Osaka Pro on Samurai TV, July 2004
review by Ryan Mancuso
I am back with another review of Osaka Pro Wrestling. This episode of Osaka Pro on Samurai TV takes place throughout July 2004. First, there is a big 8-man tag match on July 3. It features Kishiwada Gurentai against Jushin Thunder Liger and 3 representatives of New Japan Pro Wrestling. On July 19, Ebessan defends his Osaka Pro Battle Royal Title against 9 other men. Finally, the last two matches of this TV show took place on July 24. It features Tigers Mask vs. YUTAKA, and a battle from within Kishiwada Gurentai with Daio QUALLT facing Goa. Also, what were the consequences from Kishiwada Gurentai ruining YUTAKA's wedding last month. Will YUTAKA gain revenge, or are the odds too much for him to handle? Review starts now:
Jushin Thunder Liger, X, X & X vs. Big Boss MA-G-MA, Daio QUALLT, Black Buffalo & Goa
A highlight package airs of Jushin Thunder Liger's feud with Kishiwada Gurentai in Osaka Pro Wrestling. There has been some very intense action with a lot of backstage brawling. The end of the highlight package showed Liger's partners as Koji Kanemoto, El Samurai and Tiger Mask. However, their faces were blurred out since they were not officially Liger's partners. Kishiwada Gurentai enters the ring first, and then Liger entered the ring. However, Liger is walking out by himself. Is he going to fight all of Kishiwada Gurentai by himself, or is he setting them up for something? Kishiwada Gurentai definitely thinks something is up and demands to know what is going on. Liger calls for his tag team partners. Sugar Ray's "Caboose" plays, and out walks the heel trio of Gedo, Jado and Katsushi Takemura. Liger just threw Kishiwada Gurentai a big curve ball because they were not expecting those three to come out.
Jushin Thunder Liger, Gedo, Jado & Katsushi Takemura vs. Big Boss MA-G-MA, Daio QUALLT, Black Buffalo & Goa
Gedo, Jado and Takemura enter through the crowd. QUALLT, Buffalo and Goa greet them at ringside. There is brawl on the floor. While that is going on, Liger and MA-G-MA are going at in the ring. Gedo, Jado and Takemura win the brawl on the floor because the New Japan guys isolate MA-G-MA in the ring. They whip him into the opposite corner. Takemura, Jado and Gedo charge at him with attacks. Gedo whips MA-G-MA into a Liger shotei. The rest of Kishiwada Gurentai tries to make the save, but the New Japan wrestlers cut them off and threw them back out of the ring. Buffalo tried to bring a chair in the ring, but Takemura grabbed that chair and nailed Buffalo with it. Liger picks up MA-G-MA and plants him with a vicious powerbomb. Takemura stomps on MA-G-MA while Liger has words with referee Matsui.
Takemura tries to rip off MA-G-MA's mask then whips him into a corner. MA-G-MA quickly responds by nailing Takemura with a lariat to the delight of the crowd. The other Kishiwada Gurentai members take Gedo, Jado and Liger out of the equation. Now, it is a 4-on-1 advantage for Kishiwada Gurentai against Katsushi Takemura. They whip Takemura to a corner. Each man charges in with an attack. MA-G-MA finishes things up with a big splash to the corner. They drag Takemura to the ropes and set him up throat-first on the bottom rope. Buffalo legdrops him then dropkicks his face a few seconds later.
QUALLT puts Takemura in the tree-of-woe. He gets some running room, and charges in with a dropkick to the face. QUALLT whips Takemura off the ropes and powerslams him to the mat. QUALLT covers, but Liger breaks it up. QUALLT runs off the ropes, and Takemura catches him with a hurricanrana. QUALLT rolls out of the ring, and Buffalo comes in. Takemura meets him, and throws him into the New Japan corner. Gedo is tagged in, and kicks at Buffalo in the corner. Gedo is cursing at Kishiwada Gurentai. Buffalo tries to attack Gedo from behind, but no success. Gedo tags in Liger. Liger picks up Buffalo while Takemura is sitting on the middle turnbuckles, and they use a spike piledriver. Liger throws Buffalo into a Jado boot, and now Jado is tagged in.
Jado uses a backdrop suplex on Buffalo and goes for a cover. However, Kishiwada Gurentai was quickly able to break it up. Jado tags in Gedo, and they whip Buffalo into the ropes. They knock him down with a double shoulderblock. Gedo picks up Buffalo for a snap suplex. Gedo runs off the ropes, but Buffalo catches Gedo with a lariat. Buffalo rolls out of the ring, and MA-G-MA is in the ring. MA-G-MA bodyslams Takemura then nails Liger and Jado off the ring apron. MA-G-MA whips Takemura to the ropes, and catches him with a lariat. Big Boss MA-G-MA is a babyface with the proverbial house of fire because the crowd seems to have shifted to pro-Kishiwada Gurentai in this match. Who would have believed that?
