on Arai and reversing a backslide attempt seamlessly into the pedigree. ***3/4 (7.4)
  25. A lot of talent in the ring but the match never came together for me.I think they were trying for a blowaway type spotfest with all action but things felt really clunky and disjointed. Garza in particular had a pretty dreadful night where he was more concerned with dancing than putting together some chemistry with the rudo side. I thought CIMA looked fun vs Liger and that is odd that coming out of this, that was the match I was most interested in. A disappointing way to end the night. **1/2