Legend The Pro-Wrestling on 1/13/14
A Review by Kevin Wilson
Date: January 13th, 2014
Hey look, a new promotion! Not really new of course but it is the first time I have reviewed a card from Legend Pro ever. Legend Pro is a promotion that doesn't have shows very often and as the name implies tends to use "legends" of puroresu on the cards. It tends to have older wrestlers but isn't just a nostalgia show as there are always younger wrestlers used throughout as well. Here is the full card:
- Mitsuya Nagai, Bear Fukuda, and Taro Kurashima vs. Alexander Otsuka, Super Tiger II, and Hayato Mashita
That is quite a blast from the past, some matches I don't have high hopes for but others look entertaining on paper. Let's get rolling.
Mitsuya Nagai, Bear Fukuda, and Taro Kurashima vs. Alexander Otsuka, Super Tiger II, and Hayato Mashita
Nagai picks up Nagai and rams him into Fukuda's boot. Nagai tags in Fukuda, double Irish whip to Mashita and they hit a double shoulderblock. Cover by Fukuda but it gets a two count. Fukuda knocks Super Tiger II off the apron before stomping Mashita. Fukuda picks up Mashita and he hits a scoop slam. He picks up Mashita again and hits a second scoop slam. Cover by Fukuda, but it gets a two count. Fukuda tags in Kurashima, Kurashima kicks Mashita in the corner and hits a scoop slam. Kurashima picks up Mashita and throws him down with a second scoop slam. A third slam by Kurashima and he tags Fukuda back in. Fukuda picks up Mashita and the two trade elbows, Fukuda goes off the ropes but Mashita catches him with a jumping kick. Mashita tags in Otsuka, stomps by Otsuka and he picks up Fukuda before hitting an uppercut. Scoop slam by Otsuka, cover, but it gets a two count. Otsuka picks up Fukuda, Irish whip, reversed, and Fukuda hits a lariat followed by a sumo throw. Fukuda tags in Nagai, Nagai elbows Otsuka and goes off the ropes but Otsuka catches the heel kick attempt and throws Nagai to the mat. Giant Swing by Otsuka to Nagai, he picks him back up and holds him for Super Tiger II and Mashita. Super Tiger II and Mashita kick Nagai repeatedly in the chest, and Otsuka hits a release German suplex. Otsuka tags in Mashita, Mashita picks up Nagai and slaps Otsuka. Side slam by Mashita to Otsuka, cover, but it gets a two count. Fukuda picks up Mashita and puts him in the corner, Kurashima hits a lariat as does Fukuda and then Nagai hits a back elbow. Another lariat by Fukuda, Nagai picks up Mashita and hits the capture suplex. Cover, but it gets a two count. Nagai picks up Mashita and delivers the Falcon Arrow. Cover, but it gets another two count. Nagai gets up to the top turnbuckle, waits for Mashita to get up and nails the Hyper Knee Kuga. Cover, and Nagai picks up the three count. Your winners: Mitsuya Nagai, Bear Fukuda, and Taro Kurashima
Match Thoughts: Solid opener. Being the first match they weren't going to go all out to steal another match's thunder but there was some decent mat work here and Nagai really doesn't look any different than he did ten years ago. Mashita got a bit of a chance to shine before he was put away, and he didn't go easily so no one here looked like they didn't belong in the match. Overall nothing spectacular but not a bad way to start out the show. Score: 6.0
Solar and Gran Hamada vs. NOSAWA Rongai and MAZADA
Solar gets back into the ring and NOSAWA slowly follows him in. Solar tags in Hamada, Hamada picks up NOSAWA and gives him a headbutt. Another headbutt by Hamada and he applies a reverse chinlock. MAZADA breaks it up, they both grab one of Hamada's legs and give them a pull. Snapmare by MAZADA to Hamada and he applies a chinlock while raking Hamada in the eyes. Stretch hold by MAZADA and he knees Hamada low. MAZADA tags in NOSAWA and NOSAWA stomps Hamada in the ribs and chest. Cover by NOSAWA but it gets a two count. NOSAWA picks up Hamada and hits a chop but Hamada returns the favor. Headbutt by Hamada to NOSAWA, NOSAWA tries his own headbutt but it just ends up hurting him. NOSAWA hits Hamada low when the referee isn't looking and tags in MAZADA. MAZADA punches Hamada and elbows him in the back of the head. MAZADA goes off the ropes but Hamada catches him with a tilt-a-whirl slam and tags in Solar. Irish whip by Solar and he hits a spinebuster. Solar picks up MAZADA, Irish whip, and Solar hits an armdrag. Irish whip by Solar and he hits a spinebuster. Rocking Cradle by Solar but NOSAWA breaks it up. Irish whip by NOSAWA to the corner to Hamada but Hamada knees NOSAWA when he charges in. Tornado DDT by Hamada and he tags in Solar. Solar picks up MAZADA but MAZADA elbows him. Irish whip by MAZADA and he hits a lariat. Elbow drop by MAZADA, cover, but it gets a two count. Irish whip by MAZADA but Solar ducks the lariat and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Solar wraps up MAZADA's legs like a pretzel, but NOSAWA comes in and breaks it up. MAZADA stomps Solar out to the apron while NOSAWA chops Hamada into the corner. Irish whip to Hamada but Hamada avoids NOSAWA when he charges in. Solar then goes up to the top turnbuckle and hit a diving crossbody onto MAZADA. Solar-Style Inside Cradle by Solar, and he picks up the three count! Your winners: El Solar and Gran Hamada
