We’ve a pair of title matches as 2020’s Fantasticamania wrapped up at Korakuen Hall!
As ever for the English commentary on this tour, commentary comes from Chris Charlton and Mavs Gillis. Don’t think we’ve not noticed their lack of lucha masks on this run…
Fuego & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Suzuki-gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKI)
After a full crowd on Sunday, we’ve got the empty seats again in Korakuen… perhaps four night out of five here isn’t such a good idea? Still, it means fewer people watching Taguchi grope a doll…
We’ve a jump start as Kanemaru put the boots to Fuego at the whistle, but Fuego got free with an armdrag to take Kanemaru outside… and we don’t rush in with “lucha tags”. Fuego calls a play for Taguchi, but DOUKI just ends up throwing Fuego into Taguchi’ arse… so much so it winded Taguchi. A low dropkick from Kanemaru takes Taguchi outside, as the Suzuki-gun tandem pushed on, landing a suplex and a stomp in quick succession for a two-count. DOUKI clubs away on Taguchi, before a submission ends when Taguchi got to the ropes… but Kanemaru just pulls him to the outside for more beatings.
DOUKI undoes the laces on Fuego’s mask, but Taguchi breaks it up as Kanemaru had the ref distracted… the good guys fight back with duelling topes con giro, but DOUKI took over back in the ring with a clothesline for a near-fall. A trip from Fuego led to little as he had to cartwheel out of an armdrag before he took DOUKI down in a side Russian legsweep, rolling through into an armbar for the quick lucha submission. Solid enough a start, but these Fuego & Taguchi tags have been very brief. Also, another fall eaten by DOUKI… it’s a noticeable trend. **½
Tiger vs. Tiger Mask
This is gonna be a bugger to call… there’s Tiger Mask and Tiger, in a mask.
Tiger jumpstarts the match, kicking Tiger Mask at the opening handshake before he put the boots to him in the corner. They head outside as a corkscrew tope from Tiger wipes out Tiger Mask and the timekeeper’s table, before a roll-through kick from Tiger Mask got him free. Tiger retaliates as he grounds Tiger Mask, looking to undo the mask, before the ref missed a low blow. A back body drop took Tiger to the apron ahead of a tope suicida from Mask, who followed up with a crucifix bomb back inside for a near-fall. Tiger Mask whiffs off the top rope, then got rolled through by Tiger into a Trailer Hitch, albeit right by the ropes as the veteran was able to force a break.
From there, Tiger Mask comes right back with a tiltawhirl backbreaker and a Tiger Bomb for a near-fall, before a Tiger Suplex earned the win. Decent enough, as Tiger Mask begins life without Liger… **½
Namajague, Euforia & Luciferno vs. Guerrero Maya Jr., Audaz & Flyer
Namajague and Luciferno’s had a decent run on this tour… can they wrap it up with another W?
Apparently Audaz is pushing to be a part of the Best of the Super Juniors this year. We’ll see. First though, he has to survive a lashing from Euforia… Namajague starts by poking Guerrero Maya in the eye, before Euforia kicked Maya in the ropes as the rudos began to triple-team. Flyer has similar luck as he’s dispatched outside, before Audaz… yep. He takes a pop-up knee from Euforia before Luciferno’s praying mantis shoulderbreaker took him down.
There’s a nice rebound splash off the ropes from Namajague, aided by hiptosses, for a near-fall, before Audaz kips up out of chops… and pisses of Euforia so much he chops his own partners. Headscissrs take Euforia outside as bodies began to fly all over the place. Guerrero Maya Jr. drops Luciferno with tiltawhirl backbreakers, before he got away as Namajague and Euforia tried to break up the cover.
Wacky short-range splashes follow, as the referee inadvertently got in on the act. My feed drops, and recovers as everyone’s rowing the boat, before more flying sees Audaz wipe out Euforia with a tope con giro, only for Luciferno to quickly stop Flyer with a Luciferno Crash for a near-near fall… before Flyer kicked Luciferno into the ropes and hit a springboard legdrop for the win. Decent fare with some innovative stuff compared to the rest of the tour, which’ll never not pop me. ***
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Dulce Gardenia & Yuya Uemura vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI)
Something tells me Tanahashi and Gardenia ran out of ideas for partners here…
Dulce Gardenia starts us off, but nobody in LIJ wants him. Aww. BUSHI bites the bullet, and ends up having to fight off Gardenia’s affections, as he clearly hadn’t learned from being misted yesterday. In the end, BUSHI puts the boots to Gardenia, before Dulce kipped up… and got caught by the wrist. He reverses it and makes BUSHI dance, before some rope-walking ended when BUSHI just kicked him into the ropes. Gardenia slips but manages to hit a springboard armdrag before EVIL rushed the ring… and gets cut off by Tanahashi. Double-teaming on BUSHI led to a dropkick as Uemura took over, catching BUSHI with an uppercut before he got caught in the ropes with a dropkick. Shingo’s in, and while Uemura held his own, he’s quickly chopped down as a brainbuster followed for a two-count.
