I walk in the doors and much to my surprise,
I see Hayabusa and Brother Yasshi dining in this god-forsaken dive.
1) Minoru Suzuki vs. Yoshihiro Takayama (Korakuen Hall 6/17/08) – 5
I’ve never really been a big fan of either of these guys but they put on a damn hard hitting match. There were slaps in this that made my face hurt just watching. Suzuki brought out the hard chops including one especially nasty one late in the match. Takayama’s efforts are not to go unmentioned either as his realistic selling (mainly because everything Suzuki hit him with really hurt) and his hard kicks were some genuine highlights for me. Suzuki’s selling left me with some questions as there were times were he would sell a kick but other times were he would barely sell a submission hold. The flow of the match was much like a heavyweight title fight where they felt each other out in the early going and brought out the heavy lumber late in the bout. The physicality of the hard strikes and slaps helped the overall score but I really wouldn’t try hard to find this.
2) Takeshi Morishima vs. Naomichi Marufuji (NOAH 12/2/07) – 7
This wasn’t quite the epic match I thought that it would be but it was still a great match to watch. Morishima controlled early on by bringing the power right off the bat. They went to the outside, brawled a bit, and came back in. There was a great tease of Morishima doing his patented back-drop off the apron but Marufuji fought out and landed on his feet. There was an uber-sick move toward the end where Marufuji did some sort of flipping Rock Bottom move off the rampway onto the floor. Marufuji recovered quickly and hit Morishima with a coast-to-coast dropkick for a close two in a remarkable sequence. The finishing sequence was something to propose a toast to. Marufuji’s kicks scored some close falls but ultimately a hard clothesline and two sick back-drops sealed Marufuji’s fate. Overall, a fine match with some minor issues in the beginning but the last half raised it from “marginal” to “recommended”.
3) Takuya Sugawara, Brahman Shu, & Brahman Kei vs. Brother Yasshi, Jumping Kid Okimoto, & Dick Togo – Ladder Match (El Dorado 12/29/07) – 5
Lord have mercy, this had some problems. First thought, let’s talk about the positives, of which there were few. The ladders come into play right off the start as Okimoto attempts to scale a kiddie ladder and then starts playing on a giant ladder. The whole match was a big giant brawl complete with wooden oil drums, kendo sticks, and metal signs. There weren’t really any outstaning ladder spots like you would see in the states. Togo broke the giant ladder after trying to jump onto it from the turnbuckle. At the end you see one of the Brahman hooking himself to the cable that holds the title belt and begins crawling across it in an effort to capture the belt. One thing that really bothered me was that once he was stopped by Okimoto, he just hung there until it was time to end the match. The match wasn’t as wild as I thought it would be but I enjoyed it nonetheless. If you want a wild, sloppy, Japanese brawl where two guys come to the ring dressed as KKK members with Rob Zombie music in the background, then this is the match for you.
4) Mike “Gladiator” Awesome & Terry Funk vs. Masato Tanaka & Hayabusa (FMW 9/24/96) – 4
This is part of a three-disc Awesome vs. Tanaka compilation I have. The video quality is not the best in the world (at least on the computer screen) but it’s definitely watchable. I’m not sure how to sum this one up except for the fact that it was a wild, hardcore brawl. Yep, that’ll work. It gets wild right off the bat with Awesome grabbing Hayabusa and taking him on a tour of the arena. Hey, this must be the same arena that the ladder match I just talked about was held in. I knew I recognized that sign that Hayabusa’s head is making a dent in. Funk and Tanaka trade punches and that’s about all they do during the course of the match. Awesome threw a table at Tanaka and split him open and follows that up with a powerbomb through said table. Chairs start flying courtesy of Funk but much to my dismay. A mighty, mighty Awesome Bomb finishes the bout, mercifully. Awesome and Tanaka would have much, much better matches against each other in ECW.
5) Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Don Frye (Pride FC – 6/23/02) – 6
Technically, this isn’t a pro wrestling match, it’s an MMA fight. However, the brutality and sheer awesomeness of this fight deserves to be talked about. They come out slugging with Frye scoring some shots under the left eye of Takayama as they go into the corner. Moments later, they come out slugging again with Takayama hitting a few shots but nothing that phases Frye. More corner work and the ref breaks them because Takayama’s left eye has swollen almost shut. More slugging and then back into the corner. Takayama tries a takedown but Frye blocks it into a guard. Frye wails away some more on Takayama until the ref stops it. Only a six minute fight but those were the damndest six minutes of action I’ve ever seen.
My meal is done and as I pay the bill,
I see Dick Togo diving off a ladder just for a thrill.