A historic moment for Wrestling With Words: My first GUTS review on THIS platform. I’ve been anxiously awaiting the airing of this show, I mean we have a main event of Daisuke defending his GWC Title against Tatsuhiko Yoshino. That’s enough for me to want to watch. Daisuke’s been a heck of a champ, going close to 30 minutes in each of his defenses so far and Yoshino has steadily worked his way up the ladder to be able to challenge for the title. Going to be a test of willpower and wrestling skill. But, we have some interesting stuff besides this! Drake Morimatsu is facing off against returning long time female rival Megumi Yabushita after Yabushita confronted Drake on the 11/10 show. The IWA war continues in the form of separate singles matches, as Mr. Gannosuke takes on Yuji Kito, and Guts Ishijima faces Keizo Matsuda. The patriarchs of GUTS look to expel these IWA hooligans once and for all. Masked Mystery also revisits old demons, as he faces off against former partner Masao Orihara from the Tonpachi Machine Guns, who have taken much exception to Mystery changing his ways for the better and leaving their band of misfits.
Ah, what I didn’t really touch on but this is cool. The younger guys of GUTS Tanaka and Shin Suzuki face off against the true dirtiest players in the game Shota and Arai. A decent opener, Shota and Arai played good pests as usual, while Tanaka definitely seemed to carry the load for most of this, making a valiant comeback on Shota but falling just short. Nothing I would go out of my way to watch though.
Like I mentioned, a long time rivalry between these two. Haven’t seen Yabushita at all, but Drake’s always a good time in GUTS, putting on entertaining sideshow like matches with her baseball bat and power offense. This was a match that started out built around Yabushita pushing all of the right buttons on Drake seeing as they know each other so well. She made that mistake one time too many as Drake lost it, took her into the crowd and smashed a chair over her head, sending her down the stairs of Shinkiba! The intensity certainly ratcheted up here, as these two had a great back and forth match supplemented by some really good mat work in the process. The two know how to dance with each other and you can obviously see it. Finally, Drake’s power was just way too much for Megumi to withstand as she was hit with the Fire Thunder Driver to end this one. An awesome display of respect between the two occurred post-match, hugging and bowing multiple times after a hard fought match between two long-time friends/in-ring rivals.
The GUTS/IWA war continues, with the first match of tonight’s series between Mr. Gannosuke and Kito. Kito rustled some jimmies by starting an IWA chant and Ganno was NOT having it. Then when Mr. G left the ring, Shinkiba chanted for GANNOSUKE just to bring him back in. What a bunch of great smarky lads the GUTS faithful are. This started as mostly grappling, with Gannosuke working the arm of Kito, Kito working the leg of Gannosuke. Always amazes me the different ways Ganno can make working an arm actually look cool/entertaining. Kito focused on the leg throughout, and stayed focused to it while the arm work was kind of forgotten about…until the ridiculously abrupt finish where Ganno grabbed an arm submission out of nowhere when Kito was about to grab a leg lock, and he tapped IMMEDIATELY. Just an absurd finish to me, it’s not like Gannosuke absolutely murdered his arm either and this made Kito look like even more of a geek, if that’s even possible with how much the IWA guys have been emasculated these past several shows. It’s an okay match, don’t get me wrong but the finish just made me shake my head.
The pressure is on Matsuda now to pull this one out as his buddy Kito failed miserably against Mr. Gannosuke. Thing is, Keizo is facing the patriarch of GUTS World himself. Signs tell me he’s not going to have a whole lot of luck here himself. Loved the way they played into Keizo’s obvious desperation early on as he tried every quick pinning combination/rollup in the book just to get a quick sneaky win over Guts to maintain ground in this “war.” When that failed, Keizo literally pulled every heel trope out of the book to gain the momentum: eye pokes, low blows, ref distractions (from him and Kito), biting, face grinding, you name it. He’s hilarious while doing this stuff and plays up the heel act very well and engages the crowd whilst making them laugh. He’s a heck of a worker too, he’s been around the block since the old IWA Japan days at 40 years old (hence the whole IWA Army deal) and never really broke that indie sleaze stigma. This made Guts’ comeback all the better, especially when Ganno helped stopped some of the shenanigans Kito was helping Matsuda with. This turned into a hoss fight when the tides turned into Guts’ favor, and he’s going to win that battle more often than not. And he did, with a very similar to the Styles Clash type of falling forward facebuster. Real good match, the IWA army may be finished in GUTS and kinda were made to look terrible in the process, but they were good for some very solid affairs with the old guard of Gannosuke/Guts. But as I say that, tag champs Shota and Arai came out and cut some sort of promo on the IWA boys, and then IWA takes the dirty bastards out in what is probably their final stand in the company. Shota and Arai then proceeded to go up into the stands and talk shit to the fans who made fun of them being made to look stupid. I love GUTS World.
