Into the Indies 01.05.10: Okinawa Pro Redux
Posted by Ryan Byers on 01.05.2010
In the first Into the Indies of 2010, we return to the rings of Okinawa Pro Wrestling, where a man in a snake costume reminds me of William Regal and a man dressed like a mongoose reminds me of Zach Ryder. What in god's name am I talking about? Read the column to find out . . .
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Into the Indies, the only column on 411mania written by a man who was in bed by 10:00 PM on New Year's Eve.
Last year, in one of the early editions of Into the Indies, I took a look at Okinawa Pro Wrestling a small promotion which runs almost exclusively in the Japanese city of Okinawa and was started by Super Delfin as the result of a WWE-esque "brand extension" of Osaka Pro Wrestling, the company that he first founded in 1998. Delfin made himself exclusive to the OkiPro roster, then forming a small cadre of independent wrestlers to work on the promotion's shows and giving them brand new gimmicks, several of which were based on local culture in Okinawa.
The original cast of characters used in Okinawa Pro, the history of the promotion, and Super Delfin's career are more heavily detailed in my original column on the company, which then went on to review a show that Delfin and crew produced on January 10, 2009. For anybody who may not want to go back and read my recap of that card, here's an even more condensed video recap produced by YouTube user billzeroism:
Then, after, not hearing much out of Okinawa Pro for several months, I ran across the lineup for the company's November 8, 2009 show, and I realized that things had changed significantly since I last visited the promotion. Things changed so much, in fact, that an updated look at the company in this column is probably warranted.
Two of those major changes occurred on the company's roster. The first saw the departure of Captain "Churaumi Pirate" Zach, who was former Osaka Pro wrestler Roberto Tanaka donning a new mask and a new gimmick. There was apparently no falling out between Tanaka and the Delfin camp, though, as the end of Zach just saw Roberto heading back to Osaka Pro, this time donning yet another new hood and calling himself "Ultimate Spider, Jr." I'm still not entirely sure what the purpose of that character is, and, quite frankly, it would make Brad Armstrong's old WCW persona Arachnaman arise from the dead and say, "Holy crap, that's a low-rent Spider-Man knockoff."
Also departing Okinawa Pro between the time of the January 10 show that I initially reviewed and the time of this column was Kanmuriwashi Yoko, a man wearing a huge bird mask with an afro hairdo growing out of it, all while also wearing oversized boxing gloves in what I am told is a tribute to a local Okinawa pugilist. Though I had no clue who was behind that particular gimmick the first few times that I watched Okinawa Pro, I have since learned that it is a wrestler named Ou Kobushi. Kobushi, who was heavily involved in kempo marital arts before making his pro wrestling debut in 2008 with indy Michinoku Pro, was quite the young standout for that company before vanishing, claiming that he was going to go elsewhere to gain more experience. It turned out that the "elsewhere" he mentioned was Okinawa, where he did the Kanmuriwashi character for a full year before returning to M-Pro on September 5, 2009 and immediately defeating top heel Fujita "Jr." Hayato for the Tohoku Junior Heavyweight Title and beating him again in a rematch on December 12.
Given that the Okinawa Pro Wrestling roster has about ten members on a good day, the departure of two wrestlers from the company meant that some fresh blood needed to be introduced immediately. These new faces came in the form of Eisa 8 (sometimes translated as "Acer 8") and Mozuku Man, with, from what I understand, the former wrestler being named after a local folk dance in the Okinawa area and the second wrestler being named after a type of seaweed which is harvested in Okinawa and often used in foods consumed by locals. Very little information has surfaced about the identity of Eisa, but, by all reports, Mozuku Man is a wrestler by the name of Shota, who debuted in the first half of 2008 and competed in several very small Japanese independent promotions, perhaps most notably a group called E-Style which presents a shoot-fighting themed style of professional wrestling.
