Toshiaki Kawada Produce Holy War
April 16 2018
You know how Kenta Kobashi has been throwing together cards of dudes he’s really into and calling it “Fortune Dream”? Well Kawada saw this and decided he was going to do his own thing and called it “Holy War”. This is what happened.
We’re in Shinkiba 1st Ring.
Junta Miyawaki vs. Ikuto Hidaka
Miyawaki has been growing on me, like moss, for a while now. He’s fairly accomplished for someone so inexperienced and NOAH have handled him far better than their recent rookie crops. Apart from Kiyomiya, obviously, as he’s in the main event of this show. This comes across like Hidaka testing Miyawaki and seeing how ready he is for this slot. Hidaka cranks away at a lot of basic holds and gives Miyawaki a nice little hill to climb. I like how veterans in Japan, regardless of their normal wrestling style, turn into dickheads when faced with a rookie opponent. It allows Miyawaki to look strong as he’s the only one that hits any spots. Hidaka does a lot of awesome little things. The knee to the quad is ace. He works that leg over and wins with a version of the Figure Four. Hidaka was great in this role. Miyawaki looked good because of Hidaka. Tidy little match.
Final Rating: **3/4
Masao Inoue & Gabai Ji-chan vs. Kuishinbo Kamen & Buffalo
Apparently Tosh has a soft spot for the comedy! Gabai Ji-chan has an old man gimmick.
Here’s him being chastised for being too slow getting to the ring. Kamen has a gimmick that…I can’t describe. I’ve been watching him wrestle for years and he’s a clown I guess? Gabai Ji-chan takes his robe off and he’s cold. Someone turn the heating up! Shut that door. Were you born in a barn! Kamen and Ji-chan make a mockery of ‘counters’ in wrestling by having Kamen hit a load of elbow drops and get rolled up.
Inoue suggests a double suplex but this is such a newfangled move that Gabai Ji-chan can’t quite figure out his role in it. Then his back gives out. Ohhh, me lumbago! I would gif this but it takes so long for any spots to get set up that I’d be up to 100MB before anything happened.
It takes Gabai Ji-chan a good 20 seconds to get this far up the buckles.
Gandalf: "Eh? Oh. No, you would not part an old man from his walking stick?" [Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)] pic.twitter.com/Xn79NRwWuZ
— Arnold Furious; a prince (@ArnoldFurious) June 7, 2018
If you’ve never seen Gabai Ji-chan it can be a little jarring when he suddenly clicks into gear and stops behaving like an old man. It doesn’t take long for his back to play up again though. Obviously if you’re looking at this match in the traditional sense you won’t get a lot out of it but if you like a bit of surreal comedy this should be right up your street. The match finishes when the referee superkicks Kamen and Inoue rolls him up.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Naomichi Marufuji vs. Toshiaki Kawada
I wish there was subtitles on this. Marufuji was Misawa’s trainee so Kawada never spoke to him when they both worked for All Japan. So they’d not really met until quite recently. It’s all about the politics of rivalries in locker rooms in Japan.
Sadly my knowledge of Japanese is severely limited. I have no idea how the chat goes.
They seem to having a nice time though. I must admit I enjoy seeing really serious wrestlers having a good old laugh for a change.
Yankee Two Kenju vs. Jun Kasai & Tomoya Hirata
I have no idea who Hirata is. Given that he comes out first with no introduction and wears only black, I have to assume he’s very early in his career. I’ve looked him up and he appears to be with FREEDOMS. He’s quite a strapping lad with some upper body development. Kasai and Kodaka bleed all over the place. Of all the guys in this match I get into Hirata the most. His offence feels honest. He’s a big strong boy and he wants to throw people around. Miyamoto is pretty good but I find Kodaka tough going. He’s too small to be the intimidating bastard he tries to be. Maybe if his offence was scarier but, kicks aside, I don’t buy into it. Fire Thunder Driver puts Hirata away. This worked for the most part. Like I say; I have a few issues with Kodaka and I just don’t rate him like everyone else seems to.
Final Rating: ***
Hideki Suzuki & Takatoshi Matsumoto vs. Minoru Tanaka & Mitsuya Nagai
Matsumoto works for Hard Hit so is another guy you’re probably not familiar with. He’s teamed with Big Hideki, the Big Japan standard bearer at the moment.
This has potential if Suzuki can be bothered to turn up and Nagai isn’t in the ring much. Takatoshi has an unorthodox offence. His warm up caught my eye and he wrestles the same way. Rolling around the mat like he lives there and you’re intruding. I’m very into the judo style he brings to the ring and Minoru Tanaka is weirded out enough to completely modify his offence. By comparison the Hideki Suzuki segments are All Business. He just slowly dismantles whoever is in front of him. The best thing about Suzuki is how much he reminds me of Tim Thatcher only Tim is actually better at wrestling. The best spot in the match is Matsumoto getting an armbar on Nagai and Tanaka deciding to break it with a kick to the face, Matsumoto totally unable to block it due to his preoccupation with the armbar. This leads almost directly into the victory with Matsumoto never able to recover. I really enjoyed Matsumoto’s work here. I would like to see more of him. The great thing about these produce shows is seeing guys you’d never normally see. It’s like a festival.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Go Shiozaki, Kaito Kiyomiya & Kazusada Higuchi vs. Shiro Koshinaka, Tamon Honda & Yoshiaki Fujiwara
This is very much a young dudes vs. veterans match up. The veterans team has an average age of over 60 years and a combined age of 182. Fujiwara began his career in 1972, ten years before Go Shiozaki (the eldest wrestler on his team) was even born. This is Tamon Honda’s first match in over 2 years. His last bout being for All Japan during the 2016 Champion Carnival. Since his soft retirement in 2013 he’s only wrestled four matches. The younger team here has so much going for it. Higuchi and Kiyomiya are going to be stars in Japan for many, many years to come. Higuchi looks like he’s having a blast being stretched by Fujiwara. The respect there is tremendous. Fujiwara might be nearly 70 years old but he’s still tough as old leather. He looks like it too. Shiozaki is the one who gets to boss the old men around because he’s well into his 30s and has earned this. Koshinaka still doesn’t sell very much for him. Kiyomiya looks great taking a shit-kicking from the vets. He’s got a skill for taking a beatdown. Which is what makes his comebacks so gosh darn spirited. He knows his role here though. Taking abuse from old men. It’s BBC’s light entertainment division in the 80s.
The veterans eventually start letting the kids get over with Higuchi bowling Koshinaka over with minimal effort before smacking Fujiwara with a devastating chop. You’ll fucking kill the old bastard! Honda is also willing to take a thrashing, as he should the old outta shape fuck, and he’s at the receiving end as the least experienced man on his team. One tiny problem with this; he can’t bump and his kick-outs are dogshit. Eventually Shiozaki puts him down for the count and the Holy War is over. Youth has triumphed!
Final Rating: ***1/2
There’s nothing on this show that will trouble my MOTYC list. However it’s a fun 2 hours of wrestling and there’s nothing offensively bad on here. I really enjoyed seeing Gabai Ji-chan and Kamen do their thing in front of a receptive audience and the last two matches were both good. Minor recommendation.