FMW SKY PerfecTV! PPV on 12/20/00
review by Stuart
FMW's final show of 2000 again took place at Tokyo Korakuen Hall, before 2,100 fans. It was another one match show really, on paper at least, built around a historical bout that hasn't really been recognized as such yet. That is the last ever barbed wire match in the company that popularized barbed wire concepts, under the guidance of Atsushi Onita in the early 1990's.
Tomokazu Morita vs. Satoru Makita
Like their others, this match is mostly armlocks, armdrags, bodyslams and dropkicks. They seem to be getting there on the mat, but looking at most FMW matches, matwork doesn't really factor in much and submission finishes are almost nonexistent (Jado's springs to mind, but not many others). Morita dominates the home stretch and picks up the win with a high-angle crab hold (8:18).
"Fight The Dream" hits and Hayabusa makes his way to the squared circle, wearing a sling (which he takes off). He speaks to the fans and his elbows seem to be in good condition, as he's able to freely move them.
Ricky Fuji & Flying Kid Ichihara vs. Chocoball Mukai & Yoshito Sasaki
Ichihara and Chocoball exchange DDTs early on and Mukai follows his with a diving rolling senton (like a senton atomico). Sasaki is tagged and gets some near falls, the latter from a backslide. Soon, as expected, he becomes the whipping boy, absorbing offense. After that, Chocoball returns, dropping Ricky with a Fisherman's suplex hold for 2. Ricky busts out a Stunner, then applies a camel clutch, Flying Kid dropkicking the prone Mukai to complete the old Kaientai spot. Chocoball connects with a corner charge leg lariat and brings back the rookie, who enters with a missile dropkick. Soon, it's back to the defense for young Yoshito, as he is dropped by Ricky's Kamikaze. Ichihara follows with a dodgy moonsault press and covers for the easy 3 count (8:46).
Kyoko Inoue, Tanny Mouse & Yuki Miyazaki vs. Yoshiko Tamura, Misae Genki & Yuka Nakamura
After some underwhelming joshi on the FMW undercard recently (such as Kyoko vs. Takako), Kyoko has brought in more or her Neo friends. The match starts with a frantic brawl. Kyoko gives Nakamura the fastest giant swing EVER, letting go after a few revolutions. Team Tamura bring out the heelness, Tamura and Genki locking up Kyoko's arms and Nakamura standing on her back, striking a pose. Yuka throws dropkicks at Inoue, who doesn't budge, so Tamura throws her own and Kyoko goes down after just one. Nakamura then hits a missile dropkick, but Kyoko barely flinches. Status is one thing, but unless Tamura's boots are loaded with steel, I don't get how one of her dropkicks can send Kyoko down, when like five of Nakamura's can't. Tanny connects with a second rope falling headbutt to Nakamura and Miyazaki follows with a diving body press. Kyoko DDT's Nakamura, who has the total jobber role today, then gives her a double-arm suplex for a near fall. Tamura and Genki double up on Miyazaki with chops, but Miyazaki uses speed to fight back, sending big Genki down with a tilt-a-whirl flying headscissors takeover. She hurricanrana's Tamura nicely, getting a 2 count. Tamura bounces back with a second rope missile dropkick for a near fall. Miyazaki is backdropped, but has some problems getting over to the apron, hanging upside down for a few seconds. She slaps Tamura and leaps back in, hitting an armdrag. A jumping bodyscissors front cradle collapses and goes nowhere, leading to Tanny's entrance. Tamura uses a cool flurry in the corner, climbing the ropes and repeatedly kneeing Tanny in the side of her head. She follows with a running Ace Crusher for 2. Tanny hooks on a flash cross armbreaker, Genki quickly saving her team leader. Tanny starts goofing around, which hurts the match. She misses a second falling headbutt and gets Ace Crushered.
