All Japan Tokyo Dome Show 1999
review by Kevin Wilson
The Date: May 2nd, 1999
This would be All Japan's second Tokyo Dome Show after their successful debut the year before. This show at the time was called the Giant Baba Memorial Show, as Giant Baba had died a few months earlier. This was before there was a lot of unrest amongst the wrestlers, as the promotion was going forward as Giant Baba would have approved of and even though they knew it would be difficult without their long time leader they were plugging forward without any serious issues. The story would be much different a year later. The main event of the show saw Misawa battle the new Triple Crown Champion Vader, who had beaten Akira Taue for the title in March. The Road Warriors would also make a special appearance as they had recently left the WWF. Here is the full card:
- Gran Naniwa and Makoto Hashi vs. Tsuyoshi Kikuchi and Naomichi Marufuji
A few of my favorite independent wrestlers are on the card as well (Great Sasuke, Kanemura, Shinzaki, and Hayabusa) so I imagine this will be a pretty fun show.
Gran Naniwa and Makoto Hashi vs. Tsuyoshi Kikuchi and Naomichi Marufuji
Hashi Irish whips Marufuji from the corner but Marufuji hits a rounding body press and makes the tag to Kikuchi. Trio of snap suplexes by Kikuchi, cover, but it gets a two count. Marufuji comes in to help, Irish whip to the corner, and both men hit elbow strikes. Zero-sen kick by Kikuchi and they follow with a catapulted elbow strike by Marufuji. Naniwa comes in, but Kikuchi rams Naniwa twice into Hashi. Cover by Kikuchi on Hashi, but it only gets a two count. Snapmare by Kikuchi and he hits a rolling neckbreaker. Kikuchi waits for Hashi to get up and delivers a dropkick, cover, but it gets another two count. Kikuchi tags in Marufuji, who kicks Hashi in the ribs. Scoop slam by Marufuji, he picks up Hashi and delivers another one. Running body press by Marufuji, cover, but Naniwa breaks it up. Marufuji tags in Kikuchi, Irish whip by Kikuchi from the corner, but Hashi kicks him when he charges in and hits a dropkick from the second turnbuckle. This gives Hashi time to tag in Naniwa, and Naniwa knocks down both Kikuchi and Marufuji. Naniwa picks up Kikuchi, Irish whip, reversed, and Kikuchi hits a forearm in the corner. Kikuchi puts Naniwa up on the top turnbuckle and joins him, but Naniwa hits a Frankensteiner. Cover, but Marufuji breaks it up. Hashi and Naniwa try to Irish whip their opponents into each other, but the move is reversed and both Marufuji and Kikuchi connect with dropkicks. Kikuchi tags in Marufuji, Irish whip by Marufuji on Naniwa from the corner and he connects with the jumping elbow strike. Snapmare by Marufuji, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails the body press. Cover, but it gets a two count. Marufuji picks up Naniwa, scoop slam in front of the corner, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails a Shooting Star Press! Cover, but Naniwa has the nerve to kick out. Irish whip by Marufuji, but Naniwa kicks Marufuji and delivers a crazy spinning gut-wrench powerbomb. Naniwa tags in Hashi, Hashi picks up Marufuji and headbutts him into the corner. Irish whip by Hashi and he delivers a spinning heel kick. Face crusher by Hashi, cover, but it gets a two count. Irish whip by Hashi from the corner and he headbutts Marufuji in the stomach. Atomic drop by Hashi, cover, but Marufuji barely kicks out. Scoop slam by Hashi, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers a diving headbutt. Cover, but Kikuchi breaks it up. A pair of kicks by Marufuji and he makes the tag to Kikuchi. Hashi kicks Kikuchi when he charges in, he goes up to the top turnbuckle but Kikuchi is up and joins him. Spider suplex by Kikuchi, but as he is still upside down Naniwa runs in and dropkicks him in the stomach. Marufuji runs in to help as he chops both his opponents while the referee frees Kikuchi. German suplex hold by Kikuchi on Hashi, but it gets a two count. Kikuchi picks up Hashi, nails the Fireball Bomb, and picks up the three count! Your winners: Tsuyoshi Kikuchi and Naomichi Marufuji
Match Thoughts: First of all, this is the first time I can ever remember seeing the Shooting Star Press kicked out of, or the first time I have seen that move in an opening match for that matter. Little Indys don't count. Besides that this was actually a pretty fun match as all the wrestlers played their parts well. Kikuchi was already grumpy at this point in his career, the only oddball in the match was Naniwa... I have no idea what he was doing here. Not that I don't like him, he just didn't seem to fit in with the other three. But they had some good spots, the dropkick to Kikuchi before he could get out of the spider position was particularly entertaining as I don't remember a wrestler doing that before. Overall it was a very solid opener. Score: 6.0
Kentaro Shiga and Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Satoru Asako and Takashi Morishima
