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Toryumon on GAORA: "El Numero Uno" Finals and Other Crapola, 5/20/01 (Part 1)
by Nate Patrin

Hi! I'm Nate Patrin. You may know me from the ITVR message board. If not, you probably might have seen me post stupid crap on the DVDVR board. If not that, then I'm probably a complete stranger and you're going to be scratching your head as you read this and wonder "What the hell is with this dork? And what does he know about puro?" (Answers: I'm enthusiastic; not much but I'm willing to learn dammit.) But hey. I'm not here to put myself over; I'm here to write about a group of wrestlers that, at one point, made up one of the most asskicktacular feds in existence: Toryu-damn-mon.

The first Toryumon match I ever saw was from the first Buster Time nee Rant Central comp -- the six-man elimination match pitting Crazy MAX against Magnum TOKYO, SAITO and Dragon Kid. 45 minutes from the opening bell I had to duct-tape my jaw back to my head because I had just been exposed to greatness. This was cruiser-style wrestling ratcheted up to batshit insanity levels, infused with a bit of multi-culti fusion which I can only describe as Japaxican: junior-style meets lucha, stir well, sprinkle liberally with postmodernism and plain ol' weirdness, and serve piping hot in a large tureen of asswhomp. Not like it was anything new, of course- paging Michinoku Pro- but damn if it didn't blow my mind Delfonics-style. After a while I decided it'd be a good idea to actually order some tapes of the stuff and so I wound up with two great shows: the 7/1/01 PPV (to be reviewed at a later date) and an episode of the TV show "Vamanos Amigos" (See? Japaxican) from May 20 of that year. It should be noted that at about this time in Toryumon's life a lot of copious overbooking and outside interference started to creep its way into the promotion, as you may notice later on. Some people consider this the reason Toryumon's non-T2P stuff has been crap as of late, but for now things seem enjoyable enough so let's get the party started! The 5/20/01 edition of Toryumon on GAORA covers both the El Numero Uno tournament and some extraneous other stuff. I'll just be focusing on the Numero Uno stuff this time 'cos I'm new to recapping wrestling and it's more tiring than I initially thought.

Opening: Well, there's a montage of crazy spots and zany entrances and lots of posing and general silliness, all set to a pretty bad pop-punk tune that is sung in either Japanese or really incoherent English -- with pop-punk, it's hard to tell sometimes. (Actually, I think it's the Offspring. Enh.) We then cut to our cordial commentator host types, who I will call Coach-san and Kelly-san because I don't know their names. Interesting note: one of them has a ponytail mullet and a "FINALLY THE ROCK HAS COME BACK" shirt, and if that's not amusing I don't know what is. They chat a while and HEY, there's some cool-mofo-lookin' guy sitting between them with bleached spiky hair and funky shades and sleazy facial hair- yep, it's Masaaki Mochizuki, rudo dickhead de-luxe. Why on earth is he palling around with the commentators? Well, it seems there's this tournament goin' on - "El Numero Uno", they call it - and the brackets are SUWA vs. Magnum TOKYO and CIMA vs. whoever wins the upcoming battle royal. Apparently everyone already knows who wins since the name of CIMA's opponent is covered with a piece of paper, but even though it's pretty obvious Masaaki's presence actually might have something to do with who won, they play coy and decide to go to the tape. Damn you Toryumon, don't keep me in suspense.

