Date: December 23rd, 1997
Location: Tokyo Korakuen Hall, Japan
A little backstory is probably in order. Umanosuke Ueda was a professional wrestler that from the 60s to 1996 wrestled in NWA, New Japan, All Japan, IWE, and various other smaller promotions. For many years he was considered one of the best "heels" in the business, as he used weapons and anything else available to win matches. He really was never the top dog for any substantial amount of time, but was an important part in just about every promotion he was in. In 1996, Ueda was in a terrible car accident that left him paralyzed, and this show held the following year was held to raise money for him. As you can see, a number of promotions took part including PWFG, Big Japan, New Japan, WAR, BattlARTS, IWA Japan, FMW, Michinoku Pro, as well as a few smaller promotions. 6 matches were shown in full, with the rest just in highlight form. Here is the full card:
- Koki Kitahara vs. Nobutaka Araya (Highlights)
- Kenichi Yamamoto vs. Minoru Toyonaga (Highlights)
- El Samurai and Kendo Ka Shin vs. Koji Kanemoto and Tatsuhito Takaiwa (Highlights)
- Fandom vs. Ryuma Go (Highlights)
- Daisuke Ikeda and Mohammed Yone vs. Yuki Ishikawa and Naohiro Hoshikawa (Highlights)
- Great Kabuki and Daikokubo Benkei vs. Tarzan Goto and Katsutoshi Niiyama (Highlights)
- Masakazu Fukuda vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara
- Seiji Yamakawa and Shoji Nakamaki vs. Yoshihiro Tajiri and Minoru Fujita
- Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Satoshi Kojima
- Devil vs. Goro Tsurumi
- Kamikaze and Hiroyoshi Kotsubo vs. Masaaki Mochizuki and Takashi Okamura
- Shodai Tiger Mask vs. Tiger Mask IV
I am going to review it in the opposite form then it is on the DVD, with the highlight matches first and the full matches to follow. Let's get started.
Koki Kitahara vs. Nobutaka Araya
This is the Semi Final match in the
WAR Nippon J1 Title Tournament. Araya attacks Kitahara as the bell rings and throws him out of the ring. Araya goes for a powerbomb but Kitahara reverses it with a hurricanrana. Up in the stands, Kitahara powerbombs Araya. Back in the ring, backdrop suplex by Kitahara, but Araya hits a dragon screw leg whip. Scoop slam by Araya, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails a moonsault. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner: Nobutaka Araya
Match Thoughts: Young(er) Araya! That is about it. Score: N/A
Kenichi Yamamoto vs. Minoru Toyonaga
This match was offered by Kingdom. They jockey for position in the ring, trade lots of punches, and someone wins. I have no idea who is who.
Match Thoughts: No idea who these guys are, and I do minimal research for highlights-only matches. Score: N/A
El Samurai and Kendo Kashin vs. Koji Kanemoto and Tatsuhito Takaiwa
This match was offered by New Japan. They get into a big brawl to start the match with the maskless ones getting the advantage. Takaiwa goes for a diving elbow drop but Samurai moves out of the way, then Samurai goes up top and delivers a missile dropkick. Samurai goes for a hurricanrana but Takaiwa catches him and hits a trio of powerbombs. Kanemoto goes for a moonsault onto Samurai, but Samurai gets his leg up and nails the Samurai Bomb. In the corner now, Takaiwa goes for the Takaiwa Bomb onto Kanemoto but Kashin reverses it into a keylock and picks up the submission victory! Your winners: El Samurai and Kendo Kashin
Match Thoughts: Obviously clipped to just the "spots," but what great spots they were. Samurai just drops Kanemoto with the Samurai Bomb, and I always enjoy seeing the trio of powerbombs. The New Japan Jr. Heavyweights were just on fire in the mid-90s, wish I could have seen the whole match. Score: N/A
Fandom vs. Ryuma Go
This match was offered by the Samurai Project. Dropkicks by Fandom to start the match and he hits a bridging suplex for a two count. Go quickly takes control and hits two powerbombs, cover, but it gets a two count. Go picks up Fandom and nails a backdrop suplex, cover, but again he only gets a two. Go picks up Fandom one last time, applies the cross armbreaker and picks up the three count! Your winner: Ryuma Go
Match Thoughts: The name "Fandom" had a "?" by it in every match listing I found, so that may or may not be the right name. Doesn't really matter since Go squashed him like a bug. Score: N/A
Daisuke Ikeda and Mohammed Yone vs. Yuki Ishikawa and Naohiro Hoshikawa