Morishima tags in Asako, Irish whip by Asako and he delivers a dropkick. Irish whip again and this time he hits a back bodydrop. Back up, scoop slam by Asako and he hits an elbow drop off the second turnbuckle. Cover, but it gets a two count. Morishima is tagged in, scoop slam by Morishima and then he slams Asako into Kanemaru. Cover by Morishima but Kanemaru kicks out at two. Clubs to the back by Morishima and he tags in Asako. Irish whip by Asako, but Kanemaru kicks him when he goes for a back bodydrop and tags in Shiga. Shiga grabs Asako, Irish whip, and he delivers a dropkick. Cover, but it only gets two. Wristlock by Shiga, Irish whip, Asako ducks the elbow though and kicks Shiga in the face. Shiga drives Asako back though and tags in Kanemaru, uppercut by Kanemaru, Irish whip, and he connects with a dropkick. Asako rolls out of the ring and Kanemaru comes out after him with a pescado. Kanemaru throws Asako back into the ring, cover, but it only gets a two count. Kanemaru tags in Shiga, double Irish whip and they hit a double chop to the chest. Cover, but again it gets two. Shiga picks up Asako, he goes for a vertical suplex, Asako blocks it, but Shiga pushes him back into the corner and hits a series of kicks. Vertical suplex by Shiga, cover, but it gets two. Shiga tags in Kanemaru, uppercut by Kanemaru, he slams Asako in front of the ropes and hits a double-legged moonsault off the top rope for a two count. Kanemaru picks up Asako and slams him to the mat. Again he picks him up and he throws him in the corner before tagging in Shiga. Stomps by Shiga and he slams Asako into the other corner. Irish whip by Asako, reversed, Shiga rebounds out of the corner with an attempted sunset flip, but it gets a two count. They trade pinfalls with no real result, Asako pushes Shiga into the corner but Shiga gets out of it. Shiga goes for a suplex, but Asako blocks it and hits a leg sweep. He tags in Morishima, and Morishima comes off the top turnbuckle with a shoulderblock. Atomic drop by Morishima, Kanemaru comes in the ring and he gets an atomic drop as well. Kanemaru gets back up and pushes Morishima against the ropes, but Morishima hits a lariat. Morishima goes for a backdrop suplex on Shiga, Shiga lands on his feet and charges Morishima, but Morishima slams him to the mat. Elbow drop by Morishima, cover, but it only gets a two count. Morishima goes up to the top turnbuckle and goes for a missile dropkick, but Shiga moves out of the way and tags in Kanemaru. Dropkick by Kanemaru, he goes to the top turnbuckle but Morishima knocks him off by bouncing into the ropes. Shoulderblock by Morishima and he tags in Asako. Asako picks up Kanemaru, Irish whip, and he hits an overhead suplex. Irish whip by Asako from the corner, but Kanemaru flips himself out to the apron and hits a crossbody off the top turnbuckle. Asako rolls through however for a pinfall attempt, but Shiga breaks it up. Shiga and Kanemaru double team Asako, ending with a Shiga DDT. Kanemaru picks up Asako, scoop slam, he goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a corkscrew senton. Cover, but Morishima breaks it up. Kanemaru picks up Asako again, Irish whip from the corner, reversed, Kanemaru kicks Asako when he charges in but Asako picks him up and drops him onto the top rope. Backdrop suplex by Asako, he puts Kanemaru up on the top turnbuckle and delivers a Frankensteiner. Cover, Kanemaru breaks it up. La Magistral Cradle by Asako, but that also gets a two count. Asako picks up Kanemaru, nails the SDA and picks up the three count! Your winners: Satoru Asako and Takashi Morishima
Match Thoughts: A perfectly acceptable little match, but nothing special. Morishima wasn't the man beast he is today back in 1999, and Kanemaru was the only one that did anything to stand out. There were a few small miscommunications and little attempt to make the match seem meaningful, but as the second match on the card that doesn't bother me as much then if the match was towards the top. Decent action-wise, but certainly nothing special. Score: 5.0
Kimala II, Haruka Eigen, and Jun Izumida vs. Rusher Kimura, Mitsuo Momota, and Masao Inoue
