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Vamonos Amigos #68 – February 04
This is a standard episode of Toryumon’s flagship TV show Vamonos Amigos (since renamed Dragon Gate Mugendai Infinity). This edition covers matches taped in January and February, and features the aftermath of the Yoyogi PPV from December and the January PPV.
The Florida Brothers vs. X
A re-cap is shown of Genki’s promo from the January show, and it becomes clear that what he was actually saying was that he had a mystery opponent lined up to get revenge on them. They actually play a bit of the X-Files theme as he talks about this “X” mystery opponent. We then cut to the match itself, with Daniel and Michael in the ring doing their pre-match shtick. Of course this is without the usual mockery of their opponent. After a pause and silence… “TAKE THE…DREAM” blares out over the arena speakers, and the crowd realises who Gecko has found to deal with the Florida Brothers. Sure enough, 30 seconds later Kensuke Sasaki emerges through the curtain to a big reaction from the crowd. Michael and Daniel look suitably terrified. They do some decent comedy in this one, with Michael and Daniel trying everything they can think of to take him on, with even a two-man collar and elbow tie up failing to move him.
The “match” basically involves Sasaki hitting numerous lariats and generally destroying his opponents. However, even Sasaki isn’t safe from the FloBro screwjob. Just as all hope appears to be lost for Danny and Michael, Daniel runs the ropes and trips himself and attempts to blame Genki Horiguchi, who is sat a genuine 15 feet away from the ring at the commentary desk. This comes after he actually asks Genki to come and trip him but is refused. The ever-gullible Yagi argues with Genki anyway, allowing FloBro to bring the stars and stripes chair into the match.
Ultimately Sasaki falls victim to the exact same scheme that they used to beat Ryo Saito and the January PPV. The FloBro streak continues as they pick up their highest profile victory yet. They celebrate with their hands on their hearts as the American national anthem blares. In a funny moment, Sasaki actually joins them in this for a moment or so before Michael orders the music to be stopped and tells Sasaki that he can’t sing with them, as he’s Japanese and they’re American. Kensuke exchanges some words with them before drilling both of them with a double lariat. He leaves to a good response. This match is fun if only for the novelty value of seeing Sasaki in the Toryumon ring and the fun post-match stuff.
Super Shisa, Dragon Kid and Kenichiro Arai vs. Antony W Mori, Yossino and Milano Collection AT
This one allows Yossino and Shisa to continue what they started at the January PPV. Mori continues his informal association with the Italian Connection here, as he remains undecided about his future. Clips are shown from the January PPV of the Shisa/Yossino and Shisa/Milano exchanges before this. Yossino and Shisa start this off and are as evenly matched as they were at the January show. This is clipped to some extent, and the first couple minutes completely skip out anything involving Kid or Arai in favour of Shisa’s exchanges with ItaConne members. Shisa gets the upper hand over Yossino and the opponents are forced to double and triple team him to get an advantage.
Later we see Kid hit his usual spots and Arai hitting a dive to the outside and a couple of other moves. The main point of the highlights appears to be to put across how difficult it is for the ItaConne team to keep Shisa down, as he kicks out of their triple teams, gets near falls with two of his Shisa Specials and reverses their submissions. He even escapes Yossino’s Sol Naciente mid-application to the surprise of the crowd and Yossino himself. It is eventually Shisa who gets the win over Mori after a series of cradles ends up with Shisa on top with a bridged cradle. Passable stuff that does the job of putting Shisa over as a threat to Yossino’s title and makes him look very strong.
Following this we see clips of what appears to be JUN’s birthday celebrations. Highlights are JUN dancing with a clearly drunk CIMA, and both of the CrazyMAX members attempting to eat food which appears to be alive…
TARU & Don Fuji & CIMA vs. YASSHI & Dotti Shuji & Touru Owashi
The all out war between CrazyMAX and the newly re-named Aagan Iisou continues with this frantic six-man tag match. There is some clipping here but a good amount of the 17-minute match is shown. The star of this one is Don Fuji, who is isolated by Aagan at various points and sells the beating masterfully. The crowd is red hot for it, Aagan are seriously hated as a heel group and the crowd are particularly annoyed by the brilliantly cocky Brother YASSHI. Yasshi is on fine form in this one too as an absolute prick, and he takes every opportunity to mock Fuji, slapping him in the face as he drags him out of the corner and attempting to pin him with one foot.
