Big Japan Pro Wrestling
February 27 2018
We’re in Korakuen Hall. This is my first whole BJW show in about 18 months. I feel like I bailed on it when it was really good and as soon as I left it went completely into the shitter. Looking at this card the only thing that interests me is Fuminori Abe taking a junior title shot at Shinobu. This company used to be the bastion of Big Lads. What happened? They’re pretty much all consigned to an eight man tag. Meanwhile Nakanoue is in town to take the title shot against champion Daichi. What’s the world coming to?
Let’s try TRIANGLE!
Kazuki Hashimoto & Masaki Morihiro vs. Yuya Aoki & Takuho Kato
K-Hash is completely unrecognisable. His body transformation over the past few years is startling. But then I’ve lost 20lbs this year through diet alone, so I get that it can be done. It’s just that most Japanese wrestlers tend to gain weight as they get older. The size is almost a badge of honour. It’s very rare for people to get smaller. Anyway, he’s in good shape among a sea of young boys here and his team win. As per every Japanese promotions there’s a load of kids knocking around with a lot of promise. Kato is the latest.
Final Rating: **1/2
Speed of Sounds (Hercules Senga & Tsutomu Oosugi) vs. Kota Sekifuda & Tatsuhiko Yoshino
Sekifuda is the angry mohawk dude. Yoshino is the more sensible looking chap. Sekifuda has only ever worked in BJW and it shows. Yoshino meanwhile is a GUTS veteran and has ten years on his partner. It shows. Speed of Sounds are a perfectly capable undercard tag team. They like to have fun and their moveset is showy but not blowaway. Washing Machine puts Sekifuda away. This was fine.
Final Rating: **1/2
Great Kojika, Minoru Fujita & Kankuro Hoshino vs. Jaki Numazawa & The Brahman Brothers
This is pretty typical of the Brahman approach to this match. Stomping on a largely immobile Kojika while Numazawa does weird shit. The standard of wrestling in here is not good. The ink spot, and luggage spot, get over nicely. Kojika, with his face entirely covered with ink, manages to get the pin.
Final Rating: **
TLC Death Match
Yankee Two Kenju (Isami Kodaka & Yuko Miyamoto) & Ryuji Ito vs. Masaya Takahashi, Takayuki Ueki & Toshiyuki Sakuda
I’m not sure what the purpose of a TLC match is with nothing hanging over the ring. It’s just an excuse for a bunch of fucking carnage. There is a slight imbalance here with Ito and YTK being the bigger stars by some distance. The rana that Kodaka takes off the ladder in this is sick as fuck. Why would you even agree to that? There’s nowhere for the other guy to plant his feet! Ito at one point bashes one of the poor bastards with a table and the corner jabs him in the top of the head. It’s needless! Miyamoto kills the same dude with the Fire Thunder Driver though the same table and the match is over after 10 minutes. This was actually really good but had a lot of madness squeezed into a short time frame. I could have lived with this being a lot longer.
Final Rating: ***1/4
B Faultless Junkies (Masashi Takeda & Takumi Tsukamoto) vs. Ryuichi Sekine & Abdullah Kobayashi
This is a concrete block and light tubes death match. It’s really not my thing. I don’t get concrete blocks at all. They look painful as fuck but they don’t make a noise and the bumps on them look horrible. I’m ‘glad’ they stick to a mostly smashing light tubes over each other. There’s a lot of smashing noise and bleeding. You are all insane. Sekine full on takes a urinage on the concrete blocks and my tail bone hurts just watching it. It’s not long before everyone is rolling around in broken glass and it’s not that I’m squeamish, I just think matches like this are stupid. At one stage they’re all doing armbars and fighting over a bread knife. To me that’s a little over the line. Fair enough if this is your bag and I would never say “this isn’t pro wrestling” because of course it is.
Let's see what's happening in Big Japan Pro Wrestling pic.twitter.com/xf9crzgi4k
— Absolute Arnie (@ArnoldFurious) March 18, 2018
Right after this Abby wins with a roll up, which makes me laugh. This was good stuff. Bloody, violent as hell and not for everyone’s tastes but the light tube madness and the finish both worked for me.
