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FMW's Ring of Torture 

October 20, 2004

by the Canadian Bulldog    
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Who could have guessed that, when I happened to stumble upon an FMW DVD by chance a few months ago in a Toronto used bookstore, that it would become habit-forming? Since I last reviewed FMW King of the Death Match for OO, I have purchased two more discs and am trying to find more.
Is the wrestling action that good, you may ask? No, not at all. If anything, some of the stunts these glorified sadists try out make me want to cringe. But said stunts, combined with ear-splittingly bad commentary, make these DVD's so bad that they're good. In a sarcastic humor kind of way, I suppose. 

As a quick introduction, FMW (Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling, which by all rights should be FMAW, but… whatever) was a "garbage wrestling" promotion in Japan started by hardcore legend Atsushi Onita. The matches on this particular DVD were filmed on December 21, 1995 from the fabled Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium in Japan.

Your hosts, as was the case in King of the Death Match, are Eric Geller and John Watanabe, easily the two worst announcers in the history of our business, Craig DeGeorge included. Thankfully, in the next series of DVD's, Watanabe becomes a halfway-normal commentator, and they ditched Geller for Live Audio Wrestling host Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski, whom I'm a huge mark for.

In fact, the commentary in this series was SO insulting to the intelligence of wrestling fans everywhere (no small feat) that the producers would go on in the next series to actually APOLOGIZE for the utter nonsense their announcers were spewing. But that's another story for another day.

How bad are the Geller and Watanabe team? For starters, I will be able to pick at least one mind-numbing, embarrassingly-bad quote from either personality in each match. Oh, and to start things off, Geller accuses Watanabe of farting and shouting that he can't work under conditions like this. And no, I'm not making that up.

Match # 1: Getkou Vs. Gosaku

Try saying that five times fast. Getkou is a masked guy that is kind of dressed like a bird with two pom-poms on his crotch (little known-fact: that was the original WWF gimmick for Triple H). Gosaku just looks like an 80's TV jobber who is… bleeding from his head? Already? The match just started! Weird. Anyhoo… Getkou kicks the crap out of his opponent with kicks for about a minute and then delivers a suplex and… that's it? What was the point of THAT?

Winner: Getkou.
Rating: 0/5. Bleah.

Line of the match: Geller – "Legend has it that (Getkou) was abducted by a hawk while his family was vacationing in Costa Rica."

We're now in for a "treat" while Eric and John show us how to execute a sleeperhold, using two scantily-clad "Snake Sisters" to perform the complex move. One of the women pretends to pass out. And the point of that was…?

Match # 2: Sub Miss Sato Vs. Kaoria Nakayama

This is sensitively billed as a "Chick Fight", which makes so much sense after our announcers tell us how advanced women's wrestling is in FMW.  Sato is decked in Ultimate Warrior-style facepaint, while Nakayama is the daughter of one of the founders of women's wrestling, allegedly. Never heard of either of these women before, but I'm hardly an expert.

An expert on women's wrestling, that is. Not on women. Actually, I'm not an expert on either, which is why I'm sitting here reviewing this on a Friday night.

Sato works over Nakayama with some stiff kicks to the back and a dangerous-looking headscissors. Just as our crack announcing team begins comparing this match to the "goofy, clown T and A show you see on Monday nights" (why bring up Test and Albert here?), Sato grabs out a towel and whips at her opponent. A towel? Was there no tissue paper available?  I mean, the guys are allowed to use blowtorches, knives and all kinds of cool shit in the ring; surely you could find a more imposing foreign object?

Nakayama busts out a flying bodypress, then misses with a moonsault. Sato reverses a German suplex, which only gets a two. Sato tries to powerbomb her opponent, which is transitioned into the worst-looking victory roll in wrestling history. Nakayama gets the three count, natch. Another quick match.

Winner: Kaoria Nakayama.
Rating: 1/5. Way too short, even though it had potential.

Line of the match: Geller –- "I want to point out for the newer fans to FMW that chokeholds, utilizing objects, such as that towel… all perfectly legal."

Match # 3: Bad Nurse Yakamura vs. Yukari Ishikura

Bad Nurse, described by our hosts as "a former hooker", is clad in black goth-like apparel, whereas Ishikura is a bit smaller and wearing regular ol' blue wrestling tights. She should be FIRED on the spot for not wearing the regulation bad Hallowe'en costume!

