Ring Crew Reviews: Puro Comp including AJPW, NJPW, DDT, NOAH and BattlArts
Posted by Jack Bramma on 08.22.2011
Go/Sasaki from NOAH, Morishima/Sugiura for the GHC strap, Tanahashi/Kojima for the IWGP belt, and M. Funaki/Suwama for the Triple Crown
• So I'm woefully behind on my puro wrestling and had a major backlog of matches I needed to watch from the past couple years and decided to throw them all together in a spastic comp review. There will probably be another few of these coming soon as well. As a lot of the matches are similar in layout and psychology, I'm adding a little post-script to each review saying what I thought was the spot of the match.
• Kensuke Sasaki vs. Go Shiozaki. This is from NOAH on 07/24/2010. These are two big, thick mofos that bring the lumber so this should be hella stiff. Lock up goes nowhere as the power is even. They try again and this time wind up in the ropes but neither wants to let go. Finally, we get a clean break. Test of strength time and they work it for a minute before Sasaki gets the advantage and brings Go to his knees. Go powers up and suplexes him over. Go grabs a headlock and tries a shoulderblock but Sasaki no sells. Another gets the same result. Go comes back with a yakuza kick but Sasaki no sells that too and plows over him with a shoulderblock. Sasaki sends him into the corner but Go comes out with a shoulderblock and takes him down. Go chops the shit out of him and Sasaki comes right back with the Kobashi chop and Go rethinks that strategy right now. They trade a series of headbutts and Sasaki hits a few in a row and Go finally goes down. Go shoots for a single to end the power stuff he's losing and goes to a leg grapevine and works the ankle. Sasaki rakes his face but Go releases the hold and Frog Splashs back down on the ankle and goes back to the hold. Haven't seen that before. Sasaki gets the ropes and Go goes back to work on the legs. He boots him a few times and then suplexes him onto the apron but because of his bum leg, Sasaki eats it to the floor. Go follows out with a plancha. Go sends him into the turnbuckle. Sasaki comes back with the chop so Go puts him on the apron and gives him a running knee strike. Go preps a piledriver on the apron but Sasaki fights him off. Go switches to a DDT on the apron and Sasaki falls down in a heap on the floor. Back in, the first cover of the match gets 2 and then Go goes to a chinlock. Sasaki tries to break the hold but Go powers it back on. Sasaki uses the INTESTINAL FORTITUDE to finally break the hold and then Go chops the shit out of him back down and drops a knee for 2. Go with more boots to his back and another couple of LEATHERY chops for another 2 count. Sasaki comes back with chops but Go blocks one and gives him a knee to the gut. Go goes for the flying burrito but eats a KOBASHI CHOP and then is clotheslined to the floor. On the floor, Sasaki tells Go it's time for a receipt so he smacks him with his 2x4 wrist a couple times and then walloped him over the guardrail and into the chop with a damn chop. Sasaki stalks back into the ring and then stares him basically calling Go a punk with his eyes. Go is barely able to beat the count to the ring AFTER A SERIES OF CHOPS. Sasaki with more chops and Go with more forearms so Sasaki lays him the fuck out with a real man's forearm. The ref checks on him and Go finally comes back to life. Sasaki corners him and goes to the KOBASHI CHOP RAMPAGE! Sasaki runs off the ropes into a rana from Go. Go Hulks up and wants the LARIATO but Sasaki blocks that weak sauce with his own LARIATO RIGHT TO GO'S ARM.
• The ref checks out Go again to see if he can continue with his broken freakin arm. Sasaki takes him down with another LARIATO for 2. Sasaki boots him but Go is in full on BERZERKER MODE. He comes back with chops but Sasaki chops him right in the damn throat to end that nonsense. Sasaki then clubs him across the back of the neck with more BRUTAL chops and Go is a corpse. The ref pushes him to the floor and then basically tells Sasaki he's had enough and it's over. The camera cuts to Go laying facedown on the mat and Sasaki like a cold blood killer wants more. He gives go a brainbuster on the floor. The ref calls him off and starts the count. Sasaki actually encourages the crowd to clap for Go because he doesn't want a countout victory. The crowd gets behind Go and he gets to the apron only to eat a clothesline from Sasaki sending him back to the floor and into the guardrail. Back in, Sasaki admires his handiwork and tries to chop off Go's head with his bare hands. Piledriver gets 2. Sasaki goes to the chinlock. The ref raises the hand at least 5 times and Go looks to be out. Sasaki barks at him presumably demanding a real submission victory instead of his opponent passing out, so the ref keeps checking on the incapacitated Go. Sasaki finally releases the hold and covers for a razor thin 2. Go is out on his feet as Sasaki destroys him with more chops. He tries a suplex but Go incredibly blocks. He tries again and again and Go keeps blocking. He finally gets him up but Go balances out and then suplexes Sasaki over instead. Sounds simple but was perfectly executed. Sasaki can't believe it so he's determined to BEAT HIM TO A LIVING DEATH and goes for another LARIATO but Go ducks and beasts him over with the German suplex. Go runs off the ropes into a couple of stiff chops but he no sells and runs through another chop and hits the flying shoulderblock. Go hits the running chop in the corner but gets sent into the turnbuckle by Sasaki. Sasaki tries bringing him out but Go slides under and gets a brainbuster for 2. Go tries a German suplex but Sasaki block and it's CHOP BATTLE TIME! Sasaki wins that by going to the throat again but Go comes back with a superkick and another German suplex. They both go for LARIATOs and they offset each other. Go takes him down with a German suplex and a yakuza kick but Sasaki no sells and hits the LARIATO. Delayed cover gets 2. Sasaki gets a head of steam but Go flapjacks him into the corner. Go comes off the ropes into a powerslam from Sasaki. Sasaki gives him a series of LARIATOs to the front and back with both arms(!) before decapitating him with a lefty.
