The 2019 Fantasticamania tour wrapped up in Korakuen Hall as we got a special attraction featuring Cockroach Mask and Bluebottle Mask. No, I’m not hallucinating, why do you ask…
We’ve got English commentary once more, but with Chris Charlton at the shoot job (presumably), it’s Mavs Gillis and… please not Lanny Poffo. It’s not, but I have no idea who it is since they’re both wearing lucha masks, although he does sound a little like Louis Theroux…
Barbaro Cavernario & Templario vs. Audaz & Flyer
We get going with Audaz and Templario running the ropes, with Templario sending Audaz spinning from a shoulder tackle.
Templario heads outside to tempt Audaz into a dive, but instead we get a gamengiri and a springboard crossbody from Audaz, who followed up with a nice ‘rana to take Templario outside. In comes Barbaro, who lands a ‘rana of his own before Flyer cut him off with a crossbody of his own. A big boot from Flyer makes Barbaro do the worm, before a lucha roll through led to a rack bomb that Flyer headscissors out of! More dives follow to the outside as Flyer takes a press slam onto the apron by Templario, before we get even more punishment as Barbaro cracked Audaz with a springboard dropkick from Barbaro.
A double-team, dropkick-assisted suplex keeps the rudos ahead, as did a springboard Vader bomb. A second one misses as Flyer and Audaz make a comeback, with Flyer hitting an assisted moonsault to the floor before Audaz nails a tope con giro that made me thing commentary may not have seen much of this tour before! Back in the ring, Flyer dumps Barbaro with a scoop slam before he helps with a headscissors/splash from Audaz as the technicos edged ahead. Templario broke up a cover with a chop before the rudos are caught in duelling pop-up ‘ranas for a pair of near-falls. The rudos try a similar thing, albeit with their feet on the ropes, before Flyer catches Barbaro with a Spanish fly off the top for a near-fall.
More headscissors off the top from Flyer’s countered into a powerbomb as Audaz nails his flying ‘rana to Templario… and then out of nowhere Barbaro catches Audaz in el Cavernaria for the flash submission! I do like how the big submissions in lucha are instant tap outs – just like the olden days! ***
OKUMURA vs. Atlantis Jr.
Yes, New Japan World dubs over one version of La Cucaracha with another…
Atlantis Jr. dropkicks OKUMURA as soon as he hit the ring, before taking him outside for a tope suicida! A second one connects as Jr.’s trajectory was looking scary, before a third one’s stopped. They head into the crowd, where Jr. lands some headscissors in the seating decks, but OKUMURA’s able to beat the count and make it back to the ring as they exchange chops.
Corner clotheslines follow, as does a cutter out of the corner from OKUMURA for a near-fall. OKUMURA keeps going for the mask of Jr., but instead OKUMURA decides just to start chopping him some more. Atlantis fights back with a headbutt and some headscissors, taking the veteran outside for a crossbody to the floor… before a pop-up ‘rana back in the ring’s countered into a sunset flip for a near-fall.
OKUMURA’s annoyed with the count, so he rolls up Atlantis in a Mouse Trap for another two-count, before a sunset flip from Atlantis gets a rapid two-count from the annoyed referee Marty Asami! A scoop slam’s next from Junior for a two-count, then another crossbody off the top before some tiltawhirl backbreakers get a near-fall. More headscissors from Atlantis get countered into a powerbomb for a two-count, before Atlantis tried for – and lost – an Atlantida. He goes for it again, and this time manages to hold up OKUMURA for a bit, but Jr. drops him again as he’s still learning that move… he goes for it yet again, and OKUMURA gives up! Story or not, I’m not too keen on a guy going for the same move three times in a row, but the kid’s only got a week’s experience, so he’s got plenty of time to learn! **¾
After the match, OKUMURA shakes Atlantis Jr.’s hand…
Satoshi Kojima, Toa Henare & Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Terrible, BUSHI & Shingo Takagi)
Hang on, this isn’t Fujin and Raijin! We’ve got SHO and YOH back after they lost their masks yesterday…
Naito’s again here for an annoyingly-long intro, and we have another jump start as everyone pairs off the way you’d expect. Kojima puts the boots to Terrible from the off, while Henare and Naito brawl on the floor. Heck, SHO doesn’t even give Shingo enough time to take off his baseball jersey!
Things settle down a little as BUSHI ate a drop toe hold/low dropkick combo while Henare gets distracted by Naito… allowing BUSHI a brief glimmer of hope, only for a chop to take down the masked one. Kojima tags in and charges through BUSHI, taking him into the corner for some machine gun chops. Shingo takes some too, but Terrible makes a save as BUSHI was about to take a top rope elbow from everyone’s favourite bread eater.
