FMW DirecTV PPV on 11/20/98
review by Stuart
The show starts with clips of the rivalries. On 10/6, Daisuke Ikeda & Ricky Fuji meet Gedo and Hido. During this match, TNR manager Go Ito and Kaori Nakayama fight, Nakayama spiking him with a huge swinging DDT. On the same show, Tetsuhiro Kuroda upsets Yukihiro Kanemura, pinning him with a lariat. Post-match, Mr. Gannosuke makes his return to FMW after being injured at the first PPV in April. Only this time, he's clad in a white priest outfit, just like Jinsei Shinzaki's. Kuroda wants a handshake, but Gannosuke just prays and leaves. In the main event, Hayabusa successfully defends him FMW Double Titles, beating arch rival Koji Nakagawa (23:22), after a grueling battle. Kodo Fuyuki throws beer over him after the match and tonight those two meet for the belt(s).
Flying Kid Ichihara vs. Rey Bucanero Jr.
Bucanero is listed as a WWF wrestler, since he worked WWF Super Astros shows. The early mat wrestling is pretty slow and boring. The first notable thing is Ichihara almost killing himself. Really. Both are outside, and Bucanero backdrop's Ichihara into a headstand position on the apron. Except Ichihara misses the apron and begins a head-first plunge, but thankfully Rey catches him just in time, saving Flying Kid's neck. From there, Ichihara catches Rey with a flying headscissors takeover. Back in, they slow it down again, Ichihara working a leg. Ichihara jumps into a powerbomb, losing control of the match. Bucanero hits a missile dropkick, then a twisting senton from the top for 2. They go out again, Ichihara catching Rey with a somersault senton off the apron. He follows with a nice quebrada and back in, an armdrag from the top for 2. He misses a moonsault press and Bucanero quickly capitalizes with a Liger bomb for 2 1/2. Ichihara tries an avalanche-style Frankensteiner, but Rey blocks and Liger bomb's him again for the win (8:36). Not a poor opener technically, but boring. It moved very slowly.
More clips of the Kaori vs. Go Ito feud. On 9/8, Kaori kills Go with a DDT during a Ricky Fuji vs. Gedo match. On 9/20, Ito gets revenge, blowing powder or something in Kaori's eyes. And as shown earlier, on 10/6, Kaori again hits Go with a swinging DDT. Clips are shown of TNR's Hido marrying former FMW joshi star, Megumi Kudo (not an angle). This is interesting because Kudo was Kaori's mentor and Kaori is going opposite Hido in the next match.
Hido & Go Ito vs. Ricky Fuji & Kaori Nakayama
Hido and Go appear sad. They stop near the ring and some J-Pop song hits, Kaoruko Arai appearing out of the curtain. She blows bubbles and Go embraces her. Hido and Ricky do some boring stuff early on. It gets interesting when Go and Kaori fight, Go showing that he can wrestle. Unfortunately for him, a slide backfires when he goes groin-first into the ring post. He is sent to a corner and does the Flair flip, falling back into a tree of woe position. Kaori follows with a dropkick to the prone manager. Hido comes off the rope with a chair, but Ricky covers Kaori, taking the shot himself. Hido gets a couple of near falls after a kneel kick and two piledrivers. Kaori sliding dropkick's Go out and follows with a quebrada! Ricky (to Hido) and Kaori (to Go) hit Kamikazes in stereo. Ricky gets 2 from a Tiger Driver and 2 1/2 from a brainbuster. He puts Hido in a Scorpion Deathlock, Ito breaking it with some powder. Nakayama becomes the second to nearly kill herself, half-botching a Frankensteiner when she lands on her head, although Go is taken over so it doesn't look as bad as it could have. Kaori does the old 2 count/pull up thing to Go. She hits the swinging DDT and pulls him up again. Then she just punches him down and covers, Hido saving. Hido picks her up and plants her with a piledriver, then rolls Go on top for the win (14:15). Ito outworked Fuji and Hido here, which is pretty sad. He appears to have some actual training though, knowing how to properly take bumps and execute moves. This was just an undercard TNR vs. FMW feud for semi-comedic purposes (Kaori beating up Go), and wasn't good.
