wrestling / Video Reviews

The Puro Review: Michinoku Pro Wrestling: These Days

May 16, 2002 | Posted by Jake Metcalfe

Thanks for all the feedback I received from my last two reviews, it is much appreciated. If you feel like sending me an email, please do so, it’s always really nice to hear from you guys.

The only other thing to mention is that this will be my last review for about two months, unfortunately. I’m about to embark on a 60 day period of solid revision, broken up only by the occasional examination. If I do badly on these things, then I’ve wasted a year of my life, so I’m taking a break from reviewing for a bit.

Michinoku Pro Wrestling: These Days

The term ‘lucharesu’ can be defined as a style of wrestling that is a hybrid of the Mexican, lucha libre, and the Japanese, puroresu. Basically, it consists of a mass of great, high flying, Japanese, wrestlers working stylish spotfests with a strong heel / face dynamic. During the mid to late 90’s, many upstart independent federations in Japan began to take this style of wrestling to new heights. One of the main exponents of this approach was, and still is, Michinoku Pro Wrestling (MPW). During the period 1994 – 1997, MPW became hugely popular in puroresu circles due to the now infamous feud between heel group Kaientai DX (stands for ‘deluxe’, apparently) and the various incarnations of the faces, Sekogun. With wrestlers such as TAKA Michinoku, Dick Togo and Shoichi Funaki making up the heels, and folks like The Great Sasuke, Super Delphin and Gran Naniwa on the side of the faces, this feud produced numerous classic matches and took the federation to new levels. ‘These Days’ was their 3rd anniversary card from the Sumo Hall in Tokyo, and has become known as a bit of a classic by a lot of fans due to the 10-man tag match which was apparently the highlight of the Kaientai vs. Sekogun feud. There is also a lot of other stuff on the card though, which appears to be largely ignored by the general populace of the internet.

Some versions of this show that are on sale feature a portion of a random TV block before the actual These Days show. Two matches are within this TV block, which are Togo, Funaki, Shiryu & Danny Collins vs. Delphin, Hamada, Astro & Alexander Otsuka and Tiger Mask IV vs. Men’s Teioh. Both these contests are pretty great, despite being pretty awful in terms of picture quality, but I shall not review them due to them not being part of the card in question. Another thing I need to mention about the TV block portion of my tape is the Japanese TV adverts in-between the sections, which are fantastically cool. God I love these far eastern folk. If you are going to get this tape, do make sure you get the version with the TV block on it, it’s well worth it.

At the start of the show there is an absolutely massive section of interviews and small documentary pieces highlighting both the legends match and the 10-man tag. Also before the matches start, something rather bizarre occurs. The announcer brings out Wellington Wilkins Jr, one of the Japanese wrestlers on the card tonight, and he talks for a bit before The Man In A Suit (some little Japanese guy with a briefcase who appears throughout the show) turns up as well. He talks for a second before Wellington throws some sort of red cushion into the crowd, and the man who caught it gets brought down to the ring. Then, Santa Claus walks out of the backstage area with a wrapped up present and gives it to the bloke who caught the cushion. He unwraps it and the box says ‘brandy’ on it, but, in a highly amusing fashion, there is actually a snake inside, and Wellington grabs the thing and throws it at The Man In A Suit. Hilarity ensues, as you can imagine, and everyone disappears back into the locker room. The whole segment was extremely odd, but amusing in a very Japanese way.

And finally, a match!

