BJW To Was Gat Early/Mortal Combat (1.13/14.19) review

BJW To Was Gat Early/Mortal Combat (1.13/14.19) review

Big Japan Pro Wrestling To Was Gat Early/Mortal Combat


January 13 + 14 2019


We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall. This is one of those wonderful double night tapings that hit Samurai TV as one two hour block so it’s all killer, no filler.



The only bad thing about skipping the undercard is you lose the likes of Ryota Hama, Okami and all the young kids. Oh well at least we still have…


Takuya Nomura vs. Fuminori Abe

I am here for Nomura, someone I’ve championed since his rookie months, against Abe, who I’ve also championed since close to his debut. Two phenomenal talents who seem tied together by their comparative debuts and styles. It’s weird because I feel like Abe is destined to be a career junior but he’s only an inch shorter than Nomura, who I have tagged as a future heavy contender. They do some quality mat work before unloading with the strikes. Sometimes that’s all you need from wrestling. Start off all disciplined and trying to outwit your opponent and then just kick the shit out of each other.


Abe has a great game across both of those disciplines but Nomura has a lot of heart, skill and about 20-30lbs weight advantage behind those big kicks. Nomura is so desperate to win he unleashes headbutts and chokes Abe out. These throwaway Nomura/Abe matches are so great. I hope they keep at them forever, gradually increasing in quality.


Final Rating: ***1/2


TAJIRI vs. Tatsuhiko Yoshino

Tajiri has strolled over from All Japan to have this bout with former GUTS World star Yoshino. The spirit of cooperation appears to be alive and well in Japan at the moment. Long may it last! If your last exposure to Tajiri was him appearing in the Cruiserweight Classic and briefly getting back into WWE then you should probably cling to those memories. The injury he suffered there has been the end of him. He’s still technically sound but, approaching 50 now, has lost a lot of his mobility. It doesn’t stop him trying hard but he’s lost that half a yard of pace that usually means “the end is nigh”. Yoshino forces the pace here but they feel the urge to work in a ref bump and two poison mist spots. This is a pass from me.


Final Rating: *3/4


Kazuki Hashimoto & Yuya Aoki vs. Shinjiro Otani & Tatsuhito Takaiwa

Ah, the spirit of cooperation continues. Welcome our guests from Zero1! Otani anywhere is a bonus. K-Hash decides to steal his boot scrapes and I sense an ass-kicking is forthcoming.


Otani boot scrapes the FUCK out of Aoki. I feel sorry for the poor kid, he get really worked over. But hey, that’s what happens when you lift Otani’s spots motherfucker. Naturally he ends up bleeding from the nose. K-Hash has awaked the rage in the surly old men. Not content with that he steals the DVD from Takaiwa, which is completely no sold!


Then you’ve got Otani breaking submissions by chomping on the bottom rope, which he doesn’t need to do at all! Everyone works their socks off here with the younger guys especially keen at upsetting the veterans and scoring the win. To their credit both senior opponents give their younger opponents a bunch of respect in the selling stakes. It really feels like Aoki can beat Otani. Then they switch with Aoki just barely hanging on as Otani brutalises him and kills him off with a lariat. Wonderful little match, just under twenty minutes and a showcase of K-Hash and Aoki. Otani is so good, even at this advanced stage of his career, that he can parachute in and make guys look like stars.

Final Rating: ***3/4


AJPW World Tag Team Championship

Violent Giants (c) vs. Strong BJ

There’s a lot of meat in the ring. This is a big deal on the cooperation front as All Japan are not only having their tag straps defended in Big Japan but against BJW’s top guys. This is no vanity ‘enhance guys by having them lose’ contest like the last one. It’s a genuine war for the straps in foreign territory. It’s also a big deal for Sekimoto as he’s celebrating his 20th year as a pro wrestler in 2019.


I love Suwama taking Sekimoto outside the ring so he can show everyone how hard he’s chopping the poor bastard. These guys do the ‘slow’ part of the match and it’s all brutal clubbing blows. They’re not even close to getting started! The champs put a statement beating on Sekimoto in his own backyard but can’t get the pin and start resorting to double teams, which are not well received by Korakuen. They’re all on board for the righteous home team now!


