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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

XWA Match Review: Spud vs. Axl Rage

Ever since 2007, XWA has been presenting their exciting product to fans of all ages in the United Kingdom. Thanks to the XWA website (http://www.xwawrestling.com/), fans all over the world have the opportunity to see XWA action via DVD. As the match reviewer for the XWA website, I will take a look at some of the many matches that are available. In this review, we will look at Spud vs. Axl Rage from October 8, 2011 at The Carleton, as a part of the, "Last Fight at the Prom 2011" event. Along with being a former XWA British Heavyweight Champion, Spud has also worked for TNA and PWG. Rage is a graduate of the XWA Wrestling Training School, which is the best training center in the UK (http://www.xwawrestling.com/index.php/icon-home-training-train-with-xwa). While still early in his career, Rage has worked for many promotions in the UK and definitely has a bright future in the business.

There is much history between Spud and Axl Rage. At one time, Rage (along with his Blackpool Blonds tag-team partner JD Sassoon) was a member of a faction named "Team Rockstar", which was led by Spud. After being out of action for months due to a neck injury sustained at the hands of Nathan Cruz, Spud returned to confront his fellow faction members, who were now allies with Cruz. As a result, Spud's affiliation with Rage and the other members of Team Rockstar was no more, which led to fans rallying behind him, turning Spud into an XWA favorite.

Axl Rage was accompanied to the ring for this match by JD Sassoon. Spud came to the ring alone, but obviously had the fans behind him, as they sang his entrance song, "Livin' on a Prayer" in unison. To show his distaste for Spud, Rage spat on a Spud T-Shirt that he was holding and threw it on the mat. Spud responded by taking off his ring jacket and throwing it at Rage. Spud took an early advantage in this match with kicks to Rage's midsection and a clothesline to the mat. He then prepared to deliver his satellite DDT finisher to Rage, who wisely escaped to the outside of the ring. Spud followed and chased him around the ring. Once they were back inside the squared circle, Rage attempted to hit Spud with a clotheslines off the ropes, but Spud ducked, dropped down when Rage rebounded, and then met him when he rebounded again with a dropkick, sending Rage to the mat.

Spud once again prepared to hit Rage with his satellite DDT finisher, but he was distracted by Sassoon. Rage took advantage of this by attacking Stud with a forearm to the back. He stayed on Spud with a back elbow, punches to the back, an eye rake, and kicks to the midsection. When Rage irish whipped him into a corner and charged after him, Spud met Rage with a boot to the face. He followed up by hitting the ropes and heading towards Rage at top speed, but Rage caught Spud in a backbreaker. Rage went for the cover, but couldn't keep him down long enough for even a one-count.

Rage stayed in control with stomps to Spud's back and chest. Spud attempted to make a comeback by getting to his feet and attacking Rage with a kick to the midsection and punches to the face, but Rage stopped him with a knee to the midsection, which sent him back down to the mat. Rage choked Spud against the ropes with his boot, and then hit Spud with a springboard butt drop to the back. Keeping the heat on him, Rage irish whipped Spud into a corner, and then charged towards him. Spud attempted to meet him with a boot to the face as she did earlier, but this time Rage caught Spud's foot. In a very unique counter, Spud used his other foot to kick his foot out of Rage's hand, and then kicked Rage in the chest. Spud attempted to follow up with a missle dropkick off the second turnbuckle, but Rage swatted him away, sending him crashing to the mat. Rage went for the cover, but Spud managed to kick out seconds before the referee could make a three-count.

Appearing to be unable to keep Spud down long enough for a three-count, Rage then took the submission route, slapping a bear hug on him. After escaping with punches to Rage's head and ducking a clothesline and a back elbow as he rebounded off the ropes, Spud put Rage down with a lariat. When Rage attempted to clothesline Spud, he countered with a delayed hangman's neckbreaker, and then hooked Rage's leg and went for the cover, only getting a two-count. Attempting to take a breather, Rage made it over to a corner where he slumped until Spud came over to him, which was when Rage stood and kicked him in the stomach. Rage irish whipped Spud into a corner, but Spud stopped his momentum by putting his foot on the middle turnbuckle. When Rage charged towards Spud, he moved out of the way and hit Rage with an enzuigiri. Rage staggered out of the corner, and Spud hit him with a sunset flip powerbomb into a sitout pin, only getting a two-count.

