Thursday, 4 January 2018


FREED OF THE SPECTACLE-CAPITAL/NIHILIST-FASCIST TYRANT'S YOKE OF ROYAL RUMBLES (I made a post about this; it is just below this one if you missed it; but that's really all I said; you're up to speed already) LET US INSTEAD TURN OUR ENERGIES AND ATTENTIONS AND READINESSES TOWARDS RUMBLES FAR NOBLER, LET US WITH HEARTS FILLED WITH LOVE AND COURAGE IN THE NAME OF CHRIST OUR KING (or in the name of whoever, I am not trying to boss you on this point) NOT ONLY READY OURSELVES TO RUMBLE BUT IN FACT TO NEW JAPAN RUMBLE AND INDEED TO NEW JAPAN RUMBLEMETRIC as we file into the yawning vastness, the fortress and fastness, of the 東京ドーム Tōkyō Dōmu aka TOKYO BIG EGG (nobody says that any more though our age yearns for poesy) for this preliminary and yet crucial contest that opened WRESTLE KINGDOM 12 in 東京ドーム 2018年1月4日 which you will have perhaps already noted is really just earlier today, that's wild. I have been up since pretty early! 

AND HERE WE GO IT IS KITAMURA who is as tanned as any Japanese person has ever been excepting only *possibly* Yoshihiro Akiyama but he holds Korean citizenship as well doesn't he but I don't see any point getting all that deep into that. Kitamura is as unspeakably swole as one might expect of a former national-level freestyle wrestler banned forever for his deep and abiding desire for performance enhancing drugs. He's great! He flexes his pectorals and I, here, whilst couch-sat, do the same to him as salute and silent tribute. Something else I like about Kitamura is that he shares his surname with a key figure in the history of Kodokan judo ne-waza and I feel pretty hard that they should do an angle about that. In next is BUSHI of the least governable faction in New Japan presently although it doesn't really work to say that does it as Suzuki-Gun is at least as ungovernable and in truth probably way more. I believe entrances are but one minute apart, an interval rendered all the briefer by the uncommon distance these græppzmen must traverse from the locker room (please bring your own locks everybody, they don't always have extra) to the ring several million miles away. There is very little time before DELIRIOUS who is indefensible enters and he is dressed like an awful lot of people you have seen wrestling at say the Lion's Club but he is the ROH booker if I am not mistaken so he comes by his æsthetic honestly. He is floored repeatedly by Kitamura as one would expect. And now it is the fairly tall LEO TONGA and as he approaches the ring I should remind you (and myself, frankly) that eliminations here occur not merely from over-the-top/to-the-floor hurlings but also by pinfall and submission which I actually really like as it lends a ファイヤープロレスリング Fire Pro Wrestling battle-royale feel to the proceedings and I acknowledge freely and openly that I am almost certainly confusing cause and effect and the primary and secondary worlds of creation and subcreation but I am going really fast here. MANABU NAKANISHI EATS AMAZING BREAKFASTS AND IS SUPER STRONG and people who mind how slowly he moves in recent years are not my kind of people, at least not in this regard. CHASE OWENS DESU and this guy has in a low-key way the worst physique in wrestling, just a shitty slopshow and this big dumb gut without actually having any size; his asslessness, despite all the stuff he's got sloshing around throughout his lower half, leads to a constant need to pull up his pants. It's really quite something. That anyone allows a man so clearly lacking in discipline to perform that gnar-looking package piledriver on them is beyond me but Delirious takes one now and is awkwardly pinned. Nakanishi racks Bushi and tosses him up and over as THE GREAT YUJI NAGATA enters and do you remember how last year Nagata and Nakanishi had an impossibly good match that one time? Bryan Danielson has said Yuji Nagata is the best wrestler he has ever worked with and I feel like I can see it. Also he has one of the greatest records in all of mixed martial arts: 0-2 with losses to Mirko Cro Crop and Fedor Emelianenko (the Cro Cop fight was a nice clean knockout, as I remember it, but the Fedor one was awful, though not at all long: Fedor hit him several times, and Nagata, though still conscious, pretty much couldn't believe how much it hurt when that happened; Fedor looked to the referee like "do I have to hit him more times?" and the referee was like yoshi and so he did and it was awful). NAGATAAAAAAAAAA

