FMW SKY PerfecTV! PPV on 3/5/01
review by Stuart
Team Kuroda are shown stripping a woman, clad in a Sasuke mask, down to her bare essential clothing. Into Tokyo Korakuen Hall we go, 2,050 fans watching... GOOD LORD. The lights are switched on and the place is D-E-A-D! Maybe 800. I've only seen Korakuen Hall so empty for small indies (like Mobius). Times are indeed tough for FMW.
Flying Kid Ichihara vs. Chocoball Mukai
Chocoball attacks, but is on the end of an early la magistral, getting Flying Kid a 2 count. They do a lot of aimless matwork, which doesn't go anywhere. Things go really bad with a bizarre screw-up. Mukai goes for an elbow drop, but Ichihara moves. Well, Ichihara moves before Mukai has even began to drop down, so *after* he's rolled away (and is almost on his feet), Mukai elbow drop's the mat. Mukai lands a second rope moonsault press for 2. He goes to the very top and we get another indy blooper. This time he's going for a senton atomico, but takes off AFTER ICHIHARA HAS ROLLED ASIDE. Ichihara drop toehold's Mukai, then hooks on a la magistral... sort of. They even mess this up, but it ends up with Flying Kid getting the 3 count (7:27). This two had a fine, solid *1/2 match on 2/6, but this was quite the opposite. I don't know what went wrong, but they wrestled sub-rookie here, screwing up much more than Morita, Makita and Yoshito Sasaki do. The timing was totally off, all over the place.
FMW's best PBP guy, who has been absent from recent PPVs (with the annoying J Taro doing commentary), gets picked on by Team Kuroda backstage. Before the next match starts, he joins J Taro in the commentary position.
The Great Shark, SASUKE.com & The Great Ken vs. Tomokazu Morita, Satoru Makita & Yoshihito Sasaki
More of that dastardly Team Kuroda punks are up to their tricks. This time, they're all playing Sasukes, each wearing a Sasuke mask. The Great Shark is Shinjuku Shark (even Kaoruko Arai, who recently got back together with Shark, has a Sasuke mask on), SASUKE.com is BattlARTS' junji.com (Mach Junji), while The Great Ken is BattlARTS' Alvin Ken. This is another simple rookie-style match, with mostly basic action. The rookies get quite a bit of offense though, probably more than usual. Makita debuts (I think) a pescado, a new move for him. Junji (SASUKE.com) is the only member of the "established" team that looks any good in this, his partners not really any better than the rookies. The finish sees .com hit Makita with an avalanche-style Samoan drop for the 3 count (9:00). Sasuke (the real one) scraps with the imposters, beating them all up.
Ricky Fuji vs. Prodigy
Prodigy is Tom Marquez, member of the much acclaimed ECW House of Hardcore, which has produced such greats as Danny Doring and Chris Chetti. Wait, did I just said that? He enters to "Separate Ways" by Journey, which is CRIMINAL, because Yamakawa OWNS that song. They do a lot of nothing, until Marquez hits a badly side-shot moonsault press for 2. He then hits a dodgy swinging neckbreaker for the same result. Ricky gets in some offense, which is a relief. He spikes Prodigy with a brainbuster for 2. His Kamikaze gets the same result. Prodigy turns over a diving crossbody for a 2 count. Prodigy escapes Ricky's DDT finisher and plants him with a Tiger suplex hold for the win (3:54). It's really sad that someone as loyal to FMW as Ricky is losing to this nobody in under 4 minutes. This was bad, with Prodigy looking awful. Ricky couldn't really do anything to save it.
Kyoko Inoue & Emi Motokawa vs. Momoe Nakanishi & Nanae Takahashi
The angle with Kyoko and Emi is that Emi is playing the disciple of sorts, struggling for wins as Kyoko's partner, but doing her best. New joshi wrestlers are being brought in each month to face them. Two of AJW's shining stars are Kyoko and Emi's opponent for this PPV. Momoe is one of the most highly rated young wrestlers in the world, Zenjo's biggest prospect. The Zenjo duo get a TON of streamers. Momoe and Emi start the match very fast, running the ropes a lot and reversing things. Nanae and Kyoko go at it next, Takahashi actually shoulder charging big Kyoko down. Team Zenjo fly all over the place to keep Kyoko grounded, numerous missile dropkicks thrown. Kyoko and Emi use stereo surfboard holds, which look cool. Emi breaks hers on Nanae and face crusher's Momoe out of Kyoko's surfboard hold. Kyoko lifts Momoe into an Argentine backbreaker, before throwing her down with force and squashing her against the ropes with a lariat. Kyoko double lariat's the opposition, Momoe doing a flip to sell it. Momoe stalls Kyoko from doing a back springboard, but rather than go straight over to her, Nanae takes out Emi instead (which makes no sense, as Emi is doing nothing on the apron), before pushing Kyoko over the top and out. Nanae takes out both Kyoko and Emi with a sideways tope suicida, Momoe doing likewise with a nice plancha. Back in, Momoe hits Kyoko with a catapult (via Nanae) dropkick, then Nanae drops a second rope reverse splash for 2. She goes for a diving back body attack (like a reverse diving senton), but Kyoko gets both knees up. She then avoids a diving body press, but gets caught up top and suplexed down by Takahashi, who covers for 2. Kyoko resists a German suplex from Momoe, but the moment Nanae takes over the waistlock, Kyoko goes down. Momoe follows with a jackknife hold for 2. She charges at Kyoko, but gets mauled by a lariat. Momoe is sent to the corner, but hops up the turnbuckles and off with a moonsault press to Kyoko for 2. She seems to be going for a Shawn Capture or something (jumping bodyscissors around the midsection), but Kyoko turns it into a BRUTAL wheelbarrow suplex, dropping Momoe nastily!
