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Found 92 results

  1. G. Badger

    Best Match Watched - 2019

    It is that time of year where everyone compiles all of the best and worst stuff of the year. In this case, I'm talking about wrestling and I am no different from every other wrestle dork on the inter-web. I take a slightly different approach than most because more often than not, I don't keep up with current wrestling. So, I can't provide a match of the year (MOTY) or anything like that...even though I saw a couple of ROH matches that I thought were great. I'm pretty sure those aren't ending up on folks lists though Anyhow, I'm doing my Best Match Watched list for 2019 which are the best matches of any year that I've watched in the past 365 days. This probably won't be the longest list since I started the blog since we were moving this year and had to sell our house BUT I've got some matches that I haven't blogged about that I think are worthy contenders so, I might surprise myself. So, to start let's go back to the half way point of the year and recap from my June post: -Hans Schmidt vs Yukon Eric - Chicago Wrestling (circa 1958): Simple, brutal wrestling - the ropes break, part of the ring breaks. Classic shit. -Wahoo McDaniel vs Greg Valentine - JCP (1977): Near classic hard-hitting bout and angle. -Rick Martel vs Nick Bockwinkel - AWA (1984): The in-ring work, the story, this is a classic. -AKIRA vs Kenny Omega - NJPW Best of the Super Jrs. (2010): Another 'not a classic but great match.' -Prince Devitt vs Gedo - NJPW Best of the Super Jrs. (2010): Simple match layout but, the swearing/intensity of this match was lights out awesome. -Finlay vs TAJIRI - Smash - Final Show (2012): A near-classic emotional and physically punishing bout. Fans of either guys need to watch this! -Daniel Bryan vs CM Punk - Money in the Bank (2012): Great -Michael Elgin vs Roderick Strong - ROH Summer Heat Tour (Cincinnati 2014): Classic ROH title fight. -Jeff Cobb vs Ricochet - PWG Battle of Los Angeles (2016): Great match! 12-14 minute barn burner -Zack Sabre Jr. vs Tomohiro Ishii - Wrestle Kingdom 13 (2019): Inoki Strong Style lives! Great match at least but, a near-classic to me. Not a bad list so far...let's see what the 2nd half of 2019 has for us...Starting with Starrcade matches... Jack & Jerry Brisco vs Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood (1983): A great action-packed match. Maybe people don't think that can happen in 1983 here we have it! There were tons of double team moves from both sides. Angelo Mosca is the ref and played his role perfectly. This felt like a real battle in the unreal realm of pro-wrestling! Roddy Piper vs Greg Valentine (1983): A madhouse type of match where they're just wailing away on each other with abandon. So many visually remarkable moments involving the chain...man they just did it right. A brutal and bloody affair. A classic match. Tully Blanchard vs Magnum TA (1985): This was violent from the very start... Visceral barbaric wrestling...this did not disappoint. An all-time classic without a doubt. If this is your thing, go see this match. Road Warriors vs Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (1987): This is perhaps the best Warriors match I've seen. I loved this match- it was all about selling and timing and it comes off beautifully! Near classic match. Ric Flair vs Lex Luger (1988): This is a classic match with a simple story and layout. They never go too complicated in the moves department and therefore never mess anything up. Then, you're riding on charisma and selling in order to get the match over with the fans. Here they truly excel. Flair is a given but, Luger at this time seemed to have even God on his side. Never was I a Lex fan until I saw him from this era. And, man! Did he have "it" for a few years? The physique and the power are on full display and it really seems like Ric is facing his replacement for the 90's in this match. Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara vs Masa Chono & Shinya Hashimoto (WAR 10/01/93): Ten minutes of solid ass-kicking. Hash (IWGP champ) gets on the mic before the bell and talks some trash that kicks off this intense sprint-fight. As much as I love a smooth wrestling match (like above), I love a rough non-cooperative slobber knocker just the same. All four guys use their simple offense and great selling to put on a near-classic match. Don't believe me? Watch for Tenryu's chops on Chono...that should get you going... Tanaka, Kuroda & Koji Nakagawa vs Kanemura, Hido & Hosaka (FMW - Exploding Barbwire match - 09/01/96): Fourteen plus minutes of brutal, dramatic deathmatch wrestling. The fighting was top notch and the barbwire and bomb spots were extremely meaningful in terms of the drama. Seriously, this was one of the best FMW matches and the best deathmatches that I've seen. Classic match and a must-see for Masato Tanaka fans. Hayabusa vs TAKA Michinoku (FMW 11/16/96): Dives, counters, springboard moves, and big signature offense - it wasn't a classic but, dang! It was a great match. Right up there with the Joshi match. Megumi Kudo vs Shinobu Kandori (FMW 12/11/96): Kandori submission attempts and Kudome heart and head drops make this a good match just on paper. Here they throw in all kinds of teases & fake-outs. It made for a really exciting Joshi match (which I haven't seen in ages). Plus their timing and chemistry were fantastic. I would have to say this fits right alongside AJW stuff from '96 and probably better than many of the overlong bouts that Toyota had that year. Strong BJW vs Get Wild (Omori & Manabu Soya) (AJPW 11/29/2011): This is my jam! BJW are tag champs and damn! do they look it here. Omori and Soya can only hope to slow down the juggernaut team. Of course, the AJ team finds a way but, you know Sekimoto and Okabayashi are not going down without a fight! If you're into Choshu/Hashimoto/WAR/Kensuke type stuff then, you must watch this 20-minute RWTL match. It is so simple from a move/sequence perspective yet, the physicality is remarkable. That's what really keeps you hooked and what moves the story along. Matches like this feel like a battle in the true sense of the term. There are ebbs and flows, bits of luck, acts of courage and desperation - This was a classic match to me. Bennett & Taven vs Ciampa & Hanson (ROH Winter Warriors Dayton 2015): This all kinds of chaos! I love this type of stuff A simple story of the bearded babyfaces getting revenge on the shit-talking, good looking heels, and babe. The energy was there, the pacing was there, and everything just clicked. Great match and a fantastic segment if you count the match before. Alberto El Patron vs Roderick Strong (ROH Winter Warriors Dayton 2015): This was a fantastic physical match between two veteran wrestlers. Alberto was going after Roddy's injured arm; hoping to secure the cross armbreaker. Roderick was trying to break down El Patron's body as only he can. The fans were psyched to see this match up and so was I. Alberto, Regal, and Danielson were two guys I would watch in the WWE so, it was great to see the former Dos Caras Jr. in a ring where he could show US fans what he's about. It was a shame they couldn't bring him in for more shows but, I'm glad we got this one. A great match, maybe a near-classic that was everything it needed to be. From ROH - Conquest Tour 2015 - Hopkins MN Roderick Strong vs Silas Young - This is a good match just on paper. You know they're going to hit hard and keep the pace up so, I was confident this bout would get things back on track. And I was not disappointed. This bout felt like a genuine struggle which is much appreciated in 2019. They had answers for each other's tricks & traps and I think that helped make this a great match. In fact, I wouldn't sneeze at anyone who would rate this **** 1/4. Great finish and MOTN thus far. Briscoes vs War Machine - The tag team equivalent of the above match. Physical and surprisingly quick match. Now its not like the Young Bucks were facing off against Jay & Mark but, War Machine hustled like a couple of Young Vaders. Another great match where **** 1/4 would totally be acceptable. Now for some that weren't covered on the blog: Jun Akiyama vs Katsuyori Shibata (Wrestle -1 (not Mutoh) 08/04/05): A very stiff BattlARTS type of match. It was great although its no surprise that Shibata, who based his career on these types of bouts, is now retired. If you're a fan of either, really go watch this now... Sabu vs Rob Van Dam (ECW Guilty as Charged 2000): A controversial choice since most folks on the PWO match discussion archive thought this was just "good" at best. It was perhaps their best single match with one another to me. In that regard, this match was superior to many similar move centric hardcore matches a few years later in ROH and certainly beyond. They did not go for overkill & empty their tanks and that IS why this is a great match. It felt like an athletic competition (in the ECW world) and not moves for moves sake. Now for some I'd only written in my notebook but are ABSOLUTELY worth talking about now: Miracle Violence Connection (Williams and Gordy) vs Misawa & Kawada (AJPW 12/06/91 RWTL Final Match): Holy crap is Gordy intense! The MVC gameplan is to divide