World-1 Grand Prix
review by Kevin Wilson

The Date:  October 2nd, 2005
Location:  Yoyogi National Stadium Gymnasium
Attendance:  8,012

How can one put into words what World-1 is?  I think what the promoter (FEG) does is they try to find the most random assortment of high priced wrestlers they can and throw them into wrestling matches.  Think about it.  This event has Kamala, Abdullah the Butcher, and Dory Funk Jr in the opening match, which must have been expensive (if nothing else to fly them over).  Then you have a handful of MMA fighters, the return of the retired Don Frye, three of the most expensive freelancers in Japan (Bob Sapp, Suzuki, and Sasaki), the leaders of NOAH and All Japan (Misawa and Mutoh/Muta) and some of the biggest names from NOAH and All Japan (Akiyama and Jamal/Akebono/Team 3-D).  In all honesty this must be the strangest wrestling event I have ever seen and when the event takes place in front of a 40% empty arena it just adds to that surreal feeling.  I can't wait.  Here is the full card:

- Abdullah The Butcher and Giant Kimala vs. Dory Funk Jr. and Katsuhiko Nakajima
- Giant Bernard and The Predator vs. Sam Greco and Jan "The Giant" Nortje
- Chuck Palumbo and Johnny Stamboli vs. Team 3-D
- Kohei Suwama vs. Minoru Suzuki
- Don Frye vs. Jamal
- Akebono and Scorpio vs. Mitsuharu Misawa and Yoshinari Ogawa
- Great Muta vs. Kensuke Sasaki
- Bob Sapp vs. Jun Akiyama

The event production by FEG truly is top notch.  The DVD is chock full of extra footage, including highlights from past events and interviews with the wrestlers.  You wouldn't be able to tell that this event wasn't put on by one of the big promotions in Japan and actually has better production values then All Japan.

Abdullah The Butcher and Giant Kimala vs. Dory Funk Jr. and Katsuhiko Nakajima
How the hell did Nakajima get stuck in this match?  I bet that when Sasaki was signed, he said he would only wrestle if Nakajima got a match as well.  So they intentionally got three of the worst in-ring workers (although Abdullah and Kimala are very entertaining in their own way) in the world to put him in a match with.  They have a crazy brawl outside the ring to start, as Kimala goes after Nakajima and Funk punches Abby around the ring.  Funk comes over to help Nakajima and fights both men, but eventually is beaten down by Abby much to the excitement of the crowd.  Abby "throws" Funk over the guardrail while Kimala punches Nakajima on the entrance ramp.  Cut back to Abby and Funk, who are trading blows, and Funk hits Abby with a chair.  Kimala and Nakajima have gotten in the ring, so Funk takes the chair and throws it at Kimala inside the ring.  This has little effect on Kimala and he headbutts Nakajima in the chest before throwing him into the corner.  Chop by Kimala, but Nakajima fires back with forearm shots and stiff kicks to the chest, which knocks down Kimala.  Nakajima tags in Funk, who hits Kimala with a series of uppercuts.  Funk tags Nakajima back in, and Nakajima stomps Kimala in the back.  Kimala chops Nakajima back though and throws him out of the ring for Abby.  Abby throws Nakajima into the guardrail and throws him over.  Abby finds a chair and hits Nakajima rather hard in the back with it.  Finally Funk comes to help and he clubs Kimala in the back.  He is met with a chop though as Abby tosses Nakajima over another guardrail.  Abby then tosses Nakajima into a row of chairs before throwing chairs at him.  Funk again finally makes it over and he helps Nakajima back to the ring.  They meet Abby and Kimala on the way though, and Funk throws Abby into a table and chops him repeatedly in the neck.  He even does a knee drop on Abby while he is on the table, an impressive feat for a 64 year old man battling a 69 year old man.  Back to ringside, Abby regains the advantage and clubs Nakajima to that floor.  Nakajima eventually rolls back in the ring, and Kimala applies the neck nerve hold.  Nakajima makes it to the ropes, Irish whip by Kimala, and he applies the bearhug.  Nakajima quickly forearms out of it though and hits a dropkick.  The second dropkick knocks Kimala to the mat.  Back up, Kimala drives Nakajima into the corner but Nakajima is able to tag in Funk.  Double Irish whip, and they hit a double elbow strike.  Cover, but it only gets two.  Funk goes for the spinning toe hold, but Abby comes in to break it up.  Nakajima goes to take care of Abby, but Nakajima eats a thrust to the throat, as does Funk.  Abby throws Nakajima from the ring as Kimala applies the nerve hold to Funk.  Funk breaks it though, goes off the ropes, and knocks down Kimala with a forearm shot before tagging in Nakajima.  Nakajima picks up Kimala and hits another series of kicks to the chest.  He tries to pick up Kimala, but is not successful.  He tries again after hitting more kicks, but Kimala clubs him in the chest.  Irish whip by Kimala, and he hits a nice (yes, nice) flying clothesline.  Cover, but Funk breaks it up.  Abby is tagged in, Irish whip by Abby, and he hits a thrust to the throat of Nakajima.  Big elbow drop by Abby, cover, and he gets the three count pinfall.  Your winners:  Abdullah The Butcher and Giant Kimala

