FMW Funk Masters of Wrestling
review by Stuart

This tape focuses on the time period just after FMW's big Shiodome show on 8/1/96. The lead storyline is Victor Quinones and Terry Funk's new heel group against the FMW forces. There's also the W*ING Alliance, who had been taken over as top heel group by Funk's team. This was Quinones' booking, pushing his boys above the W*INGers. W*ING were still quite quite prominent, but not as much as when FMW vs. W*ING led the promotion. At this point, they were more tweeners than anything, fighting both sides and continuing to carry W*ING Spirit in their hearts. Shiodome highlights are shown to start. Hayabusa's return is screened first, where he fought Koji Nakagawa, an absolute disaster of a match and probably Hayabusa's worst ever. Next up is the decision match to crown the first ever FMW Independent Champion, where W*ING Kanemura defeated long-time rival, Masato Tanaka, in an awesome match. Finally, a No Rope Electrified Barbed Wire Double Hell Glass Crush Spider Net Landmine Death Match between Terry Funk and Mr. Pogo. This is another good match, while it lasts, with many effective teases, but it's cut short by an unfortunate incident. Funk blows fire at Pogo, who falls off the apron and into the exploding spider net. Pogo is legitimately paralyzed (temporarily), but this doesn't stop Funk from being an idiot, kneeling next to Pogo and blowing fire at close range. Pogo is stretchered into an ambulance and taken to hospital. Now to 8/23 at Tokyo Korakuen Hall.

Hayabusa vs. Koji Nakagawa

Hayabusa and Nakagawa were disgusted at how bad their Shiodome match was, so decided to have a rematch here. Koji charges, but Hayabusa side-step's and dropkick's him out. The falcon follows with a baseball slide dropkick, then a tope con hilo! Clip. Nakagawa counters a Frankensteiner attempt with a powerbomb, then hits a double-arm suplex. He goes up and connects with a diving shoulderblock. A really nice German suplex hold gets 2 1/2. Clip. Hayabusa plants Koji with a Fisherman's buster, following up with his firebird splash for 2 1/2! Clip. Hayabusa goes up again, missing his Phoenix splash! Nakagawa scoops him up and uses a Falcon Arrow for 2 3/4! Clip. Hayabusa runs into a boot and Nakagawa quickly follows with a lariat, hooking a leg deeply for the upset win (12:05)! Hisakatsu Oya confronts Hayabusa after the match, setting up their next bout. Hayabusa and Koji would end their rivalry and become friends once more. This looked real good, quite the opposite of their mess at the Shiodome.

Masato Tanaka, Tetsuhiro Kuroda & Nanjyo Hayato vs. W*ING Kanemura, Hido & Hideki Hosaka in a No Rope Barbed Wire Street Fight 6 Man Tag Death Match

JIP with a huge brawl taking place. Kanemura sends Tanaka into the wire and Masato does the classic Onita sell, leaning right back over it. Kanemura then drops a leg on him (while he's still lay over the wire), impaling him some more. Hayato busts out his super-cool kick flurry on Kanemura, a high kick sending the W*ING Alliance leader down. Tanaka catapult's Hayato, who then dropkick's Hosaka. Clip. Tanaka front suplexes Hosaka on the barbed wire and Hayato follows by dropkicking him off the apron. The youngster follows with a SPACE FLYING TIGER DROP OVER THE BARBED WIRE! Clip. Kanemura drops Hayato on some chairs and follows with a big body press, Hosaka following with his own, then Hido with a legdrop for 2. Clip. Kuroda is sent into a ladder in the corner. When Kanemura corner charges, Kuroda dashes out of the corner, turning him inside out with a lariat. Kuroda then dropkick's Hosaka into the barbed wire. Hayato, who is bleeding heavily, whacks Hosaka with a wooden board a few times, then Tanaka charges Hosaka into the barbed wire some more! Hayato Frankensteiner's Hosaka down. Hido is sent to the barbed wire, but slides down to avoid impact. Kuroda dropkick's him and he tries to keep his balance, then both Kuroda AND Tanaka dropkick him and Hido goes into the wire! Tanaka follows with a charge, but Hido moves and he goes sternum-first into the barbed wire! Kanemura sneaks up from behind with rolling German suplexes, the second a release variation.

