FMW SKY PerfecTV PPV on 5/5/01
review by Stuart
It only happens once a year. It is to FMW as 1/4 Tokyo Dome is to New Japan, as Wrestlemania is to WWF. It's May 5th, a date so timeless in FMW history, etched with legends like Onita, Hayabusa and Funk. Last year's 5/5 show, headlined by Hayabusa vs. Masato Tanaka, was somewhat of a disappointment. I got the show very soon after it happened, so was psyched about watching it. It had some good matches, but the good ones (Hayabusa vs. Tanaka and Kanemura vs. Yamakawa) were not what they could have been and the show fell kind of flat, though was still pretty entertaining. This year was a special occasion, because FMW returned to it's old stomping grounds, the Kawasaki Stadium. Well, it's not how you remember it, as the structure was torn down. It's a flat surface now, with the FMW show held, I believe, where the parking lot used to be. You can see the whole area, including the old Kawasaki floodlights. This was a huge success for FMW, after many terrible crowds at Tokyo Korakuen Hall. The return of Hayabusa, along with the guaranteed draw of Tenryu brought in 10,500 fans, a huge attendance for the company in this day and age. With it being in Kawasaki and with there being an explosion match, I wonder if any of the old fans bought tickets to have a look at the "new" FMW.
Ricky Fuji & Satoru Makita vs. Tomokazu Morita & Yoshito Sasaki
Fuji is FMW's longest standing wrestler, having been on every FMW Kawasaki show since the first on 9/23/91, when he and Sambo Asako lost to Big Titan and The Gladiator (Mike Awesome). Ricky was once one of the top midcarders in FMW, but age and the general wear and tear have caught up with him, so he's mainly an opening match type guy now. Today he teams with and goes against FMW's rookies. This features the usual basic action from the rookies, who slowly improved on the 2001 PPV shows. Makita hits a crisp slingshot elbow drop, then a face crusher on Morita, so he's developing a moveset past just the rookie stuff. Ricky hits Sasaki with a weak spinning "heel" kick. Sasaki uses his Masato Tanaka-esque sequence of moves on Makita, which is a corner charge elbow smash, followed by a snap suplex (he used Tanaka's tornado DDT on another show). A nice German suplex hold gets 2, Ricky saving. Makita gets on Sasaki's shoulders and performs a victory roll for 2. Ricky returns, but Morita and Sasaki double team to keep him controlled, Morita connecting with a missile dropkick. Makita pescado's out on to Morita. Ricky catches Sasaki on the charge with a thrust kick. Fuji hits his Kamikaze, then a modified DDT for the 3 count (4:59). Morita tries to attack Ricky, but also gets DDT'd. It was short, but no worse than any of their other matches, again showing their progress. Each rookie is developing a moveset now, so the matches are becoming more interesting.
Shinjuku Shark vs. Tarec Pasca
Shark's opponent was listed as a mystery man, with a boxing/martial arts background. I picked "Willie Takayama", AKA Hido, but he never went back to FMW and upon returning to Japan, hit the hardcore leagues (Big Japan, Onita Pro, etc.). They have the obligatory skimpy lady to hold up the signs. Pasca is as bad as Shark, so this is a disaster of a "fight". Some of the punches totally expose the business. They uses some wrestling moves to make things even worse (because this is supposed to be boxing). Pasca actually does a sit-out tombstone. Shark eventually wins with a horrible moonsault press (4:47).