Forearm shot in the corner by Inoue and he rakes Kimala in the eyes. Shoulder tackle by Inoue in the corner and he kicks Kimala repeatedly in the stomach. Ear... rake by Inoue but Kimala grabs him and tags in Izumida. Kick to the stomach by Izumida, Irish whip, reversed, and Inoue hits a dropkick. Inoue tags in Momota and Momota punches Izumida in the stomach. Kick by Momota, he picks up Izumida and goes for a powerbomb, but Izumida blocks it and hits a back bodydrop. Izumida tags in Eigen, takedown by Eigen and he applies the spinning toe hold. Giant Swing by Eigen and he drops Momota to the mat before tagging in Kimala. Kimala drops an elbow on Momota, cover, but it gets a two count. Kimala applies a neck nerve hold, but Momota struggles to his feet so Kimala tags in Izumida. Mongolian chops by Izumida and he drops an elbow. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Headbutt by Izumida, but Momota hits a backdrop suplex and tags in Inoue. Irish whip by Inoue and he rolls up Izumida for a two count cover. Inoue picks up Izumida, goes off the ropes, but Kimala hits him from the apron and Izumida delivers a DDT. Izumida tags in Kimala, but Inoue avoids the leg drop attempt. Inoue picks up Kimala, Irish whip to the corner, reversed, but Inoue avoids the splash. Monkey flip by Inoue and he hits a series of lariats with the third knocking Kimala to his feet. Cover, but Kimala kicks out at two. Inoue goes for a scoop slam, but he can't get Kimala over. He tries again, but Kimala lands on top of him for a two count cover. Rolling senton by Kimala, cover, but Momota breaks it up. Eigen and Izumida come in to take care of their opponents while Kimala goes up to the top turnbuckle. Diving double chop by Kimala, cover, and he picks up the three count! Your winners: Kimala II, Haruka Eigen, and Jun Izumida
Match Thoughts: I hate this stuff. It is one thing when the act is something that is over with the crowd (such as good 'ol Abdullah), but here the crowd cared even less then I did. Eigen and Momota got a small reaction, but that was it. So for 14 minutes I had to watch wrestlers older then my dad lightly chop each other and club each other in the back over and over again. All Japan used to love this kind of match, but I am happy to report that it is no longer used. I just don't see any entertainment here. Score: 2.5
Gedo, Yoshihiro Kanemura, and Koji Nakagawa vs. Johnny Smith, Tamon Honda, and Masa Fuchi
Headbutt to the ribs by Honda, scoop slam and he drops another headbutt. Cover, but it gets a two count. Honda picks up Nakagawa and applies a front facelock before tagging in Smith. Snapmare by Smith and he hits a neckbreaker. Elbow to the back of the head by Smith and he applies a full nelson, but Nakagawa backs him up and makes the tag to Gedo. Gedo rakes Smith's eyes in the corner but Smith forearms him in the face and hits a backbreaker. Cover, but it only gets two. Fisherman Suplex by Smith, but Kanemura runs in to break it up. Low blow by Gedo and he tags in Nakagawa. Nakagawa headbutts Smith low as well, cover, but the referee never even bothers count it. Scoop slam by Nakagawa and Kanemura comes in with a slingshot reverse splash for a two count cover. Kanemura picks up Smith and hits a half-hatch suplex hold for another two count. Wrist lock by Kanemura and he tags in Gedo. Gedo applies a wrist lock as well and takes Smith to the mat with Fujiwara armbar. Smith gets a hand on the ropes so Gedo releases the hold and tags in Nakagawa. Nakagawa goes off the ropes and kicks Smith in the arm, but Smith comes back with an elbow strike. Nakagawa pushes Smith into the ropes and twists his arm around the top rope before yanking it down over it. Nakagawa grabs Smith and tags in Kanemura, who snaps Smith's arm over the top rope as well. Gedo and Nakagawa suplex Smith so that he is hanging on top of the ropes and then Kanemura comes off the top turnbuckle with a leg drop. Cover, but the referee doesn't count it due to all the cheating. Kanemura puts Smith on top of the second rope, goes off the far ropes and jumps down onto his back.
Scoop slam by Kanemura in front of the corner and he nails the senton. Cover, but Smith barely kicks out in time. Kanemura goes for a brainbuster, but Smith reverses it with a snap suplex. Smith picks up Kanemura and hits a tombstone piledriver, cover, but Gedo breaks it up. Smith goes up to the top turnbuckle, nails a missile dropkick, does a kip up, and lariats Kanemura to the mat. Nakagawa runs in but he eats a lariat as well, so Gedo stays on the apron. Smith tags in Fuchi, who hits a backdrop suplex on Kanemura. Another backdrop suplex by Fuchi, cover, but Nakagawa breaks it up. Fuchi punches down Nakagawa, picks up Kanemura and goes for another backdrop suplex, Kanemura elbows out of it but Fuchi kicks him to the mat. Fuchi puts Kanemura up on top the ropes in the corner, climbs up, and chokes him with his boot before kicking him back down. Fuchi tags in Honda, headbutts by Honda and applies a side headlock, but with a little help from Gedo and Nakagawa, Kanemura is able to reverse it with a backdrop suplex and make the tag to Gedo. Gedo picks up Honda, Irish whip, reversed, but Nakagawa frees Gedo from Honda's grasp. Dropkick to the back by Gedo and Nakagawa hits Honda with a lariat. Headbutts by Nakagawa and Gedo, atomic drop by Nakagawa and Gedo comes off the top turnbuckle with a superfly splash. Cover, but Smith breaks it up. Irish whip from the corner by Gedo, reversed, but Gedo kicks Honda when he charges in. Gedo goes up to the second turnbuckle and jumps off, but Honda catches him and hits an overhead suplex. Cover, but Gedo barely kicks out. Honda picks up Gedo, Irish whip, Gedo ducks a lariat, but Honda picks him up and delivers a sit-down powerbomb. Cover, and he picks up the three count! Your winners: Johnny Smith, Tamon Honda, and Masa Fuchi
