FMW DirecTV PPV on 11/23/99
review by Stuart
This was FMW's second 10th anniversary show of 1999. The first was on 5/5/99 and drew a poor crowd, most likely because it was built around FMW vs. BattlARTS. Bat-Bat is a really great league, but one with a tiny following compared to FMW. This show drew an impressive 12,000 fans, which is a good number these days, with puroresu undergoing a dark age et. al. The show starts with a graphical look at the match pairings.
Koji Nakagawa, Jado & Gedo (c) vs. Ricky Fuji, Flying Kid Ichihara & Chocoball Mukai in a Ladder Match for the WEW 6 Man Tag Team Title
This feud is as deep into sports-entertainment you're likely to get in FMW. You have three members of Team No Respect (Gedo, Jado & Nakagawa), a major drawing faction for FMW, against two wrestlers and a legitimate porn star who has a dream to wrestle. Unfortunately, at this stage he's really bad although continues to improve slowly, over time. He does toss protection (cough) to the fans during his entrance though, which is a visual spectacle. With the two groups are a couple of valets. Kaoruko Arai (pretend niece of President Shoichi Arai) with TNR and Sena Wakana (another porn star) with the challengers. All in all, it's pretty goofy. Chocoball's persona (which is... him) is similar to Val Venis' old one obviously, although he isn't half the wrestler that Val is. They start the match by brawling around ringside with duos taking turns to exchange offense in the ring, while the others fight outside. Flying Kid hits a quebrada to the outside on Nakagawa, then the ladder is brought into play. Jado throws it at Fuji, then gets into a tug of war with Chocoball over it. Jado ends up winning and rams Chocoball into the corner, then makes Ricky hurt some more by throwing it at him. Koji and Jado use the prop to lariat Ricky, then they set it up in the corner. A double effort by Jado and Koji sends Flying Kid into the hard steel. What would the match be without the compulsory low blow to the porn star? This time he gets the ladder in the lower regions which... must... hurt. They mess around with the ladder some more, with everyone being hurt by it in some way or another. Nakagawa and Flying Kid climb up each side of it, but Gedo staggers back into it and the two fly off and hit the top rope, similar to how Michaels and Hall did at Wrestlemania 10.
Chocoball climbs the ladder, but Jado catches him up there and powerbomb's him to the mat. Sena Wakana and Kaoruko Arai get on the apron and start stripping down to their underwear, which distracts everyone. They go at it in a CATFIGHT! (where's Joey Styles when you need him?) and all chaos breaks loose between the six combatants. Ricky and Gedo fight at the top of the ladder with the belts in reaching distance and Gedo teases the big fall a few times, before he takes the tumble. It's all too easy for Fuji, who grabs the straps and wins the titles for his team (14:54). This was a good way to start the show, because it was a hot, action-packed match with no resting. It wasn't up to the standard of many U.S. ladder matches, despite being fought in the same Americanized way. The reason was that the majority of wrestlers are average or below and looked unsure with the ladder, so there was a lot of sloppiness. Gedo is really good when motivated, but no one else is really that good. The bumping was kind of toned down compared to other ladder matches, aside from some nasty spills from the ladder, because none of the wrestlers are big bump boys. It was no Michaels vs. Hall, but was a nice start to the big show. Put Hayabusa vs. Tanaka in a Ladder Match or a similar pairing and it'd probably exceed the Hall vs. Michaels standard, which would be incredible. Maybe some day.
The lights dim and the FMW anthem hits, bringing out the President Shoichi Arai with a sling on one arm (courtesy of guess who). Arai is a figure that is easy to feel sorry for when getting a heel beatdown, because he looks vulnerable and non-athletic. Arai gives a speech before WEW World Champion, Kodo Fuyuki, makes his way out and hilariously imitates Arai's promo. They squabble for a few minutes, until we cut backstage where SHAWN MICHAELS has a set of headphones on. He appears bothered by the two guys "that argue like chicks" and demands they both quit it, lest he be forced to go out there and make an example of them. The president and TNR leader silently agree and leave the ring. This looked like an interesting segment, but not knowing Japanese lessens the effect.
