Sumire Natsu vs. Kana (Pro Wrestling Wave October 30, 2013)

So this is Sumire Natsu’s debut match and she’s going up against the woman who would become Asuka, Kana. Talk about a trial by fire.

We get a little pre-match promo from Natsu before the bout, though what she says I could not say, since my knowledge of Japanese is pretty much non-existent. After that she makes her entrance, getting the Goldberg treatment, as she she shown walking from the backstage area out to the ring (she lacks Goldberg’s phalanx of cops).

Kana, still in her Nazi zombie phase, heads out next and the match gets underway. Sumire offers a handshake, but Kana does not wish to abide by the Code of Honor. Sumire unloads on Kana with a bunch of forearm strikes that Kana just kind of shrugs off before unloading with strikes of her own.

Kana spends the bulk of the match toying with the rookie, swatting her out of the air when she goes for dropkicks and halfheartedly kicking at Sumire when she ends up on the mat.

Sumire gets a couple near falls that basically do nothing but fire Kana up who tosses her around a bit and then gets her to tap out with an armbar about eight minutes into the match.

Random ladies hit the ring with icepacks and stuff to tend to Sumire and then Kana kneels down and shakes her hand. I guess in taking a hellacious beating, Sumire Natsu earned Kana’s respect.

We then get a post-match promo thing from Sumire recorded backstage, but again, I’ve got no idea what she was talking about.

Winner: Kana

I guess for a debut match it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Sumire was good on the sell, but a lot of her offense looked kind of sloppy and it looked like she botched a couple things. Since this match took place five years ago, I know she gets much better than she was here but as a stand alone match this wasn’t particular inspired. [*⅔]

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Atsushi Onita vs. Masahiro Chono (NJPW Strong Style Symphony – New Japan Spirit 1999 April 10, 1999)

I suppose a little backstory is in order. In 1998 Atsushi Onita left FMW after being told by then owner, Shoichi Arai, that due to Onita’s attitude towards other wrestlers on the roster and FMW’s shift away from deathmatch wrestling, he needed to leave.

Somehow this lead to Onita showing up in New Japan and challenging Riki Choshu to a barbed wire deathmatch. Choshu, who was serving as booker at the time, was retired and so in January 1999 booked Onita in a match against Kensuke Sasaki. Onita lost that match but still persisted and demanded Choshu come out of retirement to face him which brings us to today’s match.

Again, Choshu refused to face Onita, instead booking him in a match against former IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Masahiro Chono…in a goddamn exploding barbed wire match.

The match begins with a pair of the greatest ring entrances I’ve ever seen in my life. Onita is out first. He saunters down to the ring with a folding chair slung over his shoulder while “Wild Thing” blares. The normally staid Japanese audience gives him the WCW audience treatment and pelts him with trash as he walks down the aisle. At one point he stops, unfolds his chair and after lighting up a cigarette slumps down into it and smirks while the fans continue to hurl garbage at him.

Chono then proceeds to roll in a goddamn Humvee and march down to the ring with a cigar clenched between his teeth. He seems to be unsure of how to actually get into the ring since this is his first time in an exploding barbed wire deathmatch, but ultimately rolls into the ring and it’s time for the match to begin in earnest.

Like most Japanese deathmatches of yore, this begins with some basic wrestling and punch-kicking with teases of guys getting thrown into the barbed wire only for them to throw on the breaks at the last second. Eventually Chono gets Onita in the STF and some sirens sound which I guess means the bombs are now activated or something.

Chono releases the hold and grabs the chair that Onita had brought out with him and hurls it at him only for Onita to duck. The chair flies into the barbed wire, setting off an explosion that knocks both men and the referee on their asses in one of the best spots of the entire match.

We then get some back and forth with both guys ultimately ending up in the exploding barbed wire. Onita’s arm is opened up pretty good after he goes into the ropes so Chono beats on and yells “This is not wrestling!” at him in English for some reason.

Eventually there’s a ref bump that involves the referee, Onita, and Chono all going into the barbed wire and having it explode. A new referee, who had been out on the floor wearing ski goggles for the entire match, hops into the ring and checks on his fallen co-worker (the other ref was wearing a completely different uniform which said WAR on the back of his shirt so I don’t know if they actually worked together or not) while Chono has a visible pin on Onita.

Onita manages to kick out by the time the new ref realizes there’s a pin to be counted. Chono spams Yakuza Kicks on Onita but Onita keeps kicking out. Onita gets back to his feet and grabs a side headlock. Chono tries to get out of it with a backdrop suplex but Onita holds on and gets back to his feet driving Chono back into the barbed wire for another explosion.

Both men are down so the referee begins to administer a ten count. Onita staggers back to his feet, but then promptly collapses and the match ends with a double knock out.

