FMW DirecTV PPV on 8/22/98
review by Stuart
Hayabusa's gone craaaaaazy! This PPV has a "theme", much like old WCW's old Beach Blast set, although there are like 50 people or something at this show and it's held in some small studio. The announcers are sat in Hawaiian shirts under beach umbrellas. There is an American person doing voiceovers and introducing wrestlers, sounding like a cheesy game show host. We get a set of bikini-clad women and under-skirt shots to start. J Taro wanders out in his boxer shorts to laughs. Then Ricky Fuji and his band perform "Sexy Storm", which sounds pretty good, but I don't really buy FMW stuff to see this.
Super Leather vs. Hido
The invisible game show host introduces both guys. Leather abandoned his mask for a while and looks a little like The Undertaker. This is guaranteed to be average at best, since there is no one to carry the match. Leather uses his weak offense for a while. Hido comes back with a low blow, then clamps on a single-leg crab hold. He works over Leather with some passable stuff (dragon screw, STF, figure-four) and some typically dull stuff (stomp, stomp, stomp). He hits a second rope moonsault press for 2. Leather makes a comeback, getting several 2+ counts. Leather lands a big powerbomb for 2 1/2. He tries for the brainbuster, but Hido is able to counter twice with inside cradles. Leather finally hits the brainbuster and wins (no match times listed). He glares at TNR manager Go Ito, who cowers behind a chair. Hido looked okay at times, but this had no chance of being good.
"Come Out and Play" hits, bringing out the Brief Brothers. Jado, Hido and Kanemura dance in their briefs, while Gedo plays Sign Guy. It then turns into blatant PPV filler, as they spend about 5 minutes goofing around, trying to get women and hitting each other with stuff. A growl can be heard and Kodo Fuyuki arrives. Two women grab his arms and walk off with him. So what's your secret Kodo? The Brief Brothers are annoyed and someone throws a pan at Jado's head. They do one last dance, then depart.
The Gladiator vs. Naohiro Yamazaki
"Ode to WWF" truly starts when the glass breaks and "Stone Cold" Naohiro Yamazaki arrives. Awesome toys with him and hits a lariat. A body press follows for 2 1/2. Yamazaki makes a futile comeback and is killed with a lariat. Awesome finishes him off in no time with a Liger bomb.
The Gladiator vs. Yoshinori Sasaki
"It's time... it's time... it's... Vader time!". But Sasaki looks more like a Godwinn brother. Awesome manhandles him. Sasaki with fists of fury and then a nice avalanche to the corner. He misses a lariat and Awesome spear's him down. Awesome goes up top and lands a diving body press for another quick win.
The Gladiator vs. Mr. Pogo 2
Pogo (not the original one of course) comes out to Undertaker's original WWF theme, but is also dressed like a Godwinn and doesn't have any face paint on. Pogo unloads with punches and kicks. He'd fit in the WWF. KA CHING! Awesome hits a slingshot shoulderblock and takes control. He hits a body press again, but only for 2 3/4 this time. Pogo escapes the running Awesome bomb attempt, ducks a lariat and hits a backdrop suplex for 2. A horrific avalanche-style Ace Crusher gets 2. An equally bad nodowa gets 2 1/2. Awesome uses a release German suplex, but Pogo does the defiant no-sell and runs straight into a boot. Awesome throws a lariat, then hits his running Awesome bomb for 3. I was about to say "he's showing a bit of potential" about Pogo 2, before he hit those two moves horribly. This was slightly better than the other matches though, but still short and bad. I guess the point was to re-establish Awesome as a monster, but he wouldn't stick around much longer.
President Shoichi Arai walks out with his young niece, Kaoruko Arai. To the clips. On 7/10, Fuyuki appears to reach an agreement with Arai and signs a document. However, before the president can blink during a handshake, Fuyuki brutally attacks him and TNR ambush the supervisors, Mr. Pogo 2 and Yoshinori Sasaki. Atsushi Onita forms Team Zero, comprised of himself, Sasaki, Pogo 2, Tetsuhiro Kuroda and Hideki Hosaka. Or in other words, a pointless and much weaker version of ZEN. Onita starts to teach Arai how to wrestle, putting him through agonizing training sessions. Leading to a match on 8/11 shown in full on this PPV...
