Show Date: 4/1/16
Big Japan started off as one of the biggest death match companies in Japan, if not the world, however in recent years they have started to push a more traditional heavyweight style alongside the more extreme matches that has been generating a lot of buzz. These heavyweights use a more realistic, manly style with lots of punches, kicks, and suplexes.
Team Yamato (Daichi Hashimoto and Kazuki Hashimoto) and Toshiyuki Sakuda vs. Atsushi Maruyama, Kazumi Kikuta, and Tatsuhiko Yoshino
Daichi Hashimoto is of course the son of legendary Japanese wrestler Shinya Hashimoto, and has been teaming with Kazuki Hashimoto for a little while to great success. I know next to nothing about the other participants in this match, what we got was a pretty damn fun, hard hitting opening match. The Hashimotos and Sakuda really impressed me the most coming out of this, looking like really tough guys beating on the other team. Kazuki Hashimoto submits Kazumi Kikuta with an ankle lock *** ¼
Heisei Gokudo Combi (Kankuro Hoshino and Masato Inaba) vs. Hideyoshi Kamitani and Ryota Hama
Ryota Hama is a giant sumo looking dude that is probably best known in the west for working a Bound for Glory match with EC3, TNA has been weird. Kamitani worked much of the match for his team, and did fairly well, while Hama came in a few times to do some cool big man spots. Hama pins Hoshino with a big splash ** ½
Brahman Kei, Brahman Shu, and Shinobu vs. Speed of Sounds (Hercules Senga and Tsutomu Oosugi) and Jaki Numazawa
The Brahmans and Speed of Sounds had their standard wacky comedy match with a water fight in the crowd and all sorts of weird weapons. If you don’t like comedy in wrestling then you will hate this with a passion, but it was fine for what it was. Speed of Sounds and Jaki win by DQ * ¾
Strong BJ (Daisuke Sekimoto and Yuji Okabayashi) vs. Seiya Sanada and Yoshihisa Uto
Strong BJ have been at the forefront of Big Japan’s recent heavyweight division renaissance and the real innovators of the style. Sekimoto and Okabayashi were great as usual in this match, and Sanada’s agility really created a good dichotomy to their manliness. Uto disappointed me the most in this, his strikes really weren’t up to par with Strong BJ and his comebacks left a little to be desired. Strong BJ having both Sanada and Uto up in torture racks was a real highlight of what was already a really great match. Yuji Okabayashi pins Yoshihisa Uto with a powerbomb *** ¾
Masashi Takeda, Masaya Takahashi, and Ryuichi Sekine vs. Yankee Two Kenju (Isami Kodaka and Yuko Miyamoto) and Abdullah Kobayashi (Barbed Wire Board Death Match)
And here we get to the death match portion of the show. A lot of modern death matches really lack the character and emotion and just become garbage wrestling. Someone like Abdullah Kobayashi is able to add some of that character work with his NJPW tribute act which really ups these kind of matches, add in people that can actually wrestle like Kodaka and Miyamoto and you get a pretty good match. Things felt a little bit plodding at times but by the end everything came out well, with Kodaka’s dive off of a truck at ringside being a major highlight. Isami Kodaka pins Masashi Takeda ***
Ryuji Ito vs. Takayuki Ueki (Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match)
A lot of what I talked about as disliking about death match wrestling was present in this match, lots of spots for the sake of spots with little to no emotion. I was a little uncomfortable with some of the headshots in this, but if these guys are dumb enough to do so many when the consequences are well known I can’t say much. There was some good stuff in this, don’t get me wrong, but I think it is outshone by a lot of the bad stuff. Ito pins Ueki with a frogsplash ** ¼
Pretty solid show with the Strong BJ tag match being a clear highlight. The main event wasn’t really my cup of tea but I can see the appeal. What I like about Big Japan is that the shows have something for everyone, with the comedy stuff, the heavyweights, and the death matches.