MUGA Black Cat Memorial
review by DEAN RASMUSSEN
Some say MUGA is bland. Some say MUGA is archaic. Some say it has no place in the modern world. I say GO TO HELL! MUGA is about freakish adherence to a wrestling style that has gone by the wayside. If that doesn't warm your heart as a WrestleDork then you should probably turn in your SASUKE THE GREAT mask and get into Mixed Martial Arts or Tolkien or something. ONWARD! To the PAST! NOW!
Tatsumi Fujinami vs Mark McKay: Fujinami invented the MUGA. McKay is Australian sounding. He comes out to "Down Under" by Men At Work and I'm assuming that this would like an American having to come out to "God Bless The USA" by Lee Greenwood. I mean come on- if I were Australian- AND WHO'S TO SAY THAT IN MY HEART THAT I AM NOT?!?- and I had to come out to something from my homeland, "Dead Joe' by the Birthday Party is RIGHT THERE. McKay dresses like Outback Johnny Grunge which violates 13 or 14 essential tenets of the MUGA. McKay is all power offence which seems to violate all the other tenets of the MUGA. Fujinami smacks McKay in the face during the first break and THAT has to violate even more sacred tenets of the MUGA. Fujinami takes it to the mat and breaks clean for some reason- as the mysterious NWA 1974 rulebook is BACK IN PLAY, DADDY! McKay clubbers across the back after a knucklelock and Tatsumi slows it down to MAKE IT MEAN SOMETHING when he works a headlock into a leglock. The knucklelock again and McKay kicks the stomach to his advantage and front facelocks into a chinlock and it is easing into the Dory Funk Jr MUGA speed- Fujinami using tricky leg holds to escape the losing end of knucklelock to chain wrestle into a keylock. Fujinami locks in a Dragon Sleeper and kinda releases it for kicks. McKay throws a really nice elbow drop and stays out of the way when Fujinami wants to pull off something tricky like the roll up for the win. Perfectly fine wrestling match. Lacked the TRUE MUGA.
Katsushi Takemura vs Tatsutoshi Goto: Ever since I've seen Goto, I've WANTED to find a way to like him. He sucks at brawling, he sucks at New Japan bottom of the card tag feuding. Maybe MUGA is where we will meet and frolic in the wrestling meadows of green grass and daisies. Let us see. Takemura needs a haircut. What the fuck is going on on the side of his head? Is he going to a Blackfoot concert at the Fort Pierce Civic Center or something? Takemura seems to have the WWE liver enzyme level going for himself but who am I to cast aspersions? Goto and Takemura do a wad of chain wrestling to move into Takemura's headlock and FINALLY two wrestlers that I find repellent in the ring do things that I can watch and enjoy. MUGA... I LOVE you. See, Goto as a heavyweight tagteam wrestler in New Japan doesn't work. Goto as the New Japan version of the Gambler- THAT works. They trade chops and Goto hits a lariat- which Takemura sells all MUGA- as opposed to no-sells all NEW JAPAN. Goto with the 1975 chairshot and Takemura selling is just weird. They treat the Sunset Flip as a highspot like in the old days. The ref STOPS the tope because it's MUGA. Goto hits a backslide and the crowd buys it as a nearfall. Goto cheats by lowblowing Takemura and Takemura hits a superplex for two and Takemura sinks in the Dragon Sleeper as this kinda wanders away from 1976. Goto hits a Vertical Suplex for the WIN?!?! MUUUGA!! BEST. GOTO. MATCH. I. WILL. EVER. SEE.
