FMW Shiodome Commercial Tape, 8/1/96
review by Stuart
The Shiodome is a really cool setting. It is an outdoor facility with the background being a monorail track. This show supposedly drew over 20,000, another success for FMW. The funniest thing is when wrestlers are cutting promos and this loud monorail suddenly shoots past. This show was historic for numerous reasons, but more on that as the review progresses. The tape starts with clips from FMW's massive 5/5/96 Kawasaki Stadium show. I won't go into detail, as I reviewed it elsewhere. The Pogo & Funk vs. Hayabusa & Tanaka match is highlighted. After those clips we go to the Shiodome, where President Arai is shown in a stylish Hawaiian shirt, relaxing before the big show.
Mamoru Okamoto vs. Hideo Makimura
Hideo's debut and he has the rookie look. This match is heavily butchered down to just over a minute. Holds are exchanged on the mat and it has a rookie match feel, with two guys doing the basics before they go any further. Okamoto throws some kicks at Hideo (not Hido), then slaps on a crab hold. Hideo taps out (8:40).
Kaori Nakayama vs. Miwa Sato
Joined in progress with lots of hair pulling going on. Kaori hits a face crusher for 2, then a back elbow for the same result. She goes for a handspring back elbow, but Miwa gets the boot up and kicks her in the back. Kicks to the chest and face by Miwa, but then a missed crossbody. Kaori tries to come back, but is on the wrong end of a German suplex hold a moment later. Miwa hits a backdrop suplex, but Kaori turns it into a pinning position for 2. Kaori then hits a moonsault press for the 3 count (9:56). Kaori didn't look much good and with Megumi Kudo retiring not long after, she didn't really have anyone to learn from, so never really reached her potential.
FMW Style Royal Rumble
I used to be a major battle royal fanboy as a kid, but watching them now sends me into la-la land. Ricky Fuji and Hideki Hosaka start this particular one off. They do a bit of wrestling, before the awful Gosaku Goshogawara arrives. Hosaka saves him from going over the top early. Halcon Negro comes in next and we go to the standard over-the-top attempts. Hido is next in and helps his W*ING Alliance buddy Hosaka. Toryu follows, then the match finally heats up as The Gladiator arrives and starts hurting people. He nearly kills Goshogawara with a lariat, which sends the big stiff out, then eliminates someone else. Katsutoshi Niiyama and Super Leather are the next two in and Niiyama tries to take Leather over by the tie, much like I.R.S. in the WWF's Royal Rumble some years back. The best worker in the entire match, Hisakatsu Oya, is revealed as the next entry and Hosaka is shown leaving, apparently eliminated. Leather sends Ricky Fuji out, then we get a promising worker, young Tetsuhiro Kuroda. Awesome lariat's Negro out, then (I think) Niiyama, followed by Super Leather. Kuroda dropkick's Awesome and Hido lariat's him out, which is a surprise. So it comes down to Hido and Kuroda. They have a lengthy fight and bring chairs into the ring. Hido gives Kuroda a piledriver on some for 2 3/4, then drops a moonsault press him for the 3 count. Horrible, horrible, horrible battle royal. Where's Ric Flair when you need him? It was like they threw a pack of zombies in there and hoped something productive would take place, without booking any in-match storylines. This was worse than any WWF version of the concept I've ever seen, with good wrestlers few and far between.
TAKA Michinoku vs. Nanyjo Hayato in a Hair vs. Hair Match
Clips from 6/24 are shown, TAKA beating Hayato with a cross knee scissors hold. Hayato refuses a handshake and plays the punk. 7/21 highlights follow with a TAKA, Fuji & Toryu vs. Nakagawa, Hayato & Kuroda match being shown. Hayato uses the Michinoku Driver II to pin Toryu and get on the nerves of TAKA. He challenges TAKA to a Hair vs. Hair Match at the Shiodome show and TAKA accepts. TAKA targets Hayato's leg early on and I dig the continuity. Hayato struggles to the ropes while locked in a single-leg crab hold. TAKA slaps him around, but is then backdropped up and over to the outside. Hayato follows with a lousy tope con hilo and has to sell the effect more than TAKA, who takes none of the impact. Back in the ring, TAKA connects with an elbow dash, before going back to work on the leg with a crab hold, which turns into another single-leg version of the hold. TAKA then locks on a bow-and-arrow hold, but that doesn't last long. He follows with the BASTARD-LIKE idle kicks to the face, his ode to Otani. He goes for a springboard something, but Hayato actually gets to him before TAKA leaves the ropes and pushes him off. TAKA takes a nasty bump backwards to the outside. Hayato goes after him with a really nice twisting quebrada. TAKA tries a German suplex, but Hayato lands on his feet and hits a perfect hurricanrana for 2. He lands the same move, but from the top rope, and gets another 2.
