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Toryumon on GAORA TV 1/2/01 Recapitulation
by Alex Carnevale

Big thank you to Mr. Cobo for letting me grace the fair pages of this site. It's truly a pleasure to be included with such talented writers. In addition, Buster Time plans to invade a mega-site soon. Needless to say, Cobo is Booker T and I'm Mike Awesome. Actually, I'm more Stacy Keibler. Stay tuned!

Also, I'm absurdly glad that Brendan is on the site as he's been on my To Do list for quite some time. I mean, To Read list. Yeah, that's right.

Regarding what the PPV of the year is thus far, I'm still solidly on WrestleMania X-Seven. I watched No Way Out and although the Austin-HHH match is as good as a smooth baby's ass, the PPV on the whole just doesn't compare, brutha.

If you're talking the Zero-One PPV, I think WM X-Seven is the superior event. Zero-One does contain morsels of Hoshikawa vs. Marufuji which is Sire Cobo's Match of the Year. I didn't adore it as much as that brave young Mickey Rooney, but some did. For me it was about as good as Angle v. Benoit. Meanwhile the main of Zero-One was not as good as Austin v. Rock. And even if it was, Zero-One has very little else except an okay Ohtani match on the card. The rest of WM X-Seven ranges from pretty good (Jericho v. Regal) to flat-out enjoyable if nothing else (HHH v. Undertaker - which I liked, TLC II) to perversely watchable (Shane v. Vince). And there's nothing bad. I really think WM X-Seven is the PPV of the Year if nothing else.

I just watched WWF Metal, which did have a pretty solid Lynn v. Crash Holly match but besides which hurt my head with visions of the tag title loss mere days before the PPV. I had to turn it off.

This 2-hour block of heaven was taped at various point in mid-December.

The Toryumon opening video package is ECW-quality.

We open in the studio where Stalker Ichikawa and TARU entertains the hosts. TARU really has one of the most badass visual looks in wrestling. He reminds a little of Kevin Nash in his mannerisms. Does that scare you? Kind of scares me. We'll call it scary and move on.

Stalker brings out a Stalker doll. Yeah, okay.

1. Kennichiro Arai v. Susumu Mochizuki (12.15.0), NWA World Welterweight Title) Susumu Mochizuki is part of the M2K faction. He's the second 'M,' I think. Arai is Arai, what else is there to say? Clearly I know nothing about him. If this match is any evidence, I should know quite a bit more. Let's see what number he is on the DVDVR 500. He's number 121, before Edge...but after Kendall Windham. So I don't know what the fuck to think. My brain hurts. To the match -

JIP, Mochizuki goes for a powerbomb but Arai flips over on top of Mochizuki for a two count. Mochizuki picks him up and brutally retaliates by picking him up in a crucifix powerbomb position, slinging him over and DROPPING him with a diamond cutter. Both men are selling like crazy, so this must be a little bit into the match. I miss the build. Of course, the WWF has trained me to expect *no* build, so I don't miss it all that much. Mochizuki tries the Mochizuki Driver but Arai comes back with the spiky tombstone. Arai goes up top but misses the frog splash. He counters whatever with a roll-up for two.

Mochizuki rolls Arai up for two. Arai transitions into a reverse armbar immediately afterwards. That's classic Ultimo Dragon Gym stuff. He wrenches the armbar, but Mochizuki hits a good-looking Death Valley Bomb for a close-two count. I dig this match in too many ways right now. Mochizuki brings Arai to the top and ascends, but Arai fights him off and appears to hit a super jawbreaker. Never seen that before, and there's probably a reason why. It appears to be one of Arai's signature moves. Arai pushes Mochizuki into place and hits the 450 splash, flawlessly executed. Arai can't cover because his knee is shot to shit...he crawls, two, no! No, no, and no!

Mochizuki unloads with some kicks and there's a ref bump. Arai PLANTS Mochizuki with a bridging powerbomb (!) but there's no ref. Mochizuki's M2K mates interfere at this point, breaking up the pin with the lid of the Toryumon blue box. More on that in a sec. Mochizuki sets up for a sit-down knee-breaker. Phenomenal. Mochizuki comes off the top onto Arai's knee with a kneedrop. Oh my god. Mochizuki follows up with the figure four, and Arai almost kills the ref he's in such a hurry to submit. ***3/4, and that's just for what we saw. Match would be fifth best RAW match of the year. Mochizuki is a phenom and Arai could more than keep up.

