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  1. Hello again! Part 3 will cover the 03/04 show from Tokyo's K-Hall. Then we close out with a tag title encounter from 03/20 which may be at Budokan or some other larger venue. So its a big time match-up. Let's go! Okabayashi -vs- Takumi Soya: We see a very good to great under 10 minute match between two rivals. Soya (Manabu's brother) is ranked below BJW's Okabayashi but he has tons of fight in him. That intensity raises this match up to be something special. And when I say intense, this at the start reminded me of Stan Hansen or Ishikawa vs Ikeda in Battlarts. It was just frenetic and violent. Takao Omori/Manabu Soya -vs- KENSO/Kaz Hayashi (TLC match for tag title shot): A really fun TNA TV style ladder match. There is nothing too innovative or breath-taking. It was not trying to be an awesome bout as you would expect in the States. ----- Yuji Nagata -vs- Masayuki Kono: An interpromotional grudge match between an aging Nagata and an adroit Masa Kono. This has good action and heat but this isn't something to seek out. Nice to see Nagata though! Yutaka Yoshie -vs- Osamu Nishimura: JIP OK stuff Kohei Suwama -vs- Seiya Sanada - (2/3 Falls): A very good to great match between two of AJPW's best at this time. Here SUWAMA is Jumbo to Sanada's Misawa. Its not a perfect analogy but we get the underdog fight and the fighting spirit of Sanada to survive the big man's backdrop. SUWAMA is heir apparent to the move IMO. Also Sanada uses a bit of Misawa's offense like mulitple elbow strikes and the Tiger Suplex. The first fall has the best action while the second one has the fighting spirit story going for it. Personally I would have liked one longer fight rather than break it up but, it's all the same really. Daisuke Sekimoto/Yuji Okabayashi -vs- Kohei Suwama/Takumi Soya (03/20): This was my main event for the comp DVD. It definitely delivered. This is your big time Tag Title FIGHT! There's history between these teams and the straps are on the line. The strength of Strong BJW is unmatched in 2012. However AJ's SUWAMA is a destroyer and Soya has the heart of a lion. This does not disappoint. Everyone gets banged up, most notably Sekimoto who's go a bruise on his cheekbone egging up. A great story along with great action and timing makes this a Classic match to me. STRETCH PLUM! STRECH PLUM!!! ----- Sekimoto is not happy... ----- This was a really great comp which is available on IVP video as October-November 2012. I think it was an AJPW TV rebroadcast (we get commercials). If you do business with him and are looking for something different to try, this is a good pick. Thanks for reading!
  2. Masato Tanaka vs. Daisuke Sekimoto - BJW - 02/01/2006 I guess it's apt that the only place I can find this match, without looking deeper, is a porn site. It's rare I have to watch wrestling while going incognito yet here we are. All for a young Daisuke Sekimoto, who looks the exact same in 2006 as he does now in 2021. Ditto with Tanaka, really, although he's a bit thicker. This is a proto-strong division style match with a lot of heavy strikes and bomb throwing. It's not long before some of the more dangerous bumps come into play. Sekimoto reverses a suplex on the apron to hit one of his own, then Sekimoto later gets planted with a friend tornado ddt in the crowd onto a pile of chairs. The match seemed to reset itself with Tanaka working the leg before getting into the meat of the match. The closing stretch was typical Masato Tanaka Kings Road inspired wrestling done poorly. Nearfalls and not much selling but the crowd was into the action and Sekimoto got a rub going 50/50 with an indie legend. **1/2
  3. Here we are at Part #2 of my non-comprehensive and completely based around my cheapness look at AJPW 2012. I have this and the 03/04/12 showon a AJPW comp type DVD. I think there's two more shows after that. Let's see how things go! Mutoh/Akebono/Ryota Hama vs Daisuke Sekimoto/Yuji Okabayashi/Yoshito Sasaki - This was a fine example of Korakuen hall 6 man magic. Mutoh and his team's limitations were hidden because no one was in there long enough to be offensive. Also the BJW team (who are some of my faves) have a simple hard hitting style that works well against the giants Akebono and Hama. Mutoh was relatively untouchable and did his trademark moves but - its fun to still see him out there! It was generally a predictable match with the fat guy spots, fighting spirit toughness and the aforementioned Muto spots but it was a ton of fun! Masa Fuchi/Hikaru Sato -vs- Hiroshi Yamato/Yasufumi Nakanoue - This was about 7 minute and had some good stuff but was too short to rate. Kenny Omega -vs- Kaz Hayashi. *All Japan Jr. Title - Overall, I think Kenny Omega is OK. Kinda like how I really like pancakes and french toast but waffles are OK if the other two aren't available. I wanted to say that first and foremost because I think his weird antics and attempts to get heat didn't help this match. The start of the match was a really exciting sequence followed by a spectacular moonsault off of some tables set atop the K-Hall stage. It was something special. After that his control section, which took up the middle of the match, were a series of tepid Muto spots where he was looking for cheap heat from the AJPW crowd. I don't think most people care because in 2012 who the hell was Kenny Omega to the AJPW crowd? It would be different if Muto was at ringside with Kaz. It really just looked bush-league. As the match kicked into high gear, Omega was performing at the level we would see in NJPW. In fact he out performed the veteran Hiyashi who threw some of the worst punches in the strike exchange. Omega was