Big Japan Pro-Wrestling
August 16, 2015
Tokyo Korakuen Hall – Tokyo, Japan
About once a month I am contractually obligated to review a Big Japan event. So here we are! This one is mostly interesting for the main event, which sees BJ Strong wrestler Daisuke Sekimoto facing death match icon Ryuji Ito in a Lighttubes Death Match. Let’s see how this goes.
Hideki Suzuki vs. Yoshihisa Uto
Uto attacks Suzuki before the match starts, because why not, and hits a lariat in the corner. Suzuki has had enough and boots Uto before knocking him to the mat. Suzuki gets Uto’s leg and pulls on it but Uto gets to the ropes to force a break. Suzuki stomps on Uto and hits an uppercut, Suzuki applies a cobra twist but Uto gets to the ropes, but Suzuki goes off the ropes but Uto plants him with a dropkick. Uto goes for a suplex but Suzuki blocks it and hits a hard elbow. Uto hits a trio of lariats to knock Suzuki off his feet, he quickly covers him but barely gets a one count. Suzuki knees Uto in the chest and he hits a backbreaker, double arm suplex by Suzuki and he gets the three count!
This was fine for what it was, but I think that Suzuki has the energy of a sedated slug and it lacked the pop you may see in veteran/rookie matches where the veteran knows how to emote. Maybe Uto got some respect for knocking over Suzuki with a few lariats, but it was just too short and Uto didn’t really do enough to make it particularly interesting.
Kazuki Hashimoto vs. Tatsuhito Takaiwa
They trade elbows to start until Hashimoto hits Takaiwa with a big lariat. Takaiwa rolls out of the ring but Hashimoto goes out after him and kicks Takaiwa from the apron. Hashimoto throws Takaiwa into the crowd and kicks him in the chest, but Takaiwa chops Hashimoto back and they trade shots on the floor. Hashimoto kicks Takaiwa in the leg until he collapses and returns to the ring, with Takaiwa slowly following. Hashimoto keeps kicking at Takaiwa in the leg and ten hits a few elbows before going back to the leg again. I have a feeling Hashimoto may regret this shortly. Hashimoto elbows Takaiwa into the corner and twists his injured leg in the second rope. Takaiwa finally gets the advantage with a lariat, scoop slam by Takaiwa and he goes up top, hitting a diving elbow drop for a two count. Hashimoto hits a dragon screw to get back in control and applies an ankle hold, but Takaiwa gets to the ropes.
Big kick by Hashimoto and he boots Takaiwa again, Hashimoto picks up Takaiwa and goes for the fisherman suplex but Takaiwa reverses it with a vertical suplex of his own. Hashimoto snaps off a release German and kicks Takaiwa in the chest. Kick to the head by Hashimoto, cover, but it gets two. Hashimoto goes for a slam but Takaiwa blocks it and quickly hits a Death Valley Bomb. Takaiwa puts Hashimoto on the top turnbuckle and joins him, hitting a superplex. Hashimoto bounces back up however and headbutts Takaiwa before giving him a Death Valley Bomb of his own, but Takaiwa gets up and plants Hashimoto with a second Death Valley Bomb. Hashimoto pops up from that and slaps Takaiwa, but Takaiwa levels him with a lariat. Another lariat by Takaiwa, cover, but Hashimoto gets a shoulder up. Takaiwa picks up Hashimoto and drops him with a Death Valley Bomb, and he picks up the three count!
