review by Kevin Wilson
Date: June 8th, 2007
Location: Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Announced Attendance: 1,450
I am on a bit of a Real Japan kick... no real reason, just looking for something a little bit different to watch. Most of the time Real Japan events are a combination of pro-wrestling matches and Seikendo matches, so there is far less content that I find interesting as Seikendo means nothing to me. On this event, to celebrate their anniversary, Toshiaki Kawada joins them to face off in a tag team match against First Tiger Mask (Sayama). We also get a BattlARTS match with Ishikawa vs. Yoshikawa. Here is the full card:
- Seiya Morohashi vs. Tomomitsu Matsunaga
- Yuki Ishikawa vs. Yuta Yoshikawa
- Masao Orihara and Tiger Shark vs. Super Tiger II and Hi69
- First Tiger Mask and Kota Ibushi vs. Toshiaki Kawada and KUDO
I skipped the matches that aren't pro-wrestling, since I won't be reviewing them.
Seiya Morohashi vs. Tomomitsu Matsunaga
Tie-up to start, Matsunaga pushes Morohashi into the ropes and he gives a clean break. Tie-up again, waistlock by Morohashi and he gets Matsunaga to the mat, and the two trade holds. Waistlock by Matsunaga but Morohashi gets back to his feet and applies a wristlock. Hammerlock by Matsunaga into a side headlock, but Morohashi muscles him down to the mat. Armbar by Morohashi, side headlock, Matsunaga Irish whips out of it but Morohashi shoulderblocks him down. Side headlock takedown by Morohashi, Matsunaga quickly gets out of it and they trade holds until both men are back on their feet. Kick to the stomach by Morohashi but Matsunaga chops him and they trade strikes. Scoop slam by Morohashi and he kicks Matsunaga in the back. Morohashi elbows Matsunaga in the back before stomping him again, but Matsunaga connects with an elbow. Dueling elbow strikes, but Morohashi gets the better of it and applies a modified single leg crab hold. Stomps to the back by Morohashi and he throws Matsunaga into the corner. Morohashi chokes Matsunaga with his boot, Irish whip, and Morohashi delivers a hiptoss. Cover, but Matsunaga gets a shoulder up. Modified Cobra Clutch by Morohashi but he lets go of the hold and elbows Matsunaga in the back. Cover, but it gets a two count. Morohashi picks up Matsunaga and goes for a suplex, but Matsunaga blocks it and hits a vertical suplex of his own. Double ax handle to the back by Morohashi, he picks up Matsunaga and throws him into the corner. Irish whip by Morohashi but when Morohashi charges in Matsunaga kicks him back and delivers a lariat. Irish whip by Matsunaga from the corner and he delivers a running back elbow. Elbows by Matsunaga, cover, but it gets two. Matsunaga picks up Morohashi, Irish whip, and Matsunaga knees Morohashi in the stomach. Cobra twist by Matsunaga but Morohashi gets a hand on the ropes to force a break. Matsunaga picks up Morohashi and applies a waistlock, but Morohashi gets out of it and hits a side Russian leg sweep. Morohashi waits for Matsunaga to get up and delivers a dropkick followed by a second one and a third. Cover, but it gets a two count. Morohashi picks up Matsunaga, Irish whip, reversed, but Morohashi avoids the Matsunaga dropkick. Morohashi grabs Matsunaga and applies a single leg crab hold, but Matsunaga reaches the ropes. Morohashi waits for Matsunaga to get up and hits a lariat, but Matsunaga doesn't go down. He goes off the ropes again, both wrestlers hit a lariat on each other but neither goes down. Now they both go off the ropes and Matsunaga knocks down Morohashi with a lariat, backdrop suplex by Matsunaga but it only gets a two count. Matsunaga picks up Morohashi and goes for a second one, but Morohashi elbows out of it and hits a backbreaker. Single leg crab hold by Morohashi and Matsunaga has no choice but to submit! Your winner: Seiya Morohashi
