BJW Ikkitousen Deathmatch Survivor
March 5 2017
We’re in Korakuen Hall for the opening night of Big Japan’s annual Death Match tournament. I can’t say I’m really into the death match stuff but tonight does have an added bonus of Sekimoto defending the title in the main event. I’ve missed a tonne of Big Japan this year because they’re not getting the same buzz as the last two years and I find myself looking at their cards and only wanting to see two matches.
Daichi Hashimoto & Hideyoshi Kamitani vs. Kazuki Hashimoto & Kazumi Kikuta
Damn, it looks like the HashTag team is done already. Also K-Hash is completely unrecognisable. He’s completely altered his body type. He always used to be a pudgy midcard act with little a lot of potential. Now he’s a chiselled junior heavy. It doesn’t help that his hair is completely different; now a trimmed natural colour instead of the shock of blonde he used to sport. He seriously looks like a different wrestler. He seems to be taking the business very seriously too, as it shown in his opening exchange with D-Hash. It’s all business! Kamitani looks bummed out to be in the opening match, having had his biggest win in wrestling just last year. The match ticks along nicely. There are a lot of forearms. Kamitani does not look motivated in the least. D-Hash pins Kikuta and we can all move on with our lives. This threatened to be good at the start and tailed off. More Hashimoto’s colliding in future!
Final Rating: **1/2
Abdullah Kobayashi, Masaya Takahashi & Takayuki Ueki vs. Brahman Brothers & Toshiyuki Sakuda
If you’ve seen one Brahman match you’ve pretty much seen them all.
If you’ve in the first three rows, you will get wet. Ueki gets a bit damp too, taking a bucket of water to the face after pulling a gun. This is a bit like a street fight, if you only fought street battles with bottles and buckets of water. And suitcases. And bowling balls.
And guns too, I suppose. It’s actually a lot like a street fight. Only the gun is never actually going to come into play so the Brahman boys decide to no sell it here. What’s Ueki going to do, murder people? The goofiness continues until the deadly Black Mist incapacitates one of the Brahman and Takahashi finishes with the Jackhammer. Ueki celebrates by easting toast.
Final Rating: FUN!
B Faultless Junky’s (Takumi Tsukamoto & Jaki Numazawa) vs. Ryuji Ito & Yuko Miyamoto
I loathe Jaki Numazawa. I just can’t get past his…everything. He comes out here dressed like a juggalo pope. Apart from Miyamoto, who’s moved up in the world these are all death match guys. The match is dull as ditch water. Only Miyamoto has any interest in structuring something resembling a contest. Jaki is more interested in bleeding and chairs and shit. Tsukamoto shows slightly more interest in wrestling and gets a cheeky roll up on Ito for the surprise win. Skip this.
Final Rating: *1/2
Takuya Nomura, Yuji Okabayashi & Yasufumi Nakanoue vs. Kohei Sato, Ryota Hama & Yoshihisa Uto
You know how I put wrestlers, basically, in order of their importance during tag matches? Yes, I have put Nomura ahead of Okabayashi. That’s not a slight on Yuji either. Nomura is, without question, the most exciting young talent in Japan right now. He looks so young but he has zero fear and looks competent in squaring off with the likes of Sato, a 17 year pro in his late 30s. Nomura is 23 and a year ago was just about to have his first match. His footwork is brilliant. The way he does stand-up makes him look like an MMA fighter. The crowd go nuts for him outsmarting or outmanoeuvring Sato. It’s incredible to watch. One year in. Imagine how good he’ll be after two? Uto has been wrestling for two years and he hasn’t got a fraction of what Nomura possesses. Nakanoue seems to have flourished since quitting Wrestle-1. The way he fires up and goes after Sato is tribute to that. Everyone looks so geared up in this match. It almost puts Okabayashi, one of BJW’s biggest stars, in the shade. That and Hama’s enormous belly. He makes good and sure to feature at the finish where he straps Uto in a vicious camel clutch for the submission.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Bring Your Own Weapons Death Match
Isami Kodaka vs. Kenji Fukimoto
Fukimoto is one of those fucking juggalo pricks. He seems to enjoy a bit of the old Ultraviolence. He makes Isami bleed his own blood and gets a shoot dropkick in the jaw for it. That board he’s hold up has a load of cut cans glued to it. It’s a fairly sick mind that comes up with that. Isami might be an even bigger lunatic because the move he wants to do onto the cut open cans is a Russian legsweep. You fucking idiot. Just throw him on it! Don’t throw yourself onto it as well! Fukimoto, clearly the brighter of the two, just hits a powerbomb on it. Isami is the better wrestler, by some distance, so he’s able to stop most of the vile hardcore shenanigans with strikes. His body is a weapon! He wins with the most technical of all holds; the double knees off a ladder through a board with half cut tin cans sticking out of it.
Final Rating: ***
Masahi Takeda vs. Kankuro Hoshino
Weapons in this include cinder blocks and barbwire baseball bats. The latter are included in a series of laughably awful spots right from the get-go. Every swing and a miss is normal, every swing and connect is done by prodding the bat at the opponent. It’s lame. Unlike the last match, which at least featured some attempts at wrestling, this is just two guys hitting each other with crap. It’s not WWF Hardcore title bad but it’s close. It’s sad to see Takeda do this nonsense (like Isami) as he’s actually quite a good technician. Cinder blocks are something I don’t get. Why have a weapon that won’t budge when you do spots onto it? It doesn’t sell an impact, like a table or even a chair or ladder. Those things can buckle. A cinder block looks like shit and must hurt like hell too. They use a bit metal…thing in this too and Hoshino takes a bump on his neck on top of it. These people are lunatics. I’m amazed one of them isn’t retired every single year. Hoshino ends up scoring the win with a senton. This match rarely made sense but occasionally Takeda came up with spots that were entertaining enough for it not to be a total bust.
Final Rating: **
BJW Strong Heavyweight Championship
Daisuke Sekimoto (c) vs. Hideki Suzuki
BJW has bought a new ring canvas and they basically just use it for the main events, which is a nice respectful touch towards the top lads. It would be nice if they just had a non-death match canvas though. Their normal canvas is fucking disgusting. These two set about structuring a drawn out battle. There is a slight feeling out process before Sekimoto settles into a combination of throws and submission attempts. As they slug away at each other it turns into a war of attrition. Big Japan do the big main event war match better than most. A lot of that is on Sekimoto, who’s one of the world’s best wrestlers and is focused on making Big Japan great. Much like WALTER is for wXw.
The pacing is perhaps a little slow but it’s mainly because they’re gunning for a long match. If this was 15 minutes long than the pacing would be borderline unforgivable.
Instead they go 30 minutes broadway, which is an odd time-limit for a main title match if you ask me. Which you are, in a way, as you’re reading this. It doesn’t really have a hot finish either and crawls towards the finish line. Obviously it’s not a disaster or anything because these are two excellent professional wrestlers but this is perhaps not the match you’d want to see them in. For a match that comes heavily recommended it’s quite disappointing. The Big Japan Stronk division has had a few blinders over the years but this isn’t one of them. Good, but not great.
Final Rating: ***1/2
This probably wasn’t the best Big Japan show to jump back into the product with. They had two good matches on this show and the vast majority of it was an easy watch, as it’s a different product, but almost every promotion is delivering some banging content right now and the talent on this roster has the potential to be better than this.