Battle Royal: This one uses elimination by either pinfall or getting tossed over the top to the floor. We join in progress with a LOT of guys in the ring, including pretty much everyone in M2K (Masaaki and Susumu Mochizuki, Yasushi Kanda and Darkness Dragon), Toryumon Army (regular SAITO and RYO Saito, Kenichiro Arai, Dragon Kid, Genki Horiguchi) and the two Craz y MAX guys not already in the tourney (Big Dandy Sumo Don Fuji and TARU). As we come in it's the William Tell Overture on the P.A. and STOKER MOTHERFUCKING ICHIKAWA comes strolling out, obviously prepared to kick massive amounts of ass. (If you're unfamiliar with Stoker, imagine a cross between Crash Holly and a magical wood sprite with red shag carpet stapled to his arms. And an offense centering around his index fingers and his hapless opponent's ass. Don't ask.) He limbers up, bum rushes the ring and THUMP falls down and holds his knee before he even reaches the apron. D'oh. Genki and Arai, apparently taking pity on the poor bastard, help him in the ring. Almost immediately afterwards, M2K unceremoniously toss his silly ass out. They do typical battle royal stuff for a while, but then something unspeakably amazing happens: Susumu is on the mat and SAITO wraps his legs around Susumu's neck for a headscissors submission hold. Then Kanda hits the mat and gets one of his own on SAITO. THEN Genki gets HIS OWN on Kanda- then Fuji on Genki, Ryo Saito on Fuji, TARU on Ryo, Darkness Dragon on TARU, Dragon Kid on Darkness Dragon, Masaaki on Dragon Kid, Arai on Masaaki- and then Susumu, who is the only guy without his legs around somebody's neck, clamps his around Arai's and it's a HEADSCISSORS DAISY CHAIN. Holy fuck. Stoker mopes outside, as if to say "Oh, if only I were not eliminated, for this is a perfect example of wacky shenanigans, and that is where I am a SUPERSTAR". Then everyone breaks- simultaneously, which seems a bit suspicious- and We Now Resume Our Regular Battle Royal, Already In Progress. We are soon treated to a "traditional" (read: cliche) Battle Royal spot, namely the "wrestler accidentally clotheslines his partner/stablemate out of the ring" routine. In this case, TARU stands on the apron and grabs Arai from behind, then fellow Crazy MAX-ite Fuji goes for a running clothesline only to have Arai duck out of the way and thus the cruel fist of irony (as well as Fuji's meaty forearm) knocks TARU off the apron, thus eliminating him. DUR OOPS D'OH! M2K try giving Dragon Kid a triple-team powerbomb, but Dragon Kid (who is hoisted on Darkness Dragon's shoulders) gives his evil doppleganger a SWANKTASTIC 'rana for two. M2K, being cheatin' bastards, help Darkness Dragon roll up Kid and hold the pin down for a cheatypants elimination. That done, they duck out of the ring for a bit (through the lower ropes, so they don't get eliminated) and Ryo, Genki and Arai give each other knowing glances as if to say "aw yeah, it's TOPE TIME!" They all run for the ropes, but Ryo and Arai stop short, leaving Genki to fling himself over the top rope like a dimwit and therefore getting his own self eliminated. When he realizes what he's done, he busts out a reaction that's an easy .7 on the Regal scale (no, not the Stiffness one, the Wacky Face one). A few more guys get eliminated in unspectacular fashion and eventually it's down to Ryo and Fuji and the Mochizukis and Kanda. M2K get Fuji in some weird straitjacket double-team for Masaaki to kick him, though it's an awkward spot that actually looks more like Masaaki kicked his own partners' forearms. Fuji sells it anyway, so hey. Susumu pins Fuji a little later on and Ryo tries to break it up with an elbowdrop but OOPS Susumu moves out of the way and Ryo elbowdrops Fuji and Fuji is PISSED. He starts pushing Ryo around but uh-oh, he's too close to the ropes and M2K push him out! This is a weird bump, since Susumu and Kanda give him a weird sorta double-shoulderblock/shove and he recoils against the ropes for a second, THEN does the flip-over-the-ropes spot. So now Ryo is alone with M2K and he's FUCKED, right? Nope. You see, Yasushi Kanda is a silly goose and he decides to head up to the top rope. This is a bad idea. Why? Because Ryo reverses a Masaaki Irish whip and sends him into the ropes, knocking Kanda off his perch and onto the apron, where Ryo kicks his ass to the curb (or, to be more literal, the floor). Learning NOTHING from TARU and Fuji, Masaaki holds Ryo for a Susumu clothesline, Ryo ducks, Masaaki gets knocked on his ass and Ryo rolls up Susumu for 3! Now it's down to Ryo and Masaaki. Ryo nearly gets Masaaki eliminated but Masaaki's hanging onto the ropes from the apron and when Ryo tries to bumrush Masaaki for a running kick of some sort, Masaaki grabs the top rope and WHOOPSIE Ryo falls out and to the floor. Masaaki wins! Masaaki's goin' to Wrestlemania! (14:43 - about 8 minutes shown)

