The SmarK Rant For Best Of Japan 2001 – Tape 3


The SmarK Rant for Best of Japan 2001 – Part 3

– Well, the Hardcore Wrestling show thing isn’t available here in Canada on cable, but hopefully this will satiate your puro lust for today.

– Okay, halfway there after this one. Once again, to pick up this fine set of puro, check out

– Magnum Tokyo v. Masaki Mochizuki. The graphic indicates CIMA is somehow involved in this match (in theory), but it’s pretty clearly Magnum Tokyo in there, and the matchlist agrees with me. Kick series to start, and Tokyo gets a lariat for two. They trade kicks to the back, and Tokyo gets an armbar submission on Mochizuki and starts stomping him. You know, far be it from me to suggest that any idea WCW ever had was good, but “Tokyo Magnum” sounds way cooler than “Magnum Tokyo” does. High kicks are traded and Tokyo gets distracted by a passing gang of street toughs and dumped as a result. He fights off a gang attack with a chair (how come no one in the movies ever tries that?) and we head back in, where he gets an elbow for two. Mochizuki kicks him down and goes to a half-crab, and into a legbar. Springboard dropkick puts Tokyo on the apron, and Mochizuki DDTs him to the floor in a slightly psycotic spot. High kick hits post, however, and they brawl. And, uh, it’s a DCOR. Well that certainly sucks. But the match must continue! Tokyo gets tossed and they brawl again, and it’s another DCOR. The gang of street toughs celebrate, but here’s Ultimo Dragon, owner of this promotion, and he’s PISSED. So we continue again, and Mochizuki kicks Tokyo down, but gets dragon-screwed. Tokyo goes after the leg, and they legbar each other. To the corner, where Tokyo pounds on him, but Mochizuki atomic-drops out of there and goes to a half-crab before Tokyo makes the ropes. He grabs a headlock, but gets crotched and clotheslined. Mochizuki goes up, but gets dropkicked down. Tokyo tries a superplex, but Mochizuki brings him down with a kneelift for two. To the apron, Tokyo necksnaps him and follows with a springboard dropkick. Corner clothesline and they head up, and this time Tokyo gets his rana for two. Suplex gets two. Chokeslam thing and lariat get two. Pumphandle is reversed to a majastral, which is reversed by Tokyo for two. Enzuigiri and tombstone get two. Tokyo goes up, but gets crotched, and they fight up there. Mochizuki gives him a high kick to stun him, and superplexes him for two. Dragon suplex gets two. Suplex and no-sold and Tokyo is PISSED, and he gets an enzuigiri, but falls prey to a kick series that gets two. And that’s about it for Magnum, as a brainbuster finishes him at 20:48. Goofy start, but it got REAL good at the end. ****

– Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan v. Keiji Muto & Jushin Liger. Tenzan gets dumped by Liger, and he follows with a baseball slide. Muto does the same to Kojima, then they team up for one on Tenzan. The heels regroup and Kojima gives it a go with Muto. Muto is WAY over, I should note. Kojima goes for the arm, which Muto reverses to a legbar. Muto rides him down and goes for the arm, but Kojima makes the ropes. Slugfest is won by Kojima, and Tenzan comes in. Liger tries against him and gets overpowered. Tenzan uses the MARTIAL ARTS OF DEATH and the heels pound Liger in the corner. Kojima suplexes him for two. To the chinlock, but Liger powers out and fires back. Muto helps out with a double-team. Power Elbow and he goes for the knee and works it. Liger posts the knee and gets a submission on it, into a half-crab. Muto gets a sharpshooter, which turns into an indian deathlock. Unfortunately he can’t bridge anymore. Liger dropkicks the knee and bulldogs Kojima. Palm strike sets up the superplex, which gets two. Kojima finally comes back with a spinebuster, and tags Tenzan in, who plasters Liger with a lariat. Corner clothesline into a bulldog gets two. Liger gets the rolling kick and Muto comes back in, but gets nailed in the knee. Oh, the irony. Inverted figure-four follows, but Liger breaks. Kojima gets a running elbow and goes up for another elbow, and it gets two. Muto starts with dropkick->dragon-screw stuff on Kojima, into the figure-four. Tenzan breaks it up. Muto goes back to the knee, but Kojima actually wins that battle and gives it right back with his own figure-four. Liger comes in to help and gets 3D’d. Kojima gives Muto a Diamond Cutter, and dang Jethro, things look bad. And indeed, another figure-four finishes at 17:48. Huh. ***1/2 Fun match.

