A Review by Kevin Wilson
Date: September 8th, 2013
Location: Tokyo Dome City Hall
Announced Attendance: 2,500 (Super No Vacancy Full House)
I haven't done an event review in a really long time, probably a couple years. But with my favorite wrestler Keiji Mutoh starting his own promotion, I figured for however long it lasts that I will give it a chance. A good chunk of All Japan wrestlers left when Keiji Mutoh did, due to disagreements with the new owners. The event sold out pretty quick so people were excited about it, lets see if it delivers. Here is the full card:
- Daiki Inaba Debut Match: Hiroshi Yamato and Daiki Inaba vs. NOSAWA Rongai and MAZADA
- Kohei Sato and Ryouji Sai vs. Ryota Hama and Yasufumi Nakanoue
- Mayu Iwatani vs. Yoshiko
- Koji Kanemoto and Minoru Tanaka vs. Masaaki Mochizuki and Fujita "Jr." Hayato
- Daisuke Sekimoto and Yuji Okabayashi vs. Kaz Hayashi and Shuji Kondo
- Kazushi Sakuraba and Katsuyori Shibata vs. Masakatsu Funaki and Masayuki Kono
- KAI Return Match: KAI vs. Seiya Sanada
- Keiji Mutoh and Bob Sapp vs. René Duprée and Zodiac
It should be noted that none of the full matches were announced prior to the event. So it was a surprise for everybody. Let's get started.
Hiroshi Yamato and Daiki Inaba vs. NOSAWA Rongai and MAZADA
This is Inaba's debut match in Japan.
Yamato and NOSAWA start things off. Yamato and NOSAWA circle each other, kick by NOSAWA, Irish whip, reversed, and Yamato connects with a kick to the face. NOSAWA tags in MAZADA while Yamato tags in Inaba. Takedown by Inaba, he goes off the ropes and hits a springboard armdrag. Another armdrag by Inaba and he dropkicks MAZADA out of the ring. Inaba goes off the ropes to do a dive but MAZADA runs out of the way so Inaba stays in the ring. MAZADA gets back into the ring after a moment, and Inaba stomps him in the back. Kicks by Inaba but MAZADA rakes him in the eyes. Armdrag by Inaba and he applies a chokehold to MAZADA. MAZADA gets a foot on the ropes to force a break, stomps by Inaba and he clubs MAZADA in the back. Inaba goes off the ropes but NOSAWA kicks him from the apron. MAZADA tags in NOSAWA and they double team Inaba with a series of dropkicks. Cover by NOSAWA but it gets a two count. NOSAWA picks up Inaba and applies a stretch hold into a crucifix pin but it gets a two count. Crossface by NOSAWA, Yamato gets in the ring to encourage Inaba but he doesn't actually help him. MAZADA comes in the ring to help apply pressure. NOSAWA picks up Inaba and goes for a suplex, but Inaba blocks it. NOSAWA goes off the ropes but Inaba hits him in the stomach and delivers a vertical suplex. Inaba makes the hot tag to Yamato, Yamato goes up on the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick. Yamato picks up NOSAWA but MAZADA comes in the ring, they throw Yamato into the corner but Yamato fights them off. Irish whip by NOSAWA to Yamato but Yamato hits the spear. Yamato picks up NOSAWA and hits a Northern Lights Suplex, cover, but MAZADA breaks it up. MAZADA and Yamato trade blows, and MAZADA hits Yamato with a DDT followed with a lariat. NOSAWA picks up Yamato, double Irish whip and they drop Yamato with a double vertical suplex. MAZADA picks up Yamato and holds him for NOSAWA, and NOSAWA hits a Shining Wizard. Cover, but Inaba barely breaks it up in time. Inaba clears the ring and hits a plancha down onto MAZADA. In the ring, Yamato grabs NOSAWA and drops him with a Northern Lights Bomb. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winners: Hiroshi Yamato and Daiki Inaba
Match Thoughts: A solid "debut" by Inaba (I say that since he had wrestled before, but had not made his All Japan debut before splitting off to join WRESTLE-1). I don't think rookies have to lose in their first match, and he showed some good fire even if his moves are understandably basic. The crowd was pretty into it as even though NOSAWA/MAZADA will never be world beaters they bump around really well and get the crowd into it. I am surprised to see Yamato opening but at least he did pick up the pinfall. Nothing earth shattering but a decent match to get the show started. Score: 5.5
Kohei Sato and Ryouji Sai vs. Ryota Hama and Yasufumi Nakanoue
