wrestling / Columns

Into the Indies 10.27.09: I2I Potpurri #1

October 27, 2009 | Posted by Ryan Byers


Banner Courtesy of John Meehan

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Into the Indies, the column that is too big to confine itself to one promotion.

This week, we’re doing something a little bit different. Since the inception of this column, what I have done is taken a look at one show from one wrestling promotion. However, when it comes following independent professional wrestling from Japan, sometimes you can’t always get your hands on a full show. Sometimes, all we have access to is a match or two from a full card . . . and, sometimes, those individual matches are so good that you can’t ignore them just because they’re not accompanied by their undercards.

As a result, this will be the first installment of a semi-regular feature here at the column: I2I Potpurri! We will be taking a look at four different matches from five different promotions, all of which have their own unique charm.


Match Numero Uno: Sanshiro Takagi vs. Munenori Sawa (DDT, 6/28/2009)

This match comes to us from DDT, a promotion that we’ve taken a look at before. Takagi, as you may recall, is the founder and booker of the company. In this particular bout, his opponent is not a member of the DDT roster but rather an individual named Munenori Sawa, who calls the shoot-style company BattlArts his home. Sawa, though he is wrestling under his regular name in his regular gear here, is also known for busting out one of the more bizarre gimmicks on the independent scene. Every now and then, he’ll grow out his goatee and shave his head, at which point he looks like a shorter, skinnier version of New Japan Pro Wrestling legend Keiji Muto. However, he doesn’t stop there. Instead of just working as a Muto look-alike, he throws on women’s undergarments and wrestles as LINGERIE MUTO~! Needless to say, you’ll bee seeing one of that character’s matches discussed in this column as soon as I get around to it.

The two men start laying some SNUG shots in to one another as soon as the bell rings, and Takagi throws Sawa out between the ropes and to the floor. Sawa gets Irish whipped through a row of chairs and posted a couple of times, but he manages to catch a breather when Takagi accidentally lariats the same post that he had been using as a weapon seconds before. Sawa takes advantage by punching the weakened arm and bringing Takagi back in to the ring. Once there, the two men exchange headbutts, and both of them come out of it worse for wear. After gaining the advantage on the striking front, Sawa takes Takagi down and works the arm some more, going for a cross arm breaker but having that fouled up by the ropes immediately. The CAB having failed, Sawa instead goes to a few variants on the same hold, with the most interesting one being an arm scissors. Takagi keeps making the ropes, and he finally gets back on the offensive when Sawa looks for a simple wristlock and Takagi is able to block and turn it in to a side slam. A single leg Boston crab is applied by Takagi, and he switches that in to an STF when Sawa is about to escape. Of course, Sawa rolls to the ropes.

He also rolls out to the ring apron, but he’s incapable of getting any rest as Takagi follows him out with a SLINGSHOT DOUBLE STOMP. To take matters from bad to worse, Takagi gives his opposition a fireman’s carry slam on to the floor and then places him on to a table. Takagi climbs up to the top rope . . . SUPERFLY SPLASH! Sawa is tossed back in to the squared circle, as is a part of the table, which Takagi uses a as a weapon to get a two count. Table shot number two is blocked with a kick, but Takagi successfully uses the wood as a shield to block subsequent strikes. However, he eventually slips up, allowing Sawa to hit a series of shots with the weapon before landing a version of the Pele kick for a two count. A backdrop suplex is next for Sawa, and his hand appears to have been busted open by one of the shots that he delivered to the wooden table. Ignoring the blood, he goes for a shining wizard, only to have that blocked by Takagi, who promptly delivers one of his own.

A swank little German suplex gets a two count for Takagi, and his own bicep appears to have been lacerated by the table. Undeterred, he goes for a powerbomb but has Sawa flip out of it and kick him in the knee to set up a dragon screw. Sawa gets a little bit overconfident, however, and he runs directly in to Takagi’s boot and a follow-up stunner. That allows the powerbomb to hit, but Sawa manages to hold on and grab a version of a triangle choke that he quickly turns into a version of the cross arm breaker that also somehow involves one of Takagi’s legs. Naturally, Takagi makes it to the ropes before submitting.

