The SmarK Rant For Best Of Japan 2001 – Volume 5


The SmarK Rant for the Best of Japan 2001 – Volume 5

– Before we go any further, I would of course be remiss in not pimping the site that provides these lovely tapes, They have FAST service (especially within Canada) and great quality, and if I still paid for stuff I’d deal with them in a second. As we get into the home stretch for this series, be sure to send a nice X-Mas card to Rob Hunter for providing quality Japan entertainment for your reading (and hopefully viewing) pleasure.

– IWGP Junior tag team titles: Gedo & Jado v. Great Sasuke & Tiger Mask IV. Hey, Rob promised me that Nagata v. Muto, which was supposed to be the closer on tape 4, would open this tape! What gives? And how dare Gedo & Jado have cool theme music? How am I supposed to hate them now? The masked men attack to start with a double-dropkick on Gedo and Sasuke gets a handspring elbow and quebrada to the floor right away. Not wasting any time there. Back in, Tiger Mask pounds away and gets a dropkick, and comes off the top with a kneedrop to set up a standing moonsault for two. Jado comes in and works the arm with a hammerlock, but TM escapes and they do a power matchup, before TM uses his noggin and legsweeps the stronger Jado. Sasuke comes in and wears him down with a slam and an elbow for two. Legdrop gets two. We hit the chinlock and Sasuke goes to the abdominal stretch, but Gedo punches him in the face to break. Man, how can I hate anyone that evil? Tiger Mask comes in and goes to a rear chinlock, but gets kicked in the head from the outside to become YOUR cartoon-character-in-peril. Gedo puts the beats on him outside and Jado tosses a TABLE at Sasuke. Mask hits the post with GUSTO, and we head back in for some pounding by Gedo. He chokes away and superkicks him in the corner (ouch), and the heels double-team him. Jado chops him down and the beatdown continues, as Jado gets a backdrop suplex for two. Wicked lariat gets two. Gedo gets a jawbreaker to set up a superkick for two. NICE sequence. They flip out of each other’s germans, and Mask nails Gedo with a kick to the face, which allows Sasuke to come in with a butterfly suplex on Jado for two. He goes up with a missile dropkick and Jado heads for the hills. Sasuke puts him on a table, however, and MISSES a senton completely, splatting on the concrete and nearly killing himself. And you thought Foley was nuts. Back in, Gedo & TM exchange near-falls which I can’t concentrate on due to fearing for Sasuke’s life, and Sasuke comes back in with a Buff Blockbuster for two, but gets double-teamed. To the top, Jado superplexes him for two. Lariat gets two. Sasuke escapes a backdrop attempt, but Jado catches him with a crossface. Tiger Mask breaks, but Jado tosses him again. They take turns splatting Sasuke in the corner and hit him with a double-team powerbomb for two. Tiger Driver into a frog splash gets two. Geez. TM makes a heroic return with a missile dropkick on Jado, and goes up top with Gedo for a butterfly superplex that gets two. A close two. He turns the pinfall attempt into a cross-armlock, but Jado breaks. Heel miscommunication allows TM to go up and nail Jado with a bodyblock to the outside, and in the ring Sasuke hits a Tiger Suplex on Gedo for two and 9/10. Fire Thunder Bomb gets thr no, just two. Yikes. Leg lariat gets two. To the top, but Jado tosses a chair at him, knocking him off, and Gedo gets the exceedingly cheap pin at 18:18. This featured some KILLER double-teaming from Gedo & Jado, though, and I may have to rescind my traditional Gedo-hatred somewhat. Don’t tell anyone, though. ****1/4

