Toryumon 2000 Project on 11/13/01
review by Ryan Mancuso
Hello once again, I am back with the first of my four reviews from Toryumon 2000 Project or T2P for short. At least, the plan is for me to use these upcoming reviews about T2P. T2P was the name given to the second major class of Ultimo Dragon students. The first class consisted of CIMA, Magnum TOKYO, SUWA and Dragon Kid that were in Toryumon Japan. However, the T2P students were trained under a different style of pro wrestling than the first class of students were. There is more of an emphasis on submissions and takedowns rather than pinfalls and high flying. The style they use is called "Llave" and that is a term used to describe lucha libre armbar techniques. It seemed that technical wrestling master Jorge "Skayde" Rivera may have had a bigger influence on these students than Ultimo Dragon. The two names that most US wrestling fans are familiar with this class are Milano Collection AT and Masato Yoshino. This show took place on November 13, 2001 at Korakuen Hall. T2P had done shows in Mexico, but this was their debut in Japan. Here is the review:
Before the matches being, the lights are off at Korakuen and there is a rave atmosphere at the building because there are glow sticks being waved. The T2P mascot speaks to the crowd. He mentioned that the curtain surrounding the ring will be taken down after a countdown. After the countdown is finished, the curtain is dropped and there is a six-sided in the middle of Korakuen Hall. AAA and TNA are the only major promotions to try out the six-sided ring. I don’t know if this was the first time the six-sided ring has been used in Japan because AAA ran a few shows in Japan during the summer of 2000, and they may have used a six-sided ring. The wrestlers come out to the ring. Michinoku Pro's The Great Sasuke shows up, but does not wrestle. He puts over the show and asks Ultimo Dragon to consider returning to the ring.
Takayuki Yagi vs. Shuji Kondo
This was an awesome match to debut the T2P style. This match had a hybrid of submissions, fancy takedowns, power moves and strikes. Everything was just flowing perfectly and transitioned from one great sequence to the next. It was more amazing that neither man had a full year of wrestling experience and they were able to deliver such a high quality match. They were working way ahead of their experience level. Kondo was already showing the ability to be one of the best wrestlers from the T2P class. He used a hybrid of power moves such as the lariat, spear and jackhammer with submissions. Kondo's spear is amazing as he doesn’t just charge at the opponent to take him down. He charges in, lifts up the opponent, runs with him and drives the opponent on the mat hard. Many people who follow Wrestlecrap may know that Yagi is the wrestler who had a baker gimmick. Before he became a baker, Yagi was a fisherman. He did some move related to the gimmick like the fisherman buster and fisherman suplex. Yagi wins the match with the Takutsubo hold, which is a grounded Octopus hold.
TARUcito vs. Raimu Mishima
Since this was a match between a mini and a regular sized wrestler, special rules were made. Pinfalls were different in that TARUcito just has to get a 2 count to win, but Mishima has to get a 4 count to win the match for him. Also, Mishima has to make TARUcito tap out two different times to win the match. TARUcito is a mini version of TARU. Mishima is impersonating New Japan star and one of Ultimo Dragon's good friends, Yuji Nagata. TARUcito's offense had no effect on Mishima, and Mishima made him tap the first time with the crossface hold. TARUcito got some very close near falls with a 1 count. Mishima uses the backdrop suplex hold and gets the 3 count. However, Mishima forgot the rules because he was suppose to keep TARUcito down for a 4 count to win. TARU shows up to help his mini by nailing Mishima with a baseball bat. TARUcito rolls up Mishima and gets the 2 count to win the match. The match was nothing special and showed that TARUcito needed the special rules to compete with the bigger wrestlers.
Toru Owashi vs. Jun Ogawauchi
Owashi is the big man of the T2P class. He uses a lot of power moves and not afraid of breaking the rules. With his size and persona, he is not going to be as flashy as the rest of his classmates. Ogawauchi tries to use the strategy of outsmarting the big man. He kept countering Owashi's attempt at the choke slam. Owashi hits his awesome running chokeslam. He makes Ogawauchi with a hybrid of an Indian Deathlock, Bow-and-Arrow hold and headlock. It was a decent match that put over Owashi as the Power Fighter of T2P. Ogawauchi did a good job with the role he had in the match.