Sawa keeps with the submission theme by applying an octopus hold, but Takagi breaks it by . . . falling over? Yeah, that’s what just happened. Both men lay on the mat for a bit, and, when they get back to their feet, they start slapping each other in the face at a rapid pace. Takagi is the first one to take a bump, so I guess that makes Sawa your winner. Of course, he’s immediately taken off of his feet with a lariat thereafter, so perhaps he’s not such a winner after all.

The momentum changes yet again, as Takagi runs in to a rana that is followed by a shining wizard, but Sawa can only get himself a two count. A bridging German suplex from Sawa also cannot finish the match. It looks like the octopus hold might, but this time Takagi STANDS UP while in the hold and turns it in to a tamer version of the kryptonite crunch. Fortunately for Sawa, Takagi takes too long to climb the ropes, allowing Sawa to cut him off with a leaping kick to the head. That is followed up with a diving elbow smash, and now Sawa is headed to the corner. He charges in, presumably for another shining wizard, but he is lariated and covered for a one count. Takagi gives him another lariat, and this time it gets two.

The crowd is really starting to pick up as Takagi looks for what I’m assuming is an ocean cyclone suplex, but Sawa rolls forward as if going for a victory roll. Instead of the traditional pinning combination, he ends his roll with a cross arm breaker, but Takagi picks him up off of the mat from that position and lands a short powerbomb. Takagi climbs the ropes once more, and he hits a diving clothesline from the top on to a seated Sawa for the victory.

In a moment fit for hidden highlights, Takagi is shown laying on the mat after the bell checking each of his fingers individually to make sure that he can still use them.

Match Thoughts: This was a good, slightly old fashioned match between two men who either a) hated each other’s guts, b) had something to prove by wrestling one another, or c) both. The entire bout had an undercurrent of intensity so strong that you could cut it with a knife, as every flurry of chops, kicks, or forearms was so quick and so crisp that it came as close as feasible to looking like two men who wanted to do serious damage to one another. On top of that, the power moves hit and the submission wrestling was realistic and made perfect sense within its context. The big spots all delivered as well, and I was particularly a fan of the type of table that was used in the match, as it gave both guys cuts that were visually impressive although not so dangerous that they could have impeded the match or lead to an unsafe environment. Blood from sources other than blading and visible yet minor knicks and cuts are just one more item that can make a regular match look and feel like a war, and that is exactly the end that was reached here. It wasn’t quite a blow-away match that I will remember for the rest of my life, but it is a match that these two should be proud of, as it would be one of the more memorable main events in the history of a promotion the size of DDT. ***1/2


Match Numero Dos: Go Shiozaki vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima (Kensuke Office, 6/29/2009)

I have to admit that it’s probably cheating to sneak this match into an independent wrestling column, but I’m sure that very few of you were complain. For those of you who do not know the backstory, Kensuke Office is essentially a dojo/booking agency/whatever else it wants to be operated by veteran wrestler Kensuke Sasaki. Also, every couple of months, KO will run a stand-alone show, generally featuring no more than four or five matches. Over the years, the Kensuke Office has affiliated itself with various promotions with its wrestlers appearing in a given promotion until they decide that it’s time to move on to another one. Most recently, they have teamed up with Pro Wrestling NOAH, which is why you’ve got reigning GHC Heavyweight Champion Go Shiozaki into this match. He’s taking on Katsuhiko Nakajima, who has largely been tearing up NOAH’s junior heavyweight division lately, though, technically speaking, he’s under contract to the Kensuke Office and is its prize pupil.

There is an extended feeling out process in the early going, with these two young wrestlers trading all manner of basic holds on the mat and neither getting a decided advantage. Go tries to open up the offense with a chop when he pops out of one Nakajima holds, but he misses. It’s ON after that, as the men begin exchanging strikes and doing a rapid fire series of counters culminating in both wrestlers throwing dropkicks at the same time. Obviously, they pop up and everybody claps. Another strike exchange follows, and it looks like it is going to be impossible for either man to obtain a prolonged advantage over the other until Nakajima avoids a Shiozaki charge in the corner. Go sends his shoulder into the ringpost, and Nakajima brilliantly follows it up by coming off of the top rope and slamming his knee in to Shiozaki’s arm across the mat.

