FMW SKY PerfecTV! PPV on 2/6/01
review by Stuart
FMW claimed it's first total sell out (2,150 fans) for a while at Tokyo Korakuen Hall for this show, but once more, I see plenty of vacant seats during the PPV. On paper, it did seem like one of their better shows in recent times, with two of Big Japan's top workers once again appearing. Team Kuroda are shown arriving to open the show, Kyoko Inoue clinging to Kuroda's arm. After the silly stipulations from the last PPV on 1/16, they must get married. Going into the show, there's a three way feud happening between The Complete Players (Tanaka, Jado & Gedo), Team Kuroda (Kuroda, Mammoth, Kudo, Shark & Yamazaki) and Fuyuki-gun (Fuyuki, Kanemura, GOEMON & Onryo). Shoichi Arai enters the ring with this fat man called Masked Sumo, who plans to wrestle soon. Team Kuroda arrive and take over the ring. We see footage from 1/31 of the injured Hayabusa at some press outing. Suddenly, Team Kuroda attack him, leaving him laying.
Flying Kid Ichihara vs. Chocoball Mukai
These two are friends going back to when Chocoball debuted in 1999. They've feuded since then too, with Mukai aligning with Fuyuki. The match starts slow and stays slow, lots of simple action. Ichihara does some pretty nice stuff, including forward rolling under a leg lariat, then dropkicking a knee from under Mukai, before applying a figure-four leglock. Chocoball fights back, hitting a corner charge leg lariat, followed by a Fisherman's suplex hold for 2. He corner charges into a boot lift and Ichihara follows up with a second rope missile dropkick. He gets caught up top and thrown down. Chocoball DDT's him, then lands a diving rolling senton for 2 1/2. A diving body press finds only knees. Ichihara misses a moonsault press though, and Mukai hits his own from the second rope, though overshoots it a little. Ichihara catches him climbing the ropes and brings him down with a backdrop suplex. He drop toehold's Mukai and hooks on a la magistral for 2 1/2. He tries a second, but Mukai lies back for what could be considered an upset win (7:02). A little better than I expected. Some solid action, with nothing really messed up. Ichihara, although forever the low grade flyer, is fine in the opening match type role.
Jado vs. Tomokazu Morita, Yoshito Sasaki & Satoru Makita
Jado finds himself left out of the big match involving his buddies, but has quite a task on his hands today, facing all three rookies. The rookie manage to keep Jado neutralized for a while, triple teaming him with dropkicks and such. Sasaki makes the mistake of taking Jado out of the ring and finds himself thrown into some empty seats. Morita tries the same and he too has a meeting with some chairs. That leaves only Makita and he gets his head smashed into the announce table. Back in, the rookies control again, but look very tentative and confused. Jado outsmarts them all and takes Morita down, applying a crossface hold. Morita taps, being eliminated from the match (I guess it's elimination rules). Jado lariat's Makita, then spikes him with a brainbuster for the 3 count. As Naohiro Yamazaki scans the ringside area, Jado gets Sasaki in a crossface hold and he taps out, giving Jado the complete victory (4:37). A day off for Jado.
Azusa Kudo vs. Emi Motokawa
This is Emi's comeback from an injury. These two were friends, but with Kudo turning total heel, I guess that's over. Emi uses the old FMW women's theme as her entrance music. The first move of note in this is Emi's plancha, but after performing it, she holds her previously injured neck. This is all a tactic to try and get Kudo some heat, as he attacks the neck. Emi counters a powerbomb with a Frankensteiner, but after that, runs straight into a lariat. She kicks Kudo dOWnstairs, except he/she doesn't flinch. After a reverse low blow, Kudo sells a little, so... well, I don't know. Emi connects with a missile dropkick for 2. She manages a la magistral, getting a 2 count. She runs the ropes, straight into a high kick. Kudo covers for 2, but Emi bridges up (wouldn't that hurt the neck?). Kudo hits a facebuster for the 3 count (6:24).
Unmasked Hayabusa is shown arriving.
