New Japan "FANTASTICA MANIA 2014" on 1/14/14
A Review by Kevin Wilson
Date: January 14th, 2014
CMLL and New Japan have a great relationship, and sometimes this leads to the promotions directly teaming up together to put on joint shows. This leads to some unique match-ups, and Osaka has a lot of lucha fans so it is bound to be an excited crowd. Here is the full card:
- TAKA Michinoku and Taichi vs. Titan and BUSHIROAD
Some of these wrestlers I have not seen before, so it should be a new experience. Let's get straight to the matches!
TAKA Michinoku and Taichi vs. Titan and BUSHIROAD
Taichi puts BUSHIROAD up on the top turnbuckle and starts untieing his mask, but Taichi gives up after a moment. Michinoku drags BUSHIROAD towards the middle of the ring and starts elbow dropping his leg before applying a stretch hold. Rocking Horse by Michinoku and he then applies a reverse chinlock. Michinoku tags in Taichi, Taichi picks up BUSHIROAD and throws him into the corner. Double Irish whip to BUSHIROAD, Taichi hits a lariat and Michinoku follows with a jumping knee. Taichi kicks BUSHIROAD low, cover, but the referee doesn't see the cover. BUSHIROAD gets out of the ring so Titan comes in, but he is also double teamed. Taichi picks up Titan, he puts him up on the top turnbuckle and starts untieing his mask as well. Taichi slaps Titan in the back of the head, he then puts him in the Tree of Woe and stomps him in the face. Taichi picks up Titan, snapmare, and Michinoku hits a running knee. Cover, but it gets a two count. They wait for Titan to get up but he avoids Taichi's kick, double Irish whip to Titan but he comes off the ropes with a rebound handstand double elbow strike. Titan then goes off the ropes and is catapulted by Taichi to Michinoku, who he dropkicks out of the ring. Hurricanrana by Titan to Taichi, and he falls out of the ring as well. BUSHIROAD then gets a running start and sails out of the ring on both of them with a tope suicida. Now it is Titan's turn, and he flips himself out to the apron and hits a top rope Asai Moonsault onto his opponents. Back in the ring, BUSHIROAD hits a missile dropkick onto Taichi, Irish whip from the corner, reversed, but BUSHIROAD kicks Taichi in the face. Taichi goes for a sunset flip but Taichi rolls through it, kick attempt by BUSHIROAD but Taichi rips off his mask and rolls up BUSHIROAD for the three count! Your winners: TAKA Michinoku and Taichi
Post match: Taichi and Michinoku go for Titan's mask and they rip it off as well, and they then put on their opponent's masks before posing to the crowd. Meanwhile BUSHIROAD and Titan are laying in the ring with towels over their heads so no one can see who they really are. Good stuff.
Match Thoughts: I was all ready to kvetch about the unnecessary attempted removal of the masks which normally makes no sense since it doesn't hurt your opponents or lead to a victory, but then it lead to a victory. I love that taking off the mask of a Mexican wrestler (or a Japanese wrestler in a mask) is like an automatic victory since protecting their identity is more important than winning a match. Anyway good heel work by Michinoku and Taichi here, it did drag at parts since they were so focused on the masks but overall things went at a fast pace. I hadn't seen Titan before, he has some nifty move, I've always loved the Asai Moonsault off the top rope instead of the middle rope, just looks so much more difficult. Solid opener. Score: 6.0
OKUMURA, Vangelis, and Niebla Roja vs. Stuka Jr., Fuego, and Rey Cometa