Momoe turns over a diving crossbody from Emi, getting a close count. She hits a backdrop suplex for 2, Nanae having to save. Momoe blocks a German suplex and counters it into a front cradle for 2. Emi catches her up top and brings her down with a Frankensteiner, after which they exchange pinning predicaments for several 2 counts. Kyoko takes out both Momoe and Nanae with lariats, then Emi hooks a la magistral on Momoe for 2 1/2! Momoe escapes a Tiger suplex, but gets backdropped out of the ring on the charge, Emi following with a plancha of her own, which takes out both opponents. Momoe and Emi do some more cool stuff, including Momoe swinging Emi around from a backslide setup, so that the charging Kyoko accidentally lariat's her partner. Nanae holds back Kyoko and Momoe drops Emi with a German suplex hold for 2 1/2 (and some heat!)! Momoe does a really cool hop over an attempted dropkick to the knee by Emi, but gets taken down with a quick front legsweep, before Emi hooks on another la magistral for 2 1/2! Momoe charges and hits a hurricanrana, cradling for the win (13:07)! Very enjoyable, spirited match. It was a sprint from start to finish, but turned into a jog whenever Kyoko was in there. She was a distant fourth, looking not very good again, her days as a top worker clearly gone. Nanae also wasn't that good, but maybe I'm being unfair, comparing her to her partner. Momoe was awesome, the easy standout. Vibrant, energetic, always moving, always doing something, always making sure the match was interesting when she was involved. Her vs. Emi was excellent and very entertaining to watch. I'd kill to see those two work a singles match, because they were being brought down by their partners here, yet it was still a high quality match and actually got the crowd responding a bit.
Kintaro Kanemura & Ryuji Yamakawa (c) vs. Mammoth Sasaki & Azusa Kudo for the WEW Hardcore Tag Team Title
Kanemura and Yamakawa have been two of the MVPs on recent shows, but this is a big challenge for them to have a good match. Mammoth is a fine, improving wrestler, but still has some steps to take before he gets good. Kudo is and probably forever will be a never-was, so is the possible big handicap here. Tomomi Tanimoto sings the heels out, I guess because Oya isn't booked. Straight to a brawl they go, Yamakawa hitting a pretty slow tope con hilo within seconds. Kanemura loses what's left of his mind, diving out with a FAT BOY quebrada! They brawl around Korakuen Hall, Kudo being cut open. The first gimmick spot sees Kudo stand on the second ring rope and DDT Kanemura off the apron, through a table! Seconds later, in the crowd, Mammoth nodowa's Yamakawa off a ledge and through a table! They return to the ring for a while, Yamakawa being tied to the tree of woe and having a chair smashed in his face by a Mammoth chairshot (so that's one chair hitting another chair). A bloody Kudo kisses a bloody Yamakawa into a pinning position, getting a 2 count. EVERYONE is bleeding now. The Team Kuroda punks double nodowa Yamakawa on to a stack of chairs for 2. Kanemura actually hits a corkscrew elbow smash, obviously not as explosive as Onryo's, but still nicely done. Yamakawa spikes Kudo with a Michinoku Driver II for 2. Mammoth puts a chair on Kanemura's head for the Mammoth Home Run, but Yamakawa stops him from completing it, tussling for the chair with him. While they do this, Kanemura puts the other chair on Kudo's head, so Yamakawa releases his grip and Mammoth clobbers the transvestite. Kanemura uses rolling German suplexes on Kudo, the third with a bridge for 2, Mammoth saving. Mammoth nodowa's Yamakawa, as Kudo uses his somersault neckbreaker from the top on Kanemura, a double pin getting 2 1/2. Yamakawa's face is a mess now. A table is put on the top rope, both Kanemura and Mammoth STANDING on it. A disaster waiting to happen, but the spot works, Sasaki hitting a huge avalanche-style nodowa for 2, Yamakawa saving.