Sato and Hama start things off. tie-up, Hama pushes Sato into the ropes and he gives a clean break. Tie-up again, side headlock by Sato, Hama Irish whips out of it but the two collide with no result. Sato goes off the ropes but the same thing happens, he goes off third time but this time Hama goes off the ropes as well and knocks down Sato with a shoulderblock. Sato returns to his feet and tags in Sai as Hama tags in Nakanoue. Nakanoue and Sai trade elbows and then chops, Irish whip by Nakanoue and he hits an elbow. Snapmare by Nakanoue and he elbows Sai in the face for a two count. Nakanoue goes off the ropes again but this time Sai catches him and slaps Nakanoue to the mat. Sai tags in Sato, and Sato trades chops with Nakanoue. Knee by Nakanoue, snapmare, and he kicks Nakanoue in the back. Sato tags in Sai, snapmare by Sai and he kicks Nakanoue in the back. Cover, but it gets a two count. Crab hold by Sai into a single leg crab hold but Nakanoue makes it to the ropes to force a break. Sai tags in Sato, stomps by Sato but Nakanoue returns to his feet. An elbow by Sato sends Nakanoue back to the mat, cover, but it gets a two count. Sato tags in Sai, and Sai kicks Nakanoue in the chest. More kicks by Sai and he delivers a scoop slam. Cover, but it gets a two count. Sai tags in Sato, Sato picks up Nakanoue and pushes him into the corner. Sato and Sai trade kicks on Nakanoue in the corner, Sato picks up Nakanoue and knees him in the stomach. Sato goes off the ropes by Nakanoue catches his arm and hits a neckbreaker. This gives him time to tag in Hama, and Hama knocks Sai off the apron. Hama then hits a running splash onto Sato in the corner, sending Sato into a seated position. Hama then gets a running start and delivers the running butt smash onto Sato. DDT by Hama, cover, but it gets a two count. Hama goes for a running splash by Sato avoids it and tags in Sai. Sai kicks Hama in the chest repeatedly, he goes off the ropes and delivers a big boot. Kick to the back by Sai, cover, but Hama kicks out at two. Sai goes off the ropes but Hama catches him with a crossbody, and he makes the tag to Nakanoue. Nakanoue elbows Sai in the corner and then delivers a jumping lariat for a two count cover. Nakanoue picks up Sai and hits the double armed suplex. Nakanoue goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving elbow drop, cover, but Sai gets a shoulder up. Nakanoue picks up Sai but Sai kicks him in the stomach and hits a vertical suplex. Sai tags in Sato, and Sato kicks Nakanoue in the chest. Sai stays in the ring and he puts Nakanoue on his shoulders before hitting a gutbuster, then Sato comes off the top turnbuckle with a double stomp. Cover, but Hama breaks it up. Hama gets kicked by both men for his trouble and they hit a double vertical suplex on Hama. Sai takes Hama out to the floor, while in the ring Nakanoue hits a backdrop suplex onto Sato. Nakanoue goes up to the top turnbuckle but Sai comes back in the ring and kicks Nakanoue in the chest. Superplex by Sai onto Nakanoue, then Sato kicks Nakanoue in the chest for a two count. Sato picks up Nakanoue and delivers the Falcon Arrow, cover, but he still gets a two count. Piledriver by Sato, cover, and this time he gets the three count. Your winners: Kohei Sato and Ryouji Sai
Match Thoughts: Not a real big fan of this match. The ending stretch was really good but the eight minutes to get there bored me to tears. I have never been a fan of Sato and Sai, too much of their offense is just kicks to the chest and to the back. And I know they have other moves, they just tend to default to that and I end up just waiting for them to get to the next phase of the match. Hama seems even bigger than I remembered, if that was possible, and is really limited between his weight and his questionable knees. Nakanoue looked pretty good for whatever that matters. The fast paced ending did make up for some of the lackluster action before it, but still overall not very entertaining. Score: 4.0
Mayu Iwatani vs. Yoshiko
Iwatani goes for a handshake to start but Yoshiko wants nothing of it. Tie-up, Yoshiko pushes Iwatani into the ropes and gives a mostly clean break. Tie-up again, side headlock by Iwatani, reversed by Yoshiko, Iwatani tries to Irish whip out of it but Yoshiko keeps it locked on. Iwatani succeeds on the second attempt but Yoshiko knocks her to the mat and runs over her a few times, stepping on her in the process. Shoulderblock by Yoshiko, cover with one foot and it gets a two count. Hair whip by Yoshiko and she boot scrapes Iwatani in the corner. Running boot scrape by Yoshiko, she picks up Iwatani and twists her in the ropes so that she can press her boot against Iwatani's face. Irish whip by Yoshiko but Iwatani reverses it and hits a dropkick. A second dropkick by Iwatani and she delivers a third. Iwatani picks up Yoshiko but Yoshiko pushes her off, Iwatani grabs Yoshiko, flips off the ropes and hits an armdrag followed by a dropkick. Iwatani picks up Yoshiko but Yoshiko pushes Iwatani into the corner and chokes her. More choking by Yoshiko and he delivers a running lariat in the corner for a two count. Yoshiko picks up Iwatani but Iwatani ducks the lariat. Iwatani goes for a hurricanrana but Yoshiko sits down and twists Iwatani with a single leg crab hold.