Chop by Roja against the ropes but Stuka Jr. reverses positions with him and clubs him in the chest. Roja goes back to the chops, Stuka Jr. goes off the ropes but Stuka Jr. flips himself off the ropes and hits a headscissors. Roja falls out of the ring and Stuka Jr. slides out after him, hitting a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. He gets back in the ring but Vangelis runs in and hits him with a spear. Punches by Vangelis, he picks up Stuka Jr. and Roja comes in the ring with a dropkick. Fuego comes in the ring, double Irish whip to Fuego and they hit a double team move. Dropkick by Vangelis to Fuego and Fuego falls out of the ring. OKUMURA and Cometa come in the ring and OKUMURA hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker onto Cometa. Vangelis then hits a spinning heel kick, and Roja finishes with a thrust kick. OKUMURA holds Cometa and Cometa and Roja go for a double chop, but Cometa moves and OKUMURA gets chopped on accident. Fuego and Stuka Jr. run in to the ring and dropkick Vangelis and Roja, and they get them out of the ring. Stuka Jr. then goes out to the apron and Fuego flies through his legs out onto Vangelis with a tope suicida. Stuka Jr. then does an Asai Moonsault down onto Roja, and Cometa is left in the ring with OKUMURA. Cometa goes for a Frankensteiner but OKUMURA rolls through it and picks up the three count pinfall! Your winners: OKUMURA, Vangelis, and Niebla Roja
Match Thoughts: Way too short, on a six match card I don't understand having a six man match not even go seven minutes. The action was perfectly fine but obviously you can't any type of flow going when each wrestler is in the ring for such a short period of time. It wasn't even long enough to let any of the luchadors really display their skills as it wasn't really even a spotfest. Disappointing as Fuego and Niebla Roja in particular caught my eye but they just didn't do enough to really stick in my memory. Score: 4.0
Jado and Gedo vs. Jushin Thunder Liger and Maximo
Gedo picks up Maximo and slaps him before poking Maximo in the eyes. Gedo picks up Maximo and punches him, and Maximo falls out of the ring. Liger comes in the ring, he is attacked by Gedo as Jado comes in the ring, double Irish whip to Liger but Liger hits a DDT on both of them. Shotei by Liger on both men, Liger charges Gedo in the ring and hits another Shotei. Liger picks up Gedo and goes for a powerbomb, but Gedo gets out of it. Gedo goes off the ropes but Liger hits a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. Gedo falls out of the ring, Liger then goes out to the apron and hits a cannonball down to the floor. Maximo and Jado get back into the ring, Irish whip by Jado to the corner but Maximo hits a rebound jumping knee. Jado falls out of the ring and Maximo sails out onto him with a tope suicida. Maximo picks up Jado and slides him back into the ring, stomp by Maximo and he goes off the ropes but Jado kicks him in the stomach and knees Maximo in the head. Lariat by Jado, cover, but it gets a two count. Gedo comes back in the ring, Irish whip to Maximo to the corner and both men hit running lariats. Side Russian leg sweep by Jado and Gedo hits a thrust kick. Cover, and but he gets a two count. Jado picks up Maximo and hits a DDT with his feet on the second rope, cover, but Liger breaks it up. Gedo throws Liger out of the ring, Jado waits for Maximo to get up but Maximo give him a kiss, dropkick to the knee and he applies La Magistral for a three count! Your winners: Jushin Thunder Liger and Maximo
Match Thoughts: Just to explain, Maximo is an exotico and acts kinda girly, which is why Gedo was avoiding him and he was, you know, kissing his opponents. Kinda like a slightly toned-down Danshoku Dino, if that helps any. This was an odd blend of comedy and real action, I can see that having Maximo in a match does change the dynamic since while he does know how to wrestle he has to get in his 'exotico' spots. It wasn't a bad match, it was just disjointed between the wrestling spots and the comedy spots since there was only one comedy wrestler. On the plus side, unlike Ultimo Dragon in the last event I reviewed, Maximo did hit a nice La Magistral. Score: 4.5
Máscara Dorada and KUSHIDA vs. Tetsuya Naito and Volador Jr.
