BJW Ikkitousen Strong Climb Day 6
April 5 2018
We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall. With there currently being a shit-tonne of tournaments happening in Japan I have no idea how to cover it all so I’ve picked this show because it has Nakanoue vs. Daichi and their BJW title match from February was fucking excellent. Plus barbwire, Brahman brothers and B Faultless Junkies.
This is the TV block so it also has footage from March 31 in Osaka. Which means more Ikkitousen matches and less filler and I’m all for that baby! They deliberately confuse by starting with a match from the Korakuen show because why would you show things in order?
Death Games “over the wall”
BJW Tag Team Championship
B Faultless Junkies (c) vs. Yankee Two Kenju
In order to not overwhelm the viewer with six intense strong style bouts they kick things off with this fucking ridiculous concept:
Behold; the Wall of Death! I swear they’ve put this on first because they know I’m eating my dinner. You try watching blood and carnage while noshing down on a slice of quiche. It isn’t easy. Especially with Takeda and Kodaka busting light tubes over their own heads to demonstrate their manliness/stupidity*. I don’t get this match. You blatantly can’t get disqualified so why do they bother making tags?
Pretty standard dropkick really. pic.twitter.com/aFxP3VJIS8
— Arn (@ArnoldFurious) April 14, 2018
I mean look at the moves in this! You’re allowed to murder the shit out of your opponent but only if you hold the tag rope when tagging into the match. Actually I bet Rob Reid would totally be into this…if he wasn’t so squeamish about blood and such. That wall of lights gets right in the way of a spot and Miyamoto and Takeda die. Tsukamoto decides to murder Kodaka with a bread knife, because why wouldn’t you? There’s no DQ. Go nuts.
Everyone is lacerated, bleeding all over the place and there’s glass over the entire canvas. I have a tiny cardboard cut on my finger and it’s stinging so I don’t know how they can do all this. It takes a special breed of person to do this. Not content with regular violence Takeda drops Miyamoto square on his dome. Isami drops the double knees on the poor bastard though (OFF A LADDER!!!!) and the tag belts switch as Takeda’s ribcage is caved in. These guys are all fucking insane. Buy them a beer.
Final Rating: ***1/2
*delete as appropriate to your opinion, cheers.
Back to Osaka and March 31 then and the Ikkitousen matches from that show.
Hideki Suzuki vs. Kazumi Kikuta
Suzuki is one of the big boys. Kikuta is a jobber (in this tournament anyway) and has zero points. Kikuta is clearly not pleased about the situation and punches Suzuki in the chest a lot. And I don’t mean those bullshit *STOMPS CANVAS* love tap punches. He full bore punches the fuck out of Suzuki and makes the ‘punch noise’ by smashing his fist into Suzuki’s torso. Suzuki’s response is to slap on a cravat. What are you gonna do about that? Nothing. Just lie there and feel your neck breaking. Shouldn’t have fucking punched me, bitch. In all seriousness Kikuta’s punches are really good because he’s not pulling them at all but no one is ever going to let him punch them in the face. Match doesn’t even last 7 minutes before Kikuta gets suplexed to death but he had a good run.
Final Rating: ***
Suzuki is interviewed backstage afterwards.
Interviewer: how do you feel that went?
Suzuki: he punched me. You saw it. He deserved to die.
Interviewer: what ab…
Suzuki: NO MORE QUESTIONS.
Ryota Hama vs. Hideyoshi Kamitani
Kamitani is booked for wXw’s tag league so I have to get adjusted to caring about him but from the match graphic this is all I got;
To be fair, it’s hard to take your eyes of a big fat man in a yellow nappie.
I keep going to screenshot Kamitani, or GIF him, or something and all I come back with is more Hama content. He’s like the opposite of a black hole. An area so densely populated by pro wrestling entertainment that those around him are rendered obsolete. Kamitani tries everything he knows to settle Hama’s hash but nothing gets it done and Hama just falls on him for the pin. When you’re a gigantic fat bastard sometimes life comes easy.
Final Rating: **
Ryuichi Kawakami vs. Daisuke Sekimoto
This is the main event from Osaka. Sekimoto is top of his block even if he loses. He has a tag the night after for BJW and then he’s off to NOLA for Mania weekend where he’ll wrestle for EVOLVE three times and fuck around with the Kaiju Big Battel lads for a bit.
