FMW SKY PerfecTV! PPV on 1/16/01
review by Stuart
Back at Tokyo Korakuen Hall again (also, empty seats again, the loss of Hayabusa and Gannosuke clearly hurting), for FMW's second PPV of 2001. Team Kuroda goof around to start the show. Like at the last PPV, Mammoth Sasaki peeks in. His former dojo rival/friend, Naohiro Yamazaki, leaves the room to talk with him. Some interviewer tries to talk with Fuyuki, but only after yet more production screw-ups (he doesn't seem to know if the camera is on or not). Fuyuki refuses to talk and just glares at the interviewer. Highlights from 1/7 are shown, the big stories being the split of Hideki Hosaka and Mammoth Sasaki, along with Kuroda turning against Fuyuki and forming Team Kuroda with Azusa Kudo, Naohiro Yamazaki and Shinjuku Shark. At the end of the show, they humiliated the Goofster, tying him to the ropes, strapping Kyoko Inoue's bra on him and painting his face with lipstick.
Ricky Fuji & Flying Kid Ichihara vs. Tomokazu Morita & Yoshito Sasaki
Morita, visually, looks a lot like Eiji Ezaki (Hayabusa). The rookies make a quick attack, double dropkicking Ricky. Fuji puts the brakes on a Sasaki dropkick and ends the fun there, disciplining the youngster. Morita is tagged and gets some offense on Ichihara, but is soon on his back again. He sloppily counters something with a bad backslide for 2. Ichihara throws one of the weakest kneel kicks ever at Morita. Morita manages to kick out of Ricky's Kamikaze, an accomplishment for a rookie. However, Ricky hits a second for the 3 count (7:05). Ricky slaps the rookies around post-match, but shakes hands with them.
Mammoth Sasaki vs. Chocoball Mukai
Chocoball messes up some kind of dive before the bell even rings, but Mammoth covers by catching him. This doesn't stop the fans from having a giggle though. Mammoth hurls chairs at Mukai, but Chocoball takes control with his own chair attacks. Back in, he hits a jumping knee and gives the JUMBO! sign. A DDT scores him a 2 count. He misses a rolling senton from the top and Mammoth regains control with a choke throw. He takes the match back to the outside, setting up a table beneath the short Korakuen ledge. From there (the ledge), he nodowa's Chocoball through the table and brutalizes him with the table remnants. Back in, he gives Chocoball the Mammoth Home Run. The referee checks Mukai, but he isn't moving. The match is declared a (T)KO win for Mammoth (4:59). A nothing match technically, but served it's purpose of putting over Sasaki as a mean killer.
Hisakatsu Oya & Hideki Hosaka vs. Azusa Kudo & Shinjuku Shark
This builds slowly, telling us it won't be the usual 5 minute undercard match involving Kudo and Shark. Kudo vs. Oya and Hosaka is alright, but Shark is bad against either opponent. Hosaka brings Kudo off the top with a nice Frankensteiner for 2. He drops Kudo with a high-angle powerbomb for 2, Shark breaking... by throwing a boxing glove at the referee. Shark's punches are put over as a killer, but I don't know how anyone can fool themselves into taking the strikes seriously. Kudo hits Oya with a Stunner for 2, but the veteran escapes a side headlock in an instant, using a stiff backdrop suplex. Oya connects with a diving kneedrop, but Kudo grabs him dOWnstairs... and that's that. A running lariat gets 2. Hosaka and Oya use a cool powerbomb/neckbreaker combination, before Oya hits another of his deadly backdrop suplexes on Shark for the win (14:30). Could have been a good match if Oya and Hosaka had someone like Ricky Fuji and Mammoth Sasaki opposite them, but Kudo and moreso Shark just aren't good. Kudo has gotten okay in terms of doing sequences without messing up, but his terrible sex spots and clumsiness remain.
OUR GODS, Kintaro Kanemura and Ryuji Yamakawa, are shown talking backstage. Yamakawa wears a baseball shirt and a white cowboy hat. That's the style of the 21st century, baby!
