Fortune Dream 4
June 14 2017
Before we get into the show just be warned there’s a lot of this –
So be prepared to skip over long talky bits. But there’s also lingering shots of the ring set to Aerosmith tunes from the early 1970s so you want that. Attender looks actively bad, which makes me sad. Auld Kenta is doing dream cards for his amusement and you (as in Japanese people who live in Tokyo) should fucking go and see them. Also the clips of Kobashi and his swank fur coat decimating dudes during his glorious career.
Kazuhiro Tamura vs. Kotaro Suzuki
The standard for Fortune Dream is big burly lads smacking the shit out of each other, so this is a nice change of pace. It’s two cruiserweights smacking the shit out of each other. Tamura normally wrestles for HEAT UP and is one of the best wrestlers competing in indie sleaze today. What does “Emerald Dream” mean? I assume it’s a reference to Kotaro’s NOAH roots and the way he inherited a load of Misawa’s moves after his death. They do a lot of flippity cruiser stuff. It’s pretty decent. Tamura’s standard violent mat wrestling approach usually features next to no flipping so it’s nice to get him wrestling a stereotypical cruiser match. Just to prove he can do it. It’s a solid match although it never threatens to be great. Happy to tick along in front of a super quiet crowd. HEAT UP? That’s so Indie that not even the people who live in Tokyo know what the fuck it is. Tamura is a vicious bastard, which is probably why he’s booked. Kotaro puts him away with the Tiger Driver, to illustrate his love of Misawa. Yes mate!
Final Rating: ***1/2
Meiko Satomura & Mika Shirahime vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto & Konami
This is Sendai Girls vs. Stardom. Satomura regularly appears on Fortune Dream. I think she’s Kenta’s favourite. Matsumoto also makes frequent appearances. They wrestled each other way back on Fortune Dream 1. I’m not as big a Matsumoto fan as Kobashi although she has improved since FD1. Konami seems to enjoy kicking the piss out of Satomura, until Meiko puts a stop to that. Turnabout is fair play. They have some nice little teases, like Konami getting Meiko in a kneebar, but ultimately she’s fodder for Satomura. The Satomura-Konami stuff was really good but the other two were just here to make up the numbers. Satomura is THE female star for Fortune Dream.
Final Rating: ***
Go Shiozaki & Takuya Nomura vs. Yuji Okabayashi & Kaito Kiyomiya
This is a glorious idea as they’ve got a NOAH and Big Japan veteran and given them a youngster from the opposite promotion.
I’ve said it before – Nomura is the greatest prospect in many, many years in Japan. He’s incredibly gifted considering he started wrestling last year. The crowd wake up when Okabayashi and Go start smashing into each other. It reminds me that I’ve not watched anywhere near enough Big Japan this year. Good lord the chops duels in the early going are brutal as fuck.
Takuya Nomura might be inexperienced but he knows his way around a badass dropkick pic.twitter.com/Xgp2ABcbbU
— Arnold Furious (@ArnoldFurious) August 26, 2017
Oh that dropkick! Kiyomiya amazes me with two things: 1. How he’s able to go toe to toe with the highly touted Nomura and 2. He has almost no forehead. It’s literally hair-line/eyebrows. His hair isn’t receding, it’s encroaching.
Nomura’s mat stuff is so good for someone who’s only been wrestling for a year. The juniors take the bulk of the match leaving the veterans to recover from their chest abuse. Go busts out the Kobashi chop rush to amuse Kenta. It seems to work. He’s chuckling away as Okabayashi and Shiozaki bludgeon each other. Kiyomiya eventually gets ambitious and tries to beat Go. This gets him murdered to the point where Okabayashi has to save him. Go Shiozaki looks hugely motivated. As if the presence of Kobashi allows him to channel his moves. The chops, the suplexes and the lariat! He batters Kiyomiya with one for the pin and Kobashi is impressed that Go was able to use Kenta’s devastating move set to claim victory.
Final Rating: ****1/4
Mental note: don’t get in a chop battle with Yuji Okabayashi. Ever.
Kenta Kobashi vs. Manami Toyota
Kobashi decided he wanted to be a chat show host and utilised Fortune Dream to achieve this. On every show he interviews a Japanese legend under the guise of a “talk battle”. Kobashi doesn’t have conversations mate, he fights you with words. This goes on for about thirty minutes. Skip ahead to 2h10m if you want the next match.
Joe Doering & James Raideen vs. Shuji Ishikawa & Hideki Suzuki
If only they’d mixed up the partners here. Ishikawa and Suzuki are great wrestlers…when they’ve got someone to wrestle. Here it’s super bland Raideen and a barely fit Doering. Big Joe missed a lot of time with cancer and it’s a feelgood story having him back but he’s better utilised in small doses and tagging with Raideen doesn’t allow that. Shuji is the reigning Triple Crown champ, having been the one to finally topple Kento Miyahara. Raideen has had a haircut and it’s really, really, really bad. He’s gone bald apart from a little rat tail. It looks like he shaved his own head and missed a bit because he’s too muscular to reach the top of his neck. Due to Doering’s poor conditioning Raideen takes the bulk of the match, which is ambling heat with the odd strike waking me up.
Look at his hair! What the fuck James? Raideen bizarrely is the most thrilling man in the match. Occasionally he unleashes moments of extreme violence. Usually a chop or lariat or something similar. His comebacks feature serious Big Meat Collisions. The super heavyweights don’t get frequently fired up but when they do it’s Raideen who’s at the heart of all that’s good. It’s strange to see a barely motivated Shuji Ishikawa half-ass his way through a big match. He has to spent a while overselling in order to make Doering look less like crap. Then the match tootles to a 30 minute draw. This was massively disappointing. The only guy who covered himself in glory was Raideen and he did so with one of the worst hairstyles in pro-wrestling history.
Final Rating: **1/2
Kohei Sato & Shingo Takagi vs. Daisuke Sekimoto & Suwama
This is a battle of four different company figureheads. Sato from Zero1, Shingo from Dragon Gate, Sekimoto from Big Japan and Suwama from All Japan. Shingo tries to lay down a marker…on Sekimoto! That goes badly for him. Shingo has worked for Fortune Dream before so he’s had the chance to prepare. He knows it’s tougher than Dragon Gate. He knows he’s going to be hit hard. That’s been the MO of the entire show, although Shiozaki-Okabayashi took it to another level. So while this is fairly intense it lacks the magic of that match. Shingo basks in his heel persona, one of the few wrestlers to distinctly work heel on this show. He finds Sekimoto more than able to stand up to his wickedness. Shingo tries to utilise his speed and unpredictability, Dragon Gate specialties, but is met by Sekimoto’s overwhelming power. To counter this he has Sato, another large athlete, who can overpower Sekimoto. Suwama plays a bit role as Sekimoto shows little to no interest in tagging him. This stubbornness, matched with Sekimoto’s standard manly performance, causes the crowd to back him throughout. Sekimoto is a special wrestler and everyone knows this. Especially Big Kenta. Sato decides he’s going to put over everything Sekimoto has. So the big man throws himself onto his neck repeatedly to get over Seki’s power. Sekimoto beats him with a delayed German suplex and the crowd goes home happy. The result was never in doubt! This was very solid but the lack of chemistry between both teams was palpable. Sekimoto stole the show. As did Okabayashi. I need to watch more Big Japan!
Final Rating: ***3/4
Not the best Fortune Dream show but if, like me, you enjoy the Kobashi approved style it’s an easy watch. The semi-main event rumbled on too long but otherwise it was all cheddar.