FMW SKY PerfecTV! PPV on 1/7/01
review by Stuart
FMW's very first show of 2001 was another PPV from the historical Tokyo Korakuen Hall. The WEW Hardcore Tag Team Champions, Hideki Hosaka and Mammoth Sasaki, are shown talking. They shake hands and after some major problems recently, appear to be on good terms again. GOEMON and Onryo are shown arriving, climbing the stairs. The dreaded Belt of Curse falls from the heavens, missing both ghosts by an inch. GOEMON angrily launches it in the trash, but I guess it's one of those cursed objects that will just keep coming back. Things get bizarre right away. Lights out, classical music playing and wrestlers shown. They all walk to the ring and Tetsuhiro Kuroda is the focal point. He shows off his new group, Team Kuroda. Kuroda, Azusa Kudo, Naohiro Yamazaki and Shinjuku Shark. And I thought Funk Masters of Wrestling was average. After some more FMW craziness (including a bizarre video package), "Shoot It" hits and Kodo Fuyuki walks out. There are problems here, because Kuroda is supposed to be part of Fuyuki's group, yet has just formed his own team. Things don't seem too well between them, but they have to defend their recently won WEW Tag Team Title in the main event.
8 Person Battle Royal
I can't call this "8 Man", since Kyoko Inoue is involved. It's done under the Royal Rumble format, with intervals. Kyoko and Yamazaki start. Yamazaki goes through his spots, controlling until the next entrant arrives, that being Tomokazu Morita. He's still basic, but Morita throws a nice dropkick. Chocoball Mukai is next, followed by Yoshito Sasaki, then Shinjuku Shark (who has some cool entrance music, just no talent to go with it). Nothing of note happens between all those entrances. Shark looks terrible, even by his standards, and absorbs a unison corner attack from the others. The final rookie is Satoru Makita, who enters next. Hisakatsu Oya makes it eight, being trailed to the ring by Tomomi Tanimoto, who recites one of her catchy songs. Oya takes his time getting in the ring, preferring to wave his flag. Kyoko backdrop's Yamazaki out of the ring, eliminating him. Oya eliminates all three rookies with his deadly backdrop suplex, Morita the last youngster to go. Oya backdrop's Shark to the floor, leaving three. Oya enzuigiri's Chocoball, then gives him a backdrop suplex for the 3 count. Kyoko and Oya are the last two, Inoue pouncing with a lariat. She runs the ropes, but Oya catches her with a jumping neckbreaker drop. Oya gives Kyoko a backdrop suplex, but Emi Motokawa (who is injured) breaks the cover. Oya hits a second, very stiff, then applies an Octopus hold. Emi enters again, but Oya grabs and slaps her. Kyoko attacks from behind and Emi kicks Oya dOWnstairs. Kyoko throws a stiff short lariat for the 3 count and victory (12:10). Really bad. The only positive is that they threw a lot of the weak undercarders in one match. Oya looks old and very slow these days, and seemed to hurt himself again in this match.
Team Kuroda have a meeting backstage. Kudo has one of his/her mood swings and tries to throttle Kuroda, but is restrained by Yamazaki. Mammoth Sasaki looks in the room, smiling. He doesn't really do anything, except silently tell us all what's going to happen later.
