About Me

I'm Phil! American living in Japan. Teacher. Ex-independent professional wrestler. Student of Japanese. Traveler. Article writer for Mythic Scribes. Also written four manga, novels, and various short stories and poems. For my fantasy-related blog, check out http://www.philipoverbyfantasy.blogspot.jp/.


Drill Bits: random thoughts, bloggy stuff
Japan Hammer: topics about Japan
Story Time: stories I felt like posting

Monday, January 31, 2011

WWE Royal Rumble 2011 Review

Well, that was an interesting PPV. Being that I haven't been in the States for a while and watched WWE much, this was the first PPV I have seen in quite some time. It seems people are almost universally shitting on it, but I think it had some telling moments. I'll highlight them below:

1. CM Punk is over as shit: If there was any doubt that CM Punk couldn't hang with the "big boys" on Raw, he has proven himself time and time again as a go-to guy, both on the stick and in the ring. His standout performance in last year's Rumble (where he cut promos in between eliminating people until the Almighty Hunter squashed him) carried over to this year, with his leadership of the Nexus. Of the two heel stables floating around now, I'd say Nexus stands head and shoulders over the Corre. The Nexus was made to look strong (until Super Cena came out) and I think CM Punk's 7 eliminations are testament to that. And Batista Jr. (Mason Ryan) is someone they are obviously very fond of.

2. The Miz is going to Wrestlemania: Even though there are a handful of PPVs before Wrestlemania, there isn't any doubt that Miz will not make it to Wrestlemania without the WWE Championship. His chicken-shit, smarmy, skin by the teeth heel character may lack a distinct edge or menace, but he gets the job done. His ingenious elimination of Cena (when he wasn't even in the Rumble) had me thinking that Miz doesn't have to be a strong heel champion. He's smart. So I'm liking Miz's continued push so far.

3. Diesel and Booker T: Who'd thunk it? A "Let's Go Diesel" chant? Really? When Kevin Nash once talked about Gran Torino, and that Clint Eastwood was a badass even though he is 80, I didn't think the comparison to be possible with Nash. In brief doses, he's a good character. I much prefer no-nonsense Kevin Nash to goofy, worked-shoot/shoot-work Kevin Nash. Booker T's appearance also was pretty awesome. These kind of things is why I like WWE. They can make appearances feel special. Whereas another promotion (cough TNA cough) makes appearances seem insignificant or "par for the course." I'm not always pro-WWE, but I think they did these appearances right.

4. Alberto Del Rio winning: Has a heel ever won the Royal Rumble? Huh? I can't think of a time for sure. The celebration was hilarious with Ricardo Rodriguez going ape-shit like a Hispanic JR trumpeting a Stone Cold win. And the brief moment of Santino possibly eliminating him had me marking out a bit. Of course Santino main eventing Wrestlemania would be incredibly stupid, but it was a fun tease anyway. Del Rio's win was a solid choice. They didn't go with a face for a happy ending and they didn't go with an established act to make sure Wrestlemania had a sure-fire blockbuster match. Right now I'm seeing Miz vs. Cena and Del Rio vs. Edge. Seems like decent, mostly fresh match-ups.

5. Disappointments not so disappointing: I had hoped for more surprise entrances such as Triple H, Christian, Evan Bourne or others, but no such luck. Honestly, I don't miss Triple H. He's a good worker and all, but he's the same as Cena and Orton. A babyface wrecking machine that kills any momentum a heel has. The Royal Rumble was an Empire Strikes Back-esque show this year. Del Rio, a heel, won the Rumble. Miz and Punk screwed over Cena and Orton respectfully. The heels WWE has right now are fresh, new, and interesting. The babyfaces are lacking now. Mysterio doesn't seem as over, Undertaker is gone for now, Cena is stale, Orton is over one week and not over the next. Edge is a mediocre babyface, but makes it work I suppose. They need lots of fresh babyface acts. Heels they have covered.

So even though the Rumble itself wasn't the best, I did like the surprises, some of the spots (Morrison's "Parkour" jump stands out) and the "internet mark out" moments with Punk clashing with Daniel Bryan, and the exchanges between Bryan and Regal. Soooo...I was glad to watch it. The Rumble always entertains me as it was always one of my favorite events.

My favorite was when Heenan went bonkers on commentary when Ric Flair won the WWF title in '91, I think. That, as Miz says, was awesome.

That's it for now! Stay tuned for more reviews of Japanese shows soon!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Projects for 2011

This is stuff I'm working on. Enjoy!

1. Unnamed Manga Project: Doing this with Josh Neelands. So far I'm enjoying the process, but it's really intensive. Lots of cool stuff in store for this one I think!

2. Love Letter Monkey Campaign: My grassroots mission. This is just me showing pictures of my Love Letter Moneky cast to people. Spreading around the goofiness. Maybe I'll make something of it more later.

3. Devil Owl Warlord Yazuki: A RPG I'm making with RPG Maker VX. Basically involves a devil owl warlord that travels from town to town, destroying everything. That's about it.

4. The Manflesh Trilogy: The continuation from my National Novel Writing Month story, "Drink the Wyvern." I will write the sequel, "Eat the Emperors" later in the year. More fantastical stupidity from Manflesh and friends.

5. Boxing: I'm going to start boxing. Yeah. Just feel like doing it.

6. Japanese study: I'm going to intensify my Japanese study. One way or another, I'm going to improve this year!

7. Eat Shit Die: A memoir that describes my life. Eat, my journey in eating food and my experience with processing it. Shit, which describes various stupid shit I've done. And Die, involving my daily struggle with hypochondria and visions that I have.

That's what I have going on! Keep an eye out!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Final Fantasy Memories Part 2: Super Nintendo Fantasies Rock my Face Off

This is a continuation of my FF memories, where I'll talk about FF 4 and FF 6 (known on their Super Nintendo incarnations as FF 2 and FF 3). These titles would forever confuse Western gamers and throw them for a loop as to what the blue hell to call them. They are almost universally known by their Japanese titles since they've been re-released several times.

Anyhow, if you haven't read my blog about FF 1, go read it.

SPOILERS ahead (but surely you've played all these, I hope)

Final Fantasy 4: Epic doesn't describe this one enough. I remember watching my friend Danny play this game and thinking "Wow, this shit is awesome." There is a dark knight, a dragoon, a ninja, a summoner, all sorts of crazy shit. They're fighting on the moon and fighting underground. People are dying. Getting turned to stone.

This FF was awesome simply for the fact that you had characters and not some faceless "warrior." Cecil was a rather dynamic main character as well. A dark knight forced to kill to attain the crystals. Yet he was remorseful for his actions. Just to have a dark knight as your main character was so different for that time. Heroes were always knights in shining armor or young plucky kids with goofy hats. But Cecil was a dark-plated knight with dark powers. Killing Mysidians. Hooking up with the white mage.

The accompanying cast was pretty badass as well. With one exception...

You had Kain, the dragoon, who wielded a spear and jumped 50 feet in the air and would land on shit like "Pow!" Kain was a rather unique character as well, because he actually turns evil for a short time and leaves your group. Also he had the hots for the white mage Rosa, and that pissed him off that Cecil had her. What a jealous prick.

Then Rosa, the white mage everyone loved. She's a typical FF heroine: compassionate and earnest. Always looking out for everyone. Except Kain. He was totally gross to her. I guess.

Others include Rydia, the child summoner who becomes the badass teenage summoner with green hair, Tellah, the old fart who casts Meteo and kills himself, Edge, the quiet ninja prince guy, Yang who had a little ponytail and could kick people, the twins Palom and Porom, who were annoying but could wreak havoc with their spells, and Fu So Ya, the moon wizard who looked really old.

And that was it.

Oh, wait. Sorry. There was that "spoony bard" Edward. Arguably one of the shittiest characters in all of FF. He played a harp and his special ability was that he could hide. Not cast a spell, not wreck someone with his sword, but fucking hide. Shitty, shitty, shitty.

Nonetheless, the game rocked. My love for FF only increased ten-fold. But it was about to increase 10,000-fold.

Final Fantasy 6: The best in the series, in my opinion. The ensemble cast. The great story. The hated villain Kefka. Just an excellent game all around. It also introduce a steam-punkish sort of world, where magic powered machines.

The magic system was pretty interesting as well. You would get these creatures called Espers that you would attach to your character. Then he'd learn spells based off what Esper he had. So if you had Shiva, the character would learn like Blizzard and shit like that. Just a really cool concept I think.

The large cast made for lots of lots of storyline. Some of the storyline was much better than others. Sabin and Edgar's story, the royal brothers was very good. Shadow the ninja's back story was intriguing to watch unravel through dreams. Terra, the amnesiac mage, who grew more and more powerful. Locke, the treasure hunter that would not let anyone die due to a promise he kept to his dead girlfriend. Just so much cool stuff to discuss.

But the star of the whole game has to be Kefka. The cackling, clown mage who was maniacal and diabolic. He seemed almost patterned after the Joker, in that he was utterly insane but also rather calculating with his actions. The part where he says "I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate, etc." just exhibits how nuts he was. And then he gets a giant tower called the Eye of Judgment later in the game and just starts killing innocent people. He poisons an entire castle and even kills the Emperor Geshtalt that he serves. He's a complete nutjob, but that's what makes him so memorable. He's at times vulnerable and cowardly and at times vicious and frightening. One of top 3 FF villains in all the series I think.

The game is everything a FF should be. Great story. Great characters. Good game play. Any easy to decipher magic system. Lots and lots of exploring. Many side quests. Just an all around perfect RPG. If there is a FF 15, I hope it resembles FF 6 the most. Fans want more games like this. Not convoluted philosophical babble and girlish/goofy and/or brooding/boring heroes.

Next I'll talk about the game that made the Playstation and honestly put Square on the map globally. Final Fantasy 7, the most beloved of all the series. And for good reason.

Until next time, "Har har har!" (Kefka's laugh)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Final Fantasy Memories Part 1: My Final Fantasy 1 S&M Experience

Are we finally coming to a time where there won't be a final Final Fantasy? Please...no.

I've read rumors that Final Fantasy 15 won't be made. That makes me incredibly sad. It would be the end of a great dynasty of games. Games I grew up with. That guided my life (as dumb as that sounds). I connect certain moments of my life when I played each Final Fantasy game (referred to FF from here on). Even though a fair share of the plots were convoluted messes about pseudo-religious posturing and angst-ridden existentialism (Why are we here? What are we doing? Where are we going?) they connected on real levels. I'm going to talk about each Final Fantasy, where I was in my life, what I was doing, and why I was doing it. Yes, this will be a FF style review of FF.

I'll start from the beginning and end with the last one I've played. I'll make this a multi-part blog. I'm only also including the main series (no FF Tactics or the goofy FF: Mystic Quest). Enjoy my trip down memory lane...and into the future! I'll even talk about what I would like to see in the next FF. Hopefully FF 15!

Final Fantasy 1 (The Beginning): This is the one that started it all. The grand-daddy. Almost single-handed establishing a genre of RPGs. The warrior, the thief, the monk, the white mage, the black mage, the red mage. Now iconic figures for any fan of FF.

I remember playing this on the NES (Nintendo) when I was pretty young. I remember getting extremely pissed and having a real hard time getting passed the Vampire in the Earth Cave. How frustrating and utterly annoying the constant random attacks were. The ritual upgrading of weaponry and spells and endless level-grinding (which my friends always say I don't do, but I do). The...

Wait a minute. These are supposed to be positive memories.

Honestly, FF1 pissed me off more than made me enjoy it. But the challenge and uniqueness of the game play (at the time) made me love it. Even though two Ogre Mages raped my party, or a gang of Wraiths blinded everyone, or Tiamat busted my ass in ten seconds, I still couldn't help but love it. I had a sado-masochistic relationship with that game.

But I loved it. And it only increased my interest in the genre and games in general. You could say FF destroyed my youth. Or preserved it. Either way.

I remember my party of warrior, monk, white mage, black mage. The most basic party you could get. Sometimes I'd mix it up a bit and throw in a red mage or a thief, but I'd usually get utterly annihilated then, instead of only a little annihilated.

The warrior was the staple. I don't know of anyone who didn't use at least one warrior in their party. If they didn't, they were dumb.

The thief was ok. He'd later turn into the badass ninja, but you'd spend so much time bringing your thief back to life and looking at his stupid dead ass on your menu screen, they'd you want to rip his blue hair out.

The monk was arguably the most powerful character in the game. The nunchucks sucked balls, but if he started doing like 25 hits with his fist, he'd flatten anything.

The red mage was the "jack of all trades." Of course that means he's the "master of none." A really hard class to use, but I like using him because he had a fancy red hat with a white feather. I like hats.

The white mage which was maybe a woman, but no one knew for sure, was also a staple. If you didn't have a white mage, good luck. Undead would hump your dead corpse and you'd be limping around with poison blinding your screen and deafening your ears with it's weird, teeth-grinding sound. Take a white mage. You'll be happy you did. I wish I could have a white mage in my real life. I'd say "Hey, white mage, I have diarrhea, help me out." Bling bling! I'm healed. Pepto can suck it.

The black mage was the mysterious hooded, Chinese hat wearing, no face having offensive magic power house. Of course he sucked monkey nuts at the beginning. But when you got to higher levels, you could cast Death and Flare and Explode and awesome spells like that. Anyone that can cast a spell called Flare is my friend.

So I have fond memories of these faceless characters who had no back story or even talked. But they led me to love RPGs, making me enthralled with dragons, knights, and all that happy shit.

So FF1 will always hold a place in my heart, just like the time I got punched in the face. I remember it well, but I don't know if I want to experience it again.

That's it for now.

Next time, the Super Nintendo FFs! FF 4 (FF 2 in America) and FF 6 (FF 3 in America). Stupid confusing shit.

This really led to my love of FFs that only intensified as these are some of the best RPGs, or games, ever made.

Stay tuned for next time! Until then, have Finally Fantastic day!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Big 3-0

Well, I'm 30. It feels weird to say that, since it seems like just yesterday I was turning 21 or 18 or 12 or something. So I'm 30. So what does that mean? Not a whole hell of a lot I guess.

My contract is ending soon here in Japan and once again (for like the 100th time) I'm at a crossroads. I'm engaged to be married, but still haven't set a date, so that gives my life a more definite direction. If I'm getting married that means I have to start working better jobs, right? Start getting a house, right? Start having kids, right? Right? What am I supposed to be doing? Is there a guideline? A rule book? What do I do? Huh?

Honestly, I don't know. And that's the beauty of it. I don't know at all. But as long as Kumi is with me, I'll be happy. We may come back to America. We may stay in Japan. We may go somewhere else. I don't know. Anywhere is fine with me.

It's strange how life can change so quickly. Just instantly things you are familiar with or take for granted can change. I realized that in 2010 when I had lots and lots of health issues (or fabricated ones). I live everyday like it's my last now. I enjoy life. I cherish it. I do everything I can to be happy. That's what sustains me.

So what will my 30s bring me that my 20s couldn't? If I could describe my 20s, it would be like this:

a. Very unhealthy. Smoked everyday, drank to excess, ate whatever I wanted.
b. Reckless. I did lots of reckless things. Especially with my body. I wasn't always careful and didn't always protect myself when I was wrestling. And I'm paying the price now.
c. Had absolutely no direction. My life just seemed to be wandering from one thing to the next with no clear definition at all. If I'm getting married soon, there can be no more of that (unless Kumi's cool with it).

So with a new year and a new age comes new aspirations. I've done many blogs like this before where I talk about how I'm going to write more or do more things in wrestling. Or I'm going to get some dream job or travel to some country. But I'm not going to do that anymore. I'm not going to talk about what I'm going to do.

I'll just do it.

30s. Here I am. Bring it on.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

NJPW Presents...Wrestle Kingdom V

Just got back from Wrestle Kingdom V at the Tokyo Dome. That's the biggest show I think I've been to live and the best show. There was some clunkers, but I'll get to those in a minute. Just to be in the Tokyo Dome for the big January 4th show was surreal. The history. The legacy. The Japanese version of Wrestlemania almost. Even then, the show wasn't completely sold out. I would say it was close though.

So, I'll detail the matches and give my thoughts on the crowd's reactions, etc.

Dark Matches:

1. Jado, Gedo, Yujiro Takahashi, and Tomohiro Ishii vs. Wataru Inoue, Tiger Mask, Tama Tonga, and Tomoaki Honma

The heel team featured long time Japan staples Jado and Gedo. They've seriously been around forever. It was good to see Tiger Mask IV again live as I saw him at Korakuen Hall last year. Tama Tonga acts, looks, and even does the same moves as Jimmy Snuka. Must be related. The match was a typical 8 Man match, nothing stood out particularly. Inoue pinned Gedo after a stiff looking spear. This was the opening match, so the crowd was excited to see it.

2. Kenny Omega and Taichi vs. Koji Kanemoto and Ryusuke Taguchi

This match I was interested in mainly because of Kenny Omega, who is pretty hilarious with his Street Fighter moves. I was a bit disappointed he didn't do any of them though. He has a lot of talent, and is also one half of the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Champions with Kota Ibushi (who is absolutely incredible, more on him later). The match also featured Ryusuke Taguchi, who regularly teams with IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Prince Devitt as Apollo 55. So this was a match to get the guys on the card I guess. Lots of good action, some high spots to get the crowd pumped and then Taguchi pinned Taichi with a roll-up. Kanemoto does a Rick Rude dance a bunch of times. I guess he is supposed to be ravishing or something...

MAIN CARD! I was pumped. They had a countdown clock and everything.

1. Muscle Orchestra (Strongman and Manabu Nakanishi) vs. Beer Money (James Storm and Robert Roode) vs. IWGP Heavyweight Tag Champions Bad Intentions (Carl "Machinegun" Anderson and Giant Bernard)

Most people know Giant Bernard as A-Train from WWE, but he's a beast in Japan. The Strongman guy looks jacked to the gills, seriously. He gorilla pressed Bernard. Holy shit...Beer Money heeled to the crowd and got some heat, the first of the night it seems. Japanese crowds don't seem to like to boo people much I guess. Overall, a decent match. All the teams hit their finishers and then Anderson hit Roode with an Ace Crusher and pinned him. Pretty short and sweet match. By the way, Muscle Orchestra has to be the funniest name ever for a tag team.

2. CMLL Showcase: La Sombra and Mascara Dorada vs. Jushin Thunder Liger and Hector Garza

I was excited to see Liger live. I remember watching him wrestle Brian Pillman in WCW. Memories...Anyway, pretty good match with some nice high spots. Garza spends some time ripping his tear away ring gear off. I guess that gets the girls to squeal in Mexico. In Japan, not so much. Lots of flipping and flying and surprisingly La Sombra pins Liger after a corkscrew plancha of sorts. What? I guess they are setting up La Sombra for a title shot against Liger, who was carrying some CMLL gold. The crowd seemed excited to see Liger as well, as I guess he is spending time in Mexico these days more.

3. Deep Sleep to Lose (Sleeper Match): Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Takashi Iizuka

Iizuka is fucking insane, that's all I have to say. He's a perfect crazy heel who actually got some mega heat because I guess they've been doing this storyline with Tenzan's neck is jacked up. Yet Iizuka keeps jumping Tenzan from behind and cranking the shit out of his neck. So, my friends, this is how a storyline works.

a. Tenzan has a jacked neck
b. Iizuka is bat shit crazy and keeps cranking Tenzan's neck
c. Tenzan vows vengeance, Iizuka vows to continue to be bat shit crazy

Iizuka likes to tear the clothes off one of the ring announcers I guess, because he just grabbed this poor guy and ripped his shirt off. This was a great match from a storytelling standpoint. I wish more matches were like this. Iizuka got mega heat just from using a sleeper hold. A sleeper hold. It goes to show you don't have to kill yourself to have a good match. The crowd went nuts everytime Iizuka locked in the sleeper. But then Tenzan fought back, kicked Iizuka's ass and locked on the Anaconda Vice (his move that CM Punk borrowed later). Iizuka looks not as crazy when he's unconscious.

Note: Iizuka is over like rover. Great, simple characters still work. Tenzan played the sympathetic babyface perfectly.

4. TNA vs. NJPW Hardcore Match: Rob Van Dam vs. Toru Yano

RVD's music really fucking sucks live. It's completely stupid. It says something like Van Assassinator or something. Seriously, the lyrics are awful. The crowd seemed happy to see RVD, but Yano kicked his ass most of the match. It reminded me of one of the better WWF Attitude Era hardcore matches. Just kind of harmless, goofy hardcore action. Yano stuck a mop in RVD's face and also smashed him with some kind of rice paper umbrella. That was fun, I guess. Yano even mocked RVD's "Rob-Van-Dam" thing, which the crowd thought was funny.

Decent match for what it was. RVD wins with a Five Star Frog Splash with a chair lying on Yano's chest. Crunch.

Note: Yano was more over than RVD. And he seems like a Japanese Sandman sort of, except not as drunk and better. He was drinking sake from a bottle, that's why.

5. No Justice, No Life: Yuji Nagata vs. Minoru Suzuki

I was super excited for this match. Two veterans who can go in the ring and look cool doing it. These two are the way veterans should be booked. TNA and WWE should take notice. Yet Nagata and Suzuki love striking the shit out of each other. I also noticed that Bryan Danielson seems to pattern the way he throws his kick flurries from Nagata. Just a little note.

Nagata cranked the dog monkey shit out of Suzuki's arm for a good three minutes. They slapped and kicked each other a bunch of times, and Suzuki made crazy faces. Highly entertaining match with Nagata dumping Suzuki on his head three times with Backdrop Drivers before getting the pin.

Note: Best match of the night thus far. Edges out Tenzan/Iizuka barely.

6. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship match: IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion
Prince Devitt vs. Kota Ibushi

This match was incredible. I can't really do it justice by talking about it, but it was really awesome. Kota Ibushi is insane. He does high spots right. The crowd was sure he was going to win but Prince Devitt hit him with an Avalanche Falcon Arrow that knocked him loopy and that was it. Devitt retains. Not sure why Devitt hasn't been offered a contract from WWE or TNA, because he has a good look and is as good a wrestler as any of the workhorses on either roster. Maybe he likes it in Japan, which is good for him.

Note: Match of the Night for sure. Nothing topped this one. Reminds me of really good Ring of Honor main events. Too smallish guys, kicking ass and doing cool spots without overdoing it.

7. NJPW vs. NOAH I: Hiroki Goto and Kazuchika Okada (NJPW) vs. Takashi Sugiura and Yoshihiro Takayama (NOAH)

The NOAH team consists of one half of the GHC Tag Champions Takayama and the GHC Heavyweight Champion Sugiura. I just saw these guys a couple of weeks ago. Takayama is huge for a Japanese guy, has a long, creepy face, and long bleached blond hair. He stands out, that's for sure. Goto and Okada both got some good strikes in, but the power of Sugiura and Takayama was too much. They brutalized poor Okada at one point, just kicking him and kneeing him over and over.

Takayama finished off Okada with one of the highest German Suplexes I've ever seen. Right on his head!

8. TNA Heavyweight Championship match: Jeff Hardy vs. Tetsuya Naito

Wow. Quite a let down, I have to say. Hardy looked stoned and gassed the whole match. No telling with him. He botched a pretty basic step over, roll through type spot, and ended up with his ass in the air. The crowd laughed. If you know anything about Japanese wrestling, the crowd laughing at a botch is the equivalent of saying "you fucked up." Not good. Hardy's entrance looked cool anyway.