Winner: Double Knock Out

Aside from the twin novelties of seeing a No Rope Explosive Barbed Wire Deathmatch being contested in a New Japan ring and Masahiro Chono in a garbage wrestling match this match is not particularly good. As is generally the case with these things there are a couple high spots but the bulk of the match is just mediocre brawling while guys attempt to push each other into the barbed wire.

The ending was kind of a disappointment too but I guess it lead to Chono and Onita respecting each other and teaming up with Chono to take on nWo Japan later that year because NJPW in 1999 was insane. [**]

Hiroshi Wajima vs. Tom Magee (AJPW April 22, 1988)

I love me some awful wrestling, so I’ve decided to watch all the winners of the Observer’s Worst Match of the Year Award. Hell, I’ve seen the bulk of them already, but this one I hadn’t seen before and it’s only like two and a half minutes long so here we go.

Tom Magee was a former bodybuilder turned pro-wrestler who was apparently on track to be the “next big thing” in the WWF, but it was not to be. Perhaps because of the fact that in spite having the right look, he never really learned how to work. Perhaps its because Vince thought he sounded too girly when he spoke. Who knows?

What we do know was that in April of 1988 he went to Japan to wrestle for All Japan Pro Wrestling. In this match from April 22 or maybe April 21 (I’ve seen both dates online) he faced a former sumo wrestler named Hiroshi Wajima in a rather awful encounter.

Magee comes attacks before the bell with some weak looking chops and knees that Wajima doesn’t really sell. Magee tosses him out to the floor and whips him into the guardrail and again Wajima doesn’t sell.

Magee does some flips and poses in the ring, as you do. Wajima climbs back up on the apron and Magee hits some ridiculous looking kicks that, you guessed it, Wajima no-sells. Magee hits a scoop slam and then a surprisingly good looking legdrop that he gets some insane height on and covers, but Wajima kicks out at one.

Magee goes for a belly to belly suplex, but Wajima doesn’t go up for him at all so they just kind of fall in a heap on the mat. This also only gets a one count. Magee then whips Wajima into the corner and unleashes a fury of more weak looking kicks and chops that draws laughter from the crowd before Wajima fires up.

Wajima hits some chops of his own, a hiptoss, a clothesline before slapping on the Boston Crab to pick up the win.

Winner: Hiroshi Wajima

While Tom Magee was clearly not the best wrestler and didn’t seem to understand the psychology of a match, with a different opponent, one who might have sold for some of his offense and made it look less ridiculous for example, this wouldn’t have been as bad as it was. Early in the match when Wajima kind of sold Magee looked competent and when he hit the legdrop he actually looked good, but when Wajima just stood there no-selling stuff it ended up making the entire match shit. [-***]

 

Gary Hart vs. Victor the Wrestling Bear (Houston Wrestling 1979)

Don’t know the exact date for this one but it shows up on a tape from Paul Boesch’s Houston Wrestling with a bunch of matches from 1979 so I’m assuming that’s when it went down, though I can’t find any evidence online about this match other than stuff saying that Gart Hart once wrestled a bear and isn’t that what really matters?

As far as matches go this one is wilder than the match I posted earlier of Gene Dubois taking on Terrible Ted. While Ted kind of wrestled with Dubois, hitting some snapmares and stuff, Victor just bowls everyone over, including the man with the fastest three count in professional wrestling, Referee Bronko Lubich.

Victor wins the match, but that’s beside the point. This is a man wrestling a bear in a cage of some sort because professional wrestling is goddamn ridiculous and that’s why I love it.

Mascarita Sagrada & Octagancito vs. Jerrito Estrada & Espectrito (AAA When Worlds Collide! November 6, 1994)

Another request. This match comes from a show that AAA co-produced with WCW and held in Los Angeles. I don’t think any guys who were actually contracted with WCW at the time were actually on the card (though 2 Cold Scorpio might have been since I’m pretty sure he left WCW in ’94 for ECW but don’t recall exactly when). A bunch of people on this show would go on to be big names in WCW and the WWE following this event, but none of those guys are in this match unless you count being on WWF Los Super Astros in 1998 or being part of the Juniors’ Division on Velocity in 2006 as being a big name in the WWE.

What we have here is the minis tag team match that opened up the show. In the US, minis or midget wrestlers are generally involved in comedy matches, and not really taken seriously and while I think that is sometimes the case in Mexico as well, this match was a pretty serious, competitive bout.

Professor Iron “Mike” Tenay and Chris Cruise are calling the action and are honestly a pretty great commentary team. Tenay does a pretty great job of explaining the different rules that American audiences unfamiliar with lucha libre might not understand (the lack of tags when someone goes out to the floor, 20 counts, why certain wrestlers are classified as minis, removing a mask being an automatic DQ, etc.) and Cruise has a pleasant enough sportscaster voice that gives an air of respectability to the proceedings.

