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Vamonos Amigos #67 – Toryumon X in Japan
Toryumon X returns to Japan on a card that seems slightly better chosen than the first Japan landing show. Genki Horiguchi vs. Naoki Tanisaki is the result of a challenge made at the previous show, and the main event six man features the two main X factions facing each other in six man action for what I believe to be the first time on Japanese soil.
SUWA-Cito, Mini CIMA & SUWA vs. Henry Sugawara, Manabu Murakami & Anthony W Mori
CrazyMAX are out in numbers for this one, with the three members of the team accompanied by both TARU and TARU-Cito II. SUWA attempts to start this one out, and mini-CIMA receives a slap round the head for trying to push him out of the ring.
Just a quick note in case people haven’t seen Mini-CrazyMAX regarding their size. The Toryumon X minis aren’t minis on the scale of someone like Max Mini/Tzuki/Que Monito etc. Rather, they seem to just be guys of below average size as opposed to genuine ‘midgets’. The Mini-CMAX guys do really good impersonations of their bigger equivalents, particularly SUWA-Cito, whose flying clothesline is damn near identical to SUWA’s.
The match is a pretty entertaining 15-minute spot fest, but sadly one that’s rather forgettable. No one is horrible, but nothing stands out to a huge extent. The finish comes from a SUWA FFF followed by CIMA’s ever-impressive Mad Splash variation where he runs up the ropes and turns into a Mad Splash in one fluid movement, which he hits on Mori for 3. A decent enough fast-paced opener, but nothing special.
The Florida Brothers vs. Los Carros Exoticos (Murcielago and Lambo Miura)
I quite like Los Carros Exoticos, particularly Murcielago. Miura is solid in this one and doesn’t do anything wrong, but Murcielago is always the more impressive of the two, just generally looking more slick in his offence and attempting to get the crowd behind him. The Florida Brothers do their thing in this one, and it features some good wrestling in amongst the FloBro comedy shtick. They certainly give a better match than Stalker does as a comedy attraction.
Los Carros use the steering wheel accessories to apply submissions, and Lambo Miura’s hold is different from last time I saw him, closer to a butterfly lock. The obligatory DQ victory comes at the 8-minute mark when Iwasa convinces Yagi that Murcielago hit him with a steering wheel. An entertaning comedy bout with some decent action thrown in. I’d rather see Los Carros take on the Royal Brothers or a couple of Mini-CrazyMAX members on a card like this as it’s meant to showcase X members, but the match is good fun regardless.
Genki Horiguchi vs. Naoki Tanisaki
Tanisaki is easily the standout member of X in my opinion, and Genki rarely fails to deliver, so I had high expectations going into this one. Pre-match they show Tanisaki bragging about being in the Young Dragons Cup final, and Genki countering by saying that he won it in his entry year. The basic story behind this is that Tanisaki uses the surfer gimmick that Genki used early in his career. The match is wrestled to reflect this, with Genki playing the role of the stern veteran who is intent on testing the young upstart and putting him in his place. Both men play their roles brilliantly and it’s safe to say that this is the best match on the card up to this point.
Tanisaki gets some offence in at the beginning, and you can see him grow in confidence and actually start to get a bit cocky. This all changes when he attempts the surfing arm drag, as Genki let’s Tanisaki throw himself off the top rope but doesn’t let himself be taken over with the arm drag, instead shrugging the move off and glaring at Tanisaki with look of disdain. The tone for the rest of the match is set when Genki takes Tanisaki onto the entrance ramp and smashes his knee with a chair shot. From this point on Genki is unrelenting in his assault on Tanisaki’s knee, and the youngster throws everything he has left at the veteran who barely gives an inch. Tanisaki gets the odd flurry but is always cut off fairly quickly. Tanisaki does an amazing job of selling the knee for someone of limited experience, and little things like limping or having the knee buckle from under him when he’s whipped into the ropes put across how much he’s struggling.
Mid-way through there’s a sequence that highlights how great Genki is in this match too. Tanisaki has fired up and is opening up on Genki with some chops, and it goes something like this…
Tanisaki: Fore Arm!
Genki: Nope, dragon screw, I’m Genki Horiguchi, bitch.
Genki keeps doing stuff like this for the whole match, cutting his momentum off the ropes with a low drop kick and blocking the surfing clutch by hitting him in the knee. The truly evil Genki performance and Tanisaki’s excellent plucky young babyface act has the Japanese crowd, who love Genki, really rooting for a Tanisaki win. When Tanisaki kicks out of the backslide from heaven at 1(!), then gets a near fall on a backslide of his own, the crowd absolutely erupts. Tanisaki finally puts everything he has left into hitting Genki’s own finisher, the beach break.
For a brief moment it looks like he’s about to pick up a huge win, when Genki puts his foot on the rope. Tanisaki’s sheer desperation as he drags Genki into the middle of the ring and covers him again is great to watch, and the frustration and disbelief when Genki kicks out seems absolutely genuine. After Tanisaki has given all he can give in this match he eventually succumbs to Genki’s beach break.
