FMW SKY PerfecTV! PPV on 11/12/00
review by Stuart
FMW's biggest show since the 9/21 Sapporo Green Dome event, titled "DEEP THROAT" (...), took place at Yokohama Bunka Gymnasium. FMW didn't try to lie about the bad number though, claiming 2,500 fans, only a few hundred higher than what they claim at Tokyo Korakuen Hall each month. One year before, FMW drew a massive 12,000 fans for their Yokohama Arena event on 11/23/99. That show wasn't all that greater than this on paper for drawing (it was stronger, but not 9,500-more-fans-worthy stronger), but the booking hadn't quite gone to hell yet and they managed to further the Hayabusa vs. Gannosuke angle, without making it stale. This show didn't lack interesting matches, but Fuyuki's self-centered booking had jaded many former fans. The show starts with Naohiro Yamazaki standing outside and doing his stupid UFO gimmick, pointing to the sky. The PBP guys pull up in their car and rush into the building, apparently late for work again. We see shots of all the wrestlers, most of whom are quiet and serious, preparing for their matches. The bad, poorly acted angles leading into the rally are shown, arguments over girls and squabbles like that.
Ricky Fuji vs. Chocoball Mukai
The Chocoball train leads Mukai out, a bunch of guys just wearing white briefs. They gyrate and stuff, before Ricky sings his way to the ring. He's looking very old these days. Submissions and rests comprise the first minute or so. It doesn't take long for a blown spot to happen, Mukai totally, completely flubbing a diving kneel kick. He doesn't begin to hit Fuji, but Ricky goes down for a 2 count anyway. To make things worse, Chocoball then botches a REGULAR kneel kick. He applies his cradle headlock submission, which is nearly impossible to mess up. After that, he drops Ricky with a Fisherman's suplex hold for 2. Fuji throws out of a second and uses his Kamikaze for 2. Chocoball resists a brainbuster, but runs into a thrust kick. Fuji hits a brainbuster (not much height or impact on it though) for 2 1/2. He spikes Chocoball with a DDT and gets the win (5:41). After the blown spots, Ricky made it watchable for the time it lasted, but barely so. Mukai looked fine at the Korakuen show earlier in the month, but was back to being a bad rookie here.
Flying Kid Ichihara vs. Shinjuku Shark
This whole saga revolves around a woman. FMW started doing these angles with porn stars and other scantily clad smut machines in 1999 and it got old ages ago (not that it was ever interesting). Shark has stolen Ichihara's woman (Kaoruko Arai, I think) and Flying Kid wants her back. He takes up drinking, looking at her photo, as well as spying on the two in a park. Ichihara attacks from behind with a dropkick. He follows with a German suplex hold for 2. They do some really slow and deliberate arm exchanges, before Shark catches Ichihara in the face with a swinging punch. He throws some of his punches, which remain perhaps the worst I've ever seen, and he is supposed to be a striker (boxer). He sits Ichihara up top and Frankensteiner's him down, then leaps off the top and into a dropkick. Ichihara hooks on a la magistral for 2. Ichihara connects with a second rope dropkick, but then dives into a punch. Shark hits a backdrop suplex, then misses a moonsault press. Ichihara spikes Shark with a DDT, then softly powerbomb's him for 2. They do some sloppy indy exchanges, before Flying Kid connects with a moonsault press for the win (4:33). The girl decides to stay with Shark after the match. This was awful. Ichihara is above this level of crappiness and is a perfectly fine *1/2 worker, even though he's the lowest grade high-flyer ever. But Shark is simply atrocious. The punches literally kill his matches and even though he has a couple of good moves (avalanche-style Frankensteiner and moonsault press), he's a waste of time.
Some weird angle with President Arai (evil moustache and all) is shown, where he accepts a phone call from a guy who is using a voice cloak.
