Pro Wrestling SPIRIT - July 11, 1998 "Genesis Tour" Stop 3 @ Tokyo Komazawa Gymnasium Live! on TV Asahi 1. [CATCH/STYLE] Masakatsu Funaki & Minoru Suzuki vs. [Bomb Squad] Minoru Tanaka & Tadao Yasuda 2. Shinjiro Otani vs. Mark Kerr vs. Takashi Iizuka 3. [CATCH/STYLE] Manabu Nakanishi & Osamu Nishimura vs. [Bomb Squad] Atsushi Onita & Muhammad Yone 4. [PRIDE Union] Nobuhiko Takada, Hiroshi Hase & Kendo Kashin vs. [SWORD] Yoshihiro Takayama, Takao Omori & Genki Horiguchi
TV Announcer Akira Fukuzawa opens the broadcast by recapping the recent actions of Atsushi Onita and his Bomb Squad stable, who have over the past two weeks resorted to using a barbed wired baseball bat to injure opponents including the ever popular Masakatsu Funaki and even steal a victory over Funaki's team CATCH/STYLE. We last went off the air with Funaki challenging the Bomb Squad to a No Rules contest and now it appears that President Tsuruta will give us his answer on that challenge. He has been hesitant in the past about allowing these kind of matches and is a proponent of a more traditional, spirited in ring Japanese style that showcases wrestling skill and rules over the no holds barred, deathmatch style that fighters such as Onita thrive in.
Pro Wrestling SPIRIT (PWS) President/Chairman Jumbo Tsuruta is here in Komazawa Gymnasium and makes his way to the ring for what we must say is a highly anticipated announcement , he promises to answer Masakatsu Funaki's challenge following last week's main event where again Atsushi Onita and his Bomb Squad faction used a barbed wire bat on Funaki's CATCH/STYLE team, this time stealing a win along the way. Funaki declared he and his guys would fight Onita and his team in a no rules battle, since Bomb Squad does not follow any professional rules as it is. Jumbo was initially reluctant but what will he say tonight?
Jumbo Tsuruta: Masakatsu Funaki, I have thought long about your request. I have meditated. I have battled within myself about what this could mean. I understand your frustration. I realize you and your men are spirited fighters that would prefer to win by the rules of the sport, by the strength of their skill inside the ring, and that you now feel you have no choice but to stoop to Onita's level and fight him on his terms. I believe that is a mistake. And I do have a choice in this matter as chairman of this wrestling company. We must have rules! There will be no more barbed wire bats in our rings. I will see to that. So no, your request for a no rules contest is denied. However, tonight I have scheduled 2 tag team matches between CATCH/STYLE and Bomb Squad members to be fought within the rules of the sport. If any fighter tries to break those rules, he and his team will be immediately disqualified and I will be watching very closely from ringside to make sure these matches are fought with honor and respect. That is my promise. And we are going to start right now, Funaki and Minoru Suzuki, come on down to the ring as you will be facing Tadao Yasuda and "The Black Prince" Minoru Tanaka. Tanaka-san, there will be no batplay here tonight!
Jumbo takes his seat at the announcer's table as referee Red Shoes Unno rushes to the ring in preparation for tonight's first match.
Funaki and Suzuki come to the ring first and each are seen having a few words with Tsuruta, obviously disagreeing with his decision but reluctantly giving him the "we'll try it your way" assurance.
Match One: Tag Team Battle (20:00 Time Limit) [CATCH/STYLE] Masakatsu Funaki & Minoru Suzuki versus [Bomb Squad] Tadao Yasuda & Minoru Tanaka
Match Synopsis: Bomb Squads' Yone and Tanaka head to the ring, each armed with...tennis rackets? They are pretending to volley an invisible ball back and forth with one another as they make their way towards the ring. Jumbo stands up and blocks them, preventing them from entering the ring, he reaches out his hands and requests the rackets. Yone and Tanaka shrug, saying they were surprised to be called in for the opening match, they had just been practicing their doubles play after watching the Wimbledon Championships, they're big fans after all of Pete Agassi, wait...who? Some fans! After they relinquish their weapons, Jumbo holds on to them and returns to his seat at ringside. The match gets underway, weaponless.
