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