– Minoru Tanaka v. AKIRA. I’m just gonna type “Akira” to save my shift key from burning out. Mat stuff to start, and Akira goes for the leg. Tanaka does the same, and they fight over that for a bit. Tanaka works for a cross armlock, but Akira makes the ropes. Note for those who care: I picked up a Game Boy Advance and Fire Pro Wrestling (which was on for cheap at Wal-Mart), and for some reason I like it a lot better for GBA than for Dreamcast. Now that I can actually READ the match results and names and stuff it’s interesting to see the Japanese views on certain movenames and the like. Anyway, the move I usually call the “cross armbreaker” is called a “cross armlock” in the game, which I like better because a) It sounds cooler and b) “armlock” is easier to type than “armbreaker”, so that’s what I’ll go with from now on. Final note on the move: I was watching this tape with my dad while on vacation, and he wondered how it could actually hurt someone. So I guess that shows why submission wrestling won’t get over with the casual viewers. They trade wristlocks and Akira gets the arm, but Tanaka rides him down again. Tanaka overpowers him, but gets dropkicked and bails. Akira fakes a highspot and we head back in. Spinkick and dropkick put Akira down, and Tanaka goes back to the arm. Akira reverses to a deathlock, but Tanaka makes the ropes. Akira keeps on the leg and pulls off the wristband, so I guess he means BUSINESS. What is with the universal tendancy of wrestlers to remove clothing in order to stress their determination to win? With that logic, Naked Mideon should have won every match. Tanaka reverses a legar, but Akira makes the ropes. Tanaka escapes a german suplex and Akira bails, so Tanaka follows with a pescado. Back in, Tanaka gets a missile dropkick and rolls into an anklelock, and keeps dragging him away from the ropes. I love how he does that. Akira finally makes it, but Tanaka starts with low kicks until Akira clips him. Akira gets a figure-four, but Tanaka makes the ropes and bails. Akira follows with a tope suicida and heads up, but splats into a Tanaka armbar. Back in, Akira goes low and gets a DDT for two. To the top, but Tanaka gets knocked down. Akira follows him down, but gets dropkicked in mid-move. Dragon suplex gets two. Cross armblock, but Akira makes the ropes. Akira comes back with a dragon-screw and goes up, missile dropkicking the arm for two. German suplex gets two. Back up for a flying splash, but that crafty bastard Tanaka turns the pin into another cross armlock, and I’m convinced that finishes. But it doesn’t, as Akira makes the ropes. They fights over a suplex, and Akira gets an enzuigiri as the end result. Tanaka is out, but Akira can’t get an armlock properly, and they end up reversing them on each other until Akira struggles into STF position and Tanaka taps at 23:22! Huh. Nearly perfect match. ****1/2

– Keiji Muto v. Satoshi Kojima. This of course stems from the tag match earlier where Muto submitted to Kojima’s figure-four. Muto goes right for the knee, and gets nowhere. Muto tries a facelock, then goes to a keylock instead. Kojima pounds him down, and gets a senton, but Muto dropkicks him out. Back in, Kojima grabs a headlock, and chops away. Running elbow and top rope elbow get two. He dropkicks the knee and dragon-screws it, but Muto responds with his own dropkicks to the knee, and into a figure-four. They exchange shots to the knee, and Kojima gets the figure-four this time. Muto escapes and dropkicks the knee a few times, and back to the figure-four. He goes up, but gets powerbombed off for two. Lariat gets two. They head up, and Kojima gets a top-rope bulldog for two. Diamond Cutter is reversed to a sleeper by Muto. Kojima escapes, so Muto gives him a missile dropkick, but Kojima responds with a lariat for two. Michinoku Driver gets two. Muto catches a rana and the Shining Wizard finishes at 18:28. Nothing special. *** Team 2000 beats Muto afterwards, and Kojima walks away.

