Big Japan Wrestling
RYOGOKUTAN ~ 20th Anniversary
July 20, 2015
Sumo Hall – Tokyo, Japan

Big Japan invades Sumo Hall! This is Big Japan’s first ever Sumo Hall event, to commemorate their 20th Anniversary. Sumo Hall is not known of course for death matches so there will be a lot of ‘firsts’ here, as typically death match promotions don’t have their events at the famed building. Big Japan threw everything they had at the show so there will be blood and lots of clobbering, especially in the last three matches.  So this review isn’t 10,000 words, I am going to cut to the chase for the undercard and then do my usual thing for the bigger matches on the event.

Toshiyuki Sakuta and Yoshihisa Uto vs. Yuichi Taniguchi and Kazumi Kikuta

Uta defeats Kikuta with a Crab Hold in a generally uneventful match.  This was not a bad way to start the show as fans were still arriving, but not all of these young wrestlers impress.  Kikuta and Taniguchi both look good but not sure about the other two, just based off of this match.  Basic and nothing special, but fans of Big Japan may enjoy seeing the ‘future stars’ of the promotion.

MEN’s Teioh, Tsutomu Oosugi, and Hercules Senga vs. Tsubasa, Atsushi Maruyama, and Shinobu

Teioh pins Shinobu after a triple Miracle Ecstasy.  This was a fun fast paced match, utterly lacking in substance but with some cute spots and nothing offensive.  There were lots of dives and even though Teioh slowed down the match some his impact was minimal.  They knew what it was and stuck to it, they never really pretended this was going to be tightly structured.  Solid undercard match.  Mildly Recommended

Daichi Hashimoto and Kazuki Hashimoto vs. Koji Kanemoto and Tatsuhito Takaiwa

Kazuki pins Takaiwa after the Northern Lights Bomb.  Kazuki is so happy he hugs the referee.  I liked this match on a lot of different levels. First of all I liked the young team winning, the veterans don’t always have to win but in Japan they usually do in these types of matches so it was a nice change of pace.  There were also just a lot of stiff suplexes and strikes here, all four of them brought it and no one came out looking weak.  Just a man sized match that was entertaining from bell to bell, definitely worth a watch.  Recommended

The Hashimotos drop Kanemoto

Jaki Numazawa, Masashi Takeda, and Tsukamoto vs. Ryuichi Sekine, Masaya Takashi, and SAGAT

Takeda pins SAGAT after the U-Crash on a board of cans.  Make no mistake, this was a garbage match.  Contrived spots, random carnage, lots of bleeding, it was all covered. If you like that kind of thing you’ll enjoy this, Takeda cutting himself so badly was a bit excessive but otherwise it is what you’d expect. It fit fine as a short mid-card match but nothing really special about it.

Yokohama Shopping Street Six Man Tag Team Championship – (c) Brahman Shu, Brahman Kei, and Takayuki Ueki vs. Great Kojika, Kankuro Hoshino, and Inaba

Kojika gets Ueki to submit to a crab hold, winning his team the titles, much to my general unhappiness. This was borderline awful, Kojika is too old to be doing this stuff, the Brahman’s act got stale to me years ago and there was no one here to elevate the match. Very skippable, you’ll miss nothing.

Manabu Soya and Ryuichi Kawakami vs. Ryota Hama and Hideyoshi Kamitani

Kawakami pins Kamitani after hitting the Hurricane Driver.  This was a solid match, we got mostly serious Hama and not comedy Hama which is always a plus and the rest did their power stuff well.  I liked that it was two balanced teams, it was a good dynamic as they sold it as the strongest and the weakest on one team (relatively) against the two middle wrestlers, once the strong wrestler got eliminated (Hama) then Kamitani was in trouble pretty quickly.  Nothing mind blowing as they wouldn’t have wanted to upstage the title matches but a good match for sure.  Mildly Recommended

BJW Tag Team Championship – (c) Kohei Sato and Shuji Ishikawa vs. Yuko Miyamoto and Isami Kodaka