In addition to changes to the roster, Okinawa Pro Wrestling also established its first championship in between the January and November shows. Previously, they had recognized the Mexican Wrestling Federation World Junior Heavyweight Title and the MWF World Tag Team Titles, which were earlier used as titles in Osaka Pro. On July 5, 2009, though, OkiPro held a ten-man tournament to crown the first ever Okinawa Pro Wrestling Champion, with the belt going to snake-themed wrestler Kaijin Habo Otoko, who defeated Shisaou in the finals and continued to hold the championship uninterrupted between July 5 and November 8, 2009, which is the card that we're going to review right now.
The show opens on the aforementioned Shisaou, wearing a very sweet t-shirt featuring caricatures of the entire roster that I would kill to own. He's interrupted by Golden Pine. They throw to a promo by Mil Mongoose, who delivers his lines with all of the passion and charisma of a twelve year old boy asked to participate in a classroom activity that he does not particularly care for. This somehow leads to footage of a parade in what I am assuming is downtown Okinawa. All of the OkiPro wrestlers are featured in said parade, waving and shaking hands with children. After that, we cut to the inside of the arena being used for this evening's show. A card-opening ceremony is held, with each of the wrestlers in the promotion being introduced to the audience one-by-one. This is followed by a short welcome speech from the man himself, Super Delfin.
With very little in the way of hijynx on this card as compared to the last Okinawa show that I watched, we go immediately to . . .
Match Numero Uno: Mozuku Man vs. Eisa 8
After setting the world on fire with his show-opening promo, Mil Mongoose has been invited to sit in for guest commentary on this match featuring the two new Okinawa Pro wrestlers that I discussed above. The two men trade hammerlocks and headlocks to start, and then we move into armbar reversals. Eisa gets the first bit of impact offense with a shoulderblock, though Mozuku responds with a back elbow for an early two count. He gives his opponent a snap mare after that and dropkicks him in the back, again earning a two count. Eisa fires up and finds an opening for a bodyslam, after which he slaps on the dreaded chinlock. When we clip forward a bit, he has applied a Boston crab, but Mozuku easily makes the ropes. The seaweed-themed wrestler reverses an Irish whip and hits a dropkick, coming off the second rope with a sunset flip immediately afterwards. His next trick is a lariat for two, and a Northern lights suplex produces the same result. Mozuku softens his man up further with a European uppercut, but Eisa catches him with a spinning heel kick off the ropes and goes to town with a butt butt in the corner. An impressive leaping version of the rocker dropper gets a two count for Mr. 8 after that, and now is the time for forearm trading. Eisa wins the battle and hits a one-legged dropkick thereafter, but it's still not enough to put his opponent away. An Ace crusher also can't get anything other than two, as Mozuku is showing a lot of fire for a character based on something that is usually so wet and limp. He's not completely lifeless, though. As Eisa runs the ropes one more time, Mozuku catches him in an indescribably complex cradle and uses it to win the match out of nowhere.
The two men shake hands after the bout, then slap each other, and then shake hands again.
Match Thoughts: This was two apparently young professional wrestlers having an opening match against one another and trying to practice spots which will serve them well later in their careers. On one hand, that's good to see because you know it will serve them well later on in life if they stick with practicing. On the other hand, it's a bit awkward because they are doing some "big match" spots in an opening contest where those moves a) are out of place and b) are not being executed particularly well because of the inexperience of the competitors. In particular, Eisa looked like he was a rather light wrestler, both in terms of striking and in terms of executing more traditional pro-style moves. Though I'm not somebody who believes that pro wrestlers should go in there and legitimately tag one another, because of the style in Japan, even in more lucha and comedy based promotions like this one, there needs to be a bit more of an effort to make those moves look snug. That will be a major liability to this fellow going forward unless he manages to correct it. Mozuku man looked a bit more polished, and I was a big fan of the cradle that he busted out for the finish. Hopefully the rest of his career will see him using more innovative offense like that combined with the competent, traditional mat wrestling that he displayed in the early stages of the contest. **
Match Numero Dos: Agu vs. Super Delfin vs. Kijimuna
When I reviewed the January 10 Okinawa Pro show, I was not entirely certain about the identity of Kijimuna. Upon further investigation, I learned that he is apparently an Australian independent wrestler by the named of Brian Cannon, who spent time training in Canada with the likes of Edge, Christian, and Tyson Dux before returning to the eastern hemisphere and going to work in Osaka Pro as Dingo for several tours. If you would like to check out Cannon/Dingo/Kijimuna on MySpace, you can do so by clicking here.