Messiness ensues, before Mammoth chairshot's Kanemura. Kudo charges, but Kanemura drop toehold's him into Mammoth, who topples out. Kanemura ducks a Kudo chairshot and quickly backslide's him, getting the flash 3 count for the successful title defense (14:59). The Death Match kings get the fans standing and dancing post-match. As expected, this didn't touch the Kanemura & Yamakawa vs. GOEMON & Onryo hardcore tag from the last PPV (2/23). Comparing the two teams is easy enough, GOEMON and Onryo are both better than Mammoth and Kudo (I guess Mammoth vs. GOEMON could be argued, but Nakagawa is still the much smarter and more experienced wrestler), so the champions didn't have the same quality of opposition. They didn't try to make a good match out of this anyway, content to just do the chairshots, table spots and bladejobs. That's not to say it was a bad match, as the spots were nicely done, none messed up. However, in between the spots there was next to nothing, just some half-hearted wrestling and a lot of messiness. The spots were not pieced together well like the match with GOEMON and Onryo, which was short and to the point, whereas this actually got over 3 minutes more, which is strange. This would pass for a good hardcore match in ECW, but FMW's hardcore style, much better worked and constructed, has always blown that away.
Intermission time. We get the usual $hilling from the FMW girls, then some talk by the commentators, but nothing else.
Kodo Fuyuki, GOEMON & Onryo vs. Katsumi Usuda, Ryuji Hijikata & Takeshi Ono
Team BattlARTS are X's, not exactly the most stunning mystery opponents, but it could always be Sanshiro Takagi, Shinigami & Poison Sawada (now, I don't want to give Fuyuki any ideas...). BattlARTS had an interpromotional feud with FMW in 1999, leading to a horrible crowd for FMW's big May show. The FMW vs. BattlARTS bout on that show was AWESOME, but BattlARTS itself is the lowest drawing level one indy in the country. Ono is the standout early on, doing some nice moves, including a diving kneedrop to (standing) GOEMON's neck. Usuda kicks the hell out of Fuyuki, who waddles around, then gets into a headbutt exchange with his opposite team leader. Hijikata enters and connects with a rope dash elbow, followed by a running lariat, which sends Fuyuki down for 2. Onryo connects with a corkscrew elbow smash to Ono, but the Tonpachi Machine Gun smoothly counters an Irish whip by hooking on a chickenwing facelock, before stretching the 0kg ghost around the ropes. A facebuster gets 2 1/2. Team Fuyuki take control of Usuda, the Goofster hitting him with a chair. Back in, Onryo standing dropkick's Usuda, then slides through his legs to the outside, trips him, drags him out, and throws him into empty seats. Of course, this is Onryo, so it doesn't end there, as he DIES IF HE COULD DIE with a springboard tope con hilo! Onryo springboard's into a kick, then takes a nasty kick to the head, toppling down. Usuda uses a waterwheel drop, then applies a cross armbreaker. Onryo sells this in a less than stellar fashion, at least within the BattlARTS/technical context, just kicking his way to the ropes, rather than thrashing his way there. Then again, does a ghost have bones? Ono traps Onryo in an Octopus hold, both Fuyuki and GOEMON breaking it up.
Hijikata lariat's Onryo and follows with a Fisherman's buster for 2 1/2... Onryo catching the referee's arm! Hijikata makes the mistake of arguing with the referee, allowing Onryo to bounce back with a Frankensteiner. Onryo tags Fuyuki, but he dashes right into a sweet enzuigiri. Hijikata follows with a second, but Fuyuki screeches, stays up, and lariat's him down. Fuyuki-gun triple team Hijikata, giving him a superbomb, from which Fuyuki gets a 2 count. He revs up and connects with a running lariat for the 3 count (11:27). A very anti-climatic finish, which just kind of happened, with no fight back from the other BattlARTS guys. This was a decent match, but there wasn't much of interest. It was like something you'd see on an undercard, rather than leading in to the big main event. It had no reason or story and just happened for 11 1/2 minutes, then ended all of a sudden. Onryo and Ono both looked good, while everyone else was just there. I don't think GOEMON was in the ring at all, except during triple teaming, saves, etc.