Yoshiko releases the hold and hits a running senton, cover, but it gets a two count. Yoshiko picks up Iwatani, Irish whip to the corner, but Iwatani bounces up onto the second rope and hits a missile dropkick. Northern Lights Suplex by Iwatani, but it gets a two count. La Magistral by Iwatani but it also gets two. Roll-up by Iwatani, but Yoshiko gets a shoulder up. Iwatani goes off the ropes and this time hits the hurricanrana, but Yoshiko barely kicks out of it. Iwatani picks up Yoshiko and applies a full nelson, but Yoshiko breaks out of it. Iwatani goes off the ropes but Yoshiko catches her with a lariat for a two count. Yoshiko picks up Iwatani, chokes her, and throws Iwatani to the mat. Cover, but it gets a two count. Yoshiko drags Iwatani in front of the corner, goes up to the second turnbuckle and delivers the diving senton. Cover, and she picks up the three count. Your winner: Yoshiko
Match Thoughts: I had never seen nor heard of these two wrestlers before tonight, which isn't a surprise since I don't follow Joshi. A pretty standard Joshi version of the classic big brute/little underdog match. The only real issue is Iwantani's moveset is pretty limited at the moment and the only more complicated move she tried didn't really go very smooth at all. Its funny, even though Iwantani did get in some offense and I didn't remember who won, I never really doubted that Yoshiko was in any risk of losing... her selling and reactions just didn't lead me to believe her winning was ever in doubt. Nothing really wrong with it, just kinda "there." Score: 5.0
Koji Kanemoto and Minoru Tanaka vs. Masaaki Mochizuki and Fujita "Jr." Hayato
Kanemoto and Hayato start things off. They face-off and start punching each other, knees by Kanemoto but Hayato gets him into the ropes. They struggle in the ropes but Kanemoto won't break, Hayato reverses positions with him in the ropes and he does give a clean break. They clinch up again, Kanemoto punches Hayato into the corner but Hayato kicks him back. They trade slaps then kicks to the knee, side headlock by Kanemoto but Hayato gets to his corner and tags in Mochizuki. Tanaka is tagged in as well, Tanaka and Mochizuki circle each other, waistlock by Mochizuki but Tanaka reverses it into a waistlock of his own. Arm wringer by Tanaka but Mochizuki takes him down, Tanaka kips up as both men return to their feet. Kick to the chest by Mochizuki but Tanaka kicks him back and they trade strikes. Mochizuki wins the kick battle, he picks up Tanaka and goes off the ropes but Tanaka catches him with a dropkick. Tanaka picks up Mochizuki and tags in Kanemoto. Knees by Kanemoto and he slaps Mochizuki in the corner. Mochizuki returns to his feet as they trade leg kicks, Mochizuki grabs Kanemoto by the arm and hits a knee breaker before kicking Kanemoto in the leg again. Mochizuki tags in Hayato who continues kicking Kanemoto in the leg before applying a cross kneelock. Tanaka runs in the ring to beak it up, Kanemoto picks Hayato into the corner and tags in Tanaka. Snapmare by Tanaka and he kicks Hayato in the back. Hayato returns to his feet, snapmares Tanaka and does his own back kick. They do this a few times until Tanaka tricks Hayato and kicks him in the chest instead. Tanaka picks up Hayato but Hayato drives him back and tags in Mochizuki. Kick to the leg by Mochizuki and he punches Tanaka in the corner. Irish whip, reversed, and Mochizuki kicks Tanaka in the head. Another kick by Mochizuki but Tanaka hits an enzigieri. Elbows by Tanaka and a kick to the stomach. Release German suplex by Tanaka, he runs to the corner but Mochizuki connects with a running big boot. Hayato comes in the ring and they both kick Tanaka. Hayato picks up Tanaka, Irish whip and he delivers a series of kicks ending with a running dropkick to the face of a kneeled Tanaka. Hayato waits for Tanaka go get up and kicks him in the chest a few times, but Tanaka catches one and slaps Hayato. Kick to the chest by Tanaka and he makes the tag to Kanemoto.