The crowd are also keen to see CIMA take on Aagan’s largest member Owashi. When both are tagged in and have a stand off the response is huge, and the crowd gets even louder when CIMA manages to hit a vertical suplex on his much bigger opponent after numerous attempts. TARU has fairly limited input, with his main offence coming in the very early stages when CrazyMAX have YASSHI isolated and nearer the end when he has a brief exchange with Kondo. Everyone performs well, and YASSHI and Kondo’s chemistry as a team is remarkable. They seem to get into position for their double teams without saying a word and always hit them faultlessly. For example, there is a point where Kondo has Fuji down and is about to pick him up. Without even looking back he lifts him up into the power bomb position and backs up towards the corner for YASSHI to hit his Bad Boy (blockbuster) from this position.
Its a shame that this match was clipped at all, as what is shown is really good stuff. Fuji’s attempts to get the tag are worked well, and they do the false hot tag where the ref doesn’t see it to get the crowd even more desperate for Fuji to get CIMA tagged in. There is a fantastic near fall towards the end which comes after interference from Shogo Takagi goes awry. Takagi ends up hitting Yasshi with a chain wrapped round his fist by mistake, allowing Fuji to hit his ‘Nice German’. The Aagan members hold the ref’s leg to try and stop him counting, but he leaps free and manages to count a 2.99999. I thought it was over, as did the crowd. Great stuff.
Eventually the Aagan beatings prove to be too much for Fuji. CIMA saves him from Kondo’s Gorilla Clutch submission, but Fuji is unable to get up and is hit by Owashi’s diving body press. Just to anger the crowd that little bit more, Owashi neglects to cover Fuji and tells YASSHI to go up and hit his flying head butt from the top. YASSHI does this and covers Fuji in a very nonchalant manner, just resting his knee across Fuji’s chest and posing as the ref counts 3.
As an aside, matches like this highlight just how good the Gorilla clutch is as a submission hold. The move involves Kondo crossing the opponent’s legs, sort of like the Texas cloverleaf. He then lifts them up and turns them over so that they’re in a wheelbarrow position with their legs crossed over. He keeps them elevated and puts pressure on, stretching their knees and bending their back the wrong way. During this stage of the move the opponent can struggle for the ropes, crawling on his hands but could tap at any time.
However, if they get near the ropes and don’t manage to get a grip on them, Shuji drags them back to the middle of the ring and drops onto his back, using his legs to scissor the opponents whilst continuing to put pressure on the opponent’s back and knees. Once they’re in this stage there is nowhere for them to go, and they either tap or have to be saved. As yet nobody has managed to escape the hold when it’s locked in like this. The frantic struggle for the ropes before he applies the move’s second stage creates a great visual, as they could tap at any time but equally have a short period of time in which they can escape. I’m digressing slightly, but I just thought that the move deserved comment.
The Gorilla Clutch is one of numerous ways in which Shuji can win a match. This repertoire, combined with a good powerful heel presence and a demeanour that switches between cocky and aggressive as needs be makes Condotti Shuji a really well rounded performer considering he’s relatively inexperienced. He’s definitely one to watch, and I’m glad he was elevated to UDG title contention more recently this year. With my Condotti Shuji pimping out of the way, I’ll note that post-match we’re shown a clip of Fuji and YASSHI agreeing to a rematch at the February Revolucion pay per view, this time for the UWA Trios titles currently held by Aagan Iisou.
Susumu Yokosuka, Genki Horiguchi vs. Masaaki Mochizuki, Condotti Shuji and Brother YASSHI
Mochi and Susumu have quite a history here. From the original M2K to its split, to their feud over the Mochizuki name (which Susumu lost), they have been involved with one another in some way for most of their careers. Before this match we’re shown Masaaki making Susumu the offer of a place in Aagan. He doesn’t give a response and it is left up in the air going into this six man.
