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MPW Puroresu King #149 9/22/07 4th Masked Mans World League Battle
-1hr 45min. Q=Perfect

taped 8/30/07 Tokyo Korakuen Hall ~4TH FUKUMEN WORLD LEAGUE ROUND 1~

Fukumen World League Round 1: Yoshitsune vs. Shibaten 2:20 of 9:48. A showcase for Yoshitsune's spectacular flying. The guy is so athletic he actually screwed up the shooting star press because the backflip was too easy for him to complete. The highlight was Yoshitsune doing a moonsault attack off the bleachers. If Shibaten did anything worthwhile, it was left on the editing room floor.

Fukumen World League Round 1: Olimpico vs. Super Shisa 1:28 of 6:14. Olimpico's name just doesn't fit. I expect a world class athlete not another robotic muscle man who couldn't pass the drug test. Shisa tried, but the sequences looked contrived because Olimpico is so deliberate and inflexible.

Fukumen World League Round 1: El Samurai vs. Mecha Mummy 5:01 of 5:26. How does Samurai manage to draw these legends in the 1st round of junior tournaments, and I don't mean Dos Caras sort of legends? 5 seconds in and I was wishing for the requisite Motegi sighting. Then again, at least the badness of Mecha is supposed to be funny. Samurai KO'd Mummy with his Mecha drill and a diving headbutt so quickly he didn't even have to remove his t-shirt. Before the referee could stop the match, the mad scientist introduced a second, more formidable opponent for Samurai, his old rival, sort of, Jushin Mecha Mummy. Jushin came out to Liger's theme and did a parody of his offense, building up to using a giant Mecha shotei hand. Again, Samurai just got it away from the dummy mummy and KO'd him with it though.

Fukumen World League Round 1: Tigers Mask vs. Rasse 2:41 of 9:25. Seemed to be verging on an actual competitive match. There was some back and forth, but Tigers came out on top of most of the sequences, and Rasse was unable to do any real damage. Tigers gave a solid, while Rasse showed a few flashes but ultimately wasn't on his level.

Fukumen World League Round 1: Atlantis vs. Super Delfin 2:53 of 7:32. The first truly competitive match. I was hoping for more from these big name veterans than simply doing their favorite moves. It was passable, but they certainly didn't challenge themselves, and it didn't look like they had any particular chemistry.

Fukumen World League Round 1: Tiger Mask vs. Kikutaro 3:45 of 10:32. Kikutaro didn't do anything funny here. He basically just did the old Damian gimmick of mimicing the signature spots of famous wrestlers. Kikutaro got serious after Tiger knocked him down with a series of middle kicks, tossing his shirt aside and calling for Tiger's best shot. He wasn't expecting the kick to be directed at the head though, and was promptly KO'd.

Fukumen World League Round 1: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Billiken Kid 5:26 of 14:03. Blew all the preceeding matches out of the water. Kid was up to pushing Liger, and Liger was more than willing to work hard to make the crowd believe Kid could defeat him. They had good chemistry and pulled off some nice sequences. Kid is probably the only guy so far that got over in a loss.

Fukumen World League Round 1: Ultimo Dragon vs. The Great Sasuke 13:12 of 19:29. I don't know how Sasuke is still wrestling when he continues to have bright ideas like doing a forward flip to the floor without having Dragon catch him, but these two certainly have something left in the tank. They didn't execute as well as they did when they hooked up in the mid 90's, but aside from the lack of atmosphere, the match was no less exciting. Dragon held the ropes open for Sasuke to enter only to have Sasuke shoulder him as soon as he stepped through. They seemed to skip the mat portion, and it was pretty much flying except for a couple breaks where Sasuke heeled it up attacking Dragon's surgically botched elbow. It would have been nice if the final two matches didn't have to make up for the first 6, but the show wound up having a very 90's feel to it with Liger, Sasuke, & Dragon clearly being the standout, show stealing juniors.

taped 9/1/07 Zepp Sendai

Fukumen World League Round 2: Atlantis vs. El Samurai 1:24 of 14:48. Samurai seemed a lot more interested in crafting some worthwhile sequences with Atlantis than Delfin was, but the match was so hacked up it was hard to get any feel for things.