We clip ahead a little bit, and Nakajima is unloading with some snug kicks to the bad arm. Shiozaki periodically tries to rally with chops, but every one of them does more harm to his arm than it does to Nakajima. The Kensuke protege goes to a version of the Fujiwara armbar, but Shiozaki makes the ropes. This leads to the wrestlers striking away at one another on the ring apron. Nakajima tries to slam Go’s bad arm over his shoulder, but the former FIP titleholder blocks that and gives Nakajima a neckbreaker down on to the apron. That part of the ring ain’t built for bumping, kids. Nakajima falls to the floor, so the wrestlers chop each other there for a while, with Shiozaki making the cardinal mistake of chopping the ringpost. The loud “ding” of flesh and bone hitting steel there was UNREAL. The trip to the floor isn’t a complete loss for Shiozaki, though, as he does catch Nakajima in a fireman’s carry, dropping him face first over the apron and following it up with a big running knee to the side of the head. Nakajima is also posted, and then Go has some fun by sitting his opponent in a fan’s chair and chopping him out of it. Up next, Nakajima eats a dragon screw leg whip on the floor, with Shiozaki then herking him up and ramming him knee first in to the ringpost.

Nakajima is in bad shape as we return to the ring, and Go immediately hits him with a running knee strike and some chops. Nakajima tries to rally, but he’s dropkicked in the bad knee and put in to a half crab. He makes the ropes, and it’s starting to look like young Katsuhiko’s chest has been busted open by some of the chops that he’s taken throughout the match. Shiozaki, considerate of this problem, decides that he’s going to start chopping Nakajima in the leg instead. If you think that sounds bad for Nakajima, don’t worry, as he almost immediately goes back on the offensive with more brutal kicks and a vertical suplex for two. He gets another nearfall after some knees and goes up top after a DDT, landing a high missile dropkick. Nakajima tries to follow it with a springboard something or other, but Shiozaki sees it coming and kicks him in midair before applying a double chickenwing hold. Nakajima cannot be deterred, though, as eventually he does hit his springboard kick before running directly in to Go’s sweet chin music. Nakajima rolls to the floor one more time, and GO IS STOPPED WITH A KICK TO THE HEAD AS HE TRIES FOR A SUICIDE DIVE! That gets two for Nakajima when he rolls back into the ring, and he hits a rana when Shiozaki tries to block a superkick. There’s a Saito suplex from Nakajima, but it only gets two. Go responds with a brainbuster, but Nakajima is up before he can even attempt to cover. Shiozaki fires off a big lariat, and now we are back to a strike battle between the two young wrestlers.

Shiozaki comes out on the winning end there, getting Nakajima to take a bump off of some of his chops. However, when he goes up to the second rope, Nakajima catches him with a leaping kick. Nakajima tries to follow with a superplex of some kind, but Shiozaki blocks and turns it into a second rope uranage. Go climbs the ropes again and is cut off with a kick again, this time with Nakajima giving him a DOUBLE STOMP off of the top afterwards. Shiozkai is also put in the tree of woe and kicked for a bit, which sets up a Nakajima brainbuster. Nakajima fires off a bridging German, but it only gets a two count. Shiozaki hits a German of his own off of a cool counter, namely plucking Nakajima out of midair as he attempted a jumping spin kick. A lariat and a Northern Lights Bomb fail to finish the match for Shiozaki, as does yet another lariat. Seconds later, though, Nakajima eats a Go Flasher and his third lariat within a minute. That gives Shiozaki the victory.

