Thursday, May 18, 2006

New Japan Dontaku 95

From the highlight video, this seemed to be a big show for them. They showed clips of the prior two years, with huge fireworks displays and grand entrances, as well as bringing in huge stars, like Hulk Hogan, Sting, and the Road Warriors. This year seemed to be no different. Let's go over the card.

1 Hiro Saito v. Takayuki Iizuka (2)- I'll try to briefly summarize the competitors for those fans who are not familiar with any Japanese competitor. Saito is related to Japanese legend Masa Saito, who worked for the WWF and AWA. He's a renowned toughman. Well, Hiro has the same stocky leaning towards fat build, but has none of Masa's skills. Iizuka was a young up and comer being groomed by New Japan, but who never became the star they wanted. Anyways, this match lasted two minutes, literally, and not a lot happened.

2 Sabu v. Koji Kanemoto (7)- Kanemoto is one of the best junior heavyweights to ever come from Japan, and was even the third Tiger Mask. This match was fun to watch because they combined Koji's stiff kicks and slap contests along with ground work, with Sabu's shitty table messes. Both men dove into the other's world and mixed a great goulash of wrestling fun.

3 Ric Flair v. Hiroshi Hase (6)- Hase was a great amateur and technical wrestler who once competed in the Olympics and was even a member of the Japanese version of our Senate, their Parliament. Hope that wasn't too confusing. Well, this was two great wrestlers hooking it up for the first time, and to be honest, it didn't seem like either knew what the other would do. It was a hard fought match where both men struggled to hit moves and lock in finishers, but it gave the match a very realistic feel the way you would want when it's a first time match.

4 Hiroyoshi Tenzan v. Kensuke Sasaki (5)- This match was all about two big stars on the edge of breaking through to the main stage in New Japan and the match shows it in parts. They both are moving fast and hitting hard but the match really loses steam towards the end and they fall through the finish line like P Diddy did in the New York Marathon a few years ago. Years later, Tenzan would go on to become one of the greatest Tag Team stars ever in New Japan while Sasaki would become one of the greatest singles stars of all time.

5 Shinya Hashimoto v. Keiji Muto (8)- If you want to know how to run a successful wrestling feud, you should watch this match. Hashimoto, at the time, was a dominant champion. Muto, a legend and fan favorite, tries his luck but gets smoked by Hash. Muto starts doubting himself. He goes on a losing streak and the final straw is against slightly less than average Scott Norton. After that embarrassing defeat, Muto takes a sabbatical. He goes to an ancient Japanese monk who teaches him to look inward. He makes him train and meditate, day in and day out. He makes him wash windows left to right and right to left. Muto even embarrasses his master by catching a fly in chopsticks before he can.., okay, got a little off track here. Anyways, Muto came back with long hair and a beard, looking very different. His first match back was against Scott Norton, and Muto wiped the mat with him. Muto then avenged his other losses until the Championship match, which was this one. It was a classic battle with great psychology(of Hashimoto working Mutos knees, which were bad, and Muto knowing every move Hash did, and having a counter for it.) Muto won the title for his 2nd of 3 eventual reigns.

6 Manabu Nakanishi v. Yuji Nagata (5)- this match was not much to sneeze at and why it went on after the title match was a complete brainfart on whoever edited this tape. It was a struggle but not a lot of impact. very average match.

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