Final Rating: ***
Hideyoshi Kamitani, Ryota Hama, Ryuichi Kawakami & Takuya Nomura vs. Daisuke Sekimoto, Hideki Suzuki, Kazumi Kikuta & Yoshihisa Uto
So this is where all the Big Lads have been hiding? Meaningless eight-man tags with the young lions. I dig it. Let’s see how it plays out. This is very much the ‘top end’ of the card. This and two title matches to follow. I love how Nomura doesn’t ever step down from the bigger boys in BJW. Apparently he was bullied in the dojo quite a lot, for being small and weak, and he’s taking all those frustrations out on the big lads. He doesn’t give a fuck and he kicks like a mule. The match meanders a bit, which is a shade disappointing. I kinda wanted a war. And it’s not like there’s a lot of time to play with as they only go 12 minutes. The idea is to not steal the show from the main events. The match peaks with all the other lads trying to bash Hama up only being unable to due to his sheer mass. Sekimoto goes elsewhere for the pin while Suzuki is taking it to Nomura with a chair for being so fucking young. How dare he? I’m outraged. I suddenly want to see Nomura vs. Suzuki! Nomura will not take this shit lying down.
Turns out Suzuki was mad because Nomura stiffed him and drew blood. That will be quite the contest.
Final Rating: ***1/4
BJW Junior Heavyweight Championship
Shinobu (c) vs. Fuminori Abe
The last time I was regularly watching BJW this division was just a concept. Now it’s Shinobu versus young punks.
Abe is an absolute badass. He works all over the place despite only debuting in 2015. Shinobu wants to put him in his place and demonstrate his dominance of the division. I’m used to Shinobu being a plucky underdog against heavyweights so this is a switch of gears for him. He makes Abe look like a chump until the challenger busts a dragon screw out of nowhere. Abe’s heavy strikes are great but they’re met in kind and Shinobu will not let the upstart boss the match. They wrestle like the Big Lads division…only without the size. Abe is swinging for the fucking fences. Shinobu can’t put him away with power moves so he flips off the top with a picture perfect SSP for the win. This was easily the best match on the show to this point.
Final Rating: ***3/4
BJW Strong World Heavyweight Championship
Daichi Hashimoto (c) vs. Yasufumi Nakanoue
Nakanoue has always been a guy who had ‘promise’ but never really moved beyond that. He feels like a Kojima clone. This is a big chance for him to show me, and everyone else, that’s more than that. He’s never won a singles title. The mass of streamers for Nakanoue is a very potent message of support, which draws gasps from commentary. The jury is still out on Daichi. He has big boots to fill, both his fathers and this top spot in BJW. Big Japan have done experimental runs for guys on top before (Kamitani was a partial success). It’s probably a better place to ‘flop’ as a main event in than say NOAH where you’re tainted forever. Nakanoue is known for throwing a lot of elbows, which Daichi uses to his advantage, ducking one on the floor. The result is a dinged up elbow on the ring post and a freshly painted target for D-Hash to go after. They wail on each other for a big chunk of the match, with Nakanoue landing plenty of elbows and it’s only the injury that stops him from winning via knock-out as he can’t get as much behind them as he would when he was healthy. There isn’t as much selling as I’d like but hey, this is modern wrestling where they just abandon selling randomly during matches. It doesn’t take much to drag me back into their back and forth war. The crowd are rabid for this, eating up every near fall and Nakanoue’s fighting spirit. It’s very much Nakanoue’s match. He’s been given this chance to shine and he’s fucking taking it with both hands. Even the one that’s supposed to be injured!
I am very into Daichi Hashimoto vs. Yasufumi Nakanoue!
Here's Nakanoue hitting a Fuck You Lariat. pic.twitter.com/wwzU771Ir3
— Absolute Arnie (@ArnoldFurious) March 18, 2018
This is such a great match for Nakanoue as he brings everything. Everything! I’m totally invested in him as he’s not just a Kojima Clone, it’s like watching Kojima in his fucking prime. Daichi kills him with a brainbuster for the win but Nakanoue had already done enough to earmark himself as a goddamn star. Outstanding performance. If this match had more consistent selling it could have been a MOTYC. It was that fucking good.
Final Rating: ****1/2
I was waxing lyrical about how Big Japan wasn’t special anymore when that main event started. I even posted on Twitter about it, suggesting Okabayashi’s injury had left an unfillable hole and the company was struggling to repeat successes of recent years. Then the main event happened and fuck me, I was thrilled to be wrong. What a great match and this is a bout that has a major selling problem and it’s still ****1/2 for me. Imagine how good it would have been without that issue. I come down hard on shit like that. A comparison would be Miyahara-Ishikawa from AJPW last year that people were talking MOTY about and I knocked down to ****1/2 for selling. Same here but this match is as good as that one and that match had MOTY buzz. So what I’m saying is you should definitely watch this show.