• Cover only gets 2. Sasaki get s a knee to the gut and another and armdrags Go over for 2. Sasaki hooks him a standing armbar and then covers for a close 2. Sasaki with another clothesline and heads up top but Go meets him there. Go tries to DDT him into the top turnbuckle or something. Whatever it was looked kinda botched. Go crushes him with a LARIATO and now Go wants the throat chops and gives him 3 brutal ones. Go heads up top and hits the moonsault for a 2 count. Go with another LARIATO for 2. Go with a couple of superkicks and a Go Flasher for a close 2 count. Go can't believe it. He slashes the throat and says that's it. Go goes for the Henkei Go Flasher but Sasaki blocks so Go decides to go for the regular Go Flasher but instead Sasaki gets him him the NORTHERN LIGHTS BOMB (Snow Plow). Sasaki too out of it to cover. Both get to their feet at the same time and Sasaki gets another LARIATO for a near fall. They get to their feet in unison and chop it out. Go Hulks up and wants more. Sasaki obliges by destroying his chest and Go comes back with more. MORE CHOPS! You just have to hear these to get the intensity of these shots. Go gets a running start on one and Sasaki doesn't go down. They trade a few of these and both are stumbling but won't go down. The sweat is flying off of them with each swat across the chest. Go tells him to BRING IT ON! Sasaki gives him the KOBASHI CHOP RAMPAGE and Go takes all of it and then switches places with him and lays into him as well. Now they trade throat chops and Go FINALLY goes down. They get to their feet and go to the short arm chops. Sasaki looks like he's on dream street but still won't go down. Go goes for another chop but crumbles over in pain and Sasaki chops him down and hits a LARIATO and another and damn near cripples go with it. A third flips Go over. Cover gets 1, 2,--kick out at 2. Sasaki hits a tiger suplex for a close 2. Sasaki says THAT'S IT and hits another Northern Lights Bomb and Go has the last rites read at 33:40. That's one of the most intense, beast displays of brutality you'll ever see. They just laid into each other for thirty straight minutes and barely ever let up. I'm not a huge fan of the chops galore finish as my favorite part of the match was definitely the middle early section with Sasaki first busting out the throat chops and the ref basically demanding the match be stopped. Also, I have no idea of the story but I have to believe it was something akin to old guard vs. new guard with the toughest of each going at it and therefore I'm a tad disappointed Go didn't blitzkrieg through the end and somehow come up with a victory. Still, a phenomenal battle. Spot of the match: LARIATO to Go's arm or the final series of three lariats that flip Go over. ****1/2
• KO-D Openweight Championship: Dick Togo vs. Antonio Honda (c). This is from DDT on 1/30/11. Honda is KO-D Openweight Champ. However, he's been a comedy wrestler most of his career and he wants to prove to everyone he's the real deal by defeating his best friend Togo who was the previous champ but had to vacate due to an injury. Togo shakes off the lock up early. Honda with a go behind and tries a headlock takeover but that quickly goes nowhere. Togo goes to the wristlock and switches to the hammerlock. Honda rolls him under and goes to the guillotine and then jumps on the hammerlock. Togo gets to his feet so Honda jumps on the top wristlock. Togo tries armdragging him over so Honda stays on the hold. Togo with another armdrag and Honda releases but rather than give him the break Honda jumps back on the arm. Nice. Togo sends him off and tries a hiptoss but Honda tries to counter a backslide. Togo counters and wants a piledriver but his arm is hurt too bad. Honda then torques the arm and drives the elbow into it a few times. Honda with a head of steam but runs into a knee. Togo works him over in the corner with rights and boots. Togo sends him off and wants a backdrop but looks like they mistime it or something as Honda comes in and collides with him and covers by going for a single arm DDT. Honda hooks in the armbar but Togo closes the grip to releases the pressure. Honda counters to the Fujiwara armbar and Togo is just able to get the ropes. Honda smashes the arm over the ropes and Togo falls to the floor. Honda tries to smash the arm into the ringpost but Togo counters and sends him into it instead. Togo wants a butterfly suplex but Honda backdrops him over on the mat. Honda slides back in and then comes flying out with the suicide dive. Honda looks to clip the ropes on the way out and “didn't get all of it” as they say. Honda either bladed or got caught hard way because he's blading and Tojo is going to work on the cut. Togo drops a few fists on it and Honda writhes in agony. Honda tries fighting back but he's out of it and Togo works the jab. Cover gets 2 for Togo. Togo goes to the chinlock. The ref raises the arm but Honda recovers on the third.
