Big Japan Wrestling
February 2nd
Korakuen Hall
Tokyo, Japan

Welcome Kevin Wilson of to Voices of Wrestling! Some of Kevin’s reviews will be appearing on the website moving forward. For those who are new to Kevin’s style, it does differ from what you’re used to at VOW. Kevin focuses heavily on the move-by-move progression of the match versus analysis, though there’s some aspects of that at the end of his recaps. It’s also worth nothing that Kevin uses a 1-10 scale for rating matches, not the traditional DUD to 5* we use. Join me in welcome Kevin to the team and enjoy his first review. -Rich Kraetsch

As we dive into a new month, we are starting off with what looks on paper to be a fun show by Big Japan. We have a few hardcore matches (including a barbed wire board which is one of my favorite ‘regular’ stipulations), one potentially silly match, and Ishikawa vs. Okabayashi in the main event for the BJW Strong World Heavyweight Championship.

Atsushi Maruyama and Isamu Oshita vs. Kazuki Hashimoto and Toshiyuki Sakuda: Sakuda and Maruyama start off and they trade submissions until Miyamoto tags in Oshita. Oshita and Sakuda trade elbows, knee drop by Oshita but his cover gets a one count. Sakuda drives him back and makes the tag to Hashimoto. Hashimoto kicks Oshita in the back and they trade elbows. Oshita tags in Maruyama and Maruyama delivers a kick in the corner. Jumping kick by Maruyama and the cover gets a two. Hashimoto catches Maruyama’s next kick and hits a dragon screw before tagging in Sakuda. Sakuda hits a spear on Maruyama and then a pair of running shoulder tackles in the corner. Suplex by Sakuda but the cover gets a two count. Sakuda goes to the ropes but Maruyama avoids the quebrada. Maruyama tags in Oshita and Oshita delivers a dropkick. Oshita and Sakuda trade chops and slaps, Sakuda goes off the ropes but Oshita catches his lariat and applies a cross armbreaker.

Hashimoto quickly breaks it up, dropkick by Sakuda and he tags in Hashimoto. Hashimoto kicks Oshita into the corner but Oshita hits a backdrop suplex for a two count. Hashimoto kicks Oshita in the leg and he applies an ankle hold. Sakuda runs in to cut off Maruyama but Oshita makes it to the ropes. Sakuda hits the quebrada onto Oshita, Hashimoto then hits a PK but the cover gets broken up. Sakuda gets rid of Maruyama, kicks by Hashimoto to Oshita but Oshita catches one and hits a series of elbows. Hashimoto ducks the enzigieri however and he re-applies the ankle hold, this time picking up the submission victory.

This was a good opener, all four of them showed some fire. I like that Sakuda is a new wrestler and just has to hit that quebrada, feels realistic that a young wrestler would want to show off his ‘big moves’. I’m glad Oshita got a hope spot at the end, even though it was really brief. A solid way to begin the show. Score:  6.0

Shu Brahman, Kei Brahman, and Takayuki Ueki vs. Tsutomu Oosugi, Hercules Senga, and Shinobu: Senga and Ueki start off, and Ueki flings Senga to the mat. He then does the same to everyone else, including his own teammates and the referee before they all salute in the ring. I have a feeling this won’t be a serious match. Shu and Oosugi end up in the ring together but Oosugi blocks Shu’s attempts to spit water at him. Kei comes in and they, I don’t wanna type it but they use the jacket in an interesting manner on Oosugi. Ueki then comes in, he dances over and rubs his chest in Oosugi’s face. The luggage and bowling ball are brought in, Shinobu gets confused I guess and he helps complete the trick. Shu covers Oosugi but it gets two.

Shu boots Oosugi repeatedly but Oosugi finally knocks him over and tags in Shinobu. Shinobu goes up top and he hits a missile dropkick for a two count. Kei throws a suitcase at Shinobu’s face, and Shu tags in Ueki. Shinobu kicks Ueki but Ueki pulls out a gun (I assume it is fake). He dives off the top turnbuckle but everyone moves, then Oosugi and Senga hit pescados down onto Shu and Kei. Shinobu goes up top but Shu naturally pulls his trunks off. They then hit a triple sunset flip thing but the pin is broken up. Ueki eats a double vertical suplex and then his hand gets stuck in Shinobu’s ass. Yep. S.E.X. Bomber by Shinobu and he picks up the three count.

