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The Furious Flashbacks – Hustle-4

June 22, 2007 | Posted by Arnold Furious
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The Furious Flashbacks – Hustle-4  

The Furious Flashbacks – Hustle-4

A show starring Captain Hustle, Hustle King and Hustle K. Or Ogawa, Hashimoto and Kawada if you’d rather.

Its weird how Hustle has continued on since the first four major shows to the point where they’re now running Hustle 23 (I think). But the West and tape traders in particular, suddenly started ignoring the promotion after the first four shows. It seems like the entire tape trading world just gave up on Hustle after show 4. Not that I’m overly upset or anything but it just seems weird that many other puroresu tapes are available and you can easily find Hustle-1 to Hustle-4 anywhere and then nothing. Curious. Maybe Hustle stopped commercially releasing tapes or stopped broadcasting their shows? If anyone has any idea let me know. Not that I can get anymore Hustle shows to put the email in!

By Hustle-4 things have gotten very silly indeed. You’re about to find out just how silly. FIVE commentators tonight. Unfortunately this has no clipping at all and the entire pre-show is on here. This includes highlights of Hashimoto v Katakuri, who appears to have a Tatanka gimmick. He looks just like him too. Only Japanese. The only part I really enjoy is when Toshiaki Kawada kicks Yoji Anjoh right in the face. OOF! 20 minutes in we get to the press conference. 25 minutes in we get to the wrestling.

July 25th 2004. We’re in Yokohama, Japan.

Spanky/Kaz Hayashi v Sonjay Dutt/Josh Daniels

Jesus, they even have cheaper jobbers for Spanky’s Titanic gimmick to get over with the girls. For those who don’t know them; Dutt is a spot wrestler who is great at rana’s and headscissors and shit like that but doesn’t do much wrestling. He got his break with CZW and TNA. Josh is a guy that wrestles a lot like Chris Benoit. Almost a tribute act. The Hustle guys saw through that and changed him to a wrestling Elvis, no I’m not joking, and they come out to “Hound Dog” as a result. I’m a bit disappointed by the lack of dancing. Kaz & Josh run near misses until Kaz hits a headscissors and the crowd wake up. Outside and Josh hits a pescado. Spanky dives too and they brawl around blatantly waiting for Dutt to do a sick moonsault into the front row. He’s got a tail. What the fuck is that? Jun Kasai will sue you. Dutt’s characterisation in this match is just weird. He stalks around on the apron like some sort of animal. He tries to cheap shot Spanky but Spanky is much tougher in Japan and survives until Dutt hits him with an inverted 619 and dances around swinging his tail. I’ll give him this; it’s over. The crowd digs the gimmick. He teases Spanky by waving his tail in his face and making monkey noises. There’s a very slight racial undertone to this gimmick. Josh tags the tail to come back in causing about 7,000 people to crack up. Dude, what the fuck is wrong with Japanese people? Josh chops away Benoit style and Dutt is selling the shots on the apron with VERY loud “EEEEEP” noises. I suddenly really like Sonjay Dutt. He needs to use this gimmick stateside. I might actually care about him flipping then. MONKEY LAUGHING! He taunts Kaz with his tail. Honestly, these hijinx are winning over the crowd and keeping me amused. He taunts Spanky some more by waving the tail in his face so Spanky kicks him in the head. YUS! Spanky applies the FORWARD ROLL to get the hot tag. HECTOR GUERRERO THAT SHIT DOWN! Kaz decides it’s time to light this one up and hits a quebrada for 2. Rana for Sonjay sends him outside but Josh is still there and he busts out the LARIATOOO! Dutt in with flipping for 2. Dutt with a whirl DDT for 2. Crowd is suitably impressed. And not just because he’s talking like a monkey. HURRICANE KICK! Kaz just killed him! Spanky in with a missile dropkick and a superkick. He hauls Sonjay right back up and superkicks Josh off the apron. Flatliner! He sets Sonjay up. “KING OF THE WORLD” gets a BIG pop and in comes Daniels to stop him. Sonjay goes up and hits a SUPER RANA from WAAAAY up there. That gets 2. Great shot of Daniels holding Kaz back in mid-pin. Dutt superkicks Spanky into a German suplex off Daniels for 2. Spanky and Kaz break out the POWERBOMB/SLICED BREAD #2 for the pin at 10.59. Say, that’s where Londrick got it from! ***1/2. That was all sorts of fun and clean as a whistle. Unlike the bigger names these guys actually went out there and a) had fun plus b) worked really hard. And everyone got over in the process. And it was a good match. Winner.