and conquer. The Japanese team knows this and make frequent tags and hit the Americans high & low. The trick is to endure Miracle Violence's onslaught though...and what an onslaught it is! Near classic encounter with those little unexpected moments that make this era of AJPW so great. Kurt Angle vs Yuji Nagata (TNA/NJPW Wrestle Kingdom II): Saw this around when it happened and thought it was great but not classic stuff. I re-watched this a couple of months ago and damn was I wrong! This was a freaking intense wrestling match. If you're down for guys working submissions and escapes and selling through facial expressions - this is a match for you. I will go on to say this was an extension of Inoki Strong Style and belongs in that upper echelon. I know more about Nagata now than 11 years ago and understand the nuances of this bout so, I really can appreciate this as puro as a combat sport. Classic match Samoa Joe vs Kurt Angle (TNA Lockdown 2008): I remember the hype for this match and the clips from Impact and the DVD ads and I thought this looked amazing. I was right...took me more than a decade to see it but, it was worth the wait. Like the above Nagata match, this was puro as combat sport. Perhaps even more so as this was during Angle's MMA training/Frank Trigg period, we have a hexagonal cage, and this was around UFC's break-through period of mainstream acceptance with their Ultimate Fighter show also on SPIKE. Anyhow, these two agreed to go stiff where it reminded me of Joe vs Kobashi for a moment or two. Seriously that lariat! Are you kidding me? Add that in with excellent build and pacing and we end up with a true classic and perhaps an all-time must-see classic encounter when you take into consideration their history and the build-up to this battle. This is certainly top tier for TNA and "puro" in America type matches as well as Inoki Strong Style in the 2000's. Samoa Joe vs Austin Aries (TNA Slammiversary X - 2012): Well, hot damn! These guys still have it 8 years after their Final Battle classic. In fact, the similarities are uncanny...is this the same match just 8 years later? No...can't be...regardless they still brought the intensity and I cannot find any fault here. I loved this match and thought it was a classic especially for TNA fans. Magnus (Nick Aldis) vs KAI (TNA/Wrestle-1 Global Impact 2014): This is for the TNA World title and I certainly had my reservations going into this. Thankfully, we get 15 minutes of simple snug wrestling. It felt very similar to WCW vs NJPW stuff in Japan. This was excellently paced, well worked with some stiffer than expected moves, and an emphatic finish. I truly can't find a fault with this match, great stuff. Rush & Dragon Lee vs Briscoe Brothers (ROH TV Summer 2019): This was a PPV level match for free. Jay and Mark still have that crazy streak so this was all action - blood, chair assisted moves, double teams. Plus both teams have a personality which is something I think ROH does lack at this time. (I like Taven but, don't get what they're doing with him btw).A few more minutes and this would have been a classic but, this was a great match nonetheless. Look for this one somehow! SO LET'S ORGANIZE THIS! What is the cream of the crop? I think I'm going to go with an emotional pick and choose Samoa Joe vs Kurt Angle (TNA Lockdown 2008) as the Best Match Watched. The other top 5 matches are classic matches with timeless moments etched into my brain and it took me a long time to rule them out as the top of the top. The Joe vs Angle match plays off my nostalgia from 2008 and watching TNA Impact every week. In that regard, I can legitimately say they are two of my favorites of the 2000's and to see them truly have the all-out war that they only showed hints of in 2006 was an unbelievable pay-off to me. The Nagata match with Kurt was a precursor to the Lockdown match and although that was a classic in its own right, it helped bolster the drama of the Joe match. I don't know if this was intentional or what but, it totally worked on me. I think Tully vs Magnum is a known all-time classic and I don't know what one more person agreeing with that sentiment is going to do for its prestige. You know what I mean? It is required viewing without me saying so I think Piper vs Valentine is a precursor to that match and for that reason should be on your must-watch list. I don't think it gets the love it deserves perhaps because people think of the WWF versions of the guys and think it can't be as intense as people say. I would leave it from the top spot just because its finish cannot match the Tully vs Magnum finish...not much can though! The Schmidt vs Yukon and Martel vs Bockwinkel bouts are ones that I had never really heard of but, certainly deserve more recognition. I understand folks not wanting to go back to 1958 but, I really recommend watching pre-1970s wrestling at least a couple times every year. It gets harder and harder since we get further and further away from it...trust me. The AWA title match with Rick & Nick was one of those things I found online that I just wanted to explore as I'm always trying to find more good "wrestling" from them. I've seen damn near 80% of their ESPN show but, always want to see more of the era before they went out of business. Martel and Bock are two in particular that I was looking for and to see this title match was great...little did I know it would be a masterpiece. All that being said, I go back to my emotional bias for the Joe vs Angle Lockdown fight being the reason I say it’s the Best Match I watched in 2019. I also think it’s probably an arguable match to consider a classic and an objective "better match" than those mentioned above. Thing is I'm not going to argue against that...The point is that the Lockdown match was ticked off every box for me...I was invested in the outcome, I was surprised and entertained, my 11-year-long expectations were exceeded, and I'm a fan of both wrestlers. So, I'm much happier giving some love for a match that many might overlook because of when it was and who it was wrestled for (TNA) than telling you something you already know like with the I Quit or Dog Collar match. OK explanation over Let's do the rest of the year award type things next post. Thanks for reading!
  2. This is the second part in my light exploration into the final months of FMW 1996. This is a very junior heavy section with my review covering a commercial tape focusing on November & Decemeber. W*ing Kanemura vs TAKA Michinoku (12/10): 11 minute good match and a fantastic example of prime era TAKA. The dude was throwing dropkicks from every angle and off everything. And of course its FMW so, you get chairs! The Gladiator vs W*ing Kanemura (12/11, BAHU #43): Oh man this is an odd match but, has gotten some praise over the years. The oddness comes from Gladiator getting his leg stuck in the ropes during a botched dive. That would totally suck BUT he & W*ing play it off so well that you very nearly believe it was on purpose. It does go on a minute too long and it does become obvious there's no way they wanted this portion to last THIS long. Still! Awesome/Gladiator sells the heck out of it (legit leg injury prior so, its some of his better/best selling) and Kanemura focuses on the busted wheel trying to put the dominant gaijin away. So, it makes sense! Of course we get "awesome" offense from Gladiator and the never say die W*ing. The end result is a very good match and the finishing parts are so strong that you almost forget about the rope/leg stuff. Fast forward the rope bits and you'll have a blast. Megumi Kudo vs Shinobu Kandori (12/11): Best match of the tape thus far. Kandori submission attempts and Kudome heart and head drops makes this a good match just on paper. Here they throw in all kinds of teases & fake-outs. It made for a really exciting Joshi match (which I haven't seen in ages). Plus their timing and chemistry were fantastic. I would have to say this fits right alongside AJW stuff from '96 and probably better than many of the overlong bouts that Toyota had that year. Hayabusa vs TAKA Michinoku (11/16, BAHU #31): The first Hayabusa match of the tape and its a doozy! He and TAKA have an NJPW Jr. style action match that shows the little promotions can stack up against the big boys. Dives, counters, springboard moves, and big signature offense - it wasn't a classic but, dang! It was a great match. Right up there with the Joshi match. Great Sasuke vs Hayabusa (12/11): If the TAKA match was the warm-up then, this should be amazing! It certainly starts off that way but, the match becomes "my turn-your turn" in taking offense with no true sense of struggle. The bout was a lot of big moves while I would have preferred them trading kicks, running the ropes, or scrambling on the mat. It was a good match and maybe you'll get more out of it than me. This was a pretty good tape. All the matches above BAHU has put in his top 100 matches of FMW history. Clearly the Kudome/Kandori and TAKA/Hayabusa bouts were the best but, the Gladiator/W*ing bout is worth watching too...especially if you find a file or video for the whole commercial tape like I did. Those 3 are totally worth the time if you're curious or needing an FMW/ECW style fix this fall Thanks for reading!