This match was offered by BattlARTS. Ikeda beats up Hoshikawa and applies a heel kick, but Ishikawa breaks it up. Kicks by Hoshikawa to Ikeda in the corner, Ishikawa hits a backdrop suplex
to Yone and he picks up the three count. Your winners: Yuki Ishikawa and Naohiro Hoshikawa
Match Thoughts: Less clips then usual and I don't know much about Hoshikawa, but the spots were good ones. Score: N/A
Great Kabuki and Daikokubo Benkei vs. Tarzan Goto and Katsutoshi Niiyama
This match is IWA Japan vs. Shin FMW. They brawl as soon as the bell rings with Niiyama taking Kabuki out of the ring and tossing him around, but Kabuki returns the favor. Goto gets a chair and hits Benkei over the head with it, and then hits a diving body press for a two count. Back up, Benkei goes for a powerbomb onto Niiyama but Goto hits him in the head with a chair. Body slam by Benkei onto Niiyama followed by an elbow drop, running body press by Benkei and he picks up the three count. Your winners: Great Kabuki and Daikokubo Benkei
Match Thoughts: Just to be clear, "Shin FMW" is not the same as the real FMW, Goto left FMW in 1995 and he began wrestling under the "Shin FMW" banner, including promoting a few events under that name. The 30 second version of this match was fine but I imagine the 12 minute version was probably borderline brutal as Benkei and Niiyama aren't very good and Kabuki was rather old at this point even though I love him. Score: N/A
Now onto the full matches!
Masakazu Fukuda vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara
Fukuda represents Wrestle Yume Factory and Fujiwara represents PWFG. They circle each other to start, Fujiwara goes for Fukuda's arm but Fukuda breaks away. Single leg takedown by Fukuda but Fujiwara rolls through it and goes for the Fujiwara Armbar until Fukuda gets a foot on the ropes. Back up, tie-up, takedown by Fukuda and he gets in the mount position, but Fujiwara gets into the ropes and Fukuda gives a break. Fujiwara goes for Fukuda's arm, but Fukuda gets into the ropes before Fujiwara can do anything to him. On their feet again, Fukuda goes for a fireman's carry takeover but Fujiwara blocks it. Fukuda gets into the ropes to get Fujiwara off of him, front facelock by Fujiwara, Fukuda rolls out of it and applies a headlock, but Fujiwara gets out of it and goes for Fukuda's leg. Fujiwara goes for the Fujiwara Armbar but Fukuda blocks it and goes for the cross armbreaker. Fujiwara reverses it into a kneelock by Fukuda reaches the ropes to get a break. Fujiwara chops Fukuda in in the corner before backing off to allow Fukuda up, but Fukuda slaps Fujiwara against the ropes. Fukuda pushes Fujiwara into the corner but gives a clean break. Takedown by Fujiwara and he goes for Fukuda's leg, but Fukuda grabs the ropes. Fukuda goes for a kick but Fujiwara catches it and sweeps his leg out. Kneelock by Fujiwara, but Fukuda wiggles to the ropes and gets the break. Fukuda goes for the sleeper and gets it locked on, but Fujiwara gets a foot on the ropes. Belly to belly suplex by Fukuda and he hits a second one. Cover, but it doesn't get a two count. Fukuda goes for the Fujiwara Armbar, but Fujiwara reverses it into a Fujiwara Armbar of his own and Fukuda taps out! Your winner: Yoshiaki Fujiwara
Match Thoughts: Not my type of match, pretty simple mat work for the bulk of it.... no fun reversals, interesting spots, or anything that really got me into it. The end was nice with Fukuda getting a little cocky and goes for Fujiwara's own move which naturally got reversed, but beyond that I was just happy that it was over. Fujiwara is legendary in his own right, but wrestling a much lower ranking wrestler he mostly just goes for a few simple submissions, takes a few moves and picks up the win. Pretty average all the way around. Score: 3.5
Seiji Yamakawa and Shoji Nakamaki vs. Yoshihiro Tajiri and Minoru Fujita