Tetsuhiro Kuroda vs. The Great Sasuke in a Naked Man Death Match
One of Fuyuki's most crazy brainstorms was this, with the two just having to strip each other to their underwear (doesn't Kuroda wrestle in underwear anyway?). The two are fully clothed, Sasuke wearing Michinoku Pro dojo boy pants and a jacket, while Kuroda just wears training pants and a singlet. Sasuke boasts that he's smart for wearing all this clothing, so gets jumped by the entire Team Kuroda. They tear some of his clothes off, until he just has a t-shirt and pants on. They fight into the crowd, Kuroda getting Alvin Ken's chain, wrapping it around Sasuke's neck, then using it to launch The Insane One into some empty chairs (and good golly, there are plenty of them). Kuroda goes to work on a leg, smashing it around the ring post, then slapping on a figure-four back in the ring. Kuroda takes it back into the crowd and DDT's Sasuke on the hard floor. The punk goes to the other side of the building and sprints... into a Frankensteiner! Sasuke makes a cover, so I guess falls count anywhere. He climbs a ladder and Kuroda pulls his pants down, then... spanks him! They spend forever in the crowd, walking around a lot. Back in (finally), Sasuke connects with a missile dropkick for 2. He tries to pull Kuroda's pants down, but settles on hitting a double-arm suplex, getting a short count. Sasuke misses a senton atomico, Kuroda rolling aside, then lariating him for 2. Sasuke corner charges, but Kuroda drop toehold's him into the turnbuckle. Team Kuroda interference backfires and Sasuke kneel kick's Kuroda out. He goes for a quebrada, but Shark punches a leg (the dolt actually misses this though), causing him to slip. Kuroda tears Sasuke's shirt and vest off, leaving him in just his white underwear. In the ring again, Kuroda connects with a corner charge lariat, then throttles Sasuke across the ropes. He tries another charge, but Sasuke is ready this time, dropkicking him.
Kuroda rolls out and Sasuke follows with a NAKED MASKED LEGEND TOPE CON HILO OF INSANITY! He has truly lost his mind. Explain the concept to your friends of a grown man, wearing a black mask and nothing but underwear, flipping on to another half-naked man, then tearing the other man's pants off. Because that's exactly what happens and Kuroda has red Christmas boxers on. Sasuke tries a diving sunset flip, Kuroda resisting, but his boxer shorts fall down in the process, revealing... revealing... revealing... his black wrestling tights! Sasuke nudges Kuroda, then connects with a quebrada press for 2 1/2. Kuroda escapes Sasuke's Thunder Fire powerbomb and short lariat's Sasuke. Sasuke nicely counters a running lariat with a backdrop suplex, but Kuroda goofily gets up and lariat's Sasuke back down. Sasuke follows suit, hitting a super-stiff backdrop suplex. Kuroda gets up again and they lariat each other, both going and staying down this time. Sasuke hits a cradle tombstone piledriver (TTD), then heads up top once more. Kuroda runs into the ropes, causing Sasuke to take a nasty fall. Kuroda hits a running lariat for a near fall. Kuroda goes for the last piece of underwear, but Sasuke just manages to keep it up. He covers up, allowing Kuroda to throw another lariat. Kuroda follows with the Technan buster and covers, getting the big win (21:08). Fuyuki and his mob clear out Team Kuroda, stopping them from stripping Sasuke totally naked. Sasuke goes to shake hands with Fuyuki, but eats a lariat. I guess that means Fuyuki is heel again... or something. It's all very blurred, especially with no clear faces (Complete Players gone) anymore, except directionless undercarders like Oya and Ricky. Fuyuki declares that he's the commissioner again and J Taro (wearing a Fuyuki Macho Body Wrestling shirt) cheers him on, becoming his assistant lackey figure. Team Kuroda get some revenge, splashing Fuyuki and Taro with a bucket of water each. This was a good match, but could have been far better if it wasn't so angle-dominated. The problem was, whenever they started wrestling well, they quickly reverted to tearing each others clothes off, so it was never lasting. However, there was enough wrestling in between all the silliness to make it a good match, just not what it could have been. Kuroda was very, very goofy again, but has enough natural talent to be decent even when he doesn't wrestle seriously. Sasuke carried the match, but the stipulation did nothing for me.
Well, I could be totally critical and say this was an average show, but taking into account that FMW was possibly the most talent-starved it had been since the days when Onita ran on a $1,000 budget and used about six workers per card, it wasn't a bad show and certainly not disappointing (as I had low expectations). Started very slow, with two horrible undercard matches and one that wasn't quite horrible, but was very boring. It picked up with the joshi match, which turned out to be the best of the show, and was consistently solid from there until the finish. The main event was disappointing, even though good, and I think Kuroda is a major underachiever. He's always had a lot of potential and when he wrestles serious, no frills, he can be awesome, but many of his matches are brought down by his goofiness. Although this show had one of FMW's lowest crowds at Korakuen Hall for a long time, it actually had more heat than some recent PPVs in the same building, which didn't make a lot of sense to me, but was a good thing of course.
For more of Stuart's thoughts and opinions on puroresu, visit www.puroresufan.com