NJPW-USA June 26th, 2004 review

Great show from the Inoki Dojo crew. Great wrestling, great atmosphere. The air conditioning was fantastic. Everyone and their mom wants on board this project. Turnout for this show changed immensely compared to their last two dojo shows. Not only did the turnout change, so did the fan etiquette, but I did my best to tune the “witty” comments out. What a great night of wrestling!

Dark Matches
Tony Kozina over Koji [3’57]

Really short match. Good for what it was. Koji is a Inoki Dojo student.

Taji Ishimori over Bobby Quance [4’29]
This is a dark match?! This match right here could be a main event ANYWHERE, and Inoki Dojo books this as a dark match?! It’s pretty nuts, but that’s a great sign, because if a match with such high potential like Taji/Bobby can be a dark match, then the rest of the card must be even more stellar, and stellar it was. Again, a real short match, but I went nuts when Taji popped out of the
entrance way. Taji Ishimori trained with Ultimo Dragon and works for Ultimo’s Toryumon promotion (Toryumon X) I believe. What a great surprise. I can only hope for a longer rematch in the future.

Episode 1
Samoa Joe over Babi Slymm (non-title) [4’01]

Another short match. I’d like to see Joe/Slymm go at it in a longer match. Slymm ditching baggy pants for the tight tights takes some getting used to.

Brad Bradley & Adam Pearce over Tommy Williams & Eric Matlock [4’06]
Brad Bradley is back! I hear he’s training with Inoki Dojo now, so that is great news for us SoCal fans. Bradley was murdering Matlock with forearm smashes to the face. Williams and Matlock fought back valiantly but fell victim the new duo of Bradley and Pearce, who also seems to be aligned with American Dragon. Good match for what it was. By this point, I was getting used to the
short matches. This New Japan USA effort is truly a hybrid old school American/Japanese feel. I would have never thought I’d see the old school shenanigans of Adam Pearce in a NJPW ring, let alone the interviews done right in front of the ring in the aisle way.

American Dragon over Joey Ryan [4’22]
Great match for the time given. I want to see a longer rematch in the future.

Nosawa & Masada over Pinoy Boy & Rickey Reyes [11’56]
This was good stuff. The Pitbulls and Gurentai gel well together. I love watching Masada work. The surly badass works well for him. Nosawa is funny.

Episode 2
Adam Pearce over Toru Yano by DQ [4’49]

Toru Yano was the Japanese equivalent to ECW’s Sandman. But he drinks a bottle of sake instead and carries around an umbrella. At certain points in this match Yano was outheeling Adam Pearce! This match was wrestled very US Pro style with Yano choking Pearce with his wrist tape on numerous occasions. Some brawling outside as well.

Kazuhiro Hamanaka over Iceman Webster Dauphiney in a shoot match[0’10 in
round 2]

The only worked-shoot match on the show. This match did not seem well received by the majority of the crowd. Iceman/Romero from the last Inoki Dojo was better to me. Will Iceman wrestle wrestling matches any more?

Bobby Quance over Kaos [4’39]
When I first heard Cypress Hill “blaring” over the house PA, I was jokingly thinking to myself, “It’s KAOS!!!! But then Kaos came out and I was like, “What the hell?” Well, Kaos proved this doubter wrong and looked the best I’ve seen him in the ring in quite some time. Don’t let the Kaos haters fool you. He and Bobby had a good match. Kaos just needs to shake the stigma he has, and stay consistent with the training and good matches. Bobby hit his famous Shooting Star Press and I had such a great view of it.

Heat over Rocky Romero to retain the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title [9’48]
One of the matches I was looking real forward to. This was one of my matches of the night. Really well executed. Watching Heat live for the second time was just as great as the first. Simon Inoki came out before the match and even did the pre-match certificate introduction (although no pose-down with the belt and both competitors, they do that in NJPW don’t they?) Joey Ryan Fan was
all for the “Simon” chants for Simon Inoki. Simon smiling about that was great. The IWGP Jr. Title looks awesome in person. The pre-match intros gave this match a special feeling. The annoying “power ranger” chants resurfaced for Heat. The most disrespectful fans at an Inoki Dojo show that I have ever seen. I mean, it’s great to be rowdy and rabid, and not be a jackass at the same time. It is indeed possible. Once again, great match from Romero and Heat. One of my favorite matches of the evening. Lady of the Lake slapped on Heat = mark out moment.

Episode 3
American Dragon over Taji Ishimori [4’40]

Good stuff right here. Before the match, some dude representing the Toryumon crew said to AmDrag, “you have to go through his student, before you get to him”. Really good match. Dragon stretched Taji in all kindsa ways. I’d like to see a rematch, most definitely.

Puma over Chad Collyer [10’38]
Another good match. Good to see Chad Collyer back but the crowd was less receptive of Chad (or Puma for that matter) than I was.

Samoa Joe over Shinya Makabe to retain the ROH Heavyweight Title [9’26]
Awesome match. It’s cool to see the ROH World Title in person and see it get defended against legit international contenders. Too many promotions nowadays like to call their title the “World” title, but ROH is one of the very few promotions that can call their title the “World” title. “Marvelous” Makabe put on an awesome display against Joe, as both guys were equal heavy hitters. Great hard hitting heavyweight matchup. I can’t wait for the Bradley/Joe match that Inoki Dojo is building up to. Just before the show I was saying, “Man, I can’t wait for Bradley and Joe to lock up.” And now they are.

Dark Match
Ultimo Dragon over American Dragon by DQ [11’14]

Unreal stuff. My other match of the night. This match had such an awesome ambiance to it. Dragon hit the ring showing his cockiness and his readiness to “throwdown” with Ultimo. When Ultimo Dragon hit the ring, the pop he received was insane. Hugest pop of the night. The match was great. AmDrag showed a lot of personality in this match (which he has been doing a lot of lately), jaw-jacking with the fans and doing silly (but cocky) posedowns. Ultimo hit his signature kick combo, dragon sleeper, and his latest finisher (sit-out Sliced Bread #2). He even busted out a wacky T2P submission or two. Really awesome match that had such a great vibe going with it. Usually, I hate run-ins. And at the time, I was pretty pissy about the run-in during this match, but it makes perfect sense. And as of this writing, I like the run-in. Joe and Romero making the save was really cool as AmDrag and Bradley retreat. Like I said, good hybrid of US Pro and the JPN style.

Overall, this show was great. One cool moment during the show was at the end, when all the wrestlers and talent involved got in the ring and did their little sendoff chant thingy (I don’t really follow NJPW, so I dunno). I thought that was pretty cool. Seeing Heat and Ultimo live was great. I actually got sick of being so repetitive with this write-up. “This match was good, this match
was also good, again this match was good too, so was this one, etc.” It got kinda annoying but man, what more can you say when the Inoki Dojo crew put on such an excellent show. Not one bad match on the show. Inoki Dojo is definitely a major player. Actually, I do have one beef with the show: the Super Hyper toilet not being available for use. And no X-Pac. And Joanie Laurer. And Chynna Dolls.