This being the main event there are more head drops and evil intentions. Sekimoto seems unconcerned about potentially breaking his neck and missing Mania. Sekimoto tries to bully Kawakami but this is a real chance for Ryuichi to stand up for himself. He’s a big lad. He’s not as big as Sekimoto but he can sure lay in the strikes to even the playing field. Kawakami has wrestled for ten years and never really fulfilled his potential. If he suddenly got super good now it would be a turn up for the books. Kawakami seems to enjoy throwing a load of very loud chops and Sekimoto’s face is a picture. A picture that is entitled; “fuck you, bitch, I have to wrestle WALTER this weekend. WALTER!!” The match is generally really solid until a clumsy final few minutes, which in itself is a testament to Sekimoto’s work ethic as nothing looks botched but the wheels could easily have come off. Kawakami drops Sekimoto on his head to pick up the win and to stay in contention in Block B. This was good but not great or anything.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Back to Korakuen Hall for the other Strong Climb bouts.
Kazuki Hashimoto vs. Hideki Suzuki
Kazuki figures he has no fucking chance so he jumps Suzuki before he’s made it through the curtain and they brawl all over the building.
What happens when you irritate Hideki Suzuki. pic.twitter.com/gBpBRgxxbZ
— Arn (@ArnoldFurious) April 14, 2018
Suzuki takes over and kills the poor bastard. K-Hash just isn’t carrying any weight now so he can’t get much behind his strikes and Suzuki kills him. Even when K-Hash is throwing tasty strikes you know it’s only a matter of time before his untimely death. The match doesn’t go five minutes (not even four) but did include a pre-match scrap. Suzuki predictably beat K-Hash into defeat and I’m saddened that they don’t have the same connection they used to have. Does Hideki object to Hashimoto’s weight loss? Did he want his ‘little brother’ to imitate his big man stature? However you slice it he’s mad as hell and he’s not going to take it anymore. K-Hash shows incredible fire in chasing his would-be mentor to the back after taking a post match beatdown to go with the pre-match beatdown and the actual match beatdown.
It’s been a focal point of his entire career. Trying to, and failing to get, Suzuki’s approval. The way Suzuki berates him backstage, while casually leaning on a wall with a bottle of water is quality stuff.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Yoshihisa Uto vs. Ryuichi Kawakami
Kawakami is on easier ground here than against Sekimoto as Uto is still a baby (well, they’re the same age but Uto only has 3 years under his belt to Kawakami’s decade). Uto looks sharp here, countering Kawakami at every turn while Kawakami seems to think he can just batter his way to victory. It doesn’t happen and Uto beats him with the Praying Mantis Bomb. I’m aware I’ve not said much about this. It was back and forth and while I like both guys I’m not really invested in either. I was a bit distant during this. Solid match. Uto celebrates his win so hard he starts bleeding from the face. It’s the first spontaneous blood loss since Buff Bagwell managed to bleed in wXw from no discernible contact.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Daichi Hashimoto vs. Yasufumi Nakanoue
These two had a belter for the Strong title in February and that’s why they’re main eventing Korakuen Hall. Daichi, the champ, leads Block A and has been very dominant so far. This is his first major hurdle but it’s a guy he beat in February, with more on the line. Why shouldn’t he win again? I like how Daichi tries to control the pace only for Nakanoue to get all fired up. Nakanoue is a great wrestler for selling and no-selling. He’ll take an absolute pasting and sell everything and every now and again he’ll just stop and be all “fuck you”. It’s the way Ishii does it only more subtle.
Big Japan has really good camerawork. Not quite on NJPW’s level but strong. The way the ringside guys seem to be in position to get shots like this takes an understanding of pro-wrestling. Daichi is all about control here. Whether it’s through kicking and subjecting Nakanoue to abuse that way or slapping on holds, just because he can. It’s all about Daichi. He’s clearly pissed off that Nakanoue took him to his limit in their title match and he’s keen to stop that shit before it becomes an issue. Meanwhile Nakanoue still thinks he can win that title and if he can survive Daichi’s grinding offence figures he can knock the fucker out. The trouble with those big glory spots is that Daichi can see them coming and having wrestled Nakanoue already he can tell when they’re coming too. This is all makes Daichi look like a legitimate smart champion, putting a challenger firmly in his place. That is until Nakanoue just catches him with a right to the jaw and the lariat finishes and BOY is it a big lariat. So Nakanoue gets his big win but Daichi gets to remain strong as champion. He dominated the match and Nakanoue just got lucky. D-Hash is getting very good at pacing matches and being the main event. He has a lot of his father in his work. This wasn’t as good as the killer February match but was still a worthy main event.
Final Rating: ****
This was an excellent TV block from Big Japan with consistently good matches and some nice storytelling. If only all tournaments could adhere to this kind of presentation. If NJPW did a TV block that was two nights of G1 with the best undercard tag thrown in for good measure it would be awesome.