Hisakatsu Oya & Hideki Hosaka vs. Shinjuku Shark & Naohiro Yamazaki
I'm not sure if Oya and Hosaka have any purpose as a team, except two guys without roles, but I dig them, because they're the no nonsense, non-gimmicked old school reminder. On the other side of the ring are two examples of the new school, Fuyuki-ism type FMW wrestlers. Like Oya & Hosaka vs. Kudo & Shark last month, this match is alright when Shark's tag partner is in, but not good when Shark himself is in and flailing his arms about. Even though he's far past being a rookie, Yamazaki still screws some simple things up and at one point in the match, gets ahead of himself, messing a few things up. The heels work over one of Oya's leg for a while, which stretches the match past 10 minutes. Hosaka gets a near fall from his avalanche-style Frankensteiner on Yamazaki. He spinebuster's Yamazaki, then applies a Scorpion Deathlock. Oya takes Shark down with a jumping neckbreaker drop. Yamazaki missile dropkick's Hosaka, then drops him with a German suplex hold for 2 1/2. Shark lands a moonsault press and Yamazaki follows with a diving headbutt for 2, Oya saving. Yamazaki hits a nice Blockbuster from the top. However, in a flash, he's planted by Oya's lethal backdrop suplex. Oya and Hosaka double up with a backdrop suplex/neckbreaker combination. Hosaka then powerbomb's Yamazaki, leaning over for a near fall. A high-angle Liger bomb, which looks awesome, gets Hosaka the win (12:57). The match had it's moments, mainly with Hosaka, who looked good when he had the opportunity to. Oya was also, as always, decent (because even slowed down, he has excellent technique from his days in the New Japan dojo), while Yamazaki was fine most of the time.
Ricky Fuji vs. MEN's Teioh
FMW vs. Big Japan. They shake hands, but Ricky goes for the kill quick with a Japanese leg roll clutch (he kind of messes up the finish of it) for 2. They scrap at ringside, Teioh repeatedly smashing Ricky's head against the apron, then striking a pose. He re-enters the ring with a slingshot sunset flip for 2. Terry Boy ducks a lariat and brings out the Funk jabs, Ricky ducking one and throwing his own. Teioh ducks a rolling punch, trips Fuji, then tries a spinning toehold, only for Ricky to kick off. In turn, MEN's kicks off a Scorpion Deathlock attempt and they stand off. Teioh hits a rolling elbow smash, covering for just 1. They shoulderblock each other and stagger around, MEN's falling out of the ring. He trips Ricky from outside the ring and figure-four's him around the ring post, putting the rock and roller in big trouble. These two are big fans of old American wrestling, so instill many old U.S. spots into their matches. They do the old sleeper spot, Ricky miraculously stopping his arm from dropping thrice and goofily powering up. Ricky ducks another rolling elbow and applies a Cobra Twist. Shortly after, Teioh applies his own Cobra Twist. Teioh catches Ricky up top and applies his avalanche-style Cobra Twist, a cool move. They exchange headbutts, while on all fours, then from a stance. They punch each other and we get STEREO FLAIR FLOPS! Ricky hits a jumping piledriver for 2. A double-arm suplex gets the same result. He brainbuster's MEN's for a closer count. They do some cool, tricky exchanges, before Teioh uses a ground Cobra Twist for the 3 count (10:46). This was mainly a tribute to their old school American icons (Flair, Funk, etc.), but had solid wrestling. It would have been a better match in 1996, when Ricky hadn't slowed down as much. MEN's was better then too, but can still go whenever he wants. It was solid though, and more importantly, entertaining.
Intermission time. Since there were no shows between the last PPV and this, no spot show highlights are aired. However, Fuyuki's latest nonsense is shown. Fuyuki decides he won't meet the requirements of the recent main event and thus, won't retire. How surprising. Also, a stipulation is added to tonight's main event. The only way Kuroda and Kyoko will get married is if Kyoko pins Fuyuki. I think FMW has set a record for how few times they follow through on stipulations. Kuroda and Kyoko are shown rehearsing their wedding and it's clear that Kuroda isn't too thrilled about the idea.
Masato Tanaka & Gedo (c) vs. Kintaro Kanemura & Ryuji Yamakawa for the WEW Tag Team Title
After the awesome Complete Players vs. Kanemura, Yamakawa & Teioh match from last month, I'm psyched about this. Kanemura and Yamakawa set out to offend the bigots, TNR-style, kissing each other before the bell rings. Gedo hits a nice diving flying headscissors takeover on Kanemura in the opening minute, then sends him out with tilt-a-whirl flying headscissors. He calls in Yamakawa and clips him with an enzuigiri, sending him out too. Tanaka goes nuts, sprinting off the apron and hitting Kanemura with a swinging DDT on the floor! Not to be outdone, Gedo dives out with a second turnbuckle moonsault press to Yamakawa! Awesome, awesome stuff! Incredible opening to the match. Back in the ring, Gedo hits a Lionsault on Kanemura for 2. Tanaka is tagged and enters with a missile dropkick to Kanemura, who staggers back into his corner and tags Yamakawa. Tanaka decks both challengers, hitting a double lariat. Yamakawa thrust kick's Gedo, then sweeps his legs. He lands a couple of quick legdrops for 2. Gedo has learnt to do everything so well, making even a basic backdrop bump look so good here. The Players spend some time attacking Kanemura's left arm, Tanaka ceasing that and moving on to a more impactful move, in the form of a tornado DDT. He corner charges, but Kanemura steps aside and sends Masato head-first into a chair (wedged in the corner). The challengers take the match to the outside, throwing Tanaka and Gedo into empty seats. Several chairs are propped up at ringside and the challengers suplex Tanaka from the ring and through them! In the ring again, Tanaka's back becomes the logical focus, Yamakawa and Kanemura keeping him isolated. Kanemura sits Tanaka on a chair and presses another chair against his chest. Yamakawa goes up and lands a nice, crisp missile dropkick to the chair, another cool spot. Kanemura corner charges and springboard's off a chair, but Tanaka steps aside, quickly grabs the chair, throws it to Kanemura, then thrust kick's it into his face. Basically a Van Daminator, but with no business-exposing pause.