I wanted to like this match, but no one bought Naito (one half of No Limit) as a threat to Hardy and it just seemed to be there. The crowd actually seemed deflated that it was over so quickly with no drama at all. Hardy hits the Twist of Fate and the Swanton. Pin me, pay me. Someone behind me even said "Ehh?" The crowd did seem pumped to see Hardy live though. Just a letdown after having so many great matches beforehand.

Note: Hardy actually said in a pre-taped promo that he will "have the best match the Tokyo Dome has ever seen." Uh, yeah...

EDIT: I found out apparently Hardy jumped in a fire at some Christmas party and that could explain why his performance seemed off. I guess.

9. NJPW vs. NOAH II: Shinsuke Nakamura (NJPW) vs. Go Shiozaki (NOAH)

Great match and featured one of my favorite Japanese wrestlers, Shinsuke Nakamura. Not really sure why I like him, he just comes off as a legit bad ass. He either has a look on his face like he doesn't give a shit or like he's about to crush your face. He was ranked Number 2 one year for the PWI500 as well, so that says something about him. Shiozaki is no slouch either though. He hit a sick chop at one point that the crowd went "Ohhh!" (which is like saying "holy shit") I mean, he fucking decked him.

Great all around match with some good strikes, good submissions, and Nakamura ending the match with his flying knee attack, Boma Ye. The best way to describe it is he just springs forward suddenly and knees the shit out of Shiozaki's face.

10. The Absolute Exhaust (Huh?): Togi Makabe vs. Masato Tanaka

I love watching Masato Tanaka live. He totally heeled it up on Makabe, who is like some kind of Superstar character who carries a big JYD chain with him. Or is it a Bruiser Brody chain? Not sure. Anyway, this match had some hard hitting action. Tanaka would beat on Makabe, then he would paintbrush his head or just kind of nudge him with his toe. Good stuff. I'm not for sure what the finish was, but I think Makabe just knocked Tanaka upside his head and that was it. I love Japanese matches. They drop each other through tables for 15 minutes and then one guy just hits the other really hard in the head, and it's over.

Note: I got to see the Rolling Elbow. Tanaka knocked Makabe's teeth loose I think. Tanaka also looks leaner and more ripped than he did during his ECW days.

The MAIN EVENT: IWGP Heavyweight Championship match:
Satoshi Kojima vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

They set up a good storyline for this one too. No, Kojima didn't sleep with Tanahashi's girlfriend. Nor did Tanahashi kill Kojima's pet parrot or some other stupid shit. They built up Kojima's lariat as a move that had put away so many other wrestlers. They showed footage of him clipping Makabe, then making Nakamura cut a flip, just Kojima decimating people with his lariat. So what does Tanahashi do? He targets Kojima's lariat arm. Simple, yet effective. Kojima does hit the lariat, but his arm is so battered from Tanahashi working it over, that the lariat is weaker, thus Tanahashi ain't putting that shit over. Simple, easy, effective. Tanahasi hits three or four frog splashes throughout the match, but finally gets the right one in, and picks up his FIFTH IWGP Heavweight Championship reign. Wow, really? He looks too young to have won it 5 times.

Oh wait, John Cena has won the WWE Championship like 9 times. Nevermind.

This show made me mostly forget about the crap America peddles nowadays and made me realize that wrestling can be simple and effective and still be over. opponent. Whoever was booking this event needs to go work for TNA or WWE. The gimmick matches all made sense. The storylines weren't convoluted. Every match had a clean winner. Wow. I'm amazed.

Well, this ends my horribly long review of the show. If you made it this far, you are truly a wrestling otaku.

Best Match: Prince Devitt vs. Kota Ibushi
Biggest Pop: Tanahashi winning the IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Most Heat: Iizuka applying the sleeper hold (yes, a sleeper hold)

Overall, glad I went! Awesome show!