The three wrestlers circle each other a bit after the opening bell, and all three charge to lock up. Only Delfin and Kijimuna actually get in on that, though, as poor Agu is left out in the cold with his hands on his hips. The same thing happens on lockup attempt number two, and, on the third go-round, Agu actually gets in between his opponents and tries to work things out. Eventually, Delfin convinces Agu that he would be better served to just have a seat in the crowd while the other two wrestle . . . but the masked pig realizes that he can't win the match that way and returns the squared circle. Eventually, the wrestlers do figure out how to do a three-way Greco-Roman knuckle lock, though it ends inconclusively. Agu and Delfin discuss that, which allows Kijimuna to sneak up from behind and slap piggy. Agu fires back, knocking the Aussie down. The pig and the dolphin take turns trying to pin the demon, and the confusion ultimately sees the referee laying down on top of Kijimuna as Agu counts to three.
The official takes his fake win a bit too far, leaving the ring with Agu to celebrate. While they're gone, Delfin takes Kiji down with a lariat. Agu tries to steal the pin behind the bossman's back, but he is thwarted. Agu and Delfin again take Kiji down with a double team maneuver and fight over the pin, which results in none of them getting it. Delfin applies a leglock to Kiji, but Agu calls for a "steamroller," laying down on the mat and rolling his rotund body over both of his opponents as the leglock is still applied. On a second pass at a rollover, Agu stops and attempts to get a surprise pin on Delfin, but the veteran has bene around for too long to fall for something like that and kicks out, releasing his hold on Kijimuna's ankle at the same time. Up next, Kijimuna finds himself Irish whipped into one of the corners, where Agu hits him with a running body attack. Delfin does the exact same thing but is surprised when Agu schoolboys him immediately after the move connects in a very unique spot. Fortunately for Delfin, the cradle only gets a two count.
Delfin and Agu briefly get back on the same page and try the same double corner attack spot on the opposite set of turnbuckles, but this time Delfin catches Agu going for the schoolboy at the last second and gives him a stern look. He doesn't let it bother him, though, as they cooperate again quickly thereafter with Agu slamming Kiji and Delfing going up to the top rope. Unfortunately, Agu failed to slam Kijimuna anywhere near where Delfin needed him to be slammed to hit the move he was going for. They try to set up Delfin's top rope move again, but this time Agu puts Kiji too close to the ropes instead of too far away. Eventually Agu actually does get the demon into the correct position, but, when he does so, he goes for a cover instead of letting Delfin come off the top. The former M-Pro star does leap off the ropes, but it's actually for the purpose of breaking up Agu's pin as opposed to nailing Kijimuna with an offensive move as was originally intended.
Once again, Kijimuna is shot into the corner. Delfin and Agu head to the opposite corner, again looking to unload on their battered opponent with clotheslines or vertical splashes. However, this time, Agu catches Delfin off guard and snap mares him, sending the aquatic grappler under the bottom rope and down to the floor. Kijimuna has recovered before Agu can go after him, though, as the red devil jumps off of the second rope and hits the porcine pro wrestler with a version of Chris Jericho's codebreaker. It gets a two count. Kiji follows up with a swinging neckbreaker for another nearfall, but Agu is out at two. Kiji runs into a boot and is hit with an Agu lariat almost immediately after that, after which he is placed on the top rope for a muscle buster. The move connects, and Agu gets another nearfall as Delfin saves.
