FMW SKY PerfecTV! PPV on 12/10/00
review by Stuart
FMW's first of two Tokyo Korakuen Hall shows in December drew 2,100 fans (a sell out attendance, but I see empty seats). The last PPV, on 11/28 saw Tetsuhiro Kuroda officially turn heel, joining Kodo Fuyuki and Kintaro Kanemura. BAHU also tells me that Naohiro Yamazaki was the guy making the cloaked phone calls to President Arai, and that Kuroda paid him off to do it. Furthermore, Yamazaki admitted the whole UFO deal was fake and that he never really saw UFOs, so he's now a heel with Kuroda, as is Azusa Kudo, who aligned with the cocky self-proclaimed ace on the last show, during the clustermess of run-ins at the end. The show starts with President Arai having a chat with his niece, Kaoruko. Shoichi gobbles down more pills and gives some to his niece. Well, I always knew there was a reason he let Fuyuki toy around with his company. Tetsuhiro Kuroda arrives and someone asks for his autograph. Kuroda grabs the pen and does give the young man an autograph... ON HIS FACE. Ricky Fuji walks to the ring and discusses the diabolical stripping of his clothes at the last Korakuen show, where Yamazaki and Kudo left him naked in the ring.
Hisakatsu Oya vs. Chocoball Mukai
They grapple on the mat, Oya (obviously) leading the way. It's not very interesting though, because Oya isn't what he once was and Chocoball is not the guy to have a technical clinic with. Chocoball does a dive in the form of an okay pescado. Back in, Mukai hits a jumping knee and raises his arm... JUMBO! He connects with a corner charge leg lariat, then spikes Oya with a DDT for 2. He goes up and connects with a low rolling senton/senton atomico (of sorts) for 2. Oya ducks a kneel kick and hits a jumping neckbreaker drop, following by a swinging neckbreaker. Chocoball fights out of Oya's deadly backdrop suplex and applies a sleeper hold. However, Oya counters out of that with a stiff backdrop suplex. Mukai catches Oya on the charge with a rolling savate kick, then takes him down with another sleeper hold. From there, Oya starts wrenching a leg (it looks like) while in the hold, causing Chocoball to abruptly tap out (8:50). A strange finish. The fundamental work was fine, due to Oya, but the match was boring and dry.
Backstage, Kuroda and Yamazaki have Yamazaki's old UFO friend (the guy he confessed about his fake gimmick) tied up and are throwing buckets of water at him.
Ricky Fuji & Flying Kid Ichihara vs. Shinjuku Shark & Naohiro Yamazaki
They do a lot of bush league wrestling early on, with not much good happening. Shark fights out of Ricky's Kamikaze and delivers a TICKLING BOXING PUNCH. Yamazaki gets about eight 2 counts on Ricky after simple moves. Ichihara connects with a second rope dropkick to Yamazaki for 2. He hooks on a la magistral for another 2 count. He misses a second rope moonsault press, but catches Yamazaki on the charge with a drop toehold. From there, he tries another la magistral, but Yamazaki lies back for a 2 count. Shark is tagged and kills whatever the match had with his pathetic punches. He then hits a Frankensteiner and shortly after, blows a moonsault press, landing knees-first on Yamazaki for 2. Ichihara ducks a boxing punch and Shark strikes down his partner. Fuji is tagged, but gets bombarded by punches, until he strikes back with a short lariat. After some double teaming, Ricky drops Shark with a Kamikaze for 2. He follows with his DDT (with arms crossed) for the win (6:08). Ricky takes Yamazaki out after the match too and looks peeved. This wasn't good. A lot of bad wrestling and clumsiness. Yamazaki actually looked better when he was a rookie than he does now (or at least than he did in this match), for some reason.