Hisakatsu Oya, Flying Kid Ichihara, Tomomi Tanimoto & Survival Tobita vs. Azusa Kudo, Naohiro Yamazaki, Kaoruko Arai & Saitama Gorilla
Welcome to sports-entertainment hell! Over the last few shows, they developed a rivalry between two of the valets, Tanimoto (the lady who sings Oya to the ring) and Arai (Shoichi Arai's "niece", one of the products of entertainment wrestling). And then there's Tobita, who is here to destroy the evil Saitama Gorilla. Ichihara is accompanied by a group of scantily clad ladies, so I guess he finally found someone (or two... or three... or four), after searching Korakuen Hall for a new love interest. This is the expected weak wrestling and weaker comedy. Tobita hits a new low when he is outsmarted by Ms. Arai. We get some solid wrestling sequences, but nothing better than the usual Korakuen undercard borefest. Saitama Gorilla tries a top rope move, but falls off, so tags out. Ichihara missile dropkick's Yamazaki into Oya's deadly backdrop suplex, which gets a near fall. Oya enzuigiri's Yamazaki and Tanimoto kicks him (Yamazaki) dOWnstairs. Oya hits another backdrop suplex for a totally heatless 2 3/4 count. Yet another follows, Tomomi covering for the 3 count (5:18). One has to wonder why Yamazaki, an FMW in-ring regular, took the fall before Arai and Gorilla.
Ricky Banderas (c) vs. Chocoball Mukai for the IWA Heavyweight Title
Banderas is Victor Quinones' top star in IWA Puerto Rico. Quinones apparently still has some ties with FMW, so IWA PR's top belt is on the line tonight. Quinones said Banderas is better than Tajiri (another former Quinones boy), but just hasn't had chance to show it. Well, Tajiri could probably get **1/4 or so out of Chocoball, so lets see. Banderas throws some running high kicks, then actually does a pescado (he's a pretty big guy). He clobbers Mukai with some stiff chairshots, not holding back much on them. In the ring, they do some boring stuff, basic strikes and what not. A nice counter sees Banderas turn a Chocoball diving lariat into a wakigatame. He works over the arm until Chocoball ducks a lariat and lands a nice spin kick. He connects with a jumping knee and gives JUMBO! respect, then lands a corner charge leg lariat. A DDT gets 2 for the porn guru. He goes up and hits a rolling senton for a near fall. He keeps on busting out the moveset, hitting a German suplex hold for another close count. Banderas fights back with a powerbomb for 2 3/4. He spikes Chocoball vertically with a brainbuster for another good near fall, which actually gets some heat. Banderas goes up and connects with a diving body press, Chocoball finally staying down (7:59). Quinones, wearing a WWF shirt, shakes hands with Banderas. This surprisingly wasn't bad at all and actually quite solid nearer the end. It was boring at first, but then they started hitting moves and kept it interesting with variety. There was nothing all that good about it, but the key thing is that it was, unlike so many FMW undercard matches, easy to watch without getting too bored. As for Banderas being better than Tajiri? Maybe in the bedroom, Victor! He was okay in this match, but no better than Chocoball.
Kyoko Inoue & Emi Motokawa vs. Ayako Hamada & AKINO
Kyoko plays powerhouse right away, killing the opposition with a stiff double lariat. They roll out and Emi tries a plancha, but ends up taking out Kyoko. AKINO drags them around the ring, in position for a spaceman quebrada from Ayako. AKINO keeps up the madness, hitting a sweet tope con hilo. Too bad about 20 fans cheered for it. Back in, AKINO does a cool catapult (off Ayako's back) bronco buster to Kyoko. They do some more cool and tricky stuff, outsmarting the far bigger Kyoko. Soon, everything is back to normal, Kyoko grounding them with a back handspring double back elbow. She tags out to Emi, who picks up the pace with AKINO. AKINO is sent to the corner, but hits a run-the-ropes diving crossbody for 2. Emi avoids an AKINO elbow, Ayako taking the shot. Emi capitalizes by slapping on a surfboard hold, as Kyoko does likewise to Hamada. The outsiders bring the comedy after that, AKINO wanting to tag out to Hamada, but Ayako afraid to tag in, as she'd have to go against the MIGHTY KYOKO. It turns out to be Ayako vs. Emi, the two having some fast exchanges. Ayako hits her Ayakoclasm (Iconoclasm) for barely 1, which makes no sense to me, as the Ayakoclasm is one of Ayako's big moves. Motokawa folds her up with a stiff backdrop suplex. Ayako ducks a lariat and AKINO appears out of nowhere with a missile dropkick to Emi. Ayako uses Emi as a shield, so that Kyoko (accidentally) takes her out. Hamada blocks a hurricanrana from Emi, scooping her up and Liger bombing her down for 2 1/2, Kyoko saving. Ayako tries a Spiral bomb, but Emi rolls over her, using a sunset flip for 2. Ayako just strikes her down again, then hits a DDT, followed by a spaceman Lionsault for 2 3/4. She sits Emi up top, but Motokawa slides away and brings Ayako down with a release German suplex. Kyoko powerbomb's Hamada and Emi drops a firebird splash for 2 1/2. Ayako fires right back again (selling? What's that?), hitting an enzuigiri for 2 1/2. Emi hooks on a la magistral for a good near fall. Ayako strikes Emi up top with a Venus punch, then hits the Hama-Chan Cutter for 3 (7:51). They tried to make the most of the limited time given, hitting tons of cool spots. The problem was, that's all they were really able to do, and the match seemed rushed. Hamada vs. Emi was the best pairing, though there were some selling/transition issues, where previous damage would quickly be forgotten. It was a good match though, the first of the night.
