review by Kevin Wilson
Date: June 25th, 2010
Location: Shinjuku FACE
Announced Attendance: 600
Since SMASH is still around and it has a different product at least then some other new promotions that pop up, I figured I'd review another one of their events. This one actually has a female match in the main event, which is obviously very unusual for a non-Joshi event, and to be honest it has a number of wrestlers that I have never heard of which is quite a feat since I know everything. Here is the full card:
- AKIRA vs. Yusuke Kodama
- Akira Shoji and Mentallo vs. Kim Numpum and Yun Gang Chul
- World Tryout Match: Isami Kodaka vs. KUSHIDA
- Heimo Ukonselkä, Stark Adder, and Jessica Love vs. TAJIRI, Hajime Ohara, and Lynn Byron
- Kana vs. Shuri
To make everyone's life easier, if you don't know who these guys are either, just click on their name above to go to their profile on the site (although I had no luck finding information on the Korean wrestlers). And away we go!
AKIRA vs. Yusuke Kodama
A classic veteran vs. rookie match to start things off.
Waistlock and a headlock by Kodama to start the match but AKIRA reverses it and takes it to the mat. Side headlock by AKIRA, Kodama applies a headscissors but AKIRA gets out of it. They jockey for position on the mat but neither can get a clear advantage and they return to their feet. Tie-up, side headlock by Kodama, AKIRA Irish whips out of it and they collide with neither man going down. Kodama goes off the ropes but AKIRA drops him with a dropkick. AKIRA starts twisting on Kodama's leg before yanking on it, Kodama goes for a cross armbreaker but AKIRA blocks it and applies a leg submission. Kodama makes it to the ropes to break the hold, AKIRA picks up Kodama but Kodama elbows him in the head. AKIRA kicks Kodama in his injured leg, picks him up and hits a knee breaker. More kicks to the knee by AKIRA, Irish whip, but Kodama hits a monkey flip. Dropkick by Kodama and another one, AKIRA gets back up but Kodama delivers a third dropkick. Cover, but it gets a two count. Scoop slam by Kodama, cover, but it barely gets a one count. Another scoop slam by Kodama and he stomps AKIRA in the back. Kodama goes off the ropes and dropkicks AKIRA in the head as he gets up, cover, but it only gets a two count. Kodama goes off the ropes but AKIRA catches him and goes for the Old Boy, but Kodama makes it to the ropes. Waistlock by Kodama, but AKIRA elbows out of it and hits a DDT. Cover, but it gets a two count. AKIRA goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers a missile dropkick, cover, but again it gets two. AKIRA applies the Old Boy in the middle of the ring, but Kodama inches to the ropes and forces the break. AKIRA kicks Kodama some more in the leg, elbow by Kodama and they trade strikes. Kodama goes off the ropes and hits another elbow, but AKIRA clubs him back. AKIRA kicks Kodama in the knee, Kodama goes for a backdrop suplex, AKIRA tries to elbow out of it but Kodama still hits it for a two count. Flying headscissors into a submission but Kodama, but AKIRA gets out of it and re-applies the Old Boy, and this time Kodama is forced to submit! Your winner: AKIRA
Match Thoughts: About what you'd expect, a solid opening match that gave Kodama a bit but in the end he had no chance against AKIRA. When your best opportunity at winning is a backdrop suplex, probably not a good sign. But AKIRA did what he was supposed to do, and Kodama did a great job of selling the leg as he even remembered to limp when he bounced off the ropes so it was a good showing for him. Kodama is still really early in his career but he seems to be coming along nicely so far. Score: 6.0
Akira Shoji and Mentallo vs. Kim Numpum and Yun Gang Chul
Oh boy I don't know who these Korean guys are. Chul and Mentallo start things off. Tie-up, and Chul hits an armdrag. Tie-up again, waistlock by Mentallo, reversed by Chul into a hammerlock, but Mentallo snapmares out of it. Chul and Mentallo circle each other, wristlock by Mentallo but Chul reverses it. Irish whip by Mentallo into the corner, Mentallo charges Chul but Chul back bodydrops him onto the apron. Mentallo flips back into the ring but Chul floors him with a big boot. Mentallo returns with a dropkick and he tags in Shoji while Chul tags in Numpum. Numpum and Shoji circle each other, tie-up, and Numpum pushes Shoji against the ropes. Tie-up again, and this time Shoji pushes Numpum away. They go into a Test of Strength which Shoji gets the better of as he pushes Numpum against the ropes. Tie-up again, waistlock by Numpum, reversed by Shoji, but Numpum reverses it back. Low blow by Numpum after Shoji reverses the waistlock, he goes off the ropes but Shoji applies a Cobra Twist into a pump handle slam. Numpum rolls out of the ring to re-group, sitting down in the first row. He returns after a moment, stomps to the back by Shoji and he applies a nifty stretch hold to Numpum. He releases the hold after a moment and makes the tag to Mentallo. Kicks to the leg by Mentallo but Numpum punches him back, Irish whip by Numpum and he delivers a lariat. Numpum chokes Mentallo while the referee is distracted, Irish whip by Numpum to the corner and he hits a running lariat. A second running lariat by Numpum and he drops an elbow. Cover, but it only gets a two count.