I liked how they were able to do the "babyface is outnumbered by the heel stable" bit without resorting to making said heel stable fall victim to infighting in order to let the face get his amazing against-all-odds eliminations. But still, Ryo's good-but-not-phenomenal at this point and Masaaki is Masaaki so it's sort of a foregone conclusion that he'd win. (Then again, it probably was a foregone conclusion the moment Dragon Kid was eliminated, so hey.) Of course, nothing was able to top that Circle-o-Headscissorses, but it was enjoyable enough, I guess. I don't rate battle roya- HA HA I KID. *

Masaaki chills with our hosts and shoots the shit and talks about how cool he is. Then it's commercial time, where we get to peer into the twisted psyche of the average Japanese salaryman. This mostly involves nightmares about being humiliated while playing golf with his co-workers due to having a crappy driver and doing horribly, leading him to wake up in a cold sweat screaming like a macaw. Y...eah.

El Numero Uno Semi-Finals -- SUWA vs. Magnum TOKYO: SUWA is in this so it should be at least somewhat dope, even if it does play out a lot like a WWE PPV midcard event with all sorts of irish-whipping and nonsensical miracle comebacks and a dearth of psychology but still enough legit asskickery to keep me somewhat entertained. SUWA chops the bejeezus out of TOKYO in awesome fashion, with the ultra-loud SMACK and the selling of TOKYO making it look like he's being hit with something of the same consistency and weight as, say, a tire iron. He reverses some running stuff and then get s into an odd spot where it appears TOKYO was meant to drop toe-hold SUWA face-first into the bottom turnbuckle, but misses by a couple inches. That, or it was just a regular drop toe-hold. Enh. TOKYO goofs around and shakes his junk and busts out a RVD-level ridiculous standing corkscrew senton elbowdrop thing to SUWA's shoulder, which would have been a bit of cocky flashiness I woulda dug more if TOKYO bothered to work SUWA's shoulder at any point before or after. This is the last bit of significant offense our rump-shakin' friend gets in a while as SUWA starts absolutely decimating Magnum with a whole ton of stiff-looking murderous stuff -- like a running flying clothesline that folds TOKYO in half and a Chunky Black Warrior suicide dive that meets Magnum shortly after he bails to the outside. Shortly after getting up from this, SUWA picks up a chair and, just because he can, singles out SAITO (who's hangin' out with Genki cheerleading his exotic dancer pal) and pastes him. YES. TOKYO takes a sustained ass-beating for quite some time, including a spot where he's choked against the ropes and SUWA claws at his face like he's mask-ripping. There's also a bit of ball trauma as SUWADUST busts out the Shattered Dreams, which I guess passes for psychology in this match because as everyone knows Magnum's fighting spirit originates in his jimmy and once you wear that down you've got a fighting chance. More HOLY SHIT AWESOME chops from SUWA, and -- eh, a chinlock. Here's where it gets kind of stupid, since TOKYO powers out and hits SUWA with a few forearms, then some kicks, a dropkick to the knee and a dragon screw -- more teased psychology that doesn't play out. He also makes like Y2J and brings the one-handed face-crusher bulldog and follows that up with a pretty good missile dropkick, which is about where SUWA's all "pass the mic to Judo" and counters a Magnum running sequence with a belly-to-belly facebuster. Then a DDT. And then one of the most sick and wrong and evil top-rope clotheslines I've seen -- he gets some sick air, winds up his arm perfectly and nails TOKYO right in the throat, sending him ass over teakettle. This gets two. A cool sequence ensues when TOKYO tries to sneak in a backslide, SUWA reverses it into a teased FFF (his Pedigree-esque finisher), and TOKYO slips out and gets in the pumphandle position for the Viagra Driver (pumphandle Michinoku Driver II). SUWA face-rakes his way out of it, then runs right into a TOKYO spinkick to the gut, gets "hit" with a back brain kick that connects about as well as Fighter Hayabusa's from NES Pro Wrestling, kinda-sells and staggers off the ropes with another stiff-looking clothesline. This also gets two. And then the highlight of this match happens: SUWA ascends to the top turnbuckle, about 3/4 ring-length away from the prone TOKYO, and flies off with an elbow that would make Randy Savage himself say "DAY-UMN" and clocks Magnum directly on the chin. OW OW OW. This... gets two. And not even a close two, ferchrissakes. Here's where things get retarded as TOKYO backdrops his way out of another FFF attempt, hops around in a sprightly manner and kicks SUWA a few times, then promptly pins him with a sloppy-looking Viagra Driver for 3. FAH. (11:18)