throwing stiff chops but Kaz wouldn't take the bait and dragged this potentially exciting moment down. The finish was pretty darn good but overall this title fight was disappointing. I guess my hopes were for a **** great match. There were glimmers of greatness but in the end this was just a good match with flaws. Jun Akiyama -vs- Takao Omori *Triple Crown* - This is not a mid 1990s Triple Crown defense obviously. But they were able to take this back to the late 80's -'92 era of Triple Crown matches. It was not tremendously spectacular but it was fought with ferocity and guts. And a bit of wits too. What interested me in this period of AJ was Akiyama's return but also in his stylistic choice to go back to the old days of AJ by focusing on smart hard hitting physical matches without the head drops or flash. This was a fantastic example of that as the body of the match focussed on his attempt to weaken Omori's Ax Bomber lariat arm. Omori then trying to fight despite that weakness and then realizing he can't get the win without it. This was a great match between two vets of the golden 90's going out there and showing folks (and probably Kenny Omega) how its done. Solid **** match right here. ---- Overall, this was a pretty good night of wrestling. Nothing that's must-see but I'm sure the Akiyama vs Omori is something that an old fan of AJPW would enjoy. I would recommend that for sure. the BJW 6 man match is also very fun. Again, the Kaz vs Kenny bout had some high points but is more about it being two guys letting me down. But I wouldn't dissuade anyone from watching it ...I still think its got more positive points than negative. Thanks for reading! Stay safe folks!
  4. Hello again! This covering is episodes 108 & 109 of BJW Deathmatch Wars TV show. Its from 01/02/2007 and in Korakuen Hall so we're looking at something that's at the very least going to be fun. GENTARO & Mammoth Sasaki vs. Isami Kodaka & Yuko Miyamoto - The first team I know a little bit from FMW and the second team I know from watching clipped matches on BJW's YouTube channel. They are pretty good and Miyamoto is a great junior wrestler who reminds me of Hayabusa in his toughness, his agility and charisma. Anyhow this is a really good match with old vs young. Miyamoto makes an impression on the main eventers and they invited him to join them as they're in need of a 4th partner. Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match: Jun Kasai/MENs Teioh/Yuko Miyamoto/Naoki Numazawa vs. Abdullah Kobayashi/Masada/Takashi Sasaki/Shadow WX - So that leads into this match, duh! Ha But for real, this was a sick match! I mean like ill ya know. There was action all over the place early on. Then things settled down in and around the ring but, there were still plenty of fantastic encounters/pairings. As with many multi-man matches, weaknesses were hidden and strengths were on display. Aside from that Yuko Miyamoto was seen as the junior baby who didn't belong in this war but, like Hayabusa he fought bravely and endured. He made his team believe that the made the right decision in selecting him. I'm not going to give away any of the memorable spots other than Masada dragging Miyamoto around the broken glass by his ankles. That was sick! Like F'd up! Overall this was helluva spectacle and great death match. Maybe a classic as it fed off the previous match, kept the fight interest and interesting throughout and the K-hall fans were on fire! We're on to the 2nd show Daikokubo Benkei/MIYAWAKI/Yuichi Taniguchi vs. Kazu Imai/Tomomitsu Matsunaga/Shinobu - Opening comedy type match. I skipped around in this bout. Mad Man Pondo & NOSAWA vs. Coke & Sam Hain - I started to watch but as Jim Cornette would say this was an "outlaw mud show." In all fairness, Jimmy would hate EVERYTHING on this show. Kintaro Kanemura/Tetsuhiro Kuroda/Onryo vs Hiroyuki Kondo/Yoshihito Sasaki/Daisuke Sekimoto - Unfortunately we only get 15 minutes of a 30 minute match but, what was shown was a blast! This is a real treat with FMW vs BJW for me. I believe the FMW team is reppin' Apache wrestling but its a real joy to see two generations of hardcore/death match/Indie wrestlers going head to head. Dekimoto and Sasaki as a tag team are something that I need to see more of. Torture Rack - German suplex combo is probably my new favorite tag move! Really, really good DVD that's still available on Highspots for $10. Not trying to give free ad space but I want to let you know where you can actually get your mitts on this stuff! Certainly worth the cash and maybe wait for a Xmas sale to get it for less. No one really talked about how good BJW was back then... if you can't get into the occasional light tube deathmatch I understand. I felt that way for awhile but its really no worse than the bread and butter thumb tack and barbwire matches of my youth
  5. I'm trying to get the ball rolling again for exploring the early 2010's Puro. Let's take a look at 01/02/2012 AJPW!! (Broadcast 01/10/12) KENSO, Kaz Hayashi & Yasufumi Nakanoueno vs Takao Omori, Manabu Soya & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi - This was a very good opening match. The energy level was high. Kikuchi was a fun mystery partner that never out stayed his welcome. Kaz Hiyashi will always Shiryu from the glory days of M-Pro and he's still got it here. Akebono & Ryota Hama vs Yuji Okabayashi & Kazuki Hashimoto - You know what you are signing up for with this match. Says it was 8 minutes but it felt quicker. Hey, that's a compliment! Akebono just doesn't do much for me. Keiji Muto, Abdullah the Butcher & Kikutarou vs Masanobu Fuchi, Kikutaro & BLACK BUSHI - Skipped Masakatsu Funaki, Masayuki Kono & Minoru Tanaka vs Taiyo Kea, Shuji