  3. One day I will get around to seeing all of the great FMW matches, I swear! The following entry is my attempt to cover FMW 1996 as best I can by searching for vids on the 'tube. From my experience, FMW videos tend to get taken down with some regularity or let's say there aren't a plethora of videos available like old AJPW or even W*ING. So what I found and what I wanted to watch from '96 focuses on the later part of the year, August to December. The first collection of stuff is from the Commercial tape Funk Masters of Wrestling which is August & September. This is a really good tape. I just want to say that from the start. This video captures that late 90's harcore wrestling style that FMW and ECW championed. BAHU is the master of FMW and I'm going to put his top 100 FMW rankings next to the applicable matches for reference. Our opinions differ on a couple matches but, I think that's good. You're getting 2 opinions on a match then with that you can decide for yourself if you want to see the bout. Sound good? I'll just review that bouts that I found worthwhile. (I'm also going to abbreviate names where I can) W*ing Kanemura, Bad Boy Hido & Hideki Hosaka vs Masato Tanaka, Nanjyo Hayato & Tetsuhiro Kuroda (Barbwire Street fight): JIP & clipped. This is edited but, this is a sweet way to start off the tape. Double & triple team moves, ladder stuff, and of course guys are tasting the wire. I can't say this is a great match but, its a blast to watch! Tanaka, Kuroda & Koji Nakagawa vs Kanemura, Hido & Hosaka (Exploding Barbwire match 09/01)(BAHU RATING: #42): Fourteen plus minutes of brutal, dramatic deathmatch wrestling. The fighting was top notch and the barbwire and bomb spots were extremely meaningful in terms of the drama. Seriously, this was one of the best FMW matches and best deathmatches that I've seen. Classic match and a must-see for Masato Tanaka fans. Terry Funk, Gladiator & Horace Boulder vs Tanaka, Kuroda & Nakagawa: JIP. This was a very good 6 man tornado tag match that had some nice double teams, saves, and all of that other good stuff you want in an FMW bout. Tanaka takes some real sickening bumps...one is probably the most dangerous Awesome bombs I've seen. This match, although partial, really encapsulates everything weird and exciting about the garbage wrestling scene of the late 90s. (Also see: Super Leather, Headhunters, & Oya vs Hayabusa, Tanaka, Kuroda, & Nakagawa's Barbwire bat & Money on a Pole elimination tornado tag match from this tape as well. FMW had successfully perfected the W*ING/IWA Japan style at this point.) Terry Funk & Gladiator vs Hayabusa & Tanaka (BAHU RATING: #48): The story of Funk in FMW at this point (from what I can gather) is he's reformed the J-Tex Corp with Victor Quinones. Gladiator and other gaijin wrestlers (along with Oya) have joined the Funkster to take over and control Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling. Hayabusa and Tanaka aren't going to go along with that and have to fight for their promotion. This was the 2nd best match of the tape and was shown in full. There were lots of saves and exciting comebacks. It was scratching a greatness but, I only felt it was a very good match. It just seemed to lack enough of Tanaka's explosive offense for my taste...that's not to say he doesn't explode here! Still, we get all kinds of excitement post-match so, you really should check this out. This was a very good tape especially with the classic 6 man deathmatch that all FMW/ECW fans need to see. I'll pick up with the Nov & Dec commercial tape next time. Thanks for reading!
  4. Here is my list of the best matches that I watched this year. Again, this isn't a MOTY list but, is more of a year in review for me AND a guide for folks looking for wresting to check out. So first is my January to May list: Inoki/Sakaguchi vs Thesz/Gotch (NJ 1973) Strong BJW vs SUWAMA/T. Soya (AJ 11/26/11) Onita/Tarzan Goto vs M. Kurisu/Dragon Master [Kendo Nagasaki] (FMW 04/01/90) Jun Kasai vs Takeshi Iizuka (TAKA Prod. 01/28/18) Roderick Strong vs Kyle O'Reilly (ROH 02/21/15) Briscoe Bros. vs Mike Bennett/Matt Taven (ROH 02/21/15) Tomasso Ciampa vs Johnny Gargano (NXT: New Orleans) Kurt Angle/Ronda Rousey vs Triple H/Stephanie McMahon (WWE WrestleMania) Shinjiro Otani vs Masato Tanaka (Z-1 07/31/02) Masato Tanaka vs Yuji Nagata (NJ 03/19/11) Chris Hero vs Big Van Walter (wXw 2010 16 Carat Gold Final) Masato Tanaka vs Daisuke Sekimoto (Z-1 08/02/15) Shuji Ishikawa vs SHINGO (AJ 04/29/18) June 1st to Dec 31st Naomichi Marufuji vs Jun Akiyama (AJ 04/25/18 CC) Sakuraba vs Nakamura (NJ 01/04/13 WK7) Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Masato Tanaka (NJ 08/15/09 G1) Nakamura, M. Tanaka, Takahashi & Naito vs H. Tanahashi, Makabe, Nagata & W. Inoue (NJ 12/04/10) KENTA vs Naomichi Marufuji (NOAH 01/22/06) (I left off 10/29/06 because everyone already knows of that) KENTA vs Kenta Kobashi (NOAH 03/05/06) Misawa vs Takeshi Morishima (NOAH 03/05/06) Misawa vs Naomichi Marufuji (NOAH 12/02/06) Choshu, Koshinaka, Hoshino, Sasaki & Kobayashi vs Super Strong Machine, Hamaguchi, Kurisu, Tatsu Goto & Hiro Saito (NJ 06/26/90 2/3 Falls) Hase & Sasaki vs Koshinaka & Iizuka (NJ 12/13/90) BxB Hulk & YAMATO vs Ben-K & Big R Shimuzu (DG 07/22/18) BxB Hulk vs Shingo Takagi (DG 12/28/14) Shingo Takagi vs YAMATO (DG Kobe Wrestle Fest 2016) reDRagon vs The Briscoes (ROH 05/11/13 11th Anniv. Show) Eddie Edwards vs Matt Taven (ROH 06/01/13) Eddie Edwards vs Kyle O'Reilly (ROH 07/12/13) Michael Elgin, Jay Lethal, Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander vs Adam Cole, Matt Taven & reDRagon (ROH 10/26/13 Glory by Honor XII) see: https://forums.prowrestlingonly.com/blogs/entry/693-enter-the-redragon-part-4/ Kevin Steen & the Young Bucks vs Michael Elgin & the Briscoes (ROH 03/07/14 Raising the Bar Nt. 1) * not yet reviewed* There's a month worth of classic wrestling right there. I'm really not sure what the Best Match I watched is...damn. I go through and think of different reasons I like one over another. OR there's some that I cannot recall as clearly as others. A few of these are known as great or classic matches already so, I won't pick those. I mean, hopefully many of these are matches you've only heard a little about...or maybe nothing at all. That's really what I want to do - expose people to different stuff and let them know that there is really awesome wrestling to be found where others may have said it does not exist. So with that I'm going to pick Eddie Edwards vs Kyle O'Reilly (ROH 07/12/13) as the Best Match Watched. Frankly, I'm pretty strong on that point even without those qualifiers. Some may not like it just because of the participants or the company. OK that's fine. Others may see it derivative or formulaic but, I disagree. I feel it builds off of classic styles and encounters while adding its own flair. Plus it tells a great story, is excellently performed, intense as hell, and I just love that finish. It's really quite perfect in my book Recency bias is totally acknowledged. Before I move on, I'm going to hype up Masato Tanaka here Shinjiro Otani vs Masato Tanaka (Z-1 07/31/02), Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Masato Tanaka (NJ 08/15/09 G1), Nakamura, M. Tanaka, Takahashi & Naito vs H. Tanahashi, Makabe, Nagata & W. Inoue (NJ 12/04/10), Masato Tanaka vs Yuji Nagata (NJ 03/19/11). DAMN SON! Now let's see who gets cheers and jeers: Standout Wrestler: Daisuke Sekimoto, Atsushi Onita, Masato Tanaka, Shingo Takagi, Naomichi Marufuji, Eddie Edwards, Jay Lethal, The Briscoes, reDRagon, Roderick Strong, The Young Bucks The Winner: Tanaka had the early part of the year for sure. Eddie Edwards has the very end with his re-invigoration of the GHC belt and 2013 ROH matches. The winner is Naomichi Marufuji though. The 09-10 NJ Jr. stuff was pretty great but, along with Shingo, he stole the show at the 2018 Champion Carnival. What put him over the top was his 2006 in NOAH. From his start with KENTA in the 01/22 to the amazing title fight vs Misawa, 2006 was Marufuji's. He may not have the quantity of classic matches that Tanaka accrued this year but, he had his share along with a bevy a great ones with a variety of opponents in different promotions and years. Probably not a popular pick again but, I know what I saw