We're back in the studio and they show the brackets for what looks like an NWA welterweight title tournament. More TARU follows.

Oh, and instead of chairs or barbed wire bats, Toryumon uses a blue plastic box as its weapon of choice. Everyone sells it. It never gets the pin or anything, but it's used pretty often. It's a nice metaphorical "This is what we think of garbage wrestling," I guess. Not that they don't brawl in Toryumon. They even use chairs. The chairs just don't have shads of spike and glass in them.

2. Magnum Tokyo v. SUWA (12.16.00) JIP, SUWA hits the mind-shattering lariat and collapses. Tokyo does the Al Snow/ Kawada I-landed-on-my-head-and-will-stay-on-my-head-sell. Swinging neckbreaker from SUWA to Tokyo gets two. Flapjack for two. They blow a flying headscissors spot and SUWA takes it into the ropes. Tokyo with la magistral out of nowhere for the three count. Nothing to rate, but what they showed sucked in a majorly awful way. Don't know why; sometimes this stuff happens.

Tokyo cuts a promo afterwards. It's difficult to understand, but I think it's on SUWA, who looks basically more or less like a peanut with that bald-ass head. He also barks like a German shepherd. Talk about being un-Toryumon. I guess every party needs its spoiler.

Whatever happens leads straight into a restarting of the match, and they brawl on the outside. I spoke too soon regarding the match's conclusion, it would appear. SUWA pounds on him with varying degrees of intensity but Tokyo smashes SUWA's head into the ringpost to take control. They brawl into the crowd and it's exciting because ECW doesn't play in Japan! Hoo-ha! I apologize for the previous sentence.

SUWA then beats on Tokyo with what appears to be a chain. Clearly he knows that the chain match may very well be the most dangerous kind of match. Back in the ring, SUWA follows up the string of mediocrity by wrestling like Dustin Rhodes for way too long. Tokyo hits a backdrop suplex but SUWA hits the flapjack a second time to retake control.

He goes for a powerbomb but they appear to blow the spot. SUWA tries for the Up & Down Pedigree but Tokyo tries a pumphandle splash. Tokyo with that version of la magistral for two. Tokyo goes to the top with SUWA and hits a super-bulldog. Magnum looks totally off in this match, looking more or less like Sabu. The big move gets three, I guess, but it looked like a two. Dunno what that was about. 1/4* I wouldn't say the match was unwatchable, but it was not good. At all. By any stretch of the imagination.

More talking erupts after the match, in which Tokyo beat SUWA twice for no discernible reason.

Back in the studio, Stalker Ichikawa eats some candy and TARU scolds him. This reminds me of when they did the episode on WCW Worldwide where Tenay and Hudson were having a Super Bowl party and Johnny the Bull came over and talked about an awesome brawl he and Terry Funk had on Nitro and moreover The Cat came by and made fun of Tenay and Hudson for being gay and Hudson said, "My wife's upstairs!" Hoo-ha. I was probably the only person in the universe watching that episode of WCW Worldwide.

The recent discussions on the Shane v. Angle match yielded to a lot of wrestling purists talking about how the Shane v. Angle garbage wrestling wasn't wrestling because they were just killing themselves. Well, if I was a wrestler and I had to decide whether to wrestle in All Japan or the WWF, I'd say there's a pretty good chance I'd think the WWF had a less severe style. I'm referring to all the head-dropping and other-body killing maneuver that are shortening these wrestler's careers.

Ian Rotten v. Axl Rotten

That's in poor taste and I apologize.

3. CIMA v. Stalker Ichikawa (12.16.00) This should be enjoyable, at least. Stalker makes a comedy spot out of a knuckle-lock tie-up, which is really pushing it, if you ask me. They start by actually wrestling, which is largely unnecessary and may lead me to deduct for the match. CIMA goes at Stalker with chops, but Stalker comes back with a flying headscissors. Stalker then runs around the ring and falls on his ass. This is why puroresu will always be better than American wrestling. Every match has a storyline. Here we see the veteran CIMA not giving respect to the younger, more talented wrestler Ichikawa. CIMA doesn't acknowledge the talent of Stalker and Stalker running around the ring falling on his ass just re-emphasizes the point, which although copied from Tsuruta v. Misawa still has the same brilliant resonance. Wrestling can truly be art. I'll stop before I make myself nauseous. Some jokes just shouldn't be made.