Match Thoughts: This really wasn't the best position to put the FMW wrestlers in, as they didn't mesh well with this All Japan trio at all. While Hayabusa was put in a good spot, here the FMW guys were made to look like bitches the first half of the match, did really tame arm work to Smith for a bit, and then got defeated without really seeming like they had much of a chance. Kanemura was still awesome though, his selling of Smith's missile dropkick and lariat was choice, he really had no reason to go out of his way to make those moves look so good. Look at the 2006 Apache Army invasion of New Japan to see the type of matches that Kanemura and company shine in, they had little chance of putting on a good show against three All Japan purist. Score: 4.0
Great Sasuke, Tiger Mask IV, and Hayabusa vs. Masahito Kakihara, Mossman, Yoshinari Ogawa
Kick to the chest by Tiger Mask and he delivers an uppercut. Kicking combination by Tiger Mask, he picks up Kakihara but Kakihara fires off a series of punches. Tiger Mask catches a kick, but Kakihara rolls him to the mat and applies an ankle lock until Tiger Mask reaches the ropes. Tiger Mask goes for a cross armbreaker, Kakihara tries to powerbomb out of it, but Tiger Mask flips over to keep the move applied. Kakihara soon reaches the ropes and Tiger Mask tags in Sasuke. Kicks in the corner by Sasuke, snapmare, and he applies a reverse chinlock. Kakihara reaches the ropes and when Sasuke releases him Kakihara tags in Mossman. Kicks by Mossman and he punches Sasuke in the corner. More kicks follow, scoop slam by Mossman, he picks up Sasuke and throws him down again. Crab hold by Mossman, but Tiger Mask quickly breaks it up with a kick. Takedown by Sasuke and he goes for a single leg crab hold, but Mossman is too close to the ropes and easily reaches them. Sasuke tags in Hayabusa who comes in the ring with a slingshot knee drop. Hayabusa grabs Mossman's leg and delivers a dragon screw leg whip. Ankle lock by Hayabusa and he tags in Tiger Mask. Tiger Mask jumps down on Mossman's leg and then Sasuke comes in to do the same. Hayabusa follows suit as well, Tiger Mask grabs Mossman's leg but Mossman back up and makes the tag to Ogawa. Double vertical suplex to Tiger Mask and Ogawa jumps on Tiger Mask's midsection. Ogawa picks up Tiger Mask and sets him up in the ropes so that Kakihara could kick him. Tiger Mask falls to the outside, where Kakihara gives him a snap suplex. Kakihara slides Tiger Mask back in the ring, Irish whip by Ogawa and he applies a sleeperhold. Tiger Mask punches his way out of the hold though and tags in Sasuke. Stomps in the corner by Sasuke, he takes Ogawa down and applies a single leg crab hold, but Ogawa grabs the bottom rope. Leg lock by Sasuke, but Kakihara breaks it up.
Sasuke then applies a camel clutch, but again it is broken up. Scoop slam by Sasuke, he goes off the ropes and delivers a leg drop. Cover, but it gets a two count. Cross armbreaker attempt by Sasuke, but Ogawa keeps his hands locked and gets out of it even as Sasuke bites his finger. Sasuke tags in Hayabusa, scoop slam by Hayabusa and he delivers a standing moonsault. Cover, but it only gets a two. Hayabusa applies a reverse chinlock, Ogawa struggles back up but Hayabusa keeps a hold applied. Hayabusa tags in Tiger Mask, Irish whip by Tiger Mask and he nails a dropkick. Elbow drop by Tiger Mask, cover, but it only gets a two count. Scorpion Deathlock by Tiger Mask but he releases the hold and tags in Sasuke. Sasuke throws Ogawa into the corner, Irish whip to the other corner, Hayabusa hits a high knee, Sasuke follows with a forearm, and Tiger Mask finishes with a catapult dropkick. Vertical suplex by Sasuke and Hayabusa delivers a slingshot knee drop from the apron. Figure four by Sasuke but Mossman quickly breaks it up with kicks. Sasuke picks up Ogawa, but Ogawa throws him out of the ring. On the outside Mossman scoop slams Sasuke to the floor as in the ring Ogawa tags in Kakihara. Mossman throws Sasuke back in, Kakihara picks him up and throws him into the corner. Punching combination by Kakihara in the corner and he finishes with a high kick. Cover, but Sasuke barely kicks out in time. Backdrop suplex by Kakihara, cover, but Tiger Mask breaks it up. Sasuke fights back with punches to the stomach and he tags in Tiger Mask. Scoop slam by Tiger Mask and he applies a cross armbreaker. Kakihara quickly gets a foot on the ropes, Tiger Mask picks him up but Kakihara drives him back and tags in Mossman. Kicks in the corner by Mossman and he delivers a backbreaker followed by a reverse splash. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Snap suplex by Mossman, another cover, but again he only gets a two count.