and the dude killed it. Surprise of the Year: Early FMW Onita, SHINGO & Marufuji and the 2018 Champion Carnival, 2010's ROH, Yoshi Yatsu in 87-89 AJPW, WWE 205 Live, digging WWE Women's division. Finding out the greatness of YAMATO, Matt Taven & Togi Makabe. Akira Taue still had it in 2006 as he knew how to play his older broken down/comedy character but still be aggressive and serious when called upon (similar to 1989 Giant Baba). Realizing that '89-90 JCP/NWA Muta was awesome especially when considering his 90's NJ stuff. Weekly ROH TV reminding me of WCW Worldwide in a good way. The Winner: The Maufuji pick is kind of the Surpise of the Year because I really did not think that going into this post. But, overall - I'm going to say Early FMW & Onita. Onita and FMW were some of my first experiences with Japanese wrestling but, to circle back around 20 years and find something really awesome was a heck of a surprise. Not only were the matches a blast (no pun intended) but, finding out about the history was really interesting as well. The late 80's and early 90's are a really neat time & place to visit in Japanese wrestling and FMW at that time should not be missed. Favorite Project: FMW 89-92, Post ECW Tanaka, Hayabusa in AJPW, NOAH 2006, reDRagon/2013-14 ROH, and NJ vs CHAOS in 2010 The WInner: CHAOS vs NJ because I never heard anyone talk about it despite it scratching that old school night in-night out feud itch. It was so much fun to watch these house show matches that felt like Jumbo vs Misawa, or M-Pro vs Kaientai DX.I gained a lot of respect for Tanahashi here and found something from the NJ 2010's that I could wholly dig! Disappointment of the Year: Munenori Sawa in wXw 2010 could have been better, Brock vs Roman at WM, Nakamura...Ballshot Expert, Kobashi vs Marufuji '06, American Wolves vs reDRagon not living up to its potential save Edwards vs O'Reilly The Loser: Wolves vs DRagon because it was THE reason the Wolves re-united and reDRagon was formed but, it felt too much like WWE or TNA than ROH. Or at least the ROH I was used to. It was inconsistent and did not feels as big & epic as ROH was making it out to be. ReDRagon would go on to be so much better without the Wolves feud. Never got around to: Getting deeper into FMW past 92- the two big Youtube channels that had a ton of FMW footy were removed so that was a big blow to that project. 2010's NJ Jr project- I wanted to look into the phenomena that got the NJ hype train going - Apollo 55 & Golden Lovers. This is something I do want to get around to soon. Looking forward to watching in 2019: David Starr, Jonathan Gresham, getting back to 2010's AJPW, 88-90 NJ/AJPW (my massive DVD set is still waiting), more ROH & PWG from 3-5 years ago Also, want to check out early 80's Gran Hamada pretty soon here. Thanks for reading! I hope I gave you some ideas! Happy New Year
  5. I've been a life long fan of wrestling and comic books. The only time I faded from both was in college. Beer, skateboarding and school work took the driver seat during those years. Now that I'm older with no more parties to go to, no more tests to study for and a bad back that allows 1-2 hours of skating a week, wrestling and comics are my go to source of entertainment. Surprisingly, it's rare for these two mediums to mix however. I'm sure we remember the awful WWF tie-in comics from the late 90's and 2000's. I know Undertaker & Kane had one or two mini-series, ugh. Aside from that I'm not sure what else is out there from the US. I know Love & Rockets feature ladies wrestling from time to time but, I've never picked it up. I don't think it's too much of a focus. The Tiger Mask manga seemed like an option but, availability is an issue. So what else is out there? And is it a quality product? Andre The Giant: Closer To Heaven by Brandon Easton and Denis Medri (which has a similiar speed, style and approach to the subject book) was the first title I found that seemed to really nail the action of wrestling while catering to a "smart" audience. It presented wrestling and its story as something deeper than ironic indulgence or the subject of farce. Since, then, I've not really seen anything like it. That is until I stumbled upon The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling by Sitterson & Moreno. It's a 200+ page overview of the global pop cultural phenomena that is pro wrestling. It's scope covers the 1880's to present day (or at least the high points). It goes fast but, it does a really good job of getting the information across in a focused yet, fun & energetic way. The conciseness is really due to the amount of promotions & personalities it attempts to cover. (See the image of the map of territories. This was the selling point to me.) They very easily could have blown by the NWA territories, the international scenes, and just covered the 1980's US to present with a focus on Turner vs WWF/E to present day. That would have been cool but, not for me. The best way I can summarize is by sharing my thoughts on the Puroresu chapter since this is, generally speaking, a Puro blog Chapter Six: Puroresu, Strong Style and King's Road This chapter, like the others does an excellent job hitting the high points of pro-wrestling history. Just when you think the book will stop at a certain point or topic, it takes it one step further. For instance, it would have been perfectly acceptable to cover Rikidozan, then JWA with Baba & Inoki eventually splitting then time warp to 2010's NJPW explosion. But the authors take the time to explain the difference between King's Road and Strong Style. Furthermore, they go on to show how they've changed throughout the years. They say there is some overlap between the two and how puroresu is truly a hybrid style borrowing the "best" bits from all over the globe and how the world has now borrowed from them. Another 'above and beyond moment' was the inclusion of FMW and the deathmatch/hardcore style. In 2018, Onita and his crew have become sort of a blip on wrestling history radar (like Michinoku Pro who are not included other than by logo and Great Sasuke mentioned for the '94 Super J Cup). So it was awesome to see them along with the killer action panels of Onita eating the wire and Hayabusa Falcon Arrowing Mr. Onita. Double Plus bonus, it goes on to Joshi (if only mentioning AJW in any detail) but, never did I think I'd see Aja Kong, Kyoko, Bull et al in ink. Now, I cannot say that anything brand new is presented besides Sorakichi Matsuda immigrating to the US in the 1880's and wrestling then, returning back to Japan with hopes of introducing pro-wrestling... Well, I mean that IS pretty new to me BUT it's only 1 page And perhaps that will give you the idea of the pacing of the book. Each page could be it's own comic (AND I would love to see that) but things move rather quickly. The 4 Pillars of AJPW get a box on a page, we get a Burning Hammer box, the 3 Musketeers get another box with Muta getting a nod in a box, etc. Who wouldn't love to see a whole comic devoted to the feuds of Misawa for instance? This is not that book though...Admittedly, as wrestle dorks, we love this kind of stuff, right? I hope that helped give you a better idea. Generally speaking, it is well written, informative (especially the older stuff), and penciled, inked, & colored very well. It's not Jim Lee or top art but, it fits a non-fiction documentary type book. The simple style fits the tone perfectly and the color make the action pop off the page. Both do an excellent job creating a relatively linear historical narrative by linking the big personalities to smaller, yet equally important people. They show the development of wrestling through the ages without getting side tracked or kissing butt. Kudos! If you're getting into wrestling (especially beyond the WWE stuff) and want a fun way to dig deeper then, this is an awesome option to get you started. If comics aren't your thing or you JUST want the historical info then, save your money. I'm sure this is all available in plain black & white text online. If you are a longtime comic fan & wrestling fan though, you should get this book without a doubt By the way, I'm not associated with the authors/publisher and haven't been compensated, asked to review this book or any shit like that. Thanks for reading!
