What could be better than watching a DVD of twenty year-old Japanese garbage wrestling? Spending the night at a dank, poorly-lit and mildly threatening bus station, for one thing.
Yet for some reason, I am drawn to collecting obscure, non-WWE DVD's. There certainly aren't a lot to pick up here in Toronto. Still, I saw this one at a used bookstore for only $14.99 Canadian and figured, what the hell? Plus, it had Mick Foley, my current fave wrestler of all time, on the cover, and I remembered him talking about his time in FMW in the 'Have A Nice Day' book.
For the uninitiated, FMW, or Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling, was the Japanese forerunner to ECW, minus the creative storylines, insane crowds, Joey Styles and bounced cheques (probably). Anyways, this is the 'Uncensored Version', for whatever that's worth. The 'Censored' version is probably just a blank DVD.
Introductions are done by two goofs named John Watanabe and Eric Geller. Watanabe is trying to sound cool with "hip" references to Cyndi Lauper and the like (even though it says the disc was produced in 2000), and Geller looks kind of like Dustin Diamond with a receding hairline and a goatee.
I THINK Geller is supposed to be the heel, but seeing as he lacks a complete sense of wit, the whole shtick kind of falls flat on its ass. An example of the "unique" chemistry between these two:
Geller: Speaking of hairy, my partner John Watanabe has got very hairy balls (and you'd know this.... how?). What, do you shave those, how do you keep those neat?
Watanabe: (ignoring this hilarious zinger) You know, Eric, to quote the rock group Nazareth, the hair on your body resembles that of a dog. So listen boy, you don't go messin' with this son of a bitch. Let's go to the ring.
AHAHAHAHA! He said "balls". No wonder this is the uncensored version.
Naniyo Vs. Jason The Terrible: The disc describes this as a 'fight till the end as good faces evil'. On these shores, this is referred to as a 'prelim match'. Seriously! It's maybe three minutes long, after the pitiful pre-match interviews are done. Jason resembles Kane, if Kane was badly out of shape, couldn't work, and wore a cheap hockey mask that he had to keep re-adjusting. At least both of them use a powerbomb. Awful, awful encounter.
Line of the match - Watanabe: "We're a long way from Camp Crystal Lake, but I don't think Jason's reign of terror is over."
Mad Dog Nagayo Vs. Shark Tsuchiya ("Girl Grudge Match"): Shark is decked out in Sting makeup and army pants, while the Mad Dog has her finest cowboy gear on. I'm sure SOMETHING must be lost in the translation here for their nicknames. Shark busts out what appears to be a flaming featherduster to kick things off.
I should point out that the crowd fills a small baseball stadium, so there are probably several thousand on hand. Mad Dog piledrives Shark on a ringside table, and it looks like a decent bump. Mad Dog soon begins bloodying her opponent with some sort of sickle. Several women try to interfere on behalf of both competitors, but I can't be bothered to learn their names.
Mad Dog uses some form of an armbar, and it gets a submission. Several people try to pull her off her fallen opponent. Weird finish, but the match was short and held my interest.
Line of the match - Geller: "She won it, she knows it, the judges know it." (Judges? WTF?)
Before the next match, Watanabe promises us some "fun". Instead, he introduces us to one of the Snake Girls, a bikini-clad woman in the ring. Watanabe practices what he thinks is a 'Fujiwara Armbar' on the woman, who sells it as if it was she was some bikini-clad woman on the street asked to sell an armbar from a lame, pudgy announcer. How on earth was that "fun"?
Horace "CPA" Boulder, Mike "Gladiator" Awesome and Ooya Vs. Super Leather and the Head Hunter twins: Horace, of course, is the nephew of Hulk Hogan, which the commentators hint at but can't actually say for fear of a lawsuit. And he's also related to Awesome, somehow, which certainly explains why he was saddled with the gimmick of being a certified public accountant. I was at least expecting Horace to don the old IRS uniform, but he just has regular old tights. Awesome wears warpaint. T
he Headhunters look like twin Abdullah The Butchers, and if memory serves me correctly, they were in WWE for a couple of matches before Vince McMahon came back from his vacation and fired whoever thought that was a good idea. Super Leather looks like a poor man's Mankind, though to be fair, I think he was first.
