This is a really neat looking BJW show headlined by two huge strong tag matches, with the main event having Strong BJ’s tag titles on the line against W-1 sumo man Ryota Hama and rising star of the BJW strong division Hideyoshi Kamitani. The 6 man before it features both Hashimotos, the Twin Towers and Yuko Miyamoto and Hideki Suzuki, so this show is stacked with star power! Let’s take a look at the whole show though and see if BJW ended 2015 strong (no pun intended).
Well it’s certainly nice to see Mr. Sanada back in Japan after his exodus to America didn’t quite work out as he planned. He’s involved in a nice BJW rookie matchup here. Kikuta and Uto appear to have improved tremendously in this match, adding much more spice and fullness to their moveset expanding on the more basic young boy stuff. Uto almost comes off as a smaller Shuji Ishikawa now, using hammering knee strikes and his length to overpower opponents, while Kikuta is very technically sound and an all around really good worker in the making. Sanada did a ton of the acrobatics that the fans love to see from him, while Maruyama added his usual martial arts/wrestling combination that is good in these opener tags. A good showing of improvement from the young guys that ended with Kikuta taking a tiger suplex from Maruyama, but not before kicking out of a nasty roundhouse to look strong in defeat.
Great Kojika is presiding over this one as the special guest official, we are blessed. An absolute sideshow of a match, unsurprisingly with those involved. Brahmans didn’t do as many Brahman things as they usually do, the luggage and bowling ball were surprisingly absent, instead using their water buckets as a preferred weapon. Osugi tried to play party pooper again and block the water shots with various clothing items, but eventually fell prey to the water in the face treatment. Ueki pulled a gun again, except Kojika actually does something about it and smashes him with a road sign, Kojika trying to reign all the freaks in was hilarious and even took it to the Brahmans with his knee strikes and chops at one point as well. Numazawa finished this with a powerbomb to Ueki. Your usual undercard BJW comedy freakshow match that if a bit formulaic, is still pretty funny.
Deathmatch time. This was pretty tame compared to a lot of the deathmatches they run. Mostly just the barbed boards and chairs. The guys had a solid wrestling match around this environment but it was way too long, clocking in at almost 18 minutes where it should have been 8. Isami, Sekine, and Takahashi did some solid work here amongst the chaos, but this dragged in many spots. Inaba ended up getting the win with a rollup of sorts on Takahashi to make him look good for the 1/2 deathmatch title match he had against Ito. I honestly just can’t remember anything significant from this match after just watching it.
Recently, I witnessed Takeda and Jun Kasai put on one heck of a deathmatch in FREEDOMS, and I’m a guy who rarely doles out the stars to these types of matches. There are some truly good workers who do deathmatches in Japan and Takeda is for sure one of them. And Kobayashi is good fun, if not incredibly warped at the same time. You kind of have to be to willingly chew on light tubes. This started off as a very typical lighttube sort of deal, but this truly evolved into something pretty darn good once these two really started getting creative. Kobayashi brought some of his NJPW impersonations into the fray, doing a sling blade and teased going for a Boma Ye before Takeda stopped him. The submission transitions in this were nothing short of impeccable and showed off Takeda’s legit MMA background in the process. He even used a light tube as leverage on an armbar on Kobayashi at one point which was utter brilliance. The near falls were hot and heavy by the end and Korakuen was going nuts. They lost it even more when Takeda managed to GERMAN SUPLEX the massive Kobayashi for a 2 count. Finally, Abdullah put this to an end with a top rope elbow drop. A damn fine deathmatch, Takeda does it once again in this setting and coming off as an all around legit badass hanging right with the insane vet Abdullah. Normally don’t recommend these to anyone, but if you aren’t squeamish at all definitely check this one out.
Dear sweet Jesus, this match looks fantastic on paper. Hashimoto bros, Hideki, Twin Towers and Yuko all in one rolled up 6 man package? Sign me up. By the way, Daichi is now FULL TIME with BJW, away from Inoki’s IGF! Praise be to the Hashimoto heir. After starting off great with some flat out good wrestling between Daichi and Yuko, this broke down to the outside with K-Hash and Sato finding different parts of Korakuen to trade kicks in, Yuko and Daichi slamming each other into the West sign, and Ishikawa and Hideki trading forearms to the point where it spilled near the entrance way of Korakuen, leading a poor wheelchair-bound person to have to scurry away from the fray, which I terribly laughed at. Just amazing chaos occurring. It was great once it got back in the ring as well. Loved how featured Daichi was in this match, especially against Miyamoto who he had amazing chemistry with. Hideki was good for some suplexes on the big boys and some submission work, but he largely faded into the background after the initial chaotic brawling. The Towers looked incredible and rejuvenated as ever in this one, the beat down they dished out to Kazuki Hashimoto was absolutely brutal and fun to watch. Hashimoto survived the beating for a long time, but a final Ishikawa Splash Mountain did the trick after several knee strikes and an elbow sandwich softened him up beforehand. Another awesome BJW strong boy 6 man, what else is new?
Another big helping of stronk madness on this show is present in the main event. Recently crowned tag champs Strong BJ face off against the wild card team of big happy Hama of W-1 fame and strong boy on the rise Kamitani, who recently had a hell of a title match against BJW Strong champ Okabayashi. So you damn well know these two will have a score to settle in this one. And boy was I right within 10 seconds as Kamitani shoot slapped Okabayashi so hard he was pouring blood from his eye already. Yuji of course shot on him right back and this was already heated. Then Hama and Sekimoto trying to out-stronk the other…this is just so manly. Also, WWE boys and girls need to take some notes from how Kamitani actually makes a damn side headlock rest spot look excruciating and a deadly part of his arsenal and not some 2 minute long borefest with zero emotion or attempt to make it look good just to waste some time without drawing any heat. It’s amazing how Kamitani has evolved into this vicious monster, the ref had to pull him right off of Sekimoto after spearing him damn near a dozen times in the corner with his shoulder. He and Yuji continued to stiff the hell out of each other after that initial blood was shed set the tone.
Kamitani did a great job when being double teamed by Strong BJ, selling the punishment but also hanging right in there with the champs. They deliver some of the best double team based offense in the game and it was no different here. Hama delivered huge as an awesome hot tag for Kamitani, cleaning house on a number of occasions and using his gigantic mass to cancel out the numbers game of Strong BJ, even throwing himself onto both guys in a devastating splash coming off the ropes. Kamitani literally started losing his shit on Okabayashi, bouncing him right out of the ring and flinging himself in a shoulder block towards the Strong Champ from the apron, it’s incredible how fired up this dude is now after being put in some major spots in the company. This allowed for Hama to take care of business and give the final Vader Bomb to Sekimoto to end Strong BJ’s relatively short tag title reign! Fantastic main event tag where the main story for me is how incredible Kamitani looked and how much he has vaulted himself into that main even picture now. Looking strong in defeats against both Sekimoto and Okabayashi, he has the crowd totally behind him now and has a new found confidence in himself and is adding even more moves to his repertoire making him even more well rounded. Strong BJ of course were great per usual, and Hama has been an absolute treat to have in BJW where he obviously fits right in with his size and how he uses it. A must watch.
A damn good outing from BJW. A fun opener that saw a rejuvenated Sanada and the improvement of Uto and Kikuta, a hell of a deathmatch effort from Takeda/Kobayashi, and a great Strong 6 man tag were a great undercard for yet another awesome tag team main event match in BJW. BJW never fails to put on some of the best tag wars in the world right now, and this one was no different. Highly recommend you watch this show.
Editor’s note: Yuji Okabayashi challenges Ryota Hama for the BJW Strong Championship on 1/24.