Mike Reviews IWA Japan 2nd Year Final Battle

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I was originally going to have a bash at reviewing the 1995 King of the Deathmatch this week, but I’ve seen that one quite a few times whilst I’ve never seen this show, so I decided to go with something new. If you fancy watching along, you can do so by clicking HERE.

For those not au fait, IWA Japan was a Japanese Deathmatch promotion that was founded by Víctor Quiñones and ran by Tatsukuni Asano. Essentially it was created to replace the recently defunct W*ING promotion. They spent the 90’s being one of the main rivals to FMW, the premier Japanese Deathmatch company of the time, and brought in the likes of Terry Funk, Cactus Jack, Tarzan Goto and Tiger Jeet Singh to juice up the roster.

The “Kawasaki Dream” show from the summer of 1995 featured an 8 man Deathmatch Tournament, eventually won by Cactus Jack, and had given the company some considerable attention both at home and internationally, with this tape being the follow up.

The tape features a selection matches from two shows that were held at the end of 1995 , one in October and the other in December. The December show is based around crowing new NWA Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, with Terry Funk taking part as well as Cactus, Terry Gordy and The Headhunters.

It’s not like I’m a gigantic fan of Japanese Deathmatch Wrestling, but it’s nice to have a change of pace now and then from the usual brand of Puroresu, and I’m a big Mick Foley fan so it’s always interesting to go back and watch stuff from the mid-90’s where he was still working the indies and pretty much destroying himself almost purely for the love of the sport.

So without further ado, let’s watch some chuffing wrestling!

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Mike Reviews HUSTLE House Volume 1 (28/06/2004)

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This week I’ve decided to look at a company from Japan that I haven’t done a review for before in the form of HUSTLE. For those not au fait, HUSTLE was a company ran by Dream Stage Entertainment and was a Japanese attempt at recreating a more WWE like product for the Japanese market. Rather than being Pro Wrestling, HUSTLE decided to market itself as “Fighting Opera” and it featured a lot of silly storylines and characters that the more serious promotions like Pro Wrestling NOAH or New Japan wouldn’t have included on their shows.

At first HUSTLE ran some pretty big venues and shelled out for some big name foreign wrestlers like Goldberg, Mick Foley, The Outsiders and Dusty Rhodes. However, the ticket sales were disappointing and they eventually decided to downsize a bit and run these smaller “HUSTLE House” events, where they featured fewer big names and filled the roster out with people from Shinya Hashimoto’s Zero-1 promotion. This was the first show of that type.

The big storyline centres around Nobuhiko Takada’s “Monster Army” heel group taking on the HUSTLE guys led by the likes of Hashimoto, Toshiaki Kawada and Naoya Ogawa. For some reason they decided to change Takada from being a serious shoot style worker in UWFi to a wacky general who spends the majority of his time dressed as M-Bison and taking part in odd backstage vignettes.

HUSTLE did eventually manage to cultivate somewhat of a fan base and this show apparently drew 2,200 people to Korakuen Hall, so as weird as this all was there was definitely an audience for it who dug seeing a strange WWE styled group, just not a big enough one to justify all the wild spending.

If you fancy watching this yourself then you can do so on YouTube by clicking HERE!

Let’s see how HUSTLE handles their first show in the smaller venue as we watch some chuffing wrestling!

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