New Japan "FANTASTICA MANIA 2014" on 1/18/14
A Review by Kevin Wilson
Date: January 18th, 2014
We are on to another day of the New Japan/CMLL joint tour. This has pretty much the same wrestlers as the last event I reviewed, but they are paired up differently to give new match-ups. Here is the full card:
- Jado vs. Maximo vs. Taichi
And away we go!
Jado vs. Maximo vs. Taichi
Maximo returns to the ring, kick by Taichi to Maximo and he rakes him in the eyes. Irish whip by Maximo and Maximo hits an armdrag. Armdrag by Taichi and both men lariat each other. Powerslam by Maximo but Taichi catches him with a superkick. Jado comes back into the ring, he covers Taichi but it gets a two count. He then covers Maximo but it gets a two as well. Crossface of JADO to Maximo but Taichi breaks it up. Taichi covers Jado but Maximo breaks it up. Maximo goes off the ropes, kick by Taichi but as he goes for the powerbomb he is hit by a Jado lariat. DDT by Jado, cover, but Taichi breaks it up. Taichi goes off the ropes but Jado hits him with a lariat. Jado charges Maximo but Maximo moves and kisses him, Irish whip by Jado, reversed, Jado goes for a sunset flip but Maximo sits on him for a two count. Irish whip by Maximo to Jado, reversed, but Maximo hits a rebound hip attack out of the corner. Jado rolls out of the ring but Maximo sails out onto him with a tope suicida. Maximo gets back into the ring as Taichi does as well, Maximo ducks a Taichi lariat and pulls Taichi’s pants down. Maximo tries to kiss Taichi but Taichi re-directs it and he kisses the referee. Finally Maximo is able to kiss Taichi, dropkick to the knee and he applies La Magistral to pick up the three count! Your winner: Maximo
Match Thoughts: Ok, I just got done watching DDT, I have reached my “men kissing men” humor for the day. No mas. It is an interesting character, I mean that pretty much is his shtick but the crowd loves him. To me, it gets old really fast… I’m not personally disgusted, I just don’t understand the humor when it happens five times in one match, it would be funnier if it was just once a match to throw off opponents or something. But the crowd enjoys it so he has that anyway. Solid action otherwise. Score: 4.0
Stuka Jr. and Rey Cometa vs. Yujiro Takahashi and OKUMURA
Cometa hits a moonsault onto Takahashi, cover, but it gets a two count. Cometa charges Takahashi and hits a hurricanrana followed by a pair of dropkicks. Cometa goes off the ropes but OKUMURA trips him from ringside and pulls Cometa out of the ring. Takahashi goes off the ropes to do a dive but Stuka Jr. grabs Takahashi’s legs from the outside and pulls him out of the ring as well. Cometa gets back in the ring and goes for a springboard tornado plancha onto Takahashi, but Takahashi moves and he hits Stuka Jr. on accident. Takahashi slides Cometa back into the ring, he picks him up and kicks him in the stomach. Chop by Takahashi, he picks up Cometa, Irish whip, Cometa goes for a hurricanrana but Takahashi rolls through. Cover, but Stuka Jr. breaks it up. Takahashi rakes Stuka Jr. in the eyes, then he hits a German suplex hold onto Stuka Jr. while OKUMURA hits one onto Cometa for a two count. All four men slowly get up, Cometa and OKUMURA gain the advantage, OKUMURA slides out of the ring but Cometa hits him with a tope suicida. Meanwhile in the ring Takahashi goes off the ropes, drop toehold by Stuka Jr. but Takahashi blocks La Magistral. Stuka Jr. slams Takahashi to the mat, he goes up to the top turnbuckle but OKUMURA hits him with a chair from the floor. HOT WIFE was on the apron to distract the referee but she eats a superkick from Cometa and flops to the floor. OKUMURA attacks Cometa while in the ring Takahashi hits a Fisherman Buster onto Stuka Jr. for a two count. Takahashi picks up Stuka Jr., hits the Tokyo Pimps and picks up the three count. Your winners: Yujiro Takahashi and OKUMURA
Match Thoughts: They did a lot with the small amount of time they had and made the most of it. There was literally no down time at all, they were just moving from start to finish. I loved Stuka Jr.’s random dive to the outside, it caught everyone off-guard and was a neat visual. A fun tag match, just wish it was a bit longer. Score: 6.5