Feeling that victory was within his grasp, Spud again prepared to use his satellite DDT finisher. This time however, Sassoon -perhaps fearing that Rage was moments away from defeat- got on the apron. Spud, turning his attention to Sassoon, knocked Sassoon back off the apron. This is a good time to mention that there was not any padding on the floor. So, when Sassoon landed, he felt nothing but a hard wooden floor. In any case, that distraction was all that Rage needed. When Spud turned back around to continue the match, Rage hit him with a superkick. Rage then hooked Spud's leg and went for the pin, but Spud lifted his left shoulder a moment before a three-count could be rendered.

Rage was shocked for a few moments, and then went into desperation mode, as he began untying a turnbuckle pad, apparently in order to attempt an illegal tactic. While the referee was preoccupied with him, Spud pulled a concealed studded belt from out of his pants. After the referee ordered Rage to get away from the turnbuckle pad so that he could retie it, Spud went into action. He tossed the belt to Rage, and then sat down on the mat and yelled out in "pain", causing the referee to think that Rage had used the belt as a weapon on Spud. As a result, the referee produced a yellow card. The yellow card is a part of the penalty system that XWA has adopted. A yellow card serves as a warning, and a red card leads to a disqualification. This system sets XWA apart from many other promotions in the industry, and it's based on the public warning system that was adopted by Joint Promotions, a UK pro-wrestling organization that was created in 1952. So this system, although unique in today's industry, is deeply rooted in the history of pro-wrestling in the United Kingdom, dating back to the time period when pro-wrestling first became a major part of British culture.

Rage complained to the referee and the crowd for a moment, before turning around and walking into Spud's sitout three-quarter facelock jawbreaker finisher. Spud went for the cover, hooked the leg, and gained the win. This match was a perfect example of how it's possible to present an exciting and entertaining wrestling product that is suitable for all fans, young and old alike. Don't wait, visit the XWA website right now to order Last Fight at the Prom 2011! Not only will you see Spud vs. Axl Rage, but you will also see: Joey Hayes vs. Max Angelus! Declan O'Connor vs. JD Sassoon! RJM vs. C J Banks vs. El Ligero! Nathan Cruz, Colossus & Dave Rayne vs. Johnny Phere, Stixx & Sam Slam!

Harold Williams
@HWilliams13 on Twitter

BJW Bout Review: Jun Kasai vs. Jaki Numazawa Madness of Massacre

In this review, we will look at Jun Kasai vs. Jaki Numazawa from March 12, 2009 at Shin Kiba 1st Ring in Tokyo. It took place on the eve of Friday The 13th, and was a death match titled, "Madness of Massacre". As a tag team, Kasai and Numazawa are one of the most successful teams in Big Japan Pro Wrestling history. They have won the Tag Team Championship three times as of this writing, which is a record. However, as dominant they are as a tag team, their skills shine even more when they compete against each other in singles matches, as this match proved.

The ring was prepared with everything that Kasai and Numazawa would need to present the fans in attendance with the promised massacre. A row of fluorescent light tubes were draped over the ropes on two sides of the ring, bundles of light tubes lied in all four corners, light tube crosses lied in two of the corners, and a double ladder stood on one side of the ring with one end of a scaffold lying atop it. The other end of it was atop a double ladder standing in the entrance way. Kasai and Numazawa started the match with a chain wrestling exchange, serving as a reminder that they are both more than death match wrestlers. The style of the match changed when they began trading forearm shots. Numazawa, thinking that he had gained the advantage after coming out of nowhere with a quick headbutt, looked to the crowd for approval. However, when Numazawa turned his attention back to Kasai, he was met with a light tube shot. Numazawa retaliated by grabbing a light tube of his own and smashing it over Kasai's head. The match then slightly became a game of can-you-top-this, as Kasai went on to headbutt a light tube into Numazawa's forehead, followed by Numazawa doing the same thing to Kasai. After kicking Numazawa in the gut, Kasai irish whipped him into light tubes that were draped over the ropes, exploding them, followed by Numazawa doing the exact same sequence of moves. Numazawa's sequence was a bit more effective however, proven by Kasai dropping to the mat.