• The crowd gets into it as Honda elbows out to a pop. Double clothesline spot and both are down. Togo sends him into the turnbuckle and hits more rights. Honda Hulks up and starts no selling the turnbuckle smashes and hits a flurry of rights and an uppercut for 2. Honda hits an enzuigiri and tries an ab stretch but Togo gets the ropes. Togo goes for a LARIATO and Honda counters to a dragon suplex for 2. Honda with a DDT and heads up top. He wants the top rope fistdrop but Togo moves and then rolls him up for 2. Togo immediately goes for the Crippler Crossface. Honda tries rolling through but Togo stays on the hold. Honda pulls him over to the ropes and gets the break. Togo says that's it but Honda blocks the suplex and his arm gives out so Togo comes back with a superkick and a DiamondCutter for 2. Togo tries punching his arm back to life and finally hits the Pedigree. He heads up top and wants the Diving Senton but Honda rolls out of the way and eats canvas. Honda rolls him up for 2. Honda with two enzuigiris but Togo won't go down so he gives him a DDT. Honda heads up top and now hits the diving fist for 2. Honda wants something but Togo rolls under for 2 and then transitions immediately back into the CC. Honda gets the ropes. They slug it out with rights and Togo wins that one but they both go for climatic haymakers at the same time and both go down. Double KO but both up at 9. They continue slugging it out with violent forearms and rights to each other and Togo wins that and hits one more LARIATO for a close 2 count. Togo hits another Pedigree and heads up top and this time hits the Diving Senton to end it at 18:47. A very good, hart hitting contest and I'm sure it's even more meaningful if you're more familiar with DDT than me. This was surprisingly more similar to stateside wrestling than NOAH strong style even if stiff in spots as well. I enjoyed the Honda outworking Togo earlier, but the bladejob seemed to come out of nowhere (maybe it was supposed to be on the ringpost shot?) and didn't add much. I'll definitely be looking into more from these guys. ***1/2
• Munenori Sawa & Bison TAGAI vs. Daijiro Matsui & Hideki Suzuki. This is from BattlArts on 3/21/11. Sawa and Matsui to start. They feel each other out with Sawa going for a kick but getting his leg caught up in the heel corner so Matsui dumps him and Suzuki runs him off with a chair. TAGAI slides in but Sawa immediately goes for the anklelock and they get into the ropes. Suzuki in with TAGAI. TAGAI shoots for a double and gets it. Suzuki puts him in a headscissors so TAGAI rethinks that strategy. Suzuki flips him over and goes for a kimura. Suzuki now wants the armbar but TAGAI switches to a heel hook. Suzuki escapes and cartwheels over into sidemount and goes for a guillotine. TAGAI gets the Fujiwara armbar and then jumps on the guillotine. Suzuki floats over and gets the advantage. He teases letting TAGAI make the tag and then decides to be a nice guy and let him. Sawa wants him to back up so Matsui tags back in. Sawa gets the waistlock and a roll up but Matsui goes to the GnP and into full mount before trying an armbar. Sawa switches to his own armbar but Matsui overpowers him and tries a kimura. TAGAI boots him from their corner to break that up to a pop. Matsui rolls to the floor where TAGAI taunts him from the apron. Sawa pulls guard so Matsui jumps into full mount with GnP and goes back to the kimura an then switches to a headscissors. They trade places and Matsui wants the RNC. Suzuki tags in but first grinds the heel across Sawa's face while he's in a hold to be big heel heet. Sawa and Suzuki square off and Sawa goes to the top wristlock but Suzuki wants a sleeper so Sawa slides out and brings him into the face corner. TAGAI in and they try some doubleteam move but Matsui breaks it up. TAGAI rolls him into an RNC with the body triangle. Suzuki finally gets the ropes so TAGAI pulls him back to the center for the banana split. Suzuki tries countering to his own hold so TAGAI switches toa heel hook and they get to the ropes. TAGAI decides to be a dick and let Suzuki have his back only to roll under into a beautiful Ankle Lock but Suzuki quickly gets the ropes. Suzuki takes him over with a Northern Lights suplex out of a test of strength and tags in Matsui. Rather than cheap shot, Matsui calls TAGAI into the middle for some man-up stuff. Tagai grabs an ankle and gets the Judo hiptoss but Matsui quickly escapes and goes for a half crab straight into a STF. Sawa breaks that up and Matsui is pissed and is all, WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM, MOTHERFUCKER!? I imagine is what he says but it's in Japanese.