The six man is fairly disposable stuff. A short sprint with solid performances from all six, not a reason to pick up the tape in itself though. Main notable for me was a point in the match where Shuji has beaten Genki down, and YASSHI tags in, taunts him and shouts abuse at him and his partners, dances around a bit, then tags back out. Best cocky heelism ever. Shuji commits the most unthinkable act, knocking Ryo off the apron in the middle of the “H-A-G-E” Genki encouragement chant. The finish does a good job of cementing Mochi’s heel turn, as he holds Ryo by the hair so that Shuji can hit the King Kong Lariat. Post-match Mochi has some more words for Susumu, presumably telling him to consider joining.
After this we see a re-cap of the events leading to the next match. We’re shown CIMA becoming the first UDG champ, and then losing it to Magnum. Then brief highlights of his 2 defences against Don Fuji and Kenichiro Arai. Lastly, a recap of Okamura, SUWA and Magu setting up the match is shown before cutting to the match itself.
UDG Championship match. Magnum TOKYO vs. SUWA
This is SUWA’s first high profile singles bout in a long time, and probably the biggest singles match of his entire career. He enters to his own music rather than the CrazyMAX theme, and doesn’t appear through the curtain until it has played for over a minute. He is flanked by TARU, CIMA and Don Fuji, and he looks focused and typically grumpy.
Magnum enters to the ‘big match’ remix of his theme song. He is accompanied by Genki, Susumu, Ryo and two dancers. He debuts another new dance routine, with atmospheric blue lighting and snow-like confetti dropping on the ring. Him and his dancers use sticks to perform a well-choreographed pseudo-fight scene. Very cool entrance, he always puts on a good show. Anticipation is high for this one, and the crowd seems split between the two and are very vocal during the opening stand off.
They do some basic exchanges to start it off, and it is SUWA’s attitude in these that sets the tone for the match. Coming out of a ground reversal he gives Magu a cocky slap in the face, then after taking him down again he spits on the champion. This gets Magnum very, very angry, and as such he gives one of his most motivated performances in months. He gets up and dares SUWA to slap him again, which of course he does, because he’s SUWA, and then the fight is on.
Following some heated brawling round ringside, including SUWA being launched into the 8 or 9th row, they eventually make it back to the ring. Magnum remains in control with some vicious kicks, that he seems to hit with a greater intent to hurt than normal. The rest of the match involves SUWA coming back into it, and ultimately taking control and looking to put Magu away. It should be noted that this match was taped at Hakata star lanes for the promotion’s Uno Dos Tres! TV show. As such, it was almost seen as a given by many fans that Magu would retain, as despite the nice production values and quality matches, a UDG title change would not be expected on what is essentially a B show. Despite this the crowd are extremely hot for this and at about 3/4 of the way through they begin to realise that SUWA has a chance of winning this, and the “SUUUWA, SUUUWA” chant begins.
SUWA eventually manages to get the win after the second John Woo of the match is followed up by the FFF, which he hits twice to make sure Magu stays down. The result gets a great response, and I see SUWA looking all emotional for the first time. CrazyMAX congratulate him and Magu tries to make a swift exit. SUWA gets on the mic and calls Magu back in. They trade words and bow to one another, Magu raises SUWA’s hand before leaving. SUWA celebrates with the title as we cut away to the next match. This was a really good match, with impressively intense performances from both men. It caps off Magnum’s title reign which, having reviewed his win and defences, wasn’t actually too bad. His title win over CIMA wasn’t great, his V1 defence against Don Fuji was excellent, his match with Araken was good and the ultimate loss to SUWA was superb, and provides a strong reason to buy this show.
Magnum TOKYO vs. Antony W Mori
Ok…This is like 10 seconds from a match that went 4:39. Magu won with a cradle. I presume this was included to keep Magu looking strong. Also, after the match he says something on the mic that I think was Magnum announcing his departure from the promotion for a few months’ break.
I consider this show to be well worth picking up. Another really good CrazyMAX/Aagan six-man, and an excellent match between SUWA and Magnum. The Sasaki/FloBro opener is also fun for its novelty value. Recommended.