Match Thoughts: This was a DDT Offer match... I have no idea why they got an offer match and I also have no idea why they sent two wrestlers to put on a basic match to represent them, but what can ya do. Matsunaga had just debuted the year prior so this was more like a young lion match then anything else, with basic holds and strikes before a few mid-sized moves leading to the crab hold ending. And it was fine, albeit lacking any real interest since no one knew who these wrestlers were for the most part. Matsunaga looked ok in the few spots he got, but he didn't get much. About as basic as you can get, but they were crisp with their execution. Score: 4.0
Yuki Ishikawa vs. Yuta Yoshikawa
Kicks by Yoshikawa to start but Ishikawa catches one and pushes him to the mat. Ishikawa twists on Yoshikawa's legs on the mat but Yoshikawa gets out of it. Ishikawa quickly regains control and applies a keylock, but Yoshikawa wiggles out of it and kicks Ishikawa in the head. Knees by Yoshikawa and he goes for a sleeper, but Ishikawa yanks back on his leg to get him to release it. Yoshikawa goes for the cross armbreaker but Ishikawa quickly get a foot on the bottom rope. Back up, a slap by Ishikawa sends Yoshikawa reeling but he returns the blow. Headbutt by Ishikawa but it makes them both a little woozy and Yoshikawa goes on the attack. Jumping knee by Yoshikawa in the corner but Ishikawa switches positions with him and lands a series of punches. Vertical suplex and Ishikawa applies a reverse chinlock, but Yoshikawa kicks his way out of it. Kicks by Yoshikawa while Ishikawa lays on the mat, snapmare, and he kicks Ishikawa in the back. Yoshikawa goes for the arm but Ishikawa gets out of it and punches Yoshikawa. Yoshikawa slaps him back but Ishikawa grabs the leg and applies a submission. Ishikawa switches to the arm and rolls him up, but it gets two. He rolls him up again, but again Yoshikawa kicks out. Ishikawa goes for the cross armbreaker, Yoshikawa tries to kick out of it so Ishikawa grabs his leg. Yoshikawa applies a cross kneelock to Ishikawa but Ishikawa reverses it into a submission of his own. Ishikawa gets back up and kicks Yoshikawa in the back, but Yoshikawa gets up quickly and returns with kicks to Ishikawa's legs before flooring him with a high kick. The referee begins his count, but Ishikawa is up at 7. Elbows by Yoshikawa but Ishikawa returns fire and the two trade strikes. Ishikawa gets the better of it but Yoshikawa comes back and knees Ishikawa towards the corner. Waistlock by Ishikawa but Yoshikawa elbows out of it and hits a belly to belly suplex. Yoshikawa applies the cross armbreaker but Ishikawa gets a hand on the ropes to force a break. Kicks to the back by Yoshikawa but Ishikawa catches one, Yoshikawa ducks an Ishikawa punch but Yoshikawa takes Ishikawa to the mat and applies the Fujiwara Armbar. Yoshikawa rolls out of it and applies a front facelock, but Ishikawa gets out of it and applies a modified crossface chickenwing. Yoshikawa reaches the ropes so Ishikawa has to break the hold, back up they trade strikes, waistlock by Yoshikawa but Ishikawa scoop slams him to the mat. Waistlock by Ishikawa and he delivers a release German suplex. Enzigieri by Ishikawa and he applies a grounded Octopus Hold. Yoshikawa struggles but Ishikawa cinches in it, forcing Yoshikawa to tap out! Your winner: Yuki Ishikawa
Match Thoughts: Well if there was ever going to be a BattlARTS match I enjoyed it would probably have to have Ishikawa, as he is the current master of shoot-style. He manages to make the style interesting and engaging, which are two words I don't always use for shoot-style. I suppose to me its something that is difficult to master, but the ones that are great at it can still get me interested. Anyway, in this match Ishikawa is of course the experience veteran but Yoshikawa has been around for a few years and hangs with him pretty well. The strikes looked good and the holds were applied with purpose. Unlike DDT, BattlARTS gave a much better representation of what their promotion is by sending the best they had to put on a shoot-style clinic. The match wasn't long and I'd have liked Yoshikawa to have gotten a few more close calls, but those are pretty minor complaints. Score: 6.5
