We’re back with an all new episode of Tiger Mask W and there are so many tigers in this show. So many.
This week GWM continues their assault on New Japan by bringing in some new faces to take on the New Japan army. Just who are these new Tigers? Read on to find out! Before we get into things, don’t forget that you can watch these episodes 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 33 Recap: Assassin from the Past
When this episode begins, we’re thrown directly into the action as we see Tiger Mask, Tanahashi, and Ryu Wakamatsu defeat Mike Rodriguez, Miracle I, and Miracle II. The New Japan team celebrates their victory in GWM’s home turf as the fans chant for them. It’s a lot like when CZW won the six man war at ROH’s 100th show and then went to celebrate with the CZW section of the crowd. GWM might have lost the battle, but Miss X isn’t worried as she has new fighters arriving in the country the next day.
At a press conference, Miss X introduces her two newest weapons of mass destruction, brought to her by Mister X. This first is a hulking monster known as Tiger the Black and the second is simply known as The Second. Both wear tiger masks, but The Second has a scar covering the right eye of his mask. The Lois Lane of Tiger Mask W, Hikari Kuruma, asks about the origins of The Second’s name. Miss X seems to want to protect his identity, but he freely offers up that his full name is Big Tiger the Second, making him the son of an enemy of the original Tiger Mask. In the Takaoka Motor’s kitchen, Kentaro explains that Big Tiger and Black Tiger both met their demise in the same match. In one exchange, both men plunged their weapons into the skulls of the other tiger, killing each other. It certainly makes the spike fights we saw between Jimmy Jacobs and BJ Whitmer seem even more dangerous now.
Back at the press conference, a journalist remarks to the man sitting next to him that The Second seems a little small to be a Big Tiger. Overhearing the crack, The Second reacts like we all would; by yelling “GODDAMN!” and attempting to choke him out. Before the journalist draws his final breath, The Third interrupts to say hello to his old tiger friend. Hikari takes the opportunity to ask about The Third’s heritage, finally confirming that he is in fact Tiger the Great the Third. A name like that really rolls off the tongue.
— Kelly Harrass (@comicgeekelly) May 30, 2017
Following the press conference, Miss X, Mister X, Lady, and the Tiger’s all meet to discuss future plans. The scene isn’t noteworthy until the very end when Mister X asks Lady how she’s enjoying Japan and reveals that he is her uncle. This really makes me wonder what Lady’s dad is like. Does he have Mister X’s grey skin too? Is he involved in the business? If you name your daughter Lady is your name Sir? I have so many questions and I truly fear that we’ll never get answers.
In the GWM gym, we see a sparring session between The Third and The Second, who shockingly wrestle to a stalemate. From everything we’ve seen, The Third is unmatched in power so him having an equal of any kind is bad news for New Japan.
Hey, How’s Takuma Doing?
Over at the hospital, Hikari pays Takuma a visit, bringing green tea flavored pudding with her as gift, making Naoto the only one to bring Takuma the wrong flavor of pudding as a get well gift. I don’t want to say that Naoto is bad at interpersonal relationships, but come on. Hikari checks on Takuma’s health and his injuries are healed up enough that he’s looking to make a return to the ring soon. That’s some John Cena level of healing ability.
When we first see Takuma, he’s lifting dumbbells, an activity that immediately draws the anger of Ruriko when she walks in the room. It turns out that these weights weren’t approved by her rehab plan and the two immediately begin bickering like an old married couple. The look on Hikari’s face tells a story that she was hoping to make some kind of connection with Takuma deeper than that of just a source for her. Takuma is a beautiful, sensitive man. I get it.
At the New Japan dojo, Yuji Nagata excitedly runs in on a training session between Tiger Mask and Tanahashi to tell them that GWM announced their next match. The debuting tag team of Tiger the Black and The Second will take on a team of New Japan’s choosing. Tiger Mask accepts the challenge and Nagata throws himself into the match as well, opting to save Tanahashi’s body against these two wild cards.
Tiger Mask and Yuji Nagata vs. Tiger the Black and Big Tiger the Second
First things first, who do I want to see play these new Tigers if New Japan wants to really use them? The obvious answer for Tiger the Black is Keith Lee. He’s got the same body type as Tiger the Black and we even see this Tiger hit a moonsault in this match. The Second is a bit harder to cast. If The Third is Mike Elgin (come on, New Japan, make this happen), a guy like Brian Cage might not be a bad choice for The Second. Cage has teamed with Elgin a bunch and he’s properly jacked to fit the character.