– AJPW Unified tag titles: Genichiro Tenryu & Yoji Anjoh v. Keiji Muto & Taiyo Kea. Stan Hansen is reading the proclamation at the beginning of the match, which is pretty surreal. It’s nice to actually have it in English for once so I can understand what’s being said in those things. JIP with Kea & Anjoh slugging it out, which Anjoh wins. He batters Kea with high kicks and follows him into the corner with another one, but Kea fights back with a backdrop for two. Kea goes up with a Money Shot for two. He goes after the feisty Tenryu for breaking up his pinfall attempt, and that prompts Tenryu to get in Hansen’s face outside. In the ring, Kea superkicks Anjoh, but Tenryu pulls down the top rope and sends Kea into the railing. Don’t mess with the elderly. Back in, Anjoh hammers away and gets a piledriver into a cross-armlock, but Kea makes the ropes. Tenryu comes in and chops him down, and Anjoh sends him into the post for good measure. Tenryu with the lariat for two. Anjoh stays on the arm with some particularly vicious stuff, but Kea keeps fighting back. Tenryu charges and gets hit with an enzuigiri, and it’s hot tag Muto. Dropkick the knee! Dropkick the knee! Dragon screw! Figure-four! That leaves him open for a boot-f*cking, however, which Anjoh gives him, and a lariat for seconds. Backdrop suplex and backdrop driver follow, and Muto is in some trouble. He blocks a high kick and does his dragon-screw/figure-four deal, however, which prompts Kea to do the same thing to Tenryu. It’s like watching Rock N Rolls v. Horsemen all over again. Everyone escapes soon enough. Muto starts dropkicking the knee again, and back to the figure-four, but Anjoh punches out of it and brings Tenryu back in. Enzuigiri gets two. No one does an enzuigiri like Tenryu, even at 109 or however old he is. Muto comes back with a rana and brings Kea in, as he gets a sweet dropkick and a nice powerbomb for two. It’s one of those Sid Vicious ones where he drops to one knee to increase the force. Kick series sets up a DDT for two. Kea puts Tenryu in a triangle choke, but Anjoh tosses Muto and breaks it up. The champs double-team Kea, as Tenryu powerbombs him for two. Brainbuster gets the pin at 20:15 (10:25 aired). I thought Muto & Kea won the titles from them? Must have been later on, I guess. Tenryu can still work, that’s for sure. ***1/4

– Shinjiro Ohtani v. Kyohei Sato. Well, so much for Ohtani’s dreams of being a heavyweight. Never seen this Sato guy before. Sato ducks a leg lariat and stomps him down to start, and starts kicking the shit out of him. Overhead suplex and Ohtani bails, which is probably wise. Sato brings him back in and goes to work on the apparently injured arm, pounding it with kicks. Not nice. Ohtani seems pretty helpless, but bitchslaps him into a chinlock to buy some time. With Ohtani, it’s not just a slugfest, it’s a stinging indictment of your manhood. Sato grabs an arm and works it on the mat, however, fighting for an armbar. Ohtani makes the ropes and bails again. Back in, Sato keeps kicking that arm. What a punk. Ohtani takes him down and goes for the leg, which again buys him some time. He’s still fighting one-handed, however, which is really cool to see. He chops away in the corner and does the classic boot to the face, but Sato pushes off and kicks the arm again. He walks into a palm strike, however, and Ohtani gives him a high kick in the corner. Sato is again one step ahead, blocking the springboard dropkick and staying on the arm. He tries an Exploider off the apron, but Ohtani elbows out and sends him to the railing. Now he’s pissed. Back in, it’s time for that springboard dropkick, and he’s STILL selling the arm. He tries a lariat, but Sato knees him down and gets his Exploider, into a cross-armlock, albeit a weakly-applied one. Ohtani makes the ropes without too much trouble and grabs a sleeper, into a dragon suplex. Cobra sleeper and Sato has nowhere to go but dreamland, as Ohtani grabs a bodyscissors and won’t let go. Finally he rolls over and makes the ropes, but Ohtani, being a dickhead from way back, won’t let go until 5. That should be mandatory for heels. Sato comes back with a northern lights suplex for two. Ohtani puts the badmouth on him (I don’t understand Japanese, but it sounded pretty bad), and they slug it out until Sato gets another cross-armlock out of the deal, which Ohtani promptly reverses back to his sleeper. And this time, there’s no escape, as he passes out at 13:05. Don’t f*ck with the master, kiddo. ***

– Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan v. Toshiaka Kawada & Mitsuya Nagai. There’s gonna be some faces kicked tonight! Team 2000 attacks to start and beat on Nagai, and out he goes. Tenzan starts proper with Kawada, and the heels double-team him out of the ring. Kojima mocks his stretching, which is usually a bad idea. Kawada kicks him into next week and Nagai comes in, and gets chinlocked. Tenzan is in next for a test of strength which he turns into a chinlock, but Nagai no-sells some headbutts and they do a MANLY slugfest, which Tenzan wins by going to the eyes. Nagai takes him down and goes for the leg, going to work on it. Kawada thinks that’s a swell idea and kicks him down into the half-crab, which Tenzan powers out of. Kawada drops the knee and Nagai comes back in, and again gets caught in the wrong corner and worked over. Kojima hits a senton and LAUGHS at Kawada. So Nagai knees him in the throat and kicks him in the chest. Kojima responds with a corner clothesline and Tenzan comes in for the double-team elbow for two. They slug it out again, and Tenzan headbutts him in the face and takes him down for two. Tenzan heads up and misses a diving headbutt, allowing Nagai to unleash the kicks again and turn Tenzan into putty in the corner. He wisely takes a smoke break, but Kawada decides to teach Kojima some manners while he’s out there, and back in Nagai gets two on Tenzan. Legdrop gets two. A SICK knee to the face gets two. If this was a shoot, the match would be OVER. I mean, he just laid in there with that thing. Tenzan can barely stand, so Kawada winds up and kicks him in the face again. That’s the spirit! Kawada can’t even whip him, I mean he’s dead. He drops a knee for two, as Kojima saves. Nagai comes in for a cross-armlock, but Kojima saves again. Nagai goes to a legbar instead, and Kawada gets the short kicks and starts booting him in the face. Tenzan takes it like a man, then goes down like a ragdoll. Nagai gets a high knee in the corner, and a suplex gets two. Nagai hits him with another knee, but Tenzan keeps getting up. Kawada gives him some chops and a sweet spinkick to set up the backdrop driver. RIP, Hiroyoshi Tenzan. It’s over. He’s done. Finished. However, it only gets two. Powerbomb is stopped by Kojima, as Tenzan escapes and amazingly has turned himself babyface, making the hot tag to Kojima. Koji and Kawada slug it out, as Kojima wins that one and follows with a running elbow to the corner. He goes up with a flying elbow for two. Kawada’s high kick is blocked and Kojima powerbombs him for two. They clothesline each other and Kawada goes down first, but he manages an enzuigiri and gets two. Stretch Plum and Kojima has nowhere to go, but Kawada can’t hold on. He tries again, with extra torque, but Tenzan manages to save. Nagai kicks Kojima down again, but another try is blocked with a Koji Kutter. Tenzan comes back in for a knee to the head, but misses a leg lariat. Nagai kicks away again, but Tenzan headbutts the leg. That’s unique. Nagai gets a leg lariat for two anyway. Kawada gets rid of Kojima and boots Tenzan in the face, into a Nagai suplex for two. Man, Tenzan just won’t take the hint and stay dead. Nagai springboards in with a high knee for two. Cool! Kojima blocks Kawada’s enzuigiri and hits a lariat, and Tenzan comes back on Nagai with a Northern Lights bomb, and everyone is pretty much sucking wind. Team 2000 hits the 3D on Nagai for two. Thought that would be it. Tenzan goes up while Koji battles Kawada outside, and the moonsault finishes at 21:37. GREAT MATCH! Tenzan brought new meaning to “playing Ricky Morton”, as he was beaten to a pulp by Kawada & Nagai and still came back to get the win. ****1/4

– Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima v. Osamu Nishimura & Tatsumi Fujinami. Ooo, this should be interesting. Talk about your old v. new school clashes. Kojima starts with Nishimura and they do some feeling out, into a test of strength that Nishimura turns into an armbar. Kojima takes him down and grabs a chinlock, and it’s back to square one again. Tenzan comes in and wants Fujinami, and they jockey for position and work off a headlock. Fujinami holds it for a while, but gets pounded by Tenzan. He grabs his own headlock, and overpowers the Dragon. DOUBLE CHOP OF DOOM puts Fujinami down, and he chops away. Fujinami blocks another try, and Nishimura comes in with a stepover toehold. They do a test of strength, and Tenzan goes the cheap route, but Nishimura turns it into a hammerlock and takes him down. They work off a headscissors, which Tenzan has problems escaping, and they go back to a knucklelock, which gives Nishimura a chance to bridge out, into a suplex for two. Back to the headlock. Fujinami comes in and works on a neck vice, into a headscissors. Nishimura works the arm, but Kojima finally tags in again and stomps Nishimura out of the ring. Back in, senton and elbowdrop follows, but Nishimura won’t stay down. Kojima slugs away, and dropkicks the leg to drop him. He dragon-screws the leg and Tenzan comes in for a double-team or two, for two. He stays on that leg and chokes him out in the corner, and Nishimura takes a break. Back in, Tenzan goes to a half-crab, but can’t get it over and settles for a legbar instead. They double-team him again and Kojima stomps away in the corner and pounds Nishimura with forearms. Running forearm and he goes up and misses the flying elbow. Fujinami comes back in and gets a sleeper, into the dragon sleeper. Tenzan breaks it up. Fujinami dragon-screws both guys, but gets DDT’d by Kojima, who follows with a figure-four. Fujinami makes the ropes, but Tenzan keeps working on the leg. Leg lariat gets nothing because it’s in the ropes. Tenzan goes up, but misses, and Nishimura comes in via the top with a missile dropkick. Butterfly suplex sets up a flying kneedrop to the knee, and he gets the spinning toehold on Tenzan. Tenzan breaks and goes back on offense as a result, getting the knee to the back from the top for two. Nishimura blocks the double-chop with an abdominal stretch, and Fujinami joins in for stereo versions. Nishimura hammers away with forearms, but gets caught with a samoan drop. Kojima pounds him and hits the Koji Kutter, and then picks him up and does it again. That gets two. Michinoku Driver gets two. Lariat sets up a nasty-looking submission move, and Tenzan joins in on Fujinami. Everyone breaks free, so they toss Fujinami and Nishimura with clotheslines to set up Koji’s flying elbow. That gets two. 3D gets two. Fujinami fights off Tenzan and hits Kojima with an enzuigiri, which allows Nishimura to get an Octopus on him, until the position is so awkward that he falls over and breaks it. Kojima hits him with a lariat in response, but gets rolled up and pinned at 26:03, as Nishimura & Fujinami win the IWGP tag titles. This was some real good mat-based stuff with a terrific build. I’m becoming such a mark for Kojima & Tenzan. ***1/2 Chono bitches them out for letting him down.