Kyoko Inoue vs. Takako Inoue
Takako attacks on the bell, taking her sister to the outside and throwing her into empty chairs. Back in, she DDT's Kyoko twice, then slaps on an STF. She keeps that applied for a while, until Kyoko grabs the ropes. Kyoko bounces back, DDT'ing Takako out of the corner, before slowing it down with a camel clutch and other idle submissions. Takako is caught up top, but manages to land on her feet out of a suplex attempt. Takako connects with a Uraken, then a savate kick. They fight with chairs at ringside for ages, then back in, Kyoko lariat's Takako. Takako hits a diving knee attack for a near fall. Kyoko ducks another diving attack and hits a release German suplex. She follows with the Niagara Driver for 2 3/4. Takako escapes a second and punches Kyoko down. Kyoko ducks a backfist and short lariat's Takako. She follows with a second Niagara Driver for the win (10:08). Boring and heatless. It's clear as crystal that you have two wrestlers way past their prime and just hanging on to the spotlight now. Still, they're sisters, so I thought they might be able to do something better. There was a lot of time-wasting in this and little action that was good.
Mammoth Sasaki & Hideki Hosaka vs. Tomokazu Morita, Yoshito Sasaki & Satoru Makita
This is a big chance for the rookies, as they get to face the WEW Hardcore Tag Team Champions in a handicap match. I question putting this in the top half of a PPV, but it's not like FMW has much else to offer, with it's thin roster and all. This is your usual rookie match, but longer than usual, so gets very boring after a while. It's mostly Hosaka and Mammoth destroying the rookies, with short comebacks from the youngsters. The match does get some heat though, an accomplishment, because of the traditional big star (although Mammoth isn't too far past the young boy stage himself) vs. young underdog storyline. Mammoth modifies the usual rookie discipline, clobbering Makita with chairshots to the back at ringside. This is all an angle, because when Mammoth brings a chair into the ring, Hosaka tries to stop him. So Mammoth pushes Hosaka away and gets slapped for his disrespect (because Hosaka has become somewhat of a mentor to him). Hosaka walks out on him and Mammoth gives Yoshito the Mammoth Home Run (chair around head of the victim, chairshot to that)! He covers with one foot for the win (13:58). The point of this was to tease Mammoth's heel turn, but there was like 13 minutes of basic as anything wrestling before that, which, despite having occasional flashes (mostly the unexpected rookie comebacks), was very dreary.
It's intermission time. We see clips from the 12/2 spot show at Zepp Osaka and the main event of Fuyuki, Kuroda & Kanemura vs. Tanaka, Jado & Gedo. Masato looks great even in the short highlights. This looks to be a good FMW-style sprint and Azusa Kudo (urgh) makes the difference, kissing Gedo and giving him a Stunner. Kuroda follows up with the Technan buster, winning the match (15:56). Because Kanemura's way of greeting new friends is kissing them, Kudo wants all of that. Kanemura isn't too keen though, refusing the approach.
GOEMON vs. Onryo
This is their third meeting in three PPVs. I actually find myself looking forward to these matches, which aren't great, but both guys play their characters well and it has a unique angle surrounding it. This may be GOEMON's last chance. Onryo has downed him twice, meaning he's had to keep the Belt of Curse. GOEMON is dying. Onryo is loving it, because he wants GOEMON to feel his pain, experience the same misery as he did. Furthermore, with GOEMON getting weaker in every match, it means Onryo has more chance of winning. GOEMON has one of the coolest entrances in wrestling, including some very nice music. GOEMON enters groggily, clad in all white today (as opposed to all black). There's a really nifty effect I never noticed before, which is that when someone punches Onryo, powder flies off him. GOEMON connects with a dropkick early on, but is unable to stand easily, hurting. They set a very slow pace, which I guess relates to the whole situation, Onryo methodically attacking GOEMON's body. He strikes GOEMON with the Belt of Curse and works over the back. The camera focuses on GOEMON's back and the white shirt is stained red with blood. Onryo hits two of his jumping and spinning elbow smashes, then two missile dropkicks for 2 1/2. The crowd is DEAD, although it actually suits the tone of the match for once. Onryo hits his double-arm powerbomb for a near fall. He dropkick's a knee from under GOEMON, then tries his Onryo clutch, but Koji skillfully counters it with a cradle for 2. Onryo tries a crucifix cradle, which beat GOEMON in their last meeting, but the dark thief turns it into a Samoan drop. He tries a double-arm facebuster, but Onryo resists. Because of the strain and effort, as he's trying to lift Onryo, GOEMON spits blood into the air and bleeds furiously from the mouth. He manages to hit the double-arm facebuster, but drops to the mat, not moving. The medic rushes in, prompting a referee stop and Onryo victory (13:10). The medic gives GOEMON a heart massage, but has little luck. He appears to be dead. He is rushed out on a stretcher, Onryo following. This was another interesting match, but wasn't as good as their others. It was just a slow-paced, drawn out squash for Onryo, as GOEMON was dying and his strikes had no force behind them.