Funaki kicks things off with Yasuda, the big man Yasuda, a former sumo, using his size, leverage and strength to hold off the more skilled Funaki aka 'The Modern Day Samurai." Yasuda uses his long arms to keep Funaki at a distance and away from his deangerous kicks, but Funaki counters by kicking low, attacking Yasuda's legs, like chopping down a tree. Those leg shots begin to add up and a frustrated Yasuda tags out to "The Black Prince" Tanaka. Yasuda walks by where Tsuruta is sitting and attempts to coyly grab one of the tennis rackets but Jumbo slaps down on his hand. Yasuda points to Jumbo in a threatening way, Jumbo stands up and Yasuda wisely backs off and returns to his corner.
Tanaka engages with Funaki as his great speed is a whole other issue to deal with. He catches Funaki's arm and follows that by ascending to the top rope arm in hand, but Funaki is able to get under him and then using it to his advantage, he himself climbs to the second turnbuckle and suplexes Tanaka to the mat. Funaki then tags in an anxious Minoru Suzuki. Suzuki smothers Tanaka, he has him on the ground, top control and begins working the head and arm, Tanaka resists from ground control, or at least ground holding-on-for-dear-life defense, Suzuki with a frightening smirk on his face as he is well aware he has Tanaka in his home now, his comfort zone, this has become a grappling contest and Tanaka is swimming in deep waters with a great white shark. Tanaka is fighting off Suzuki who is toying with an armbar pulling on Tanaka's wrist, Tanaka rolls and slips the armbar but while doing so has fallen into a trap, he has given Suzuki his leg in the process..uh oh...
Heel hook! Suzuki has it locked in, Tanaka struggles, he is desperately trying to escape...he can't make it to the ropes, look at the pain on his face! Tanaka flopping about...Tanaka ROLLS...out of the heel hook... and right into a KNEE BAR, oh no, devastating, TAP TAP TAP...Suzuki nearly ripped his knee apart there or worse snapped his leg in two....it is over. Yasuda can only watch from his corner, thankful it was not his leg in that hold. Tanaka is still rolling on the mat in agony. Perhaps Minoru Suzuki put a little extra into that knee bar, held it a second longer than he needed to, making a point, his own way of answering what Tanaka did with the barbed wire bat last week to his stablemate. Suzuki is intense. Funaki comes into the ring to congratulate and calm his teammate down, but they will relish this one, for now.
Official Result: Minoru Suzuki (O) & Masakatasu Funaki defeated Minoru Tanaka (X) & Tadao Yasuda by submission in 10:14 as Tanaka tapped out to a Suzuki knee bar.
Match Two: Three-Way Battle Shinjiro Otani vs. Mark Kerr vs. Takashi Iizuka
Match Synopsis: Mark Kerr has been an absolute beast since coming to Japan, crushing all opposition in recent weeks and making quick work of it. They call him "The Specimen" which is easy to understand just looking at his hulking physique. But now he is entered into a new type of match for him, one not used in his amateur wrestling or cagefighting background, a three way, where he could potentially be facing two men at once, which should even the odds a bit. His opponents tonight are the enigmatic Takashi Iizuka from the PRIDE Union team and the dangerous Shinjiro Otani representing his SWORD faction. This makes for a potential uneasy alliance as SWORD and PRIDE Union aren't on the best of terms and their stablemates are actually scheduled to face off in tonight's main event. Will Otani and Iizuka put aside their differences in order to survive the wrath of Kerr? We are about to find out.
