Fortune Dream 5 review (6.11.18)

Fortune Dream 5 review (6.11.18)

Fortune Dream 5

 

June 11 2018

 

We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall. It’s basically a full house with 1400 in attendance. I love these Fortune Dream shows because it’s just Kenta Kobashi booking people he thinks are good. No politics. Just a bunch of nice Japanese lads, keen to impress in front of Kobashi, who himself is an all-time great professional wrestler and gent. There are familiar themes here, in line with previous Fortune Dream shows. Interesting guest stars, a big lads trios match and a women’s match featuring Meiko. This time he’s gone out of his way to do something different for the main event though; eschewing a typical tag mixing talent from top promotions, and instead throwing four relative newcomers into the spotlight (Kiyomiya, Yoshida, Toru Sugiura and Takuya Nomura). Let’s see how it pans out!

 

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The run time on this show is 3h40m but that does include a Talk Battle with Kobashi having a sit down chat with Masa Chono, which is probably an hour long.

 

Kazumi Kikuta vs. Kotaro Suzuki

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Kikuta is a relative late-beginner, not debuting until his late 20s. That does happen in Japan sometimes, usually after a career elsewhere. He’s in the Strong BJ division of Big Japan. Kotaro is better known as a junior but they’re around the same size. Kotaro is billed as being three inches shorter but he really isn’t.

Kotaro works the ‘midsection’. I’m not entirely sure he meant to give Kikuta a low blow here! It’s certainly ignored by the referee.

Kotaro’s approach is to grind Kikuta down, allowing Kazumi to fight from underneath and show his guts and determination. It’s a perfectly fine opener. Tiger Driver finishes for Kotaro.

Final Rating: ***

 

Talk Battle

Kenta Kobashi vs. Masahiro Chono

This appears to be for Kobashi’s eternal GHC title.

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Which he was awarded for being the literal best thing to ever happen to NOAH.

 

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They chat for a while and I think it’s a time limit draw. I love that Daisuke Sekimoto is on commentary for this show by the way. Kobashi loves him so much he just wanted to hang around with him and chat about the wrestling they’re watching. Beautiful.

 

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Io Shirai vs. Meiko Satomura vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto

This might be Io’s goodbye to Japan as she’s finished up her Stardom run and is probably going to be in the crowd at Takeover on Saturday.

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Io Shirai doesn’t take it easy just because she’s leaving Japan and takes some tremendously silly bumps. She only wrestles one way! Personally I’d rather Hiroyo wasn’t in this as three-ways are hard to orchestrate and I’d rather see Io vs. Meiko straight up as they have a great match in them that hasn’t happened yet. Matsumoto does bring some nice strikes though and her chops are cracking.

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Meiko’s mood in this match is….kicky. She’s pretty much heels herself up by being a jerk and refusing to stop kicking people. But at the same time her execution is so outstanding that the crowd cheer her on! Matsumoto brings a lot of cool power moves. Like this:

They tease more insanity as Io goes to superplex Hiroyo to the floor. I mean, that’s never happening but the resultant superplex is immediately followed by a Meiko frogsplash, catching both unawares. I like it when triple threat matches have a sudden move in them that makes sense. Two participants so focused on fighting each other that they forget about the other. It happens a pleasing amount in this match. Normally triple threat matches are loaded with nonsense and overselling. While the match is fun it’s blatantly going to be a draw because Kenta booked it with a 15 minute time limit. Despite this they manage to have a competitive match and it’s very enjoyable. They’re still going at it as the time limit expires with Meiko and Hiroyo in each others grills. That’s definitely a match Kobashi can do (again) next time. Meanwhile Io is off to NXT.

Final Rating: ***3/4

 

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I probably should have mentioned that Mio Shirai was the ref for that last match. Nice touch and her little interaction with Meiko was cool, although it would have meant a little more if there was any chance of her making a comeback.

 

Koki Kitahara & Mitsuya Nagai vs. Naomichi Marufuji & Super Tiger

54 year old Kitahara hasn’t wrestled at all in three years. He’s been around since Jumbo Tsuruta’s heyday. A regular for Super World Sports and WAR. The match is entitled Final Dream as he’s retiring.