Kanemoto picks up Hayato and he kicks him down in the corner. Bootscrapes by Kanemoto and he nails the running bootscrape to Hayato. He goes to do it again but Mochizuki trips him from the apron. Mochizuki then runs in the ring an tries to kick Kanemoto in the corner, but Kanemoto moves and hits a running bootscrape on him as well before then delivering one to the still slumped in the corner Hayato. Kanemoto picks up Hayato and hits a series of kicks, but Hayato comes back with a running boot in the corner. Running knee by Hayato, cover, but Kanemoto kicks out. Hayato picks up Kanemoto and delivers a kick combination followed by a STO. He goes for a kick but Kanemoto catches his leg and applies an ankle lock. Modified figure four by Kanemoto on Hayato but Mochizuki comes in the ring and breaks it up. Mochizuki and Kanemoto trade slaps but Tanaka comes in the ring and they double team Mochizuki. Mochizuki is knocked out of the ring, Tanaka tries to hit a plancha but Mochizuki moves out of the way. Mochizuki tries to get back in the ring by Kanemoto immediately knocks him back out, meanwhile Hayato has recovered, Kanemoto goes off the ropes but Hayato catches him with the KID. Kanemoto hits a suplex to get out of it but Mochizuki gets back in the ring and delivers the Sankakugeri to Kanemoto. Hayato re-applies the KID to Kanemoto but Tanaka gets past Mochizuki to break it up. Mochizuki dropkicks Tanaka back out of the ring, Hayato picks up Kanemoto and goes off the ropes but Kanemoto avoids the kick and applies the ankle lock. Hayato struggles back to his feet and goes for an enzigieri, but Kanemoto ducks it. Slaps by Kanemoto into the corner, Hayato goes for a high kick but Kanemoto catches his leg again and applies the ankle lock with a grapevine. Mochizuki comes in the ring but Tanaka grabs him and applies the Minoru Special. Hayato struggles for a moment but has to tap out. Your winners: Koji Kanemoto and Minoru Tanaka
Match Thoughts: This match felt more like an exhibition at times than a real wrestling match. Kanemoto and Hayato at times showed some emotion towards each other but generally it was just "you kick me then I kick you" action. At one point it was literally that as Hayato on his own sat down on the mat so that Tanaka could kick him. I really don't mind strike-based offense, in fact it can be very entertaining, but not if it seems like they are just messing around. Most of the time they made no effort to even pretend to sell moves, they would just take turns doing moves to each other. The ending stretch was good but up to that point it just felt like four friends that wanted to see who could kick better. On the plus side, Kanemoto and Tanaka don't seem to have lost a step, I just wish it felt more competitive. Score: 5.5
Daisuke Sekimoto and Yuji Okabayashi vs. Kaz Hayashi and Shuji Kondo
Sekimoto and Kondo start things off. Tie-up, side headlock by Kondo, Sekimoto Irish whips out of it but the two collide with no result. Sekimoto goes off the ropes but Kondo stands strong. Now Kondo goes off as they trade running into each other, which Kondo gets the better of. Both wrestlers tag out, Okabayashi and Hayashi circle each other, tie-up, but Okabayashi throws Hayashi to the mat. Side headlock by Hayashi but he can't take Okabayashi over. Kick to the stomach by Hayashi, Okabayashi goes off the ropes but Hayashi slides out to the apron and hits a slingshot DDT. Okabayashi backs into the corner, Hayashi charges him but Okabayashi catches him and slams Hayashi to the mat. Cover by Okabayashi, but it gets a two count. Okabayashi tags in Sekimoto, Sekimoto grabs Hayashi, snapmare, and Sekimoto hits an elbow drop. Cover, but it gets two. Sekimoto picks up Hayashi and hits a scoop slam before tagging in Okabayashi. Scoop slam by Okabayashi to Hayashi and he tags Sekimoto back in. Sekimoto picks up Hayashi and slams him as well before tagging Okabayashi back into the ring. Scoop slam by Okabayashi and once again Sekimoto is tagged in. Yes, another scoop slam by Sekimoto and he tags in Okabayashi. Okabayashi slams Hayashi to the mat, cover, but it gets a two count. Okabayashi tags in Sekimoto, Sekimoto picks up Hayashi and hits a vertical suplex. Cover, but it gets a two count. Sekimoto applies a chinlock by Hayashi while Okabayashi keeps Kondo at bay, but Hayashi eventually makes it to the ropes. Stomps by Sekimoto and he tags in Okabayashi. Chops by Okabayashi and Hayashi falls back into the corner. More chops by Okabayashi and he hits a running one. Irish whip by Okabayashi but Hayashi kicks him back and hits an STO into the turnbuckles. Hayashi gets a running start and kicks Okabayashi in the corner followed by an elbow. Okabayashi comes back with a chop however, Irish whip by Okabayashi but Hayashi hits a handstand rebound elbow strike. Hayashi makes the tag to Kondo, elbows by Kondo to Okabayashi, Sekimoto runs in the ring but Kondo hits him with an atomic drop followed by a DDT. Kondo applies a side headlock by Okabayashi then hits a combination bulldog/lariat on Okabayashi and Sekimoto. Kondo picks up Okabayashi and goes for a suplex, but Okabayashi blocks it. Snap suplex by Kondo, Irish whip, but Okabayashi reverses it and hits a powerslam.