CIMA does the Eddie Guerrero slingshot-senton and kind of waits for Stalker to recover. Eye-poke sets up the devastating body slam, and CIMA slaps Stalker on the ground. This one is actually not going the way I thought it would. Chopfest, and CIMA sells like Undertaker/Kane fighting the Dudleys. CIMA even does the Eddy Guerrero step on the face stop. Too...much...Eddie. CIMA stomps a mudhole. Somehow I thought this match would be more...I dunno, fun. CIMA sticks Stalker on top for the Venus-cum-Iconoclasm but Stalker fights out and hits la magistral for two. A neat roll-up variation gets two. Stalker tries a bridging foldover backslide (!) for two. A Delphin clutch variation for two. CIMA just no-sells and comes back with the superkick, so it's all for naught. OR IS IT?!?!

CIMA turns a powerbomb into a piledriver midway through the move and pins Stalker for three in 6:39. Uh, this was a comedy spotfest and not enough of either. This match is purely a set-up for the angle afterwards, in which CIMA tells Stalker to get up and cuts a pretty serious promo on him for no reason I can tell.

We're back in the studio for some more hijinks with Stalker and TARU.


4. Susumu Mochizuki & Yasushi Kanda v. Sumo Fuji & Yoshizaku TARU (12.16.00) Mochizuki starts with Kanda and M2K double team Sumo Fuji with a DDT and then simultaneous dropkicks. This punishment garners a two count for the heels. Sumo hits a shoulderblock off a heel miscommunication spot and TARU comes in to clean house. He hits a sidekick for two. TARU hits the Miracle Ecstasy Bomb (chokehold into sit-down powerbomb) for two. Scoop slam and he goes to the top for whatever, but Kanda assaults him and Mochizuki brings him off (with Kanda assistance) into the crucifix powerbomb into diamond cutter that I should think of a clever name for. Got Cut Shaving maybe? It has the allusion to both the diamond cutter and the Razor's Edge. Er...I'll keep working on it.

A northern lights suplex from Mochizuki gets two. Kanda in and he tries for a German bit TARU hits the low blow and Sumo Fuji pulls Mochizuki out of the ring. Sumo comes in with the power clotheslines to the corner Albert style and then brings him out with a bulldog Raven-style for two. Powerslam for two, and Sumo Fuji makes the cut-throat gesture as he goes for the Nodowa Otoshi. Reversal, and Sumo takes a high angle uranage (Rock Bottom) from Kanda for two. Then it's the M2K rolling fireman's carry from Mochizuki into flying elbow from Kanda is broken up by TARU before the count goes three. Now TARU v. Kanda and Kanda blocks a sidekick off the ropes and throws some forearms. TARU no-sells and hits the lariat.

Mochizuki in and he hits a dragon screw legwhip as Kanda drops the flying elbow on it to set up the figure four. Kanda stop Sumo from making the save 6/9/95 style but Sumo fights through that shit. Delectable. I always like that spot. They should factor that into more WWF matches. M2K hit a double-team northern lights release suplex and go for superbomb. Mochizuki flips over into a clutch pin to secure the three count in 8:08. ***1/4 Potent match with weird All Japan undertones. Match was carried by M2K, who I am loving more and more every waking moment of every day. More Wednesday than Monday. Heels beat Crazy MAX up with the blue boxes afterwards, like good heels do.

And unlike in the WWF, they don't do it to "get their heat back" or whatever. Speaking of which, I am so sick of people getting their heat back I could throw up. Remember when Shamrock made Rock do a STRETCHER JOB at WrestleMania XIV, the biggest show ever up to that point? HE MAIN EVENTED THE NEXT YEAR. Enough is enough.

CIMA & the rest of Crazy MAX are out for a chatfest to further Crazy MAX v. M2K.


5. CIMA & Sumo Fuji & SUWA v. Magnum Tokyo & Dragon Kid & KENNICHIRO ARAI (12.21.00) JIP, Arai works on Fuji but CIMA interrupts as Crazy MAX cleans house. Arai picks CIMA up for a scoop slam and kinda rubs CIMA's forehead. Weird. Tokyo and Dragon Kid mount the double-team. Mad chaos erupts in the ring and Crazy MAX deal out the double dropkick spot on Magnum Tokyo, leading to the SUWA slingshot elbow. CIMA follows that with the slingshot senton and Sumo Fuji trumps that with a slingshot stomp. Sumo tosses Tokyo and Dragon Kid comes in. SUWA v. Dragon Kid, and they work their usual tremendous sequence, as those two have had some awesome matches. SUWA does a particularly briny spot (first time a spot has ever been called briny, mark it in your notebooks) where he dropkicks Dragon Kid so hard in the chest he goes FLYING across the ring and into the opposite turnbuckle with a 'thunk.' Hey, I'm just glad he ain't working with Magnum Tokyo anymore on this show.

