FMW Kawasaki Stadium, 5/5/93
review by Ryan Mancuso
Hello again. I am back with the first of three consecutive FMW reviews. This one is from May 5, 1993. It takes place at the outdoor Kawasaki Stadium in front of 41,000 fans. That is amazing for a company whom could still be declared an independent from the mainstream, and showed that Onita was becoming a hero with wrestling fans in Japan because he did professional wrestling his way and the presence he brought. Due to the huge success of the first Kawasaki Stadium show in September 1991, FMW would run at this venue on May 5 for a few years.
The main event was between teacher and student because Atsushi Onita would face a man he idolized in the legendary Terry Funk. This would not be an ordinary match. It would be the first ever Exploding No Rope Barbed Wire Exploding Ring Time Bomb Death Match. In this match, the ropes would be taken down and replaced with barbed wire. When someone touches the barbed wire, then an explosion goes off on that side of the ring to add to the damage. There is also a 15 minute time limit to this match. When the 15 minute time limit expires, a huge explosion happens that messes up the entire ring. It was a very unique match to say the least, but one that would make FMW famous worldwide. Outside of the main event, there is a nice variety of matches with brawling, faux shoot fighting, lucha from Michinoku Pro and plenty of Joshi action from women of various promotions. Time to start the review:
Before the matches were shown, there was a highlight package of Atsushi Onita and his road to recovery. Onita suffered life threatening injuries in late February 1993 when he accidentally swallowed some barbed wire during a match. Doctor were able remove the barbed wire from Onita's neck instead of slicing his mouth open. This meant a quicker road to recovery because Onita was able to return to the ring on April 22, 1993. He teamed with Sambo Asako and Tarzan Goto to face Ricky Fuji, The Gladiator and Big Titan. Gladiator would pin Asako, but the match showed that Onita was back and ready for his showdown with Terry Funk on May 5.
Eiji Ezaki vs. Koji Nakagawa
This would be a battle between two of FMW's future stars. Ezaki would put on a mask and become Hayabusa. He was FMW's ace after Onita retired in 1995. It stayed that way until his unfortunate accident in 2001 that left him paralyzed. Nakagawa would be more of a supporting player and would score victories over FMW's top stars, like Hayabusa and Masato Tanaka, occasionally. This match was clipped with both men showing some basics and doing a little bit of highflying. Ezaki gets the win with a moonsault off the top rope.
Rie Nakamura vs. Keiko Iwami
This is the first of four women's matches for this big FMW show. There was a lot of clipping in this match. Nakamura won it with a not so pretty looking Japanese leg roll clutch.
Captain Fall's Elimination Match: Eagle Sawai [c], Utako Ozumi, Yasha Kurenai, Midori Saito & Mikiko Futagami vs. Shark Tsuchiya, Yoshika Maedomari, Miwa Sato [c], Kumiko Matsuda, Yukie Nabeno
This was a battle between FMW's women against LLPW. This was heavily clipped as well. LLPW gets the win when Sawai powerbombs Sato.
The Sheik & Sabu vs. Dr. Luther & Hannibal Lector
This was pretty much a bloody brawl with Sabu doing all of the athletic stuff while his legendary uncle brawls on the floor and stabs people with a spike. This was also clipped. Sabu wins the match by using a top rope moonsault on Luther. After the match, Sabu would celebrate by putting himself through tables with no one place on top them. The first time was a moonsault, and the second was a legdrop. That's old school Sabu right there.
The Great Sasuke, Kendo & Battle Ranger vs. Super Delfin, Espanto 4 & Espanto 5
Talk about shifting gears because we went from a bloody brawl to a Michinoku Pro based match. This was another heavily clipped match. This match looked really fun with a mix of lucha libre and comedy in there. Kendo gets the win by using a Victory Roll on Espanto 5. I would have liked to seen more of this match.
Shinobu Kandori vs. Victoria Kazumiya
This was a worked-shoot type of match. Kazumiya looked lost when she taking the receiving end to a few of Kandori's running off the ropes attacks. The match was pretty much Kazumiya doing some Judo throws, teasing a few submissions by both women and Kandori got the victory with a Fujiwara armbar.
Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Megumi Kudo & Combat Toyoda
This was a rematch from the main event of All Japan Women's Dreamslam 1 between AJW's Toyota & Yamada against FMW's Kudo & Toyoda. I have not seen their match at Dreamslam 1. If this match was an indication of the quality they could do, then I imagine their match at Dreamslam 1 was just as great. The work that all 4 women would do in this match was amazing because everything just seemed to click. It was better than a lot of high quality matches that men could put on. Matches like this, along with her deathmatches, definitely helped in convincing me that Megumi Kudo was FMW's top draw after Onita retired. Kudo would gain revenge for the Dreamslam 1 loss by pinning Toyota with a tiger suplex hold.
Loser Leaves Town No Rope Barbed Wire Tornado Street Fight Death Match: The Gladiator, Big Titan & Ricky Fuji vs. Tarzan Goto, Katsuji Ueda & Great Punk
The Gladiator is best known to wrestling fans in the United States as Mike Awesome. Big Titan is known to US wrestling fans as Fake Razor Ramon. This had lots of blood and brawling, but that is it. Goto's team had the advantage when Awesome was tied up in the barbed wire. This gave Goto and Punk some double team opportunities on Fuji. However, Awesome was able to escape. Awesome planted Punk with an Awesome Bomb and Fuji used a German suplex hold to send Punk packing out of FMW.