• He smacks Sawa on the apron and Sawa SMACKS HIM BACK! Matsui is like BRING IT ON! Sawa wants the tag in but TAGAI says he's got it. Based on how bad Matsui was thrashing Sawa earlier I'd say that's a good plan. Matsui tries the roll under anklelock again but Matsui drops into his own heel hook. TAGAI is able to overpower him for his anklelock but Matsui gets the ropes. TAGAI sends him off but Matsui blocks it by getting the ropes. Suzuki tags in but TAGAI catches a kick and easily rolls him into the half crab. Sawa in and he locks in the STF and then switches into a mounted sleeper. Suzuki stands up out of it so Sawa locks in a beast Figure Four variation where he's on his knees instead of laying down. Matsui breaks it up with kicks so Sawa grabs him for the Figure Four and goes for the regular variety. Suzuki looks at him like he's an idiot and hooks in the armbar while he's in the Figure Four. TAGAI is in and HE puts the armbar on Suzuki for the TOWER OF DOOM SUBMISSION! Matsui pulls himself free and rolls to the floor to regroup. Sawa want a kimura on Suzuki but Suzuki rolls him into the wishbone so Sawa grabs his ankle to counter. Suzuki gets into halfguard for the Americana and then into full guard to smack Sawa around. Sawa rolls him over and smacks him around drops a fist to a pop. Matsui back in and tells Sawa to take his best shot. They slug and kick it out before Sawa grabs a waistlock and takes him down. Matsui easily rolls through into full mount to smack him around and kick him senseless. Sawa escapes and begs for more and successfully takes down Matsui with a back suplex. DOUBLE HOT TAG! Suzuki with a double leg and into full mount on TAGAI. Suzuki goes into the Camel Clutch but doesn't hook the arms. Matsui holds off Sawa but Sawa hits a running knee strike and breaks up the hold. TAGAI sends Suzuki off and gets a knee in the corner and goes to the heel hook. Suzuki drags over to his corner and tags in Matsui. Matsui does let TAGAI get up like he would Sawa because he feels threatened by him. TAGAI hates his hypocrisy and rolls under into the reverse heel hook! Matsui tries grabbing a heel hook of his own but TAGAI is too strong so he gets the ropes and tags in Suzuki. Suzuki gets an arm-in guillotine but Sawa is in to break it up. Matsui in and throws on a guillotine on Sawa as well. Sawa escapes and the faces hit a double suplex on Suzuki. TAGAI hooks in the Ankle Lock as Matsui and Sawa brawl to the floor. Suzuki tries rolling over so TAGAI goes into half guard. TAGAI tries for an armbar and hooks it in. Suzuki escapes and rolls him back to the middle for a half crab. Crowd seems to be expecting a tap but TAGAI gets the ropes. Sawa and Matsui continue to jockey for position with each other. TAGAI boots Suzuki around and hits a couple of ugly clotheslines. Suzuki hiptosses him over. TAGAI tries a bell to belly but Suzuki counters to one of his own and tries a kimura but Sawa breaks it up. Suzuki sends him off and hits a standing huracanrana and goes back for an armbar but Sawa again breaks it up against the ref's protests. Matsui is in and dumps Sawa. Suzuki wants a gutwrench so TAGAI grabs an ankle. Suzuki has had ENOUGH of this shit and spikes TAGAI over with the BEAST DRAGON SUPLEX! Tagai is out cold at 22:12. This was pretty good. And I LOVE that finish as Suzuki knew he was bottom of the totem pole in terms of grappling so he just drops TAGAI on his damn head to neutralize any submission superiority. The psychology is obviously a bit more “realistic” in that you have to wear down a guy considerably before you even think about hitting a suplex on him and 90% of the match is ground game, so it's not everyone's cup of time. Yet, I dug it and that four-way submission spot was cool. Spot of the match: Suzuki's tiger suplex on TAGAI's head. ***3/4
• GHC Heavyweight Championship: Takeshi Morishima vs. Takashi Sugiura (c). This is from NOAH on 12/5/10 and is for the GHC Heavyweight Championship. Morishima looking downright trim for him and he's dressed like a pimp in a Ric Flair robe and a cowboy hat. Paul Orndorff must have talked to him backstage about the need for more sequined robes in wrestling. Sug comes flying out at the bell with a yakuza kick and Morishima DESTROYS him with a LARIATO. Cover get 1, 2-- Just 2. Morishima wants the BACKDROP DRIVER! Sug slides out to the floor to OOs and AHs from the crowd. Back in, they slug it out with forearms. Sug tries a yakuza kick and Morishima no sells. Sug runs for another but Morishima counters to a Thesz press into a bridge for a close 2 count. Sug rolls to the floor to regroup. Morishima follows out but gets sent into the guardrail and eats a yakuza kick. Sug rolls him onto the elevated entrance ramp and wants a suplex but Morishima blocks. They go back to forearms and Morishima rebounds off the ropes to take him down with a clothesline. Morishima goes for the Backdrop Driver on the ramp but Sug floats over into a crossbody. Sug with a head of