Volador gets up but Dorada hits a swandive hurricanrana, sending Volador out of the ring. Dorada then goes out to the apron and hits a hurricanrana off the apron, sending Dorada down the aisle. In the ring, backslide by KUSHIDA but it gets a two count. KUSHIDA then tries La Magistral but that gets a two count as well. Dorada gets back in the ring and chops Naito in the corner, double Irish whip from the corner but Naito avoids KUSHIDA and hits a hurricanrana onto Dorada. Dropkick by Naito to KUSHIDA, and he hits a dropkick in the corner followed by the slingshot dropkick. Volador gets back in the ring, double Irish whip to KUSHIDA and they deliver a double team combination. Cover by Naito, but it only gets two. Volador picks up KUSHIDA but KUSHIDA hits a handstand springboard elbow strike. Irish whip by KUSHIDA to Naito and KUSHIDA does a handstand kick, sending Naito out of the ring. KUSHIDA then goes up on the top turnbuckle and flies out to the floor with a tope con giro to Naito. Back in the ring, Dorada hits a swandive bodypress to Volador but it gets a two count. Dorada goes off the ropes but Volador dropkicks him in the back, cover but it gets a two count. Volador goes off the ropes and he nails the Volador Special, cover, and he picks up the three count! Your winners: Tetsuya Naito and Volador Jr.
Match Thoughts: This was a better display even if it was still shorter than I'd have preferred. There were a few miscommunications here, honestly I am surprised there are not more of them on this card but nothing horrible. The front flip piledriver somehow is still an awesome move even after Petey Williams tried to kill it all by himself, and there were some great high flying moves in this match. So for the spots, really good match, just don't go in expecting structure or anything like that. Score: 6.0
La Sombra and Rush vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Ultimo Guerrero
Sombra goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a hurricanrana, which sends Guerrero out of the ring. Sombra then goes up to the top turnbuckle and flies out of the ring with a moonsault onto Guerrero. Rush and Nakamura get into the ring, and the two trade elbows. Knee by Nakamura and Nakamura hits a heel kick. Nakamura kicks Rush down in the corner but Rush moves when Nakamura comes in and hits a thrust kick. Rush picks up Nakamura and tags in Sombra, they push Nakamura into the corner, double Irish whip, and Rush hits a lariat. Sombra then follows with a running knee, Rush picks up Nakamura and he takes Nakamura to the mat. Senton by Rush, cover, but it gets a two count when Guerrero breaks it up. Rush tags in Sombra, and Sombra dropkicks Guerrero into the corner. Rush then gets a running start and hits a dropkick as well, Sombra covers Guerrero but Nakamura breaks it up. Nakamura picks up Sombra and throws him out of the ring, Sombra puts Guerrero up on the top turnbuckle and hits the Misteriorana. Cover by Sombra, but Guerrero gets a shoulder up. Sombra grabs Guerrero, Irish whip to the corner, Guerrero puts himself up on the top turnbuckle, Sombra goes for a Frankensteiner but Guerrero reverses it with an avalanche powerbomb. Cover by Guerrero, but Sombra kicks out. Guerrero grabs Sombra and goes for a suplex, and Sombra hits a powerslam. Sombra goes for a quebrada, Guerrero rolls out of the way but Sombra hits a standing moonsault anyway. Cover, but it gets a two count. Guerrero grabs Sombra as they end up on the top turnbuckle, but Guerrero throws him off with a front suplex. Cover, but Rush breaks it up. Nakamura comes in the ring, lariat by Rush to Nakamura but Nakamura kicks him back. Inverted powerslam by Nakamura to Rush, Nakamura waits for Rush to get up but Rush avoids the Boma Ye. Belly to belly suplex by Rush and he dropkicks Nakamura out of the ring. Rush then goes out to the apron and hits a diving lariat on Nakamura. Guerrero and Sombra get back in the ring, Sombra avoids a Guerrero splash in the corner and slams Guerrero in front of the corner, Sombra goes up to the to turnbuckle but Guerrero pushes him into a seated position. Guerrero joins Sombra up top and nails his Guerrero Special! Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winners: Shinsuke Nakamura and Ultimo Guerrero
Match Thoughts: Oh this match. I haven't watched Lucha Libre in probably five years so I don't know if this is the norm, or they are just putting on a display for Japan. But man they weren't even trying to sell moves, there were times a wrestler would do a big move, and their opponent would just casually get up first and they'd go to the next spot. They also were really cooperative with each other for top turnbuckle moves. On the flip side I do enjoy the big moves, I saw moves in this match I haven't seen in a good while, they certainly know how to put on a display. So as a.... Lucha Libre Exhibition I think it was fine, there just was a minimal attempt to make it look like a real competition. Score: 5.0