Rey Escorpión, YOSHI-HASHI, Niebla Roja, and Vangelis vs. Tiger Mask, Titan, KUSHIDA, and Fuego
Escorpión comes in the ring in Roja’s place, then Vangelis attacks Tiger Mask from behind. YOSHI-HASHI comes in as well and all three men hit a big boot onto Tiger Mask. Tiger Mask falls out of the ring, so they get Fuego. Fuego is Irish whipped to the corner and all four of his opponents hit running strikes on him. KUSHIDA comes in to help, but he gets kicked by Roja. Irish whip to KUSHIDA and he is double teamed by Roja and Escorpión. Titan gets in the ring, Irish whip to him but he is able to connect with a rebound handstand kick to Escorpión. YOSHI-HASHI kicks Titan out of the ring but Tiger Mask comes in the ring and hits a Tiger Drive onto YOSHI-HASHI. Vangelis hits a spinning heel kick onto Tiger Mask, then Fuego knocks Vangelis out of the ring with a swandive missile dropkick. Escorpión comes in the ring and hits a lariat onto Fuego, but KUSHIDA comes in to take his place. Escorpión kicks KUSHIDA, Irish whip to the corner but KUSHIDA moves as he charges in and applies a submission hold in the ropes. Meanwhile Roja comes in the ring to kick Tiger Mask out of it, Vangelis joins him, they give KUSHIDA an Irish whip but he kicks them both back. KUSHIDA hits a standing moonsault onto both of them, cover, but it gets a two count. Escorpión comes off the top turnbuckle to try to help but he accidentally lands on Roja and Vangelis. Scoop slam by KUSHIDA to Roja, he goes up to the top turnbuckle but jumps out of the ring onto Escorpión. Tiger Mask gets in the ring, he picks up Roja, Irish whip, reversed, but Tiger Mask avoids Roja’s dropkick. Roja falls out of the ring but Tiger Mask hits a tope suicida onto him. This leaves…. YOSHI-HASHI and Titan in the ring, as Titan comes in with a swandive missile dropkick. Vangelis comes in the ring to take YOSHI-HASHI’s place, Titan avoids a Vangelis dropkick but Vangelis drops him onto the apron. Titan then hits a top rope Asai Moonsault down onto YOSHI-HASHI outside the ring. Fuego hits a swandive crossbody onto Vangelis, he goes off the ropes but Vangelis catches him and it’s a German suplex hold for the three count. Your winners: Rey Escorpión, YOSHI-HASHI, Niebla Roja, and Vangelis
Match Thoughts: This was clearly just a free-for-all exhibition type match, they basically just took turns doing moves to each other, swapping who was in the ring, and repeated that for eight minutes until the match ended. Which isn’t bad per se as it was fun for the crowd and certainly was fast paced, but it didn’t really feel like a match and no one really got a chance to shine since there were so many people in the match. Good for spots, but if you like anything resembling psychology then I wouldn’t recommend it. Score: 6.0
Máscara Dorada and El Desperado vs. Volador Jr. and BUSHIROAD
Dorada and Desperado stay in the ring with Volador Jr., double Irish whip but Volador Jr. ducks the lariat attempt and kicks them both down. Dorada tosses Volador Jr. over the top rope to the floor, he then goes for a pescado but Volador Jr. moves out of the way. Desperado doesn’t miss his tope con giro though, then BUSHIROAD goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a tornillo onto Desperado. BUSHIROAD goes to get back in the ring but is grabbed by Dorada and Desperado as they all fight to get back in the ring. They decide instead to brawl up into the stands. Volador Jr. gets up on the entrance way and hits a diving crossbody onto Dorada while BUSHIROAD does the same thing to Desperado on the other side of the crowd. They make their way back to ringside, and BUSHIROAD throws Desperado hard into the ring post. Volador Jr. gets back in the ring first, he goes off the ropes but Dorada kicks him from the apron. Dorada hits a swandive seated senton, cover, but it gets a two count. Codebreaker by BUSHIROAD to Dorada, then Volador Jr. hits a backstabber. Desperado goes up to the top turnbuckle but Volador Jr. kicks him while he is still on top. Volador Jr. joins Desperado and hits a Super Frankensteiner. Cover by Volador Jr., but Dorada barely breaks it up in time. BUSHIROAD charges Dorada but accidentally dropkicks Volador Jr., knee by BUSHIROAD to Dorada, Irish whip to the corner but Dorada avoids BUSHIROAD’s attack and hits a rebound dropkick out of the corner. Desperado then grabs BUSHIROAD and plants him with the Guitarra de Angel. Cover by Desperado and he picks up the three count. Your winners: Máscara Dorada and El Desperado
