HUSTLE House Vol 1
June 28, 2004
Albert Day 3. What a time to be alive.
We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall. This show is the most available of all HUSTLE shows as it’s on YouTube for free. It’s the first ‘small’ show from HUSTLE. A crowd over just over 2000 fans in a smaller venue and a less stacked card than the previous outings. This is also the start of HUSTLE introducing weird Monster Army characters like the Flying Vampires and Piranha Monster Z.
Joel & Jose Maximo vs. Kaz Hayashi & Leonardo Spanky
The Kaz & Spanky dreamboat tour continues. This time against the SAT. The Maximo brothers had a huge reputation when the Indies started getting big and they were getting booked a lot. For two years they just seemed to be everywhere. They were good at planning matches and had a cool finish (the much abused Spanish Fly) but I had some issues with how they worked. It was clunky compared to the acts that followed. Much like Sabu was amazing at the times but in retrospect is botchy as hell. They are an exciting act though and this is an effective opener.
Kaz makes me laugh during it because there is a prolonged, sustained heat session on Spanky then a hot tag and Kaz trips over the ropes coming in. We’ve been putting Kaz over huge on the podcasts so it’s only natural he botches. The whole match is loaded with great ideas with less than stellar execution, which is a shame. Spanky’s failed Sliced Bread #2 is a complete mess. Sliced Bread Bomb finishes for the babyfaces.
NEAR, FAR, WHEREEEEEVER YOU ARE!
This was a very ambitious match and perfectly summed up the Maximo’s. Two highly excitable wrestlers whose execution was patchy. The various clumsy botches stopped me from getting into the better spot work.
Final Rating: **1/2
Video Control takes us backstage with Generalissimo Takada. He doesn’t seem happy with the overall Monster Army performance at HUSTLE-3. Adamonster, Foley and the Outsiders all get the boot for their poor performances. It’s a shoot! Heel ref also gets abuse for his failures.
This leads to Ogawa meeting the new GM. He’s a tiny little guy in a white suit.
The poor heel ref got his leg broken. Oh wait, that’s Shimada! So the heel ref was the translator from the other segments. That makes sense. GM books Shinya Hashimoto vs. KATAKARI in an afro match (??). They head back to the ring where Yuji Shimada, super worker, gets an entrance and flowers as he’s wheeled to the ring. I fucking love this guy. He’s interrupted by a guy in a baseball uniform. I looked it up and it’s Kantaku Nakamura. Feud with Yuji Shimada incoming!
Video Control takes us backstage where Jason the Legend has been killed by a Shinya Hashimoto DDT.
Takada shoots lightning from his fingers and Jason the Legend is reborn as Monsieur de Barbarossa.
Monsieur de Barbarossa vs. Shamoji Fujii
MDB is an impressive specimen. He’s big, muscular and likes to do high spots. It’s surprising he never made the grade in pro wrestling. Like many wrestlers who big dogged their way through the smaller wrestlers in Japan he’s probably less impressive against larger American opponents. That said he’s perfect for the Monster Army. A big jacked up dude who does power moves. I am sold on him immediately. They don’t seem to be on the same page whenever Fujii is in charge so this isn’t something that has legs. MDB wins in short order. I enjoyed this. Welcome to Monster Army MDB!
Final Rating: **1/4
Hirotaka Yokoi vs. Psycho the Death
I’m going to tell you two things about Yokoi and based on HUSTLE you should already know them both. 1. Works for Zero1. 2. Is an MMA fighter. Yokoi had a hell of a record at this point (10-1) and his only loss is Nog.
Across the ring is “Psycho the Death”. A guy with a lunatic gimmick where he carries a doll to the ring is overly protective of it. WWE actually signed him and changed his name to Russell Simpson. He was there for two years. It’s actually a decent gimmick and Yokoi scores easy points for stomping Simpson’s dolly. Simpson has a good gimmick but the name is so bad. He later switched to Dawg Cheetum, which isn’t much better but anything is an improvement on Psycho the Death. Simpson messes with Yokoi a lot. Especially the chair shot, which provokes an array of suplexes. They also have a cute spot where Simpson throws the ref into a waistlocks reversal and the ref gets taken down into a heel hook by an apologetic Yokoi.