Johnny Saint vs. Naohiro Hoshikawa

This match is contested under ‘English rules’, which basically means worked matwork in a series of rounds… Johnny Saint is VERY old, and let’s leave it at that… Round 1, and Johnny gets his arms tied up, but he does some exercises and escapes in a goofy manner. He works over Hoshikawa’s arm, but he flips out of the hold and hits a drop toe hold. STF variant is sold very well by Johnny before he works Hoshikawa to a vertical base and rolls through to escape the arm lock. He tries to work over the arm some more, but Hoshikawa reverses and locks in a jujigatame, but the time runs out on round one before Johnny has to submit! … Round 2 and Hoshikawa goes right for the leg with kicks and gets a leg lock. Johnny works him to a vertical base though, and fires off a monkey flip to send Hoshikawa out of the ring! Johnny is sportsmanlike and allows Hoshikawa back in the ring, but he stands on his legs and lifts his chin back for an EVIL choking surfboard! Hoshikawa escapes and goes for the arm, and then segues into a chinlock. Johnny ties up his own arm to tempt Hoshikawa to go for it, and he takes the bait to put Johnny back in control. They end up in the ropes, but Hoshikawa is not sportsmanlike and whips Johnny to the turnbuckle for a spear! He tries another, but Johnny lifts himself up and hits a nice sunset flip for 2 Ѕ. Johnny charges, but gets caught with a katahajime and swung round in the hold for a couple of 2 counts. Slam, and an elbow drop gets another 2 followed with a headscissors on the mat, but the time runs out again … Round 3 and Johnny grabs a full nelson, but gets powered out of it. Hoshikawa tries some holds, but Johnny is too funky for him, and does freaky things that confuse Hoshikawa enough to make him let the holds go. This is funny stuff. Hoshikawa does not give a clean break when they end up in the ropes, and whips Johnny. They run the ropes, resulting in Johnny getting the upper hand and a cross body for 2 Ѕ! They go back to the vertical base, and Johnny goes all funky again to escape the holds and fakes a la majistral allowing himself to get in a school boy for 2.9! Back to the vertical base again, and this time Hoshikawa plays it fair and gets the upper hand with a headlock on the mat. He pulls Johnny up and hits a rolling leg bar, but once again the round ends before Johnny has to submit! … Round 4 and Johnny ducks a charge to lock in an abdominal stretch which is segued into a cool octopus hold. He grounds him with an arm lock but Hoshikawa makes it to a vertical base and runs Johnny over the top rope on momentum! Back up, Johnny thinks he’s younger than he is, and falls over the top rope when he tries to get back in the ring. Johnny gets whipped, and rolls into a ball on the mat, trying to fool Hoshikawa into trying a pin. He takes the bait again, and Johnny rolls him through for another 2 count! Back up, Johnny takes a snapmare, but lands on his feet and speedbumps Hoshikawa for 2. On the kickout, Hoshikawa hit him with a ‘rana in an inventive spot, and goes to whip Johnny, but he reverses it into a suplex for the win!

Amusing, stylish and old school, this match was a very interesting and special way to begin the card. Johnny Saint is the god of goofy but cool matwork, and really entertained the hell out of me throughout this match. Hoshikawa is a good worker, nothing special, but he told the story of the match well enough and worked with Saint very commendably. Overall, this was a unique match, which, if you are a fan of either matwork or comedy matches, you HAVE to see… 71%

Wellington Wilkins Jr. vs. Lenny Lane (w/ The Man In A Suit)

Wilkins gets a fireman’s carry and takes Lenny to school with a series of flips finished with a suplex and he looks at The Man In A Suit menacingly. He locks Lenny into an arm lock, and segues into a jujigatame, but the ropes are made immediately. After faffing, Lenny tries a shoulderblock, but it’s denied, so he tries another and gets lifted into a gorilla press slam. Wilkins backs him into a corner and slaps him around for a bit with many a strike, and then whips him to the other corner for a lariat. This, my friends, is a squash. Lenny gets whipped into the corner again, and Wilkins tries for another lariat, but he meets boot and Lenny hits him with a MANLY lariat for 2 Ѕ. He drills him with a tombstone and goes up to hit a diving lariat for 2 ѕ. Alright, maybe it’s not a squash. He tries another tombstone, but Wilkins reverses with a HARSH tombstone of his own for 2.9! He puts Lenny up top and follows him to hit a SWIFT super-snap-suplex for 2.999! He chops Lenny and hits a lariat… but we clip to Wilkins working on a leg grapevine submission, and Lenny taps out.