Hardcore Battle Royal

Ok, so who do we have out there? Kintaro Kanemura and some other guy come out together and do a bizarre dance to Raven’s theme music from ECW. “Come Out and Play” by the Offspring. The crowd dances along. HUSTLE, HUSTLE, HUSTLE! Tomohiro Ishii is also in there. He and Kanemura have a chair duel. Kanemura’s corner man keeps him distracted preventing any offence and then throws in a table. Kanemura uses it on Ishii’s groin repeatedly and then chair shots the table into the groin. The crowd is LOVING this. Kanemura gets whipped face first into another table, which barely moves. Ishii smashes him in the face with a chair. Kanemura’s selling is FANTASTIC. He just stands there, holds his face and shouts “AAAARGH”. It’s superb. This is Royal Rumble style so out comes #3 Masato Tanaka. God his music RAWKS so hard. He goes after both guys and Ishii foolishly engages in a brutal elbow duel. Tanaka wins, obviously. Kanemura has exposed a turnbuckle. Is this FMW? It feels like FMW. Because an exposed buckle isn’t badass enough Kanemura puts a table on top of it. He goes to suplex Ishii through it but Ishii blocks it. He sees Tanaka coming and powerbombs Tanaka through the table. #4 is Flying Vampire #7. Whatever happened to Flying Vampire #1 through #6? It must be some sort of joke because Flying Vampire #16 & #28 teamed up against Spanky & Kaz to open Hustle-5. He looks confused. Kanemura runs out to meet him but gets superkicked. He then hits a springboard double dropkick on the guys in the ring and a cool flying headscissors on Kanemura. Then he reverses on Tanaka and hits another rana. Back inside he starts getting REALLY sloppy and fucks up both an Enzuigiri and a bulldog. Crowd now sees it as a comedy character and starts laughing at all his wacky moves. Ishii promptly kills him with a lariat and powerbombs him over the top rope through two tables. HAHAHA. AWESOME~! He’s dead. Thanks for coming! Bring Flying Vampire #8 next time. #5 is Tomoaki Honma. He has a ladder. Tanaka takes in the mouth. Kanemura blocks it and his buddy jumps in again to help double team. Honma dropkicks the ladder back at them. They set a ladder up over Kanemura and his buddy and Tanaka chair shots it. DAYUM! Honma gets slammed on the ladder. This has really degenerated into a bunch of crazy crap. #6 is Steve Corino. He looks like he’s retained some water on this tour. Ahem. He has a guitar but opts instead for bashing everyone with a piece of table. Kanemura totally no sells it so Corino shakes hands with him instead. Heh. They form an alliance and Kanemura starts to FENG SHUI the ring. There are tables fucking everywhere. He obviously doesn’t like Ishii because he superplexes him through this complex new furniture arrangement…for 2. Pinfalls count? Why was I not informed? They throw him over the top instead because it’s easier. Corino promptly heels on Kanemura and throws him out too. Honma picks him off with a bulldog. DDT/Stunner on Corino/Tanaka. Tanaka is an equal opportunities guy so he frogsplashes Corino for 2. Tanaka sets up a ladder, as if this needs to get any sicker, and goes to hurt Corino off it. Honma decides he wants some of this action and flips over to powerbomb Tanaka into the ladder, which moves and crushes Corino. Honma goes to take out the staggered Corino and suplexes over the top of the ladder. This is like watching a TLC match. It’s total madness. Corino gets laid out on a table and Honma sets the ladder up. Oh boy. I can see where this is going. Tanaka does too and shoves the ladder over. Corino throws a chair at Honma to knock him out of the ring. Corino goes for the DDT and lays out Tanaka. He wants the STO and hits that too. “Hustle, Hustle” – Corino. BIG pop for that. “Corino Ichiban”. Suplex on a chair gets 2. You can’t knock Tanaka out Steve. Surely you know this. Corino wants the lariat but someone attacks him from outside. Tanaka wails on Corino with the guitar, WHICH ISN’T GIMMICKED, and I swear that has to be a concussion right there. Three really hard shots don’t break it and Tanaka gives up and just pins Corino instead for the win at 15.13. ***. That was really fun in a demented stupid spotfest way. Kind of like a TLC or Money in the Bank or tag ladder match that the WWE are so fond of.