Yutaka Yoshie vs Mitsuya Nagai: I turn my head for ONE MINUTE and the next thing you know Yutaka Yoshie is this rising superstar in Japanese Wrestling. Pardon my French, WHAT THE FUCK? I mean I haven't had a real beef with Yoshie's in-ring stylings since he grew his starfish hairstyle out but really, WHAT THE FUCK? Nagai I've enjoyed since his days in the mobbed-up Japanese indies he used to frequent where he would kick the hell out of someone in between the Shinnigammi/ONRYO tag match and the Goro Tsurumi versus Ryama GO! main event. I haven't seen him much since the match right after the one where he accidentally knocked out Iizuka. Luckily- for us- they meet here- in the refined ether of the MUGA. And if I say the M word again I'm going to hunt me down and punch me right my motherfuckin face. ONWARD! Yoshie looks like a guy who brings your lumber to you at Lowes. Except he has all of his fingers. Maybe they were sewn back on. Who could be sure? Nagai has bionic (as in Stone Cold Steve Austin Level) knees. Nagai is angry that Yoshie is being cheered by the people. "LOOK AT ME! I'm thin and BEAUTIFUL! He is HIDEOUS! Why don't you LOVE me?" Yoshie overpowers Nagai and Nagai can't lift to bodyslam him because he's fatter than Tony Siragusa! Tony Siragusa and Yoshie should have pictures taken together on a mini-bikes they are so fat! FAT! I love how (the M word) goes old school here by making the All Japan ace work a Haystacks Calhoun 1968 match. Nagai is really stinky in this- listlessly trying to fight his shootstyle urges to halfway attempt to conform to the style. Yoshie is fun with his Yotaka Two Ton Yoshie matwork- putting his fat on Nagai's leg and twisting. Yoshie feigns a tope which would be akin to driving a golfcart off your porch. Nagai is less stinky crushing the arm with kicks and flying fabulous knees. Nagai stumppulls his arm and Yoshie slides like a tiger slug to the ropes. Nagai still can't suplex Yoshie because Yoshie is really really fat. Stupid Nagai. You deserve the rotund spinebuster flying fat splash for two. Yoshie goes up top and does the Ric Flair spot where he gets caught on the toprope and is thrown to the mat- except pretend that Ric Flair had a horrible thyroid problem and weighed a quarter ton. Nagai with the running elbow in the corner and the Roll-Not-So-Much-A-Snap Suplex and a submission hold that I can't remember the name of- a Strangle Hold Gamma but without using your legs and two count. Yoshie hits the WORLD'S TRULY MOST HATEFUL LOU THESZ PRESS EVER. Jesus, the smell of fatman in that position would be UNIMAGINABLE. And I am not buying a kickout from THAT. Yoshie is fatter than your high school girlfriend. Nagia is gonna get up from that? Much less go on offense. Yoshie with hilarious lumbering urakens and he does the Not-Frog-Perhap-Cowsplash for the pin. Yoshie is fun. This match was not really in tune with the (the M word). Postmatch, Yoshie plays his pudge like bongos. And so would you. Motherfucker.
Osamu Nishimura vs Hiro Saito: After watching the fuckin 9000 star match with Cobra last week from 1988, I'm waaaay too stoked about Hiro Saito on the wrestling viewing screen. Eh Nishimura. Hiro has given up being stylish with thinning hair and cut all his hair off. Osamu Nishimura still looks like Sam Waterston. They kill time for the first three minutes as Hiro Saito tries to drag Nishimura to the floor and beat him to death with chairs while Nishimura wants get him in a headlock for 45 minutes. AND THE CROWD WILL LOVE IT! Nishimura bridges out of a knucklelock situation after European Uppercutting his way back to the ring after finally hitting the floor. Saito works the arm and wrings every time Nishimura looks to mount a comeback. Hiro procures the armbar and cannot be armdragged out of it- a spot that I truly love. Saito has both arms behind Nishimura's back and is driving his head into Nishimura's spine and Nishimura tries to fight out of it for four minutes. THIS is Old School. Nishimura reverses it and breaks the hold and they move to a headlock. Nishimura drives him to the ground and this truly is straight out of 1977- as they actually do little detailed things in the headlock to show the struggle to get out- as opposed to killing time while they call a spot. Osamu makes fierce faces as he wrings the headlock and Saito finally makes it to his feet and to the ropes and Nishimura uppercuts to cut him off and goes back to the headlock. This WILL be a headlock for 45 minutes and we DO love it. Hiro gets shot into the ropes and Nishimura moves it to a chinlock that Hiro jawbreaks out of. Hiro with the FUCKIN FISTDROP and old guy senton and Osamu rolls out of the ring all busted up. They trade blows on the apron and Hiro decapitates Osamu over the toprope- and the point of not letting your opponent into the ring is also a lost idea in wrestling. I remember it being a staple of every match in Mid-Atlantic- as it got big heel heat. This is where it would surface again and it's neat to see the history of wrestling mined in such a way. They spin to fight for the Abdominal stretch and break in the ropes so Hiro pounds on Nishimura a little and goes for a piledriver that Osamu counters into a backdrop and pinning situation. They trade backslides and the crowd is hip to the fact that a backslide will get you a win. Nishimura does the Dick Murdoch toprope leghook to throw Hiro over the toprope to the floor and jumps off the apron to stomp Saito's knee. Saito sells it like a champ and leans into Nishimura's uppercuts like a KING before being thrown back to the floor to have his knee stomped again. The tide has turned and the story is told pretty flawlessly- as Osamu Nishimura goes in for the kill and Hiro Saito sells the knee like Arn Anderson. Nishimura whips out the Cattle Mutilation and rolls into the Figure Four. Hiro in agony makes the ropes- Osamu holding onto the second rope and not releasing the hold. Saito is fucking amazing in this match selling. Wrestling schools should show this match to students as an example of selling a body part effectively. Hiro is so good selling the knee that Osamu looks like a complete asshole for continuing to work on it. Osamu Nishimura goes up top and misses a dive and Hiro Saito hits a German with a bridge for two- and writhes in agony as Osamu Nishimura kicks out. Hiro Saito fights back to suplexing Nishimura again and Hiro Saito wins with a second German Suplex into a Bridge and sells the knee as he doesn't stand unassisted in the ring for the entire trophy ceremony. This match fucking RULED.
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