Kaori Nakayama & Emi Motokawa vs. Miss Mongol, Jazz & Malia Hosaka
This one is a handicap match. Mongol went and got herself Jazz (ECW) and Malia Hosaka (WWF). Hosaka was one of the girls used during Ivory's angle when she'd call out women from the crowd and show them how "real" wrestling was. Hosaka was never really used much though, despite being a talented wrestler by American female standards. The heels cut promos before the match, with Malia saying that she has Japanese blood in her, but she is American born and made and will give them an American ass-kicking! What a diss! Jazz keeps her's short and sweet thankfully, saying she'll show them how hardcore she can be. The bell rings and they break out into an immediate sprint, with the disadvantaged babyfaces going for the early lead. The trio of heels quickly use the handicap to their advantage though and gain control. Jazz and Kaori pull off double handsprings at the same time, with Kaori missing a back elbow, then being sent down with a Samoan drop by Jazz. Rulebreaking tactics come into play as Kaori is the face in trouble. After the usual beatdown, Emi is tagged in and hits THREE consecutive missile dropkicks to Miss Mongol for a 2 count. Emi plants Mongol on her head with a backdrop suplex, then counters an attempted double team by Jazz and Malia by taking them both down at the same time. Nakayama returns and tries a tornado DDT, only to have it countered by Hosaka at the last minute with a spinebuster. Kaori moonsault's Malia, then dives outside on to the others with a plancha. Back in the ring, Emi and Kaori come off the top rope at the same time, hitting a body press and legdrop respectively, but only getting a 2 count. Nakayama decides that's all and hits her Diamond Best (avalanche-style Ace Crusher) move on Jazz for the win (10:00). This match was very sloppy at times, but had some nice spots. Unfortunately, it was just another reminder of how downhill the FMW women's division has gone and nowadays the majority of matches are passable or decent, but unspectacular and often plain uninteresting. Only Emi really stood out as a good wrestler, with Kaori showing flashes of the potential that will never be reached. A passable match.
Hido vs. Willie Williams
The whole aim of this match is to get Hido's martial artist gimmick over. He beat another martial artist, Tarec Pasca, at the October PPV to earn this shot at Willie Williams, a big name in Japan a decade or so ago. By this time though, he is old and unconvincing in the ring, even in a worked environment. Williams gets the dramatic Excalibur theme music and cuts a promo saying that he feels Hido is a great fighter. They start with punches and kicks and... don't do much else. Willie does connect with some kneelifts to Hido, which sends him down momentarily. Willie takes Hido down to the mat with a headlock and they struggle around ,before Hido slaps on a wakigatame. Williams reaches the rope before any major damage can be done and the bell rings. End of round one. Round two... FIGHT! The match picks up a little in the next round, with Hido ducking a kick and hitting a Stunner on Williams, which rocks the big man. Willie comes back though and sends Hido down with some high kicks to the head. Hido struggles up at 9 but Williams simply kicks him down with another high kick. Hido doesn't answer and it's over (5:43). They praise each other after the match. After watching other worked shoot matches since last reviewing this match, this is even worse than before and didn't look even slightly legitimate. Williams is a fossil who was a jerk when it came to jobbing, which probably explains why Hido didn't go over here. Really unentertaining and poor stuff.
Dory Funk Jr. & Terry Funk vs. Yoshinori Sasaki & Naohiro Yamazaki
Terry and Dory do an interview backstage, with Dory throwing out a few words of Japanese. It's really weird to see the humble veteran Terry Funk after he was FMW's top heel in the mid-1990's with a homicidal hatred for Onita and FMW in general. When the familiar music hits, the fans go crazy, giving the Funk's the loudest crowd response so far. In a very touching moment Terry grabs the microphone and devotes the match to the memory of the late Bruiser Brody, one of the greatest brawlers ever, who was murdered by some idiot in Puerto Rico. He holds Brody's boots up and Dory says a few words, explaining that they love Bruiser. It is translated into Japanese and the fans roar their approval. After the handshakes the match begins... and it's horrible. Really dull action comprises the 15 minutes of wrestling. It's basically a veterans school rookies match with Dory looking and wrestling like an old man. The Funks whip Yamazaki into the ropes and he grabs them to avoid bouncing off. The Funk's just give him a stare, which is really funny. Terry shakes his hand and Dory follows but tricks the youngster and takes him down, putting on the famous spinning toehold. This gets broken up by Sasaki and we return to the dreary action. The fans are respectful and interested, because it's the Funks, but from my point of view it's sleep-inducing. Sasaki tries a nodowa on Dory, but as if. Dory lands a ton of stiff European uppercuts throughout the match, while Terry keeps it barely interesting with his usual cursing and craziness. Eventually BOTH Funks put the spinning toehold finisher on the youngsters and force them to tap out (15:13). Nothing to add that hasn't already been said, but I think Dory should stick to the dojo. I would really mark for one last Terry Funk Death Match in Japan though. A match versus the young king of the genre Honma would be a spectacle, since Honma could do all the bumping and Funk could add his usual impact to the match.
