Best of Amazing Red and S.A.T. in Japan
review by Reed Benson
During the independent wrestling boom that came after WCW and ECW died, the Amazing Red and his cousins, the Spanish Announce Team (S.A.T.), were top prospects. Red was heralded as he next Rey Mysterio Jr., and it seemed like the S.A.T. were always coming up with new and innovative tag team spots. Since those days, however, all three have all but fallen off the map. Red pushed himself too hard and suffered a career-threatening knee injury, while the S.A.T. have yet to truly evolve their style to fit current fans’ tastes. I got this DVD in an attempt to relive the glory days of Red and his cousins, hoping to see how well they mixed with the top junior talent in Japan at the time. These matches are all from late 2002-early 2003. Red’s matches are from All Japan Pro Wrestling, where he portrayed two characters: Fuego (the masked gimmick he used in MLW) and Spriggun (basically, he wears green instead of red). The S.A.T.’s matches are from Pro Wrestling Zero-One.
Fuego (Amazing Red) & Jimmy Yang & Fuego vs. Gran Naniwa & Super Dragon
After the introductions, we skip to the middle of the match with Naniwa and Dragon working over Yang. When Yang tags, some of Red’s signature moves don’t look right when performed on Dragon, most notably his satellite headscissors. Dragon actually drags this match down a bit; his timing is pretty bad. He does do one cool move, turning one of Red’s flips into an armbar. Yang plays off his slight resemblance to Bruce Lee. The finish comes when Dragon is thrown outside, hitting the ring post, and Yang catches Naniwa with a Whisper in the Wind for the pin.
Fuego, Ryuji Hijikata, & Jimmy Yang vs. Kendo Kashin, Gran Naniwa & Super Dragon
Yang is the only person who gets streamers. Red starts with Dragon for the regular back-and-forth speed spot. Naniwa comes in and feels Red out, then Yang comes in for some chain wrestling. We suddenly skip ahead, and the heels have Hijikata in a tree of woe and are beating on him. Then they do it again in another corner, with Kashin acting cocky. Hijikata comes back with kicks on Dragon and tags Yang. Yang does some kicks and the Bruce Lee shout. He stumbles after a moonsault kick, then gets a dragon suplex from Dragon. They double clothesline each other. Red and Naniwa come in and do some speedy spots. Red misses the Infra-Red press. Naniwa hits a Michinoku Driver for two, and everyone comes in. There’s a dive off-screen. Naniwa gets a two count after a power bomb on Red, then pins him with a modified Burning Hammer.
Fuego participates in 11-Man Junior Heavyweight Battle Royal
This is going to be hard, because I don’t recognize a lot of wrestlers in this match. A wrestler in a black mask in the last entrant, and the crowd pops for him. He looks like he’s ready to take on everyone. They all jump on him and pin him right away. In America, that would probably get a lot of boos, but the Japanese crowd just laughs. Typical battle royal stuff for a while. Jimmy Yang and Kaz Hayashi work together. Hijikata hit’s a fisherman’s buster on Gran Hamada, but then a bunch of guys jump on him to pin him. Kendo Kashin tries to go sit in the crowd, but other wrestlers chase him back in. Hayashi gets spun around in a cobra clutch of sorts, but then the guy who did all the spinning gets pinned. Red does a head scissors off the apron onto Yang. Yang ends up pinning him with Yang Time. Naniwa is pinned by three guys while going for a Michinoku Driver. Yang and Hayashi do a bunch of double team moves. Naniwa trips up Yang on the top rope, and Hamada does a Hama Chan cutter to pin him. Hayashi hits the Final Cut on Kashin, but Hamada breaks up the pun. Hamada pins Hayashi with a rana and help from Kashin, then Kashin immediately puts him in an armbar and he taps.
The S.A.T.: Joel & Jose Maximo vs. Shane Ballard & Shannon Ballard
I hate that the Ballards wear hockey jerseys when they wrestle. It makes them look unprofessional. By the way, both teams consist of twin brothers, so telling them apart is tricky. Ballard 1 and Maximo 1 start with chain wrestling, then go into some higher impact stuff. Maximo does a baseball slide head scissors to the outside. The other two go at it and go back and forth. Maximo 2 almost messes up and double springboard elbow, but saves it. Everyone goes outside and both Ballards do dives, including a running flip off the apron. Back in the ring, the Maximos put the Ballards in a double submission (Crab/Camel clutch). Ballards get revenge later by putting two submission holds on one Maximo. One Ballard does a split-legged moonsault. Ballards do a spinning wheelbarrow/dropkick combo. Maximos get back in control, and they both do dives. One does a springboard senton, but almost messes it up. One Ballard does a spinning flatliner thing (neat move, needs a name). One Ballard puts a modified Strangle Hold Gamma on a Maximo, but it gets broken up. A Maximo does an Indian deathlock on a Ballard, but it gets broken. A Maximo does a back driver, then the Maximos hit the Spanish Fly for the win. Nothing but a spot fest. Some cool moves, a few sloppily executed.