Kondo & Takumi Soya - This another really good 6 man match. Minoru was the bright point to me. Masakatsu turns the shooter skills on for the finish and it is sweet. At about 8 minutes, this was easy viewing. Seiya Sanada, KAI & Hiroshi Yamato vs Dark Ozz, Dark Cuervo & Kenny Omega - The Dark guys are fun but a little sloppy. Yamato was in for a good portion of the match and I got to remember how good he is. Everyone else is their normal selves and brought the goods. This was 15 minutes and ended just in time for this to leave me happy. It was almost like a FMW 6 man in that regard...it got close to going off the rails but never did. Suwama vs Daisuke Sekimoto - I think I've reviewed this earlier in the blog. This is one of the matches that inspired me to check out 2010's stuff. It was and hopefully is still up on Daily Motion. I've seen it 3-4 times and man is this still classic stuff to me! Right under 20 minutes, it eschews the "longer is better" mantra and keeps this compact yet tells a compelling story. That plus they beat the crap outta each other. I've seen more Sekimoto and SUWAMA since I first saw this and I can say it doesn't fall into any ruts or cliches. They tease or payoff and then move on rather than milk for time or over do it. It is the only singles match on the card and they really make that mean something. New Year Battle Royal - I watched this on fast forward until the last few guys. Its every guy on the show except SUWAMA and Sekimoto doing a battle royale. I don't like this after such a bad ass battle but, its tradition. Anyhow this is an easy breezy 2 hours of wrestling. IVP has it for a steal and the singles match is probably still on D.M. so if you're curious, what are you waiting for?
  6. So let me start by saying I'm not 100% on the episodes because Highspots has them as #41 & 42 (Daisuke Sekimoto Special) and the actual DVD menu has them as #39 & 40 with the dates being 08/02/05 & 08/09/05 respectively. That should hopefully help you should you be looking for these episodes on DVD or in some other form. My goal of this blog is to help people find their way to older /andor perhaps overlooked wrestling. I think 2005 BJW is a good fit for that since I had never really heard much about this time period and really only could relate BJW to the Deathmatch tape I bought im like '98 or '99. I've gone on about that elsewhere. When I got Fire Pro Wrestling returns back in 2007 for PS2, I don't think I recognized anyone on the BJW (NITRO I think was the fake company name) roster. I've become familiar by looking at the match listings on Cagematch or where ever when doing my prelim research but, we're going into this one relatively blind together. Anyways, I did some digging and it seemed like 2005 would be a good place for me to jump in. Again, no one really talks about this time period anymore and really not a lot in the late 2000's early 2010s. But there are names that I know from more recent BJW stuff that I see on their Youtube page (clipped matches from 2011-2014ish) and guys from FMW and the Indies from the 90's. I'm down with that So let's start: 07/22/05 - Korakuen Hall Daikobubo Benkei & Asian Cougar vs Mammoth Sasaki & Hyoma - This was a good match. I'm familiar with Mammoth Sasaki from FMW and fellow user Gordi has shared some great stories and pictures of he and his pal Asian Cougar here So this should be a lot of fun! And it is. Both Mammoth and Cougar are the best here. Cougar stole the show to be honest. He took a sick bump off the apron into the crowd and did a spectacular tope con hilo ( over the top somersault senton if you will) to his opponent lying prone on the ring floor...on a pile of chairs no less! Gran Hamada & Men's Teioh vs Katsu Inoue & Hiroyuki Kondo - This was cool to see Hamada and Teioh in the ring again. I love that 93-97 M-Pro stuff. I look forward to seeing the younger guys in future matches they have potential. But this was only a good match since Hamada is getting long in the tooth and Teioh is only going to work so hard with youngsters. Hamada does his back body drop flip though! Abdullah Kobayashi vs Daisuke Sekimoto - From what I could tell after the match (which isn't a lot since I don't understand Japanese), this was fought as a Strong Style match. Kobayashi wanted to prove to Sekimoto that he could beat him at his own style, let alone in deathmatch style. Holy crap! This was like early '98 FMW greatness! Stong style but with hardcore rules which is perfect for the ECW kid in me. And frankly this is as about as perfect a ECW/FMW athletic style match as you can have. Sekimoto at this stage is like Masato Tanaka...he hits hard and can get hit even harder. Abby Jr. drops him on his noggin a couple times to make Dangan shudder. In the end, both guys are bleeding, and this is an All time classic match in this style. Both guys were absolutely brutal and not a light tube or roll of barb wire to be found. So glad this was shown in full. -Now we're on to the next show which is called the Daisuke Sekimoto special but also features some clipped matches of Jaki Numazawa. This will make sense at the end of the show. Again, if I understood Japanese, it would have made sense from the beginning! Daisuke Sekimote vs Ryuji Ito (08/10/99) - Baby match- wow! Ryuji is a string bean! 5:30 match vs Naoki (Jaki) Numazawa (03/01/01) - 6+ match..possibly Numazawa's debut match? Looked nothing like how he does nowadays (or even'05 for that matter). vs Men's Teioh (02/03/02) - 10 minutes and the best one so far. We're seeing shades of what Sekimoto will become later on. Very enjoyable match and Teioh is very generous. vs D. Benkei (08/18/02) - Benkei is as big as a port-a-potty. JIP but