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Found 10 results

  1. This is the final of the tournament to crown the first MLW World Champion on the first MLW show. For why it’s a three-way match, see my review of the semi-final of the Vampiro vs Taiyo Kea match that went to a time limit draw, only for Douglas to come out and make it a three way. Most of this review is going to talk about the aftermath and the booking, as there is nothing to this match at all, with barely 2 mins of ‘action’. Having already wrestled twice that night, Douglas looks knackered and basically sells for a minute and half as it initially looks like Vampiro and Kea will work together. But very soon Vampiro catches Kea with a kick when Douglas moves, who then hits his belly to belly for the title. (N/R) If you’ve read through my reviews of all the matches on their first show, MLW were clearly and obviously just in ECW rehash mode for their first show. It was in the former ECW arena, it had a load of ex ECW guys on the show, the final was turned into an impromptu three way and then after the match we get a reprisal of the infamous birth of Extreme angle with Douglas throwing down the MLW Title just like he did with the NWA one back in 1994. Unlike the original angle which was ground breaking, edgy and had a point to it, this just felt like a cheap rip off and his promo to go along with it doesn’t make much sense. There’s plenty of swearing and shots at the likes of Vince, Heyman, Flair and The Kliq but nothing about why he doesn’t want the title. The show finishes with referee Jim Molineaux basically squaring up to Douglas and telling him that if he doesn’t defend the title – which he never did, and I don’t think appeared for MLW again – he’d be suspended from wrestling in Pennsylvania by the State Athletic Commission. It’s a terrible ending to a pretty uninspiring debut show from MLW, although I think things start to pick up from their second show when they started to try and forge a bit more of their own identity rather than being a straight ECW tribute rip-off. Most of the matches on the first card are solid, but nothing stands out or even reaches ‘good’ levels, although I will say there is a satisfying amount of clean finishes, and no run ins or cheap endings. There’s a contrast with ROH, which had a great main event on its first show which helped build buzz and the fact that they took till several shows in to crown a champion when they had established some guys and storylines. Will look forward though to seeing how the company progressed at the time moving forward.
  2. This was meant to be Kea vs Bam Bam Bigelow, who apparently no showed and is replaced by The Wall. Because of this Bam Bam gets a mild dose of the Mike Awesome treatment from Styles with a bit of a burial on commentary. With his WCW background and the fact that big muscle guys weren’t very en vogue at the time - with the implication they couldn’t work and were ‘too WWE’ - The Wall gets crapped on by the crowd with plenty of “we want Bam Bam” chants. To be fair he doesn’t do much – or doesn’t get the chance to do much – to win anyone over. Kea is from All Japan and is the protégé of The Great Muta. MLW’s strap line at this time was ‘hybrid wrestling’ with the idea that it would be a melting pot of different styles and guys from different parts of the world, and they would build a relationship with All Japan which would be seen by the run that Satoshi Kojima gets as their champion eventually. There is little to no chemistry between these guys with little in the way of energy. Kea has a clear game plan in trying to work over The Wall’s legs, which makes sense, with some drop kicks to the knee and a dragon screw leg whip. He’s got some nice strikes and chops but doesn’t seem to mesh with The Wall’s standard big man offence of punches and stomps. The Wall hits a couple of decent, if rather basic power spots but after just four or five mins, Kea hits a quick flurry of kicks and finishes with a northern lights suplex. Nothing to see here. (*)
  3. Baba's 60th birthday. This is all about Old Man Baba Does All Kinds of Improbable Things. Including: blocking chops with his matchstick arms! Technical wrestling! Test of strengths with Kobashi! The crowd is hot for all things involving Baba, while the rest of the match was somewhat dry. I guess there's no reason to bring the workrate when you are there to make your geriatric boss look good. Mossman got smacked and stretched good, and Misawa did almost KO Kawada with an elbow, but nothing ever amounted to much. There was also plenty of „take punishment, then no sell back to offense“. Fuchi hits the Greatest Fistdrop at one point, but it's all lost in a stream of things happening. It's kind of cool these guys can go 30 minutes with corpselike Baba and have a match that never drags, but I was hoping for something a little less mindless.
  4. I was not expecting this many head drops in a Tanahashi match! This is the first time I've been impressed by Taiyo Kea. He may be lacking in charisma, but he sure can dish out some brutal looking offense. Tanahashi takes it like the champ he is and fires back when he can find an opening. I don't rate Tanahashi as high as others do nowadays, but seeing him here, you can see why he has the fan-base he has now. Thankfully, the flaws that riddle most of his current work are nowhere to be seen. This match never feels formulaic and when Tanahashi hits a tide-turning big move, it feels organic. This matched benefited everyone. Kea looked like a bad ass in defeat on one of the biggest stages in his career, and Tanahashi looked like the ace that NJPW want him to be. ★★★★
  5. Nothing groundbreaking here, a very solid traditional heavyweight tag match. I dislike Goto and don't care much for Kea but Saito and Makabe were good enough to keep them from doing anything stupid, and having this be a ten minute match instead of an epic in which Kea's and Goto's performances have often choked helped things, doesn't take a magician to do some nice brawling for a bit before going home. Kea's quasi-Tornado DDT is probably the single counter spot I've fallen for the biggest number of times since I always forget it's a thing he does and don't watch his stuff often. It looks good every time I watch him, maybe it would wear off if I ever binge watched 2005 All Japan. ***
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