Match Thoughts: Certainly the best match on the card so far. It had the high flying and fun spots, but they also had time to go a bit deeper than that as well. The spear/mounted punches for example was a nice change of pace and made it look like Desperado really did want to hurt his opponent and not just find creative ways to toss him to the mat or the floor. I am really liking Desperado so far, I hope that he doesn’t get his legs cut out from under him in his upcoming title match. Score: 7.5
Rush vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Rush stomps Nakamura before kneeing him against the ropes, Irish whip, but it’s reversed and Nakamura kicks Rush into the corner. Stomps by Nakamura, he picks up Rush and places him on the ropes in the corner. Running knee to the ribs by Nakamura, cover, but Rush kicks out. Nakamura knees Rush as he tries to get up and applies a sleeper, Rush elbows out of it and goes off the ropes but Nakamura knees him in the midsection. Nakamura charges Rush but Rush hits an overhead belly to belly suplex, sending Nakamura out of the ring. Rush gets a running start in the ring, Nakamura moves, but Rush goes out to the apron and hits a dropkick off the apron to the floor. Rush throws Nakamura back in the ring, cover, but it gets a two count. Back up they trade strikes, a chop by Rush sends Nakamura to his knees, Rush picks him up and goes for the Rush Driver but Nakamura back bodydrops out of it. Nakamura goes for a lariat but Rush ducks it and hits an Olympic Slam. Senton by Rush, cover, but Nakamura gets a shoulder up. Rush is up first but Nakamura knees him in the midsection. Superkick by Rush, he picks up Nakamura and goes for the Rush Driver again but again Nakamura blocks it. Roll-up by Rush but Nakamura rolls through it and hits a jumping kick to the head. Boma Ye by Nakamura, and he picks up the three count. Your winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
Match Thoughts: A good match that I would have liked better if it went a little bit longer. This is the most I have seen of Rush but he is fun to watch, he is a bigger guy but has a nice range of high flying moves and power moves. It really felt like if he had just hit the Rush Driver he would have won, but without it he was overmatched by Nakamura’s striking ability. Nakamura really emphasized the knee here but since his finishing move is also a running knee it made sense that would be his main weapon. Nothing really wrong with it at all, it just felt like there was more they could have done. I enjoyed it while it lasted though. Score: 7.0
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito, and La Sombra vs. Kazuchika Okada, Ultimo Guerrero, and Ishii
Guerrero and Okada come in the ring, and they kick Naito in the arm. Irish whip by Guerrero and Okada and they hit double big boots. Tanahashi comes in the ring but he is outnumbered, double Irish whip from the corner and Okada hits a jumping elbow strike. Guerrero then follows with a handstand seated senton in the corner. La Sombra is thrown in the ring, Guerrero throws him into the corner, reversed, La Sombra gets out to the apron but Guerrero dropkicks him from the apron to the floor. Ishii and Naito brawl up into the crowd while Guerrero slides La Sombra into the ring, Okada gets a running start and kicks La Sombra in the head while he is in a seated position. Guerrero picks up La Sombra and puts him onto the top turnbuckle as he attempts to take off his mask. Okada comes back in the ring as does Ishii, double Irish whip to La Sombra but La Sombra dropkicks Guerrero. Okada kicks La Sombra down but Tanahashi dropkicks Okada. Ishii hits a lariat onto Tanahashi, but Naito catches Ishii with an enzigieri. Dropkick by Guerrero to Naito, but La Sombra hits a swandive