Kijimuna is placed into the tree of woe by Delfin, and Agu is whipped into Kiji. Then, in a very bizarre spot, Delfin positions Agu so that he is laying on his back with his legs straddling Kijimuna's face. After that, Delfin pulls two teenage girls out of the crowd and gets one of them to pull on each of Agu's legs, presumably driving his crotch into Kiji's face. Thank god he's wearing a mask. Once that is over, Agu whips Kijimuna into Delfin's outstretched boot a couple of times, and then Agu tries to do the same thing with the referee. Delfin won't kick the official, though, and instead grabs him for a do-se-do. All of the wrestlers take turns square dancing with the ref, and this somehow culminates in the official clotheslining Agu in the back of the head. We clip ahead, and now Delfin is setting up Kijimuna for a tornado DDT. It connects, and the founder of both O-Pro's applies his trademark Delfin Clutch to get the three count. Well, that certainly was out of nowhere . . . and Agu was nowhere to be seen at the finish, either.
Match Thoughts: I'm going to hold off on rating this one, in part because it was a comedy match and in part because the clipping at the end of the match seemingly took a fair deal of time out given that we went from a point in the match at which the finish was not apparent to the decisive fall itself. However, as far as comedy matches go, I have to give this one a big thumbs up. A lot of the comedy matches that I watch and discuss in this column are over the top to the point of being absurd, to the point that you can't even fairly pretend that it's an actual athletic contest and you have to accept it as wacky, pro wrestling based performance art as opposed to actual professional wrestling. Though no match designed specifically for laughs will ever look like traditional grappling, this one did a good job of getting back to basics and allowing me to suspend disbelief much more than a matches that involve slow motion sequences, invisible grenades, or amusement park rides. Even though it was taken to extremes, the concept of two wrestlers forming a bumbling alliance in a three-way match seems like something that really could happen if professional wrestling were legitimate, and the concept was executed very well.
Match Numero Tres: Mil Mongoose & Golden Pine vs. Shisaou & Goya Mask
Mongoose and Goya mask kick it off, taking things to the mat almost immediately and doing the "reversal, reversal, pop-up, applause" bit. One of these days, that will get old. After a couple of quick pinfall reversals, they tag in their respective partners, and Pine dares Shisaou to hit him. The much larger competitor does so, and Pine recoils in pain before trying a strike of his own. It is a miserable failure. With actual offense not working, Golden Pine decides that he's going to unleash the gay side of his gimmick and feel his opponent up a couple of times, though he pays for his indiscretions with a back elbow that sends him out of the ring and to the floor. Shisaou attempts to toss him back into the ring, but Pine keeps rolling, going out to the apron on the opposite side of the squared circle. Shisaou knocks him off of said apron, and the Pine takes some time out from the match to place his head into the laps of a couple of fans, one of whom appears to be a boy no older than six years.
After that unsettling image, we fast forward to Goya Mask and Mil Mongoose, who are once again in the ring together. Goya hits a corner attack and follows it with a boot rake to the face, then standing on his opponent's hands and cabbage patching. Awesome. Disco Inferno wishes he could have thought of that spot. Shisaou tags in at this point, chopping the Mongoose down a couple of times and then slamming him to set the table for a spot in which he just stands on Mil's chest. That gets two as Golden Pine saves. A northern lights suplex is next from Shisaou, and then Goya Mask tags back in for a ribbreaker and a power-drive elbow. That's another two count. Goya whips his man into the ropes, though Mongoose sees an opening and hits a satellite tornado DDT. That sets up the hot tag to Golden Pine, who dispatches Goya Mask with a butt butt and then actually succeeds in taking Shisaou off of his feet. Goya tries to save his partner, but Pine grabs both of their crotches to get them off balance and then hits them with a double clothesline. The Shisa-Goya team rolls out of the ring to regroup, but Mil Mongoose ensures that there shall be no rest unto the wicked, as he hits both men with an Asai moonsault before they can realize that he was even airborne.