Okabayashi tags in Sekimoto and Sekimoto hits an elbow drop onto Kondo. Cover, but it gets a two count. Irish whip by Sekimoto into the corner, reversed, but Sekimoto kicks Kondo when he charges in. Sekimoto grabs Kondo and puts him in the Torture Rack, then Okabayashi comes in the ring, catches Hayashi, and puts him in the Torture Rack as well. Kondo gets out of his, Okabayashi puts down Hayashi, then Okabayashi and Sekimoto hit a double lariat followed by a double back bodydrop. Sekimoto puts Kondo into a Scorpion Deathlock but Hayashi breaks it up. Okabayashi throws Hayashi out of the ring, he goes over to Kondo with Sekimoto and grabs Kondo around the waist. Sekimoto then grabs Okabayashi around the waist and does a German suplex onto Okabayashi as Okabayashi hits one onto Kondo. Sekimoto is the only one standing, he covers Kondo but Hayashi barely breaks it up in time. Okabayashi recovers, Sekimoto grabs Hayashi, double Irish whip to the corner and they do the suplex spot again, but Hayashi lands on his feet. Back kick by Hayashi onto Sekimoto, and Sekimoto falls out of the ring. Hayashi goes out to the apron. Okabayashi charges Hayashi while he is on the apron but Hayashi flips him out of the ring as well. Hayashi goes back into the ring, he goes off the ropes and hits a plancha suicida on both of them. Hayashi picks up Sekimoto and rolls him back into the ring, Hayashi goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick. Kondo hits the Lanzarse onto Sekimoto, cover, but Sekimoto barely kicks out. Kondo calls for the lariat, he goes off the ropes but Sekimoto ducks it. Kondo tosses Sekimoto to the mat and Hayashi plants him with a reverse DDT. Kondo goes off the ropes but again Sekimoto ducks the lariat. Hayashi and Kondo trade going off the ropes and attempting to hit Sekimoto, finally Kondo manages to hit him with a running elbow. Hayashi then hits a kick, and Kondo ends it with the King Kong Lariat. Cover, but Okabayashi manages to break it up. Hayashi punches Okabayashi but Okabayashi returns with elbows. Hayashi and Okabayashi trade strikes but Okabayashi levels Hayashi with a lariat. Okabayashi goes for a powerbomb but it is reversed into a face crusher. Hayashi and Okabayashi roll out of the ring as Sekimoto and Kondo get up and trade elbows, Sekimoto goes off the ropes and levels Kondo with a lariat. Kondo quickly gets back to his feet and returns the favor, and both men are slow to get up. Kondo goes for a lariat but Sekimoto ducks it, hitting a German suplex for a two count. Sekimoto picks up Kondo and hits an enzigieri. He goes off the ropes and goes for a lariat but Kondo catches him with a lariat first. Kondo goes off the ropes but Sekimoto kicks him back. Lariat by Sekimoto, cover, but Kondo kicks out. Deadlift German suplex hold by Sekimoto, and he picks up the three count! Your winners: Daisuke Sekimoto and Yuji Okabayashi
Match Thoughts: This was a better strike-fest than the others on this card, partially because they actually sold things and partly because Hayashi did a good job of holding things together. Hayashi isn't a striker compared to his foes so he was required to use his speed instead. Sekimoto is massively huge, and while I doubt the intelligence of the double suplex spot at least Okabayashi sold it as if it hurt so its not the worst thing in the world. Some great clubbin' in this match though as they are all hard hitters (besides little Kaz of course). The ending went a bit longer than I'd prefer and it seemed like Hayashi should have been recovered by then to help out, but it did feel very definitive as even though Kondo isn't small, he can't compare to the monster that is Sekimoto. An entertaining match and I love these guys, but not one without its faults. Score: 7.0
Kazushi Sakuraba and Katsuyori Shibata vs. Masakatsu Funaki and Masayuki Kono
Sakuraba and Funaki start things off. They circle each other, Sakuraba goes for a leg kick but Funaki steps out of the way. Funaki returns the favor as they jockey for position, Sakuraba catches a Funaki kick and takes him down to the mat. Funaki goes for a triangle choke but Sakuraba rolls out of it, but Funaki gets into side mount. They both go for knee locks but Funaki gets back to his feet with Sakuraba slowly following. Waistlock by Sakuraba and he makes the tag to Shibata. Shibata and Funaki circle each other, waistlock by Shibata but Funaki gets on an armlock. Shibata gets Funaki to the mat and goes for his back but Funaki flips out of it and gets back to his feet. Shibata pushes Funaki into the ropes but he gives a clean break. Kick to the chest by Funaki and he hits a snapmare. He goes for a running kick to the chest but Shibata catches his leg and applies the figure four leglock. Funaki gets to the ropes to force a break, kicks to the chest by Shibata but Funaki pushes him to the mat and applies the kneelock. Shibata quickly gets to the ropes to force a break and Funaki tags in Kono. Elbows by Kono to Shibata but Shibata returns fire and they trade blows. Shibata goes off the ropes and boots, but Kono is not affected. They trade kicks to the face, Shibata gets the better of it but this just fires up Kono, he comes back with elbows and goes off the ropes, but a hard slap by Shibata sends Kono to the mat. Shibata tags in Sakuraba, Shibata Irish whips Kono and delivers a dropkick. Sakuraba gets in the ring, he picks up Kono and applies a front facelock. Kono picks up Sakuraba and slams him in the corner, which allows him to tag in Funaki. Funaki kicks Sakuraba while he is against the ropes while Kono knees him, snapmare by Funaki and he hits an elbow drop. Cover, but Sakuraba kicks out. Funaki kicks Sakuraba in the legs and chest before dropping him with a backdrop suplex.