As the bell sounds and all three men begin circling one another, it does indeed look like Otani and Iizuka are game-planning how to take on the muscular monster Mark Kerr. They each rush and grab one of his tree trunk legs. They are pushing and pushing but he resists, he is an Olympic level wrestler after all, trained to resist being taken down. They are expending energy with no results so they decide to chop on Kerr's chest, but it only angers him and with a double clothesline he takes them both down hard, they each roll out on opposite sides of the ring leaving Kerr alone in the middle of it. Otani and Iizuka regroup and reenter the ring, they look at Kerr but instead of charging him again they lock up with one another. Kerr nods to the crowd at this development and leans back into a corner taking in the show as Otani snaps Iizuka down to the mat, but Iizuka quickly rolls by Otani getting wristlock from behind and sending him against the ropes, Otani runs under Iizuka's missed punch, hits the other ropes, again he ducks Iizuka's attack, now Iizuka runs the ropes, finally Kerr joins in and all three men hit opposite ropes at same time and meet in the middle, collision, Iizuka and Otani go down, Kerr still stands, they hop up with Otani and Iizuka running towards opposite ropes, Kerr remaining in center of ring, they both charge him, but he dives out of the way and they end up clotheslining eachother. Now Kerr hits the ropes and as both Otani and Iizuka get to their feet he nails them with a giant dropkick, sending Otani out of the ring completely and Iizuka hard to the mat. He then lifts Iizuka up, puts him on his shoulder and running powerslam into the turnbuckle, ouch! What impact! He then lifts him once again and delivers a german suplex that shakes the ring. Otani is to his feet and tries to sneak back in and attack Kerr from behind but is met with a spinning back kick to the breadbasket that sends him into the turnbuckle, Kerr running forearm into Otani, thud! He's back down to the mat. Kerr approaches Iizuka again and grabs his wrist, he lifts him on his shoulder, high angle back suplex to the mat! Iizuka's head and neck slammed hard onto the canvas. Kerr goes for the cover and it's funamental by now..1...2..3....another demonstration of total domination from the Speciman!
Official Result: Mark Kerr defeated Takashi Iizuka (X) by pinfall in 5:39.
Match Three: Tag Team Battle [CATCH/STYLE] Manabu Nakanishi & Osamu Nishimura versus [Bomb Squad] Atsushi Onita & Muhammad Yone
Match Synopsis: The bitter feud between these two factoins continues with the CATCH/STYLE duo of Nakanishi and Nishimura coming to the ring first and waiting for their opponents who do not appear from the entranceway when their names are called and Onita's "Wild Thing" entrance music blasts through the speakers, instead Bomb Squad approach the ring from the crowd in a sneak attack attempt, but this week CATCH/STYLE is ready for it and answers with flying fists, hot starting this match before the bell even rings. We're under way.
All four men slug it out during the opening minutes of the bout before eventually Red Shoes (the referee) establishes some sort of order, leaving Onita in the ring to face the crafty Nishimura, with their teammates escorted to their respected corners. Nishimura puts some classic holds on Onita in an attempt to strecth him out, but long before The Wrestling Anarchist became a hardcore legend, years and pounds ago, he was once a title winning junior heavyweight with a mastery of traditional wrestling moves and counters himself, tonight he is showing them off and putting on a clinic with Nishimura struggling to keep up, before Onita picks it up a notch and turns it back into a brawl with chops and fists, and the occasional eye rake, a repertoire he is much more comfortable with these days.
Nishimura tags the muscular Nakanishi in and Onita slaps Yone's hand as the bigger men square off, Nakanishi using his power and wrestling prowess to toss Yone around, who answers with some chops and trickery. After an eye rake and hair pull, it appears Onita has pulled some foreign object out of his shorts and handed Yone something behind the referee's back, as Red Shoes was attending to Nakanishi....another eye poke...Nakanishi's eyes are tearing up...Jumbo Tsuruta leaves his seat and jumps on to the apron, he is telling the referee that Yone used a foreign substance on Nakanishi's eyes...meanwhile Onita has snuck around the ring during the distraction and wait...he hadn't handed Yone the foriegn object, he has brass knuckles still in his shorts, now on his fist, he pulls Nishimura down from the apron and delivers a brass knux uppercut..wait, Nishimura blocks it, the knux going flying into the ring unnoticed by anyone inside it...Nishimura on the attack outside the ring, Onita reverses it and smashes Nishimura's head into the blue railing....he is cut...Nishimura is busted open....oh no....
Meanwhile inside the ring, Nakanishi is still struggling to regain his vision, Red Shoes checks Yone's hands and they appear clean, he allows the match to go on. Nakanishi crawling on the mat notices the brass knux, he picks them up and as Yone sees this he points and shouts to the referee's attention...Nakanishi puts them on and is motioning that he is about to slug Yone but Red Shoes stops him and convinces him to toss them out, he does but only to be recovered outside the ring inconspicuously once more by Onita, as Red Shoes is instructing Yone and warning that he will be disqualified if any more eye poking occur, Onita hurries to his corner and calls for the tag, Yone delivers, Onita races to scale the turnbuckle delivering a flying hammerfist on Nakanishi...with the knux hidden from Red Shoes attention, in fact it was so quick I am not sure anyone at ring side noticed it, Nakanishi goes down like a ton of bricks. Onita goes for the cover..1..2..3...it's over.