Kyoko Inoue vs. Naohiro Yamazaki
This is a rematch from the 11/12/00 Yokohama Bunka Gymnasium show. That match was total angle craze, Yamazaki being distracted by a "UFO" and being surprised by a lariat, which got Kyoko the win. He's dropped the UFO gimmick now and is just a Kuroda punk, so hopefully something a little better than * here. The match starts quick, Yamazaki missing a dropkick and being put in a surfboard hold by Kyoko. She raises him in an Argentine backbreaker, putting less "oomph" on the hold than Nakanishi somehow, before just throwing him down. Yamazaki gets crotched up top and is suplexed down. Kyoko treks to the top, but in turn, is caught. Yamazaki suplexes her from the very top for a near fall. He manages to drop Kyoko with a German suplex hold for 2. He climbs up top, but Kyoko punches him dOWnstairs, then brings him down with the Niagara Driver for 2 1/2. A short lariat gets a good near fall. The momentum shifts when Shark trips Kyoko as she runs the ropes. Shark distracts the referee, allowing Kudo to enter and give Kyoko a nodowa otoshi. Yamazaki follows up with a diving headbutt for the upset win (5:38). The three keep attacking after the match, then pose over the joshi star. They also assault the injured Emi Motokawa, who has a brace around her neck. The match was okay for a short outing, until the predictable screwiness set in. Yamazaki wrestles better without the UFO gimmick, not as much goofiness.
Masato Tanaka, Jado & Gedo vs. Kintaro Kanemura, Ryuji Yamakawa & MEN's Teioh
This promises so much. I love all of these guys and it's nice that a deliberately good-looking match has been booked on the undercard for once. This is part of on-again, off-again FMW/Big Japan relationship, which mostly revolves around Kanemura. The HOLY DUO enter first, dancing the night away. Their sidekick, Terry Boy, gets his own entrance, sporting his wealth of title belts. Straight to a brawl, Tanaka and Kanemura being left in the ring. They move quick, doing their usual excellent sequence. Tanaka hits a Death Valley bomb, sending Kanemura to the apron. Tanaka charges with a baseball slide, but Kanemura slingshot's over him and back into the ring. From there, Kanemura hits a baseball slide dropkick and joins Masato on the outside. Gedo and Teioh take their turn, MEN's applying a Cobra Twist. Gedo hiptosses him to the apron, but charges into a high kick. Teioh re-enters the ring with a rolling elbow, sending Gedo out. Yamakawa and Jado go at it in the ring, going all New Japan with lariats. Yamakawa dropkick's Jado out and follows with a tope con hilo! The match moves to a slower, more traditional pace after the opening madness, Tanaka and Teioh ducking each others strikes, before Masato hits a lariat. The match spills outside again, Kanemura putting Gedo through a table with a Michinoku Driver II from the apron! Kanemura wedges two chairs in opposite corners and sends Gedo into both. Gedo moves into the whipping boy role, a recent trend. Things change when Kanemura runs into a powerslam, allowing the SUPAHFLY to tag Tanaka. He smashes Kanemura with a rope dash elbow and follows with a running lariat. He uses a DDT/Russian legsweep combination on the Dai Nihon duo, then pries a wooden board away from Kanemura. Poor Kanemura has the UNBREAKABLE board smashed over his head not once, not twice, but thrice, the weapon barely flinching under the pressure.
Kanemura reverses a corner Irish whip, but Tanaka charges out of the corner with a SPE-YAH, then tags Jado. Jado tries an Olympic slam on Kanemura, but Teioh intrudes and stops that. Teioh climbs the turnbuckles, only for "Gangster" Kaori to clobber him with her cane. Jado capitalizes, suplexing Teioh down for 2. Gedo returns, measuring Teioh up, then thrust kicking him for a 2 count. He misses a Lionsault, Teioh moving (Gedo not flubbing it like on the last PPV), and Yamakawa is brought in. He lariat's Gedo, but is struck from behind while running the ropes, allowing Gedo to thrust kick him too. Jado plants Yamakawa with a Tiger Driver, Gedo following with his Superfly splash and Tanaka with his own diving body press, the latter covering for 2 1/2! Tanaka drops Yamakawa with the Diamond Dust for 2, Kanemura making the save. Jado catches a Yamakawa lariat and takes him down into a crossface hold. Yamakawa struggles and holds out long enough for Teioh to save. Gedo runs into a Yamakawa thrust kick and the Dai Nihon star follows in a flash with a SMOOOTH legsweep. Kanemura uses rolling German suplexes on Gedo, the third a release variation. Teioh hits a backdrop suplex, then a rolling elbow, followed by a short lariat for 2. Yamakawa hits Gedo with repeated lariats, then hits his reverse Tiger Driver for a 2 count, Tanaka saving! Kanemura drops his diving senton on Gedo, covering for 2 1/2! Kaori canes Kanemura from behind and the dance king is hit with a BEAUTIFUL 3D out of nowhere. Gedo hooks on the Gedo clutch for 2 1/2! Jado brainbuster's Kanemura and Tanaka follows with his rolling elbow smash for the win (15:42)! After the match, Tanaka declares, "We are... COMPLETE PLAYERS!". I guess this is based on the Impact Players, with Kaori as Francine, but thankfully, this group has no Justin "Heat? What's that?" Credible. This match rocked the world. I'm all in favor of more matches like this on the FMW midcard. It sure beats Shinjuku Shark matches. Just a 15 minute workrate sprint, with the action you'd expect from such workers. The cool thing was, as happens a lot in these matches, when there was brawling at ringside, there was usually two guys in the ring, who the camera focused on, so it was never boring. Tanaka looked awesome and was the best again, but everyone was good. The best FMW match since Hayabusa vs. Fuyuki Iron Man Match (and it was only a fraction behind that).