Hisakatsu Oya vs. Koji Nakagawa
A video package is shown of "Mr. Double Cross" Koji Nakagawa before he makes his dark entrance. Oya's video package is absolutely hilarious. He's stood at a harbor, looking out at the sea. Suddenly a ball rolls up to him. He picks it up and watches a small child approach. He kneels and hands it to the kid, then nods at the camera. This was so cheesy, but that was the point, so it was really funny. Unfortunately this match is SLOOOW, Nakagawa targeting Oya's bandaged leg, working over it forever and not really making it interesting. Koji blocks a backdrop suplex attempt, but falls victim to an enzuigiri. Oya clips him with a second, then applies an Octopus hold. He breaks that and folds Nakagawa in half with a backdrop suplex. A third enzuigiri sends Koji into a corner. He hits Oya with a reverse low blow, grabs his fork and throws his jacket at the ref. He jabs the fork into Oya's throat, lands a headbutt downstairs, then quickly follows with a jackknife hold for the win (13:59). Well, that sure was sudden. Oya attacks the referee post-match, showing his old heel side. This was just boring. You could call it technically sound, but is wasn't interesting at all.
Ricky Fuji, Daisuke Ikeda, Mohammed Yone & Naohiro Yamazaki vs. Jado, Gedo, TAKA Michinoku & Shoichi Funaki
"You gotta fight, dum, dum, for your right!" hits and the BattlARTS (Ikeda & Yone)/FMW (Fuji & Yamazaki) team enters. Kaientai's (WWF) music hits and Funaki is shown backstage shouting, "We're here, motherfucker!". Jado and Gedo leave the women's bathroom (hah!) and make their entrance, using Stan Hansen's theme, since Jado is emulating Hansen at this point, calling himself "Stan" Jado. They do American stuff early on, Fuji (working double duty tonight, damn us all) doing the Fargo strut. They just wrestle for a long time, the match really moving nowhere. Yamazaki plays job boy, the heel team beating him up. Jado almost makes him tap with a chickenwing facelock. Ikeda does some nice stuff, taking out the heels. TAKA hits Yamazaki with a missile dropkick, Funaki following with a Stunner. Everyone fights and Jado hits Yamazaki with the big lariat. Gedo goes up and lands the Superfly splash for the win (21:26). This was a big disappointment. No one, except Fuji (who isn't that good) and Yamazaki (ditto, since he's a rookie at this stage) wrestled as well as they could. This was the WWF Kaientai and not the MPro Kaientai, which was frustrating. The match lasted way too long, and although it wasn't horrible, it just never seemed to get good.
Yukihiro Kanemura vs. Sabu vs. One Man Gang
One Man Gang looks thin. We get another sleazy FMW video package, "Amazing Grace" being played on the bagpipes. Kanemura is shown working out with his TNR shirt on, BUT NOTHING ELSE! Well except a cup over you-know-where. Gedo arrives and tries to pull it off. Kanemura makes his entrance, wearing a kilt and dancing. Sabu manages to hit the triple jump plancha without blowing it, taking out Kanemura and Gang in the crowd. They do the usual three way dance thing, arguing over who gets to cover. Sabu hits Kanemura with a slingshot moonsault for 2. Kanemura tries a sunset flip to Gang, but he blocks, so Sabu does his own, Gang being taken over for the 3 count (8:45). Since the utter load is gone, Kanemura decides to make things happen, grabbing a table. Sabu throws a chair at Kanemura and lays him on the table. Sabu is caught up top and Kanemura just throws the table at him, both (Sabu and table) going out. Kanemura goes up and Sabu catches him, throwing him right to the floor, Kanemura going through the unbreakable table! That had to hurt. Sabu uses a spike and Kanemura bleeds. Kanemura no-sells some board shots and spins Sabu around, before slamming him. He goes up and drops his diving senton for 2 1/2. He stacks a bunch of chairs in the ring and slams Sabu on them. He gets caught up top again and Sabu brings him down with a Frankensteiner on to the chairs. A triple jump moonsault gets 2 1/2. Kanemura is lay on the broken table and Sabu drops a slingshot legdrop. They have a chairfight, both with three attached chairs. Sabu drops a legdrop to the neck, goes up, and hits the Arabian facebuster for the win (16:38). The match picked up quite a bit after One Man Gang was eliminated, but it still wasn't much apart from the big spots.