As if Okabayashi throws Suwama by his hair, over his head! The action intensifies. They don’t change tactic, battering each other, but the tempo increases. You can tell too as Sekimoto starts bleeding from the mouth. The beating on Sekimoto has been the backbone of the match and it continues toward the finish with Shuji leaning into him with big strikes but Okabayashi keeps showing up to save. These four men just beat the shit out of each other. The effort, especially from Suwama, is incredible. Sekimoto ends up putting Shuji down with the German suplex. This was a cracker, slowly building into an all-out war. Everyone working hard and playing their part. Because it started with them knocking lumps out of each other it was hard to escalate but the increase in tempo worked for me. It feels like a big moment too as Strong BJ pick up a big, big win on home territory. They’ve won these belts before (twice, in fact) but this win coinciding with Sekimoto’s 20th anniversary makes it feel special.


Final Rating: ****1/4


January 14 2019


We’re in Tokyo, Japan again at Korakuen Hall. This is the Death Match Night! It’s called Mortal Combat 2019 ~ Dragon Blood!


As a special reward to me they skip the Jaki Numazawa match.


Toshiyuki Sakuda & Ryuichi Sekine vs. Crazy Lovers (Masashi Takeda & Takumi Tsukamoto)

It’s nice to see Crazy Lovers are back to killing other people rather than each other. Here they’re in a light tubes and “gadget board” death match. What is a gadget board?


It’s whatever the heck that is behind Tsukamoto. They look a bit like cheese graters. We clip ahead and I don’t know what happened but Takeda is covered in his own blood.


Here’s another close up look at the “gadget board”. It looks painful. The closest thing I can find is the metal wall plates for roof trusses or carpet strips only worse. They’re not content to just stick to that and Sakuda builds a little fort out of light tubes. Takeda shows up with a knife though and Tsukamoto finishes with the Kudo Drivers through Sakuda’s own fort! This was harsh. Even in a throwaway midcard tag Takeda is still covered in blood and so is everyone else.

Final Rating: ***1/2


Takayuki Ueki vs. Yoshihisa Uto

This is a ‘bring your own weapons’ match.


Ueki brings a drill with what appears to sex toy covered in barbwire and spikes. He should definitely be banned from wrestling. He also has a wooden horse with a barbwire saddle. I’ll give him points for creativity but he’s a sick, sick puppy. There’s also a section of fence made of barbwire that has light tubes attached to it. Basically these guys are doing horrible things in the name of pro wrestling. Nobody tag Cornette for fuck’s sake.

They also have a light tube fan, which is an awesome weapon. I’m seeing quite a lot of them nowadays but nevertheless it’s a good time. Uto gets handcuffed by that goddamn cop Ueki and the diving headbutt finishes. This was all over the fucking place. They clearly wanted to get mileage out of the wooden horse.

Final Rating: **3/4


BJW Death Match Heavyweight Championship

Masaya Takahashi (c) vs. Ryuji Ito

Ito is also celebrating 20 years as a pro wrestler so as with Sekimoto he’s getting a high profile title match. This match has quite a lot of thumbtacks. How many? Well, according to Cagematch 344,440. I assume that’s an estimation and they didn’t sit there all afternoon counting them into the bucket. But it is quite a lot of thumbtacks. They start the match by pouring them into a big X across the ring so before anyone has taken a single bump the ring is a horror show. Ito isn’t wearing a shirt. Not that a shirt will do much but the ring is also surrounded by light tubes. Ito is in a bit of a mood and spends a lot of the match kicking Takahashi’s back. With like thumbtacks and glass in the way. Takahashi gets fed up with being cut to shreds and no one seeing so he takes his shirt off and he’s covered in blood. Then they empty three more buckets of thumbtacks into the ring! Then they start doing roll ups in it! This is brilliant. Ito busting out a Rolling Cradle has me in bits. There are so many thumbtacks. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s like they saw that HHH/Cactus Jack match and thought “pussies, we can easily out-do that”. A bag of thumbtacks? A bag? That’s for wimps. Five buckets of thumbtacks motherfuckers!


Ito gets murdered into the tacks a bunch of times and then again with light tubes.


So that’s the end of that. My word this was brutal.

Final Rating: ****


Post Match Isami Kodaka returns! I know he had a broken jaw but I’m never keen on a dude running in after the two guys have killed themselves to death.



This is a quality two hour block of TV from Big Japan. You get a great wrestling hour followed by an hour of guys killing themselves and it’s nicely divided so that if you want to skip the violent bit you can. BJW had a bit of a rough 2018, Takeda aside, but they’ve started 2019 all guns a blazin! So naturally BJW Core has been offline. What a company eh? Anyway, the graps are good so watch this show.

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