This match was all SUWA, baby. Very uneven, though TOKYO does flail around in pain pretty well and bumps like mad for the various clotheslines SUWA clobbers him with. Still, the finish was ass and I am pissed at being robbed of a SUWA-Masaaki match. DAMMIT. **1/2

El Numero Uno Semi-Finals -- Masaaki Mochizuki vs. CIMA: There's so many crazy shenanigans and weirdness in this match I don't know where to start- only that I'll make a note of both M2K and Crazy MAX hangin' around outside the ring, which can only mean potential disaster. CIMA bumrushes Masaaki during his entrance and makes with the Irish whips right away, including a cool move where he slings Masaaki into the corner and then runs at him and plants both his knees in Masaaki's face. Then TARU (in his wicked rad baby blue pimp suit) tosses CIMA a bucket and we are treated to the AIRPLANE SPIN BUCKET SMASH to Masaaki's face. YES. Now CIMA starts stomping the hell out of Masaaki's right shoulder, yanks off his jacket (revealing Masaaki's taped-up shoulder -- uh-oh, I smell psychology comin' up), chokes him with it and more or less knocks him around for a while with a few other nifty maneuvers including a swank Guerrero-style slingshot senton. CIMA drags Masaaki to the corner several times so his C-MAX pals can knock Masaaki's head around like a tetherball. Masaaki comes back after a running sequence and kicks that gangsta shit, nailing CIMA with a ton of kicks to his right thigh and cinching in a half-crab, then a full crab. CIMA reaches the ropes, only to get wrenched into a figure four, which Masaaki has on for at least a minute. CIMA reaches the ropes again, staggers his way up and BITCHSLAPS Masaaki, busts his shoulder up with an armbreaker, walks off the leg pain and kicks him repeatedly (but at least it's with his left leg). An odd but fun sequence ensues when CIMA gets whipped to the corner, tries the classic "run after me to the corner and I will lift myself up and put my legs around your neck and 'rana you" counter, gets pushed off and to the apron, lands on his feet, grabs the turnbuckle and hops back over with his ankles on Masaaki's shoulders and BONK here comes Susumu with the Infamous Blue Box (which, if you are unfamiliar with Toruymon, is a blue plastic utility box that counts as their All-Purpose Foreign Object). Now CIMA gets hung up in the Tree of Woe(tm) and Masaaki runs at him, only to have his kick blocked when CIMA procures the Blue Box and has Masaaki run into it knee-first. CIMA then sits up from the Tree of Woe, hoists the Box over his head and then leans back -- Spider Box Shot to Masaaki's head! And for the icing on the cake: a stunned Masaaki beats a retreat to outside of the ring and CIMA follows him out with a diseased suicide dive through the corner ringpost. DAMN DAMN DAMN. Of course shenanigans ensue when Fuji starts beating up Kanda while TARU tussles with Darkness Dragon, but that's not enough to keep CIMA from rolling Mochizuki back into the ring. Whip, reverse, CIMA gets a sunset flip for two. Superkick, another two. Then a sequence where they fight over a German Suplex, CIMA gets Masaaki up, Masaaki lands on his feet, staggers back against the ropes and gets SPANKED by a Blue