steam but Morishima catches him in a belly to belly suplex ON THE RAMP and then stalks back to the ring. Count gets to 15 before Sug makes it back in and then Morishima clotheslines him back off the apron to the floor and the ref admonishes him. Back in, Morishima chokes and snapmares him down for the DR FG kick. Morishima heads up top and hits the missile dropkick. Morishima goes to a chinlock and then an anchor hold. Morishima taunts the crowd while doing the hold and Sug looks to break it but Morishima puts it back on and then sends him into the turnbuckle. Morishima hits a few STIFF lariats and the ref demands a break, so Morishima gives him ONE MORE to the crowd's dismay before breaking. Morishima sends him across and hits another CORNER LARIATO. He tries a suplex but Sug blocks. Sug tries one and Morishima blocks. Sug finally gets him over with the vertical suplex. Sug with a yakuza kick in the corner but Morishima no sells and comes back with rights to the head. Sug no sells and gets a Spear and some DR FG kicks to the back. He runs off the ropes but Morishima dropkicks him to the floor and follows out with the suicide dive forearm. Morishima pulls the mats up and preps a powerbomb on the floor but Sug counters to a RANA ON THE FLOOR and this wasn't one of those clean ones. Sug comes back on his damn head before headscissoring Morishima over. That looked deadly. Thankfully, the ref checks and Sug seems alright.
• Morishima up first and wants a suplex but Sug puts him on the apron and gives him a GO FLASHER ON THE FLOOR! Morishima barely recovers and breaks the count at 19. He's trashed. Sug takes him down with a yakuza kick in the corner and the running testicle charge in the corner. Sug folds him up with a German suplex and then hits a knee strike for a close 2 count. Sug BEASTS him over for a German suplex and wants a Dragon Suplex but Morishima blocks and gets his own Dragon Suplex that blindsides Sug. Morishima heads up top but Sug cuts him off. Sug wants the TOP ROPE RANA but AGAIN underrotates and comes STRAIGHT DOWN ON HIS HEAD! Jesus, I'm surprised he doesn't have a broken neck. Morishima doesn't even flip over. That was a brutal botch by Morishima. Morishima no sells the whole thing and the ref tells him to back up. Morishima bodyslams him down and then hits a splash off the top for 2. Morishima with a LARIATO for 2. Morishima wants a Backdrop Driver but Sug counters out of desperation to a brainbuster. Double KO. Sug comes running out of the corner but gets caught in a Uranage by Morishima. Sug no sells and comes back with a German. MORISHIMA NO SELLS AND HITS ANOTHER URANAGE! SUG GETS UP AND HITS ANOTHER GERMAN! Morishima shakes off ALL OF IT and takes him down with a LARIATO! Double KO spot. They smack it out and these are MANLY smacks. Sug hits a couple but runs another LARIATO for 2. Morishima with another running LARIATO and the Backdrop Driver should finish it. Cover gets 1, 2—KICKOUT AT 2! Morishima says that's it and he heads up top for a MOONSAULT but Sug rolls under. That's one of the biggest men to ever do a moonsault that I can think of. Sug ducks a clothesline and German suplexes Morishima into the top turnbuckle. He goes to work with some brutal forearms but the ref demands a break. Sug gives him a running knee to the face and a bridged Dragon Suplex for 2. Sug gets him up and hits the AngleSlam! Morishima no sells and takes him down with a LARIATO! Cover gets 1, 2,--only 2. Morishima with the yakuza kick and a bridged German for 2. Sug blocks another Backdrop Driver with knees to the FACE and he boxes Morishima's ears a dozen times and knees him down. Sug hits another AngleSlam. Cover gets 1, 2,--still 2. He gives Morishima a DR FG ENZUIGIRI! Morishima is OUT. Cover still only gets 2. I would have been fine with that for a finish. Sug with the third AngleSlam and Morishima is finally down for the count at 22:13. Another testosterone-riddled clubbing fest as Sug comes back from the brink of death twice to make mincemeat out of King Kong Morishima who threw everything he had at him including a couple of Backdrop Drivers and a moonsault. I'm down for a rematch. Spot of the match: Morishima jumping him early with a LARIATO and attempted backdrop driver or the DR FG enzuigiri. ****1/2