I'd be remiss if I left out the HILARIOUS pre-match promo from the heels (Super Leather & The Headhunters), which was done by their manager, a fat Johnny Valiant wannabe who can't cut a promo for the life of him. A small sample:"You're looking at the WING Tag team champions. The champions of FMW FM f*cking W! Tonight we're going for the six-man tag team champions. What does that mean? Nothing."
Awesome wasn't much better: "I don't give a Goddamn about no six man streetfight belt!"
We start off with Awesome and Leather brawling atop a lighting scaffold, which looks like it could be a cool spot, except no one falls off it. Geller informs us that Awesome's plancha onto one of the Headhunters outside of the ring "does not tickle".
Suddenly, everyone is back in the ring, and Boulder is bleeding profusely. Me thinks this was clipped. Geller tells us a fascinating story about Awesome lifting a two-ton truck over his head to save a little boy's life. The boy died at the hospital, and Awesome is now wrestling without a kneecap. Who made this shit up? Russo? Canadian Bulldog? Geez.
Both Headhunters are slightly more agile than Abudullah, which is to say "barely" but they do a few top rope things, including a decent powerbomb on Horace The Killer Accountant.
Funniest spot of the night is when Headhunter # 1 (or #2, who the hell knows) attempts a moonsault onto Horace (who is on a table) and basically misses. Super Leather repeats the spot and drives Horace through the table. A painful looking Snowplow by Super Leather finishes off Horace. Another abrupt finish.
Line of the match - Geller: "Being a mafia hitman, with the skins of humans sewn together as a mask, Super Leather knows how to deal with union leaders." Well, THAT explains everything!
Cactus Jack Vs. Kanemura ("Death Duel"): Kanemura is nicknamed "The Doughboy" and it's not because of his love for baked goods. Er, maybe it is. Either way, he's a fat ass who, granted, can take some decent bumps.
Foley delivers another classic promo before the match, which shouldn't surprise anyone. This is apparently AFTER Foley has defeated Funk for the King of the Death Match title that he describes in 'Have A Nice Day'.ADDENDUM: Several people have e-mailed me to mention that Foley won the KOTDM title in the IWA, so not exactly sure WHAT version of the title he's defending here...
Two sides of the ring are covered in barbed wire, while glass-covered death objects are outside the ropes on the other side. Kanemura is wearing a silver bodysuit with flames hanging off it, which looks just terrible.
Some slow, but methodical, brawling starts things off. The commentators allude to the fact that Foley left WWE ("those cartoon characters in Stamford") to take part in this shit. Let me get this straight: this match took place around 1996-ish, they refer to Foley's book and his WWE personas, which he wrote in 2000, yet he left there to compete for FMW? Someone call McMahon!
Kanemura is the first one to dropped in the bed of glass, and Foley drops a chair on him from the apron for good measure. Ouch. Kanemura is now caught in the glass and barbed wire, which can't be fun. Hell, I'm sure it doesn't tickle, right Eric?
They go back into the ring and Cactus starts rubbing barbed wire against Kanemura's face. So far, Foley hasn't taken most of the punishment, which is interesting to say the least. Several two-counts prompt Cactus to yell "Aw, f*ck!", probably hoping he could just go home at this point. Kanemura turns the tables, literally, breaking bits of table over Cactus' head.
Finally, about 10 minutes in, Mrs. Foley's Baby Boy gets a head full of barbed wire. They tease Cactus falling into the bed of glass for a while, until a baseball slide by Kanemura does the trick. And Mick, bless his heart, makes the bump look spectacular. And he sits there for a while, writhing around in the glass for maximum effect.
Kanemura follows up with a plancha, which lands Mick back into the bed of glass. (Watanabe: "After this match, Cactus Jack should change his name to Toast!" Heh heh.. Toast).
They end up back in the ring, brawling for a while, until Cactus catches Kanemura and gives him a stun gun onto the barbed wire, followed up promptly with a DDT onto parts of the bed of glass (which Cactus brought into the ring with him). When that doesn't get a pinfall, Cactus goes outside the ring and throws shards of glass into the ring, which, amazingly, doesn't cut his hands in the least. A DDT onto the shards of glass is enough to get the win. Bang Bang!
Line of the match - Watanabe: "Fans want to see to somebody go into a bed of pain. Just like they go to a car race to see a car crash."