Ishikawa and Miyamoto start off, they end up on the mat but return to their feet as Kodaka is tagged in.  Ishikawa picks up Kodaka and puts him in the corner before tagging in Sato, hard elbow by Sato as Kodaka tries in vain to fight back.  Sato slams Kodaka and tags in Ishikawa, and they take turns on Kodaka.  Ishikawa takes Miyamoto out to the ramp and hits a fire thunder driver, Sato tags him in and they both shoulderblock Kodaka to the mat.  Big Falcon Arrow by Sato, but Ishikawa gets a shoulder up.  Kodaka finally hits a back bodydrop on Sato, and he makes the tag to Miyamoto.  Miyamoto is already hurt as he gets in the ring and he trades chops with Sato.  Ishikawa comes in the ring, Miyamoto  tries to dropkick them both but Sato and Ishikawa don’t budge.  The handspring elbow strike does work however, Miyamoto goes up top and hits a missile dropkick on Sato and covers him for two.  Sato kicks Miyamoto but Miyamoto applies a cobra twist while Kodaka puts Ishikawa in an octopus hold.  Both Sato and Ishikawa get out of their respective situations, and Ishikawa lariats Miyamoto in the corner.  Ishikawa hits a footstomp off the second turnbuckle and he covers Miyamoto for two.  Irish whip by Ishikawa, Miyamoto goes for an overhead suplex but Ishikawa blocks it.  Vertical suplex by Miyamoto and he tags in Kodaka.  Kodaka kicks Ishikawa in the corner and he hits the baseball slide elbow.  Kodaka goes up top and goes for a diving crossbody, but Ishikawa catches him.  Kodaka applies an armbar while on Ishikawa’s shoulders, Miyamoto comes in as do Sato and Miyamoto dropkicks Sato in the corner.  Kodaka snapmares Ishikawa, he goes up top but Ishikawa avoids the footstomp.  Headscissors by Kodaka and he tags in Miyamoto, Miyamoto Irish whips Ishikawa to the corner but Ishikawa reverses it and hits a lariat.

Miyamoto tries to pick up Ishikawa but Ishikawa blocks it and hits a scoop slam.  Sato comes in and Miyamoto is double teamed, cover by Ishikawa to Miyamoto but Kodaka breaks it up.  Ishikawa picks up Miyamoto and delivers Splash Mountain, but Miyamoto kicks out of the cover.  Ishikawa picks up Miyamoto but Kodaka runs in to run interference, Kodaka elbows Ishikawa but Sato kicks Ishikawa from the apron.  Sato and Ishikawa trade elbows, Ishikawa accidentally knocks Sato off the apron and Kodaka sails out onto Sato with a tope suicida.  He rolls back in to kick Ishikawa, Miyamoto grabs Ishikawa and he nails the Yankee Driver.  Cover, but Ishikawa gets a shoulder up.  Miyamoto slams Ishikawa, he goes up top and he hits the moonsault, but Sato grabs him and hits a release German suplex.  Kodaka hits a missile dropkick on Sato and all four wrestlers are down.  Ishikawa and Miyamoto trade strikes, backslide by Miyamoto and La Magistral but both get two.  Gannosuke Clutch by Miyamoto but Ishikawa breaks it up, Kodaka comes in but Sato drops him with a release German suplex and Ishikawa follows with the running knee.  Piledriver by Sato to Miyamoto, Ishikawa picks up Miyamoto and hits the Fire Thunder Driver but Miyamoto quickly kicks out.  Ishikawa picks up Miyamoto, he nails the cross-arm Splash Mountain and he picks up the three count! Sato and Ishikawa are still the champions.