I don’t think there was anything about this match I enjoyed, just about the opposite side of the spectrum of what I enjoy in my pro wres. Just silly meaningless stuff. Score:  2.0

Daisuke Sekimoto and Hideyoshi Kamitani vs. Ryuichi Kawakami and Kota Sekifuda: Kamitani and Kawakami start off and they trade chops to the chest. Kawakami tags in Sekifuda, but Kamitani elbows Sekifuda back and he tags in Sekimoto. Sekimoto chops Sekifuda to the mat but Sekifuda gets back up and elbows Sekimoto repeatedly. Sekimoto fights back and he tags in Kamitani. Kamitani and Sekifuda trade chops, Kamitani gets the better of it and tags in Sekimoto. Sekimoto shoulderblocks Sekifuda and then hits a powerslam. Sekimoto chops Sekifuda in the corner but Sekifuda returns fire and they take turns chopping each other. Missile dropkick by Sekifuda and he tags in Kawakami. Kawakami chops Sekimoto in the corner but Sekimoto elbows him back. Headbutt by Sekimoto but Kawakami hits an exploder. Single leg crab hold by Kawakami but Sekimoto gets to the ropes. Sekimoto gets the waistlock and he hits a release German suplex.

Sekimoto tags in Kamitani and Kamitani hits a shoulderblock on Kawakami. Kawakami slams Kamitani to the mat and he tags in Sekifuda. Kamitani applies a crab hold to Sekifuda, Sekimoto comes in the ring and Sekifuda is attacked by both in the corner. Double vertical suplex to Sekifuda but Sekifuda kicks out. Kamitani applies the crab hold again but Sekifuda gets to the ropes. Kamitani goes off the ropes and they trade elbows. Shoulderblock by Kamitani and he hits a second one, and Kamitani hits an enzigieri. Backdrop suplex by Kamitani, and he picks up the three count!

This was solid but not spectacular. There was nothing bad here at all but equally nothing memorable. A decent mid-card match. Score:  6.0

Kankuro Hoshino and Masato Inaba vs. Saburo Inematsu and Ryuichi Sekine: This is a Scramble Bunkhouse Death Match. Sekine has a barbed wire bat to start the match but he doesn’t get to use it as soon the brawl exits the ring. Inematsu is thrown into some chairs while Inaba and Sekine get into the ring. Inaba hits Sekine with the barbed wire bat and rakes it against his back before tagging in Hoshino. Hoshino gets the bat and he scoop slams Sekine onto it. Hoshino and Sekine trade elbows, Inaba brings in a stack of chairs and he drops Sekine back-first onto the pile for a two count. Dropkick by Sekine and he tags in Inematsu. Inematsu hits both Inaba and Hoshino with the bat before hitting Inaba with a side Russian leg sweep. Knee drop by Inematsu to Inaba but Inaba gets the bat and hits Inematsu in the chest with it. Hoshino is tagged in and he hits a body avalanche in the corner. Lariat by Hoshino but Inematsu avoids the senton and tags in Sekine. Sekine gets the bat and elbows it into Hoshino’s chest in the corner. Rolling fireman’s carry by Sekine, he kicks Hoshino in the head and he picks up the three count.  Not much to this one, it just focused around the gimmick (the barbed wire bat) and not much else mattered.