• KO-D Openweight Championship: Kota Ibushi vs. Daisuke Sekimoto (c). This is from DDT on 05/04/10 and Sekimoto is the KO-D Openweight champ. Sekimoto's shirt says, “I'm HARD.” No shit. They go face to face before the bell. FEEL THE INTENSITY! Sekimoto outweighs Ibushi by a good 30 lbs. Lock up goes into the ropes and we get a clean break. Sekimoto grabs a headlock TD a couple times but Ibushi counters to headscissors both times to escape. Ibushi sends him off but eats a shoulderblock. Ibushi with a leapfrog and a kick. He tries another but Sekimoto catches it and gives him a Dragon Screw leg whip. Sekimoto rolls him into a half crab and pulls him into the middle of the ring for the brutal Haas of Pain. Sekimoto brings him over to the ropes and wraps the leg. Sekimoto with a Frog Splash on the leg and then boots it. Ibushi drags himself over the corner so Sekimoto chops him a few times. This is moving pretty damn slow. Sekimoto with a vertical suplex and hooks in the Sharpshooter. Ibushi makes the ropes and the ref forces Sekimoto to release the hold. He RAKES the back and then chops Ibushi. Rather than sell, Ibushi decides to slug it out with forearms. Sekimoto takes him down and boots him. Ibushi comes back with some kicks to the chest. After a couple of reversals, Sekimoto goes for a German suplex but Ibushi flips out and lands on his feet and takes down Sekimoto with a kick. He tries the DR FJ but Sekimoto ducks. He tries the standing moonsault and again Sekimoto is a step ahead so Ibushi enzuigiris him to the floor. Ibushi then follows out with the double jump moonsault off the top. This really is some of the exact same spots from that Generico match. Back in, Ibushi hits the missile dropkick off the top for 2. Ibushi with a bodyslam and a slingshot double foot stomp. He also hits a moonsault senton for 2. Ibushi sends him into the corner but eats a boot and a crossbody for 2. Sekimoto Torture Rakes him out of nowhere but Ibushi counters to the sleeper while in the hold. That's pretty awesome. Sekimoto shakes it off and gives him the Backdrop Driver. Double KO spot. Sekimoto up first and hits a bodyslam. He hits the Frog Splash off the top for 2. Sekimoto with a head of steam but runs into a sidekick from Ibushi. They slug it out with forearms. Why isn't Sekimoto pounding the hell out of him because he's like twice as wide and big as Ibushi? Ibushi cuts him off with a kick but Sekimoto gets the O'Connor roll into a CHAOS THEORY for 2. Sekimoto with a LARIATO for 2. Crowd getting behind Sekimoto as he tries another German but Ibushi lands on his feet. Sekimoto smacks the shit out of him but Ibushi no sells and comes back with some STIFF shots. The ref tries to pull him away and Ibushi knocks him back. Ibushi continues booting Sekimoto in the ropes and tosses the ref again. The ref finally gets a break. Sekimoto is LIVID.
• Sekimoto with the Necro KO shots and a forearm but Ibushi no sells and gives him a PERFECT enzuigiri and a Dragon Suplex for 2. This has definitely picked up. Ibushi runs off the ropes and takes him down with a LARIATO. Ibushi follows up with a DemonBomb for 2. Ibushi with a JuvyDriver and heads up top. He tries the Phoenix Splash but Sekimoto rolls under. Double KO spot. Ibushi with a yakuza kick but Sekimoto no sells. They slug it out with stiff forearms. Sekimoto lays into him with a stiffest forearm of the match. Ibushi staggers but comes back with BRUTAL headbutts. These aren't the protected kind either; this is just as “real” as chops. Sekimoto Hulks up and hits his own headbutts and a Brainbuster. Cover gets 1—only 1. SHIT! Sekimoto is busted open hardway from the headbutts and he can't believe that Ibushi kicked out at only 1. Awesome reaction shot from Sekimoto there. Crowd getting into it. Sekimoto with a head of steam but eats two enzuigiris from Ibushi and a bridged German suplex for 2. Ibushi goes for another yakuza kick but Sekimoto hits a leg lariat, press slams him into a Snake Eyes, and a bridged German suplex. Cover gets 1, 2,-- only 2. Sekimoto flips him over with the LARIATO. Cover for only 2! Sekimoto beasts him over for another German suplex and bridges for the 1, 2, 3 at 17:19. Ibushi is pretty vanilla as Ricky Morton getting his ass kicked in the first half. He just doesn't elicit a lot of sympathy from getting torn apart and isn't a good seller. Also, I don't fully understand the logic of him being able to go blow for blow with the considerably bigger Sekimoto, but in fairness that might have something to do with how they are booked in DDT. But, like the Generico match, the second half is balls to the wall and everything that wasn't clicking in the first half starts working in the barnstorming take it home. Spot of the match: the exchanged legit headbutts and Sekimoto's confused bloody face ala Austin at KOTR 98. ***1/2
• IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Satoshi Kojima (c). This is from NJPW on 01/04/11 and is for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Crowd erupts at the bell for Tanahashi. Lock up goes nowhere but Tanahashi chops rather than give a clean break. They trade waistlocks and Kojima gets the headlock TD but Tanahashi switches into his own. Kojima gets the headscissors and Tanahashi escapes out and goes back to the headlock and then back to the headscissors. Staleout so far. Tanahashi grabs the hammerlock and a side headlock. They battle for a top wristlock and Kojima gets it after going to the hair. He gets sent off and gets the shoulderblock to boos. He tries another but runs into a hiptoss and a dropkick. There must be some built-in psychology on Kojima's arm because he starts selling the arm immediately. Tanahashi