review by Jason Manning
Date: October 27th, 2002
Location: Tokyo Nippon Budokan
All Japan’s final show in the “ROYAL ROAD 30 GIANT BATTLE” series was ran as the tour climax of the “OCTOBER GIANT SERIES 2002” tour. There’s not much interesting stuff on the undercard, but matches #5-#8 are all notable. A 30th Anniversary Special Match sees two hardcore legends (Abby & Funk) against two more current hardcore guys (Goto [well...] & Honma). Taiyo Kea debuts his Agnes Kamen persona against Kendo Kashin, while Satoshi Kojima faces Hiroshi Hase in a potentially great match. Finally, Keiji Muto dresses up as the Great Muta and challenges Genichiro Tenryu for the Triple Crown in the main event.
HYPE! HYPE! HYPE! I think they’re talking about Muto’s new image for All Japan. Hansen’s comments seal that thought. It’s sad seeing him putting over Muto’s vision. KAWADA~! He speaks! And he says some stuff. HASHIMOTO~! He says some stuff, too. Muto’s injury is the next topic.
Masanobu Fuchi & Gran Hamada vs. Shigeo Okumura & Kazushi Miyamoto
This is perfectly fine wrestling from start to finish, with Miyamoto getting stretched a lot. He seems to be using a cool springboard somersault senton now, and that’s good, as this rookie’s starting to develop that thing called a moveset. He’s also bulking up a lot, which is fine, too. Okumura’s pretty much a non-factor as he’s only in for a bit before it’s back to defense for young Miyamoto. The finish was pretty good, especially for an opener, and Fuchi kills Miyamoto dead with the BACKDROPS~! for the win (9:47).
Kaz Hayashi & Jimmy Yang vs. Hideki Hosaka & Gran Naniwa
More perfectly fine wrestling from the AJ undercarders is on the menu here. This is one big batch of junior heavyweight wrestling with Kaz vs. Naniwa being the highlight. Hosaka looks perfectly OK and tries his best to keep up with the lighter guys. Hosaka becomes MY DAWG and your’s somewhere in the match as Yang went for a plancha suicida or something on Naniwa, but he (Hosaka) just stands in front of Naniwa, knocking Yang down. Kaz and Yang also busted out the stereo plancha suicida’s early on, which is fun. Yang was looking freaking great near the end with a great flurry of offense after a hot tag, and after a fine finish, Kaz & Yang dropped Naniwa with a WA4/neckbreaker combo for the win (10:53). Hey, this was pretty fun.
Yoji Anjo, Mitsuya Nagai & Ryuji Hijikata vs. Steve Williams, Mike Rotundo & Johnny Smith
Well, I think All Japan has given up on the whole “smaller native gets beat up FOREVER” thing, because it was NOT present here. And you know why? Because it blows. This wasn’t a great match or anything but at least I didn’t want to give myself repeated punches to the head while watching it. I’ve actually been digging Williams lately since he’s been YOUR surprisingly perfectly fine worker of the October tour. And he actually gives Hijikata some OFFENSE here, and guess what- he SELLS for it. GO DOC~! Doc eventually gets the pin on of course Hijikata with of course the dangerous backdrop driver (12:29). AFTER DA MATCH, Anjo gives handshakes to all the gaijin and does the Varsity Club sign. He then SWERVES us and makes childish gestures to them. ANJO RULES. Back-and-forth action for 12 and a half minutes was THIS, and although it wasn’t exactly even decent, it was at least still WATCHABLE.
