Tokyo JCB Hall
3,200 Fans - Super No Vacancy Full House
0. World Tryout Match: Takao Omori vs. Björn Sem - 2
1. Mentallo vs. Jushin Thunder Liger - 4
2. Scotty 2 Hotty, AKIRA, KAORU & Nagisa Nozaki vs. Nunzio, TAKA Michinoku, Toshie Uematsu & Tomoka Nakagawa - 5
3. World Legend Revival: Bushwhacker Luke Williams vs. Yusuke Kodama - 3
4. Yoshiaki Yago vs. Akira Shoji - 4
5. Handicap Match: Lin Bairon vs. Leatherface & Kim Nun Pun - 4
6. Kana & Shuri vs. Kaori Yoneyama & Emi Sakura - 6
7. Hardcore Match: Super Crazy, KUSHIDA & Isami Kodaka vs. Hajime Ohara, Häijy-Heimo Ukonselkä & Jessica Love - 4
8. FCF Title: Starbuck (c) vs. TAJIRI - 3
We begun with a "tryout match" and it seemed like Omori's talent was being wasted. He's worked for AJPW, NJPW, NOAH, and ZERO1 but ended up here in the twilight of his career with an idiot that looks like a bad Berzerker knockoff. Björn looks like he was dipped in glue than rolled through a renaissance fair. His leather armor and furry boots are so mid-'90's WWF that I suspect he's in possession of knowledge of a time machine. Match was shit, Omori ate a couple nasty spinebusters that looked like they made him forget even more his memories, but got his foot up in the corner in one spot and drilled a charging Sem in the face ungodly hard.
Mentallo is not Marvin Flumm nor to be confused with Metallo from Superman: The Animated Series. He is, in fact, a Canadian with a goofy mask that he seems more concerned with tugging on and straightening than selling. Lyger is wearing a special mask, gone is the black, wispy hair, replaced by a mane of blonde akin to '78 Ric Flair with a touch of Cheetara thrown in for good measure. Less than a half-minute in and Mentallo busts out a moonsault from the top to Lyger who's in the front row. Lyger almost scored a countout victory after hitting a brainbuster on the floor. Weirdness aside, I'll give credit where it's due, Mentallo busted out a hell of an "Alabama Jam".
Pre-match Scotty gives a tutorial on how to do the "Worm" backstage on a filthy floor. KAORU coming out to gangsta rap just blew my fucking mind. AKIRA looks all old and bleached like a Floridian retiree who spends too much time at a beachside bar. Hotty and TAKA do a "pause for respect" spot I much preferred to any of Van Dam and Lynn's. The men and woman can go toe-to-toe unlike in WWE. TAKA's stooging is pretty fun and him doing Piper shtick in '11 warms my heart. This was a fun romp with joshi and the early-'00's WWE cruiserweight division all-stars melding well.
Luke comes out to the old Bushwhackers theme from WWF doing the goofball shtick but his face is pale and lifeless like a ventriloquist dummy. Kodama is a fecund young boy who took his lumps. Williams, on the other hand, bumps poorly, including taking a bump off of a dropkick by flailing forward instead of landing on his back like any other sane worker.
There's some crazy pre-match video for the Shoji/Yago bout detailing some soap operatic feud highlighted by a faux handshake in the streets of Tokyo that saw Shoji get one over on the punk trapping him in a cross armbreaker on the street while Yago's leather-clad punk rocker buddy looked on. Yoshiaki eats a clothesline and sells it by playing dead like a dog. He really has a way of taking everything including headbutts like they're killing him. Some may call it overacting but Yago staggering around the ring fighting to prevent his legs from buckling was my favorite sort of wrestling heightened histrionics.
Another pre-match video that leaves me befuddled. So, Lin's a 98lb. cos-playing teenage girl and she's fighting some schlepp with a boxy haircut and freaking Leatherface? Bairon's entrance is uber-cute and I try to still my beating heart. Nun Pun walks out carrying his own microphone stand like a comedian then barks at the mic. They cut to the back where chainsaw sounds are heard in the background as they get a close-up of a table with some scratch marks on it in the middle of an empty lot. What? That's all he did with a chainsaw? I made bigger marks on my desk in elementary school using a nickel. Leatherface appears and darts through the crowd scaring the thronging masses. Winning! Leatherface's mask is dangly and has the visage of thinly sliced roast beef with a touch of Melina's pussy lips and perhaps an inkling of rottweiler foreskin. Leatherface sells little Lin's opening shots by slowly menacing through them like a real-life film monster until she finally runs off the ropes and plants a jumping kick right in his fucking face. Her 619 was remarkably good. An errant kick catches Nun Pun from a squirming Lin and I swear he did an exact replica of King Hippo's stunned face. I think I just freaked out a nearby worker here at Panera Bread by losing it as Nun Pun sold a kick to his back by darting a finger up his nose. If you can't properly catch a girl that weighs as much as a bag of cat food then you don't belong in a ring. Leatherface goes rogue! He's beating up everybody. Lin wins both the match and my heart.
Kana and Kaori have a strike exchange early that's as vicious as any I've seen men do recently. Sakura smiles through Shuri's flurry and the veteran she is even does a little jig before ruthlessly stomping on her fallen opponent's hand. SMASH seems to be a lot of fun, glad I have all their shows, nice mixture of the absurd and quality wrestling. Shuri is great emoting the pain after a series of backbreakers. Emi must have lost a hair match as she's shorn like Roxxi or Serena but unlike them has a firm grasp of the art-form. Sakura broke out a 450 which I wasn't expecting. She and Kana exchange hard slaps and damn this match is quite good. I didn't buy the headkick Shuri hit as a match-ender but still quality stuff.
So, next match was joined in progress and we already had people bleeding, conceding, pleading, impeding, and most certainly exceeding (my meager expectations). The thing I couldn't get over the most was/is Jessica Love. Here's this tall, attractive, Finnish girl: why in the hell is she doing this shit? Taking barbwire bumps, all sorts of abuse, busting out a rather sick Swanton Bomb, etc. Super Crazy even busts out a balcony moonsault to a discordant "ECW!" chant. This was a sloppy mess like Ukonselkä's underwear after the first time he saw Mysterious Skin.
Starbuck is the reigning FCF champion and looks a mix between Paul Burchill , Silas Young, and Viggo Mortensen in those unbearable LotR films. Given the running time left on this show I fear they're going to work this as an epic marathon but I'm not sure that appeals to either men's strengths. The face-off at the beginning wasn't quite Hogan/Warrrior, maybe more in the realm of Pete Gas/Test if we're being honest. I'm not impressed with Starbuck after the first stretch. His offense comes off like '98-era Chris Chetti complete with shitty savate kick that he slips while attempting. I've always enjoyed TAJIRI's selling and he shines in moments here, including being splayed on the apron in a scene resembling something from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. I've dug the off-kilter vibe of SMASH so far but this semi-serious main event is ringing false. I'm having as much fun watching it as Adam does MMA. Starbuck looks like a live-action Rango slithering onto TAJIRI in an awkward STF variation. Anybody else rather see TAJIRI at WrestleMania working Orton rather than CM Punk? Just a thought. This devolves like something being shot with King Koopa's Devolution Gun that transformed the citizens of Dinohatten into Goombas in the revelatory cinematic masterpiece Super Mario Bros. The pre-match video did build up that the piledriver was Starbuck's signature move and a surefire match-ender so when TAJIRI kicked out it did feel requisitely big.