Terrible keeps up on Kojima with some palm strikes in the corner as LIJ finally took control. Shingo’s in with a back senton to Kojima, but he’s in no rush to make a cover, as instead Kojima’s whipped into the corner ahead of a big splash off the top that gets a Terrible near-fall. Kojima finally fights back with a discus punch and a Koji cutter, before SHO’s tagged back into the match. A leaping forearm from SHO lays out BUSHI, but Naito cuts him off… only to get taken onto the apron for a low dropkick to the floor! SHO spears BUSHI before YOH tagged back in… BUSHI somehow outlasts them and gets in the tag to Shingo, who easily slammed YOH and squashed him with a back elbow off the top rope for a near-fall. YOH blocks a Dragon screw and hits one of his own on Shingo, following up with a Falcon arrow for a near-fall. YOH thought he’d avoided a Pumping Bomber, but a superkick only delays the lariat before tags take us back to Henare and Naito.
The pair wheel away at each other with punches before a shoulder tackle from Henare sent Naito flying. A suplex is next, as Kojima helps out with some double-teaming as a Henare Samoan drop drew a near-fall with Terrible breaking up the cover… only for him to take a Cozy Lariat out of nowhere! Henare’s left in there with Naito, but a uranage’s blocked, and BUSHI rushes in for the sunset flip/low dropkick combo that leaves the Kiwi laying.
Henare fights back with forearms, but an enziguiri from Naito takes him into the corner ahead of another Pumping Bomber from Shingo as Naito can only get a near-fall from that… out of nowhere, Taichi pops up and whacks Naito with the Intercontinental title belt. El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru are here too, laying waste to Shingo and BUSHI… hell, they take care of SHO and YOH too, as this match is thrown out as a no-contest thanks in small part to the referee having been wiped out. Well, this was going great until the Suzuki-gun run-in, but at least it was chaos as it should be, rather than the usual hijinks. ***¼
Post-match, El Desperado unmasks BUSHI as Taichi cuts a promo over the fallen Naito.
Mexican National Trios Championship: Atlantis, Angel de Oro & Titan vs. La Sangre Dinamita (Sanson, Cuatrero & Forastero) (c)
Cuatrero, Sanson and Forastero won these belts back in July 2017, but hey, on last year’s Fantasticamania tour we saw a lengthy reign end…
We start out with Titan kicking Sanson in the quads, as they began with a slow pace… taking it to the mat before Titan grabbed an armbar as we quickly went into some indy’riffic near-falls to rib referee Marty Asami. Titan spins on the back of Sanson, before he’s caught in a wristlock… which he just flips out of and into an armdrag as we reached a stand-off. We get legsweeps and brief pinning attempts as both men then chose to tag out, with Atlantis and Forastero coming into play. Not Louis Theroux on commentary tells us these guys are cousins, before Atlantis nails monkey flips, hiptosses and quesadora tiltawhirl backbreakers as the champions bump like madmen for him.
Oro tags in next, with Forastero staying in there to leap over him before some headscissors take Forastero outside. Oro manages to outsmart Cuatrero and Sanson, landing headscissors to send Cuatrero through the ropes to the outside before the hands-free handspring caught us out. The camera crew misses stuff on the outside as Sanson and Forastero trap Atlantis in the ring, battering him with avalanche clotheslines.
Angel de Oro returns, and gets triple-teamed with press slams and dropkicks before Titan returned… and also got triple-teamed, eating a trio of dropkicks in the corner. Ah well! Atlantis comes in and gets beaten on too, before Titan finally makes a dent, landing a tope suicida to the back of Forastero outside the ring! Oro’s back with a Sasuke special, while Atlantis heads up top too… scoring with his body press to the floor!
Back in the ring, Titan and Forastero trade chops, before a rear spin kick from Titan almost got Forastero low. There’s a big boot in return, then a powerbomb from Forastero for a near-fall. Titan almost gets the win with a submission that turned into a roll-up, as we were breaking up pins all over the place, with Oro’s Quebrada almost putting away Cuatrero. Oro and Cuatrero trade clotheslines in the corner, before an Oro dropkick gets another near-fall. We build up into a tower of doom, with Cuatrero taking the brunt of it… he’s able to get his feet up as the camera work goes to hell, thanks to too much happening at once… fortunately the ring clears quickly as we see Titan hand-walk and back flip into handscissors on Sanson!
Cuatrero tries to capitalise on a dizzy Titan, but he’s taken down with a Fireman’s carry while Titan leaps into Sanson on the floor! Oro makes the dive to Cuatrero, but Forastero’s in there too with a single-leg lungblower before Cuatrero monkey flip cannonballs Forastero into him in the corner! From there, Cuatrero takes up Oro for a spinning crucifix bomb, and that’s enough to retain the titles! That was quite the fun trios match – a little too much happening at times, but this is the kind of action I like on these tours. ***¾
We find out that Not Louis Theroux’s called Tom. No last name… yet.