Post match:  They brawl for literally five minutes in and out of the ring.  Abby gets out his fork, but Funk gets it and drives it into Abby's head.  Not that busting open Abby is much of an accomplishment, he can probably make himself bleed just by concentrating really hard.  Finally Funk and Nakajima make it to the back and the crowd salutes Abby as he leaves.

Match Thoughts:  I really don't know what to say.  Honestly, if they had kept the match in the five minute range, I might have actually enjoyed it a little.  Unfortunately, the match really dragged on (even though it was only around 10 minutes, 15 with post-match activities), and by the end I was wishing that I was the one holding the fork and was plunging it into my eye.  I don't mean to sound disrespectful towards two and a half legends, but I don't need to see Funk, Abby, and Kimala in the ring for an extended period of time at this stage of their careers.  At least the crowd was pumped since Abby was in the match, but really this was quite hard to watch after the first few minutes.  Score:  2.5

Giant Bernard and The Predator vs. Sam Greco and Jan "The Giant" Nortje
Another odd pairing, but nothing in comparison to the last match.  Predator and Greco start things off.  Predator goes for a kick, but Greco avoids it and kicks him in the leg.  They trade strikes, with Greco hitting a back kick to the gut, but Predator hits a big boot, knocking Greco down.  Predator goes for a big kick, but Greco catches his leg and takes him down.  Greco goes for a cross armbreaker, but Bernard kicks him in the head through the ropes.  Headbutt to the stomach by Predator and he clubs Greco in the back.  Throat thrust by Predator and he delivers a scoop slam.  Leg drop by Predator, cover, but it only gets a two count.  Predator goes for a gorilla press, Greco slides down the back, but Predator goes off the ropes and hits a spinning heel kick.  Predator tags in Bernard and Greco tags in Nortje.  Bernard is actually taller then "The Giant," which is humorous.  They trade pushes, Nortje punches Bernard against the ropes and shoulderblocks him down.  Kicks by Nortje in the corner and he chokes Bernard with his boot.  Nortje backs up and Bernard comes out of the corner with kicks.  Tie-up, knee to the gut by Bernard, but Bernard slams Nortje back into his own corner and tags in Predator.  Double Irish whip by Predator and Bernard and they hit a double shoulderblock.  They pick Nortje back up and go for a double suplex, but Greco runs in and clotheslines Predator out of the ring.  Double Irish whip on Bernard, Greco hits a scissors kick and Nortje delivers the big elbow.  Cover, but it only gets a two count.  Nortje tags in Greco, but Greco is met with a punch and Bernard tags in Predator.  Greco punches Predator around the ring, Irish whip, reversed, and Bernard hits Greco from the apron.  Predator follows with a heel kick, cover, but Greco quickly kicks out.  Predator elbows Greco into the corner and hits a series of chops and clubbing blows.  Snapmare by Predator and he kicks Greco hard in the back of the head.  Headbutt by Predator and he slams Greco hard to the mat.  Cover, but again Greco easily kicks out.  Predator tags in Bernard, who kicks Greco in the ribcage.  Bernard punches Greco into the corner and pummels him with rapid fire blows followed by headbutts.  Bernard pushes down the referee and tags Predator back in.  Predator hits Nortje off the apron while Bernard Irish whips Greco and splash him in the corner.  Predator then hits a front kick while Greco sits up on the mat, cover, but it barely gets a two count.  Predator picks up Greco and hits a back suplex.  A stretch hold is applied by Predator, but Greco makes it to the ropes.  Back to their feet, Predator tags in Bernard, who clubs Greco in the back.  Scoop slam by Bernard and he kicks Greco in the chest.  Bernard gets too cocky though and Greco applies an ankle lock with a grapevine.  Bernard does make it to the ropes however, and when they get back up, Bernard hits a side slam.  Bernard goes to the second rope, but Greco rolls out of the way of the reverse splash and manages to tag in Nortje after hitting an enzigieri.  Nortje shoulderblocks Bernard to the mat and Predator eats a clothesline.  Irish whip by Nortje on Bernard and he hits the big boot.  Nortje applies an STF, but Predator quickly breaks it up.  Double Irish whip by Bernard and Predator, but Nortje ducks the clothesline and hits the double clothesline on both men.  With Bernard in the corner, Nortje delivers a big splash, but Bernard avoids the second one and hits a big boot to the face.  Bernard climbs up to the second rope, nails the big splash, and gets the three count pinfall.  Your winners:  Giant Bernard and The Predator

