3/26/06 NWA Pro/Inoki Dojo Review

Acero Dorado and Rocky Romero don’t like each other much, Bo Cooper gets his rematch against Karl Anderson, plus JOEY HARDER! AND SEXY CHINO! Click below for the full report. The Inoki Dojo, since it restarted several months ago, has provided an excellent platform for new SoCal stars to gain experience and exposure. Wrestlers such as Alex Koslov, Karl Anderson, and brand-new NJPW star Fergal Devitt have all had their star power signficantly increase because of the weekly shows on Sunday.

I’ve only been to one Dojo event, the free one that was on the same day as the Royal Rumble, and I decided after seeing that Bino Gambino and Alex Koslov were in a tag match together, and that Rocky Romero was appearing, I decided to give “NWA Pro” another shot.

Something I noticed since the last Dojo show I’ve attended is that they’ve now added another ring announcer to translate the announcements into Spanish, which is a nice touch considering 95% of the NWA Pro audience is Hispanic.

The Plague def. Reptil and Vertiz in a Handicap Match

Reptil and Vertiz I’m guessing are newer lucha students training at the Dojo, because they obviously still have a lot to get the hang of. Even in a handicap squash match where all they had to do was bump, they had a tough time doing that properly and keeping up with some extremely basic sequences. I will say however, that The Plague is a bad, bad man, and he dispatched both of his opponents with extreme ease.

Alex Koslov and Bino Gambino def. Joey Harder and Sexy Chino in a 2/3 falls match, 2-1

The Ballards are apparently off doing an international tour for most of this month, but it wasn’t announced that they weren’t present at the show, so I was shocked (and internally marking the hell out) when I heard “The Legendary” SEXY CHINO’S music hit, and was accompanied by none other than the true king of the RevJ, Joey Harder!

I mainly attended this show to see Bino, as I haven’t had much of a read on what he was capable of from his two PWG appearances. That being said, he is the real deal and can definitely go far on the SoCal wrestling scene, improving on his already impressive EWF resume. His technique and timing is extremely sound, and he does have a unique in-ring charisma. I’ve gone on and on about Alex Koslov and how incredibly talented I think he is, and that talent was definitely on display here again. I’ve been also hoping to check out Joey Harder since I’ve been in SoCal, and his appearance here was a nice surprise, and of course, Chino is a fantastic addition to any card.

The match itself was fairly basic, but everything was excecuted extremely well, with all four men trading snug mat sequences and seguing into some nice 95-era WWF spots. Bino and Koslov got a double fall off a Koslov superkick and Gambino enziguiri, and I immediately think the match is over. However, for some reason it continues, and the frustrated Harder/Chino team assume the heel role after playing it fair for the first fall. They started blind tagging in, with Harder also working far stiffer. This strategy paid off, as another double fall was scored off a Harder Northern Lights Bomb, and a Chino falling DDT.

Everything broke loose in fall #3, with both teams going all out, and getting some hot nearfalls off of trademark moves. Koslov and Bino this time went to the submission well, tapping out Harder and Chino with the Red Scare, and Texas Cloverleaf, respectively. I really dug this match and felt it justified my $10 admission price, and I’ll definitely attend more Inoki Dojo shows if Gambino, Harder and Chino continue to be booked. Oh, and despite being evil for a night, Chino DID dance, which left me one happy fan.

Massive Challenge

NWA Pro fans were denied Fabuloso participating in his challenge, because he had a protege to debut, hailing from Mt. Olympus, Colossal Chris! They took an “audience member from the crowd” who had green hair, and clearly WASN’T one because he started doing flawless lucha sequences. Of course, Fabuloso interfered behind the referees back and allowed Chris to pick up the cheap pinfall. The fan was incensed, so it’s “Colossal Chris” vs. “The Fan” next week! Now that’s some New Japan Pro Wrestling!

Intermission time, which only meant one thing, time to use the JAPANESE SPACE-AGE TOILET! I love that thing.

Profero Jr. and Acerdo Dorado def. Rocky Romero and No Fear in a 2/3 falls match, 2-1

Easily match of the night, equally parts beautiful lucha libre and chaotic brawling. Rocky Romero was super-motivated to just bring it tonight, flying around the ring and hitting everyone with ultra-smooth submissions and flying attacks. The rudo side were in heel overdrive tonight, alternatively beating the hell out of and begging off from the technicos. This match had the first major heat from the crowd, and it was largely due to the intense exchanges between Romero and Dorado. The rudos scored the first fall after Romero tapped to an armbar, but the tide was even later after No Fear caught one of the heels in a Liontamer. The last third of the match was a long lucha sequence,with guys falling out of the ring every second. Then, Dorado had an ingenious idea- RIP OFF HIS OWN MASK and throw it to Romero, causing the DQ under lucha rules. This INFURIATED Romero and he and Dorado had several pull-aparts until Dorado agreed to a rematch next week. The match was definitely a ***+ affair, and honestly, I like the lucha version of Romero more than the NJPW or ROH versions, mainly because for some reason it seems more natural.

Karl “Machine Gun” Anderson def. “Brawlin” Bo Cooper to retain the NWA British Commonwealth championship

This was a rematch from AWS’ 4th Anniversary show, which ended in a double countount, and I’ve gotta say this was a much more impressive contest than the AWS match. Karl Anderson is starting to remind me of TNA’s Eric Young, with his exaggerated mannerisms, and goofy ring banter. He stuck to a smart strategy, taking out the legs of the much bigger Bo Cooper and keeping him grounded. Bo eventually (and impressively) turned the tide with a top-rope armdrag. However, Anderson was too smart and blocked a Cooper charge, and finished off his challenger with a guillotine legdrop. Karl Anderson using his belt as a machine gun= another reason why I’m a wrestling fan.

Durango Kid def. Shamu Jr.

Finally, a chance to see the elusive Durango Kid, and he is a quality talent, and does some very smooth lucha work. Shamu Jr….is still just kinda there, and I really haven’t cared for any of his matches, as of yet. This really seemed far more like a basic lucha libre exhibition than a “main event,” and to be honest it was so forgettable I barely remembered how Durango even won…some kinda Dragon Sleeper I think. The fact that the match was barely 7 minutes also kinda capped off the show with kind of a “blah” feeling.

Overall Thoughts:

While the card placement and some of the angles on this show were a bit odd, I did like it quite a bit. Romero’s match tonight was top-notch, and it was awesome to see Bino Gambino, Joey Harder, and Sexy Chino. While I’m not the Dojo’s target audience, I would go to more shows if those three (along with Alex Koslov, of course) continued to have matches with each other.

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The authority on wrestling and MMA in Southern California since 2001.