Clipping ahead again, Goya Mask slingshots into the ring with a plancha onto Pine and hits a dancing legdrop of some kind of a two count. Some jabs from the plant connect and he looks for a lariat, but the pineapple blocks it and reverses into some sort of overhead judo throw. A slam is the next order of the day from the Golden one, after which his second rope moonsault press gets him a two due to a save from Shisaou. Mil is in to take care of Shisa, though, dropkicking him and hitting a both a 619 and a corkscrew lionsault for a two count of his own. The big man is dragged to the corner so that Mil can do something off of the top rope, but Shisaou cuts him off and gives him a HARD powerbomb. A lariat follows, but it's only good for two. Shisaou goes to the second rope after a slam, dropping the Savage elbow . . . but Pine saves on the pin attempt. Shisaou applies a figure four headscissors to the fruity wrestler to make him pay for his interference, and eventually we've got a four-man chain of that same hold. Pine escapes form Shisaou's headscissors and places his foot into Shisa's crotch for a while before the referee forces a break. Pine and Mil try for a battering ram spot after that, but it fails and all four men collide. Eventually Pine and Mil isolate Shisaou, with Mongoose giving him a satellite headscissors, followed immediately by Pine's version of the Final Cut. It only gets two. The same can be said for Mil's 450 splash, a pin attempt which Goya Mask breaks up.
Now it's Goya who is isolated, and he actually fares well against his opponents, armdragging them and hitting a leglace DDT on Golden Pine. He then places the Pine into a fireman's carry, but Mil hits an enzuguiri to break that up. Shisaou has recoverd at this point, though, as he runs in and takes Mil out of the equation with a powerslam. He looks for a powerbomb on Pine, but Goldie reverses it into a backdrop and hits a clothesline fro two. He eats Shisaou's own lariats after that, and two of them get a two count. Goya Mask intervenes, giving Golden Pine a snap rana for another two count. Now Shisaou is back on Pine nailing a Last Ride to finally put him away.
Match Thoughts: Goya Mask and Shisaou are two of the more experienced wrestlers on the Okinawa Pro roster, with careers going back several years in Osaka Pro under different names. They did a good job here of being the so-called "ring generals," holding the match together and setting the table well for their respective partners, both of whom have less than two years worth of experience as professional wrestlers. I will say that the match wasn't perfect. Generally speaking, a good match will tell a story, with a beginning that sets the stage, a middle through which the action slowly grows, a climax at some point at which the story reaches a fever pitch, and, finally, a finish which in some way plays off of what went on during the body of the bout. Here, the match began innocently enough and started to build to more and more exciting spots, but, after a while of those spots, it just ended out of the blue with no real climax or satisfying resolution. It just felt like the wrestlers did their moves until they got tired of doing so, after which they called for the finish, did a pinfall, and walked away from the ring. That's not to say it was a bad match, though. All of the athletic spots were competently pulled off and visually appealing, it's just that they could have meant a lot more of tied in to a proper in-ring story. ***
Match Numero Cuatro: Kaijin Habo Otoko (c) vs. Menso~re Oyaji for the Okinawa Pro Wrestling Championship
Otoko works on a headlock to begin the bout, but Oyaji responds with an armbar. The reversals are hot and heavy between the two grapplers, and Oyaji takes things to a different level with some armdrags and a leg trip. Oyaji unsuccessfully tries to get the crowd to chant his name after that, but Kaijin is having none of it and takes him down with a shoulderblock. The two then begin running the ropes at an insane speed, culminating in an Oyaji rana that sends the champion down to the arena floor. He voluntarily reenters the ring, where his opponent catches him with stomps immediately and dropkicks him against the ropes. A second dropkick gets two, and then Menso~re takes the opposition down with a drop toe hold and applies a version of the Mutoh Lock. Kaijin reverses it into a chinlock of his own, but Oyaji breaks that hold quickly and tries for some strikes. That doesn't work out too well for him, a Otoko dominates and takes Oyaji off of his feet with a shot from the snake tail hanging off the back of his mask. The wrestlers head to the floor at this point, where Oyaji is blasted with a chair by the champion and then sent into the ringpost before being given a vertical suplex onto the floor. Not a good day to be Menso~re. Kaijin keeps the string of bad luck for his opponent alive, giving him a SWEET shining wizard variant on the floor. Oyaji, perhaps foolishly, slides back into the ring, where he is stomped heavily before Otoko gives him a CM Punk-esque knee strike in the corner. That sets up a chinlock.