Another really good match on this card, bordering on great.  Just about everything worked here… the teamwork, big moves, smooth transitions, it was just a quality match from start to finish.  Kodaka was a bit goofy but nothing excessive, and while the champions always seemed to be in control the near falls from both teams felt realistic.  Really entertaining tag title match.  Recommended

Sato breaks up the pin attempt with authority

BJW Death Match Heavyweight Championship (20 Items Death Match) – (c) Abdullah Kobayashi vs. Ryuji Ito

As the name implies there is plunder everywhere, ranging from a ladder to concrete blocks.  Oh and a bed of nails and a barbed wire board. I’ll just name stuff as they are used.  Ito gets right to it and throws Kobayashi into a barbed wire board before hitting him with a kendo stick.  Ito slams concrete blocks on him before hitting Kobayashi with a chair.  Kobayashi throws Ito into the nail board to regain the advantage and rubs a barbed wire bat into his face.  Kobayashi stabs Ito in the head and throws what I am assuming is salt into his wounds.  Kobayashi puts the barbed wire board on Ito and throws the barbed wire bat at him.  Iron Fist by Kobayashi and he rakes Ito’s head with… something.  A giant knife it looks like.  DDT by Kobayashi and he grabs a cactus, but Ito saws it to pieces.  Ito knocks Kobayashi out of the ring, he goes out after him and sets up a table.  Ito puts Kobayashi on the table, he goes up top and he hits a plancha through the table down to the floor.  Ito hits Kobayashi with a table piece and he gets back into the ring with some wooden sticks.  He jabs the sticks into Kobayashi’s head and they stay there for a while, then Ito staples them into his head as well.   Kobayashi knocks Ito into the electric lights board and they have a concrete blocks duel.  Kenzans time!  Ito rubs a kenzan into Kobayashi’s head and they throw salt at each other.

I hate this shit by the way, I am just watching it in case they do something awesome.  Ito goes up top but Kobayashi avoids the moonsault attempt. Jumping lariat by Kobayashi and he hits an elbow drop for two.  Shining Wizard by Kobayashi and he hits a backfist.  Kobayashi climbs most the way up the ladder and hits an elbow drop, Kobayashi puts Ito into a crab hold but Ito gets to the ropes.  Kobayashi puts down the electrified board and the nail board, he picks up Ito but Ito slams Kobayashi on the electrified board.  Ito then slams Kobayashi onto the nail board, he puts a ladder on top of Kobayashi and then puts some chairs on him.  Ito goes up top and hits the dragon splash down onto the pile, but Kobayashi kicks out of the cover.  Kobayashi isn’t doing to well as Ito brings in needle, and he jabs it through Kobayashi’s cheek.  They trade punches and Ito hits the Shining Dragon, he goes up top and he hits the Dragon Splash for the three count!

Thank God it finally ended. So this is everything I don’t like about death matches.  I don’t mind blood and I like things like barbed wire and ladder spots, but this was just two older wrestlers bumbling around the ring taking turns doing disgusting things to each other for 20 minutes.  I can do without things like the needles and staple gun, don’t want to see that, and there was nothing really inventive that would hook in someone that isn’t really into the excessive violence aspect of the match.  I guess if you like garbage death matches, go for it, otherwise move on to the main event.

Ito with the Splash onto plunder (and Kobayashi)

BJW Strong World Heavyweight Championship – (c) Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Yuji Okabayashi: They immediately tie-up and in the process Okabayashi gets his nose busted, so he’ll be dealing with that the rest of the match.  Shoulderblock by Okabayashi, Sekimoto clubs him in the chest but Okabayashi hits another shoulderblock.  They keep running into each other until Sekimoto finally wins the battle, elbow drop for Sekimoto and he covers Okabayashi for two. Sekimoto throws Okabayashi out of the ring but Okabayashi elbows him as Sekimoto goes for a tope suicida.  Okabayashi pulls Sekimoto out with him and hits a chop, and they battle around the ring.  Sekimoto eventually throws Okabayashi into the ring post before sliding him back in and chopping Okabayashi into the corner. Okabayashi throws Sekimoto into the other corner, Sekimoto gets on the top turnbuckle and goes for a crossbody but Okabayashi doesn’t go down (Okabayashi tried to catch him but missed).  Okabayashi and Sekimoto trade elbows, lariat by Sekimoto and both wrestlers are dazed.  Back up they trade elbows, vertical suplex by Sekimoto and he gets a two count.  Sekimoto tries wearing down Okabayashi with submissions but Okabayashi returns to his feet and they trade strikes.  Big backdrop suplex by Okabayashi as he takes control of the match, scoop slam and he hits a running body press for two.  Irish whip by Okabayashi and he hits a powerslam, but that gets two as well.