Masato Tanaka, Jado, Gedo & Kaori Nakayama vs. Kodo Fuyuki, Tetsuhiro Kuroda, Kintaro Kanemura & Azusa Kudo
That's right, Kaori Nakayama and Azusa "Gosaku Goshogowara" Kudo are main eventing an FMW show. Fuyuki and Kanemura dance, while Kudo lays in front of them, stretching his/her legs. Kuroda gets his own entrance, entering second. Kudo tries to give him a kiss, but Kuroda wants none of it and warns him (I don't know! Him, her, it... whatever). The Complete Players enter in unison, Kaori chasing out the heels with her cane. Straight to a brawl, with everyone but Gedo and Mr. Hardcore scrapping at ringside. Gedo looks great on the move, quick armdrags and dropkicks, followed by a pescado to Kanemura. Fuyuki no-sells Kaori's slaps, until she ensures he has to sell, striking him dOWnstairs. She spikes Fuyuki with a tornado DDT, sending him out. She completely and I mean COMPLETELY botches a tope suicida, catching her feet in the ropes and taking a nose dive. Tanaka guides clumsy Kudo through a decent sequence, ending when he lariat's the transvestite down. Masato charges, but Kudo hits a slingshot shoulderblock, followed by a high kick, which sends Tanaka out. Kudo follows with an apron dive somersault body attack, leaving the only other pair yet to step into the spotlight, Jado and Kuroda, in the ring. Kuroda catches a lariat and Russian legsweep's Jado, before flexing. Jado catches Kuroda up top and uses Kuroda's own throttle drop on him, then suplexes him from the apron and back into the ring. Gedo and Fuyuki take over, Fuyuki countering a hurricanrana attempt with a powerbomb. They brawl outside, while in the ring, Kuroda goes for the cheap heat again, dropping Kaori with the Technan buster. Kuroda pours SOMETHING over Kaori, but I won't bother speculating, because I'd probably end up losing my lunch if I found out.
Like at the last Korakuen show, Gedo becomes Team Fuyuki's personal whipping boy, absorbing offense for a while. During the next stage of brawling, Kanemura summons his eternal W*ING SPIRIT!, putting Tanaka through a table outside with a diving body press from the top! Kuroda's lariat gets a good near fall on Gedo. Fuyuki revs and throws his own, before applying a Stretch Plum. Gedo counters a lift-up from Kanemura with a DDT, but before he can tag out, the other heels clear everyone off the apron. "Gangster" Kaori makes the difference, relentlessly clobbering the ruffians with her cane. Fuyuki takes a couple of stiff shots to the head and watching the Chubster fall down makes me laugh for some reason. Tanaka uses his Stunner/DDT combination on Fuyuki and Kanemura, then his rope dash elbow on Kuroda, followed by a super-stiff running lariat. The fans get fired up and cheer(!) Tanaka loudly. The Complete Players hit Kuroda with a quadruple corner attack, Jado's lariat the final charge. Kuroda is lifted and superbombed down by Jado, who leans over for 2 1/2! Kuroda reverse low blow's out of a waistlock, but gets taken down into Jado's crossface hold. Kuroda fights the pain long enough for Kanemura to save the day. Jado, Tanaka and Gedo (in that order) hit their awesome Tiger Driver/diving body press/Superfly splash sequence, Gedo getting 2 1/2 from the cover! Gedo lands on his feet out of a German suplex attempt, but Kuroda quickly lariat's him and tags Kanemura. The hardcore great enters with a top rope lunge, but Gedo is ready, dropkicking him. Gedo hits a swinging DDT and tags Kaori. She leaps off the top and hits Kanemura with a flying headscissors takeover. Kanemura tries to bounce back, but Kaori hits an Exploder! She follows with a missile dropkick for 2. Kanemura catches Nakayama doing a crossbody and backbreaker's her, then tags Fuyuki. He revs up in the corner and charges Kaori with a running lariat for 2 1/2.