This match was offered by Big Japan Pro Wrestling. Fujita attacks Yamakawa as the bell rings and hits a pair of dropkicks. Fujita picks up Yamakawa and delivers a German suplex hold for a two count. Standing armbar by Fujita but Yamakawa gets out of it, snapmare by Yamakawa and he applies a reverse chinlock. Fujita quickly gets out of it and picks up Yamakawa before going back to the armbar. Yamakawa punches out of it, wristlock by Yamakawa but Fujita gets out of it with an armdrag. Yamakawa pats Fujita on the head but Fujita fires back with a dropkick, kicks by Fujita but Yamakawa delivers a backdrop suplex. Back up, slaps by Fujita but Yamakawa gets in the mount position before picking up Fujita as Fujita continues slapping him. Yamakawa tags in Nakamaki, Fujita knees Nakamaki and takes in Tajiri. Tajiri and Nakamaki circle each other, side headlock by Nakamaki, Tajiri Irish whips out of it but Nakamaki shoulderblocks him down. Back up, kicks by Tajiri and a rolling kick sends Nakamaki to the mat. Tajiri kicks Nakamaki in the leg and tags in Fujita, who comes in the ring with a missile dropkick. Fujita picks up Nakamaki and drops him to the mat before applying a single leg crab hold. Yamakawa breaks it up quickly and both wrestlers tag out, Irish whip by Tajiri to Yamakawa and Tajiri delivers a spinning heel kick. Rolling senton by Tajiri followed by a standing moonsault, cover, but it gets a two count. Scoop slam by Tajiri to Yamakawa and he delivers a diving body press for a two count. Tajiri picks up Yamakawa but Yamakawa hits a brainbuster. Kicks to the back by Yamakawa and he makes the tag to Nakamaki. Nakamaki picks up Tajiri, Irish whip, and Nakamaki hits a lariat. Powerbomb by Nakamaki, and Tajiri rolls out of the ring. Nakamaki sails out onto him with a tope suicida, and he rolls Tajiri back into the ring. DDT by Nakamaki, he picks up Tajiri but Tajiri fights back and hits a scoop slam followed by a double stomp. Tajiri tags in Fujita, and Fujita comes in the ring with a top rope double stomp to Nakamaki. Fujita throws Nakamaki in the corner and tells Yamakawa to tag in, and Yamakawa complies. Yamakawa charges Fujita but Fujita catches him with a uranage. Hurricanrana by Fujita, but it only gets a two count. He goes for a second one, but Yamakawa blocks it and drops him with a Stun Gun. Yamakawa tags in Nakamaki, Nakamaki picks up Fujita, Irish whip, and he nails a lariat. Cover, but it gets a two count. Nakamaki picks up Fujita and hits a series of headbutts, cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winners: Seiji Yamakawa and Shoji Nakamaki
Match Thoughts: This was a really fun match, and probably the earliest match I have reviewed with Yamakawa, Tajiri, and Fujita. Even with no backstory the story was still easy to understand, Fujita was the feisty young wrestler who didn't like the slightly more experienced Yamakawa, with Nakamaki being the veteran gatekeeper in the match that was able to put away the much smaller Fujita once he was stunned. There weren't really any missteps which is notable considering the experience level of some of the wrestlers, and overall it was a good representation for Big Japan. Score: 7.0
Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Satoshi Kojima
This match was offered by New Japan Pro Wrestling. They circle each other to start, tie-up, but they break cleanly. Another tie-up, again neither can get the advantage. Side headlock by Kojima, Tenzan Irish whips out of it and the two collide with neither man going down. Kojima goes off the ropes with the same result, he goes off a third time and this time Kojima downs Tenzan with a lariat. Kojima goes off the ropes and hits a rolling senton, he goes off the ropes again and lariats Tenzan out of the ring. Kojima exits the ring and clubs Tenzan in the back, and Kojima hits Tenzan in the back with a chair. Kojima slides Tenzan back into the ring and returns as well, chop in the chest by Kojima and the two trade blows, but Tenzan downs Kojima with Mongolian chop. Chops by Tenzan but Kojima blocks a Mongolian chop and delivers one of his own. Kojima kicks Tenzan against the ropes and elbows him in the back of the head, headbutt by Kojima but Tenzan fires up and headbutts Kojima back. Tenzan rakes Kojima's eyes with his boot, he picks up Kojima and throws him into the corner. Clubs to the back by Tenzan but Kojima regains the advantage and lariats Tenzan in the corner. Irish whip by Kojima but Tenzan blocks the lariat and throws Kojima out of the ring. Tenzan come s off the apron with a chop, he goes to throw Kojima into the rail but Kojima reverses it. Kojima throws Tenzan head-first into the ring post, he goes for a lariat when Tenzan is against the post, but Tenzan ducks and Kojima lariats the post instead. Tenzan gets a chair and hits Kojima with it a few times before re-entering the ring. Kojima follows him him, kicks by Tenzan, cover, but it gets a two count.