this is good and represents Sekimoto's style of lariats, fighting spirit, etc. He wins the BJW Hvy Wt. belt here. Now this is when I get confused as they show the following: Mad Man Pondo vs Numazawa (11/10/02) - Numazawa looks completely different from a year ealier with Daisuke. He's a fine wrestler but gave that up to be put through glass tubes. Numazawa goes to the hospital for his injuries. This has some sick spots but the execution could have been better. Numazawa vs Ryuji Ito (01/15/04) - Lights out electric lighttube deathmatch. I always liked these at it seemed more dangerous and stuff This too was clipped but this was crazy! Ito has bulked up and he's mixing his kicks in with the light tube stuff. That looks awesome. Numazawa was impressive here as well. Numazawa vs Sekimoto (01/28/05) - OK so full circle now...the focuses of the show meet here in 2005 (earlier in the year of this TV tape). This was clipped was well and I wish it was shown in full. It looked amazing. Still I'm not complaining on what was shown at all. *Looked this up on Cagematch and it looks like the next show was a Numazawa produced show and the main event was Numazawa vs Sekimoto in a Prison Hall Deathmatch. SO this episode was building up to that show...cool! And thats the end of the DVD. I would say both episodes had their merits. The first one had the classic Daisuke vs Abby match and the second episode had a lot of material that was condensed to the best stuff. All in all this was a great into to BJW at this time period. I know Ito is a big deal and I've seen Jaki Numazawa on BJW clipped stuff so this was neat. I totally want to hook up my PS2 and go through the BJW roster and play some matches. There'll be more on the way. I think the next batch is from 2006. Also I've not forgotten FIP and Tiger Mask. TM stuff should be coming out soon. There's a real doozy you'll want to see on there. Stay safe!
  7. Without further ado, let's take a look at Night #2 of wXw's 2011 16 Carat Gold Tournament! Axeman vs Rico Bushido vs Tommy End vs Bad Bones - Hard hitting wXw guys doing a fun spot match. Jay Skillet vs Jon Ryan - I like Ryan from his match with Davey but, you can skip this match. It wasn't bad. It's nothing special to me though. Colt Cabana vs Marty Scurll - Another outright comedy match. Marty is much better at this than Zack just because he's more vocal and outgoing. Fun stuff Carnage vs 2-Face - This was OK. They probably didn't need to hit as hard for this kind of match. Post match stuff had storyline stuff so, this was a vehicle for that. Poor use of Carnage IMO. Mark Haskins vs Big Van Walter - A simple David vs Goliath match with Haskins showing a ton of heart. He didn't have the cleanest execution but, it looked natural when going up against the juggernaut of Walter. Good match and best thus far. Day 2 is OK thus far but we're only half way through. Let's see what part 2 has to offer...It should get better. El Generico & Emil Sitoci vs Future Shock (Cole & O'Reilly) - I was really glad they took their time in setting up heel vs face dynamics here. Sitoci made a great first impression. He reminded me of Paul London. That's interesting because London and Generico had a nice tag team in PWG in 2010. So, that dynamic was here against the cocky upstart team of Future Shock. This was an exciting match with nice offense and fake-out spots. Best match of the show thus far. Great stuff! Sami Callihan vs Yoshihito Sasaki - Man, this looks promising! Sami really looks like he's got a screw loose! He brings so much intensity and bravado to the ring that, I'm invested before the bell rings. A handshake to start the match means Sasaki and Sami are going to be rough. And good gravy, this is violent wonderful wrestling and a near classic bout. This really puts the night back on track by topping the tag match. Go Shiozaki vs Kotaro Suzuki - NOAH match in Germany! This was a very good match but, felt it was lethargic compared to the previous couple matches. Also, the fan cam on the ground wasn't in the best position. So, we could see the action OK but, we were mainly seeing their backs. They were in a different venue and the hard cam and the floor cam were coming from the same side of the ring for this match. These things don't bother me too much but, I felt that because we couldn't see the impact as well as could be expected, we were missing some of the action. The crowd also seemed tired and I could only say it was very good at best. Davey Richards vs Zack Sabre Jr. - I understand the pacing and card placement with the NOAH match now. They wanted to give the crowd a cool down for this battle. The pacing was aggressive from bell to bell and Holy crap, they just beat the slop outta each other! This has grappling, strikes, nice counters & escapes. Up & coming ZSJ vs top tier Richards provided a classic encounter without a doubt. If you're a fan of either guy, you should see this for sure. Daisuke Sekimoto vs Johnny Moss - Match for the wXw belt. This was a good ***1/2 bout to close the night out. There was no way they were going to top the previous match so, they gave the fans a nice hard hitting simple title fight. Overall, Night 2 was a great show but, really one of two parts. Part one was nothing special although the 4 Way opener and the Haskins/Walter matches were worthwhile. Your best bet is to watch those two and skip to the 2nd half where stuff really picks up with a 3 amazing matches. Davey vs ZSJ is the best bout thus far. Thankfully, the 2011 tourney is sold as a set so, if you're looking to buy this DVD or that DVD, you don't have to choose one night over another What's even better is that we've still got Night 3! Thanks for reading!