A slam from EVIL’s good for a two-count, before another Uemura comeback ended when he missed a dropkick. Uemura finally lands it, then got the tag in to Tanahashi, who was damn near planking on the top rope as he flew in with forearms as he went for EVIL. A Dragon Screw’s waiting for EVIL, then BUSHI, and finally Shingo, before Dulce Gardenia tagged in to… go for BUSHI. In the end Tanahashi and EVIL get the kiss, as did Marty Asami, then EVIL… and finally, Uemura. It counted as a tag too, which wasn’t good news as he got charged through by Shingo before he replied with a brainbuster.
Uemura tries to put the icing on the cake with a Boston crab on Shingo while Gardenia dived onto the rest of LIJ, but Shingo powers out as LIJ triple-team Uemura on the way to a sliding Shingo lariat. Gardenia’s back to give Shingo his leaving present, which gave Uemura a chance to get a near-fall from a sunset flip… before an overhead capture suplex led to another two-count… but in the end Shingo dumps him with a backdrop driver and a Pumping Bomber for the win. These LIJ tags have consistently been the highlight of these Korakuen shows, and this was no different. ***¼
OKUMURA, Negro Casas & Ultimo Guerrero vs. Satoshi Kojima, Soberano Jr. & Stuka Jr.
We start with the afters from yesterday’s match with OKUMURA and Stuka Jr. going at each other, trading armdrags and trips on the way to a stand-off.
Casas and Soberano come in next, but they start by playing to the crowd before breaking into a chop battle. That upgrades to big boots, before Ultimo Guerrero and Kojima come in to complete the first round of tags. Guerrero starts with chops of his own, but gets charged down by a Kojima shoulder tackle… a response from Guerrero led to the ring filling up, with Negro Casas crashing into Kojima with a stalling dropkick, while Stuka’s rolled into a wheelbarrow DDT from OKUMURA. Soberano’s back in, but he’s quickly taken outside with a baseball slide… returning to catch Stuka on the apron with a monkey flip, sending his own man into OKUMURA on the floor. That was wild! Kojima’s back with Machine Gun chops to Guerrero… then Casas… then OKUMURA, which tires out Kojima a little.
Guerrero charges out of the corner into Kojima, but gets met with a Koji cutter, then ducks a Cozy lariat and returned with a tiltawhirl backbreaker. An avalanche front suplex dumps Kojima for a near-fall, before Casas and Stuka came back in. There’s a quick tiltawhirl from Stuka, who hits a handspring double armdrag for the hell of it, before he slid outside to scare the rudos away. The tempo raises as Soberano goes flying to the outside, while Stuka drops Casas with a spinebuster… but the Black & White splash just lands in Casas’ boots before a Casita pin gets the veteran the win. Enjoyable stuff here as Negro Casas ends with a win… and wraps up the non-championship matches on this show. ***
CMLL Mexican National Trios Championship: Angel de Oro, Niebla Roja & Titan vs. La Sangre Dinamita (Sanson, Cuatrero & Forastero) (c)
The champions lost in a non-title outing yesterday, and will be looking to avoid a repeat… unless they want to go back home with some lighter luggage…
Titan and Cuatrero start us off, going hold-for-hold as we were getting some ground-based lucha, rather than the flippy stuff early on. A Magistral-like roll-up from Titan nearly works as the scrambling continued, until Oro and Forastero came in to get caught by headscissors. Oro’s superkicks and headscissors clear the ring, before Oro’s handspring faked out a dive as Titan leapt off the apron instead.
Niebla Roja and Forastero hit the ring, but Sanson attacks from behind as Oro ends up getting triple teamed ahead of a gorilla press slam and a low dropkick. Titan’s back for a kicking ahead of a double-stomp off the middle rope for a near-fall. The rudos tease unmasking Titan, but in the end he’s saved as Oro clears the ring as body began to fly a little too quickly to keep track of. A tope suicida sees Titan bounce head-first into Forastero’s back, before Sanson hit a dive into Oro. Titan’s back on Forastero, rolling him up out of the corner but Cuatrero breaks up the pin before a through-the-corner lariat had Titan back on top… as did a kip up overhead kick.