Nakanishi is in bad shape in the ring, Nishimura is busted open outside of it. Onita and Yone refuse the hand raise from Red Shoes and proceed to celebrate their victory by berating PWS President Tsuruta who angrily sits ringside. As they leave through the crowd, Onita drops the used brass knuckles on the announcer table in front of Tsuruta and gives him a coy smirk. Tsuruta is furious.
Official Result: Atsuhi Onita (O) & Muhammad Yone defeated Manabu Nakanishi (X) & Osamu Nishimura by pinfall in 14:32* *=controversial finish
Post-Match: President Tsuruta has had enough of this! He grabs the mic. "Onita! I could disqualify you right now, I should disqualify you right now, but that would not bother you, that is not punishment to you and your Bomb Squad following. Now I see it. Here, with our respected rules and our honorable system, you think you can get away with your dishonorable tactics. You can cheat, you can use weaponry, you can refuse to fight like a sportsman, like a warrior, and know that your opponent will not stoop to your level, that they will not degrade themselves and by keeping their honor you use it against them. Well now I see it. It pains me to do this but I now see what must be done, to even the playing field, to meet you at your level. Pro Wrestling SPIRIT has an event in two weeks in Yokohama, the finale of this "Genesis" Tour for our new company. That seems like the perfect moment, the perfect setting to settle your scores. So on July 25th at the Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium I am scheduling an 8 man match, Team CATCH/STYLE against Bomb Squad, and the rules will be simple, simple enough for even Onita to follow....this match will fall under DEATHMATCH rules! Jumbo shakes his head and hands the mic to ring announcer Hidezaku Tanaka before heading to the back. It is set, in two weeks CATCH/STYLE get their shot at Bomb Squad in a Deathmatch! What does that all mean?
Main Event: Six-Man Tag Team Battle [SWORD] Yoshihiro Takayama, Takao Omori & Genki Horiguchi versus [PRIDE Union] Nobuhiko Takada, Hiroshi Hase & Kendo Kashin
Match Synopsis: On to the main event of the evening. The SWORD trio of Takayama, Omori and Horiguchi brashly walk to the ring. Last week Takayama called out Nobuhiko Takada, calling him a non-fighting champion, questioning his PRIDE and challenged him to bring his IWGP Title, which Takada won back in WCFL New Japan and never lost, with him to the ring when he fights here in Pro Wrestling SPIRIT. It looks like Takada acquiesced, here he comes with his PRIDE Union teammates Hiroshi Hase and Kendo Kashin, and yes he is wearing his patented robe, his purple trunks, boots and kickpads and yes...around his waist is the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, even if it is currently unsanctioned by the PWS governing body. He enters the ring, all 6 man stare one another down, Takada is eye to eye, well looking up a bit but into Takayama's eyes, Takada slaps the belt on his waist and then the respected teams go to their own corners to start this match. Takada hands the belt to PWS Official and tonight's guest commentator for the main event, Mitsuo Momota before the match for safekeeping.
Kashin kicked things off against Genki Horiguchi with the two jr. heavyweights putting on a show of quick striking exchanges, holds and reversals, submissions and escapes with Geki holding his own against the more thought of masked warrior Kashin. Next Takayama took on Hase with the big man laying some meat pulverizing chops on Hase's hamburger-ized chest, but if nothing else Hiroshi Hase is one tough fighter and can take a pounding and keep fighting back, he is the epitome of fighting spirit. Takada took the ring with Omori, both men landing some of their best shots on the other with Takada's high kick finally taking Omori down when Takada began working the arm, looking for the cross armbreaker, Genki and Takayama save their teammate and melee ensues in the ring, this eventually leads to Takada and Takayama going head to head and shoving one another before the action quickly spreads to the outside.
Takayama hits a running high knee on Hase on the outside, nearly taking his head off, Omori back in the ring tags in Genki, Takada with a kick to the back of his head sends Genki face first to the mat, Takada tags Kashin in who climbs the ropes and delivers a missle dropkick to the slowly rising Genki, Kashin then lifts Genki up, high angle verticle suplex to the mat...the pin 1 2....no, Genki kicks out. He makes the tag to Takayama, this match continues....
