Japanese Hardcore Wrestling 7 (US PPV)
review by Reed Benson
This is the seventh of what would ultimately be about ten Japanese Hardcore Wrestling pay-per-views promoted by WK Media. They were cheap, running somewhere between $9.99 and $15.99 USD per show, and featured matches from various independent promotions in Japan with added English commentary. The first episode featured Joel Gertner and Missy Hyatt doing the voice-overs, but they were replaced by PWInsider.com’s Buck Woodward and long-time Combat Zone Wrestling announcer Eric Gargiulo for all subsequent shows. Woodward and Gargiulo aren’t great – Woodward’s voice seems incapable of conveying seriousness, and Gargiulo is far more experienced at play-by-play than color - but they’re tolerable. All JHW PPV’s featured multiple matches from Big Japan, but this was the first to air matches from DDT.
Fans Bring the Weapons: Abdullah Kobayashi vs. Jaki Numazawa
Fans Bring the Weapons: Abdullah Kobayashi vs. Jaki Numazawa
From Big Japan. Due to the repetitive nature of this match, I’m going to sum it up quick instead of chronicling it. Aside from a barbed wire board and a bunch of chairs, weapons used in this match include a piece of wood with thumbtacks, keyboards, tea kettles, a vegetable of some sort, frying pans, a baby doll, a hobby horse, a plunger, a barbed wire board, a cheese grater, a bull whip, the bin that the weapons are in, and a whole bunch of thumbtacks. The barbed wire board actually isn’t used much. In no particular order, they have a chair fight, a keyboard fight, and a frying pan fight. Numazawa does a senton off of a stage onto Kobayashi and some chairs. He does a double stomp from the second rope while Kobayashi’s throat is on the back of a chair. He unscrews the top rope and uses it to choke Kobayashi. They hit each other with a lot of things and do a number of moves onto thumbtacks. Kobayashi uses a dropkick and a jumping enzugiri, actually leaving his feet. Kobayashi ultimately gets the win with the Koba Driver. Winner: Abdullah Kobayashi!
This was as fun as a death match can get while still being bloody and painful-looking. Good way to start the show for someone who hasn’t seen any Big Japan before, providing they know what they’re getting into.
Barbed Wire Boards: Tomoaki Honma vs. Shadow WX
From classic Big Japan. WX attacks right away. They go outside and WX gets whipped into chairs. They brawl through the crowd. Honma DDTs WX on the wood floor. Honma gets whipped and takes a flip bump into chairs. WX takes Honma into the hallway. Honma gets busted open with punches. WX takes him upstairs to the balcony. WX tries to push Honma off the balcony, but Honma fights back and takes WX back downstairs. WX opens Honma’s head wound more with his fingers. Back in the arena, they fight in the crowd and WX piledrives Honma. WX goes towards the ring. Honma tries to follow, but can’t see well. WX hits a yakuza kick and sets up chairs and one of the barbed wire boards in the crowd. He tries to powerbomb Honma off a stage onto the board, but Honma escapes and hits an enzugiri, sending WX off the stage into the board. Honma jumps onto him with what looks to be a knee drop. They finally get back into the ring, and Honma does a top rope Frankensteiner into a barbed wire board for two. Honma with a la magistral for two, then a German suplex for two. Honma sets up a barbed wire board on some chair by a stage outside. WX ends up powerbombing Honma off the stage into the barbed wire. Honma eventually gets up and staggers to the ring, where WX hits him with a chair. WX wraps Honma’s head in barbed wire and gives him a running lariat. Honma refuses to give up when the ref asks. Honma starts a comeback with a dropkick and a bodyslam. Honma hits a top rope diving headbutt while wearing the barbed wire for two. He goes for another top rope move, but WX catches him with a facebuster. Lariat by WX, then he hits a TKO for the pin. Winner: Shadow WX!
Very good, very graphic match. Honma took a lot of punishment and bled like crazy, but he kept the fighting spirit that is so adored in Japan. WX was a vicious heel in the vein of Mr. Pogo, and together they told a pretty good story. It came across as if there was a grudge between them, but the commentary doesn’t mention anything like that.