The bell rings as Tiger Mask and The Second start off the match. Tiger Mask goes for a spinning jump kick to the chest, but The Second just absorbs the blow and then proceeds to kick the crap out of Tiger Mask. Nagata wants to get tagged in and this leads to what might be the greatest single moment of this whole series.
— Kelly Harrass (@comicgeekelly) May 30, 2017
Nagata finally specifies that he’s talking to Tiger Mask, but this doesn’t make a difference as The Second continues to stomp a mud hole in him. The Second takes a break from his stomping to fling Tiger Mask into his corner with a release German suplex, allowing Nagata to tag himself into the match. Tiger the Black gets tagged in as well and takes several kicks from Nagata as though they were nothing. Black knocks Nagata into the ropes and clubs away at him as if he was Vader. The referee breaks it up and Nagata takes the opportunity to grab Tiger the Black and put him in the Nagata Lock, seemingly ignoring all semblance of anatomy or physics to do so.
Tiger the Black doesn’t suffer from the submission at all as it seems like he “shifted the focal point of his joint” according to Kentaro. Is this a real thing? I don’t think so, but I’ll admit that I don’t know everything there is to know about the human body. Haruna seems as confused as I am, so I’ll assume that this is weird wrestling science. Tiger the Black breaks out of the hold like it was nothing and puts Nagata in a sleeper hold. It looks like Nagata is out, but he still manages to kick out before three when Black goes for the pin.
Nagata fires up and hits Tiger the Black with a jumping enzuigiri, knocking him loopy. Tiger Mask gets tagged in and is immediately crushed with a flying crossbody by the enormous Tiger the Black. He lifts up Tiger Mask like he’s a child and slams him down with a powerbomb. Then Tiger the Black hits the aforementioned moonsault on Tiger Mask, but he somehow still kicks out before three.
Nagata tags into the match and things go really poorly for him. After being lariated by Tiger the Black, Nagata is dumped on his head with a release German suplex by The Second. The match comes to an end when The Second places Nagata in a modified torture rack where he head presses into Nagata’s spine. When Nagata refuses to give up, The Second leaps into the air and smashes Nagata into the ground, using his head like a spear. This move, the Skewer, knocks out Nagata, forcing the referee to call for the bell. Following the match, Nagata is taken away on a stretcher. This was really a squash match, but it was an entertaining squash. The Second and Tiger the Black were both introduced well as human wrecking balls. I’m looking forward to seeing them take on more New Japan teams. ***½
Naoto is a Doofus
After sitting around sulking about the loss, Naoto’s phone goes off and Takuma is on the other end of the line. He asks if he can use Naoto’s fancy Tiger Mask training room. You know, the one on Mount Fuji. Naoto asks for permission from Kentaro, who forces Takuma to leave the Tiger’s Den behind before he can use the training facility. Accepting whatever consequences may follow, Takuma vows to leave behind the evil wrestler factory.
Naoto and Kentaro go up to Mt. Fuji to meet Takuma, who is driven to the facility by Ruriko. When he sees Ruriko coming, Naoto runs into the facility like a dork to grab his mask to hide his identity. At this point, it doesn’t really matter if Ruriko knows who Tiger Mask is, does it? She knows his trainer and his best friend. She doesn’t work for GWM anymore. Naoto isn’t trying to court her anymore. The longer that Naoto hides who he is, the madder that Ruriko will be when she finds out that Naoto was hiding this from her. I understand protecting the gimmick, but he’s actively harming his personal life in a completely avoidable way.
As stupid as Naoto is, it’s nice to see him having a good time in the ring with Takuma. The episode ends with the two wrestlers talking about their love of the ring and smiling away as they warm up. That feeling of joy is really what this episode left me with. This might have been one of my favorite episodes of the series. Not only did they introduce two new, important characters, they advanced several stories and gave us a pretty solid match. We got some good comedy this week and the episode ended on a genuinely heartwarming moment. Here’s hoping that next week we get more of the same. Talk to you all then!