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  1. 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!
  2. 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!
  3. 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!!
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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!
  9. 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.
  10. G. Badger

    Spotlight: FMW pt. 2

    Here's 1997 til 2000. 2001 kinda looks so-so and 2002 (the last year that FMW was open) didn't make the list. 1997 - (8 matches in the top 50) M. Kudo vs M. Ozaki 04/18 - #9 Onita, Kanemura & Hido vs Tanaka, Nakagawa & Kuroda 05/25 Tanaka vs Kanemura - 08/02 Hayabusa & Shinzaki vs Mr. Gannosuke & H. Oya 08/02 Gladiator, Gannosuke & H. Oya vs Hayabusa, Tanaka & Nakagawa 08/31 Hayabusa & Shinzaki vs Kenta Kobashi & Manukea Mossman 09/28 (handheld) - #5 Gladiator vs Tanaka 09/28 - #26 Hayabusa, Shinzaki, Tanaka & Nakagawa vs Kanemura, Kuroda, Hosaka & Hido 10/21 Kanemura & Gannosuke vs Hayabusa & Tanaka 11/28 - #34 Hayabusa vs H. Oya 12/05 - #45 Tanaka vs Kuroda 12/05 Hayabusa & Shinzaki vs Kanemura & Gannosuke 12/19 - #18 Onita vs Tanaka 12/19 - #36 Hayabusa, Shinzaki & Tanaka vs Onita, Gannosuke & Kanemura 12/22 - #3 1998 (7 matches in the top 50: 5 in the top 25) Tanaka vs Gannosuke 01/06 - #19 Hayabusa vs Tanaka 03/13 - #22 Gladiator vs Hayabusa 03/17 Shinzaki vs Gannosuke 04/21 - #12 Kanemura vs Shinzaki 04/30 - #41 Onita vs K. Fuyuki 04/30 Hayabusa vs Tanaka 05/19 - #2 Fuyuki & Kanemura vs Tanaka & Hayabusa 05/27 Tanaka vs Kuroda 06/19 Hayabusa, Daisuke Ikeda, Oya, R. Fuji vs Fuyuki, Nakagawa, Kanemura & Gedo 06/19 Kanemura vs Kuroda 10/06 Hayabusa vs Fuyuki 11/20 - #13 Gannosuke vs Kuroda 11/20 Hayabusa vs H. Oya 12/13 - #40 H. Oya vs Kuroda 12/13 1999 - (9 matches in the top 50) Hayabusa vs Kuroda 01/05 Tanaka vs H. Oya 01/05 Tanaka vs Kuroda 02/27 - #35 Hayabusa & Shinzaki vs Tanaka & Kuroda 03/19 - #16 Tanaka & Kuroda vs Hayabusa & Fuyuki 03/29 - #49 Gannosuke, Oya, Kanemura, Hosaka & Hido vs Ishikawa, Ikeda, Yone, Hijikata & Usuda 05/05 - #14 Hayabusa & Shinzaki vs Tanaka & Kuroda 05/05 - #25 Gannosuke, Kanemura & Hido vs Hayabusa, Tanaka & Kuroda 06/15 Tanaka vs Gannosuke 08/20 - #6 Hayabusa vs Gannosuke 08/25 Tanaka vs Kanemura 08/25 Fuyuki vs Tanaka 11/23 - #33 H vs Gannosuke 11/23 - #39 H & Gannosuke vs Kuroda & Oya 12/11 H & Gannosuke vs Tanaka & Kuroda 12/12 - #37 2000 - (3 matches in the top 50) Tanaka vs Kuroda 01/05 - #28 H vs Kyoko Inoue 03/27 Hayabusa vs Tanaka 05/05 - #32 Ryuji Yamakawa vs Kanemura 05/05 H vs Kuroda vs Gannosuke 05/28 Hayabusa vs Fuyuki 09/21 Fuyuki vs Hayabusa 09/26 - #7 2001 The only in the top 50 is Hayabusa vs Kanemura 08/11 (#10 out of 100). Just out of the top 50 is Kuroda, Kanemura, Gannosuke & Mammoth Sasaki vs Tenryu, Fuyuki, Arashi & Kitahara 12/09 at #51. FMW vs WAR in an 8 man tag sounds pretty great.
