review by JaeDMC

Date: August 9th, 2009
Location: Tokyo Ariake Colosseum
Announced Attendance: 6,523

I'm back for more IGF madness and apparently so did 6,523 people in the Colosseum. So accurate a number, but so dark an arena.

1. Hideki Suzuki vs. Hikaru Sato
Sato came out to what sounded like a Japanese Austin Powers theme. He does have a kind of seventies haircut and goatee that I was totally mesmerized by. Suzuki's game plan was to wrestle straight up which led to a lot of waist lock take downs, that didn't lead to much. Sato held his own though, and brought a palm strike game. At one point he started talking smack to Suzuki and just palmed the snot out of his face. If he brings more of that, I'll be in love. Suzuki caught Sato with a nasty backdrop, and a nice drop kick but Sato was able to answer the ten count easily. It looked like one of those palms bust open Suzuki's nose. His little boo boo did not deter Sato from palm striking those jaws though, and it's official, I love him. When Sato started to try and work some heel hooks and leg grapevines, I starting to feel like I'd seen this before. He locks one in and Suzuki starts slapping him until TIME EXPIRES which is almost exactly how IGF Genome 8 started. Complete with post match pull apart brawl. Granted, this was actually more fun than the opener from the last Genome, but it can't be good that they've recycled the finish from the last show they did, can it? Anyway, the only highlight you need to see is the palm strikes, the rest is skipable.

2. Jon Andersen vs. Masato Shibata
OH YEAH. John Andersen is goofy big, and you may remember that he had my favorite moment on the last show, where he chucked Kutou out of the ring like a baby. Shibata looks to be a little tougher to throw around, as he's got a little more weight on him than Kutou. Jon looked like he shaved off a pound or two as his arms seem a little more mobile than last time around, which still keeps him several notches below normal human mobility in the upper limbs. Andersen and Shibata brought the intensity right at the bell. Andersen rocked a quick gut wrench suplex, and tried for a German Suplex but it was blocked. Shibata nailed a nice DDT and a great German Suplex for a nearfall. The crowd was pretty shocked that some one just tossed Andersen and so was I. But before he can capitalize on his momentum, Andersen stiffed him with a clothesline, and followed it up with a body slam. He then did what looked like a Border Toss, which he followed with a sleeper hold/crossface that forced Shibata to tap. The crowd is totally into Jon Andersen. So am I, in a freak show kind of way.

3. Eric Hammer vs. Daijiro Matsui
This is a rematch from the last show in which Matsui got destroyed in the finish. So it looked like Matsui was going to attempt to redeem himself. I was rooting for him all the way. Right out of the gate it felt like a different match as Hammer was attempting to sub out Matsui, which is not how he won the last match. Most of the match is them trading off working subs on each other. They seemed much more even than last time with Matsui looking like less of an underdog, despite an absurd weight disadvantage. Eventually Hammer abandons his submission aspirations and starts chaining some belly to belly suplexs. He then dead-lifted Matsui for an overhead belly to belly suplex that knocked the guy out. Your winner: Eric Hammer. I don't think I liked it as much as their last meeting. There just felt like more drama then. It felt so even this time, that it felt like the beginnings of a longer match. But Hammer just ended it.

4. Ultimo Dragon vs. Tiger Shark
They did some fun work early on with each man fighting to be the one to dive on to the other outside the ring. Tiger Shark eventually got to go for a plancha but Ulimo just sidesteped it, and followed it up with a tope. Tiger Shark worked Ultimo over in the ring for a minute or two. When he attempted a cross body, Ultimo countered with a dropkick to the breadbasket. Ultimo followed it up with a quick kick combination and an Asai DDT for the win. Match was 7 minutes tops. Ultimo is rewarded with a case of Corona. They should be handing that out to the folks who paid to see this.

5. Taka Kunou vs. Necro Butcher
They showed clips of Kunou and his awesome judo skills. No clips of him learning to fly thanks to Andersen at the last show. They refered to Necro as “Death Match Jesus”. Necro Butcher gave a great promo: "There will be no judo. None whatsoever. I'm going to punch you, I'm going to kick you, I'm going to scratch you, I'm going to teach you a wrestling lesson." Funny stuff; should be interesting.

Kunou tried to work some holds but Necro fought out by biting and punching. It's all kind of fun in a gimmicky way as Necro is obviously feeding Kunou ways to use his judo take downs. Action spilled to the outside and Butcher front flipped off the apron onto a standing Kunou. Necro then sent Kunou onto the time keepers table, and Butcher hit Kunou with a step ladder. It then appeared as though he got a blade and cuts Kunou's fore head so the guy would be bleeding. Ridiculous. Kunou made a comeback back in the ring with a cross arm breaker but Necro got to the ropes. Kunou layed into him with some headbutts and attempted another cross arm breaker. Necro was still able to reach the ropes. Necro came back with a power bomb and applied what could be the ugliest camel clutch ever. Necro looked for another bomb, but Kunou rolled him up with a nice little package of sorts, for the three. Fun match. Necro certainly walked Kunou through a lot of it, but on the plus side Kunou looks like he's got some skills. Despite losing Butcher still comes out looking pretty great. Not that it matters, I guess.