O… k, that was odd. A match that had nothing to it whatsoever, and was, essentially, a squash, and then they clipped it right in the middle of the hot finish?! Lazy, lazy work from the production guys right there. As I say, this was a nothing match, these two guys are dull and that does not translate well into the context of the match… or something… 16% mostly for the super-snap-suplex.

Post match, The Man In A Suit comes in and helps with awarding some sort of belt to Wilkins, but it’s all a double cross, and he attacks Wilkins with the briefcase in a STIFF manner. The Man even breaks out a pescado! He tries to fight Wilkins properly though, like, in the ring and stuff, but gets KILLED with a powerbomb.

Yuki Ishikawa & Alexander Otsuka vs. Daisuke Ikeda & Satoshi Yamamoto

This match is contested under BattleArts rules. BattleArts is a worked shoot organization where matches can only be won by submission or KO to a ten count. I like their style and eventually I’ll review some of their stuff, but that’s in a few months. Other thing is, I’m not sure exactly who these guys are, so if I mix them up in the review, don’t shoot me… Yamamoto starts off kicking the snot out of Otsuka, and takes him into his corner so Ikeda can join him in some stiff kicking goodness. They heelishly kick him about and Yamamoto takes him into a corner for a LYGERKICK (© Jyushin Lyger)! Ikeda tags in and kicks him around some more… but we clip slightly and Otsuka comes back with a HARSH backdrop driver! That was seriously stiff. Otsuka follows up with some form of arm lock, but gets reversed and Ikeda tries to get him in a katahajime. Ishikawa tries to save with a headbutt, but Ikeda’s head is too hard, and Otsuka gets rolled into the middle of the ring with a katahajime locked on him. Otsuka tries to escape, but Ikeda turns the hold into an attempted jujigatame. He’s is too strong though, and comes round, grabs Ikeda and lifts him from the floor into a powerbomb! He grabs a nice leg lock, but Ikeda tags Yamamoto and they beat Otsuka until he lets go of the hold. Yamamoto grabs a leg grapevine, but Otsuka uses his skill and turns it into a swifty figure four variant! He tries to capitalize with a single leg boston crab, but Yamamoto reverses for another leg grapevine and works it in very well. He turns it into a single leg boston crab, pulls Otsuka away from making the tag and sits down to wrench in the pain. Ishikawa makes the save with a stiff kick, and Otsuka takes advantage with a heaving german suplex! He tries to capitalize with some form of hold, but Ikeda makes the save and Yamamoto goes right to work. He tags Ikeda in, and he locks in another leg grapevine, lets him go, and gets a 6 count out of it. Ishikawa stands but gets a roundhouse kick and a SWIFT hooking roundhouse for a 7 count. Ishikawa stands again, and catches another attempt at the hooking roundhouse kick, moves it down and hits Ikeda with a dragon screw followed with a reverse single leg boston crab! He pulls Ikeda into the middle of the ring and locks in a leg grapevine, but Ikeda kicks his way out of it with the free leg and tags Yamamoto. Ishikawa takes some stiff kicks, and Yamamoto wants the fight to be brought into the middle of the ring… We clip to Ishikawa catching one of Yamamoto’s kicks and turning it into a leg grapevine! Ikeda tries to save, but Otsuka runs in and cuts him off with his heaving german suplex! Yamamoto nearly taps out, but he makes the ropes in the nick of time! Ishikawa pulls Yamamoto to his feet and hits a german suplex. He tags Otsuka, who immediately takes advantage with his RELEASE DRAGON SUPLEX! Ikeda tries to save, but Otsuka runs him into the corner while Ishikawa locks in a fine jujigatame on Yamamoto for the submission victory!