Intermission time. After the FMW ring announcer girls $hill the FMW beer and stuff, we see spot show clips. Some footage from the 1/12 Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium #2 show is aired in brief. Oya, Hosaka & Yoshito Sasaki beat Fuji, Ichihara & Morita (11:11) when Oya uses a backdrop suplex on Morita. After the match, Oya and Hosaka form their new tag team. The main event of that show sees Kuroda, Kudo & Shark beat Fuyuki, Kanemura & Chocoball (15:58) when Kuroda drops Mukai with his Technan buster for the win. Kuroda gives Fuyuki a bad Technan buster (Fuyuki is too fat, so Kuroda can barely lift him) after the match, then humiliates him some more. The insane PPV main event stipulations are also set up by Kuroda (more below). The intermission finishes with, I guess, Mammoth Sasaki officially joining Team Kuroda. He offers Kuroda a Star Wars figure, but the leader politely declines.
GOEMON & Onryo vs. Chris Candido & Pat Tanaka
One has to question this match being above the last one. This just kind of rolls along, not a lot of note. The first killer spot sees Onryo DIE IF HE COULD DIE AGAIN with his springboard tope con hilo, which he kind of overshoots again. The teams waste some time brawling at ringside, before Onryo hits a dive that the camera doesn't catch (a pescado, I think). GOEMON piles chairs up in the ring and suplexes Tanaka on them. Candido catches Onryo on the run with a powerslam for 2. He release powerbomb's the vengeful ghost for the same result. Onryo counters a second with a Frankensteiner, then DDT's Candido. GOEMON makes his return, taking on both opponents. A second rope diving fistdrop connects for a near fall. He goes up for the kill, but Candido catches and brings him down with a crisp Frankensteiner for another 2 count. Onryo and Tanaka soon return, Onryo hitting his cool corkscrew elbow smash (not as much spin on it today though). Candido takes GOEMON's head off with a lariat, but accidentally press slam's him on to Tanaka, after a double team spot goes wrong. GOEMON goes up and lands his senton atomico for the 3 count (11:10). Boring, heatless match, but there wasn't much wrong with it from a technical standpoint. GOEMON looked out of sorts, but that was often the result of transitioning problems, stemming from the language problems and general unfamiliarity I think. Onryo and Candido were okay, but neither as good as they can be.
