Man what more can I even write about these. There are times where I will laugh out loud at the preposterousness of the stiffness displayed and that is what this match managed to achieve. It also has some really smart limbwork that you initially think they might be doing just to take a break from all the shitbeating but it plays into the finish in a big way and it’s awesome. One of my favourite bits here was when Fujinami initially entered he started *wrestling* with Ishikawa and I was all like “look Fuji, I love you but that is not what you do in these interpromotional tags* and then the second time he enters the ring he just unloads on Tenryu and starts slapping the taste out of his mouth and all is right in the world. The amazing finish has Hashimoto and Tenryu brawling all around the ring and after the match they dare each other to hit one another with their signature strikes/kicks which is awesome and totally makes sense in the context because the athletic competition they were trying to win in (okay not really but) is now over and the spite is overflowing in them and they’re pissed off and just spouting macho bullshit at one another. ****1/4
Hashimoto-Tenryu is an all time great match up, Hara is also really cool and while I could do without Chono and the annoying sounds he makes while kicking or just breathing he was completely fine here. I mean you don’t have to be very good to make Tenryu and Hara beating the shit out of you compelling but he deserves props here, he kicked people in the head and used his overness to rile up the crowd, can’t ask much more than that. I absolutely love the way Hashimoto would block Tenryu’s chops by shielding his chest with his arm, Hashimoto is a guy wnose move-set is both distinctive and unique without being alienating or wacky but when he is in there with Tenryu he will punch him in the face and that is what I am about. Last minute is just out of this world dramatic. On the short side, but very action packed and you can’t complain when the action includes Tenryu soccer kicking folks. Another match whose rating I only see improving if I ever decide to rewatch it. ***3/4
There’s no way this lives up to the hype I created for it in my head right? WRONG. Hashimoto and Tenryu start things off and they tease each other for a bit before BREAKING DOWN and they just fucking go at it and throw reackless blows at each other and it totally makes sense that all of them are connecting but none where they should because they’re just manically throwing as many blows as possible and it really comes off like they want to kill each other. I also much prefer Hashimoto’s philosophy of “fuck you, if your sloppy enzuigiri can only hit my shoulder I’m jumping on you and punching you in the face” to selling it like a death blow despite it not looking good. This match kind of represents everything I love about pro wrestling and even with my ridiculously high rating I feel like I’m selling it short. There’s a spot in there when Tenryu starts chopping Choshu and just as he’s about to deliver the third one Choshu backs off and tags Hashimoto in and it’s just so wonderfully pro wrestling. This Takashi Ishikawa guy, let me tell you, he’ll do a Legdrop, nothing fancy about it, won’t wow you with his athleticism, but it is a legdrop that will connect and I wonder how the hell has Hashimoto’s nose remained not broken after it. That seems to piss of Tenryu who makes sure to shoot kick Hashimoto in the nose to break it later on. Who doesn’t love a good FIP segment? This match had a fantastic one, Tenryu and Ishikawa just beat the shit out of him, man if you’re going to hide a blade job I can’t think of a better way to do so than doing one while you’re blocking soccers kicks to the head. Tenryu and Ishikawa will double team and cheat and piss you off whenever in peril and suddenly I find myself incredibly emotionally invested in a match that happened 23 years ago. What’s also great is that these teams really do feel like teams-the aforemention backing off of Choshu was a great moment, but when Choshu finally makes his comeback Ishikawa avoids a Riki Lariat and Hashimoto comes in and kicks him to assure Choshu’s second attempt is successful and they really are making it look like they have each other’s back. The finish is just so great, completely chaotic, everyone swinging at everyone, eventually Choshu pissess Tenryu off so much he goes after him and stars unloading on him with these sickening punches which also leaves Ishikawa alone with Hash and well…..you can guess how that ended up. Post-match Tenryu goes after Hash and they unload on each other once again and then you think ok this was amazing great match everyone but Tenryu grabs the microphone and cuts a “fuck you mate” promo and then throws the mic ONTO CHOSHU’S FACE. ****3/4
I kinda freaked out over this, I’m about as big of an Akitoshi Saito fan as there is and Hash is #1, they start this by Hash just beating the shit out of Saito and I’m thinking this might be one of those Choshu superiority matches where one guy takes the entire match because fuck you New Japan is strongest. Then Saito makes a comeback with these great looking body punches and awesome knee strikes and I realise we’re getting a different type of the Choshu superiority booking match, still you want to see Hashimoto beat on someone and Saito will fire back with some nice shots as well. Very short (just under 5 min) and a great use of my time.