Atsushi Onita, Mr. Pogo 2, Yoshinori Sasaki & Shoichi Arai vs. Kodo Fuyuki, Koji Nakagawa, Yukihiro Kanemura & Go Ito
I love Onita's "Mr. Liar" jacket. He just doesn't give a damn what people think. Kanemura, meanwhile, wears a Mighty Ducks hockey t-shirt. They go straight into an uncontrollable brawl and that's basically the match summed up. The storyline is that the Team Zero guys are protecting Arai from being attacked. Meanwhile, Go Ito shows that he's probably had some training when he does some nice moves, including a tilt-a-whirl flying headscissors takeover on Pogo 2. Nakagawa chokes the life out of Arai, while Fuyuki and Onita brawl in the crowd. Onita piledrive's Nakagawa on a table twice, but it doesn't break either time. Fuyuki slaps Arai around in the crowd. Ito hits Pogo with a nice kneel kick. Nakagawa blades Onita with a fork. The unhurt Ito plays the crowd and gets boos. Fuyuki nearly kills Onita with a powerbomb, just like on FMW's first PPV. TNR powerbomb Onita on a stack of chairs, but it's Arai who breaks the cover. He hits everyone with cane shots. Onita turns Go inside out with a lariat and hits a Thunder Fire powerbomb, Arai covering for the win. Hosaka and Kuroda arrive to clear out TNR. This wasn't good. No one at all looked good, although if Ito was an American manager or something, people would rave about him doing moves, like they did with Shane McMahon. This was just a weak version of an old style FMW brawl, as it had non-wrestlers and was very story-driven.
Back to the PPV and Arai is happy.
Kodo Fuyuki & Yukihiro Kanemura (c) vs. Jado & Gedo for the FMW Brass Knuckles Tag Team Title
The almost sickening WWF tribute continues when Jado and Gedo walk out to "Iron Man", billing themselves as Jado and Gedo 2000 and doing the LOD pose. Fuyuki and Kanemura are the New Footloose. The original Footloose was Fuyuki and Toshiaki Kawada when Fuyuki was in All Japan and not as fat. I wonder what Kawada thinks of his former tag partner now. Gedo and Kanemura shake hands, since all four of these are in TNR. Gedo starts with a dropkick and some very nice armdrags. Kanemura hits a drop toehold, then a senton bomb to the back of Jado. Fuyuki enters and does some of his hilarious poses. Gedo lands a superkick, followed by a powerslam for 2. Jado arrives and slows the match down. Gedo and Jado hit a drop toehold/elbow drop combination. Gedo sure is the worker of the two. They go after Kanemura's leg, Gedo dropkicking it and locking on a figure-four leglock. Gedo gets consecutive 2 counts from a missile dropkick, then a DDT. Kanemura eventually makes the big tag and Fuyuki arrives, all fired up and ready to lariat. Fuyuki hits side kicks to Jado and Gedo, before getting kicked in the groin. The challengers hit their superbomb, but Fuyuki kicks out of the cover. Gedo hits his frog splash, but Kanemura breaks the pinfall. Kanemura DDT's Jado outside, while Gedo hits a moonsault press, Fuyuki kind of getting his knees up. Kanemura is caught jumping off the top rope with a dropkick by Gedo. Gedo tries a hurricanrana to Fuyuki, but it is countered with a powerbomb. But moments later, Fuyuki tries a powerbomb and Gedo counters with a hurricanrana! He blocks a lariat, ducks a spinning chop or backfist, before running into a Fuyuki lariat. Fuyuki covers for the win, retaining the belts. Gedo looked really good here, but he was about the only one. Fuyuki is inconsistent and showed it here. With the right opponent he can be good, but other times he can be goofy and average. Today he was the latter. Jado was dull and lazy as usual. Kanemura was okay in his role of taking offense, but besides that he didn't do much. Disappointing match. Technically fine, but very boring in parts. The lack of crowd heat hurt all the matches though. Who was the brainiac that decided to run this show in a studio?
