Osaka Pro on Samurai TV, June 2004
review by Ryan Mancuso
I am back with my first review of an Osaka Pro Wrestling show. Before I start, here is some background on about Osaka Pro Wrestling. It founded by Super Delfin in April 1999. This came as a result from a very nasty public split with The Great Sasuke and Michinoku Pro Wrestling a few months earlier. There are similarities and differences between the two companies. Similarities include the wrestling style that was heavily influence by Lucha Libre, colorful characters and a dominant heel stable. One of the biggest differences is that there is a much greater emphasis on comedy matches in Osaka Pro. Some of those comedy matches have main evented Osaka Pro shows, including one at Korakuen Hall in which Jushin Thunder Liger participated. A lot of US Indy wrestling fans know of Ebessan, who is now referring to himself as Kikutaro, and most of his top notch comedy stuff was when he was in Osaka Pro. Osaka usually holds shows on Saturday and Sunday at the very small Delfin Arena. The Saturday shows are when angle progression takes place, and the Sunday shows are more lighthearted. The first match of this Samurai! TV airing takes place on June 13, 2004. Everything else is from June 19, 2004. Time for the review:
Super Delfin, Kuishinbo Kamen, Perro & Masato Matoba vs. Miracle Red, Gamma Blue, Mura Black & Ebisu Yellow
As soon as the opening credits aired, there was a video package featuring a few Osaka Pro wrestlers dressed as Power Rangers. I am not sure of the official name of the group, but I will call them the Osaka Power Rangers for simplicity. They consist of Miracle Man as Miracle Red, Gamma as Gamma Blue, Takehiro Murahama as Mura Black, Ebessan as Ebisu Yellow and Perro's female companion as the Pink Ranger. The best of that video I thought was when Ebessan was introducing his super hero character. After everyone came off so excited to be a super hero, he introduced himself in the most uninterested manner. That was funny in an unexpected way. This was the main event of their June 13, 2004 show. Since this was a Sunday show, this match was perfect for the lighthearted way to close out the show. I enjoy Osaka Pro comedy matches so much that I am going to do play-by-play on this one:
Before the match begins, the Osaka Power Rangers pick up a kid from the crowd. Shall I say that they kidnapped him? That is not very super heroic of them. They do a little bit of comedy with him, and allow him to return to his seat. Ebessan and Kamen start out the match. They each throw a low kick that causes no damage. They shake hands, and already want to tag out. I guess that low kick exchange did more damage than what I had originally thought. Referee Matsui does not allow them to tag, and they stay in the ring.
Ebessan and Kamen tie up. They get near the ropes, and Ebessan punches Kamen in the nose. Kamen goes down. Ebessan takes advantage by using his boot to choke Kamen. The referee would make his count. Ebessan would yell "Clean Break" at four to confuse the referee enough to break his count, but keeping the choke on Kamen the entire time. Confused by the situation, Matsui restarts his 5-count. Ebessan does the same thing at four, and once again confuses poor Matsui. Ebessan finally breaks the choke. Very smart strategy right there by Ebessan.
They tie up again. This time it is Kamen with the advantage on the ropes. He chops Ebessan on the chest. He goes for it again, but it was Ebessan who does a 5-count in an attempt to break it up. Kamen obliges with Ebessan's count, and Matsui slaps Ebessan on the head for trying to show him up. Ebessan whips Kamen off the ropes, and knocks him down with an elbow. He goes for a pin, but Kamen kicks out at 2. Ebessan is not happy with the Matsui's count. He bodyslams Kamen, and goes for another pin. Kamen is out at 2 again. Ebessan is pleading his case to Matsui for a faster count. Kamen sneaks up on Ebessan with a school boy, and Matsui does a much faster count. Ebessan barely kicked out at 2. Well, Ebessan wanted a faster count. Matsui was just respecting his wishes. He and Kamen shake hands, point at each other and tag out.
Perro and Gamma are now in the ring. Perro does some hand gestures that get sound effects. One round of these hand gestures actually makes Gamma dizzy. Perro tries to take advantage by whipping Gamma off the ropes, but Gamma was able to dropkick him out of the ring. Now Gamma is the one who is doing these sound effect hand gestures. Murahama is tagged in, and he is joined by Matoba. Murahama tries hitting Matoba's head. However, Matoba's head must be made of concrete because Murahama hurts himself more. Murahama gains the advantage with an eye rake. Murahama throws various strikes, but Matoba gets out of the way of each attempt and knocks Murahama down. Matoba tags in Delfin, and he is joined by Miracle.
