FMW SKY PerfecTV! PPV on 6/8/01
review by Stuart
After the strong 5/22 show in Sapporo, and some smaller shows, it was back to Tokyo Korakuen Hall for June's PPV. This broadcast also marks the end of "Brainbuster", which was the name of FMW's PPVs since the debut in April, 1998. Can't say I'm too unhappy about that, because the Brainbuster intro always had me covering my ears. The new name is "That's Entertainment WRESTLING SHOW". The introduction is BIZARRE, with the wrestlers being shown in locations and introduced like it's some soap opera. The weirder thing is, they're in different roles. Like President Arai is a gas station attendant and unmasked Hayabusa looks like a mob member, with a crucifix around his neck. All I can say after watching this is "WTF!?", Fuyuki is one egg short of a dozen. I have to admit, it made me laugh though. There are also some changes with the set up, with the annoying J-Taro finally gone as a commentator, along with all the cheerleader-esque ring announcers. The show starts with Arai giving a speech, but as per tradition, "Shoot It" hits and here's Fuyuki. Arai has the whole, "Oh, NOT AGAIN!" look on his face, which I can't help but grin at. Fuyuki wanders out in a suit, walking with a crutch (leg injury), trailed by business types. The notable face is Stuart (no, not me) Levy, the CEO of TOKYOPOP, the guys who bought rights to FMW in the U.S. and made sure no tape sites could sell it. TOKYOPOP invades FMW! I kid you not. Anyway, so the deal is that Fuyuki now wants to BUY FMW, using these guys and FMW VP, Senmu Yoshida, as his backer. You'd think after a million failed plots to take over the company, Fuyuki would give up. But being FMW's own Stefano DiMera, he'll just never quit. Levy, who has that whole "sleazy boss you want to punch in the face" thing going, gives a translated interview in English, even though he's supposedly fluent in Japanese. He says his party has received permission from the FMW shareholders to go ahead and purchase the company. On a more interesting note, did you know Levy translated Sailor Moon, Magic Knight Rayearth, Ice Blade and other Japanese creations into English? Arai is peeved, but Fuyuki just laughs at him and jokes.
VP Yoshida, supposedly a well trained kickboxer, makes his way out. Another snob in a suit. He pushes Arai down. Arai calls out Hayabusa, who rushes to support him. Kanemura, Gannosuke (wearing a TNR shirt), Mammoth, Kuroda and just about everyone else follow. The heel suits flash a briefcase of money, prompting Kanemura to shout in delight. Basically, they're showing the green to lure wrestlers to their side. Gannosuke is first, bowing and shaking hands with Fuyuki. Kanemura follows, hugging Gannosuke (didn't they hate each other on the last show?). Almost the entire roster follows, even the rookies. Hayabusa just stands and stares. Money won't turn him against FMW, nothing will. Ricky and Oya, two of the old guard, stay on his side. Arai gives a tearful interview, but Fuyuki isn't impressed. Kudo, Yamazaki and Emi (Motokawa) go to Hayabusa's side. GOEMON approaches, but Onryo pushes him. Onryo steps back, so the ghosts are split. Kuroda joins Team FMW, ending his run as a heel. The face team departs, not succumbing to greed like the others. Fuyuki, Gannosuke, Kanemura, Mammoth, Onryo, Chocoball, Ichihara and Shark remain, along with the suits. Fuyuki turns to his guys, the reunited Heel Gods (Gannosuke & Kanemura) jumping up and down in glee. This is another Fuyuki power struggle angle. Arai owns 48% of FMW, Fuyuki owns 47% (through the shareholders) and Hayabusa owns 5%, so it's time to fight over all that. Onryo grins and slaps hands with Fuyuki. Fuyuki suddenly decides he doesn't like Onryo though, so I guess Onryo went from face to heel to face in the span of a few minutes. Entertainment wrestling, daddio!
