Fantasticamania’s penultimate show saw a clash of tag tournament winners, as this year’s Family Tag winners faced last year’s Brothers winners in the main event.
We’re at Korakuen Hall again, and finally there’s English commentary, provided by Mavs Gillis and Chris Charlton.
Ryusuke Taguchi & Flyer vs. Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori & Gedo)
They’ve got to be building to Taguchi and Ishimori, right? Gedo’s carrying Jay White’s necklace like he’s still pining for his travelling buddy, and he starts off against Flyer.
Or so we thought, as Ishimori attacks Flyer from behind as he was focused on Gedo, and we start off with some double-teaming. Flyer manages to lift Ishimori to the outside, before coming off the ropes with a springboard armdrag to Gedo. A superkick takes Ishimori to the outside as Flyer nails a tope con giro before Taguchi’s plancha… found his own man. D’oh!
The Bullet Club pair take over on the floor, before returning to the ring as the match went back to how it started: double-teaming on Flyer. Except Gedo’s a little lax with his stuff, and Flyer’s able to make a tag out to Taguchi, who’s kicked from behind by Ishimori. Will anybody ever learn?! Ishimori takes over as he tries to unmask Taguchi, whose attempts at hip attacks end with kicks in the arse before he finally lands one on Gedo. More hip attacks follow as Taguchi traps Gedo and Ishimori in the ropes, before a small package from Gedo almost ends it. Taguchi manages to block an eye poke and turn it into a wristlock before an attempt at Dodon ends with an ankle lock… which Ishimori broke up in kind. Flyer makes a save with a springboard ‘rana to Ishimori as a Taguchi springboard bodypress left him outside… leaving Ishimori to take a springboard plancha and a powerslam from Flyer!
In the end though, Ishimori wheelbarrows Flyer for a near-fall before rolling into an ankle lock for the quick tap-out. Beating Taguchi’s partner with one of his own finishers, eh? Message sent, and apparently these two have a match in Osaka on February 11 on the New Beginnings tour. The post-match attack has Ishimori beat down Taguchi and unmask him as he continued the oneupmanship. ***
Cuatrero & Templario vs. Titan & Angel de Oro
Cuatreto’s out with his share of the Mexican National Trios titles, which he shares with Sanson and Forastero as they defend those on tomorrow’s tour finale.
Titan and Templario start us off, with the former feinting out some kicks early on before some kip-ups counter a wristlock into an armdrag as the pair went at it at a rapid clip. Tags follow, with Oro and Cuatrero going for armdrags as they too reached stalemate, allowing Oro to unmask. Oro tries to sneak in with a clothesline, but Cuatrero ducks it, before headscissors sent him sailing outside ahead of a no-hands handspring faked-out dive!
Titan’s back to catch Templario with a low dropkick, only to get a clothesline in return as Oro returns for a sunset flip, before Titan’s springboard ‘rana took Templario back outside for a Fosbury flop to the floor and some headscissors that get countered into a powerbomb. Titan returns after a spell with a springboard crossbody to Templario, but some double-teaming backfires as Templario’s dropkick wiped out Cuatrero, before Titan’s satellite headscissors take Templario outside! Dives follow again as Titan hits a nice tope con giro to Templario after Oro’s dive to Cuatrero caught us all off guard. Back inside, Cuatero and Oro exchange corner attacks before a dropkick from Oro gets a near-fall… superkicks and clotheslines between those two led to Oro tagging out, with Titan and Templario chopping each other silly, before Titan’s headscissors again get countered into a powerbomb for a near-fall.
A wheelbarrow German suplex from Templario caught Titan for a two-count… on the top rope, Templario pulls Titan back, but eats a kip-up overhead kick before another springboard rana off the top finally hits as Titan had to counter the powerbomb counter for another near-fall. A top rope Asai moonsault to the floor from Titan wipes out Templario, as Oro rushes in… and has to counter an upside down bearhug with headscissors. From there, Cuatrero goes for a spinning crucifix powerbomb which nearly ends it, before a wheelbarrow roll-up from Oro rolled into a seated surfboard, then a pendulum swing for the submission. These guys got a little more time than usual on the tour, and hey, the challengers for tomorrow’s title match get a win to build intrigue. A really good tag match with a tonne of action by this tour’s standards. ***¼
Toa Henare, Fujin & Raijin vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI & Shingo Takagi)
I can’t think why Fujin and Raijin have had continual matches against the junior tag champions on this tour… oh. Nevermind, the New Japan name plates give away the joke!