Match Thoughts: Shiozaki has pretty obviously been pegged as the future of professional wrestling in Japan, as he was handed NOAH’s GHC Heavyweight Title in the wake of Mitsuharu Misawa’s death. Though he has not been handed quite the same distinction, many mat watchers have also pegged Nakajima as a young wrestler to watch and somebody who could blossom into a future legend. This twenty-five minute match was perhaps the perfect showcase of these two men for exactly who they are: Talented athletes who have immeasurable potential but do not yet have the polish necessary to be considered the best in the industry, let alone among the best of all time. The two obviously have great conditioning to go at the pace that they did for the period of time that they did, and they both have unique aspects to their styles that allow them to stand out from the herd (in particular, Nakajima’s variety in and execution of his kicks rule). Of course, given their relative lack of experience, there were a few rough patches here and there. The execution of moves wasn’t quite as smooth as you might expect from more seasoned wrestlers, and I felt like they over-relied on kick/chop exchanges. However, at the end of the day, this was largely a good match, and it is immensely entertaining to watch these two develop as performers. ****


Match Numero Tres: The Great Sasuke v. TAKA Michinoku (c) for the Champion of Strongest K Title (KAIENTAI Dojo, 6/9/2009)

These two wrestlers have been involved with one another for over fifteen years. They were frequent opponents in the glory days of Michinoku Pro Wrestling in the mid-1990′s, and, when people in the American wrestling scene started realizing that some great things were going on in M-Pro, they were brought into the WWF to wrestle a pair of singles matches that were essentially a test run for the promotion’s light heavyweight division. Now, in 2009, TAKA and Sasuke are working with each other in the main event of a show for Kaientai Dojo, a VERY small indy promotion (we’re talking crowds in the double digits for some shows) run by TAKA and associated with his wrestling school. They’re also wrestling for the company’s top title, which just happens to be held by the guy who runs the promotion . . . go figure.

The men trade armwringers early, with TAKA eventually settling on a front facelock. Sasuke is able to shove him off and get a legbar, but Michinokui makes the ropes. The two do a couple more quick exchanges on the mat, and they pop up to bask in the chants of the crowd. TAKA misses a charge in the corner, resulting in Sasuke tossing him from the ring and teasing a dive. Michinoku is hammered with forearms as soon as he reenters the ring, and Sasuke drops an elbow before landing a few boots. It’s almost a Garvin stomp, but not quite. Sasuke applies a leg submission for a little while, eventually rolling his opponent in to a half crab. TAKA easily makes the ropes, but Sasuke stays on the leg by kicking away at it and reapplying the crab hold. That eventually turns in to a kneebar, which TAKA is able to kick his way out of using his free leg. Michinoku drops a knee (damaging it further in the process) and applies a kneebar of his own on Sasuke. The Michinoku Pro founder makes the ropes but finds his own leg brutally stomped for a period of time. Hey, turnabout is fair play. TAKA lands a dragon screw and then applies the figure four leglock in center ring, and the two long-time rivals talk trash while they are in the hold. They also take turns doing the American-style “reversal” of the move until eventually they roll in to the ropes and things are broken up.

When the men return to their feet, TAKA tries to Irish whip Sasuke, but the masked man’s knee gives way. Michinoku hits a jumping knee in the corner and tries to springboard back into the ring for something, but Sasuke knocks him off the ropes and down to the floor. Sasuke attempts an Asai moonsault, but TAKA grabs his leg and pulls him down face-first in to the apron. Michinoku tries for an Asai moonsault of his own immediately thereafter, but Sasuke is successful in making the exact same counter. The masked man reenters the ring and flies out to the floor with his suicide dropkick, and both men are down. Sasuke rolls his opponent back into the ring after a while and hits the Buff Blockbuster of all things for a two count. Sasuke then signals for the senton atomico, but TAKA rolls out of the way. Sasuke stays on top of his man with a springboard elbow that knocks Michinoku out on to the apron. Sasuke sees an opportunity with TAKA on the apron and climbs to the top rope yet again . . . and he MISSES the senton atomico, SPLATTING back-first on to the ring apron.

Of course, that spot allows TAKA to take control back inside the ring, as he applies a crossface to further wear down his challenger. Sasuke of course crawls to the ropes, and, for no apparent reason, he goes back on to the offense as soon as he’s out of the hold, slamming TAKA and finally giving him that senton atomico. Sasuke goes up to the top again, and this time he comes off with what I can best describe as a dropkick to the prone Michinoku’s knee. It looked ugly, whatever it was, and both men come up selling their legs. They trade chops after that, and eventually TAKA goes back to the crossface. Sasuke reaches out for the ropes numerous times, but Michinoku pulls him away at the last second until the Great one’s third attempt at escape is finally successful.