drops a knee and boots away. He goes into N-S to work an Americana. He Frog Splashes the arm and drive it into the mat. Kojima gets up favoring the arm and HT continues working it. HT Euro uppercuts the arm a couple times in the corner. Kojima tries reversing a whip but eats a crossbody. HT goes for a kick but Kojima catches it and starts elbowing the hell out of the leg and Dragon Screw Leg Whips him down. Looks like arm psychology vs. knee psychology. Kojima puts the leg on the top rope and gives him a stiff shot right on the leg. HT recovers to the apron but Kojima is already out there to clip the leg. Kojima rolls him into a half crab on the floor but the ref breaks it up. Back in, Kojima locks in the sharpshooter. Little early for that. HT gets the ropes but Kojima brings him into the corner and boots and chops away. HT gets the KOBASHI CHOP RAMPAGE! He sends him across and hits a running forearm and does some taunt and the crowd SHOWERS him with boos. Man, they hated that whatever it was. He goes up top and hits an elbow for 2. HT Hulks up and comes back with forearms and they slug it out. Kojima kicks him right in the leg but HT ignores so Kojima DEMANDS he sell and does it again. Kojima with a weak roaring elbow and HT shakes it off and hits a series of strikes and a flying burrito. HT with a bodyslam and a Swanton for 2. That leg work is gone at this point. HT at least starts booting Kojima's arms. HT wants a piledriver but Kojima elbows out and hits a DDT. Kojima gives him a neckbreaker across the knee. He goes for a suplex but HT slides out and wants a Dragon Suplex. Kojima shakes it off and goes for a Stunner but HT counters to a clothesline on the way down. HT goes back to booting his arm and then “breaks” it over his shoulder a few times. He tries again but Kojima counters to the DiamondCutter. Kojima puts him up top and hits the top rope DiamondCutter for 2. Surprised that was basically a transition rope. Kojima tosses the elbow pad but HT gets the O'Connor roll for 2. He wants the Dragon Suplex but Kojima blocks so he goes for a regular German Suplex for 2. HT with a couple of armbar TD and heads up top and hits the awesome FROG SPLASH ON THE BACK!
• He heads up to try another but Kojima gets the legs up. Kojima gets him a lariat to the back of the head but HT shakes it off and gives him the floatover sleeper neckbreaker (Sling Blade), a JuvyDriver, a Fisherman Driver and then hits the Frog Splash for 1, 2,--kick out at 2. HT is distraught at not getting it done. HT charges but Kojima ducks and then gives him a LARIATO to the floor. The ref checks on him and starts the count. Koijima pulls the ref away and WANTS THE COUNT STOPPED! Kojima, the heel, demands to win it in the ring. This won't end well for him. HT gets to the apron and Kojima gives him a BEAST DELAYED BRAINBUSTER back in. Cover gets 2. Kojima puts him up top and hits the Frankensteiner but is too out of it to cover. Kojima Hulks up and wants the LARIATO but HT blocks by attacking the bad arm and driving it into the mat with the single arm DDT. AWESOME! Another and now HT is Hulking up. HT ducks a couple of clotheslines but runs out of luck and into a LEFTY LARIATO for 2. Kojima hits the LARIATO with the bad arm but is too hurt to go for an immediate cover. Delayed pin gets 1, 2—OHNOHEALMOSTGOT'IM! Kojima tries another LARIATO but HT catches him in the DRAGON SUPLEX! Kojima is out of his mind as he NO SELLS an tries again but AGAIN eats the DRAGON SUPLEX BRIDGE FOR 1,2-- ONLY 2! HT hits another Sling Blade and heads up top and hits the Frog Splash crossbody and then heads up again for another Frog Splash to become new champ at 21:59. Very good match with an even better finishing sequence. Kojima wanted to end it the right way and even tried to fight through the pain of the bad arm for LARIATO with both arms but wouldn't overcome the powers of being face. Tanahashi seemed disinterested in selling the leg so that drops it a tad. In comparison to the other matches I've looked at, this would fit right in with a ROH main event in terms of psychology, lay out and finishing stretch. Spot of the match: Kojima going for consecutive LARIATOs only to get hit with consecutive Dragon Suplexes. ****1/4
• Triple Crown Championship: Masakatsu Funaki vs. Suwama (c). This is from AJPW on 10/24/10. This is for the Triple Crown Championship. Suwama blocks a kick and drives Funaki back into the corner. We get a clean break. Suwama blocks a couple more before Funaki actually hits a high kick that stuns him and Suwama rolls to the floor to regroup. They jockey for position and Funaki sprawls while holding a waistlock and takes Suwama down. Suwama rolls into side control but Funaki works the butterfly guard. Funaki grabs the arm as Suwama goes for a BLATANTCHOKE and the ref demands a break. Suwama does NOT give a clean break and hits some forearms to the face. That pisses Funaki off and they trade kicks and smacks. Suwama chops the hell out of him to