  8. I have been meaning to watch this tournament for awhile now. I bought this along with the 2010 tournament so, this has been a long time coming. The box art of the DVD set features all of the participants in this year's event. It is pretty damn stacked even compared to the previous year. We have stars from ROH, Big Japan, NOAH, Independent US talent as well as European wrestlers. This 16 Carat Gold event may be the most diverse and globally representative tournament assembled in recent memory. Enough fluff! Let's get to the wrestling! Kyle O'Reilly vs Karsten Beck vs Marty Scurll vs Axeman: This 4 man match will determine who will be an alternate for the tournament. Nice to have some incentive for the guys...they surely fought like they meant it. Axeman was a nice surprise. He and Kyle have a similar style. Fast paced fun opening match. Yoshihito Sasaki vs Carnage: Sasaki is a guy who's name I've seen here and there the past decade but, never knew how he flew under my radar. I mean, I have Fire Pro Returns and don't recall seeing him. Ha! I was wrong. He's listed under the Zero-1 promotion as a low ranking wrestler. That was 2004 in Japan and in 2011 he's made his way in the world. And I have to say, damn! I was missing out. He's got a no nonsense hard hitting style that I appreciate.His opponent Carnage does as well. I remember him from 2010's shows. Very good match here and a proper way to start the tourney. Two matches in and this feels better than 2010. Zack Sabre Jr. vs Colt Cabana: Is Colt NWA champ here!? This was funny at times but, took too long to really go anywhere. This was a popcorn match to me. You'll be OK fast forwarding to the last five minutes or skipping altogether. Much like the other World of Sport style matches (not that this was exactly but, it had that feel and style) of 2010, this feels out of place next to 2010 puro style bouts. Adam Cole vs Mark Haskins: Both dudes have come a long way from here. This was a very scatterbrained Indy wrestling match. Stuff was done with little rhyme or reason. Unlike the ZSJ/Cabana match, this was relatively short and an OK watch. Go Shiozaki vs Johnny Moss: Thank goodness they got the show back on track. Fans started out pretty much behind Moss but, Go won them over with his hard hitting never say quit attitude...kinda like how Rocky won over the Russian crowd in Rocky IV. This was a very good match and the ending portion was that stuff you want from NOAH's top dog. This was another very good pairing. Big Van Walter vs Rico Bushido: Never heard of Bushido but, he reminds me of how I imagine Ricky Reyes fought and looked like in the Rottweiler days of ROH. That's probably all wrong but, I'm cool with that assumption. He was all martial art kicks and Walter put him down after a few power moves. Short and unoffensive match. I have nothing against so-so matches but, at least make them short like this match. Davey Richards vs Jon Ryan: Ryan has no chance in hell beating Davey...just by the looks of him. But to Davey's credit he gave a lot to J.R. He got some heel moves in and was able to fight Richards and be a credible opponent. So, don't let his cheesy ring gear and physique fool you! I really thought an upset might happen. Another very good match. Sami Callihan vs Tommy End: This was an intense, fast, hate filled match. These guys were wXw regulars and this must have had some back story to it. You don't need to know it though. These dudes were aiming to maul each other. Tommy End is much improved since 2010 and Sami has gotten even better. The best bout so far! Great match with a fantastically aggressive submission finish. Yes! Kotaro Suzuki vs El Generico: This is a pretty high profile match for 2011. It's like an unofficial Best of the Super Jrs. match. It had lots of good action that kept the excitement and drama going. Who would win? Generico is a mega star in indy wrestling and Kotaro is GHC Jr. champ...every nearfall felt like the one that would do it. They both have so many tricks in the bag so, the end was always in doubt. Great match. As good or better than the previous bout for sure. A sweet way to end day one!! Wait...that wasn't the main event? Daisuke Sekimoto vs Bad Bones (wXw Hvywt. Championship match): This is like the cherry on top of a sundae. It starts of slow but, gets action packed as the match progresses. The last few minutes made a big difference as this was scratching at great match territory. Reminded me of the Hayabusa/Tanaka era FMW matches. Very good match overall...like ***3/4 territory. Then we get a very enjoyable post match with Bones and Johnny Moss comes out to challenge Daisuke. Very psyched to see Night 2! This was a heck of night of wrestling. This was much better than I remember the 2010 Night #1 being. Each match that I enjoyed delivered the excitement and entertainment that I was hoping for. Not one wrestler in those matches dogged it and in many cases they went above and beyond to have the best match they could. If they can keep it up then, this might be one helluva ride. Thank you for reading!
  9. I think we can all pretty much admit AJPW took a stylistic nosedive after the NOAH exodus. Sure Kawada, Tenryu, and Kojima occasionally had some great matches but, by in large, folks just didn't care to go out of their way to purchase this stuff. Therefore, the internet community didn't have much to go on as far as recommendations. My interest in AJPW post NOAH actually starts when some of the guys went back in 2013 I believe. Akiyama, Shiozaki, Kotaro Suzuki and others decided NOAH was a stagnant pond and head back (at least Akiyama and Kanemaru) to their true home. So, I watched a few matches from that period and saw a couple reviews and whatnot that it caught my interest to explore a little more. I was surprised to find that AJPW was actually pretty darn good...great at times! Mutoh eventually was fading from the scene in ring and stylistically. So, matches that featured athleticism and struggle were being championed over angles and sports entertainment style wrestling. So, I cherry picked a few DVDs from about 2011-2015. I'm a cheap skate so I only got single disc shows so, I'm probably missing out on some big time match ups BUT I was taking a risk. I figure it'd be better to trust my gut with the match-ups than, hope the 2 disc big shows would deliver. Anyhow, for whatever reason I jumped in during the Fall of 2011 and boy was I pleasantly surprised! Let's check out the matches! SUWAMA, Masakatsu Funaki & Takao Omori vs Seiya Sanada, Taiyo Kea & Manabu Soya (09/25/11 AJPW): This is exactly the exciting, hard hitting match that I hoped it would be. It never treads into parody of former AJPW or NOAH territory with unneeded strike battles or meaningless machismo. The characters play their part during the 20 minutes of action. Highly recommended, very good match. Koji Kanemoto vs KAI - Jr. Tournament Finals (09/25/11 AJPW): Holy crap! This was awesome They really beat the crap out of each other. KAI is a guy that I've seen a couple times and liked. I'd not yet say, "Hey gotta search out me some KAI footy!" but, he is one to watch. Koji worked on the leg here, setting up for his Ankle Hold. KAI did very well in selling the leg damage (even though he did do some flying moves). I felt he sold it enough within the narrative: He's young and he's going to work with the moves that got him to the finals. Koji was punk as fuck and the A+ worker that he can be- especially as the tough vet. The match featured loads of stiff strikes, variety and smarts. Both guys were battered by the end. It was a true contest for something important and a classic match in the Jr. tradition. I've never heard anyone mention this match so, I'm glad I got the DVD on this. Stong BJW & Takao Omori vs Manabu Soya, Sanada & Taiyo Kea (10/17): 17 minute match. Things weren't clicking 100% but, that made this bout feel more organic and "real." Strong BJW vs Soya/Sanada is the rivalry at the time and the focus was kept on that here. Kea vs Omori is a struggle that's been going on since the late 90's so, there was something at stake here as well. The action was good with many tags, irish whip moves, and strike exchanges. The finishing segment was fantastic and capped off a very good match. Jun Akiyama & Ricky Marvin vs SUWAMA & KAI (10/17): 19 minute match. I really dug the mind games Akiyama was playing on SUWAMA...not only effecting this match but setting the stage for their 10/23 Triple Crown fight. KAI and Marvin's interactions were rough around the edges and not in the way of the above match. I'll chalk this up to KAI (who I usually like) but, didn't really bring much to the match. He just kept things moving along. It was a very good match with nice action and told a good story. I just remember liking it a heck of a lot more on the first watch a year or two ago. SO, you might disagree with me here...heck If I watch it a 3rd time, I might disagree with myself! Jun Akiyama vs SUWAMA (10/23): Sorry, I don't have my notes handy for this match but, I remember that is was kinda disappointing. I was hoping for a classic but, recall it being just a very good match (like *** 3/4). I want to say the pacing was slow and probably went 5 minutes longer than it needed to. I'm pretty confident in that recollection. Kaz Hiyashi & KENSO vs Minoru Tanaka & Koji Kanemoto - RWTL (11/26/11 AJPW): KENSO is another guy that I've come to watch for. He's kinda a heel and uses his belt to choke guys. I like this kind of guy in the 2010's. He's got some moves but, is much more of a character than a world class athlete. I'm kinda tired of guys that are young athletes but, rely upon a gimmick rather than their abilities. They work a parody gimmick but, have no idea how their work matches up to their character. So, they do a bunch moves that their character would/should not do. KENSO is a guy where he's got a charisma about him without being a cartoon character with a 100 moves. Anyways, this match was one long finishing run at 11 minutes. Very exciting rush match. Minoru & Koji are cocky jerks taunting KENSO until he has to smack the taste outta their mouths. At this run time, I highly recommend watching this. Its just very good stuff. Takao Omori & Manabu Soya vs Seiya Sanada & KAI - RWTL (11/26/11 AJPW): Here's that KAI fella again! Omori & Soya have teamed up here as Wild Hearts. The thing is Sanada & Soya were tag partners just a few months ago. Not sure who wanted the split but, they square off right at the bell. Seiya goes for speed and shocks Soya. KAI's in there and they go for the double team. These two young guns look dynamic as all get out! Oh shit! They are fighting in the stands now. Old man Omori's out there choking Sanada with a child's parasol! Hahahaha! Back on inside the ring and KAI's trying Soya but, come on dude! Manabu is a freaking caveman...and not the Fred Flintstone type either. Omori gets in there and wisely slows things down with KAI. The K man eventually finds an opening to get Seiya, the fire plug, going. Omori's had enough and puts big Soy sauce in there. Hey, deadlift suplex a motherfucker, Soya! This is a real back and forth match. Omori's trying to Axe Guillotine Driver KAI off the top now. Great! erase his head from existence! Just tons of double team destruction but, surprisingly never goes into bonkers territory. Both teams were very impressive. This was a great match. Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi vs SUWAMA & Takumi Soya (11/26/11 AJPW): Strong BJW have the tag belts but, this is a non title fight. It's a RWTL match-up. So here we go- Takumi smartly WRESTLES Okabayashi...fuck...do NOT get into a power battle with him. Daisuke wants SUWAMA. 'WAMA is a beast eating chops for lunch. Takumi gets back in (at some point) and wrestling smartly but, gets sucked into trading hits and early one his chest is a cherry tomato. BJW is stretching him out like a fat lady in a pair of stirrup pants. Quick tags and repeated hard slams only rub it in. Soya is in trouble. Slam, cover, 2 count, kickout, tag, repeat. SUWAMA's waiting... This match was built brilliantly and paid off in a perfect manner. It starts out being like a ***3/4 match then, a great match like a firm ****+ but, damn this just kept getting better and better. So, I'd call this a classic match. I can't give a number or anything like that but, whew! This did it for me! Awesome closer to an awesome night of wrestling. KENSO & Kaz Hiyashi vs KAI & Seiya Sanada (12/03): I wanted to mention that if you get the DVD of this show, it has a really nice recap segement of the highlights and finishes of many (all?) of the RWTL matches that have taken place up to this time. I know as wrestling dorks, we want to see the full matches BUT it is really nice and fun to see some of these things clipped down to the highlights. They make Akebono matches look watchable. Anyhow, I like everyone here but, wouldn't say I would stick around for an 18 minute match of theirs...but, I was wrong. They managed to keep everything fun and exciting. The action was very good and it really was time well spent. KENSO even busted open KAI's chest, giving meaning to the nomenclature- knife edge chops. Very good match Strong BJW vs Get Wild (Omori & Manabu Soya): 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. Some of these reviews appeared really early on in the blog but, I wanted to consolidate everything for convenience and reference sake. The first post or so was more than a year and a half ago and I know when I'm doing research on wrestling recommendations, it really helps to have everything right in one spot. Anyhow, I was damn impressed by the above matches. Three matches I would call classics (in that ****1/2 star range). Don't be mistaken there is some so-so matches that I had to sit through, some I had to skip but, I've spared you the write-ups on those. Manabu Soya is one guy that I think is slept on especially as a tag team wrestler. If you dig Strong BJW then, you need to see them go up against Soya and Omori. As winter approaches, I want to try and start on 2012 AJPW which I think I have much more of. So, that is a little project goal. We'll see though Fingers crossed! Thanks for reading!