This match gets off to a very quick start with Ishikura whipping her heavier opponent around the ring with ease. Bad Nurse soon takes control and tosses her opponent out of the ring and into the ringside guardrail. Worth pointing that both of these ladies are extremely quick, as in Rey Mysterio territory. Odd; the first few rows look to be completely empty, yet it's a decent-size house otherwise.

Bad Nurse gets her opponent back into the ring and stomps on her hands. A quick reversal sees Ishikura climbing the ropes and hitting a decent top-rope sunset flip. Ishikura scales the ropes several more times with varying degrees of success. Mostly bodypresses and such. After the sixth or seventh such leap, Ishikura leaps to the mat, with nobody home, and just looks like she flattened her face.

Bad Nurse takes advantage of the situation, trapping her opponent in a variation of the crippler crossface. Seconds later, Ishikura taps out and that's all she wrote.

Winner: Bad Nurse Yakamura
Rating: 2/5. If it had only gone longer, like say, at least 5 minutes, there could have been something there.

Line of the match: Geller mumbled something about Bad Nurse initially being a research assistant at gastrointestinal institute. It was extremely hard to hear, but you just KNOW it was pure comedy gold!

Match # 5: Tetsuhiro Kurado vs. Katsutoshi Niyama

Damn –- I already saw this match on the Best of Katsutoshi Niyama DVD. Actually, I have zero clue who either of these folks are, and I guarantee you don't either.

We start with a series of, ahem… "bitchslaps" from both competitors (better known in real-life as "chops") and a STIFF kick to the back by Niyama.  A series of amateur takedowns kind of changes the pace. Niyama follows up with some decent-looking power moves, such as clotheslines and whips to the turnbuckle. Kurado counters with dropkicks to the corner post, and Niyama oversells them horribly each time. Kurado nails a nice top-rope dropkick; I'll give him that.

Niyama nails a German suplex on his opponent and doesn't like he protected him in the least, then dives from the rope and misses by a mile. This somehow brings about a debate amongst the commentators over whether Ken Patera was an Olympic weightlifter. Powerslam from Niyama gets a two-count. Off the ropes, Kurado gets a rollup with a bridge for two. Niyama follows up with a… I don't know what the technical term for it is, but kind of like a Rock Bottom where you toss your opponent to the ground instead of actually helping him get there. And of course, that gets three.

Winner: Katsutoshi Niyama 
Rating: 2/5. Absolutely no story-building going on, and Nisama was sloppy as hell.

Line of the match: "Niyama, as we do know, it is somewhat verified, although it cannot be confirmed… a former farmboy. Grew up lifting cows. He actually sucked the milk right from the cows udder."

Match # 6: Masato Tanaka vs. Mr. Pogo

Finally, two wrestlers I've actually heard of before! This is billed as a "Death Duel". We have the wrestlers cutting promos beforehand. Allow me to transcribe (or at least copy down the subtitles from these gems):

Pogo: That little punk, Tanaka. He thinks he is going to provoke me. You don't know what you're talking about, do you Tanaka? Alright then, let's see it. Let's see if you can light my fire! But you just remember, you better bring your 'A' game. I'm coming all the way back to Yokohama just to fight you. If you fight like a pussy, I'm going to kill you. That's all! Now get the fuck out of here! (presumably, to the cameraperson, who leaves).
(Okay, it's not exactly "Well ya know, Mean Gene," but it's certainly not without merit.)

Tanaka: I'm not Onita, but I can light your fire like he did. You just be ready!
(Allllrighty, then.)

Pogo comes to the ring first; if you've never seen him before, he's a heavyset fellow with pre-1990 Sting warpaint, camouflage pants and a heavy metal-style T-shirt. In other words, exactly the look you'd associate with a man named "Mr. Pogo." He's carrying a barbed wire baseball bat to the ring. Oh, wait, Tanaka was already in the ring and attacks him. I should point out, by the way, than Tanaka is a former ECW champion who takes some of the sickest, most believable bumps I've seen this side of Mick Foley.