Match Thoughts: You have to give MAZADA and NOSAWA credit for being good sports, they just go from indy promotion to indy promotion trying to make other tag teams look good. They will never be world beaters but they are certainly very capable tag team wrestlers. Even though Solar and Hamada are old, and apparently only have about five moves apiece total, they still didn't mail anything in here. Solar even made a point of flipping himself into the ring most of the time that he entered it, almost to prove that even at his age that he was still able to do the same things he always could. Which he can't, of course, but it certainly isn't for lack of trying. So the match was a bit repetitive at parts, but it kept moving at a pretty good pace and the old guys seemed to be using maximum effort. Nothing bad due to the effort level but still not a good match just based off the work itself. Score: 5.0
Akitoshi Saito vs. Daisuke Sekimoto
Saito picks up Sekimoto and elbows him into the corner. Running forearm smash in the corner by Saito, he covers Sekimoto with one foot but it gets a two count. Saito picks up Sekimoto and drops him with a release German suplex. Cover by Saito, but it gets a two count. Saito picks up Sekimoto, Irish whip to the corner but Sekimoto kicks Saito when he charges in and then hits a spear. Saito gets up in the corner and Sekimoto hits a lariat. Another lariat in the corner by Sekimoto and he hits a vertical suplex. Cover by Sekimoto, but it gets a two count. Single leg crab hold by Sekimoto, but Saito gets a hand on the bottom rope. Sekimoto throws Saito in the corner and hits a German suplex hold for a two count. Sekimoto goes off the ropes but Saito hits his arm and delivers a backdrop suplex. Saito picks up Sekimoto and throws him to the mat with the Death Cloak. He hits a second one before picking up Sekimoto and dropping him with a third. Cover, but Sekimoto kicks out at two. Saito goes off the ropes and levels Sekimoto with a lariat, cover, but again it gets a two count. Short-arm lariat by Saito, cover, but Sekimoto gets a shoulder up. Saito picks up Sekimoto but Sekimoto hits a quick lariat followed by a German suplex hold for a two count. Back up they trade elbows, headbutt by Sekimoto and he goes off the ropes but Saito catches him with a Sickle Death. Saito goes off the ropes but Sekimoto catches him with a lariat followed by an enzigieri. Lariat by Sekimoto, cover, but it gets a two count. Sekimoto grabs Saito from behind and delivers a German suplex hold, and this time he gets the three count. Your winner: Daisuke Sekimoto
Match Thoughts: Saito is better in the 'grumpy veteran' role than he is as a legitimate contender to anything. Anyway I wanted to like this match as they were two big guys clubbing at each other and generally that is a match I like, but they were just so quick to shrug off what should have been better respected offense. The arm work by Saito was really good, but then by the middle of the match it meant nothing at all and never really was an issue again. Saito killed Sekimoto with several of his biggest moves but within 20 seconds Sekimoto is getting a near fall on one of his big moves. Really by the amount of offense done, Saito should have easily beaten Sekimoto, and Saito almost seemed to go down too easy at the end. The moves/structure in general was great but where they led to I have an issue with and it did take away from the match for me. Just a bit more meaning to some of the big moves, and Sekimoto doing a bit more to put Saito away would have made this a really good match. Score: 5.5
Hiro Saito and AKIRA vs. Manabu Nakanishi and Jushin Thunder Liger