Tanaka finally tags Gedo, who enters with a beautiful missile dropkick to Kanemura. Kanemura kicks him dOWnstairs though, allowing Yamakawa to pounce with a stiff lariat. He throws Gedo out and follows with an URBAN COWBOY DEATH MATCH GOD tope con hilo! Back in, Yamakawa uses a super-stiff piledriver on Gedo for 2 1/2. He moves from that into a camel clutch, still attacking the neck. Kanemura goes all Kaientai with a hardcore twist, dropkicking a chair into (prone) Gedo's face. Kanemura tries his own FAT BOY Lionsault, but Gedo rolls out of the way. He capitalizes with a thrust kick and tags back Masato, who is fresh by now. He tries his DDT/Stunner combination on the opposition, but Kanemura kicks him low and Liger bomb's him for 2. Tanaka's arm *shakes*, but I'm not sure why. He looks hurt though. Yamakawa connects with a corner charge lariat, then face crusher's Tanaka. A running lariat sends Tanaka down for 2 1/2. Yamakawa bodyslam's Tanaka in position for Kanemura's diving senton, which connects for a near fall. He uses rolling German suplexes on Tanaka, the third a VICIOUS head-spike release variation. Tanaka stays down, too hurt to try rolling through or such. Yamakawa kneel kick's Tanaka for 2 1/2. He goes for the kill, hitting his reverse Tiger Driver for 2 1/2! Tanaka avoids a corner charge from Yamakawa and MURDERS Kanemura with a brutal lariat. He hits the elusive DDT/Stunner combination on the challengers, then connects with a rope dash elbow to Kanemura. He follows that with a super-stiff SPE-YAH, then he and Gedo perform their side suplex/reverse DDT combination on Yamakawa. Jado pushes his buddies and yells "SUPERFLY!", meaning it's time for the splashes. Gedo connects with a SWEET Superfly splash and Tanaka follows with a LUCIOUS diving body press, hooking a leg deep for 2 1/2! He scoops Yamakawa up and plants him with the Diamond Dust for 2, Kanemura saving with a chair.
Kanemura jabs Masato with the chair, then runs the ropes, but when he rebounds, Gedo is there and not Tanaka, the SUPAHFLY thrust kicking Kanemura down. Yamakawa ducks an elbow from Tanaka and dunks him with a release German suplex. Tanaka groggily rolls through to his feet and counters a charge with a boot lift. He follows with his rolling elbow smash, dropping down for 2 3/4! Tanaka persists, busting out the Complete Dust (powerbomb lift into an Emerald Frosion, done REALLY brutally in this case, Yamakawa landing on a vertical drop), scoring the big win over Yamakawa with this (19:27)! Total depressing lack of heat for the finish (and match in general). Before the crowds were killed, a match like this would get monster heat. This was awesome, just like the 1/16 six man tag (which had the same guys, plus Jado and Teioh). Yamakawa and Kanemura controlled much of the match, which on paper, could sound like a bad thing. They don't have the most glamorous offense between them, but here, they spread out their moves smartly and added to Tanaka and Gedo's well done selling of the beatdowns, it was all good. Kanemura was a distant fourth, which is a GOOD sign for any match, even though he wasn't in top form for this one. Tanaka and Gedo were again insanely good, Masato once more stealing the show with his world class work. Gedo, as I said at the start of the match review, has mastered a lot of little things, so most of his wrestling is a treat to watch now. Yamakawa did a good job, carrying his team and bringing a lot to the match. A Tanaka vs. Yamakawa Death Match is a dream match for hardcore wrestling fans, but them going at it in regular wrestling also rocks. I'd rate this the same as the six man involving the same guys, making it joint FMW MOTY at this point. Tanaka, Jado, Gedo, Kanemura... noticing a trend? However, this would be the last FMW PPV match for the Complete Players.