Simpson has a dog persona so he barks and bites. Yokoi clearly gets fed up with it and lariats the life out of him. Hustle, Hustle!
Final Rating: ***
Sidenote: The best thing about HUSTLE is that all the matches are 5-13 minutes long so even if you hate the match they won’t be hanging around.
Ryouji Sai & Taichi Ichikari vs. The Flying Vampires
Taichi is the same man you know, and probably hate, from New Japan. Sai is the same dude who wrestled in Zero1 for 15 years before joining AJPW. He’s four years in here. Taichi is two years in and just starting out.
The Vampires are #16 and #23. I have no idea who they are but they initially tease it being the Steiner Brothers (Spoiler: it isn’t). The referee makes the sign of the cross during the introductions and both the vampires freak out at it. Taichi should have brought some holy water with him. Taichi looks so green here. Even by his standards. It’s so weird seeing him as a blue eye too. The Flying Vampires are a terrific team. They do a bit where #16 gets all cocky and wants #23 to roll Taichi further across the ring for a frogsplash but he gets rolled too far and #16 decides to call it back in. It’s a good bit. They also nosh on Taichi’s neck. #23 hits a senton into the crowd. It’d be safe to say I loved this match. They totally piss about at the finish, forcing Taichi to rana and pin Sai, posing dramatically either side. I hope they gain mind control powers. Flying Vampires rule!
Final Rating: ***1/2
Video Control takes us back to the ring where Yuji Shimada introduces An Jo.
They make fun of how Hashimoto will look with an afro (FUNKY) and introduce his opponent KATAKARI.
KATAKARI vs. Shinya Hashimoto
I tried looking up KATAKARI but the closest I could find for a bio for this big weirdo is a review of the Takashi Miike movie Happiness of the Katakuri’s, my all-time favourite musical. I think he’s supposed to be a cannibal as he yells “KATAKARI” and then bites Hash, and attacks the ref. It’s a decent gimmick but the man behind it, and I have no idea who it is, is not good at wrestling. There’s a lot of theatre and stalling. I’m sad that Hash is getting so many bad matches in HUSTLE. Hash wins with an armbar so…he wins an afro? Or KATAKARI, who will never wrestle here again, is forced to wear one? I’m confused. Match was no good.
Final Rating: *1/2
Dan Bobish & Piranha Monster Z vs. Toshiaki Kawada & Wataru Sakata
Piranha Monster Z comes out to the Jaws theme because nobody can remember the theme to Piranha.
PMZ looks like SUGI. At closer inspection PMZ has a tattoo on his right arm that SUGI doesn’t have so that’s wrong. Also he’s fucking shit. Sakata’s first move in this is a dropkick and he lands on his head. Kawada has no time for these jobbers. He punishes PMZ and looks irritated he has to carry his useless ass for more than ten minutes. Kawada looks embarrassed out there. I bet you wish you were wrestling Mick Foley now eh? An Jo gets involved quite a bit and Sakata seems to gain popularity through his role in the match. Bobish picks off Sakata (who is now 0-2, what an ace!) and gets the win for the Monster Army. Piranha Monster Z actually appeared again after this, which is amazing to me.
Final Rating: *3/4
Randy Savage arrives! No, it’s Generalissimo Takada using Savage’s music to my confusion. Takada wants to have a word. He runs his gob until Stonecold Naoya Ogawa charges in through the crowd. Holy shit, when did he get this over? Takada proceeds to own him on the microphone, which is a bit of an issue when you’re big bad is much cooler than your top babyface.
Takada then introduces his newest acquisition to the Monster Army; Yoshihiro Takayama in a cowboy hat. Fucking hell. Game, set and match Ogawa. You might as well go home pal. His response is to call on unity with Hashimoto and Kawada and the show finishes with them sharing the ring.