BJW (Big Japan) review (6.20.18)

BJW (Big Japan) review (6.20.18)

BJW at Korakuen Hall


June 20 2018


We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall for another unnamed Big Japan show because they don’t name shows because they’re too cool for that. This one had a little hype coming in due to Takuya Nomura getting a title shot at Hideki Suzuki. Remember when Big Japan was the most exciting promotion in Japan? Well, Suzuki has effectively ruined that by grinding his way through a series of tiresome title defences. Plus an ill-conceived title run for Daichi Hashimoto, which ended just as it was getting really good.


Takuho Kato & Masaki Morihiro vs. Yuki Ishikawa & Akira Hyodo

Kato and Morihiro have a year in the Biz. Ishikawa about three months. Hyodo doesn’t even have Cagematch profile. We’re dealing with some severe inexperience here. It shows too. The one guy insisting on the angle of his opponent’s chest for an ideal chop gets square on my tits, which is funny because that’s what his chops were doing after he delicately re-positioned his opponent. Honestly, there’s a lot of energy in these four guys and they bring the intensity. Kato is probably the most impressive. He’s already got a chunky torso and he gets the win with a Boston crab (obviously).

Final Rating: **


Shinobu & Ryuichi Kawakami vs. Fuminori Abe & Kazumi Kikuta

Abe is only 23 but has already established himself as a regular in DDT, Big Japan, Zero1, All Japan, Wrestle-1 and smaller promotions like HEAT UP and GUTS World. When you’re in that many promotions just three years into your career you’re doing something right. His partner Kikuta is in his early 30s but was late into the wrestling game. So they have a similar degree of experience. Kawakami is legitimately one of the “Big Lads” of BJW though so the inexperienced duo are at a disadvantage. Abe looks pretty fucking great until he tries to go toe to toe with Kawakami and then he’s dead. The Japanese honour mentality does backfire quite often. I wish there were more intelligent, underhanded wrestlers who don’t want to do strike duels but that’s the culture. Kikuta is a bit unwieldy compared to Abe but he’s more convincing in the strikes. Kawakami beats him down and taps him out. Abe is one to watch.

Final Rating: **1/2


Brahman Brothers, Kazuko Hashimoto & Yuya Aoki vs. Hercules Senga, Tsutomu Oosugi, Kota Sekifuda & Tatsuhiko Yoshino

Two established tag teams in Brahmans and Speed of Sounds.


They do all the goofy stuff. Like water and reading magazines to stop water. This is a typical Brahman match. Luggage. Bowling. When they’re not in there Yoshino does some good work. His dedication to tanning alone makes him stand out. K-Hash tries to murder Senga but manages to get rolled up for the upset. This was brisk and perhaps just a lesson in working different styles for Aoki.

Final Rating: **1/4


Barbed Wire Board Match

Yuko Miyamoto & Abdullah Kobayashi vs. Jaki Numazawa & Kankuro Hoshino

I’m not a big death match guy. I was when I was younger but now all I can think about is the pain inflicted on the wrestlers involved. It’s a bit too barbaric. Especially when it’s a throwaway midcard match. Not only that this has sickening shoot headbutts from Abby and Jaki. The ‘thunk’ noises are disgusting. Keeping in mind this is largely a comedy match. The big pay off for a load of shoot headbutts is Miyamoto tagging in blind and Abby looking annoyed about it while bleeding profusely from the forehead. To quote a popular podcast this is “not my graps”.


After a while I get into the comedy concept as the match leans towards daft and away from hardcore. If only they could have done this without a bunch of shoot headbutts. Miyamoto throws in a moonsault onto a barbwire board for good measure. Tonally this was odd but I did enjoy the Abby/Miyamoto comedy work. Didn’t need to be a death match at all.

Final Rating: **


TLC Death Match

Ryuji Ito, Takumi Tsukamoto & Ryuichi Sekine vs. Takayuki Ueki, Masaya Takahashi & Toshiyuki Sakuda

I don’t understand the logic of having a TLC with nothing hanging over the ring. Nor having a death match with tags. What’s going to happen if they stop tagging? A DQ? In a death match! So yeah, this immediately grinds my gears and doesn’t stop. As with the last match it only comes to life when they do comedy and the giant hammer makes an appearance. There’s some meta stuff in there. Like Sakuda selling his back in a ‘hey, look at me selling my back’ kinda comedic fashion. Then Ito gets sick of everything and kills everyone with cane shots. Yes!

Take No Shit Ito then hits a frogsplash on Sakuda for the win. Obviously Sakuda couldn’t kick out because of his injured back. Wink!


Final Rating: **3/4


Yokohama Shopping Street Six Man Tag Team Championship

Daisuke Sekimoto, Daichi Hashimoto & Hideyoshi Kamitani (c) vs. Ryota Hama, Yasufumi Nakanoue & Yoshihisa Uto


I love the match graphic for this. Everyone posing normally apart from Sekimoto who’s Hulking Up and Hama who’s crying? I think Hama is actually getting bigger, which cannot be good for his health but is incredible for our entertainment. His bursts of energy being used to bowl over smaller men. Cagematch currently has Hama at 495lbs. His mobility, considering that weight, is incredible. I know I’ve bashed him in the past (when All Japan decided to put the triple crown on him for example) but Hama is a super heavyweight freak of nature and there’s no one else like him.


