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Thread: NJPW Hyper Battle 2001 Review

  1. #1

    NJPW NJPW Hyper Battle 2001 Review

    Hyper Battle
    March 20, 2001

    The other day, I randomly found myself reading up on the Team2000 faction in NJPW and how they differed from nWo Japan. As a result, I decided to find a random event to watch featuring them.

    For context sake, this is the fifteenth and final night of the Hyper Battle tour. Looking through the results thus far in the tour, here are some highlights:

    Jushin Liger and El Samurai defeated Junior Stars (Tanaka and Kanemoto) to win the IWGP Jr. Tag Titles - Night 3
    Scott Norton defeated Kensuke Sasaki to win the IWGP Title - Night 12

    Also, in an interesting bit of trivia, since this was taped in March, but aired on TV in April, it was taped when WCW was still a company, but aired after it was dead.

    Negro Casas vs Katsuyori Shibata
    Itís young lion Shibata! At this point, Shibata is just your typical young lion, although heíd be getting more of a push later on in the year. Although predominantly a CMLL guy, Casas had worked plenty for NJPW from 1990-2012. This was a pretty standard opening match without anything too big happening. There were plenty of brutal chops to entertain me some. For still being so new into the business, Shibata looked pretty good out there. Casas would get a nearfall following a middle rope back senton. Eventually, Casas would surprise Shibata with a crucifix style cover to get the pinfall. Iím a bit surprised that Casas didnít just properly beat Shibata, but instead appeared to get lucky. ** Ĺ

    Jushin Liger and El Samurai © vs Kendo Kashin and Minoru Tanaka - Non-Title
    Liger and Samuraiís first title defense wonít be until Dontaku 2001, but this match gives Tanaka a chance to get a bit of revenge for the new champions winning his title earlier in the tour. Despite this chance for Tanaka to get some revenge, he actually spent most of the match being the championsí personal bitch. Most of the time that Tanaka is in the ring, heís struggling and heís ultimately forced to rely on Kendo to get in some success. Kashin, on the other hand, seems to rarely struggle against the champions. The match built up to a pretty fun final few minutes with a few nearfalls including Liger busting out a Liger Bomb and plenty of Samuraiís flying headbutts. Despite all of the success that Kendo had in the match, heís the one pinned after a Liger brainbuster. Good little match. ***


    After the match, thereís a big angle with BALD GUY coming out and getting on the mic to cut a promo on Liger. This led to multiple pull aparts resulting in more talking on the mic with both men and Ligerís mask being ripped. At this point of typing this, Iím not 100% sure who the BALD GUY is, but it came across as a significant angle.

    Scott Norton © vs Yutaka Yoshie - Non-Title
    While Norton is representing Team2000, Yoshie is a member of the Yuji Nagata led faction of G-EGGS. Weíre joined in progress (Seems to be very briefly though) with Yoshie already down on the mat and Norton in firm control. To give you an idea of how much Yoshie is struggling against Norton, the first time he finally gets in an offensive move, Norton is body slammed, but immediately pops back up and delivers a lariat to Yoshie. The rest of the match is Yoshie trying everything and having little to no luck. Some strikes seemed to have a greater effect on Norton, but Nortonís strikes back hurt Yoshie more. Yoshie tries working over the leg, but it didnít hurt Norton too much. Itís just not possible to hurt Norton in this match and before long, Yoshie suffers a Norton power bomb to give the new IWGP Champion the victory. A strong performance for Norton as he builds up to his first title defense in April against Kazuyuki Fujita at Strong Style. Spoiler: this title reign would go about as well for Norton as Tanahashiís IWGP Title reign in 2019 went. ** ľ

    Scott Hall vs Manabu Nakanishi
    It was just at the start of the Hyper Battle tour that Hall made his return to WCW to join Team2000. Hall coming out to Kid Rockís Cowboy was pretty unexpected. Meanwhile, Manabu is a member of G-EGGS, making this the second TEAM2000 vs G-EGGS match of the night. I believe that at this point, Hall claims to be clean or at least in the process of getting clean. Looking back, he probably should have stayed in Japan rather than returning to the WWE since thatís when he fell off of the wagon again. Anyways, this was a technically fine match. Hall worked over the back of Manabu after initially jumping Nakanishi before the bell and using Manubuís own t-shirt to choke him some. The back work paid off for Hall as Manabuís first attempt of the Torture Rack failed to lift Hall up. While the story was simple, yet very solid, the actual action is slow going. I canít say Iím all that interested, but Iím also sorta impressed to see Hall in a non-wrestle crap match post-1996. After failing to lift Manabu up for an Outsiderís Edge, Hall is finally picked up into the Torture Rack to be forced to submit, giving G-EGGS their first victory against TEAM2000 tonight. Mostly just interesting seeing Hall in 2001. **

