WAR Revolution Rumbling Vol. 13, 3/2/94
review by Ryan Mancuso
Hello once more, I have returned with another review from WAR. This show took place on March 2, 1994. It was a big show for WAR because they were running the Sumo Hall in Tokyo. A venue in which many big New Japan shows are held. The main event was an interpromotional tag team battle. It featured WAR's Genichiro Tenryu and Ashura Hara facing FMW's Atsushi Onita and Tarzan Goto. FMW had been gaining huge cult status for being the first promotion in Japan to use barbed wire, regularly, and explosives in their matches. FMW's founder and top star, Atsushi Onita, became a cult hero that turned into a mainstream star. He showed that pro wrestling could succeed by going to another direction. Fans became attached to that philosophy and Onita's charisma. With Onita being friends with Tenryu back when both were working for All Japan, it was a matter of time before the two promotions would work with each other. It was Onita for this one and Tenryu for the huge May 5 Kawasaki Stadium show in FMW. Let me start this review:
Gedo & Jado vs. Nobukazu Hirai & Masanobu Kurisu
This was Gedo and Jado back when they were wearing pajamas for wrestling tights. Gedo also had long hair and was really chubby. This was joined-in-progress, and it looked decent in this form. The match was more of a showcase for Gedo and Jado's chemistry as a team. They got the win by using a double-team superbomb on Hirai.
Koki Kitahara vs. Kim Duk
This was joined-in-progress, and it did not look interesting from what was shown. Kitahara gets the win with a crucifix cradle.
Hiromichi Fuyuki vs. Arashi
This match was held under special rules with 5 rounds. Each round has a 3 minute time limit. If there was no winner after 5 rounds, then the match would be declared a draw. There was plenty of clipping in this match. I am thankful because the match was not good from what was shown. The match went all 5 rounds without a winner. Fuyuki cut a promo after the match. He demanded an extra round and Arashi agreed. Fuyuki was able to win the match in this extra round with an inside cradle.
Ultimo Dragon & Masao Orihara vs. The Great Sasuke & SATO
This was a good match between the WAR Jr. Heavyweights and Michinoku Pro's top stars at the time. This match was not as good as the WAR vs. New Japan Jr. Heavyweights from my previous review because there was not much hate shown between the two teams here. Orihara was not into punking out the Michinoku Pro guys. It could have either been maturity setting in, or the alliance between WAR and Michinoku Pro was friendly. SATO would change his name to the more familiar Dick Togo a few years later.
I was surprised to see them doing some lengthy matwork rather than move at a faster pace. The stuff they did was not dull. There was a three dive sequence that was almost fabulous. It started with SATO doing a running springboard somersault senton onto Ultimo on the floor. Orihara dives out with an Asai Moonsault onto SATO. Sasuke almost topped it with a Space Flying Tiger Drop. However, Sasuke mistimed it and landed on the ropes. Sasuke still had enough momentum to dive over the top rope, but it was not the same graceful dive that Sasuke had in mind. From there the match picked up and the action was good. Ultimo wins the match for his team when he catches SATO with an in-ring Asai Moonsault then folds up SATO in a cross-armed German suplex hold.
Super Strong Machine vs. Chris Jericho
This was clipped very heavily. I have no idea about how good or bad this match was. Machine wins the match with a diving headbutt off the top rope.
King Haku vs. Mr. Hughes
This was also clipped heavily. Haku gets the win with a backdrop suplex hold.
Koji Kitao vs. Koji Ishinriki
The pro wrestling career of Koji Kitao was short, but very interesting. Kitao started out his career in sumo wrestling. He achieved the highest status by winning the honor of being called a grand champion, also known as Yokozuna. However, things went downhill for him as a sumo. He was the first Yokozuna to never win another tournament at that rank. He was also the first Yokozuna to be expelled by the Sumo Association for behavioral issues. After leaving sumo, he decided to become a professional wrestler and train in the New Japan dojo. With his high achievement in sumo wrestling, Kitao making the transition to pro wrestling was a huge deal. New Japan gave him a big push in his pro wrestling debut in 1990 with a singles victory over Bam Bam Bigelow. It would take New Japan trueborns years to be able to get a victory over a man like Bigelow.