Kodo Fuyuki vs. Onryo
Fuyuki attacks with his crutch, assaulting Onryo with it. Fuyuki backs off, raises his arms, then decks Onryo with a running lariat. He tries a powerbomb, but Onryo counters with a Frankensteiner. Fuyuki no-sells and lariat's Onryo again for the 3 count (0:57). GOEMON drags Onryo out, so they're united again. Everything you could possibly not like about Fuyuki's booking was in this minute and the segment before that. From my 4/15 PPV review of Fuyuki (the Goofster) vs. Tobita: "Tobita has fallen to the monster's evil. His aura and intrigue has been decimated! Who will the Goofster target next! Onryo... ONRYO! It's looking your way!". It took but two months for this species to devour Onryo.
The new ring announcer runs through the revised PPV lineup. The card now represents Team FMW vs. Team TOKYOPOP. Only five matches for this show.
Hisakatsu Oya, Ricky Fuji & Azusa Kudo vs. Chocoball Mukai, Flying Kid Ichihara, Shinjuku Shark, Yoshito Sasaki & Tomokazu Morita
Since the FMW side is outnumbered, the loyalists are in a handicapped situation here. Ichihara is co-holder of the WEW 6 Man Tag Team Title with Oya and Ricky, so the future of that is unclear. As part of the cost-cutting measures, which caused a lot of the changes (they got rid of a lot of added bulk, apparently due to financial problems), Oya is using regular music again and not Tomomi Tanimoto's personal songs, as she and FMW parted ways it seems. As you'd expect, most of the match revolves around the faces being outmatched, but that doesn't stop Oya from beating up the rookies when he can. Whenever Oya, Ricky and Kudo seem to get the upper hand, they are mobbed by the heels. Eventually, they get some control, Ricky giving both Yoshito and Morita his Kamikaze. Ricky uses his cross-arm DDT, but Ichihara hits him right after with a missile dropkick. Shark lands a boxing punch, before Chocoball drops Fuji with a German suplex hold for the 3 count (8:23). Shark keeps attacking Ricky with some of his awful punches, as the others are held back.
Backstage, Hayabusa and Kuroda talk, working together for the spirit of FMW old.
Kyoko Inoue & Emi Motokawa vs. Azumi Hyuga & Kaori Yoneyama
Kyoko & Emi vs. The World continues, as today they face JWP representatives. Emi and Yoneyama start, going straight into a high gear and moving fast. Kaori uses ground rolling cradles, eventuating in a still cradle for 2 1/2. Hyuga is tagged and hits a cool double-arm lift into a backbreaker. Emi drop toehold's her, tramples on her back, then tags Kyoko. She sells(!) a jumping knee attack from Hyuga, then falls to a quick missile dropkick. She brushes off a second, so Hyuga dropkick's a knee instead, then works over it with a figure-four leglock. Kyoko makes an uninspired "struggle", not even going for the ropes, meaning Hyuga has to break it up herself. More leg work follows, but Kyoko soon gets bored of selling and tags Emi. Things pick up again, Motokawa throwing a flurry of dropkicks at Yoneyama. They have a slapfest, Emi winning that exchange. Yoneyama does a sloppy wheelbarrow suplex of sorts, before Emi comes back with a dodgy moonsault press to the standing Yoneyama. Kyoko returns and manages to block a double Irish whip, then lariat's both opponents. Yoneyama hits a Stunner, then tags Hyuga, who returns with a missile dropkick. She tries a German suplex, but as if. Kyoko powerbomb's Hyuga down and Emi follows with a missile dropkick. Hyuga does her own no-selling, but takes a backdrop bump to the floor. Emi dives out with a tope suicida, then takes out Yoneyama with a plancha. Kyoko holds both JWP girls, Emi knocking both down with a moonsault from the top and to the outside! Always a spectacular move. Back in, she folds Hyuga up with a backdrop suplex, but gets caught up top and brought off with an avalanche-style Northern Lights suplex by Hyuga, which gets 2. Kyoko unintentionally lariat's Emi, allowing Hyuga to hit a running knee attack. Emi catches Hyuga on the turnbuckles and German suplexes her off. She then hits a nice firebird splash for 2 1/2. She sits Hyuga up top, but gets pushed down. However, she avoids Hyuga's Destiny Hammer and hooks on a la magistral for a good near fall. Yoneyama takes Emi by surprise with a missile dropkick, Yoneyama following with a stiff missile dropkick for 2 1/2. Finally, a Michinoku Driver II gets Hyuga the win (14:41). The match was never boring, but only really got good near the end. Kyoko was bad and is so selfish nowadays. Emi was good though, the best of the four.