My play-by-play does not do this match justice really, I’m sure it sounds just like a lot of stiff kicks with a few repetitive submissions mixed in for fun. Essentially, that was all it was, but with BattleArts its the subtleties that matter. The little things that I cannot communicate through play-by-play, like the way Yamamoto wrenched in the single leg boston crab, they do everything they can to make it look real, and it really makes a difference. That was why this match was a lot of fun to watch, and very interesting, but there was dull moments, and the lack of tagging makes no sense, especially when Otsuka was getting smacked around for the first part of the bout… 61%

Legends Match: The Great Sasuke, Tiger Mask Sayama & Mil Mascaras vs. Dynamite Kid, Dos Caras & Kuniaki Kobayashi

The deal with this match is restarting some legendary feuds in a 6-man fashion. Mascaras has a legendary feud with Dos Caras that never really ended, Dynamite Kid has a legendary feud with Tiger Mask Sayama which never really ended, and so on. In fact, I’m going to take this opportunity to relate a little of the history of the Tiger Mask, so just sit and listen for a bit. Satoru Sayama was the first Tiger Mask, having had the gimmick given to him by NJPW. He carried the mask throughout the early eighties, and had numerous classic matches with people like Dynamite Kid that were so ahead of their time, that people are still calling them amazing matches by today’s standards. AJPW then bought the gimmick from NJPW, after Sayama had ‘retired’, and gave it to their new rising star, Mitsuhara Misawa. This was called by many a bad choice for the person to get the mask as Misawa was much nearer a heavyweight than people believed a Tiger Mask should be. He finally removed the mask in 1990 in order to begin his main event feud with Jumbo Tsuruta and become the company’s top wrestler, and NJPW bought the gimmick back from AJPW at the same time. After two years they gave the gimmick to Koji Kanemuto, who had a relatively uneventful run until he lost a mask vs. mask match to Jyushin ‘Thunder’ Lyger, the best wrestler ever. Somehow the mask ended up on the current holder of the gimmick, Michinoku Pro’s Tiger Mask 4, and we are yet to find out his real name.

Anyway, the match! … In a brilliant move, Sasuke has the eight titles he currently holds (the J Crown comprises eight different junior titles at this time) ferried out to the ring by eight separate ladies, and has them all introduced separately… We JIP slightly into the match, with Tiger and Dynamite at it. Dynamite has him in a headlock, but Tiger gets all swifty on him and reverses out of it to take him down and Sasuke is tagged in. He tries to out-swift Dynamite, but gets caught with an arm wringer… and we clip to Caras against Sasuke. But not for long as Caras wants to get his hands on Mascaras, so Sasuke tags out. Mascaras gets a crossover leg hold with a neck crank, but lets him go quickly. Kobayashi distracts Mascaras from the apron, allowing Caras to take control with some arm work, but Mascaras reverses, gets some arm work of his own and whips Caras into the dreaded FOREARM! Dynamite and Sasuke are tagged in, and the heels get all heelish over Sasuke with Dynamite hitting a suplex on the outside, and Caras popping up to deliver a beating. Sasuke is thrown back in… and we clip to Caras applying his version of the idiot lock on Sasuke in the ring! The two most able-bodied folk in the match head into some fine New Japan Juniors matwork, before Caras breaks out of it, and whips Sasuke into the corner for a lariat! He tries another, but Sasuke tips up out of the corner and hits a lucha-dropkick! Caras reverses Sasuke’s whip though, and hits a dreaded FOREARM followed with a dropkick of his own to send Sasuke outside. Caras hits a pescado… and we clip again to Dynamite and Tiger Mask in the ring. Tiger lays in the swifty stiff kicks, very nicely considering he retired 13 years before this match was taped. He nails Dynamite with a snap-DDT and a sharp elbow drop gets 2. He tries a dropkick, but Dynamite sees it coming and gets out of the way quickly… and we clip yet again to Sasuke and Caras in the ring. Caras nails a HARSH tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, and follows up with one of his numerous bizarre submission holds! I love those things! Sasuke escapes and nails a roundhouse kick followed with a dropkick to send Caras out this time. One senton atomico over the top rope later and we… CLIP AGAIN to Mascaras and Caras in the ring. Caras misses a dropkick and gets whipped into a dreaded FOREARM! Sasuke comes and holds Caras in place while Mascaras heads up top, but Caras ducks and Mascaras nails Sasuke with the high-cross body instead! Caras uses a dropkick to deal with Mascaras, and calls Dynamite in to deliver a NASTY kneeling tombstone! Caras picks up Sasuke once again and hits a sit-down powerbomb for the win!