Jado, Gedo & Kaori Nakayama (c) vs. Brad Elliott, Damian Blade & Pat Tanaka for the WEW 6 Man Tag Team Title
I can only tell you who Pat Tanaka is, the guy of Badd Company and Orient Express fame, but I've never seen Elliott and Blade, two big men, in my life. This is really a waste of Jado & Gedo. You'd think that for a big show, they could at least bring in, say, Yamakawa, Teioh and Sekimoto from Big Japan or something, but in Fuyuki's eyes, any American is a good acquisition. Speaking of America, the champions walk to the ring first, more tradition-breaking. There is some history between Bulldog KT (Gedo) and Pat Tanaka, as they beat Kendo and Coolie SZ (Jado) on 8/16/92 to win the UWA Intercontinental Tag Team Title, before dropping them to The Great Sasuke and Gran Hamada a few months later. The two point at each other, playing off their history. Tanaka and Kaori starts, Pat laughing and seeing this as some kind of joke. So Kaori schools him with hiptosses and a dropkick. She ducks a lariat from Elliott and slaps him. He doesn't even flinch, so she kicks him dOWnstairs. Tanaka plays the cowardly team leader and asks for a handshake. Jado goes to accept, but Tanaka pokes his eyes. The match plods and plods, because Elliott and Blade are your every day heavyweight stiffs, who only punch and kick. Blade is like one of those fat guys with a unique look that would have gotten work for ECW in 1995 and feuded with Hack Myers. After what seems like an eternal beatdown on Gedo, he tags out to Jado. Jado decks everyone and Kaori clobbers the gaijin with cane shots. Elliott and Blade hit Gedo with a side suplex/reverse DDT combination, but can't even make that look good. Tanaka counters a hurricanrana attempt from Gedo with a sit-out powerbomb for 2, Kaori breaking with the cane. Gedo clips Tanaka with a superkick and gets the win (11:33). Bad, boring, a snoozefest. Tanaka was okay, but Elliott and Blade were in the ring too much and were terrible, killing whatever this match might have been.
Naohiro Yamazaki is shown working out at a training center. The building starts to shake and he looks outside. IT'S A UFO! BY GOD! The X-Files music and credits hit, I kid you not. Mulder's FBI license is replaced by an FMW card with Yamazaki's face printed on it. This was absurdly bush league, so bad that it was funny.
Kyoko Inoue vs. Naohiro Yamazaki
Another Fuyuki brainstorm was importing the intergender concept. It happened in the last match with Kaori and again in this match with Kyoko. The difference is that Kyoko is bigger/bulkier than half of the men, so comes across as a legitimate threat. The bell rings, but Yamazaki drops to his knees and starts worshipping the arena roof. Kyoko slaps the back of his head and starts mocking him. She persuades him to stand on the turnbuckles, then jabs him dOWnstairs and hits her Niagara Driver for 2 1/2! She totally flubs a surfboard hold, letting go. She lariat's Yamazaki against the ropes twice, but a third attempt is countered with a backdrop and she takes a nasty bump to the outside. They scuffle up top and Yamazaki manages to suplex Kyoko's bulk down. She Hulks up and lariat's Yamazaki for 2. She charges again, but Yamazaki points up and she stops... allowing him to surprise her with multiple inside cradles for 2 counts. He ducks a lariat and drops Inoue with a German suplex hold for a near fall. He connects with a diving headbutt for 2. The camera switches to outside, where a UFO has appeared! The stupid angles may have some campiness before and after matches, but running them during the matches is absurd. It's one of the reasons I stopped watching Vince's circus and I don't want to see it here either. Yamazaki is distracted, allowing Kyoko to lariat him for the 3 count, just like that (7:54). More bush league stuff after the match, with Yamazaki rushing out to see the UFO. Have I told you how much I hate Fuyuki for taking the worst sort of sports-entertainment to Japan? I actually thought, after seeing Sasaki vs. Yamazaki rookie matches, that Yamazaki would turn out better, because he was more athletic, but Mammoth sped past him and Yamazaki turned out to be little more than a gimmick boy. Neither participant looked good here, although if it was a serious match, instead of one big angle, they might have done something better.
Hisakatsu Oya vs. Azusa Kudo & Emi Motokawa
This makes it three intergender matches in a row. This one is a handicap match, with man vs. woman and transvestite, so the gender variety is there, if nothing else. Oya is another guy who, like Fuji, is looking every bit his age nowadays. Oya and Kudo do a bunch of suggestive sex spots to start, continuing the trail of bad imports. Kudo actually does something good, hitting an apron dive somersault body attack quite cleanly. Back in, Emi backslide's Oya and Kudo takes advantage of that by going dOWnstairs to Oya literally. Motokawa connects with a missile dropkick, then a really nice catapult (via Kudo) Frankensteiner for 2. Kudo lands his slingshot shoulderblock, then a corner charge lariat. He sits Oya up top and brings him down with a Stunner for 2. Kudo starts kissing Oya's male friend, then Emi jumps off the apron and into his arms. Oya uses a ground Cobra Twist on Kudo for 2. Oya uses one of his big backdrop suplexes on Kudo for 2 3/4. A second follows, the referee deliberately counting slow so that Emi can return in time and save. Oya clamps on an Octopus hold and Kudo taps out (8:32). Oya could do nothing to save this, although pieced together a fine closing sequence. It was another match where the angle/gimmicks meant more than the wrestling itself.