Kintaro Kanemura (c) vs. Balls Mahoney for the WEW Hardcore Title
After a hot opener, the next three matches kind of drag the show down, so who else but Kanemura to raise the roof? Clips of him working out on top of a high building are shown. The camera slowly moves away from him and reveals that he is wearing NOTHING except for a cup over the obvious area. His dubbed version of "Come Out and Play" hits and he makes his way out with three comedy guys in suits and top hats. They do the crucifix dance on the ramp, which is funnier to see than read because you have three pensioners dancing with a crazed-yet-comedic hardcore king. They get in the ring and do the Team No Respect dance. After the glitz, Balls Mahoney comes out to a dreadful version of his song with some deep voice doing the singing. Clips of his ECW work are shown against the much worse Dudley Boys, etc. A chairfight breaks out and ends when Kanemura comes off the second turnbuckle and is caught by a HURTFUL chairshot to the skull. Some tape collectors chant "ECW" after seeing that. Balls hits a spinebuster, then a guillotine legdrop for 2 1/2. He follows with a kneel kick and both go over the top to the outside. They fight to the top of the ramp, with Kanemura thrown into some electrical equipment that releases sparks. Balls hits a DDT on the ramp for 2, then we go into the much Americanized hardcore style (thankfully without the comedy) as they go into the back and the camera follows.
Balls swings and misses with a hammer and smashes a TV instead of Kanemura's face. Kanemura lunges at Balls, but is hiptossed on to a car, that just happens to be in the immediate backstage area. Balls gets the hammer, swings, and shatters the front window but doesn't smash it. Seems to be very strong. Kanemura hits Balls in the gut with the hammer and throws him in the front seat. He then shoves his hand through the shattered window (which could get REALLY nasty for his hand) which cleverly makes the glass hit Mahoney. Balls fights his way out and smashes the door window but Kanemura grabs and DDT's Balls on the car. Balls comes back and Kanemura, because it wouldn't be right if he didn't, takes his first big bump of the match when he is powerbombed on the roof of the vehicle. Balls tries to powerbomb him off the car through two tables, but is backdropped on to them... and of course they don't break BECAUSE THIS IS FMW! They fight back to the arena and commence the closing sequence. Kanemura sends Balls into a daze with a sleeper hold and chains him to a table. Balls must be terrified when he sees HOW FREAKIN' HIGH KANEMURA IS CLIMBING! Because Kanemura climbs the immense entrance gate and comes off with a diving senton, putting Balls through the table! W*ING SPIRIT! Kanemura pins the corpse beneath him and retains the belt (12:34). More prancing and dancing takes place after the match, as well as some comedy stuff. This match showed how good Kanemura can still be and was a walk in the park for him, because it was hardcore-lite compared to the old school FMW garbage stuff (exploding barbed wire, etc.). It was a fun match, but I would have preferred more of the action to have happened in the ring instead of backstage. Mahoney is one of the "best" garbage workers in the U.S., which says a lot for the standard of this genre in the States. Said standard also explains why the BJW World Extreme Cup and BJW vs. CZW feuds have been so bad. Of course, the involvement of Balls meant this wasn't of the same quality as past classics involving the king they call KANEMURA.
Tetsuhiro Kuroda & Hisakatsu Oya (c) vs. Raven & Tommy Dreamer for the WEW Tag Team Title
Some strange clips of the champions goofing with a kid in the busy streets are shown. I can't figure out what they are supposed to be doing. Kuroda comes out first on his motorbike, flanked by a bunch of bikers. The GREAT-GREAT-GREAT Tomomi Tanimoto sings Oya out to the ring. With each new FMW review, a new way of praising Tomomi becomes tougher. She has a great voice though. Dreamer and Francine are next and Dreamer is totally stone-faced today. The guy everyone wants to see though, is Raven and he makes his way out to a nice reaction. Sadly, the broken back of Tommy and the hanging gut of Raven combine to make this match far below the standard it would have been in say, 1996. "ECW. This is hardcore!" exclaims one of the announcers. They brawl into the crowd early on and it's hard to see, since no lights are shining that way (which is surprising given FMW's excellent production values). Kuroda hits Raven with a steel chair and tries a small package on the ramp, but Raven reverses and you know what this means! They roll down the ramp over and over in the small package position. Kuroda retrieves a ladder and sends it into the stomach of Raven, while in the ring Oya controls Dreamer with kicks. Dreamer comes back and Russian legsweep's Oya into the ladder, before Raven sends the same victim packing into the steel. Kuroda's head is next to meet ladder, but the bumps lack impact, because there has already been one match revolving around the prop on the show.