TAKA MICHINOKU has changed so little in all these years other than that his hair looks more like Astro Boy now than before. Nagata has craftily pinned Nakanishi in a crafty ura-gatame but immediately thereafter, like before that first osaewaza is even released, Nagata is rolled to his back and set upon by Kitamura and Owens (a staggering contrast in bodytype) and actually is held down by the weight of the eliminated Nakanishi too and that is a New Japan Rumble wrap on Nagata who if I recall correctly maybe won this same match at Wrestle Kingdom 9 and faced Shinsuke Nakamura (it's so weird that he just up and retired after WK10 and hasn't been heard from since; I hope he's well) for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship in a really good match the month after? There is no time to look this up as Owens has just package-piledriven and eliminated Kitamura which is an obscenity, Young Lionhood or not. Pull your pants back up over where an ass would be if you ever did squats Chase Owens. YOSHINOBU KANEMARU is in next so Suzuki-gun, who have sort of stunk up their portion of the midcard since returning from NOAH, holds a two-on-one advantage over Chase Owens of the Bullet Club, I don't know, c-team? And now it is DESPERADO so this is an extra bad scene for Chase Owens aside from just the physical fact of him which cannot be an easy burden. Kanemaru mists him (a colourless mist, this mist) and Owens is tossed. Who might stand against this triumvirate of Suzuki-gunnists?

WHO INDEED BUT JUSHIN THUNDER LIGER YES HIS MUSIC IS THRILLING TO EAR-BEHOLD AND THE PEOPLE NOT ONLY WELCOME BUT DEMAND HIM EAT SHIT EVERYBODY AND BY SHIT I MEAN SHOTEIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII AND OTHER SIGNATURE WAZA OF OUR AGELESS HERO who is getting stomped down in the corner now but that was great. They are trying to unmask him which is poor form but we have all seen old Stampede tapes; there are no real surprises to be had. Jushin Thunder Liger's little buddy TIGER MASK is next and say what you will about the current Tiger Mask (IV?) but the crowd is still in. They work to unmask him as well! But Tiger Mask nearly unmasks Desperado! What a turn! And now there is a trap beat and I don't know to whom it might belong. GINO GAMBINO is utterly new to me and this unfortunate sack of a man does not move well or with any real confidence, does he. In an interesting bit of business Tiger Mask and Desperado rip each other's masks off at the same instant! They cover their faces, naturally, but this is ineffective martially and they are rolled up and pinned. Oh no Taka got Liger too! Hirai Kawato, tracksuited young lion of ringside, high school judoman turned yungboi, takes the very shirt from his back and offers it to the maskless Tiger so that he might conceal his shame. Another young lion does this too but Hirai Kawato is my favourite one so it is him I wish to direct your attention to principally. So it's just Taka Michinoku and Gambino? 

A lariat later and it is but Gambino himself who awaits . . . a newly tribal Henare? Forgive me as I have not watched as many New Japan undercards of late as I have in the past so perhaps this new aspect Henare has taken up is news to no one but me. He's doing well as YOSHI-HASHI enters and he is the strangest guy in that I continue to have almost no interest in or opinion of him despite him having all kinds of totally good matches. His pants no longer say LOOSE EXPLOSION on them which seems like a step in the wrong direction but maybe he felt like he needed a new way to connect with people. He does some kicking until DAVID FINLAY sprints to the ring and he is an interesting case isn't he as he was allowed to grow his hair out and adopt furry boots after his young lion period *without* going on excursion. He has stunner'd Gambino and now Henare too is gone and now Yoshi-Hashi is craftily rolled up and pinned by this fiery young Finlay (his dad, Fit, seems like a * f a k e * tough guy to me but maybe I'm not right about that at all). In next is Yujiro Takahashi and his ladyfriend who wears a rabbit mask and little else and it is remarkable that Yujiro with his sexguy gimmick has nothing on the naturally weird sexual energy exuded by his tremendously better brother Hiromu; all Hiromu has to do is lick one belt one time and then it haunts you endlessly. CHEEEEEEESEBURGER DESU and the legends say that this like one-hundred-twenty-pound guy is pretty much Liger's favourite guy and lol holy cow this guy is over in the Tokyo Dome! Was he maybe the runner up to "Big/Internet-Disgraced" Michael Elgin in one of these? Maybe even last year? THE CHANT OF CHEESE-BUR-GER IS HERE AS THOUGH HE WERE MA-E-DA MA-E-DA YES GO CHEESEBURGER.  

KOJIMMMMMMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA YES WE ARE ALL A BREAD CLUB ESPECIALLY ANDREW WHOSE BREAD HE LIKED ON TWITTER and Nick was right: Kojima has maybe the perfect ring gear: contemporary yet classic, functional yet not without true style. Kojima's G1 match with Okada was probably my favourite match all year just in terms of the feelings that I had from it. NO DO NOT FIGHT WITH CHEESEBURGER YOU ARE NATURAL ALLIES BECAUSE OF BUNS and here next is Tenzan, Kojima's truest and best friend. Remember two G1s ago where the story was Kojima gave up his spot in that, the greatest of tournaments, so that his friend Tenzan could have one final go at it? And then he would accompany him to all his matches and cheer for his friend? It was the story of the sumer: Kojima and Tenzan are friends. 

Perhaps the only thing greater than fellowship is THE UWF THEME (it isn't better than fellowship) and we hear it next! OKAY even better than that extraordinary theme is that the seemingly eight-thousand-year-old KAZUO YAMAZAKI stands up from the commentary table and takes off his jacket to reveal not only a stylish scarf but his hunger for the fight but no it is not Yamazaki who is called today but instead 垣原 賢人 KAKIHARA MASAHITO who had cancer of some kind (this I will check: yes, malignant lymphoma) for kind of a while but I guess is better now and you will recall no doubt the KAKIRIDE 8/14/17 Korakuen Hall show that featured the following card: 

This is all to say that taste levels are dangerously high right now as he enters in a GERMAN SUPLEX THE EVEREST STYLE t-shirt (in support of the gravely injured Yoshihiro Takayama) atop a Kazushi Sakuraba WATER rashguard (it troubles me still that Sakuraba is no longer with NJPW and I wish it were otherwise). Tenzan and Kojima are just brutalizing people right now such as for example Yujiro, who is gone. Tenzan and Kakihara pair up in one corner whilst Kojima and Cheeseburger do the same in another and lol Cheeseburger tries to do those rapid-fire Kojima chops in the corner and it is a genuine delight. Ahahahahahah yessssss so when Kojima yells ICCHAUZO BAKAYARO and ascends the turnbuckle to drop his elbow, Cheeseburger just super slowly rolls away and Kojima is like "woah this is new" and everyone is having a lot of fun. Because of their generous hearts, both noble men of TenCozy make much of Kakihara's kicks and open-hand strikes, and lol Kojima has a very funny face on as Cheeseburger attacks! AHHHH HUBRIS as TenCozy charge recklessly towards their seemingly slight foes, who drop low, sending their burly pursuers over the top to their ruin



