Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Wednesday, June 01, 2016


I'm an SWS novice, but 30 seconds in I already love the "Straight and Strong" tagline with a Godzilla T-Rex logo. Just some straight and strong wrestling right here. And also here's a dinosaur.

1. Samson Fuyuki & Shinichi Nakano vs. Kendo Nagasaki & Great Kabuki

ER: Joined in progress which is a shame, as we open on Kabuki and Nagasaki beating the snot out of Fuyuki. Kabuki throws one of the best running knees I've ever seen, and they roll to the floor to dump Fuyuki on a table and throw chairs at him while he flails in his awesome floral tights. Back in the ring and the Kendo/Kabuki double thrust kick is awesome and since both guys know how to hit a thrust kick it really should be a finisher. Fuyuki hits a falling clothesline on Kabuki, but Kabuki laughs it off, smacks him with a superkick and then shows Fuyuki how to REALLY throw a boss running clothesline. Nakano was a furious house of fire here but was really only in for 30 seconds (at least of what was shown of the 7 minutes), and Fuyuki still wrestles like a junior, and is still mostly junior size, winning with a cradle. I like the Kendo/Kabuki team, as well as the Fuyuki/Nakano team, but Fuyuki's comeback came out of nowhere and wasn't really believable at all.

2. Akira Katayama vs. Kenichi Oya

ER: I really liked Hisakatsu Oya during his FMW days, always thought he was a real underrated guy. I am 94% positive that I have never seen an Akira Katayama match in my life. I'm used to seeing Oya wearing his black karate pants and weird balding-down-the-middle 'do so it's weird to see him still balding down the middle, but wearing lime green and apricot shorts. Katayama is wearing tiger striped tights with "Rocket" written down the sides. It's like a couple NJPW trainees got sick of being forced to wear black trunks and do a bunch of boston crabs and dropkicks, so once they joined SWS they rebelled by wearing the shittiest trunks possible. First 7 minutes of the match are a whole bunch of nothing, but then suddenly a switch flips and Katayama starts working over the arm and it gets good. All the arm holds are put over by Oya's yelling and struggling, and Katayama does some cool knee drops to the bum wing. But Oya immediately ignores it all once he transitions back to offense (even using the bad arm for the first two post-armwork moves he does, an inside cradle and a clothesline). Last 5 minutes are fun as both guys just stop pretending to sell and start busting out all the big moves. We get plenty of nasty suplexes and a couple big dives from Katayama. Katayama also breaks out the stiff headbutts and uppercuts. So it was a total mess of a match, with 7 boring minutes leading into 3 ultimately pointless-yet-engaging minutes of decent armwork, leading to a really fun 5 minute sprint. I really wish this was the match joined in progress.

3. Masao Orihara vs. Tatsumi (Koki) Kitahara

ER: Orihara does not look like a disgraced yakuza button man yet and Kitahara is young and mulleted. Orihara does a bunch of poorly planned and reckless flips to the floor to start, seemingly with no regard to where he lands. Kitahara is gracious enough to catch him. Back in and Kitahara does a stiff legsweep and then points to his head to show how smart he is. Awesome. Then he starts kicking Orihara a bunch, and sassily gets the crowd to cheer for Orihara to make a comeback. One big vertical suplex later and Orihara is dumped to the floor, with Kitahara following to deliver one of the nastiest snap suplexes I've ever seen, right on the rampway. Good lord that was fast and painful. Orihara gets some little flying comebacks, until Koki decides to level him with a short arm clothesline to the neck. This sets up one of the coolest spots I've seen in months: So Orihara just got leveled with a clothesline, and he's taken a pretty man-sized beating and struggling to get up, and Kitahara is smugly leaning against the ropes, waiting for Orihara to get up so he can level him with another clothesline. Orihara gets up, Kitahara sprints forward and swings for the fences, only for Orihara to reverse it with a crucifix roll up for a GREAT near fall. What made it work so damn well was the commitment. Kitahara looked like he didn't expect Orihara to reverse it, so he threw the clothesline with full strength, making him off balance for the resulting takedown and roll up. Great spot. It doesn't matter in the end as Kitahara ends up hitting a mean northern lights suplex to win, but a great moment is a great moment. I don't know if I can call the match really good, as my end impression was that this was more Kitahara flexing nuts on a young boy, and the pacing wasn't great, and nobody really sold anything. These things are hard as shit for me to rank or judge or critique. Basically, all the moves looked good, some looked brutal, but I never felt invested in any of it.