"Fight The Dream" hits and it's Hayabusa! He wears his mask, which is a good thing, because he's not really "Hayabusa" without it (it always reminds me of the H gimmick when he unmasks). He joins the commentary team, ready to help call the main event.
Kodo Fuyuki, GOEMON & Onryo vs. Tetsuhiro Kuroda, Mammoth Sasaki & Kyoko Inoue
Remember, if Kyoko pins Fuyuki, she gets to marry Kuroda, which she reallllly wants, but Kuroda doesn't. Team Kuroda enter first and Kuroda taunts Hayabusa, the man who's "ace" role he arrogantly claimed for himself. Fuyuki-gun rush into the ring and attack. The first lariat (by Fuyuki to Kuroda) is thrown within barely a minute. Kyoko slaps her old friend, Fuyuki, but Fuyuki no-sells her other strikes. The match just rolls along, through the motions for a while, with no direct focus. Kyoko stretches the vengeful ghost with a surfboard hold, which would be effortless, because Onryo is 0kg. Mammoth ties Onryo to the tree of woe and ruthlessly sends a chairshot to his midsection. After some more exchanges, Kuroda drops Onryo with the Technan buster (much delayed and nicely done) for 2, Fuyuki and GOEMON making a lunging save. Mammoth sends Onryo into a Kuroda lariat, which seems to get the win, but Onryo reveals his mystical power of grabbing the referee's arm to stop the count. Kuroda argues with the referee, giving the ghost time to recover and surprise the faux ace with a Frankensteiner. Fuyuki is tagged and lariat's everyone, including Kuroda and Kyoko at the same time. Fuyuki spikes Kuroda with a Fisherman's buster for 2. GOEMON manages to plant Mammoth's bulk with a backdrop suplex, then brings down a second rope fistdrop for 2. He goes up again, the finish in mind, but Yamazaki gets involved, allowing Mammoth to give GOEMON the Mammoth Home Run! GOEMON falls to the outside, but pulls the rope down when Mammoth charges, causing him to spill out. Onryo DIES IF HE COULD DIE AGAIN with a springboard tope con hilo to the big man, taking out a half dozen chairs in the process. Back in, Onryo connects with a corkscrew elbow smash for 2. Mammoth blocks a suplex and uses a Jackhammer.
Kyoko is tagged and throws out of the Onryo Driver. Onryo catches her up top and Frankensteiner's her down, before tagging Fuyuki. He tries to powerbomb Kyoko, but Kuroda lariat's him. Mammoth nodowa's Fuyuki, Kyoko covering for 2 1/2! Kuroda brings down Fuyuki across the ropes with a throttle drop, Kyoko covering for 2... Kuroda breaking! Because he doesn't want to marry her! Kyoko looks upset and some fans jeer Kuroda for his unfaithfulness. She lightly pushes him, so he lariat's her down! Treachery! Fuyuki powerbomb's Kyoko, leaning over for 2 1/2. He revs up, but she ducks his running lariat, kicks him dOWnstairs, then inside cradle's him for 2 1/2! Fuyuki bounces back with another lariat and wins his second PPV main event in a row (13:25). A fair main event, better than the Fuyuki vs. Kuroda singles match from the last PPV, because they had four other wrestlers in there, so their lack of move variety was hidden well enough. No one performed bad, but no one was on a very good level either. Kuroda is probably the best of the six, but really didn't do a lot in this match.
Team Kuroda beat up Fuyuki after the match (again). Kuroda taunts Hayabusa once more, this time provoking the REAL FMW ace enough to enter the ring. The Masked Sumo creeps up behind Hayabusa and backstabs him (sure didn't take him long to turn heel; all of 2 hours... is that a Fuyuki record?), throwing a chairshot. Kuroda orders his troops to attack Hayabusa's repaired elbows, giving them the Brian Pillman treatment, before Kuroda slaps on a wakigatame. Just when it seems all is lost, some familiar music hits. SASUKE! Michinoku Pro boss, The Great Sasuke, makes his first appearance in FMW since the 12/11/96 show (where he lost to Hayabusa)! Team Kuroda disappear and Sasuke stares at Hayabusa. He approaches Hayabusa slowly and the masked legends unite. Sasuke is here to save FMW PPV main events from their sameness for a while.
This was a step up from recent PPV efforts, because more than one match delivered more than nothing. One match was joint FMW MOTY at this point of the year and two ** range matches were sufficient support, as was the return of Sasuke, who would help out in the coming month, headlining two PPVs. I wasn't happy with some of Fuyuki's booking (that's a given), but it was a pretty good PPV overall. However, three of the best wrestlers and one of their best midcard guys would take a hike in the coming weeks...
For more of Stuart's thoughts and opinions on puroresu, visit www.puroresufan.com