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I’ve been wracking my brain trying to remember the last time I saw him wrestle and I think it was post-Misawa exodus All Japan circa 2001 when they were strapped for talent. This match is heavily reliant on comedy with Nagai being the butt of most jokes. Which kinda covers for the fact that he’s shit now. He’s terrible to the point of dangerous here. Barely able to help Super Tiger over on a suplex. Marufuji’s noble attempts to carry everyone else are something but you can’t polish a turd. You can chop one but that’s about it. Nagai trying to figure out how to sell for Marufuji’s strike combos is…interesting.

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Kitahara looks in better shape and he hasn’t wrestled in three years. His stuff with Marufuji is at least entertaining.

Super Tiger ends up pinning the old geezer and this ended up being quite fun at least, even if it was easily the worst match on this show.

Final Rating: **1/2

 

Post Match: Sayama turns up.

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They have a few nice photo ops and Kikahara gets the ten bell salute in complete silence in the Korakuen. It’s eerie. He stands there with his eyes closed the whole time just absorbing everything.

 

Kohei Sato, Katsuhiko Nakajima & Akitoshi Saito vs. Go Shiozaki, Yuji Hino & Zeus

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The Go team have a chuckle backstage so I’m immediately routing for them. Zeus and Hino look like they’re pals. I like the dynamic of the match too with guys like Hino and Sato being very familiar with each other and Shiozaki and Nakajima being the same but then you’ve got Zeus in there with guys he’s never wrestled. Zeus basically took this match so he could show Kenta Kobashi how good his chops are.

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Sekimoto, the commentator mind you, is encouraged to come and join in! The displays of manliness in this are quite glorious. Hino, in particular, demanding that Sato kick him square in the chest. There are a lot of chops and a lot of kicks here.

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The noises in this match are terrific. The thuds and slaps. Nakajima is above all that though. He’s become such an amazing dickhead recently. Him mimicking the ‘chop me’ pose of Hino and then ducking and laughing is wonderful heel work. In a sea of monsters he’s the biggest evil of all. Go Shiozaki has a great time here too, doing Kobashi moves. There is a purity to this match. It’s six men beating the crap out of each other for Kenta Kobashi’s amusement. I’m not overly keen on the finish with Go simply battering Saito with a lariat for the pin but the spectacle of all the pairings and the intense striking had already made this a cracking match. Made even better by Zeus having the time of his life out there and smiling!

Final Rating: ****1/4

 

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So wholesome.

 

Takuya Nomura & Toru Sugiura vs. Kaito Kiyomiya & Ayato Yoshida

Nomura you probably know from the huge hype he’s had. He’s from Big Japan and has a huge future. Sugiura is from FREEDOMS and while he isn’t well known he is the veteran in this match with ten years experience. Kiyomiya has only been wrestling for two years but is already a big success story for NOAH. Yoshida represents Kaientai Dojo and has about three years experience.

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It’s a tough spot for these young, mostly inexperienced, guys to follow that great trios match. Luckily in Takuya they have a guy who’s completely unphased by pressure. He just goes out there and gets the job done. His sequences with Kiyomiya are super and show how great those two wrestlers are going to be. I’m also into Toru Sugiura being a complete asshole, drilling Kiyomiya with chops and threatening to drop him on his head. Not the best of viewing for NOAH officials but pleasing on the eye nonetheless. I’m also amused by him refusing to sell for what were very clearly stiff kicks from Yoshida. Yoshida does a lot of very pleasing strikes in general. It’s enough for me to want to check out K-Dojo. It’s been a while. I was unprepared for Yoshida to be the stand out wrestler in the match but that’s exactly what happens. Yoshida vs. Takuya (the black trunk boys) ends up taking over my focus.

 

To be fair, everyone impresses here. Sugiura shows agility beyond what I expected from him to match his hard-hitting ways. Kiyomiya shows a lot of fire and sells better than anyone else. Yoshida blows me away and Takuya is smooth as silk. Kiyomiya finishes Sugiura off with the Tiger Suplex. This was a well executed match from four guys who wanted the attention. It was cool of Kobashi to give the main event to four inexperienced wrestlers, unknowns in some parts of the world, and they delivered. Maybe not to the degree that the trios match did before it but it was a good match.

Final Rating: ***3/4

 

Summary:

As per usual Fortune Dream was a good show from top to bottom. Even the one match that wasn’t great delivered in the emotional stakes. Even if you have no connection to Kitahara seeing him stand there absorbing the atmosphere during the 10 bell salute was amazing. Hats off to the young lads in the main but they were slightly outdone by Team Zeus having All The Fun in the semi-main event.

 

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