Mossman tags in Ogawa, double Irish whip and they connect with a double knee. Backdrop suplex by Ogawa, cover, but the pin attempt is broken up. Ogawa tags in Mossman, Irish whip by Mossman but Tiger Mask lands on his feet when Mossman goes for a back bodydrop and kicks Mossman in the face. This gives him time to tag in Sasuke, who comes in the ring with a missile dropkick. Hayabusa comes in the ring and they clear the ring. Sasuke then sails out with the Sasuke Special on Mossman, we miss Tiger Mask's dive on Kakihara, but we are back in time to watch Hayabusa hit a moonsault off the top turnbuckle down onto Ogawa. Sasuke and Mossman get back in the ring, Sasuke runs to the ropes and delivers a quebrada for a two count cover. German suplex hold by Sasuke but that only gets a two count as well. Powerbomb by Sasuke onto Mossman and he tags in Hayabusa. Hayabusa come is the ring with a springboard spinning heel kick, but the kick knocks Mossman back to his corner and he tags in Ogawa. Hayabusa is not phased however and he quickly hits a hurricanrana on Ogawa. Back up, fisherman buster by Hayabusa, but the cover only gets a two count. Scoop slam by Hayabusa, Tiger Mask and Sasuke both hit flying headbutts off the top turnbuckle and Hayabusa comes in last with a moonsault. Cover, but Kakihara breaks it up. Hayabusa picks up Ogawa and goes for a German suplex, but Ogawa blocks it. Kakihara comes in and helps, eye rake by Ogawa and he hits a swinging neckbreaker. Ogawa makes the slow crawl back to his corner and tags in Kakihara, but Hayabusa catches him with a heel kick and tags in Tiger Mask. Irish whip by Tiger Mask and he delivers a dropkick. Tiger Mask hits a scoop slam, goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits the diving headbutt. Cover, but it gets a two count. Scoop slam by Tiger Mask, he goes up top again, but Kakihara rolls out of the way of the moonsault attempt. Tiger Mask lands on his feet, Kakihara ducks his charges and goes for a German suplex, but again Tiger Mask lands on his feet. Back kick by Tiger Mask, he nails the German suplex hold, but it only gets a two count.
Kakihara quickly applies an ankle lock with a grapevine, but both Hayabusa and Sasuke run in to break it up. Kakihara tags in Mossman, kicks to the leg by Mossman and he hits a knee crusher. Single leg crab hold by Mossman, but Tiger Mask makes it to the ropes. Mossman picks up Tiger Mask, scoop slam, he goes to the corner but Tiger Mask rolls out of the way of the reverse splash. This gives Hayabusa time to tag in Sasuke, but Mossman gets him down with an arm drag. Kicks by Mossman and he hits the jumping heel kick. Northern Light Suplex by Mossman, but Sasuke kicks out at two. Mossman picks up Sasuke, scoop slam, he goes to the far turnbuckle and nails the splash. Cover, but Tiger Mask breaks it up. Mossman drags Sasuke to his feet, but Sasuke dives towards his corner and when Mossman follows he eats Hayabusa's boot. Sasuke tags in Hayabusa, Hayabusa enters the ring with a springboard dive but Mossman catches him with a kick to the stomach. Mossman tags in Ogawa and they hit a double suplex on Hayabusa followed by a double elbow drop. Ogawa picks up Hayabusa, he puts Hayabusa in the corner and sends him for a ride to the other corner. Kakihara comes in and delivers a running forearm, Hayabusa avoids Ogawa's charge but Mossman connects with a savate kick and Ogawa finishes him off with a jawbreaker. Enzigieri by Ogawa, cover, but Hayabusa barely kicks out. Backdrop suplex by Ogawa and he delivers a second one. Back up, Ogawa gives Hayabusa a third, cover, but Sasuke breaks it up. Kakihara takes care of Sasuke and Tiger Mask, Ogawa holds Hayabusa for him, but Hayabusa ducks and Kakihara accidentally hits Ogawa. High kick by Hayabusa on Kakihara, he drags Ogawa up, scoop slam, and he nails the Firebird Splash! Cover, but Kakihara barely breaks it up in time. Hayabusa picks up Ogawa and hits a Tiger Driver, cover, but Ogawa kicks out before the three count. Another cover by Hayabusa, but Ogawa again kicks out. Their partners battle at ringside, but Mossman comes in and nails the Hawaiian Smasher on Hayabusa. Ogawa slowly covers Hayabusa, but Tiger Mask breaks it up. Ogawa picks up Hayabusa and hits a backdrop suplex hold, but Tiger Mask again breaks it up. Kakihara and Sasuke continue playing outside the ring while Ogawa tags in Mossman. Mossman picks up Hayabusa, but Hayabusa blocks the vertical suplex and nails the Falcon Arrow! Cover, but Mossman barely kicks out. One minute left. Half-hatch suplex hold by Hayabusa, but it only gets a two count. Tiger Mask assaults Ogawa on the outside while in the ring Mossman grabs Hayabusa, Hayabusa sneaks in an inside cradle, but the bell rings and the match is declared a draw.