They try to tie up, but Kamen sneaks in the ring. He slowly sneaks up on Miracle, and slaps him on the back of the head. Kamen holds Miracle in place for a double chop by Delfin. However, Miracle gets out of the way and Delfin chops Kamen in the chest. Delfin, Kamen and even Miracle look perplexed as to how that plan failed. Perro enters the ring. Now, it is Kamen and Perro holding Miracle's arms in place for Delfin to chop him. This has to work. Well, it did not because Miracle stopped Delfin's momentum by lightly kicking him in the leg. Matoba enters the ring. He and Perro hold onto to Miracle's arm. Kamen holds onto Miracle's legs. This time the plan succeeds. All 4 men are very proud of themselves for holding down Miracle to be chopped in the chest.
They whip Miracle into the opposite corner. They all charge in, but Miracle evades them all. He does this two more times, but the next time it happens Miracle's feet slip off the ropes and he is down. Delfin's team are stomping a mud hole on Miracle. Miracle's own teammates join in on the mud hole stomping. They must not have been happy with his evading skills. Kamen and Ebessan pick up Miracle, and Kamen slaps him in the back of the head. Ebessan and Kamen are now in the ring. Ebessan knocks Kamen down with a shoulderblock. He runs off the ropes. Kamen goes down in thinking that Ebessan will have to jump over him. He was incorrect because Ebessan stopped then stomped him in the head. Ebessan whips Kamen into the opposite corner. However, Ebessan must be very tired because he takes a lengthy rest in the corner rather than charge in.
After catching his breath, Ebessan charges in. Kamen responds by armdragging him down. Other members of Ebessan's team enter the ring, and they get armdragged down as well. It looks like Kamen is in a zone because he is armdragging his own teammates and Matsui. It looks like they are setting up for the traditional comedy match hop. I love this in comedy matches. Well, everyone kneels down and Miracle is the only one who hopped. Kamen and Ebessan take Miracle to the ropes, and Kamen slaps him in the back of the head this time. Well, that one was definitely Miracle's fault. He should have known to kneel rather than hop.
Matoba is in the ring, and the Osaka Power Rangers torture the poor kid in their own unique way. First, Ebessan rakes his eyes. Gamma gives him a low blow then loosens his mask. He puts Matoba's hands on the mask, and makes it look like Matoba is trying to rip off his mask. Miracle enters the ring with a chair. He tosses it to Matoba, and feigns getting hit with it. The referee sees the chair in Matoba's hands and Miracle down. However, he does not DQ Matoba despite all of these illegal tactics that he has been using. Ebessan enters the ring, and chokes Matoba with a stick. Ebessan holds Matoba while Murahama comes off the top with a double-axe handle to the back. Ebessan still holding Matoba, and Gamma comes off the top with a chair to the back. Miracle tries his luck, but his partners decide to block Miracle's attack by posing onto Matoba. Miracle slaps his partners on the back of their heads. There seems to be dissension between the Osaka Power Rangers. Kamen breaks it up by dragging Miracle to the ropes and slapping him on the back of his head.
All of the Osaka Pro Rangers put their opponents in a headlock. They charge in, and nobody goes down. They try it again, and everyone except for Matoba goes down. Feeling that he looks silly by being the only one still standing up, Matoba falls down as well. Referee makes a pinfall count, and everyone kicks out at 2. Murahama and Perro trade chops before Murahama kicks Perro out the ring. Murahama flies out of the ring with a tope con hilo onto Perro. Maybe Murahama should try that the next time he is in K-1. He might have more success that way.
Kamen and Gamma are in the ring. Kamen punches Gamma's midsection like 100 times, but none have an effect. Gamma slaps Kamen on the head, pick up him and facebuster him down for a 2 count. Delfin nails Gamma with a shotei. Murahama gives Delfin a spin kick. Matoba uses a jumping neckbreaker onto Murahama. Miracle uses an enzuigiri onto Matoba. Perro nails Miracle with a headbutt to the midsection. Ebessan nails Perro with a SHINING EBEZARD! Delfin's team regain the advantage. They work over each Osaka Power Ranger in a separate corner. Right before they were going to whip them into each other, Ebessan calls a timeout. Delfin's team surprising obliges. The Osaka Power Rangers huddle in the middle of the ring and a strategy is made. They get back to their separate corners. They get whipped to the center of the ring. They try to jump, but instead they just run into each other and they all fall down. I think that strategy was a failure.