Genki is tagged and finds herself in a weird double-arm stretch submission, where Tanny *kneels* on her back as she (Genki) stands. Genki fires back with a Pendulum Swing (rocking horse submission), then lets Nakamura take over. The lady in pink finds herself back on the defense though, until Genki pushes Tanny off the top and out. Nakamura follows with a big plancha to Tanny, but in turn, Miyazaki plancha's out to Genki and Nakamura. Tamura makes it three, hitting Miyazaki with a really scary plancha. I say scary, because Miyazaki's head SMACKS against the wooden floor. Kyoko teases her own dive, but smartly decides against it. She sends Genki into some empty chairs and in the ring, Tanny misses yet another falling headbutt, Nakamura capitalizing with a la magistral for 2. Tanny drops Tamura with a German suplex hold for 2. Tanny bodyslam's Tamura in place for a Miyazaki moonsault press, which connects nicely for a 2 count. Miyazaki hits an avalanche-style Frankensteiner for 2 1/2. She returns to the top, only to be caught by Tamura, who brings her down with an avalanche-style Northern Lights suplex. She follows that up with a Northern Lights suplex hold for 2 3/4. These are good near falls, but the total lack of heat makes it hard to get excited about them. Tamura and Genki use a modified 3D, where Genki *throws* Miyazaki into a jumping Ace Crusher, rather than hold her up for it. Tamura uses a backdrop suplex hold on Miyazaki for 2 1/2, Kyoko and Tanny lunging to save. Genki spikes Miyazaki with her G(enki) Driver for another near fall, Kyoko just getting clear of Tamura to save. Miyazaki counters a second with a back cradle for 2. Kyoko and Genki, the big girls, go at it, doing a New Japan heavyweight-esque bravado exchange. Genki counters Kyoko's lariat by clutching her throat and hitting a nodowa otoshi for 2. They duck each others lariats, before Kyoko connects with a stiff short lariat. She goes for the Niagara Driver, but breaks it and uses Genki as a shield to block a Tamura missile dropkick.
Kyoko plays dominoes, Tamura and Nakamura charging consecutively and both getting mauled by lariats. Kyoko covers Nakamura, who bridges out at the very last split second. Kyoko persists with a short lariat for the same result! With no one else in sight, Kyoko delivers the Niagara Driver and picks up the win (17:31). If FMW had more undercard matches like this, the product would look a whole lot better overall. It wasn't great, but was good and importantly, had *energy*. Too bad the crowd didn't care about that though, responding to literally nothing, including the good near falls. The cast wasn't exactly glittering, but Tamura was awesome and made a lot out of this almost single-handedly. Miyazaki and Nakamura played the quick flyers well, both in the #3 positions for their teams. Kyoko did nothing much, although looked decent at the end. Same goes for Genki, who is capable of a lot, but didn't have much of a role in this match. Tanny Mouse was the only one I'd call bad, as she disrupted the flow of the match on several occasions. Overall, an entertaining race to the finish, which would have come across much lot better with some heat.
The retired Mr. Gannosuke is shown arriving, which gets a pop from the crowd.
Hideki Hosaka vs. Mammoth Sasaki vs. Azusa Kudo
On the last PPV, which took place on 12/10, Hosaka and Mammoth, the WEW Hardcore Tag Team Champions, teased a split. Mammoth suddenly acted heelish, using chairs against the FMW rookies, while Hosaka, a respectful veteran, wanted none of this. They had a heated scuffle, leading to Hosaka walking out. Mammoth then gave Yoshito Sasaki the Mammoth Home Run, a very dangerous move for a youngster to take, covering arrogantly with one foot for the win. Hosaka and Mammoth go straight to a fist fight. Kudo gets involved, taking on both men. He uses a dOWnstairs schoolboy cradle on Mammoth for 2. Mammoth high kick's Kudo and runs the ropes, but Hosaka trips him and drags him out. They scuffle at ringside, before Kudo takes them both out with a pescado. Mammoth bodyslam's Kudo on a stack of chairs and back in, sends the transvestite head-first into a chair wedged in the corner. Hosaka takes down Kudo with a dragon screw, then applies a Scorpion Deathlock. He breaks that quickly, lariating the incoming Mammoth. He turns and catches Kudo with a Samoan drop. Mammoth corner charge lariat's his tag partner, but is caught up top. Hosaka Frankensteiner's him down and breaks Kudo's sneaky cover. Kudo gets pissed off, shouting angrily at Hosaka for ruining his plans. Mammoth powerslam's Hosaka for 2, Kudo saving. Mammoth and Kudo use a shoulderblock/high kick combination on Hosaka, Kudo getting an unchallenged (by Mammoth) 2 count. Mammoth gives Kudo the Mammoth Home Run, covering with one knee, but pulling him up at the 2 count. He takes Kudo to the apron, but Hosaka's makes his return by chairshotting Mammoth. He scoops Mammoth off the apron and powerbomb's him through a table. Kudo sits Hosaka up top and brings him down with an avalanche-style Stunner for 2 1/2. Hosaka comes back with a jawbreaker, then drops Kudo with a big high-angle Liger bomb for the 3 count (10:30). An angry Mammoth launches a chair at Hosaka, but misses his target. Hosaka and Kudo clear out, leaving Mammoth to smash a chair across the ring post. Not a very good match. A few nice moves, but they didn't really know how to do a three way dance effectively.