Mr. Gannosuke vs. Tetsuhiro Kuroda
This is Gannosuke's return match after injuring himself on 4/30/98, at FMW's first ever PPV, during a great match with Hayabusa. Gannosuke enters, using Jinsei Shinzaki's music until the "HUUUUUYAAA!", when his own kicks on. He wears a black priest/monk/whatever the hell Shinzaki is outfit, flames on each side of the rampway as he enters. Gannosuke goes for the Praying ropewalk early on, but Kuroda thwarts it by dropping Gannosuke face-first on the top buckle. They fight out to the elevated rampway, Kuroda hitting Gannosuke with a DDT. He sprints up the ramp and back down with a running and jumping knee attack. He goes up the ramp again and tries a running lariat, Gannosuke countering and hitting his own running armbar takedown. Gannosuke stays on the arm until Kuroda dropkick's a leg, which I presume is the one that Gannosuke injured. He applies a cross knee scissors hold and Gannosuke struggles sideways to the ropes. He adds more pain to it with a figure-four leglock. Kuroda ducks a lariat and puts on a full nelson, but Gannosuke escapes that with a sort of ipponzei/armdrag mix. They double lariat each other twice, both staying up. Kuroda tries a third, but Gannosuke beautifully counters it into the Gannosuke clutch for 2 1/2! Kuroda tries an instant comeback, but runs straight into an uppercut. Gannosuke follows with a Northern Lights suplex hold for 2. A release German suplex plants Kuroda right on his head, but Kuroda does the half-no-selling thing, hitting Gannosuke with a lariat, then collapsing. Kuroda drops Gannosuke with two rolling German suplexes, turning the third into a Dragon suplex hold for 2 1/2!
Kuroda uses Gannosuke's own Fire Thunder and hits it perfectly, Gannosuke's head bouncing off the canvas. Gannosuke is able to kick out at 2 1/2, sparing himself embarrassment. Gannosuke blocks a lariat, ducks a second, but falls prey to a big third for 2! He counters a tombstone, using power to scoop Kuroda up, and drops him with the Fire Thunder for 2 1/2! We see Gannosuke's former heel god tag partner, Yukihiro Kanemura, watching intently at ringside. They keep exchanging lariats, the victim getting up and lariating the other down. They do this until both are groggy and Gannosuke hits a big one to end the sequence, for a 2 3/4 count. Gannosuke follows with the Praying powerbomb for 2 1/2! He goes straight from that into a sit-down full nelson, which is basically a full nelson in a camel clutch position. There is no escape and Kuroda taps out (16:02). Post-match, Kanemura confronts Gannosuke. He wants to know what's on Gannosuke's mind, but Gannosuke just walks off, leaving unanswered questions. Gannosuke didn't show any apparent ring rust, doing everything well in the ring. This was no exhibition, that's for sure. This was a good FMW heavyweight match with lots of complex and entertaining sequences. I loved the lariat sequence where Gannosuke blocked the first and ducked the second, only to be caught with a massive third. The FMW style has elements of both All Japan and New Japan's own styles and it's a good mix, even if not as refined as the others. A good comeback for Gannosuke, but the injury really hurt his career. Before it, he was the top heel and leader of Team No Respect. Upon return, Fuyuki had taken both of those from him, although that may have been the eventual plan anyway, since Fuyuki was getting more and more sway backstage.
It's intermission time, meaning clips! We see clips of FMW's awesome "Come Out and Play" concept from the 10/24 spot show. There is a twist though since this is a tag team version. The wrestler NOT pinned gets to stay and a new partner arrives. This is FMW vs. Team No Respect. Mohammed Yone & Super Leather beat Koji Nakagawa & Hido when Yone makes Hido submit to a cross armbreaker. Jado replaces Hido. Nakagawa & Jado beat Yone & Leather when Jado pins Leather with a lariat. Hisakatsu Oya replaces Leather. Nakagawa & Jado beat Yone & Oya when Jado pins Yone with a lariat. Daisuke Ikeda replaces Yone. Oya & Ikeda beat Nakagawa & Jado when Oya makes Nakagawa submit to an Octopus hold. Yukihiro Kanemura replaces Nakagawa. Oya & Ikeda beat Jado & Kanemura when Ikeda makes Jado submit to a cross armbreaker. Gedo replaces Jado. Kanemura & Gedo beat Oya & Ikeda when Gedo pins Oya with the Gedo clutch. Hayabusa replaces Oya. Ikeda & Hayabusa beat Kanemura & Gedo when Hayabusa pins Gedo with the firebird splash. Kodo Fuyuki replaces Gedo. Ikeda & Hayabusa vs. Kanemura & Fuyuki goes to a draw when Ikeda and Kanemura lariat each other and are KO'd. Ricky Fuji replaces Ikeda. TNR is out of members. Hayabusa & Fuji beat Fuyuki when Hayabusa pins Fuyuki with the firebird splash, winning the Come Out and Play for FMW (75:20). This is probably my favorite concept in wrestling. On 10/16, at a Fuyuki-gun show, Hayabusa & Daisuke Ikeda beat Kodo Fuyuki & Yukihiro Kanemura to win the FMW Brass Knuckles Tag Team Title, Ikeda pinning Kanemura with a big lariat (20:48). On 11/6, Fuyuki, Kanemura & Koji Nakagawa beat Hayabusa, Ikeda & Ricky Fuji to successfully defend the FMW World Street Fight 6 Man Tag Team Title, Fuyuki pinning Fuji with a powerbomb (17:11). To end the intermission, they run down the upcoming shows, pushing ECW's involvement.
