Riki Choshu Produce: Power Hall 2018 review (1.14.18)

Riki Choshu Produce: Power Hall 2018 review (1.14.18)

Riki Choshu Produce Power Hall 2018 – Set Back The Clock

 

January 14 2018

 

We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall for this Riki Choshu produced show. He has a card made mostly of NOAH talent but with some special additions such as Shingo Takagi, Daisuke Sekimoto and Kota Ibushi. There’s a nice opening video where we get an assortment of stills from Riki’s career plus various talking heads. For those who haven’t followed Choshu’s illustrious career, he’s a former three-time IWGP Champion and one of New Japan’s most consistent and reliable performers during a boom period in Japanese wrestling.

 

Keisuke Okuda vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima

Okuda is a strange case study. He signed up for IGF and got stuck there, doing weird Inoki stuff for years. Which is why he’s relatively unknown to Western audiences. Meanwhile ‘Hiko has been NOAH champion and worked a G1 Climax so he’s familiar. Okuda’s intense shoot style is prevalent in the early going. Okuda wrestles like a motherfucker, standing on Nakajima’s face and beating on him like he owes him money. The kicks duels in this are pretty fucking intense for the opening match. Nakajima is the bigger man but he has to contend with Okuda’s aggression and desire to kick his way to ultimate victory. If you like seeing guys kicked in the chest this is the match for you.

RPPNakajima

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

RATEL’S (Daisuke Harada & Tadasuke) vs. Andrew Everett & Jay Bradley

Jay Bradley is a big fucker. He’s 6’4” and a seasoned veteran at 37 years young. He’s worked pretty much everywhere including WWE as “Brad James”. How did he fail with such a dynamic name? Harada vs. Everett is really good. Everett looked like he was on the verge of huge success a few years ago but injuries derailed that. Instead he ended up on Impact, which is why I’ve not seen him much.

Everett takes this with a lovely graceful Shooting Star Press after Bradley’s powerhouse intervention. The implication being the standard for Japan, Big Lads beat small lads, and the juniors take the loss. Tidy little match though.

Final Rating: ***

 

Takashi Sugiura, Yoshinari Ogawa & LEONA vs. Maybach Taniguchi, Hajime Ohara & Mitsuhiro Yoshida

I’m a little sad that Sugiura is on the same side as LEONA. I reckon he would have murdered him for my viewing pleasure. LEONA ‘outwrestling’ Ohara is a sight to see. Mainly because it doesn’t happen and Ohara works circles around him, feeding him openings.

RPPLeona

Even Yoshida scores points on LEONA. Basically LEONA looks like an accountant. I cannot take him seriously, although at least he doesn’t stink anymore. He can do actual wrestling holds without blowing them constantly. It probably helps when your dad is a legend. LEONA ends up winning with a fluke pin on Yoshida. He celebrates for ages. Cackling like Tetsuo when he gains powers in Akira. Seriously, you’d think he’d won the G1 Climax. Just get out of the ring, pal.

Final Rating: **1/2

 

Go Shiozaki, Hideyoshi Kamitani & Quiet Storm vs. Heisei Ishingun (Shiro Koshinaka, Akitoshi Saito & AKIRA)

A trip down Memory Lane here as three surviving members of Heisei Ishingun team up. The group were popular in New Japan in the 1990s but have appeared together, in various incarnations of the original members, in various promotions since. Shiozaki is in no mood to reminisce so Koshinaka shoves his butt in his face. Go battles the hip attacks by chopping Shiro’s arse. It’s some unique fucking psychology, I’ll give them that. Heisei Ishingun all work in judo gear and this is clearly not AKIRA’s forte. At one point his black belt falls off and he nearly trips over it. Koshinaka looks super smooth here, turning back to the clock

This guy is nearly 60 and he’s still great. It’s an advertisement for having a basic offence as you’ll always be able to do it. But he’s coming off the top rope still! This generation of old fucks, is reimaging what old people are capable of in pro-wrestling and I fucking love it. Go batters Saito for the pin but this was the Koshinaka Show.

RPPGo

Final Rating: ***

 

Video Control gives us some slips from pressers and Daisuke Sekimoto is killing it with his suit. Holy shit.

RPPSekimoto

 

Naomichi Marufuji & Shingo Takagi vs. Masato Tanaka & Masa Kitamiya

This is the kind of match Kenta Kobashi would book for Fortune Dream.

RPPsemi

If I was Marufuji I would not trust Shingo…because it’s Shingo. He has to be one of the least trustworthy people in professional wrestling. Why would anyone tag with him? Marufuji just had a tag team partner turn on him too. I love how Tanaka looks freaked out by having to take Marufuji’s chops. Tanaka! That shows how goddamn hard they are. Kitamiya is here to show he belongs, crazy old man beard and all. He looks like he spent a few years shipwrecked but when they brought him back to humanity he wanted to keep the look. The match is a back and forth rumble with Shingo pushing the pace occasionally. The match never hits a higher gear and Marufuji pins Kitamiya with the shiranui. The various Tanaka interactions made the match for me.

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

Riki Choshu, Kota Ibushi & Gota Ihashi vs. Tatsumi Fujinami, Daisuke Sekimoto & TAKA Michinoku

This is a suitably wacky combination of guys for the main event of this show. Choshu going to DDT for his inspiration, Fujinami going the Big Japan/K-Dojo route.

RPPmain

Riki is 66, Fujinami is 64. Just a couple of old lads, having a fight on a Sunday afternoon. Kota comes flying in out of nowhere and the Riki Lariat floors an interfering Sekimoto before tagging Ihashi in. This is all very surreal. Gota Ihashi is one of those comedy wrestlers who can be funny without trying. When he runs it looks like a beach ball grew legs. And he’s trying to take it to Sekimoto and I don’t know how Daisuke can make it without cracking up.

A lot of the match revolves around Gota being too fat to take spots. Or too fat to stand up. He seems like a nice lad. I feel slightly bad for him when he does a chop duel with Sekimoto. Ouch.

I love how Choshu was trying to be all supportive of Ihashi, until the match started and now he hates the fat bastard. Kota still loves him. Kota is a forgiving soul.

RPPIbushi

Ihashi & Ibushi are at the forefront for most adorable tag team of the year. Almost hidden away, post-Ihashi banter, is Ibushi vs. Sekimoto. Kamigoye and Last Ride put TAKA away. This was a weird match because they spent so long doing comedy stuff and then had Kota come in and finish it quickly. Fifteen wacky minutes capped by one perfectly serious contest minute. Bizarre behaviour.

Final Rating: ***1/2

 

Summary:

This was a consistently solid show. It didn’t measure up to the similar Fortune Dream cards but drew a good number to Korakuen Hall. The weird combination of guys in the main event made it an intriguing watch, made even more bizarre by the focus on Gota Ihashi throughout. It’s a decent watch and a fun enough show but entirely skippable if you’re short on time.

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