Clip. Tanaka ducks a Kanemura strike and Hosaka is hit. Tanaka uses his scoop-up powerbomb on Kanemura for 2 3/4! Kuroda climbs the ladder and sort of messes up a body press (the ladder moves so he lands on his feet, then hits the move) on Kanemura for 2, Hido saving. Tanaka tornado DDT's Hido off the high ladder! He bodyslam's Hido and Hayato climbs the ladder. MOONSAULT PRESS FROM THE TOP FOR 2 3/4! He drops Hido with a Michinoku Driver II for 2, Kanemura saving! Hayato flips out of a Kanemura German suplex, landing on his feet and hitting a Frankensteiner! He charges, but Kanemura lifts him and INSANELY drops him pretty much throat-first on the barbed wire! Hosaka picks Hayato up and high-angle powerbomb's him, leaning over for 2 3/4! W*ING do a union powerbomb on him next for 2, Kuroda saving! Kanemura picks up the lifeless Hayato and Liger bomb's him for 2 3/4! Hido piledrive's him THREE times, all very stiff, for 2 1/2, Tanaka saving! Kuroda is taken out and Hido keeps Tanaka busy. Kanemura places a chair on the mat and Hosaka lifts him/drops him on Hayato with a legdrop for 2 3/4! Kanemura Thunder Fire powerbomb/Liger bomb hybrid's him on a chair and Hayato FINALLY stays down (16:25 - around half shown)! This was CRAZY! Everyone died approximately ten times over, Hayato perhaps doubling that. The least pushed guy out of the six ended up being the star of the match, kicking out of so many W*ING attacks, until finally succumbing after a long battle, where Tanaka and Kuroda were isolated. It was pretty messy at times, but this was a good example of FMW's athletic generation of garbage monsters. Hayato brought the junior style into garbage, much like Hayabusa has, hitting some awesome, off-the-page spots, particularly the Space Flying Tiger Drop to Hosaka OVER the barbed wire. Big bumps, tons of blood, energy, excitement and more importantly, GOOD work. You have to love the work ethic of these guys.

Backstage, Kanemura, who is just gushing blood, discusses Victor Quinones and his IWA army. To 9/1 in Nagoya.

Masato Tanaka, Koji Nakagawa & Tetsuhiro Kuroda vs. W*ING Kanemura, Hido & Hideki Hosaka in a No Rope Explosive Barbed Wire Explosive Barricade Double Hell 6 Man Tag Death Match

This is outdoors, allowing more flexibility with the stipulations. This is the same setup as the last match, with dangerous exploding barricades (beds of explosives, coated with barbed wire) outside the ring, so there are only two sides of barbed wire ropes. Both teams have put a lot of money on the line here (1,000,000 yen). Straight to a brawl with all six going at it. They do a bunch of teases with guys being very nearly pushed down to the barricades or sent into the barbed wire ropes. Hosaka almost throws Koji off his shoulders and down to his death. Nakagawa wriggles off, but Kanemura is in position to dropkick him into the barbed wire, the first explosion taking place! Nakagawa staggers forward away from the barbed wire and Hosaka delivers an enzuigiri, causing Koji to FLIP OUT OF THE RING AND ON TO AN EXPLODING BARRICADE!!! He didn't fall from a balcony and he wasn't powerbombed from Mt. Fuji through 3,500 tables, but this may be the sickest, well put-together sequence of bumps I've ever seen. He sells this like death, not moving. In the ring, Hido piledrive's Tanaka for 2. Hayabusa shouts at Nakagawa, searching for signs of life. Hosaka uses a barbed wire baseball bat on Tanaka and Kanemura a chair. Tanaka, bleeding heavily, is sat on the chair by Kanemura, allowing Hosaka to throw another bat shot to the chest. Kanemura then dropkick's him off the chair, Masato landing heavily on his neck. He pushes Tanaka towards a barricade, Tanaka hanging on to the apron and desperately blocking. Nakagawa is still dead. Hosaka sits Tanaka in a camel clutch position, allowing Kanemura an unchallenged bat shot to the chest. W*ING continue to totally dominate, the critical numbers advantage making the difference.

