Bootscrape Compilation Volume 1
review by Kevin Wilson
Over the next several weeks (maybe months), I am going to be reviewing a series of compilation DVDs that have the best of matches of Japan and Mexico since December 2004. Since I can't afford to buy every single puroresu event (unfortunately) this will allow me to review a large quantity of the better matches without killing my wallet. Contact me if you are interested in purchasing this compilation (the DVD series is called "Bootscrape" by the person that created it), I'd love to help spread these around and we'll keep it cheap. Here are the matches on Bootscrape DVD #1:
- American Dragon vs. James Gibson (New Japan-US on December 12th, 2004)
Let's get right into it.
American Dragon vs. James Gibson
Post match: Gibson asks for five more minutes, but American Dragon tells him to go to hell and walks to the back.
Match Thoughts: A solid technical match, the time just flew by. American Dragon is, of course, the current ROH Heavyweight Champion, wrestling under his real name Bryan Danielson. This was obviously designed to be a mat-based match, which you can tell they did a good job at it since towards the end of the match the more powerful moves (such as the superplex) seemed all the more important and special. Gibson in general did a good job selling the arm, and it was technically near flawless. My only major complaint with the match is that it was obviously geared to be a tie. There weren't really any "near falls" (maybe the Tiger Driver, but I don't think anyone expected that to work), and since Gibson's arm seemed to have recovered by the end he didn't seem to be in near-danger of tapping out. When Dragon did get on the Cattle Mutilation, he simply released it to try a pin instead of keeping it locked on. Other then that though it was a very solid match and a good example of why these two were considered among the top technical wrestlers on the independent scene at the time. Score: 7.0
(c) Kensuke Sasaki vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Sasaki gets Tenzan back into the ring with him and plants him with a DDT. Cover by Sasaki, but Tenzan kicks out at two. Sasaki gets Tenzan to his feet and delivers a neckbreaker. Another cover, but again it gets a two count. Sasaki stretches Tenzan's neck, but Tenzan quickly gets a foot on the ropes. Sasaki picks up Tenzan and elbows him hard in the back of the head. Chops by Sasaki against the ropes, he gets a running start, and lariats Tenzan over the top rope to the floor. Sasaki then goes up to the top turnbuckle and jumps off with a shot to Tenzan's head. Chops by Sasaki outside the ring and he finally throws Tenzan back in. Sasaki picks Tenzan off the mat and drops him with a brainbuster. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Jumping elbow drop by Sasaki, cover, but again it gets a two. Sasaki goes off the ropes, but Tenzan catches him with a headbutt to the stomach and hits the Mountain Bomb. Tenzan now goes off the ropes and hits a lariat, but Sasaki doesn't go down. He tries again with the same result, but the third one knocks Sasaki to the mat. Cover, but it gets a two count. Tenzan goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving headbutt. Cover, but again it only gets two. Scoop slam by Tenzan, he goes up top for the moonsault, but Sasaki gets up in time and slams Tenzan from the top turnbuckle to the mat. Sasaki goes off the ropes and tackles Tenzan back into the corner. Sasaki hits the chops in the corner, Irish whip, and he delivers the bulldog. Sasaki picks up Tenzan, scoop slam, he goes to the top turnbuckle, but Tenzan gets up. Sasaki kicks him back and hits a twisting cross body, cover, but it only gets a two count. Irish whip by Sasaki, and he delivers the Ipponzei. Sasaki picks up Tenzan, knocks him back to the mat, cover, but Tenzan barely kicks out. Sasaki goes off the ropes, both men lariat each other, but Sasaki remains on his feet as Tenzan falls to the mat. Sasaki goes for the Northern Lights Bomb, but Tenzan reverses it with a Northern Lights Bomb of his own. Cover, but Sasaki kicks out at two. Mongolian chop by Tenzan, Irish whip, reversed, but Tenzan connects with a diving lariat. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Tenzan picks up Sasaki and hits a backdrop suplex. Cover, but Sasaki quickly kicks out. On their feet, Tenzan drops Sasaki with the TTD, cover, but again it gets a two count. Anaconda Vice by Tenzan, Sasaki gets back up, but Tenzan slams him back to the mat with the neck-grip side slam. Sasaki eventually wiggles to the ropes and Tenzan has to break the hold. Tenzan gets Sasaki back up, scoop slam, he goes for the moonsault again, but this time Sasaki rolls out of the way. Lariat by Sasaki, but Tenzan comes back with a lariat of his own. Sasaki hits Tenzan with another one, but Tenzan returns fire. After battling back and forth, Tenzan finally drops to his knees. Sasaki picks up Tenzan and delivers the backdrop suplex. Tenzan gets back up quickly and goes for a lariat, but Sasaki ducks it and nails a German suplex. Cover, but Tenzan barely kicks out. Sasaki applies the Strangle Hold Gamma, but Tenzan fights out of it. Sasaki goes off the ropes, but Tenzan ducks the lariat, hits a neck-grip side slam, and re-applies the Anaconda Vice. Again Sasaki gets to the ropes though the hold has to be broken. Tenzan gets back up first and hits a pair of Mongolian chops. He goes off the ropes, but Sasaki catches him with a powerslam. Sasaki goes off the ropes now, but Tenzan nails a spinning heel kick. Scoop slam by Tenzan, he goes to the top turnbuckle, and he nails the moonsault. Cover, and he picks up the three count pinfall! Your winner and new champion: Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Match Thoughts: A little longer then it needed to be (Tenzan going anything over 20 is risky), but still not a bad match. They mixed up their offense here quite a bit, which is always appreciated in longer matches. I thought the crowd would be more into it, but besides a few of Tenzan's flurries they were pretty quiet. For example, I thought they'd be loud when Sasaki finally locked in the Strangle Hold Gamma, but it was strangely silent, which doesn't say much for the legitimacy of the move. Tenzan and Sasaki both did a good job at focusing on a body part with a variety of moves, but the selling was questionable at times. Sasaki would hold his arm sporadically, but then would forget about it for chunks of the match. I did like that Tenzan seemed to know that the moonsault was the only way he was winning, and they put the move over as lethal by twice having Sasaki avoid it prior to it ending the match. Overall it was a solid match and Tenzan came out looking good as the new champion. Score: 6.0
(c) KENTA and Naomichi Marufuji vs. Mr. Aguila and Guerrera
First Fall: Marufuji and Aguila start things off. Waistlock by Aguila, but Marufuji gets out of it and both men get back to their feet. Tie-up, arm wringer by Marufuji, but Aguila rolls out of it and hits a drop toehold. They jockey for position, but Marufuji gets out of an Aguila headscissors and they are back up again. Single-leg takedown by Aguila, and he applies a side headlock on the mat. Marufuji gets to his feet, but Aguila pushes him back down and applies a leg submission hold. He lets Marufuji get back up, arm wringer by Aguila, but Marufuji flips out of it and reverses the hold. Single-leg takedown by Aguila, and both men face off again. Another takedown by Aguila, he goes off the ropes, side headlock, Marufuji Irish whips out of it, and Marufuji hits a dropkick followed by a pair of armdrag takedowns. Marufuji tags in KENTA and Aguila tags in Juvy. KENTA hits a few kicks to the chest, but Juvy comes back with chops. Irish whip by KENTA, reversed, and both men avoid each others strikes before backing up. Side headlock by Juvy, KENTA Irish whips out of it, but Juvy shoulderblocks him down. They go off the ropes and go into Cruiserweight Moveset #3 before both jumping back to their feet. Kick to the stomach by KENTA and he tags in Marufuji. KENTA and Marufuji stomp down Juvy in the corner, and Marufuji stands on Juvy's shoulders. Irish whip by Marufuji, and he hits the jumping elbow in the corner before dropkicking Juvy in the knee and then in the face. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Marufuji applies a Cobra Clutch and kicks Juvy back into his corner. Irish whip, but Juvy kicks Marufuji which he charges in and chops him back before tagging in Aguila. Back kick by Aguila, cover, but it gets a two count. Roll-up by Aguila, but again it gets two. Aguila levels Marufuji with a clothesline and tags Juvy back in. They both chop Marufuji against the ropes, double Irish whip, and they hit a double drop toehold followed by a double dropkick to the head. Juvy goes off the ropes and hits an elbow drop. Cover, but Marufuji kicks out. Juvy tags in Aguila, who comes in with a leg drop on Marufuji's arm. Snapmare by Aguila and he applies a Lucha Libre submission hold before KENTA breaks it up. Aguila tags in Juvy, Juvy throws Marufuji into the corner, Irish whip, and he delivers a clothesline followed by a vertical suplex. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Modified side slam by Juvy, cover, but Marufuji kicks out at two. Juvy applies a headscissors, but Marufuji gets a foot on the ropes. Back up, Juvy applies the abdominal stretch to Marufuji before elbowing him to the mat. Juvy picks up Marufuji, chops him in the chest and goes for a vertical suplex, but Marufuji lands on his feet. Juvy goes off the ropes and delivers the bodyscissors into a bulldog. They trade dropkicks, and Marufuji tags in KENTA. Kicks to the chest by KENTA and he hits the hurricanrana before applying a cross armbreaker. Aguila finally comes in to break it up, KENTA picks up Juvy, Irish whip, reversed, but KENTA kicks Juvy which he charges in and hits the tornado DDT into the top rope with KENTA landing on the apron. KENTA goes for a springboard move, but Juvy dropkicks him in the chest as he enters the ring. Juvy tags in Aguila, who comes in the ring with a slingshot dropkick. Cover, but KENTA kicks out. Aguila chops KENTA against the ropes, Irish whip, but KENTA ducks the clothesline and delivers the crucifix roll-up for a two count. Aguila goes for a powerbomb, but KENTA reverses it with a hurricanrana for a two count. Dropkick to the knee by KENTA, and he tags in Marufuji. Marufuji picks up Aguila, snapmare, and he dropkicks Aguila in the chest before connecting on a springboard body press for a two count cover. Irish whip by Marufuji from the corner, but Aguila hits a drop toehold as Marufuji charges him. Chop by Aguila, he picks up Marufuji, scoop slam, he goes for the double legged moonsault, but Marufuji gets his knees up. Superkick by Marufuji and he nails the Shiranui. Cover, and he picks up the three count pinfall. First Fall: KENTA and Naomichi Marufuji
Second Fall: Juvy charges Marufuji, but Marufuji knocks him back with a superkick. He goes for the Shiranui on Juvy, but Juvy gets out of it. After landing on his feet after a German suplex attempt, Juvy twice rolls up Marufuji, but he can't get the three count. Juvy Driver by Juvy, cover and he picks up the three count! Second Fall: Mr. Aguila and Guerrera
Third Fall: Irish whip by KENTA on Juvy, Juvy ducks a pair of kicks and goes for the Juvy Driver, but KENTA slides down his back. Kicks to the chest by KENTA, he goes off the ropes, but Juvy avoids the knee kick. They trade waistlocks, Juvy tries to roll-up KENTA, but Juvy's shoulders are also down and the referee counts the third fall for both men. The third fall (and the match) is a draw.
Match Thoughts: The disk says this match is the GHC Jr. Heavyweight match, but RD at Green Destiny was fairly certain that it wasn't. Not that it matters, for the exact date of the match doesn't take away anything from the action. This was a pretty straight-forward match, although anything with these four is going to be entertaining. Mr. Aguila wrestled as Essa Rios in the WWF, for those that didn't know who he is. I never like how in Lucha Libre they sometimes have the falls really unbalanced, and this was the ultimate example as the first fall was around 15 minutes and the last two falls were less then 2 minutes combined. Juvy and Aguila were great with their double team moves though and there weren't any signs of miscommunication. The ending was a little lame, but not too much of a surprise since they wanted both teams to leave strong. So a good match, but not as great as I think it could have been under more normal circumstances. Score: 6.5
(c) Misawa and Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Scorpio and Doug Williams
Misawa knocks out Scorpio and forearms him again in the head. Misawa picks up Scorpio and hits a jumping kick to the side of Scorpio's head. A reverse chinlock is applied by Misawa, but he releases the hold and picks Scorpio back up. Misawa forearms Scorpio back down and elbows him in the back of the head. Williams comes in to help, they give Misawa a double Irish whip, and both men hit running strikes in the corner. They then put Misawa up on the top turnbuckle, Williams climbs up, but Misawa forearms him off. Scorpio then runs over and goes for the Frankensteiner, but Misawa holds onto the ropes and Scorpio flops down to the mat by himself. Misawa then forearms Williams and gives him a senton splash. Misawa gives Scorpio one as well before tagging in Ogawa. Ogawa punches both men and hits a jawbreaker on Williams followed by an enzigieri on Scorpio. Williams goes off the ropes, but Ogawa ducks the clothesline and hits a DDT. Ogawa tosses Scorpio out of the ring, and Misawa throws him into the railing before connecting on a running forearm smash. Ogawa goes out after Scorpio and throws him into the ring post. Back in the ring, Ogawa tags in Misawa, double Irish whip, and they hit a double elbow. Cover by Misawa, but it gets a two count. Misawa