New Japan "FANTASTICA MANIA 2014" on 1/19/14
A Review by Kevin Wilson
Date: January 19th, 2014
Now we are at the final card of the New Japan/CMLL joint tour. This has pretty much the same wrestlers as the last event I reviewed, but they are paired up differently to give new match-ups. Here is the full card:
- Máscara Don and Maximo vs. TAKA Michinoku and Taichi
Máscara Don and Maximo vs. TAKA Michinoku and Taichi
Taichi knees Máscara Don in the groin, cover, and Michinoku counts a quick three which of course doesn’t count. Máscara Don rolls out of the ring so Maximo gets back in the ring, and Michinoku applies the testicular claw in the corner. Snapmare by Michinoku and he re-applies the hold while the referee is distracted. Cover by Michinoku but Maximo gets a shoulder up. Michinoku picks up Maximo and they throw him in the corner, double Irish whip, but Maximo avoids the Michinoku charge and elbows Taichi. Maximo hits a lariat to Michinoku and then a dropkick to Taichi, which sends Taichi out of the ring. Maximo then sails out onto Taichi with a tope suicida. Michinoku gets a running start in the ring and jumps out onto Maximo with a pescado. Taichi gets back in the ring, he goes for an Asai Moonsault but Máscara Don knocks him off the apron to the floor. Máscara Don then goes up to the second turnbuckle and jumps down onto all three of them, plus two random dojo boys just to help catch him. I really don’t think Nakanishi has ever done that move before, it was not graceful but I don’t think it was supposed to be. Back in the ring Máscara Don chops Taichi, Irish whip, but Taichi grabs Máscara Don’s mask and delivers an elbow. Taichi goes off the ropes but Máscara Don catches him in a reverse Argentine Backbreaker, but Michinoku breaks it up. Máscara Don goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a double missile dropkick onto Taichi and Michinoku, and Nakanishi has officially lost his mind. Máscara Don waits for Michinoku to get up and hits a lariat, cover, but it gets a two count. Máscara Don hits an armdrag onto Michinoku, waistlock by Michinoku but Máscara Don reverses it. He holds Michinoku while Maximo comes into the ring, and Maximo gives Michinoku a kiss. Máscara Don applies the Don de Mariposa to Michinoku and he submits! Your winners: Máscara Don and Maximo
Match Thoughts: Ok so it wasn’t a good match, but seeing Nakanishi trying to do lucha spots was quiet amusing. And of course we were in on the joke so it’s not laughing at someone that isn’t good, it is laughing at a 47 year old wrestler doing moves he either has never done before or hasn’t done in a long time. Beyond that though there really wasn’t much to the match, but at least it did have a special attraction. Score: 5.5
OKUMURA and YOSHI-HASHI vs. Stuka Jr. and Rey Cometa
Match Thoughts: Really short match here as it clocked in at less than five minutes, so they pretty much went straight for the bombs even if it didn’t make any sense at the moment. I guess when you are putting on a display of big moves and are on a time constraint you don’t really have much of a choice. And don’t feel bad about the woman getting thrown around, she is a wrestler too. Score: 3.5
Tiger Mask, Titan, Fuego, El Desperado, and BUSHIROAD vs. Yano, Jado, Gedo, Niebla, and Vangelis
BUSHIROAD rolls out as El Desperado is brought in the ring, and Niebla chops him to the mat. Gedo rips at El Desperado’s eyes and Yano throws El Desperado into the corner. Jado picks up El Desperado and throws him back to his corner, where the turnbuckle pad has been removed. They then pull El Desperado down and ram him into the ring post. He falls out of the ring as BUSHIROAD comes in to face off with Jado, kick by Jado and he hits a lariat. Cover, but it gets a two count. Jado picks up BUSHIROAD, Irish whip to the corner but BUSHIROAD kicks them both back. A brawl breaks out and all ten wrestlers get in the ring. The good guys apply a leg lock to Gedo and company in a circle in the middle of the ring, and El Desperado hits a hurricanrana on Yano in the middle of the circle. The referee counts but everyone gets their shoulders up at two. The ring mostly clears as Titan and Tiger Mask hit tope suicidas on Gedo and Jado. Niebla is in the ring with Vangelis, and Vangelis helps catapult Niebla out of the ring and onto BUSHI and Tiger Mask. Titan comes in the ring, Vangelis misses a heel kick and while he is down, Titan catapults off his back onto Niebla with a tope con giro. Fuego kicks Vangelis out of the ring and hits a springboard plancha suicida down onto him. Most the wrestlers meet at the point on the outside, then El Desperado sails out onto all of them with a tope con giro. El Desperado throws Vangelis back into the ring and gets back in as well, El Desperado grabs Vangelis and goes for a suplex, but Vangelis blocks it. El Desperado lands on his feet, he goes off the ropes but Vangelis hits a German suplex hold for a two count. While everyone else brawls at ringside, in the ring Vangelis goes off the ropes but El Desperado ducks the lariat and hits a Guitarra de la Muerta on Vangelis. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winners: Tiger Mask, Titan, Fuego, El Desperado, and BUSHIROAD