– Justin Liger v. Minoru Tanaka. This is the finals of the Best of the Super J 2001 tournament. I am SHOCKED, shocked I say, that Liger would book himself into the finals again. Mat stuff is a stalemate, and Tanaka goes for the leg. Liger makes the ropes, and gets a camel clutch. He turns it into a pinning combo for two. Tanaka goes to the leg again, but Liger reverses to his own leglock, adding a hammerlock for good measure. Liger turns it into a stretch submission, but Tanaka suddenly gets a flying armbar out of nowhere, forcing Liger to retreat to the ropes again. Tanaka keeps stomping the arm, and Liger bails. Back in, Tanaka goes back to the arm with a vicious armbar-crossface combo. Liger dropkicks the knee a few times and gets a figure-four (what is he, Muto?), but Tanaka reverses. Liger hangs on, but Tanaka makes the ropes and then bails. Back in, after some stalling, Liger attacks, but Tanaka stomps him in the corner. Tanaka with a dropkick and snap suplex. Kneedrop and some kicks set up a headscissored armbar, but Liger makes the ropes. PALM STRIKE OF DEATH and powerbomb get two. He goes up for a frog splash that gets two. Tanaka gets a high kick into a cross armlock, but Liger fights him off. Tanaka goes up and they fight for a superplex before Tanaka gets a missile dropkick. Liger slugs away, but gets backslid for two. High kick into the cross-armlock again, and Liger fights it off again. Liger responds with a dragon-screw and the rolling kick for two. Ligerbomb gets two. Liger uses the POWER OF THE PALM after missing his first try, but only gets two. Brainbuster gets two. Another one is reversed to Tanaka’s freaky flying armbar and Liger is dead meat, but Tanaka rolls into an anklelock instead, allowing Liger to make the ropes. That mistake proves fatal, as Liger blocks a high kick with a fisherman’s buster and another brainbuster for the pin at 26:08. SHOCKED, I say. ****1/4 Hey, at least Liger can still bust phat moves with the best of them.

– Toshiaki Kawada v. Satoshi Kojima. And it’s more Kawada goodness! The other day I was walking down the street, and I saw two 12-year old kids throwing aside their Hulkamania t-shirts and putting on “KAWADA” shirts, then kicking each other in the face until they were both bleeding. True story. Okay, maybe not, but it COULD be true, and that’s the important thing. At any rate, I think I can safely say that Kawadamania is on the verge of running wild the world over and displacing that other guy from the top of the North American scene any day now. Power stuff is an impasse. Kojima gets a senton and takes a running dive into the ring from the ramp (those wacky Japanese), then mocks Kawada’s leg-stretching. HOW DARE HE! Kawada kicks him down in response, but gets dragon-screwed. Kojima goes for the knee, but Kawada starts kicking him again. Kojima goes back to the knee with a fugly figure-four, but Kawada makes the ropes. Kawada backkicks him down and head to the ramp for a running high kick. Back in, kneedrop gets two. Kojima comes back with his running/flying elbow combo, which gets two. They slug it out until Kojima goes down, but Kawada ends up getting the worst of it. Kojima’s spinebuster gets two. Kawada suckers him into some kicks, and gets the enzuigiri. German suplex is block, but another enzuigiri does the deed. Running high kick and lariat get two. Stretch Plum is Kojima is fading. DDT and is Kojima is OUT, but he has enough left, in fine All-Japan fashion, to hit one last Diamond Cutter before passing out. They head up to the top, where Kojima gets a DDT for two. Michinoku Driver and he pulls off the elbowpad, so it’s PAYBACK TIME. However, Kawada (proving once again why he’s the awesomest of the awesome) starts kicking the exposed arm. Note to all you kids out there: That’s what happens when you pull off your protective gear to make a macho point when you’re in the ring with a badass mofo. Kojima lariats him for two. Kawada hits him with a backdrop driver and enzuigiri, but Kojima is either too dumb or too tough to stay down. Bet on the former. Powerbomb gets two, and he still won’t stay down. Enzuigiri leaves him with no choice at 15:17. It was a good try for Kojima, but C’MON – it’s Kawada!. ***1/2