Tanaka has a chair totally smashed over his skull by Kanemura, Hosaka covering for 2. Tanaka manages to block a bat shot with a chair, smashes it over Hosaka's head, then uses his scoop-up powerbomb on Kanemura for 2 1/2! Kuroda slides down to avoid going out and bounces back with a lariat to Hido. Tanaka stands on a chair and tornado DDT's Kanemura from it for 2 1/2! Tanaka and Kuroda fold Kanemura up with a double backdrop suplex for 2, Hido and Hosaka both saving. W*ING take control, the numbers again working in their favour. Nakagawa stirs and begins to claw his way back to reality. Tanaka is sent into Hosaka's sit-out spinebuster slam, which gets 2. Tanaka is dropped with a high-angle powerbomb, Hosaka getting another near fall. He chokes out Tanaka with the barbed wire bat, while Hido continues to terrorize Kuroda as he has done all match, with a chain attached to his wrist and around Kuroda's neck it seems. Kuroda is pushed out on to the already-exploded barricade, which releases some steam and not much else. By now, Nakagawa has managed to roll off it, but is still flat on his face. Kanemura drops Tanaka with his Thunder Fire powerbomb/Liger bomb hybrid for 2 1/2! Hosaka uses an assisted powerbomb, with Kanemura pushing the head down and sitting out, Hosaka covering for 2 1/2 also! Hosaka lifts and drops Kanemura with a legdrop on Tanaka for another great near fall! Nakagawa is finally stood and half way on the apron, the fans chanting his name. Kanemura Thunder Fire powerbomb's Tanaka on a stack of chairs for 2 1/2, NAKAGAWA saving! Nakagawa blocks a Hosaka lariat and double-arm powerbomb's him for 2. He follows with a German suplex hold for 2, Kanemura breaking with a barbed wire bat shot!

Tanaka tries to rush into Kanemura, but also tastes barbed wire bat. Hosaka holds Tanaka up and Kanemura swings the bat... Tanaka ducking, Hosaka being hit and falling back into the exploding barbed wire! BOOM! Kanemura is left standing and Nakagawa arrives, pushing him off the apron and into the second exploding barricade! Fire shoots up around Kanemura and he's done for, surely! The smoke clears and Tanaka throws Hosaka back into the exploding barbed wire! Tanaka Thunder Fire powerbomb's him for the win (14:30)! Tanaka drags his partners up (ala Onita) and raises their arms. He speaks to the fans and a HUGE "Tanaka" unison chant erupts, the fans rushing to ringside and tapping the mat in respect. Just a great, vintage FMW moment. Hayabusa walks into the ring and hugs Tanaka. Kanemura does a stretcher job, cut up. This was a WAR. I don't know how these guys managed to work such an intensive style so often, but they always put forth great effort with hard work and determination. The teamwork here was tremendous, with W*ING dominating large portions and pretty much playing the heels, while the FMW army were constant underdogs, especially with Nakagawa taking that insane bump, then selling it how it should be sold. The only problem with the match was that it plodded in the middle with W*ING continuously having their way with Tanaka and Kuroda, almost methodically destroying them with the barbed wire bat and chairs. The barbed wire and barricade bumps were done VERY well, with a lot of teases and drama surrounding them. In these Street Fights, the star of the match usually seems to be the one who takes the most punishment. In the last match it was Hayato and in this match it was Tanaka, both of whom put forth great performances. Both matches were train wrecks, but done so well to maximize the entertainment value.

On to 9/15 at the Omiya Skate Center.