When SWS formed, they offered Kitao a big money contract and he jumped. Due to the working relationship between SWS and WWE, he and Tenryu got to wrestle and defeat Demolition at Wrestlemania VII. It was April 1, 1991 that was his most infamous incident. He was having a match with John Tenta. I'll copy & paste what Tenta said about the incident on the Wrestlecrap message board, "It's a long story but I'll make it short. I beat him in Tokyo and was supposed to beat him again, but he refused. I got pissed off and did a few takedowns on him which got him pissed. When I settled down, to work with him, I told him to give me a kick but instead went for a Fujiwara arm bar, which luckily I was strong enough, and balanced enough to counter, and avoid probably having my shoulder ripped off. The people popped for me, and laughed at him, and the rest of the match was pretty much me giving him a tongue-lashing in front of a sell-out Japanese crowd. He got frustrated, quit and announced [on a live microphone] wrestling was fake."
I have seen this incident and that is exactly what happened. Kitao was immediately fired for that. Despite all of that, Kitao was back in pro wrestling. UWF-I was playing off Kitao's unprofessional actions in 1992. They were trying to prove that they were the most legit fighting/pro wrestling organization around. They brought in Kitao and defeated a lot of UWF-I's stars. It built up a big match between Kitao and UWF-I's top star in Nobuhiko Takada. Takada won the match and increased his hero status to pro wrestling fans for defeating one of pro wrestling criminals. Kitao was able to regain some trust in pro wrestling promoters. WAR, which came from the remnants of SWS, brought him in.
As far as the match went, it was a Kitao squash. He scored a KO victory with an axe kick. All of that work on the bio and the match description was very little. It is time for the main event.
Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara vs. Atsushi Onita & Tarzan Goto
This was a wild match, but it was a great way to end the show. There was plenty of hatred between the two teams whom were fighting for company pride. The crowd ate everything up, and they were really hot for the Onita vs. Tenryu confrontations. There was a lot more support for Team FMW, due to them being the underdogs, rather than the home promotion wrestlers. I really liked it when FMW would do everything to isolate Tenryu because they know a direct victory over him would be bigger than them defeating Hara. Some might be disappointed in the lack of weapon usage from the FMW guys in the match, but I felt that they key parts of the match. The chair shot busted Tenryu open, and the facebuster on the table really turned the momentum to FMW's side. I though the moves were getting repetitive towards the end of the match, but it was easily forgotten because of the effort put by the wrestlers and the atmosphere the match provided.
I give Tenryu a lot of credit for getting pinned by Onita in the match. Guys with Tenryu's status see Onita as just a "Garbage Wrestler", and would probably feel insulted at the thought of losing to him. Even if that match was a tag match that built up to a bigger singles match in which they beat the "Garbage Wrestler" in his own game. Tenryu dropping a rare pinfall definitely made the match more memorable than if Hara or Team FMW had been the ones who got pinned. It really raised Onita's and FMW's credibility in the eyes of the fans.
Here is a fact about this match that a lot of people may not know about. In their annual end of the year pro wrestling awards, Tokyo Sports Newspaper named this Match of the Year in 1994. That is pretty amazing considering all of the great matches that happened in various Japanese promotions that year. You have New Japan with their top heavyweights in Hashimoto, Muto, Chono, Hase, Choshu and Fujinami. The 1994 Super J Cup that New Japan held produced a few Match of the Year candidates in one night such as Liger vs. Sasuke and Benoit vs. Sasuke. All Japan had the best main event quality wrestlers in the world at the time. Any big singles or tag main event from an All Japan card could easily produce a Match of the Year candidate. While I do not follow Joshi too much, but I am sure that a really beautiful girl I talk to on a regular basis could tell me the high quality matches that All Japan Women's had produced that year. Not even the big payoff to this match, Onita vs. Tenryu in an exploding cage at FMW's big Kawasaki Stadium May 5 show, was voted higher than this match. Here is my play-by-play of this Match of the Year winner:
Goto and Hara start the match. They trade headbutts and chops. Goto throws Hara to the floor. While out there, Onita and Tenryu go at it on the floor as well. Neither team gained an advantage out there. Goto and Hara reenter the ring. Goto runs off the ropes and knocks Hara down with a shoulderblock. He runs off again, but Hara catches him with a lariat. Hara tags in Tenryu. Tenryu chops at Goto a few times and whips him to the corner. Tenryu charges in, but Goto gets out of the way. Goto takes Tenryu down with a jumping armbreaker. Tenryu quickly gets out of the ring by tagging in Hara.
Goto tags in Onita. Onita uses a few headbutts and takes Hara down with a face crusher. Onita throws a kick, but Hara catches it and lariats Onita down. Hara tags in Tenryu, and the fans respond for a clash between Tenryu and Onita. They trade slaps and Tenryu whips Onita off the ropes. He catches Onita with a lariat. Tenryu uses short headbutts onto Onita, and even slams Onita's head onto Hara's head. Tenryu throws Onita out of the ring, and tags in Hara. Hara slams Onita's head into the ring post, and Tenryu kicks at Onita from the apron. While that is happening, Hara is at the FMW corner. He and Goto start trading slaps before the referee has to break them up.