Masao Orihara and Tiger Shark vs. Super Tiger II and Hi69
They brawl to start the match. with Tiger Shark and Super Tiger staying in the ring while Orihara and Hi69 fight outside it. Strikes by Super Tiger as outside Orihara throws Hi69 into a row of chairs. Back in the ring, mounted punches by Super Tiger but Tiger Shark gets out of it and takes position. Super Tiger reverses things back and goes for Tiger Shark's leg, but Tiger Shark gets away and returns to his feet. Headbutts by Tiger Shark and he pushes Super Tiger into the corner. Knees by Tiger Shark, Orihara comes in the ring, double Irish whip and they give him a double shoulderblock. Orihara picks up Super Tiger and holds him for Tiger Shark, and Tiger Shark delivers a series of mid-kicks. Now Tiger Shark holds Super Tiger for Orihara, and Orihara connects with a series of punches. Headbutt by Orihara, he goes off the ropes but Hi69 trips him from outside the ring and pulls him out. Back in the ring, Tiger Shark goes after Super Tiger's arm but Super Tiger gets out of it. Kicks to the leg by Tiger Shark and he applies an achilles heel hold. Super Tiger quickly gets a hand on the ropes, kicks to the leg by Tiger Shark and he takes Super Tiger to the mat, but Super Tiger kicks him back and returns to his feet. Quick kick by Super Tiger and he tags in Hi69 while Tiger Shark tags in Orihara. Shoulderblock by Orihara, he picks up Hi69 and the two trade chops. Irish whip by Orihara but Hi69 avoids him when he charges in and hits an armdrag. Dropkick to the back by Hi69, cover, but it gets a two count. Super Tiger comes in, double Irish whip, and they hit a double team move on Orihara with Hi69 ending with a dropkick. Cover, but it gets a two count. Hi69 picks up Orihara and tags in Super Tiger, knees by Super Tiger and he knocks Orihara into the corner. Back kick by Super Tiger, Irish whip, reversed, but Super Tiger avoids Orihara when he charges in and delivers more knees. Irish whip by Super Tiger and he hits a heel kick. Super Tiger picks up Orihara, Irish whip to the corner, reversed, and Orihara hits a lariat. Orihara drops Super Tiger right on his head with a piledriver, cover, but Hi69 breaks it up. Back up they trade strikes, Super Tiger delivers a spinning heel kick which gives him time to tag in Hi69.
Hi69 applies a sleeperhold, but Tiger Shark breaks it up. Knees by Tiger Shark to Hi69, then Orihara stomps Hi69 in the chest. Orihara rakes on Hi69's eyes before stomping him in the face. Cover by Orihara but it gets two. Sleeperhold by Orihara, but Super Tiger breaks it up. Orihara picks up Hi69 but Hi69 knocks Tiger Shark off the apron and chops Orihara in the chest. Low blow by Orihara, he grabs Hi69's leg and drops an elbow on his groin. Cover, but it gets a two count. Orihara throws Hi69 into the corner and tags in Tiger Shark. Stomps by Tiger Shark and he drops an elbow onto Hi69's chest. Snapmare by Tiger Shark and he kicks Hi69 hard in the back and chest. Standing moonsault by Tiger Shark, cover, but it gets a two count. Tiger Shark picks up Hi69 and applies a waistlock, but Hi69 hits a low blow followed by a superkick. Hi69 tags in Super Tiger, Super Tiger picks up Tiger Shark and delivers a series of kicks. Kick to the chest by Super Tiger, but Orihara runs in and knocks him back. High kick by Super Tiger onto Orihara, but Tiger Shark has recovered and elbows Super Tiger. Super Tiger and Tiger Shark trade shots, single underhook suplex by Super Tiger but it gets a two count. Super Tiger picks up Tiger Shark and delivers a DDT, cover, but Tiger Shark gets a shoulder up. Back up, fisherman suplex hold by Super Tiger but Orihara breaks it up. Hi69 knocks Orihara out of the ring, Super Tiger picks up Tiger Shark and hits him to the mat. Hi69 picks up Tiger Shark and hits a tombstone piledriver followed by