Kakihara, to his immense credit, dons once more his Takayama t-shirt and speaks to the crowd at least in part about his friend's horrible situation. Funds are being raised, like for instance through a downloadable Takayama you can get for Fire Pro (which, if you are reading this, there is a reasonably good chance you have [Fire Pro, I mean], and if you don't have it, you really might want to get it, unless your reason is that you already have a Fire Pro that is set up just too perfectly for you to ever truly love another, which I totally get, because the one I have for my little Game Boy is so pure) but of course if you are not in a position to offer support of that kind please spare a thought or prayer for Yoshihiro Takayama, whose physical destruction came in no small part because of either us or people like us. Please note that the back of this shirt says an amazing thing: 


Hey in addition to the New Japan Rumble I watched the rest of the Wrestle Kingdom 12 matches today and maybe you did too so let us speak briefly on them:

THE YOUNG BUCKS vs. ROPPONGI 3K was weirdly old-fashioned, in a way, and probably a best-case-scenario Young Bucks match that I think even those most firmly opposed to young bucking would have to be like "well, ok" about in that it was just a lot of great selling by young (non-buck) Yohei Kometsu as they went to town on his back. After that dive I thought he was really hurt for real! They fooled me, Jerry! Sho and Yoh were super good as young lions and they continue to be excellent in their new role where Rocky Romero shoots off fire extinguishers on their behalf. Meltzer Driver to Sharpshooter is a renraku-waza to be feared.  THE TRIOS GAUNTLET TAG MATCH was pretty good, especially when the poet-clown Toru Yano evaded Taguchi's tobi-buttstrike for the roll-up and also when Tomohiro Ishii hoisted aloft the fattest Bad Luck Fale we have yet seen. KOTA IBUSHI vs. CODY was an awful lot better than I thought it would be and I think Cody and Brandi Rhodes were a really good act, like a really good act, you know? Kota Ibushi remains a beautiful man obviously. EVIL & SANADA are my favourite tag-team and I can't think of anyone who has derived greater long-term benefit from an excursion than Sanada's journey to Moncton to study under/observe "shoot" skids. DAVEY BOY SMITH JUNIOR wears his father's No Mercy attire and LANCE ARCHER is a human so large that I haven't properly come to terms with it ever. Good match! I liked before the opening bell where Tiger Hattori admonished Lance Archer for not having his hair tied back. HIROOKI GOTO vs. MINORU SUZUKI was a really good one and don't be like "uhhh yeah it had Minoru Suzuki in it" because love him though we all do, that guy had some stinkerz last year, like some truly wretched G1 matches. But this was not one! The IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT FOUR-WAY was a sickening display of contemporary English wrestling shit getting the nod over Hiromu Takahashi, who is fvkkn bananas, and Kushida, who is my sweet boy. DUD. HIROSHI TANAHASHI vs. JAY WHITE was pretty good and I am always pleased to see Tanahashi do his big show matches but the Jay White(who I like)ness of the whole deal didn't really add a lot maybe?  KENWOOD OMEGA vs. CHRIS JERICHO was better than I expected it to be and I felt bad that Omega's cut didn't bleed more because I am sure he really wanted it to. He looked very stupid as a Sonic the Hedgehog dog-god or whatever. KAZUCHKA OKADA vs. TETSUYA NAITO was so shocking to me! I was stunned! That they ended it! The way that they did! But it was great! And now I very much look forward to New Year's Dash to see who will be next! Maybe Ibushi? Then Ibushi and Omega or something? 

WHO COULD EVER SAY OR KNOW however something I *do* know (do not at all know) is that there is really no way to account for Masahito Kakihara's New Japan Rumble win outside of the context of how my friends and I spent a bunch of time last year writing about shoot-style with such rigour and heft that we have shifted the entire discourse of fake fighting; NJPW understands this, and does not want to be left behind; this is natural. For more on this exciting new (very old) direction in the future (a past ever-more remote) of græppling æsthetics (it is impossible anyone but us could care about this), please consult the TK Scissors, Kick. Submission. Suplex., Kingdom of Shoot, and Hybrid Shoot blogs, and the expertly named Fighting Network Friends podcast.