All of Delfin's team send Miracle to the opposite corner. No evading tactics this time because everyone connects with their charging strike. Miracle is knocked down. Gamma enters the ring, but Matoba drop toehold's him onto Miracle's groin. Murahama enters, but Perro kicks him legs which leads to Murahama dropkicking a seated Miracle. Ebessan reenters the ring, but he slips and headbutts Miracle's groin. Delfin locks in the Delfin Clutch. Matsui counts 1, 2, 3! This just was not Miracle Man's night. The Osaka Power Rangers do some microphone work, and pose in the middle of the ring.
Now that the comedy is out of the way, a video plays of the ending of the 2004 Osaka Pro Tag Festival finals. It was Tsubasa & YUTAKA vs. Big Boss MA-G-MA & Black Buffalo. Buffalo goes for a backdrop suplex, but YUTAKA counters by landing on top of Buffalo for the pinfall. After the match, YUTAKA asks his girlfriend, former wrestler Chikako Shiratori, to marry him. She agrees and the wedding is set for June 19, 2004 at Delfin Arena. Before the ceremony, she is talking to Perro's female companion backstage about the wedding and her wedding dress. YUTAKA gets in the ring, and talks about the wedding for later tonight.
Goa vs. Tigers Mask
This match took place on June 19, 2004. Despite the name, Tigers Mask does not have any relation to the Tiger Mask history. Instead, the gimmick is based off the baseball team the Hanshin Tigers. This was joined-in-progress about halfway through the match. It looked good from what I saw because it was all action after Tigers got out of the headlock. This match was to show that Tigers was rising up the ranks, but still not Goa's equal. The reason was that Goa was able to kick out of the Tigers Suplex Hold, which is Tigers finishing move. Goa was able to recover by coming back with a Shining Wizard, then wearing Tigers down with an ankle lock. After letting go the hold, Goa planted Tigers with a Jackhammer and finished him off with a diving body press off the top rope.
More backstage talk of the wedding between Chikako and Perro's female companion. By the way, I apologize for not knowing her name. A video aired where Matsui reads a letter sent by Jushin Thunder Liger. Liger is looking for payback on Big Boss MA-G-MA. He and 3 other New Japan Jr. Heavyweights will show up at Delfin Arena on July 3 to challenge Kishiwada Gurentai, consisting of Big Boss MA-G-MA, Daio QUALLT, Black Buffalo and Goa, to an 8-man tag team match. I will review this match on my next review.
Big Boss MA-G-MA, Daio QUALLT & Black Buffalo vs. Takehiro Murahama, Miracle Man & Billy Ken Kid
This was also June 19, 2004. After being the butt of the jokes last Sunday, Miracle was a lot more serious here. Good 6-man match in which the action kept moving. These matches do a good job in hiding the weaknesses of some of the wrestlers involved. QUALLT is not too good in a singles environment, and Murahama singles matches were becoming too predictable for my liking. Delfin kept Kishiwada Gurentai very strong here. This was to show that they were ready for Liger and his New Japan comrades on July 3. Despite the comebacks from the faces, there was not much doubt that Kishiwada was going to lose the match here. MA-G-MA gets the win for his team when he nearly rips off Miracle's head with a lariat.
Now it is wedding time. Before the actual ceremony, a history montage of them airs. First, it shows highlights of YUTAKA's debut match and his first ever pinfall victory in his career. Next is Chikako saying some words on Osaka Pro's debut show with clips of her winning the CMLL Japan Women's Title. There were highlights of her retirement match in 2001 that included a clip of Ebessan trying to get a cheap feel of her chest area. Finally, it goes into the actual relationship between YUTAKA and Chikako.
The happy groom and bride walk out to the ring where Ebessan is serving as the Reverend. Awesome! After all the time that he tried to get a cheap feel on her, that is really forgiving of Chikako to allow him to do that. I need to hire him, original version and not the current, to be the Reverend at my wedding. First, I have to find that right woman. The ceremony was going fine until Kishiwada Gurentai shows up. It looks like they are there to ruin the ceremony. To the surprise of everyone, they were acting respectful and congratulated the new soon to be husband and wife. However, it was a swerve as Black Buffalo nailed YUTAKA with the flowers. They attack Ebessan and YUTAKA. Buffalo holds Chikako and makes her watch while the rest of Kishiwada Gurentai gives YUTAKA their finishers twice. Clearly, they wanted her to say something so that they could stop the attack on YUTAKA and Buffalo knees Chikako in the midsection. Kishiwada Gurentai kidnaps Chikako, and YUTAKA is stretchered out of the building.
Final Score: 8.0 [Very Good]
Ryan Mancuso can be reached at email@example.com