Both men look for their finishers, but Sasuke reverses a Michinoku Driver and TAKA reverses a Thunder Fire Bomb. Michinoku rolls out to the floor one more time for a breather, but he finds himself quickly BLASTED by a tope con hilo from the Great Sasuke. The wrestlers make their way back to the ring, and Sasuke climbs the ropes yet again. He gives TAKA the Ram Jam, but the younger wrestler kicks out at the last possible second. Sasuke looks for a German suplex . . . TAKA flips out of it . . . Sasuke kicks him in the head . . . and THERE’S the German. It only gets two, as does Sasuke’s patented Thunder Fire Bomb. Sasuke goes to the top again, but TAKA knocks him off and down to the floor, setting up a SUPER QUEBRADA from the top to the floor by the Kaientai Dojo head. Sasuke is rolled back to the ring, where TAKA looks for a springboard move. Sasuke cuts it off with a dropkick, but TAKA no sells that, and the two men are exchanging rapid fire kicks now. Michinoku treats Sasuke’s head like a soccer ball with three consecutive SICK kicks, but they only get two. MICHINOKU DRIVER! THREE COUNT! Michinoku successfully retains his championship.

Match Thoughts: To use an old cliche, watching this match was like coming home to an old friend. It had a nostalgic quality about it, as the two wrestlers worked in some of their “greatest hits” but refrained from just doing one of their old matches over again, instead rearranging some of the classic spots so that they all made sense within a new structure. However, when you meet up with an old friend, sometimes it reminds you that things aren’t like what they used to be. Though this was a very solid match and the two guys reminded me why I enjoyed them so much over a decade ago, it was also clear in certain spots that they aren’t quite the athletes that they used to be, in part due to the passage of time and in part due to mounting injuries. In short, it was great to watch but a little sad to think about. ***3/4



Match Numero Cuatro: Toshiaki Kawada, REY Ohara, Commander An Jo, Arma, & Geddon vs. Genichiro Tenryu, TAJIRI, Shiro Koshinaka, Bono-Kun, & Magnum Tokyo in an elimination match (HUSTLE, 7/5/2009)

This five-on-five elimination match is from one of the final shows of the HUSTLE vs. Monster Army era of the pro wrestling promotion HUSTLE. For those of you who may not have heard, roughly one month ago, there were some major storyline changes in the company. Their number one rival, Generalissimo Takada, was so taken aback by the impressive victories that Magnum TOKYO racked up against members of his Monster Army that he finally buried the hatchet with HUSTLE and declared that he was no longer at war with them. However, the very second that HUSTLE and the Monster Army declared their truce, a new villain by the name of King RIKI invaded and MURDERED TAKADA WITH A LASER. The King announced that his RIKI Army was invading HUSTLE , meaning that now the HUSTLE home unit consists of former HUSTLErs and former Monster Army members working together to ward off RIKI. We’ll be getting to the new era HUSTLE shows later, though . . . now we’ve got to take a look at the tail end of the old era.

Tenryu and Kawada are the first two men in the ring, and they begin things with a knuckle lock. Kawada forces his opponent back in to the ropes and surprisingly offers a clean break before grabbing an arm and working it over. Tenryu gets the rope break this time, though it’s not quite clean, as he chops Kawada across the chest. Before long, the two men are exchanging knife edges, with Monster K coming out the worse of the two because it appears that Tenryu is catching him high and chopping his THROAT. I guess that will put the breaks on his singing career. Kawada bulls Tenryu back in to the corner and chokes him before unloading with some knees, but Tenryu fires back with a corner clothesline, some chops, and some jabs. A slooooow DDT from Tenryu connects, and then he snaps off a surprisingly good enzuguiri and a vertical suplex for a two count. Kawada kicks him in the head from the mat, and now we’ve got the two men chopping one another yet again. Kawada opens things up to include kicks as well, but Tenryu refuses to go down until K has hit three enzuguiris and a big lariat. Seconds later, Kawada locks on the Stretch Plum. Tenryu fights it off for a long period of time, and eventually Kawada loses the hold. Another jumping kick from Kawada connects, and a second boot sends Tenryu down once more. A third kick connects and Kawada reapplies the Stretch Plum, this time with Tenryu submitting for the first elimination.