  10. This was fun. I had some structural problems with it and the pacing threw me off (too many times where they were just wandering around setting up the next spot, disliked the ringside brawling) but I enjoyed it thoroughly and it had an exciting finish which didn't go overboard with the kick-outs and ended when it should have. ***1/4
  11. Very fun tag match, specially for an exhibition show/match. It had a lot of really good exchanges and they did not shy away from the stuff people wanted to see the most. Tana was the star in this, as he gave us asshole heel Tana and he's always fucking amazing in that role. His cutoffs were perfectly timed and I loved the little things like doing to Mutoh sign right in from of him after doing a dragon screw. I also gotta give him MAJOR props for making Sekimoto look amazing, Tana let Daisuke chop him hard as fuck, lariat him to oblivion AND do the doble german suplex spot, that's a level of generosity that's rarely seen in a interpromotional match, specially between such a big star and a big indy name. Kento did the most with his interactions with Tana, and he really came off as a star too imo. He had control of the crowd and his defience over Tanahashi felt natural and not try hard. The air guitar bit was Yoshi was fine, he doesn't do anything wrong but his stuff doesn't really resonate with the crowd (and myself), he's just there. The finish kinda hurt because of that, as the pairing to bring to match home was Miyahara/Yoshi, and even though what they did was good, it didn't really got much of a reaction. This really makes me want to see Tanahashi vs Kento - maybe at this year's CC? Tana is gonna be available - and Tanahashi vs Sekimoto, but that one has no shot of ever happening Cool match, kinda long but I was satisfied with what they did.
  12. Looking at this match on paper, I knew there was way NO WAY this wouldn't bang. And it sure banged HARD. Phenomenal FIP segments w/ Daisuke & Thatcher, the chop exchanges between WALTER & Daisuke were brutal + Sawa hasn't lost a step since the last time I saw, which was his previous EVOLVE appearance vs. Danielson. Excellent match. ****
  13. Both teams agreed to a rematch in the future and I need that shit yesterday because this was fun as fuck. For the most part, it felt like an exhibition more than a bout for points in a tournament, and the length time hurt it, pacing was a little off and the final few minutes felt like overkill as it normally happens with these kind of matches. So a more condensed version of this should be fucking spectacular. Still, all in all, this had TONS to love. I dare anyone not to have fun watching this. I almost spit my drink laughing when 5 minutes in, Yuji just stiffed the fuck outta Daisuke for no particular reason Shingo felt like he belonged right away, as expected - though he needs to fucking chill with those headbutts - I loved how Okabayashi wanted to join him in every single thing, it's amazing how he can be goofy/clumsy/menacing at the same cotdamn time. Sato tends to go under the radar but he always brings it and this wasn't the exception. Another sequence I really liked was when Sekimoto and Sato did the body slams spot - a Strong BJ staple - while Daisuke was looking straight at Yuji like "yeah I'm doing this shit against your ass". Korakuen was rocking and had a blast wathing these 4 guys going all out and I can't blame them.
  14. Welp, they did it again. This was the Nomura showcase in a Strong BJ formula match, and of course it works like a charm. Fun shine segment with Naoya and KAI getting the upperhand over the two beasts before the young kid gets pummeled by Daisuke, from then on we got the always awesome "small team tries to come back against Sekimoto & Okabayashi" comeback story, with Nomura being the stand out, showing great fire and good offense while a really good Sumo Hall crowd rallies behind him. This had dope spots and nearfalls and kept building drama until the end. Fucking awesome tag match, what a year for Strong BJ, best fucking tag team in the world.
  15. A 10 minute sprint were two "Davids" put enough of a fight against two Goliaths were the beasts have to get serious to avoid a huge upset. Korakuen makes this match even better by being really into the action. Loved Yoshino's crafty ass finding ways to avoid being destroyed, and Nomura keeps showing why he's a big promise for the division. It's not a "show stealer" or legit MOTYC, but you will have soo much fun watching it, highly recommended.
  16. What a goddamn big boy sprint! It starts off with an INTENSE lock up & I so loved that. Doering screams "COME ON SHOW ME POWER!" which meant it was time for TEST OF STRENGTH~! - when that was done, it becomes a total bombfest & it's just lovely. 7 minutes of badass heavyweight action. ****1/4
  17. A piece of shit shooter and a bully big boy against the babyface ace and the thicc big boy. Gotta provide at least some stiff shit. This is a weird mixture of light hearted action and bomb throwing. There is no sense of urgence, which is not exactly a bad thing, since they provide some laughs and still put on a good match. Hino and Sekimoto chop exchanges are gross. They are pretty much hitting forearms to the jaw at points, and the sound is loud as shit. Unusual to see Sekimoto being overwhelmed in this type of duel, but it happens here. Miyahara gets his ass kicked by both Sato and Hino and it is glorious. He is a very good underdog in this setting, and even if he does have them lightning kicks, he is blasted with chops and kicks and elbows throughout most of the match and has to fight from underneath. They go into a 30 minute time limite draw, and then ask for more 5 minutes. From them on its just non stop bomb throwing and hot nearfalls, which kinda balances out the more carefree pace of the regular time. Still, no one can actually get the pin. Fun match. Hino is the clear highlight here. He just oozes charisma and some of his offense is pretty unique. *** 3/4
  18. Strong BJ vs The Big Guns brings you the HOSSFIGHTING OF JAPAN PRO WRESTLING. Akiyama vs anyone from the Big Japan team sounds great, and here he focuses on destroying Daichi, and as you might know Akiyama vs young punk has been the best match in puro for the last 10 years and it delivers once again as Akiyama just kills Daichi with brutal knees.
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