Numpum tags in Chul, clubs to the back by Chul, scoop slam, and he hits a corkscrew moonsault off the second rope. Cover, but Mentallo gets a shoulder up. Chul picks up Mentallo and applies a side headlock, Mentallo Irish whips out of it but Chul shoulderblocks him down. Hiptoss by Mentallo, he goes off the ropes but Chul avoids the kick and delivers a stunner. Cover, but it gets a two count. Chul picks up Mentallo but Mentallo pushes him back and delivers a series of punches. Chul tags in Numpum, punches by Numpum and he hits a scoop slam. Cover, but it gets another two. Keylock by Numpum and he goes for the cross armbreaker, then goes for a triangle choke as he goes for all the MMA submissions he sees on TV, but Mentallo makes it to the ropes. Irish whip by Numpum from the corner but Mentallo avoids his charge and delivers a jumping high kick. Mentallo tags in Shoji as Numpum tags in Chul, Irish whip by Shoji and he delivers a powerslam. Numpum runs in but Shoji slams him as well, and then hits running lariats on both Chul and Numpum in the corner. Chul catches Shoji with a big boot, but Shoji ducks a Chul high kick and drops him with a German suplex. Shoji tags in Mentallo, Mentallo picks up Chul but Chul slides down his back. Belly to belly suplex by Chul, he goes up to the second turnbuckle and puts on his glasses before going up top and going for a moonsault, but Mentallo rolls out of the way. Sliding kick by Mentallo, he goes up top and nails the moonsault for the three count. Your winners: Akira Shoji and Mentallo
Match Thoughts: So in this ten minute match I have come to the conclusion that Numpum is not very good and Chul has some potential. Numpum had a very limited moveset and seemed confused at times, but I don't know if there is any type of language barrier that might have contributed to that. Chul had some nifty offense as he hit a nice suplex and a corkscrew moonsault. I have seen Mentallo before and he is very solid, and while I am not a huge Shoji fan he didn't do anything bad here. The match started really slow but the last minute or so was entertaining, as they started going a lot faster and led up to an exciting ending. I have no idea what the deal was with Chul getting out some glasses before hitting the moonsault, just a trademark of some sort, but it was funny how quick he got them off before Mentallo's kick (Mentallo must not of known he would get them off so quickly as his kick wasn't aimed at Chul's head). Overall not bad, but not good either, although it is fun to see wrestlers I have never watched before. Score: 5.0
Isami Kodaka vs. KUSHIDA
Both of these wrestlers are Japanese so I don't really know what it is a "World Tryout," but I am assuming it is a "tryout" for Kodaka since KUSHIDA is a SMASH regular.
They tie-up to start, KUSHIDA pushes Kodaka against the ropes and he gives a clean break. They trade elbows, KUSHIDA goes off the ropes and elbows Kodaka to the mat. KUSHIDA charges Kodaka but Kodaka dropkicks KUSHIDA in the knee, sending KUSHIDA out of the ring. Baseball slide by Kodaka and he goes outside the ring as well. Kodaka slams KUSHIDA into the chairs and then Irish whips him into the bleachers. Kodaka goes to throw KUSHIDA into the ring post, but KUSHIDA reverses it. Kodaka slowly gets up and kicks KUSHIDA, he goes to Irish whip Kodaka into the bleachers but KUSHIDA reverses it. Chops to the chest by KUSHIDA and he throws Kodaka back into the ring. Stomp to the back by KUSHIDA, he picks up Kodaka and knees Kodaka in the stomach. Elbows by Kodaka, but KUSHIDA chops Kodaka in the chest. Leg lock by KUSHIDA, he picks up Kodaka and hits a kneebreaker. Another kneebreaker by KUSHIDA and he kicks Kodaka in the leg. Figure four by KUSHIDA but Kodaka rolls to the ropes and breaks the hold. They end up outside the ring, elbows by Kodaka but KUSHIDA kicks Kodaka in the leg. KUSHIDA slides Kodaka back into the ring and returns as well, kicks to the leg by KUSHIDA and he yanks back on Kodaka's leg. KUSHIDA picks up Kodaka and goes for a vertical suplex, Kodaka tries to land on his feet but his leg gives way. Kodaka dropkicks KUSHIDA out of the ring, he gets a running start and sails out onto KUSHIDA with a tope suicida. Kodaka is bleeding and I have no idea why.