    TEAM2000 vs Brian Johnson, Shiro Koshinaka, and Osamu Kido
    TEAM2000 are represented by Hiro Saito and The Mad Dogs (Michiyoshi Ohara and Tatsutoshi Goto). While Johnson is a member of C-EGGS, his two teammates are not. Kido had been in wrestling for so long that he used to compete in JWA prior to the launch of AJPW and NJPW. Along with Tatsumi Fujinami and Antonio Inoki, Kido had been a part of the first ever NJPW event in 1972. By this point though, his career is finishing up, going into semi-retirement by the end of the year. Out of the matches Iíve seen thus far tonight, this one felt like the most that was pure filler. TEAM2000 seemed to control the match while I tried to identify which one was Saito and which were the Mad Dogs. I concluded that the Mad Dogs were the two that looked as if they could be the inspiration for Toru Yano and Togi Makebe forming The New Mad Dogs. In a completely underwhelming finish, Kido, of all people, locked in the armbar on Saito and forced the submission. Not only did I not expect TEAM2000 to lose, but I especially didnít expect Kido to be the one to get the victory. The match makes me curious to see more of Johnson. The guy could really move. * Ĺ

    Kensuke Sasaki vs Osamu Nishimura
    As mentioned earlier, this Hyper Battle tour had been a difficult one for Sasuki, having lost his IWGP Title to Scott Norton just days ago. I know Osamu best for being one of the entrants in the disastrous NWA Title tournament that ECW hosted in 1994. At this point in time, Osamu seemed to be just trying to get his footing back after missing over a year and a half in the late 90s due to battling cancer. Other than that one incredible match he had with Kawada in October 2000, I tend to struggle to care about Sasaki singles matches. This was a bunch of mat work with Osamu being a bit more comfortable with the submission game than Sasaki. I was buying into the idea that Nishimura was going to pull off the victory to further ruin Sasakiís tour, but the former Power Warrior countered Osamu bouncing off of the ropes with a lariat for the pinfall. The match served its purpose to have Sasaki rebound from his title loss without making Nishimura look bad in defeat. **

    Don Frye and Keiji Mutoh vs Yuji Nagata and Takashi Iizuka
    Mutoh and Frye are the main two members of BATT while Nagata is obviously the leader of G-EGGS. Although not a member of the faction, it does seem as if Iizuka is an ally of G-EGGS since he and Nagata won the 2000 G1 Tag League together. This may actually be my first time watching Frye in a normal wrestling match and the guy just comes across as a massive megastar. Heís a MMA guy, so he comes across as someone who could legitimately kick your ass, but unlike the likes of Dan Severn or Ken Shamrock, the guy has personality too. I canít say that the match was all that interesting though. Mutoh didnít really add anything to the match and although it was fun seeing Iizuka with hair, he was just...fine. Nagata tried though and Iím potentially a fan of Frye. They tried adding a lot of craziness at the end with dual submission holds before Nagata pulled off the victory with a back drop driver on Frye while Iizuka kept Motoh at bay with a sleeper hold. ** ľ

    Tencozy © vs Riki Choshu and Shinya Makabe - IWGP Tag Titles
    Kojima and Tenzan are the dominant tag team of Team2000. This match seemed like itíd be an easy victory for Tencozy since at this point, the future Togi Makabe, is just some young jr heavyweight. Yet, this dynamic of the challengers being a veteran bad ass past his prime teaming with a young junior made for a really fun contest. Right at the ringing of the bell, Makabe exploded and delivered a spear. That allowed for the challengers to work over Tenzan for the first half of the match. Even when Kojima tries to get involved, he suffers a spike piledriver shortly after Tenzan received one. