Oh, hello. I didn’t see you there. Come on in, it’s been a while. (It’s literally been two hours since I wrote the episode 25 review. Catching up on stuff after a vacation is the pits.) Last episode we saw some pretty shocking events with Tiger the Dark being destroyed by The Third and having his true identity revealed to the world. What will the fallout be? Let’s find out! As always, you can watch every episode of Tiger Mask W over at Crunchyroll and if you want to find the rest of my recaps, you can do that here.
Tiger Mask W Episode 26 Recap: The Mysterious Miracle 1
The show begins with Kevin and Mike speaking to pro wrestling journalist, Hikari Kuruma, about all of Takuma’s injuries. His left knee is shot, his right ankle is busted, his spine is bruised, one of his shoulders was dislocated, and they still need to run another brain scan. The Third really did a number on the kid and it’s unclear if he’ll ever recover fully. We all deal with grief in different ways and Kevin continues to blame Tiger Mask for what happened to Takuma. Had Tiger Mask not hit the double knees to Takuma’s chest, things might be different, but it’s not likely. Kevin needs someone to blame and Tiger Mask is his easiest target. Naoto attempts to visit Takuma, but overhears Kevin’s angry rant and realizes that he might not be welcome.
When you animate Tiger Mask W and you love memes pic.twitter.com/j6ib1Mo2CX
— Kelly Harrass (@comicgeekelly) April 11, 2017
When Naoto gets home, he’s understandably upset. In order to keep his mind off of the bad things, Naoto’s coach Kentaro says that they need to go train at their sweet Tiger secret base in Mount Fuji. Getting some exercise while you’re working through some stuff is always a good idea. Solid plan, Kentaro!
Meanwhile at the Max Dome, Haruna meets with Ms. X to go over some contract stuff. Tiger Mask only has one more match on his contract with GWM and after that he’ll be free to work wherever he wants, whenever he wants. Haruna asks Ms. X if it would be possible to arrange a title match with The Third, but she is denied. The Third has already gone back to America and Tiger Mask hasn’t really accomplished enough in his career to qualify for a title shot at this point in time. Ms. X suggests that Tiger Mask should go after the IWGP Championship first. Haruna rejects a full time deal for Tiger Mask at GWM and then asks how Takuma is doing. I’m a bit upset with how Ms. X doesn’t seem to care about his condition. In the past we’ve seen her show legitimate concern for Takuma. Even last week she showed that she cared about him when she confronted The Third about his actions. I suppose that she doesn’t want to show her emotions to an outsider, but even later in the show when she’s just with Lady, she seems uncaring about the whole matter. Maybe she sees Takuma as a failed experiment now, but even so, it still seems out of character to me.
After her meeting with Ms. X, Haruna decided to get some coffee and runs into Ruriko, who is very distraught about the entire Tiger the Dark situation. Knowing that he was injured and she still allowed him to wrestle has put a pretty heavy burden on her mind. She blames herself for what happened. Ruriko asks about Tiger Mask and seems to be jealous that Haruna can be at his side. I keep saying it, but Naoto is in the middle of a love triangle where he’s both of the dudes. That is not a place you want to be.
Over at the NJPW offices, Yuji Nagata, Okada, Gedo, and Ryu Wakamatsu talk about how things at the War Game didn’t go their way. Ryu and Gedo are both dismayed to find no mention of them in a newspaper story about the event. Nagata worries about GWM’s growing reach in Japan, so they’re going to fight back. Firstly, New Japan is going to bring in more foreign wrestlers, starting with a masked wrestler from Canada, Miracle 1. Nagata says they should also try to get Tiger Mask on their next tour and Ryu immediately offers to call Haruna to set up the deal. Okada starts teasing Ryu, saying that he only wants to make the deal so he can talk to her, which Ryu denies. Nagata says that there’s no reason for Ryu to make the call UNLESS he really just wants to do it to talk to a girl. Ryu admits to it, but Nagata makes him make the call now, in front of them, so that he can supervise because it still is a business matter. He makes the call while the three wrestlers giggle and listen in, but it works out. In an hour, Ryu’s meeting Haruna at a Korean BBQ place. I’m sure that this won’t end poorly for him.
You bet your ass it doesn’t go the way the Ryu wanted! Instead of getting a date, Ryu finds himself paying for a dinner for himself and Haruna AND the joshi tag team, Candy Pair. Ryu, buddy, I think it might be time to give up on her. On the upside, he did get her to agree to a deal for Tiger Mask to appear on the next New Japan tour.
While Haruna is getting herself and her friends a nice dinner, Naoto is training with Kentaro. Things aren’t going too well in their low rent Danger Room, so Kentaro just has him do a bunch of squats. Sounds easy, right? Not when you’re squatting giant weights while being spun around on a giant hamster wheel! There’s been a lot of dumb in this series, but this may have been the dumbest thing I’ve seen on this show yet.