– Golden Net Cage Elimination Hair Match – Magnum Tokyo vs. Masaaki Mochizuki vs. Dragon Kid vs. CIMA vs. Darkness Dragon. I guess we can expect a spotfest here. Magnum Toyko’s entrance remains one of the coolest in wrestling, complete with his own dancers, light show and crowd participation. Why the WWE hasn’t picked up on a theme song where the crowd can yell out “Go” or some other monosyllabic chant in time with the music is a total mystery. Just look at Kurt Angle – chanting “You suck” has become at him has become part of his character because crowds are dying for something to chant along with. Mochizuki makes a climb for it right away, but gets attacked by CIMA & Tokyo. With 5 people the dynamics are kind of odd, because four people can pair off, leaving a fifth as the odd man out to try to escape. Everyone fires off a highspot in succession, but it’s hard to follow because the camera is on wide-angle, outside of the cage. CIMA stomps on Darkness Dragon in the corner, while Kid and Toyko hit Mochizuki with a double dropkick. Tokyo & Darkness then turn on CIMA for a double-dropkick, and Dragon turns on Tokyo in turn. CIMA negotiates peace with Tokyo, but gets rammed into the cage for his troubles. I bet Kissinger never had that problem. Everyone goes after CIMA for a bit, and I get into a conversation with Ashish about hooking up video connections and kind of lose track for a couple of minutes. That’s the risk of live rants. We get to the 10-minute mark, and everyone sprints for the cage, but can’t make it out. I have no idea what’s going on here. Mochizuki & CIMA fight on the top, but Darkness Dragon gets whipped into the corner and both of them are crotched. He tries the same on Tokyo & Dragon Kid, but the Kid hits him with a rana. Darkness comes back with what looks like Hurricane’s version of the Shining Wizard, and then he tricks Mochizuki into letting him go to the top and out at 13:04. Okay, so we’re down to four guys. CIMA and Tokyo fight on the top, and both end up on the mat again. Mochizuki kicks away on both of them, and Tokyo accidentally hits Dragon with a lariat, thus incurring his wrath. The camera is just all over the place here. Mochizuki puts CIMA into a figure-four, which seems silly in an escape cage match. Tokyo gives Mochizuki a Side Effect, but Dragon gives him a jawbreaker. CIMA tries to escape, but Dragon stops him, so CIMA suplexes him into the cage and uses his own gauntlets to tie him to the ropes. Sneaky. CIMA climbs again, and is left hanging on a support bar, which he uses to alley-oop up and out at 17:24. That was neat, although hard to describe. Three left. Tokyo bulldogs Mochizuki off the top and frees Dragon Kid, and they make up and decide to go after Mochizuki. They both splat him in the corner, but the Kid’s Dragon-rana misses. Another try is turned into a powerbomb into the cage, and Mochizuki climbs. Tokyo tosses Kid right over Mochizuki’s head and he climbs the cage, using Mochizuki’s back as a step, and he waits to leave, trying to convince Tokyo to come with him. How touching, but Mochizuki hangs onto Tokyo’s leg, so Magnum gives Kid the old “save yourself, forget about me” routine, and Kid leaves him to exit at 21:42. So we’re down to two, loser gets his head shaved. Magnum gets a lariat and takes him down with a judo throw, but when he climbs he gets pulled down again. He bulldogs Mochizuki and goes up for a missile dropkick, but can’t climb out. They fight on the top rope and knock each other down with kicks, and Mochizuki dropkicks him into the cage. Tokyo escapes a brainbuster and hits him with high kicks, and the Viagra Driver (pumphandle into Michinoku Driver). That’s such a great name. His climb attempt is stopped by the evil punks of M2K, however, as they climb up the cage and beat on him. Tokyo gives it up, but they hit him with a chair on the way down anyway. So Magnum goes back to it, hitting Mochizuki with kicks, and the overhead backflip kick. Another Viagra Driver is reversed to a high kick series by Mochizuki, and he’s knocked out. Mochizuki triumphantly climbs out at 29:05, and Tokyo is about to be bald. ****