MA-G-MA plants Takemura with a fisherman's buster. He covers, but Takemura kicks out at 2. MA-G-MA goes for the kill, and tries to use the Last Ride. However, the New Japan guys break it up. Gedo and Takemura whip MA-G-MA off the ropes. They try a double lariat, but MA-G-MA ducks and counters with a double lariat of his own. Gedo and Takemura roll out to the floor. MA-G-MA climbs the second turnbuckle then moonsaults onto Gedo and Takemura on the floor. That is amazing agility from a man his size. Goa rolls Gedo into the ring, and stomps on him. Goa with a go-behind and Gedo tries to counter with a low blow. However, Goa gets out of the way. Gedo now has the go-behind, and Goa succeeds with his low blow counter. Gedo goes down to one knee, and Goa connects with a Shining Wizard. Goa picks up Gedo, and slams him down with a jackhammer. He covers, but Gedo barely kicks out at 2.
Goa climbs the top turnbuckle, but Jado is holding onto his foot. Liger enters the ring and nails Goa with a shotei. Takemura climbs up and takes Goa down with a superplex. He covers, but Kishiwada Gurentai breaks it up at 2. MA-G-MA and QUALLT whip Liger into the corner. MA-G-MA charges in, but Liger gets out of the way. He knocks down QUALLT with a shotei. He does the same to MA-G-MA. MA-G-MA rolls out of the ring, and Liger dives out of the ring with a plancha. Jado nails Goa with a lariat then powerbombs him hard on the mat. Gedo climbs the top rope, yells out "Super Fly" and connects with his Super Fly frog splash. Gedo covers and Matsui counts 1, 2, 3! This crazy match is over. Kishiwada Gurentai still wants to fight more, but the New Japan guys throw them out of the ring. They celebrate their victory much to the dismay of Kishiwada Gurentai and many of the fans.
I am doing a little something different here as I did the play-by-play first instead of giving my thoughts first. The reason I did this is because I want to shake things up occasionally on my reviews. I also thought going straight into the play-by-play, after the mystery partners were revealed, had made a better transition for this review.
I really liked this match. It was just a little over 10 minutes, but it was all action. I think they could have gone another 5 minutes, and maintained that fast pace action with a hot crowd. However, the match going just over 10 minutes made sense in the context of the match. Despite their brief comebacks, Kishiwada Gurentai was just unprepared for whom Liger had picked as partners. They were expecting guys like Koji Kanemoto, El Samurai and Tiger Mask. Instead, they got Gedo, Jado and Takemura. All of this led to Kishiwada's quick defeat on that night. This was a great sprint between the two heel factions.
The crowd was really reacting to this match. They started out pro-Liger, but once he introduced his partners then the reactions were more split. As the match went on, the crowd became more pro-Kishiwada since they wanted the home team to show they were the better villains than Liger's team. This match was also important in New Japan's Jr. Heavyweight division. It planted the seeds for the formation of the Control Terrorism Unit, or C.T.U. They became the heel stable in the Jr. Heavyweight division, but very popular as well because their merchandise are top sellers.
Osaka Pro Battle Royal Title: Ebessan [c], Tsukkomi Mask, Kushinobu Kamen, Gamma, Miracle Man, YUTAKA, Masato Matoba, Super Delfin, Tigers Mask & Perro
As a way of making their company unique, Osaka Pro Wrestling created a title that is only defended in battle royals. These battle royals are another way for Osaka Pro to showcase their comedy. A shirtless Ebessan gets his own entrance by using Harley Race's old theme. Ebessan had a hard time keeping it up to his waist. Tsukkomi Mask, whom I think was debuting, got his own entrance as well. Just like the Osaka Power Rangers from TV last month, this comedy match was the main event of the July 19 show.
Miracle's bad luck in comedy matches continue here. His feelings are so hurt that he leaves the ring. Gamma is first eliminated when he taps out to everyone putting a submission on him. While thinking that his luck with change, Miracle reenters the ring and charges at Kamen in the corner. Kamen gets out of the way and slaps Miracle in the back of the head. Everyone piles on top of Miracle for the 3 count. Miracle reenters the ring for more comedy that he messes up. Kamen slaps him on the back of his head, and everyone piles on top of him for another 3 count. YUTAKA is now sitting on the top turnbuckles while talking to someone on his cell phone. Ebessan steals his phone, and demands YUTAKA to forfeit the match or else he does not get the phone back. It must have been pretty important because YUTAKA forfeits the match.