Match Thoughts: Well that is one hell of a long play by play. Mossman is of course Kea, I imagine you are familiar with the other wrestlers. As a side note I have no idea why they went with the draw since I am sure they could have gotten one of the indy workers getting a huge payday to do the job. Anyway, this was a fun match. It was smartly worked, surprisingly, as they didn't open the match by dropping bombs but slowly worked their way up to them. They knew they were going 30 so there was no rush. The high spots did look great though and the crowd really responded, getting the loudest during Hayabusa's Firebird Splash as it looked like they were actually going to score the upset. I also liked that the indy team used a lot of team work, that could have been a weakness in the match but they worked well together. So it wasn't an awesome match, but it was a really fun match that the crowd enjoyed. Score: 7.0
Gary Albright, Takao Omori, and Takayama vs. Steve Williams, Stan Hansen, and Akira Taue
Williams tags in Taue, Irish whip by Taue and he hits the big boot. Taue picks up Omori and goes for a vertical suplex, but Omori holds on and reverses it into one of his own. This gives him time to tag in Albright, kick by Albright and he applies an abdominal stretch. Powerslam by Albright, cover, but it gets broken up. Albright punches Taue into the corner, Irish whip, and he hits the running splash followed by a belly to belly suplex. Elbow drop to the leg by Albright and he applies a leg submission. Taue reverses it into a cross armbreaker, but Albright gets a foot on the bottom rope. Taue tags in Hansen, who elbows Albright's arm in the corner. Fujiwara armbar by Hansen, but Albright gets a hand on the bottom rope. Albright tags in Takayama, who kicks Hansen in the back while Omori clubs him from the apron. Punches in the corner by Takayama, snapmare, and he covers Hansen for a two count. Reverse chinlock by Takayama and he kicks Hansen in the back, but Hansen gets up and knees Takayama in the head. Knee drop by Hansen and he kicks Takayama to the apron so that Hansen could assault him with elbows to the neck. Takayama rolls out of the ring, but Williams throws him back in. Hansen tags in Taue, who kicks Takayama in the rubs. Octopus Hold by Taue but Takayama hiptosses out of it and goes for the cross armbreaker until Williams comes in and breaks it up. Takayama tags in Omori and Omori elbows Taue in the arm. Taue and Omori trade slaps and Taue connects with an enzigieri. Taue picks up Omori, scoop slam by Taue and he drops Omori onto the top rope. Taue slams Omori into his knee twice before tagging in Hansen. Knees to the stomach by Hansen, Irish whip, but Omori kicks him when he goes for a back bodydrop and delivers a heel kick. Williams runs in to stop him from tagging out however until Hansen recovers. Hansen picks up Omori, Omori tries to fight off all three men but it doesn't work. Hansen tags in Taue, who knees Omori repeatedly in the stomach. Cover by Takayama, but it only gets a two count. Takayama tags in Williams, Williams picks up Omori, Irish whip, and he delivers a power slam. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Crab hold by Williams but Takayama comes in and breaks it up.
Williams tags in Hansen, Hansen picks up Omori and clubs him in the back. Irish whip by Hansen, but Omori kicks him when he charges in and hits a backbreaker. Hansen grabs Omori before he can make the tag however and tags in Taue. Lariat by Taue and he goes for the chokeslam, but Omori gets out of it. Running boot by Taue, he goes for the chokeslam again, but this time Takayama comes in to break it up. Axe Bomber by Omori to Taue and he finally makes the tag to Albright. Albright gives Hansen a belly to belly suplex, he goes for a German suplex on Taue, but Taue kicks him off. Belly to belly suplex by Albright on Taue, but Hansen breaks it up with an elbow drop. Taue tags in Williams, and Williams hits Albright with a shoulderblock. Takayama tags himself in and chops Williams in the back of the head from the top turnbuckle. Kick to the chest by Takayama, snapmare, and he delivers a PK. Cover, but Williams barely kicks out. Takayama picks up Williams, Irish whip from the corner, but Williams moves and nails the Doctor Bomb. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Williams picks up Takayama and goes for the Backdrop Driver, but Omori comes off the top with a missile dropkick. Taue takes care of Omori while Taue tags in Hansen. Albright and Takayama both give Hansen a vertical suplex, cover, bit it gets a two count. Albright holds Hansen for Takayama, but Hansen ducks and Takayama accidentally kicks Albright right out of the ring. Big boot by Taue on Takayama and Hansen nails him with the Lariat. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winners: Steve Williams, Stan Hansen, and Akira Taue
Match Thoughts: Eh, a pretty standard big-man tag match which was a slowed down a bit due to the participants. Albright had lost a step at this point (even though he still hit his suplexes well) and Hansen was in the twilight of his career. Taue when not doing comedy tends to only show his true form in big singles matches as here he mostly just did boots (Taue fans, don't send me hate mail. Thank you.). Most of the action was hard-hitting and fun to watch, but they didn't do anything special and the finish seemed to come out of nowhere as Takayama really hadn't taken that much damage. It wasn't bad, per se, but it wasn't as good as the same match would have been when a few of these guys were five years younger. Score: 5.5