Super Crazy v Hustle Kamen

Hustle Kamen is the start of the Power Rangers stable in Hustle. I think this one is Takuya Sugi who normally wrestles as El Blazer. Opposing him is EVIL SUPER CRAZY. You can tell he’s evil because he has evil music and evil facepaint. He looks like one of Mexico’s Most Wanted. This is somewhere between REALLY goofy and really bad. It speeds up and Crazy takes a spill into the announce table. He apologises for any trouble caused and picks up the paperwork he knocked off. Kamen teases a dive three times before eventually hitting it. Crowd gets suitably worked up by that. Kamen punches Crazy in the ear, which he sells like a champ. Kamen with some LAME chops. This is one of those Japanese joke matches isn’t it? I hate lucha-libre at the best of times (unless it’s done really well) but when it’s done badly, like this, it’s a total aberration on the name wrestling. Kamen does tip the hat to the Tajiri feud, Crazy’s most famous, by breaking out the Tarantula. Crowd doesn’t really get it so I’m sensing they didn’t watch a lot of ECW in Japan. That merely serves to piss Crazy off something fierce. They run a spot with a chair in the corner and Crazy gets reversed into it and pinned for 2. Crazy is working in some of his most convoluted looking stuff here. Kamen breaks out a diving rana off the ramp in an attempt to hit Rey Mysterio levels of awesomeness. Sidenote – Hustle Kamen’s nickname is “Hustling Justice”. Crazy hits a sunset flip powerbomb for 2. 10 minutes gone already. Spiral bomb gets 2. Kamen goes up top but when he comes off Crazy meets him with a huge lariat and a bigger powerbomb. 2nd rope moonsault gets 2. Kamen finishes the match off very suddenly with a Code Red at 12.19, which is appropriate because he’s the Red Ranger. **1/4. Started out really sloppy and stupid but got progressively better and made its way into entertaining crap by the end of the match. I wouldn’t want to watch it again though.

The remainder of the card takes the shape of a Hustle Army v Takada’s Monster Army format. It’s a best of five series culminating in Ogawa & Choshu wrestling turncoat An Joe (the former Yoji Anjoh) and Dan Bobish. Meanwhile mentor Shinya Hashimoto has a key battle against Gama King.

