Monday, January 25, 2021

Tommy Dreamers 1995 tour of All Japan Pro Wrestling

While I was working on my Limitless Wrestling book I was researching Tommy Dreamer for his bio in the book.  While looking for something unique to notate in the book I saw that Dreamer did a tour with All Japan Pro Wrestling in 1995 while he was in ECW. 

The first night of the tour was January 2, 1995 and the final night was January 29th.  He wrestled in twenty three matches winning six of them.  He compete in a battle royal, the All Asia Tag Title League, multi-man matches and singles bouts.

He scored wins in singles matches against Mighty Inoue, Ryukaku Izumida, and Manakea Mossman.  In the All Asia Tag Team Title League he was partnered with Johnny Smith finishing with six points.  During the tour he also teamed with Johnny Ace and the legendary Stan "The Lariat" Hansen battling teams like The Fantastics: Tommy Rogers & Bobby Fulton, The Can-Am Express: Dan Kroffat & Doug Furnas, Jun Akiyama & Takao Omori and others.  

One six man tag team match saw him team with Johnny Smith and "Dr. Death" Steve Williams against Holy Demon Army: Akira Taue, Toshiaka Kawada, & Yoshinari Ogawa.  The final night of the tour Dreamer and Stan Hansen teamed to defeat Abdullah the Butcher and Giant Kimala.  

Dreamer would return to Japan for IWA in 1996, WAR in 1997, FMW in 1997, 1998, & 1999.  He wouldn't return to Japan again until 2006 & 2009 for WWE events.  SMASH1 brought Dreamer to Japan in 2010, while WNC: Wrestling New Classic booked him for two matches in 2012.  In 2014 TNA ran a show in Japan that The Great Muta main evented, Dreamer teamed with Abyss earlier on the card losing to The Dudley Boys.  In 2015 he returned to wrestled for Tokyo Gurentai One Night Stand, and again in 2016 for One Night Stand 2.  Which is his late time in Japan to date.

Although Dreamer never tagged with Hansen or Smith again, he did team up with Steve Williams on August 3, 1996 in a losing effort to Brian Lee & Taz at the ECW Arena.  

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page, check out my weekly podcast The Wrestling Insomniac on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network and while your at it pick up my book over at Amazon in Kindle or Paperback.

Until next time!!

Monday, January 11, 2021

Lots of Wrestling the First week of January 2021

I watched a ton of wrestling the first full week of January 2021 and I enjoyed the hell out of it! Here's what the week looked like and what I watched on what days:

Monday January 4th NJPW: Wrestle Kingdom 15 Day 1
I worked from home this day and after my morning meeting I fired up day one one my tablet, it took me all day to watch the over five hour event in between meetings and getting work done.  The card was seven matches including the opening New Japan Rambo, which is a royal rumble style battle royal.

It was a very good night of wrestling that concluded with the best match of the night.  The semi-main event is saw Okada defeat Will Ospreay in an outstanding match that went 35 minutes.  However Kota Ibushi defeating Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental championships was amazing.  Watching these two wrestle is akin to Flair vs. Steamboat, two guys that bring the best out of each other and you know are always going to deliver an outstanding match.  

Tuesday January 5th 
NJPW: Wrestle Kingdom 15 Day 2
I worked from home this day as well and, once again after my morning meeting I fired up my kindle fire tablet to watch Day 2!  The card featured six matches on the four hour show with two dark matches that did not air from the ladies of Stardom.  

Match quality wise I think night two was better but night one had the emotion of Ibushi finally winning the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.  Shingo Takagi and Jeff Cobb beat the tar out of each other for over 20 minutes in an awesome NEVER Openweight Championship match.  Sanada defeated Evil in a good match, Hiromu Takahashi defeated Ishimori for the Junior Heavyweight Championship in a great match.  In the main event Ibushi made his first official defense defeated Jay White in just over 48 minutes!  In the post match press conference Ibushi stated he wanted to unify the titles and break Okada's single reign defense record of 12.

Tuesday night I watch AEW Dark specifically to watch my girl Ashley Vox make her AEW debut against another one of my favorites Thunder Rosa in an excellent match! They had a previous one on one match in October 2019 for NWA Powerrr.

Wednesday January 6th AEW Dynamite New Years Smash
I worked in the office this day and worked overtime in dispatch until just before 9pm and got home in time to watch the finish of the Shida vs. Abadon match and the entire main event.  AEW Champion: Kenny Omega defeated Rey Fenix in an outstanding match!  The post match angle where The Impact Tag Team Champions: The Good Brothers: Karl Anderson & Big LG came to Kenny's aid followed by the Young Bucks for a Bullet Club reunion!?!

Thursday January 7th I had surgery on my right leg and was in and out of the hospital that day.  On Thursday evening I finished watching AEW Dynamite.  It was a solid show that opened with an outstanding eight man tag featuring the Young Bucks & SCU vs. The Acclaimed & The Hybrid2.  It was a solid show except for Shida vs. Abadon.  I then watched Limitless Wrestling The Road Season 2 Episode 12.