Fast forward to the first New Japan show of this new tour and we get our first intro to Miracle 1. He’s kind of a dork that laughs at his own jokes and seems psyched about everything. He attempts to hit on Kuruma, but she is having none of it. We’ll see how well he does in the ring.
Match 1: Miracle 1 vs. Gedo
Miracle 1 immediately shows his highflying abilities in the match. Gedo goes for a hiptoss, but Miracle 1 does a full flip and lands on his feet before dropkicking Gedo out of the ring. He doesn’t let up either, hitting a suicide dive once Gedo gets back to his feet. Miracle 1 tries to lift up Gedo to get him back in the ring, but Gedo puts a stop to that with a fist right in the ding-ding. Gedo rolls him back into the ring and hits a splash off the top rope for a two count. By the curtain, Nagata and Tiger Mask watch the action and comment on how well Miracle 1 is doing in the match. Tiger Mask asks Nagata what it would take for him to get into IWGP title contention and he’s essentially given the same answer that Ms. X gave him, right down to Nagata saying that he should go after the GWM Championship.
— Kelly Harrass (@comicgeekelly) April 11, 2017
Back in the ring, Miracle 1 catches Gedo with a huracanrana and gets the three count for his first victory in New Japan. The crowd responds pretty well to Miracle 1, who looks elated to get this victory. **1/4
The next day, we see that Takuma has been moved from the ICU to the same physical therapy/assisted living center as his father. Takuma apologizes to his dad for not being able to avenge his defeat at the hands of Yellow Devil. Daisuke clearly doesn’t care about his son’s loss, he’s just happy to have his kid back after not seeing him for three years. He tells him that he doesn’t need to feel any shame, he did his best. Fujii’s a good dad, you guys.
For the next show of the New Japan tour, the wrestlers find themselves in Kourakuen Hall. While Haruna sells Tiger Mask merch, Ryu approaches her to ask her out once again. He makes a deal that if he wins his match, he’ll get to take her out to a dinner where it will just be them. Haruna must feel pretty confident making this agreement seeing as the Young Lions never win singles matches.
Match 2: Miracle 1 vs. Ryu Wakamatsu
Before the match begins, we see that Ms. X is watching at the Max Dome. Lady remarks that Miracle 1 is popular and Ms. X says “he’s going to get more popular,” with a devious smile on her face. In the ring, Ryu looks near the curtain, seeing Tiger Mask and, more importantly, Haruna watching his match. This fires him up! During the ring announcements, Miracle 1 grabs the microphone and voices his frustration at how he’s being used in New Japan. This can’t be the same Miracle 1 that was laughing and joking earlier in the show.
— Kelly Harrass (@comicgeekelly) April 11, 2017
Miracle 1 jumps Ryu before the bell and they exchange hard chops to the chest. Miracle 1 shows no regard for the rules, nailing Ryu with repeated closed fist punches, WHICH ARE ILLEGAL IN PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING. Red Shoes tells Miracle 1 to stop this attack, but he just gets booted out of the ring for his efforts. Then in a bit of a surprise, Miracle 1 invites Miracle 2 to come to the ring. Wait, there’s a Miracle 2?
The mysterious Miracle 2 enters the ring and lifts Ryu onto his shoulders. Miracle 1 climbs to the top rope and in an awesome spot, hits a Doomsday Dragonrana on Ryu. The Young Lion is clearly unconscious, but the two Miracles continue their assault, stomping on him over and over. This is a really good example of the trope of good guy wrestlers not coming to help their friends until it’s too late. Tiger Mask was watching the whole thing and didn’t even consider jumping in to help until after Ryu took an incredibly dangerous move.
Tiger Mask tries to springboard into the ring, but gets a dropkick to the face from Miracle 2 for his troubles. The kick appears to have knocked out Tiger Mask, who falls to the outside. Miracle 2 declares “I’ll kill you” to Tiger Mask and then it’s revealed to us that the man under the mask is really Kevin. He wanted Tiger Mask to suffer for what he’s done and he’s going to make sure it happens himself. The bell sounds and Ryu is named the official winner due to disqualification while Okada and Nagata check on him. I hope Haruna is getting ready for that date! The crowd is going crazy, giving massive amounts of heat to the Miracles. As the episodes ends, Miracle 1 promises that this is only the beginning and that they will keep multiplying.
Oh man, could this be the beginning of a GWM invasion of New Japan? I don’t know for sure, but it’s looking like this could be a super interesting story arc. Tiger Mask can’t worry too much about the multiple Miracles though, he has a wrestler called King Tiger ahead of him for his final GWM match. Tiger Mask W is getting really good and an invasion angle could make it even better. Will Tiger Mask even make it to his match with King Tiger? We’ll find out next week, talk to you all then!