Mother nature not only brought us the snow today but with it came the first televised GUTS show of 2016! Hi everyone, Lawrence the GUTS mark back at it again with GUTS’ latest offering from Shinkiba, and we have a pretty darn interesting show on our hands. We don’t have a big world title match main eventing this show, but rather a 6 man WAR. The spark of this war came when Masked Mystery decided to ditch the evil Tonpachi Machineguns group in late 2015 after having a great title challenge against champion Daisuke and decided to change his ways when seeing he could do well on his own. Masked Mystery even teamed with Daisuke against Tatsuhiko Yoshino and Yuko Miyamoto after that, and guess who wasn’t having it? Well Tonpachi of course. Masao Orihara, Ryan Upin and recent addition to the group Amigo Suzuki ran in at any opportunity to distract Masked Mystery in his matchups and it has finally reached a boiling point where Masked Mystery needed to enlist the help of Daisuke and Kazuhiko Matsuzaki to fight these three off. Also an important matchup tonight is the semi-main event, in which Arai and Shota will be defending their tag titles against the IWA Army of Keizo Matsuda and Yuji KITO. In a shocking turn of events at the start of the show when both teams met face to face, Team IWA put even more on the line; if IWA loses that match, they are banished from GUTS for good! High stakes all around for this show.
What a pleasant surprise to see BJW youngin Sakuda in GUTS against one of their young boys in Otani. A pretty basic fighting young lion story but a well told one nonetheless. Sakuda has already gotten past that stage of his career in BJW while Otani hasn’t, and Sakuda showed it by working Otani to death on the mat to start. Otani fought back valiantly with some well placed hope spots and high octane offense, but Sakuda always found a way to cut him off in fashion. Sakuda had a rare opportunity to look like the more dominant guy in the match as he mostly loses in undercard matches in BJW that’s loaded with a ton of established talents, and Sakuda sure as hell took advantage of it. He shined, he’s a guy that can work a stiff style but also launch himself into corner sentons and standing moonsaults when called upon. Otani worked hard to escape many submissions from Sakuda, but one final half crab that Sakuda wrenched back on did him in finally. Good stuff to open the show, Otani came off like a fighter in defeat and Sakuda got to show even more of his skill than usual.
Hey it’s Mr. Gannosuke! No wait, it isn’t!? Michio Kageyama comes out and he looks EXACTLY like Gannosuke, bleached long hair, same pants everything. Kageyama is apparently a Nagoya based indie guy and GUTS has brought him in to do a Gannosuke tribute act. Amazing. Simply amazing. Akiba always brings me so much joy as this poor 140 pounds soaking wet rookie that the crowd can’t help but get behind. He didn’t stand a chance against evil Gannosuke Jr. though. Akiba shockingly got some licks in during the start and actually gained a quick advantage that was just as quickly thwarted by GannoYama. He had the Gannosuke mannerisms down so well; the powerslams, the arm work, the kicks, the ruthlessness. Akiba had a great opportunity to show his fiery babyface side for a short while in his comeback, flying around and hitting a bunch of dropkicks and stiff roundhouse kicks. The kid’s got something for sure. Kageyama made sure it did not last long though and tapped out Akiba with the Haragatame. Decent match but you gotta love the Gannosuke Jr. sort of thing Kageyama is doing. You gotta wonder if this will tie in to the actual Gannosuke at some point…
The Drake match of every GUTS show is always a highlight. God bless that wonderful woman. From some quick research, Kanda is a young 21 year old lady that has worked lower level indies and joshi (Secret Base, ICE RIBBON and WAVE being some examples) the past 3 years or so. Curious to see how she hangs in there with the boss Drake. Kanda tried catching Drake with some quick offense and rollups to catch Drake off guard early, but it was for naught. Albeit, Kanda was surprisingly holding her own here, but a missed splash gave Drake the opening to bring the bat into play and teed off on Kanda. Drake used the outside to her advantage as usual, as one of the best brawlers in the game threw Kanda around and brought a chair into the equation. Poor Kanda was getting battered, but all of a sudden a second wind powered her, hitting some very strong maneuvers and even won a battle of lariats against the beast. Drake’s power game eventually just became too strong for her opposition to handle, and several strong lariats and a Drake Driver sealed the deal. A hard fought battle where both got their licks in and Kanda took some serious punishment before finally going down to The Real Beast From The East Drake Morimatsu.