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Mistico, and El Desperado vs. Kazuchika Okada, Mephisto, and Rey Escorpión
El Desperado then comes off the top turnbuckle with an armdrag to Escorpión, Mephisto punches El Desperado to the mat but Mistico comes off the top turnbuckle with a hurricanrana to Mephisto. Mephisto falls out of the ring and just Mistico remains in the ring, he goes off the ropes and sails out onto Mephisto with a tope con giro. Escorpión and El Desperado get in the ring, but El Desperado catapults Escorpión out of the ring to the floor. Tanahashi then goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving crossbody down to the floor onto Escorpión. Okada and El Desperado are in the ring, and Okada drops El Desperado with a DDT. Scoop slam by Okada, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving elbow drop. Okada grabs El Desperado but El Desperado goes off the ropes and hits an armdrag. Okada falls out of the ring and El Desperado hits a tope con giro through the ropes, taking out Okada and various other ringside obstacles in the process. Mistico and Mephisto are in the ring, Mistico goes off the ropes and hits a hurricanrana for a two count. Mephisto charges Mistico but Mistico puts Mephisto onto the ropes and then goes off the side ropes and hits another hurricanrana. Cover, but Escorpión breaks it up. Escorpión and Mephisto Irish whip Mistico but Mistico ducks the lariat and hits a hurricanrana onto Escorpión. Mistico throws Mephisto into the corner, Mephisto throws Mistico out to the apron but Mistico knocks him down and then sails from the top turnbuckle to the floor with a hurricanrana onto Escorpión. El Desperado gets in the ring to pair off with Mephisto, and El Desperado kicks Mephisto in the face. Cover, but Okada breaks it up. Irish whip by Okada to Mephisto and he hits a one man flapjack. Tanahashi takes his place, Tanahashi dropkicks Okada in the knee but Okada catches him with a dropkick. Okada then goes out onto Tanahashi with a pescado. Mistico and Escorpión get into the ring for their turn, Mistico goes off the ropes, trades moves with Escorpión and Mistico hits La Mistica! Escorpión quickly taps out. Your winners: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Mistico, and El Desperado
Match Thoughts: Just to be clear, this of course is not the original Mistico but the wrestler that took over the gimmick once the original went to WWE. New Mistico looks bigger than old Mistico, but he sure can hit a mean hurricanrana. Like the last match this was more of a match for fun than anything else. But it was certainly fun, although not a long match so no one wrestler got much of a chance to do anything except fly around the ring. Even Tanahashi got in on the flying, and El Desperado naturally looked right at home since he had been in Mexico the last few years. A more entertaining spotfest than the match before, but still just a big 'ol spotfest. Score: 6.5
Best Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Mistico, and El Desperado vs. Kazuchika Okada, Mephisto, and Rey Escorpión. I guess on an event with spotfests, the "best" spotfest is the best match and I think this was the best one on this event. Mistico did lots of flying around, as did all the other wrestlers as well. Definitely some fun spots and worth watching just as mindless enjoyment.
MVP: Mistico. The King High Flyer! I am not sure how many times Mistico left his feet during his match but it was the biggest lasting impression of the show. He isn't as smooth as the original Mistico but he appears to be good at this type of match anyway. I am always a sucker for the hurricanrana from the top turnbuckle down to the floor, ever since I first saw Mysterio do it way back in the day.
Overall: The biggest problem with this card is simply that there wasn't much wrestling. Actual in-match time for the entire event was under an hour, which to me is not really enough. There were only six matches and five clocked in right at ten minutes or less. That being said for a kinda laid back fun display of Lucha Libre it did its job in that regard, and I am sure it was an absolute blast to be at live. I just wish there was a match at the top that was longer and more of a "real" match and less of an exhibition. So worth watching since most of the matches are entertaining, there just isn't much of it and there isn't anything that you need to go out of the way to see.