Hayabusa, Masato Tanaka, Koji Nakagawa & Tetsuhiro Kuroda vs. The Headhunters, Super Leather & Hisakatsu Oya in a Scramble Bunkhouse Climbing & Snatching Battle Royal

More money is on the line today, 2,000,000 yen I believe. The purpose of this is to grab a stash of yen from a pole. There's also a barbed wire baseball bat on another pole. This angle began on 5/5/96, when money was on the line during the main event, Funk and Pogo winning it, so FMW now has a chance to win some back. Both teams rush to the ring, the scrap beginning. This is kind of boring, because it's all about climbing the pole, so most of the match is Wrestler 1 climbs and is pulled back by Wrestler 2. Pinfalls do count and I think they eliminate wrestlers. Kuroda gets the barbed wire bat and the FMW team use it productively, Tanaka clobbering everyone. Tanaka spikes a Headhunter with his tornado DDT, then gets folded up by Oya's backdrop suplex. Kuroda gets clear and almost gets the stash, Oya dragging him down just in time, then folding him up too. Kuroda is moonsaulted by a Headhunter and is counted down for the 3. Tanaka is powerbombed through a table by Leather for 2, Nakagawa breaking. Tanaka pulls back Leather and Oya, allowing Hayabusa to climb the pole and win the money back for FMW (12:10), the fans popping huge. This is the reason I didn't like the Funk Masters of Wrestling unit (although they weren't officially named that yet) much. Leather was just awful and The Headhunters weren't much better by this point. Oya was great and even though he was more of a "normal" wrestler, he still brought a lot to these matches. The other faction members were Funk (washed up, but still okay) The Gladiator (pretty good, but often seem lost in the multi-man Street Fights) and Horace Boulder (very mediocre). These Street Fights were generally a lot weaker than FMW vs. W*ING, due to the average heel side (if every match was Funk, Gladiator & Oya vs. whoever, it would have been a lot better). Although there were some good near falls, this really bored me.

Now to 9/20, a big show at Nakajima Sports Center in Sapporo.

TAKA Michinoku (c) vs. Ricky Fuji for the Independent World Jr. Heavyweight Title

This is the belt TAKA won from Nakagawa at the Kawasaki Stadium show. Although a Michinoku Pro wrestler, he worked for FMW a lot around this time, added cash income for him (since MPro pays peanuts). JIP, Ricky in control. He drops TAKA with his Kamikaze for 2 1/2. He goes up, jumping into a TAKA dropkick. Fuji rolls out and TAKA follows with an AWEEESOME springboard spaceman quebrada! Back in, he plants Ricky with a Michinoku Driver II for 2. He goes for a second, Ricky hopping over and using a Tiger Driver for 2 1/2. He spikes TAKA with his brainbuster for 2 1/2! TAKA ducks a rolling lariat and elbow's Ricky, then hits a crisp springboard dropkick to the neck. He scoops up Fuji and drops him with another Michinoku Driver II for the win (13:36). This looked real good, but not much shown. TAKA was the most promising wrestler in the world at the time.

The Headhunters (c) vs. Hido & Hideki Hosaka for the FMW Brass Knuckles Tag Team Title

JIP, a Headhunter going out with a plancha! He seems to hit his brother though. Back in, the W*INGers use a double backdrop suplex for 2. Hido lands a diving chair drop for 2. He is caught on the top and suplexed down, the other Headhunter following with a diving headbutt for 2, Hosaka saving. Hido is dropped on a chair with a Tiger Driver for 2 1/2. Headhunter A goes up and squashes Hido with a moonsault press, getting the 3 count (12:26). A real yawner, very boring. The blobs were bad and outside of garbage matches, Hido and Hosaka weren't much.

Masato Tanaka, Koji Nakagawa & Tetsuhiro Kuroda (c) vs. Terry Funk, The Gladiator & Horace Boulder for the FMW World Street Fight 6 Man Tag Team Title