Monsieur de Barbarosa/Mark Coleman v Ryoji Sai/Katsuhisa Fujii

I have no clue who Barbarosa is. Fujii is a shooter who has competed for UFC, Rings and Pancrase. Last time out he lost to journeyman shootfighting jobber Elvis Sinosic. He also lost to Nogueira and Sato in about four minutes a piece. Doesn’t really have a solid pedigree in other words. Even though I’ve seen Fujii before I can’t tell the difference between him and Sai because they’re both very bland. Barbarosa looks like a big version of Low-Ki in terms of appearance. Crowd is unimpressed. So am I to be honest. He looks exceptionally green in the opening trade off with Sai. His gimmick stuff looks really poor and other bits and pieces like dropkicks look a little rough. Coleman comes in to ground Fujii and pound him in the mount. He should be used to that by now. Barbarosa comes in with a bad miscue on a clothesline. “What the fuck?” – Coleman. Barbarosa starts with the lumbering no sell similar to Lord Humongous. Coleman misses a dive off the top and that allows Sai to actually mount a minor comeback. So far the Hustle Army has been dominated. Sai gets a near fall off a suplex. Barbarosa is still trying to make a load of noise and no one in the crowd wants to know. I’m not sure why they’ve gone to this new guy in the middle of the storyline but he’s not working out too well thus far. He comes back in to chokeslam Sai for 2. They blow some spots with Barbarosa looking terrible again. His running Dominator is the latest move to look like shit. He then sells his head before getting kicked there. This guy is SHIT. Coleman should have worked 90% of this match. The faces manage a German suplex/missile dropkick combo and put Barbarosa down for 2. It breaks down and everyone piles in there. Barbarosa is badly blown up and can’t kick out anymore. He’s just sort of rolling to the side. Coleman gets a tag and HARDWAY BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEXES Fujii. A more cooperative one gets 2. Coleman is a beast. Barbarosa complains about it so Coleman knocks his bitch ass out. Fujii breaks out an awesome German suplex with a perfect bridge for 2. SPEAR~! Coleman finishes with the Juvi Driver and didn’t need any help from his useless tag partner at 10.18. *1/4. The less said about Barbarosa the better. Coleman came off as the star as a result and the ace of the Monster Army.

Monster Army 1 Hustle Army 0

BACKSTAGE Kawada is presented with a gift. The delivery boy points out Kawada’s picture on the Hustle poster and naturally asks for Kawada to do the Hustle. Kawada replies by kicking him in the face. HAHAHA. Perfect. Great character work there.

Toshiaki Kawada/Hiro Yokoi v Giant Silva/Psycho the Death

Worryingly Psycho the Death is currently in OVW working towards his WWE debut. I shit you not. At least he’s now wrestling under the name Russell Simpson, which sounds considerably less stupid. Yokoi comes out to Bob Marley’s “Exodus”. Kawada is one of the three big stars for the Hustle Army so they’ve put him in here in an attempt to negate the presence of the other big Monster Army ace Giant Silva. Kawada comes out dressed like Bruce Lee or if you’d rather The Bride from Kill Bill. He also has funky 70’s music. Simpson works his mental patient gimmick until Yokoi squares off in a shoot stance. Simpson suddenly launches himself into his own shoot stance and tries to choke Yokoi out. This Psycho gimmick isn’t particularly well rounded. He works it like a champ on the way out there but as soon as he’s in the ring it falls apart. A lot of gimmicks go wrong because there’s no logical follow through and change of style (like the Undertaker’s style of wrestling suits his entrance, this guy has the two completely at opposite ends of the spectrum). Silva comes in to dominate. Kawada doesn’t even flinch as Silva tries to intimidate him then deliberately tags in. Kawada engages Silva in a leg kicking duel. That comes off even. Silva is pretty dumb for going toe to toe on Kawada’s speciality. He opts for clubbing blows across the back instead. Kawada retorts with a lot of leg kicking. His usual boot to the face catches Silva somewhere around the sternum but still sends him over the top. Silva is so rattled he tags out. Simpson uses his little dolly thing to club at Kawada. The reaction is priceless. Kawada is all “what the fuck are you doing?” He kicks Simpson in the face sending the dolly flying. Kawada picks it up and gently puts it back in the corner. Heh. That was a nice touch. Kawada has heart and that separates him from the Monster Army. Obviously they turned him heel later. Sigh. Yokoi comes back in and gets picked off with relative ease. I’m conscious when Yokoi is in there that the match isn’t interesting at all. The match is SO dominated by Kawada’s presence that when he’s not there it suffers. Kawada gets the tag back in and kicks at Simpson who makes a valiant effort of fighting back. That gets him the SHORT KICKS. BIG CORNER KICK! Simpson comes back with a neckbreaker but something goes wrong and that looks like shit. I think Kawada isn’t too happy working with this goon. He kicks Simpson in the face a lot. Simpson blocks the brainbuster and in comes Silva to break up the clinch. Silva tags in and his presence is impressive. He’s learned a lot of about ring presence since his WWF run. He hits the chokeslam for 2. The natives try to double team with kicks and get the giant off his feet. Roundhouse kicks follow and Silva has to tag out. That’s all they wanted; to get him out of the ring. Yokoi runs into a spinebuster off Simpson though. Yokoi pops off a release German for 2. Silva runs in to break it up so Kawada tries to German suplex him. Crowd gets very excited but in the midst of it Simpson rolls up Yokoi for the upset win at 12.41. **1/2. That was fun but I was aware that the crowd wanted to see Kawada-Silva and when that wasn’t going down the match was on autopilot. Luckily Simpson and Yokoi are ok so it didn’t suffer too much.