GOEMON & Onryo vs. Shinjuku Shark & Naohiro Yamazaki
Onryo enters alone. Thunder hits and a mysterious figure pops out of a coffin and slowly departs it. From the dead rises... GOEMON! The Belt of Curse killed him and now he has joined Onryo's legion of the undead. Just as Onryo planned, which explains the cold smile displayed by the vengeful ghost on recent shows. Onryo dropkick's Shark out and GOEMON dropkick's Yamazaki out. Onryo dives on to both with a springboard tope con hilo, but you have two fairly clueless wrestlers out there, so they don't catch him, Onryo just flying in between them. GOEMON ducks a faux boxing punch and dunks Shark with a backdrop suplex for 2. Yamazaki enters, but plays whipping boy for the zombies. Onryo uses his corkscrew elbow smash for 2. Onryo Frankensteiner's Yamazaki off the top, then connects with a missile dropkick for 2. Yamazaki counters the Onryo Driver (I don't know if that's an official name, but his double-arm powerbomb) with a backslide for 2. He connects with a back heel kick and brings back Shark. Lame punches commence, followed by a standing powerslam. Yamazaki lands a diving headbutt and Shark follows with a moonsault press for 2, Onryo grabbing the referee's hand to break. Shark steals Onryo's clutch, getting a 2 count. Yamazaki hits a jumping neckbreaker drop, then a corner charge dropkick. A nice German suplex hold gets 2 1/2. Onryo hits a weird rana takeover and tags GOEMON. He escapes a waistlock with a reverse low blow, then blatantly kicks Yamazaki dOWnstairs. A second rope diving fistdrop gets a near fall. GOEMON hits his high-angle double-arm facebuster for 2, Shark throwing a boxing glove at the referee to cease the count. GOEMON uses the glove to deck Yamazaki again, before landing a nice senton atomico for the 3 count (7:54). Post-match, Shark pushes down Kaoruko Arai, who does her usual bad acting. Really dry, boring match. I was expecting more double teams by the new tandem, but they did nothing special. However, they still carried the match to what little it was.
Hisakatsu Oya, who isn't booked (injured I think) does a quick interview, then joins the commentary team. It's intermission time, since the ropes need to be adjusted for the big main event. Clips from the 12/16 spot show at Act City Hamamatsu are aired, namely the main event, which sees Masato Tanaka, Jado & Gedo vs. Tetsuhiro Kuroda, Mammoth Sasaki & Azusa Kudo. Not surprisingly, Tanaka is the star of the show and does a lot of cool stuff, en route to giving Kudo the Diamond Dust for the win (18:19). To kill some time, the commentators $hill some FMW beer. Mr. Gannosuke's music hits and he walks to the commentary booth, wearing glasses. He shakes hands with Oya, who he's teamed and feuded with several times before (such as turning against Oya to rejoin TNR on 5/5/99). Oya leaves ringside and things get interesting when Hayabusa's music hits again. Hayabusa takes a seat at ringside to observe the next match.
Masato Tanaka, Jado & Gedo vs. Kodo Fuyuki, Tetsuhiro Kuroda & Kintaro Kanemura in a Barbed Wire Street Fight Scramble Bunkhouse Double Hell 6 Man Tag Death Match
The last ever barbed wire match in FMW. Atsushi Onita, founder and spiritual leader of FMW (until Hayabusa), used barbed wire in many dangerous gimmick matches from 1989 (when FMW formed) onward. This made him a lot of money and earned him incredible fame as the primary pioneer of hardcore/garbage wrestling. Of course, this doesn't mesh with Fuyuki's ideal vision of what FMW should be (sports-entertainment), so he has decided to discard of it. You know Tanaka and Kanemura must hate this, if not publicly, then deep down. While Fuyuki was working horrible matches in WAR, they were giving their all in this type of match, forging an era of pro wrestling that can't be forgotten, because it was so unique. The two developed a bond with each other and with other wrestlers from working these dangerous matches, which stressed teamwork, trust and cooperation in many situations. Kuroda is a question mark, because he was involved in such matches (and has the scars to prove it), but his major uprising was during Fuyuki's reign. This is not the traditional Onita-style No Rope Barbed Wire Death Match. Although I'd like to have seen that, it'd take forever to set up (see: Choshu vs. Onita) and this is a live PPV. Instead, it's Caribbean-style, the wire wrapped around the ring ropes. Also, a ladder is in the center of the ring, above which a barbed wire baseball bat is suspended. It gets emotional right away when Shoichi Arai, current FMW president and former ring announcer, introduces his first match for many years. The fans pop big for Arai's loud calls (he's the guy with the weird "o" pronunciation, who used to scream, "Meeeestah Poygoy!"). Fuyuki looks like such a wanabee, wearing denim jeans and jacket. The Complete Players wear singlets, ready to bleed like it's 1995. It's scramble bunkhouse, so the teams wait at the entrance. Arai starts the countdown, but Tanaka and Kanemura ignore it, racing to the ring.