Tenzan picks up Kojima and applies an armbar, he releases the hold and hits an armbreaker. Another armbreaker by Tenzan and he kicks Kojima in the arm. Irish whip by Tenzan and he delivers a spinning heel kick for a two count cover. Chop to the throat by Tenzan, he picks up Kojima, Irish whip, and he nails the Mountain Bomb for a two count. Scoop slam by Tenzan, he goes up to the top turnbuckle but Kojima gets a boot up when he goes for the diving headbutt. Lariat by Kojima, Irish whip from the corner and he hits the jumping elbow strike followed by the diving elbow drop for a two count. Kojima picks up Tenzan, Irish whip, and he delivers the Rydeen Bomb for a two count. Kojima picks up Tenzan, Irish whip, reversed, and Kojima drops Tenzan with the Koji Cutter. Cover, but Tenzan kicks out. Kojima picks up Tenzan but Tenzan knocks him down with a par of Mongolian Chops. Tenzan picks up Kojima and nails a powerbomb, he goes up to the top turnbuckle but Kojima rolls out of the way of the moonsault. Dropkick by Kojima, he goes off the ropes and lariats Tenzan in the back of the head. Kojima picks up Tenzan but Tenzan hits a low blow. Club to the back by Tenzan, and he nails the TTD. Tenzan goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers the diving headbutt, cover, and he holds down Kojima for the three count. Your winner: Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Match Thoughts: Probably the most significant match on the card as in New Japan they were both still young wrestlers fighting for their spot in the main event (both had Tag Team Championship runs at this stage of their careers, but neither had won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship or G1 Climax yet) and were pretty popular. But significant doesn't always equal great, it was a solid match but had too many issues. I am not one to cry about limb work unnecessarily, but Tenzan made attacking Kojima's arm a mid-match point of importance, but as soon as Kojima was back in control the very first thing he did was a lariat and the arm was completely forgotten after that. Also, I tend to not like a cheap transition (low blow in this case) directly leading to a win, seems like a cop out of sorts. Otherwise the action was fine, the crowd enjoyed it and they got a decent amount of time. Score: 5.5
Next up, wrestlers sit in the ring facing a TV with Ueda, who was unable to attend due to his health issues. The wrestlers seated to give their thoughts to Ueda included Antonio Inoki and other wrestlers that admittedly I recognize but can't pinpoint (I think that Great Kojika, Seiji Sakaguchi, and Tarzan Goto are also there). But it does show how important Ueda was, if Inoki himself is seated in the ring talking to a TV screen in Korakuen Hall.
Goro Tsurumi vs. Devil
This match was offered by
the Kokusai Promotion. This was mislabeled as Ryuma Go online, but I am well aware what Goro Tsurumi looks like. Devil hits Tsurumi outside the ring as the match starts and Devil punches Tsurumi as they go into the stands. Back into the ring, Tsurumi and Devil circle each other, snapmare by Tsurumi but Devil lands on his feet. Tie-up again, side headlock by Devil and he takes Tsurumi to the mat. Tsurumi reverses that with a headscissors, but Devil gets out of it and they get back to their feet. Side headlock takedown by Tsurumi, Devil gets up, Irish whip by Devil, and he delivers a spinning heel kick. Devil picks up Tsurumi, Irish whip, reversed, Devil ducks a lariat but Tsurumi knocks him down with a backfist. Tsurumi waits for Devil to get up, Irish whip, and he hits a drop toehold and rolls him up, but Devil lands in the ropes and he gets a rope break. Tie-up, Devil pushes Tsurumi into the corner and hits a series of chops. Irish whip by Devil and he delivers a lariat in the corner. Another Irish whip and he elbows Tsurumi, he sends Tsurumi on another ride but Tsurumi avoids the dropkick and delivers a scoop slam. Devil rolls out of the ring and quickly switches with his partner who has on the exact same costume. Devil II pummels Tsurumi back into the corner, Irish whip, and Devil II delivers a jumping elbow. Kicks by Devil II in the corner and he hits another elbow followed by a series of headbutts. He goes for a lariat, but Tsurumi ducks it, Irish whip by Tsurumi and he crushes Devil II in the corner. Irish whip by Tsurumi and he knees Devil II in the stomach. Low blow by Devil II and he kicks him low again. Headbutt to the groin by Devil II, cover, but the referee won't count it due to the low blows. Devil II goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails an avalanche leg drop, cover, but it gets a two count. Back up, wristlock by Tsurumi and he kicks Devil II in the arm. Tsurumi picks up Devil II and applies an arm submission, but Devil breaks it up. Devil II rolls out of the ring and they switch again, Devil gets in the ring but Tsurumi catches him with a slam. Tsurumi picks up Devil and nails a capture suplex, but Devil II switches with Devil again when Tsurumi is talking to the referee. Tsurumi puts Devil II onto the top turnbuckle but Devil II pushes him off and applies an inside cradle for the three count! Your winner: Devil (and Devil II)
What did we do wrong?