So much clipping here, I cannot rate this match. Having said that, Caras and Sasuke were literally the only two guys here who should have been anywhere near a ring, as all the others were far too old and crippled. This statement excludes Kobayashi though, as the clipping did not show one single second of Kobayashi wrestling, so I cannot comment on him. The bits with Tiger Mask and Dynamite Kid were done very well, and were kept short so as to not expose their rediculous ages. They also managed to get just enough of their spots in to allow me to see what people were talking about when they refer the Super J Cup 94 finals to a Dynamite vs. Tiger Mask match. Overall this was entertaining stuff, but they should never have tried to recreate the magic of these legends, as they are just too old.

After that match we get another segment, where the thinnest man ever comes to the ring and starts talking on the microphone, drawing laughter and applause for whatever it is he’s saying. The audience is lapping this up with a spoon, I wonder who the hell this guy is. And next up we have a gigantic man coming into the ring, dressed in a full body suit covered in zebra stripes. He’s got Sasuke’s J Crown girls with him, and he too gets on the mic and draws much laughter and applause. Once again, I am left severely baffled.

Super Delphin, Tiger Mask IV, Gran Naniwa, Gran Hamada & Masato Yakushiji vs. Dick Togo, MEN’S Teioh, TAKA Michinoku, Shoichi Funaki & Shiryu.

Now this is the good stuff I was talking about – Kaientai DX (Dick Togo etc.) vs. Sekogun (Delphin etc.). Before we start though, I must mention how the face team is just a hive of strange gimmicks. Delphin is basically meant to be some form of fish, Naniwa is a crab-man, Hamada is the oldest junior in the world, ever, Tiger Mask is a tiger, and has been explained earlier. Yakushiji is the only normal one, and even he resembles a lucha libre imp. The heels are all just fantastic in a no gimmicks needed kind of way.

Erm… ok, The Man In A Suit is at ringside, but he doesn’t have his suit or briefcase, and is wearing makeup. I can’t decide any reason for him to be out here at all, but this is the way of Michinoku Pro… anyway, the match!