Intermission time. This is ETERNAL and just has two of the FMW girls (who do ring announcing, etc.) $hilling merchandise.
Mammoth Sasaki (c) vs. Kintaro Kanemura for the WEW Hardcore Title
Sasaki's 1st defense. He upset Kanemura on 4/1 at Korakuen Hall, taking Kanemura's Hardcore Title. This belt basically belongs to Kanemura, as he's controlled it since it's formation, so he wants it back. Just when you thought CZW wouldn't be able to negatively effect other Japanese promotions (besides Big Japan) though, they proved you wrong. The night before, on Dai Nihon's 5/4 Sapporo Teisen Hall show, Kintaro Kanemura took part in the Death Match Title Tournament final rounds. He downed The Winger in a good Barbed Wire Board Death Match (**1/2), but his opponent in the final was Zandig. Since Zandig is a disgrace, who requires opponents to make him look good (and most fail), Kanemura had to take a lot of punishment. To make things worse, this was a CZW Caribbean-style Barbed Wire & Light Bulb & Light Bulb Board & Barbed Wire Chess Board Death Match, a very dangerous stipulation. En route to putting over "Mr. No Honor" Zandig in 15 minutes (1/2*), Kanemura hurt himself badly, bumping like hell. Hence, he was not in very good shape coming into FMW's Kawasaki show. You can see it in his ring entrance, because his head is bandaged up and he limps. He looks a wreck, but does the TNR dance anyway. They go straight to a fight, Kanemura using a cool legsweep, followed by a dropkick. Mammoth rolls out, but Kanemura follows with a baseball slide dropkick. Sasaki takes a big bump into empty chairs. Kanemura lies him on a table and goes up for his diving body press. Mammoth catches him, but Kanemura gets down and tries to elbow Sasaki off the apron. They scuffle on the apron, leading to Kanemura killing himself some more and being nodowa'd through the table. Mammoth puts a new table in the ring and tries to powerbomb Kanemura through it, but Mr. Hardcore blocks and throws out of it, before moving the table into the corner. He props it up, but Mammoth appears out of nowhere, spearing him into it.
Kanemura is tied to the tree of woe and has a chair placed against his face. Mammoth brutally uses another chair to SMASH that one into Kanemura, which just has to hurt. He puts a chair over Kanemura's head and hits the Mammoth Home Run. The follow-up is weak, as this is supposed to be his finisher (or one of them), but Mammoth just starts punching Kanemura, then high kick's him down. He goes up top, but Kanemura stalls and brings him down with a very sloppy belly to belly of sorts, Sasaki landing on his shoulder/neck area. Mammoth no-sells a wooden board shot and hits a nodowa otoshi. He grabs the board and clobbers Kanemura with it twice, before landing a corner charge elbow. Kanemura bounces back with a lariat, but runs the ropes into a Rydeen bomb. Kanemura dropkick's Mammoth into the table that is set up in the corner, but gets thrown into it himself a moment later. They do yet another spot with the upright table, Mammoth hitting his head against it hard. Kanemura follows with a release German suplex, then his diving senton. He drags Mammoth up and hits an awkward Liger bomb for the win and title (7:57). A so/so match, not very good, but kept watchable by the spots. It was way below what it could and should have been though, as it was very unorganized and sloppy at times. Kanemura's move execution wasn't what it usually is, more than likely because he was probably drugged out of his mind with painkillers. He nearly killed Mammoth with the top rope throw, which is a spot he's hit cleanly many times before. Even though it was only 8 minutes, it was actually dragging by the end. Mammoth hit one of his finishers, but didn't even treat it as such, no cover or anything. He has improved, but showed here he isn't really ready to move into a higher position yet.