It’s announced that GUTS is running KORAKUEN HALL on May 8th, 2016! Pretty damn insane when you think about it, can’t wait for it. Another announcement is the main event of Okinawa show on 1/24 being Daisuke/Tatsuhiko Yoshino vs Shota and Arai for the titles! And finally, it appears Drake Morimatsu is running her own produce show soon, which is cool.
A pretty significant grudge match taking place here in the GUTS universe. Mystery left the Tonpachi Machine Guns a few months back, wanting to change his ways from being a monster who didn’t play by the rules and followed the pack. Of course, Tonpachi took exception to this and has gotten involved with Mystery’s business on the past few shows, so he wants to settle this in the ring with now staple big man of Tonpachi Masao Orihara. This match was LITTERED in Tonpachi interference via Ryan Upin and newly joined member Amigo Suzuki. An absolute mess, the brawling and interference on the outside was more prevalent than any wrestling match happening in the ring itself. But in a way, the absolute chaos of this scene was very entertaining and the crowd was loving it. Mystery was fending these guys off and actually had Orihara down for the count with a chokeslam, but Orihara’s goons pulled the ref out, hit Mystery with a chair, and then hit the poor ref with the chair! It was amazing it took that much for the ref to finally call for a no contest here, as young boys were flooding into the ring trying to help even the odds for Mystery, a huge pull apart brawl ensued and the Shinkiba folks were going crazy. It’s so hard to slap a rating on this because this was no wrestling match really, but it did a good job building the heat and anticipation for Mystery absolute wrecking his former partners’ shit at some point with some aid at his side.
The anticipation I have had waiting to see this is second to none. This is Daisuke’s biggest challenge yet, in my opinion. Yoshino has climbed through the ranks of GUTS and has solidified himself as one of the most consistent, exciting performers in the promotion. Meanwhile, Daisuke has gone through four different title defenses and has proven to be a champion that can go 30 on any night. The match like many GUTS main events had its foundation predicated on very strong mat based grappling. But the pace changed a bit quicker than it usually does in these situations, as Yoshino felt a sense of urgency and hit a diving plancha on the outside to Daisuke and then hit a brutal DDT on the entrance ramp. This started an absolutely genius dissection of Daisuke’s neck that was done in so many neat ways, one being dropkicking Daisuke’s back while having his head bent into the turnbuckle. Superb stuff. Daisuke finally got his swag back by dragon screwing the holy hell out of Yoshino’s leg, and putting the pressure on the boy part in a variety of ways himself, including his ever so beautiful Indian Deathlock. But the kicker to me here, and beautiful psychology was Daisuke trying to lock in a Muta Lock, but being unable to do so because his bad neck couldn’t support it! Absolutely brilliant. Yoshino was able to use his athletic ability to power through the leg soreness and hit a picture perfect missile dropkick that had to mess with Daisuke’s head and neck even more. But Daisuke went full Flair with the chopblock and figure four to go right back to his target. He’s a cold calculated champ and I love the way he operates by dissecting guys with holds like this.
From here on out, I was left speechless. I’m not even sure if I could properly do this match justice. Yoshino came storming back with his feet based offense to knock Daisuke for a loop. He even went for a friggin 450 which Daisuke avoided. At one point, Daisuke went for the Sliding D finish but Yoshino caught him in a damn crossface. There were so many near falls, both guys kicked out of each other’s finish, Yoshino kicking out from the sliding D, Daisuke kicking out of two German suplexes. I was on the edge of my seat. Shinkiba was going absolutely bonkers, never heard it that loud in that venue ever. All the while, Yoshino was making sure he felt that pain in his leg while doing this stuff, which probably led to the missed 450 because it took him too long to climb up. The finish was astounding, Daisuke had to hit two top rope splashes and a Sliding D to finally send Yoshino packing in this all time classic indie sleaze title match. I’m not even joking when I say this would have been my personal second best match of the night on Wrestle Kingdom 10. It was THAT good. The drama, emotion, the limbwork, the selling, the near falls, the crispness and transitions. Everything just clicked with these two. Daisuke is an incredible workhorse champion, now with 5 defenses notched under his belt that have gone all close to 30 minutes, he’s a legitimate major guy to have to take down. He wrestle so smart and calculated. He doesn’t waste movement and everything he does means something. Yoshino was the perfect complement to this, battling from underneath leading to an absolute fire final stand in the last several minutes of this one that would have your jaw agape on the floor. I know lots of people joke around about me doing these reviews, and I understand maybe some of this stuff isn’t always everyone’s cup of tea (and I can tend to be a tad overexcited, admittedly so). But this is truly a MOTY type of match. It’s on youtube HERE so please at least check it out.
This show was not some overall sensational show of the year type of deal. Far from it. The undercard had its moments where it made you laugh and it’s nice to see a close to the IWA stuff as well as Mystery’s feud with the Machine Guns being furthered. But the main event is an incredible showing of two guys who wanted it so bad and pushed each other to the absolute limit for close to 30 minutes.