Fukumen World League Round 2: Tiger Mask vs. Olimpico 1:33 of 7:02. Atlantis kept interfering, tripping Tiger up and holding him on the apron, but to no avail.

Fukumen World League Round 2: Ultimo Dragon vs. Tigers Mask 1:30 of 12:39. Tigers scores one of the biggest victories of his career, a flash pin on a weight shift reversal. Match seemed to have potential, but the result precluded it from reaching its potential.

Fukumen World League Round 2: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Yoshitsune 2:21 of 3:39. It's never a good thing short term to have Dragon & Liger eliminated, but these stunning upsets have me coming around to the tournament as it's thinking long term, trying to give Osaka Pro a future beyond Delfin and Michinoku one beyond Sasuke. I was thinking this was going to be Liger vs. Hayabusa from the Super J Cup, in other words Liger trying to carry the premier flyer who hadn't broken through to the big time as a wrestler. Granted the match was short, but it worked because Yoshitsune looked like a new superstar. His flying was insane, and it was the answer for Liger's power. Yoshitsune charged the runway and dove over the top at Liger with a dropkick to start the match. It was fireworks from start to finish, and the Michinoku wrestlers were all at ringside going nuts, pounding the ring and cheering for Yoshitsune. Liger eventually had him set up for an avalanche style move, but Yoshitsune used the top rope to cartwheel to his feet, hit the 741 before Liger could get down, and pinned him in a modified magistral. The Michinoku wrestlers all went crazy with Sasuke holding Yoshitsune in the air like he just won the Super Bowl.

~4TH FUKUMEN WORLD LEAGUE FINALS~ taped 9/2/07 Iwate Prefectural Gymnasium

Fukumen World League Semifinal: Tiger Mask vs. Tigers Mask 3:47 of 11:45. The Tigers have similar names and styles, but younger, up and coming Tigers Mask has a lot more hunger at this point. That was the main difference as they both executed well, but Tigers wrestles with a sense of urgency whereas Tiger wrestles with a sense of entitlement. One could certainly argue that Tiger should portray a good deal of confidence, but his mannerisms simply gave me the feeling of certainty, and that sucked all the drama out of the finish. Tigers, perhaps, isn’t ready to follow up a victory over Ultimo Dragon with one over Tiger Mask, but coming in with such awesome momentum, they needed to portray the likelihood of the upset, and for me they failed to even depict the possibility of it.

Fukumen World League Semifinal: Yoshitsune vs. Atlantis 4:51 of 13:45. Pretty much the same story as the last match in that Yoshitsune just scores the upset of his life, but follows it up by seeming not to have any real chance. I have the utmost respect for the lengthy legendary career of Atlantis, certainly he was one of EMLL’s best workers for ages, but at the same time he was never in the class with Liger, and he’s older and certainly far more deteriorated. When Atlantis didn’t even try to take a bump on Yoshitsune’s diving Frankensteiner, I began getting annoyed. I’m all for the old guys who are still as good or better than the young ones, but Atlantis has lost a lot of his athleticism and is getting by because he’s so smart, and also because he can get away with doing a lot less since they turned him rudo after all these decades as one of the top technicos. Olimpico was outside stacking the deck in Atlantis’ favor to help give Yoshitsune an out, but that in addition to Atlantis’ seeming inability to take much in the way of bumps was another contributing factor also contributed to preventing Yoshitsune from even impressing that much in the loss. Yoshitsune had one hot run, but it always felt like Atlantis’s match.