Otoko releases the hold to hit a vertical suplex and an out of control senton, then slapping on the abdominal stretch. He turns that into a sleeper hold, which they actually use as a nearfall spot before Oyaji puts his feet onto the ropes. Kaijin goes to run the ropes at this point, but Oyaji gives him a dropkick and follows it up with a back elbow in the corner. A dropkick in the corner connects as well, and the challenger goes to the skies with a springboard missile dropkick. It only gets a two count, and now you know Menso is serious, because he's pulled his energy drink from the corner. He takes a swig and grabs Otoko's arm for a ropewalk attack. That does virtually nothing for Oyaji, though, as he's cradled for two seconds later and put into a variation on the stretch muffler when he kicks out. Kaijin's next trick is a diving lariat followed by another shining wizard, which gives him a two count. The champ looks for a lariat but is caught in another rana, sending him to the floor once more. Menso follows him with a tope con hilo, and both men are down for a while before Oyaji tosses his man back into the ring and gives him a version of the machine gun chops in the corner. Otoko is not impressed and hits some chops of his own, followed by a series of forearm strikes. Oyaji responds with more chops, which are somewhat more effective this time out. Oyaji no-sells a lariat and a backdrop suplex, eventually giving his opponent a German . . . only to eat yet another shining wizard seconds later. There's no no-selling that one.
Now it's time for a slam from Kaijin, and he heads to the top rope. Oyaji cuts him off, applying an abdominal stretch variant as Otoko sits on the top turnbuckle. The referee breaks that up quickly, but he doesn't prevent Menso from getting in a top rope rana, which is followed by the snake man getting draped gut-first over the top rope. Menso gives him a missile dropkick while he is in that position, which knocks Kaijin down to the floor yet again. Oyaji gives us another dive there, this time a springboard cross body of sorts. Otoko is once more returned to the ring, where he recovers and smacks the taste out of his opponent's mouth before hitting a lariat for two. Kaijin gets caught up in a sunset flip for a nearfall, then misses his shining wizard and gets cradled for another one. Oyaji looks like he may have the match won with a kick and sliced bread number two, which he follows immediately with a German suplex. Otoko kicks out, though, then standing his man up on the second turnbuckle. That sets up a SUPER SLICED BREAD, though Otoko STILL manages to kick out. Maybe it's just me, but that's a move I would have saved for an actual title change.
Sliced bread number two attempt number three ends badly for Menso, as Kaijin crotches him and places him in the tree of woe. From there, they do the Low Ki/Sonjay Dutt spot in which Kaijin hits a double stomp from the top as Oyaji hangs in the tree. Brutal. A jackhammer and a windmill slam are next from Kaijin, after which he heads to the top rope for a frog splash. That puts Menso away, as Otoko retains his championship.