Ricky Fuji & Flying Kid Ichihara vs. Jado & Kaori Nakayama
After some big matches recently for Jado, he's right down the card today. This is because his friends, Tanaka and Gedo, are in a tag main event. Ichihara sends Jado out with a dropkick, but misses with a baseball slide variation. Ichihara is neutralized, taking some generic offense. Kaori may be one of the biggest disappointments in FMW history. She went from a promising Megumi Kudo disciple to a valet with average talent. She assaults Flying Kid with her cane. The match stays sluggish, until Ichihara tags out to Ricky. Jado saves Kaori from the Kamikaze, but finds himself dropped with it, the referee taking an "accidental" bump in the process. Ichihara avoids a cane shot from Kaori and Jado is hit. Ichihara sends Jado out and follows with a quebrada, although lands sideways of Jado. Back in, Jado uses a quick takedown on Ricky and applies his crossface hold. He and Kaori hit a pretty bad 3D, Kaori messing up the Ace Crusher. She barely manages to give Ricky an Exploder for 2. A sloppy diving "Frankensteiner" follows for the same result. She messes up a second rope dive, landing short of Ricky, who has to cover with a punch. He traps her in a crab hold, Jado saving. Ricky brainbuster's Kaori for a near fall. She tries to come back, but runs into a thrust kick. Fuji gives her the Kamikaze and gets the 3 count (6:35). I expected not much, but it was below even that. It was a boring, but okay match until the closing stages. Then it became a boring, bad match, killed by Kaori. She looked the worst I've ever seen her, messing up some simple things.
More bush league backstage stuff with Team Kuroda. This is really bad. The camera switches to them and for about 2 seconds, they're sat there doing nothing. Then they suddenly burst into laughter, which should have happened the second the camera focused on them. Is it any wonder so few people take FMW's direction seriously? They make fun of Yamazaki's fake UFO gimmick, which he admitted was phony. Kaoruko Arai enters and the room goes quiet. Shark pushed her down on the last PPV and rejects her again. The fans laugh at this, probably in a "that was hilariously bad" way, more than a "that was hilarious" way.
Azusa Kudo vs. Chris Candido
Candido is a fine import choice, unlike some of FMW's more recent gaijins (namely Supreme and Pogo The Clown). Kudo burns through his bad sex spots, those being the only notable happenings of the first couple of minutes. Candido plays off them in his usual goofy manner. They waste even more time at ringside, playing with chairs. Back in, Kudo uses a backdrop suplex hold for 2. He hits a Stunner for 2 1/2. Candido catches him up top and brings him down with a nice Frankensteiner for 2. He misses a diving headbutt and is high kicked down for 2. The finish comes out of nowhere and sees Kudo try a powerbomb, but fall back, Candido sitting on his chest and cradling a leg for the flash 3 count (5:05). There was about 1:00 of wrestling in this. Total waste of Candido, although he didn't make an attempt to carry it.
Kintaro Kanemura vs. Pat Tanaka
Tanaka returns after his uninspiring performance on 11/12 (although he was the best on a three man team, which isn't saying much, considering who his partners were). They shake hands and get off to a quick start, Tanaka using to hiptosses to ground Kanemura. Kanemura runs into an overhead belly to belly and Tanaka follows up with a thrust kick. Kanemura brings in a chair, wedging it in the corner. That backfires though, Tanaka running him head-first into it. Kanemura sets a table up in front of the entrance/exit archway and puts Tanaka on it. He climbs the entranceway and summons the W*ING Spirit, dropping a diving body press and putting Tanaka through wood! He piles chairs up in the ring and DDT's Tanaka on them. Tanaka catches him up top though, then throws him down on to the chairs. Tanaka counters a Frankensteiner/hurricanrana with a powerbomb for 2. Kanemura bounces back with a lariat, then brings down his diving senton for the win (8:35). Mostly a nothing match, but better than the last one. A few nice things, but nothing much. It appeared to be a day off for Kanemura. These undercards are lifeless, but a little thought could improve them. I don't know, Jado vs. Candido and Kanemura vs. Oya?
Intermission time. Not much of interest though, because there were no spot shows between the last PPV and this one. BattlARTS' Alvin Ken makes an appearance, leading to future involvement in FMW.