GOEMON & Onryo vs. Super Crazy & Super Nova for the WEW Tag Team Title
This is a decision match for the belts, which have been vacant since 2/21, when Masato Tanaka and Gedo vacated them upon leaving FMW. Crazy and Nova are listed as ECW wrestlers. Newsflash: ECW is dead, never meant anything in Japan to begin with, and was the cause of the worst FMW "invasion" ever, so why keep using the name? The two enter to ECW's theme music. Crazy hits Onryo with a springboard dropkick, but has a lariat ducked and the ghost fires back with a spinning shoulderblock. They tag out and the inNOVAtion begins. Nova applies a patented side headlock, before applying his waistlock. He gives Crazy permission to double up and hit his latest invention, a double snap suplex. Onryo hits Team ECW with a double springboard dropkick (one foot for each). GOEMON dropkick's Nova into an Onryo backslide, which gets just 1. Nova rolls out and Onryo follows, taking out both ECW guys with a springboard tope con hilo. Back in, Onryo becomes whipping boy. Nova lifts him as if for a suplex, but then just lets him go back to his feet, before hitting a Fisherman's suplex hold for 2. What exactly was the point of the suplex lift? Crazy hits a fireman's carry Michinoku Driver II, followed by a second rope moonsault press for 2, Onryo catching the referee's arm. As expected, Crazy argues with the referee, giving Onryo time to dropkick a leg and hook on his Onryo clutch for 2. Crazy goes back to offense, dropping Onryo with a German suplex hold. He isn't the legal man right now, so the guy who is (Nova) wheelbarrow's Onryo up and hits a spinning facebuster for 2. Onryo bounces back with a Frankensteiner and makes the "hot" tag to GOEMON. He Exploder's both ECW guys, but has a knee dropkicked by Crazy. Nova drags him out, which serves to set up an ugly Space Flying Tiger Drop from Crazy. The ECW team do a horribly contrived spot, Nova holding a table over the apron forever, until Crazy springboard's off it and takes out "blind" Onryo. Meanwhile, GOEMON, who has just been stood at the ropes watching, has the table pushed into his face by Nova.
Nova drops a diving body press on GOEMON for 2 1/2. A chair is lodged into the corner, Onryo weakly going head-first into it, before Crazy schoolboy's him for 2, Onryo predictably pushing him off and into the chair. Onryo does a sunset flip, while Crazy has the chair, but has to keep nodding to tell Crazy to use the chair. Crazy does, but by then, it looks so bad. GOEMON dropkick's the chair into Crazy's face, but gets planted face-first on the same chair. Nova sits GOEMON up top, only to get pushed down on to a chair. GOEMON lands a senton atomico on Nova for the win and belts (11:38). The match started alright, just the usual spotfest. Then it totally fell apart, with several screw-ups, mainly due to the ECW guys. Crazy looked awful, worse than I've ever seen him before, blowing spots and forgetting to do things (such as the sunset flip chairshot). Don't get me started on "Mr. Fake" Nova, who tries to make everything look too good, so that the moves end up looking absurd or just messed up. The ECW guys were generally bad here, while the FMW guys weren't, especially Onryo, who tried to make something out of it. It turned into one of those lame ECW-esque spot matches, like Doring & Roadkill vs. Nova & Chetti or something, with no flow.
We get another long intermission. Shots are shown of Tenryu's cult following, many yellow flags and t-shirts in the crowd.