When Kasai got back to his feet, Numazawa attempted to irish whip him into one of the light tube crosses that was in a corner, but Kasai reversed the move, sending Numazawa crashing into the cross instead. Kasai then bodyslammed him in the middle of the ring, placed two light tubes between Numazawa's legs, and stomped on them until they snapped. Hopefully the light tubes were the only things that snapped. Kasai grinned a sinister grin, taking joy in Numazawa's predicament, who was crouched face down on the mat in obvious pain. When he slowly got back to his feet, Kasai hit Numazawa with a knee lift, and then rammed his head into a turnbuckle. With Numazawa still in the corner and with his back against the turnbuckle, Kasai grabbed a light tube, got on the second turnbuckle, and headbutted the light tube into Numazawa's forehead. Feeling confident that he was firmly in control, Kasai came down from the second turnbuckle, walked away from Numazawa for a moment and checked to see if his head was bleeding as a result of his headbutt attack from a moment earlier. This turned out to be a mistake, because as he walked back over to Numazawa, he was met by a kick to the stomach. The two men then began exchanging blows until Numazawa gained the upper hand. He took a moment to play to the crowd, but it cost him, because it gave Kasai the opportunity to grab a light tube and smash Numazawa over the head with it when he turned back around.

Numazawa dropped to his knees and slumped over the second rope. Taking advantage of the situation, Kasai brought him to his feet, irish whipped him into the double ladder, and then charged towards him, hitting Numazwa with a shoulder block to the gut. Kasai followed up by snap suplexing him to the mat, and then began a climb up the ladder. Numazawa got up to his feet and tried to climb up after Kasai, but Kasai sent him falling to the mat back first with a few kicks to the chest. Now at the middle of the ladder, Kasai came down onto Numazawa with a diving headbutt to his stomach. Kasai then went for the cover, only getting a two-count.

Kasai threw Numazawa out of the ring through the second rope, and followed him to the outside, where he irish whipped Numazawa into chairs in the crowd. When he got back to his feet, Kasai hit Numazawa with a knee lift and a forearm to the back. Kasai then set up two tables side by side, hit him with another forearm shot, and placed Numazawa onto the tables. Kasai then reentered the ring, and climbed up the ladder to the scaffold. When he got there, Kasai saw that Numazawa was climbing up the other side. Kasai met him with a couple of forearm shots, brought him over to the center of the scaffold, and attempted to suplex him off it. Numazawa blocked the move, but Kasai punched him in the side before releasing him. Next, Kasai knee lifted Numazawa and attempted to bodyslam him off the scaffold, but Numazawa blocked the move, escaped with two punches and a kick to Kasai's stomach, and in a move that has to be seen to be believed, gave him a scoop slam piledriver off the scaffold that sent them both crashing through the tables below!

Amazingly, Numazawa struggled back up to his feet, rolled Kasai into the ring, and went for the cover. Although obviously still feeling the effects from the bump through the table, Kasai managed to kick out at the two-count. Numazawa, seemingly confident that a pinfall victory was within his grasp, brought Kasai to his feet, delivered a Spinning Samoan Drop, and went for the cover once again, but once again only getting a two-count. Numazawa then attempted to climb the ladder, but Kasai got up, punched him in the back twice, and positioned his shoulders under Numazawa's legs so that Numazawa was in an electric chair sitting position. Kasai then released him and intended to hit Numazawa with a clothesline, but Numazawa turned around, saw Kasai and ducked, kicked Kasai in the stomach when Kasai turned around, and then lifted Kasai onto his shoulders to attempt another Spinning Samoan Drop. However, Kasai slipped out of his grasp, and standing behind Numazawa, grabbed him around the waist to attempt a German suplex. Numazawa escaped by delivering three back elbows to Kasai's head, rebounded off the ropes, and appeared to intend to do the same on the other side of ring, but stopped short when he realized that the ladder was right in front of him. Upon turning around, he was hit with a lariat by Kasai, who then went for the cover, only getting a two-count.