Backstage, a girl who looks about 12 interviews Stuart Levy. He says he wants to build FMW into a better promotion than the American groups. Well, it is already better than most of them. Levy calls Fuyuki "a little bit extreme", but trusts him to handle the matter. After some more blabber, Levy leaves.
GOEMON vs. Mammoth Sasaki
Mammoth attacks on the bell, putting GOEMON in a tree of woe position and stomping him. He throws the referee down a few times, not taking kindly to any interference. They work some arm psychology into the match, when Mammoth's bandaged right arm/elbow falters as he tries a suplex. GOEMON goes after that, spending a while doing some textbook attacks and submissions. He charges straight into a Rydeen bomb, but when he tries a nodowa, GOEMON clutches the arm and slaps on a wakigatame. This puts Mammoth in trouble, but he finds the ropes. GOEMON tries his modified Exploder, Mammoth throwing kneelifts to cease the threat. However, GOEMON catches one and kicks Mammoth dOWnstairs. He drops a nice senton atomico and Mammoth rolls out to recover. GOEMON runs the arm into the ring post, but when he charges, he himself hits the post. Mammoth gives GOEMON the Mammoth Home Run against the post, which looks nasty. Back in, he does another Mammoth Home Run, then puts GOEMON's head in an upright chair, smashing that one too. GOEMON flops down and Mammoth covers for the win (8:01). Technically sound, but somewhat ordinary match. The arm psychology was nice, but I had a hard time believing Mammoth could tap, because submission finishes (especially regular ones like the wakigatame) are so rare in FMW. Mammoth fought back and took it home from there, looking very aggressive on the attack.
Hayabusa & Tetsuhiro Kuroda vs. Mr. Gannosuke & Kintaro Kanemura
Even though I don't understand why Gannosuke and Kanemura were chummy again before TOKYOPOP showed them the yen, it's always great to see the Heel Gods, They Who Can Incite Riots, teaming up. They dance and look quite the kings doing so. Right after Hayabusa is introduced, guess who walks out? Yep, it wouldn't be an FMW main event without Fuyuki involved somehow. Hayabusa goes for him, but Gannosuke acts as a shield, allowing the Goofster to step out unharmed and head to the commentary booth. Hayabusa and Kanemura start quick, Kanemura leapfrogging like he's a luchador, before being armdragged. He rolls out and Hayabusa contemplates a dive, only for that dastardly Honda to level noble Ezaki from behind. Hayabusa nicely counters an armdrag with his own, then throws a dropkick, sending Gannosuke out. Hayabusa FLIIIES with a beautiful tope con hilo! President Arai shows up, kneeling at ringside. In the ring, Kuroda works over Kanemura's left leg, doing stuff like smashing it around the ring post. He tries a figure-four, but Kanemura pushes him off and into a Gannosuke elbow. This changes things, both faces being thrown into chairs on the outside. Arai takes a huge non-wrestler bump, also being thrown into empty chairs! The sacrifices a man will make for his company. Back in, Kuroda finds himself as whipping boy, a role he hadn't taken much as top heel. Gannosuke hits a lariat, then slaps on a Scorpion Deathlock. Power Hall Gannosuke! He puts Kuroda on the ropes and Mr. Hardcore hits a sick body attack for 2. Gannosuke gets 2 from a Russian legsweep. Gannosuke hiptosses Kanemura, so that he somersault senton's on to Kuroda. Hayabusa tries to involve himself, but takes the Heel Gods' union elbow drop, which has a few "set up" moves (and I don't mean wrestling) that I needn't mention. Kuroda lariat's Gannosuke, then drop toehold's Kanemura down there. Down WHERE? Down... you know where. Hayabusa is finally tagged and enters with a diving crossbody to Gannosuke. He throws a rolling savate kick, then hits a turning diving body attack of sorts from the middle turnbuckle.