  11. G. Badger

    Spotlight: FMW

    I've been really getting back into FMW from reading BAHU's FMW website. It is really chock full of great insight and history on the promotion and the wrestlers. Take a look: http://www.fmwwrestling.us Also he's been doing a podcast on the history of FMW but, this also touches on other like promotions such as W*ING. Here's his post here on PWO: http://prowrestlingonly.com/index.php?/topic/40981-history-of-fmw-podcast/ BAHU is the master of FMW so, his top 100 FMW match list is another awesome resource that's listed on his site. I've been going over this list like all week- organizing it by year, how many top 10, 25, and 50 matches per year, how many top 100 matches the stars like Onita, Hayabusa, Goto, and Masato Tanaka have. I probably should have counted Kuroda as well! Here's the link to the original list: http://fmwwrestling.us/FMW100.html Here's my chronological rearrangement for '89-'96 but not with any ranking: 1989 Onita vs Aoyagi 10/06 Onita vs Aoygai 10/10 1990 Onita and Goto vs M. Kurisu and Dragon Master (K. Nagasaki) 04/01 Onita vs Lee Gak Soo 05/19 1992 Onita, Goto, Santo Jr. vs N. Casas, H. Boudler and T. Patterson 05/16 B. Nakano and A. Hokuto vs C. Toyoda and M. Kudo 09/19 1993 Onita vs Terry Funk 05/05 M. Toyota and T. Yamada vs C. Toyoda and M. Kudo 05/05 Ontia vs Mr. Pogo 08/22 1994 Onita vs Tenryu 05/05 C. Toyoda vs M. Kudo 06/19 1995 - (4 matches in the top 50) Ontia vs Hayabusa 05/05 - #15 Hayabusa vs H. Oya 06/27 - #29 H. Oya vs Hayabusa 08/31 - #4 Hayabusa vs Gladiator 09/05 W. Kanemura and M. Tanaka vs Haybusa and M. Matsunaga 10/28 Hayabusa, Sasuke, K. Nakagawa vs Delfin, R. Fuji and TAKA 12/21 - #47 Aja Kong and M. Kudo vs C. Toyoda and Bison Kimura 12/21 1996 - (8 matches in the top 50) Matsunaga, W. Kanemura and Hido vs Hayabusa, Tanaka, Nakagawa 01/10 Matsunaga, W. Kanemura and Hido vs Tanaka, R. Fuji, and T. Kuroda 02/23 - #27 C. Toyoda vs M. Kudo 05/05 - #1 Hayabusa and M. Tanaka vs Terry Funk and Mister Pogo 05/05 - #24 K. Nakagawa vs TAKA 05/05 W. Kanemura vs M. Tanaka 08/01 - #20 M. Tanaka, T. Kuroda and K. Nakagawa vs Kanemura, H. Hosaka, and Hido 09/01 - #42 Hayabusa vs H. Oya 09/20 Terry Funk and Gladiator vs Hayabusa and M. Tanaka 09/24 - #48 Hayabusa vs TAKA 11/16 - #31 TAKA vs W. Kanamura 12/10 W. Kanamura vs Gladiator 12/11 - #43 M. Kudo vs S. Kandori 12/11 Hayabusa vs Great Sasuke 12/11 I'll have to wait to put 1997-2002 up but, from my count Hayabusa has 46 & Masato Tanaka has 31 of the top 100 matches to their credit. Hopefully, I'll be able to get more up tomorrow in this by year format. I'm hoping to use this list as a guide to go down the Frontier Martial Arts rabbit hole
  12. I'm a Hayabusa fan. I think my first exposure was from ECW clips of he & Jinsei Shinzaki vs RVD & Sabu. Then around that time, I bought a used copy of WCW vs the World for the PS1. Awesome game, tons of Japanese stars with fake names. I recognized a few though, Hayabusa being one. Thing is, I probably didn't know he was called "Hayabusa." I just knew he was this high flyer with a mask and baggy red pants...and he could keep up with Van Dam & Sabu in the crazy move department. The video game only strengthen that as it featured his standing moonsault, quebrada, phoenix splash, and the Falcon Arrow which the developers made the Steiner Screwdriver. Awesome! Crazy dives and the most head spiking move at the time (other than TD '91). A few years after this, I was in university and was pretty much over what was going on in WWE or was it F still? Hmm...but, I got my buddies to watch death match tapes and bought Best of the Explosion Death match tape. And bam...there was Hayabusa vs Onita exploding cage death match! So, not only did I learn who 'busa was but, now a name to Onita as well (who was also in the game. His Fire Thunder P.B. was awesome!). Then grandpa here finally got DVDs and I got a Hayabusa set to enjoy. I don't think the one I have has all of his best stuff but, it has some 'em. I've seen enough to know the wrestler's strengths and weaknesses. One match on there was he & Jinsei vs Misawa & Akiyama from '97 RWTL. Great, great stuff and it showed Hayabusa a bit more toned down. The restriction of AJ improved his execution and pacing (two weaknesses). Wow! as a fan, this was great to see. He looks on par with the AJ guys. There's a Hayabusa in AJ set out there that has a ton of matches. I'm going to watch them all but, here's the first bit that I watched... Totally psyched Hayabusa & Yoshi Kanemaru vs Yoshinari Ogawa & Kentaro Shiga (04/19/97 AJPW): Where did this match come from!? I've never heard anyone mention this match...even derisively! Sacred steak, this was a loco Jr. action match. All kinds moves and attitude to boot. Shiga and Kanemaru (with hair!) have some beef over who's the skinniest dude in AJ (I'm talking ZSJ skinny). Hayabusa was on point with his kicks. A case of excitement crammed into 14 minutes. Very highly recommended! Hayabusa & Jun Akiyama vs Takao Omori & Kentaro Shiga (06/06/97 AJPW): This was a really enjoyable tag match up. Excited to see more Hayabusa. This also is a good example that AJ had other stuff going on beside the big four in '97. Shiga is plucky as all get-out. Of course, Akiyama brutalizes him in response Omori does play big brother to the Shigster...it's a good and necessary role for him here. 