Many colorful synonyms have been used to describe Kasai during his career, such as, "crazy" and, "psycho". It's understandable, considering the fact that he has done many incredibly risky spots over the years that has given him the reputation of being one of the best hardcore wrestlers in the industry. At the same time however, Kasai is also one of the most unpredictable, in a very positive way. After Numazawa kicked out, Kasai glanced at a corner of the ring and slowly moved over to it. Then, he stood up and simply watched as Numazawa (who was back up at this point) charged towards him from the other side of the ring. At the last second, Kasai moved out of the way, and Numazawa collided with a light tube cross that was in the corner. Kasai then hoisted him onto the second turnbuckle, placed him in an electric chair sitting position, and dropped him into a facebuster.

Numazawa rolled out of the ring seeking an opportunity to recover, but Kasai followed, where he set up another table and placed Numazawa on top of it. Wanting to make sure that Numazawa would not get up, Kasai duct taped him to the table (now you know who was one of the first wrestlers to use duct tape during a match!), hit him three times with three different chairs (Kasai is nicknamed, "Crazy Monkey" after all), and then climbed up to the balcony of the arena (hence the, "Monkey" part). Kasai moved himself into position right above where Numazawa was lying, and leaped from the balcony onto Numazawa with his, "Pearl Harbor Splash" finisher. Even more impressive than that was the fact that Kasai got right back up. His adrenaline pumping, Kasai picked up a piece of the now-broken table and smashed it again a turnbuckle post.

Kasai rolled Numazawa back into the ring, bodyslammed him to the mat, and to add insult to injury, blew snot on him. Ready to finish off his opponent, Kasai climbed up to the top rope, donned his eyes with Pearl Harbor bomber goggles (as he traditionally does before ending a match), and once again delivered his, "Pearl Harbor Splash" finisher. Kasai then went for the cover, but Numazawa kicked out when the referee's hand was inches away from making a three-count. Not letting up for a moment, Kasai removed his goggles, bodyslammed Numazawa to the mat, and blew snot on him once again, before placing a bundle of light tubes on top of him. Kasai then climbed the ladder to the scaffold and prepared to leap onto the light tubes with another "Pearl Harbor Splash", but Numazawa quickly got to his feet and climbed up the ladder after Kasai, who met him with punches to the head. Numazawa put a stop to Kasai's offensive attack with a forearm shot to Kasai, and superplexed him off the scaffold to the mat below.

As Kasai lied on the mat, out cold, Numazawa attempted to crawl over to him to make the cover, but collapsed. When they both eventually tried to stand, Numazawa made it to his feet first, irish whipped Kasai into a corner and followed him with a corner clothesline. Numazawa then perched Kasai on the top turnbuckle, lifted him up and carried him to the middle of the ring, where he delivered a sitout powerbomb on top of the bundle of light tubes that Kasai had introduced into the match earlier. Kasai kicked out at two, but also impressive was the display of psychology presented in that spot. After Kasai had placed the light tube bundle on top of Numazawa, everyone had forgotten about it once Numazawa got up from the mat- except for Numazawa. Being very aware of his surroundings in the ring, not only did Numazawa remember that the bundle was there, but he also utilized it, taking advantage of a "weapon" that Kasai intended to use.

Staying on Kasai, Numazawa bodyslammed him to the mat, and climbed to the top rope, where he attempted a moonsault, but Kasai rolled out the way at the last second. Kasai quickly grabbed another light tube bundle from a corner of the ring and charged towards Numazawa with it once he had gotten to his feet, but Numazawa grabbed hold of the bundle. They both struggled for control of it, until Numawza gained it after kicking Kasai in the stomach. He swung the bundle, but Kasai ducked, positioned himself behind Numazawa, and grabbed him around the waist in preparation for a German suplex. Numazawa responded by swinging the light tube bundle backwards over his head, bashing Kasai in the cranium. Unbeknownst to Numazawa -who still had his back to Kasai and was taking a moment to catch a breather- his light tube attack had no effect on Kasai. Making a superman-like comeback, he once again grabbed Numazawa around the waist, and successfully delivered a German suplex, almost getting a three-count.