Match Thoughts: Wrestling needs more tag teams that switch places with each other throughout the match. I loved it. Poor Tsurumi, he'd finally get the upper hand and they'd find some way to switch, making him have to start all over again. Indy Sleaze at it's finest. Score: 6.5
Masaaki Mochizuki and Takashi Okamura vs. Kamikaze and Hiroyoshi Kotsubo
Kamikaze & Hiroyoshi Kotsubo represent Wrestle Yume Factory and Masaaki Mochizuki & Takashi Okamura represent the Bukoh Dojo. Mochizuki and Kotsubo start things off. They struggle for position on the mat with Kotsubo getting the advantage, but Mochizuki gets to the ropes. Back up, takedown by Kotsubo and he goes for the cross armbreaker, but Mochizuki quickly gets a foot on the bottom rope. Kotsubo tags in Kamikaze, and Kamikaze clubs Mochizuki in the back. Kamikaze slaps Mochizuki against the ropes, Irish whip, but Mochizuki ducks the lariat and delivers a kick combination to Kamikaze. Kamikaze rolls out of the ring as Mochizuki tags in Okamura, Kamikaze returns but is met by more kicks. Leg sweep by Okamura and he kicks Kamikaze in the back of the head. Okamura picks up Kamikaze but Kamikaze punches him to the mat. Knees by Kamikaze and he tags in Kotsubo, who dropkicks Okamura in the face. Dropkick to the ribs by Kotsubo, and both he and Kamikaze dropkick Okamura in the head. Reverse chinlock by Kotsubo to Okamura, but Okamura rolls into the ropes. Running kick by Kotsubo, he goes off the ropes but Mochizuki kicks him from the apron and Okamura delivers a jumping kick to Kotsubo. Mochizuki is tagged in, and they hit a double suplex onto Kotsubo. More kicks by Okamura and a senton, standing moonsault by Mochizuki to Kotsubo and he delivers a springboard kick. Kamikaze runs in and knocks Mochizuki out of the ring, and then nails a springboard moonsault down to the floor onto Mochizuki.
Mochizuki comes back in the ring, belly to belly suplex by Kotsubo and he drops Mochizuki with a modified Falcon Arrow for a two count. Irish whip by Kotsubo from the corner and he hits an elbow strike. He tries again, but Mochizuki kicks him back and nails a swan dive spinning heel kick. Cover, but it gets a two count. Mochizuki picks up Kotsubo but Kotsubo manages to tag in Kamikaze. Lariat by Kamikaze to Mochizuki and he hits a sit-down powerbomb for a two count. Kamikaze waits for Mochizuki to get up but Mochizuki ducks the lariat, Mochizuki goes off the ropes and both wrestlers go for a kick with neither really connecting. Double jump kick out of the corner by Mochizuki, cover, but it gets a two count. Mochizuki tags in Okamura, kick to the chest by Okamura to Kamikaze but Kamikaze pushes him back. Kamikaze goes for a lariat, but Okamura ducks it and kicks Kamikaze hard in the head. Snap brainbuster by Okamura, cover, but it gets a two count. Okamura picks up Kamikaze and kicks him in the chest, but Kamikaze catches one and delivers a backdrop suplex. Kamikaze picks up Okamura and hits a Fisherman suplex, but Okamura barely gets a shoulder up. Kamikaze then hits a Fisherman brainbuster, but Mochizuki breaks up the cover attempt. Kotsubo grabs Mochizuki while Kamikaze picks up Okamura, slamming him in front of the corner. Kamikaze then goes to the top turnbuckle and nails the Kamikaze Tornado, cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winners: Kamikaze and Hiroyoshi Kotsubo
Match Thoughts: Solid match, with Mochizuki and Kamikaze being the standouts. I haven't seen a lot of younger Kamikaze, I can see where he got that name as his dive to the outside of the ring was just crazy. I had never seen Kotsubo before and he didn't leave much of an impression, even though there was nothing really wrong with his performance, he was just kinda "there" so to speak. Overall a decent match, nothing that will rock your world but good bell to bell action. Score: 6.0
Shodai Tiger Mask vs. Tiger Mask IV