TAKA regains the control and hits his never-tiresome spaceman (no hand) springboard plancha, but Hayato manages to knee TAKA in the chest as he flies to the outside. Both guys barely make it back in the ring, sliding in at the 19 count. Hayato charges and is caught with an overhead belly to belly. TAKA misses a springboard dropkick and Hayato hits a Michinoku Driver II for 2 1/2. TAKA comes back with his own Michinoku Driver II and both stare at the lights... er, stars. TAKA tries another, but Hayato hops over and schoolboy's him for a good near fall. He quickly follows with a la magistral for 2 3/4. In an awesome duo of moves he lands a German suplex hold and then, without letting go, a Dragon suplex hold for 2 1/2. R.I.P. TAKA. They both go for Michinoku Drivers, blocking each others attempts, and collapse. TAKA goes up and connects with a missile dropkick, then hits the Michinoku Driver II for the win (15:47). Hayato gives TAKA the scissors, but TAKA cuts only one lock of hair and leaves it at that. This match really rocked, because from the start it had an in-ring storyline continuing from their last singles match. The highspots were generally well done, aside from Hayato's botched tope con hilo, and TAKA looked excellent. If he hadn't left Japan he would probably have been the best junior in the world by now. Hayato though let himself go and ended up a nobody. What a waste...
Megumi Kudo vs. Shark Tsuchiya, Crusher Maedomari & Bad Nurse Nakamura in a Handicap Death Match
Clips are shown of Shark and company killing Kudo and friends. Bad Nurse teases a face turn in the clips, seemingly not happy with Shark's morbid fetish for pain, violence and anarchy. Shark gets some major heel heat during her intro. The bad girls attack and stomp away at Kudo immediately. Crusher goes for a nodowa, but Kudo turns that into an impressive armdrag takeover. Shark tries a powerbomb, but Kudo counters with a Frankensteiner. The numbers are too much though and the heels take control. Shark uses a barbed wire bat or something equally dangerous and goes to hit Kudo with it, but whacks Bad Nurse by accident. Kudo drags Shark to a cage (her only ally in the match) and locks her in there. Crusher and Bad Nurse work over Kudo, before she comes back with a lariat to both opponents. Shark is set free by another of her friends and returns to the ring with her scythe. After some futile resistance the blade meets Kudo's forehead and alas, Kudo bleeds again. Kudo cries as the blood pours down her face. What did she ever do to deserve being stuck with these no-talent stiffs, having to bleed and bump for them? Bad Nurse seems disinterested in what's going on, as Kudo is locked in the cage by the others. Shark brings out the FIRE and prepares to toast the defenseless Kudo. Someone stops Shark from doing just that though, thankfully. Crusher is rushed into the cage by one of Kudo's friends (Nakayama?) and both are locked in there. In the ring, Bad Nurse hits a German suplex hold for 2 3/4. Shark hands Nurse the barbed wire bat, but she SWERVEZ (© Russo) us all by hitting Shark with it! Shark just leaves the ring and Kudo gets hold of Bad Nurse. KUDO DRIVER!!! Can you hear the neck snap? A Thunder Fire powerbomb finishes it and Kudo pulls off the amazing win (17:06). Shark returns to the ring and blows a fireball at Kudo. Die Shark, die. The last we see of Kudo is her rolling around in agony. This match wasn't good at all. Kudo is one of the best Joshi wrestlers I have seen in my limited exposure to it, but she isn't a miracle worker. Carrying one person is one thing. But three? No such luck.