SUWA shows up to watch the matches in the crowd. He just quit Crazy MAX and very unhappy with Toryumon Japan. Could he be at the T2P debut show to create chaos like usual or does he have another motive?
Kinya Oyanagei vs. TARU
This was a really funny match. Oyanagei was a defeated Phillipino soldier who lost his memory and found himself training to be a pro wrestling at Ultimo Dragon's gym in Mexico. Oyanagei salutes at every moment possible. His timing of the salutes was great. TARU was good at playing the straight man with these wacky comedy characters. TARU tried to force the saluting hand down, but it either goes back up or the other hand salutes. Oyanagei's moves had a lot of saluting gestures in them such as a saluting splash into the corner. He even has a submission in which he makes TARU salute when applied. TARU seemed to have the match in control and was going for his TARU Driller, but Oyanagei counters with a saluting backslide for the upset. Oyanagei's persona was really fun.
Masato Yoshino & Stevie Brother Tsujimoto vs. KENtaro Mori & Takamichi Iwasa
All four men have very unique gimmicks. Yoshino looks like Tarzan, Tsujimoto is a Jamaican dancer, Mori is an elegant prince and Iwasa is a babyface who happens to be the Prince of Hell. This was just an insane match because of the flashy takedowns and submissions. The fact that none of these guys had 2 years experience, at the time, and managed to put on a great exhibition of moves with near flawless execution was amazing. Yoshino looked the best with his amazing speed while running off the ropes along with his move execution. Stevie Brother, Mori and Iwasa also looked good in there. Mori did a good job in trying to keep up with Yoshino's speed. Stevie Brother was there to show the alignment of the wrestlers, with him and Yoshino as heels and the opponents as faces, in the match. Iwasa did some crazy holds of his own.
Outside of Stevie Brother using a few heelish moves, the match did feel like an exhibition for the T2P style. Considering the fact that the T2P style is something that most fans had never seen before, I think it might have been best to win them over by using flashy moves to keep the fans eyes glued to the action. It clearly worked in this match. I was going to do play-by-play for the match, but they stuff they were doing was pretty nuts. It is hard to give this style justice by me just writing about it. I think people should check it out to truly understand this style. I will talk about the key moves in this match because there were plenty:
Iwasa did the first really cool submission in the match when he did a stretch muffler variation, but he had Stevie's arms tied up in the back and was down on one knee while doing it. Yoshino's speed is insane. I have never seen a wrestler run off the ropes as fast as anyone. The accuracy he has in hitting those moves in that speed is also nuts. One move was when Mori went for a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, but Yoshino countered in mid-air with an Octopus hold. Yoshino continued to impress when he Mori in a headscissors hold while onto of his shoulders. Yoshino would quickly spin in a 180 and use a reverse tarantula on the ropes. Yoshino and Stevie would use some nice teamwork when Stevie would lift Mori up in a wheelbarrow and Yoshino would slam him face first onto the mat.
While Yoshino had Iwasa trapped in a hold in the center of the ring, Stevie used a rolling cradle on Mori around their respective partners in the corners of the ring. Iwasa and Mori show some double team work of their own when Mori escapes a corner charge elbow from Yoshino. Mori would drop toehold Stevie on the mat. Iwasa would catch Yoshino in an inverted atomic drop. They put Yoshino in a position that makes it look like he is going to put Stevie in a Scorpion Deathlock. In that position, Iwasa locks Yoshino in an Octopus hold and Mori uses a camel clutch onto Stevie. It was an awesome visual, but they let go of the holds. They keep their opponents in that position and Iwasa knocks down Yoshino with a chop that also does damage to Stevie.
