DVD Review: BJW “CHIKARA Showcase” (6.12.2009)

Earlier this summer, Big Japan Pro Wrestling hosted multiple events that featured CHIKARA talent. BJW and CHIKARA first began their ties last year at the “Global Gauntlet” shows that were considered to be highly successful. The following CHIKARA wrestlers were shipped to Japan for the 2009 ceremony: Fire Ant, Soldier Ant, Green Ant (played by Kazuhiko Miyakami), UltraMantis Black, Crossbones, Chuck Taylor, Jagged, and Shane Matthews.

A couple of the tour’s DVDs were available on Big Japan Shop a few months ago, but they have seemingly vanished as of late. Fortunately enough, I was able to purchase them before they went out of stock. I would assume that the discs will be added to the inventory once again some time in the near-future. For the record, last year’s “Global Gauntlet” DVD is still available on the website.

Show is dated to be June 12th, 2009 and it apparently took place at the Ice Ribbon Arena in Saitama, Japan. Several clips from the matches about to be seen begin playing. It should also be noted that there is no commentary on this DVD, which is definitely a good thing if you aren’t interested in hearing Japanese commentary.

Green Ant defeated Tigre Rojo via pinfall (schoolboy) – The Green Ant seen on the BJW tour is not the one that you may have recently seen on CHIKARA shows. This man is none other than fellow rookie, Kazuhiko Miyakami. CHIKARA didn’t reveal this information until at a later time, though. A ho-hum match that didn’t get much of a reaction, whatsoever. Rojo’s gimmick is essentially a joke and he plays it off well, I suppose. He’s basically a skinny dude in a red tiger mask. On the other hand, Miyakami displayed some solid wrestling ability on the mat, but other than that, sloppiness and inexperience was more than evident here. After an interesting pinning combination, Green Ant finds himself on top with a schoolboy in approximately seven minutes. *½.

Jagged and Shane Matthews beat Mototsugu Shimizu and Atsushi Ohashi via pinfall (Sweet Taste of Professionalism) – Honestly, I’m surprised at how vocal 2.0 was in Japan. Obviously, they are a charismatic bunch, but I assumed that they would have toned down a bit on the BJW tour for some reason or another. I have seen quite a bit of Ohashi’s work in BJW and aside from Daisuke Sekimoto, he may just be my favorite guy on their entire roster. I love 2.0 on the microphone, but they really haven’t done a lot to impress me inside of the ring. In this tag match, though, they looked excellent. Unfortunately, Shimizu and Ohashi didn’t seem to be exactly clicking with them. For instance, 2.0 looked to go for the Sweet Taste of Professionalism around the nine minute mark, but it was escaped out of in a weird fashion. I’m assuming that Jagged and Shane Matthews wanted to end the match there, but the language barrier prevented that. Nevertheless, this was still quite a fun match. 2.0 walks out victoriously after pinning Ohashi with the Sweet Taste of Professionalism in twelve minutes. 2.0 grabs ahold of their first point towards tag title contention in Japan. **½.

Chuck Taylor defeated Michael Nakazawa via submission (cross crab) – For those of you who aren’t aware of the fact, Michael Nakazawa can speak English quite fluently. In fact, whenever Kota Ibushi comes to wrestle in the United States, Nakazawa usually joins him to serve as his translator. As Nakazawa chopped Chuck in the corner, he screamed like a little girl, much to the amusement of the BJW crowd. Chuck Taylor quickly began to come back, though, with a series of dropkicks. Just when things were starting to look like they were in Taylor’s favor, Nakazawa whipped out the baby oil. Chuck went for a Lionsault, but slipped on the middle ropes, presumably from the baby oil. This didn’t look good, but Chuck played the botch off well, as he showed the BJW fans just how slippery the ropes were by running his fingers through them. Chuck successfully nails a Lionsault on his second attempt and slaps on the cross crab, a move that he tapped Bryan Danielson with in March. Nakazawa taps out in just about ten minutes. Big thumbs up for this one. I enjoyed it quite a bit. **¾.

Fire Ant and Soldier Ant beat UltraMantis Black and Crossbones via submission (CHIKARA Special) – UltraMantis Black and Crossbones appear to be a bit more over than the Colony in Japan, surprisingly. After some miscommunication by the Order in the early going, UltraMantis shows signs of frustration at Crossbones by shoving him. Obviously, this was a sign of foreshadowing in the future events to come. While Crossbones hasn’t exactly been kicked out of the Order yet, he and UltraMantis definitely don’t have the same relationship like they used to. Crossbones can kick extremely well for a big guy, as he delivers them in on both members of the Colony. Fire and Soldier went to lift UltraMantis up for the Ants Go Marching, but had trouble doing so. UMB is a tall dude, so I’m not exactly surprised. Nevertheless, they still get the job done, but UltraMantis kicks out at two. Almost immediately after this, Soldier Ant locks in the CHIKARA Special, as Fire Ant dives onto Crossbones on the outside. UltraMantis hangs in there for a while, but eventually, is forced to submit in nearly fourteen minutes of decent tag action. The best match on the entire show, in my opinion. ***.

Michael Nakazawa grabs a microphone and blurts out a few things in Japanese. The crowd laughs at nearly everything he has to say, so I’m assuming that he put together some sort of silly promo ending to the event. Atsushi Ohashi joins him in the ring, mentions a few unknown things, and the show comes to a close.

Believe it or not, that’s the show. Four matches on a single DVD is a little disappointing, especially for the price (if you include shipping from Japan, about thirty bucks total). I guess Chuck Taylor versus Michael Nakazawa and the main event are worth checking out if you are a big CHIKARA fan like I am.

In the long run, though, I can’t exactly recommend picking up this on video. Again, for nearly thirty bucks total, it’s hard for me to suggest putting down the money for a show that has just four matches. Sure, “CHIKARA Showcase” is a whole lot of fun, but I can’t say that anything on here was amazing or mind-boggling. If you have the money and are curious to check out how CHIKARA did during their time in Japan earlier this year, then go ahead and pick this DVD up. It’s definitely worth mentioning, though, that “Global Gauntlet II” (also featuring CHIKARA and BJW talent colliding from earlier this year) was once available for the same price as this event, and that particular show has seven matches. Without a doubt, definitely keep that in mind before putting this one in your shopping cart.


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