Scorpion Deathlock attempt by Funaki but he rolls it through and applies a kneelock instead. Shibata breaks it up with a kick, Kono is tagged in and he drops an elbow onto Sakuraba. Cover, but it gets a two count. Kono picks up Sakuraba but Sakuraba pushes him down and hits a running doublestomp to the face. Sakuraba tags in Shibata and they trade kicks onto Kono. Shibata throws Kono into the corner and elbows him down to a seated position, he then gets a running start and nails a running dropkick. Shibata picks up Kono and hits a one armed suplex before applying a crab hold. Kono manages to get to the ropes to force a break, snapmare by Shibata and he kicks Kono in the back. Shibata twists up Kono's legs but Funaki comes in the ring and kicks Shibata in the chest to break it up. Kono makes the tag to Funaki, Funaki picks up Shibata and hits a back kick to the stomach. Kicks by Funaki, snapmare, and he delivers a running kick to Shibata's chest. Funaki picks up Shibata but Shibata gets behind his back and applies a sleeper. Funaki gets to the ropes but Shibata drops him with a German suplex. Dropkick by Funaki, he drags Shibata to a seated position and kicks him in the chest. More kicks to the chest by Funaki, Shibata catches one but Funaki knocks him to the mat with a Pele Kick. Funaki picks up Shibata but Shibata headbutts him. Funaki tags in Kono but Shibata manages to tag in Sakuraba. Kono hits a jumping knee on Sakuraba as he gets in the ring, another knee and he hits a vertical suplex. Cover, but it gets a two count. Sakuraba slaps on a triangle choke from the mat, but Kono powerbombs his way out of it. Running knee strike by Kono, cover, but Shibata breaks it up. Funaki runs in and takes Shibata out of the ring, and Funaki throws Shibata into the guard rail. Back in the ring, Sakuraba punches Kono in the corner and flips him over to apply a keylock. Kono gets out of it, elbow by Kono and he hits a shoulder powerslam. Cover, but it only gets two. Kono goes for a lariat but Sakuraba blocks it and applies a reverse chinlock. Sakuraba then applies the chickenwing facelock. With Funaki unable to help him, Kono taps out! Your winners: Masakatsu Funaki and Masayuki Kono
Post match: Kono turns on Funaki and everyone kicks his ass.
Match Thoughts: This is why I enjoy watching full events, and not just matches in a vacuum. Why in the hell did they think I wanted to see another "I strike you then I challenge you to strike me then we do that again" match? On a "mixed" card (ie not one sold as "shoot style") I wasn't expecting so many to have the same formula. The most ridiculous moment is when Shibata challenges Funaki to break up his submission, so he does, which allows Kono to make the hot tag to Funaki. Why would Shibata want that if he is trying to win the match? It is hard for me to get "into" a match as a competition when it is that ridiculous. Why was Funaki just standing on the apron watching while Kono struggled with the triangle choke? Sakuraba looks really old, I mean he is the same age as Funaki but Funaki still really puts in effort while Sakuraba looks like he is just stretching his name as long as he can before retiring. Anyway there wasn't a whole hell of a lot I enjoyed here, I guess it was "special" to see Funaki and Sakuraba tie up again but beyond that the match wasn't that good. Score: 3.5
KAI vs. Seiya Sanada
This was billed as a "return" match for KAI but he just wrestled in June so it wasn't exactly a long absence.