Hiroshi Hase vs. Toshiaki Kawada
Kawada picks up Hase and kicks him repeatedly in the back before applying the Stretch Plum. Hase slowly inches to the ropes and eventually he makes it, forcing a break. Kicks to the chest by Kawada and he goes for a second powerbomb, Hase blocks it, so Kawada hits a series of short kicks to the head. Again he goes for a powerbomb, but Hase reverses it and boots Kawada in the face. Kawada doesn't go down, so Hase boots him again. A third time Hase goes off the ropes, but this time Kawada catches him with a lariat. He used his injured arm however so was unable to capitalize, allowing Hase time to recover and hit an armbreaker. Hase grabs Kawada by the legs and swings him 'round and 'round in the Giant Swing before dropping him to the mat. Hase picks up Kawada and chops him, he goes for an uranage, Kawada punches him off, but he hits a German suplex hold for a two count cover. He goes for another one, but Kawada elbows out of it. Punches by Kawada, but Hase ducks one and hits a sloppy uranage (sloppy in that Kawada slipped and Hase accidentally dropped him right on his head). Kawada looks a little out of it (hard to tell if he is really hurt since he is such a good seller), cover by Hase, but Kawada kicks out. Kawada tries to stand up but he collapses back into the corner. Hase waits for him, Kawada slowly gets to his knees but Hase boots him in the head. Northern Light Suplex hold by Hase, but Kawada kicks out at two. Hase goes for an uranage, but Kawada grabs the top rope. Hase goes for the uranage twice more, but Kawada reverses the second one so that he lands on top of Hase. Boot to the head by Kawada and he hits a second one followed by a Gamengiri. Another Gamengiri and a third, but Hase won't go down. Kawada grabs Hase, nails the powerbomb, but he hurt his arm which prevents him from making the quick cover. Kawada literally drags Hase back up, delivers a perfect brainbuster, and picks up the three count! Your winner: Toshiaki Kawada
Match Thoughts: Hase has the strangest booked matches ever... just look at last year's Dome Show for another example. The gist of it seemed to be Hase going after Kawada's injured arm, but he would take breaks from that to work over the leg. The only thing really memorable about this match that made it good was Kawada's awesome selling, which has always been one of his biggest strengths. They are lucky that last uranage didn't injure Kawada, even though it was clearly an accident, I have never seen Hase lose his grip doing the move before. Overall it was a good match that I enjoyed, it was pretty random at times but the end was hot and Kawada helped make the match much more special just by being Kawada. Score: 7.0
Kenta Kobashi, Jun Akiyama, and Jinsei Shinzaki vs. The Road Warriors and Johnny Ace
Shinzaki tags in Kobashi, and Kobashi chops Ace into the corner. Ace fights back with forearms though and kicks Kobashi against the ropes. He tags in Hawk, Irish whip by Hawk, reversed, and Kobashi delivers a powerslam. Hawk bounces right back up though, tie-up, Kobashi gets Hawk into the corner and hits a chop. Delayed vertical suplex by Kobashi, cover, but Hawk easily kicks out. Again Kobashi gets Hawk into the corner and he makes the tag to Akiyama. Forearms by Akiyama, Irish whip, and he delivers a back elbow strike. Cover, but it gets a one count. Back up, side headlock by Hawk and he tags in Ace. Ace goes up to the second turnbuckle and elbows Akiyama in the ribs. Knees by Ace, he tags in Animal, Irish whip, and Animal delivers a dropkick. Cover by Animal, but it only gets a two count. Animal applies a reverse chinlock but Akiyama gets out of it with a jawbreaker. Animal tags in Hawk, snapmare by Hawk and Akiyama tags in Shinzaki. Tie-up, Hawk chops Shinzaki and delivers a neckbreaker. Irish whip by Hawk from the corner but Shinzaki kicks him when he charges in. Shinzaki then grabs Hawk's arm, goes to the top turnbuckle and nails the top rope walk chop to the head. Shinzaki charges Hawk, Hawk back bodydrops him over the top rope, but Shinzaki lands on the apron. Elbow by Hawk, he goes off the far ropes and knocks Shinzaki down to the floor. Hawk tags in Ace, Ace goes after Shinzaki (who somehow managed to fly over the guard rail) and brings him back to the ring. Ace grabs Shinzaki from the apron and tries to suplex him back into the ring, but when Shinzaki blocks it he instead snaps his neck over the top rope. Animal is tagged in, Irish whip by Animal, reversed, Shinzaki goes for a hurricanrana but Animal catches him and delivers a powerbomb. Cover, but it is broken up by Kobashi. Animal tags in Ace, who kicks Shinzaki in the arm. Irish whip by Ace and he delivers a spinning elbow. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Ace applies a front face lock and elbows Shinzaki in the back of the head before tagging in Hawk. Snapmare by Hawk and he applies a reverse chinlock with a body scissors.