Box-wielding Fuji. CIMA rolls him up -- nope, two. So CIMA hoists Masaaki up onto the turnbuckle, Venus (jumping palmstrike), attempted Iconoclasm (reverse overhead crucifix bomb) but Masaaki plays CIMA's head like a bongo and blocks his second Venus attempt. And oh look, he's got THAT BOX. A Mochizuki attempt to brain CIMA is blocked; CIMA grabs the box and tosses it aside, then makes the fatal mistake of turning around to kick it out of the ring. When he turns back to face Masaaki- uhoh, he's got another box and BONK right on CIMA's head. Then Masaaki throws the box at CIMA, who catches it and UHOH it's... well, I guess you could call it a Second-Rope Masaakinator Missile Dropkick. Masaaki follows this up with a clothesline and a pin -- nope, two. Slingshot leg lariat, then a Twister (spinning brainbuster) -- two again. Another Twister is met with a CIMA reversal, right into a Perfect Driver (sort of like a Falcon Arrow), and both men are down. Masaaki staggers his way up to the corner, where he slumps against the turnbuckle, where CIMA runs at him. Masaaki boots him in the face, runs to follow up with a clothesline but CIMA counters it BEAUTIFULLY -- hooking Masaaki's arm, rolling over his back and driving him into the mat with an inverted piledriver. This... gets two. So CIMA summons up his Fighting Spirit (that, or just yells in frustration), plunks Masaaki back on the top turnbuckle, slaps him with three Venuses and nails him the Goriconoclasm (a cross-arm variation of the Iconoclasm). Then comes the fatal mistake: heading up to the top for a Mad Splash. M2K swarms on him immediately, trying to bring him down. Crazy MAX beat them away, but too late -- when CIMA does fly off for the Mad Splash, Masaaki gets his knees up. CIMA stumbles to his feet, where he meets a run-up-the-ropes Triangle Enzuigiri that clocks him right on the back of his head. CIMA kicks Masaaki in the head in retaliation, they simultaneously slap each other, and then Masaaki CLOCKS CIMA with the Saikyou High Kick, sending the poor bastard down like a sack of bricks (or a ton of flour, whichever works for you). CIMA stays down for the ten-count, and Masaaki wins by KO. Odd finish. (13:10) With CIMA in a COMA Masaaki delivers his victory promo with one foot on CIMA's chest, the bastard.

This match seemed even more problematical than the previous: what's worse, avoiding psychology entirely, or teasing at it for half of the match and then dropping it out of the picture entirely? Masaaki's kicking at CIMA's legs didn't seem to slow him down significantly, and CIMA's attacking Masaaki's shoulder only really seemed to come into play when Masaaki couldn't hit that second Twister -- and that reversal spot didn't seem very reliant on Mochizuki's shoulder injury. The finish was pretty "huh?"-worthy, though it's an interesting novelty to see a KO decision once in a while. And ferchrissakes, if they got any more reliant on foreign objects I'd've half-expected Sabu to run in and moonsault CIMA through a table. A couple fun sequences notwithstanding, this match was a headscratcher. ** More commentary. More Masaaki. More commercials!
Tenryu! Taiyo Kea! Champion Carnival 5/26! Was that match any good? I didn't see it.