Match Thoughts: Well that was clustertastic. I apologize if I mixed up anyone’s name in there somewhere, there was a lot going on and BUSHI was wearing a different outfit than usual which kept confusing me. Anyway this match was what it was, I did like that El Desperado picked up the pinfall though and was given a few key moments in the match. If he is going to be a new star of New Japan (which I hope he will be) he needs the exposure. For a ten minute ten man match it was actually a bit slow at times, I am not a big fan of the sequence where there are multiple heels in the ring and the faces just come in one at a time to get beat up. No real opportunity for the wrestlers to do much here, and even though there were some good spots I am getting a bit immune to that after watching three of these shows in a row. Score: 4.5
Tetsuya Naito and Rush vs. Tomohiro Ishii and Rey Escorpión
Escorpión charges Rush but Rush catches him and hits an overhead belly to belly suplex over the top rope. Rush then gets a running start and flies out onto Escorpión with a tope suicida. In the ring, Ishii goes off the ropes but Naito delivers a dropkick. Naito waits for Ishii to get up in the corner and hits the slingshot dropkick. Naito goes on the apron and hits a swandive missile dropkick to Ishii. Naito picks up Ishii and kicks him in the chest, he goes for a tornado DDT but Ishii pushes him off and hits a powerslam. Ishii picks up Naito and puts him onto the top turnbuckle, Ishii joins him and hits a suplex from the second turnbuckle. Cover, but Naito barely gets a shoulder up. Ishii picks up Naito and hits an elbow, but Naito fires back with elbows and they trade strikes. Ishii gets the better of it, he goes off the ropes but Naito catches him with a back elbow. Lariat by Ishii, cover, but Naito barely gets a shoulder up. Ishii picks up Naito but Naito slides down his back and hits a tornado DDT. Naito headbutts Ishii and they trade strikes as they get up, Irish whip by Naito, reversed, and Naito hits a diving elbow smash. He rolls out of the ring as does Ishii, so Rush gets into the ring with Escorpión. Escorpión and Rush trade slaps, Rush goes off the ropes but Escorpión catches him with a lariat. Superkick by Rush and he hits a running dropkick in the corner. Rush drags Escorpión towards the middle of the ring, cover, but it gets a two count. Rush hits a double stomp, he then goes up to the top turnbuckle but Escorpión rolls out of the way of the senton. Now it is Escorpión that goes up top and he hits the diving leg drop, cover, but it gets a two count. Escorpión picks up Rush and goes for the package piledriver, but Rush gets out of it. Knees by Rush and he nails the Rush Driver. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winners: Tetsuya Naito and Rush
Match Thoughts: I like that Ishii and Naito live in their own little vacuum and on all these shows are the ones much more interested in their own feud then interacting with the CMLL wrestlers. Not that I see that as a bad thing at all, it makes them both look focused on the bigger picture as they should be. This was pretty average all the way around, it picked up in parts but the beat down segments were a bit slow. Naito and Ishii showed good fire and Rush is exciting, but Escorpión doesn’t do much for me. Not a bad match by any stretch, just nothing really memorable about it. Score: 5.5
La Sombra vs. Ultimo Guerrero
La Sombra picks up Guerrero and throws him into the corner, hitting a few shoulder tackles. La Sombra puts Guerrero on the top turnbuckle and joins him, but Guerrero blocks the Frankensteiner attempt and powerbombs La Sombra to the mat. Cover by Guerrero, but it gets a two count. La Sombra lariats Guerrero into a seated position in the corner, he gets a running start and hits a running double knee. Cover by La Sombra, but it only gets two. La Sombra picks up Guerrero, Irish whip to the corner, Guerrero hops up on the top turnbuckle as La Sombra joins him, and Guerrero hits a front suplex over the second turnbuckle. Cover, but La Sombra gets a shoulder up. Irish whip by Guerrero from the corner but La Sombra moves when Guerrero charges in. La Sombra then gets up on the top turnbuckle and hits a moonsault from the top turnbuckle down to the floor. Back in the ring, La Sombra picks up Guerrero and slams him in front of the corner, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits the moonsault. Cover, but it gets a two count. Another slam by La Sombra, he goes to the ropes and goes for the quebrada, Guerrero rolls out of the way and then gets his knees up when La Sombra goes for a standing moonsault. Cover by Guerrero, but it gets two. Guerrero charges La Sombra in the corner but La Sombra moves and drops him with the Shadow Driver. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner: La Sombra