Fukumen World League Final: Tiger Mask vs. Atlantis 6:06 of 11:05. This tournament started out showing some future for junior heavyweight wrestling but the best wrestlers of the 90’s went out early to do that, and since others weren’t so generous, that left us without the best older wrestlers and with the best younger wrestlers suddenly stonewalled by inferior older wrestlers. In other words, we had a tournament where the final 3 matches were neither particularly good nor provided hope for future good matches. I think a run to the semifinals should have been enough considering Atlantis’ age and the fact that unlike peers such as Negro Casas, Silver King, & Dr. Wagner Jr., he hasn’t spent the time to make a name for himself in Japan. However, I could live with him losing in the finals if Tiger Mask were the wrestler he was in the first couple years of the 2000’s, a time when he actually deserved every bit of the push he was getting. In any case, it was what it was, which is not what anyone would hope it would be. Tiger Mask was able to step it up, but Atlantis didn’t or can’t. Olimpico covered for Atlantis by interfering every two seconds, which killed any momentum they threatened to gain through Tiger’s dives and just made the bout ridiculous. Atlantis is still crafty and was able to make us anticipate some of what he did do, but he’s now slow and inflexible, so he didn’t make Tiger’s offense or especially counters look good. Again, Atlantis avoided sequences and sustained action. Again, he didn’t work with his opponent so much as just do his offense then they did theirs. The finish was even lame with Tiger breaking free of Olimpico to avoid Atlantis’ running punch and hooking an armbar.

MPW Puroresu King #160 11/29/07
-1hr 45min. Q=Perfect

taped 10/12/07 Takizawa Village General Park Gym

Mike Quackenbush vs. Shibaten 4:35 of 9:04

The Great Sasuke Formal Return Match: The Great Sasuke & Yoshitsune & HAPPY-MAN vs. Shu Sato & Kei Sato & ken45 16:07 of 20:27

Tohoku Tag Title & Osaka Pro Tag Title: Kagetora & Rasse vs. Jinsei Shinzaki & Shinjitsu Nohashi 12:04 of 25:27. Good effort, but the sum of the teams wasn't quite translating to the quality of the whole, despite some quality teamwork. It was one of those matches where there was nothing particularly wrong, but most of it seemed random and meaningless, my feeling on too much Toryumon/Dragon Gate, which is where all but Shinzaki trained. Shinzaki dominated because he was the heavyweight. I was skeptical of Koichiro Arai doing the Shinzaki gimmick, but I like that he's more willing to take advantage of his athleticism and doesn't find the need to be so damn deliberate. **1/4

11/9/07

Jinsei Shinzaki vs. Tsubo Genjin 4:10 of 10:10

Akebono vs. The Great Sasuke 6:40

Tohoku Junior Heavyweight Title: GAINA vs. Yoshitsune 19:58. Entertaining battle between Yoshitsune's fantastic flying against GAINA's power. The match was a little rought around the edges, generally better on paper than in actuality as the setup and transitioning left something to be desired, but it was fun to watch. Yoshitsune is probably the best pure flyer around. He's so explosive, and can just sprint the ropes and propel himself through the air. GAINA is a poor man's Shuji Kondo. He's got the size and strength to bully people, but he's not nearly as diverse and isn't great at carrying a match. They could have used some of Kondo's leadership, as the match was kind of a segment of Yoshitsune's spectacular flying then a lot of GAINA's brawling and power then Yoshitsune trying to get a flash pin before GAINA broke him in two. Everyone was really into the new high flying stars bid to take the title, so the match had quite a bit of atmosphere for such a small crowd. ***

MPW Battle Station 12/5/07 taped 11/9/07 Yamagata Shi Sogo Sports Center
-2hr. Q=Perfect

Yoshiyasu Shimizu vs. Takayuki Aizawa 5:42 of 6:38

Shu Sato & Kei Sato & ken45 vs. Kesen Numajiro & Fujita "Jr." Hayato & Rui Hiugaji 9:57 of 13:12

Michinoku Lost THE Rematch: Tsubo Genjin vs. Jinsei Shinzaki 10:10

Kagetora & Rasse & Rei vs. Shinjitsu Nohashi & Shibaten & HAPPY-MAN 14:07

Super Dream Match: The Great Sasuke vs. Akebono 6:40

Tohoku Junior Heavyweight Title: GAINA vs. Yoshitsune 19:58. Entertaining battle between Yoshitsune's fantastic flying against GAINA's power. The match was a little rought around the edges, generally better on paper than in actuality as the setup and transitioning left something to be desired, but it was fun to watch. Yoshitsune is probably the best pure flyer around. He's so explosive, and can just sprint the ropes and propel himself through the air. GAINA is a poor man's Shuji Kondo. He's got the size and strength to bully people, but he's not nearly as diverse and isn't great at carrying a match. They could have used some of Kondo's leadership, as the match was kind of a segment of Yoshitsune's spectacular flying then a lot of GAINA's brawling and power then Yoshitsune trying to get a flash pin before GAINA broke him in two. Everyone was really into the new high flying stars bid to take the title, so the match had quite a bit of atmosphere for such a small crowd. ***