Raven hits the Evenflow DDT on Kuroda, but Oya makes the save. Francine whacks Oya with a chair, which doesn't have much impact, and he grabs her and goes to hit a piledriver. Tommy saves his valet and takes Oya down. He walks across the second rope Naniwa style and screams "ECW", coming off with an elbow, but missing. Tommy maintains control though by putting Oya in the tree of woe and placing a table before his face, then dropkicking it. Dreamer tries his Death Valley bomb, but Kuroda escapes and lands a stiff lariat, pinning for the win (11:13). After the match, Francine invites Tomomi into the ring for a fight. As if! Tomomi just rubs salt in the wounds by smiling and singing. Francine isn't happy. This match was so disappointing based on how good it might have been a few years ago when Raven and Dreamer were still healthy. It was just one big brawl, which is beneath what the FMW guys are capable of. Raven has declined a hell of a lot and hasn't taken any measures to improve his workrate, despite getting in shape for his WWF run. Dreamer is about as useful as a cripple in the ring, which he nearly is anyway. This wasn't even that decent, but the champions and the novelty made it watchable.
Kodo Fuyuki (c) vs. Masato Tanaka in a Loser Leaves FMW 13,000 Volt Thunderbolt Cage Death Match for the WEW World Title
The build to this match is shown. Fuyuki talks a lot to start off and a big FMW vs. TNR brawl takes place. Clips of Tanaka vs. Mr. Gannosuke with Fuyuki as the referee are shown. This looks like one hell of a match. Fuyuki gets knocked out and a regular official arrives, counting Gannosuke's shoulders down after he is hit with Diamond Dust. Fuyuki and President Arai go against Tanaka and Ricky Fuji. Arai was brainwashed by TNR and gave Fuyuki lots of power to book matches. Tanaka escapes some handcuffs and helps Fuji destroy Arai, Fuji pinning the president with his knees. The next clip is of Arai gagged and tied up on the mat with TNR relieving themselves on him, as they huddle around the fallen president. This is really sick and one has to wonder what the PTC would say if DX did this to Vince McMahon in the WWF. We go backstage to a shot of the shower door, with Arai weeping behind it as he cleans himself. Next up is a handicap match with Kanemura, Jado and Fuyuki against Tanaka. Overwhelming odds. However President Arai arrives, sprays something in Fuyuki's eyes and trips Kanemura. Tanaka hits a rolling elbow and wins the match! Arai cuts a promo where he apologizes for his actions and turns face again. Fuyuki cuts a typically powerful promo, full of growling and shouting. Finally the stipulation is added and sketches of the incredible cage are shown. And we go back to the arena where both guys make their entrances.
The lights dim and bolts of electricity as shown flowing through the cage. Tanaka looks nervous and this comes into play when they square off, cautious to lock up and not make any mistakes. They do the shoulderblock routine with neither guy going down, but Fuyuki flexing and growling. The third time they go for this, Tanaka tackles Fuyuki to the mat and unleashes his hatred for the TNR leader with punches to the face. They then tease a cage spot when Tanaka barely manages to escape contact with the gimmicked steel. They slap each other around and Fuyuki is thrown through the ropes with Tanaka trying to push him into the cage. Tanaka quickly goes up and drops the leg on Fuyuki, who loses his grip and staggers back. BAM! Well, the explosion is small, which is actually pretty good because it helps the larger ones later on seem more important. They hit each other with lariats, neither going down. Tanaka charges Fuyuki but is backdropped into the cage. BAM! That's more like it. Tanaka is fried. Fuyuki hits a big lariat and gets a 2 3/4 count. Fuyuki drills Tanaka into the mat with a Fisherman's buster, then powerbomb's him for another close count. Fuyuki charges, but is hit with a lariat by Tanaka, who then climbs the ropes and connects with a missile dropkick for a 2 count of his own. He comes off the top again with a frog splash, but Fuyuki gets his knees up. Fuyuki kicks Tanaka HARD in the face and locks on the Stretch Plum to try and force the tap out. He breaks and covers for another near fall. Tanaka fights back and hits a legdrop to the back of Fuyuki's neck from the top rope. Another powerful lariat gets 2 and the Diamond Dust gets a closer count. Tanaka misses a lariat and is on the wrong end of a neck-crunching release German suplex. He hops back up in the half-selling, ECWized way and hits an elbow smash to the face. He goes up top but is caught by Fuyuki and brought down with a HUGE brainbuster from a high position, which gets another 2 3/4 or so. Fuyuki drags the match quality down by taking his sweet time pulling down one side of ring ropes, leaving nothing to block the cage.