Brawl, brawl, brawl. Brawl, they do. Awesome hits a great over-the-tope suicida from HELL on Tanaka, connecting perfectly. Clip. Nakagawa gets Funk in a Scorpion Deathlock, Horace breaking it up. Funk lariat's Nakagawa down and tosses Kuroda out. Nakagawa ducks several Horace strikes, then runs into a Samoan drop. Awesome throws a table at Tanaka's head, while Funk piledrive's Kuroda outside. Awesome powerbomb's Kuroda right through a table, covering for 2, Tanaka saving! Funk curses up a storm while punching Tanaka. Funk DDT's Tanaka on to a wooden board that is leaning against the ropes, Masato's head just bouncing off it. Funk dishes out the dancing jabs to Kuroda, a big one sending him down. Tanaka is thrown into the remnants of a table, propped up in a corner, by Awesome. A second whip is reversed, Awesome going head-first into the wood. Kuroda smashes a wooden board over Horace's bald head and Tanaka follows with his elbow dash. Tanaka spikes Awesome with a tornado DDT and Kuroda follows with a diving elbow drop for 2. Horace reverse DDT's Koji and Funk hits him with a chair. He attacks the leg with the same chair, then slaps on his spinning toehold, Nakagawa smartly kicking off. Funk piledrive's Nakagawa on the chair for 2 1/2. Koji counters a second piledriver by backdropping Terry out of the ring, but gets decked by Awesome. Awesome delivers a Liger bomb to Koji for 2, Tanaka saving! Awesome release powerbomb's Tanaka and connects with a diving body press for 2 1/2! The sickest spot of the match follows, an avalanche-style Awesome bomb, putting Tanaka through a table for 2, Kuroda just saving! Tanaka ducks a Horace lariat and strikes him with a rolling elbow, getting the big win (16:30)! Tanaka gets Awesome bombed out neck-first through a table after the bell. This was kind of there for an FMW Street Fight. It really plodded at times, but got good at the end. Awesome was the only good one on the heel side, which is what hurt the match so much, since they had most of the offense.

Hayabusa vs. Hisakatsu Oya

This is supposedly to determine the #1 contender for Kanemura's FMW Independent Title. These two have a history of very good matches against each other, because they both bring something to the match (Oya's mind and Hayabusa's moves). Oya stalls to piss off Hayabusa, side-stepping his charges and leaning against the ropes like a punk. He eventually steps out to the apron and... STRETCHES! They finally tie up and Oya folds Hayabusa up right away with a backdrop suplex. A DDT follows, then a crossface chickenwing with bodyscissors applied. They roll into the ropes and Oya kicks Hayabusa out. There, he hits Hayabusa with an umbrella. Hayabusa returns to the apron and fights off Oya, then hits a springboard kneel kick. He follows with a regular dropkick, sending Oya out. Oya takes a walk, realizing Hayabusa has a dive planned. The match slows down and they go to the mat, exchanging holds. Oya again acts evil, blatently kicking Hayabusa downstairs to escape a wristlock. Mask tearing commences, Oya trying to reveal Eiji Ezaki's face. Oya slaps on a rear chinlock and grins. GRINS! I am Hisakatsu Oya and I will GRIN! He swinging neckbeaker's Hayabusa for 2. Oya does a great counter, going from being in a backslide predicament to applying a wakigatame on Hayabusa. Hayabusa lands on top of an Oya backdrop suplex, then crisply connects with a kneel kick, sending Oya out. Hayabusa follows, springboarding out with a moonsault! He re-enters with a slingshot sommersault senton, then hits a standing moonsault for 2.

Hayabusa works over Oya's back, using a backbreaker as well as punches and kicks. He slaps on a Texas Cloverleaf, Oya struggling and grabbing the ropes. Hayabusa runs the ropes, straight into a neckbreaker drop. Oya applies an Octopus hold, putting Hayabusa in trouble. Hayabusa manages to throw out of it, but Oya does a really evil thing where he stands Hayabusa on his head, then stands on his face. He uses a Russian legsweep for 2. A sleeper hold is applied, sending Hayabusa to a seated position. Oya eventually breaks it, covering for 2. Hayabusa comes back with a spinning high kick, Oya groggily rolling out. Hayabusa flies with a PERFECT tope con hilo! He re-enters with a springboard lariat, then hits a Tiger Driver for 2 1/2. A German suplex hold also gets 2 1/2 as the near falls keep coming. Hayabusa powerbomb's Oya for another 2 count. A Fisherman's buster follows and then a wonderful firebird splash for 2 1/2! Oya is hurting now and Hayabusa knows it, following with a Falcon Arrow for 2 3/4! The fans chant "Oya", respecting his fighting spirit and will to survive. Hayabusa again goes up, this time for his Phoenix splash, but Oya catches him. They tussle and Oya wins, KILLING Hayabusa with a super-stiff avalanche-style backdrop suplex from HELL! He picks Hayabusa back up, folding him up again for 2 3/4! He reverts to the Octopus hold, Hayabusa inching his ways to the rope, enduring the pure agony. Oya connects with an enzuigiri, then plants Hayabusa with another backdrop suplex for 2 3/4! The falcon won't stay down! Another backdrop suplex! And another! Oya makes the cover and gets his first ever win over Hayabusa (16:53)! This was another excellent match between the two. They really know how to work together and bring individual strengths to their matches. Like most of their matches, Oya provided the smarts, structuring the match and also using a lot of good moves. Hayabusa brought the flashy moves again and did a great job of selling. Really fantastic performance by Oya (who was a total punk) and a very good one by Hayabusa. They've had better and longer matches, but this was another addition to their compilation-worthy collection.

