Puroresu Reviews

The Review Stands Alone: Masashi Takeda vs. Jun Kasai (FREEDOMS 12/25/15)

Freedoms Presents Blood X’Mas 2015
Tokyo, Japan
Korakuen Hall before 1360 Fans

Masashi Takeda vs. Jun Kasai***3/4

Possibly the best deathmatch worker of all time, Jun Kasai, faces up against long time Japanese independent wrestler and some what unknown to the international audience Masashi Takeda. The matchup takes place in the appropriately named ‘Death Face Soka Glass Board Death Match’ for Takeda’s King of Freedom championship. This isn’t your usual deathmatch because they only used 4 sheets of glass and a few chairs. They worked a match and incorporated gimmicks which is the correct way to work a deathmatch in my opinion. If you guys are thinking I am some sort of deathmatch fan boy; that’s the furthest thing from the truth. I usually hate deathmatches because the guys don’t know how to work and they are mostly out of shape and rely on pain and blood to get over. In Japan there are a lot of shitty deathmatch workers and there are some great ones, case in point: Jun Kasai. Kasai is a great wrestler and could just rely on wrestling to get booked but he incorporates this style of match every so often (nowhere near as much as he used to) and it usually works for me. Takeda is predominantly a death match guy for Big Japan and Freedoms but also is a great wrestler and as I will get into in this review he can put on great technical matches with the best of them.

Before the match they play a great hype video for the match, in a quick summary Kasai has gone through everyone on the Freedoms roster and called out Takeda a few shows back and then pinned him in a tag match at the 13/12/15 Freedoms show. Korakuen is crazy hot for this match, maybe not even the match but just Kasai. They love the crazy monkey! He is so over it’s unbelievable. When Kasai makes his entrance the crowd is deafening with Kasai chants and the champion Takeda gets a nice response but nothing like Kasai’s. The two men show zero respect for each other and opt for giving each other the middle finger instead of a handshake, the two men have a technical exchange and a stand off. They tease going through glass but they both have another stand off, Kasai looks like he is getting the upper hand but Takeda drives Kasai into the glass with a knee. It doesn’t break so he gets speed and does it again. This time, it was successful in breaking the sheet of glass. He follows this up with driving glass into Kasai’s forehead and intern making him bleed.

As I said in the first paragraph there were only chairs and four sheets of glass, so between big spots, they used wrestling maneuvers instead of the typical light tubes and weapons. In most of Kasai’s big matches he likes to use a lot of kickouts at 1 and fighting spirit, so we got a lot of that. Takeda is in control early on and kills Kasai with an unprotected chair shot which looked disgusting. He no sells a suplex from Jun and then no sells a lariat and hits a knee strike for a two count. Kasai is trying to lariat Takeda through glass but Takeda isn’t budging until the third attempt and glass goes flying everywhere. As I stated before, I’m not a huge deathmatch fan. but it’s damn cool whenever someone goes through glass. For awhile there isn’t any glass breaking and instead we get a lot of high impact moves, lots of lariats from Kasai, and versions of the Tiger Driver and double arm suplexes on shattered glass.

In possibly the craziest spot of 2015, Kasai attempts a superplex but Takeda counters and attempts a powerbomb but Kasai isn’t letting go of the turnbuckle. I should tell you now that there is a sheet of glass leaning on chairs so yeah. In a shocking turn of events, Kasai gets spider German suplexed onto glass; landing right on his head! The two trade slaps but Takeda hits the Olympic Slan, and then sets up a sheet of glass between 4 chairs basically like a table. Kasai counters a suplex into the glass and but makes a mistake and runs back at Takeda who catches him with a flying armbar onto the sheet of glass which was awesome but the glass failed to break so Takeda throws the glass at Kasai and it fails to break again! So in a last ditch effort, he sets up the glass on the ring ropes and Kasai makes the same mistake of running straight at Takeda. He once again gets a flying armbar and this time the glass breaks. It was so damn cool. Kasai is not giving up and nails a lariat, but he misses the big splash and the two men have a crazy strike affair that ends in Masashi Takeda hitting a very pretty Dragon Suplex. Kasai counters a reverse DDT and kicks his opponent ultra stiff on the head numerous times and finally hits two spike Tiger Drivers for the win, becoming the new King of Freedom champion!

Look. If you really hate deathmatches, you probably won’t like this, but it was one of my favorite deathmatches in recent memory because they used moves and weren’t brawling all over the hall. Both men killed themselves and would have felt the effects the next day, but my god did the crowd love this! It was a hotter crowd than nearly any match Korakuen has held in the past year or so. Kasai is now 41 and probably won’t be able to deliver these caliber of matches for much longer so take them while you can and watch this match (thanks to RealHero and Eric for always uploading our puro needs). Kasai has been been doing this death match stuff for 17 years now and he still moves. So much respect for the crazy monkey. Thank you for reading and keep your eye out for a certain Japanese wrestling podcast that yours truly will be starting up for soon on the site.

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