Hideki Hosaka & Mammoth Sasaki (c) vs. GOEMON & Onryo for the WEW Hardcore Tag Team Title
The highlight of the early stages is Onryo's springboard tope con hilo, which he overshoots and takes a dive into the crowd. GOEMON manages to escape being nodowa'd on a chair by Mammoth, armdragging him to counter. Mammoth hits a second rope diving lariat, then smashes a chair over GOEMON's head. He and Onryo are sent crashing into each other, which contradicts Onryo's 0kg weight, because wouldn't GOEMON go through him or not be effected at all? The teams fight to the back and just brawl around the place for a few minutes. GOEMON is piledriven on the hard floor, so the champions are able to double team Onryo back in the ring. They give Onryo a double nodowa on chairs for 2, Onryo grabbing the referee's arm to cease the count. GOEMON makes his return, landing a second rope fistdrop to Hosaka. He goes up for the kill, but Mammoth launches a chair at him. Hosaka brings GOEMON off the top with a Frankensteiner, then puts a chair over his head. Mammoth goes for his Home Run, but Onryo grabs the chair from behind and GOEMON reverse low blow's Hosaka. As Mammoth and Onryo struggle for that chair, GOEMON places the other over Hosaka's head. Mammoth wins his struggle and turns, chairshotting... Hosaka! Onryo connects with a missile dropkick to Hosaka for 2 1/2. He follows with a corkscrew elbow smash, getting another near fall. In the crowd, Mammoth backdrop's GOEMON on some chairs. Onryo gives Hosaka the Onryo Driver, then a diving hurricanrana for 2 1/2. Mammoth hits his Home Run on GOEMON, while in the ring, Onryo hooks the Onryo clutch on Hosaka for 2 1/2. Hosaka drops Onryo with a high-angle powerbomb, then suddenly rushes out of the ring. He scoops Mammoth off a ledge and powerbomb's him on an UNBREAKABLE JAPANESE TABLE, Mammoth hitting it, then sliding off it and on to some stacked chairs, so it looks cool. Hosaka chairshot's Mammoth to the floor and GOEMON dives off the ledge with a senton atomico, covering for the win and belts (14:00)! A step up from the other matches. It was mainly cool spots using tables and chairs, but there was an extensive dead period, where they brawled around Korakuen for ages. It would have been better if they mixed more wrestling in with the spots, which they're capable of doing.
Kodo Fuyuki & Tetsuhiro Kuroda (c) vs. Masato Tanaka & Gedo for the WEW Tag Team Title
Fuyuki made a big mistake by trying to set up relations with Misawa's NOAH. He got nothing out of this and two NOAH midcard teams (Masao Inoue & Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Tamon Honda & Naomichi Marufuji) held FMW's top tag title over several months. Eventually, the "elite" team of Fuyuki and Kuroda had to go to NOAH's 12/23 show at Tokyo Ariake Colosseum, Fuyuki pinning Honda to bring the belts home. That was the last of the NOAH/FMW relationship. They take time to build the match, working on the ground in the early stages. Tanaka channels Otani with STINGING boot scrapes to Kuroda. Tanaka and Fuyuki (looking fatter than ever) have a big slapfest, before Tanaka hits a second rope Rocker Dropper. Gedo soon becomes whipping boy, a role he's good at, even though he's a natural heel. Kuroda DDT's him on a chair, then chokes him with said chair. Kuroda hits a Northern Lights suplex hold for 2 1/2. Fuyuki connects with a FAT BOY diving crossbody and follows with a Fisherman's buster for 2. Kuroda misses a corner charge lariat, but drop toehold's Gedo into the middle turnbuckle. Gedo eats one lariat, but ducks a second and uses one of his own. He makes the big tag to Tanaka, who enters with a beautiful missile dropkick to Kuroda. He uses a double Stunner on both opponents, follow by a double lariat. He connects with a rope dash elbow to Kuroda, then a SPE-YAH. He hits a cool move, which starts as a reverse Diamond Dust, but ends as an Ace Crusher, this getting a 2 count. Kuroda fights back with a fireman's carry facebuster and tags Fuyuki. Tanaka lifts his bulk and drops him with a Death Valley bomb, before tagging the SUPAHFLY. He ducks a lariat and bounces off the ropes with a jumping elbow smash. He totally screws up a Lionsault, which is sad, because he hit it so cleanly on the last show. This time he slips on the ropes and falls way short. He seems a little shaken up, but recovers with a thrust kick to Kuroda. Fuyuki catches Gedo up top and pulls him off, then spikes him with a muscle buster for 2, Tanaka making the save.