Togo and Yakushiji start out with some amazing reversals, so unbelievably quick. Yakushiji establishes his extreme speed by ruling Togo with the lucha offence, but they do another matwork sequence to get across how equal they are. Superb start. From there, and I’m leveling with you guys on this one, the next 15 to 20 minutes of this match are just one face pairing off with one heel and doing some amazing, but ultimately pointless, work with each other until the next pairing comes in. It’s all stunning stuff, with no-one missing a beat and every guy showing some great offence. Delphin is established as the top guy on the face team, Tiger Mask’s amazingly swifty and stiff kicks are put over and we generally see superb work from everyone concerned. The odd thing about all these pairings is that Kaientai seem to lose each one by bailing from the ring. However, I believe they are doing it to conserve energy for themselves and to sap the energy of the faces in preparation for the onslaught they would release on Naniwa when Shiryu manages to get the upper hand with a spinebuster. Shiryu follows up with a boston crab on Naniwa, and Teioh comes in to change that into a camel clutch… and Togo comes in to dropkick Naniwa in the face while he’s in the camel clutch! Excellent, this is what I’m talking about, this is what everyone adores Kaientai DX for! Funaki comes in with an abdominal stretch on the hapless crab-man, and TAKA runs in to deliver a dropkick to Naniwa’s face this time! The face gets slammed, and each heel hits an elbow drop in sequence before simultaneously taunting to HUGE heat! Togo slams Naniwa allowing the other four heels to hit him with a round of DOUBLE STOMPS from the top rope! Shiryu and Teioh hold his arms, allowing TAKA and Funaki to hit him with a double dropkick to the face, and Togo comes from behind to sit on top of Naniwa and taunt the audience and the rest of the faces! That was the best sequence of heel double team moves EVER, and to end with the ‘Kaientai special pose’ was another stroke of genius. We all know how important honor is to the Japanese people, right? Well Kaientai’s moves are designed to humiliate the recipient to the maximum amount, getting the things HUGELY over with the crowd… TAKA and Funaki continue the onslaught with an awesome series of moves before Shiryu comes in and pounds away. Naniwa no sells though… what the hell? he’s just been beaten down… and nails Shiryu with a lariat before tagging in Yakushiji. The imp takes control for a bit, but Shiryu soon fires back with a lariat in the corner, which just KILLS Yakushiji, and nails a fisherman’s buster… but Tiger Mask saves! Shiryu gets dealt with in a stiff kick style until TAKA comes in. He whips Tiger, but takes a leaping jujigatame on the rebound! Togo saves and tries to undo Tiger’s mask, but Hamada saves and gets beaten down by Teioh and Togo. They slap him around and Teioh lifts him in position, allowing TAKA to destroy him with a spike piledriver, but it only gets 2. Teioh hits a delayed suplex for another 2, but shoves Hamada into the corner for some more great heelish activity in the form of multiple eye-rakes and chokes. Genius. Funaki comes in and hits a backdrop for yet another 2, but Hamada recovers and tags Naniwa. He gets a low blow and dumps Funaki’s groin on the ropes before tagging to Delphin. He gets some heelish punches in and a double underhook suplex for 1, but Funaki comes back by grabbing the leg and tagging out to Togo. He kicks the leg and locks in a scorpion deathlock, but Tiger saves only to get triple teamed, and have his mask untied! Kaientai try to pull his mask off, but he doesn’t allow it, so they hold him in place for a STIFF running high kick from Teioh! They double dropkick him in the sides of his head before TAKA grabs a boston crab. Naniwa saves with a lariat though, and dumps TAKA, but the CRAB WALK ELBOW is blocked with a dropkick from TAKA to send Naniwa outside! He fakes a diving move to taunt Naniwa, but Yakushiji stops the celebration with some punches. TAKA backs him into Kaientai’s corner though, and Teioh hits another HARSH running high kick followed with a full nelson slam for 2.9! Suplex, and Shiryu comes from off-screen with a diving splash for another 