Kanemura hurls the ladder at Tanaka, then bodyslam's him on it. Kanemura climbs the ladder, but Tanaka pushes it and W*ING is crotched on the barbed wire ropes! Masato climbs the ladder and retrieves the barbed wire bat, giving the Players an early advantage. Kanemura ducks a swing and kicks Tanaka dOWnstairs, allowing him to grab the bat. He sends it into Tanaka's chest, then runs the ropes, straight into a powerslam. Kanemura is sent out by a sliding dropkick and Tanaka also rolls out, leaving Fuyuki and Gedo to take their turn. Gedo rocks Fuyuki with punches and rana's him down. He charges and is backdropped to the apron (across a side of ropes not wrapped in wire). He decks Fuyuki with a punch, but misses a slingshot somersault senton. Fuyuki rolls to the apron, but is dropkicked out by Gedo (who is FEELING the spirit) and on to a barbed wire board (note that he has this thick denim jacket to cushion the landing)! The final pairing, Kuroda and Jado, are left in the ring. Kuroda gets caught up top and gets throttled on the barbed wire ropes! The teams brawl around Korakuen Hall now, since they've had their opening sequences in the ring. Gedo subtly tells Fuyuki to stop being such a wimp, tearing his jacket off, so that the Goofster is only wearing a singlet. Tandems brawl around the place, while Tanaka and Kanemura fight in the ring. Kanemura assaults Tanaka with the bat and at ringside, Kuroda tries to choke Jado out with a chain. Meanwhile, Fuyuki digs at Gedo's forehead with the timekeeper's bell. Masato bleeds. Kuroda holds Tanaka and Kaori down on a table outside, as Kanemura climbs the turnbuckles. With all the W*ING Spirit entrusted in him, Kanemura hits a diving body press, putting man and woman through the table! Kuroda slices Jado's forehead open, making him bleed. The heels triple team Tanaka in the ring, Kuroda dropping a ladder from the top on him. The ladder is placed against the ropes and Kanemura suplexes Tanaka on it hard for a 2 count.
Tanaka uses his strength to suplex Fuyuki and Kuroda at the same time. Kanemura lays the ladder on it's side and puts a barbed wire board atop it, powerbombing Tanaka through it! Kanemura covers for 2 1/2. Tanaka's face is a total mess now. Kanemura reverts to using the barbed wire bat, hitting Masato with it. Out in the crowd, Kaori clobbers Fuyuki with her cane, chasing him to the ring with it. Tanaka sends Kanemura towards a barbed wire board, but W*ING slides down. Tanaka persists though, spearing Kanemura through the board! Gedo bleeds. He DDT's Fuyuki, then connects with a superkick. Jado uses an Angle/Olympic slam on Kuroda, followed by a lariat. Right after that, Masato spikes Kanemura with a tornado DDT and follows with his rope dash elbow. A running lariat follows, before Masato sends Kanemura into a barbed wire bat shot from Jado! Tanaka gives Fuyuki and Kuroda his DDT/Stunner combination and Jado surprises the stunned Kuroda with a bat shot. Gedo hits a BEAUTIFUL Lionsault on Fuyuki, while Jado uses a W*ING-style crossface hold... meaning he uses the barbed wire bat to choke Kuroda! Kanemura saves by pressing a barbed wire board on to Jado. Kuroda lariat's Tanaka into a backdrop, Kanemura planting his old rival on a barbed wire board. Kanemura puts the board on top of Tanaka and goes up. From there, he drops a diving senton, squashing Masato for a 2 1/2 count! Tanaka ducks a Kuroda lariat, Kuroda catches a rolling elbow, then spikes Masato with a Tiger suplex '85 almost (half-nelson, half-chickenwing) for 2 1/2! Jado catches Kuroda on the charge, lifting him up for a running Ace Crusher from Masato. The Complete Players hit their triple corner attack, followed by a superbomb, Jado leaning over for 2, Fuyuki and Kanemura making a lunging save! Jado drops Kuroda with a Tiger Driver. Gedo follows with a Superfly splash and Masato rounds it off with his own frog splash, hooking a leg for 2 1/2!