Naito doesn’t bother waiting for the elongation in his introduction, as we have a jump start with him going after Henare while Shingo and Fujin charged into each other with shoulder tackles. Fujin and Raijin double-team Shingo with a drop toe hold and a baseball slide dropkick, before Henare tagged in to help turn this into some triple-teaming. Shingo and Raijin trade clotheslines for a spell, before a big suplex takes Raijin down as the rest of the match spilled to the outside for more brawling. BUSHI comes in and tries to unmask Raijin, before Naito came in and nonchalantly held up Raijin for a BUSHI missile dropkick. A pair of low dropkicks catch Raijin in the corner, before Shingo returns with elbow drops and a back senton for a two-count. Raijin’s spear’s blocked but Shingo can’t avoid a German suplex as a tag’s made out to Henare, who goes straight through Naito with his shoulder charge.
A clothesline from Henare traps Naito in the corner ahead of a Samoan drop for a near-fall, prompting Naito to bust out the Pluma Blanca submission on Henare, with the armbar/headscissors combo forcing Fujin in to break it up. BUSHI and his Zubaz-inspired tights come in, but he misses a charge at Henare, who spears Naito to the mat before landing the suplex on BUSHI for good measure. BUSHI rakes the eyes as Fujin tried to get involved, but Raijin helps out with a pair of leaping knees before Shingo makes a save as the 3K looked to be coming. A Parade of Moves ensues ending with Fujin taking the back cracker/spinebuster combo before a wheelbarrow/lungblower on Fujin gets the win. A rare win for BUSHI (or so it feels), as LIJ leave Korakuen with the win after a solid match. ***
Post-match, Shingo dumped Raijin with a Pumping Bomber before they fought for Fujin and Raijin’s hoods. On hey, it’s SHO and YOH. Who knew?! I dig how the Young Lions cover their heads with t-shirts to protect their identities…
OKUMURA, Sanson & Forastero vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Atlantis & Atlantis Jr.
It’s Atlantis Sr. who opened up this one for his team, against Sanson as they trade chops before Atlantis watched Sanson and Forastero run into each other.
Tiltawhirl backbreakers follow for them both before OKUMURA came in against Atlantis Jr… OKUMURA quickly slides to the outside and away from harm’s way, as he wants nothing to do with the rookie. Liger’s in too, but he gets kicked in the ropes as the rudos triple-team him, before he cleared house with Shotei… then Mima Shimoda trips Liger in the ropes. Oh dear. Shimoda enters the ring for her annual bump on this tour as Liger drops her with a brainbuster… before he makes sure her dress covers her modesty. We’re back to OKUMURA and Atlantis Jr, swapping shoulder tackles before headscissors took OKUMURA outside. He again avoids Atlantis Jr., while senior’s trapped in the ring as Sanson tried to unmask him. Forastero trips as he went for a springboard something onto Atlantis, before Liger’s attempt at a save saw him double-teamed as Atlantis Jr. also suffered the same fate at the hands of Forastero and Sanson.
Atlantis Sr. is in and gets both his arms wrung as he’s booted to the outside, with Liger rejoining the fray and… yeah, they go for his mask. Atlantis Jr. tries to stare down Sanson, but he’s caught from behind before he ducks a double chop that OKUMURA took, sending him outside as Jr. finally lands his tope! Senior’s in the ring as he outsmarts the other two again, sending Forastero flying with monkey flips, only for Sanson to come back and nearly end things with a gamengiri in the corner. An Atlantida had OKUMURA in trouble, but the hold’s broken up as Atlantis Sr’s rammed into the ring post… Liger flies with a plancha to Sanson and Forastero as Junior goes back for OKUMURA, catching him with a powerslam for a near-fall. A ‘rana follows for another two-count, before OKUMURA hit Cross Rhodes on Junior for the win. I liked the story of Atlantis Jr. and the two veterans on one side, but this was way too clunky for too long. **¼
Post-match, there’s promos that ends with Atlantis Sr. and Jr. getting their masks taken off them by Sanson and OKUMURA, forcing father and son to head to the back under t-shirts.