Match Thoughts:  Predator is a product of UPW in the States, Bernard was from All Japan (although currently he wrestles for New Japan), and Greco/Nortje are MMA fighters.  There was nothing wrong with this match, although the lack of heat made it seem worse then it really was.  A great crowd can go a long way in making a match seem better, and this match is a great example of that.  While Nortje looked a little out of shape, he moved pretty well and since he was not in the ring much he did not tire out.  Predator looks like a mix between The Berserker and Bruiser Brody, which is frightening indeed, but he wrestled well for a big man and hit a very nice spinning heel kick.  The action was crisp, but there really wasn't anything special about the match and Greco kicked out of pin attempts so damn quickly he never seemed in serious danger before making the "hot" tag to Nortje.  For where it was on the card it fit my expectations though and the wrestlers tried hard to put on a good show.  Score:  5.5

Chuck Palumbo and Johnny Stamboli vs. Team 3-D
Tie-up to start, but they break cleanly.  Tie-up again, arm wringer by Devon, reversed by Palumbo, but Devon reverses it into a hammerlock.  Palumbo Irish whips out of the hold but is shoulderblocked down.  Up quickly, Palumbo fires back with a clothesline, but Devon is quickly back on his feet as well.  Both men bounce off the ropes, but they collide with no result.  They trade chops, Irish whip by Devon, reversed, but Devon ducks the clothesline and hits a flying clothesline for a two count.  Devon tags in Bubba, double Irish whip, and they hit a double shouldertackle.  Another double Irish whip, but this time Palumbo clotheslines them both down.  Palumbo goes off the ropes, but he is planted with a double flapjack.  Cover, but it gets a two count.  Bubba picks up Palumbo, but Palumbo knees him in the stomach and tags in Stamboli.  Kick to the gut by Stamboli, but Bubba fires back with chops.  A side headlock is applied by Stamboli, Bubba Irish out of it, but the two collide with no result.  Bubba goes off the ropes, but again Stamboli does not budge.  Kick to the stomach by Stamboli, he goes off the ropes, but Bubba catches him with a clothesline.  Stamboli is up quickly and goes for a clothesline, but Bubba ducks it and delivers a release German suplex.  Palumbo runs in, and Bubba gives him a back bodydrop.  By now Stamboli is back up, Bubba tags in Devon, and they Irish whip Palumbo into Stamboli in the corner and then follow up with clotheslines.  Bubba throws Palumbo from the ring and they go for WASSUP! on Stamboli, but the Voodoo Murderers at ringside distract the referee and knock Devon off the top turnbuckle.  Meanwhile Palumbo kicks Bubba out of the ring, and Stamboli drops an elbow on Devon in the ring.  Stamboli goes out to the apron and comes back in with a slingshot legdrop.  Stamboli tags in Palumbo, who kicks Devon in the corner.  They trade shots, Irish whip by Palumbo and he nails a clothesline.  Cover, but it only gets a two count. On the mat, Palumbo applies a reverse chinlock, Devon gets out of it, but Palumbo elbows him down and tags in Stamboli.  Stamboli clubs Devon repeatedly in the head and applies his own reverse chinlock, but Devon reverses it with a back suplex.  He goes off the ropes, but Stamboli catches him with a sleeperhold, Devon elbows out of it, but Stamboli catches him and delivers an overhead belly to belly suplex.  Cover, but again it gets two.  Stamboli tags in Palumbo and Palumbo elbows Devon in the head.  Punches by Palumbo in the corner, Devon punches him back, and the two trade chops.  Palumbo hits a back suplex, cover, but Devon barely kicks out.  Palumbo throws Devon into the corner, but Devon fights out of it and edges towards Bubba.  Stamboli comes in the ring though, and Bubba runs in to get his shots in.  The referee pushes him back to his corner, and while Bubba is arguing a whole slew of guys beat on Devon (Palumbo, Stamboli, Kondo, and TARU).  The referee finally turns back around, Palumbo picks up Devon, snapmare, and he applies a reverse chinlock.  Devon slowly struggles to his feet and punches out of it, scoop slam by Palumbo, he goes to the second rope, but Bubba distracts Palumbo and Devon recovers.  Devon goes up top with Palumbo and delivers the superplex.  Cover by Devon, but it gets a two count.  Both men slowly get to their feet and Devon tags in Bubba.  Bubba hits a series of clotheslines on Palumbo, Irish whip from the corner, reversed, but Bubba hits a big boot followed by lariats on both men.  Bubba gives Palumbo a German suplex and then delivers a neckbreaker to Stamboli.  Going back to Palumbo, Bubba picks him up and nails the Bubba Bomb.  Cover by Bubba, but Palumbo barely kicks out.  Irish whip by Bubba, reversed, and Palumbo kicks Bubba in the head.  Cover, but Bubba kicks out.  Double Irish whip to Bubba, but he avoids both men, does a front roll, and tags in Devon.  Stamboli and Palumbo catch Devon, slam him to the mat, cover by Palumbo, but it gets two.  Palumbo puts Devon on the top turnbuckle, but Bubba comes in and grabs Palumbo from behind, putting him on his shoulders.  Devon comes off the top with the Doomsday Device, cover, but it gets a two count.  Stamboli comes back in and he gives Devon a spear, and Palumbo follows with a superkick.  Cover, but Devon kicks out.  They wait for Devon to get up, but Palumbo accidentally superkicks Stamboli.  Irish whip by Devon on Palumbo, he and Bubba deliver the 3-D, and they get the three count pinfall.  Your winners:  Team 3-D

