New Japan/CMLL Fantastica Mania 1/19 Report, Korakuen Hall

New Japan/CMLL Fantastica Mania 1/19 Report, Korakuen Hall

Match 1: Mascara Don/Maximo (Yeah!) vs. Taichi/TAKA Michinoku

Before the match started, it looked as though Taichi was finally starting to come around to Maximo’s antics. Mascara Don wasn’t impressed. What a spoiled sport.

Maximo is more athletic than he looks. He has nice fake out dive to the outside where he bounces off the ropes, does a backwards roll finished with a very Maximo pose. He’s the best! Have I mentioned that before?

TAKA Michinoku performed an Eye Poke to Mascara Don’s forehead. It was surprisingly effective.

TAKA and Taichi started targeting the nether regions of Maximo. I do hate that part of these comedy matches with Maximo. I’m a total sucker for comedy matches. Good ones at least. And Maximo has some great comedy spots, but in every match of his that I’ve seen, his opponent has gone after his Mexican Jewels. I’m not really into that at all. It reminds me of that scene from Priscilla Queen of the Desert, where the drunk bogan Aussies attack one of the Priscilla guys, specifically targeting his you-know-whats. It’s not cool. Stop doing that, bad guys.

Taichi later tried to remove the mask of Mascara Don. Don didn’t seem to mind too much. But just before Taichi could get the mask off, Don decided to put up some resistance. Delayed reaction?

Bah! Too much groin targeting in this match. I’m out. What’s up next?

OK, Mascara Don did a dive (more of a fall with slight forward momentum, really) onto everybody on the outside. It was ugly. I’m back in! Don then went on to do a Daniel Bryan style Missile Dropkick off the top rope, minus the kip up after landing.

Weird finish. TAKA was submitted to some kind of thing by Donnie M. Maximo and Taichi looked like they tripped over each other. Pretty stinky match. What is a comedy match without comedy? Well, just a match I suppose. A bad one in this case.

You’re still my hero, Maximo.

Match 2: Rey Cometa/Stuka Jr. vs. YOSHI-HASHI/Okumura

Hey look! YOSHI-HASHI is back after disappearing during the previous night’s match. But it looks like he didn’t bring back any pancakes for any of the guys. Selfish, YOSHI-HASHI. Very selfish.

Rey Cometa looked good once again in this match. He hit a weird backflip clothesline thing on YOSHI. Weird looking move. I don’t understand it, but I like it.

Blue Guy’s dive to the outside from the top turnbuckle may be my new favourite thing.

Blue guy won it with a (double?) top rope Splash onto Okumura and a woman. Who was that woman by the way? Whoever she was, she lost.

Match 3: BUSHIROAD/Tiger Mask/El Desperado/Fuego/Titan vs. Jado/Gedo/Toru Yano/Niebla Roja/Vangellys

Yes! It’s Not-Curry Man again. I guess that’s Fuego, according to my limited knowledge of Spanish and powers of deduction.

Pretty chaotic match at the start. Yoru Tano took off the commentator’s mask and threw it into the crowd. Poor commentator. That guy just can’t catch a break.

It felt like there was a lot of unmasking being attempted during this event. I’m getting a bit tired of seeing that. Why not try taking something else for a change? Take the guy’s boot. Boot’s are important. Or just the laces, that will really mess with him.

There was a pretty good spot with all men involved in the middle of the match. Four members of the heel team were Irish Whipped out of the corner and into each other, and then getting put into a Groin Stretch circle while El Desperado made a pin attempt in the middle of said circle. This was followed by a pretty good sequence of dives to the outside by all the wrestlers in the match who are capable of performing dives to the outside.

El Desperado picked up the win for his team with the Guitarra de Angel (I think. Looks like Homicide’s Cop Killer) on Vangellys.

A slow start, but a pretty fun match in the end.