They take the fight out to the crowd, with a spotlight shining on them so the video can pick up their brawling. Pogo actually throws Tanaka outside the main arena door into the lobby, and Tanaka comes back with a metal sign placard to the gut.

The brawl lasts another few minutes, with Tanaka chasing Pogo to the ringside area. Pogo whips Tanaka into a metal guardrail, which actually collapses, sending Tanaka into the rows of empty chairs. Perhaps that's why the section was empty?

Back to the ring, Pogo nails Tanaka in the head with a cowboy boot several times (Watanbe: "Shades of the Fabulous Freebirds." Canadian Bulldog: "Huh?"). Pogo grabs a folding chair from ringside, which we're told has been legal in FMW since 1933. Tanaka is gashed open now. He reverses a chair shot via a dropkick, and then attacks his opponent with a chair shot of his own. Tanaka with some chops… sorry, bitchslaps in the corner and Pogo uses what can generously be called a savate kick to knock his opponent down (the guy can barely lift his leg high enough for the move).

Pogo finds a red shopping bag at ringside, which contains… a sickle!!! He then begins, quite literally, carving up Tanaka's head with the weapon, which I honestly don't think is phony at all. Sick! The blade remains in his forehead for a good 30 seconds. Then Pogo begins cutting up Tanaka's arm. He is actually carving Tanaka's bicep here. You can almost hear JR's voice saying "I suppose you're going to say that's a fake sickle. How do you learn to get cut in the arm with a sickle, bah gawd?". Unfortunately, the only commentators still with us are these two assclowns.

Tanaka mounts a brief comeback, but is stopped with a sickle to the gut, a move first made famous by Verne Gagne. Pogo takes a chain and begins wrapping it around Tanaka's knee. He then tosses Tanaka over the top rope, lassoing him by his knee over the top rope. I should point out that a chain is tied to the sickle, and while Tanaka is still hogtied, Pogo is using the sickle to slice up Tanaka's head some more, in full view of the camera.

Our moron commentators start arguing over how a chair could be a perfectly legal maneuver. Meanwhile, the chain is tied around Tanaka's neck and he's tied to the ropes, only inside of the ring now. Pogo steps back, removes a vial of mysterious liquid from his trunks (uh…), presumably to spit fire on Tanaka, but Tanaka breaks free of the chain and kicks Pogo in his considerable midsection, sending kerosene everywhere. Tanaka misses a Stinger Splash in the corner and by the time he's up, Pogo is in the ring and nails him with the barbed-wire baseball bat. And then he begins running the object over top of Tanaka's face. Because Tanaka isn't cut up enough already. 

Pogo misses baseball bat shot # 35 and Tanaka traps him in a sleeper. The two spill out of the ring, and Tanaka grabs a flimsy-looking table from ringside. He places Pogo on it, then frog splashes Pogo through it from the top rope.

Tanaka rips off a piece of the table and starts rubbing the edge of it into Pogo's forehead. About time he retaliated! They get back into the ring, and Pogo throws Tanaka into another piece of the table/pressboard. A second attempt at the same move is reversed, with Pogo landing ass-first onto the table piece, and it looks like that hurt. Tanaka slams the piece of table over Pogo's head, which makes a crude hole in the wood. Ouch!

Tanaka tries twice to clothesline Pogo over the top rope and then gives him a DDT, and covers him for two. Wow, an actual pinfall attempt! Tanaka grabs a chair from ringside, jumps from the top rope with the object, and misses. It's Pogo's turn to play with the chair now, and he gives Tanaka a nasty looking piledriver onto the piece of furniture. Two count only.

In a sick move (for a change) Pogo places his barbed-wire baseball bat onto the chair and brings Tanaka over the top rope into a DDT on it. Triple word score! That only gets two. Pogo tries again, this time with a piledriver onto the combination chair/bat, but Tanaka reverses it and throws Pogo back-first onto the bat. Yet, the bat doesn't seem to stick to his skin or shirt in the least, making me a little suspicious. Pogo gets up, grabs the bat and goes all A-Rod on Tanaka, swinging the bat in the general direction of Tanaka's throat. Real barbed wire or not, that must have killed!