Titan keeps going with a hand-walk into some headscissors as we’re back outside with Cuatrero ducking to avoid a faked-out dive. Niebla Roja’s back in with Sanson, trading chops before catching Sanson with a superkick… then looked to set up for a rocking chair submission. Cuatrero chops that away, but gets caught with a superkick from Roja, who followed up with a triangle Quebrada. Clotheslines in the corners follow until Roja came close with a dropkick, as a Michinoku driver gave way to a spin-out powerbomb that almost got Cuatrero the W. Tags bring in Forastero and Titan, who chop each other silly ahead of a big boot from the rudo. Another Titan superkick is replied to in kind, before his springboard crossbody was wrecked with a dropkick from Forastero. Ow.
Roja breaks up a cover as we fly again, before the ref misses some chairshots as Titan ends up kicking the chair into Forastero ahead of an Asai moonsault. In the ring, Cuatrero uses a monkey flip to send Sanson into the corner with a cannonball, and the Dinamita Catapult secures the successful defence. An enjoyable trios match, but in the end it was the chairshots that helped the rudos edge ahead to victory. ***½
NWA World Historic Middleweight Championship: Barbaro Cavernario vs. Caristico (c)
We’re wrapping up the tour as Caristico defends a title he’s held for over 500 days – and we’ve some cheapshots from Cavernario before the bell.
One of the caveman’s first moves is to try and rip off Caristico’s mask… but he’s got a second one underneath, which confuses him as headscissors take Cavernario outside ahead of a corkscrew plancha! Cavernario returns by bouncing Caristico off the apron, before he moved him into place for a big splash off the top rope to the floor… and thankfully (for the challenger, at least) Caristico didn’t move.
Caristico makes it back inside, but gets punted away as Cavernario began to remove a turnbuckle pad, following up with a suplex for a quick two-count. A Vader Bomb off the ropes gets another two, before Caristico reversed an Irish whip that nearly took Cavernario into the corner. A big boot from the challenger drops him though, before Cavernario went for a buckle bomb into the exposed buckle… but gets ‘rana’d there instead. Caristico’s back with a 619 and a springboard ‘rana as the caveman was taken outside, with a nice slingshot ‘rana waiting for him on the floor.
They’re not back in the ring for long as Caristico hits a tope suicida to knock Cavernario into the front row, before the champion got back in… and went for another dive as a tope con giro made sure the crowd stayed wild. A crossbody to the floor keeps that going as Cavernario couldn’t get going, at least until they got back inside as he blocks some headscissors, throwing Caristico aside for a near-fall. A boot out of the corner from Caristico makes Cavernario do the worm, before he lifted Caristico to the floor for an eventual through-the-buckles tope! Another springboard crossbody to the floor follows as Cavernario was trying to one-up the champion’s earlier stuff, leading to a delayed near-fall back in the ring. Another Vader bomb splash follows for a near-fall, but Caristico’s back with a stunner as he looked to put Cavernario away with a moonsault… but he’s blocked with some feet.
Caristico keeps up though, catching Cavernario with a Destroyer for a near-fall, before Cavernario hit one of his own to come even closer… Cavernario his a La Mistica of his own, but it’s in the ropes as Caristico avoided losing to his own move. What he couldn’t avoid though, was a Cavernaria, which is escaped as Caristico rolled free and came back with a Spanish Fly off the top for another near-fall. In the end though, Caristico finally lands La Mistica… and that’s enough to make Cavernario tap out! Easily the best thing on the entire tour, with the pair playing “can you top this” it seemed until Caristico finally landed his move for the quick submission. Make time for this one! ****
Cue the traditional end-of-tour group shot with the CMLL lads and the New Japan good guys… and Gabe Kidd in the back row too for the heck of it.
So, Fantasticamania wraps up with a good show – and that’s New Japan’s live streams done for the month, as the Japanese tour takes a few days off before the Road to New Beginning starts in Ibaraki on Saturday. There’s a simultaneous US tour too, but we won’t see any of it as the New Beginning in Sapporo on February 1st is the next live show, with Shingo Takagi challenging Hirooki Goto for the NEVER championship headlining there…