Friday January 8th I caught up on NXT watching NXT:UK with Jordan Devlin retaining the NXT Cruiserweight Championship against Ben Carter in a solid match.  Then over on NXT New Years Evil we got another NXT Cruiserweight Championship defense as champion Santos Escobar retained against Gran Metalik.  Back to the Cruiserweight title later.  Also on the show they had some good matches with Karrion Kross over Damian Priest, Raquel Gonzalez over Rhea Ripley in a Last Woman Standing match and the main event saw Finn Balor retain the NXT Championship against Kyle O'Reilly.  

SmackDown on Friday night I only tuned in because I saw on twitter that Adam Pearce was going to be wrestling in the Universal Championship number one contenders gauntlet match.  he won, but I was disappointed with his "match".  I've been a big fan of Pearce for years, his Seven Levels of Hate with Colt Cabana over the NWA World Championship was outstanding!  He's a former 5 time NWA Worlds Champion holding it for 1078 days.  He carried the NWA from 2007 - 2011 and is a champion to be proud of, unlike Nick Aldis.  I'm curious where this story is going, honestly in my opinion to only satisfying resolution is Pearce winning the title.  

After Smackdown I watched 205 Live to see my pal August Grey team with Curt Stallion to defeat the Bollywood Boys.  Grey and Stallion at competing in the upcoming Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Cup tournament. 

Friday night on New Japan Strong we got the debut of the "Dirty Daddy" Chris Dickinson and I cannot wait for him to go to Japan and fight the likes of Shingo Takagi, Minoru Suzuki, Tomohiro Ishii, and others.  

If you want to talk about some great wrestling look at the Wrestling Observer ratings for the week:

WK Day1: Takahashi vs. El Phantasmo 4 stars, Okada vs. Ospreay 5 1/4 stars, Ibushi vs. Naito 5 stars.

WK Day2: Shingo vs. Cobb 5 stars, Sanada vs. Evil 4 1/4 stars, Takahashi vs. Ishimori 4 3/4 stars, Ibushi vs. Jay White 5 1/4 stars

AEW: Eight Man tag 4 stars, Omega vs. Fenix 5 stars

NXT: Balor vs. O'Reilly 4 stars

Now I know some people think Meltzer's star ratings are biased or arbitrary and that's fine.  I think it's his opinion and I tend to agree with a lot of his ratings so I think it's a good example of the high quality of wrestling we got this week across the board. 

Over the weekend I watched a bunch of random matches on YouTube including some of the recent Pro Wrestling NOAH New Sunrise 2021 show from January 4th at Korakuen Hall, some Progress wrestling on the WWE Network, a bunch of Random old Tully Blanchard in Mid-South wrestling on the WWE Network and more.  

Quite frankly it was an awesome week of wrestling viewing for me.  

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page, check out my weekly podcast The Wrestling Insomniac on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network and while your at it pick up my book over at Amazon in Kindle or Paperback.

Until next time!!

Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 My Year of Wrestling in Review

 2020 was not a good year for me when it comes to attending live wrestling events.  This year I made it to four live wrestling show and you can read about them below:

Two Limitless, one Let's Wrestle! before the pandemic and an outside NAWA show during a downtrend of the pandemic.  There were a few other live shows here in Maine but I either didn't feel they would be safe or the card didn't encourage me to make the drive.

The last time I went to this few shows in a year was all the way back to 1996 when I went to just one.  That show in question was a WWE House Show at the Augusta Civic Center on March 1st featuring WWE Champion: Bret Hart, The Undertaker, Davey Boy Smith, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Ringmaster Steve Austin, Goldust, and more.  I went to this show with my Cousin Rob, we weren't family by blood he was my then step-fathers sister-in-laws we decided on cousins.  Rob and I went to a few wrestling shows together and watched a lot of PPV's.  Sadly he passed away this year in September .  We had drifted apart over the last several years as our lives went in different directions but we had a lot of great time together, even working together for a couple years.

I released two books on Amazon compiling some of the best posts on this blog, you can buy them here.  Or you can contact me directly for signed copies.  I've also been working on another wrestling book that I am hoping to have out in early 2021.  

AEW & WWE managed to produce new wrestling every week during the pandemic while independent and other world wide promotions had to stop running shows for several months.  On the independent side a few states allowed shows to be run again and thanks to Fite.TV and IWTV we were had opportunities to see a lot of our favorite indie wrestlers perform.  My buddy Mikey and I went on a tear this year winning many free promo codes for shows on Fite including several GCW, Synergy, and even Impact's Bound For Glory.  

I do miss wrestling with fans, imagine Edge's return at the Royal Rumble this year with no fans for that amazing response that he received.  AEW has been doing a great job with their weekly show and has become can't miss wrestling for me.  WWE on the other hand has been extremely hit and miss with me when it comes to all of their brands.  It's one thing to pipe in fake ambient crowd noise but to have "this is awesome" chants or even worse the "Thank You Pat" chant after Mr. Patterson died ruins the viewing experience for me.  Which sucks because there have been some great matches but the fake crowd prevents me from getting into it.  Indie promotions as a whole didn't do a great job in running socially distant shows, although a few of them did.