Namajague, Caristico & Barbaro Cavernario vs. Volador Jr., Soberano Jr. & Audaz
Barbaro’s gone full Flintstone for his gear today, while Volador is, erm, “heavily influenced” by Spiderman. I think that’ll get us around the copyright stuff!
Namajague and Audaz start us off with a ridiculous series from Audaz, who flips for fun to get away from the lesser-domesticated wolf that is Namajague, taking him outside with headscissors ahead of… Caristico cutting off Audaz’s dive. Caristico lands a tornillo and a springboard crossbody to Soberano, before headscissors took Soberano into the ropes as the pace turned up so quickly we could barely keep up. Volador boots Barbaro, who does the worm out of it, before some sweet headscissors take the caveman outside ahead of triplicate topes con giro! OH MY WORD! Back inside, Caristico and Barbaro double-team Volador, with Namajague helping keep guard as a missile dropkick gets a near-fall on Volador. Caristico heads up for a senton bomb on Soberano, before the rudos try to unmask Audaz, and then just run in with a kick to the knee instead.
A low dropkick takes Audaz outside as Volador decided to enter the proverbial Lion’s Den, with Barbaro just running in and clocking him as the referee was doing little to stop the three-on-one. A guillotine suplex nearly gets Barbaro the win, but the tables turn when Audaz hits a springboard ‘rana as the rudos were posing, and now the pace increases with dives a-plenty!
— LARIATOOOO!! (@MrLARIATO) January 20, 2019
Caristico gives Soberano what he wanted – a corkscrew plancha to the floor – before Namajague slapped Volador. He’s caught up top with a gamengiri from Audaz as everyone set up for the Tower of Doom, with poor Namajague taking the sulex, then a springboard splash from Volador as a triple pin drew a trio of twos. A doomsday crossbody from Soberano’s good for another as Caristico broke up the pin, before we bust out all the Destroyers to leave the rudos and technicos laying. Volador blocks a Destroyer by ripping off Caristico’s mask, which would normally have been a DQ in Mexico. Instead the match stops as they reapply the hood as the match just pauses. From there, Audaz and Soberano row the boat before a ‘rana from Volador in the middle of it all gets a near-fall as we’re back to the wacky dives, before La Mistica on Volador gets the win. This was all kinds of win, with that weirdness towards the end perhaps jarring non-fans a little, but all in all this was exactly the kind of stuff you expect when you think of lucha. ***¼
Terrible vs. Satoshi Kojima
On this tour last year, Kojima picked up an injury – exacerbating it in a singles match against Rush – which’d lead to him spending half of the year on the shelf. Hopefully there’ll be no repeat against Rush’s fellow Ingobernable…
We started with a tie-up as Kojima took Terrible into the ropes, before he was returned the favour with a clean break. Things quickly degenerate into a chop battle, before we head outside as Terrible lit up Kojima with chops and right hands. They’re back in the ring as Kojima took a knee drop, then we’re back to back-and-forth chops, of course ending with Kojima cornering Terrible for machine gun chops! The leaping forearm into the corner’s next, but Terrible stops Kojima from heading up top… only for the favour to be returned as Kojima stops Terrible on the top rope and superplexes him back to the mat. Kojima manages to get his top rope elbow drop in for a two-count, before a plancha takes down Terrible on the outside!