El Numero Uno Finals -- Masaaki Mochizuki vs. Magnum TOKYO: This match was overbooked and insane and ridiculous. TOKYO's trunks are silver, which make him look like he's wearing tinfoil around his groinal/hinder region. Please do not make jokes referring to baked potatoes. Thank you. The two trade kicks and freak out and tussle like angry ferrets for a while before Masaaki gets TOKYO in his spinkick-snapmare-kick to seated opponent's back combo. TOKYO no-sells it and smacks Masaaki around with his own interpretation of it. Masaaki doesn't seem too fazed by it either so he tries it again, and thankfully he opts to run the ropes immediately afterwards so we won't get stuck in a broken record loop of junior heavyweight basic chain wrestling. TOKYO takes down Masaaki and... erm. Gets him in some sort of submission hold. Masaaki is face down, TOKYO face-up and perpendicular, his right leg bearing down on the back of Masaaki's neck; right arm yanking on Masaaki's right arm and left arm cinching on Masaaki's leg. Nutty. TOKYO then shifts over to an armbreaker, stomps on Masaaki's injured shoulder a bit, picks him up and wrenches his shoulder against the ropes, and the kicking the top rope when Masaaki leans against it to support his injured arm. TOKYO nails Masaaki with a running Kawada-style kick to the shoulder, then goes for another one, but it's countered by a boot and the first bit of stupid damnable M2K interference rears its ugly head as TOKYO rebounds off the ropes after a lariat and gets yanked down by his leg courtesy of Yasushi Kanda. TOKYO turns around like a moron and cusses Kanda out, which gives Masaaki a wide-open window to dropkick TOKYO directly in the ass and send him over the ropes and out. Now sit back and enjoy your extended heel beatdown sequence, as the Toryumon Army try to bail TOKYO out to no avail and everyone stomps and stomps and stomps. Darkness Dragon is stomping directly on Magnum's ass, which leads me to wonder if, between that and the dropkick, the ass will be Masaaki's focal point when it comes to wearing down TOKYO. Ass psychology: it's not just for Stoker matches anymore! Oh joy: a spot where Masaaki goes to hit TOKYO with a chair but he slips out of harm's way and Kanda eats chair instead. I am amazed, yo. MT grabs the chair and whaps everyone upside the head with it, rolls Masaaki back into the ring and bodyslams him. Elbowdrop, pin, two. Stomps, kicks, chops, blah de blah. Masaaki comes back with a face rake and a whole ton of kicks, going at it like he went at CIMA's, replete with a follow-up half-crab and an Achilles tendon hold. This would be good earlier-match-allusion psychology if his leg work meant anything in the CIMA match, which it did not so I'm shrugging here. Masaaki tries to suplex TOKYO to the outside, TOKYO lands on his feet on the apron but Masaaki nails him with the Triangle Enzuigiri and Magnum collapses on the apron. Masaaki heads out to the apron, grabs TOKYO and nails him with a bizarre-looking Spike DDT (a'la the Edgecution). I say bizarre-looking because Magnum takes most of the fall and impact by landing on his right foot, then tumbling off the apron onto the floor. And here's where the dumb comes in: another extended outside-the-ring sequence. TOKYO gets rammed kind of clumsily into the ringpost, then eats a stiff-ass kick to the midsection. Masaaki tries for another one but TOKYO ducks and the full brunt of Mochizuki's kick slams right into the ringpost. Allow me a moment to say OW OW FUCKING OW. Masaaki collapses holding his ankle in agony as M2K tend to him, but he gets up fairly quickly and in decent shape (can I retract the OW OW FUCKING OW?) and brings that Blue Box with him. By now TOKYO's reached the apron, and Masaaki follows in an attempt to klong him with the box, but Magnum spin-kicks him off the apron and maybe it should be pointed out that the referee's count is in the high teens by now. Kanda pulls Magnum off the apron for M2K to beat up, but the ref actually stops the count at 19 to prevent the double countout. The timekeeper's all "guh?" and M2K's also "What the fuck? We're the Double Ringout specialists, dammit! Don't deny us our one joy in life!" So Masaaki brings TOKYO back into the ring, knocks him around a little, then throws him back out and drags him all the way to the back. This time both wrestlers actually are counted out, and I'm slapping my forehead. (9:16) But UHOH here comes Dustimo Dragon, who yells in Japanese. I can only assume he is saying the following: "Guys, guys... listen. I know you're all 'I hate you' and 'Well I hate you too' and 'Let's beat each other up without regard for rules and morals' but I'm here to tell you that is BULLSHIT and you WILL FINISH THIS MATCH BY PINFALL YOU NINNYHAMMERS. Now GET BACK TO WRESTLING, FERCHRISSAKES." The match continues and Masaaki proceeds to kick the daylights out of TOKYO. Finally we get something resembling an entertaining sequence as TOKYO is whipped to the ropes, ducks a clothesline, grabs onto Mochizuki for a German, blocks a Masaaki mule