Kodaka finds a ladder from under the ring and slides it in, setting it up in the corner. KUSHIDA crawls back in the ring, Kodaka tries to Irish whip KUSHIDA into the ladder but KUSHIDA reverses it. Double knee strike by KUSHIDA but Kodaka gets the upper hand and delivers a superkick from a two count. Kodaka positions KUSHIDA in the middle of the ring and goes and gets a chair, he grabs the ladder and puts it onto KUSHIDA before grabbing the chair and going to the top turnbuckle. Double knee drop by Kodaka with the chair onto the ladder on top of KUSHIDA, and Kodaka rolls out of the ring before walking to the back. He comes back with a big ass barbed wire board, sliding it into the ring. This is apparently a Death Match. Or at least it is now. He sets up the barbed wire board in the corner, he picks up KUSHIDA and tries to Irish whip him into it, but KUSHIDA won't budge. Kicks in the corner by Kodaka, he grabs KUSHIDA again, Irish whip, and KUSHIDA goes hard into the barbed wire board. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Kodaka picks up KUSHIDA, slams him in front of the corner, and puts the barbed wire board on top of him, with the barbed wire face up. I have no idea why. Kodaka goes up top and hits a senton onto the barbed wire, he waits for KUSHIDA to get up and elbows him, but KUSHIDA returns fire. They trade blows, but KUSHIDA kicks Kodaka in the leg. KUSHIDA goes off the ropes, punch by Kodaka and they trade strikes, which KUSHIDA gets the better of. KUSHIDA picks up Kodaka and delivers a roaring elbow, cover, but it gets a two count. Scoop slam by KUSHIDA and he hits the moonsault, cover, but it also only gets two. KUSHIDA picks up Kodaka and nails the dragon suplex hold, cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner: KUSHIDA
Match Thoughts: So this was a bit of a conflict for me, as I like KUSHIDA, but I hate the Big Japan "take 30 seconds to set up one spot" style of wrestling. Otherwise I think Kodaka is fine and I liked him bringing a new element to the match, but it just really slowed down a portion of the match that he was in control of, and with two young wrestlers like this I prefer to watch a slightly more fast paced/action packed affair. That being said seeing KUSHIDA in some hardcore elements was fun, so I won't complain too loudly, even if Kodaka doing a move with the barbed wire face up didn't make a lot of sense. A mixed bag, but more good then bad for sure. Score: 6.5
Heimo Ukonselkä, Stark Adder, and Jessica Love vs. TAJIRI, Hajime Ohara, and Lynn Byron
Adder and Byron start things off. Byron avoids Adder to start the match, kick by Byron but Adder kicks her back and takes her to the mat. Armbar by Adder into a wristlock, but Byron rolls out of it. Kick to the stomach by Byron and she clubs Adder in the chest. Wristlock by Byron, Adder reverses it into a side headlock, Byron Irish whips out of it but Adder shoulderblocks her down. Byron goes off the ropes and hits a headscissors before dropkicking Adder to the mat. Adder tags in Love while Byron tags in Ohara. Punches to the back of the head by Ohara and he stomps Love into the mat. Ohara picks up Love and throws her into the corner, Irish whip by Ohara, reversed, reversed again, and Love throws Ohara hard into the corner. Running shoulder tackle by Love and she nails the bronco buster. TAJIRI runs in the ring but Love throws him into the corner as well, Love goes to kiss him but they both bail. Love tags in Ukonselkä, and TAJIRI is tagged in as Ohara jumps off the apron due to Ukonselkä's scary appearance. Tie-up and Ukonselkä easily throws TAJIRI to the mat. Tie-up again, and we get the same result. They circle each other, TAJIRI goes for a single leg takedown but Ukonselkä clubs him in the chest. Irish whip by Ukonselkä but TAJIRI dropkicks him in the knee. Kicks to the leg by TAJIRI, he goes for the single leg again but Ukonselkä punches him off. Ukonselkä chokes TAJIRI in the corner with his boot, but Byron runs in to break it up. TAJIRI and Byron go for a double Irish whip but Ukonselkä shrugs them off. Ohara comes in the ring as well, they finally send Ukonselkä on a double Irish whip but he clotheslines both of them to the mat. Adder is tagged in and he comes in the ring with a springboard lariat to TAJIRI, cover, but it gets a two count. Adder applies a neck nerve hold to TAJIRI, back up, Irish whip by Adder but TAJIRI hits the handstand springboard elbow strike and makes the tag to Ohara. Ohara chokes Adder in the ropes, he then goes off the ropes and dropkicks Adder. Cover by Ohara but it gets a two count. Ohara picks up Adder and he puts him in the tree of woe in the corner. Adder recovers and dropkicks Ohara to the mat, Adder goes off the ropes but Ohara catches him with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.