Sumo breaks out the airplane spin on Arai and CIMA brings the dropkick to the face to update it into being that much more brutal. As if an airplane spin isn't enough. They do the same thing but SUWA hits Arai with a chair at the end. I can't help but cry whenever I see that spot. SUWA whips out the spinebuster and him and CIMA stand Arai on his head as Sumo Fuji brings the Sumo his crotch. Good lord. SUWA chops Dragon Kid in the corner and they double-team Dragon Kid with a nasty, nasty ocean cyclone suplex right on his head. That. Is. Not. Right. SUWA and Sumo Fuji combine their forces the Hart Attack on Dragon Kid and Sumo Fuji holds onto his legs and turns the fucker into a Boston Crab.

Dragon Kid then fights his way to the ropes. Dragon Kid then cleans house with his assorted high-flyin' offense. CIMA and Magnum Tokyo in the corner, and CIMA pushes Tokyo off. Tokyo lifts Dragon Kid into the Rey-Rey assisted rana. Arai follows everything up with a headbutt and the faces take out the heels with stereo highspots to the outside.

Slingshot dropkick from Tokyo on Fuji and he follows that bad-boy up with a brainbuster. He tries a German suplex, but a nice sequence leads to Sumo Fuji countering with a short-arm clothesline. Sumo tries a suplex but Magnum goes for the Tokyo Driver. CIMA and Dragon Kid in the ring and Dragon Kid hits a DDT out of a CIMA powerbomb and then the Jeff Hardy off-the-ropes splash for two. Dragon Kid tries a rana but gets caught with a piledriver from CIMA. Arai connects with his jawbreaker and hits the Lionsault on SUWA. Slingshot headbutt gets two on SUWA. Arai tries some clotheslines, but SUWA kills him with a slingshot lariat. Flapjack!

Another sequence into a SUWA lariat for two. Crazy MAX sets up Arai on the top rope. Poetry in Venus! Iconoclasm! Tokyo in with the Ultimo rana on SUWA who is sitting on the second rope. Dragon Kid is on the opposite turnbuckle...oh no...oh can't be...Dragon Rana on SUWA...1, 2, Sumo Fuji makes the save. Crowd is how you say batshit at this turn of events. Tokyo hits a clothesline and the Magnum Driver on CIMA to set up the 450 splash...but everybody saves.

Dragon Kid whips SUWA into the post on the outside but SUWA comes in and he and CIMA double-team Kennichiro Arai. Up-top Arai and CIMA...Arai going for the super jawbreaker, but SUWA takes him off and plants him with the reverse powerdrop, emphasis on drop. CIMA with the Mad Splash! 1, 2, no! Crazy MAX trying to finish. CIMA hits the tope and it is Sumo Fuji v. Arai. Arai headbutts Sumo Fuji in the groin and small packages...1, 2, no!

Sumo Fuji hits a discus clothesline and signals for the Nodowa Otoshi. He hits it for three in 17:42. **** THIS IS YOUR MATCH OF THE YEAR. I'm just sailing your oceans, folks, I just wanted to say that. Hmmm...the inconsistent Tokyo didn't drag this down, and SUWA did his best to stitch the whole thing together. In Toryumon, this is as good as it gets. It's nice that the jobbing member of Crazy MAX got the decisive pinfall. SAITO and Genki Horiguchi, both of whom I don't really like, have strong words for Sumo Fuji after the match. I keep waiting for them to break out into English, but sadly it never happens. Sumo seems to cut a decent promo, if that's any indication.

6. Yoshizaki TARU & Stalker Ichikawa v. Susumu Mochizuki & Yasushi Kanda (12.21.00) The loser of the pinfall loses his hair in this match. Stalker and Kanda start this thing off in the crowd with a brawl that includes thumbtacks, a bed-of-nails, and a plate glass window that says King of the Ring. Mochizuki puts a hurtin' on TARU. M2K ruins our fun by trying to rip off Stalker's outfit, including his mask. TARU throws his body on top of his X-Pac-like partner. Wow, TARU has been watching way too much All Japan lately. Kanda drops an elbow and team M2K starts working over TARU's leg like it accidentally brushed their mother's thigh with an erect penis. You heard me. Let's not judge.