Saito picks up AKIRA and tags in AKIRA, who comes off the top turnbuckle with a double axe handle. AKIRA rolls Liger to the mat and applies an armbar, he picks up Liger and tags Saito back in. Saito grabs Liger's arm from the apron and snaps it over the top rope. Knee to the ribs by Saito and he applies an armbar, but Nakanishi comes in the ring and breaks it up. Saito tags in AKIRA, AKIRA picks up Liger, double Irish whip but Liger ducks the double lariat and throws Saito into AKIRA before hitting a Shotei onto Saito. Liger tags in Nakanishi, chops by Nakanishi onto AKIRA into the corner, Irish whip, Nakanishi then throws Saito into the same corner and hits a lariat onto both of them. Nakanishi goes off the ropes and hits a double lariat. Nakanishi picks up AKIRA and puts him into the Argentine Backbreaker, but AKIRA slides down his back and kicks Nakanishi in the back of the head. Irish whip by AKIRA, reversed, but AKIRA kicks Nakanishi as he charges in. Jumping back elbow strike by AKIRA but Nakanishi catches him with a German suplex hold for a two count. Nakanishi picks up AKIRA and goes for another one but AKIRA elbows out of it and hits a DDT. AKIRA tags in Saito, and Saito hits a senton onto Nakanishi. Cover, but Nakanishi gets a shoulder up. Irish whip by Saito to the corner and he hits a running shoulderblock. Cover by Saito, but it gets a two count. Saito goes up to the second turnbuckle and hits a diving senton. He then goes up to the second turnbuckle again and hits a second one. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Irish whip attempt by Saito but Nakanishi won't budge, chops by Saito but Nakanishi kicks him in the stomach and throws Saito down to the mat. Liger comes in the ring, he picks up Saito and throws him into the corner. Shotei by Liger, and Nakanishi follows with the Polish Hammer. Cover by Nakanishi, but it only gets a two count. Nakanishi picks up Saito and puts him into the Argentine Backbreaker, AKIRA comes in to break it up but Nakanishi throws Saito at AKIRA. AKIRA falls out of the ring and Liger jumps out onto him with a pescado. Lariat by Nakanishi to Saito, he picks him up and puts him back in the Argentine Backbreaker. With AKIRA incapacitated, Saito has no choice but to submit. Your winners: Manabu Nakanishi and Jushin Thunder Liger
Match Thoughts: To think that AKIRA is actually the youngest wrestler in this match. Seeing Liger and AKIRA's parts made me wish for another singles match between those two, they always had such good chemistry. Anyway this wasn't offensive but wasn't great either which probably isn't a surprise with a match containing Saito and Nakanishi at this stage of their careers. But these are all veterans that know their limitations and know how to structure a match. Liger did enough high flying to spice up the action a bit, and although there were some meaningless restholds they were kept pretty brief. Not exactly good by any stretch of the imagination, but not bad either. Score: 5.0
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Yuji Okabayashi
Ishii picks up Okabayashi and hits a backdrop suplex. Cover, but it gets a two count. Ishii picks up Okabayashi and goes for a suplex, Okabayashi reverses it but Ishii lands on his feet. Kick to the stomach by Okabayashi and he chops Ishii against the ropes, Okabayashi goes off the ropes and hits a spear. Okabayashi picks up Ishii and puts him onto his shoulders into an Argentine Backbreaker, but Ishii squeezes on his head and Okabayashi has to put him down. Okabayashi throws Ishii into the corner but Ishii avoids his charge and hits a lariat. Ishii puts Okabayashi onto the top turnbuckle but Okabayashi headbutts him as he tries to join him. Ishii finally makes it up there and after some struggling he hits a delayed superplex. Ishii picks up Okabayashi and goes for a powerbomb but Okabayashi blocks it. Chop by Ishii but Okabayashi returns fire. Chop to the throat by Ishii and he goes for another powerbomb, this time dropping Okabayashi with the move. Cover, but it gets a two count. Ishii goes off the ropes and hits a lariat, but Okabayashi doesn't go down. He hits a second one, then Okabayashi fires back with his own lariat. Slaps by Okabayashi but Ishii hits a headbutt. Hard lariat by Okabayashi, he picks up Ishii and slams him down with a powerbomb. Cover, but Ishii gets a shoulder up. Okabayashi picks up Ishii and hits a scoop slam, Okabayashi goes up to the top turnbuckle but Okabayashi rolls out of the way of the body press. Both wrestlers slowly get up, Okabayashi charges Ishii but Ishii kicks him back. Okabayashi hits a lariat anyway and then a second one, but Ishii gets back to his feet. Headbutts by Ishii but Okabayashi elbows him, he goes off the ropes but Ishii catches him with a lariat. Cover, but it gets a two count. Both wrestlers slowly get up and trade elbows, Okabayashi blocks Ishii's jumping kick and clubs Ishii in the back. Okabayashi goes for a lariat, Ishii blocks it, and then ducks the second one before delivering the jumping kick to the back of Okabayashi's head. Cover, but it gets two. Ishii picks up Okabayashi and nails the brainbuster, cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner: Tomohiro Ishii