Match 4: Tetsuya Naito/Rush vs. Tomohiro Ishii (JME*)/Rey Escorpion

*Japanese Michael Elgin

So, Naito and Rush are teaming up. I guess that means Rush is a face after all. I can’t tell with this guy. I don’t care though. He’s still a FEEL (FACE+HEEL=Feel) to me.

Pretty hard hitting match. I am enjoying this rivalry between Naito and JME, particularly the headbutting. So much headbutting. This match felt like more like a traditional NJPW match, rather than a Lucha Libre spotparty. It’s good to see that style of match on the card. It was a nice change of pace.

A nice second rope Michael Elgin style Stalling Superplex by JME to Naito. The same as he performed on the previous night’s show. What was also the same was Naito landing on the back of his head after getting clotheslined by JME. That can’t be good for you.

The finish came when Rush hit a pretty devastating looking Double Underhook Piledriver on Rey Escorpion to get the pin. The Rush Driver I think it’s called in NJPW.

Naito and Ishii continued to brawl post match (again).

Probably the best match of the night so far. Good, NJPW style hard hitting action. Great headbutts.

Intermission Time. Hey look at that! Commentator Man got his mask back. Things are finally starting to look up for the guy.

Match 5: La Sombra vs. Ultimo Guerrero

I like it when Ultimo Guerrero raises the roof. Keep on raising, Ultimo. La Sombra has ditched his fat guy long sleeve T-shirt and replaced it with a fat guy tank top. That’s progress, I suppose.

The match started at a quick pace, but I guess most of these matches do. Guerrero got La Sombra into a Surfboard, but La Sombra reversed into some kind of Surfboard variation, that to be honest looked kind of dumb and awkward. That move almost resulted in a double pinfall. That spot was redeemed by a good string of submission attempts by both wrestlers. La Sombra did a cool backflip off of Guerrero’s shoulders, followed by an opposite direction Springboard Front Flip to the outside onto Guerrero, who just barely caught La Sombra. That could have been ugly.

And La Sombra has removed his tank top. I’m so proud!

It looked as though there was a little bit of miscommunication leading up to the finish. Nevertheless, La Sombra picked up the win with his Schoolboy Suplex.

This match was good. It featured a lot of the same high risk spots that were done during the previous night’s show. I think that takes a bit of the flavour out of the moves, seeing them so much in such a short time span. And the show in general. Still, enjoyable action by both guys.

Guerrero looked to be in quite some pain after the match. He needed assistance getting out of the ring and was helped out to the back. Not sure if he was just selling his injuries or if he was actually hurt. The pain looked to be in the neck area, which may have been caused by the little bounce on the head that occurred when La Sombra was lifting him up for the Schoolboy Suplex. Hopefully he’s alright and is just good at selling.

Match 6: Kota Ibushi/Hiroshi Tanahashi/Mistico (Misty) vs. Yujiro Takahashi/Shinsuke Nakamura/Mephisto

I like the teams of Mephisto/Nakamura (not so much Sex Wrestler) and Tanahashi/Ibushi (and Mistico). No body paint this time on Nakamura. I guess the Prince Devitt Body Paint Party has come to an end.

Funny little moment when Yujiro Takahashi (Sex Wrestler), after being leapfrogged by Ibushi, instead of running the ropes, simply stopped, turned around and smacked Ibushi in the face. Don’t see that too often.

Nakamura and Ibushi had a few good spots together in this match. It was good to see Nakamura interacting with somebody other than Tanahashi. As good as they are at working together, it’s a match up I’ve seen a bit too much of recently. Nakamura/Ibushi feels fresh, in my eye’s at least. I’ve only been following NJPW closely for about a year so I’m not sure if they’ve had many matches together in the past.

Some good high flying action in this match. Even Nakamura performed a corkscrew to the outside, barely avoiding landing on his face in the process.

Mistico submitted Mephisto with La Mistica to get the win for his team. That also makes up for his loss to Mephisto in the previous night’s main event.

This one was very short and sweet. Good action, but at less than 12 minutes long, it felt a bit too brief.