Arashi, Nobutaka Araya & Nobukazu Hirai vs. Mike Barton, Jim Steele & George Hines
And yet again, MORE SURPRISES from the usual suspects. I mean, this was crappy and probably worse than the last match because it ran longer than it really should’ve, but at least it wasn’t THAT bad (THAT bad meaning I wish I wasn’t a puroresu fan while watching it - SHIT~! What kinda crappy matches DID All Japan produce in 2002!?). Barton busts out his “FEEL~! DA~! POWA~!” stalling vertical suplex on ARASHI of all people, so I don’t mind him. Hirai also looks pretty good when he gets the chance to do something. The finish is PRETTY good, as expected, and Barton busts out a Spiral bomb on Hirai for the win (15:52). Neat fact: This was actually Barton & Steele’s last match with AJPW. I guess they got sick of squashing talented wrestlers or something, eh?
Intermission time. They carpet the ring with red, and Muto comes out. He says some words, and puts the mic down. And some music hits. Hey, that music sounds familiar. HEY, IT’S TOSHIAKI FUCKING KAWADA. TOSHIAKI FUCKING KAWADA IS ON MY TV SCREEN IN THE RING AND HE IS TALKING. TO *ME*. THIS RULES. GET BACK HERE KAWADA. THIS SHOW IS ALREADY A MUST-HAVE *JUST* BECAUSE OF KAWADA. KAWADA RULES. Mrs. Baba then comes out, as does THE DESTROYER~! As does Nick Bockwinkle. As does Gene Kiniski. Mrs. Baba gets a bunch of gifts, too. This was a fun ceremony or whatever it was.
30th Anniversary Special Match
Abdullah The Butcher & Terry Funk vs. Tarzan Goto & Tomoaki Honma
Goto’s robe makes him look like Kawada... if Kawada ate Japan. Well, I guess the point of this is that Muto made a bet with some friends that he could out-do every crappy “I wanna kill Oudou” thing he’s done this year. And damnit, he’s DONE IT. Everyone does some shitty wrestling until the blood comes, and from then on it’s shitty wrestling with blood. Goto gets a nice little gash on his arm and Funk wears a crimson mask. The crappy hardcore guys even drag Honma into a level of suck where he’s botching his backflip-off-a-table-in-the-corner spot. Honma starts bleeding a lot near the end when Funk superplexes him through a table. After a few table shots to his head, Abby drops an elbow on Honma for the win (13:42). Funk refuses to do Abby’s attempted “BABA! TERRY!” chant, so Abby attacks him and makes him bleed some more. Shitty.
The 2002 RWTL teams are announced. OTANI AND TANAKA~! Anjo and Nagai. Awesome and Friedman. Arashi and Araya. Williams and Rotundo. KOJIMA AND KEA~! MUTO AND... X? TENRYU AND ... EARTHQUAKE? Oy. KeaKoji vs. Otani & Tanaka? I’m There. Williams & Rotundo vs. Awesome & Friedman? Fuck you. Actually, there are very little possibilities for even decency with these teams sans Otani/Tanaka, KeaKoji and MAYBE Arashi/Araya and Anjo/Nagai.
A feature on Baba is shown! YEAH, BABA~! Cool *OLD SCHOOL* footage is shown! YEAH~!
Agnes Kamen vs. Kendo Kashin
Agnes Kamen is Taiyo Kea gettin’ all gimmicky wit’ it. The mask is so... Brazilian. This was nothing really, although Kea looks pretty fired up with the mask on. He does a lot of stuff that you wouldn’t normally see him do, and even busts out a neat plancha that I’m not going to attempt to name (OK, I’ll try - uhh... spinning plancha? YEAH...). The finish comes as Agnes delivers some rolling Germans and then Kea’s (WAIT, WHO!?) H50 (complete with Kea hand gesture) for the 3 count (7:05). Kaz gets on the mic after the match and talks to Kashin. Pretty nothing stuff here, just kinda’ rolling along, although Kea did manage to look pretty good.
OTANI AND TANAKA ARE HERE, BABY. And they look BADASS in their suits.