Kodo Fuyuki vs. Genichiro Tenryu
Battle of the Revolution! Samson Fuyuki, along with Toshiaki Kawada, was one of Tenryu's underlings in the 1980's, as part of the Revolution group. Unlike Kawada, Fuyuki stayed loyal to Tenryu, leaving All Japan with him to help form the SWS promotion. That died, but Fuyuki soon followed Tenryu to his WAR promotion too. Fuyuki bailed when WAR was losing steam and freelanced a lot, before joining FMW. This match is actually a year in the making, as on this very date one year before, Fuyuki challenged Tenryu for a match. They were supposed to wrestle on the WAR anniversary show, but Fuyuki ended up sending Hayabusa to take the fall for him. They then did the angle where Tenryu played LUMPY Hayabusa, wearing the mask and beating up Fuyuki at an FMW show. Another of Tenryu's old followers, Ashura Hara, a retired former AJPW and WAR wrestler, is special referee for the match. Also, the former WAR ring announcer introduces the guys, so it's one big reunion for them. Tenryu is seconded by Koki Kitahara and Nobukazu Hirai, more WAR grumpiness! Tenryu gets the biggest response of the show so far, but that's not saying a lot. He also wrestled on FMW's 5/5/94 Kawasaki show, defeating Atsushi Onita in a famous No Rope Explosive Barbed Wire Cage Death Match, which drew 52,000 fans. It takes but seconds for Tenryu to use an UNMATCHABLE chop flurry, throwing some stinging shots at the Goofster's chest. Fuyuki fires back with slaps, so Tenryu throws him out of the ring and sends him into some chairs. Back in, Tenryu assaults young Samson with repeated chairshots to the head and back. He stoically kicks Fuyuki in the face, before throwing a lariat for 2. They exchange hardway headbutts, both appearing to love it. More chops, stoic glares and WAR grumpiness follow. Fuyuki manages to suplex Tenryu, then does some face kicking of his own. It takes but ONE level chop though, and Fuyuki is staring at the stars again.
Tenryu connects with three of his climbing enzuigiris, Fuyuki staying up after each and throwing a soft short lariat. He low dropkick's Tenryu out, then pops the crowd with a FAT BOY PLANCHA! He gets revenge from earlier, bringing a chair down across Father Time's skull. Back in, they exchange mounts and slaps, Tenryu getting the upper hand. He throws more chops and another enzuigiri, but Fuyuki low blow's out of a powerbomb attempt. Fuyuki smashes a bottle of water over Tenryu's head and lariat's Hara down. Kitahara gets on the apron, but also eats a lariat. Tenryu bleeds. Fuyuki ducks a lariat and hits a powerbomb, leaning over for... 0. No referee still. Fuyuki hits a Fisherman's buster for 2. He goes up top, but Tenryu halts him with guh punches, then suplexes him down. Fuyuki no-sells and hits a lariat for 2. Fuyuki screws up a powerbomb, dropping Tenryu on a shoulder for 2. He goes for another lariat, but runs into an enzuigiri. They lariat each other thrice, Fuyuki dropping to a knee first. Tenryu lands an unchallenged lariat, then a second for 2 1/2 (and some heat). More lariats, more near falls. Eventually, Tenryu uses a punch flurry, then one more short lariat for the win (13:33). Fuyuki hugs Hara, then shakes hands with Tenryu. WAR Spirit! The match wasn't bad, but kind of flat. It was a war of few moves, mainly striking. It all came down to placement and drama. If the match took place in Korakuen, before a heated crowd, it would have come across much better. Instead, there wasn't much response, sans for a near fall or two, so a lot of the exchanges lacked impact. The finish, with Fuyuki continuously kicking out, was built to garner heat, but got little. Fuyuki tried hard and wasn't bad, but Tenryu, who didn't try hard, was still better. The match had a few cool moments, but was just solid overall. Fuyuki did the right thing, sacrificing his ego for once and doing a job in exchange for Tenryu's services, which surely contributed greatly to the good crowd.
