Segunda Caida

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

Monday, December 12, 2016

Until There's a Kurisu...

The joy of Kurisu, a man with a legit long career in both New Japan and All Japan, he was around during the start of FMW, during an important year of WAR, and trained guys like Koji Kanemoto. He's also a guy I don't believe I've seen footage of before the age of 40. Kurisu exists as this perpetually middle aged Japanese Randy Marsh, whose interests include chair shots and shoot kicking people in the face. Until There's a Kurisu is a foundation dedicated to raising awareness of the pain caused by chair edges to the back of heads.

Kurisu vs. Shoji Akiyoshi (FMW 12/10/89)

Good grief, Kurisu. I think we all use the words "destroy" or "nasty" or similarly animated words to describe wild moments in the wrestling that we watch. But this match probably belongs in its own category. Because it's basically just Kurisu kicking rookie year Jado in the face for a few minutes until he's actually knocked out. Now, there is other stuff. It's not some weird snuff film where a stationary camera just zooms in on a man's face as you watch life drain from his eyes. There is a competitive (sort of) nature to it. But no matter what happens, it always comes back to Jado getting kicking in the face. This is the type of desultory beating that could really turn somebody into a vengeful psychopath, something that could really alter you. You can picture Jado visiting elderly Kurisu like Vito Corleone visiting Don Ciccio. So yeah, Kurisu kicks face, and as Akiyoshi is selling being kicked in the face he gets kicked more in the face. He finally escapes to the floor, which just leads to Kurisu getting on the apron and kicking him in the face, pre-dating Trevor Lee by 25 years. Then he grabs a chair and literally just hits Akiyoshi as hard as he can with it, several times, and kind of leaves him for dead. Back in the ring, though, Kurisu gives him a little comeback. Akiyoshi locks on a crab and Kurisu actually sells his back nicely for him. Akiyoshi goes up for a missile dropkick (inexplicably going to the turnbuckle farthest away from Kurisu) and eventually drops him. But then Kurisu has had quite enough of that and goes right back to kicking face, with the final kick catching Akiyoshi right under the chin and legit turning off the lights. The craziest thing about it is Kurisu goes to pick him up for more of an ass beating, realizes immediately that he is picking up a corpse, and then makes a face like "oh yeah, that makes sense!" and pins him. The screen freezes and fades to black and white, and I was half expecting to see a "In Memoriam" graphic pop up for Akiyoshi. He certainly earned his long career with this one.

Kurisu vs. Jang Yong Wow (FMW 1/7/90)

Kurisu against a karate guy, in the opening round of a tournament. "Japanese indy scum vs. Karate guy" is pretty much a guaranteed source of pro wrestling joy, as I imagine almost all of the scenarios involved some guy from a local dojo offered money to fake wrestle once, and the person he's wrestling eventually flips the script and goes off page on him. And that's what happens. Wow throws some spin kicks in the 1st round, 2nd round is Kurisu being Kurisu: throwing the nastiest unprotected chairshots to an unsuspecting Wow (his reaction made it seem like he knew Kurisu would be hitting him with a chair, but something tells me the shots were explained differently to him than the ones he got blasted with) and then back in the ring he allows himself to be dumped on his head with a Saito suplex and lies there while Kurisu puts him in a half crab. This was clipped to hell, and the match never had that wrestler vs. karate guy moment where the karate guy realizes he's being fucked with, instead Wow just kinda rolled over and played ball. But damn those chair shots.

Kurisu vs. Matsunaga (FMW 1/7/90)

I wonder how the transition happened, when Matsunaga went from normal karate guy to crazy deathmatch guy. Is it like prostitution? You're looking for a way to make some quick money one summer, and the money turns out to be WAY better than you anticipated, and then pretty soon you're doing it full time, and then the drug use kicks in, and eventually some long haul trucker buries you out on Long Island Sound and a jogger finds you a year later. The death match money likely doesn't come close to a night of hooking, but it's somehow less dangerous. But I really am wondering if one day you're a karate guy and then they convince you to let Kurisu hit you with a chair and then a week later you're in a piranha tank with your gi hung neatly in your locker. If you had never seen 90s Matsunaga you wouldn't have given him a second thought in this match. He was very much a karate guy who didn't look like he knew pro wrestling. And he was clearly told the same thing Jang Yong Wow was told in the first match: "Throw some pulled kicks throughout the 1st round, then in the 2nd at some point Kurisu will hit you with a chair." I am operating under the assumption that they expected the chairshots because it looked like they were waiting and bracing themselves to be hit by a chair. Kurisu even makes them wait a little too long. But yeah, Kurisu eats some nice low kicks eventually catches a kick and kind of muscles Matsunaga over the top to the floor. And then you see it: Matsunaga lying on his stomach, knowing that this is when he gets hit with a chair. And Kurisu finds a chair, and literally walks around Matsunaga's body, craning his neck in to look for the most painful angle bounce a chair off him. And he finds it. Kurisu ends up teeing off golf style with the edge of a chair to Matsunaga's head, then gives him a few shots to the body....then grabs a couple more chairs and gives him a few more shots, and then rolls in for the count out victory. If I had to guess, Matsunaga knew "take a chairshot, get counted out". Something tells me he was not told there would be 14 chairshots.