Satoshi Kojima vs. Hiroshi Hase
Alright, this sucked. I’m not going to lie and say give excuses that these two could’ve had an off-night or something. This just flat-out sucked. I mean, OK, it was solid at points - OK, no, scratch that. It sucked. I want to like this match, I really do. I love Hase and I love Kojima, but lately, I haven’t been loving them as much, and this match proves that my non-love for them is just. They do some matwork for legitimately 10 MINUTES and it does NOTHING for the match. NOTHING. Just NOTHING. No real body part work, either. Just some “Let’s waste some time, baby!” matwork. They both show their skill on the mat and stuff, but it’s so BORING to watch because NOTHING is happening except for them rolling around the mat for 10 MINUTES. No one even controls. AGH. They then start to bust out the bigger moves, but all of them are really random. I mean, fuck, do SOMETHING to keep the fan interested in those moves. I hate being a punkass bitch who tells these WRESTLERS how to WRESTLE, but, I mean, JEEZ, this was just so... BLAH. It was like a shitty spotfest, but they didn’t do any spectacular spots or anything, just some pro wrestling moves. AGH X2. Hase starts playing the veteran a tad later on, but it’s forgotten about like 20 seconds later. That story would’ve rocked, even if it was introduced really late, but NO. Can’t do that. Hase ALSO decides to do this annoying thing where he applies a cross armbreaker after a near fall or big move (from KOJIMA). Sure, it prevents the lariat I guess, but what the fuck? “ONE, TWO, KOJIMA KICKS OUT! UH... CROSS ARMBREAKER BY HASE ALL OF THE SUDDEN. WHAT THE HELL!? KOJIMA HITS THE KOJI CUTTER! AND, UH, CROSS ARMBREAKER BY HASE ALL OF THE SUDDEN. WHAT THE FUCK!?” Even the crowd wasn’t into this that much, and Kojima and Hase have to resort to teases of powerbombs on the floor or the dreaded DELAYED SELLING~! Even the finish manages to be crappy, as both guys no-sell a bunch of backdrop suplexes until Kojima hits a lariat (WAIT, DIDN’T HASE FUCKING WORK ON THAT WITH THE CROSS ARMBREAKERS ALL OF THE SUDDEN!?) for the win (20:41). *FUMES*
Kojima’s on the mic and he wants to put on a MOTY with Otani, Tanaka and Kea. Everyone sans Kea gets into a little scuffle, and Otani and Tanaka get on the apron. They say some stuff and I WANT THIS MATCH. Otani, Tanaka and even Kea can make up for the shitty Kojima I just witnessed.
Genichiro Tenryu [c] vs. The Great Muta
The anti-Triple Crown match. Gimmicks, blood, mist, referee bumps, and a guy who suffered an career-shortening injury days before actually winning the belt. This was just SO bad. It starts off with a totally unmotivated Tenryu not giving a shit where it goes, and he just goes along with Muta’s suck. He eventually tries to save it with some work over Muta’s knees, but it’s too late. The heat was THERE for this, but I really don’t know why the crowd would cheer for crap like this. Muta wins with a moonsault (17:12). Everything about this was crap, and this was a rightful end to a really bad show. Now, Kojima or Kea won’t get a triumphant TC win over Tenryu that they seemed to be building too. If any of them beat Muta, it won’t mean jack, since Kojima already beat Muto in New Japan and no one really cares about Muto vs. Kea (especially after Muto beat Kea in that *WEAK* match in August). Maybe Kawada could come back and end Muta’s sports entertainment reign of terror, but that’s the only good that could come out of this decision. This was BAAAAAAD.
A bunch of guys say some things after the show, but I don’t know what they’re saying. KAZ! ARASHI! NAGAI! FUCHI! KEA! KOJIMA! MUTO.
Final Analysis: The first big show under the Muto regime. My thoughts? All Japan is in for hell. The first two undercard matches were fine enough, but the show hit a roadblock with the two 6-mans, which were fine but quite dull. The show hit a huge roadblock with the crappy 30th Anniversary match, and while the next match was fine, the final two matches totally ruined the fairly good taste. This is Not Recommended.
Back to All Japan Event Reviews