Supreme & Homeless Jimmy (c) vs. Hideki Hosaka & Mammoth Sasaki for the WEW Hardcore Tag Team Title
It's really sad when the possible highlight of the undercard features two XPW wrestlers. One of XPW's haggard porn stars walks to the ring with the champions. The match starts with brawling. Hosaka catapult's himself off a chair with a nice tope suicida over the top rope and out on to the XPW representatives. They do the HAIR PULL DANCE around the place, before Jimmy sends Mammoth face-first into a garbage can wrapped in barbed wire. They fight outside of the building, slamming each other into cars. The PBP guy, who has no luck with his car (Gannosuke smashed it up the other month), has to watch his vehicle being used as a weapon and winces. These four do nothing of note though, some slow, sloppy gimmick shots and a lot of punching. Finally, something big happens, Sasaki nodowa'ing Jimmy off the car roof and through a table! A sick bump, which is about all that Jimmy specializes at. The porn star throws some of the weakest chairshots ever at Hosaka. Supreme does a FAT BOY FRANKENSTEINER off the top. Hosaka sets up a table and goes to powerbomb Jimmy through it, but the woman uses the old Debra technique of showing her wares, before dishing out another pitiful chairshot. A 3D through a table is botched, the table flipping over and Supreme landing on the wrong side of it. Sasaki drops Jimmy with a high-angle nodowa otoshi and gets the win (12:57). God awful match. Just when I thought Shinjuku Shark was the worst FMW undercarder ever, Supreme puts doubt in my mind. What a mess. Of the gimmick spots, only one looked good (Sasaki nodowa'ing Jimmy off the car).
GOEMON vs. Onryo
These are two of FMW's more unique characters, so it's fitting that they feud. Onryo is billed as being 0kg, because he's a ghost. His entrance looks awesome, smoke trailing him. GOEMON also has a very mysterious entrance, appearing from under a white cloak, which is held by two men clad in black. Onryo removes his cursed belt, which the loser of the match must possess. The belt eventually kills it's owner, which Onryo can attest to. It's interesting to see FMW dig into Japanese mythology, something creative and interesting, rather than the terrible Double Vince rip-offs. GOEMON tries to strap the ghost with the belt, but Onryo moves aside. They go straight to the action, Onryo ducking a lariat and unloading with punches, then a jumping and spinning elbow splash. GOEMON rolls out and Onryo DIES IF HE COULD DIE AGAIN with a springboard tope con hilo! He connects with a missile dropkick, then hits his double-arm powerbomb for 2 1/2. He seems to be trying a DDT next, but GOEMON lifts and plants him with an inverted atomic drop. Koji tries to choke Onryo to death... wait. He brings down a fistdrop, then hits a modified uranage for 2. He goes to the second turnbuckle and connects with another fistdrop for 2... Onryo catching the referee's hand! Onryo bounces back with a nice hurricanrana to GOEMON for 2. Waistlock go-arounds eventuate in Onryo using a rolling front cradle for two, GOEMON pulling back for his own 2 count to follow. Onryo dropkick's a leg and tries a la magistral, but GOEMON counters and traps him in a cradle for 2 1/2! GOEMON hits a high-angle double-arm facebuster (Pedigree) and gets the BELT OF CURSE. He tries another double-arm facebuster, this time on the belt, but Onryo throws out of it. He throws the belt at GOEMON's legs, tripping him, then hooks on the Onryo clutch for the 3 count (around 5:30)! GOEMON tosses the belt away, wanting none of it. Onryo and others drag him back and use the handcuffs attached to the belt to "bond" it to GOEMON. GOEMON starts to bleed from the mouth and falls to the mat. Onryo smiles coldly. GOEMON is dragged to the back, life quickly being drained from his body. This match was good while it lasted, but had no time to build at all. I was intrigued by the angle, which, while contrived (like any gimmicky sports-entertainment angle is), was unique.