Kurisu vs. Tarzan Goto (FMW 1/7/90)

This is the finals of FMW's weird karate fighter tournament, with all the lumpy scuzzy indy guys advancing. Goto comes into this with his ribs wrapped and his mullet all wooly and fluffed, and wouldn't you know it, Kurisu goes after Goto's ribs. Goto punches him out of the ring to start and then goes up for a dive off the top, and Kurisu ole's him right into the floor. Kurisu grabs a chair and begins doing his signature move, that being "hit opponents' tender spots with a chair at a violent angle, repeat". And that's the story of the match. Kurisu targets the ribs, kneeling on them, jamming his fists into them, at one point he is literally just leaning on Goto's taped up area. They also find plenty of time to headbutt each other. We get tons of moments of these two just looking each other in the eyes and clonking heads in painful ways, until Kurisu keeps deciding he's had enough of Goto's giant dome and goes back to kicking him in the ribs. Goto doesn't last long, whole match goes maybe 8 minutes. These kinds of matches can't go too long as they were just out there taking tons of shots to the head. If this was booked to go 20 they'd both be vegetables by the end. But it's definitely a mistake to go into a Kurisu match with something taped up. It would be like me walking through the Richmond BART station asking if anybody has any change for all of my hundreds. Onita comes out afterwards and he and Kurisu go at it, with Kurisu leaping at him off the apron with a chair. We get a bunch of still photos progressing the action, as though Chris Marker suddenly decided to make a poetic garbage wrestling documentary. And then I've never wanted to know how to speak Japanese more, as Onita cuts an insane, passionate crying promo backstage, just sitting there in his blue tiny trunks with belly bulging in white tank top, hunched over awkwardly, bleeding, and passionately crying. This is the kind of promo that can go viral. GIFs of his plaintive eyes can easily be inserted into any conversation thread. Crying Onita can become our Crying Jordan. Crying Onita has always been our Crying Jordan.

Kurisu vs. Onita (Barbed Wire Board Match, FMW 2/12/90)

I really liked this, but it's the type of match that I don't really think would play today due to the desensitization of death match culture. This is before the death match boom, and you don't get any guys taking stunt falls into elaborate weapon structures here. Instead, you get two men not at all dressed for a death match, actively trying to avoid falling into barbed wire. Death matches were still in their incubation period here. It would still be MONTHS before some weirdos decided to throw a cobra into a ring sealed by saran wrap or fight in the middle of a grocery store. So Kurisu and Onita wrestle in their normal trunks as the ringside area is completely covered in barbed wire boards. And these two insane men sanely do not want to land in the barbed wire. But they are vicious in how they each want the other to land in the barbed wire. Kurisu especially just jams his boot into Onita's throat to try and force him over the apron and into the wire. There are some great shots of Onita dangling perilously off the apron as Kurisu's outstretched leg pushed at his throat and jaw, forcing him down into the wire. And when he finally does fall into it, we don't get a modern back bump we've all grown bored of, we get a guy reacting the exact same way you or I would react if we accidentally fell into barbed wire. There's no rolling around in it, just a man trying to move as slowly as possible so as not to rip the shit out of his skin. Sheesh Onita is kneeling in it while trying to get his singlet untangled. His kneepads are not covering his knees. Personally, I hate kneeling on any hard surface, so I can only imagine how awful is it kneeling in barbed wire. Kurisu keeps kicking Onita into the wire, and in a great moment Onita finally catches Kurisu's leg and starts yanking him towards the wire. And man Kurisu does NOT want to go into the wire.

When I was 13 my mom let me throw a back to school pool party. It being a pool party, there were moments of meatheads throwing girls into the pool. My friend Brigit had just started her period and really had zero interest in going into that pool, but meatheads trying to throw someone in a pool LOVE resistance. They love the chase, they love the screams. They are monsters. Brigit eventually went into that pool, but man did she put up a fight on the way there. It took a few guys to drag a 115 pound girl into a pool. Kurisu held onto that bottom rope as strongly as Brigit held onto every damn thing she could get her hands on to slow down her eventual drop into the pool. Kurisu looked like a guy who had been promised backstage that he wouldn't have to go into the wire...and was realizing in real time that Onita was going to get him into that wire. Kurisu looked like a kid who had been tricked into going to the dentist, with Onita as the dad trying to drag him out of the damn car. Onita gets far more cut up by wire, Kurisu mostly avoids it by hanging on as long as possible and mostly falling underneath the apron, away from wire, and then taking his time to carefully get out of it. Again, he looked exactly how any of us would have looked in the same situation. And before long Kurisu is back on the apron and they're laying in shots to each other. The barbed wire stuff is amusing, but I like these two punching face. And we get some face punching, and Kurisu does a not recommended superplex. It looked like two people trying out a superplex for the first time. And then Onita decides to punish Kurisu for all of those shoves into the wire by just absolutely planting him with the thunder fire bomb. I mean vertically planting him. I wonder how many young boys watching secretly celebrated as Kurisu was just driven headfirst into the mat? It's not enough to stop Kurisu, so he gets another bomb for his troubles, and even then kicks out the as soon as the 3 is counted. Again this was a match that I don't think would go over today, but due to the personalities involved and the time it happened, I really enjoyed it. FMW was such a strange turning point in wrestling history.

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