Back inside, Kojima counters a waistlock into a DDT, only to be taken down with a suplex for a retaliatory two-count. A big splash off the top from Terrible’s good for a two-count, mostly thanks to his lax cover, before a brainbuster from Kojima kept the two-counts going. This has been fine so far, but mostly lacking any kind of urgency, at least until Terrible slapped away a Cozy lariat and took him into the corner for a barrage of strikes before a Styles Clash – called La Terriblina here – gets the win. Like I said, this was fine, but the match did absolutely nothing for me in terms of absorbing me into the action. **½
Post-match, Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi and BUSHI hit the ring to celebrate… and not much else.
Ultimo Guerrero & Gran Guerrero vs. Dragon Lee & Mistico
So the Guerreros were a little upset at not being in the Family tag tournament this year, despite being brothers.
Yeah, Ultimo Guerrero cracks Mistico and Dragon Lee with his little skirt thingy before the match, which perhaps led to a split crowd as all four men survey the crowd. We eventually start as Ultimo removed his mask… as did Mistico, except he had a second hood underneath! Poses get the crowd going, as we go into a knuckle lock, giving way to a Romero special from Ultimo that Mistico neatly switches out of and into an Indian deathlock!
That looked to have tweaked Ultimo’s knee a little, but Mistico doesn’t care as headscissors take Ultimo outside, where he’s thrown into the post, before Mistico headed into the crowd for a huge flying ‘rana off the stage! Dragon Lee and Gran Guerrero follow, with Gran blocking a ‘rana before he’s taken into the corner for Naito’s Combinacion Cabron. Ultimo Guerrero pulls Dragon Lee outside and takes him into the crowd, as Dragon tastes a barricade wall, while Mistico ate a pop-up dropkick from Gran Guerrero back in the ring. A double-team avalanche press slam from the Guerreros takes Mistico to the outside, following up with a brainbuster on Dragon Lee as the Guerreros comfortably were ahead. Dragon Lee hits back with a suplex to Gran Guerrero before tagging Mistico back in with a springboard crossbody to the Guerreros, then a pop-up ‘rana as the Guerrero clan headed outside for duelling topes con giro!
Back in the ring, Dragon Lee and Mistico catch Ultimo Guerrero with the Muta lock/low dropkick for a near-fall, before Gran takes a drop toe hold/low dropkick and a standing moonsault for a two-count as the match began to ebb and flow. More low dropkicks saw the Guerreros knock their opponents off the apron, following up with a tope con giro from Gran Guerrero and a stage dive off the top rope by Ultimo! Back in the ring, a spin-out pumphandle facebuster almost gets Gran Guerrero the win on Dragon Lee. A brief lull ends when the camera crew barely caught a ‘rana from Mistico to Ultimo for a near-fall, before Dragon Lee ended up taking a front superplex out of the corner from Ultimo as the tide keeps shifting. Dragon Lee keeps up with a crossface on Ultimo Guerrero, but they’re too close to the ropes, allowing Ultimo to hit back with a powerbomb for a near-fall.
On the top rope, Ultimo’s cracked with a headbutt from Dragon Lee, who followed in with the old Del Rio double-stomp for a two-count. We just about see a tope from Dragon Lee as Mistico flew into Gran Guerrero… only to get met with a powerbomb for another two-count. Gran’s taken up top as Mistico prepared for another ‘rana, eventually hitting it as he tempted fate, before some satellite headscissors led to La Mistica as Gran Guerrero furiously tapped! The winners of the 2018 Family Tag tournament reign supreme following a solid main event. ***¼
Post-match, Mistico and Dragon Lee went into the raised seating area to celebrate with the masses, before the post-match promos included a message from Dragon Lee to Hiromu Takahashi.
Fantasticamania continued it’s trend of growing on me as the tour reaches its conclusion, with tomorrow’s show wrapping up the tour – and giving us some really odd matches to boot. Nope, not the Mexican trios championship match, but a special bonus attraction from the movie “My Dad is a Heel Wrestler” for those who remember the trailers that aired around G1 season last year! Cockroach Mask and Bluebottle Mask will be in action, and no, I’m not hallucinating There’ll be English commentary for that match, with Mavs Gillis and a mystery man on the call.