But wait, we're not done yet. Pogo recreates the piledriver onto a barbed-wire baseball bat on a chair spot, and this time he strikes paydirt. The camera gets a great shot of Tanaka's face, looking in compete shock after that move,. And… two count? Geez, here I thought The Undertaker was bad for kicking out of big moves. A SECOND piledriver onto the bat/chair (come on, now!) and another two-count
Pogo finds his sickle/chain from ringside and wraps it around Tanaka's neck, hanging his foe from over the top rope. Think Repo Man-Davey Boy Smith, WWF Superstars of Wrestling back in the day, and you've got an idea of the visual here. This prompts the referee to call for the bell. Wait – who won? Was it a DQ? Nope, Pogo gets the nod. Yet I didn't see Tanaka tap out or anything. Maybe he passed out from the pain; hard to see for sure. Tanaka is revived by several staff, while others put their priority on wiping down all the blood from the ring.

Winner: Mr. Pogo   
Rating 4/5. You know what? For this style of wrestling, that's about as good as it's going to get. Tanaka took some insane bumps, and Pogo didn't do bad either. The crowd was into it the entire time, as was I. And it wasn't a four-minute match or anything, either.

Line of the match: Geller -- "The fans all know that Mr. Pogo was killed in a plane crash and brought back to life. And in order to stay in our world, he had to pay back the afterlife with souls."

Time for some more "light-hearted" action with the Snake Girls. Geller shows the ladies how to pull hair. Yes, seriously.

Match # 7: Combat "Mother-In-Law" Toyoda and Bison Kimura vs. Megumi Kudo and Ajya

The four competitors start out cutting promos… um, all standing next to each other in the locker room. Not a look of anger or jealously, nothing. This is billed as the "Women's Wrestling School, Class of 1986 reunion match". Which is strange – this is EXACTLY how I spent my high school reunion too!

We met the feared Mother-In-Law on the earlier FMW DVD (it was retirement match if memory serves), and she's apparently a legend in Japan. Same with Megumi Kudo, who was quite talented in the matches I've seen her in previously. Never heard of Bison before (perhaps a distant relative to Mantaur?). And no, Ajya is not "Asya" from WCW. I do believe she's Aja Kong, judging by her warpaint, who was ever so-briefly in the WWF to feud with Alundra Blayze in the mid-90's.

We start off in the ring with Ajya and Mother-In-Law – both are heavyset women (notice I didn't say "huge") with apocalyptic hairstyles and warpaint – in a test of strength. Come on, how often do you see THAT in a women's match?  After a series of shoulderblocks and criss-crosses, Ajya throws Mother-In-Law out of the ring. Kudo runs the ropes and does a perfect suicide dive. Then Ajya pretends to do the same move, but fakes us out and stops when she hits the ropes; cute.

The ladies tag out to their respective partners, and Bison quickly takes charge. Kudo bumps around like very few others, including many cruiserweights on SmackDown. Mother-In-Law tags in and starts with some Vader-like power moves on Kudo.

Ajya tags in and starts with Tajiri-like kicks to the back, which Mother-In-Law basically no-sells. Bison is tagged in and hits several "bitchslaps" (sigh) on Ajya. That's quickly reversed, and Ajya traps Bison in a camel clutch. Then she bites her foe's head. Then Bison and Mother-In-Law return the favor, biting Ajya in stereo. Then Kudo and Ajya start biting Bison. Ladies – get a room already!!!

Kudo tagged in there at some point and traps Bison in a Boston crab. Bison reverses the move and has a Boston crab of her own ready. Mother-In-Law is soon tagged in, and crushes Kudo with a backbreaker and then a sort airplane spin/torture rack combination. Two-count. A surfboard by Mother-In-Law almost backfires when Kudo escapes and gets a quick one count.

Ajya is tagged in and begins headbutting Mother-In-Law repeatedly. However, her opponents begins Hulking Up… er, Mother-In-Lawing Up… er, willing away the pain and shouting. Then, and I've never quite seen this in a match involving EITHER of the major genders, but both women start headbutting each other over and over again. You know how when a wrestler delivers a headbutt, they usually hold their opponent's head with a hand? Not here. These were heads banging into each other repeatedly, and completely unprotected. Ajya looks to have won that particular contest.