This one started strong but went downhill quick. The leg work was going great but I am not sure where them both not selling Death Valley Bombs came from, and after the ankle hold there was no effort by Takaiwa to sell the leg that Hashimoto had worked pretty well. I am still somewhat inclined to like the match in spite of things because both really brought the emotion, but the structure was definitely lacking. Mildly Recommended
Barbed Wire Board Death Match – Abdullah Kobayashi, Kankuro Hoshino, and Masato Inaba vs. Ryuichi Sekine, Masaya Takahashi, and Takayuki Ueki
They dress alike to make my play by play more difficult. Kobayashi is thrown into the barbed wire board right off the bat and he is stomped on by everyone. Kobayashi finally starts fighting back and scoop slams all three, Hoshino comes in and he scoop slams Sekine onto the barbed wire board. Hoshino is tagged in, he slams around Sekine, Kobayashi is tagged in and he hits a diving chop. The beatdown on Sekine continues for several minutes, but Sekine manages to slam Hoshino onto the barbed wire board and tags in Takahashi. Inaba comes in to help but Takahashi spears both of them. Takahashi elbows Hoshino in the corner and hits a scoop slam, he puts a bunch of chairs on Hoshino as well as the barbed wire board before he hits a somersault senton. Takahashi tags in Ueki, Ueki puts the barbed wire board in the corner and he slams Hoshino into it. Hoshino fires back with a lariat and tags in Inaba, Inaba goes for a chokeslam but Ueki blocks it. Crossbody by Ueki, and he tags in Sekine. Kobayashi comes in and lariats Sekine, and Kobayashi hits a Shining Wizard onto Sekine. Cover by Inaba, but Sekine kicks out. STO by Inaba to Sekine and Kobayashi hits an elbow drop. The barbed wire board is put onto Sekine and Inaba hits a diving senton. He goes up top again but is grabbed from the apron, Takahashi joins Inaba up top and hits a superplex. Ueki then hits a diving crossbody, and Sekine hits the Dragon Shoot for the three count!
I have seen this match about a hundred times. Not literally, but the same basic participants in the same death match, its uncanny how lazy promotions are sometimes when laying out their midcard matches. Just an utter lack of imagination. The action itself was average, nothing offensive, but I couldn’t bring myself to really care since it is so overdone.
Bunkhouse Death Match – “Black Angel” Jaki Numazawa and Takumi Tsukamoto vs. Yuko Miyamoto and Isami Kodaka
This is a Bunkhouse Death Match, meaning they all charge the ring after the bell is sounded. Miyamoto gets to the barbed wire bat and he hits Tsukamoto in the chest with it. The action spill to the floor, Numazawa grabs Miyamoto and hits the ring bell against his back. Kodaka lariats Tsukamoto up in the stands while Miyamoto works over Numazawa in the ring. Kodaka gets in the ring with the bat but Numazawa dropkicks him into the corner. Numazawa gets the barbed wire bat and he rakes it across Kodaka’s head before choking him with it. Tsukamoto comes in and he slams Kodaka in front of the corner, Numazawa puts the bat on his chest and Tsukamoto hits a corkscrew reverse splash for a two count. Numazawa throws Miyamoto out of the ring, Numazawa headbutts Kodaka but Kodaka headbutts him back. Dropkick by Kodaka and he leaves the ring, Miyamoto and Tsukamoto come in and Miyamoto hits an overhead suplex.
Miyamoto and Tsukamoto both dive out of the ring onto their respective opponents and they all battle around the floor. Kodaka runs all the way around the ring and kicks Tsukamoto in the head, Miyamoto grabs Numazawa and slides him back into the ring. Miyamoto gets the bat and he hits Numazawa in the chest with it. Tsukamoto comes in but Miyamoto hits him too with the bat, Miyamoto goes up top and he hits a missile dropkick on Numazawa. Numazawa is double teamed in the corner, but Numazawa lariats Kodaka. Numazawa picks up Miyamoto and hits a jawbreaker, Blue Thunder Driver by Tsukamoto to Miyamoto but it gets a two count. Numazawa puts Miyamoto on his shoulders and gets the bat, hitting a rolling fireman’s carry slam, cover by Numazawa but Kodaka breaks it up with a diving double kneedrop. Kodaka and Tsukamoto trade elbows and superkicks, and Kodaka hits a tope suicida onto Numazawa. Miyamoto nails a handspring somersault kick on Tsukamoto and he delivers the Yankee Driver, picking up the three count!