New Japan Pro Wrestling took a four month hiatus from end of February to mid June returning with shows with limited fans.  As time went by in Japan the size of the audience has expanded.  They have been cranking out solid product even getting annual tournaments: The New Japan Cup, G1 Climax, Best of the Super Juniors XXVII, and the World Tag League.  They even had a weekly show that aired on Friday nights from California where they ran the Super J Cup one night tournament.  The only annual tournaments they didn't get in was the Young Lions Cup and the Super Junior Tag League. 

I'm very much looking forward to Wrestle Kingdom 15 on January 4th & 5th.  If' I'm being honest the cards aren't the greatest, but I'm sure we will get some outstanding matches. 

AAA Lucha Libre Worldwide stop running shows in March, then did a day of tapings in April called Lucha Fighter.  This was very unique as it was men's, women's, and mini's tournament featuring their luchadores in singles matches, not the typical trios matches.  They took a six month hiatus and came back in October with Auto Luchas.

Auto Luchas was held at the Autodromo Hermano Rodriquez, which is a large racetrack located in Mexico City.  The matches took place on an elevated stage and fans attended like it was a drive in theater, watching from their vehicles.  AAA closed out their year on December 12th with TripleMania XXVIII with no fans.  It was a solid show!  

I always have a hard time picking my favorite matches of the year because what makes a great match is so subjective and with cinematic matches this year it adds a new twist to it.  However here are some of the matches I really enjoyed this year, and I'm sure I've forgotten about many others that I dug:

Wrestle Kingdom 14: Okada vs. Naito and Okada vs. Ibushi

2020 Men's Royal Rumble Match

February 19 AEW Dynamite
World Tag Team Champions: Kenny Omega & Hangman Page vs. Lucha Bros

February 22 Limitless Wrestling: Practice What You Preach
Kris Statlander vs. Jody Threat

February 29 AEW Revolution
World Tag Team Champions: Kenny Omega & Hangman Page vs. The Young Bucks

July 16 AEW Dynamite
No Disqualification: TNT Championship: Cody Rhodes vs. Eddie Kingston

September 10 AEW Dynamite
Parking Lot Fight: Beast Friends vs. Santana & Ortiz

September 19 - October 18 G1 Climax 30
Tomohiro Ishii, was the MVP of the tournament with outstanding matches

October 7 AEW Dynamite
Dog Collar Match: TNT Championship: Mr. Brodie Lee vs. Cody Rhodes

October 25 WWE Hell in a Cell
Hell in a Cell I Quit Match: Universal Champion: Roman Reign vs. Jey Uso

October 29 
NXT UK Championship: Walter vs. Ilja Dragunov

November 7 AEW Full Gear
World Tag Team Champions: FTR vs. The Young Bucks

November 14 ICW: No Holds Barred
Meng vs. Shlak

December 6 NXT TakeOver: Wargames IV
The Undisputed ERA vs. Pete Dunne, Pat McAfee, Danny Burch, & Oney Lorcan

December 11 NJPW Best of the Super Juniors XXVII Finals
Hiromu Takahashi vs. El Desperado

December 12 AAA TripleMania XXVIII
AAA Mega Championship: Kenny Omega vs. Laredo Kid

Thunder Rosa vs. Serena Deeb
9/2: AEW Dark, 10/21: UWN Prime Time Live, & 11/18: AEW Dynamite

December 30, 2020 AEW Dynamite
Brodie Lee Tribute show, the entire show was amazing!

Again these are only a fraction of the great matches that I saw this year, these are the ones that stand out to me as I sit here and type this.  

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page, check out my weekly podcast The Wrestling Insomniac on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network and while your at it pick up my book over at Amazon in Kindle or Paperback.

Until next time!!

Full Results to the 1996 show:

March 1, 1996 Civic Center Augusta, ME
The Godwinns: Henry & Phinneas defeated The Bodydonnas: Skip & Zip with Sunny
Duke “The Dumpster” Drose pinned Hunter Hearst Helmsley
“The Ringmaster” Steve Austin pinned Marty Jannetty

Owen Hart pinned Scott Taylor (sub. for Yokozuna) following an enzuiguri

Savio Vega (sub. for Razor Ramon) defeated Intercontinental Champion: Goldust via count-out when he walked to the back

The 1-2-3 Kid pinned Bob Holly at the 10-second mark with a spin kick

Ahmed Johnson defeated Tatanka
World Champion: Bret “The Hitman” Hart defeated the Undertaker via count-out when Goldust interfered piledriving Taker on the floor; Diesel was also scheduled to be part of the match, making it a 3-way, but was unable to wrestle due to injury

“Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels pinned “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith with sweet chin music