– Yuji Nagata and Jun Akiyama vs. Keiji Muto and Hiroshi Hase. Thankfully Hase is just wearing regular tights this time, rather than the freaky reverse-Muto ones he was sporting in his match against Muto. Muto starts with Akiyama and they work for position on the mat. Muto grabs a headlock and they work off that for a bit. Jun escapes, but misses a high knee and Muto dropkicks him, and tags out. Hase takes Jun down and works a headlock, and they reverse off that into a mat-wrestling sequence. Hase brings him into the corner and Muto gives it another go, this time against Nagata. Nagata controls him on the mat, but Muto blocks a cross-armlock by grabbing a headlock. Hase comes back in and keeps Nagata on the mat, but gets caught in the down position and chinlocked as a result. Nagata suplexes him down (an actual amateur-wrestling suplex, not a pro wrestling belly-to-belly) and Akiyama comes in. They do a test of strength, and Akiyama does an insanely lengthy bridge. Does he have a steel rod in his neck or something? Hase takes him down and brings Muto in, and they double-team to take over. Power Elbow and Muto goes for the leg, which Hase continues on. Akiyama reverses to a painful-looking deathlock, and dragon-screws Hase. Nagata keeps beating on the leg, but Hase wants a slugfest. They slap each other around, and Muto comes in to clean up on Nagata, before hitting the chinlock. Nagata tries a legbar, which Muto smartly turns over into an Indian deathlock. Hase stomps away on the knee, but Nagata does the same, so Hase dropkicks the knee to put him down. Overhead suplex sets up the Giant Swing, which is quite fun if not overdone. That gets two. Nagata is still dizzy, so Muto surgically dropkicks the knee, but gets hit with an enzuigiri. Jun tags in and cleans house, but Muto no-sells a high knee. Akiyama opts for a crossface instead, and we get the standard stereo-submissions spot. Muto makes the ropes. Jun goes for an Exploider off the apron, but Muto reverses and dragon-screws him off the apron instead. He follows with a dropkick off the apron, to the knee. And so it begins. Back in, dropkick dropkick dropkick dragon-screw figure-four. Hase does his own to Nagata, returning the favor for the previous stereo submissions spot. Akiyama makes the ropes. To the top, Muto gets a rana for two. Moonsault gets two. Shining Wizard is blocked, and Jun hits the Exploider. He comes back but gets hit with a rolling kick by Muto, and both guys are down. Tags abound, and Hase stupidly gets into a kicking war with Nagata. Nagata goes down first, amazingly, and Hase hits him with the rolling germans for two. Pumphandle backbreaker gets two. They start slapping each other again, and Hase knocks him silly, but not silly enough to stay down. Nagata gets an overhead belly-to-belly and the Nagata-Lock. Muto breaks it up, and Hase is PISSED. He shrugs off a bunch of high kicks, and Muto leapfrogs Hase and hits a STANDING Shining Wizard. Akiyama comes out of nowhere with a high knee that puts Muto down, and Nagata pops up with a lariat on Hase before collapsing again. That was an amazing sequence, like one of those ones in the WWE 6-man main events. Nagata gets a crossface on Hase while Akiyama puts Muto in a guillotine choke, and the heat is unreal. Hase makes the ropes. Nagata kicks away on Hase in the corner, and Jun follows him in with a high knee into the Exploider, and Nagata gets a backdrop driver for ONE, as Hase won’t stay down. Another backdrop finishes at 28:05. A bit too repetitive with the submission spots that didn’t go anywhere, but the ending was something to see. ***3/4

– GHC Junior title: Yoshinobu Kanemaru v. Tatsuhito Takaiwa. The pre-match video package would seem to indicate that Takaiwa has Kanemaru’s number. Slugfest to start, and Takaiwa catches a huge lariat for two. He stomps the prone Kanemaru, then tosses the ref aside, which allows Kanemaru to go low and get a brainbuster for two. Takaiwa bails and gets guillotined on the railing in a wild spot. Kanemaru hits the chinlock, but Takaiwa suplexes out. Kanemaru hangs him in the Tree of Woe and baseball slides him for two. Takaiwa slugs away, but gets DDT’d. Kanemaru goes to a headscissors, which Takaiwa reverses to a headlock. They work off that, with Kanemaru ending up with a sleeper. He switches to a rear chinlock, which Takaiwa reverses to one of his own, complete with eye-raking and forearm-grinding. Takaiwa goes to a legbar, but ropes are made. Takaiwa stays on the leg, but gets choked out by Kanemaru with wrist-tape! Man, it’s the battle of the assholes. Takaiwa comes right back with more of the same, carrying him right out of the ring and leaving Kanemaru hanging onto the ropes with his feet. Funny stuff. Kanemaru recovers and dives at him on the floor, but Takaiwa catches him and hits a death valley driver on the concrete! Back in, Takaiwa stomps away and gets a figure-four, but Kanemaru makes the ropes. Takaiwa charges and hits boot, allowing Kanemaru to get a missile dropkick and go up. Moonsault gets two. Another try misses, and Takaiwa atomic drops him after a reversal sequence. To the top, but Kanemaru escapes a potential top rope DVD and powerbombs him. Takaiwa blocks a suplex, but Kanemaru goes low, only to run into a lariat. Takaiwa hits him with the double-powerbomb, but can’t get to the DVD because Kanemaru gets his own, for one. Takaiwa is pissed now, getting a brainbuster for two. Both guys are out. Kanemaru is up first, and gets a moonsault for two. Another try is blocked by Takaiwa, but Kanemaru goes low TWICE and puts him back on top for a top rope BRAINBUSTER! OH MY GOD. But he hasn’t had enough yet! Another brainbuster! However, Takaiwa’s foot lands on the ropes, so Kanemaru gives him another one which Takaiwa reverses to one of his own. Lariat gets two. Crowd is just going crazy here, as would I be. Death valley driver gets two for Takaiwa. They head up again and Takaiwa tries the top rope DVD again, and that’s enough to finish at 17:35. Super super hot ending with insane head bumps galore. ***1/2