A Frankensteiner sends Gannosuke out, Hayabusa following swiftly with a baseball slide dropkick. The falcon flies with a quebrada, landing on his feet after hitting Gannosuke. He throws Gannosuke in and follows with a slingshot legdrop for 2. A Fisherman's buster gets 2 1/2. He hits a Lionsault into a senton, but a regular Lionsault finds only Gannosuke's elevated knees. Kanemura returns, only to miss a corner charge right away. Hayabusa decks him with a high kick and tags Kuroda, who enters with, what else, lariats to both opponents. He drop toehold's Kanemura into the middle turnbuckle, then does his throttle drop. He goes for the Technan buster, but Kanemura blatantly punches him low and hits a (release) Northern Lights suplex, before tagging Gannosuke. The two use their union Fire Thunder (I've never understood this, because it's more like a 3D than a Fire Thunder), which gets 2. Gannosuke drops Kuroda with a powerbomb for 2 1/2. Kanemura connects with his diving senton, but again Kuroda kicks out. Hayabusa shotei's Kanemura and is tagged. He manages to give Kanemura the H Edge, getting 2 1/2 from the count. He goes up and hits a perfect firebird splash for 2 1/2! Kanemura ducks a Kuroda lariat, but takes an enzuigiri. Kuroda follows up with his Technan buster for 2, Gannosuke pulling him off Kanemura. Kanemura catches a lariat and backslide's Kuroda for 2 1/2. Hayabusa enters, but Kanemura ducks a high kick and plants him with a release German suplex. Here comes Gannosuke, but he runs right into a twisting high kick. Hayabusa hits a Falcon Arrow for 2. He tries a springboard hurricanrana, but Gannosuke counters with a sit-out powerbomb for 2 1/2. His Fire Thunder gets 2 1/2, Kuroda lunging to save! Hayabusa escapes a second Fire Thunder and lands a high kick, but has a running shotei caught and is taken down into the Gannosuke clutch, which gets the 3 count for Gannosuke (18:32)! A good main event, the same sort of FMW tag sprint we've seen a million times. It could have been better and was kind of dull for a while. Hayabusa and Gannosuke carried things, with Kanemura pretty good, but Kuroda not really stepping up today and just doing his usual goofy act and a lot of lariats. He was alright though, just behind the others. Gannosuke pinned Hayabusa, I guess to remind everyone he can actually beat his superior (in the sense that Hayabusa has far more wins over Gannosuke than vice versa) childhood friend.
Fuyuki steps in and does his usual "I'm in control" speech, yadda yadda. He taunts Arai, who has to kiss his shoe for some reason. That man has humiliated himself over and over for FMW, with the lowlight being when he acted as TNR's bathroom a few years ago. Mammoth grabs some skinny guy, who may be a fan or someone related to a wrestler. Arai is forced to slap the fan and does so lightly. Fuyuki isn't satisfied and Arai has to strike him harder. Hayabusa is the next target of Team ECW Japan Fuyuki-gun Respect #241 and gets taunted. Arai has to PUNCH Hayabusa repeatedly. Hayabusa nods understandingly at the president and endures Arai's weak punches. Fuyuki proclaims world domination and Arai breaks down into tears in Hayabusa's arms. These emotion-driven angles lost much of their impact around the three thousandth time they were done to try and put Fuyuki over as a diabolical heel.
Well, it was back to the usual PPV standard after the rocking Sapporo show, with not much to write home about from this broadcast. The undercard had Fuyuki ego-stroking, the usual match involving the lower card wrestlers, some decent joshi, then a good main event. It had angle advancement, but the stories Fuyuki books have no impact on me and I only really watch for the wrestlers like Hayabusa, Gannosuke and Kanemura, who still have good matches, regardless of what angle or role they're put in this week. The production refinements I liked though, because there was less backstage stuff, no 20 minutes of cheerleaders $hilling merchandise, and despite Fuyuki's stuff, a little (and I emphasize that word) more of a serious feel to FMW.
For more of Stuart's thoughts and opinions on puroresu, visit www.puroresufan.com