Hayabusa remains in the ring, distraught by his loss, when a figure clad in blue makes his way to the ring. Jinsei Shinzaki makes his first appearance in an FMW ring for a long time and enters the ring. Jinsei had returned to Japan from the World Wrestling Federation earlier in the year. Jinsei just stares at Hayabusa and prays, then leaves. This sets up a match between the two on 10/10/96 at Michinoku Pro's famous ~These Days~ show, which would then spark an eternal friendship and bond between the two enigmatic characters.

The next portion of the tape, right to the last match, focuses on FMW's joshi division. For so long it was Megumi Kudo & Combat Toyoda vs. Shark Tsuchiya and her lackies. However, at the Kawasaki Stadium show in May, Combat retired after she and Kudo had the best Death Match ever (at that point). Kudo's #2 became a young lady by the name of Kaori Nakayama, who FMW had big hopes for. There were several new young female wrestlers they were hoping to push. Firstly, we go back to 8/23 at Korakuen Hall.

Shark Tsuchiya vs. RIE in a Street Fight

RIE was formerly known as Bad Nurse Nakamura and turned against Shark and Crusher at the recent Shiodome show, which allowed Kudo to miraculously win a Handicap Match against the Mad Dog Military. Bad Nurse had enough after enduring much physical and mental abuse from them. She attacks quickly, looking for the early upper hand against the much stronger Shark. Clip. Shark has her scythe and RIE is backed into a corner. She desperately fights to keep the blade away, but has no luck. Clip. RIE is choked with a stick. Clip. RIE takes Shark down with a tilt-a-whirl flying headscissors. She connects with a diving knee attack for 2. Clip. Shark piles chairs up and drops RIE on them with a sick as hell piledriver for 2... RIE bridging up! Shark persists and powerbomb's RIE on the stack for the win (17:18). Looked bad (like most Shark matches), but had a lot of heat.

Back once again, this time to Nagoya on 9/1, which was the outdoor place that crazy explosion match from earlier took place at.

Megumi Kudo, RIE & Kaori Nakayama vs. Shark Tsuchiya, Crusher Maedomari & Miwa Sato

Straight to a brawl. Shark cuts at Kudo's forehead with a scythe. RIE is cut open with the same weapon. Shark high-angle powerbomb's Nakayama or RIE (hard to tell) for the win. Virtually nothing shown of this.

Finally, to 9/24 for another show at Tokyo Korakuen Hall.

Megumi Kudo & Kaori Nakayama vs. Shark Tsuchiya & Miss Mongol

Mongol is another Shark underling and wears facepaint like Shark and Crusher. The underlings go at it first with some basic, but energetic exchanges. Shark's first involvement sees her stand on Kaori's head, then do her usual bunch of crappy wrestling. Mongol, who's probably only a rookie at this point, works better than Shark already. After a long beatdown, Kudo is finally tagged. She face crusher's Shark, but soon gets caught with a lariat. Mongol is tagged and throws, have a guess... Mongolian chops! Kaori returns and hits a bulldog for 2. A second bulldog follows and Mongol rolls out. Nakayama teases a dive and Shark strikes her from behind, prompting Kudo to go after her nemesis. Kudo then dives out on to Shark with a tope suicida and seconds later, Nakayama plancha's on to Mongol! They brawl around the historical building, Shark choking Kudo with a chair. Mongol drops a second rope legdrop for 2 1/2. She goes up again and connects with a diving body press for 2, Nakayama bridging up. Nakayama victory roll's Mongol for 2, then tags Kudo back. She hits some jumping hip attacks, but Shark breaks up a Tiger Driver attempt. Kudo flips out of a Shark backdrop suplex attempt and gets knocked down by Mongol. Shark lariat's Kudo a few times, then plants her with a backdrop suplex for 2 1/2. A second stiff backdrop suplex gets another near fall for Shark. Kudo throws out of Shark's powerbomb attempt, but Nakayama accidentally crossbody's her when Shark moves.