It's intermission time, which means clips. Two matches from the 11/3 show at Korakuen Hall are highlighted. Both are lead-ins to upcoming matches on this show and feature Tetsuhiro Kuroda beating Mammoth Sasaki (**1/2) and Hayabusa, Masato Tanaka & Onryo beating Kodo Fuyuki, Kintaro Kanemura & GOEMON in a 2/3 Falls Match (**3/4), Hayabusa taking consecutive falls over Fuyuki. Back in Yokohama, a horde of young ladies stand in the ring. Why would I not be surprised if we started seeing "FMW Girls" dancing at each PPV?
Mr. Gannosuke vs. Tetsuhiro Kuroda
Gannosuke must retire if he loses. He went on a tirade about entertainment wrestling and how bad it was (all the Fuyuki brainstorms, such as Captain Jack and the Yokohama chefs, are shown), but although he was right, this was just an angle. Gannosuke beat up President Arai and got fired for it. However, I guess Arai decided to give him another chance, but Gannosuke's career is now on the line. Kuroda charges out of the blocks with a lariat to Gannosuke. He DDT's Gannosuke on the blue mats at ringside, then trots to the other side of the building. He sprints his way back to ringside, but... stops, because Gannosuke is back in the ring. The two have a chopfest, before Gannosuke drop toehold's Kuroda, provoking some matwork. Kuroda corner charges into a boot, then is backdropped to the outside. Gannosuke works over an arm, using the ring post as his ally. Kuroda fights back and strikes Gannosuke with a chair. Gannosuke bleeds, so Kuroda targets the wound with a kneedrop, before going after a leg with a figure-four. Gannosuke struggles through the pain, but this is Yokohama, so he gets no assistance from the fans, but finds the ropes anyway. Waistlock go-arounds eventuate in Gannosuke dumping Kuroda on his skull with a release German suplex. Kuroda brings out the goofiness, jumping to his feet, but Gannosuke sends him back down with a lariat. He applies a Scorpion Deathlock, so now it's Kuroda's turn to fight his way to the ropes. Kuroda resists a powerbomb lift and they have a quick exchange of near falls. Gannosuke mocks Kuroda's loud antics, shouting to the crowd and going up top. Kuroda catches him though, then drops him down on to the turnbuckle, sending Gannosuke out. Back in, Kuroda runs into an inverted atomic drop, but stays up and fires back with a short lariat for 2.
Kuroda uses rolling German suplexes on Gannosuke, bridging with the third for 2. He stomps the mat and fires up the arm, but Gannosuke ducks a lariat and attempts a wakigatame takedown. Kuroda resists, so Gannosuke beautifully transitions into the Gannosuke clutch for 2 1/2! He ducks a short lariat and throws his own for 2. Gannosuke plants Kuroda with a high-angle powerbomb for 2 1/2. Kuroda escapes the Fire Thunder, but Gannosuke blocks a short lariat with his hands. Kuroda tries a second, but Gannosuke catches the arm and hooks on a second Gannosuke clutch for 2 3/4 (and some crowd heat!)! Kuroda hits a move, where it starts as a fireman's carry lift, then he drops Gannosuke on his face. Kuroda backs off and connects with a running lariat for... 1! Gannosuke ducks a rolling lariat, absorbs a chest lariat, but falls to a second rolling lariat, Kuroda covering for... 1! Gannosuke struggles to the feet and is sent down by another lariat, Kuroda getting 2 this time. Kuroda debuts his Technan buster, which is an implant DDT, covering for the 3 count and retiring Mr. Gannosuke (12:44)! Haha, right, a retirement in FMW? Kuroda flexes over Gannosuke, acting like a total punk. This was good, but disappointing when considering what they're capable of. Like everything else on the show, it was short, although not as short as many of the undercard matches (which, in some cases, was a good thing, but not for this). They had a better match on 11/20/98, which was given 16 minutes and built better. I was disappointed by Kuroda's performance, as he was even goofier than usual, with too much messing around and some inconsistent selling. Also, he was in the lariat happy mood and didn't vary his moveset well enough. Gannosuke carried it and looked as good as ever, but it could have been better.
