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What Wrestlefan Watched Volume 2: Apartment Wrestling and Perfect Commentary!

In the last column, I showed you the serious, intense and competitive style of the Japanese known as puroresu. Now let’s take a completely different route. Because, not only is Japan known for their competitive wrestling, but also for some of the best comedic wrestling in the world today. Take for example this match from the Dramatic Dream Team promotion in Japan. This is the same company that is known for having competitors like YOSHIHIKO, which is an inflatable sex doll, and Misutero, who is an invisible wrestler (Both of them having wins under their belt by the way). But this time, we have a series of matches the likes of which we have never seen before. I give you, Apartment Complex Wrestling.

This hour long episode of DDT’s programming is used to show rising Japanese wrestler Kota Ibushi compete in a series of trials that occur all throughout various wrestlers apartment buildings. Kota Ibushi may sound familiar to some of you from the tours he has done in America including winning Chikara’s 2009 Rey De Voladores tournament at King Of Trios weekend, which included a phenomenal four way encounter involving Ibushi, El Generico, Jigsaw and Nick Jackson of the Young Bucks, that many considered Match of the Year. But instead of wrestling 4 guys, he wrestles around 12 in a series of encounters, each which its own level of hilarity. Let me just run through some of the highlights.

1. This whole series gives the assumption that no matter what pro wrestlers are doing, they are constantly in their wrestling gear, instead of putting on real people clothes when they go about their daily life’s.

2. Japanese housing facilities are notorious for being extremely small, so the fact that they are able to perform all of they signatures maneuvers in a tiny, cramped space is outstanding to me.

3. When Ibushi begins to wrestle a man, who is in the act of being disciplined and whipped by a dominatrix, he applies a figure four-leg lock as the female drips hot candle wax onto the man’s chest. Ibushi wins due to his opponent passing out by either pain or excitement, I cannot tell.

4. As he continues, Ibushi finds fellow wrestler Michael Nakazawa bounded and gagged in his opponents closet and forms a team with him as they progress. They encounter a room filled with water guns, water balloons and buckets upon buckets of H20, as they begin battle with another opponent. The wet and wild action gets out of hand and Ibushi calms down the situation in the most logical way possible, by shooting fireworks at both men and finally getting the pin.

5. Ibushi and Nakazawa later encounter Danshoku Dino and another male wrestler in the act of lovemaking. For those that do not know, Danshoku Dino is the homosexual Japanese wrestler known for his finisher being a piledriver where he sticks his opponent’s head into the front of his tights. A tag team match begins as Dino’s main form of attack is trying to “butt fuck” Nakazawa, which I believe counts as a submission hold. This match also includes a fisherman’s suplex through a wall for god’s sakes.

6. After many more showdowns, it finally ends, as Ibushi must face an evil version (I am assuming because he has face paint) of Michael Nakazawa on the rooftop, which ends with him lawn darting Nakazawa into a wooden fence for the win.

This entire match and the rest of DDT are proof that humor in pro wrestling is multifaceted. Sometimes it’s the characters that are funny, sometimes it’s the actions in a match that are funny and sometimes its taking wrestlers and placing them in situations that can only be conceived through some drug induced state of hypnosis that makes wrestling truly hilarious.

Next, I switch to WCW Superbrawl 3 from February of 1993 (A show that occurred when I was only 4 months away from entering this world), which featured a contest between highflying athlete 2 Cold Scorpio and the WCW PPV debut of Chris Benoit.

What more can you say about these two guys? Both men went back and forth with very hard-hitting and combative offense throughout. Chris Benoit got to show a very cocky, arrogant side that was normally not seen during his wrestling career and 2 Cold Scorpio was able to display the innovative offense that made him famous. It is fair to say that the style 2 Cold Scorpio utilized during his days in WCW, ECW and WWF paved the way for the stars of today that are constantly trying to mesmerize crowds with things they have never seen before. The ending to this matchup is also very unique as Scorpio is able to pin Benoit with a roll up with 1 second remaining in the 20-minute time limit. Time limit draws have been so overplayed and improperly used in modern wrestling, but this was used to perfection and caused such an excitement and shock from the crowd that it was overall effective. But, there is one important aspect that makes this match something special that I want to address, and that is the effectiveness of the commentary team.

Tony Schiavone and Jesse “The Body” Ventura are on call for this show, and their performance is a great example of what a well-done wrestling announce team should be like. The biggest key to it is that Ventura plays the role of the heel announcer, as Schiavone is the face, but none of this inhibits the actual match. Both men in the early going pick who they believe will win and for what reasons, Ventura choosing Benoit and Schiavone choosing Scorpio. However, they do not fall into the trend that is seen a lot today and defend their guy whether they are right or wrong. In fact, Ventura, while still being a heel, notes times when Benoit makes mistakes, such as not going for the cover soon enough or when Benoit hits a top rope back suplex and takes some of the damage to his head. Not only that, when Ventura would bring up a valid point involving the match that is about something either Benoit or Scorpio is doing, Schiavone will make sure to agree with Ventura and provide analysis. Both are working together in order to tell the story of the match that the wrestlers are providing for them to tell and they do it flawlessly. The two do bicker from time to time, with Ventura dishing out insults to Schiavone, but it never overtakes the wrestling and only occurs during the downtime in the ring. Some people may not consider this stuff important, but it truly is the little things like commentary that can propel a great match into one to remember.

Also, I want to explore more from Superbrawl 3 since the main event is Sting versus Big Van Vader in a “White Castle Of Fear Strap Match”, which I can only assume involves sliders and crinkle cut fries.

Well, that’s all I have this time. Tell me what you thought of these matches and if you have any suggestions of things I should watch, send them into [email protected] and I will watch it. Because trust me, I will watch anything once.

-The Wrestlefan