Fuyuki chokes Tanaka with the ropes, before deciding to go for the killer blow. He whips Tanaka towards the cage, but the challenger reverses it and sends Fuyuki towards the oven. Fuyuki puts the brakes on with an inch to spare! Tanaka says "Not this time!" and whacks Fuyuki with an elbow, the champion crashing into the cage and being exploded. A powerbomb by Tanaka gets a near fall. Fuyuki shows his immense FIGHTING SPIRIT! by trying his running lariat, only for Tanaka to duck and hit the rolling elbow! Cover... NO! Fuyuki kicks out at the last split second. Both struggle for position and fall back into the cage at the same time causing a huge WHAM BAM explosions with cool sparks and sounds. Both collapse and Fuyuki drapes an arm over Tanaka for another near win. They barely beat the 10 count when getting up, selling the impact heavily. Fuyuki charges and they just ram into each other. Tanaka elbow's Fuyuki in the head and Fuyuki collapses. The exhausted Tanaka follows suit, but lands on top of Fuyuki and the referee counts to 3 (16:14). This was really damn good. The intensity and drama were full scale, with a lot of heated near falls highlighting the match. Fuyuki slowed it down by taking the ropes down, although it had to be done. Fuyuki is a good worker when he wants to be (he still mails it in a lot and throws 12 billion lariats for no reason) and can be carried to good matches. They put one hell of an effort into this match, which continued to prove why Tanaka is one of the best heavyweights in the world, who can work in just about any environment.
With the match over, Tanaka kicks Fuyuki out of the ring. As stipulated, Fuyuki must leave FMW! The former champion is stretchered up the ramp and just shoved into a garbage truck, much to the delight of President Arai who is giddy with excitement. Tanaka gets in the drivers seat, shows off his new belt to the press and drives off. Fuyuki is gone! Sure! Mr. Liar 2000 would soon return and start the poor ECW Japan angle. which failed in every way to emulate the superb gang wars of yesteryear.
H vs. Hayabusa
To clear things up, Hayabusa is NOT the famous Hayabusa. He is an imposter Hayabusa who is obviously Mr. Gannosuke. In the second half of 1999, Eiji Ezaki (the real Hayabusa) was forced to unmask by Commissioner Kodo Fuyuki and President Shoichi Arai and became H, a cocky heartthrob to the ladies. A highlight package is shown recapping the events that led up to this feud. Unlike Dreamer vs. Raven (which was a great feud itself), this saga has proof of them being childhood friends turned enemies. Pictures of Eiji Ezaki (H) and Masashi Honda (Mr. Gannosuke) in school are shown. Their FMW debut is highlighted with both guys in regular rookie tights and not the fancy personas they have today. After a stint in IWA Japan, Mr. Gannosuke returns to FMW and immediately targets Hayabusa. On 4/29/97 at the Megumi Kudo Retirement Show, Hayabusa beats Gannosuke in their first meeting since way back then and offers the hand of friendship. Gannosuke seems to accept, but attacks Hayabusa and beats the hell out of him, then tears off the mask. The interview is shown where Fuyuki and Arai tell a distraught Hayabusa that he must unmask. Hayabusa beats Gannosuke in another match and is then attacked by Fuyuki, who also tears off the mask. Shots of the new gimmick are shown and now it's just H. He wears cut-off jeans (which are REALLY short) and dyes his hair various colors. He settles for a ghost white hair dye though. Fake Hayabusa appears with TNR and it's obviously Gannosuke and they don't try to hide it. A shot is shown of Fake Hayabusa blowing fire at H, then the end of their infamous Anus Explosion Death Match that was certainly controversial. H vomits after being exploded by dynamite. Back to the arena. Hayabusa comes out with the REAL Hayabusa's elaborate entrance music. H comes out and is lifted up behind the curtain, sent over the entrance gate and lowered down on a cable. Pretty neat stuff and not so high that a fall would have caused something too nasty. Once in the ring, the lights go off and "Sexy Boy" hits, announcing the arrival of Shawn Michaels, the special referee for this match. He wears his usual referee attire and looks ready to go. The fans welcome him with a big pop and some "HBK" chants.