Tajiri heads out next for his team, and he pulls Kawada out of the ring to the apron, where he works over the All Japan legend’s legs to neutralize the kicks that were so effective against Tenryu. Tajiri repeatedly kicks Kawada in the knees and then slams his leg against the guardrail. The assault to the knee continues once the two men have reentered the ring, complete with Tajiri stretching his opponent’s leg across the ropes and headbutting it. Kawada won’t be taken down that easily, though, as he chops away at Tajiri the second the former WWE competitor mugs for the crowd. Monster K misses a running kick in the corner, though, and the Buzzsaw is immediately back to work on his left leg, applying several different holds in mid-ring. Kawada crawls to the ropes to force a break when he’s caught in a heel hook, and he blocks the Flair-esque shinbreaker with a series of elbows. Tajiri runs in to Kawada’s boots a few times after that and is lariated, but it only gets two. Tajiri responds with a dragon screw and a figure four leglock, which Kawada eventually escapes after sitting in the hold for a good deal of time. Things start to look particularly bad for Kawada when his leg buckles as he attempts to run the ropes, and that indirectly leads to him being hit with Tajiri’s handspring elbow. The former ECW TV Champion goes for the figure four again after that move, but Kawada small packages him for the flash pin.

Koshinaka is out now as the third man on Team HUSTLE. He hits one of his trademark hip attacks to Kawada’s bad knee and then gives him several more hips to the head before we get another chop battle. Shiro wins that by kicking Kawada’s bum wheel out from underneath him. Kawada gets an opening when Koshinaka misses an ass splash on to the leg, but he has difficulty following up because he can’t get the momentum behind his lariat that he needs. Koshinaka hits a series of his flying butt attacks, including one from the top rope and then a powerbomb. Then, in what would be an upset if not for the fact that it was Kawada’s third consecutive match, Koshinaka pins the legend clean in the middle of the ring.

REY Ohara is Monster Army entrant number two for that team. He immediately takes Koshinaka down with two kneelifts and follows him out to the floor with a flying kick from the ring apron. When he brings Koshinaka back to the squared circle, he applies a version of the Kondo Clutch, only to have Shiro make the ropes. Ohara next mocks Koshinaka by ripping off his hip attacks, but Koshi mocks those and sends REY down to the floor with a flying ass. He follows him out with a second flying ass off of the apron, and then he PILEDRIVES Ohara down on the unpadded floor. Back in between the ropes, Koshinaka snaps off a side Russian legsweep and applies a chinlock. Ohara tries to kick his way out, but Koshi cuts that off by hitting him over the head with a chop and then giving him another series of hip attacks. The match devolves in to a chop/forearm war at this point, and Ohara bumps off of a Koshinaka haymaker. REY starts to make a comeback with a Three Stooges eye poke (seriously) and goes for an Irish whip, but Shiro reverses it in to a sweet looking backslide for a rather close two count. Koshinaka then goes airborn for a top rope double stomp down on to his opponent, which Ohara sells like his groin took the brunt of the impact. After two more flying asses, Koshinaka looks for a piledriver, but REY reverses and gets the pin off of a cradle after being pummeled all match.

That means HUSTLE is now on competitor number for while the Monster Army is only on competitor number two . . . and Bono-Kun is competitor number four. REY crotches the former sumo with the ropes as Bono attempts to enter the ring, but the big man quickly recovers and hits a splash and a Samoan drop for the three count. See ya, REY.