This was better than the last match, as the barbed wire bat is more fun and the wrestlers involved are more skilled in general. Miyamoto and Kodaka were flying everywhere and Tsukamoto was solid. Not a lot ‘new’ but still pretty entertaining. Mildly Recommended
Ryota Hama, Ryuichi Kawakami, and Hideyoshi Kamitani vs. Yuji Okabayashi, Kohei Sato, and Shuji Ishikawa
Odd assortment here of wrestlers with Hama thrown in the mix. Okabayashi and Kawakami start off, Okabayashi pushes Kawakami into the ropes and chops him in the chest before backing off. Tie-up, Kawakami gets Okabayashi into the ropes this time and he clubs him as well before giving him space. Okabayashi immediately chops him back and they trade strikes, Kawakami pushes Okabayashi into the corner and gives him a hard elbow. Kawakami tags in Hama, so Okabayashi tags in Sato. Sato kicks Hama in the legs but Hama pushes Sato to the mat. Sato tags in Okabayashi, chops by Okabayashi to Hama, he goes for a scoop slam but Hama lands on top of him. Hama tags in Kamitani, Kamitani chops Okabayashi into the corner but Okabayashi chops him back and tags in Ishikawa. This was bound to happen in this match as Kamitani was the weak link of the six, and all three wrestlers take turns attacking Kamitani. Kamitani eventually gets away and makes the hot tag to Hama, Hama clears the ring and hits a body avalanche on Sato in the corner. Running butt smash by Hama and he hits a DDT on Sato for a two count. Hama goes for a body press but Sato moves out of the way and tags in Ishikawa. Ishikawa lariats Hama in the corner but Hama comes back with a body avalanche. Ishikawa lariats Hama off his feet, and he covers him for a two count.
Ishikawa and Hama trade elbows, Ishikawa goes off the ropes but Hama hits a crossbody and tags in Kawakami. Okabayashi is tagged in too, and they trade chops and elbows. Kawakami chops Okabayashi into the corner but Okabayashi hits a few closed fist punches followed by a lariat. Kawakami stays up and hits a hard elbow, but another Okabayashi lariat sends Kawakami to his feet. Kawakami quickly gets up and hits a release German, but Okabayashi fires back with a lariat. Kawakami crawls to his corner and tags in Kamitani, Hama comes in too and they squish Okabayashi. Scoop slam by Kamitani to Okabayashi and Hama hits a senton. Diving elbow drop by Kamitani, but Sato breaks up the pin. Kamitani goes off the ropes but Okabayashi hits a powerslam, his teammates come in the ring but Kamitani has a moment of awesomeness as he takes care of all three of them. Kamitani picks up Okabayashi but Okabayashi blocks the backdrop suplex, enzuigiri by Kamitani and he slaps at Okabayashi, but Okabayashi slaps him back. Vertical suplex by Okabayashi, his friends come back in and Kamitani is triple teamed. Kamitani’s teammates have just disappeared. Okabayashi hits a big lariat on Kamitani, but Kawakami breaks up the cover. There he is. Sato takes care of Kawakami as Okabayashi hits a short range lariat on Okabayashi, but Kamitani kicks out at two (no way Hama can make it back in the ring to make a save). Okabayashi picks up Kamitani and plants him with the powerbomb, and he picks up the three count!
This was solid strong style, I was hoping they would do something particularly memorable or special (suplexing Hama for example) but it never happened. That doesn’t make the match not good, but it does make it a bit forgettable as some variation of these five (plus Hama) have had a lot of matches recently. Definitely hard hitting though, Okabayashi is the king of everything as far as I am concerned, and I enjoyed it even though it never tried to go to the next level. Mildly Recommended
Fluorescent Lighttubes Death Match – Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Ryuji Ito
That means tubes are hung from all four sides of the ring across the ropes, for those that have never seen a BJW show in the last 15 years. Sekimoto is the first to feel the lighttubes as Ito Irish whips him into them multiple times, he then sets a pair of tubes against Sekimoto’s back and kicks them into him for a two count cover. Ito gets a chair and hits Sekimoto in the back with it as slowly as possible, he goes for a slam but Sekimoto reverses it and slams Ito onto a steel chair. Sekimoto elbows Ito in the back of the head and clubs him in the back before chopping some tubes into his back. Ito gets back up and they trade elbows, an exchange that Sekimoto gets the better of, and he knees Sekimoto in the chest. Neckbreaker by Sekimoto and he covers Ito for a two count. Sekimoto grabs a bunch of tubes and puts them down in the ring, he grabs Ito and he suplexes him onto the lighttubes for another two count. Lariat by Sekimoto in the corner and he nails a delayed brainbuster, but Ito kicks out of the cover again. Chinlock by Sekimoto, Ito gets into the ropes but Sekimoto refuses to let go of the hold. Brainbuster by Sekimoto, he covers Ito but it gets two. Sekimoto goes for a lariat but Ito ducks it and hits a bridging vertical suplex for a two count. Kick by Ito, he puts some tubes across Sekimoto’s back and he hits a scissors kick. Leg drop by Ito, he goes up top and he delivers the missile dropkick for a two count cover.