Gregory Veritchev vs. Leon Spinks
Leon Spinks in FMW is just as bizarre as seeing The Iron Sheik in UWF-I. I am sure the name sounds familiar to some readers because Leon Spinks was a big name in boxing many years ago. He was a former World Heavyweight Champion and defeated a broken down Muhammad Ali in 1978 to win the title. There was some controversy with Spinks reign because the refused to defend the WBC Title against #1 contender, Ken Norton. As a result, the World Heavyweight Title in boxing was split with Spinks vacating the WBC belt and keeping the WBA belt. It also made Norton the first boxer in history to win a World Heavyweight Title outside of the ring. Spinks lost his World Heavyweight Title to Ali in a rematch. Spinks had many opportunities win back the title, but was unsuccessful every time.
FMW brought in Spinks due to his history. He would eventually lose to Onita, but FMW still brought in Spinks for a few more major shows. On this show, Spinks was facing off against Judo fighter Gregory Veritchev in a special rules match with five 3-minute rounds. This match was not good. Since this was a worked match, Spinks pulled punches were really bad looking and Veritchev did not look that much better. Veritchev won the match in the 3rd round with a cross armbreaker.
Exploding No Rope Barbed Wire Exploding Ring Time Bomb Death Match: Atsushi Onita vs. Terry Funk
This match is a cult favorite among many die hard wrestling fans all over the world. As a match, it had some really good storytelling. Both men are masters at getting the most from limitations. The stipulations in this match would limit any wrestler. However, Funk and Onita were able to work around it to deliver a memorable match. They built every explosion up so that they could really mean something. They sold the effects of this match because Onita was cut all over the place and Funk was bleeding heavily as well. The post match stuff was great as well. It went from hatred and vengeful to heroic and respect in just a few minutes. The wrestling of this match did not come close to the quality of Kudo/Toyoda vs. Yamada/Toyota or even the Michinoku Pro 6-man tag from earlier. However, it was the spectacle that made it great. That is why I am giving this match by play-by-play:
The bell rings and both men tie up. It is a very lengthy tie-up as both men are trying to push the other back into the barbed wire. Funk seems to have the advantage, and almost pushes Onita into the barbed wire. Fans are chanting Onita's name in hope that he is able to not touch the exploding barbed wire first. Onita fights out of it, and Funk fires off an elbow. Funk throws a few punches. One of those punches knocks Onita back into the barbed wire for the first explosion of the match. Onita is in trouble early. Funk picks up the bloody Onita, throws some of his famous punches and piledrives him on the mat. Funk covers, but Onita kicks out at 2.
Funk picks up Onita and drives him down with a swinging neckbreaker. Funk drops a knee right to Onita's face and covers. The referee makes the count, but Onita kicks out at 2. Funk whips Onita into the barbed wire for another explosion. Onita is in serious trouble, and the fans rally by him. Funk saying to the crowd, "Get him up, you son of a bitch!" Funk with more punches. Onita tries a side headlock, but Funk picks him up by the knee and slams him on his own knee. Funk tries to put Onita face first on the barbed wire, but Onita manages to fight out of it by using a backdrop suplex. Funk gets up to try to throw Onita into the barbed wire. However, it is Onita who reverses things and Funk feels the exploding barbed wire for the first time. Funk is reeling so much from the explosion that he almost falls into the barbed wire again.
Onita DDT's the bloody Funk onto the mat. Onita covers, but Funk kicks out at 2. Funk is still so stunned that he takes a swipe at the referee. Onita nails Funk with a few headbutts, but it was Funk who used Onita's momentum to throw him into the barbed wire for another explosion. Onita falls out of the ring. Onita carefully reenters the ring. There are 5 minutes left until the ring explodes. Now, he and Funk are just throwing punches like crazy. Onita win the exchange when he knocks Funk down. Funk gets back up. Both men trade headbutts and fall down. 4 minutes remain. Funk punches Onita some more, and locks him in his famous Spinning Toe Hold. Onita fights out of it by kicking Funk back into the barbed wire for another explosion. 3 minutes remain.
Onita DDT's the stunned Funk to the mat. He covers and gets the pinfall before the ring explodes. Funk is still not done with Onita. He chokes him with the tape from his hands. The timer is still counting down despite the match being over. Funk nails the referee. Onita grabs the referee's helmet and smacks Funk with it. 2 minutes until explosion. Onita uses a DDT and two Thunder Fire Power Bombs. Onita throws the referee out of the ring for the ref's own safety. 1 MINUTE LEFT! A beaten down Onita exits the ring with less than 30 seconds left. Funk is not getting up. Onita sees this with 15 seconds left, and reenters the ring to try to help out his hero. Funk isn't moving. Onita realizes this and puts his body over Funk's to take the blast. RING EXPLODES!
Funk and Onita embrace. Onita gets on the microphone to give an emotional, tearful promo. Onita and Funk walk out of the ring together. Backstage, Funk thanks Onita for what he did out there but that he will win next time. Funk does not shake Onita's hand because he cannot accept defeat from his student. Due to them fighting under Onita's rules this time, Funk wants a rematch under his rules.
Final Score: 5.5 [Not So Good]
Ryan Mancuso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org