Hayabusa vs. Koji Nakagawa
Highlights are shown of Koji attacking Hayabusa, upset that he "abandoned" FMW after getting injured on May 5th. Setting up this match, Hayabusa's return from injury. The fans go crazy when he makes his entrance. Koji works over Hayabusa's lower back in the early stages in a typically dull manner. Hayabusa comes back with a dropkick that sends Koji out, followed by a suspect quebrada. He hits a springboard kneel kick once back into the ring for 2, then a nice Phoenix senton, before a Lionsault for 2. Hayabusa is sent out and Koji follows with a really slow tope suicida. Koji is one of the most unathletic guys for his size and build that I have ever seen. He seems really uneasy leaving his feet. Nakagawa applies a Scorpion Deathlock. He also wears pink and black. Fill in the blanks. Bret Hart he ain't though. Hayabusa trips Koji and locks on a Texas Cloverleaf, then tries a moonsault press, but meets only knees. Koji gets two near falls with German and Tiger suplex holds. He goes up and is caught, then brought down with a Frankensteiner. Hayabusa powerbomb's Koji, then hits his firebird splash for 2 1/2. The Falcon Arrow gets the same result. Koji runs into a horrible kneel kick and both go down. Apparently something goes wrong because Nakagawa can't answer the 10 count and Hayabusa is awarded the match (a dreadfully long 21:55). What a mess. This is the worst Hayabusa match I have ever, ever seen. The execution was horrible and the match had no drama, crowd heat, emotion or intensity. Hayabusa should have trained more before returning or something, because this was a joke by his standards. Nakagawa is mediocre unless carried and Hayabusa was in no position at all to do that here. However, they would have much better matches down the road.
W*ING Kanemura vs. Masato Tanaka for the FMW Independent Title
Shots of the new belt, with retired-for-now Onita holding it, are shown. He hands the belt to Arai and we then get clips of the tournament. The opening first round match sees Masato Tanaka dodge a Mr. Pogo fireball en route to upsetting the veteran with a rolling elbow for the win (Pogo loses a tooth as well, for all to see). Super Leather beats Hido (what a match that must have been!) in the next one with a brainbuster. Hisakatsu Oya defeats Horace Boulder with a cross armbreaker, then W*ING Kanemura beats Koji Nakagawa with a Liger bomb to advance to the semi final round. Tanaka beats Oya with a rolling elbow in the first, in what must have been an excellent match. The second pits Kanemura against Leather in a barbed wire match. Kanemura wins after coming off the top with a barbed wire baseball bat, setting up the final. Big Japan was involved in a feud with New Japan around this time and New Japan honcho Riki Choshu, the One Style Man, shot down garbage wrestling during an interview. While Big Japan certainly was beyond horrible at this point, including FMW in that generalization was just ignorant and this match was FMW's attempt to show Choshu what they could do. The entrances aren't shown and we get straight to the action. Early on, Kanemura kicks Tanaka in the back and gets a bemused glare in return. Tanaka does the same thing to W*ING and they go face-to-face. Tanaka slaps Kanemura and sends him down into a sitting position, then connects with a dropkick to the back of his head for just a 1 count. Tanaka puts on a side headlock and really persists with it, Kanemura desperately trying to break it. He hits a backdrop suplex, but Tanaka holds on. Eventually he just lifts Tanaka and slams him to the mat.
Kanemura performs an modified aeroplane spin, then a single-leg crab hold, before front suplexing Tanaka over the ring ropes. He goes up top and drops the leg. Tanaka struggles back and hits a springboard lariat, then puts Kanemura on the top rope. He lands a mindblowing DDT from the top rope and somehow Kanemura's head doesn't go through the ring! Tanaka gives Kanemura's sore head no rest, coming off the top with a missile dropkick to it. He then lands a tornado DDT, which he does so gracefully, yet so brutally, for 2. He tries to collapse Kanemura's face with a dashing elbow but Kanemura goes around and schoolboy's Tanaka for 2. He quickly follows with a la magistal for another 2 count. Tanaka misses an elbow and is drilled down with a nodowa. Kanemura goes outside and sets up a table, Hido holding Tanaka down. Kanemura lands the W*ING body press, putting Tanaka through the almost-unbreakable FMW table. Unfortunately, he didn't drape the W*ING flag around himself, so it wasn't enough to bring a tear to my eye this time. Kanemura throws Tanaka head-first into what remains of the table and yells, "This is how we do things Choshu!" (not really, but it would have been funny). Back in the ring, Kanemura lands a Liger bomb for 2 1/2, then an Exploder suplex. He grabs one of those hard wooden boards (usually obtained from broken tables) and comes off the top, smashing it over Tanaka's Bushwacker-like head. Tanaka counters a powerbomb attempt with a reverse Russian legsweep cradle for 2 or so.