Bison and Mother-In-Law then try to whip Ajya to the ropes, but she counters with The Most Painful Looking Cross Body-Block Ever to both her foes. Then she splashes Mother-In-Law off the top rope, which gets two. Between Ajya's large frame and lime-green tights, I had a flashback of P.N. News there for some reason.

Kudo tags in and exchanges forearms with the Mother-In-Law. Kudo reverses a powerbomb into a sunset flip, which only gets two. More bitchslapping, this time by Bison. (Geller: "Bitchslap! Bitchslap! Bitchslap!" Canadian Bulldog: "It's called a GODDAMN CHOP, already!")

Bison takes control of Ajya and attempts to piledrive her much, much, much larger foe. No dice. Bison attempts a top rope splash, but Ajya puts her feet up. In the shock of the match, Bison and Mother-In-Law attempt a Doomsday Device on Ajya (imagine Animal holding Earthquake in place for Hawk to nail a clothesline), and they're successful.

Mother-In-Law somehow maneuvers Ajya on the top rope and back suplexes her down. That only gets two. A looooong series of double-teams goes on and ends with Mother-In-Law catching Kudo in the air and powerbombing her. This leads to some MORE double-teaming. Numerous powerbomb-pin-kick out sequences. Finally, after like 30 years, Kudo catches Mother-In-Law with a top-rope sunset flip for the pinfall.

After the bout, all four competitors are in the ring, and Ajya challenges her foes to another match ("You can't leave like this.") Mother-In-Law accepts the rematch, and then they all kind of just leave the ring together. Awwww, just like they did in '86. I guess.

Winners: Megumi Kudo and Ajya. 
Rating: 3/5. It was a good match and a sound one, but they just let it go on and on and on without a reason.

Line of the match: Geller – "Rumor has it these two ladies (Kudo and Mother-In-Law) were involved intimately."

Match # 8: Super Leather, Hideki Hosaka and Kintaro Kanemura vs. Mitsuhiro Matsunaga, Jason The Terrible and Hido

This is billed as a "Caribbean Barbed Wire Spider Web, Double Hell Glass Crush Kenzan Death Match". While this won't likely measure up to the classic Bruno Sammartino-Waldo Von Erich Caribbean Barbed Wire Spider Web, Double Hell Glass Crush Kenzan Death Match at the old Sunnyside Gardens, it will definitely eclipse the trainwreck of a Caribbean Barbed Wire Spider Web, Double Hell Glass Crush Kenzan Death Match between Mr. Hughes and Diamond Dallas Page at Slamboree '94.

This match is basically barbed wire covering two sides of the ropes, with beds of glass and nails at ringside. For some reason, the pre-match promo features all six competitors, standing beside each other, screaming into the camera about what they'll do to each other. FMW franchise Hayabusa is also mentioned, for some reason. Bizarre.

This starts off with all six guys brawling in the ring (you were expecting a test of strength, perhaps?).

Super Leather (who's mask is apparently made from the skins of humans and is a former mob hitman – yeahhhh) tries to suplex Hido over the top rope to the elaborate glass structure below, but Hido reverses it and sends both men back into the ring. Obviously, there's a whole lot of trying to shred people's faces into the barbed wire – Kanemura is the first to show color.

A long, interesting sequence takes place where Kanemura and, I believe, Matsunaga brawl on the ring apron, trying to slam each other into the bed of glass. (Geller: "Kanemura is actually a former circus clown, who had problems with wearing face paint." Canadian Bulldog: "Oh, shut the FUCK UP already!!!"). Kanemura eventually gets slammed into the glass below, face first I might add, and it looks quite painful. In fact, a ringside attendant rushes to Kanemura's aid. Jason and Hido use their feet to push poor Kanemura deeper into the glass. Inside the ring, Leather delivers a suplex and tries to pin Matsunaga. I have a feeling a suplex isn't going to exactly end this match.

Kanemura is back in and gets a double-slingshot suplex into the barbed wire for his troubles. He's nicknamed "Doughboy" for some reason, although that moniker may have been better used for, say, Mother-In-Law.

On the ring apron, Leather headbutts Matsunaga repeatedly, and Hido goes from behind to bulldog Matsunaga into the bed of glass. Kanemura brings some sort of board into the ring, and Jason is eventually slammed onto it and absorbs a top rope splash by The Doughboy. The board actually turns out to be a table (the table legs were concealed underneath), so Kanemura sets it up. Kanemura and Hosaka hold Jason in place on the table, while Leather leaps from the top rope on him, breaking the table in half. Only gets a two count.