Ohara tags in Byron, kicks by Byron and she stomps Adder in the hand. Byron bites Adder on the hand but Adder throws her into the corner. Byron avoids Adder's charge and chops Adder in the throat before hitting the Space Rolling Elbow. Tiger Feint Kick by Byron, cover, but Ukonselkä breaks it up. Ohara runs in the ring to hit Ukonselkä back, and Byron tags in TAJIRI. Kicks by TAJIRI to Adder and he chops Adder in the corner. TAJIRI puts Adder onto the top turnbuckle but Adder pushes him off. Diving tomahawk chop by Adder and he makes the tag to Love. Lariat by Love to TAJIRI and he knocks down both Ohara and Byron. Back to TAJIRI, Love drops him with a flying headscissors. Crossbody by Love, but it gets a two count. Love goes for a lariat but TAJIRI ducks it and delivers the back kick. TAJIRI waits for Love to get to her knees for the Buzzsaw Kick, but Ukonselkä punches him from behind. Byron and Ohara dump Ukonselkä out of the ring, but he trips them both from the floor and Adder comes off the ropes with a splash onto Byron and Ohara. Love kicks TAJIRI, she positions him in front of the corner and nails the senton bomb. Cover, but Ohara barely breaks it up in time. Love grabs Ohara and tries to kiss him, but TAJIRI breaks it up. TAJIRI gets kissed instead, but it turns out he put mist into her mouth which she spits out before falling to the mat. Ukonselkä comes in the ring and easily clears it, Ukonselkä picks up Ohara, Irish whip, but Ohara ducks the lariat and kicks Ukonselkä off his feet. He then lariats Ukonselkä out of the ring, Byron dives out onto Ukonselkä but Ukonselkä catches her. Ukonselkä holds Byron for Adder, Adder goes for a pescado but Byron moves and Adder accidentally takes out Ukonselkä. Back in the ring Love spits some water into TAJIRI's face, and TAJIRI rolls out of the ring. Love goes up to the top turnbuckle and sails out onto just about everyone with a somersault senton. Ohara hops out and pulls Ukonselkä back into the ring with him, Ohara goes for the submission but Ukonselkä picks him up and plants him with a front slam. Ukonselkä delivers a big boot to Ohara, he picks him up and nails the pump handle slam. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winners: Heimo Ukonselkä, Stark Adder, and Jessica Love
Match Thoughts: This match was really fun. I dunno if all Finnish wrestlers have the caveman style or that is just who made the trip to Japan, but I really enjoyed them even though I had never seen them before. Adder was the smaller one (still not small) so he was flying around, and they treated Ukonselkä like he was a monster consistently throughout the match. I also liked that the match put no emphasis on the man vs. woman sections, the women are trained wrestlers so it was nice to see a promotion treat them as near-equals and not divas. I can't say for sure what the deal was with Love kissing them and them being scared of it (maybe it makes them light headed, I dunno), but TAJIRI apparently misting her in the mouth while kissing her was a pretty awesome counter. Just a really entertaining match from bell to bell, recommended a watch if you want something a little bit different. Score: 7.5
Kana vs. Shuri
They circle each other to start and both go for low kicks. They trade more kick attempts, Shuri starts getting the better of it but Kana kicks her down and Shuri rolls out of the ring. Shuri returns after a moment and they go into a Test of Strength. Shuri gets the better of it and forces Kana to the mat, hammerlock by Shuri but Kana hits a side headlock takedown to get out of it. Shuri quickly re-applies the hammerlock, elbows by Kana and again she gets out of it with the side headlock takedown. Kana keeps the side headlock applied this time but Shuri rolls out of it and both wrestlers return to their feet. Tie-up, Kana applies a wristlock by Shuri reverses it. Takedown by Kana and she applies an armbar, but Shuri reverses it with a headscissors. Kana bridges out of it and applies the side headlock, but Shuri kicks her and reverses it. Side headlock takedown by Shuri, Kana gets out of it and applies a waistlock, snapmare by Kana and she rolls up Shuri for