Kings Road HATAAGE on 1/15/06
review by Mike Campbell
No question about it, this is my new favorite promotion! The announcer name drops Giant Baba constantly, the logo is a takeoff of the AJPW logo, and the matches are held in a ring with a half red and half blue mat. All they need to do is kick off their shows with the NTV march, or with ‘Oji No Tamashi’ and get Kawada booked and Kings Road will be Puroresu Nirvana
Shota Takanishi . . . kicks off his wrestling career in an awesome way.
YUKI ISHIKAWA vs. SHOTA TAKANISHI
Considering that it’s Takanishi’s debut, the result is obvious. What isn’t obvious though is how much of a fight Takanishi would put up before going down. The expected layout of the match would be Ishikawa tying him up on the mat, slapping the taste out of his mouth, and finally finishing him off. But when Ishikawa goes to the mat, Takanishi is right there with escapes, counters, and his own holds to apply. Ishikawa also mounts and throws some palm strikes into his face, but when they get to their feet, there’s the rookie handing it back in the form of elbows. Takanishi tries again with elbows, but this time Ishikawa puts all he’s got into them and he drops like a safe. One backdrop and sleeper hold later, and it’s over. At six minutes or so it’s the right length for a match featuring a veteran and a rookie, but the work and layout are far from what you’d expect to see.
DAISUKE IKEDA vs. YUTO AIJIMA
The last couple of minutes of this are decent, but the first five minutes are hard to bear. Aijima and Ikeda seem like they’re laying the groundwork to go for fifteen, rather than half of that. The screw around with perfunctory holds that serves no purpose at all, although Ikeda’s escape of Aijima’s chinlock was a nice moment. After a quick tussle on the floor things finally pick up, Aijima tries to use his power to get ahead, but Ikeda cuts him off with his strikes and by rolling him up. Aijima’s school boy escape was original for sure. The Dai-Chan clutch is a nice finish, but it comes off feeling rushed because of how the match went from being the complete basics to a bit of a sprint.
TARZAN GOTO vs. BLUE JUSTICE
I guess we’ve got our Sports Entertainment match of the show. I don’t think I can do the confusion/insanity justice in words. BJ is Kendo Ka Shin, except that when he takes the mask off it’s actually Gran Naniwa. Ka Shin is watching from the stands. Goto wears a big hooded robe and when Naniwa attacks him, it’s not really Goto under the robe. The real Goto also is watching from the stands. It gets better though. Ricky Fuji and Gosaku attack Naniwa and it draws Ka Shin and Goto to both come to the ring wielding chairs and attacking people. In the chaos, Ka Shin levels the Goto imposter, puts Naniwa on top, and makes the ring announcer count to three. The bell rings and the music hits. So I’ll count that as a finish. It’s not a wrestling match in the least but it’s something that definitely leaves a memorable impression, whether it’s a good one or a bad one depends on your point of view.
SHIRO KOSHINAKA/TAKAO OMORI vs. KOCHIRIO KIMURA/TOMOHIKO HASHIMOTO
I’m not quite sure of the idea behind this match, but unless the goal was to show how much better Kimura is than his tag partner, I don’t think they accomplished it. Hashimoto really isn’t that bad, the senton he does is impressive considering his size. But he does very little in the match other than take punishment from Omori and Koshinaka. Other than Koshinaka using some of his trademark stuff, like the hip attack, and Omori using his Axe Guillotine driver, and the Axe bomber at the end to finish off Hashimoto, there isn’t much interesting offense, or any sense of focus.
Kimura on the other hand, is very impressive when he’s in the ring. He packs a heavy kick, and does some fun stuff when he’s working over Omori’s arm. When Hashimoto failed to make it to the corner to tag for the umpteenth time, Kimura just says “the hell with it” and attacks Omori anyway to finally allow Hashimoto to get out. The triple German suplex spot was a nice bit of comic relief, and thankfully they didn’t overdo it by going ahead with a quadruple one. Koshinaka hip attacking Omori would have made for a fun upset sort of finish, but instead Kimura gets held back after saving Hashimoto several times, so that Omori can finally get the win with the Axe bomber. Being the first show, as well as the only tag match on the card, obviously makes it hard to tell what plans (if any) are in the works as far as tag teams or tag team titles are concerned. But neither team here looked like they have any sort of potential in that area, although I’d not mind in the least if Kimura became a regular with the fed.
GENICHIRO TENRYU vs. KAZUSHI MIYAMOTO
Much like the promotion, this match is reminiscent of a main event from All Japan. Unfortunately it’s more reminiscent of one from the very latter part of Baba’s time, rather than the glory days. Tenryu is actually very giving here to Miyamoto. It’s obvious that Miyamoto is going to be the top guy in this promotion, and Tenryu makes sure to allow Miyamoto to get in a lot of offense on him, and doesn’t just blow it off. Tenryu also does get in his trademark chops and jabs, and in fact the opening stretch, with them trading chops looks like an ode to Kenta Kobashi vs. Kensuke Sasaki from NOAH or Shinya Hashimoto vs. Tenryu from the 1998 G1, only with selling in between the strikes. There is also a brief tussle on the floor resulting in a chair and table coming into play.
Miyamoto’s problem though is that he’s got no offense of his own. It’s been a recurring theme in his career actually. After he finished his tenure as a Fuchi tackle dummy, he got the WWE wannabe gimmick with the HHH water spitting, and using Jeff Hardy’s finisher. His U.S. excursion saw him doing a Great Muta knock off gimmick. His brief return to All Japan before leaving to join Kings Road, mostly saw him on the losing side of things. So Miyamoto has never really been able to develop his own offense. So what does he do? Why he does the moves of the other All Japan stars. Miyamoto starts off with the Soccer kicks (which actually open up Tenryu’s eye) and Stretch Plum of Kawada, and the moonsault and Shining Wizard of Mutoh. A Coconut crusher or a jumping neckbreaker drop somehow seems like they’d have been more fitting than the moonsault and Shining Wizard. Miyamoto also shows some impressive strength in getting Tenryu up for both a brainbuster and a powerbomb. Tenryu’s selling of the offense is very good and does a lot to lend credence to Miyamoto as Ace material. It’s afterwards though where this goes downhill. Miyamoto and Tenryu start to trade off brainbusters, and stupid delayed selling kicks into effect, and they follow that up with outright no-selling. Tenryu finally hits the 53 Years Old and gets the win. The idea was to make Miyamoto look like a star, even in defeat, which was what they did. But what they weren’t able to do was put on a main event match like the ones that made Baba’s All Japan great.
Conclusion: Disappointing main event aside. The promotion has an interesting concept, with a fun at times undercard. It’s a toss-up really. I thought that the good outweighed the bad. But that’s personal preference. I think it’s a card worthy of being checked out, but just don’t have your hopes up for something awesome.
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