Scoop slam by Ito, he goes to the top turnbuckle and he hits the moonsault, but Sekimoto kicks out at two. Ito goes for an Irish whip, Sekimoto reverses it and hits a lariat, but Ito comes back with a big boot. Spear by Sekimoto, he picks up Ito and puts him in the Argentine Backbreaker, Ito gets out of it and applies a waistlock, but Sekimoto gets free and hits a lariat. Brainbuster by Sekimoto, but again the move doesn’t work as it gets another two. Lariat by Sekimoto, he goes for a German suplex but Ito blocks it and hits a release German suplex of his own. Shining Dragon by Ito, cover, but Sekimoto gets a shoulder up. Ito picks up Sekimoto and slams him in the middle of the ring before putting a row of lighttubes on his chest. Ito then goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers the Dragon Splash, but Sekimoto immediately kicks out of the cover and hits a brainbuster. Ito also kicks out at one but Sekimoto blocks the Shining Dragon and hits a lariat. Sekimoto picks up Ito and hits the Snake Eyes, German suplex hold by Sekimoto but Ito kicks out at two. Sekimoto goes off the ropes but Ito kicks him in the chest, Sekimoto hits a big lariat anyway and he gets a two count. Sekimoto goes up top but Ito gets some lighttubes and hits him over the head with them. Ito sets up some chairs sideways in the ring. He finally finishes and joins Sekimoto back up top, and he hits a superplex into the chairs! That is fake excitement, since it took Ito literally 30 seconds to set up the chairs. Sekimoto gets up like nothing happened and they trade elbows until Ito kicks Sekimoto in the chest to send him to the mat. Release dragon suplex by Ito, he covers Sekimoto but it gets a two count. Ito gets a big bundle of tubes from under the ring, he scoop slams Sekimoto and puts the bundle on his chest. Ito then goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits the Dragon Splash, picking up the three count!
Let’s see how I can say this without angering BJW fans. Ryuji Ito is awful and should not be the face of the promotion. He wrestles in slow motion and has such formulaic matches that even Sekimoto couldn’t save it. He should be doing what Jaki is doing, wrestling in multi-man midcard matches, as strapping a promotion’s success onto someone as broken as Ito only leads to serious issues down the road. Also these lighttube matches are extremely played out at this point. Anyway I can’t fully blame him as I don’t think Sekimoto was great here either, the gimmick is so limiting that he just kept hitting the same two moves (brainbusters and lariats) over and over. If the match was 10 to 12 minutes it may have helped as it would have cleaned up some of the downtime, although I am unsure if Ito is physically able to wrestle a match without downtime. Also some of the no-selling went past ‘strong’ and into ‘stupid,’ I admit it is a fine line but they crossed it here with the first Dragon Splash and Sekimoto recovering so fast from the chair superplex that took 30 seconds to set up. Poor showing overall.
Final Thoughts: This event had more bad than good unfortunately. The bulk of the midcard was at least average, as the hardcore matches were inoffensive or solid, and the BJ Strong tag match was a fun. The main event just sucked the wind out of the sails though as it was not only a typical Ito lighttube match, but it was against a wrestler that is better than Ito in just about every way and Ito dragged Sekimoto down to his level. And while the midcard was very watchable there was nothing there I could recommend as something that needs to be seen, it was your normal Big Japan midcard. So with a main event that had more issues than I care to think about, this isn’t a show that I can recommend to anyone even if it wasn’t all bad from start to finish.