Hayabusa & The Great Sasuke vs. Tetsuhiro Kuroda & Mr. Gannosuke in an Exploding 15,000 Volt Thunderbolt Octagon Cage Bomb Tag Death Match
Hayabusa's return match. In 2000, it was revealed that Hayabusa's elbows were shot and were barely mobile. It was thus a necessity for him to get surgery, which would mean a long hiatus. This is always horrible news for FMW, because he's their draw and money-maker. His absence, along with Mr. Gannosuke's, and Masato Tanaka, Jado and Gedo's departures from the company, put FMW in a terrible position. Numbers slumped and it was a case of survival until the returns. Gannosuke returned shortly before this show, which was the first boost, but the return of Hayabusa was the bigger one. After losing to Fuyuki in his last match before surgery, Hayabusa was attacked by his long-time friend, Tetsuhiro Kuroda, who turned heel and declared himself the ace of FMW. I've always thought that Kuroda had main event potential, but he lacked something when finally given the full chance. I think it's his charisma, which is so goofy at times. His wrestling was generally fine, even if he's arguably an underachiever who isn't reaching his potential. Gannosuke aligned with Kuroda, while Sasuke "represented" Hayabusa during his absence, setting up this main event. It's also the return of explosion matches to FMW, the first since the Hayabusa vs. Fuyuki exploding cage match last year. President Arai, FMW's former ring announcer, introduces the wrestlers to give the match a special feel. All we need is Go Ito as referee! Where is Go "Fuyuki wishes he could book like me" Ito anyway? The cage, which is around the ring itself, rather than *on* the ring, is very low, a little higher than the ring ropes. There are barrels of explosives outside the ring, with "Caution" warnings on them. I find that lame and cartoony for some reason. Hayabusa is no longer "Superstar Hayabusa", just his old self again. Straight to a fight they go, with a lot of teases. Hayabusa dropkick's Gannosuke out of the ring, but misses a pescado. He manages to avoid the cage, even after Gannosuke gives him the human bullet treatment (wanting to send him head-first into it).
Gannosuke staggers near the cage and Hayabusa jumps on the apron for an attack. Gannosuke avoids a leap and BANG!, Hayabusa is first to be exploded! The explosion itself isn't bad, but is delayed and doesn't seem very natural. Hayabusa sells the bump like death. In the ring, Kuroda reverse low blow's out of a waistlock and controls Sasuke for a while. He corner charges, but has one of his own techniques used against him, Sasuke drop toeholding him into the turnbuckles. Sasuke is caught up top, but uses Kuroda's own throttle drop on the ropes against him. Sasuke baseball slide's out to Kuroda, but the punk moves and pushes him into the cage for explosion number two. In the ring, Gannosuke strikes Hayabusa with a running lariat, then channels one of his apparent mentors, Riki Choshu, slapping on a Scorpion Deathlock. The heels do the old TNR stunt, kissing each other, then dropping a union elbow on Hayabusa. They use a double Northern Lights suplex hold for 2 1/2. Gannosuke powerbomb's his childhood friend for another near fall. Too bad the crowd isn't responding or they might actually be exciting counts. Hayabusa takes both heels out with kicks, then Fisherman's buster's Kuroda for 2 1/2. He lands a Lionsault into a senton, then a regular Lionsault for 2, Gannosuke saving his partner in crime. Hayabusa hooks Gannosuke's arms and hits a Tiger suplex hold for 2 1/2. He goes up for the kill, but Kuroda catches and powerbomb's him down for a close count. Gannosuke spikes Hayabusa with his Fire Thunder for 2, Sasuke saving. Kuroda Russian legsweep's Sasuke, but misses a lariat and takes a kneel kick. Sasuke hits a Blockbuster, then dropkick's Kuroda out. Oh no. Kuroda lurks near the cage and Sasuke DIES FOR ALL OUR SINS, HITTING A TOPE CON HILO AND HITTING THE CAGE WITH Kuroda. BANG!, BANG! and BANG!. Great and insane spot! He threw sanity out of the window, knowing he was hitting that cage, but did it anyway. In the ring, Gannosuke tries a powerbomb, but Hayabusa counters with a Frankensteiner. Hayabusa charges, only to be backdropped to the apron. He manages to cling on to the ropes though, so doesn't hit the cage.