Match 7 Main Event: Volador Jr. vs. Mascara Dorada (Gold Guy)

Main Event time! Blue Guy vs. Gold Guy in one last battle to decide, once and for all, whose wrestling gear is prettier. That’s what this match is about, right? Team Blue vs. Team Gold? I tend to lean towards Blue myself. And as a bonus, Maximo is back! I guess he’s a Blue supporter, too. I hope his groin area remains safe.

This was a very fast paced match with about two million dives to the outside performed by both wrestlers early on. There was also a lot of one-upmanship going on in this match, with one wrestler hitting a move, only to get hit by the same or similar move later on. These guys seemed more focused on trying to dive, flip and hurricanrana each other to death, rather than trying to win the match. Not a complaint though, especially if you’re into those kinds of spots. I sure am.

To be fair, there was a good sequence of pin attempts and impact moves in the middle of the match. This was, of course, interrupted by a delightful middle rope Springboard Front Flip to the outside by Mascara Dorada.

The final few minutes of the match were filled with a lot of high flying/high risk maneuvers. Considering the difficulty of these moves, these guys deserve a huge amount of credit. Hardly a botch was to be seen. I found myself really getting into the last few minutes of the match. The finish came when Volador Jr. hit his Front Flip Piledriver, quickly followed up by a variation of the Front Flip Piledriver (it looked like a Front Flip Samoan Drop Driver. Is that a thing?). It was a very exciting, edge of your seat finish to the match. Great stuff.

This was definitely match of the night. It was certainly a huge spotparty, but both guys really pulled out all the stops. Their moves looked excellent and for the most part were hit very cleanly.

A fantastic ending to a really fun Fantastica Mania series. Good stuff.

Zach Dominello

Ichinomiya, Japan

New Japan/CMLL Fantastica Mania 1/18 Report, Korakuen Hall

New Japan/CMLL Fantastica Mania 1/18 Report, Korakuen Hall

 

Opening Match: Maximo vs. Jado vs. Taichi

 

Match of the night contender right off the bat (Not really, but I’m seriously loving it). Lots of great comedy moments in this match. Maximo and Jado should take their show on the road. Great spot where Maximo kissed Jado on the mouth, causing Jado to do the Flair Flop. If ever there was a reason to Flair Flop, I guess that’s it. The kissing did not stop there (fortunately?). Maximo kissed one of the commentators who afterwards needed to be piggy backed out to the back, or straight to the emergency room by the looks of it. Fortunately, the commentator managed to return to the commentary desk a few minutes later, though he was visibly shaken up. Maximo must have one heck of a kiss on him.

 

Jado at one point went for a Randy Orton Punt Kick on Maximo. Maximo moved out of the way, with what felt like hours to spare. Jado’s Punt Kick attempt looked atrocious. Even worse than Orton’s, and Orton’s looks like hot poop.

Match ended with Maximo kissing Taichi into a state of shock, and then hitting La Magistral.

 

Notes: Jado looks like a Japanese Christopher Daniels.

Maximo is my new hero!

 

 

Match 2: Rey Cometa/Stuka Jr. vs. Yujiro Takahashi/Okumura

 

I forgot the names while writing so I made up new ones. Blue Guy did a hilarious looking dive off the top turnbuckle where instead of hitting the guy who you expect him to hit in the ring, he hits the guy behind him on the outside of the ring. Cool stuff. Noticed some similar spots a few times throughout the show. It’s a pretty good fake out. Rey Cometa hit a nice running corkscrew to the outside off the second rope. Rey Cometa has some pretty great lucha moves.

 

The Sex Wrestler won (I guess that’s Yujiro) by beating the Blue Guy with a move of some sort. OK match. Rey Cometa was cool.

 

 

Match 3: Kushida/TigerMask/Fuego/Titan vs. YOSHI-HASHI/Niebra Roja/Vangelis/Rey Escorpion

 

Kushida still dresses as Marty McFly from Back to the Future. That’s a good thing. Silver Mexican Village People Character is creepy looking.