Kintaro Kanemura (c) vs. Masato Tanaka for the WEW Hardcore Title
Kanemura vs. Tanaka is probably my favorite rivalry in FMW history, relating to W*ING Alliance vs. Team FMW. The two "grew" together, becoming hardcore warriors and moving into prominent roles within the company, which they reached by hard work, determination and an uncanny ability to take some of the stiffest, most brutal bumps and gimmick shots possible. However, it's late 2000 now and things are a little different, in that FMW is different and so are they to an extent. The bumping has caught up with Kanemura and you can tell he's hurting in matches. Shockingly, Tanaka continues to look no worse for wear, in great shape. Kanemura is accompanied by his friend, Ryuji Yamakawa, who wears a black wig and dances with Kanemura. Kanemura carries a barbed wire baseball bat, promising some old style blood and guts. Tanaka (with a skinhead) carries a chair with him. Tanaka hits his tornado DDT early on, but is sent to the floor when Kanemura counters his rope dash elbow with a backdrop. Kanemura gives him no time to rest, following with a FAT BOY GARBAGE WRESTLER tope suicida! In other words, not a very nice one. They go into the crowd and Kanemura grabs a light bulb from the corridors. He smashes it over Tanaka's head (which has only just recovered from a serious cut) and digs the remnants into his forehead, cutting him open. Tanaka is put on a table and Kanemura heads to the balcony! He summons all of his W*ING SPIRIT! and drops a diving body press, putting Tanaka through wood! They then return to the ringside area, Tanaka backdropping Kanemura on the apron. A FREAKING BRUTAL spot sees, Tanaka SIT on the top ring rope and tornado DDT Kanemura off the apron and ON TO a table! Yes, Kanemura's head bounces off the table, which doesn't even flinch under the impact! Back in, Tanaka connects with his chair dash and covers for 2. He kicks Kanemura in the face repeatedly, but can only score a 1 count.
Tanaka applies a sleeper hold, but Kanemura instantly breaks out of it with a super-stiff backdrop suplex. Tanaka persists, crawling on his knees and re-applying a sleeper to the seated Kanemura. Satisfied that Kanemura is worn down enough, Masato grabs a table and leans it up in the corner. He scoops on Kanemura and powerbombs him INTO the table! Yes, yes... the table doesn't break. Poor Kanemura. Kanemura gets hold of a wooden board (remnants of the table) and smashes it over Tanaka's skull thrice, then dunks him with a German suplex, rolling around and hitting two more, the third a release variation. Kanemura squints through the bloody haze and turns, only to be speared down by Tanaka for 2. Tanaka connects with his rope dash elbow, but has a second caught and Kanemura plants him with a full nelson front legsweep. Kanemura sets chairs up everywhere, including on the top rope and propped up in the center of the ring. He powerbomb's Tanaka through those for a heatless near fall. Kanemura grabs the barbed wire bat and chokes Tanaka with it! Tanaka escapes the predicament, but Kanemura catches another elbow, hooks the arms, then gives Tanaka a reverse Tiger Driver, Yamakawa's move! Kanemura channels Mr. Pogo, setting the barbed wire bat on fire! He holds it up, swings, and Tanaka uses a chair as his shield, but eventually loses his grip and has his chest pounded by the bat! Kanemura re-ignites the bat, the chair catching fire at the same time. However, Tanaka knocks it out of his hand and hits Kanemura with his rolling elbow smash for 2 1/2! Tanaka tries the Diamond Dust, but Kanemura lifts him and drops him with a pretty sloppy Fire Thunder. For a third time, the bat is set on fire and placed on the chair. Kanemura powerbomb's Tanaka on to it and BY GOD, HE BURNS! Kanemura covers for 2 1/2! Kanemura SMOOTHLY and I mean SMOOOOTHLY counters Tanaka's rolling elbow, swinging him around and using a backslide for 2! Kanemura goes up top with the bat, but leaps into a Tanaka dropkick. Tanaka drags him to the corner and hits the Diamond Dust! He tears off the elbow pad and backs into a corner, ready to hit the Dangan elbow. He charges out and after ducking two elbows, Kanemura succumbs to Tanaka's lethal rolling elbow, staying down for 2 1/2!