Atsushi Onita vs. Mr. Pogo
This is Onita's last ever match in the company he created. He sold FMW in 1995 to Shoichi Arai, probably a big mistake, since I'm sure he'd love to own it now, years later. This is also Pogo's last match in FMW. These two headlined many FMW shows in the first half of the 1990's, drawing some massive crowds. Throughout 1997 and 1998, Onita was slowly phased out, and jobbing to Fuyuki at FMW's first PPV was the last major phase. After that, Onita just kind of lurked. Team ZEN split and Onita formed the horrible Team Zero group which was just a more jobber-filled faction. He and Arai didn't get along, having different ideas, so Onita was to leave after one final match. On the other side, Mr. Pogo had recently quit Big Japan with Shoji Nakamaki. This was the spark that caused Big Japan's major youth movement and thus their Death Match revolution. Things didn't work out for Pogo and Nakamaki, karma smacking them right in the face, and after this they all but disappeared and have worked for small indies, such as Onita's own, since. Nakamaki leads Pogo to the ring, and Pogo is in unbelievably horrible shape. I mean, he's never been a posterboy of fitness, but he looks awful. Clips of Onita's FMW legacy are shown as "Wild Thing" hits and he enters. He looks solemn and doesn't really get much reaction, continuing the trend of the evening (Yokohama has awful wrestling fans for crowd reaction). Onita attacks Pogo and takes him out immediately. He hits Pogo with a chair and what a surprise, Pogo is gasping for air only a minute in! Onita sets up a table and tries piledriving Pogo through it, but the table gives way and the spot is totally blown, Pogo basically taking the equivalent of a second buckle unprotected piledriver since he misses the table. Pogo gets a knife out and begins carving up Onita's right shoulder. He sends Onita face-first into a table, then carves some more. Pogo breaks a bamboo stick over Onita's back and uses the remnants to carve up Onita's shoulder and arm some more.
Nakamaki tries to interfere and gets taken out by FMW rookie, Yoshinori Sasaki, which is pretty hilarious. Pogo piles chairs up and hits a tiny piledriver on them, barely even lifting Onita. Pogo drops Onita with the WORST FACE CRUSHER EVER on chairs, Pogo himself falling! He gets out the fire and Onita's blocks a fireball with a chair and hits Pogo with said chair. He plants Pogo with three face crushers to the chair, then smashes a crutch over Pogo's back, covering for 2. A fourth face crusher gets the win for Onita (12:24). I guess he didn't want to try a Thunder Fire powerbomb, since Pogo might have exploded into a million pieces. Onita's arm is badly cut and he pours water over it. Team Zero members, Sasaki, Hideki Hosaka and Mr. Pogo 2 step in the ring. Onita spits water at them (which is his equivalent of Inoki's slaps, a unique compliment), then taps the FMW logo on the mat with them. He bids the fans farewell and leaves through the crowd, a lot of his fans shouting his name. This was a horrible, horrible match. FMW was classy for giving Onita a send off, but they should have at least made it exploding wire to add ANY sense of intrigue to it. Onita in a non-gimmicked match at that stage (well, he did work some good matches in late 1997) was never going to work well, especially against the unbelievably awful Pogo, who was probably one of the top five WORST wrestlers in the world by this point. Onita would begin running indy shows in early 1999, even using some FMW wrestlers on them, before cutting ties. He also began his trek into New Japan, so didn't retire or anything, and is still around.