– IWGP tag titles: Tatsumi Fujinami + Osamu Nishimura v.

Keiji Muto and Jushin Liger. Liger is getting pretty ripped in his old age. He starts with Nishimura and we get a feeling-out sequence and a test of strength, which allows Nishimura to work in his bridge into a suplex. Liger goes for the leg and works it with a stepover toehold and facelock. Nishimura reverses to a bridged Indian deathlock, but Liger makes the ropes. They go into an Eddy-Dean pinfall reversal sequence and several near-falls result. Fujinami and Muto go next, and the crowd is deeply into Muto. Muto takes Fujinami down with an armbar, and they fight over mat-wrestling, with Muto ending up grabbing a legbar. Fujinami goes to a headlock, and Nishimura comes in and goes for Muto’s leg. He doesn’t get very far, and Muto goes back to his headlock, which Osamu reverses. Liger comes in and chops away, before hooking a submission move and moving into a Romero Special with a facelock. Holy crap that requires some flexibility. Nishimura bails and Liger teases a highspot, but changes his mind. Back in, Liger takes him down into a rear chinlock, and pulls back on it so far that it looks like he’s going to snap him in two. Is this guy a rubber band or what? Muto’s turn, and he drops the Power Elbow and gets a sleeper, which he turns into a dragon sleeper to rub it in Fujinami’s face. Fujinami comes in and does the same thing to Muto, which you’d expect. Boys will be boys. Then he dragon-screws Muto and Nishimura goes to work on the leg. Muto escapes and brings Liger in, and he stomps the shit out of Nishimura, who was stuck trying to keep Muto in a legbar. Muto & Liger hit him with a stuff piledriver, and Liger powerbombs him for two. Liger smacks him down in the corner, but misses the PALM STRIKE OF DEATH. Rolling kick puts Nishimura down again, however, and Liger goes up and misses a frog splash. Fujinami comes in off the top and drops a knee, and goes to work on the leg before putting him into the dragon sleeper. Liger kicks his way out, but gets dropped by an enzuigiri and Nishimura comes back in to pound on him. Butterfly suplex gets two. They slug it out and Liger gets a gutwrench and tags Muto again. Dropkick! Dropkick! Dragon-screw! Nishimura bails to the apron, so Muto dropkicks the knee again and sends him to the floor. Nishimura sunset flips in for two. Muto misses another dropkick and gets caught in a spinning toehold, and Fujinami comes off the top with a kneedrop to the knee. Dragon-screw and figure-four follows, but Liger breaks it up. Nishimura puts Liger in an abdominal stretch, but leaves himself open for a Shining Wizard from Muto to break. Liger hits Fujinami with the palm strike and a brainbuster, and Muto goes up and dropkicks the knee from the top, and gets the figure-four. Liger adds an elbowdrop off the top to really teach the old guy a lesson, but he fights it off and makes the ropes. Liger dropkicks the knee, and Muto hits a Shining Wizard, but Fujinami blocks and puts Muto in the figure-four, and he submits at 24:12. Well, you knew somebody was gonna. ***1/2