Tanaka tries another rolling elbow, but Kanemura counters with a super-stiff lariat for 2 1/2! Kanemura shouts "Thunder Fire!" and plants Masato with a Thunder Fire powerbomb for... 1! He follows with a second for... 1! A third TFPB, this one from a higher angle, gets 2 1/2! He hits a fourth, very stiff, gets Kanemura the upset and rare win over Tanaka (17:46)! What a fitting climax. Jado and Gedo, wearing Team No Respect shirts, help Tanaka to the back. Kanemura, Yamakawa and Chocoball dance. Perhaps Tanaka and Kanemura knew that there wasn't much time left to return to their roots effectively, against each other. With Kanemura's body failing him and Tanaka's discontent with FMW and President Arai growing, circumstances would soon lead to the two being separated. However, if this is the last memory of W*ING Kanemura vs. Masato Tanaka, then it's a good one. The match had it's problems, such as some dead time in the crowd, but had more stellar garbage wrestling and effective gimmick spots. Both bled heavily and took some bumps like they used to back in the day, like Kanemura being smashed into unbreakable tables and Tanaka being powerbombed on a burning barbed wire bat. Besides the Fire Thunder, the moves were hit cleanly and nicely. They went from spot to spot, which was the same FMW style they used to do, although it's a matter of how effective the moves can be pieced together. They did a very good job with that, because after the match returned to the ringside area, everything clicked. This wasn't their greatest match, as 8/1/96 will always hold that honor. However, it was a very good and to me, an emotional match. It would be their last singles match in FMW, at least for a long time, and if they have another match, at this stage, it seems more likely to happen in Big Japan. These two were a key part of what made FMW great and special for so many years, giving their heart and soul, their entire body for the sport to entertain the fans. Kanemura's body won't respond to commands like it used to, but he keeps trying and trying, sometimes in vain, but sometimes with success, as was the case here.
Kodo Fuyuki (c) vs. Superstar Hayabusa for the WEW World Title
For ages now, these two have been the top face (Hayabusa) and heel (Fuyuki) of FMW. They've had a lot of matches, but going into this match Hayabusa had all the tag wins. Fuyuki gets pyro, the only guy on the show to do so. Hmm. They shake hands, as Fuyuki continues to show respect for Hayabusa. It starts fast, Hayabusa sending Fuyuki out with a Frankensteiner. He finds only thin air with a baseball slide dropkick, but ducks a lariat and connects with a sweet high kick, making precise contact. Back in, he maintains control, dropping a leg for 2. He lands a corner charge jumping knee, hopping over to the apron and re-entering the ring with a springboard, but finding nothing. Fuyuki gets the big breakthrough with a jumping armbreaker drop. Hayabusa's elbows are both shot badly and barely mobile, so Fuyuki targets one of them with a wakigatame. He works over the arm, tormenting Hayabusa with various holds. He applies a cross armbreaker, which is more of a regular submission than a killer in FMW (as it was in All Japan), so it's a "kick and waggle finger" sell, rather than a "thrash like a maniac and scream like you've seen a ghost" sell. Hayabusa bounces back with a kneelift, followed by a quebrada into a twisting senton, then a Lionsault, which finds only Fuyuki's knees. Fuyuki regains control and does a big move for such a fat man, the Cactus Jack "throw yourself over the top rope and take opponent with you" lunge. Fuyuki takes the most damage though, allowing Hayabusa to FLY with a beautiful quebrada! Hayabusa continues to clutch the arm though, allowing Fuyuki to return to offense. He DDT's Hayabusa, then applies a reverse cross armbreaker. After releasing that, he headbutt's Hayabusa down for 2 1/2. He plants Hayabusa with a Fisherman's buster for 2. They exchange waistlocks, Hayabusa fighting out of one and landing an overhead/backflip kick.