2.9 and a backdrop for 2.999! TAKA and Funaki come in, but the imp deals death with spinning kicks and makes the hot tag to Delphin! He fires off moves in quick succession to deal with the heels and teases a tope, but Hamada comes in instead and hits a tilt-a-whirl slam for 2 Ѕ. TAKA takes a powerbomb, but Funaki saves only to be cut off by Yakushiji. They wrestle over a suplex, and the imp finally gets one and goes straight into the second rope moonsault, but Teioh and Togo save! Tiger and Naniwa cut them off and whip the heels into each other to gain advantage. They then follow up with what has to be one of the most strange spots I’ve ever witnessed. Naniwa and Tiger work together and, using their legs as well as the heels’, form a diamond shaped submission move in the center of the ring. Shiryu comes in to make the save, but Delphin cuts him off and performs a rana-rollup into the middle of the diamond for 2 Ѕ! Mind-bendingly daft, but somehow, really great. The heels then whip the three faces to the ropes, and hit three simultaneous hurricanranas on the rebound to send the three outside! They line up, and run into triple stereo tope suicidas! Wow, they were perfectly on time with those topes as well, Kaientai are brilliant. Back in, Funaki deals with someone and hits a pescado, and TAKA deals with someone and hits the SPACEMAN QUEBRADA~! He gets seriously scary height off that move. Back in, Tiger Mask tries a german suplex on Shiryu… BUT YOU CAN’T GERMAN SHIRYU and he flips out of it! Tombstone, and the heel lands his moonsault on Tiger, but Yakushiji just makes the save! Teioh and Shiryu come in and deal with the imp’s lucha powers by sheer force of numbers, and hold him down for Togo’s diving senton. Tiger Mask pops up though, and kicks Togo off the top allowing Hamada to nail him with a plancha! Teioh and Shiryu try and deal with Yakushiji, but Tiger gives him a helping hand to the top rope to allow him to hit a double dropkick to the heels! Tiger and Yakushiji line up, and charge into stereo topes to the heels! Back in, Naniwa cuts off TAKA’s missile dropkick with a dropkick of his own, and Delphin avoids Funaki’s dropkick allowing themselves to hit stereo DDT’s o the heels for 2 ѕ! They throws the heels outside for stereo planchas and we are left with Togo and Hamada back in the ring. They pound away, and Togo manages to snap off a POWERSLAM for 2 ѕ! Hamada gets whipped to a corner, but manages to get the boot up and fire off a PERFECT LEAPING TORNADO DDT for 2.9! He puts Togo up top and hits the OLD MAN HURRICANRANA, but Shiryu saves in the nick of time! Naniwa cuts him off though, and fires off a TRIPLE JUMP TORNADO DDT for 2.9! He puts Shiryu up top, but the heel fights back, and fires off a ‘rana for 2.9… but Naniwa reverses the pin for 2.9! Back up, and Naniwa hits his GUTWRENCH POWERBOMB, but Teioh saves! Yakushiji cuts him off with a springboard leg lariat and whips him, but Teioh nails a powerslam for 2.999! Yakushiji is whipped to the corner, but he bounces out and kicks Teioh. They head into a reversal sequence, and Yakushiji manages to duck one lariat, but gets his head removed with another one for 2.99999!! Teioh says that’s all, and hits the MIRACLE ECSTACY BOMB… but Tiger Mask saves! Funaki cuts him off though, and nails the FISHERMAN’S BUSTER for 2.999! Tombstone attempted, but Tiger reverses it for his own and goes up to hit a DIVING HEADBUTT for 2.999! The tiger-suplex is attempted, but TAKA cuts him off with a missile dropkick, only to be caught by Delphin and a KNEELING PILEDRIVER! Delphin goes up and hits a diving elbow for 2.9! He grabs TAKA and sits on the turnbuckle. TAKA gets SLAPPED and the TORANDO DDT, but Delphin wants another one, so he hits another one and grabs the DELPHIN CLUTCH but Togo saves! Delphin ducks a lariat and rolls Togo up, but the count is stopped by Kaientai and all hell breaks loose! Hamada is hitting diving ‘ranas off the apron to the outside, Yakushiji is doing stuff, and in the middle of it all, Delphin tries a tiger suplex on Togo, but the heel kicks back and nails the low blow! Togo says that’s all, hits the POWERBOMB and goes up top to hit the DIVING SENTON!! The rest of Kaientai surround him and count with the referee, 1, 2, 3!