Mochizuki has watched one too many Dean Malenko matches as he one-ups even Flair in delivering stinky retribution. I'm not as into play-by-play with this match, but what I do know is the crowd don't like M2K beating on Big Sexy Kevin TARU. Midway through this classic, a slapfest erupts. TARU starts kicking away like he got infected with Tajiri all of a sudden. TARU starts to fend the heels off by holding Stalker who kicks them but Stalker takes a NatureBomb and that phenomenon comes to a conclusive end.

After awhile, I'm numb to this match, as it's by-the-numbers and lacks any flair. Or Flair, for that matter. It's not that it isn't good - M2K carries any match to **1/2 simply by default, but it's only there as an angle. I don't like matches which only exist as angles. A good example would be the infamous Lance Storm v. Mike Awesome encounter in Canada as well as every single WWF PPV, RAW or SmackDown match in the past year. More properly stated, the storyline is overwhelming the angle.

The storyline here is that M2K are going to destroy TARU & Stalker to look like badasses until Crazy MAX proper has the balls to fight M2K. Stalker & TARU do an assisted walking-the-ropes rana spot, and finally make the superman comeback. The match drags on with no end in sight. TARU suplexes Stalker onto Kanda from the second rope and then comes with whatever for two.

Kanda delivers a mind-crushing suplex - consider it the Genius edition of Trivial pursuit for suplexes. Kanda takes the Rydeen bomb for two. Stoker hits Mochizuki with a low blow and rolls him up for two. Run-the-ropes DDT by Stalker lead to la magistral for two. Stalker gets a DDT reversed into a northern lights suplex by Mochizuki, who then hits a neat-o Death Valley Bomb for two. Kanda v. TARU, and TARU hits an ugly-ass spinkick coming off the ropes. Still, the sentiment is appreciated.

Ref bump (so many in Toryumon, it's the only aspect that's ECW-like) and TARU hits the TARU Drilla but the ref is out. Screw. Job. Stalker comes off the top and hits a flying shoulderblock to set up the leaping ballshot. Stalker hulks up and hits a scoop slam, selling like Hogan slamming Andre. Funny. Another ref comes to count. 1, 2, no! Stalker beats on Mochizuki, who gets up and hits a spinebuster. Stalker tries a rana, almost reversed to a ranabomb but Stalker rolls Mochizuki up for 2 and a bit.

Lariat by Mochizuki for two. M2K regroup and hit the double fisherman's buster. TARU breaks up the three count. Long, long match. TARU no-sells some Kanda offense and hits a lariat. Mochizuki hits a sit-down kneebreaker and administers the clutch pin for two. He fights with the ref, who kicks him. The other member of M2K punks the ref out with a spike piledriver on the floor. Kanda drops the elbow on TARU from the top, and a chair is thrown in the ring. They dig it into TARU's knee.

Heel miscommunication, and TARU nails Mochizuki with a kick, setting up Kanda for the TARU driller. A guy in a black mask interrupts and nails TARU with a Michinoku Driver. Dunno who he is. He tries to nail Stalker with it but CIMA comes in with the blue box to make the save. M2K is up and they hit Stalker with the reverse powerbomb into powerbomb double-team that makes little to no sense. They then hit a double team inverted Death Valley Driver to further kill Stalker. M2K sets up for the superbomb. TARU saves and then a masked guy hits the Iconoclasm-Mad Splash combo on Mochizuki that lets Stalker take the pinfall and Crazy MAX have the win. **1/4 Ending saved the disjointed wreckage the match was up to that point. One would think the masked guy would be CIMA, but one never knows.

They show the cutting ceremony afterwards with Stalker & TARU on commentary.

Stalker displays his new tee-shirt and TARU shows off a Toryumon comic book. You know, it's hard for me to believe that they wouldn't draw at least a 1.0 if they aired this show in America. The thing would draw a cult following in about five minutes.

Anyway, this show is worth your money in a huge way. 1999 and 2000 were clearly not a fluke, as even this show was taped in 2000, it proved wholeheartedly that Toryumon would rock into the new year. Babies, newlyweds and children alike will enjoy this show. But itself of simply saying this was fairly awesome and you should just get it, I'll say that although this week's six man-tag was sublime, the matches are fairly repetitive...ah, what am I saying this stuff is great. This TV show was better than WWF King of the Ring 2001. Still, I can see Toryumon suffering from just not having enough wrestlers and me getting bored of the ones they have.

But not yet.

Alex Carnevale
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