He eventually releases it and tags in Animal, who lariats Shinzaki to the mat. Reverse chinlock by Animal, Irish whip from the corner but Shinzaki kicks Animal in the back of the head and makes the tag to Kobashi. Kobashi ducks an Animal charge as he comes in and chops Animal back into the corner. Ace runs in to help, but Kobashi chops him back and continues going after Animal. Irish whip by Kobashi and he delivers a jumping knee. Akiyama comes in and they hit a powerbomb/backdrop suplex combination. Shinzaki then goes to the top turnbuckle and nails the headbutt. Cover, but Animal kicks out. Scoop slam by Kobashi on Animal, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers the moonsault. Cover, but Ace breaks it up. Ace hits the Ace Cutter on Kobashi, but Akiyama runs in and gives Ace an exploder. Hawk goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a flying shoulderblock on Akiyama, clearing the ring of extra hands. Animal delivers a powerslam on Kobashi, and he tags in Hawk as Kobashi tags in Shinzaki. Jumping enzigieri by Shinzaki on Hawk and he hits a blow off the top turnbuckle. Cover, but it gets a two count. Shinzaki picks up Hawk and goes for the praying powerbomb, but Animal and Ace both run in to block it. In a cool spot, Animal and Hawk pick up Shinzaki and launch him at Ace so that Ace could hit him with an Ace Crusher. Cover by Hawk, but Kobashi breaks it up. Kobashi chops both Animal and Hawk, but they knock him down with a double shoulderblock. Animal puts Shinzaki on his shoulders as Hawk goes to the top turnbuckle, but Shinzaki ducks the Doomsday Device. Shinzaki goes off the ropes, but Animal plants him with a lariat. Now they go for the Doomsday Device again and this time they nail it. Cover, and Hawk picks up the three count! Your winners: The Road Warriors and Johnny Ace
Match Thoughts: Another example (the other one is in the next match) of old vets that still had something left to contribute after a lackluster run in the WWF. Johnny Ace is Animal's real life brother, so I imagine it was fun for the three of them to team up. As for the match, it was very solid as the Road Warriors still looked good... which is important since they were the ones controlling the offense. I wish that Kobashi or Akiyama had participated more, obviously they are incredibly talented but they didn't really do much in this match. There was quite a bit of unnecessary resting in the middle of the match as the action lagged but they picked things up by the end. The result was never in doubt, why else would Shinzaki have been in the match, but it was still entertaining. I would have preferred Kobashi/Akiyama vs. The Road Warriors, but I take what I can get. It's the popular thing on the Internet to not like the Road Warriors, and while they obviously weren't as good here as they were in the late 80s, they still did their thing well and could put on an entertaining match. Score: 6.5
(c) Vader vs Mitsuharu Misawa
Misawa slides Vader into the ring, goes to the top turnbuckle and nails the missile dropkick. German suplex by Misawa (damn!), cover, but he only gets a two count. Misawa goes for the Tiger Driver, he can't get Vader up, so he hits a scoop slam instead. Misawa goes up to the second turnbuckle and hits a diving elbow, cover, but it gets a two count. Kick to the face by Misawa, he goes off the ropes, but Vader ducks the elbow and plants him with a release German suplex. Vader picks up Misawa and hits a reverse powerbomb, and then he quickly drags Misawa to his feet and kills him with a release German suplex. Running body press by Vader, cover, but Misawa barely kicks out. Vader picks up Misawa and delivers a Tiger Driver, cover, but again Misawa barely gets a shoulder up. Back up, Vader slams Misawa in front of the corner and goes to the top turnbuckle, but Misawa wisely rolls out of the way of the moonsault. Vader is still up first, he slams Misawa in front of the corner and goes up top again, but Misawa is up in time and elbows him in the stomach. Misawa then climbs up as well and nails a superplex. Misawa goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails the body press, cover, but it only gets a two count. Back up, Misawa puts Vader up on the top turnbuckle, climbs up as well and delivers a DDT down to the mat. Cover again, but Vader barely gets a shoulder up. Rolling elbow smash by Misawa, cover, but again Vader barely gets a shoulder up before the three count. Vader gets back up, he ducks a Misawa strike attempt and nails a lariat. Butt smash by Vader, cover, but it only gets two. Misawa rolls onto Vader and connects with a series of mounted elbows, they get back up and trade blows, but Misawa nails an elbow smash to send Vader reeling. Misawa goes off the ropes and hits one final elbow smash, cover, and he picks up the three count! Your winner and new champion: Mitsuharu Misawa
Match Thoughts: That was about ten times better then it had any right to be. I am not the first one to point this out, but in one year Vader went from jobbing to Edge on Heat to holding the most prestigious championship in Japan. Even though Vader was a shell of his former self, this match shows that he was still capable of having a great match if he had someone to help him through it. Shockingly there were very few rest holds in this match as they basically just threw bombs at each other. Since Misawa couldn't do some of his normal moves, he threw in some new ones (top rope DDT, pescado to a downed Vader, and the mounted elbows) to adjust to facing such a large opponent. For his part, Vader took all the moves like a champ and even went for a moonsault, knowing that this would probably be one of his last big matches (which it might of been, as it was the last time he wrestled in front of a crowd this large). That's not to say the match was perfect, obviously Vader was limited in what he could do at times, but overall it was very enjoyable. As a lifetime Vader fan it is great to see that McMahon was wrong and Vader still had something left in the tank later in his career. Score: 8.0
review completed 10/14/06