  6. This post is all about surfing Japanese YouTube channels and going off video thumbnails. What a find! Kuniaki Kobayashi & Shiro Koshinaka vs Masashi Aoyagi & Akitoshi Saito (03/09/92): Keep an eye out for Too Cold during the entrances. Koshinaka & Saito engage in a fierce stare battle before the bell. Already this is good! Saito looks like a villain from a Jean Claude flick- Lionheart 2: Bloodsporting Kickboxer. This thing starts and Karate takes over quickly. This is tornado tag rules- something we just don't get enough of nowadays. Kobayashi tears Aoyagi's gi like dollar store kleenex- fuck your traditions! Koshi & Saito are going at it as well. Anyone who thinks Shiro's hip attacks are lame needs to get a load of him here. He destroyed Akitoshi 's face. This is some fast & loose brawling. Kuniaki goes straight berserk at the end. Holy cow! The ref is checking on Saito and there's a stoppage. But it ain't done yet! This is chaotic as all get out! Very good to great match even. You gotta see this if you are fans of these guys. A very early FMW vibe here. If this were only 1 match, it'd be OK but, then we get: Akitoshi Saito vs Kuniaki Kobayashi (04/30/92): After the entrances, Sensei Aoyagi is in ring, suited up (literally), with a really old looking wooden board or tablet. Perhaps it is significant to he, Saito, or their dojo??? It appears that Koshinaka & Kuniaki have an envelope. I'm going to wager a guess that they're putting these things up as stakes. Winner takes all. I'd rather win the envelope...its probably cash or like nudie pics of their girlfriends or something. What are ya gonna do with an old board? Make a paint shelf in your garage? Nevertheless, the crowd is hyped & the intensity is like the midday sun. Let's do this! The fighting is downright brutal- Sickeningly stiff! Saito is bleeding again- blood splatter on his gi, blood splatter on the camera lense! This is how you do it! Saito is hanging in there but, Kobayashi is like a demon. A karate kid throws in the towel but, immediately Aoyagi smacks him and calls bullshit! The fighting continues. Yes! This is not slick pretty wrestling. It is grisly uncooperative wrestling-as-combat. Double plus respect to both dudes. Great match And finally... Shiro Koshinaka vs Masashi Aoyagi (05/01/92): Aoyagi wants that board back!!! They are at each other like two angry dogs- face kicks, punches, elbows, Koshi channeling Dr. Death backdrops etc. Aoyagi channels...shit, I dunno...Aoyagi? But the fucking gi comes off! Another great match to me. I don't wanna spoil anything. You gotta see all three!
  7. G. Badger

    The Big 100

    This is my 100th blog post! Yay! So, I wanted to make it about something special. An overlooked wrestler, a series of great matches, or something like that. Of course that would take me starting from scratch and I’m just a little busy with my day job & life-things to deep dive into a theme. Damn you Go Shiozaki and Youtube for taking me down a path unfit for this milestone post. So, instead I decided to offer 100 tidbits to you the reader. What’s funny is that I thought it would be a time saver but, in fact it took a shit load of time. I probably could have watched 3-4 matches and gotten a review for each in the time it took me to scribble down & cross out my choices in my notebook. Then, I had to type them out! What a dummy! I’ve got some top 10 and essential viewing lists but, these are by no means comprehensive. Somethings were omitted intentionally and others were omitted due to ignorance. I’ve seen a good bit of stuff but, not everything J Plus most are not in a particular order. “So, what F-ing use are they then!?” you say? Yeah, um see…it’s more like that’s the order that I thought of them in OR they’re chronological. The lists are almost like a peek into my wrestling brain. It’s a little rough and a little hazy at times but, hopefully, it gets you watching, reading, or thinking about different stuff. Who I watch out for when Youtube Surfing: 1. Los Cowboys (Silver King & El Texano) – Well-travelled team always get the best out of their foes. 2. The Headhunters – Agile big men always down for mixing garbage/hardcore wrestling with highspots 3. Togi Makabe – “Newer” guy brings old school flair, intensity, AND stiffness 4. Masashi Aoyagi – Karate man constantly kicking people and stirring shit up 5. Shiro Koshinaka – 100% effort and charisma wrestler, a utility man who can shine in all settings 6. Masahiro Chono- Trained by Thesz & Inoki, charismatic and believable despite limitations 7. Masa Kurisu – AJPW trained, got kicked out of FMW- yeah that’s right… 8. Kendo Nagasaki – AJPW and Stampede pedigree, early FMW and started BJW 9. Tarzan Goto – Notice a pattern? 10. Jun Kasai – Comedy, violence, sound wrestling ability, death defying leaps, and charismatic to boot! Iconic Bumps or Moves: 1. RVD’s somersault senton from the top turnbuckle into the crowd versus Bam Bam Bigelow 2. Kawada taking Tiger Driver ’91 on 06/03/94 3. Masato Tanaka taking an Awesome Bomb through a table to the floor with enough momentum carry his head and neck underneath the guardrail. 4. Jun Akiyama riding Akira Taue’s skull off the apron on 01/22/06 5. Kawada getting German suplexed by Kobashi while ‘KO’d’ on 12/03/93 6. Inoki getting German suplexed by Vader, 01/04/96 7. Mr. Danger Matsugnaga’s somersault senton onto his opponent in a Barbwire Net Scaffold match (BJW 98?) 