 

Highlight of the match was the Orange Guy who is not Curry Man, and the Blue Guy who is not Shark Boy (not the Blue Guy from the previous match, either. A different blue guy). Face team has some fun wrestlers.

 

Creepy Silver Mexican Village People Character got the win with a nice German Suplex Bridge.

 

Note: Where did YOSHI-HASHI disappear to in that match? Maybe he was just “Nope. This style ain’t for me. I’m going out for pancakes. Later”.

 

 

Match 4: BUSHIROAD/Volador Jr. (from this point known as Captain Amexico) vs. El Desperado/ Mascara Dorado (Gold Guy)

 

I was interested to see what El Desperado was like in the ring after only seeing him for the first time at Wrestle Kingdom 8. First thing he did was get elbowed to the ground by BUSHIROAD. ANTICLIMACTIC! He did do the splits later on though. So that’s something.

 

Desperado did a sweet flip through the ropes to the outside. I like when guys do flips through the ropes, rather than over the ropes.

Another fun much, great highflying stuff by all involved. Cool spot in the stands where Captain Amexico (’cause he was dressed like Captain America sort of) leapt over a set of stairs onto El Desperado.

 

El desperado picked up the win with a pretty nasty looking finisher. Don’t know the name or if it’s supposed to look the way it did. Fun match again.

 

 

Match 5: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rush

 

Nakamura has joined the Prince Devitt Body Paint Party because…I don’t know. Rush came out looking like an adult sized el Torito (Sorry El Torito, you’re an adult, too), who I keep accidentally calling El Dorito. He ain’t corn chips, I know. Is that Rush’s gimmick? Is he El Torito’s papa?

 

Nakamura removed his mask before the match started to reveal some super creepy face paint to go with his ab-tastic body paint.

 

Fairly slow paced match, at least in comparison to the previous matches. Is Rush a face or heel? I cant tell. He said “cabron” to Nakamura, so I guess heel, but he interacts with the crowd like a face would. Maybe he’s both face and heel, maybe he’s a FEEL. You’re welcome. Either way, Nakamura beat Rush clean with Bomaye.

 

Good match, but nothing special. The crowd was a bit crap during this one.

 

Semi Main is up next. This show felt like it was flying by.

 

Match 6: Tetsuya Naito/Hiroshi Tanahashi/La Sombra vs. Tomohiro Ishii (Japanese Michael Elgin)/Kazuchika Okada/Ultimo Guerrero

 

La Sombra is wearing his long sleeved fat shirt. I don’t know if he’s always wrestled in a long sleeve fat shirt, or if he has body issues or what. But it looks like a fat shirt to me. Get rid of it, man. Your bod is fine.

 

Tanahashi nearly stacked it climbing down from the top turnbuckle early on in the match. It looked like he might have tweaked his leg in doing so. Hopefully not. It didn’t seem to bother him later on in the match so he’s probably fine.

 

Okada and La Sombra had a nice little get-into-the-ring off. Okada won. They also had some nice let’s-do-each-others-signature-styles/gestures moments. Okada was especially great.

 

Guerrero’s Senton de la Muerte move in the corner is a good thing. Ultimo Guerrero looked strong in this match. I haven’t seen much of his work before, but I liked what I saw tonight.

 

Japanese Michael Elgin did a nice delayed, real Michael Elgin style Superplex to Tanahashi off the second rope. Strong guy.

 

Naito took a nasty bump when he didn’t flip over all the way and landed on the back of his head after getting clotheslined by Japanese Michael Elgin. Looked uncomfortable. He seemed fine though.

 

La Sombra and Ultimo Guerrero had some good high impact spots together. It seemed like everyone was paired off with a particular opponent for this match; Sombra and Guerrero, Naito and JME (Japanese Michael Elgin), Tanahashi and Okada. They didn’t stray far from each other during this match.

 

La Sombra did a nice Florida Keys (Mexican Keys?) for a pin attempt. Sorry for that one. By the way, I love when a wrestler is running and is lightly kicked from behind, causing the wrestler to go flying up onto the top rope, as seen here by Guerrero to La Sombra. Gravity be damned.