Fuyuki rolls out again and Hayabusa follows with a BEAUTIFUL sprinting tope con hilo over the corner post and out to Fuyuki! He throws Fuyuki back in and hits a slingshot legdrop for 2. Hayabusa uses his own Fisherman's buster for 2 1/2. He bodyslam's Fuyuki in position and goes up for the kill. However, Fuyuki catches him and brings him down HARD with an avalanche-style backdrop suplex for 2 1/2! Fuyuki revs up and dashes out of a corner with a weak lariat, before applying a Stretch Plum. He eventually breaks that and like Kawada often does, makes a logical cover for 2. Hayabusa fights out of a powerbomb and fires another high kick to Fuyuki's head, then hits the H Edge for a non-impactful (because of the miserable crowd) 2 1/2 count. Fuyuki takes a big bump, being dropped heavily with a Tiger suplex, Hayabusa not able to maintain the bridge, but covering for 2 1/2. He hits the Falcon Arrow for another close count. He decides to finish it and goes up for the kill. He drops his firebird splash, connecting perfectly for a 2 3/4 count! Hayabusa returns to top, but misses his Phoenix splash! Fuyuki capitalizes, clamping on a hurtful armbar submission and forcing Hayabusa into the ropes. Fuyuki throws a short-arm lariat, then powerbomb's Hayabusa, leaning over for 2 1/2. Hayabusa leaps off the second ropes and on to Fuyuki's shoulders, a hurricanrana in mind, but is powerbombed down. Hayabusa is sat up top, Fuyuki bringing him off and dropping him with a muscle buster for a good near fall. Fuyuki revs up and connects with another running lariat for 2 1/2. Hayabusa blocks another and they short lariat each other, before Hayabusa shotei's Fuyuki and uses a Michinoku Driver II for 2. Both stand slowly and slap each other. Dueling lariats follow, but Hayabusa makes the note of clutching his arm, the pain just not going away. Fuyuki takes advantage, bouncing off the ropes and throwing a big lariat for the 3 count (21:29)! Fuyuki shows respect to Hayabusa and shakes his hand again, then hugs him. Fuyuki leaves and after an interview with Hayabusa (who unmasks again), his friend, Tetsuhiro Kuroda, arrives. Betrayal is in the air though and he lays out Hayabusa with the Technan buster! Kuroda declares that he doesn't care about Hayabusa and will become the new ace of FMW! He actually gets some jeers from the crowd.
This would be Hayabusa's last appearance until the 5/5/01 Kawasaki Stadium (remnants) show. Like Tanaka and Kanemura, the other two guys I see as the remains of what FMW was (Kuroda is borderline, as he wasn't very prominent before 1999, while Oya and Fuji didn't have big enough roles to be part of the group I refer to), Hayabusa would always give his body for the sport. In this case, his elbows, which were smashed to pieces. It was said he couldn't move them, but continued wrestling until the big end of year show, before having surgery. I would normally complain about Fuyuki beating Hayabusa, because as long as Gannosuke is around, I don't see him as deserving the top heel spot, but it would have been pointless to have the departing Hayabusa win. He also put Kuroda, the new big heel (yet another alignment turn, but I suppose it made sense in ways, with Kuroda being selfish and seizing the chance), over, being dragged to the back after the betrayal. Hayabusa and Fuyuki have met before and both their 11/20/98 and 9/26/00 (Iron Man Match) bouts were career bests (***3/4) for Fuyuki. This wasn't close to those matches, although there was a good reason for that. Hayabusa couldn't work as well as usual, because of his elbows, and Fuyuki is not the one to raise a match to the next level, even when he's performing as best he can. It was still a very good match though. It was mainly a match about moves, like most FMW contests, but it had some psychology, with Fuyuki assaulting the arm. This actually factored into the finish, because Hayabusa's ailing elbow(s) distracted him and allowing Fuyuki to hit the lariat. Fuyuki showed a pretty big arsenal of moves for a fat heavyweight, while Hayabusa has an endless bag of tricks in that department. The moves kept this match together, but even with those, it started to drag at the end and they were just stretching, so that it would go over 20 minutes.
Boy, the undercard on this show was three hundred kinds of awful. TERRIBLE, I say. It was painful to watch, not interesting in the slightest. It turned into a good show after the awful match with XPW scrubs involved, but the sheer quantity of junk before that really damages the show as a whole. Looking past that stuff, the good part not only had the better wrestler, but maybe coincidentally, maybe not, had better booked angles than some of the bush league crap on the undercard. GOEMON vs. Onryo is goofy in theory, but I dug the uniqueness of it. Gannosuke vs. Kuroda was one mans fight to save FMW from the evil of show puroresu (sports-entertainment), although he failed and got retired (for now). Kanemura vs. Tanaka had no real storyline in the modern FMW sense that I picked up on, it was just a war between two old rivals, who turned the clock back a few years and left the current era for just under 18 minutes. And the main event concluded, for now, the ongoing saga between Hayabusa and Fuyuki, with Fuyuki hinting at a full babyface turn at the end, especially with Kuroda turning heel. Even though those were better booked than the undercard stuff, the constant turns, swerves and what have you seemed to jade many fans, which probably contributed to the bad attendance.
For more of Stuart's thoughts and opinions on puroresu, visit www.puroresufan.com