Match Thoughts: It started slow, but once it picked up it stayed there until the end of the match. I have no idea what type of dive La Sombra was going for on the first one that he undershot by about five feet but it was certainly unique, luckily no one got hurt or anything since wrestlers are impervious to the type of pain that you or I feel. Matches like this make me sad that wrestling on TV in the US isn’t more diverse, it wasn’t great but it was different. Not a lot of structure or reasoning to it, but the spots were good and nothing was offensive. Score: 6.5
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, and Mistico vs. Nakamura, Yujiro Takahashi, and Mephisto
Tanahashi is stomped in the corner, double Irish whip to Tanahashi and he gets a double elbow by Takahashi and Mephisto. Spinebuster by Nakamura and he kicks Tanahashi through the ropes down to the floor. Ibushi comes in the ring for some reason and Takahashi attacks him from behind. All three men stomp on Ibushi, Irish whip and Nakamura hits an assisted powerbomb. Cover, but Ibushi kicks out. Mistico comes back in, Mephisto Irish whip shim and throws Mistico up into the air. Nakamura kicks Mistico in the ribs, Mephisto picks up Mistico and Takahashi hits a boot to the midsection. Tanahashi rolls back in the ring as Mistico rolls out, Mephisto picks up Tanahashi and throws him into the corner. Irish whip to Tanahashi but Tanahashi avoids the Mephisto attack, ducks Takahashi’s lariat and hits a dragon screw leg whip on Nakamura. Lariat by Takahashi to Tanahashi but Ibushi comes in the ring and he hits an overhead kick to Takahashi. Mephisto knocks down Ibushi but Mistico comes in the ring with a swandive hurricanrana. Mistico goes off the ropes but slides out of the ring, he then gets up on the top turnbuckle and hits a diving hurricanrana onto Mephisto. Ibushi and Nakamura are in the ring, and Nakamura kicks Ibushi into the corner. Knees by Nakamura, Nakamura gets a running start but Ibushi moves out of the way. Missile dropkick by Ibushi to Nakamura, he waits for Nakamura to get up and hits a kick combination. High kick by Ibushi, Nakamura ducks the PK but Ibushi hits a corkscrew standing moonsault for a two count.
Ibushi picks up Nakamura, slams him in front of the corner, he goes up to the top turnbuckle but Takahashi grabs his leg and Nakamura kicks Ibushi. Nakamura then hits a running knee onto Ibushi in the corner followed by an inverted powerslam. Nakamura charges Ibushi but Ibushi snaps off a hurricanrana. Nakamura falls out of the ring, Ibushi runs up to the corner but Takahashi is there and kicks him off. Ibushi falls to the floor as Takahashi and Tanahashi get into the ring. Takahashi goes off the ropes and he catches Tanahashi with a powerslam, cover, but it gets a two count. Takahashi picks up Tanahashi, Tanahashi slaps him back but Takahashi hits a Stun Gun. Takahashi picks up Tanahashi but Tanahashi elbows out of it and hits the Sling Blade. Takahashi rolls out of the ring, and Tanahashi hits a pescado down onto him. Nakamura then hits a twisting pescado onto Tanahashi, but Ibushi goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a moonsault onto Nakamura. In the ring, Mistico hits a diving crossbody on Mephisto but it gets a two count. Mephisto picks up Mistico and chops him in the chest. Back up again, Irish whip by Mephisto but Mistico ducks the lariat and hits La Magistral! Mephisto quickly taps out. Your winners: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, and Mistico
Match Thoughts: I am starting to notice a pattern, watching these shows virtually back to back. As I know I have mentioned, the beatdown segments where a face wrestler rolls in, gets beat up by three men, rolls out, a new face wrestler rolls in, gets beat up, rolls out etc. etc. doesn’t really do it for me as even in the world of wrestling it isn’t logical. They would just go in together and certainly not follow the same pattern they did in a previous match. The match wasn’t bad and the last few minutes were entertaining, it is just starting to get repetitive and there was nothing about it that set it apart from the other matches from this tour. Score: 6.0
