We missed it live, so here’s a quick look at the what some called the real big show from January 4th…
This one’s coming from Itabashi Green Hall in Tokyo. You’re being very charitable saying it’s green, mind you. We’ve got a smidge over 100 people there live, plus a worldwide YouTube audience.
But first… the British national anthem. Which is kinda awkward for both Chris Brookes and Drew Parker, who’s there in his corner. One because Chris doesn’t know the words, and two because Drew’s Welsh. Matsumoto sings too, and I’m pretty sure that’s not the Japanese equivalent, unless YouTube is lying to me…
Gake No Fuchi New Year Hardcore Match: Miyako Matsumoto vs. Chris Brookes
…and Chris punts Miyako with a bicycle kick during her song, and we get going in this no count-out, no-DQ match. Expect mayhem.
A two-count in the opening seconds led to a whistle blowing, as this suddenly became a sumo contest as this was all about points. Brookes gets a point for winning the sumo, before Drew came in for round two… and Miyako instantly loses as her knee went down while going for a take down. That’s like not knowing how to score a goal in football…
We’re outside by some of the international fans (hey Martin, Matt and Mort) as they trade chops, and MY GOD Chris got a good sound out of Miyako. The English commentator gets a “holy shit” chant going as it became clear Brookes was at least getting points for every count he got. I’m not even going to attempt to keep count here. The utter confusion on Brookes’ face as Kuishinbo Kamen came out (yeah, I’m faking knowing a lot of stuff here – cheers Mort) was a delight. Kamen instantly wanders away after giving out cookies, before Brookes accidentally kicked the ref… which started Matsumoto’s offence. Except she hurt her shin kicking Brookes in the back… and he had no such trouble with his kick.
Drew Parker tries to wake up the ref, but to no avail as DDT’s Sanshiro Takagi comes out to ref… but he has to do his full Stone Cold Steve Austin entrance to Scooter’s Fire before he can count. Of course by then, Miyako has recovered, without needing the help of Takagi’s slow arse counts. This is already feeling like a fever dream…
Miyako looked for a cheeky roll-up, but she couldn’t even move Chris until she got some help, as Takagi fast-counted for a near-fall… then took a stunner. Apt.
Chris goes for a Romero special, then lets go when Ikari no Jushin hits. So did the drugs. Fake Liger’s instantly cracked into with a Koppo kick and chased to the back Shota from the commentary team, before both Brookes and Matsumoto moved into the world’s shortest game of badminton… which Miyako lost, but she had Shota take her forfeit… which was having something rude drawn onto his cheek.
Back comes Drew for the next spot of badminton, which he loses, but Shota gets the face painting again. Miyako fails again at badminton, but this time she’s forced to get painted on… which she tries to wipe off on the shirt of a ringside attendant before we go back to the wrestling, although those chops perhaps made her wish she were still playing badminton. Kuishinbo Kamen wanders back out with more cookies, which Matsumoto tries to use as she chokes Brookes with the bag… before we’re cued to start a boxing match. It’s Drew and Kamen who don the gloves though, but Drew keeps trying to turn it into kickboxing, so Kamen ends up taking a seat… and gets carried out of the room.
Back to the graps, and Brookes goes back to Miyako’s arms, before the whistle blew to signal the next phase: the next person who tries and fails to go for a pin has to have a shot of sake. It’s getting a little convoluted, but it ends with Kamen trying to drink through his mask, before Shota tries to do a wrestle, only for his one-ish count to lead to him having to down a shot… then Brookes plays it smart, forcing Miyako to “pin” him, clinging on and kicking out so she’d have to have several shots at once.
I believe the phrase is “kanpai!”
Of course, Matsumoto’s smart enough and she sprays some sake at Brookes before grabbing the boxing gloves to throw some punches to the midsection. Chris looked to get a Brookesing, but instead Miyako clears the import section so she can go for a slam on the floor. Brookes has to get his feet to the ropes from the floor to save himself from getting choked with some fan’s coats, before a turnaround sees Brookes use an Octopus hold… until the whistle’s blown.
“Kishin Liger” is out again, as he lifts Matsumoto onto his shoulders for a chicken fight with Kamen… who Shoteis his way past “Liger” and knocks them both down. Next up… DARTS?! This shot of Drew’s back tells you what’s gonna happen. Dragon Gate has Doi Darts, here we’ve got DREW DARTS.
There’s collective drawings of breath as Drew gets some more marks to add to his increasingly-scarred back, before Miyako looked to chase after Drew with a spike so she could get her shot. I’m just as confused as Chris here, but at least I’m not having to defend myself from that thing. He disarms her, so Miyako goes for a bottle of hot sauce and makes Chris drink it… without the benefit of any Gaviscon…
Next up was a rope which is used for a good ol’ hanging a la the Repo Man and the British Bulldog, which Brookes needed to break up with the spike to save himself. Matsumoto begins to attack Brookes with some posters, which led to everyone’s favourite Jimmy Havoc spot… stapling a NOAH poster to your opponent’s forehead. Chops got Brookes back in it, as he ragdolled Matsumoto into a half crab, but that ends in the ropes, where it started.
Matsumoto makes more use of the no DQ stipulation with a low blow, punting Chris right in the calamari, before… why the hell is there a ladder under the ring?! After diving onto Brookes from the top rope, Matsumoto goes to the ladder, then gets the (non-existent) Spanish announce table lifted across the room as Brookes is placed onto it… and of COURSE the table doesn’t break, apart from the legs. Insert Metallica riffs here.
They up the ante with plastic storage boxes, which Brookes throws into the ring before he got thrown onto them… only for him to get up and drill Miyako through them with a back senton for a near-fall. Those things shatter beautifully. Next up is a BIG bag of drawing pins, which Matsumoto powerbombs Brookes onto for another near-fall, leaving his back nice and shiny with all the pins. Matsumoto misses a stomp onto the pins and quickly gets caught with a Michinoku driver onto them… before Drew leapt off the top for a 450 for the fun of it. It’s still not enough though, as Matsumoto came back with chairs and another stomp, this time connecting on Brookes before she reached for the skewers. Yup.
Brookes throws one at her like it’s a dart, before giving her the proverbial wooden mohawk… before a Praying Mantis bomb on the skewers finally ends this. This was utterly bonkers, starting off mild and gradually getting more and more violent. By the way, that pin didn’t guarantee Brookes the win, as they’d been counting points throughout the match… although him winning by 3007-1 kinda meant it was a moot point.
Plenty of folks online mentioned how this was yet another example of Chris Brookes “winning” by betting on himself, having had wrestling matches in a water park, in among elephants and here since he started in Japan. The announcement that he’d be spending a year in Japan will only help confirm that Chris has all but outgrown the British scene in 2020 – and as long as services like DDT Universe are making his matches available, he’s not gonna be too far away from his fans.
This match is like a life lesson. Don’t take everything so seriously. Don’t look for hidden meaning where there is none, and just enjoy the moment.