4. Greg Valentine vs. Fumihiro Niikura

ER: Valentine comes out to some big brassy burlesque number, like he's working some underground strip club during Prohibition. Niikura was in the Viet Cong Express with Hiroshi Hase in the 80s. Match wasn't special as it was basically an extended Valentine squash, but if you wanted to see The Hammer stiff up a Japanese guy you don't really know, then this would be right up your alley. Valentine looked really good here, throwing some of the best elbow strikes I've seen (the stiffest Dusty elbow you've ever seen, really great back elbows, and ends the match after three straight beautiful elbow drops). Is there anybody with better elbow drops than Valentine? Hansen maybe? Probably definitely Hansen.

5. Davey Boy Smith vs. Takashi Ishikawa

ER: On paper I was pretty excited for this one but Davey gasses WAY early and gets super chinlocky the whole match. Ishikawa tries his damndest to make it interesting but any time the match starts to approach any action, Davey Boy locks on a chinlock and loudly breathes, literally wheezing and gasping all over Ishikawa. Match ends with Davey Boy hitting a body slam and winning with a bad flying clothesline off the top. Those two moves were two of the only moves Davey Boy hit all match. Horrible. Ishikawa threw an awesome dropkick and was not responsible for any of the shittiness here.

6. Naoki Sano & George Takano vs. Yoshiaki Yatsu & Haku

ER: Weird match up as it's two large heavyweights against two juniors and you also had the dynamic of the giant guys cheating throughout the match. So the cheating would get booed, but Yatsu is also clearly one of the biggest stars in SWS so many fans still wanted to cheer his team. Sano looked really good here and his comebacks against Haku were really good, and I really liked Haku's powerbomb variations. Match was building to something and then Haku and Yatsu rough up the ref and the match gets thrown out after like 7 minutes. Booooooo. I think we had some clipping as well at some point.

7. Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara vs. Demolition (Smash and Crush)

ER: In retrospect Demolition had a horrible look and must have been one of the reasons my parents were filled with shame by my young/current/future wrestling fandom. I know they were supposed to look like Mad Max rogues, but they come off looking more like undercover cops trying too hard to blend in at The Mine Shaft. Barry Darsow is such a weirdo in this. He's still doing his "constant chatter" schtick, but it's so jarring to see and hear a giant leather daddy yelling "Shut your mouth, goofball!" or "I'm gonna beat this stinkin' bum!" Demolition are pretty boring here as their long control segment on Tenryu is just clubbing and chin locks (save for a really awesome and dangerous Smash backdropping Tenryu into a Crush piledriver). Control segment takes a long time, but the fans want Hara. Hara gets the hot tag, and unfortunately the match ends immediately after he comes in and does two clotheslines, and Darsow didn't exactly lean into them so they didn't look like normal match ending WAR type clotheslines.

Soooooo......this card was pretty damn disappointing. The theme of SWS seems to be that any move can end a match, at any time. Which just meant that every match ended out of nowhere on a move that looked like it shouldn't have ended the match. Wish we got the full cut of the Kabuki match.

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Blogger discotortoise said...

Katayama is an obscure and kind of intriguing figure. He was paralyzed in January '92 after a dive went wrong, and it was pretty horrifying; I remember reading that he was a quadriplegic who only had usage of his tongue. It was on the opener of a taping and I don't think that it's ever seen light, which is definitely for the best.

6:50 PM  
Blogger EricR said...

God that is terrible. I had no idea. I don't recall ever even hearing the name before. I'm actually surprised these kind of traumatic injuries don't happen more often in wrestling. What a horrible shame.

1:46 AM  

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