This could be a good one. Ole Ganno and Guts certainly needed a change in scenery from battling the IWA guys, and who better than one of the best GW has to offer in Yoshino and Taro Yamada, a guy who was noticeably absent on the recent GUTS show. Whoa whoa, but wait just a god damn minute. Michio Kageyama (The Gannosuke impersonator from earlier) appears once again and he’s…wrestling in place of Gannosuke in this match. I can’t help but laugh at this, this is genius. The fans were even chanting Gannosuke at Kageyama, completely living the gimmick. It’s just a ruse though, as the real Gannosuke gets back in and Kageyama stays outside. Yoshino and Yamada controlled for a short bit, but then Yamada became distracted by Ganno Jr. on the outside and it was GannoGuts’ turn to take advantage. I can absolutely get behind the story of Gannosuke taking advantage of this stan of his that wants to be just like him and use him for evil to help his winning efforts. The two grizzled vets beat the tar out of poor Yamada; Guts with his brute strength and Ganno with his amazing technique. I like how Ganno and Guts have seamlessly made the transition to playing great heels after being the babyfaces for some time in that IWA feud, speaks to their versatility. Yoshino’s hot tag was pretty darn good, I honestly can’t say enough about how great of a performer this guy is. Yamada was no slouch himself, hitting some awesome moves like a split legged moonsault and furious quick clutch pin attempts to get out of here quickly. The last few minutes of this match were absolutely amazing and comes so highly recommended from me. Guts hit Yamada with a lariat that hurt his own arm, that’s how hard it was. Gannosuke and Guts hit an aided top rope powerbomb AND a Gannosuke powerbomb and Yoshino kicked out of both! Yamada literally flung himself through the ropes in a rolling senton at Guts, and Ganno and Yoshino went at it. But out of nowhere, the Gannosuke Clutch can hit, and it caught Yoshino completely off guard for the 1-2-3, but it was because Gannosuke impersonator tripped him up from the outside. Wow, what a hell of a finish to a match that took a bit to get some legs under it.
Gannosuke made sure to make Kageyama a part of the Kishindo Army officially after the match, further using Gannosuke Jr. to his advantage for the future. Beautiful. This segment also saw an enraged Yoshino seem to demand a singles match against Kageyama, you have to think is coming for the February show or after that.
Like I said at the start of the show, the IWA goons put the pressure on here: If they lose this match, they’re out of GUTS for good. If they win, they’re tag champs. Also, I don’t know why this is a thing now but Arai and Shota came out to Macho Man’s theme music. Well then. This started int he champs favor, but quickly the tide turned when the IWA guys started pulling some cheap tricks and the heat was on, and Shota was suffering the consequences. Shota is one of the best Ricky Mortons out there, in which I mean he can really take and sell punishment so well and make his struggle to tag out look so agonizing. Keizo and KITO were big believers in Dustin Spencer’s CUT HIM OFF movement, Shota just could not get free of their clutches for several minutes and Arai was knocked off the apron many times. Finally, a fired up Arai got into the match, and used some sleazy tricks to gain back momentum. The match slightly picked up from here, but not much and was bogged down by an absolutely ridiculous finish that was just way too much for me. The ref got bumoed in the corner by Shota and Kito like 4 times, causing Shota to grab one of the tag belts from Arai and then throw it at Kito to try and pull an Eddie Guerrero…but then Shota just locks him in the sharpshooter while Kito has the belt in his hands. Why would you be that dumb? Matsuda ended up making the save when Kito tossed him the belt allowing him to bash Shota with it. Arai went to get the belt again from Matsuda and Shota thought Arai hit him with the belt (the nonsensical BS just continues), causing Kito to push Shota into the belt and roll him up to win the tag belts. An okay match that just got so dumb and screwy at the end with that nonsense. IWA did get a huge pop and IWA chants for winning though, oddly enough.
The now former champs apparently begged for a rematch on their knees in the ring, not sure if the IWA guys were in a giving mood and granted them it. I’m not sure I really want to see this rematch.
Aw yeah, main event GUTS vs. Tonpachi time. Will Masked Mystery get the Tonpachi Machineguns sized monkey off his back? This quickly started as an all out brawl, tags were not to be seen for a good amount of time here. Loved all the different pace changes in this, started off as almost a Dragon Gate tag with Tonpachi just coming in like torpedos to destroy Daisuke, and then the former member Mystery coming in like a wrecking ball on them, only to get cut off. Then it turned into a brawl on the outside; chairs were thrown, streamers were used to choke the babyfaces. Then it was a southern tag, with the heat appropriately on Tonpachi’s former member Masked Mystery. Matsuzaki was the hot tag that Mystery finally reached and he and Daisuke were cleaning house. Now it was Mystery’s turn to deal out the pain to his former compadres. Daisuke followed suit and my goodness, I can’t say enough about how great this guy is. Every. Damn. Show. He just gets it done and delivers amazing performances. He even got busted open on the outside and after Amigo choked out Mystery and Matsuzaki was being manhandled outside, Daisuke put up a hell of a fight against the rest of the three. The chaos was so fun in this one and it was a lot of fun even when tag rules were basically thrown out the window for absolute craziness. But it was just too much for Daisuke to handle, when he tried to hit a top rope maneuver, but was kicked in the head by Upin, and then Spider German Suplexed off the top by Orihara, and was then finished off by a beautiful moonsault from the big man version of Kzy. With Orihara getting this key pin, it sets him up for a title match against Daisuke most likely pretty soon! Should be a heck of a match when it happens. This match was loads of fun, and certainly an easy watch.
So this was not a spectacular GUTS World outing by any means, but it’s still an enjoyable show that you should all give a shot. The tag title match was a total let down for me, especially with the nonsensical overbooking at the end but that’s my only real complaint of the show. Everything else was solid to good, with my two favorite matches being the main event 6 man war, and Gannosuke/Guts vs. Yamada/Yoshino.