hurricanrana and is alone in the ring. He gets a running start and jumps out onto Guerrero with a tope con giro. Tanahashi and Okada get back into the ring to square off, Tanahashi goes off the ropes and hits a jumping elbow. Irish whip by Tanahashi, reversed, Okada goes for a big boot but Tanahashi catches it and hits a dragon screw leg whip. Tanahashi goes off the ropes but Okada catches him with a flapjack. Okada picks up Tanahashi and drops him with a DDT. Back up, scoop slam by Okada, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits the diving elbow drop. Okada grabs Tanahashi, Tanahashi elbows him off but Okada delivers a dropkick. Okada goes for the Rainmaker but Tanahashi ducks it and hits the Sling Blade. Tanahashi goes up to the top turnbuckle but Ishii comes in the ring and joins him. Delayed superplex by Ishii, he picks up Tanahashi and goes for a powerbomb but Naito comes off the top turnbuckle with a dropkick.
Naito picks up Ishii and elbows him into the corner, Irish whip by Naito and he hits the slingshot dropkick. Naito picks up Ishii, snapmare, he goes off the ropes and hits the rolling senton. Cover, but it gets a two count. Naito picks up Ishii and applies a waistlock, Ishii elbows out of it and charges Naito, hitting a delayed vertical suplex. Ishii grabs Naito and goes for a powerbomb but Naito punches out of it. Ishii goes off the ropes but Naito catches him with a dropkick. Naito tries to tag out but Ishii stops him and hits a backdrop suplex. Lariat by Ishii, cover, but it only gets a two count. Ishii picks up Naito, Irish whip, but Naito hits a jumping elbow strike and tags in La Sombra. Guerrero comes in as well, La Sombra puts Guerrero up on the top turnbuckle and hits the Misteriorana. Cover by La Sombra, but it gets two. La Sombra throws Guerrero into the corner and charges him, but Guerrero catches him and hits a second turnbuckle front suplex. Cover, but La Sombra gets a shoulder up. Guerrero picks up La Sombra, Irish whip to the corner, reversed, and La Sombra hits a lariat. La Sombra hits a running knee, cover, but it gets a two count. La Sombra picks up Guerrero but Guerrero blocks the suplex attempt and hits a scoop slam. Guerrero goes up to the top turnbuckle but La Sombra hits the ropes to knock him off. La Sombra then goes up top with Guerrero, he goes for the Frankensteiner but Guerrero blocks it and delivers the powerbomb. Cover, but it is broken up. Guerrero is up first and goes for a lariat, but La Sombra ducks it and lariats Guerrero out of the ring. Naito and Ishii get in the ring and they trade elbows. Tanahashi attacks Ishii from behind, double Irish whip to Ishii and they hit a double hiptoss followed by a double dropkick. Okada comes in the ring but he also gets a double dropkick from Tanahashi and Naito. Naito and Tanahashi then sail out of the ring with pescados onto Ishii and Okada. La Sombra and Guerrero are back in the ring, and La Sombra hits an Aztec Suplex Hold onto Guerrero for a two count. La Sombra rolls up Guerrero from behind but Guerrero gets away from him. Guerrero avoids an La Sombra attack in the corner, La Sombra lands on the top turnbuckle facing the wrong way and Guerrero joins him up top. Guerrero grabs La Sombra and nails the Guerrero Special, cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winners: Kazuchika Okada, Ultimo Guerrero, and Ishii
Match Thoughts: Thoroughly entertaining from bell to bell. All the little parts worked well, I thought Ishii would be out of place but he mostly focused on Naito since they are feuding and let everyone else do the Lucha spots. They had enough time to tell a few different stories and while it had big spots it did not come across as a spotfest like some of the previous matches. Really good match, nothing really wrong with it, I’d have preferred this was three singles matches since they are all so good but this was fun non-stop lucha action. Score: 7.5
(c) Mephisto vs. Mistico II
