Friday, June 1, 2012

Tiger Mask & Great Sasuke vs Atsushi Onita & Ichiro Yaguchi

I like Onita, I like Sasuke and I like Tiger Mask. I don't really care for Yaguchi and I don't really want to see any of these guys go 20-30 minutes.

Thoughts/Info on each wrestler:
Atsushi Onita - Onita's always been one of my favorites and it was a true highlight meeting him and getting a picture with him during my third japan trip(check my postings for the review and picture link). He had great charisma and a really good character. He could also deliver a good emotional match in the right circumstances. Onita was AJPW's failed junior heavyweight sensation who ended up getting injured and started FMW in 1989. FMW is one of my favorite promotions and featured revolutionary deathmatch wrestling. If you are interested in FMW but do not like japanese commentary, there are english FMW tapes available which will help you at the very least understand some of the wrestlrs.

The Great Sasuke - Some wrestlers get crazier as they get older and Sasuke is one of them. He's still going strong and is doing crazier moves than ever before. Sasuke was at one point one of the top junior's in the world and is now more entertaining than anything with his tributes to Randy the Ram, his singing and his ridiculuous nonsensical bumps. As with Onita, I also met Sasuke during one of my japan trips. He's a nice guy and can speak some english. Sasuke came from the UWF Lucha Libre promotion(not the shoot style promotion) in Japan in the early 90's. He competed unmasked as Masa Michinoku eventually started Michinoku Pro Wrestling in 1993. Michinoku Pro provided state of the art wrestling and started the careers of wrestlers like TAKA Michinoku, Funaki, Men's Teioh, Super Delfin and others. Michinoku Pro still runs today with Sasuke still a big player in the promotion.

Tiger Mask - Tiger Mask was a huge japanese star during the 1980's. His presence can still be felt today in Japan when doing anything wrestling related and his mask is a symbol of japanese wrestling. He's had his own cartoon and is one of the biggest wrestling stars of all time. He made the high-flying junior heavyweight style famous in matches against the Dynamite Kid. While some will try to discredit him for not working a more traditional style, he is seen by the majority of fans as a good worker.

Ichiro Yaguchi - Hmm, Tiger Mask, Great Sasuke, Atsushi Onita and Ichiro Yaguchi...Can you spot the not? He was lower card wrestler throughout the 1990's and tends to do alot of Onita sponsored shows.

Fun fact: This is one of the very rare Onita vs Tiger Mask Matches. I believe they did something against each other in building to this match this year but that's really about it.

The match:

Opening: This opens with your traditional Korakuen brawl. I saw this happen three times alone at one Korakuen Dragon Gate show that I went to and then I never wanted to see it again. Of course, I saw it about 10 more times before the trip ended.

The opening is good when the wrestlers are actually in the ring. Onita hits Sasuke with a nice chair shot and Tiger locks in a nice Fujiwara on Onita.  Tiger hits a spin kick to Yaguchi that almost impales a camerman with a barbed wire bat. Onita then blue mists Tiger and it's obvious they are pulling all the tricks out that they can.

Middle: Yaguchi and Onita work over Tiger ad Sasuke a little with a barbed wire bat. More slow hardcore brawling follows. Onita ends up nailing his partner with a chair and Sasuke makes a crazy man's comeback. Tiger hits some kicks.

Ending: Tiger hits more kicks and amazingly gets a tiger suplex on Yaguchi to end the match out of nowhere after about 11 minutes.

Onita and Tiger do a pull apart after the match and Onita spits water into the faces of volunteering fans. I love Japan. The fans crowd the ring and smack the canvas.

Match thoughts: This was different. I was expecting the worst when I saw a 34 minute viewing time, but thankfully the actual wrestling portions lasted 11 minutes. I'm going to surprise myself and say that the match should have actually gone longer! (!) Yeah, I said it. it ended randomly and really didn't solved much Onita/Tiger wise. I don't know if this is leading to something or not, but it deserved a better ending.  The action was pretty slow and was mostly filled with props.  The match needed an extra minute or so and the fans deserved a more definitive Tiger vs Onita battle. If I Tiger and I were booking this match, I'd probably have Onita go over with Tiger trying to get revenge on a future show one on one. Even after this, I think they could get a decent crowd for Onita vs Tiger.

Rating: Overall, I'll give it about ** stars.

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