Gannosuke joins Hayabusa off the apron and tries a powerbomb, but Hayabusa clutches the ropes to escape. He knocks Gannosuke off the apron with a hard punch, and OH NO. The falcon jumps on to the turnbuckles and moonsault's out, missing and... just avoiding the cage. They struggle with Irish whips, before both fall back into the cage AND THE WHOLE DAMN THING EXPLODES. This was like one of those old style explosions, where a countdown concluded and the whole ring went up in flames. Only this time, a regular bump made it happen. This was a cool effect, BUT why not have a countdown and siren? That might have actually got the fans rallying or something. Hayabusa and Gannosuke look like they've just been in a fire, covered with dust and out of it. The referee is down too. Sasuke and Kuroda are moving, but also hurt. Sasuke, who's black body suit is basically white/grey now, lands a quebrada press for 2 1/2. He misses a senton atomico and Kuroda pounces with a rolling lariat for 2 1/2. A regular running lariat hits for 2 3/4! Good near fall, which got a little heat. He hits the Technan buster for 2, Hayabusa saving! Hayabusa catches a Kuroda lariat and spikes him with a release Dragon suplex! Kuroda no-sells, but runs into a high kick, Sasuke following up with a perfect Frankensteiner. Hayabusa grabs Gannosuke and drops him with a Falcon Arrow for a near fall. Gannosuke resists the H Edge, catches a shotei, then hooks on the Gannosuke clutch for 2 1/2! Hayabusa hits that shotei, then drops his famous firebird splash for 2 3/4! He hits Gannosuke with a weird move, which seems like a botched H Thunder, yet doesn't seem like a botched move in general. He lifts Gannosuke back up and hits the H Thunder for a flat 3 count (20:07). I guess the first move was a botched H Thunder then, and it hurt the finish badly, making it seem anti-climatic. Hayabusa unmasks and gives his traditional ace speech, which gets more heat than any match or entrance. He and Sasuke tap hands with the people who flock to ringside to end the show.
This was similar to last May's main event, which was Hayabusa vs. Tanaka, in that it was a very good match, but wasn't as good as it could have been. However, the reasons for that are different. Hayabusa vs. Masato fell short of it's potential because of the work and how the match was built. Rather than going for the slow build style of their two awesome 1998 matches, they did a total spotfest. This was also a spotfest, but given the concept, that's more understandable. However, this match was not dragged down from it's potential by work, but by heat. I don't downgrade a match if it doesn't have heat, UNLESS the lack of heat directly effects the tone of the match. Like, a BattlARTS match doesn't need heat, because the style isn't driven by crowd response at all. This sort of match relies heavily on drama and crowd heat. It was made to have drama and should have, but the lack of heat reduced it by more than half of what it would have been IF there was an active crowd (such as during the Onita era). This match had countless cool moves and showed off Hayabusa's deep moveset, but if these moves were made to mean more (which ties in to the lack of heat, because a lot of near falls stemming from these moves had no heat and came across as nothing moves), the match would have been more than just good. Hayabusa looked very good in his return, showing no real ring rust. Everyone played their role well, but the match just didn't have the factors of a classic Onita Death Match. The work itself exceeded many Onita matches, but it didn't have the intangibles and wasn't as purely entertaining.
A disappointing show. Comparing this to another disappointment, 5/5/00, it seemed better technically, but I didn't think it was as good as an overall show. The undercard was typically flat and mostly dull, with the joshi the only good match there. Both main matches didn't live up to their potential, which was another reason it disappointed. For a regular FMW PPV, where you have to lower the standards, this show would have been good, but this was their big event. The important thing about this show for FMW is that it drew well, made money, and had Hayabusa back in the ring, which gave the company a solid foundation again. Whether Fuyuki would mess around with that with his silly booking is another matter though.
For more of Stuart's thoughts and opinions on puroresu, visit www.puroresufan.com