Okabayashi applies an abdominal stretch but Sekimoto gets out of it, chops by Okabayashi but Sekimoto hits a scoop slam. Sekimoto gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, lariat by Sekimoto in the corner and he hits a second one.  Vertical suplex by Sekimoto and he covers Okabayashi for a two count.  Sekimoto gets Okabayashi on his shoulders but Okabayashi squeezes his face to get Sekimoto to let go.  Now it is Okabayashi that gets Sekimoto in the Argentine Backbreaker but Sekimoto returns the favor.  Sekimoto applies a sleeper with a bodyscissors, but Okabayashi drives him back into the corner.  Irish whip by Okabayashi to the corner but Sekimoto kicks him back, Sekimoto charges Okabayashi but Okabayashi slam him into the corner.  Okabayashi picks up Sekimoto and powerbombs him into the turnbuckles, vertical suplex by Okabayashi and he covers Sekimoto, but it only gets a two.  Crab hold by Okabayashi but Sekimoto makes it to the ropes so Okabayashi eventually lets go.  Scoop slam by Okabayashi, he goes up top, but Sekimoto recovers and joins him.  Okabayashi lariats Sekimoto back to the mat and he delivers a missile dropkick.  Cover, but it gets only two.  Okabayashi picks up Sekimoto but Sekimoto hits a back bodydrop and both wrestlers lariat each other.  Standing dropkick by Sekimoto and he lariats Okabayashi in the back of the head before hitting a release German.

Okabayashi pops back up however and hits a lariat, and both wrestlers are down on the mat.  Back up Sekimoto hits a hard lariat, he grabs Okabayashi around the waist but Okabayashi blocks the suplex and throws Sekimoto over his head.  Okabayashi goes off the ropes but Sekimoto lariats him and hits a jumping kick.  Another one by Sekimoto and he delivers a German suplex hold, but Okabayashi gets a shoulder up.  Sekimoto goes off the ropes and hits lariat, but Okabayashi kicks out of the pin again.  Sekimoto goes for the deadlift German but Okabayashi blocks it, headbutt by Sekimoto and they trade shots to the head.  Okabayashi finally floors Sekimoto with a lariat, but it only gets two.  Okabayashi slams Sekimoto, he goes up top and he delivers the Golem Splash.  Cover, but Sekimoto gets a shoulder up.  Okabayashi picks up Sekimoto and he nails the Last Ride, cover by Okabayashi and he gets the three count!

This was definitely a man sized hoss match, no doubt about that. Okabayashi managed to bloody himself ten seconds into the match which always adds extra drama, and the sweat was just flying everywhere by the end as they smashed each other over and over. The match also didn’t have any overkill which was surprising considering the stage, but there weren’t any excessive moves on the floor, from the top turnbuckle, etc. Just lots of clubberin’. It was not perfect, there was one noticeable botch which was unfortunate and it did slow down at a few points, but overall I thought this was a great match and if you like strong-style you’ll enjoy this one. Highly Recommended

Okabayashi hits a Backdrop Suplex on Sekimoto

Final Thoughts: This show was a good summary of everything that Big Japan is in 2015 at the highest level. The Strong Style stuff was great, as I loved the main event and the Twin Towers tag title match. On the other hand, we had the two aged death match wrestlers going through random weapons with little purpose in the co-main, and silly things like Great Kojika at 73 still wrestling and winning titles. If you don’t mind bouncing around a bit there are some legitimately great matches on this show, and if you like the current death match style there are several more that you will enjoy on top of that, so this is without question a show I’d recommend. But if you are like me you may just want to avoid Kobayashi/Ito, Big Japan had a chance to do something special and different but instead opted to put on a CZW-style match that didn’t help anyone. Either way, be sure to watch the main event as its a barrel of hoss and the perfect example of Big Japan Strong Style.

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