– Keiji Muto v. Hiroshi Hase. The tights situation is getting kinda creepy, as they’re wearing negatives of each other – Muto has black with white symbols on it, while Hase is wearing white tights with black symbols. Hase gets a facelock, reversed to a headlock by Muto. Hase rides him down for one. Muto wins a test of strength, but Hase brdiges out and takes him down to work on the knee. Back up, and they do a neat mat sequence that sees Hase end up on top. They works off a headlock and both miss a dropkick. Back to square one, as they slug it out and Muto drops the Power Elbow for two. He gets a short-arm scissors, but Hase goes after the knee. Muto rolls him over for two. Well, 15:00 gone and absolutely nothing’s happening. They work off a headlock and Muto sidesteps a dropkick and goes for the knee with his own dropkicks. Dragon-screws lead into the figure-four, but Hase reverses. Back to the dropkicks and dragon-screws, and into another figure-four. I think I’m actually starting to get into Muto’s bizarre ultra-repetitive psychology. Dropkick, dragon-screw, but Hase cradles for two. Hase tries this proven gameplan himself, going with dropkicks to the knee, but hangs him in the Tree of Woe instead of dragon-screwing the knee. Figure-four, but Muto quickly makes the ropes. Back to it, and again Muto makes the ropes. Scorpion Deathlock, but he can’t cinch it in. Muto bails, but gets kicked off the apron. Hase follows with a pescado, and they head back in. Hase with the missile dropkick, but Muto catches a rana out of a nowhere and hooks the cross-armlock. Muto goes after the arm with dropkicks and back to the amrlock. Hase makes the ropes. Muto tries a moonsault, but gets superplexed. Hase hits a uranage and a german suplex for two. By the way, to whoever sent me the indignant e-mail about how the Rock Bottom isn’t a uranage due to the feelings of judo purists, tell that to the announcers here who clearly yell “URRRRRANAGGGEEE” when Hase does the move. Oddly enough, I hear they’re actually calling it a Rock Bottom in Japan, now. Dragon suplex gets two. Piledriver gets two. Muto blocks a dropkick with the dragon-screw, but misses a dropkick. He recovers with another dragon-screw and goes for a missile dropkick and pounds away in the corner. Top rope rana is blocked by a powerbomb, and Hase gets two. Northern Lights suplex gets two. Uranage gets two. Hase goes up and misses a kneedrop, so Muto goes back to the knee. Smart plan. Dragon-screw, figure-four, but Hase reverses. Hase blocks another dragon-screw and gets a german suplex for two. Uranage, and he goes for the kneedrop, which gets two. Northern Lights suplex gets two. Again, but Muto knees out and gets a reverse jumping kick to put him down, and when Hase pulls himself to one knee…SHINING WIZARD. Buh bye at 39:04. I watched this one a couple of times to make sure I had it pegged properly, and this was the first case where I think I really “got” Muto’s new offense, with Muto pounding the knee until the opponent is no longer able to stand properly, at which point he hits the Shining Wizard to finish. It sounds simple, but it was kinda hard to really grasp until you’ve seen it done properly. Thank Hiroshi Hase, I guess. ****

– IWGP title: Kazuyuki Fujita v. Yuji Nagata. I’m guessing this will be a submission battle. Fujita, for those who care, is pretty much the spitting image of my ex-roommate Jae. They work for a takedown, but neither gets it. Yuji kicks him down and gets a rear choke, but Fujita makes the ropes. Fujita charges, but they’re in the ropes. He gives Nagata a few extra shots anyway. Nagata responds with an enzuigiri and backdrop for two. Fujita bails. Back in, they fight over a takedown again, and Fujita wins that battle. He goes ground-n-pound, but Nagata gets the ropes. Then he gets a belly-to-belly into a cross-armlock, but Fujita knees out of it. Nagata bails, rightly so. Back in, he knees the shit out of Fujita and gets a guillotine choke, dead center. Fujita breaks and goes for the armbar, but instead counters Nagata into a sleeper. Everyone releases and we’re back to square one. Yuji knocks his head off with a high kick for two. Sleeper and armbar, but Fujita makes the ropes. Release german dumps Fujita right on his HEAD, but he no-sells and takes Nagata down with a chokehold until Nagata makes the ropes. Nagata recovers and pounds away, but Fujita knees him in the head like a million times. If this is Pride, it’s OVER, and shut my mouth because I soon as I type that the ref stops the match at 10:58. As a match it was nothing, but the drama was really good. ***