Mutoh can fuck off forever. This is such an ambivalent match up, and you’d hope with this being 1990 Mutoh would give a shit, and maybe he did but at this point he has no clue how to pro-wrestle. He works over Hashimoto’s leg and it’s really dry, dull and completely uninteresting. Mutoh will grab a shitty toe hold and Hashimoto will counter it by just punching him in the face and I am trying to figure out how anyone could come to the conclusion Mutoh was ever better than Hash. He could jump high. I guess that’s important to some. He did a really nice elbow drop flurry. He got really impressive height on those elbow drops. If only he could structure a match worth shit. Hashimoto does his best to try and make something of Mutoh’s work, selling well for him, switching to his right leg, but there really is no focus to Mutoh’s work, he’ll just start doing random shit because he think it looks cool, he’ll go from working a kneebar to a punch flurry in the corner to doing cartwheel planchas without any logic or rhythm. He can bump well at least so it’s gratifying when Hashimoto DDT’s his head through the ring but fuck man this just has WAAAAY too much Mutoh in control to be good. I did enjoy parts of it, like Hashimoto continously countering Mutoh’s holds by throwing him around but this is as unremarkable as a Hashimoto match gets. Also Mutoh jumps Hashimoto at the beginning of the match by irish whipping him and then doing the cartwheel elbow which was every bit as stupid as it sounds.
Featuring the infamous team of The Predator and Tom Howard, best known as the guys whom I would put the tag titles on when booking ZERO-1 in King Of Colosseum II. Or the guys that would job to the team I’d actually want the belts on. On a somewhat related note I have now reviewed enough Tom Howard matches to nominate him for the GWE. Though I am pretty sure there were already three reviews of his matches on Segunda Caida which diminishes my “accomplishment”. The Predator has a chain. I wonder if he’s working a Bruiser Brody gimmick. He doesn’t sell a lot for Hashimoto-only when he really needs to, but Hashimoto is also his boss so he kind of needs to sell for him anyway. Confirmed. Howard does this stupid spot where he puts his arms behind his back and challenges his opponent to hit him, Fujiwara falls for it which I can kind of buy because he’s a smartass but I wished he’d have headbutted him in the head instead. Hashimoto comes in and he tells Howard to fuck off for he has no time for this shit. Howard, aware his future bookings are at stake, decides to fight for real. I am all about hot tag Hashimoto, and there’s a pretty cool narrative going on as you wonder how much times does Hashimoto need to drop the guy who doesn’t sell on his head in order for him to lose. There is also the possibility that Hashimoto will tag in Fujiwara was no reason only for him to eat to pin. Only one way to find out- PM me for a link of the shady chinese site hosting it. Or find that DVD you bought 13 years ago. So two ways I guess. Fuck. ***1/2
These matches are like the antithesis of the “constant highspots” bullshit I’ve come to hate. I will take Steve Corino stalling over some springbaord reverse ace crusher bullshit counter where you can’t tell what’s going on and whom it’s supposed to be hurting (and the wrestlers don’t even give you an answer to that as they just no sell it and move on to the next spot) any day of the week. Anyway this is shine>heat>comeback so a southern tag I guess? Really great bit at the beginning of the match where Corino tries to go toe to toe with Hashimoto and throws some really good strikes only for Hash to decapitate him with the greatest Kesagiri Chop my eyes will ever witness. Ogasawara is a wacky karate guy I guess, and Corino and Howard make fun of him, showcase their ignorant yet amusing stereotypes about japanese culture in an extended workover, use the most cliche missed move spot ever to set up the hot tag and then Hash comes in to fucking go over. But before he does that Corino gets a little more heat on him and you remember damn Steve Corino used to be fucking good at wrestling. ***1/2