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My name is Chris, and I called Melvin Goes to Dinner Mitchell Goes to Dinner in my Sonoma review. I’m sorry. RAW Raw was good enough. I wasn’t expecting a huge show, but it was good with the occasional vein of real bad running through. Well, I take back all the bad things I have said about WWE audiences, as they gave a tiny reaction to Kevin Nash when he came out to start the show. Maybe it was the crowd mics, but they didn’t really respond at all to his whole spiel. HHH got a good response, though. HBK got a decent pop too. I actually like the way they are building these feuds, and the sections done by Michaels and HHH were solid and intense. Jericho and Test had a match. I don’t like the Test and Stacey stuff, but the fact that Stacey was doing the hurt manager not watching the match bit that always happened right before turns in the 1980s was nice to see. An OK match, mostly due to Jericho. Trish and Ivory (where the hell has she been?) took on Victoria and Jazz. Not great, but these folks know how to make the whole thing sting of intensity. My favorite part, the talk of Theodore R. Long. He used the term “haterizin’” thrice!!! I have enjoyed his stuff for a while, even if I am not crazy about the direction. By the Way, Victoria looks HOT with the new hair. Goldust and Goldberg meet. It would have been better if it was Gilberg, but still, it was kinda fun. Wow, the Bischoff infomercial was lame, but I am betting that Bisch came up with it so he can add it to his reel for the actual infomercial projects that will eventually host his pleathery mug. Really, a desperate cry to help merch sales. No DQ Tag Title Match. The crowd seemed to enjoy this, and it wasn’t a half-bad match early on. I think Morley is a big talent, as is Storm, but RVD is always allowed to be the star. The match got better after the break…until the Dudleys came in. I would have liked to see this match go without the Dudleys, but I know how the WWE works. Still, a match that become pretty good. Hurricane remains an entertaining force when mixed with the upper card performers. No one delivers the word BBIIOOTTCCHH better than ‘cane…except maybe Snoop Dogg. And now the Rock vs. Goldberg match is official. Whoop-di-doo. Call me simple, but I really like the running of the hamsters Snapple commercial.
Christian is always entertaining, but I just don’t like these one-sided cel phone conversations backstage. Goldust and Christian don’t have much of a match, but Christian still managed to get himself over with the stick. Bringing out Goldberg was a good way to get him a pop, but the Jackhammer he delivered was awesome. Steiner vs. Nowinski in a debate. Why, why, why did this have to happen to me? Debating Iraqi Freedom on a wrestling show? WHAT THE F&@$*#g Hell is this doing on my TV? NO! NO! NO!…although it does paints pinko liberals as evil, which is a plus. Nowinski was great mocking after 3 Minute Warning’s beat down. Les Vichy showed up again. I am hoping they bring back Frenchy Martin as their manager. The Main event was fairly good, especially when Flair was in. Booker is really good. I think he should be getting a much bigger push, preferably with a belt attached. The ending was flat, with HBK and Kevin Nash involved. The tease of Nash being with HHH was obvious, but I’d rather just concentrate on the fact that Hurricane pinned Flair. HURRIMANIA IS RUNNING WILD!!! All in all, not a bad show, just kinda spotty. The poor choices that are being made by the bookers are getting worrisome. News Angle’s surgery went well, and he was released from the hospital after less than 24 hours. He is expected to make a full recovery…for now. FlashBack! Garbage wrestling. Hardcore Wrestling. Excessively violent brawling in the guise of wrestling. It doesn’t matter what you call it, it’s a style of wrestling that has been around for a long time, but the Japanese seem to have perfected it in the late 1980s. There have been dozens of companies that have come and gone over the last decade and a half, but Garbage wrestling still makes money around the world. The first great figure in Japanese brawling is Atsushi Onita. Onita-san had been an All Japan Jr. Heavyweight, working clean matches in the middle on the most traditional of all circuits. Onita was sent on a trip to the States to work for the Memphis boys. On a card in Tupelo, Mississippi, Onita and Masa Fuchi took on Eddie Gilbert and Ricky Morton in a concession stand brawl. During the match, Onita got splatted in the ear with a jar of mustard. The brawl was famous, but only a few years later, Onita retired, siting serious knee injuries. In 1988, the hottest company in the world was UWF, Akira Maeda’s shoot promotion, bringing an air of reality to the Japanese Wrestling mats. Now, Onita had the itch to get back in the game, and he still had the memories of the heated match from Tupelo. Onita gets a few of his longtime friends together and starts Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling, or
FMW. Onita pulled one of the great publicity stunts by showing up at a UWF show with a document of challenge. The promoter of the show stopped him at the door and asked “Do you have a ticket?” Onita was then escorted away. The first shows did well, with Onita brawling all over the place. It wasn’t until Tarzan Goto and Onita faced off in a Barbed Wire Death Match that FMW became the huge promotion, taking a lot of spotlight away from UWF. Over the years, FMW held famous May 5th shows at Kawasaki Baseball Stadium. The shows were always headlined by big Exploding Ring Death matches, including a famous match between Onita and Terry Funk in 1993. At one of the shows, they even debuted a Woman’s Exploding Ring Match, which was a hundred times better than any of the men’s bomb matches. The shows continued for most of the decade of the 90s, but FMW started to lose a lot of its talent base, either to injury, other garbage promotions, like W*ing, or to the fact that FMW didn’t make enough money to pay them. Stars like Sabu, Funk, Tiger Jeet Singh, Mike Awesome, Horace Boulder, Tarzan Goto, and Mr. Pogo all left in the later 90s, though most made returns at one point or another. Onita eventually retired and decided to pass the mantel to Hayabusa, a masked high flyer who may have been doing the most impressive flying moves in Japan at the time. He couldn’t draw like Onita, but he did have some great matches, especially when he was allowed to wrestle in All Japan, where he had some classics with the greatest wrestlers in the world. By this time, IWA Japan had started to steal a lot of thunder, especially with matches that featured glass, barbed wire-wrapped bricks, and Cactus Jack. They held a famous King of the Death Match tourney, which I have been told was the most rented wrestling video in Japan for most of the rest of the 90s. Cactus won after having a bloody match with Terry Funk. Other promotions, like Big Japan, pushed things further, using real scorpions, snakes, cactus and piranhas. FMW eventually passed to Kodo Fuyuki, who tried to make it more like the WWF, even going so far as to use porn stars. It slowly killed FMW, but many point to the fact that the tastes of the fans had changed, and the company went out of business in 2002. Injuries are frequent, the worst of which being Hayabusa. While working on an FMW pay-per-view, Hayabusa slipped while trying to do a quebrada (Lionsault) and landed on his head. He was paralyzed for months after, though he has started to make a comeback and has been working as a promoter. There is still garbage wrestling going on in Japan, but it is no longer the force it was in the 90s. FMW is gone, though Onita is still doing death matches around Japan after his second retirement. It could be argued that Death Matches and Garbage wrestling has had a bigger effect on the US mainstream wrestling than on the Japanese product. Hard to tell, but no matter what, the stuff they were doing at Kawasaki Stadium has made for classic wrestling images. That’s all for Falls Count Anywhere. I’ll be back Friday with more news, reviews and a rant on Backyard Wrestling.