Segunda Caida

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

Thursday, September 08, 2016


PAS: Pretty cool to wake up and see some FUTEN show up on the internet. The main event I have seen before, but I don't remember seeing the undercard, and we get a Hiroyuki Ito sighting which is always exciting.

ER: ^^^ Phil wrote that a couple of years ago, before starting to review this FUTEN show. Up until that point all that existed of this show was the glorious main event. Then one day many years later the entire show popped up for our viewing pleasure. Phil started the review, and here we are finishing it.

Katsumi Usuda vs. Kota Ibushi

PAS: Really fun Usuda performance, who worked this like a poor man's Fujiwara. Working the young kid through some mat exchanges, milking drama off near KO's and slipping in a flash submission when it looked like all was lost. Usuda doesn't have Fujiwara's charisma (really who does) but he has that match structure down. Usuda is really great at pace changes, speeding up the match and slowing it down. There is a great part here where they are sort of sparring looking for openings and Usuda catches Ibushi with a solid shot to the chops, the match immediately kicks up a gear with Ibushi reeling and throwing shots desperately, while Usuda swarms to get the KO, when it doesn't come, the match slows down a bit again.

ER: I really liked Ibushi here. You know going in that Usuda is going to be money, but I don't know how decade+ old Ibushi was, and here he was really good. Was he good because he was standing opposite a man willing to take nasty kicks to painful areas? That was some of it, but this wasn't Usuda helping a blind man cross the street. Usuda clearly paced things but Ibushi was awesomely along for the ride. His kick flurries were manic and brutal, and the way he mixed up strikes to keep Usuda off balance was glorious. At one point he's lacing in with kicks to the body and chest, throwing slaps to the face, and Usuda is taking all sorts of punishment and the moment he starts to figure out some timing and advance, and Ibushi just surprises him with a front kick to the gut. I loved all of Usuda's flash subs (catching the arm into a Fujiwara was great) and I loved Ibushi sending Usuda on the run with kicks. One great moment where Usuda is on the ropes trying to shield himself and Ibushi just rushes for the attack. He gets paid back later with Usuda taking him out with nasty low leg kicks (watch how great Ibushi's sell is on his wobble legs). Awesome match.

Takeshi Ono vs. Hiroyuki Kotsubo

PAS: Big waste of an Ono match. He is such an incredible wrestler and shows up so rarely on video that it is a bummer to see him saddled with such a load in such a short match. Only about 4 minutes and some awful looking offense from Kotsubo, that was one of the worst clotheslines I have ever seen. Ono sells for a sec and then decides to just punch this clown out, his finishing flurry was cool, but only a taste of what he can do.

ER: This was weird but I think could have been good with some time. Ono is a good enough worker that he can drag a good match out of someone like Kotsubo if given enough time to tell some kind of story. This wasn't enough time to tell any kind of story, so what we were left with was just a short match and an awkward opponent. Kotsubo did have SOME skill, just limited. Ono is a guy who can work around limited skill. He didn't really get the chance to do that here. Kotsubo is clearly some kind of amateur wrestler, as his opening takedown and single leg floatover looked really good. But he tried to do more than that and that's when things looked uglier. For a wrestler he didn't have a very good suplex, so when he german'd Ono it was supposed to be one of those match turning point suplexes where Ono does a flip over bump and sells it as a potential KO blow, except the suplex basically looks like a rolling cradle and Ono sells it as the KO anyway. Yeesh. Then Ono gets up and kicks the shit out of him like we all wanted to begin with. Yep. We all realized "man if this was gonna only go 4 minutes, then this should have just been Ono giving this dude spinning backfists for 4 minutes."

Ikuto Hidaka & Minoru Fujita vs. Kyosuke Sasaki & Hajime Moriyama

ER: Team BattlArts/Zero-1 vs. Team U-Style! Those names all mean something to puro kids these days, right? I haven't seen much of Team U-Style, but they seemed perfectly fine here. Bland at times, kick party fun the next. Once they started kicking the veterans things got fun, and Hidaka and Fujita suddenly getting desperate against the young turks was a nice moment. We get some nice spirited moments, like Fujita and Sasaki breaking into a spontaneous slap war, Hidaka breaking out a trippy grapevine leg sub that would make Negro Navarro drool, and an awesome finishing sub where he rolls a snug double leg into an almost Texas cloverlead/dual ankle lock with several points of painful leverage. I had no idea what I was looking at, but I loved it. Match as a whole was more like several separate vignettes. It didn't totally build to a finish, but instead was a kind of series of restarts. Which is fine, and this style sometimes lends itself to that, but taken in it's segmented form it was overall fine.

PAS: I really enjoyed this. Always liked the Fujita/Hidaka tag team they were one of my favorite parts of mid 90's Japanese indy wrestling. Cool to see them pop up ten years later and still as slick. The U-Style dudes are all beasts on the mat and I loved how fast and slick all of their rolling with Hidaka and Fujita was. Lots of grabbing and twisting of limbs in nasty ways. Hidaka especially was on one, just breaking out crazy nutso limb locks one after the other, the U-Style guys were throwing the kind of thumping shots appropriate on the undercard of Ikeda v. Ishikawa. Very cool stuff.

