Tiger Mask W is back with an all new episode. Last week was more about character development, but this week is action packed. There are multiple matches and two of them are pretty blood soaked. You can watch this week’s an all the previous episode of Tiger Mask W over at Crunchyroll. If you want to find the rest of my recaps, you can do that here.
Let’s get to the violence!
Episode 4 Recap: The Mask of Red Death
Episode four kicks off with Red Death Mask walking into the arena. He’s wearing a bright red suit with a purple shirt (obviously, the collar is popped). This is clearly a man of high fashion. Haruna and Tiger Mask discuss Tiger’s upcoming match when Ryu Wakamatsu walks into the room. If you don’t remember, Ryu is the young lion that Naoto teamed with in episode two. Ryu is Red Death Mask’s opponent on this Road to Ryogoku show. New Japan must have a lot of confidence in this young lion to have him face an outsider in a singles match like this. Ryu might have even more confidence in himself because he asks Haruna if she wants to go out to dinner after he wins. The poor fool.
Ms. X introduces Red Death Mask to his GWM compatriots; Kevin, Mike, and Tiger the Dark. One of those things is not like the other. Red Death Mask doesn’t care at all about these peasants and goes into his dressing room. A wrestling journalist, Hikari Kuruma, introduces herself to Tiger the Dark and tries to get some scoops out of him. We first met Hikari last week when she monologued about RDM’s name coming from Poe’s classic work. The GWM wrestlers pay her no mind and walk off.
The Red Death Mask special feature match begins and Ryu doesn’t have a shot in hell. Ryu throws a bunch of offense at RDM, who no sells all of it. Red Death Mask catches Ryu in the Red Death Claw and it’s not a pretty sight. Blood begins to pour out of the young lion’s head as it gets crushed. The referee asks him if he wants to give up and Ryu says no. With the amount of blood that’s flowing, the referee should just call the match. Ryui passes out (still no match stoppage) and Red Death Mask tosses him head first into the ring post. Ryu lands lifelessly on the ring apron and finally the match is called. Red Shoes must have wanted to give his cousin, Red Death Mask (whose name is probably Marvin) a chance to show off.
“Red Shoes Unno? It’s your cousin, Marvin. Marvin Red “Death Mask” Shoes.”
Ms. X and Red Death Mask tell the crowd that this is the same thing that will happen to Tiger Mask at Ryogoku. Backstage, Haruna asks Tiger Mask if he wants to go through with the match. Naoto responds that he has no choice, but to keep going forward, fighting GWM’s best. Tiger Mask goes off to have his warm up match against a young lion. We don’t see the match, but I have to assume that it’s less bloody than the match that came before it.
After a commercial break, we’re with Naoto at Takaoka Motors and he works out to get ready for his big match. Then we get a little flashback to three years ago where we see the first time that Haruna and Naoto met. She was planning on working at her uncle’s auto shop. She’s crushed when her uncle tells her that he’s closing up shop so that he can train Naoto. Haruna runs off in tears, she was really looking forward to working alongside her uncle. Naoto catches up to her and tries to explain what’s going on. Instead of actually saying what they’re doing, Naoto says “I’m becoming a tiger with Takaoka-san.” Here’s some advice for Naoto and everyone reading this: if you’re trying to comfort a crying girl, don’t be so obtuse. It won’t help anything.
The show begins at Sumo Hall and Tiger the Dark finds out that’s he’s working the second match on the card against Kevin. Remember Kevin? We met him earlier and he probably left no impression on you. Anyways, Tiger the Dark makes short work of Kevin in front of a mostly empty crowd. I guess cartoon universe New Japan needs to work on strengthening their undercards. Tiger the Dark is PISSED. Hikari Kuruma meets TD in the back and tries once again to get scoops out of him, to no avail.
Now it’s time for the match we’ve all been waiting for. Tiger Mask makes his entrance to a strong crowd reaction. As he waits for Red Death Mask, the villain jumps him from behind, wrapping up Tiger Mask in his own cape. RDM pummels Tiger Mask as young lions try to pull him off. Yuji Nagata leaves the commentary table to step in, but is promptly thrown back out of the ring and to his seat by Red Death Mask. Tiger Mask gets tossed head first into the corner and the match officially begins. RDM stomps the hell out of Tiger Mask and then tosses him out of the ring before going up to the top rope. Naoto is in real trouble as he finds his throat crushed by a shin dropped down onto it from Red Death Mask.
As if a crushed throat wasn’t bad enough, RDM locks in the Red Death Claw on the outside and drags Tiger Mask back into the ring by his face. Red Death Mask tosses Tiger Mask into the ring post, like he did to Ryu Wakamatsu, busting TM open. He goes for the Red Death Claw again, but this time Naoto blocks it. RDM counters the block by applying the Claw to Tiger Mask’s abs in a truly painful looking hold. If this keeps up, we’ll have a Rock at WrestleMania situation where Naoto’s guts try to escape his body. Tiger Mask breaks out of it by putting Red Death Mask in an arm bar. RDM gets to the ropes, but Tiger Mask doesn’t let up on the arm, snapping Red Death’s wrist with an armbreaker across his shoulder. It looks like Red Death Mask can’t use the Claw anymore, but then he shocks everyone by applying the hold with his left hand. Red Death Mask is ambidextrous as hell!
Tiger Mask W is a bit bloodier than you'd expect. pic.twitter.com/yFQ15TL41F
— Kelly Harrass (@comicgeekelly) October 25, 2016
This time the hold is applied even tighter, causing blood to flow like a river. Tiger Mask’s mask is dyed a dark red by the blood. You might even say that Naoto is wearing a red mask (of death). Red Death Mask slams Tiger Mask’s skull into the mat in what looks to be a killing blow. RDM goes for a pin, but Tiger Mask manages to get the shoulder up before three. Red Death Mask sets up for a second Red Death Drop. Tiger Mask is roused back to life by Haruna’s cries and tosses Red Death Mask to the mat. Naoto is back in the match and his fighting spirit is at top levels. He peppers RDM with a flurry of kicks, bloodying the formerly dominant villain. Red Death Mask tries to fight back, but gets hit with a devastating kick to the midsection. Naoto decides that it’s time to end thing. He hoists up Red Death Mask and plants him into the canvas with a jumping Tiger Driver. Tiger Mask goes for the pin and gets the three count.
The crowd is elated as Tiger Mask’s hand is raised. It looked like all was lost, but he made the comeback of a lifetime. Nagata is very impressed by his performance. The bloody Tiger Mask stares daggers at Ms. X and tells her to bring him his next opponent. She tells him that he’ll just have to wait for one of her wrestlers to bring him his death. Naoto isn’t the only one that will have to wait because this episode is over.
Next week, Tiger Mask competes in a RAMBO!! Will he get thrown to the curb? Plus it looks like we’ll get our first appearance from Togi Makabe. You won’t want to miss this!