Kanemura lifts Tanaka and drops him throat-first on the barbed wire ropes. Fuyuki returns from his hibernation again, lariating Tanaka for 2 1/2! Kanemura dumps Tanaka on his skull with a release German suplex and both are slow up. Gedo handcuffs himself to Fuyuki, which is a questionable thing to do. I think Tanaka is thrown through the barbed wire, but the camera doesn't catch it. Kuroda blocks a Jado lariat and tries a wakigatame takedown, eventually managing it and applying a crossface hold (Jado's finisher) on Jado! Outside the ring, this scary structure of a barbed wire board, a table and several chairs is set up. Not surprisingly, it's Masato and W*ING who struggle on the apron for who will have the right to die. And not surprisingly again, it's Tanaka who is powerbombed through the hellacious structure! Jado reverse low blow's Kanemura and lariat's both he and Kuroda down. He spikes Kanemura with a brainbuster for 2 1/2! He goes up top with Kanemura, but Kuroda appears from behind and powerbomb's Jado down. Kanemura then hits a diving elbow drop for another near fall. Kanemura Liger bomb's Jado for 2 1/2! Kuroda gives Jado the Technan buster for 2 1/2, Tanaka saving! Kanemura takes Tanaka out with a bat shot, but Kaori saves Jado from another Technan buster, caning Kuroda. However, when Jado tries his takedown, Kanemura uses the barbed wire bat once more. Kanemura places the bat on the canvas and Kuroda takes note, repeating the Technan buster, only this time dropping Jado stomach-first on the bat (I think face-first was intended, but the bat moved) for the 3 count and hard earned win (21:15)! Fuyuki and Gedo continue to brawl, until Fuyuki pleads with the referee to remove the handcuffs. Kuroda and Kanemura boast about their win, while Hayabusa looks on stoically. Hayabusa tears his mask off and looks at Kuroda, his eyes full of hatred. Gannosuke holds Ezaki back and tries to calm him down. It appears the two childhood friends, who were enemies last I checked, are on civil terms again. Hayabusa flips off Kuroda and leaves without further scuffle. Kuroda does the work of an ace once more, tapping hands with the crowd and doing the obligatory inspirational speech.
There should never really have been a "last barbed wire match" in FMW. It's like a "last Strong Style match" in New Japan, a "last King's Road match in All Japan", a "last lucharesu match in Michinoku Pro" and... you get the picture. It's just wrong, because even if the company changes directions, you don't just retire something so meaningful and historical. Kodo Fuyuki irritates me a lot, this decision being one of them. It seems like he does the opposite of what a lot of the old style FMW fans want. That's bad, but he actually put himself in such a match, which takes nerve. HE tore the heart out of what FMW was and this sort of match is an example of what kept the heart beating! Fuyuki did NOTHING in this match, except weak brawling outside the ring. I would say this is a bad thing, but it's also a good thing, because we didn't have to put up with him hogging the spotlight. Still, a young guy like Mammoth Sasaki or a guy like the "retired" Gannosuke (not really possible though) would have been far better additions. But no, he had to be there, he had to be a part, but thankfully, he was wise enough to not make a fool of himself by being the focal point, because he looked like a bloated chicken near the barbed wire. This match had some spirit, though not as much as Tanaka vs. Kanemura from 11/12. Tanaka was great and tried to make the most of it, since the barbed wire matches are what made he (and Kanemura) such cult icons. Kanemura was a bit disappointing, although not bad. He seemed to dish out most of the punishment, but didn't take any. Jado and Gedo rocked when they were in. Unfortunately, Gedo found himself tied up (literally) with Fuyuki, so after doing some awesome stuff earlier on, wasn't seen as much. Kuroda was fine, although like Kanemura, dished out more than he took. If he wasn't so goofy, he could become one hell of a worker (as in, something approaching Masato's level). Many cool spots were performed, including Kanemura's W*ING diving body press, where he put Tanaka and Kaori through a table cleanly. Everyone except Kuroda and Fuyuki bled it appeared, Tanaka cutting especially deep. The match had emotion, if not as much as I thought it would, and the fans got into it, quite a lot of heat by FMW standards. Barbed wire was symbolic of what FMW meant, so even though it wasn't the last Death Match entirely, it being the last barbed wire ropes match made it historical.
The undercard was another yawner, except the six woman match, which was long (unlike many FMW midcard bouts) and had non-stop action, even if all the action wasn't great. As usual with FMW, the usual suspects made something of the show, again delivering when under pressure to perform. Going into 2001, I don't think the product had ever been so devoid of life and stripping it of it's symbol isn't going to help things much. Clearly, Hayabusa and Gannosuke, who were the lifeblood along with Kanemura, were badly missed and needed back. Things would get worse before they got better though...
For more of Stuart's thoughts and opinions on puroresu, visit www.puroresufan.com