Fuyuki release powerbomb's Kaori with ease and gives her to Kuroda, who uses his throttle drop. He follows with a pretty low impact lariat for 2, Tanaka making the lunging save. Kanemura brings down his FAT BOY diving senton on Kaori for 2 1/2! Kudo is tagged, the women being left alone by the men (sounds familiar). Kudo tries a nodowa and when Kaori seems to be countering it with a front cradle, gives her something like a wheelbarrow suplex for 2, pulling her up by the hair. He sits her up top and uses his avalanche-style Stunner for 2, Gedo making the save. Kudo gives Gedo a Stunner too, then high kick's Masato. He gives Masato a kiss, but when he runs the ropes, Kaori strikes with a cane shot. In a FLASH, Tanaka and Gedo hit their 3D, which is the best executed version of that move I've ever seen. Gedo thrust kick's Kudo and Kaori makes the quick cover, hooking a leg for 2. Kaori and Kudo do some exchanges, leading to Jado smacking Kudo with the cane. Kaori then brings Kudo off the top with Kudo's own finisher, a Stunner, for the win (19:56)! And of course, it doesn't end there, because this is entertainment wrestling, baby! Kuroda gets a fire extinguisher and hoses the Complete Players down. He then strikes a goofy pose, flexing (his shoulders look HUGE when he does this) and being your every day punk heel. Out of nowhere, he "accidentally" hoses Fuyuki and begs off. Dissension is teased, but nothing comes of it, the two shaking hands. Kuroda does the work of an ace, tapping hands with the crowd, which is a stinging shot at Hayabusa no doubt. Fuyuki drags Kudo out of the ring by his hair, wanting Kuroda left alone to celebrate with the people. This was a typically good FMW main event, which is the one and only part of the show that is almost guaranteed to deliver something positive. Surprisingly, Kudo was solid, hitting his spots well and doing nothing really wrong, and Kaori wasn't actively bad, so they didn't really handicap it too much. It was bland for a while, but turned into one hell of a sprint, with Gedo looking great. Tanaka, who was the star of the 11/28 main event, took a back seat, although was still very good. Kuroda was also good, because he wasn't too goofy and seems a natural as a heel. This is one of those matches where it's easy to hide weaknesses, because eight wrestlers are involved, with enough good to mask the bad. Also, this had some heat, which is a plus.
Until the main event, this was one of the most boring FMW shows ever. Mukai, Ichihara, Shark and Yamazaki are four very boring wrestlers, who are indy in every sense of the word and add nothing to the product. I'd add Kudo to that list, but he was in the main event today. Ricky and Oya are a step up, because they come across as less indy, especially Oya, who isn't, but is looking old and slow, so isn't able to produce the level of matches he used to. However, even those two are boring now. GOEMON and Onryo, at this point, are the only full undercard guys able to hold my interest for more than 2 minutes. Kyoko Inoue, who is responsible for adding an entertaining joshi undercard match, also wasn't getting the job done and really needed to bring some other talent (which she would start doing in the coming months). After that, everything is fine, because you have two world class workers in Tanaka and Gedo, some good workers like Kuroda, Kanemura and Jado, and a carryable guy, Fuyuki. There are products that don't have many good matches on the undercard, which I can enjoy. For instance, Onita Pro, which has an undercard that is as bad, if not worse, than FMW's most of the time. However, the product has *spirit* and *desire*, which makes such a difference for me. I'd rather watch super-green Karasu struggle his way through a match with energy, than super-bad Shinjuku Shark make a fool of himself in a lifeless match. Fuyuki has torn this spirit out of FMW and the only remnants are guys like Hayabusa (injured here), Gannosuke ("retired" here), Tanaka, Jado, Gedo, Kuroda and Ricky Fuji (but he isn't as good as the others). In other words, upper card to main event wrestlers except Ricky, which leaves the undercard barren of life.
For more of Stuart's thoughts and opinions on puroresu, visit www.puroresufan.com