Onita is busted open, and Hara headbutts at the wound. Tenryu is tagged. He throws a few chops, and takes him down with an enzuigiri. Onita catches a Tenryu kick, takes him down and puts Tenryu in a figure-four leglock. Hara quickly breaks it up to some jeers of the crowd. Tenryu picks up the stunned Onita, and puts him down with a vertical suplex. Tenryu covers, but Onita kicks out at 2. Tenryu tags in Hara. He whips Onita into the corner then does the same to Hara. Hara connects with a charging lariat. Hara stomps at Onita's cut, and whips him to the opposite corner. He charges again, but Onita moves out of the way. He tags in Goto. Goto gives Hara a few chops then whips him off the ropes. He connects with a lariat. Goto uses a vertical suplex on Hara and makes the cover. Hara kicks out at 2. Goto tags in Onita.
Goto picks up Hara and holds him for Onita dropkick off the top rope. Hara is quickly able to tag in Tenryu. Tenryu whips Onita off the ropes, and the WAR team catches him with a sandwich lariat. Tenryu uses a powerbomb on Onita, and holds him down for a cover. Goto makes the save. Tenryu throws Goto out of the ring. He fires off chops and slaps. Tenryu tries to enter the ring, but Onita cuts him off. While Tenryu's head was between the middle and top rope, Onita DDT's him on the mat. Onita uses another DDT and makes the cover. Tenryu is out at 2. Tenryu tags in Hara. He whips Onita off the ropes, and connects with a lariat. Goto picks up a chair, and nails a recovering Tenryu on the floor with it. Tenryu is now busted open
Team FMW has a 2-on-1 advantage. Hara tries to fight them off, but the numbers would be too much for him. Onita takes him down with a backdrop suplex. Onita tags in Goto. Onita slams Hara to the mat, and Goto climbs the top turnbuckle. Goto jumps off with a diving bodypress. I think that was the first time I have ever seen Goto jump off the top turnbuckle with a move. Goto tags in Onita. Goto bodyslams Hara, then Onita jumps off the top turnbuckle with a diving headbutt onto Hara's midsection. Goto is tagged back in, and lariats Hara to the mat. Goto covers, but Hara kicks out at 2. Goto kicks at the downed Hara. He picks up Hara, and drops him with a backdrop suplex for another nearfall. Onita is tagged back in, and uses a backdrop suplex of his own to Hara. Onita covers, but Hara is out at 2 again.
Hara escapes from Onita, and tags in Tenryu. Tenryu throws a few chops and knocks Onita down with a lariat. Tenryu is still dazed from the chairshot, but manages to use an enzuigiri to knock Onita back down. Tenryu covers, but Goto makes the save. Goto throws Tenryu to the floor. He sets Tenryu on top of a table. Both men are standing on the table, and Goto uses his big face crusher from a piledriver position. Tenryu lands face first on the table, and the table does not give. Goto throws Tenryu back into the ring. Onita uses a DDT and covers. Tenryu kicks out at 2.75. Onita with a Thunder Fire Powerbomb, but Tenryu again barely kicks out. Team FMW knocks Hara off the apron. They got to the floor and throw Hara back first onto the steel ring post a few times. While they do that, Tenryu recovers in the ring. After Onita enters the ring, Tenryu catches him with an enzuigiri.
Tenryu is still stunned and Onita is able to bodyslam him on the mat. Goto climbs the top turnbuckle and uses another diving bodypress. Team FMW whips Tenryu off the ropes, and catches him with a double lariat. Onita covers, but Tenryu kicks out at 2 again. Both men are up, and Tenryu knocks him down with a lariat. Tenryu looks for a tag, but Team FMW has managed to take Hara out of the match. Onita capitalizes with a backdrop suplex for another nearfall. Tenryu manages to get enough strength to lock on an Octopus hold. Goto tries to make the save, but Hara manages to grab Goto's foot from the floor. Goto fights off Hara, and finally makes the save. Goto catches Tenryu with an enzuigiri. Goto tries it again, but Tenryu ducks. However, Tenryu managed to put himself into position for Onita's Thunder Fire Powerbomb. After a brief struggle, Onita connects with the Thunder Fire Powerbomb. Onita covers. The referee counts: 1! 2! 3! Team FMW is victorious with Onita pinning Tenryu!
Final Score: 6.0 [Average]
Ryan Mancuso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org