The S.A.T.: Joel & Jose Maximo vs. Dick Togo & Ikuto Hidaka
Togo and Hidaka jump the Maximos before the bell. Maximos get the better of them. They take a lot of time putting Togo in a Gory Guerrero Special, then positioning Hidaka in a torturer crab. The finished product looks cool, though. Togo and Hidaka put the pressure on one Maximo and show better cohesiveness than the Maximos. They do a cool wheelbarrow into face buster. Maximo hit’s a good tornado DDT and makes an early hot tag. Maximo 2 does a good swanton. We get a quick series of dives. Togo turns a La Magistral cradle into a crossface. Togo does a Pedigree, but gets caught going for a senton. Hidaka saves him and does a second rope neck breaker, then Togo hit’s the senton for two. Hidaka gets dropkicked out of the ring, but pulls himself quickly backing and hits a spin kick. Maximos do a double team splash/leg drop for two. They hit the Spanish Fly on Hidaka, but he kicks out. They go for it on Togo, but Hidaka saves him and power bombs one of them, then Togo hits the cannonball senton for the win. Again, all spots, but Togo and Hidaka are more fluid as a team than the Ballards, so it was a little more entertaining.
Fuego & Super Dragon vs. Kaz Hayashi & Jimmy Yang
Hayashi and Yang throw toy balls to the fans before the match. They get streamers. Red and Dragon do stereo flip dives to start the match. Ultimo Dragon is on commentary. There’s a four-way exchange of moves, then Yang does a high cross body dive to the outside on Dragon. Red does a good satellite head scissors this time on Hayashi. Hayashi does a Quebrada for two. Yang does a running corner kick that sends him over the ropes, but he pulls himself back up and gets applause. Super Dragon looks way better in this match. He does a nice corner flip to the apron. Yang puts Dragon in a modified STF. Double team snap mare/dropkick by Yang an Hayashi. Dragon does a Phoenix splash, but Yang avoids it. Yang starts working on Dragon’s leg and Hayashi continues it with an Indian deathlock. Yang does a big lariat on Dragon, then holds him in a head scissors. Yang telegraphs Yang Time and gets caught. Dragon hits a super Blue Thunder driver and makes a tag. Red hit’s the Red Star Press and kicks. Red does a Frankensteiner off the top. Yang takes Red’s head off with a spin kick. Red blocks a Hayashi cross body with a dropkick. Hayashi does a handstand into a super kick, then hit’s the Final Cut, but Dragon makes the save. Red does the Code Red, but Yang makes the save. Yang and Hayashi do a flip slam into power bomb for two. Red turns a fireman’s carry into a headscissors. Hayashi reverses a Code Red by dropping to his knees for two, Hayashi hits the Final Cut again and gets the pin. After the match, everyone raises each other’s arms. Best match so far, IMO.
Sprigun (Amazing Red) vs. Kaz Hayashi
Finally, a singles match. This one is joined in progress after the announcements, but it still seems pretty early in the match. They do some running and avoiding. Red sends Kaz outside and hits a tope con hilo. Kaz gets whipped into the railing, but then flapjacks Red onto it. Back in the ring, Kaz attacks Red’s leg and works it over. Red does a 619. Red turns a blocked sunset flip into a Code Red. Red hit’s the Infra Red, but briefly sells his back, and Kaz kicks out of the pin. Kaz does the handspring super kick and the Final Cut, but Red gets the ropes. Red blocks a Final Cut and lands some kicks, but Kaz gets him with a reverse Final Cut and pins him.
Sprigun & Kendo Kashin vs. Gran Hamada & Jimmy Yang
Red and Hamada do some chain wrestling. Red surprises Hamada with a head scissors, so he tags. Yang goes for headlocks and outsmarts Red a couple times. Yang does the 10 punches in the corner, but counts in Chinese. Red runs up Yang’s back and kicks him in the head, then tags in Kendo. He does the 10 punches, but counts in Japanese. Yang puts him in a submission hold I can’t name. Kendo does a head scissor lock over the ropes. He puts on the armbar, but Yang gets the ropes. Quick tags by Kendo and Red. Hamada comes in and does a grounded clothesline. Hamada elbows him, but Kendo kicks him low. Red comes in and ends up getting side slammed and head butted. He hits a 619 and tags. Kendo gets beat up. Tag on both ends, and Red and Yang do some nice back-and-forth stuff. Red hits the Red Star Press. Hamada and Kendo brawl outside. Yang and Red fight on the top rope, and Yang drops him with a super gorilla press slam to get the pin. Good finishing moments. Red shakes both of his opponents’ hands, but Kendo is nowhere to be found.
Sprigun & Masanobu Fuchi vs. Gran Hamada & Taichi Ishikari
More toy balls for the fans! The theme of this match is old guys teaming with young guys. The old guys (Fuchi and Hamada) fight like they have a grudge. Ishikari comes in and uses an ankle twist and figure four, which lasts a long time. Fuchi somehow switches it around so Taichi’s getting hurt, and he gets the ropes. Red gets tagged in, and now we have the young guys doing chain wrestling. It’s slow chain wrestling, too, almost British-style. Hamada comes in and just beats on Red. Taichi comes back in and uses a front chinlock. I like how this match is building up. Fuchi tags in and stretches Taichi’s arm with a vengeance. When Hamada gets tagged, he beats on Fuchi, sending him outside. Hamada does a plancha. Red does a flip dive. Red brings Hamada back in the ring so Fuchi can slam him and tag out. Hamada fights back, but Red does a 619. Red is focusing more on striking in this match than any other. Red goes up top, Hamada catches him, Fuchi saves him, Taichi attacks Fuchi, and Red hits a front dropkick on Hamada for two. Red does a brain buster and Red Star Press for two. Hamada pretty much gets up and gives Red a TKO for the pin.