For some reason, the spotlight focuses in at ringside and Leather runs into the crowd and delivers a painful-looking bodyslam to a plant…er, innocent fan who happens to be dressed like one of the ring crew. Inside the ring, Matsunaga brings a piece of glass in and starts smashing it on the head of anyone within striking distance. He then focuses his attention on cutting up Hido's head while Leather, brandishing some sort of baseball bat at ringside, chases the fans.

The bat isn't a bat after all, it's an "Iron Toothbrush" as Geller calls it, which has a bed of nails attached to it, although not the 10,000 rusty nails that Geller tries to sell us on. In the scariest-looking spot of the match, Hido holds a large shard of glass over Matsunaga's head while Leather uses said toothbrush to shatter the glass over Matsunaga's face and body. Yee-owch!

That only gets two (of course it does), so Leather decides to run Matsunaga's face into the barbed wire again. Jason and Hido use the opportunity to clothesline Leather to the bed of glass below, where he writhes around in pain for a while.

An extremely-sloppy looking double-powerbomb on Jason gets two, while we see that Super Leather has strands of barbed wire stuck in his dreadlocked hair (and here I thought I was the only use that used that excuse for showing up late to work). The camera keeps flashing back to the horror show creation, now several rows into ringside, scaring away fans and trying to untangle himself.

Inside the ring, Jason and Hido nail Hosaka with a kind of spike Snowplow, which actually gets three. Totally anticlimactic finish.

Winners: Mitsuhiro Matsunaga, Jason The Terrible and Hido   
Rating: 3/5. While not perfect, I can honestly say it was the best Caribbean Barbed Wire Spider Web, Double Hell Glass Crush Kenzan Death Match I've ever seen, and probably the standard that all future Caribbean Barbed Wire Spider Web, Double Hell Glass Crush Kenzan Death Matches will have to follow.

Line of the match – Geller: "I've got a boner just thinking about this match.. can I say that? A boner!"

Post-match, all six men unite in the ring after, you know, trying to murder each other. Kanemura offers us the following speech:

"Hayabusa! All of these fought their hearts out in this death match. They got beat up and smashed. This is what a deathmatch is about. You can't get away from this. You promised to fight us in a deathmatch! Next year we are coming back to take the ring. We're going to reclaim our glory days. You hear us!"

To which I offer the following: "Huh?"

And that's it. That's how the show ends. Onto the "Extras", and I use that term very loosely:

  • There is a bonus match, between whom, I'm not entirely sure. There are no introductions, and no English commentary (which, all things considered, ain't a bad thing). It's a six-man tag featuring Masato Tanaka and Kanemura, though the other four people I don't recognize. The match is obviously not from the same card and is clipped more than a "Maple Leaf Gardens Feature Match" (and yes, I realize there will only be maybe a half-dozen people who get that reference). The team with Tanaka on it wins, if you care.
  • There's a music video of Hayabusa, almost naked, being transformed into his character with make up, scars and a mask. Then it shows about five minutes of highlights from him, which is actually pretty cool. It's a shame he's nowhere on this DVD; he was incredible.
  • You can also view a gallery of FMW superstars, most of whom were not mentioned at all on the DVD. There's also a text feature on the history of FMW. Yet, no mention of bird-orphans, mob hitmen or lesbian lovers – you don't think the commentators were making that stuff up as they went along, do you?
  • Oh joy – BOTH Snake Sisters segments are highlighted as standalone gems.

I'd be remiss if I also didn't plug the trailers section of other… uh, presentations by Tokyo Pop, such as "Ghosthustlers", about a trio of high school girls that chase unrealistic-looking snakes and ghosts. Who ya gonna call? NOT THEM.

Final analysis: Was this worth watching? I have a sick sense of humor, so for me, yeah sure. But there are certainly better FMW collections – you haven't lived until you've seen an Exploding Barbed Wire Match - and as I said, the second wave of DVD's doesn't even include ridiculous commentary.

So I'd say this one is entirely skippable.


CANADIAN BULLDOG  is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.

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