Takayama begins with stiff shots to Kashin's head, he is really working the neck and head area now. Takayama drags him to the corner and give him a running high boot, thud! Takayama with the pin..1...2..no, Kashin survives for now...this one is back and forth...Takayama going for the Everest Suplex but Kahsin slips free and tags in Takada here we go....
Both men go toe to toe, it's a flurry of punches with the bigger Takayama finally prevailing but a slightly dazed Takada evens it up with a kick to the gut, then he jumps into Takayama's arms and locks him in a guillotine choke, he is trying to put the big man to sleep on his own feet! Takayama is fighting it off, he drops to one knee, now Takada has him!....He is fading, Omori tries to jump in and break the hold but Hase tackles him to the ground....Takayama is losing consciouness...one final effort...he raises back up and holding Takada up he sends both of them through the ropes and crashing to the concrete around ringside...ouch! That is one way to break a guillotine!
Both men struggle to reenter the ring and each is happy to tag out, Omori goes up against Hase, running lariat misses, Hase ducks another, then Hase with a hurricarana into a pin, he has Omori;s legs..1..2...NO!
Kashin now in to seize the moment, he charges but OOOOH..Omori surprises and connects with a lariat, Kashin is lucky to have his head still on his shoulders let alone his mask....Omori covers..1..2...not yet....Genki in, Kashin exchange...Genki with a flipover, pin attempt..1...2...no Kashin kicks out...Genki slings Kashin to the ropes where he is able to reach out and tag in Hase, then on the return he kicks Genki's knees out from under him, raises up and elbows Omori in the other corner knocking him to the floor...in the ring, Hase scoops Genki up Ura-nage!..1...2....no, Genki finds the fortitude to raise his right shoulder, Hase immediately lifts him back up and into a folding powerbomb BAM! 1...2........3...and finally that is it....PRIDE Union is victorious in our closely contested main event that saw all six men taken to the limits here tonight....
Official Result: Nobuhiko Takada, Hiroshi Hase (O) & Kendo Kashin defeated Yoshihiro Takayama, Takao Omori & Genki Horiguchi (X) by pinfall in 22:28 following a folding powerbomb by Hase on Horiguchi.
Post Match: As Takada, Hase and Kashin recooperate in the ring, hugging one another in celebration of their hard fought victory, the losing side mends their wounds on the outside of the ring. Takayama helps Genki to his feet and then hands him off to Omori to assist on the way up the rampway. Takayama stops by the announcers table and notices the IWGP Title in front of Momota. He picks it up, holding it in his hands, feeling the weight of it, staring at the IWGP letters on the face of the belt.....he then looks in at Takada celebrating with his teammates, he tucks the title under his arm and turns to walk away. Momota stands up, grabs Takayama by the arm and reaches out to take the belt back but Takayama forcefully shoves him back into his chair, Momota falling clumsily back to the concrete floor. Takada looks out of the ring and notices Momota on the ground and Takayama walking up the rampway with his title under on his shoulder. Takayama turns to to catch Takada's eyes, as he walks backwards and out of the arena he slaps the belt on his shoulder and smiles a devilish smile. Takayama has stolen the IWGP Title belt!
Upcoming PWS Events: 18.7.98 - Genesis Tour Show 4 @ Tokyo Messe Akishima 25.7.98 - Genesis Tour Finale "Deathmatch in Yokohama" @ Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium
Very entertaining show. Not sure if Muhammad Yone was supposed to pull double duty or just a misprint, but it still doesn't take away from the show.
I like the progression of The Bomb Squad versus Catch/Style program. The little touch of hot head Suzuki holding on to the hold just a moment longer, having Onita steel another when, and then Jumbo very reluctantly make the Deathmatch.
Takayama stealing the IWGP Belt is interesting choice and should light a fire under Takada to get his property back. I hope their first singles match is held off a bit longer. I know there has to be temptation to put it on the undercard of the Tour Finale but I would hate for that epic clash to be over shadowed by the Deathmatch main event.
Enjoying the slow build of Mark Kerr as the wrecking machine that. Always happy to see Hase pick up a pin. And again, love your match writing style.