For simplicity sake, in this write-up I will refer to Shodai Tiger Mask under his real name, Sayama. Back kick by Sayama to start the match, Irish whip to the corner and he delivers the flip kick. Tiger Mask comes back with a jumping back kick, Irish whip to the corner and he delivers a flip kick of is own. They trade dropkick and high kick attempts with neither connecting on the blows. Single leg takedown by Tiger Mask and he goes for the leg, but Sayama grabs is arm and goes for the cross armbreaker until Tiger Mask gets a foot on the ropes. Back up, single leg takedown by Sayama and he applies a leg submission hold. Tiger Mask gets out of it and goes for Sayama's arm but Sayama gets to the ropes. Tiger Mask picks up Sayama, Irish whip by Sayama but Tiger Mask shoulderblocks him down. Tiger Mask goes off the ropes but Sayama catches him with a dropkick. Sayama goes off the ropes but Tiger Mask hits a cartwheel into a crossbody for a two count. Tiger Mask charges Sayama, but Sayama back bodydrops him out of the ring. Sayama then goes off the far ropes to do a dive, but he swings himself back into the ring when Tiger Mask moves out of the way. Tiger Mask slides back in and he slaps Sayama down to the mat. After a moment Sayama returns to his feet, more strikes by Tiger Mask but Sayama connects with a hard punch. The referee admonishes Sayama for the closed fist punch and Sayama checks on Tiger Mask while massaging his knuckles. Tiger Mask eventually gets back up but Sayama connects with a trio of kicks to Tiger Mask's face. Another kick by Sayama and he nails the tombstone piledriver. Sayama goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers a diving headbutt, cover, but it gets a two count. Sayama picks up Tiger Mask and hits the DDT, cover, but again it gets a two count. Sayama picks up Tiger Mask again and this time nails a spinning kick, and he slaps Tiger Mask while he is against the ropes. Sayama gets a running start but Tiger Mask pulls down the top rope and Sayama falls out of the ring. Tiger Mask goes off the ropes and hits a tope suicida onto Sayama, Tiger Mask gets back in the ring but when Sayama gets on the apron he kicks Tiger Mask over the top rope and then hits a sunset flip back into the ring for the three count. Your winner: Shodai Tiger Mask
Match Thoughts: Sayama gave Tiger Mask more then he is known for, especially considering Tiger Mask was just an indy wrestler at the time and still honing his craft so to speak. It is funny watching such a young and still hungry Tiger Mask, a big difference to what has been seen the last few years. The winner was never in doubt, no real way that Sayama was losing to a young indy wrestler, but that doesn't mean he didn't take his lumps. I thought the punch came across really well, Tiger Mask was laying into Sayama was strikes and Sayama instinctively punched him in the head, which while he felt bad about it that didn't stop him from taking advantage and control of the match. Ending was very sudden but Sayama had been targeting Tiger Mask's head for the last few minutes and the high kick was enough to stun him for the three count. Good to see Sayama when he was still in pretty good shape, not early-80s shape but he had no problem flying around or doing the kip-up, fun match overall. Score: 7.0
A fitting tribute Ueda, it didn't have a big stand out match but it had enough of a unique and special vibe that it came across as an important show. Getting Sayama/Tiger Mask was a big deal and the number of promotions that took part shows the importance that Ueda had to so many different people. Inoki himself being there put over this being a notable event, although I do wish that more of the event was available as I wish I could have seen more of the clipped match. It is hard to rate high an event where half is only shown in highlight form, but this was a fun little multi-promotion show, if you see it available I'd recommend giving it a watch but I wouldn't go out of my way to see it since only six matches are full and one of the theoretically big matches (Tenzan/Kojima) was disappointing.
Back to Special Event Reviews
review completed 2/25/10