 

Guerrero picked up the win with a Reverse Suplex off the middle turnbuckle to La Sombra.

 

Probably the match of the night, but not the match of my heart. That will forever go to Maximo. After the match, Guerrero said some words in Spanish to La Sombra, who listened to the words in Spanish. I understood some them. He may have said perro.

 

Also, Naito and JME had a short post match head-butting contest. There was no winner.

 

 

Match 7 Main Event: Mistico vs. Mephisto (isn’t that a Marvel Comics villain?)

 

This version of Mistico is good, but is lacking something that the original had. Mephisto’s mask is pretty great. It’s got teeth. I think Mephisto’s singlet says that he is the King of Hell. It’s good that he can leave Hell to go wrestle in Japan. I wonder who’s in charge while he’s gone. Michael Jackson? (Sorry).

 

Lots of quick pin attempts by Misty (new nickname) early on. None successful. Obviously. Mistico has a golden “M” on the front of his tights. I thought he was sponsored by Mcdonald’s for a moment. It’s late and I’m getting sleepy.

 

Holy Shooting Star Press, Batman! Misty hit a terrifying Springboard Shooting Star Press to the outside onto Mephisto. I thought he was going to die.

 

Match ended with Mephisto hitting a second rope Devil Wings (sounds delicious) for the win.

 

Again pretty fun stuff. Mistico is super athletic, he just needs a bit of that OG Mistico charisma.

 

The King of Hell was a pretty nice guy to Mistico post match. That makes me happy.

 

Great Show! Well worth the 15 bucks. Lots of fast paced action and exciting highflying spots.

 

Zachariah Dominello

 

Ichinomiya, Japan

 

Best Entrances Ever: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 8

NJPW held its yearly Wrestle Kingdom event at the Tokyo Dome on January 4th. Overall all the show was pretty darn great! It’s basically the Wrestlemania of Japan. And as with Wrestlemania, often it’s tough to live up to all the hype of such a big show. Wrestle Kingdom 8 may not have been the best show of 2013/2014, but all in all it was a solid show and the  top of the card really delivered. Five plus hours though, I was pretty wiped out by the end of it. But in a good way, I was happy wiped out.

What I want to talk about though, are the entrances. This show had the best ring entrances (and video packages) I have ever seen. I mean the matches were great, but some of these entrances were incredible. WWE could take a few notes from these guys. So, here are The Squared Café’s Top Five NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 8 Ring Entrances. Enjoy!

 

Top Five NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 8 Ring Entrances

 

1. Prince Devitt/Fricking Carnage From Marvel Comics! (or Zombie Carnage. I’m not quite sure, actually)
<br /> Carnage Devitt<br /> <br /> Carnage Devitt<br />

<br /> Carnage Devitt<br /> <br /> Carnage Devitt<br />

<br /> Carnage Devitt<br /> <br /> Carnage Devitt<br />

 

2. Shinsuke Nakamura and All The Dancing Ladies (Close your eyes, kids) 
<br /> Swagsuke's Wrestle Kingdom 8 Entrance<br /> <br /> Swagsuke's Wrestle Kingdom 8 Entrance<br />

<br /> Swagsuke's Wrestle Kingdom 8 Entrance<br /> <br /> Swagsuke's Wrestle Kingdom 8 Entrance<br />

<br /> Swagsuke's Wrestle Kingdom 8 Entrance<br /> <br /> Swagsuke's Wrestle Kingdom 8 Entrance<br />

<br /> Swagsuke's Wrestle Kingdom 8 Entrance<br /> <br /> Swagsuke's Wrestle Kingdom 8 Entrance<br />

 

3. The Time Splitters Go Back To The Future!

 

4. Hiroshi Tanahashi With Megadeth’s Marty Friedman

 

5. The Great Muta

 

Bonus Muta Exit

 

 

Thanks to Tumblr for the GIFs. Keep (start) Reading Ninja Café comics!