Never really had anything going before it suddenly ended, a skippable match. Score:  3.5

Abdullah Kobayashi and Jaki Numazawa vs. Yuko Miyamoto and Isami Kodaka: This is a Fluorescent Light Prison Death Match. As you may have assumed, there are lighttubes everywhere, so no tag rules since they can’t get to the apron. Miyamoto and Kodaka go into the lighttubes first, Kobayashi and Numazawa return the favor. They end up going to the floor as Kodaka managed to already start bleeding from his back, so Kodaka gets a spike and jams it into Kobayashi’s head. Miyamoto and Numazawa get into the ring but Kodaka returns as well and Numazawa goes into the lighttubes. We end up going to tag rules now that some of the tubes are gone, which is weird, as Miyamoto tags in Kodaka. Kodaka and Numazawa trade elbows and punches, and Kobayashi is tagged in. Kobayashi hits Kodaka in the corner with lighttubes but Kodaka reverses positions with him and returns the favor. Numazawa is tagged in and he throws Kodaka into a row of lighttubes. Kobayashi slams Kodaka to the mat and he hits a reverse splash.

Kodaka elbows Kobayashi backwards and he tags in Miyamoto. Miyamoto and Kobayashi trade blows and Miyamoto hits a dropkick. Miyamoto applies a stretch hold while Kodaka puts Numazawa into an octopus hold. They get out of it, Miyamoto grabs Kobayashi and slams him into some lighttubes for a two count. Miyamoto goes up top but Kobayashi throws him to the mat. Jumping lariat by Kobayashi and he hits a Shining Wizard to Miyamoto. Kobayashi puts Miyamoto on the top turnbuckle but Miyamoto hits a diving chop to the top of the head. Miyamoto tags in Kodaka and Kodaka dropkicks Kobayashi in the head with a big giant bundle of lighttubes. Side Russian leg sweep by Kodaka into tubes, he grabs Kobayashi and hits a second one. He goes for a third but Kobayashi blocks it and hits a Samoan Drop. Kobayashi tags in Numazawa and he lariats Kodaka in the corner. Fisherman slam by Numazawa but it gets a two count. Kodaka dropkicks Numazawa and he tags in Miyamoto. Miyamoto assaults Numazawa in the corner, he gets one of the giant tubes and puts it onto Numazawa before hitting a moonsault. Kodaka hits a diving crossbody onto Kobayashi and they trade strikes, Kodaka grabs a few more tubes but Kobayashi chops them into his chest. There aren’t many tubes left so I assume the match is ending soon. Kodaka knocks the bloody carcass formally known as Kobayashi out of the ring and then hits a tope suicida out onto him. In the ring Numazawa covers Miyamoto but Kodaka breaks it up. Miyamoto lariats Numazawa but Numazawa escapes the Yankee Driver and hits the Shin Kamui for the three count.

I am kinda over the lighttubes, as I have mentioned before, it just means we see the same basic spots. Even though I did like the big giant bundle ones, that was a little different at least. Good if you like this sort of thing but it wasn’t creative or inventive. Or very interesting. Score:  5.0

Masashi Takeda and Takumi Tsukamoto vs. Ryuji Ito and Masaya Takahashi: This match is for the Barbwire Board Death Match. Tsukamoto is double teamed to start the match, and they spill out of the ring. Takahashi throws Tsukamoto into the ring and they trade elbows. Dropkick by Takahashi but Tsukamoto throws him into a barbed wire board. Tsukamoto puts a board onto Takahashi and both he and Takeda hit him with chairs. Tsukamoto tags in Takeda, Takeda props a board against a chair and hits a vertical suplex. Takeda puts a chair onto Takahashi and hits him with another chair. Tsukamoto comes in and Takahashi is double teamed in the corner. Scoop slam by Tsukamoto, he puts a board on Takahashi and hits a senton. Takeda hits a senton as well, but Takahashi hits a double spear and tags in Ito. Ito comes in with a kendo stick and hits both of them but Takeda and Tsukamoto fight over the stick, leading to Ito getting it back. Ito hits Takeda with a steel chair repeatedly and scoop slams him onto the chair. Lariat by Ito, he goes up top but Takeda avoids the moonsault. Spinning heel kick by Ito but Takeda hits a running knee. Takahashi and Tsukamoto are tagged in and Takahashi hits a spinebuster.