Back for some more light-hearted entertainment, as our commentators give airplane spins to two more Snake Girls. I'm sure there's a point to all this; besides, that is, allowing these two losers to grab the asses of hot women.
Combat "Mother-In-Law" Toyoda Vs. Megumi Kudo:This is the retirement match for Mother-In-Law, which actually isn't that bad a nickname as far as heels go. I know many mother-in-laws (though not mine, in case she's reading this) that could strike fear in many men's hearts. She reminds me of the love child of Aja Kong and Bull Nakano, if that makes sense.
Both women seem like they're whispering in their pre-match promos. Perhaps they don't want to wake up Daughter-In-Law. The backstory here, which I am not making up, is that these two used to be former lovers and roommates, and started feuding after Mr. Roper threatened to throw Jack out (okay, I made the last part up).
Mother-In-Law gets a Goldberg-style entrance to the song "Wild Thing". Oh yes, and she's crying on the way to the ring. To signify the historical importance of this match, the ropes are covered in electrified barbed wire.
As most former lovers tend to do, the first five minutes of the match consist of trying to throw each other into the electrified barbed wire. Lots of boring matwork here, but the crowd is hot.Kudo gets dropkicked into the post and hits the barbed wire. BOOM! Incredible! Her shoulder is actually charred.
Watanbe informs us that that was "20,000 volts", which is as likely as this match getting a 20,000/10 rating from me. A spinning torture rack to Kudo gets a two count. Eventually, Kudo reverses an Irish whip and Mother-In-Law gets sent to the electrified barbed wire for an even bigger explosion, delighting Son-In-Law's the world over. "That's for hogging the covers, BITCH!"
Kudo again gets pushed into the electrified barbed wire (I think I just like saying 'electrified barbed wire' a lot). Mother-In-Law pulls over a nice German suplex, and Kudo counters with a DDT. Mother-In-Law rebounds with several powerbomb-type moves, and each gets a two count.
In (seriously) an incredible spot, Kudo charges Mother-In-Law, who catches her opponent in a German suplex, and because its so close to the ropes, BOTH ladies are caught by a massive explosion. FMW owner Atsushi Onita is watching from the front row (I think I have a set of Onita steak knives somewhere).
Both women's arms are gashed open. I can't believe our goofball commentators ACTUALLY just compared this match to Frazier-Ali (Maybe Kelsey "Frasier" Grammer Vs. Tiger "Ali" Singh?). Kudo drops Mother-In-Law in a powerbomb on her HEAD (think Big Show-Nash from WCW) and only gets a two-count. Kudo with a nice Gory Special, which actually finishes Mother-In-Law off! Here I thought Mother-In-Law would go over. Shows what the f*ck I know.
Hey, how did all those people charge the ring to help Mother-In-Law without exploding? And not one of them were Snake Girls! Kudo embraces Mother-In-Law in a show of sportsmanship, or perhaps this was just their way of getting back together? And why is 'Wild Thing' playing? Still, fun match.
Line of the match - Watanabe: "This is her retirement match. Kudo isn't getting out of this ring, unless she's dead or unconscious."
Hayabusa and Masato Tanaka Vs. Terry Funk & Mr. Pogo: Pre-match, Funker cuts a decent promo explaining that, while he loves Japanese fans, Onita hasn't taught FMW wrestlers the proper way to wrestle. Thus, FMW has no heart, so he wants to destroy it. I've heard worse reasons for a feud.
Mr. Pogo has the same warpaint as Shark, and the same kind of army pants. AND he appears to have breasts. You don't think.... naah. They're accompanied by the fat f*ck who was with The Headhunters earlier. Hayabusa looks like of like a masked Sabu, and Tanaka many of you have seen from his days in ECW.
So here are the rules: Two ropes are filled with (of course) electrified barbed wire. Two sides have no ropes at all, making the ring look huge, and they have beds of glass (now referred to as 'beds of death') at ringside. And the ring itself will explode after 15 minutes. And if the bus travels of a speed of less than 30 miles an hour, it explodes (okay, I made that last part up).
After more stalling than a Larry Zbysko Convention, the four lock up and attempt to push their opponents in the direction of various death objects. Some fun brawling by all four, though they're limited because they can't really hit any of the sides. Funk teases falling over. Pogo takes Tanaka down with an armbar. Where are the Snake Girls to show these amateurs how things are really done?