a running kick to the face. Super Tiger then picks up Tiger Shark and delivers a German suplex hold, but it gets a two count. Orihara grabs a chair but Hi69 takes it from him and Super Tiger hits Orihara with a back kick. Hi69 picks up Tiger Shark and they trade waistlocks, back kicks by Tiger Shark and he tags in Orihara. Tiger Shark puts Hi69 onto his shoulders, Orihara goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers a lariat. Cover, but Super Tiger breaks it up. Orihara picks up Hi69 but Hi69 rolls him up for a two count. Lariat by Orihara as Hi69 falls into the corner, and Hi69 hits a running dropkick. Orihara puts Hi69 onto the top turnbuckle and delivers the spider German suplex, he then nails a moonsault and picks up the three count! Your winners: Masao Orihara and Tiger Shark
Match Thoughts: I reviewed these events out of order (the 9/18/08 one before this one), and in that year Super Tiger II and Tiger Shark must have really improved as here they were really rough. Add in that Hi69 and Orihara are hardly two wrestlers known for holding a match together and it was not an entertaining 15 minutes. Super Tiger II and Tiger Shark both had a miscommunication or two and worse they had no real method to their attacks, it all came across as thrown together. This is one of those matches that would have been better as 7 to 8 minutes as its easier to hide that you don't know what you are doing in a short match then it is in a long match. At least they improved after this. Score: 3.0
First Tiger Mask and Kota Ibushi vs. Toshiaki Kawada and KUDO
Ibushi and KUDO start things off. They trade attempted strikes, and they both graze the other with a high kicking sending them both stumbling back. KUDO tags in Kawada while Ibushi tags in Tiger Mask, low kick by Tiger Mask but Kawada returns the favor. They trade kicks, Tiger Mask goes off the ropes and hits a kick to the leg, which sends Kawada back. Tiger Spin by Tiger Mask and he applies a leg lock, but Kawada makes it to the ropes. Tiger Mask lets Kawada back up, Kawada pushes Tiger Mask into the ropes and chops him in the chest. High kick by Tiger Mask but Kawada returns fire. Kawada kicks Tiger Mask to the mat, he picks him back up and elbows him in the back. Kicks to the chest by Kawada but Tiger Mask delivers a pair of high kicks. Kawada comes back with a kick of his own however and tags in KUDO. Tiger Mask tags in Ibushi, waistlock by Ibushi onto KUDO and they jockey for position. Reverse chinlock by KUDO, Ibushi struggles to his feet, knee to the stomach by KUDO and he delivers a springboard double knee to Ibushi's back. KUDO throws Ibushi into the corner and tags in Kawada, chops by Kawada in the corner but Ibushi elbows him back. Kawada plants Ibushi with a kick and rolls him out of the ring. KUDO greets Ibushi on the outside and throws him to Kawada so Kawada can kick Ibushi in the chest. Kawada then kicks Ibushi in the head and nails a powerbomb on the floor! Kawada gets back into the ring as KUDO throws Ibushi back in, and Kawada drops a knee onto Ibushi's head. Cover, but Ibushi kicks out. Kawada tags in KUDO, KUDO picks up Ibushi, Irish whip, and KUDO delivers a kick to the chest. Double knee to the chest by KUDO, cover, but it gets two. KUDO picks up Ibushi, snapmare, and he kicks Ibushi in the back. This fires up Ibushi, he snapmares KUDO and returns the favor with a kick to the back. KUDO comes back with a kick to the back of his own, he picks up Ibushi and slams him in front of the corner before tagging in Kawada. Kawada and KUDO take turns kicking Ibushi in the corner, Kawada drags Ibushi to his feet and chops him repeatedly to the mat. Cover, but Ibushi kicks out at two. Kawada picks up Ibushi and tags in KUDO, KUDO picks up Ibushi and throws him into the corner. Irish whip by KUDO from the corner, reversed, but KUDO moves when Ibushi runs in. KUDO goes for a lariat but Ibushi moves out of the way and hits the moonsault out of the corner.