kick, grabs Masaaki's leg, spins him around, elbows his thigh and delivers a swank dragon screw leg whip. There's a bit of leg work where TOKYO messes with the leg Masaaki kicked the post with (the right, that is), with an ankle hold transitioned into a figure four. Masaaki reaches the ropes fairly quickly though and after getting stomped in the corner and eating a couple mounted punches gives TOKYO an uppernut and a Manhattan drop to turn the tide. Masaaki teases a fisherman's buster but goes instead to the same half-crab, but TOKYO reaches the ropes. Masaaki gets TOKYO up and nails him with a right-handed chop, which can't be good for that shoulder -- but Masaaki doesn't wince or anything so never mind that. Magnum is all "perhaps if I fight like a WWE midcarder I can turn things back in my favor" so he stomps Masaaki in the guy and gives him a headlock. Masaaki, in response, is all "To hell with this, I'm not Chuck Palumbo" so he hoists TOKYO up so he's straddling the ropes and then smacks the taste out of his mouth with a leg lariat. Then he whips TOKYO to the corner- SUPER RUNNING CORNER BITCHSLAP OF DEATH! Man that looked nasty. Masaaki heads up top but TOKYO counters with a springboard dropkick, then a superplex attempt, but Masaaki shrugs him off to the apron. TOKYO lands on his feet, springboards back up to the top rope and Masaaki grabs him for what should have been a top-rope bulldog -- but Magnum lands on his feet so it looks stupid. TOKYO eats boot for two. He counters an attempted Masaaki hot shot, drags Mochizuki towards the corner and then, jumping off the apron, gives him a rope-assisted neckbreaker. DOPE. This is followed up by a nifty springboard dropkick to Masaaki's shoulder and a quick de-wedgie-fication of his shiny silver space-age underpants. Corner whip, lariat, TOKYO brings Mochizuki up top for the Gyration 'Rana but gets shrugged off to the apron again. TOKYO springboards back up effortlessly and 'ranas Mochizuki down anyway, sacrificing the potential entertainment value of grinding his groinal region in front of Masaaki's face in favor of just knocking his ass to the canvas. A TOKYO brainbuster gets two. Magnum goes for a German, it's reversed, the reversal's reversed, Mochizuki goes off the ropes and eats a spin kick -- ERECT SMASH (cross-arm sit-down Rock Bottom)! And a clothesline. One, two, kickout. A Viagra Driver attempt is reversed to a push against the ropes and a roll-up attempt on the rebound. This looks sloppy and blown so Mochizuki abandons this for a La Magistral attempt, but TOKYO slips out and delivers a Magistral of his own for a close two. TOKYO hits his spin kick-back brain kick combo, then follows it up with an EVIL-looking Viagra Driver... for two. Magnum looks crushed. Masaaki is so worn out that he can't get up quite yet, so TOKYO drags him to the corner for an Adult Video Star Press (Shooting Star Press) attempt. And augh fuck here comes Kanda with the Box but TOKYO kicks him away and I laugh at Yasushi's expense. The distraction has allowed Masaaki to get up, though, and here's where we get into an extended turnbuckle sequence: Masaaki bounces into the ropes, crotching TOKYO, and climbs up for a second rope superplex. TOKYO fights out of it and sets up for a second-rope Erect Smash, but this is elbowed out of. TOKYO manages to knock Masaaki to the mat, but Mochizuki gets right back up, runs up the ropes and SMACKS Magnum on the top of the head with an ax kick. GAH. TOKYO collapses and sort of hangs off the top turnbuckle, and Mochizuki takes the opportunity to deliver a nasty superplex. Cover, and... TOKYO kicks out at one. DAMN. Masaaki kicks Magnum in the gut -- Dragon Suplex -- TWO. Masaaki is all "fuck this" and gets TOKYO in the Twister -- AND MAGNUM GETS RIGHT BACK UP. Masaaki slaps MT, goes off the ropes and THUMP Magnum spinkicks Mochizuki right in the gut, then hits him with the back brain kick. Masaaki back up, hits TOKYO with what could be a koppo kick (the camera was zoomed in too close for me to tell correctly), then a kick to the side of the head, then a kick to the other side of the head, then an ax kick right to the top of Magnum's foofy-haired skull. A Triangle Enzuigiri finally knocks TOKYO down, and Masaaki pins -- for a close two-count. FINALLY Masaaki puts Magnum out of his misery with a Twister for the pinfall (9:33 ; 18:49 total). Masaaki poses with M2K, talks some shit, poses with the trophy, talks some more shit, bitches out CIMA -- and then we cut to shortly afterweards where TOKYO is yelling at CIMA and CIMA is despondent and crying. Ultimo runs in and makes a beeline for Masaaki, and he has to be held back by the whole Toryumon Army. Ultimo makes some sort of match, CIMA and TOKYO shake hands, SUWA freaks and I wish I knew Japanese. According to the message board on the Toryumon USA website, Magnum was asking for CIMA's help to fight M2K, and CIMA was crying because he knew he had to despite the fact that it went against all that Crazy MAX stood for to fight alongside a member of the Toryumon Army.