Post match:  The Voodoo Murderers come in and beat down Team 3-D, but Team 3-D ends up on top and powerbombs "brother" YASSHI through a table.

Match Thoughts:  A perfectly fine match, and a better example of what these guys are capable of then anything they ever did in WWE.  While it was certainly an American-style match (naturally), it wasn't the same match you've seen them in before.  Palumbo was a little side headlock-happy, but other then that the match flowed well and they even managed to somewhat get the crowd into it, even though the crowd was extremely quiet when the match started.  They really didn't do much in the way of selling each other's moves at times, but they didn't get too out of hand and since they were in Japan its a little more acceptable anyway.  Overall a decent match and it was good to see Stamboli and Palumbo actually getting a chance in the ring without silly gimmicks and without being restricted to five minutes matches on Velocity.  Score:  6.5

Kohei Suwama vs. Minoru Suzuki
They circle each other to start, waistlock by Suwama, but Suzuki gets to the ropes and Suwama gives a clean break.  Single leg takedown by Suwama, Suzuki reverses positions with a hammerlock and applies a reverse chinlock.  Suwama struggles out of it after a moment and both men are back on their feet.  Suzuki applies a standing armbar into a hammerlock, snapmare, and he kicks Suwama in the back.  Suwama gets back up, kick to the stomach by Suwama and he applies an arm wringer.  Armdrag takedown by Suwama and he applies an arm submission on the mat.  Suzuki slowly gets to his feet and takes Suwama down to the mat, and then he applies an ankle lock.  Suwama makes it to the ropes though and Suzuki breaks the hold.  Suwama charges Suzuki and forearms him hard in the corner, Irish whip attempt, but Suzuki grabs the ropes.  Suwama tries to get Suzuki off the ropes but eventually gives a clean break, but Suzuki kicks him in the head as he backs up.  After yelling at the referee, Suzuki knees Suwama hard in the chest.  In the corner now, leg kicks by Suzuki and he slaps Suwama in the face.  Suzuki applies the camel clutch and rakes Suwama's face while maintaining the hold.  He finally releases it and punches Suwama, Suwama fights back, but Suzuki knees him hard in the stomach.  Suwama rolls to the corner, but Suzuki continues kneeing and kicking him.  Suzuki picks up Suwama and hits a side Russian leg sweep.  Cover, but it only gets a two count.  Suzuki gets Suwama up and drops him back down with a modified armbar.  He then reverts the hold to a stretch submission, but Suwama slides out of it.  Back up, Suzuki chops Suwama against the ropes and knees him again in the mid-section.  Suzuki goes back to Suwama and applies a reverse chinlock, but then releases the hold and has words with the referee.  The referee administers the 10 count, but Suwama struggles to his feet and is met by kicks from Suzuki.  Punches in the corner by Suzuki and he chokes Suwama in the corner.  Suzuki then stands on Suwama's head in the corner, the referee gets him off, but Suzuki pushes the referee out of the way and jumps back on.  The referee comes back and goes head to head with Suzuki, but Suzuki just straightens his shirt for him and lets him go.  Knee strikes in the corner by Suzuki, but Suwama picks him up and slams him back into the opposite corner.  Suwama goes for a big boot, Suzuki avoids it, but Suwama delivers a belly to belly suplex.  A butterfly suplex by Suwama follows, he picks up Suzuki, but Suzuki kicks him in the leg.  Suzuki goes for a punch, but Suwama ducks it and nails a release half-nelson suplex, dropping Suzuki right on his head.  Cover by Suwama, but Suzuki kicks out at two.  Waistlock by Suwama, but Suzuki reverses it into an octopus hold.  He releases the hold and gives Suwama a knee to the head followed by a dropkick.  Kick to the leg by Suzuki and he knees Suwama back into the corner.  Suzuki gets a running start and dropkicks Suwama in the face while he slouches in the corner.  After picking up Suwama, Suzuki nails a backdrop suplex.  Suwama gets fired up though and hits a jumping knee, he goes for the German suplex, but Suzuki grabs the top rope.  Suwama kicks him free though and delivers a trio of German suplexes, with the last being a hold for a two count.  Suwama goes for a backdrop suplex, but Suzuki reverses it into a sleeper hold.  Suwama quickly snapmares Suzuki over his head to get out of the submission, but Suzuki rolls through and gives Suwama a kick to the head.  Another kick to the back of the head by Suzuki and he delivers a series of kicks to Suwama's chest.  Knee to the stomach by Suzuki, he goes for the Gotch-style piledriver, can't get him over, so he gives Suwama a stiff knee to the head instead.  Suwama gets back up, slaps by Suzuki, but Suwama slaps him back.  More slaps by Suzuki, he ducks another attempted Suwama slap and applies the sleeper hold.  Suwama tries to reach the ropes, but he goes unconscious and the referee calls for the bell!  Your winner:  Minoru Suzuki