Tie-up to start, Sanada gets KAI into the ropes but he gives a clean break. Tie-up, waistlock by KAI, Sanada applies a wristlock but KAI reverses that into a hammerlock. Snapmare by KAI and he applies a reverse chinlock, they return to their feet and trade wristlocks. Sanada rolls out out of KAI's grasp and both men go for dropkicks, but they both miss and they face off again. Sanada asks for a handshake but then moves his hand when KAI reaches for it. Elbows by KAI, Irish whip and KAI delivers a dropkick. Sanada falls out of the ring, KAI goes off the ropes but Sanada slides back in and kicks KAI in the stomach. Boot by KAI but Sanada clotheslines him over the top rope to the floor. Sanada waits for KAI to stand up and hits a pescado out of the ring. Sanada picks up KAI and hit a side Russian leg sweep into the guard rail. Stomps by Sanada and he drives KAI back-first into the railing. Punches by Sanada to the back of the head of KAI and he slides him back into the ring. Knee by Sanada but KAI returns with elbows, Irish whip by KAI but Sanada bails out of the ring and then under the ring. KAI looks for him but Sanada gets back into the ring and dropkicks KAI while he isn't looking. Sanada goes out to throw KAI back into the ring, Sanada waits for KAI to get up and punches him into the corner, wristlock by Sanada, Irish whip, and he delivers a running back elbow. Irish whip again but this time KAI kicks him back. Another kick by KAI, he goes out to the apron to do a springboard move but bails when Sanada goes for a dropkick. Sanada rolls KAI back into the ring, but KAI punches him as he tries to return as well. KAI gets a running start and dropkicks Sanada out of the ring to the floor. KAI then gets a running start and sails out onto Sanada with a tope suicida. KAI slides Sanada back in the ring but Sanada promptly rolls back out. KAI throws him in again, but again Sanada rolls back to the floor. KAI goes for an Irish whip into the rail, Sanada reverses it, but KAI drop toeholds Sanada into the guard rail. KAI then picks up Sanada and drills him with a brainbuster on the floor. KAI gets back into the ring while Sanada slowly recovers and joins him. Brainbuster by KAI, cover, but Sanada barely kicks out in time. Facelock by KAI, cover, but again it gets two. KAI picks up Sanada but Sanada won't stay up so KAI kicks him in the back of the head. Sanada fires back with elbows as they trade shots, but KAI catches Sanada with a jumping kick. KAI goes for a cross-legged move but Sanada reverses it into a cutter. Sanada picks up KAI, but KAI grabs him and hits a cross-legged face buster for a two count. KAI goes up to the top turnbuckle but Sanada hits the ropes to knock him down onto the top turnbuckle. Sanada then joins KAI up top and hits the Frankensteiner before applying the This Is It. KAI gets a foot on the ropes to force a break, elbows by Sanada but KAI slaps him and kicks him in the head. Elbows by Sanada and he hits the roaring elbow. Another one by Sanada an he hits a running elbow for a two count cover. Dragon suplex hold by Sanada, but that gets a two count as well. Sanada drops KAI in front of the corner, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits the moonsault. Cover, but again KAI gets a shoulder up. Sanada goes up top again, KAI recovers and goes for a suplex but Sanada lands on his feet. KAI catches him with a superkick however and then hits a rebounding knee strike off the ropes followed by a sit-down tombstone piledriver. Cover, but kicks out. KAI picks up Sanada and hits a jumping powerbomb, cover, but again it gets a two count. KAI goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers the splash plancha, cover, and he finally picks up the three count. Your winner: KAI
Match Thoughts: Ah, some good old fashioned pro-wres, just what the doctor ordered. I like both KAI and Sanada, and I've never seen a match between the two of them that wasn't entertaining. They were a few rough spots here, perhaps due in part to KAI's layoff, but they made up for it by keeping the action fast paced and delivering some killer shots in the process. The brainbuster on the floor was sick and Sanada played the part of the cocky heel well which is what helped lead to his demise at the end of the match. It stayed as "anyone's game" until the end and even though it started a little slow the last half they stayed focused and on-point. Very good match. Score: 7.5
Keiji Mutoh and Bob Sapp vs. René Duprée and Zodiac
