A little later than originally planned, but made up for with extra content than usual.
Thanks to suggestions, upcoming reviews will feature Mark Rocco, Steven Regal, Owen Hart, Scott Norton, Chris Jericho and Jeff Farmer – YIP!
(Above: He’s already plastered!)
Atsushi Onita vs. Kensuke Sasaki (Tokyo, Japan, January 4th, 1999)
Onita, in full heel mode, comes to New Japan! Dressed in jeans, t-shirt and leather jacket, he wants to bring his chair in, much to the protestations of the ref, so when Sasaki comes over he jabs him in the jaw with the edge of it. He then hits him as hard as he can and the (doubtless gimmicked) seat flies off, quickly followed by the rest of the chair flying off as Kensuke completely no-sells it, his hair barely messed up, and clotheslines him down. He then just maul Onita, ripping the jacket off and making him look like a total bitch, choking and chopping him down. Onita tries to fight back, even at Sasaki’s urging, but it has no effect. Kensuke eventually misses a shot on the outside and another chair gets destroyed on his head. A pretty hokey-looking piledriver on a table follows, with the table breaking but Sasaki’s head not really going through it on the drop, so they just carry on with Onita’s burial. Big clothesline in the ring. Onita then, after minutes of being beaten on, and seemingly minutes of setting it up, throws a fireball at him for the DQ. Not a great match by ANY means, although pretty cool to see total wrestler Kensuke, in basic black trunks and black boots, annihilate dressed up garbage wrestler Onita. Onita gives it the mouth on the mic and gets beaten further, walking off like a dick and collapsing as he walks away. That’s how Austin should’ve been in 2001. Let’s call this a first: ICHIBUST!
Atsushi Onita vs. Masahiro Chono (Tokyo, Japan, April 10th, 1999)
More of Onita’s bag this time, an exploding barbed wire death match. Chono looks cool in what looks like the streetfighting version of his gear. Both guys go out of their way to avoid hitting the barbed wire to start. Atsushi sneaks in a kick and gets his DDT and powerbomb for two. Chono kicks a chair out of the way and gets the STF briefly. He then throws the chair at Onita, who ducks, and it hits the barbed wire, triggering an explosion to wake everyone up. Bulldog by Onita onto the chair. He then throws Chono into the barbed wire to be the first recipient of a blast. It hurts him, but main damage noticed is a hole in his tights. Onita tries a scorpion deathlock, but Chono reverses it into a heel hook. Onita then runs himself into the barbed wire off a missed charge, resulting in a hilariously OTT yelp of pain!
Nasty gash on Onita’s arm after that, so Chono works on it. I don’t speak Japanese, but I’m pretty sure Chono shouts “This is not wrestling, motherfucker!” as he works on that cut. Well, he did say it in English, so that might be the thing that helped. Onita starts Hulking up as Chono punches him, with great facial expressions, but a big right fells him. Shot to the balls gets Chono, so Chono returns the favour on the way down. Onita almost gets three on another powerbomb. Grounded headbutts and a staring contest on the mat follows. Onita gets kicked just into the barbed wire, but as it’s a section he’s hit before I imagine the explosions are used up, so they don’t blow. Onita then grabs onto the ref and all three go down in a tumble into the barbed wire. Second referee comes in to check on ref number one and Chono wrestles Onita down for a sure win, but only gets two while the replacement is preoccupied. Yakuza kick gets a near fall. Another for two. Onita takes another bump into the exploding barbed wire, with Chono going down too, and it’s a double knockout. Well, it was an incredibly basic match with an extraordinary gimmick, and both guys showed great charisma, but it just totally lacked anything credible to me. Chono throws his earwax at Onita post-match in a totally dickish move. BUST!