Match Thoughts:  While the match was slow at times, when considering that a very young wrestler was asked to wrestle in a match over 15 minutes (which as you know new wrestlers in Japan rarely wrestle longer then ten minutes at the beginning of their careers), it wasn't bad.  I was surprised how much offense Suzuki gave Suwama, to be honest.  He really could have beaten him in five minutes and no one could have complained considering they are on completely different levels (Suzuki being a GHC Tag Team Championship this year while Suwama is still the All Japan whipping boy).  Suwama's half-nelson suplex was just brutal, but there were other times they seemed to be on different pages and it appeared there was some sort of miscommunication on the piledriver.  Suzuki is one of those wrestlers I tend to enjoy a lot more when he is against people that highlight his strengths (such as Akiyama), but even though Suwama had no experience against Suzuki, they put together a watchable match.  Score:  5.0

Don Frye vs. Jamal
I don't think I ever would have recognized Frye.  Jamal goes for a waistlock to start the match, but Frye avoids it and gives Jamal a stiff punch to the jaw.  Jamal rolls out of the ring, but recovers and climbs back in.  Frye goes for another punch, but this time Jamal ducks it and punches Frye back into the corner.  Jamal goes for a kick, but Frye peppers him with punches and drops him to the mat.  Frye goes for the crossface and applies it, but Jamal is too close to the ropes and Frye breaks the hold.  Back up, Frye goes for a shoulderblock, but goes down to the mat himself.  He gets back up quickly though and tries again, and again Jamal does not go down.  He tries a third time, ducks a Jamal clothesline and applies a waistlock, but Jamal rams Frye backwards into the corner.  Big splash by Jamal in the corner, Frye slouches down, and Jamal runs in with a running butt smash.  He does another one for good measure, and Frye is officially out of it in the corner.  Jamal gets Frye up and kicks him in the chest before knocking him down with a spinning heel kick to the back of the head.  Jamal picks up Frye and applies a waistlock, but Frye reverses it with an ankle lock.  Within a minute Jamal gets to the ropes, but Frye does not release the hold for a moment until the referee finally gets him off.  Kicks to the leg by Frye, but the referee manages to get him back.  By the time he gets back to Jamal, Jamal jumps up and clotheslines Frye down.  Cover by Jamal, but Frye kicks out and almost immediately applies an armbar and punches Jamal while maintaining the hold.  Jamal eventually gets up to his feet, lifts Frye up, and hits a powerbomb.  After picking up Frye, he nails the Fire Thunder Driver.  Cover, but Jamal immediately hops up, goes to the top turnbuckle, and delivers the Flying Sausage.  Cover, and Jamal gets the three count victory.  Your winner:  Jamal

Match Thoughts:  This match was a complete disappointment and there is really nothing much good to say about it.  The mat work by Frye was absolutely meaningless.  He works on the leg for a solid minute, even cheats a bit by not releasing the hold... but then he attacks the arm and Jamal never sells the leg for the rest of the match.  Then he works on the arm for what seemed like an eternity.... but Jamal powerbombs out of it, hits two big moves, and promptly wins the match.  When 75% of the match is on the mat and that mat time ends up meaning nothing, it really hurts the match overall.  Frye didn't look too good, but he has been retired for awhile so it wouldn't be fair to expect him to be in the same shape he was a few years ago when he was still actively wrestling or participating in MMA.  Jamal did hit his moves crisply, but he always does, so that wasn't enough to make this match worth sitting through.  Even worse, I think the crowd cared about as much as I did, and I think FEG was expecting a bigger reaction to the return of Don Frye.  At least people cared about Abdullah the Butcher, Frye got the Rob Conway treatment.  Score:  3.0