They brawl to start the match, with Sapp staying in the ring with Duprée. Sapp lariats Duprée in the corner but Zodiac runs in the ring and attacks him from behind. Elbow by Zodiac to Sapp, double Irish whip but Sapp bursts through the double lariat attempt. Sapp picks up Duprée and hits a scoop slam. Sapp tags in Mutoh. Kick by Mutoh to Duprée and he takes Duprée to the mat by his arm. Wristlock by Mutoh, snapmare, and he hits the Flashing Elbow. STF by Mutoh but Zodiac breaks it up. Sapp runs in the ring and knocks Zodiac out of it, Mutoh kicks Duprée and tags in Sapp. Irish whip by Sapp to the corner, Duprée tries to flip over him but Sapp doesn't bite and applies a full nelson. Zodiac breaks it up with a dropkick, and Sapp tags in Mutoh. Kick to the head by Mutoh to Duprée, Irish whip, reversed, and Zodiac kicks Mutoh from the apron. Cover by Duprée, but it gets a two count. Duprée picks up Mutoh and tags in Zodiac, Zodiac slams Mutoh into the corner, Irish whip, and Zodiac hits a jumping body press. Zodiac headbutts Mutoh low before throwing him into Duprée's foot. Zodiac tags in Duprée, stomp by Duprée and he hits a rib breaker. Duprée goes up to the second turnbuckle and delivers the diving fist. Cover, but it gets a two count. Stretch hold by Duprée, he picks up Mutoh, Irish whip, but Mutoh kicks him back. Mutoh goes off the ropes but Duprée avoids the dropkick and drops an elbow for a two count. Duprée picks up Mutoh and tags in Zodiac. Kick to the gut by Zodiac and he rams Mutoh into the corner. Elbows by Zodiac, Irish whip, reversed by Mutoh and he hits a hiptoss. Mutoh goes for an elbow drop but Zodiac rolls out of the way and makes the two count cover. Irish whip by Zodiac but Mutoh rolls out of the way of the elbow and delivers a dropkick. Mutoh tags in Sapp, punches by Sapp to Zodiac and he hits a running shoulderblock. Duprée jumps in the ring, Sapp catches him but Zodiac clips Sapp from behind. Duprée then clips Sapp as well and they finally get Sapp to the mat. Zodiac drops an elbow on Sapp's leg before tagging in Duprée. Kicks to the leg by Duprée and applies a leg lock. Another kick to the leg by Duprée and he goes for a figure four, but Sapp kicks him off. Sapp tags in Mutoh, and he dropkicks Duprée twice in the knee. Zodiac comes in the ring but he gets a dragon screw leg whip, as does Duprée. Figure four by Mutoh to Duprée but Zodiac breaks it up. Sapp runs in and knocks Zodiac out of the ring, Sapp then punches Duprée into the corner. Irish whip by Sapp and he hits a lariat in the corner. Mutoh follows with a corner Shining Wizard, Zodiac rolls in the ring, they Irish whip Zodiac into the corner but he rebounds out with a lariat onto both men. Duprée goes up to the top turnbuckle and after slipping the first time, Zodiac tosses Duprée off the top turnbuckle onto Mutoh. Cover, but Mutoh barely gets a shoulder up. Duprée picks up Mutoh and holds him for Zodiac, but Mutoh moves and Zodiac kicks Duprée in the face. Sapp throws Zodiac out of the ring, while in the ring Mutoh dropkicks Duprée in the knee and nails the Shining Wizard. Cover, but it gets a two count. Rib breaker by Mutoh, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers the moonsault! Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winners: Keiji Mutoh and Bob Sapp
Match Thoughts: First of all, it must be said - it is no longer Sapp Time. I don't care, the crowd doesn't care, and now he is just a big oaf past his prime which wasn't that good in the first place. When a wrestler that just goes off charisma no longer has the crowd, they get really exposed. So this was a pretty average tag match and a disappointing main event for a debut show. It really didn't feel like a main event at all - you basically had Mutoh and three gaijins that no one gives a shit about. And of course the result was never in doubt so it wasn't even suspenseful. The action itself was fine I guess but pretty by the numbers, even though I did get a chuckle out of the botched Rocket Launcher. A flat way to end what was otherwise a decent event. Score: 4.0
Best Match: Daisuke Sekimoto and Yuji Okabayashi vs. Kaz Hayashi and Shuji Kondo - I know I rated KAI/Sanada barely higher, perhaps helped by the fact KAI/Sanada was different from every other match on the card, this big man tag team match was probably a touch better. it was a good slugfest with Kaz flying around occasionally just to spice things up. Sekimoto and Okabayashi would be hard pressed to put on a bad match right now, they are just a really entertaining duo.
MVP: KAI. Being in the only male singles match on the card, KAI had more of an opportunity to stand out compared to the other wrestlers on the card. He looked good in his return and the crowd was more behind him than they were most things on the card. It helped that he had a good foil, but KAI delivered. He is still young and while he has slipped at times I think he has a lot of potential.
Overall: Not a bad show but not really what I was expecting. Mutoh in the past has seemed to embrace the "sports entertainment" aspect of pro wrestling (for better or worse). This event had more strike-based face-off type matches, which I don't mind in small doses but was a bit overdone for my tastes. Then it had a lackluster main event not at all worthy of an event that was not only a debut but had a lot of "surprise" wrestlers on it. Overall I can mildly recommend it as there were a few good matches on the card, but not something you need to go out of your way to see by any stretch.
review completed on 11/17/13
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