Sanshiro Takagi & Ibushi Kota vs. HERO! & KUDO
From DDT. Ibushi was only about a year into wrestling (if the commentary is to be believed), and the on-screen graphics list his finishing move as “Drop Kick.” Ibushi starts with HERO! and they do some mat wrestling. HERO! wins and tags in KUDO to do a little double teaming. KUDO and Ibushi have a back kick trade-off, which KUDO wins. KUDO with a dropkick to the face. They have a roundhouse kick fight, and Ibushi hits a dragon screw and tags. Takagi does a People’s Elbow for two. Takagi applies a half crab and starts working over KUDO’s leg. He and Ibushi take turns working on KUDO’s leg. Eventually, they throw KUDO out of the ring, where Ibushi hits his leg with a chair. It breaks down a bit, and Takagi lifts KUDO up and drops his knee on the apron. He rolls him into the ring and gets a two count. Takagi with a brainbuster for two. Powerbomb for two (HERO! saves). KUDO ducks a lariat and hits a striking combo that finishes with a spin kick to the head. HERO! tags and hits a top rope single leg drop kick on Takagi and a full nelson slam on Ibushi. HERO! does a split-legged moonsault onto Takagi for two. Takagi escapes a suplex and gets hit with a Pele kick and a Falcon Arrow for two. HERO! tries a frog splash, but Takagi gets the knees up. HERO! immediately gets up and hits a jumping elbow, then goes for a springboard, but Takagi catches him in the air with a stunner. Ibushi tags in and hits an ugly standing corkscrew moonsault. Ibushi hits a top rope moonsault, but KUDO saves. Takagi hits KUDO with a clothesline and a bulldog. HERO! hits Takagi with a roundhouse kick before falling back down. Everyone stays down for a bit. KUDO and HERO! get up and hit a double team press into a powerbomb. KUDO goes up top, Takagi cuts him off, HERO! saves, and KUDO hits a top rope double stomp on Takagi. HERO! hits a Falcon Arrow on Ibushi, followed by KUDO coming off the top with a knee drop for the pinfall. Winners: HERO! and KUDO!
I respect that they tried to follow the tag match formula and tell a story by working over KUDO’s leg, but the fact that he quit selling it after making the hot tag takes a lot away from the match. The part where they brawled outside was brief and, in the end, meaningless. The arena was lit pretty badly, too, and something about the wrestlers seemed low-rent. I normally like DDT, but this match was not the best choice for introducing the promotion.
Azumi Hiyuga, Kuragaki & Erika Watanabe vs. Commando Bolshoi, Haruyama & Kaori Yoneyama
From JWP. Bolshoi and Hiyuga start. The highlight is Bolshoi hitting an armdrag before tagging Yoneyama. Hiyuga puts Yoneyama in a Mexican surfboard. Tag to Watanabe for a chop and forearm fight. Double Lucha-style armdrags by Yoneyama on Watanabe and Hiyuga. Yoneyama’s team comes in to slap Watanabe down to the mat. There’s a multi-woman sequence that ends with Yoneyama getting a two count on Watanabe with a jackknife cradle. Bolshoi tags and does a rope walk, ala Jinsei Shinzaki, but stops before getting to Hiyuga, walks backwards, and does an armdrag on Watanabe. Watanabe does a fall-away slam with a bridge for two. Kuragaki tags in. Bolshoi does a satellite headscissors into a standing submission hold. Kuragaki turns it into a torture rack. Bolshoi escapes and applies a sleeper, but gets backed into the turnbuckle. Yoneyama hits Kuragaki with a missile dropkick, followed by a top rope rana by Bolshoi for two. Haruyama tags in to have a lariat fight with Kuragaki. Haruyama with a falling lariat for two. Kuragaki avoids a double clothesline with a cartwheel and hits a double lariat. Kuragaki picks Bolshoi up on a military press and throws her out of the ring onto her partners. Kuragaki hits an Asai moonsault. Watanabe reluctantly does a tope. Hiyuga does a senton atomico. Back in the ring, Kuragaki does a top rope moonsault on Haruyama