1- Nobukazu Hirai v. Ryuji Hijikata- 3
2- Hi69 v. Yaz Urano v.Gran Naniwa - 4
3- Masato Tanaka & Hideki Hosaka v. Hernandez & Kasey Geyer - 6
4- Steve Williams & Mike Rotunda v. Tomoaki Honma & Shigeo Okumura- 4
5- Kendo Kashin v. Kazushi Miyamoto - 3
6- Mike Barton, Jim Steele, & George Hines v. Yoji Anjoh, Arashi, & Nobutaka Araya- 5
7- Taiyo Kea v. Mitsuya Nagai- 7
8- Genichiro Tenryu v. Satoshi Kojima- 6
9- Toshiaki Kawada v. Keiji Mutoh- 5
I have no idea who the two guys in the opener were, although the guy in green looked slightly like the star of "The Host." They started out pretty typical of opening match guys only doing armlocks and faux stiff elbows, but found their groove after a few minutes. Hijikata could show Randy Orton a thing or two about snap powerslams and he also ate a kick that was stiffer than the free salad lettuce at work.
This is a triangle match, although i'm completely dumbfounded on what that means anymore. Naniwa is stomping down s ohard on Hi's head he even stops to look up at him like "what the hell was that for?" Match didnt' go too long nor have a lot of substance, but Naniwa was fun watching get stiff with the young boys.
This tag was a solid effort from all invovled, Hernandez and Geyer were basically dressed like shieks even though both looked like tan white guys. Hernandez was much more fun to watch here, he wasn't concerned with being some crazy powerhouse but was just feeling it, spinning side kick, transitioning to his slingshot splash so naturally. Geyer was capable too, controlling the pace and doing some fun cutoffs. Tanaka was the star tough because as soon as he got some steam behind him, he rolled through both men like a tank.
The end put this higher for me, as Honma was a selling machine, making Rotundo's whip in outside (which had the same force I exert to butter my toast in the morning) look like he was tossed into an oil tanker by the Incredible Hulk. Doc and Rotundo both looked to be working with ailing back pain, but Doc was on his best defense, jumping back at errant shots even if they didn't warrant it. Rotundo and Okamura did the minimum. Near fall of the Doctor Bomb was better than the finish itself.
This match had some heat, not Bisping-Rivera level but obviously there were some issues that needed resolved. Like the story here, short but Miyamoto tried to just bull Kendo over, but as soon as he locked on his patented armbar, that was all she wrote.
This six man is def. all the leftover guys thrown in a match together. we just completed our World Wide 94 project so it's funny seeing Jungle Jim here 8 years later. He's improved, a lot more aggressive, watching him break Araya's full nelson was a lesson in acting that Michael Scott could desperately use. Anjoh's a castoff from Tenryu's old fed and he seems only concerned about trying out tried and true submission holds, even if no one wants to oblige him. Steele's selling was actually off the fucking charts, one of my favorite things as well as the finishing sequence between Barton and Araya.
Next bout was just, pure and simple, a great wrestling match. Nagai's leg work was precise as a surgeon early on and was relentless. Some fun teasing outside gave this some sturdier legs to stand on without going overboard. Kea was taking loads of punishment, with his cropped damp black hair he looked like Thomas Mitchell from Gone with the Wind. They teased Kea's RKO the whole match too, Nagai was super game in this and I'm wondering why I haven't heard more from him. Kea also utilized two moves I'd done for years in our own wrestling group, a behind the head kick that was executioner like and a Cobra Clutch suplex that snapped Nagai in half. Kea's selling while trapped in an anklelock looked like he was trapped in his own personal hell (wonder if it's viewing episode after episode of the Nanny- that's mine)
These two started out stalking each other like two hungry lions on the savana. There's something very special about a big Tenryu match, he's tough as tanned leather. Tenryu's punches are straight from Double Cross Ranch, he belts Kojima like Balboa did a slab of beef. There were some misses too; Kojima trying a Koji cutter off the apron was garbage, Tenryu dropped to his knees like he was about to work in the garden at home. Tenryu on offense is still dynamic, at this time, he has a sick folding powerbomb. Kojima held nothing back either, he did some clotheslines that nearly ripped his head off like JFK's. I also liked when Tenryu would take a big move, he'd start punching himself in the mouth like he just had novocaine adminstered.
It was a lot of fun seeing these two distinct performers mix it up; in the end, I can't recommend it overall. One thing was repetition, Muto, from near the opening bell was going Shining Wizard crazy, but yet not even making covers, that made no sense. When either man was selling, it was masterful, Kawada acting as if he was losing his leg then that famous squint whenever he's trying to clear the cobwebs. Muto was taking so many kicks he probably felt like a soccer ball, and his selling was so dead on, just flopping whereever he pleased. But as i said, selling wasn't always there. Lots of strong style comebacks. Another thing is they used the same moves the previous match did, powerbomb, brainbuster, lariat, all Japanese staples, but i liked the previous match's incarnation better. Kawada does get in one nasty headdropping bomb that would have killed most mortal men; but this is Muto we're talking about. Check it out yourself, you may like it a lot more than me.