Although I’ll admit to being a big fan of both of these guys, even attempting to look at it objectively I can fully recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of good wrestling. A top quality sub-15 minute match between one of Toryumon’s finest performers and one of its most promising youngsters.
Kenichiro Arai and Koichiro Arai vs. Don Fuji and Small Dandy Fuji
The Arais are accompanied by Mrs Yukiko Arai, who the ever-classy Don Fuji makes sure he is introduced to before the match starts. Its really hard not to like Koichiro Arai, as he is clearly loving every second of his time in the ring, and Kenichiro’s enthusiasm for teaming with his mini is infectious. The Fujis are again accompanied by TARU and TARU-Cito II, though they aren’t a big factor in this match.
This goes for 15 minutes and is entertaining stuff. They take full advantage of the Full size and mini teams, with the Fujis hitting Nice Germans in synch, and the Arais hitting double diving head butts. The singles exchanges tend to be mini vs. mini and full size vs. full size, with Small Dandy Fuji and Koichiro developing a dislike for one another as the match goes on. Towards the end it degenerates into all four men in at once however, and Koichiro actually manages to pick up an upset win over Don Fuji with a schoolboy roll up following Kenichiro spitting in Fuji’s eyes. Don Fuji gives his mini a slap for not being there when he was being pinned, then the two minis start brawling. Don Fuji and Kenichiro attempt to separate them to no avail, and it eventually takes intervention from Yukiko to bring them apart after she tells Koichiro to behave himself. Harsh words are exchanged between the minis, and it seems that a match is booked between them for the next X show.
Los Salserios Japonaises (Mango Fukuda, Pineapple Hanai and Takeshi Minnamino vs. The Sailor Boys (Taiji Ishimori, Kei Sato and Shu Sato)
An immediate observation is that two of the Salserios have changed their looks considerably since the last X show. Mango Fukuda has swapped his bleached blond locks for a big dark brown afro, which is a very good call in my opinion. Pineapple Hanai’s change is even more drastic. He has gone from blond highlighted bunches to a do that makes his head actually resemble a pineapple. He has diamond zigzags shaved into the back and sides to look like the texture of a pineapple, then on top he has his hair dyed green and tied up to look like the leaves on top of the fruit. Best…hair…ever, and talk about living the gimmick.
Ishimori arrives complete with super-camp sailor hats for lucky audience members. As much as I complain about his ring work, he undeniably has a good look and is a charismatic young man. The same can’t really be said for the Satos, though the identical twin thing is cool I guess. One more observation…HOW MANY STREAMERS?! Seriously, I don’t think I’ve seen this many since Kanda’s retirement. Each one of the Salserios members get an absolute flood of multicoloured streamers that totally fill the ring. Ishimori gets a few, and the Sato twins get some red ones too. The teams opt to brawl around ringside so that the ref and ringside people can attempt to make some space in the ring.
I liked this match in parts, though there are some points that drag it down. Its good to know that some of the X performers are over with the fans, though oddly enough it’s Los Salserios that are getting cheered for the most part. Minnamino’s second rope swanton gets a huge reaction as he climbs up on the turnbuckle, and it seems that he can’t resist playing up on this and teasing the move for a while before hitting it. The Sato’s are their usual average selves, and Ishimori does everything at hyper-speed, though this isn’t always to his benefit. He botches his backwards 619 variation which quiets the crowd, but other than that his performance is ok. Pineapple Hanai has limited input and is very much the third man in his faction, assisting in double teams and holding people so that the others can get free hits. He does bust out the awesome Anderson spinebuster though.
Mango Fukuda is pretty good. I like watching him and its good for a heel faction to have a power guy. I think Minnamino has a lot of potential, considering he’s still very young I think he could be very good in a few years given experience and the right training. I look forward to seeing how Los Salserios do when they work their Michinoku Pro dates. In a result that surprised me, Fukuda actually gets the pin on one of the Sato twins, though the live crowd doesn’t seem too upset.
Post-match the Salserios celebrate with some dancing as their catchy theme song plays. In a bizarre piece of booking, an angry Ishimori heads back into the ring with the Satos and they beat up the winners. Ishimori finishes this assault with the superstar elbow. The crowd are booing furiously throughout this, and probably rightly so. I could understand this if the Salserios had cheated to win (and they probably should have), as the Sailor boys getting them back would send the crowd home happy. However, as Fukuda’s win was clean, the faces just come out of it looking like really sore losers. Very odd. Anyway, one of the Sato twins says something funny that gets the crowd back on their side, and they perform their song “Keep on Journey” to close the show.
This is the first X show I’d recommend getting hold of. The multimans and tags are all perfectly watchable, but the obvious selling point is Genki/Tanisaki. I’m not calling it a Match Of The Year Candidate (MOTYC), but you should definitely consider picking it up.