a two count. Kana applies a crucifix submission into a front facelock, Shuri Irish whips out of it, roll-up by Kana, Shuri rolls through it however and hits an armdrag takedown. Kick to the back by Shuri and she kicks Kana until Kana catches one and slaps Shuri in the face. Shuri catches one of Kana's kicks but Kana ducks when Shuri goes for a lariat. Shuri goes for another one but Kana rolls underneath it, kicks by Shuri and she hits a half hatch suplex. Shuri goes for the cross armbreaker but Kana gets a foot on the ropes to break the hold. Kicks to the arm by Shuri but Kana kicks Shuri in the leg. They trade kicks, duck each other's high kicks, but Kana lands a mid-kick. Kana avoids Shuri's punches by Shuri hits a back kick. Dropkick to a seated Kana by Shuri, cover, but it gets a two count. Shuri picks up Kana and knees her into the corner, Shuri gets a running start and delivers the jumping knee. Kana comes back with a German suplex hold, but it only gets a two. They slowly get up, Shuri goes for a kick but Kana catches it and applies an ankle lock. Shuri crawls to the ropes and eventually makes it to force a break, but Kana drops her with a release German suplex. Kana waits for Shuri to get up but Shuri catches her with a knee as she charges in. Sliding kick by Kana once she recovers, she goes for the pin but it gets two. Both wrestlers slowly get to their knees and they trade elbows, then return to their feet and continue trading shots. Knees by Shuri and she hits a cross armbreaker takedown, she gets the hold locked in but but Kana makes it to the ropes before she has to submit. Kick to the arm by Shuri but Kana catches a second one, kick to the stomach by Kana and she punches Shuri to the mat. Cover, but Shuri kicks out. Vertical suplex by Kana, cover, but again it gets two. Kana goes for a spinning kick but Shuri ducks it and kicks Kana down. Shuri hits a running knee as Kana is getting up, cover, but Kana barely kicks out. Shuri goes for a mid-kick but Kana goes for a high kick at the same time, sending Shuri sprawling. Kana goes for another high kick but Shuri ducks it and nails one of her own, cover, and she picks up the three count. Your winner: Shuri
Match Thoughts: Ok, so I don't watch Joshi, just as as disclaimer, so I don't know what is normal for Joshi matches or not. My first thought watching this match is that both are 100 times better then any women I can watch on my TV any given week, but that is obvious. My second thought was that Kana is very cute and I wanted to give her a hug. Once I got over that, my third thought was that this match was very good but had some issues here and there. I thought the overall selling was good, but there were a few individual cases (such as Kana hitting a German suplex hold right after taking a jumping knee in the corner) that seemed a bit illogical. They also seemed to have a few miscommunications, which happens, but is more noticeable in a shorter match (a little over 10 minutes). But overall I enjoyed it, I thought generally the strikes looked good and the crowd was definitely into it. I love suplexes and Shuri's release German suplex was well done both in execution and its placement in the match. Overall a good showing, this is the first of Kana I have seen (Shuri was KG in HUSTLE so I had seen her before) and I was impressed with both of them. Score: 6.5
Kana is happy I am watching SMASH
Final Thoughts: What I like about SMASH is that it is very different from the other wrestling that I watch. The Finnish wrestlers were all very enjoyable and a nice change of pace, and KUSHIDA/Kodaka was fun as I like KUSHIDA and it was nice to see him in a different type of match then he usually wrestles. The Joshi match up top was entertaining, and allowed me to see two young Joshi stars without sitting through an entire Joshi event. From top to bottom a very solid card with no bad matches and just a few average ones, if you get the chance to see this event and are in the mood for something different then I'd recommend it even though it is rather short with only five matches.
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review completed 8/23/10