take him down and then shitcans him. On the floor, Suwama sends him into the guardrail but Funaki comes back with a kick and another that sends Suwama into the crowd. Funaki pursues but Suwama picks up a ringside table and THROWS IT AT FUNAKI! That's quite the awesomely cheap heel maneuver but also a complete shift from the MMA grappling earlier. To the apron, Suwama tries to suplex him back in but Funaki blocks a couple of times. Suwama chops him and goes for the yakuza kick but Funaki drops down and catches him in the Dragon Screw heel hook in the ropes! Pretty slick. Funaki now goes to work chopping the big man down. Suwama tries coming back with forearms but stupidly goes for another yakuza kick and Funaki traps the leg and gets him in a half crab and then switches to a grapevined ankle lock! Suwama drags and gets the ropes. Funaki goes back to the kicking the hell out of him but Suwama steals a page from his book and catches the leg and drives it into the mat. Suwama then gives him a kneebreaker and a back suplex. Suwama heads up top but Funaki shakes off the leg stuff and dropkicks him to the floor and follows out with a plancha. Back in, Funaki goes back to the kicking the hell out of him but Suwama AGAIN catches the leg and gives him the LEG CAPTURE BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX! Suwama with a clothesline in the corner and gives him a dozen double handed chops and another belly to belly suplex. Cover gets 2. Funaki goes for another kick but Suwama catches it but Funaki rolls under that for the ANKLE LOCK! Suwama pulls himself over and gets the ropes. He tries smacking his leg back to life. Funaki kicks him a couple more times and hits a Tombstone.
• Funaki goes up top and hits a missile dropkick. Funaki with a powerslam and goes for the Sharpshooter but Funaki slides out and counters immediately to the Ankle Lock. Cool spot. Funaki rolls over and switches to the armbar. Suwama closes the arms to relieve the pressure but Funaki breaks them apart again. Suwama then stacks him up but Funaki switches to the triangle choke. Suwama picks him up for the RAMPAGE POWERBOMB! I don't suppose that would affect his leg at all? Suwama then clotheslines him over the top and follows with a shoulderblock off the apron. Suwama hits a series of LARIATOs into the ropes and tries another but Funaki counters by kicking his arm a few times. They trade blocks and strikes before Suwama smacks the hell out of it. Funaki shakes that off and comes back with boxing his ears and Suwama does the same. Funaki blasts him right in the ear (“You hit me in the EAR!” “I'm sorry.” “No, that was PERFECT!”) and taunts for the cheer like it's over. Crowd starts chanting for him as the ref pulls him away. Suwama MANS UP and tells him to KEEP 'EM COMING! Funaki kicks the shit out of him and then back suplexes him. Funaki with the DR FG kicks to the chest and Suwama shakes them off so Funaki gives him the DR FG ENZUIGIRI! Someone seriously needs to steal that as a finish if Japan is going to use it as a signature move that never wins a match. The ref checks on Suwama but he gets to his feet. Funaki wants the Backdrop Driver but Suwama counters to his own Backdrop Driver. He's out on his feet as the ref is still checking him. Suwama hits a dropkick. Funaki tries a strike but he blocks and gives him the double underhook belly to belly suplex. Suwama with the ROARINGLARIATO!! Cover gets 1, 2-- kick out at 2. Suwama says that's it and tries a powerbomb but Funaki blocks. Funaki tries a Stinger Splash but Suwama catches him and counters to the RUNNING LIGER BOMB! Suwama taunts rather than go for a cover even though Funaki is toast. Suwama goes another powerbomb but Funaki slides out and hits the rolling front kick. Funaki with smacks galore and a couple of enzuigiris that Suwama NO SELLS! Suwama CLUBS HIM DOWN LIKE A MONSTER WITH THE LARIATOOOOOO! Suwama destroys him with a couple of wheelbarrow German suplexes and the Last Ride finishes it at 20:48. WOW! They need to have an ambulance ringside for these two guys. That was just human annihilation and Suwama is put over HUGE as a tough as nails bastard who can legitimately end you and still kept Funaki strong in losing. That's probably the most satisfying mixture of strong style, MMA grappling, and American finisher-finisher-superfinisher out of everything on this comp. Though great matches, some of the others feel like they are uncomfortably mixing, hence the ignoring of psychology as opposed to strategic no-selling, but every transition here is smooth as silk. Spots of the match: Funaki blocking a yakuza kick with the Dragon Screw leg whip in the ropes, Funaki boxing his ears in the corner and then seemingly K.O.ing him with a seated enzuigiri, Suwama no selling some enzuigiring and lariating him into next week. ****3/4
The 411: Even if Japanese wrestling is not your thing, you owe it to yourself to see most of these especially Go/Sasaki, Funaki/Suwama, and Morishima/Sug.