– Yuji Nagata & Shinya Makabe v. Masahito Kakihara & Mitsuya Nagai. This is for the All-Asian tag titles. You may remember Nagai as the guy who went kick-for-kick with Kawada earlier in the set before losing. Nagai & Makabe start, and Makabe goes for an armbar and a chinlock. Nagai reverses and gets a pinning combo for two. Makabe starts cranking on the armbar and stomping the arm. Nagai escapes to allow Kakaihara in, so Nagata comes in as well. They slap each other, and Kakihara blocks a suplexand kicks him in the head when he’s down, prompting Yuji to bail. Back in, Yuji gets a suplex and returns that kick. Oh, TAG. They get into a high kick contest before Nagata turns it into an anklelock. Makabe comes in with a flying splash and a halfcrab. Kakihara makes the ropes. Nagai knees away to the guy viciously and hits a chinlock. The heels work Makabe over in the corner and Kakihara gets the Scorpion Deathlock. Nagai comes in and works the arm, continuing to use his knees for nefarious purposes. Kakihara comes in and charges, but Makabe spears him and Nagata comes in. He cleans house and hits an Exploider on Kakihara for two. Nagatalock, but Kakihara makes the ropes. Suplex is stopped, and Kakihara reverses to an anklelock as it’s BONZO GONZO. Nagai tags in and gets into Kick Battle with Nagata, which is always a bad idea. Makabe comes in and they double-team Nagai, and then Makabe spears him and hits a Northern Lights suplex for two. Nagai absorbs a shot and gets a german suplex in return, but distraction from Yuji allows Makabe to get the rolling germans for two. It’s breaking loose in Tulsa again, and the heels double-team Makabe for two. Double-fisherman’s suplex gets two. Nagai slugs Makabe down, and a high knee finishes at 12:40. At least I *think* that’s what I wrote – I was pretty tired doing this match and my shorthand suffered a wee bit. Anyway, solid tag match with the heels earning a hard-fought win. ***1/2

– Toshiaki Kawada v. Hiroyoshi Tenzan. Lockup sequence goes nowhere. Kawada goes for the arm, but Tenzan pounds him. Kawada kicks the ugly out of him (well, as much as one human being can do), but he wants MORE. Tenzan pounds back, and a headbutt puts Kawada down. The MARTIAL ARTS BLOW OF DEATH gets two. Tenzan keylocks Kawada’s arm and starts wearing it down with an armbar. Kawada is PISSED, and he lets Tenzan know by calling for more punishment. Why? Because’s a MANLY MAN. You think HHH would take shots to the face and call for more? WUSSES. All of them. Tenzan isn’t manly enough to accept the challenge, so Kawada kicks him down again. Tenzan keeps pounding and a bulldog gets two. Kawada highkicks him, but Tenzan headbutts low. Good counter. Falling headbutt gets two. They head up and fight for position, and it ends with Tenzan getting the superplex for two. Kawada hulks up again and they slug it out until Tenzan heads up, but Kawada won’t stay down. Why? TESTOSTERONE. High kick catches him coming down for two. Another one into the Stretch Plum, and it gets two. Powerbomb is reversed by Tenzan, so Kawada kicks his ass again. Tenzan comes back with a sleeper, but Kawada makes the ropes. Enzuigiri is blocked by Tenzan and he gets one of his own for two. Moonsault gets two. Kawada fights back and gets a backdrop. Tenzan has the GALL to no-sell it, so Kawada gives him a lariat and two enzuigiris, for two. That’s apparently not enough for Tenzan, so Kawada finishes with an axe kick and backdrop driver at 15:10. Pretty manly, but a little dull early on. **3/4

– Triple-Crown title: Genichiro Tenryu v. Keiji Muto. This is, according to the kids, THE match. I hear it’s right up there with N*Sync and Britney Spears as far as merchandising goes. Muto goes for the knee right away and gets the Shining Wizard. He goes up, but Tenryu ducks out. Back in, they go for the wristlock and Tenryu gets a headscissors. Nothing on there. Tenryu keeps his distance, so Muto tries a headlock and hits the Power Elbow. To the chinlock, but Tenryu suplexes out with authoritah. Muto dropkicks him and goes after the arm. He slugs away in the corner, but Tenryu uses his foot to block the handspring elbow. Enzuigiri gets two. Powerbomb gets two. Muto suckers him in, however, and gets the rolling kick to send him crashing out. He follows with a pescado. Back in, Muto goes right for the knee – dropkick, dropkick on the apron. Suplex back in is reversed and Muto bumps out to the floor in a pretty dangerous-looking fashion. Tenryu pulls out a tope suicida (!), and both are out. Tenryu tries to re-enter, so Muto dragon-screws him off the apron (!!). He then follows him down with a dropkick to the knee, from the apron. Back in, he goes up and missile dropkicks the knee. Back up and Tenryu dodges, but Muto goes dragon-screw/figure-four to regain the advantage. Tenryu makes the ropes, so Muto keeps dropkicking the knee. Tenryu fights him off, so Muto kicks him in the knee. Tenryu gives it right back, dragon-screwing Muto’s knee and getting his own figure-four. Muto goes right back for the knee, but misses. Tenryu hooks a Texas Cloverleaf just to change things up, but Muto powers out. Slugfest and they head up, where Tenryu german suplexes him off the top and follows down with an elbow for two. Muto catches a desperation rana, but Tenryu blocks the Shining Wizard so calmly that it makes me wonder why everyone doesn’t. Brainbuster gets two for Tenryu. He slugs at Muto in the corner and they head up, where Tenryu gets a rana for two. Keep in mind this guy is somewhere in between Terry Funk and prehistoric remains in terms of age. Muto is pissed, and he knees out of a suplex attempt in mid-air, and they slug it out. Heel kick and SHINING WIZZZZAARD gets two. Oh, TAG. Again, for two. Muto then defies the doctors by finishing with a moonsault at 23:24 to win the title. That actually flew right by. I dunno if it was the Match of the Year, but it was loads more interesting than Muto’s usual dropkick-dragonscrew-figure-four stuff. ****1/2