Commander An Jo is out as wrestler number three for the Monster Army, and he immediately has some forearms shrugged off by Bono. The big man lands a hiptoss and drops an elbow for a two count. An Jo tries to take a powder, but Bono just steps on him for a while and then goes to the bearhug. Jo is rammed into the corner from that position, and then the sumo runs in for an avalanche and a lariat. Those moves also do not finish of the Commander. Bono misses his second avalanche attempt and gets schoolboyed for a two count. He has difficulty getting back up to his feet after that move, so An Jo does manage to land some ax handles and kicks. Bono no sells them after a while but misses a diving headbutt and gets placed in an armbar. Bono powers out of that, and An Jo goes to the floor. Bono gives chase as An Jo runs off, and suddenly numerous members of the Monster Army attack Bono and spray him with streamers, which somehow incapacitate the big man. The Commander tries to run back in to the ring to get a count out win, but he’s met by Tajiri and misted in the face.

It appears that the draw eliminated both Akebono and Commander An Jo, meaning that we are now down to Magnum Tokyo as the final HUSTLE entrant. He gets to do an AWESOME version of his standard entrance, flanked by six dancing girls. The fun entrance doesn’t do much to help TOKYO out with the fact that he has to score back to back victories over two members of the Monster Army in order to win the match for the HUSTLErs. The first of those is Arma, who is former WWE/TNA wrestler Travis Tomko under a mask. TOKYO hits Tomko with a tope as the masked man is making his entrance, but Tomko largely no-sells its effects and hits Magnum with a big fall away slam when they get in to the ring. The Problem Solver misses a Stinger splash type move in the corner and is hit with a clothesline, but he manages to regain control by blocking a Tokyo bulldog and giving him a neckbreaker from the torture rack position. That gets two. A vertical suplex also gets Arma a nearfall, and he follows it with an impressive looking scoop powerslam. Tomko climbs to the top rope, and he MISSES A SENTON ATOMICO. Christ, there’s something I never would have expected from him. Immediately thereafter, Magnum TOKYO gets a victory roll style pin for the victory.

Geddon is out as the final Monster Army representative, and he is Rene Dupree under a hood. He immediately hits a Rydeen bomb for a two count and follows up with a second rope legdrop for another nearfall. A uranage also connects and also gets two. Geddon is visibly frustrated, and he decides to wear down his opponent for a bit before attempting any more high impact moves, choking TOKYO for a little while before whipping him off the ropes. Magnum cartwheels to avoid being Irish whipped and then snaps off a rana before hitting his corner clothesline/bulldog combo. The HUSTLE loyalist nails a missile dropkick, and a series of reversals results in TOKYO hitting a Side Effect. That only gets a two count as Arma pulls the referee out of the ring. Monster Army valet Francoise tries to interfere, but Magnum throws her down to the mat. She still manages to catch him with a low blow, sitting up a cradle piledriver for Geddon. The official referee is still out, so a Monster Army representative slides into the ring and counts the pinfall. The bell rings as though it is official, and the entire Monster Army hits the ring for a beatdown. The HUSTLErs fight them off, and Magnum grabs the mic, demanding that the match be restarted.

It is, and Geddon immediately knocks TOKYO down with a clothesline for a two count. Dupree hits a superkick and a nice looking German suplex, but they also cannot but the babyface away. Rene climbs the ropes again, but TOKYO crotches him and brings him off the ropes with a SPINGBOARD RANA. A lariat only gets two for Magnum, but a jumping knee strike, a wheelbarrow bulldog, and a straight kick to the head finish the match for him seconds later.

Match Thoughts: This is one that I can’t really rate, because it was more a series of individual matches that built into one another and wove in a couple of continuous storylines as opposed to being one, cohesive match. However, it was thirty straight minutes of really fun professional wrestling that did a great job of building towards the story that the company ultimately wanted to tell, i.e. that Magnum TOKYO is god’s gift to HUSTLE and the man who would ultimately go on to finally defeat the Monster Army, almost singlehandedly. This probably isn’t anything that you need to go out of your way to see if you aren’t familiar with the HUSTLE storylines to date, but, if you are familiar with them, this is a half an hour that should get two thumbs way up.

Overall

I suppose I can’t really do a proper “Overall” section when none of the matches that I watched are related to each other in any way, shape, or form. I’ll just go ahead and say that I very much enjoyed watching everything that I saw this week, and I’ll be back in seven days!


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See you all next week!

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Ryan Byers

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