All four dudes in this match worked hard and we got a lot of very fluid back and forth wrestling between the two teams, a lot of good high flying action, and about a bajillion arm drags. Much like WCW would start doing on Nitro with the cruiserweights opening the show. This was a fast paced, exciting match that got people amped up for what was to follow. I’d honestly be inclined to seek out the rest of this show and check it out after this match.

Roadblock vs. Dusty Wolfe (WCW Saturday Night

Regardless of what this video is titled, Randy Savage never appears in this video from 1996. Roadblock comes out to get squashed by Savage and “Pomp and Circumstance” plays but instead of Savage we get a different Randy, Referee Randy Anderson, running out.

David Penzer informs us that though Savage was in the building earlier in the day, he is no longer present so the match will not be taking place. Roadblock takes umbrage with this and after hollering some stuff, goes backstage where a bunch of enhancement talent is sitting in folding chairs, I guess in the event that they need to kill TV time with a standby match.

Roadblock grabs one of the dudes and hauls him down to the ring and Tony informs us that this unfortunate “youngster” is Dusty Wolfe. The youngster, Wolfe, was 34 at the time. Dusty Rhodes does not like that this fellow is also called Dusty and decides that he should be known as Scott Wolfe.

Roadblock tosses him into the ring and hits him with a powerslam. He stomps on Wolfe a few times and tells him to get up. Wolfe is already dead and thus is unable to stand so Roadblock picks him up and hits a couple more powerslams before covering him and picking up a victory.

Roadblock then gets all up in the camera and calls out Lex Luger because this is WCW Saturday Night and even guys who were generally job guys occasional get wins and get to call out main eventers.

This was the greatest three and a half minutes of wrestling related nonsense I’ve seen all week.

Gene Dubois vs. Terrible Ted (Buffalo Athletic Club February 24, 1967)

Terrible Ted was a 600 pound bear from Canada that wrestled professional from 1950 to 1974. Here we see him take on his trainer, Gene Dubois, in an exhibition match that took place in Buffalo, NY. I could have the date wrong but if the internet is to be believed this is the only time these two faced each other in Buffalo.

As far as wrestling bears go, Terrible Ted was probably the best since he could manage snapmares and single leg takedowns and things of that ilk.

Jun Kasai vs. Mizuki Watase (DDT DNA 21 September 30, 2016)

Apparently Watase asked for this to be made into a Hardcore match because he wanted to face Kasai at 100% or something.

Kasai seems pretty reluctant initially to go hardcore, and has the ref push aside the chair that Watase uses in the beginning after Kasai disarms him, but it doesn’t take long for Kasai to use one of Watase’s chairs against him and turn the match into a ringside brawl.

Watase gets sent into chairs as Kasai takes a beer can from someone in the crowd, drinks some and then heads back in with Watase. He places the can in the center of the ring and then bodyslams Watase onto it a couple times in a spot that looked like it sucked.

They brawl some more out on the floor and Kasai gets out a table and sets it up ringside. He lays Watase on the table, but Watase recovers and chucks some chairs at Kasai and then puts him on the table instead. He then hits Kasai with a Diving Body Press but this is a Japanese table so it just falls over instead of breaks. Bad times for Jun Kasai.

They head back in where Kasai takes over on offense, breaking a chair over Watase’s head. He hits some stuff including a Reverse Tiger Driver but Watase manages to kick out. Eventually Kasai heads up top, puts on some goggles and nails Watase with the Pearl Harbor Splash to pick up the win.

Winner: Jun Kasai

This was a decent enough hardcore match I suppose though it probably would have been more fun if I understood Japanese since Kasai spent like half the match delivering monologues to the audience that they laughed at. It wasn’t all comedy though; the beer can and table spots both looked like they sucked. [**⅔]

Survival Tobita vs. Ken the Box (EWF February 27, 2000)

Survival Tobita finally gets one over on his eternal rival, Ken the Box, besting him by countout when Ken is unable to get into the ring for their match, but Survival Tobita is very die hard and challenges Ken to a rematch right then and there. A Texas Deathmatch I suppose.

Tobita heads out to the floor where he is dropped repeatedly by spinning backfists from Ken. Tobita manages to get back to his feet, but is busted open. Ken hits him again, sending him into the crowd. Tobita is unable to answer the ten count and Ken the Box once again emerges victorious.

Winner: Ken the Box

This is a fantastic bit of wrestling as performance art. It is so ludicrous and over the top and Jim Cornette would hate it, but the crowd is more into this the a lot of the stuff I see on Raw or Smackdown circa today. If you’re a person who only cares about “workrate” and stuff like you’ll probably hate this, but I’m not one of those people so this was great! [***]