The countouts were stupid, the interference was crazy mad retarded and I'm really itching to see a match between these two that isn't crammed with overbooking arglebargle (like their match on the 3rd Anniversary PPV). There were some cool sequences but nothing that knocked me on my ass like the SUWA stiffness from the first semi-finals match. The nearfalls at the end were pretty suspenseful but dangerously close to '99 All-Japan Strong No-Sell Style at points -- though the final minute or so with all the kicks of death needed to finally knock Magnum down was pretty cool. Without the overbooking this could push ***1/2, with it it's a mere **1/2. While this card looks pretty interesting, keep in mind that the semi-finals and finals of the 2002 El Numero Uno had the exact same contenders as the 2001 tourney, with Magnum going over SUWA and Mochizuki winning the battle royal and going on to defeat CIMA before a TOKYO-Masaaki final. Only this time, TOKYO won, so I guess that's a refreshing change or something. Toryumon shouldn't have to be so stagnant right now, and even a recent pair of interesting-sounding turns -- Magnum TOKYO to new heel leader of M2K and Masaaki Mochizuki as the new face head of the Toryumon Army -- doesn't seem to help things all that much. Say it with me now folks: "At least there's T2P". Which I really, really, really have to see, by the way. And here's hoping Ultimo's rag-tag band of lucharesu crazies will start winning hearts once again.

There's some other matches after the El Numero Uno segment ends, including a tag between Kennichi Arai & Ryo Saito vs. Big Fuji & TARU and a match between Mochizuki and Yasushi Kanda for the British Jr. Title. I'll probably get to those next issue. In the meantime, uh... yeah. I wish I had a memorable closing catchphrase, but I don't. Anyhow... later.

Nate Patrin

Hipster Detritus

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