Hayabusa (c) vs. Kodo Fuyuki for the FMW Double Titles
They briefly shake hands to start things off. Hayabusa targets Fuyuki's left arm early on, working over it with various armbars. After that, Hayabusa hits a jumping knee in the corner, then a springboard elbow smash. Fuyuki goes out and Hayabusa follows with a baseball slide dropkick, finds nothing and is kicked by Fuyuki. He throws Hayabusa into a rail, then drops him on the floor with a Fisherman's buster! Back in, Fuyuki uses a second Fisherman's buster for 2 1/2. He follows with a Northern Lights suplex hold for 2 1/2. He sits Hayabusa up top and brings him down with a nasty reverse suplex from the top! Fuyuki hits a running lariat, but rather than cover, traps Hayabusa in the Stretch Plum. Fuyuki corner charges Hayabusa and gets backdropped out. Hayabusa follows with a nice quebrada. With Fuyuki back in, Hayabusa targets the arm again with a springboard dropkick to it. He follows with a cross armbreaker (Fuyuki having no clue how to effectively sell it as usual). A nice kneel kick gets 2 and his own Fisherman's buster goes a 1/2 count better. He goes up and drops the firebird splash for 2 1/2! Hayabusa uses reverse psychology on Fuyuki/TNR, escaping a waistlock with a reverse low blow. He follows with a rolling takedown into another cross armbreaker, Fuyuki reaching the ropes. Fuyuki is drilled down with a tombstone, and goes up top again. Fuyuki stands and catches him, bringing him down with a huge muscle buster for 2 1/2! Hayabusa blocks a running lariat, ducks a second, then lands a shotei! Fuyuki is kicked out and Hayabusa follows with a GORGEOUS springboard plancha! Fuyuki is in big trouble, only getting on to the apron at 18. Hayabusa misses a springboard legdrop, giving Fuyuki time to recover. Fuyuki jumps off the top(!), but Hayabusa catches him with a dropkick. A release German suplex plants Fuyuki on his head!
A Tiger Driver (almost '91) gets 2 1/2! Hayabusa puts on a full nelson, teasing a Dragon suplex, but is backed into the corner. Hayabusa persists, so Fuyuki drops down and hooks on a Samson clutch for 2 1/2. Fuyuki continues to play bumpamaniac, being dropped on his head again with a release Dragon suplex! Fuyuki catches Hayabusa up top and almost becomes the third wrestler of the evening to die, slipping. He retains his balance though and brings Hayabusa down with a reverse powerbomb for 2! The fact that a guy like Fuyuki is up top to begin with is pretty amazing. Fuyuki goes for a vertical suplex, but Hayabusa turns it into a Stunner in mid-air! A Tiger suplex gets 2 1/2! That completes the trifecta of German, Dragon and Tiger suplexes. Hayabusa goes up and misses the Phoenix splash! Fuyuki rises in the corner and hits the running lariat for 2 3/4! He goes for another and Hayabusa tries a shotei counter, Fuyuki ducking. This looks a bit awkward, because it takes Fuyuki a while to follow up. He plants Hayabusa throat-first on the ropes with a reverse powerbomb. He floors Hayabusa with another lariat for 2 3/4! He revs up in the corner, raises the arms and hits one final lariat, becoming the new champion (25:11)! TNR rushes into the ring to celebrate with Fuyuki. Fuyuki cuts a promo, then leaves, Hayabusa screaming angrily after him. He regains his composure and taps hands with the fans who have rushed to ring. Fuyuki worked SO hard here, putting on his best singles match possibly ever. I haven't seen all of his early All Japan work, so can't really say. He bumped like a cruiserweight and pulled out moves that someone his size wouldn't usually do. This was about as good as their 9/26/00 Iron Man Match. It was 35 minutes shorter, but had more drama and a better closing sequence. Some of the execution could have been better from Fuyuki, but he didn't overuse his lariat as much as usual. He put 100% in here, probably to try and really get over as FMW's top heel. An excellent match.
This show was awfully boring until Gannosuke vs. Kuroda. The undercard stuff, while hosting nothing horrible, was really dreary. Some things never change. I'm not sure whether to recommend this because there was so much "blah" stuff and only two very good matches. Even I, an FMW fan, was really bored until the Gannosuke vs. Kuroda. But the good was GOOD and entertaining. Certainly, FMW could have put on a better mega-show, but the main event was worthy of the PPV build. The Onita vs. Pogo match was embarrassing and best left forgotten. If you're interested in the FMW heavyweight style, the two good matches are really worth checking out. Otherwise, there probably isn't too much here for you.
For more of Stuart's thoughts and opinions on puroresu, visit www.puroresufan.com