Mephisto gets back in the ring and waits for Mistico, Mistico gets back on the apron but he shoulder tackles Mephisto when he charges him. Sunset flip by Mistico but it only gets a two count. Drop Toehold by Mephisto but Mistico shoves him off and applies La Magistral for a two count. Both wrestlers are slow to get up, Mistico goes off the ropes but Mephisto hits a powerbomb. He tries using the ropes for leverage during the pin, and the referee sees him. School boy by Mistico but it gets two. Mistico charges Mistico and Mistico hits a spinning headscissors, sending Mephisto out of the ring. Mistico then gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a diving hurricanrana down to the floor. While Mephisto recovers, Mistico gets back in the ring, but Mistico is looking the wrong way and Mephisto attacks him from behind. Mephisto applies a stretch hold to Mistico and he kicks Mistico in the ribs. Mephisto picks up Mistico and applies the Gory Special, but Mistico flips him over for a two count cover. Mephisto is up first, he charges Mistico but Mistico puts him on the ropes, then gets on the other side ropes and hits a hurricanrana back into the ring. Cover by Mistico, but Mephisto kicks out. Mephisto picks up Mistico, Irish whip to the corner but Mistico throws Mephisto to the apron and then kicks him down to the floor. Mistico goes to the ropes and sails out onto Mephisto with a springboard Shooting Star Press. He actually over-shot Mephisto a bit and landed right on the hard floor past the mats. Insane. Mistico gets up first and slides Mephisto back into the ring, Mistico gets up on the apron and hits the swandive crossbody. Mistico goes off the ropes and hits a spinning armdrag, he charges Mephisto but Mephisto throws him into the corner. Mistico moves when Mephisto charges in and puts Mephisto on the top turnbuckle, Mistico joins him up there but Mephisto punches Mistico and nails the Avalanche-Style Demon Driller. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner and still champion: Mephisto
Match Thoughts: Any wrestler that will die for me trying to do a springboard shooting star press is a-ok in my book. Actually though, the match was pretty disappointing. It was so oddly structured, I mean the first real move that Mephisto hit on Mistico was his finishing move several minutes into the match. At the end, Mephisto gets back to his feet and is running around like nothing after getting the Shooting Star Press, and in general they really didn’t do any “long term” selling. It was constant sprinting, but they were doing big moves that deserved to be sold for a little bit, not shaken off to get to the next big spot. I mean the spots were good, don’t get me wrong and both wrestlers looked good, but the structure of the match was severely lacking. I was expecting a bit more for the main event title match, the psychology seemed off even for Lucha Libre matches which negatively affected the match. Score: 5.0
Best Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito, and La Sombra vs. Kazuchika Okada, Ultimo Guerrero, and Ishii. I gave this one the nod because it was the longer match and had more different things going for it. Yes, it had the high spots but it also had some hate as well so it didn’t come across as just a glorified exhibition. All six wrestlers brought what they had to the match and it blended together to be a really entertaining match.
MVP: Rush. Being in a singles match helps a wrestler stand out, and I thought he really did a good job of showing that he was on Nakamura’s level. He was always just one big move away from defeating the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion and it seemed like a real fight at times. It was also a different style than the other matches on the card which showed Rush’s versatility. Good showing by the CMLL star.
Overall: I enjoyed this event a lot more than the event from a few days before. The matches here got more time, which allowed them to actually tell a story in some of the matches and not just throughout high spots. Many of the matches were really good and there were only a few stinkers. I just wish that the main event was better, I thought it just fell flat. Overall though a fun night of action, I’d recommend grabbing it if you get the chance and want to see some a new style of wrestling if you haven't watched Lucha Libre before.