Atsushi Onita, Masahiro Chono and AKIRA vs. Keiji Mutoh, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Hiro Saito (Sapporo, Japan, July 21st, 1999)
I actually saw AKIRA (Nogami) wrestle in person in 1991 at the Prince of Wales Theatre in Cannock during his seasoning tour as a young boy. Probably would’ve been with dark hair and red trunks, but here’s got bleach blonde hair and spiderweb face paint and Mad Max/bondage gear. Mutoh’s giving it one last try with growing his hair out while he has it. A lot of stalling and staring before ten minutes into the video he and Chono give it a go. Nothing much happens there, so Tenzan and Onita replace them. Onita just walks around and then brings AKIRA (Tetsuo!) in. Finally something, as AKIRA hits a sweet dropkick and wiggles his hips. Chops won’t work on Tenzan, so he chops back. Onita comes back in for a seemingly real go this time with Saito, but tags in AKIRA (Neo-Tokyo is about to explode!) and joins in double-teaming him and then pummels him on the outside. Chono picks it up on the inside, softening Saito up for an Onita DDT. However, Chono hits Onita inadvertently with a Yakuza kick, leaving him open to a flying headbutt from Tenzan. AKIRA (ran out of jokes) hits a missile dropkick to take out Tenzan, and it’s just Mutoh and Saito with Onita in the ring. Saito, like a cannonball, hits the senton, but it’s broken up by Chono. Mutoh gets the powerdrive elbow on him, broken up by the heels again. AKIRA returns with Tenzan to take over, but misses the dropkick this time. Beautiful flying clothesline connects instead, and Chono comes in for the STF submission attempt. Mutoh tags in and gets the handspring elbow, ducks under one kick but walks into another. AKIRA tags in but gets dragon screw legwhipped. Saito lets loose with sentons on him for two. He goes up to finish, but Onita hits him with the chair. Mutoh managed to trip him up for a figure four, but gets his own dose of green mist in the face. With Saito down, AKIRA swoops in with a frog splash for the win. Wasn’t feeling this one, the flow was too fucked up. BUST!
The Great Nita vs. The Great Muta (Tokyo, Japan, August 28th, 1999)
Onita does his parody version of Muta here after dubbing himself the Great Nita at the end of the last match. Pretty lazy transformation, though, with a gi and some face paint. Muta looks like he’s wearing a draft excluder as part of his gear. No ropes and exploding barbed wire, although two sides of the ring have none. Onita attacks with a small axe weapon before throwing Muta into the barbed wire for the first explosion. Muta’s face suggests irritation rather than pain. He’s not even bothered to blade yet. I realise the reason for no barbed wire on two sides is because of exploding barbed wire boards on the floor. Onita goes for an axe shot and is blocked with a green mist attack, as again Muta looks instead like he’s just woken up. He wraps his bicep with the chain from the weapon and uses it for elbows and elbowdrops. Finally a bit of emotion, as he swings the weapon around by the chain before going to the garrote. Actually, it’s across the mouth, as Onita looks like he’s about to cry. Onita breaks with his own green mist. Although the match has nothing much going on, it’s funny to see Nita acting the fool, dancing around with a manic look on his face. DDT for two. Muta ducks a charge and Onita goes into the barbed wire himself. Muta keeps kicking Nita towards the boards, but Nita throws a fireball out of nowhere. Powerbomb for two. Nita goes for another axe shot and walks into green mist again, then it’s a very damp squib ending as a crappy dropkick sees Nita roll out onto the boards and a moment later they explode. Onita with grey hair from the explosions looks funny. He rolls back in and Muta throws him into the barbed wire one more time. That’s only two, though. Axe shot finishes for three. I could easily call this a bust with Muta’s surliness, but Onita made up for it with his hammy acting. We’ll go in the middle again. ICHIBUST!
Atsushi Onita vs. Riki Choshu (Yokohama, Japan, July 21st, 1999)
We see footage of Onita turning up at a workout to challenge Choshu, the only man with a short mullet, before the match. Very similar to the Sasaki match (unsurprisingly), Onita offers little resistance and is thrown straight into the exploding barbed wire surrounding the ring. Choshu stomps on him for a few minutes before Onita just jabs him in the balls and gets a DDT. Choshu is up before him, though, and muscles him into the barbed wire again. Suplex and scorpion, but that just falls apart, so Choshu applies another. Onita actually gets the break by grabbing the barbed wire, for a small explosion and pissed off look from Choshu. A series of lariats and one more scorpion, with Onita not answering the ref on the check, so the ref calls it for Choshu. Shit match. BUST!
Melting it down: These matches kinda showed off the weak points of Onita’s game. Despite incredible charisma and having his things he did, it’s not enough to carry it all the way, which is why him getting destroyed and going with the entertaining stuff was the best bits of these disappointing matches.
To try and restore the balance, I will be having a look at some of the great FMW matches over the next month as well as some similar pieces of interest.