Everyone has Matoba in trouble, and they want Tsukkomi to finish him off. Tsukkomi does a lengthy monologue, and Matoba submits at the end of that monologue. Much to the dismay of Tsukkomi Mask. Tigers schoolboys Delfin and everyone piles on top of Delfin for the 3 count. Then, everyone piles on top of Tigers for his elimination. After a few bodyslams, everyone left piles on top of Ebessan for the pinfall. We are getting a new champion tonight. Kushinobu rolls up Perro with a la magistral cradle, and gets the 3 count. Tsukkomi rolls Perro on top of Kamen. He piles on top of Perro, and Matsui counts the 3. Tsukkomi Mask is the new Osaka Pro Battle Royal Champion.
A video package aired of Kishiwada Gurentai ruining YUTAKA and Chikako Shiratori's wedding from last month. YUTAKA challenges Black Buffalo to a match on July 10, 2004. After the match, Buffalo gets the win with a lariat then talks trash to YUTAKA. For some reason, YUTAKA was really affected by those words. Buffalo and YUTAKA have another verbal confrontation on July 17, 2004. Buffalo claimed that YUTAKA does not have anyone to back him up. YUTAKA shows up and does bring back up. As a result, a big brawl occurs.
Tigers Mask vs. YUTAKA
This was joined-in-progress. The action was looked solid, but Black Buffalo comes to the ring with a chair. He tosses the chair to YUTAKA. YUTAKA smiles at Buffalo, and NAILS Tigers with the chair. He also hit Matsui with it, and the bell rings. Tigers will win the match by disqualification. Wondering what is going on, Chikako enters the ring. However, YUTAKA nails her with a knee to the midsection and punches her. That will end any relationship. While Buffalo is sitting on the chair in the middle of the ring, YUTAKA steps on Chikako's head and talks on the microphone. Tigers attempts to attack YUTAKA, but he gets beaten down by the new YUTAKA and Buffalo alliance. It seems that YUTAKA has been accepted as a member of Kishiwada Gurentai.
They continue to beat up Tigers in the merchandise area. Tsubasa, former long-time tag team partner of Black Buffalo and co-winner of the 2004 Osaka Tag Festival with YUTAKA, tries to intervene. However, he gets beaten up as well. Buffalo and YUTAKA talk more on the microphone, and they leave together. Buffalo must have said something on July 10 to convince YUTAKA to making a heel turn. Could it have been how Kishiwada Gurentai ruined his wedding, and no one from the Osaka locker room tried to make the save? I felt a bit disheartened to see them turn YUTAKA heel so soon, but it may have been necessary as I will explain later.
A video package airs of Kishiwada Gurentai. They were apparently upset over the fact that Liger outsmarted them at the July 3 show. They questioned the strength of their unit, but no direct verbal dissension. They had a tag match from within their stable. On July 17, it was Big Boss MA-G-MA & Daio QUALLT vs. Black Buffalo & Goa. QUALLT won the match for his team by using a chokeslam on Buffalo. Afterwards, QUALLT wanted to defend his Osaka Pro Singles Title against Kishiwada's leader, Big Boss MA-G-MA, for a big show on August 8 at Osaka IMP Hall.
A week later, Matsui announced that Black Buffalo was going to try and get some revenge for Kishiwada Gurentai. The reason is that he would face Katsushi Takemura on August 8. He also announced that Big Boss MA-G-MA would not be able to challenge Daio QUALLT for the Osaka Pro Singles Title. If I recall, he had to miss some time due to some problems with his heart. Thankfully, his medical condition was not serious and MA-G-MA was able to return to the ring in about 6 weeks. This may also explain why Delfin booked YUTAKA's heel turn because the company needed a new heel and someone to try to fill MA-G-MA's place in Kishiwada Gurentai. They did not know when, or even if, MA-G-MA would come back. YUTAKA was the only one whose turn might have made the most sense.
Goa vs. Daio QUALLT
This was the main event of the July 24 show. Despite them being rule breakers, this was a clean match between the two stable mates. I guess there is some honor among thieves after all. It was a decent match, but it was definitely a flat main event on this night and for the final match of this TV show. The crowd was not into the match, but that was to be expected in a clean match between two rule breaking heels. Goa scored the big upset when he used a Shining Wizard on QUALLT for the pin. Considering the circumstances, they had to find QUALLT a challenger for the August 8 show. It also continues the Kishiwada vs. Kishiwada theme.
A title match between Goa and QUALLT was set until Billy Ken Kid showed up. BKK asked to be in the title match, and make it a 3-way match. He wants to win back the Osaka Pro Singles Title even if he is willing to go through 2 Kishiwada Gurentai members. Good idea to put Billy Ken Kid in the match. Without Big Boss MA-G-MA, a Kishiwada vs. Kishiwada main event would have fallen flat no matter how hard Goa and QUALLT worked. It also keeps the Kishiwada fighting each other theme. YUTAKA attacks BKK with a chair. Tigers goes after YUTAKA. A brawl breaks out with the Osaka Pro army and Kishiwada Gurentai to close the show.
Final Score: 7.0 [Good]
Ryan Mancuso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org