Akebono and Scorpio vs. Mitsuharu Misawa and Yoshinari Ogawa
Scorpio and Ogawa start things off.  Tie-up, hammerlock by Scorpio, reversed into a side headlock by Ogawa, Scorpio Irish whips out of it, leaps over Ogawa, and knocks him down with a dropkick.  Scorpio takes Ogawa down again, dropkicks him out of the ring, fakes a dive, and rolls himself back in the ring.  Ogawa is back in quickly, goes for an enzigieri, but Scorpio ducks it and tags in Akebono.  Ogawa clubs Akebono in the chest, but Akebono absorbs the blows and throws Ogawa to Misawa, telling Misawa to tag in.  Misawa does, tie-up, Akebono pushes Misawa back into the ropes and gives a clean break.  Tie-up again, Misawa hits a few forearms, but Akebono blocks one and trips Misawa.  Misawa rolls out of the ring, and Akebono delivers a baseball slide under the bottom rope.  Akebono goes to do a dive (haha), but Scorpio stops him on the apron as Misawa runs out of the way.  Misawa gets back in the ring, tie-up, Akebono pushes Misawa into the corner, but Misawa hits a forearm shot.  Another forearm by Misawa, Irish whip, reversed, but Akebono eats an elbow when he charges Misawa.  Akebono replies by slapping Misawa in the face and splashes Misawa in the corner.  After flinging him out of the corner, Akebono shoulderblocks Misawa to the mat.  Reverse chinlock by Akebono, but Ogawa comes in and breaks it up.  Misawa drags Akebono to his feet and tags in Ogawa.  They go for a double suplex, but they can't get him up, so they stop trying.  Jawbreaker by Ogawa, he stomps both of Akebono's feet, but Akebono shoulderblocks Ogawa down.  Akebono pushes Ogawa into the corner and tags in Scorpio.  Scorpio throws Ogawa to the mat, goes up top, and delivers the 180 rotation splash.  Cover, but Ogawa kicks out.  Scorpio positions Ogawa in front of the corner, nails the 450 splash, cover, but Misawa breaks it up.  Scorpio tags in Akebono, who applies a bearhug to Ogawa.  Akebono tosses Ogawa to the mat and stands on his midsection.  Akebono tags Scorpio back in, forearm shots by Scorpio, but Ogawa ducks one and delivers a DDT.  Ogawa tags in Misawa, double Irish whip from the corner, Misawa hits a reverse elbow and Ogawa does a drop toehold (with Misawa's help).  Cover, but it only gets a two count.  Tiger Driver by Misawa, cover, but Scorpio barely kicks out.  Irish whip by Misawa, reversed, and Scorpio hits a dropkick.  Misawa rolls out to the apron, but Scorpio knocks him off with an overhead kick.  Scorpio goes for a pescado, but Misawa moves out of the way and Irish whips Scorpio into the guardrail before knocking him over with a forearm to the face.  Scorpio sits down in a chair to get a breather, but Misawa forearms him off of it and brings him back to the ring.  Cover by Misawa, but it gets a two count.  Misawa picks up Scorpio and tags in Ogawa.  Double Irish whip and they hit a double elbow.  Cover by Ogawa, but Scorpio kicks out.  Ogawa drags Scorpio up and hits a backdrop suplex, cover, but again it gets two.  A reverse chinlock is applied by Ogawa, but he releases the hold and tags in Misawa.  Snapmare by Misawa, he gets Scorpio into the corner, Irish whip, reversed, but Misawa gets a foot up when Scorpio charges.  Scorpio is to his feet quickly though and hits a back kick on Misawa.  Scoop slam by Scorpio and he hits a reverse leg drop from the second rope.  Cover, but it gets two.  Dropkick by Scorpio, but Misawa hits a forearm shot and tags in Ogawa.  Ogawa and Scorpio trade blows, jawbreaker by Ogawa, and he delivers an enzigieri.  Cover by Ogawa, but it only gets a two count.  Ogawa picks up Scorpio, but Scorpio connects with a few punches, hits a scoop slam, and tags in Akebono.  Akebono shoulderblocks Ogawa down and then runs over to knock Misawa off the apron.  Scorpio comes in the ring, Akebono throws Ogawa into the corner, Scorpio hits a splash, then Akebono applies a bearhug before chokeslamming Ogawa to the mat.  Headbutt by Akebono, cover, but Misawa breaks it up.  Akebono goes for the butt drop, but Ogawa rolls out of the way and dropkicks Akebono before tagging in Misawa.  Senton by Misawa, cover, but it gets a two count.  Back up, Misawa hits a series of forearms, but Akebono clotheslines him down.  Headbutt by Akebono, cover, but it barely gets two.  Irish whip by Akebono to the corner, and he hits a big splash followed by a hiptoss.  Leg drop by Akebono, cover, but Ogawa breaks it up.  Scorpio throws Ogawa out of the ring, and Akebono holds Misawa for Scorpio.  Scorpio accidentally hits Akebono though, Misawa throws Scorpio from the ring and knocks down Akebono after a series of forearm smashes.  Flying tiger press by Misawa, cover, but Akebono barely kicks out.  Akebono slowly gets to his feet, Misawa hits a running forearm smash, cover, and he gets the three count pinfall.  Your winners:  Mitsuharu Misawa and Yoshinari Ogawa