Lariat by Takahashi, he puts a board on Tsukamoto’s face in the corner and hits a cannonball. Tsukamoto fights back and hits a fisherman suplex onto a barbed wire board. A piece of it gets stuck in Tsukamoto’s back, but the referee rips it out for him. Takahashi tags in Ito, and Ito trades elbows with Tsukamoto. Enzigieri by Tsukamoto, Takeda comes in and Takeda hits a side slam. Tsukamoto puts a board onto Ito and he hits a corkscrew senton.  Takeda suplexes Takahashi out of the ring while Tsukamoto puts a pile of chairs in the ring, and he slams Ito onto the pile of chairs for a two count. Ito throws a chair at Tsukamoto’s face and hits a Shining Wizard for two. Scoop slam by Ito, he puts a few chairs onto Tsukamoto and he hits a Dragon Splash for the three count.

This was more my tastes, the barbed wire and chairs played an element but the gimmick didn’t control the match. These guys are all good at what they do, but the match wasn’t very long and it felt like they could have done more. A fun hardcore match but too short to be memorable.  Score:  6.5

BJW World Strong Heavyweight Championship – (c) Shuji Ishikawa vs. Yuji Okabayashi: They go into a test of strength to start, Ishikawa gets the better of it and Okabayashi leaves the ring. He returns and Okabayashi locks on a headlock, refusing to let go. Ishikawa eventually gets out of it and they try to knock each other over with no success. They trade strikes next, which Okabayashi gets the better of. Ishikawa falls out of the ring and Okabayashi hits a cannonball off the apron. Okabayashi throws Ishikawa into some chairs and they trade strikes in the crowd. Double stomp by Ishikawa over the guardrail and Okabayashi accidentally lariats the ring post. Back in the ring Ishikawa stomp on Okabayashi’s arm and back up they trade strikes. Ishikawa twists Okabayashi’s arm in the top rope as Okabayashi’s arm as started to bleed, Ishikawa pushes Okabayashi to the mat and kicks him in the arm. Ishikawa applies a short armbar but Okabayashi struggles to his feet and hits a slam. Okabayashi goes off the ropes but Ishikawa kicks him. Lariat by Okabayashi and he hits a vertical suplex. Crab hold by Okabayashi but Ishikawa gets to the ropes. Missile dropkick by Ishikawa, he goes to the second turnbuckle and hits a diving kneedrop. Ishikawa picks up Okabayashi and he hits a scoop tombstone for a two count.

Ishikawa goes for a knee but Okabayashi catches him and puts him in an argentine backbreaker. Ishikawa slides off and applies a sleeper but Okabayashi muscles out of it and hits a lariat. Ishikawa doesn’t go down as they trade lariat attempts, and both men crash to the mat. They slowly get up and trade chops, Okabayashi gets up top as Ishikawa joins him, hitting a superplex. Lariat by Ishikawa and he hits a hurricanrana out of the corner. Full nelson by Ishikawa but Okabayashi gets into the ropes. Ishikawa hits a release dragon suplex and then hits a running knee for a two count. Fire Thunder Driver by Ishikawa, but again Okabayashi kicks out. Powerbomb by Ishikawa, but it gets another two. Headbutt by Ishikawa but Okabayashi hits a heel kick followed by a lariat. Powerbomb by Okabayashi, he picks up Ishikawa and slams him in front of the corner. Golem Splash by Okabayashi, but Ishikawa kicks out. Okabayashi picks up Ishikawa but Ishikawa headbutts him and hits a forearm smash. Back up they trade slaps, headbutt by Ishikawa and he gets a two count. Knee to the back by Ishikawa and he hits the running knee lift for a three count cover.

Well that was a doozy of a match. I loved the hard hitting aspect of the match, lots of big strikes and power moves, with no rest holds or killing time. My only complaint is that Ishikawa’s arm work on Okabayashi was really good, to the point his arm was bleeding, but it was just forgotten by both wrestlers halfway through the match. But still it was a really fun slugfest and recommended for viewing for sure. Score:  8.0

Final Thoughts:

From top to bottom this was a fun card. It had a decent opener, an entertaining hardcore match, a great main event, and a few other solid matches as well. Yes it had the really silly match that I just didn’t like, and I don’t usually like matches that strictly use lighttubes as a gimmick, but no card is perfect. Overall, this is one I would recommend watching, it’s a good mixture of strong style and hardcore matches.  Grade: B