8. Onita shouting “Thunder-Fire-Power-bomb!” as he delivers said move to Hayabusa in the ’94 Cage retirement match 9. Sabu wrapping his legs in barbwire and then Leg dropping Terry Funk at Born to Be Wired, ECW 10. Akira Hokuto doing maybe the 1st reverse frankensteiner to Toyota, all dangerous joshi style too 09/02/95 Most Brutal Joshi Matches: 1. Lioness Asuka vs Yumiko Hotta 03/26/95 AJW 2. Yumiko Hotta vs Aja Kong 01/24/94 AJW 3. Aja Kong & Bison Kimura vs Grizzly Iwamoto & Bull Nakano 08/19/90 AJW 4. Aja Kong & Kyoko Inoue vs Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda 08/09/97 AJW 5. Akira Hokuto vs Manami Toyota 09/02/95 AJW 6. Manami Toyota & Toshida Yamada vs Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki series (92-93) AJW 7. Akira Hokuto vs Shinobu Kandori (April & December 1993) AJW 8. Megumi Kudo vs Combat Toyoda 3/31/96 FMW 9. Crush Gals & Ogura vs Dump, Leilani Kai & Crane – 2/3 Falls (Mid 80’s?) AJW 10. Manami Toyota vs Karou Ito 08/09/97 AJW Most Brutal Men’s Matches: 1. Sabu vs Sandman – Stairway to Hell match 1998 ECW 2. Jun Kasai vs Takashi Iizuka – Deathmatch TAKA Produce 2018 3. Kobashi vs Misawa 10/21/97 AJPW 4. The Rock vs Mankind - St. Valentine’s Day Massacre 1999 WWF 5. Cactus Jack vs Terry Funk – Duel of the Wilds 1995 IWA Japan 6. There’s some Tarzan Goto glass deathmatch in BJW 1998 or 99 where he carves a notch into Ono’s (I think) arm with a shard of glass. 7. Headhunters Glass Deathmatch 1995 IWA Japan 8. Masakatsu Funaki vs Tatsuo Nakano 08/24/89 UWF 2nd Stage 9. Onita’s main events in FMW (89-92) 10. Terry Funk vs Sabu Born to be Wired 1997 ECW ECW Memorable Moments: 1. First time the Dudley’s did the Flaming table 2. Seeing Super Crazy vs Tajiri vs Travelling Luchador or Japanese Jr. vs Spike vs Little Guido vs Jerry Lynn every week 3. The “Catfights!!!!” 4. New Jack jumping off the back of a raised basketball hoop backboard through a table 5. Balls & Axl’s chair shots that bent the seats 6. Taz vs The Franchise rematch on TV where Franchise gives this speech about giving the fans a good match and sez ‘whaddaya say Taz?’ Taz, stern as ever, mutters in the mic “Ring the fucking bell…” Aw shit! That was killer!! 7. Sabu’s entrance music 8. New Jack playing Natural Born Killaz throughout every match. Also him hitting people with household items like NES’s and Sweepers 9. Um…Born to be Wired…seriously, it blew my mind. 10. Being able to watch ECW 2-3 times a week (our channel would rebroadcast Hardcore TV) with my Dad during my crappy High School years. It was the perfect escape for me J Favorite Moves in WCW vs The World PS1 Game (sorry I’m in High School mode right now): 1. Top Rope Powerbomb 2. Steiner Screwdriver 3. Tiger Driver ‘91 4. Akira Maeda’s Capture Suplex when countering an opponent’s kick 5. Jumping DDT (Onita’s DDT) 6. Western Lariat (the best its ever looked in a video game…for reals) 7. Mil Masacara’s Headstand leg scissor takedown 8. Throwing German Suplex (Rick Steiner style) 9. Shinzaki’s Asai Moonsault where he’s praying mid-moonsault! 10. Hayabusa’s Firebird Splash (or whatever that animation is!) Honorable Mention: All strike combos that end in that cool KO animation J Essential 80’s NJPW: 1. Tiger Mask vs Dynamite Kid 01/28/82 2. Maeda vs Fujinami 06/12/86 3. Koshinaka & Muto vs Maeda & Takada 03/20/87 4. 5 on 5 match 09/16/87 OR Hase vs Takada 03/11/88 (tie for me) 5. Inoki vs Fujinami 08/08/88 Essential Misawa vs Jumbo Feud AJPW: 1. 06/08/90 2. 09/30/90 3. 10/19/90 4. RWTL 12/07/90 5. 04/20/91 Other Essential Joshi: 1. Lioness vs Jaguar Yokota AND Chigusa vs Devil Masami 08/22/85 AJW 2. Crush Gals & Ogura vs Dump, Leilani Kai & Crane – 2/3 Falls (Mid 80’s?) AJW 3. Chigusa vs Lioness 02/26/87 AJW 4. Fire Jets vs Marine Wolves 1989 Tag League (?) 2/3 Falls AJW 5. Plum Mariko & Devil Masami vs Chigusa & Cuty Suzuki (11/18/93) JWP 6. Toyota & Hokuto vs K. Inoue & Yamada (both matches) 12/10/93 AJW 7. Ozaki, Plum & Cuty vs Dynamite Kansai, Devil & Chigusa - 2 Count match 01/1994 JWP 8. Bull Nakano & Kyoko Inoue vs Manami Toyota & Aja Kong 03/03/94 AJW 9. Aja Kong & Akira Hokuto vs Yumiko Hotta & Dynamite Kansai 08/24/94 AJW (24 years ago!?) 10. Manami Toyota vs Aja Kong 11/20/94 AJW Essential Independent or Other Promotions of the 1990’s: 1. Onita & Tarzan Goto vs Kurisu & Dragonmaster Kendo Nagasaki 04/19/90 FMW 2. Onita vs Goto 02/26/91 FMW 3 Tenryu & Ishikawa vs Hashimoto & Choshu 04/02/93 WAR 4. The Headhunters vs Miguel Perez Jr. & W. Kanemura – Barbwire Cage Match 05/09/93 W*ING 5. Captain’s Fall Barbwire Bunkhouse Match 08/29/93 W*ING 6. Jinsei Shinzaki vs Great Sasuke 04/29/94 Michinoku Pro 7. Sasuke, Gran Hamada & Delfin vs Dick Togo, Men's Teioh & Shiryu 11/12/96 M-Pro 8. Sasuke, Hamada, Super Delfin, Gran Naniwa & Yakushiji vs. Togo, Men's, TAKA, Shiryu & Funaki 12/16/96 M-Pro 9. Yuki Ishikawa & Mohammed Yone vs Daisuke Ikeda & Ikuto Hidaka 06/20/99 BattlARTS 10. Ishikawa vs Ikeda 07/29/99 BattlARTS Projects I’m Really Going to Get To in the Next 3 Months: 1. Pick back up AJPW Classics 1989-90 (I’ve got a DVD set thick enough to stop a .22) 2. Focus on AJPW 2011-2015 DVDs 3. Assorted ROH & PWG DVDs from 2014 to 2016 along with some Young Bucks in PWG 4. Looking at some NJPW 1990 tag’s I’ve been wanting to see for YEARS 5. NJPW 1988 – couple discs of some goodies I keep putting off 6. Momoe Nakanishi DVD that I just can’t seem to remember that I have 7. NOAH 2007 – A small sampling, me thinks 8. I’d like to get into 95-98 FMW but, my two big YT sources have been shut down. I’ll scrape through perhaps. 9. I’ve been getting the urge to watch early 80’s AJ & NJ along with whatever AWA stuff I can find 10. More 2010 NJPW multi-mans, tags , and Jr. matches Thank you very much for reading!!