Something that must be noted is that Numazawa had not kicked out of the German suplex, Kasai had simply released the hold- he wanted more pain to be inflicted. Not only on Numazawa- but himself as well. He grabbed two light tubes, broke them over his knee, and carved into his chest with the remnants that he was holding in his hand. Throwing the light tubes aside, Kasai then ran across the ring, rebounded off the ropes, ran across the ring to rebound off the ropes on that side (crashing into light tubes that were draped over the ropes in the process), and sent Numazawa to the mat with a lariat. Kasai then quickly went for the cover, and Numazawa barely escaped a three-count.

Kasai quickly got to his feet, and bodyslammed Numazawa back down onto the mat, before placing another light tube bundle onto him, and scaling the ladder up to the scaffold. Kasai once again donned the goggles and leaped off the scaffold with his, "Pearl Harbor Splash" finisher, this time making contact onto the light tube bundle and Numazawa. Kasai hooked the leg and awaited a three-count, but somehow, Numazawa kicked out instead. It was almost shocking, but considering the fact that Numazawa is a former Deathmatch Heavyweight Champion, his resiliency is of no secret to anyone. At the same time however, Kasai was far from giving up, as he looked at the crowd and drew his hand across his throat, signaling that he was going to finish Numazawa off. Kasai brought him to his feet, hooked Numazawa's arms, and prepared to deliver a lifting sitout facebuster. Numazawa quickly escaped however, and delivered his side small package, "Shineway" finisher. Numazawa's version of a small package is the most effective one in the industry, because he pins his opponent's shoulders to the mat with the same force that he would administer a scoop slam piledriver. Still, Kasai managed to kick out of the move, proving his intestinal fortitude.

Numazawa's was fired-up with energy, as he grabbed a light tube and broke it over his own head. Numazawa then attempted to clothesline Kasai, who ducked and disoriented Numazawa by seeming to attempt a full nelson one moment, but then spun him around the next, before hooking him in a back slide into a sitout pin, only getting a two-count. Kasai was still in control of the match though, and had no intention of giving that up. He brought Numazawa to his feet, and once again hooked his arms to set up the lifting sitout facebuster that he had attempted before, and this time he was successful. Kasai then made the cover and gained the victory.

The best aspect of this match is that it was ironically titled, "Madness of Massacre". Even with tables and light tubes being used, Kasai and Numazawa presented a match with psychology from the opening bell to the end of the match. Ring presence and quick-thinking were included in this match, and every move that was done by both men, was done for a reason. This is a match that should be watched by all pro-wrestling fans, both hardcore wrestling and non-hardcore wrestling enthusiasts alike. So don't wait, visit the Big Japan Shop right now to order Dainichi Daisen 09 Vol 2! Not only will you see Jun Kasai vs. Jaki Numazawa, but you will also see: Shadow WX & The Winger vs. Abdullah Kobayashi & MASADA in a, "Fluorescent Light Tube & Barbed Wire Board" tag match! Isami Kodaka & Masashi Takeda vs. Katsumasa Inoue & Kankuro Hoshino in a, "Barbed Wire Board Death Match"! Atsushi Ohashi & Yuji Okabayashi vs. Daisuke Sekimoto & Masato Tanaka! Shinya Ishikawa & Yoshihito Sasaki vs. Yuko Miyamoto & Takashi Sasaki! Masada & Abdullah Kobayashi vs. Shuji Ishikawa & Ryuji Ito in a, "Hardcore" tag match! Yuko Miyamoto & Takashi Sasaki vs. Masashi Takeda & Isami Kodaka in a, "Fluorescent Light Stick & Double Board Deathmatch"!

Harold Williams
@HWilliams13 on Twitter