Hiroyuki Ito vs. Manabu Hara

ER: This never totally got going for me. Similar to the previous match it felt like there were too many momentum breaks. A lot of kick, down, count, back up. Sub, rope break, separation, back up. There were moments where it threatens to get really good, where the violence almost broke out from the pack. That can be tough on shows like this, with several tough guys, all trying to out-tough the other to be more memorable. At one point Ito rushed in with a bunch of fast and nasty right kicks to the chest and body and it got really exciting, like Ito snapped and got tired of screwing around and Hara was going to respond with brutal kicks of his own. And he kinda does. But soon they're back to breaks and separations. At the end of the match it felt like they went out to do a Ikeda/Ishikawa match, except nowhere near as good, and right before an actual Ikeda/Ishikawa match. Just not enough substance here.

PAS: I really liked this. Ito is a weird wrestling genius who showed up in shoot feds in the early 2000s had awesome matches from the beginning and then disappeared again. He was one of my favorite U-Style guys and had a great short Big Mouth Loud run. This wasn't a high end Ito match, but it had a lot of the trappings which made him such a compelling wrestler. I loved how he brought the match up and down in intensity, and how he would respond to Hara's fast kicks with one or two thumping ones. There were a lot of rope breaks, but I enjoyed how the worked in and out of them, Ito was great at throwing quick kicks off of breaks.This was more U-Style then FUTEN as it was more of a chess match then a harrowing war. The kind of match which isn't done anymore, and I really enjoyed watching it.

Yuki Ishikawa vs. Daisuke Ikeda

ER: This is a legendarily violent match between two of the biggest badasses in wrestling. I think this is actually the most violent match these two have ever had, and my lord think of the ground that covers. This match is so violent that I'm not actually sure how neither of them ended up KO'd at some point. Are they this good at close-up magic? You know it's going to be a barnburner as both men start the match with their hair at 0.7 on the Big Ern Scale, with Ishikawa's dyed that fashionable blonde/platinum/gray/purple that ladies are into, beating the trend by a decade!  It's possible that he was sporting mermaid hair in whatever FUTEN hasn't shown up by now. And after the hair is checked and being fluffed by the AC, these two men destroy each other for 14 minutes, to the point where some parts of the match get difficult to watch. Ishikawa is at his most violent here, punching Ikeda in the throat - regularly - punching him in the ribs, hyperextending his arm in an awful armbar after already damaging it with a hammerlock. Watching Ikeda rub his inner elbow while trying to flex after breaking that armbar is either next level selling, or the look of a man whose elbow is now going to be cranky every time it rains in Tokyo. And for this lifetime of elbow pain, he decides to kick Ishikawa square in the forehead. A lot. He kicks him in the neck with his left leg, and then kicks him in the ear with his right leg to catch him on the way down. He punts him right in the head and face several times. I actually looked away at one point. Every time either man got to his feet looked like a legitimate struggle, and sometimes I rooted for them to stay down. Yet once I begged for Ishikawa to stay down, he would rally, and nail Ikeda with elbows and more punches. Ishikawa locks on a choke at one point and we hear Ikeda gurgling. Mouths get bloodied. Elbows get thrown to the back of heads. Ikeda clotheslines Ishikawa in the side of the neck. Ishikawa enziguiris Ikeda in the mouth. I don't know what kind of relationship these two men have outside of a wrestling ring, but their professional wrestling relationship certainly blossomed into a strange thing that would be impossible to explain to any of your co-workers. This match is a horrific masterpiece. I think it's the best singles between the two men, making it the best singles match of one of my favorite match ups in wrestling history. These two perfected a style that few could handle, and few would want to try.

PAS: I am not sure where this match stands it the pantheon of Ikeda v. Ishikawa matches. This is the most violent, but also the most simplistic. You want simplistic and violent from Ikeda v. Ishikawa and the fact that these are two guys who have lost some of their athleticism is part of the appeal. It feels more like a hellacious battle from two guys who have already taken large pieces out of each other over the years. They had some nice wrestling scrambles, but every scramble was a set up for a violent attack. Ishikawa's punches were pretty unbelievable, they hit so hard that it actually sounded sweetened. Meanwhile Ikeda is sprinting across the ring and trying to Janakowski Ishikawa's head through the uprights. There is a section near the end where a glassey eyed Ishikawa blood dripping out of his mouth like he had a root canal, is just dropping Ikeda on his head,  can't help but think "what the hell am I watching?"  A lot of the stiff Puro wrestling today is loaded with guys trying to prove how tough they are by not selling, in this match they unloaded holy hellfire on each other, but every move took a toll, they weren't ignoring the pain to prove they were tough, the felt every bit of the agony and kept moving forward.

ER: Ikeda/Ishikawa is a true epic, and after talking it over Phil and I decided to add it as the 2005 rep on our All Time MOTY List. What 2005 matches could challenge it?!


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