Hayabusa saves his partner and attempts to cradle Shar.. er, Pogo over to the bed of glass. No dice. Funk DDT's Tanaka, which instantly looks better than most of the moves on this card so far. A nice series of events shows Tanaka almost throwing Pogo into the ropes, and missing the charge. BOOM! Tanaka's the first one to be electrified this time around.
Pogo pulls out a sickle (Seriously, now. Are Pogo and Shark lovers? And when is THEIR electrified barbed wire match? I need to know!) Funk uses a chair as his weapon of choice on Hayabusa. Oh geez! Pogo pulls out a saw-like object, and starts cutting Tanaka's arm and back open for real. Sick, sick, sick!
A double slingshot suplex by the faces puts Funk onto the ropes. BOOM! To the guy's credit, he sticks on that rope for a while, writhing in pain. Hayabusa delivers an awesome leapfrog-dropkick thing to Pogo. A siren starts blaring, telling us there's five minutes left until the ring starts exploding. Funk busts out the branding iron, while Pogo gets handed a bottle of kerosene from ringside. Pogo gulps some of it down to set Funk's branding iron on fire, but gets dropkicked by Hayabusa before than can happen.
Hayabusa and Pogo roll around on the apron until both land on the bed of death, which prompts a MASSIVE explosion. In a great visual, smoke covers the entire ringside area. The two idiot commentators begin coughing, as if they're actually there in person for this. Hayabusa tackles Pogo leaping from the apron, beyond the bed of death, and onto the ground. You would think these geniuses would make this their cue to LEAVE the ring. You would be wrong.
A pair of two counts on Funk by Tanaka. All four are now back in the ring, of course. Pogo tries desperately to push Hayabusa into the electrified barbed wire, which is kind of dumb considering the entire ring is about to explode. Funk suplexes Tanaka outside the ring, and falls himself into a huge explosion. Not to be outdone, Pogo slams Hayabusa onto the ropes. Ka-Boom! The ring is filled with smoke as the announcer begins to count down to 10.
Funk, because he's an idiot, rolls back into the ring. An explosion that I can't even attempt to describe fills the ring, and all four competitors die. Not exactly. The match continues until there's a pinfall, we're told. Hayabusa looks like he's been barbequed. There is a layer of dust on the ring. Tanaka tries to enter the ring and Funk pushes him off with a chair.
Piledriver to Hayabusa by Funk, which only gets a two count. A second one, this time on the chair, gets another two. Anyone got a gun? I was just kidding! Funk and Pogo listen to me, light some sort of object on fire, and drop Hayabusa's head on to it. Another two count. Pogo sets Funk's branding iron on fire with a stick of his own. Both heels go all Ricky The Dragon Steamboat on Hayabusa's ass, blowing fire all over him.
A spike powerbomb onto Hayabusa is finally enough to finish him off. Not satisfied that they haven't killed the guy yet, Funk and Pogo unmask Hayabusa (using a knife!) to show the world the he's actually Some Guy. Onita runs to ringside, and for reasons unbeknownst to me, doesn't answer Funk's challenge to fight him. He instead walks off, ending the show.
Weird. You HAVE to see this match before you die.
Line of the match - Watanabe: "You cannot camouflage that this is not a soap opera like the other Monday night wrestling shows. This is where the big boys play!"
Hayabusa, unmasked, gives a press conference where he is literally crying and telling reporters that he has let FMW down. Poor guy. "Maybe theyre right. Maybe I'm not strong enough to defend FMW." Okay, shut up. We get the point!
As far as extras go, there's a somewhat boring match featuring TAKA Michinoku and Koji Nakagawa (no electrified barbed wire), which is only cool to note that Funaki is in TAKA's corner.
You can also see other videos in the series, a video of Hayabusa (no crying in this one), and a text version of the history of FMW that you need a magnifying glass to read. Oh well.
Final verdict: Between the worst commentary EVER, and the brutal, brutal spots, it was certainly worth the money, for the comedy value alone.
Would I buy more in the series? Yeah, because I'm a sucker. But I think you've seen one electrified barbed wire match, you've probably seen them all. There! I got to say 'electrified barbed wire' again!