Match Thoughts:  The big thing at the time was Akebono actually getting pinned, although since he was pinned at the last W-1 I don't really see what the big deal is.  This match was extremely straight forward and simply laid out, but considering Akebono is a rookie that wasn't too surprising.  The only one here that really stuck out was Scorpio, who looks great every time I see him over in Japan.  I can't really call this a bad match, but when it ended I didn't feel like it was anything special.  There was really no psychology, no real focusing on one wrestler, and there just didn't seem to be a point.  It wasn't ugly or hard to watch, but it seemed like they were just going through the motions.  Score:  4.5

Great Muta vs. Kensuke Sasaki
Waistlock by Muta to start the match, Sasaki reverses it, but Muta quickly gets a hand on the ropes and Sasaki breaks the hold.  Muta spits some green mist in the air to intimidate Sasaki, but Sasaki does not seem too impressed.  Tie-up, waistlock by Muta and he gets Sasaki to his knees, but Sasaki reverses it into a waistlock of his own.  Sasaki turns Muta over for a quick pin attempt, but Muta gets back on top and applies an ankle lock.  Sasaki gets to the ropes however and Muta gives a clean break.  Tie-up, chops by Sasaki, and Muta falls down to the mat.  Cover by Sasaki, but it only gets a two count.  Club to the back by Sasaki, Irish whip, but Muta rolls under the clothesline and hits a dropkick.  Sasaki clotheslines him anyway though, Muta falls out of the ring, but Sasaki follows him out and hits a suplex on the outside.  Sasaki rolls back into the ring, he then climbs up to the top turnbuckle, but Muta chucks a chair at his head and knocks him off.  Sasaki falls down to the floor, and Muta grabs a chair and smacks Sasaki with it a few times.  By now Sasaki is bleeding, as Muta gets a metal box from under the ring and hits Sasaki in the head with it.  After hitting Sasaki with the metal box again, Muta Irish whips Sasaki into the ring post.  Finally Muta rolls Sasaki back into the ring and delivers the Flash Elbow.  Muta applies a reverse chinlock and bites Sasaki's head while he has him in the hold.  Irish whip by Muta, but Sasaki grabs him and snaps off a back suplex.  Fired up, Sasaki chops Muta hard in the chest, but Muta grabs his leg and hits a dragon screw leg whop.  A leg lock is applied by Muta, but Sasaki gets a hand on the ropes and Muta eventually breaks the hold.  Muta measures Sasaki and kicks him a few times in the head, he goes for a vertical suplex, but Sasaki reverses it into a suplex of his own.  Sasaki goes off the ropes, but Muta rolls out of the way of the elbow drop.  Muta picks up Sasaki, Irish whip from the corner, he goes for the handspring elbow strike, but Sasaki grabs him around the waist and hits a release German suplex.  Chops/lariats by Sasaki in the corner, Irish whip, and he hits the running bulldog.  While Sasaki holds his knee, Muta takes the opportunity to roll out of the ring.  Muta crawls around under the ring for a bit, comes back in the ring with a chair, but Sasaki lariats the chair into his face.  Sasaki gets the chair, Muta goes for the red mist, but Sasaki blocks it with the chair and hits Muta in the head with it.  He puts the chair on the ground, Irish whip by Sasaki, and he powerslams Muta onto the chair.  Sasaki applies the Strangle Hold Gamma, releases it after a minute, cover, but it only gets a two count.  Sasaki picks up Muta, Irish whip, knee to the gut, and he delivers the Ipponzei.  Sasaki goes off the ropes, but Muta dropkicks him in the knee.  Muta goes for a quick Shining Wizard, but Sasaki blocks it and knocks down Muta with a lariat.  Sasaki goes up to the top turnbuckle and comes flying off with a diving clothesline.  After dragging Muta to his feet, Sasaki goes for the Northern Lights Bomb, but he gets sprayed in the face with green mist while he is holding Muta up in the air.  Sasaki drops Muta and holds his face, and as he is trying to recover, Muta nails him with a Shining Wizard.  Cover by Muta, and he gets the three count pinfall!  Your winner:  The Great Muta