Gran Guerrero, Ultimo Guerrero & Namajague vs. Dragon Lee, Mistico & Soberano Jr.
I swear, Namajague looks familiar… he’s even got a Guerrero smock too, so you can probably guess what happens before the bell.
Yeah, Ultimo Guerrero whacks Soberano in the back. They at least make up enough to shake hands before the bell, but Soberano refuses to wrestle until Ultimo removes the hood. When he does, we start with some arm work before Soberano headscissors Ultimo… but not to the outside, as Ultimo’s able to come back quickly with some rolling Romero specials, with Soberano powering out of the hold and into a front headlock ahead of a stand-off.
Ultimo manages to grab an ankle lock on Soberano, who tries to roll through before he grabs a heel hook of his own, before the pair rolled to the floor as they refused to let go. Tags come in for Mistico and Gran Guerrero, with the former backflipping away from a dropdown before his flips led to him being taken down as Gran Guerrero tries for an unmasking. He actually takes off the hood, but Mistico outsmarts him as he had a second mask on once again!
A tiltawhirl armdrag’s next out of Mistico, as he took Gran outside for a nice flying headscissors… there’s a lot of posing as we instead wait for tags. Namajague comes in with Dragon Lee, trading chops in a very desperado fashion, but they don’t let up as Korakuen was getting into it… much like a high knee from Dragon Lee got into Namajague’s face! A knee to the gut earns Dragon Lee a one-count before he’s punched out, ahead of a Shibata-ish dropkick in the corner that earns Dragon a near-fall. The rudos look to focus on Mistico next, with the Guerreros popping him up into a suplex while Soberano’s dealt with by a pop-up seated splash from Namajague. Some drop toe holds led to a photogenic submission attempt, but things start to go awry for the rudos from there…
Mistico flies in with headscissors before we get topes con giro and a Sasuke special that the camera crew just about caught! Back in the ring, Ultimo dumps Soberano with a front superplex for a two-count. A gamengiri from Soberano cracks Ultimo Guerrero on the apron, ahead of a Tornillo that lands for a near-fall, before Mistico’s pop-up ‘rana took out Namajague ahead of a Dragon Lee tope and an Asai moonsault from Mistico! In the ring again, Ultimo Guerrero picks up Soberano for a reverse superplex that properly spiked Soberano on his head… and that’s the win. That looked BRUTAL. ***½
Ginbae Mask & Gokiburi Mask vs. Dragon George & Sweet Gorilla Maruyama
This is the feature match from last year’s movie, “My Dad is a Heel Wrestler” – so unless you’ve seen the movie, there’s a lot of this that’ll go over your head!
To give away the joke, Ginbae Mask – Bluebottle Mask – is Taguchi, Gokiburi Mask – Cockroach Mask – is Tanahashi… Sweet Gorilla is obviously Makabe, and Dragon George is Okada. With a sweet belt.
Gokiburi and George start off this “Lion Pro Wrestling” offer match, as commentary tells us Gokiburi Mask “injured his knee”. I really need to see this movie… anyway, we start with Ginbae distracting George, allowing Gokiburi to attack George from behind, stomping on him from the apron, George makes a comeback, taking Gokiburi down for a low dropkick by the ropes, as he seemingly prepared for a dive…
But instead, he waited for Gokiburi Mask to roll back in and tag in Ginbae Mask. In comes Sweet Gorilla too, who goes straight for some mounted punches. HMMM… Ginbae blocks a Northern Lights suplex and rakes the eyes of the Gorilla, before a shoulder tackle finds its mark. A clothesline misses as Gokiburi blinds Maruyama with some bug spray… and there’s some for Dragon George too. I popped.
On the outside, Dragon George is thrown into the timekeeper’s table while Ginbae Mask threw Gorilla into the crowd. Out comes the bin as he’s got some plunder… a fly swatter, which he bashes over Gorilla’s head. I’m dying here. Gokiburi Mask whacks the gorilla with a plunger as a toilet brush is also used, while Gokiburi finds a hammer a la Taichi in the bin.
Eventually, Dragon George makes the save, but he’s blinded as a bin’s put on his head as Ginbae Mask hits a hip attack to the bin. HMMM… back in the ring, Ginbae gets a two-count on Gorilla, while Gokiburi comes in and threw him into his partner’s foot as I notice the hashtag for the show’s randomly gone back about three months in time. The heels keep Dragon George at bay, focusing on Sweet Gorilla with double-teams and more plunder as Ginbae played a magic trick with a wand.