Kudo again escapes Shark's powerbomb and DDT's her. Kaori returns and gets a couple of near falls, before Shark KILLS her with an overhead powerbomb. Shark accidentally lariat's Mongol and Kudo dropkick's her out, leaving the underlings to go at it. Kaori drops Mongol with a German suplex (not able to maintain the bridge, so covering) for 2, Shark pushing the referee to break the count. Nakayama hits a double-arm suplex hold for 2 3/4. A catapult (via Kudo) standing moonsault gets 2 1/2. Kaori lands her moonsault press and finally gets the win (13:57). Started out very bad, with Shark absolutely terrible. Not surprisingly, Kudo was leagues ahead of anyone else in the match, even though she wasn't in a whole lot. After a while it began to get interesting with Mongol, while not that good, showing a lot of energy and desire. At the end it got quite good, moreso than I expected after the mediocre start, saving the match and making it quite solid. There were a lot of near falls and the fans were rabid, helping a strong closing few minutes.

Hayabusa & Masato Tanaka vs. Terry Funk & The Gladiator in a Street Fight

This is a big match as it pits FMW's #1 and #2 against the heel side's #1 and #2. These fans just can't be kept quiet and go nutso for Hayabusa. They brawl right away, Funk taking Hayabusa out. Tanaka and Awesome go at it in the ring, Tanaka managing to shoulderblock the monster gaijin down. Tanaka jumps into a bearhug, which Awesome turns into an overhead belly to belly. Tanaka is sent to the outside and Awesome follows with a huge over-the-top tope suicida! That will do nothing for his bandaged knees. Hayabusa is back in... and out with a tope con hilo to Awesome! They brawl around the building, Awesome sending Hayabusa head-first into the wall several times. They have a chairfight at ringside, Awesome winning and making Hayabusa pay with a shot to the back. Funk locks his spinning toehold on Tanaka, but is kicked off. Tanaka mocks Terry and uses one too, the fans going nuts. Terry rakes the eyes to break and brings in a table, leaning it against the ropes. He runs Tanaka head-first into it at full speed, although of course, the table doesn't break. Awesome goes up top with the table and brings it down across Tanaka's skull, the table still not giving way. Awesome sets the table up and gives Tanaka an Awesome bomb through it, the table finally giving way (although Tanaka doesn't go through it fully)! Awesome covers for 2, Hayabusa lunging to save! Funk arrogantly slaps Hayabusa around and punches him in the corner. Elsewhere, Awesome jumps and pushes the table down on to Tanaka, using it to cover him for 2. Funk kicks Hayabusa dOWnstairs in the corner, sending him down again.

Awesome throws Tanaka head-first into the table (which STILL isn't fully broken) in the corner. Awesome pries away a wooden board from the table, but Hayabusa ducks a swing and dropkick's both enemies. He brings the board down with full force over Awesome's head and Tanaka follows with his elbow dash, then lariat's Awesome out. Hayabusa baseball slide dropkick's the big man and follows with a HUGE quebrada. The atmosphere in Korakuen Hall can't be described in words, every fan screaming his or her lungs out. Terry takes Tanaka's tornado DDT, staying down for 2 1/2! Hayabusa re-enters the ring with a springboard sommersault senton to Terry, followed by a standing moonsault for 2. Tanaka snapmare's Funk down and connects with a diving headbutt for 2, Awesome saving! Hayabusa hits a great springboard hurricanrana to Awesome for 2 1/2! Awesome is dropped with a German suplex hold for 2 1/2! Hayabusa and Tanaka do a double suplex lift, Masato letting go to let Hayabusa Falcon Arrow Awesome down for 2 1/2! Tanaka holds Awesome and Hayabusa goes up. Funk throws a chair at the falcon and he topples to the outside. In the ring, Tanaka ducks a short lariat and elbow's Awesome. He runs into a boot, but is thrown down with something of a release sidewalk slam for 2. He Liger bomb's Tanaka cleanly for 2 1/2! The fans roar "Tanaka", but that doesn't help him any when Mr. Middle Aged and Crazy smashes a chair over his cranium. Funk attacks a leg with the chair and after two piledrivers, applies his famous spinning toehold. Hayabusa saves with a springboard lariat to Funk! Hayabusa charges at Awesome, but gets dropped throat-first on the ropes. Awesome uses a SLINGSHOT German suplex hold on Hayabusa for 2 3/4!