  8. G. Badger

    Spotlight: FMW Late 1992

    Ok so the 2nd part of 1992 is not that chock full of stuff. The first half seemed like it was but, much of the year is left to handheld stuff which is not online in the free kind of way. The rest is clipped by the FMW World of F volume #3. We do have the 3rd Anniversary show on 09/19/92 commercial available. Here is the card and you tell me...if you want this in full... Kevin Faule & Chris Jericho vs Eiji Ezaki & Koji Nakagawa Eriko Tsuchiya & Miwa Sato & Kumiko Matsuda vs Rie Nakamura & Victoria Kazumiya & Yumiko Komatsuzaki Sabu v Shoji Nakamaki Amigo Ultra & Ultramancito vs Valtanian 1 & 2 Loc Matrere vs Katsuji Ueda Big Titan & The Gladiator & Horace Boulder vs Sambo Asako & The Great Punk & Ricky Fuji *Stretcher Match* John Tolos v Killer Kowalski Bull Nakano & Akira Hokuto vs Combat Toyoda & Megumi Kudo Tarzan Goto & Gregori Veritchev vs Leon Spinks & Brian Sayodill Atsushi Onita v Tiger Jeet Singh *No Ropes Exploding Barbed wire Death Match* Yeah, I wasn't too into this show either. Onita = FMW so the card as a whole was never a big concern. The importance of the show is that we see the match that started the interpromotional era in Joshi! Whoo-hoo! I'll get to that in a sec. This is not all in a bubble though. Remember, we've got W*ING in Japan now. It's very clear that although FMW and W*ING are considered to have two separate small but, loyal fanbases...FMW took a talent hit by losing Victor Quinones and his connections. Being a W*ING fan as well, I can say Mr. Pogo, the Headhunters, Miguel Perez Jr. all would have greatly helped Onita & co. out. The tag division became more of a focus in FMW as they had enough workers to actually HAVE a division (see Dec. FMW Street Fight Tag Tag Team Tournament). Sure, it was a way to make Onita look stronger but, eh old man Sheik (who I am a big fan of in the 70s) and Tiger Jeet Singh isn't that appealing to me. This potential for the greatness is very apparent when it was clear how awesome FMW could be by late '91 and the Mexico/USA matches in mid May with just a couple of fresh faces. Ok onto the Joshi! AJW vs FMW! Akira Hokuto & Bull Nakano vs Megumi Kudo & Combat Toyoda (09/19/92): This was clipped to 6 minutes from 14 minutes. I call bullshit but, there's a handheld available. Probably from way back in the seats or down low since this was outside in Yokohama Stadium for the explosions. What we do see on the commercial release is pretty damn good (and well spliced!). It's pretty much all the fast paced highlights. Bull & Akira knock fuck outta the FMW gals but, like Onita they show that never say die attitude. Very enjoyable and recommended stuff. Per BAHU & Steve Ayy's FMW podcast, some AJW girls were considering jumping to FMW's women's division. Of course that didn't pan out but, is probably the catalyst for the AJW owners OKing the interpromotion stuff to keep them happy as well as rake in the bucks. I was going to put a fork in '92 but, I couldn't give up all the way back in Sept. especially when late November and early December does have the Street Fight Tag tourney. It's all clipped matches but, some pretty good. Oh, they take the Street Fight stuff seriously as they're all in street clothes...jeans, tees, etc. These are the one's I wanted to watch: Onita & Veritchev vs Tarzan Goto & Big Titan (11/27/92): Even Greg the judoist or samboist is in street clothes. This is pretty vicious and fast paced but, that's clipping for ya! Onita's bulldogs on Titan are insane! Greg even's off the top rope. What!? Unexpected finish too. 5 minutes of 12:30. Onita & Greggy V. vs Sabu & Kareem Sudan: That Kareem guy is a Abdullah the Butcher clone...no for real. Like he might as well be Abdullah II. Greg & Sabu have a nice sequence of sorts. Goto & Titan vs Gladiator & Horace Boulder (12/07/92): Clipped Mayhem! This looks like the craziest shit ever due to the cut & paste job. Seriously...tables, chairs, fighting amongst the fans, off the ropes, dives...It looks like the last minute or two is show unaltered. 4 minutes of 6:52 shown...c'mon just show the whole thing, right? Onita & Veritchev vs Goto & Big Titan (12/07/92): Tournament finals here and they are a no-rope barb wire and barb wire board (on the floor) match. Good start but, the faces get like 2 offense moves in here. I'm waiting for the Big O headbutt-DDT comeback from nowhere but, it never comes! Like wha!? really? Clever finish but, 6 minutes off about 11 are shown. It's from the same night as above so, it's allowable. I could see diggin' this in a commercial tape format. Onita theatre after the match with the Wild Thing cover playing as the video goes slo-mo and in black & white for that added mother fucking drama. O-NI-TA! It's a suitable close to the year of '92. It's not as stellar as 1990 nor as innovative as 1991 but, it's growing as a company. That much is clear. Just not a ton of complete footage. Here are the possibly worthwhile matches only available as handheld that would have been wonderful if the FMW tape people should've put to VHS. Atsushi Onita, Sambo Asako & Mr. Gannosuke v The Gladiator, Sabu & Horace Boulder (06/26) Atsushi Onita, Sambo Asako & Mr. Gannosuke v Big Titan, The Gladiator & Sabu (07/19) Atsushi Onita, Tarzan Goto & Sambo Asako v Tiger Jeet Singh & Big Titan & The Gladiator (07/29) Looking forward to them putting it all together for a great 1993.
  9. 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 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. http://fmwwrestling.us/FMW.html Cheers!
  10. Onita's FMW is starting out just right in '91. Back to back February Korakuen hall shows ain't to shabby. Here's Onita's main events from those shows: Onita vs Tarzan Goto (02/26/91): Blood curdling blows- Haymakers, no touch headbutts that split skin, clotheslines, chair shots, table attacks! Oh yeah! This was just great wrestling, great brawling. Onita & Goto showed ultimate heart and guts. This was right up there with the Kurisu matches and so much better than their electric barbwire match. Shoot, if Goto wasn't the #2 man in FMW before, he was now. This was kinda like a bloody low-fi version of what Misawa & Kawada would start a year or two later...at least that's how I look at it. Great match! Onita vs Gregory Veritchev (02/27/91): Another night, another battle. Onita's taking it back to the different style fights by challenging the Russian Samboist Gregory Veritchev. Greg's a powerful looking dude almost reminds me of a shorter Stan Hansen in a gi. Surprisingly, this was an excellent competitive bout. It's arguably superior to the Lee Gak Soo match. I think because of that grappling link between wrestling and Sambo. Plus Greg knows how to take great bumps! The way the finish was done wasn't precisely how I would have liked it. It got a little repetitive but, it certainly got the point across. This was the only downside of the match that I saw. So, I highly recommend watching this match. Plus there's no rounds here so, if that screws you up- have no hesitation
  11. These type of garbage brawl meets Kings Road matches haven't aged very well. The dueling chairs spot, guys getting hit in the head with trash, the wandering crowd brawling, you've just seen it too many times, and FMW seeming dry and heatless by 1998 doesn't help. Still Kanemura's performance here was enjoyable, he worked the arm like a fiend during the opening section, even going back on it with some nice Fujiwaras later on, bloodied his opponent and worked the cut good, and bumped like Misawa, taking a german suplex on his head and a nasty guilltone drop into the corner steel. Kuroda pretty much does the same spots in every damn match he's in so Kanemura getting some interesting exchanges out of him was impressive.
  12. Hayabusa vs. Mr. Gannosuke -Mask vs. Hair match - (04/27/97 FMW) This was very good stuff with no blown spots, no awkwardness but, again it's Gannosuke & Hayabusa, like Misawa & Kawada or Benoit & Eddie. They know one another inside & out because they're close. This was good because they focused their "extreme" spots toward the beginning & brought it back inside & duke'd it out there. I would have liked a little more back & forth but since they hit their sequences to 9/10th of perfection along with their power moves, I shouldn't complain. Also the nearfalls were pretty believable with many of the big moves being kicked out at just the last second. As a bonus this match sets the feud up with Jinsei Shinzaki as Hayabusa's #2 man. This of course leads into some really cool tag matches including their participation in the Real World Tag League. Hayabusa & Jinsei Shinzaki vs Mr. Gannosuke & W*ING Kanemura (March '98 Michinoku Pro): 13 minutes of a 19 minute match which is typical of M-pro commercial tapes to save a little off the front end. Picks up with agressive, violent heel work focused on destroying the Hakushi. Jinsei's bleeding bad, get the falcon man in dammit!! With his home fans rooting him on, he's able to tag in emerald outfitted Hayabusa. He is electro like Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force! All right! These guys know what they are doing- the crowd is rocking and the camera work is only enhancing the viewing experience. Highly recommend checking this out!