That’s the curious cue for a comeback, as Gorilla lands a clothesline before he tagged out Dragon George, who’s got clotheslines and elbows too. George uses an armdrag and a double dropkick to send the Bugs outside ahead of a plancha! In the ring again, a DDT from George gets a near-fall on Gokiburi… but a referee distraction allows Gokiburi to hit a low blow and a… Slingblade?!
Gokiburi heads up top after that for a… High Fly Flow? I get it. Except George counters it with a dropkick before a Rainmaker’s countered with a Slingblade. Ginbae’s in next to try his luck, but the Bugs have to deal with Sweet Gorilla, who lands a double clothesline. That leaves Ginbae in to take a dropkick from Dragon George, then a tombstone piledriver and finally a Rainmaker as the good guys vanquish evil. Well, this was all kinds of nuts – all the goddamn stars for these hijinx, but if you’re looking at “just the match” it was a little underwhelming considering who was in the ring. ***½
After the match, Gokiburi Mask orders the Young Lions to pack up his belongings into the bin, which he carries to the back…
Volador Jr. vs. Caristico
The last match of the tour is a singles match, as Volador busts out some new gear.
Oh, and the sweet soap opera overdubbing for Caristico!
We start with Caristico taking down Volador with a nice springboard lucha armdrag to the outside, following up with a tope suicida that took Volador into the crowd. Caristico plays too long to the crowd and ends up eating a dropkick and a tope suicida from Volador, who got in his receipt, before we go back to the ring for duelling handsprings before Caristico’s ‘rana is replied to in kind as we get shade on commentary.
Volador dives again with a tope con giro to the outside… Caristico composes himself and returns with a springboard headscissors, before another tope con giro continues the dive – pause – dive mechanic. A dropkick from Caristico as Volador got back into the ring gets a near-fall, as does a springboard crossbody before a superkick and a back cracker from Volador keeps those two-counts rolling.
Caristico dropkicks away a handspring back elbow for a two-count, before he moonsaults into the feet of Volador for a two-count. Next up, Volador’s sent flying to the outside with a back body drop as Caristico lands a corkscrew plancha… then a crossbody off the top to the floor as we find out just why the guardrails weren’t installed for this tour! Volador gets to his feet and pulls down an Asai moonsault attempt, cracking Caristico’s head onto the apron as he decides to his the Asai moonsault deep into the crowd instead! My God, the spring back Volador got on that moonsault! Finally back in the ring, Caristico catches Volador with a 619 before a springboard ‘rana’s countered into a facebuster for a near-fall as Volador stemmed the tide.
Some palm strikes from Volador give way to forearms as he has Caristico wobbly, only to see a forearm from Caristico put him down to his knees. Back-and-forth kicks ensue, with a massive superkick from Volador ringing around the arena, but a missed dropkick in the corner hangs Volador in the ropes ahead of a springboard Del Rio stomp for a near-fall. The pair climb the ropes in the corner, which wasn’t exactly the best place to tee off on shots… and sure enough, Volador’s crotched before Caristico hits a springboard ‘rana off the ropes for a two-count as he could only slump over his opponent for the pin. We’re back to the pair trading strikes, before a gamengiri catches Caristico up top as Volador flies with a springboard avalanche ‘rana for yet another two-count! That even gets an authentic English “bloody hell” from Tom on commentary…
On the mat, Volador blocks La Mistica and snaps back with a Destroyer for a two-count. Volador takes his time and ends up having a monkey flip countered into a Destroyer as the pace threatened to slow down a little. A missed senton from Caristico gets a near-fall for Volador, before he’s caught out of with satellite headscissors as he rolls through into the ropes to avoid La Mistica. GLORIOUS. We then go to the finish as Volador heads up top for a Spanish Fly, and that is all folks! Perhaps a little too “spotty”, but this was glorious stuff. All the dives, all the flips, and exactly the kind of match you probably think of when you think of the lucha style. If you only watch one match on the tour, make it this one. ****¼
After a tour full of matches that you’d perhaps call middling, the final night of Fantasticamania was as close as you’ll get to a home-run, with a blowaway main event – at least in the eyes of someone who isn’t a massive lucha fan. While that “My Dad is a Heel Wrestler” tag was glorious nonsense, it should be noted that this whole tour has exposed a bunch of new faces to the New Japan audience… particularly when it comes to junior heavyweights. Given our concern over New Japan’s juniors this year, that could be some good timing as that division may well have found some new blood courtesy of the New Japan/CMLL tie-in.
New Japan’s got a week off before the Road to the New Beginning tour kicks in, with the first three days being streamed on New Japan World, including the final New Japan match for KUSHIDA, as he faces Hiroshi Tanahashi in Sendai on January 30.