Match Thoughts: Well this was a man-sized match. What I really like about matches like this is they make every move look meaningful. Since they both wrestle like powerhouses, even a suplex or a powerslam is made to look like a big deal, and nothing is a throw-away spot. Also there was no overkill, Ishii weakened Okabayashi, hit the brainbuster and it was over. They also only really had one "rest hold" in the match, which I define as just a move to kill time and catch a breather, otherwise they were just throwing elbows and chops at each other while mixing in various power moves. I knew going into this match I would like it since I enjoy both wrestlers, and they did not disappoint, I wish Okabayashi was in a promotion that made TV more as I really enjoy his work. The only negative I can really think of is the chop battle at the beginning went a bit longer than I'd prefer, but otherwise just a great hoss match. Score: 8.5
Riki Choshu and Yukio Sakaguchi vs. Tatsumi Fujinami and LEONA
Knee to the chest by Sakaguchi but LEONA hits a fireman's carry takeover. Sakaguchi kicks LEONA back into the corner and hits a jumping knee. Sakaguchi grabs LEONA and knees him, but LEONA catches one and hits a dragon screw leg whip. LEONA grabs Sakaguchi's leg and applies a leg lock into a stretch hold, but Choshu breaks it up. LEONA tags in Fujinami, Fujinami stomps Sakaguchi and hits a scoop slam. Fujinami picks up Sakaguchi, Irish whip, and Fujinami applies a sleeperhold. Dragon Sleeper by Fujinami but Sakaguchi pushes Fujinami back into the corner and tags in Choshu. Choshu catches an Fujinami kick and pushes him to the mat, and Choshu applies the Scorpion Deathlock. LEONA breaks it up with kicks to the chest, and Fujinami tags in LEONA. LEONA and Fujinami grab Choshu and hit a double vertical suplex. Sakaguchi comes in the ring but Fujinami throws him back out. Fujinami grabs Choshu and holds him for LEONA and LEONA hits a dropkick. Dragon screw leg whip by LEONA to Choshu, and LEONA applies a figure four leglock. Sakaguchi comes in the ring and breaks it up, and he grabs Fujinami into the corner. Choshu goes off the ropes and hits a lariat onto LEONA, cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winners: Riki Choshu and Yukio Sakaguchi
Match Thoughts: An odd way to end the show as I don't really know what the point was. I am guessing that LEONA is a pupil of sorts of Fujinami, which is fine, but I can't find a connection between Choshu and Sakaguchi. Not a whole lot happened, the match still seemed to be warming up when it was suddenly over. Choshu and Fujinami had very little interaction, so if you were in it to see the two legends face off then you probably went away very disappointed. I don't think that the main event should be the shortest match on the entire show. Not a very exciting way to end an otherwise solid event. Score: 3.5
Best Match: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Yuji Okabayashi. Not even close. While most of the matches on this event came across as exhibitions, or were just aiming for "solid", these two put on a very entertaining and well structured match. There was no overkill, no trading holds on the mat, no handshake, just two big guys hitting each other and trying to drop each other as hard as possible. From an in-ring perspective this match really saved the show as otherwise it would have been one that could be easily skipped. A great performance by both wrestlers.
MVP: Tomohiro Ishii. Who knew a few years ago that Ishii would become one of the most entertaining wrestlers in Japan? He isn't big height-wise, but he has a lot of muscle and the fans in Japan have really come around to how good he is. He fights within his limits, he doesn't try to do anything he shouldn't be trying to do and everything he does has a purpose. This match showed that even when wrestling someone he doesn't have a lot of familiarity with, that he can still put on a great match.
Overall: As I mentioned above, Ishii/Okabayashi really saved the show. Without them it would have just been a middling indy event with some solid matches but nothing that you would need to go out of your way to see. There was some nostalgia here, and if you loved one of the legends wrestling then it would probably be worth watching (I'd watch just about any event with Mutoh or Liger on it, and I am sure somewhere in the world there are fans that feel the same way about Fujinami and Choshu), but in terms of in-ring action everything hovered around the middle. Except for of course Ishii and Okabayashi. If you are on a nostalgic trip or want to see the one great match, pick this up, but as a whole I can only slightly recommend it because it really is just a one match card.