Reviews

NJPW/CMLL Fantastica Mania Day 6 Review

Air Date: 24/1/16

This is the final day of Fantastica Mania and there are one or two matches on the card that have potential to be incredible.

Guerrero Maya Jr and Panther vs. Sho Tanaka and Yohei Komatsu

This is Tanaka and Komatsu’s last match in Japan before going on their excursion to Mexico. They have been ready to be more than young boys for a while now, but them not being around on NJPW undercards is going to be a real shame. For many people, myself included, they were the first generation of young boys we watched and they were so damn good so early. This was a good send-off match with the young boys showing a great amount of fire and getting put into all sorts of weird and wacky moves. Panther submits Komatsu *** ¼

Komatsu gets on the mic after the match, presumably to thank the crowd and say goodbye, and Tanaka follows suit.

Fuego, KUSHIDA, Stuka Jr, and Tiger Mask (IV) vs. Bobby Z, Hechicero, Okumura, and YOSHI-HASHI

This was a great chaotic multiman tag match. Fuego and YOSHI-HASHI did perhaps the least in the match, while the interactions between KUSHIDA and Hechicero were by far the best and left me disappointed we didn’t get that singles match on this tour. Stuka Jr pins Okumura ***

Virus vs. Jushin Thunder Liger

When these Fantastica Mania cards were first announced, this was one of the matches that people were most excited about, and oh boy did it deliver. These two men just had a showcase of awesome grappling and wacky submissions, it was more of an exhibition than a straight up wrestling match but it was a hoot and a half to watch. Jushin Liger submits Virus *** ¾

Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, and BUSHI) vs. Atlantis, Mascara Dorada, and Ryusuke Taguchi

This was a very quick match that was very similar to all of the other LIJ/Atlantis matches on this tour, with the exception that Atlantis seemed a lot more fired up. BUSHI pins Mascara Dorada ** ½

CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada and Shinsuke Nakamura w/Gedo) and El Barbaro Cavernario vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson, and Titan

Very heated match here, the native guys seemed to be taking the night off a little bit at the start but once things got going we got a super fun six man tag. Even Nakamura was busting out some lucha and showing some fire. Okada pins Juice Robinson with the rainmaker *** ¼

After the match Goto attacks Okada and lays him out, I am not a fan of Goto but he showed a good intensity here. I am actually kind of interested in his title match now. Only a little.

Dragon Lee (c) vs. Kamitachi (CMLL World Lightweight Title)

These two men have had some legendary matches in Mexico since Kamitachi has gone on his excursion, including a mask match and a hair match both of which Kamitachi has lost. This was Kamitachi’s return match to Japan and the first time these two faced each other outside of Japan and my god what a great match to come back on. What is so impressive about this was the ability of these two men to weave together the real drama and emotion of Kamitachi working over Lee’s leg, which meant his double foot stomp was ineffective against Kamitachi, and some of the craziest spots and bumps I’ve ever seen in my 14 years as a wrestling fan. By the end of this Kamitachi was an absolute star in the eyes of the audience after fighting through everything Dragon Lee could throw at him and finally beating him and taking the title. I sincerely believe in ten years or so we will look back at this series in the same way we do Dynamite Kid and Tiger Mask. Go out of your way to watch this match, the sheer emotion Kamitachi emits upon beating Dragon Lee is something to behold. Kamitachi pins Dragon Lee with a Canadian Destroyer **** ¾

Ultimo Guerrero vs. Mistico (II)

These two had a tough act to follow, but they did a fairly good job. Mistico is starting to grow into a very good high flyer with some surprisingly good looking strikes. Ultimo was also great in this as the asshole veteran just trying to beat the shit out of this young punk kid. Mistico submits Ultimo Guerrero *** ½

Volador Jr (c) vs. Mephisto (NWA World Historic Welterweight Championship)

This was a solid spotfest with lots of cool dives and high flying. The issue is there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of heat for this and it went a little too long for my liking, but the actual wrestling was phenomenal and for sure a great way to end this tour. Volador Jr pins Mephisto with a Spanish Fly *** ¾

After the match all of the CMLL guys come out to take pictures and celebrate in the ring, this whole tour has been a hell of a lot of fun.

Overall: 6.5

This was almost a one match show, everything was pretty good but Dragon Lee/Kamitachi was far and away the best match of the entire tour and is probably going to finish very highly on my match of the year ballot.

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