'Busa is the fireworks man tonight by busting out his maneuvers to perfection. He is my favorite whilst in tags. I am thankful for Baba or Misawa (or whomever has the Big Book) for keeping him in teams in AJPW. I recommend this match. Hayabusa & Jinsei Shinzaki vs Giant Kimala II & Jun Izumida (11/15/97): Well, now I've got an idea for a Halloween costume this year. Thanks Izu! But anyways...this was a bundle of fun and different from the high energy AJ at the time. Izumida was really good and played to Kimala the Sequel's strengths. They were a good believable team as a result. It was an interesting and competitive bout. 'Busa and Jinsei were good as always. I didn't want to watch this at first but, I'm really glad that I did! It's put a smile on my face Hayabusa & Shinzaki vs Tamon Honda & Jun Izumida (02/13/99): JIP w/ a 9 minute run time. Based on what was shown, and ignorant of AJ's roster, you could think these guys were the top stars. Hayabusa was flying, Jinsei looked cool, Honda & Izumida fought like skull crushers. For instance, be on the look out for Izu's diving headbutt to a hunched over Hayabusa. I highly recommend spending the 9 minutes on this forgotten little JIP match. Hayabusa, Great Sasuke & Tiger Mask IV vs Yoshinari Ogawa, Manukea Mossman & Masahito Kakihara (05/02/99): This took a bit to get going but, this was a great showcase for the Indy team. Hayabusa looked most dominant and in control. That's saying something since Ogawa is Misawa's #2 man. Kakihara was the highlight for the AJ team though. I think he was particularly dynamic in this setting but, I've liked him in everything I've seen of his in AJPW. Highly recommended stuff, goes longer than you think but, man its fun. Again, gonna check more out in AJPW. Also going to dig back into FMW 20 years later. I am coming back Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling!!
  13. It's the 25th Anniversary of AJW's super show: All Star Dreamslam! Or just Dreamslam is OK too The crown jewel of the interpromotional joshi era and the showcase for Akira Hokuto vs Shinobu Kandori. Its a joshi match for people who hate joshi.Just everything one could hope for in a wrestling match. Stiffness, mat wrestling, counters, blood, highspots and so on...all punctuated by a great finish. Akira Hokuto is excellent and Kandori is her perfect foil in this match. But! There are other great matches as well! Aja Kong & Bull Nakano vs Eagle Sawai & Harley Saito (LLPW team): Super stiff & throughly enjoyable match. If it would have been a bit longer it would have been better. I don't think there was any doubt of Kong & Bulll losing so, it was impressive to see the LLPW team kicking out of some great moves. So, maybe it ended appropriately. Re-watch: Yeah this is still a really fun match because the LLPW team are such underdogs. I mean even little execution problems are ok because it works in the story- they are not top tier wrestlers but dammit they're gonna do whatever they can to score an upset. Aja & Bull seem to really enjoy working with some fresh blood too. I mean you can just see it on their faces, especially Bull, when she does her suicide dive. I was like "Yeah this is the Bull Nakano that I love!" That & she's 20-30lbs. lighter here than in 1995. She even breaks out a tumbleweed leg drop IIRC. I'd like to see Harley Saito again too. She was impressive and worked well with Aja & Bull who can be difficult because of their frames. Yumiko Hotta vs Dynamite Kansai (JWP team): Brutally stiff match, great begining which tapers off in the middle because both women seemed to have their bearings kicked loose. Still there are some good portions and the ending is just as brutal with Hotta delivering some Dr. Death-esque suplexes. The ending was pretty good but I'm not sure if the 3 count was accurate hmmm....great nonetheless. Toshiyo Yamada & Manami Toyota vs. Combat Toyoda & Megumi Kudo (FMW team): A total change of heart with this one. I've seen a fair bit of Joshi since my initial viewing. There's no way this is a 3 star match as I've seen some rate it. In my first viewing I guess I didn't give much credit to Kudo & Toyoda. Ok so they're not Kansai/Ozaki but, that doesn't make this bad. It's refreshing as Kudo is kinda the budget version of Ozaki and Combat Toyoda is acolyte of the punk chicks like Bull, Aja, and Bison. Team FMW's offense isn't terribly impressive but is really effective Joshi fair. Another thing of note: I'm less "wow'd" by Manami Toyota in singles competition because she is predictable pulling out her spots. When she's in the ring, it's "offense" time & then its time when she's "waiting to be on offense." But! It works in a tag team because her crazy moves help get her out of a tough spot, or her go-go no selling is explained away by "recovering" on the apron. Yamada is also the yin to her yang in terms of offense too. She works holds, she has variety in her kicks, etc. If Toyota can be guided (not "carried" though!) she can be awesome AND she was guided in this match for sure (although she did blow one spot pretty bad...with a slip off the rope). FMW had her ass in a sling by just busting out the weirdest stretches and most impactful double-team moves. In total this was a great match with believable near falls, saves, and intensity. The interpromotional stuff is just fantastic! If you're looking to get into women's wrestling but, the current stuff still looks a step down from the men's division, check this show out! It made me a convert
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