Iwasa connects with a tornado DDT, but it was not just a regular tornado DDT on Stevie. Iwasa uses his partner to jump off and connect with the tornado DDT. Mori shows the flashy submission skills by having a mat wrestling exchange with Yoshino that ends up with Mori using the Mori Escargot, a modified single-leg Boston crab. Stevie busts out the high flying insanity when he is on the apron. He reenters the ring with a slingshot 450 splash onto Isawa for a near fall. Mori uses an armbreaker variation onto Stevie when he grabs the arm, jumps on the ring ropes and jumps off the land on the apron. Iwasa goes for the Goliath Bird Eater, a figure-four leglock variation. Yoshino saves his partner just in time. Yoshino has Mori on his shoulder and nails him with a spinning sit-out face crusher.
Yoshino uses another variation of the tornado DDT onto Iwasa. He goes from the corner, spins around to where he could springboard off the ropes and drills him with a tornado DDT. Iwasa barely kicks out. Yoshino goes for the kill by using a tilt-a-whirl headscissors into a Fujiwara armbar takedown. He calls this the Torbellino. He immediately transitions into the Sol Naciente, which is a rolling cross arm triangle choke. Iwasa submits and this amazing match was over.
Lucha Libre Classica Rules: Milano Collection AT vs. Ryo Saito
This was a huge match between the ace of T2P, Milano Collection AT, and one of Toryumon Japan's rising stars in Ryo Saito. This match was held under Lucha Libre Classica Rules. It means this was 2 out of 3 falls with a 61 minute time limit and four allowable rope breaks with an automatic loss occurring on the fifth rope break. Milano's gimmick is great because he is an Italian supermodel who carries an invisible dog and does a catwalk, along with other models, across the ring.
This match was more of a showcase for Milano Collection AT than it being a competitive match. It was pretty risky booking to have Milano just absolutely school Ryo in two straight falls. It worked because Milano has the talent and charisma to run with a main event level push. His style was unique enough to where he could catch his opponents off guard and win. Ryo never saw a major push with the company again, until the name change to Dragon Gate and Milano’s departure in 2005. There was some clipping of the match, and it was probably intentionally done so that it could further show just how dominant Milano looked. For all of the great moves that his classmates did in the show, Milano showed why is positioned as top star of the promotion because he looked like he was on a level higher than them.
Milano just looked to graceful in the ring. It felt like every time Ryo tried something on offense then Milano would have an immediate counter. Milano stretched Ryo through so many ways. He managed to use an STF variation that saw the hold applied around the ropes. Milano wins the first fall by using the Paradise Lock. The best way for me to describe it is picture rolling up someone in a ball with their arms and legs tied together. Milano sits on Ryo's back, and Ryo gives up the first fall.
Milano shows that he is more than flashy submissions in the second fall by using a Shining Enzuigiri and a great handspring back elbow into the corner. Ryo got some offense in this fall with a missile dropkick and German suplex hold for a near fall. He went for his finisher, in the Cycling Yahoo, but Milano gracefully counters out of it with a headscissors variation. Milano goes for the kill when he uses a beautiful Asai Moonsault onto Ryo in the center of the ring. Milano continues the flying when he does the same move, but with a twist into a senton that hit perfectly. Milano locks in the AT Lock, a chickenwing armlock with a headscissors, and Ryo submits.
After the match, Milano gets on the microphone to talk about how T2P is better than Toryumon. SUWA enters the ring. The T2P wrestlers are in position to attack in case SUWA tries something. SUWA extends the hand and Milano accepts. The real swerve here was that SUWA did not cheap shot Milano, but showed the T2P ace some respect. The T2P roster enters the ring and celebrates Milano's dominant victory. Clips of the November 16 show aired. Milano, Stevie & Yoshino faced Ryo, Mori & Iwasa in what could have been a great match. Milano won the match by using his AT Lock on Iwasa. TARU got revenge on Oyanagei by planting him with the TARU Driller for the pin.
Final Score: 8.0 [Very Good]