Ibushi tags in Tiger Mask, Tiger Mask blocks KUDO's kicks and returns with a series of mid and high kicks. Elbow drop by Tiger Mask, he picks up KUDO and delivers a DDT. Cover, but KUDO easily kicks out. Tiger Mask goes for the cross armbreaker but KUDO gets out of it. Side headlock by KUDO, Tiger Mask gets to his feet and gets out of it with a backdrop suplex. Irish whip by Tiger Mask but KUDO comes back with a knee to the stomach followed by a step-up enzigieri. This gives him time to tag in Kawada, Kawada kicks Tiger Mask in the chest and arm before knocking him down with a kick to the head. Running boot in the corner by Kawada and he gives Tiger Mask a vertical suplex. Kawada applies the Stretch Plum but Ibushi breaks it up. This gives Tiger Mask time to recover and he delivers a back kick to Kawada. Tiger Mask tags in Ibushi, Ibushi waits for Kawada to get up and kicks him in the chest. Ibushi goes off the ropes and delivers a jumping high kick, cover, but it gets a two count. Waistlock by Ibushi but Kawada blocks it and kicks him in the head. Kawada tags in KUDO, Irish whip by KUDO from the corner and he hits a lariat onto Ibushi. Double knee drop off the top turnbuckle by KUDO, cover, but Ibushi gets a shoulder up. Scoop slam by KUDO, he goes up to the top turnbuckle but Ibushi recovers and joins him. KUDO knocks Ibushi back into the Tree of Woe however and then jumps off with a double knee drop! Cover, but it only gets a two count. KUDO waits for Ibushi to get up and goes for a kick, but Ibushi avoids it and knocks him back. Standing moonsault by Ibushi, but it gets a two count. Ibushi tags in Tiger Mask, Irish whip by Tiger Mask and he delivers the diving double chop. Tombstone piledriver by Tiger Mask, he goes up to the top turnbuckle but Kawada runs over and joins him up top. Superplex by Kawada, KUDO goes up to the top turnbuckle but Ibushi grabs him from the apron. KUDO knocks Ibushi back but Tiger Mask rolls out of the way of the double knee drop. Kawada runs in and trades elbows with Tiger Mask before delivering a jumping kick to the back of the head. Ibushi comes in the ring and levels Kawada with an overhead kick, KUDO applies a backslide to Tiger Mask but it gets a two count. Ibushi does a dive onto Kawada outside the ring, as in the ring Tiger Mask grabs KUDO and nails the Tiger Suplex hold for the three count! Your winners: First Tiger Mask and Kota Ibushi
Match Thoughts: Now this was fun. I really enjoyed the dynamic, with KUDO and Ibushi supplying the quickness with the old vets supplying the punishment. The powerbomb on Ibushi was absolutely sick, really he should have just stayed down the rest of the match as you shouldn't ever recover from a move like that. Kawada brought his working boots, which is always a positive, and it being a tag match made it better on both he and Sayama as it allowed them breaks to let the young guys go at it while they charged up. The back and forth ending was entertaining, and since Tiger Mask with KUDO is a big enough mismatch the ending didn't seem too sudden after a long match. Probably the best main event I have seen from Real Japan, Tiger Mask being in a tag match instead of a single match really helps and all four wrestlers looked solid. Score: 7.0
Four match cards are hard to really recommend, as it isn't much wrestling for your buck. Two of the four matches were definitely worth watching though and the main event was a fun match with two pairings that you probably won't ever see face each other again. That is the good part about smaller Indys, they have more unique matchups then you see in the larger promotions. The two other matches weren't very good though and the semi-main with Sayama's students was borderline unwatchable, so I still can't recommend the event as a whole as an event with only two good matches isn't something I'd suggest people spend their money on. But it wasn't a bad offering and at least the main event delivered.
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review completed 11/23/08