POST MATCH Kawada gets on the mic and calls Yokoi a useless piece of shit. Or words to that effect. Yokoi hangs his head in shame.

Monster Army 2 Hustle Army 0. Now every match is MUST WIN.

Gama King v Shinya Hashimoto

Gama King is weird. He’s a fat guy with a frog’s head and two large water containers. Hashimoto has full Elvis gear, a flashing red belt and a HUGE afro. He’s now competing as the “Hustle King”. It’s all getting very silly. Gama is one of these obscenely fat guys like the Headhunters. Gama is so fat that Hash can’t execute basic moves on him like slams and hip tosses. This does NOT make for a pretty match. The referee meanwhile busts out a REALLY fast count when Hash is down. He looks strangely familiar. Is that Guillotine LaGrande? I think it is. Hash starts chopping Gama in the throat but he’s so fat it doesn’t effect him. Eventually he hits so hard that Gama has trouble breathing and nearly pukes on poor Guillotine. Gama with a nervehold to grind Hash down. Hash gets out and tries for a German suplex, which is absolute folly because Gama must weigh 500lbs and Hash can’t even get his arms around the guy. Gama sits on Hash for 2. Crowd is NOT happy about the cadence of that count. It’s not super fast but it’s noticeably swifter than usual. Gama decides to mount the buckles and splashes off the 2nd rope for 2. Hash kicks him off and starts throwing those BIG kicks to the chest. Each one connects with a huge THUD noise. LaGrande threatens to DQ Hash so Hash lays him out. This of course results in the referee not being able to make a pin for Hash. Well, that WAS his fault. More stiff kicks and a DDT. This should be over but LaGrande has a shoulder injury and can’t quite get the three count done. Hash is all “for fuck’s sake…fine” and slaps Gama in the triangle hold for the submission. LaGrande plugs his ears in an attempt to not hear it but eventually after 30 seconds of tapping he decides to end it before Gama, yanno, dies at 10.24. ¾*. Mostly gimmick and not a good match at all.

POST MATCH Hash breaks out the TORNADO HUSTLE POSE~! “Hustle, Hustle…tor-na-do…HUSTLE”

Monster Army 2 Hustle Army 1

BACKSTAGE Ogawa motivates Wataru Sakata. His match against Randleman is huge now.

ELSEWHERE Generalissimo Takada gives his orders to Kevin Randleman. I suspect they translate as “go and win”.