MPW Puroresu King #164 12/22/07 Futari Tobi Tag League '07
-1hr 45min. Q=Perfect

Highlights of 1995-2006 tag league finals

Futari Tobi Tag League '07 1st Round taped 10/27/07 Tokyo Shinjuku FACE

Jinsei Shinzaki & Shinjitsu Nohashi vs. Rui Hiugaji & Takayuki Aizawa

Kesen Numajiro & Yoshiyasu Shimizu vs. HAPPY-MAN & Fujita "Jr." Hayato

Kagetora & Rasse vs. Shibaten & Medochi

No Countout Lumberjack Death Match: The Great Sasuke & Yoshitsune vs. Shu Sato & Kei Sato

Tag League Semifinals taped 11/23/07 Yahaba Townsman Gymnasium

Jinsei Shinzaki & Shinjitsu Nohashi vs. Kesen Numajiro & Yoshiyasu Shimizu 4:53 of 21:33

The Great Sasuke & Yoshitsune vs. Kagetora & Rasse 7:42 of 19:47

11/24/07 Sendai Harbor International Business Center

Kesen Numajiro & HAPPY-MAN vs. Shibaten & Kappa 3:42 of 11:19

Yoshitsune & Fujita "Jr." Hayato & Rui Hiugaji vs. Shu Sato & Kei Sato & ken45 5:36 of 17:52

Futari Tobi Tag League '07 Final, Tohoku Tag Title Match: Kagetora & Rasse vs. Jinsei Shinzaki & Shinjitsu Nohashi 16:57 of 19:35

MPW Puroresu King #169 1/19/08 taped 12/23/07 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-1hr 45min. Q=Perfect

12/15/07 Tokushima Anan City Sports Sogo Center Sun Arena, Osaka Pro Tag Titles: Kagetora & Rasse vs. GAINA & Zero 2:23 of 20:36

Rei & Yuko Sato vs. Ken45 & Shibaten 3:11 of 9:50

Alexander Otsuka & Munenori Sawa vs. Yuki Ishikawa & Kesen Numajiro 8:04 of 11:14

Kota Ibushi & Ryuji Ito & Nohashi Shinjitsu vs. Kagetora & Rasse & Fujita "Jr" Hayato 7:29 of 13:06

Daisuke Nakae vs. Rui Hiugaji 0:57 of 5:00 + 0:46 of 1:00

The Great Sasuke & Great Minoru Fujita vs. Kei Sato & Shu Sato 16:15 of 16:57

Tohoku Junior Heavyweight Title: Yoshitsune vs. HAPPY-MAN 15:05 of 15:36. Yoshitsune gained major momentum taking the title from the little tank known as GAINA, but this first defense, a comedy match against the gay answer to Superman was totally pointless. It was awkward because HAPPY-MAN is an uncoordinated non-athlete, and Yoshitsune is a sprinting gymnast. HAPPY-MAN presents no threat to Yoshitsune, so he just went through his forms, with HAPPY-MAN either taking or avoiding. HAPPY-MAN hit a dive at the bell, but then didn't really wrestle for the next several minutes aside from a couple of leg submissions. Initially, he was showing his toughness by taking Yoshitsune's strikes and either expanding his chest or pointing back at him, but for my money he was just being lame and I lost interest before they turned it into a match. I want to take a title match seriously, but you aren't supposed to take a comedy wrestler seriously, and the conflict just bred indifference. It appeared to be a jobber match, and if anyone looks like a jobber it's HAPPY-MAN, but HAPPY eventually pretended to be a real challenger, hitting some quality bombs and drivers. Yoshitsune looked better than he did against GAINA, in part because the timing was essentially all his own. He was in step, and HAPPY-MAN just had to be standing or laying in the right place at the right time. Yoshitsune showed awesome potential, doing some amazing moves with the running shooting star press simply being a thing of beauty, so it wasn't a waste of time by any means. It just shouldn't have been a title defense. **

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