Awesome picks up poor Hayabusa and powerbomb's him on a chair, leaning over for 2, Tanaka saving! Tanaka ducks a Funk swing and elbow's him down. He elbow's Awesome, then sends him down with a rolling elbow for 2 3/4! Awesome pops up and running Awesome bomb's Tanaka for 2, Hayabusa saving! Save, save, save! Funk goes old school and brings out the chain, choking Hayabusa and lifting the falcon on to his shoulders while doing that! The bump that follows is FREAKING INSAAAAAAAAANE! Hayabusa is sat on Funk's shoulders and choking, when Awesome pulls him down by the chain and Hayabusa LANDS HEAD-FIRST ON THE APRON! MY GOD! I think Hayabusa was maybe supposed to fall out of the ring normally, but who knows. This is FMW and people like falling on their head. Awesome goes up again and brings his bulk down with a diving body press to Tanaka for 2 3/4! Awesome drags Tanaka by his shirt to the corner, then up to the top rope. Oh no, oh no... avalanche-style Awesome bomb! IMMENSE HEIGHT! Awesome leans over and there is no getting up, Tanaka losing the match (15:12)! Oh lord, this was unspeakably brutal. The bumps Tanaka and Hayabusa took in this were off the page. Many of them weren't technically big in the falling-off-balcony way, but "small" things like them going full force into a table that won't give way. They must have ached for weeks and weeks after this war. Awesome and Funk predictably dished out more than they took, although Terry did take a big bump for such an old guy in the form of Tanaka's stiff tornado DDT. The heat was out of this world. If you look at this like you look at, say, an All Japan match, you'll be disappointed. This was flawed beyond belief in regards to selling and psychology (of which there was virtually none). But this isn't All Japan, this is a totally different style that relies on something different to sell tickets and be entertaining. This was all about teamwork and the drug-crazed Street Fight style that will have you so enthralled that you'll forget to blink and breath.

It's not over yet though. Awesome powerbomb's Hayabusa and the heels stand united. Funk proclaims that FMW is dead. Funk says that he's taking the name of FMW and making it... Funk Masters of Wrestling! The Headhunters, Super Leather and Oya join them in their propaganda display. All the FMW guys are beaten up by Victor's army and an American flag is draped over Hayabusa, the heels placing a foot each other his fallen body. Funk exclaims that Onita is no more and his way is dead. The fans give them hell. Backstage, Funk claims his group has demolished Onita's FMW and says too many companies in Japan have treated American wrestlers like trash. He puts down FMW, naming Hayabusa and Tanaka, saying they have no guts or heart. I don't think anything could be further from the truth in Hayabusa and Tanaka's case, especially after how they just bumped like maniacs to put Funk over (kayfabe, I know).


Funk Masters of Wrestling was F-U-N. The commercial tape, that is. Despite that great last match and the angle, I wasn't too thrilled by the group's formation (W*ING forever!). The highlight of this tape was not surprisingly FMW vs. W*ING Alliance, with two BRUTAL Death Matches at the start of the tape. Then there was some tremendous regular wrestling, a change of pace, with Hayabusa and Oya hitting the mat and having their usual stellar match. The tape finished with yet another match that makes you wonder how these guys could endure such brutality and body-tearing punishment. Unbelievable work ethic and I can't tell you how much I admire the likes of Hayabusa, Tanaka, Kanemura and Oya after some of the stuff they used to (and in some cases continue to) go through to entertain the fans. This rocked, get it.

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