Hashimoto and Kamitani are coming to wrestle for wXw in tag league and I was asked to describe them. No problem for D-Hash. Dad’s a legend. Kicks. Hair on point. Then Kamitani. I’m looking at him right now and I can’t describe him. He’s the dictionary definition of nondescript. I’m in favour of wrestlers getting good first and gaining character later but at some point GAIN CHARACTER. This match is all about Sekimoto trying to impose his will on Hama, a man of vast girth. His attempts to slam Hama are the focal point and it’s like watching Hogan vs. Andre. It’s a spectacle! There’s also a strike duel with Sekimoto vs. Nakanoue that makes me want to see that match. Nakanoue has gotten really good this year.

Uto ends up planting Kamitani for the pin after this assist from Hama (he also splashed Kamitani). This was tremendous fun. The belts mean nothing and change hands all the time but the match was good.

Final Rating: ***1/2


BJW Strong World Championship

Hideki Suzuki (c) vs. Takuya Nomura

When Hideki won the title in early 2017 this division was the talk of wrestling. All other promotions were jealous of what was happening in this division. Ever since then it’s been a shocking bore. The booking hasn’t helped but Hideki has killed this division. The bizarre finish of Strong Climb, where Hideki beat Daichi for the belt, has left the promotion in a position where it’s almost universally disliked for its booking. The solution? Give Takuya a title shot. He’s 24, been wrestling for two years and is the future of Big Japan. If Big Japan had anything approaching balls they’d switch the belt. Switch the focus.


But they don’t. Instead they emphasise Hideki’s natural size advantage and have him bully the younger opponent. It does make sense. Takuya is giving up 60lbs and 6 inches in height. It’s a clear mismatch, even in technical terms Suzuki is a boss. They do a good job of establishing Takuya as a guy who can grab a submission out of nowhere though and his various arm locks get Suzuki in trouble. I love him getting Suzuki in the corner, trapped where his size means nothing, and just drilling him with strikes.


Takuya does get Suzuki in trouble repeatedly but the size difference is the key and the booking of the match is a constant reminder than Big Japan see Suzuki is their big hoss champion. In a way I really admire him because he works that ‘Ringkampf’ style but that’s not what this division was about. The great part of this match is making it so realistic. That I can totally get behind. However Suzuki’s finish; punting an incapacitated Nomura in the head until the ref calls it is another disappointment in a series of them from Hideki. Even Sekimoto, at ringside, suggests he’s not happy with Suzuki for doing that. However Suzuki puts Nomura over on the house mic afterwards so that’s nice. Although I wasn’t keen on the finish and the brevity (this barely went ten minutes) it’s step one to establishing Nomura as The Guy for Big Japan. I will have to be patient.

Final Rating: ***3/4


Post Match: Uto comes charging out but it’s only to introduce stablemate Nakanoue. Suzuki’s response? Oh, I want to fight Hama. Sekimoto hops in there and they set up a trios match instead. I would like to see Takuya keep coming back and getting closer and closer before he eventually wins that belt. It is happening! Just a case of ‘when’, not ‘if’.


BJW Death Match Heavyweight Championship

Masashi Takeda (c) vs. Isami Kodaka

So normally I’m not into death matches at all but a big main event death match in Big Japan? They usually bring something exciting. Especially as Takeda is great. Not only is he legitimately nuts, back bumping on light tubes here to show his strength, but he’s also 11-4 in MMA.

A lot of light tubes are destroyed in this match. A lot of blood is shed.


If that’s not enough, the hundreds of broken light tubes, Isami pulls out a pair of scissors and stabs Takeda in the head. I love how, in this match, the Fighting Spirit is represented by them smashing tubes on their own heads. If you take the tubes out it’s a very traditional match. They just use their environment to tell a strong style story.


Takeda is a crazy man and I love him so much because he’s not just nuts, he’s also a terrific wrestler. So everything he does look good but also blood and argh. They bring in a board covered in spikes and I’m terrified that someone is going to actually die as they tease a superplex on it. Even after that they’re doing rana’s into pins and flipping out of moves, all on a canvas covered in glass. Goddamn, it’s brutal but it’s fucking wonderful. My concern is they can’t top the glass spot and then they start fighting on top of a ladder and a suplex off the ladder isn’t the finish either. What else can they fucking do? It’s one of those matches where the kick-outs become unbelievable. You can’t believe that they’re able to carry on with the injuries they have. And you know every bump from every suplex and spot has to kill on all that broken glass. Takeda eventually wins, just over twenty minutes of brutality in, and holy shit this was great. I don’t even like death matches, or Kodaka all that much, and this was fucking great. Just see this (not you Rob).


Final Rating: ****1/2



The undercard lulled me into a false sense of security. Oh, this will be one of those Big Japan cards where I don’t give a shit and it’ll be over and I still won’t. Then a fun trios match with lots of Hama woke me up, Suzuki/Nomura was really good and the main event I couldn’t take my eyes off. The wrestling within a death match environment was sensational. Takeda is one to watch because not only is he genuinely nuts but he’s also a terrific pro wrestler.



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