  13. What's kinda funny is that people will see 1 or 2 of the crazier death matches from original FMW and think they understand or get "Onita." It's probably worse as he's gotten older as he's had to rely more and more on the actual gimmicks to hide his mobility issues. I know I felt this way before I started researching, reading about and watching Onita. There's a notion that Onita was great in AJPW but, got hurt and etc. So, I think there may be this misconception that Onita sucked in FMW because he moved to the death matches, got sliced, made faces and cried. He was a legitimate baby face in a Japanese wrestlin where there were no old school faces and heels at the time. NJ & AJ wanted to shift away from the Abby, Tiger Jeet madman to the athletic competition of wrestling as UWF's shoot style was so darn popular. Clean matches, no blood, no run-ins, etc. Onita was like, "Screw that! My knee's all jacked and I'm gonna sell my ass off." Well, at first he wanted to prove himself to be a worthy competitor by challenging the UWF. They denied because well, he would have forced himself onto their card by cult of personality/hustling. They had enough personality with Maeda, Takada and Fujiwara. So the World Karate Association in '89 was game and wanted to put on Onita's challenge to legitimate fighters: Puro vs Karate. I think there's an assumption (again I felt this way when I first got into FMW) that Onita only saw death matches as the true evolution of wrestling OR that it simply covered up physical or talent limitations. Onita wanted to make a name for himself again. He wanted his names to be in light and wanted the fame, money, and women that came along with it. The death match was a means to an end for him. My impression is that he is a hustler and was going to get what he was after by any means necessary...including sacrificing his body. Once that WKA feud with Aoyagi was a smash, he and his partners knew they were on to something, even if for a little while. Onita was willing to go where others didn't want to go...either because of taste, sensibility, or fear of harm. I think that gets lost when people perhaps watch a couple of the landmark matches in FMW. Then, they see a pure wrestling match in AJPW and remark how much they like him there. Yes, Onita could go when young and healthy. That's vanilla. People want to care about there wrestlers. They want the guy who had to quit wrestling because of a bad injury, did manual labor, was in jail, and fought to be someone again. Someone who directly challenged legitimate fighters regardless of the cost to seek his former glory. Someone who was willing to go to the depths of wrestling hell for this- barbwire in place of ropes, barbwire boards, electrified explosion barbwire etc. Not only was this stuff not being done in Japan, it was not even done before. That is quite a story and a character and really isn't that what pro wrestling's all about. Onita vs Aoyagi (10/10/89): This is the first FMW main event to make commercial tape. The style here is Different Style which was influenced by UWF. Puro vs Karate. The World Karate Association was jointly involved as FMW was I'll say more the name of the show or series than a federation at the time. Kinda like how Big Mouth Loud had less than a dozen shows. That's kinda what Onita and his team were thinking with FMW. On to the fight! Very exciting stuff- first few rounds Aoyagi was in control by hitting Onita with some really good Karate kicks. Lotsa heat and Atsushi selling it like serious damage has been done. Vicious thunder fire bomb here...best P. Bomb in the biz to me. I thought this was going to be just an OK type of bout but, I'd highly recommend it. The round systems aids in the drama and relatively low workrate. I was into this one! Onita & Tarzan Goto vs M. Matsunaga & Jerry Bleyman (aka Jelly Greyman aka Jerry Flynn) (12/10/89): 1st Japan Barbwire match. Here the wire is attached to the ring posts so that it surrounds the apron. In deadly essence, it's a wire bound lumberjack match. It's actually more dangerous to be waiting for a tag than in the ring. Well...equally dangerous. In beautiful Onita fashion, that crazy fucker leans into the wire at every opportunity. He wants to sell to the fans just how deadly this is. Oh and he gets his wish in the form of a foot long 1/2 inch deep gash on his arm. It really is unsettling. I read from Bahu's site that this wire was much stiffer than wire used subsequently. I think this type was switched to the more flexible wire because of this wound. There was no give. Nonetheless, this felt like a real pit fight type match. Kinda like the end of 'Kickboxer' with the taped glass fists. The match itself was OK as Matsunaga was still all karate kicks but, Goto & Onita bled. Onita though was at the theatre. A must see for historical purposes for sure. Onita vs Masanobu Kurisu (02/12/90): For the first time ever, we get barb wire boards surrounding the ring. Plus we get two AJPW vets laying in the slaps, chops, and headbutts. This isn't a fuck around, tease the wire, do a crappy move or two, do a wire spot type death match. Both guys gave and received some really good shots here...barbwire spots too. It's a great match and and is relatively short. Brief but, intense so, they never overstay their welcome. Brutal finish- go see this! Onita & Tarzan Goto vs Masanobu Kurisu & Dragon Master (Kendo Nagasaki) (04/01/90 FMW): This match still gets some gab. Rightfully so. This is sublimely violent and realistically stiff. That sounds like some academic bullshit but, these were some of the most haphazard chair shots I've seen. Like, "I'm trying to pound this fucker into sand" attacking. And it ends perfectly at 11 minutes. The finish is tremendous. Showed my better half because it was so gnarly. She goes, "Well...that's violent!" Seal of approval in my book Classic awesome stuff. Lee Gak Soo vs Atsushi Onita (05/19/90): This match up is kinda a WTF match up but, Onita's WKA agreement was kinda over but, still wanted to have the martial arts component (realism) in the company. I believe he did a tour of South Korea and the company they worked in conjunction with loaned some talent for Japan shows. Lee Gak Soo being a Tae kwon do badass who is a lot of fun to watch. So again, this is a Different style match with rounds and such. First round, they're pretty evenly matched. LGS has got his kicks and speed but, Onita is bigger and can throw and pin down the martial artist. Round 2, Axe kick to Onita's nose but, answers with a hellish backdrop suplex. Round 3, Lee blasts O. in the face right at the bell and opens a cut. There was a saved by the bell moment here too. Nice finish tease! Round 4: LGS is shaky but, manages to put Onita down. It's not enough as he Thunder Fire bombs the will to live outta LGS. Damn that was getting great...I wish this was longer. Watch the post match as the up close video shows just how battered Atsushi's face is from those kicks. He got fucking blasted! Lee Gak Soo all the way man! He's got a match with Jimmy Backlund/Del Ray from the 04/01/90 show that's good as well. Doesn't top this match with Onita. Onita vs Tarzan Goto (08/04/90): First ever electric barbwire match. Onita was crazy! The brawling and moves done were really good but, to me there was way too much time spent on the Figure Four leg lock. Apparently, it's a last man standing type match so, it really doesn't make sense. Plus it's boring. In a hindsight kind of way, they really didn't use the wire effectively for any drama. Onita would accidently hit the wire, and it would go off. It looked pretty bad. More like the little kid getting zapped on the fence in Jurassic Park than, the latter firework type pops. It's 11 minutes but, this was just OK. Onita spams finishers and wins. It wins Tokyo Sports' MOTY but, it's for the sheer insanity and spectacle of it rather than the quality overall. *Hoping this would wash the bad taste of the above match outta my mouth* Tarzan Goto vs Gran Mendoza (08/20/90) This is a JIP handheld that I watched. There's probably a non JIP video but, it's all handheld. Here's it's a wire around the post match like the late '89 tag match. Goto gets cut pretty bad on his barrel chest and left arm. He exacts some serious vengence upon Mendoza by getting him to bathe in the steel spikes. This was fun but, unfortunately not worth going out of your way to see. Onita vs Mr. Pogo (11/05/90): Per Bahu and match/tape listings, most of the build up didn't make it to commercial tape. So, after the Lee Gak Soo match, Onita wants LGS to be his new tag partner. LGS accepts and Tarzan Goto is pissed as he's the #2 man. Onita's like, "It's my call bro." Then the two fight (see Aug. match) and Goto brings in Mr. Pogo as his secret weapon tag partner. Pogo is like pretty much all of the other stars in FMW as people know him from years past in a major company (NJ in his case) but, have been wrestling in the States and Puerto Rico in the meantime. Ok on to the fight! Atsushi comes in a like a demon- throwing his belt at Pogo and when he escapes to the out side, the Big O dives right through the ropes after him! Eventually (through the meddling of Victor Quinones) Pogo gets the better of our hero. He's sticking him with some kind of curve handled weapon. It looks like a children's umbrella with all the umbrella bit removed. Ha! Ok, why not!? Then, Senor Pogo decides to take his cowboy boots off and tenderize Onita-san's face. Holy head spike Batman! Pogo straight piledrove Onita on that chair. But, come on that's not enough...it's fucking Onita. He asks to get stabbed for an angle...he's crazy and tough...amongst other things :-I He fights back with some of the sickest no touch headbutts ever. Pogster is bleeding now and gets thrown to the concrete. He tries to steal back control but, O. says, "Fuck that noise!" DDT! Now he's flying off the apron like a poor man's Misawa. Victor Q. get's his too. Or the table collapses...I can't tell but, this the chaotic shit that is great about early FMW! This is Texas Deathmatch rules and Onita is clearly trying to KO the camo pants villain. It's unfortunately 11 minutes as I easily could have watched another 2-3 minutes said this was a great match. It's NOT but, only because I felt it wrapped up too soon Highly recommended match and an excellent close to FMW's first year.