Hayabusa decks Michaels as he checks for foreign objects and tension between the two is evident immediately. H attacks with a dropkick like few can execute, with awesome height and execution. Hayabusa goes out and H follows with a tope con hilo, then they fight outside with Hayabusa taking control. Hayabusa lands a missile dropkick, then two consecutive lariats. Hayabusa slows it down briefly with a headscissors hold, but then performs the Falcon Arrow on H. Salt into wounds, but only a 2 count. Hayabusa throws some stiff kicks into the back of H and pushes Michaels again. Michaels threatens to hurt him. H gets tied to the tree of woe and Hayabusa hits him with a chair. Michaels tries to stop it but Hayabusa whacks him with the chair as well. The foot taps, the fans are alive... Sweet Chin Music! Crotch chop! Michaels tries to tear Hayabusa's mask off... but H stops him? H realizes the value of the mask and asks Michaels to back off. Michaels agrees but as soon as H moves away, charges Hayabusa again, only to be held back. Hayabusa looks annoyed and takes off his mask... IT'S GANNOSUKE! Well, I'll be damned. He throws the mask at Michaels, who's more than a little confused. H walks up to Gannosuke and slapfest breaks out, with H unleashing his anger. H hits a picture perfect Frankensteiner and Gannosuke goes out. H follows with another glamorous quebrada, getting some amazing height and landing on his feet. Back in the ring, he tries a Lionsault, but Gannosuke moves and they go out to the apron again. Gannosuke hits a disgustingly great reverse Fire Thunder off the apron, sending H's unprotected head crunching into the ground. H plays dead because he probably is.
They fight back into the ring and exchange moves with H pulling out a great sequence, comprised of a brainbuster, Tiger Driver, then a Falcon Arrow, but can only get 2 1/2! Gannosuke quickly pulls out two consecutive Gannosuke clutches, but H kicks out. H fires back and pulls off two of his big spots, the firebird splash and H Edge for a very close count each time. H, perhaps too confident, runs straight into a lariat and Gannosuke then whips out a Tiger suplex, Fire Thunder and a very stiff powerbomb. Gannosuke goes up top, but H catches him with a kick and brings him down with a Frankensteiner. H throws a shotei, then hits the H Thunder for a 2 count. He goes up top and hits the Phoenix splash, crushing Gannosuke's face in the process and getting the win (18:21), ending an emotional match. Michaels praises FMW on the mic and calls it the number one wrestling promotion, yadda yadda. He just needed a place for his students to get experience. The was really good, but not up to their past standards and certainly not up to the level they reached at FMW's first PPV back in April, 1998. It was more comparable to their match on 4/29/97, when Gannosuke was only half as good as now. I think it all comes down to the newer age matches being more gimmicky. H's offense was so great throughout the match though and Gannosuke is also a world class wrestler, but it could have been better and I'm a somewhat disappointed.
H offers his hand to Gannosuke, who backs into a corner. Shawn Michaels' last duty before leaving is requesting Gannosuke "be a man" and shake the hand. Gannosuke grabs H's hand and for a second viewers think he'll betray again, but no. They shake hands and Gannosuke grabs the stick. He mutters some words and H then does likewise. H breaks down into tears and the two hug, finally friends again. They do a pro-FMW speech before the end of the show and all seems well, with Team No Respect's leader (Fuyuki) gone and TNR's original leader (Gannosuke) turning face. Little did they know...
This card was so/so, but the good outweighed the bad, or at least will be remembered more than the bad (which is essentially the same thing). From the Kanemura vs. Balls match onward, everything was decent (the ECW vs FMW tag was borderline) or better. A major problem was the Yokohama crowd. They were really awful, not even giving the top stars much response and only giving some guys reaction upon entrance. The FMW crowd is inconsistent to say the least nowadays, but the location (Yokohama) is near-impossible to please anyway. If you're a fan of sports-entertainment and good wrestling, this is worth checking out. This is a good way for puroresu newbies to get into the Japanese style without immediately dashing away from the dominant angle-driven style of the WWF and WCW.
For more of Stuart's thoughts and opinions on puroresu, visit www.puroresufan.com