Tanaka elbow's Kanemura in the back of the head, then catapult's off the rope with another breathtaking tornado DDT for 2. He goes for a German suplex, but Kanemura counters with his patented reverse low blow. He charges off the ropes into a Tanaka elbow, but immediately retaliates with a lariat for 2 3/4. A TFPB gets 2, though a second attempt results in him getting backdropped. Kanemura ducks a rolling elbow attempt and hits two German suplexes. Kanemura runs into a boot and is hit with the rolling elbow for 2 3/4! Tanaka tries another, but Kanemura ducks and hits his own for ANOTHER near fall! Kanemura lands a Liger bomb, then a guillotine legdrop and finally two TFPBs, getting the win and the title (14:51). If this match wasn't a big, hearty "haha" to Riki Choshu, I don't know what was. FMW has delivered better matches, but these two pulled a great match out of the hat. They work so well together and showed that they are good wrestlers without EXCESSIVE prop use, especially Tanaka who I'm surprised New Japan didn't try to sign after this display (wait, that'd mean signing an indy heavyweight name). While it wasn't up to the standard of some NJ heavyweight matches, it was still a top quality heavyweight match, actually done more in the All Japan style.
Terry Funk vs. Mr. Pogo in a No Rope Electrified Barbed Wire Double Hell Glass Crush Spider Net Landmine Death Match
Can you hear the cry of the planet? Two sides of the ring have exploding, electrified barbed wire. The other two have nothing. However, if a wrestler falls off the edge of the apron, BANG! Highlights of Victor Quinones and The Headhunters turning against Pogo are shown. Pogo the babyface? Well, I never...! Victor almost incites a riot by screaming "You fucking Jap!" at Pogo on the microphone. Funk says that FMW bought Pogo from them and that he will show him up tonight. He puts an "X" sticker over the FMW logo and says FMW is symbolic of Onita, who Funk (really, really) hates. And away we go. The two are very wary early on, doing a test of strength. They try to push each other into the barbed wire and Pogo Irish whip's Funk towards the spider net outside, but Funk drops to the mat, thus escaping the fall. Funk pulls out some of his classic jabs and a dazed Pogo unsteadily wanders around the edge of the apron. Funk connects with some more and Pogo barely escapes going into the landmine-filled spider net. Funk jabs even more, but Pogo catches the arm and takes him down into a wakigatame, breaking after the damage is done. He Irish whip's Funk towards the net, but Funk reverses that and Pogo literally runs across the edge of the apron, but once more escapes the fall. They try to push each other into the barbed wire, but Funk wins. Oh, how he wins. He lifts Pogo up as if to give him a backdrop suplex or something but drops him ON the barbed wire that way. BANG! Pogo gets exploded and the referee hits the mat as well. Pogo must injure a leg, because Funk immediately goes to work on that. He goes for the spinning toehold and Pogo kicks off, but Funk holds on to the leg to prevent himself from going off the apron. They repeat that several times, getting closer to the edge each time.
Funk is finally kicked to the mat, at which point Victor sets a chair entirely on fire and throws it in the ring. Funk repeatedly whacks Pogo with it until he has to let go as flames engulf the thing. Victor then hands more fire to Funk and thus commences one of the most brutally violent sequences ever. Funk blows the fire at Pogo, making full contact and Pogo goes off the edge of the ring into the spider net. BANG! POGO EXPLODES! Well not quite, but smoke fills the ringside area and it all looks very scary. More scary is the fact that Pogo doesn't move at all. Funk knows something is wrong, but rather than letting the match end, becomes a heartless bastard by kneeling before Pogo and blowing fire at close range, burning him. The referee stops the match (11:42) and Funk attacks people at ringside and chases fans off. Meanwhile, Pogo is legitimately paralyzed and can't move. He eventually is able to move again and would retire later on in the year in a final Street Fight. That retirement wouldn't last for long though, as Pogo returned to wrestle full-time for Big Japan. Funk cuts a promo and says Onita, Pogo and FMW have no guts. He says he will bring Texan boys to FMW, because FMW is at an all time low. Pogo is driven off in an ambulance as fans scream his name in appreciation and horror I suppose. The match itself is easy to overlook with the events that took place. But it was turning into quite the psychological match, telling a great story. Funk of course carried the match, with the near-useless Pogo along for the ride and they built to the explosions very well. Unfortunately the one huge explosion is the one that nearly ended Pogo's livelihood.
This is probably one of the worst FMW major shows I've seen pre-1998, post-1994. It wasn't overly bad, because it had TAKA vs. Hayato and Tanaka vs. Kanemura. Pogo vs. Funk was also really good while it lasted. The show was boring though, because some of the early matches were really dull and just plain bad. After that horrible battle royal, it was hard to get into the show and it was really Tanaka vs. Kanemura that made the tape one to own. It was a great match of a style that has become more common in FMW as the years have gone by, relying less on garbage props and more on natural ability, blending the two nicely. Overall I wouldn't recommend this show before tens of other FMW tapes out there, but it has some stuff worth watching.
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