picks up Scorpio and he hits a back elbow strike. Stomp by Misawa, he drags Scorpio to his feet and elbows him into the corner while tagging in Ogawa. Stomps by Ogawa, cover, but it only gets a two count. Ogawa applies a reverse chinlock, Scorpio struggles to his feet and hits a back suplex, but Ogawa maintains the hold. Cover by Ogawa, but it gets a two count. Williams comes in to break up the hold, and Ogawa tags in Misawa. Misawa picks up Scorpio and forearms him into the corner. Irish whip by Misawa, reversed, but Misawa elbows him when he comes in. Misawa charges Scorpio, but Scorpio connects with a superkick. Scorpio slams Misawa in front of the corner, while Williams runs over and picks up Ogawa, putting him on his shoulders in a fireman's carry. With Scorpio on the top turnbuckle, Williams stands in front of him and Scorpio jumps off Ogawa's back and hits a splash onto Misawa. Cover, but it gets a two count. Scorpio goes for a spinning kick, but Misawa ducks it and forearms Scorpio down. Cover, but Williams breaks it up. Misawa tags in Ogawa, they do a double Irish whip in the corner, Misawa hits a running strike, and Ogawa does a drop toehold. They hit an elbow smash/backdrop suplex combination, cover, but it gets a two count. Double Tiger Driver by Ogawa and Misawa, cover, but again it gets a two count when Williams breaks it up. They then double team Williams, knocking him out of the ring. Back to Scorpio, Ogawa hits him with a jawbreaker, but when Misawa charges him Scorpio boots him in the face. Scorpio then connects with a superkick on Ogawa and tags in Williams. Williams knees Ogawa in the head and goes for the Chaos Theory, but Ogawa blocks it. Williams suplexes him anyway and applies a cross armbreaker as Scorpio runs over to take care of Misawa. Ogawa makes it to the ropes though and Williams releases the hold. Williams and Scorpio put Ogawa up on the top turnbuckle, they both climb up top and hit a double superplex. Cover, but Misawa breaks it up in time. Williams goes out with Misawa, Scorpio tries to cover Ogawa, but he is not legal. Williams then comes off the top turnbuckle with a diving knee smash on Ogawa, cover, but it gets another two count. Williams picks up Ogawa and with Scorpio they hit a double brainbuster. Cover by Williams, but Misawa barely breaks it up. Outside the ring, Scorpio and Williams throw Misawa into the railing and Williams uppercuts him over. Ogawa then holds Misawa for Scorpio, who hits a diving shoulderblock over the rail. Scorpio sets up a table in the crowd and with Williams they slam Misawa through it. They return to the ring, and Williams hits Ogawa with a German suplex. Scorpio then comes off the top with the moonsault legdrop, cover by Williams, but Ogawa barely kicks out. Chaos Theory by Ogawa, he puts Ogawa in front of the corner and he tags in Scorpio. Scorpio then goes to the top turnbuckle, nails the 450 splash, and he picks up the three count! Your winners and new champions: Scorpio and Doug Williams
Match Thoughts: A very good match all things considered, but Misawa (of all people) really brought this one down. Save for a spot or two here and there, Misawa relied way too much on the forearm in this match. Since the match was so long (around 30 minutes) by the end it was noticeable that he was only throwing elbow smashes while the other wrestlers were doing a much better job at varying their offense. Scorpio was on fire here, and I enjoyed both his offense (his focusing on Ogawa's arm was well done and he hit his high spots well), but also his selling. Williams looked crisp as well, even though he was not the focus of the match. Ogawa sold the arm while the attacks were happening, but his decision to shake off seven minutes of arm-work by the end of the match seemed counter-productive and all the weakening of the arm ended up meaning absolutely nothing. A mixed bag in places, but Scorpio helped elevate this match and it was a big win for the gaijin duo. Score: 7.0
While this compilation doesn't have as many matches on it as the ones that come after it, two of the matches in particular were very important. Tenzan winning the IWGP Heavyweight Championship finally brought the belt home to a loyal member of the New Japan army, and Misawa and Ogawa lost the belts that they had held for over a year. The Danielson/Gibson match was a fun addition since they are great technical wrestlers, and while the MaruKENTA match wasn't the best I have seen it was still solid action from the four of them. The total time of the DVD is still around 2 hours, since two of the matches went 30 minutes bell to bell. Overall a fun event and I'd recommend picking it up.