Match Thoughts:  I guess it is only fair to say that I am without question a Great Muta mark, but man I enjoyed this match.  It wasn't perfect by any means, but Mutoh plays the Muta character perfectly, and doesn't bring it out too often (only three times this year by my count) so it has a special feel to it.  While in a way it is sad to see Sasaki lose since that is what he has been doing all year in big matches, it is also somewhat humorous since Mutoh would have no chance at beating Sasaki, but Muta does it with relative ease.  Sasaki even sold the leg longer then most wrestlers do, and since psychology is usually non-existent in Muta matches, I appreciate the extra effort.  The end fit the match layout (Sasaki blocking the first mist and Shining Wizard, but losing after not blocking them the second time) even if it was predictable, and Muta actually hit the Shining Wizard extremely well.  A very fun match.  Score:  8.0

Bob Sapp vs. Jun Akiyama
Sapp offers a handshake to start the match, but Akiyama kicks his hand away.  Sapp charges Akiyama, but Akiyama rolls out of the ring before Sapp reaches him.  Sapp jumps out as well, but Akiyama is back in the ring already and does a little pose.  Sapp gets on the apron, but Akiyama knocks him back to the floor.  Akiyama goes out after him and hits him repeatedly with a chair before throwing him into the guardrail.  Akiyama punches Sapp over the guardrail and gets another chair, hitting Sapp in the head with it.  Knees by Akiyama back towards ringside, but Sapp powers up and clubs Akiyama in the chest.  Sapp then punches Akiyama against the guardrail and chokeslams him over the guardrail through a table.  Akiyama slowly climbs back over the guardrail and gets back in the ring at 19.  Sapp splashes Akiyama while he leans in the corner and chokes Akiyama with his boot.  Akiyama wonders out of the corner as the referee chastises Sapp for the choke and Akiyama dropkicks Sapp three times in the knee followed by a running knee to the face.  Akiyama hits another running knee to the face, and a third finally knocks Sapp over.  Back up, Akiyama nails an exploder on Sapp, cover, but it only gets a two count.  Akiyama applies the grounded front face lock, but Sapp lifts him up while still being in the hold and throws him into the corner.  Sapp then picks up Akiyama and slams him down into the mat.  Both wrestlers slowly get up, Sapp goes for a splash in the corner, but Akiyama moves and rolls him up for a quick two count.  Akiyama goes for another exploder, but Sapp reverses it into a sleeperhold.  Cover by Sapp, but it only gets a two count.  Back up, Sapp shoulderblocks Akiyama back into the corner and Akiyama falls to the mat in a heap.  Sapp picks up Akiyama, nails the powerbomb, and gets the three count pinfall!  Your winner:  Bob Sapp

Match Thoughts:  I thoroughly enjoyed the first five minutes or so, but the ending fell a little flat.  I think the problem was that since it was such a short match (around seven minutes), around the five minute mark they were acting as if they had been wrestling for 20 minutes.  There was a sudden drop off after the front face lock where both wrestlers were selling that they were out of it.  Which is fine... expect they had only been wrestling five minutes.  In a long match that is normal and expected, but if a match is going to be short it usually comes across better if it is more sprint-like.  Other then that, Sapp looked better here then I have seen him in the past, and Akiyama brought the goods with the impressive exploder on Sapp.  You knew who would win, which took a little of the fun out of it, but for a Sapp match it was perfectly acceptable.  I wouldn't have minded a few more minutes for the main event, but Sapp isn't known for his long matches so it was about what I was expecting. Score:  6.0

Final Thoughts:

And so ends one of the strangest events I will probably ever review.  I think it is safe to say that never again will you see Misawa, Muta, Sapp, Akebono, and Kamala all on the same card.  Unfortunately the event wasn't as good as I think it could have been, although it wasn't as bad as some people were originally reporting.  Over half the matches were above average, although to me the only one that really stuck out was the very entertaining Great Muta match.  I'd recommend this if you are a fan of Sapp or Great Muta, or if you just want to see a lot of the biggest stars in Japan wrestling in incredibly random matches.  Unfortunately, the show tanked in Japan, so don't hold your breath for the finals of the tournament. 

Mildly Recommended


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