– Koji Kanemoto, AKIRA, Gedo + Jado vs. Jushin Liger, El Samurai, Minoru Tanaka + Katsuyori Shibata. Shibata is new to me, everyone else I know. This is elimination rules. Tanaka starts with Jado, and gets punked out by the heels right away, as all four clothesline him in the corner and hit a QUADRUPLE TEAM powerbomb. AKIRA stomps away on Tanaka, but Liger tags in and sends Samurai flying over the top onto him. Back in, it’s the babyface team’s turn to quadruple-team the heel. Gedo comes in against Samurai, but gets suplexed and worked over by the babyfaces. I shed no tears. The way they blatantly cheat in front of the camera is just hilarious, especially with Gedo’s overblown selling. Shibata comes in and gets caught in the heel corner, and Kanemoto pounds him, but Tanaka tags in and gets a sweet dropkick (and kip up). Tanaka gets beaten down by the heels, as Gedo superkicks him in the corner, and they all take turns getting cheapshots behind the ref’s back. Tanaka comes back with a kneedrop on Jado, and Liger frog splashes him for one. Piledriver gets two. Tanaka works him over in the corner, but Gedo comes in and gets nowhere, as Tanaka dropkicks him and Liger bulldogs him. Powerbomb gets two. Jado trips him up and Gedo gets the pin at 9:46! Huh. Samurai comes in for a quick rollup for two, but AKIRA hits him low. They go up top, and Samurai gets a rana for two. He goes up again and gets a flying headbutt to the shoulder, but AKIRA hits a dragon suplex for the pin at 11:20. It’s 4-on-2 now. Kanemoto works over Shibata, and Jado lays in the chops and gives him a rope-burn. Koji goes up and gets a corkscrew senton, and Gedo gets a DDT for two. Gedo gets a frog splash for two. Shibata comes back, shoves Gedo into Tanaka, and gets the pin at 15:52 with a german suplex. So it’s 3-on-2, but Koji smacks the shit out of Shibata and AKIRA gets a cross-armlock. The heels work on the arm in the corner and Kanemoto gets a jumping knee. The kid is in some serious bad way. He comes back with a spinkick, but doesn’t get all of it, and Tanaka gets the hot tag. He dropkicks AKIRA, but takes an enzuigiri for two. AKIRA gets the STF, and a flying splash gets two. Tanaka gets the crazy flying armbar, and AKIRA submits at 21:16. So we’re 2-on-2. Jado gets a german, but Tanaka lands on his feet and brings Shibata back in for a leg lariat. He rolls into an anklelock, but Jado breaks it up and gets the crossface. Shibata makes the ropes. AKIRA adds a flying splash (even though he’s eliminated), and this time the crossface works, as he submits at 23:11. So it’s Minoru Tanaka all by himself. Kanemoto gets an overhead suplex and the heels beat on him. Tanaka dropkicks the knee, however, and rolls into the anklelock, but Jado breaks it up and gives him a lariat for good measure. Falcon Arrow gets two for Kanemoto. Jado hits an Angle Slam and Kanemoto goes up for a perfect moonsault that finishes at 25:58. Well, that was a rather anticlimactic finish. Solid match, although the early exits for Liger and Samurai were kinda strange. ***1/4

– I am teased with a couple of minutes of Nakanishi-Nishimura, but the tape cuts out.

The Bottom Line: Another Muto-filled tape this time around, albeit in tag action rather than singles, and a neat mix of junior stuff and the heavyweights. Everything is really long so there’s not as many matches on Volume 5 as the rest, but I can deal with that.

Next up (sometime this year) we finish off the series with volume 6!