Match Thoughts: Oyaji is a lot like Mil Mongoose and Golden Pine in the earlier match in that, unless there is somebody really surprising under his hood, he has less than two years worth of experience in wrestling. In some ways, that is amazing, because he pulls off some complex maneuvers that you wouldn't expect to see out of a rookie in the United States who isn't coming out of a promotion named CHIKARA. On the other hand, his inexperience shows in some other regards because, like Eisa 8 in the opener, some of those moves and particularly his strikes aren't as crisp as they would be coming out of a more experienced grappler. However, regardless of his level of experience, the significantly more seasoned Otoko did a great job of making him look like an individual who belonged in the main event of a show on this level. His persona also helped the match significantly, as he's the one character in Okinawa Pro who is allowed to have a bit of an edge, not participating in comedy spots too often and, though he is not portrayed as a heel outright, you get the feeling from watching him interact with the rest of the roster that he's just not feeling the happy-go-lucky, "we're all friends in a touring wrestling troupe" vibe that the other wrestlers give off when standing side-to-side. That makes him into a more serious competitor, and, as a result, it feels like a bigger deal when a young wrestler can go toe-to-toe with him as opposed to the other veteran wrestlers in the company. ***1/2
When I first watched Okinawa Pro, I wasn't exactly sure what to make of it. More than anything else, I was entertained by the colorful gimmicks, which are probably the most over the top in all of professional wrestling . . . which is quite a task when you consider that groups like DDT and CHIKARA still exist. However, on repeat viewings, I was able to look beyond the characters and figure out what this company actually was. In watching this card in particular, it remidned me of the Japanese version of the current ECW show promoted by WWE. Whether it was intentional or not, Delfin gathered three independent wrestling veterans with over a decade of experience each in the forms of Shisaou, Kaijin Habu Otoko, and Goya Mask. He then combined that more experienced crew with a lineup of relatively inexperienced grapplers and positioned the two generations of wrestler against each other in matches, which, if you've followed wrestling for any period of time, you probably know is a great formula for turning greenhorn grapplers into solid workers. Though the company is young and the aforementioned formula does not necessarily guarantee success, it appears to me that, at least as things stand now, Okinawa Pro Wrestling has all of the ingredients necessary to be a top-notch feeder system for larger independent wrestling promotions, which, in turn, serves as a feeder system for the country's major leagues. I have a feeling that this promotion won't be producing too many must-see shows or all-time classic matches over the years, but it should still be very interesting to watch to see how the younger members of its roster develop.
FRENZY OF FEEDBACK~!
Due to time constraints, it has been a while since I have published any reader feedback or my responses to it. However, I couldn't pass on running this e-mail from Will Geddes (also apparently known as "BlueMeanieUK" in some circles), who seconds the recommendation that I made my review of DDT's Ryogoku Peter Pan show:
Just watched Ryogoku Peter Pan on the recommendation of one of your columns . . . and it's GENIUS~! I must have seen a different cut to you because the first three matches were missing (including the IMHMW Rumble, boo hiss) but it did have the backstage segment where Yago and MechaMummy attack someone backstage and end up getting locked in the cabinet, setting up their appearance in the weapons rumble. And the opening pyro which is on a fuse running all through the streets and into the arena, exploding all around, setting off four big flame pyros in the ring before exploding in the biggest flame of all*, Danshokou Dino's thong.
If only Rico had used the Cock Bottom he'd have got his gimmick massively over. Or the Dragon Screw Penis Whip I saw in a different Dino match.
*disclaimer - I am not homophobic. But the gimmick is obviously being played for laughs rather than cheap heel heat, so I'll run with it.
If only the big US feds were as cool about letting their talent work random indy shows. Imagine Cena facing Soldier Ant (complete with the match breaking into a random salute off). Or Randy Orton proving how evil he is by teaming with Ultramantis Black and Dr Cube. Or a battle royale between Ultimo Dragon, Bryan Danielson, Ricky Steamboat, Azul Dragon, Dragon Kid, K-Ness, Retail Dragon and Dragon Dragon.
You should definately review 666 Great War (or if you have, do it again!). It's DDT. But goth.
For anybody who may be looking for Ryogoku Peter Pan, I should probably note that, as Will guessed, there are actually two versions of the show. The edited version that he ran across ran within a few days of the show taking place and focused mainly on the top four or five matches. Then, a few weeks after the card and on a different network, the six and a half hour long show ran in full. I would strongly suggest that anybody looking to watch the card go for the full version, if possible.
As far as 666 is concerned, I have never actually run across any of their product. However, if I do, I will be certain to give it a shot.
Looking forward to the next instalment of Into the Indies? Keep an eye on 411's Twitter accounts, and you just might see it pop up!