Kings Road BATTLE LEAGUE Vol 2 on 7/1/06
review by Mike Campbell

It’s the end of the road (pun intended)! It was a great idea in theory, to bring back wrestling Baba wanted it, but it failed miserably in execution. So long, Kings Road, we hardly knew ya.

Kazushi Miyamoto... continues to be annoying in his matches, even as the promotion is about to close.
Tomoaki Honma... shows the fire and resilience that made Honma, and Turmeric Storm, so popular.
Ryouji Sai... gets the distinction of being the man to end Kings Road, and does so by stomping Ishikari into the mat.

This is actually the fifth (and final) show put on by the promotion. The fourth show (Battle League Vol. 1) wasn’t televised. But the clips before the show starts bring everyone up to speed. It seems that Kings Road and Zero-1 MAX have started working together and they really don’t like each other that much.

5 vs. 5 Elimination Match:
Kazushi Miyamoto, Tomoaki Honma, Yuto Aijima, Tomohiko Hashimoto, and Taichi Ishikari
Kohei Sato, Ryouji Sai, Hirotaka Yokoi, Rikiya Fudo, and Osamu Namiguchi

Ignoring everything else going on in the promotion, one look at the lineup for the Kings Road team is indicative of the trouble that they’re in. None of the team members (except Honma, who’d only wrestled on one other show) have been rousing successes in the ring. Had Hashimoto and Ishikari been replaced with Nagai and Ikeda, the team would have at least looked like they had a prayer. Also, it just seems wrong to not have Shota Takanishi involved, not that he would have made a very credible member of the team, but, even more than Miyamoto, Takanishi was the guy that really symbolized the promotion.

The layout of this is fairly simple, it’s done as several singles matches, which makes it easy to follow, and there are times that the wrestlers pull this off well, but there are also times that this lacks the excitement that you can find in a crazy multi man tag match. The really good thing here is that they usually stick to business and don’t get sidetracked too much. Miyamoto and Namiguchi start and Namiguchi tries to take home Miyamoto’s arm as a consolation prize. Namiguchi isn’t successful on that front, but he’s at least consistent, and that’s more than we can say for the supposed ace of Kings Road. Miyamoto sells like his arm is in big trouble, and then uses the same arm to deck Namiguchi with a lariat and that’s followed by a brainbuster for the elimination, and he doesn’t even sell his arm afterwards. Yokoi picks up the pieces and quickly gets Miyamoto to tap out to an armbar. Honma is smart enough to not fall into the same trap as Miyamoto and be forced to tap out, but he’s not smart enough to avoid several big strikes, a huge German suplex, and Yokoi’s sleeper. Yokoi seems to have Honma finished, but then Honma catches him in the Turmeric clutch and pulls off the upset.

The Honma/Fudo exchange is a prime example of the lack of excitement this match has. They spend almost seven minutes doing the same thing they could have accomplished in half of that time. Fudo thinks he can stroll in like Yokoi and pick up the pieces, but Honma won’t stay down. Instead of sticking with that story and building the drama and getting the crowd excited, Honma and Fudo spend nearly five minutes working a relatively back and fourth, and even, match, and it just sucks all the excitement out of things. Fudo finally starts throwing out big moves, and Honma’s selling is great. It seems for sure that Honma is finished, but he keeps coming back, and then out of nowhere, he catches Fudo in the Turmeric clutch for another surprising upset. It’s not much different when Sato gets his turn, he has the same idea as Fudo, and just toys with Honma for a bit, until Honma looks like he’s getting a third wind, and then Sato starts bombing him with suplexes to eliminate him. Sato/Aijima starts off promising, with Aijima showing some fire and not being afraid to bend the rules a bit, but Aijima can’t keep up the pace for too long, and Sato quickly dispatches him too.

At first it looks like Hashimoto is going to try to wear down Sato with submissions, but then they start sinking fast and it looks like it’s going to turn into Fudo/Honma, with them spending too much time doing nothing important, but then Fudo interferes and they get to the point. It looks like Sato is going to win by count out, but Aijima returns the favor and they’re both counted out, and we’re down to the final two. Sai/Ishikari isn’t even a contest, Ishikari’s success has been non existent and Sai had been tearing things up in Z1 and NJPW, Sai toys with him, the Z1 team attacks him on the floor, and it’s as hopeless as it looks. The only time Ishikari gets in anything are when Sai gives him openings, and both times, all Ishikari has to do is a Tornado DDT, a couple of suplexes, and the Black Mephisto. It’s clear that Sai is trying to give Ishikari a fighting chance, but it’s obvious that Ishikari doesn’t have anything left, and Sai finishes him off with a big diving footstomp. It’s too bad that Kings Road had to end on that kind of note, judging from the clips of the previous show and of what happened in Z1, this feud had potential to be lots of fun.

Conclusion: This is literally a one match show, it’s fun at times, but nothing that anyone needs to go out of their way to see, unless you’re a completist like me.

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