for two. Hiyuga tags in and reverses a tilt-a-whirl into a DDT on Haruyama. Yoneyama hits a German suplex on Hiyuga. Double team facebuster on Hiyuga, followed by Bolshoi with a top rope double stomp, Yoneyama with a top rope double stomp, and Haruyama with a guillotine leg drop for two (Kuragaki saves). Bolshoi and Hiyuga finally get some time alone in the ring, and Bolshoi rolls Hiyuga up with a spinning body scissors for two. Hiyuga ducks a lariat and goes for something, but Bolshoi turns it into a satellite Fujiwara arm bar. Kuragaki breaks it up. Yoneyama tags in but misses a moonsault. Hiyuga’s team tries a triple team, but two get pulled out of the ring. Yoneyama flips out of a German suplex and hits a Chaos Theory for two. Haruyama comes in and tries to assist in a double team, but Kuragaki stops her. Hiyuga hits a butterfly superplex on Yoneyama for two. She hits a cross arm German suplex for two. Yoneyama gets four consecutive nearfalls with Oklahoma rolls. Yoneyama gets pushed into Kuragaki’s headbutt, then gets speared by Watanabe. Hiyuga hits a shining wizard and a Michinoku Driver II for the pinfall. Winners: Hiyuga, Kuragaki and Watanabe!
Well, it definitely wasn’t a boring match. A little more control might have been nice, as it seemed like the teams all ran in after every other move. Usually you try to save the break down until closer to the end. It wasn’t classic joshi puroresu, but it wasn’t bad. Parts of it had a Dragon Gate feel, due to all the move sequences, but they couldn’t really hit everything as crisp as DG wrestlers do. So, it was confusing, but fun.
MIKAMI vs. Poison Sawada
From DDT. MIKAMI immediately hits a dive on Sawada and his second, leaving all three of them laying. MIKAMI gets up and tries to pick up Sawada, but it looks like he might be legit dazed, so MIKAMI goes and gets a ladder to set up in the crowd. MIKAMI gets Sawada, who still seems to be recovering, and takes him over to the ladder. He lays him down and climbs it, but Sawada comes to and climbs the other side. Sawada tries to superplex him, but MIKAMI slaps him down. Sawada shakes MIKAMI off the ladder and beats him through the crowd and back into the ring. Sawada chokes MIKAMI with both of their ring robes. After a series of blocks and counters, MIKAMI hits a tornado DDT and a low dropkick. MIKAMI gets a rear naked choke, but Sawada gets the ropes. MIKAMI runs the ropes, but Sawada stops him using his snake powers. Sawada grabs a leg, and MIKAMI hits an enzugiri, but Sawada no-sells and hits a dragon screw. Sawada applies a figure four leg lock and uses his snake powers to add emphasis to it. MIKAMI rolls them to the ropes and they fall out of the ring. Sawada whips MIKAMI into the ring post. Sawada channels more snake powers and charges, but MIKAMI kicks him. MIKAMI hits a moonsault off the apron. Does a running dropkick off the apron. MIKAMI goes to get his ladder. He brings it and Sawada into the ring. MIKAMI superplexes the ladder into Sawada. He drops the ladder onto Sawada and goes for a Swanton bomb. Sawada dodges and applies a modified Cattle Mutilation. MIKAMI holds on to consciousness until Sawada gives up on the hold. Sawada climbs the ladder, but MIKAMI stops him and hits a superplex off the ladder. MIKAMI picks Sawada up, but Sawada uses green mist on him and hits a hat rack crack. Sawada applies a sleeper and uses the snake powers, then flips MIKAMI over his back and applies an anaconda vice. MIKAMI gets the ropes. Sawada chokeslams MIKAMI on the apron and hits him with a chair. He removes the ringside mats and goes for a suplex, but MIKAMI escapes and hits an enzugiri and a 619 (or 0853). MIKAMI sets Sawada on a table on the floor and hits a 450 splash from the top rope. He brings Sawada into the ring, hits a top rope kick to his back, then hits a Swanton bomb off the top of the ladder and gets the pin. Winner: MIKAMI!