Fuyuki sits up top and is fed (not literally) Gedo, then superbomb's him down for 2 1/2. Fuyuki lifts the arms and hits a weak running lariat, before applying a Stretch Plum. Kuroda takes over, using his own lariat for 2 1/2. He tries his "big" lariat (he and Fuyuki throw way too many lariats, considering they also use them as finishers), but Gedo counters with a dropkick. He runs the ropes, only for Fuyuki to clip him from behind. Fuyuki holds Gedo and Kuroda charges, but Tanaka hits him from behind. He rushes Fuyuki off the apron with an elbow, then he and Gedo use a side suplex/reverse DDT combination on Kuroda. Both go up, Tanaka dropping a diving body press, then Gedo a Superfly splash for 2 1/2! Masato hits his suplex Stunner, then positions Kuroda for the Diamond Dust. Kuroda fights out of this and they duck strikes, Gedo making the difference with a thrust kick to Kuroda. Tanaka capitalizes with his rolling elbow, covering for 2 1/2! Tanaka hits what could be called a modified Complete Dust (Kuroda ends up landing on his stomach, rather than his neck area) for 2, Fuyuki making the easy save. Gedo smoothly lands on his feet out of a German suplex attempt from Kuroda, but Kuroda manages a gut kick and follows with his Technan buster for 2, Tanaka saving. Fuyuki returns, backing into a corner with arms raised. Kuroda uses his throttle drop on Gedo and Fuyuki pounces with a running lariat for 2 1/2! Fuyuki release powerbomb's Gedo, then hits a regular powerbomb, leaning over for 2 1/2! They're doing something right, because the normally quiet crowd chants "Gedo". Fuyuki hits another running lariat and holds Gedo up for Kuroda's own. Kuroda does likewise for Fuyuki, who covers for 2 3/4! The heels go for a sandwich lariat, but Gedo ducks and they strike each other! Tanaka rolling elbow's Fuyuki into the Complete Shot! Gedo hooks a leg and gets the big win, bringing the belts to the Complete Players (21:01)!
Team Kuroda beat the hell out of Fuyuki, so the Fuyuki/Kuroda alliance didn't last long. Kuroda gets Kyoko Inoue's bra and straps it on Fuyuki! They tie him to the ropes and paint his lips. They have a great big laugh at Fuyuki's expense and Fuyuki does look funny as hell as "Mrs. Kuroda". Kyoko chases them out and unties Fuyuki. This sets up a four way faction feud of sorts; FMW vs. Complete Players vs. Team Fuyuki vs. Team Kuroda. Only problem is, FMW has almost zero representatives, so the Complete Players are the top faces and more or less the FMW representatives. This was the best FMW (PPV) main event since the Fuyuki vs. Hayabusa Iron Man Match on 9/26. It was nothing out of the ordinary, but was better than recent main event sprints. There was virtually no dead time, no time-wasting at ringside, so although it did get slow for a while (when Gedo was isolated), it was all in the ring. It got awesome at the end, a very exciting race to the finish, with many near falls. Tanaka was great, easily the best. He showed off some new moves and was very quick and graceful. Gedo was second best and aside from that blown spot, looked very good too. Kuroda was next, although quite a way behind Tanaka and Gedo. He was good, but kind of goofy and lariat happy. Fuyuki was a distant fourth, but was decent and not bad, choosing this as one of his days to not drag a match down. This was how I like my FMW, good action, no screwiness, just hard work.
Well, there isn't much that I can write that I haven't said in recent FMW reviews. The repeating trend prevailed today, with a boring, heatless undercard, then a good main event. The semi main event wasn't bad today, good for what it was. The main event was also slightly better than recent ones, but everything before those two matches was sleep-inducing.
For more of Stuart's thoughts and opinions on puroresu, visit www.puroresufan.com