Kodo Fuyuki vs. Tetsuhiro Kuroda
Well, it didn't take them long to book this match after the two split up on the last show. The stipulations for this are very bizarre. If Kuroda wins, he has to marry Fuyuki's WIFE, who Fuyuki must divorce. If Fuyuki wins, Kuroda has to marry Kyoko Inoue. Also, if Fuyuki wins, HE (Fuyuki!) must retire. Okay, there is NO defense for this kind of stupid booking, angles that Fuyuki has no intent of going through with (such as the constant "retirements" in FMW). In storylines, this is a Kuroda brainstorm, but we all know who really books this crap. You know what a better angle would be and how it would have been booked before the Goofster took control? Fuyuki and Kuroda are friends. Kuroda backstabs Fuyuki. Fuyuki and Kuroda fight out of their mutual animosity. There, simple as that. Kuroda grins, because this all works in his favor, while Fuyuki is stoic and intense. He looks fatter than I ever remember him being before. The match starts real slow, as they're going long. They spend a few minutes in the crowd, Fuyuki running across Korakuen Hall and lariating his nemesis. Kuroda takes a seat at ringside, showing the peace sign, as Team Kuroda assault Fuyuki. Not quite sure why Fuyuki's friends (if he has any) aren't out there to even things up. After some slow ground work, Kuroda throws a running lariat and brings out the stinging mockery, trapping Fuyuki in a Stretch Plum. Fuyuki tries a corner charge, but Kuroda drop toehold's him into the middle turnbuckle. Fuyuki bounces right back countering a lariat with a... lariat. A powerbomb gets him a 2 count. Kuroda hits a missile dropkick, then starts goofing around again, before giving Fuyuki his throttle drop on the ropes. He goes up, but Fuyuki scoops him off and spikes him with a muscle buster for 2 1/2. Fuyuki uses a Tarzan Goto-style facebuster, which I find pretty funny, because if he grew a beard, they wouldn't look too unalike.
Fuyuki revs up and hits his running lariat for 2 1/2. He applies his own Stretch Plum, which leads nowhere as usual (I don't think he's ever gotten a submission win with that in FMW). Lariats are exchanged, before Kuroda uses an inside cradle for 2. A short lariat gets barely 2. A running lariat is blocked, but Kuroda hits an enzuigiri, followed by a German suplex hold for 2. Kuroda and the referee tussle over a chair, which leads to a ref bump. Kuroda gives Fuyuki another dodgy Technan buster on the chair, but the referee is slow to count, reaching 2 when he does. Kuroda kicks the referee and Team Kuroda team up against Fuyuki. Fuyuki miraculously outsmarts then all, Mammoth accidentally chairshotting Kuroda. Kuroda ducks a running lariat, but Fuyuki drops down out of a waistlock, applying a Samson clutch for the 3 count (20:56). So, Kuroda must marry Kyoko and Fuyuki must... retire. That's right, HE JUST SPENT 20 MINUTES TRYING TO WIN, SO THAT HE COULD RETIRE! Woo hoo! Now go away Fuyuki. We could only be so lucky. Fuyuki is beaten up by the heels and wrapped in a white sheet. GOEMON and Onryo run them off, so I guess they're with Fuyuki now. That really makes no sense, as they're much more effective alone and are opposites of Fuyuki. Fuyuki is unwrapped from the sheet and is bleeding huge. The fans seem quite stunned, as he's bladed his body it looks like. Fuyuki and Kuroda have a history of not working together well. Their past matches haven't been that good, mainly because between them, they have few moves to go through for 20 minutes. It wasn't so obvious in this, but when they weren't throwing lariats, it wasn't very good either. I'm a Kuroda fan, when he's not being overly goofy (which he was here), but these matches expose him as being vastly inferior to guys like Hayabusa and Tanaka, who carried Fuyuki to FAR better matches than he. Fuyuki wasn't good. I'm not sure if it's his costume, but he looks more bloated and sluggish than ever. Kuroda spent more time goofing around than he did trying to make this match better than it was. Their matches wouldn't be half as bad if they didn't stretch them to the 20 minute region, just for the sake of having a long match. The match also had several of the bad FMW aspects, with screwjob-related finishes and Fuyuki putting himself over another guy (to his credit, he was pinned by Gedo in a tag on the last PPV, but the singles matches stick out more).
It's weird. After many shows of average undercard, but a good main event, today, an undercard match delivers, but the main event doesn't. The six man tag was one of those rocking workrate sprints, which resemble the old FMW Street Fight style (only this one wasn't as garbagey), and are all-action, so very entertaining. It helps when you have six quality wrestlers in there as well. Other than that, the undercard was typically underwhelming and forgettable. I was hoping the main event would deliver, but always had my doubts, given Fuyuki and Kuroda's history together. My doubts became reality, because the bout was average, so it was another one match show. With Hayabusa and Gannosuke in the mix, this would have been a better show, but as I said, the loss of those two around this time hurt FMW badly. Late next month, things would go from bad to disastrous.
For more of Stuart's thoughts and opinions on puroresu, visit www.puroresufan.com