Break time and we got the "Inoki, Inoki" Rap from Triple P. We then go into some post match interviews, one of which is Jon Andersen, who is more winded than anybody. It's like he just finished running as fast as he could on a treadmill for 10 minutes and got off. He says he wants bigger opponents. Eric Hammer says the same. Hmm. Do I want to see Eric Hammer vs. Jon Andersen. I just don't know.

Inoki came out and did some sketch stuff with what appears to be some politicians and a Kim Jong-Il impersonator. It ends with Inoki taking a giant mallet to a model of some important looking building. Wish I knew what they were saying. One day, I'll learn and come back to you on it.

6. First Tiger Mask vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara
Looks like the last time these fought was in December the year previous. Fujiwara was TKO'd by a solebutt. So I have low expectations. I've been pretty down on Sayama since his return but some how he's started to get some of that groove back. He moves so much more fluidly each time I see him. Here he was bringing the kicks, some of which looked pretty good. Fujiwara survives and wraps up TM's leg. TM escaped and continued with the big kicks, which Fujiwara, more often than not, failed to block. His selling makes you feel bad, like watching some one beat up a defenseless old man. But it's Fujiwara and you know he's probably just fooling until he eventually breaks your arm. Tiger Mask went for the diving head butt but missed. Fujiwara starts throwing headbutts and his forehead starts to bleed. Because he's a MAN. Tiger Mask continued to come back with some nice kicks that you wouldn't expect from a man who looks so out of shape. He even started throwing some knee drops that looked down right graceful. Fujiwara attempted an armbar but time expired and it's a DRAW.

A pretty decent attempt, but it's too short to have that “amazing draw” feeling. They were still warming up by the ten minute mark. I'm kinda sick of the random time limits, that are set just so two guys can wrestle that length and draw. Why was this not given a 20 minute or 30 minute time limit like the match before it? Why 10? They're third from the top of the card, you'd think a match with two stars would get more time than the opening bout. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to see these two go 20 minutes, it's more the obvious purpose of the low time limits that irks me.

7. The Predator vs. Atsushi Sawada
Predator had probably the best match IGF produced last year with Necro Butcher. Atsushi Sawada looked really strong against Necro Butcher on the last show and really had the crowd behind him. This looked like it'll be a very interesting battle. Sawada entered with a chain in an obvious reference to Predator. I liked that. He's kind of got this attitude that says he wants to play your game and beat you at it, which so much more interesting than the dozens and dozens of stoic young guys that just want to have a good fight and come out all bland. Predator entered and does his Brody routine through the crowd. The spot light reveals that there are some folks in the stands, which I can't believe. I'm still wondering how close the actual attendance to 6,523 is.

They worked a pretty simple David v. Goliath style. Predator isn't my favorite guy in the world but he works this kind of match well. Sawada disappointed me though. His comebacks had some fire going, but I never felt like he was getting his head beat. For example, he makes a comeback where he gets Predator's leg in a half crab. His face is all smiles, like he wasn't just dominated by a guy 40 kilos heavier than him – unacceptable. His technique pretty solid if a little uninspired, but it's that performance aspect of selling that keeps him from putting on a good match. Predator eventually dropped him with a Hercules' Cutter and followed it up with a King Kong Knee Drop for the three. Sawada, was pretty underwhelming on a whole. I see plenty of potential, but he's going to have to find a different roster to grow with, or some one who gives a damn is going to have to work with him.

8. Naoya Ogawa & Josh Barnett vs. Yoshihiro Takayama & Bob Sapp
Oh man this has bad written all over it. The good news is Takayama has gotten in better shape since adding All Japan to his schedule. He seems much more invigorated.

Barnett and Sapp started it off. While Sapp is impressive looking he is pretty rough in terms of throwing worked strikes. Really it's pretty rough match all around, with Bob Sapp being the obvious weak link. I've never seen a figure four reversal spot look as bad as it did in this match. Eventually Takayama and Sapp hit some double team stuff and Takayama moved to finish off Barnett. For whatever reason, Bob Sapp mouths off to Takayama and tosses him out of the ring. Of course, this leads to him getting double teamed and screaming for help, while Takayama just flips him off. Ogawa nailed him with an STO and Barnett went to finish him off with a sleeper hold while the other two battled at ring side. Bob Sapp reached the ropes but the ref starts lifting his arm, and then just rings the bell. What just happened?

Barnett relinquished the hold as apparently he won, and Bob Sapp popped up looking pretty angry. He and Barnett start to brawl which leads to Inoki stepping in. Sapp ran over and lifted up Inoki for a body slam and the crowd gasped. Barnett blocked it and continued to battle it out with Sapp once Inoki was safely returned to the ground. Sapp leaves the ring and then comes back like there might be a reconciliation or something else nonsensical, but they just fight some more and then he leaves. Inoki tells everyone thanks for coming out and some confetti fell down. Just nonsense. These worked shoot endings do nothing to build the company or the people who are apart of them. If you can't find some one who's willing to lay their butt down for Josh Barnett find somebody else who will. I can't imagine it was actually booked that way.

What a mess. Just a mess. The match of the night probably goes to Necro Butcher and Taka Kunou. The Gaijin squashes weren't very offensive, just more uneventful than anything, and all the Star matches were just some guys showing up for a nice pay check. Not recommended as it's not nearly as good as other IGF that are so bad they're fun to watch.

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