– Super Delfin & Takehiro Murahama v. Jushin Liger & El Samurai. This is from Delfin’s Osaka Pro promotion, so one guess who goes over. Murahama and Liger start and Liger tosses him, and then sends Samurai out with a double-team tope. Delfin tries and gets a clothesline on Samurai, then fakes the highspot. Liger & Murahama exchange kicks and Murahama goes for the knee. Samurai breaks it up and dros a leg for one. Murahama brings him to the corner, where Delfin pounds away. He gets tilt-a-whirled by Liger, however. Samurai comes off the top with a kneedrop, for two. Samurai & Liger switch off and wear Delfin down, but he comes back with a suplex and Murahama assists in a double-dropkick on Samurai. Murahama gets an STF, and Liger breaks it up and backdrops him for two. Liger & Samurai work over the leg, and Samurai gets a figure-four while Liger transforms into EVIL LIGER~! by yelling at the front row and generally acting like a jerk, namely by standing on Murahama’s knee while in the figure-four. Too funny. Liger applies a leglock, and then pokes him in the eye just to stress who the bad guy is here. See, now that’s what’s missing from the New Japan juniors – a good old thumb to the eye now and then. Samurai gets a piledriver for two. Liger with a palm strike and camel clutch, but Delfin breaks. So Samurai continues, and they double-team Murahama again. He comes back with kicks, hot tag Delfin. Samurai lays him out, and gets an inverted DDT. So much for that. Samurai goes up with a headbutt for two. Again, but he misses and Murahama comes in for an anklelock. Delfin deals with Liger, but finally Liger comes in to break. So Murahama kicks the crap out of him and gets a cross armlock. Face miscommunication results in Delfin taking a powerbomb for two. They come back with double palm strikes on Liger (Oh, TAG) for two. Murahama gets a hammerlock, but Liger makes the ropes. Judo throw, back to the hammerlock, but Samurai breaks. Murahama deals with him via a tope con hilo. In the ring, Delfin finishes Liger with a tornado DDT and a pair of palm strikes, at 13:58. Dumb but harmless fun. ***1/4

– Shinya Hashimoto v. Tom Howard. Tom Howard? I guess this stems from some sort of UPW angle for which I guarantee I care nothing about. They do a bit of sparring to start, and Howard goes for the arm. Now he goes to the leg and Shinya bails. Back in, Hash goes for the leg, but Howard makes the ropes. Hash grabs a headlock, but Howard counters with a headscissors. Tom catches a cheap punch, and Hashimoto is down for an 8 count. They slug it out, no winner is evident. Howard kicks him down for another 8 count. Fisherman’s suplex sets up the cross armlock, but Hash makes the ropes. Hash slugs away, but so does Howard, and he gets a bad looking Buff Blockbuster. Back to the headscissors, but Hash breaks. He gets the spinning backhand and DDT, and to be honest my shorthand is getting pretty incoherant at this point due to sleep deprivation, so we’ll skip ahead to Hashimoto kicking Howard’s leg out for the submission at 11:57. The match was so bad it was literally putting me to sleep while I was watching it. ½* I have NO idea how this ended up on a “Best of Japan” compilation, but it’s not my call to make.

The Bottom Line:

Lots of Muto goodness, lots of Kawada goodness, lots of Minoru Tanaka goodness. This is probably my favorite of the bunch so far.

What’s next for the set? Stay tuned for volume 4! And as always, the whole 6-tape set is located at