That match was 32 minutes long, it felt so much longer, and for once, that isn’t a bad thing. Just jam packed with high spots, amazingly quick reversals and a great heel / face dynamic, this contest was truly a match for the ages. Everyone here was just great obviously, but Yakushiji impressed me especially, with never ending speed and an ability to sell things really well, this guy is just class to watch. Overall, this match is probably the greatest spot-fest in the history of mankind, the first bit went ever so slightly too long for my money and the heels should have started their heelish activities sooner, but this match is just so highly concentrated with stunning work, it barely matters… 92%

Post match, The Great Sasuke and Kaientai get into an argument which would lead to plenty more classic encounters, as I’m sure you can imagine. And this was the thing with Kaientai vs. Sekogun, they didn’t just have this match which was above 90%, they had so many classic matches, and that’s why people remember them so fondly.

Jinsei Shinzaki vs. Hayabusa

This match was made just after Hayabusa became the man in FMW, so he’s not a Michinoku Pro guy by any means.

We start off with Hayabusa showing that he is damn fast with a mini-display during the feel out process before they finally get into the match. They do a few reversals and Jinsei manages to pound away and hit a SWEET back-kick before running Hayabusa between the turnbuckles to wear him down. Slam, and Jinsei flips up into the CELESTIAL SPLASH for an early 2 Ѕ! He slowly pounds him down, but Hayabusa grabs the advantage off a flip and hits a back-kick, sending Jinsei out of the ring, and follows with a STUNNING senton atomico over the top rope! Most amazing thing about that move is Hayabusa hit it, and then landed on his feet, incredible. Jinsei takes an age to get back in the ring, but Hayabusa is there to meet him when he does, only to get his arm grabbed and for Jinsei to pull off THE ROPEWALK! Two sides of the ring get walked, and Hayabusa gets dumped during the third. Jinsei takes ages to act after that, but when he does, Hayabusa kicks him in the head and hits a springboard leg lariat for 2 Ѕ! Neckbreaker, and Hayabusa locks on an entirely pointless arm lock until the ropes are made. Slam, and a backwards diving splash gets 2. I’m sorry, after the last match it’s a little hard to get excited about this, as it’s a little plodding so far. Chinlock (see what I mean) and Hayabusa whips him for another leg lariat. A series of back kicks sends Jinsei outside, and Hayabusa leaps up the turnbuckle to deliver a moonsault from the second rope to the outside! He throws Jinsei back in and hits a springboard summersault senton followed by a standing moonsault for 2. Slam, and Hayabusa goes up top, but Jinsei catches him, only to take a back kick followed by a dodgy flying kick to put him down again. A HARSH fisherman’s buster, and Hayabusa heads up for the 450 SPLASH! But it only gets 2 Ѕ… Ok, have we clipped or something? This match seems to have no structure whatsoever, and certainly no timing on the part of Jinsei Shinzaki. Hayabusa gets a kneeling powerbomb for 2 ѕ and a tiger driver for another before claiming that this is all. He hits the falcon arrow and goes up, but MISSES A TWISTING 450 SPLASH! Hayabusa crawls to the apron, and tries a springboard ‘rana, but gets caught and dumped into a powerbomb! Dropkick gets 2 Ѕ, and Jinsei heads up for a flying punch. A flying punch? Are you kidding me? Hayabusa breaks out the moveset and you are doing dropkicks and flying punches?! Jinsei goes up again and hits the praying shoulderblock for 2.9! The praying powerbomb gets 2.999 and Jinsei sits around wondering what to do. He whips Hayabusa… and Hayabusa’s leg promptly gives way. Oh fantastic, just what this match needs, a random injury that had no build to it. Jinsei ever so slowly hits another powerbomb, and then goes up top to hit the most terrible diving headbutt ever. This is depressing. He then proceeds to HIT ANOTHER ONE and wonders around aimlessly before hitting a slightly more energetic one. This is horrible. Hayabusa struggles to his feet, only to take a praying thunderfire powerbomb to put him, and me, out of our misery.

That was shockingly poor. No psychology whatsoever, nothing special in the way of spots, no structure, no story and I really could go on. Jinsei was not into this match either, he had no desire to put in any sort of performance and appeared to be on drugs. His offence was slow, pointless, and almost unbearable for me to watch at times. Hayabusa tried, but wasn’t up to his usual ability, and it must have been like trying to carry an inanimate object to a match. Overall, this is the worst main event I’ve ever seen, for any show, anywhere. Absolutely terrible… 13%


This is a card of contrasts, with every match except the last providing an interesting little snapshot of different sides to wrestling. The highlight was, obviously, the 10-man tag, but the first match and the BattleArts match are very much worth your money as well. In the end then, this is not an essential purchase, but it is a lot of fun to watch. If you want to save money, get a tape dealer to shove the 10-man on the end of some other tape you order if they will, just stay clear of that main event, no matter how tempting it might look.

Jake Metcalfe

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