(c) Volador Jr. vs. Máscara Dorada
Dorada goes off the ropes and hits a rebound armdrag, Volador Jr. falls outside the ring, Dorada goes out after him and hit a hurricanrana out on the floor. Dorada then climbs up into the crown and dives off the stage with a hurricanrana onto Volador Jr.. Dorada tosses Volador Jr. back into the ring, Dorada gets onto the apron and goes for a swandive seated senton, but Volador Jr. catches him and powerbombs Dorada into the turnbuckles. Cover, but it gets a two count. Dorada goes off the ropes but Volador Jr. rolls him up for a two count. Superkick by Volador Jr. and she hits a Backstabber, cover, but Dorada kicks out. Dorada charges Volador Jr. and hits a rebound dropkick out of the corner, cover, but Dorada gets a two count. Dorada charges Volador Jr. but Volador Jr. moves and Dorada gets caught up in the ropes. Diving legdrop by Volador Jr., cover, but it only gets two. Back up, Dorada goes off the ropes and hits a hurricanrana, which sends Volador Jr. out of the ring. Dorada then dives out onto Volador Jr. with the Brillo Dorada. Dorada and Volador Jr. get back into the ring, Dorada goes up to the top turnbuckle but Volador Jr. kicks him. Volador Jr. then goes up top with Dorada and hits an Avalanche Frankensteiner. Cover, but Dorada kicks out. Dorada goes off the ropes but Volador Jr. drops him onto the apron. Swandive sunset flip by Dorada, cover, but it only gets a two count. Back up, Code Red by Dorada, but Volador Jr. kicks out. Dorada is up first, he picks up Volador Jr. and slams him near the corner. Dorada goes up to the top turnbuckle but Volador Jr. gets his boot up when he goes for the moonsault. Cover, but it gets two. Back up, Volador Jr. goes off the ropes and rolls up Dorada for another two. Dorada charges Volador Jr. in the corner, Dorada goes up top but Volador Jr. joins him. Spanish Fly by Volador Jr., cover, but Dorada barely gets a shoulder up. Volador Jr. gets out to the apron and goes up on the second rope, but Dorada kicks him and goes up top. Walking Frankensteiner from the second rope by Dorada, cover, but it only gets a two count. Volador Jr. goes off the ropes and hits the Volador Special, he goes off the ropes a second time and hits a modified Volador Special. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner and still champion: Volador Jr.
Match Thoughts: I jokingly called this tour a Lucha Libre Exhibition, well this match was literally a Lucha Libre Exhibition. I mean there were probably ten dives out to the floor, it wasn't unusual for the wrestler that got a move done on him to be the first one up to go to the next spot, and generally it was just a series of big spots. Now some of the spots were really nice and their execution was flawless, but others were just really contrived and it felt like I was just watching a small indy with two young wrestlers that just wanted to do lots of big spots and nothing else. I have no idea if this is the same way that the matches are laid out in CMLL, I am assuming they are not, as while kinda fun to watch for the spots this match didn't really resemble a wrestling match at all. Score: 5.0
Best Match: La Sombra vs. Ultimo Guerrero. While not a masterpiece, at least the match started slow and built up to the big spots instead of just jumping right into them. It still had the spots but since they were fewer it just meant a bit more when they were finally hit. Both these wrestlers really are quality, I have enjoyed watching them over these three shows.
MVP: La Sombra. La Sombra is just a beast. He is a bigger guy (meaning muscular, not fat), but he can still hit the flying spots as well. So his power moves are very convincing, but he can still "wow" the crowd by flying through the air when necessary. Since he came out the victor in what I thought was the best match on the card, he came the closest to standing out on this event, even though no one really blew me away.
Overall: In terms of quality of matches, this event was between the two other events I have reviewed for this tour. It did not have a real blow-away or standout match, and like the others some of the matches came across as an introduction to Lucha Libre more than anything else. Which was probably the goal, and the live crowd seemed to be having a really good time, but these types of matches just typically don't produce a lot that stick in your mind more than a few hours. For some Lucha Libre fun, it is worth a watch, but as a stand-alone event it had just as much good as bad so I can't really recommend it.