Kevin Randleman v Wataru Sakata

I hear the announcers name drop Mirko Crocop who Randleman beat in an upset in 2004. Randleman was the only guy to knock Filipovic out until Gonzaga upset him in April. This would be before the re-match where Crocop choked Randleman out in 42 seconds. Randleman has a valet out here who slaps Sakata hard in the early going. Randleman has no problems at all in the early going and totally dominates Sakata in every respect. He has more speed, greater power and better technique. He’s also much cockier, which allows an opening and Sakata dropkicks him in the back while he’s posing. The valet gets all pissed off and jumps on the apron. She calls Sakata a pussy, which is enough distraction for Randleman to hit a German suplex for 2. She’s been the main focus of this match and has her own cameraman following her around. Sakata busts a dropsault out of nowhere. That pisses Randleman off and leaves him vulnerable for a back suplex. Sakata with a Tombstone for 2. That looked nasty. Randleman gets trapped in a submission attempt and taps out but the valet is in the ring so the referee is distracted. She takes her shoes off and shoves Sakata. He ducks her SHOE OF DOOM. She punches Randleman and KNOCKS HIM OUT. Hahaha, glass jaw. Sakata grabs her and administers a spanking. The crowd LOVE that. And think she does too. Meanwhile glass jaw Randleman is just about on his feet. Sakata chops at him, which only serves to wake the beast. Randleman with a high crossbody for 2. Into a bunch of knee strikes. Sakata lands on his feet after an awkward German suplex spot. He lays Randleman out and DOUBLE STOMPS him off the top for the win at 8.37. *3/4. It was more about the valet than an important match. The crowd could tell this was an undercard bout and didn’t really get excited about it as a big win for the Hustle Army. It’s almost like they don’t care who wins the best of five series.

Monster Army 2 Hustle Army 2

BACKSTAGE more antics go down. Takada’s evil general character is really out there. Ogawa isn’t too keen to be interviewed about his new Captain Hustle gimmick. The unseen hand of Choshu shoves the reporter out of the door.

Naoya Ogawa/Riki Choshu v Dan Bobish/Yoji Anjoh

This is the “main event”. Bobish has his own stupid mask now, which unfortunately he doesn’t wear during the match. With a dearth of weird and wonderful gimmicks including Captain Hustle it’s very clear to see Choshu has no interest in it and comes out wearing black trunks. He also lariats Anjoh before the bell. Hahaha. All business. From the opening action it’s clear that the heels are nowhere near the Hustle Army. Choshu’s grumpy old man gimmick isn’t a gimmick. He just kicks at Bobish until Captain Hustle comes in. Bobish runs through him because of his size. Bobish is another really heavy dude. Bobish demonstrates his knowledge of Japanese by calling Ogawa a “stupid chicken”. LaGrande is the referee again so his shoulder plays up every time Ogawa gets a pin attempt but loosens up to the point where his count would appear quick to the uneducated eye when Bobish gets a near fall. Those shoulder injuries are really tricky. Ogawa uses judo to get him out of a pickle and in comes Choshu. Anjoh is ready for him though and kicks Choshu down into a kneebar. Choshu counters out into the Sharpshooter. It should be over but in comes Bobish to knock Choshu off the hold. Ogawa steps in to let him know that’s not on. He knees Bobish out of the ring. Anjoh gets caught with a high knee too. STO! LaGrande’s shoulder injury plays up at a most inconvenient time for the Hustle Army. Ogawa lays him out. Bobish surprises Ogawa with a big clothesline. Now Choshu finds himself isolated 2 on 1. Ogawa recovers in time for a double finisher situation. STO/LARIATOOOO. Ogawa drags LaGrande over to count the pin at 11.23. ½*. That was pretty bad.

POST MATCH The Monster Army run in to attack the winners, which in turn brings out the Hustle Army for a HUGE ruck. You’d think this would go somewhere but Hustle-5 was headlined by Ogawa v Jack Bull and Choshu/Rikishi v Anjoh/Bobish. The crowd at Hustle-4 was down to 5,500 and it was clear things were not going too well. This was Hashimoto’s final appearance for Hustle. He sadly passed away in 2005. Kawada changed his Hustle name after this post match battle to Hustle K. That was until he turned heel and joined the Monster Army, natch.

The 411: The show starts off fine but as soon as the Monster Army v Hustle Army stuff starts it becomes a series of really poor wrestling matches. I was actually thinking after the first three matches that this would easily be the best Hustle show ever but the best of five series tanked it. Much like the rest of Hustle I’d not recommend the show. Yeah, it’s different but the wrestling isn’t up to much.
 
Final Score:  5.0   [ Not So Good ]  legend

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