Go Ito bothers Shoichi Arai and TNR do one of their infamous ambushes, Gedo holding back the president as Ito grabs Kaoruko and kidnaps her. Oh, how lame. Kidnapping angles are just the worst. He would go on to brainwash her into joining TNR's side. On to clips leading to the main event. 12/13/97 sees Hayabusa cutting a promo and Koji Nakagawa returning after "quitting" on 11/28/97. He screams at former friend Hayabusa and punches him. On 12/22/97, FMW held one of it's classic War Games matches, with FMW (Hayabusa, Jinsei Shinzaki & Masato Tanaka) beating ZEN (Atsushi Onita, Yukihiro Kanemura & Mr. Gannosuke). After the match, Kanemura and Gannosuke turn against Onita and beat him up, leading to the official formation of Team No Respect on 1/7/98. Koji Nakagawa makes the save for Onita, returning as a ZEN member. During a match on 5/31/98, Koji becomes Mr. Double Cross when he turns against ZEN in a tag match. He becomes a dark, malicious character. On 7/10/98, Nakagawa bloodies an unmasked Hayabusa with his fork and then pins him. Hayabusa loses his mind backstage and has a wild look in his eyes. He promises to unleash his darkside.
Darkside of Hayabusa vs. Koji Nakagawa
Hayabusa gets a chilling entrance, a more sinister variation of his usual theme. He also has a dark outfit and screams on the way to the ring. Hayabusa's Double Titles aren't on the line. Nakagawa stalls, but gets the first offense with punches. Weird. I would have thought they'd put over Hayabusa's alter ego at first by having him dominate. Nothing happens for a while, because Nakagawa's offense by this time is very one dimensional. Hayabusa grabs the fork off Nakagawa and chases the referee. He bloodies Nakagawa with the fork. Fork you Koji! HE LICKS NAKAGAWA'S BLOOD OFF HIS HANDS. Nakagawa misses a reverse low blow and Hayabusa hits his own. He lets out a sadistic laugh and then headbutts Nakagawa low. He then hits a springboard legdrop to the groin! He takes a swing at the referee, but the referee avoids it. Koji comes back with a low blow (what else?) and runs a table into Hayabusa. He props it in a corner and sends his enemy towards it, but Hayabusa lifts his hands and blocks the impact. He rushes to Nakagawa with a snap high kick, then sends him off the apron with a table shot. He puts Nakagawa on a table outside and hits a springboard somersault senton! The table doesn't break (they're made of stone, I tell you), so the sadistic alter ego of Hayabusa just hits a hard senton bomb on Koji and the table finally starts to give. Hayabusa rips off part of the table and drills it into Nakagawa's forehead wounds. Nakagawa spits water in Hayabusa's face and gets the fork. He goes to attack, but Hayabusa spits red mist in Koji's eyes! Hayabusa hits a Stunner and then a Falcon Arrow, but stops his own cover. Hayabusa KO's the referee with a backfist to the head and Go Ito climbs on the top rope, screaming, "Come on you fucker!". He slips into the ring. Uh oh. Hayabusa catches him and delivers a cradle tombstone! Hayabusa goes up and the lights go off. A figure clad in white, teased as Jinsei Shinzaki, arrives and decks Hayabusa or something. Can't see it of course which makes Nakagawa's winning cover SO MUCH MORE PATHETIC. What a shoddy, useless, horrible, screwjob ending. A side of FMW I thought I would never see and something so lame that they haven't done it again (at least I think and hope not). Hayabusa's alter ego was rather cool, but he didn't wrestle much at all. Kind of like Muto the wrestler and Muta the character. I dug Hayabusa's vicious streak, but the match wasn't good. The ending was just so awful.
The show goes off the air with Hayabusa frustrated and Koji dragging the lifeless Go Ito backstage.
This show was simply appalling. Just one big tribute to the World Wrestling Federation. FMW was consistently better than the WWF throughout 1998, following a similar pattern (good for first half, bad for second half). So it makes this concept that much more stupid. Since not one match hit **, this ranks up there with the worst major shows of 1998 worldwide. Some ludicrous booking and poor action. Again, the lack of crowd heat also hurt. From it's debut show to some point in 1998, FMW had a lot of wild Street Fights that weren't technically very good, but were made so entertaining by a maniacal crowd that screamed non-stop. The worst or at least unentertaining FMW show I've seen to date. FMW's downhill slide from it's golden era was well on the way, although it would get no lower than this. The show... well, no Gannosuke, no Tanaka, no Kuroda, no good. Avoid at all costs. I guess Vince Russo would love it though.
For more of Stuart's thoughts and opinions on puroresu, visit www.puroresufan.com