Good hardcore match that fit the “Japanese Hardcore Wrestling” theme without using barbed wire or light tubes. MIKAMI is pretty crazy. Sawada’s funny gimmick didn’t take away from the seriousness of the match, as it felt like MIKAMI was trying to slay an evil wizard or something. That sort of thing works in DDT. This match definitely was a step above the DDT tag from earlier.
No Rope Barbed Wire & Fluorescent Light Tubes: Ryuji Ito, Kintaro Kanemura & MEN’S Teioh vs. Jun Kasai, Bad Boy Hido & Takashi Sasaki
From Big Japan. There aren’t a lot of light tubes in this match, just a weird gimmick in one corner with some on it that falls on whoever gets whipped into it. They immediately brawl on the floor. Ito and Sasaki are first in the ring. Kanemura is the first to bleed when Hido presses his face into the barbed wire. Sasaki does the same to Ito. Teioh gets whipped into the wire. Kasai and Sasaki follow Kanemura outside while Ito and Teioh drop Hido stomach-first onto the wire, the Ito dives over him onto Kasai and Sasaki. Teioh teases a dive but just slaps Hido. They all go out and brawl some more. Ito hits a leg drop on Sasaki on the stage. They slam each other into the NORTH sign. Ito gets whipped into chairs when they go back towards the ring. Kanemura takes Ito into the ring and powerbombs Sasaki, then climbs a ladder he’d set up. Kasai pushes the ladder over and Kanemura falls through the wire on one side of the ring. Kasai hits a falling splash off the top of the ladder onto Kanemura through a table on the floor. Ito gets whipped into more chairs. Sasaki puts Teioh in a camel clutch in the ring so Kasai can dropkick a chair into his face. Ito’s team gets their head put in the ladder so Kasai’s team can hit them with chairs. DDT by Hido on Kanemura for two. Kanemura gets put in an awkward tree of woe and Kasai’s team all dropkick a chair into his head. Kasai splashes both Ito and Kanemura off the top of the ladder, but Teioh breaks up the pin. The ladder is set up in the corner, and Kasai gets whipped into it. Ito gets a piece of wood from the broken table and hits all of his opponents. Kanemura hits two German suplexes on Sasaki, but he rolls no-sells and hits a lariat. Ito knees Sasaki and kicks Kasai, and Kanemura and Teioh hit a double team choke bomb on Kasai for two (Hido saves). Kasai blocks a glimmering warlock by Ito and dropkicks him in the face for two. Kasai tries to throw Ito into the corner with the light tube thing, but Ito resists. Sasaki dropkicks them both into it and the contraption swings the light tubes into them. Ito reverses a whip and sends Sasaki into the wire, then runs in for a splash and hits the wire himself. Sasaki hits a German suplex and a superkick for two. Hido drops Ito on a barbed wire bat and Kasai hits a German suplex with bridge for two. Sasaki powerbombs Ito onto a ladder, chair and barbed wire bat stack for two. Teioh hits Sasaki with some Terry Funk jabs, then puts the ladder over his head and spins around, hitting everyone with it. Hido and Kasai get crotched on the barbed wire. Sasaki goes for a D-Geist onto the ladder, but Teioh superkicks him. Ito sets up the ladder while Teioh lays out Sasaki. Ito climbs the ladder, then Kasai comes up behind him, then Kanemura and Hido join them until there’re four wrestlers on the ladder. Ito climbs to the top and jumps over them with a dragon splash onto Sasaki for the pin. Winners: Ito, Kanemura & Teioh!
Far from the sickest Big Japan match I’ve seen, which actually makes it better. The contraption with the light tubes was pretty odd and came off as kind of weak in execution. It probably would have worked better if there had been a bed of light tubes or a light tube log cabin on the floor instead. Still, it was everything you’d want in a death match without going overboard like a lot of Big Japan matches seem to do.
Final Thoughts: Not a bad show, and certainly worth the price of the pay-per-view. Nothing that blew me away, but I’m sure there were casual fans whose jaws hit the floor for some of the spots in the death matches. Ten Japanese Hardcore Wrestling PPV’s are available on DVD through places like Amazon.com and Best Buy. If you’re interested, this would probably be a good one to check out.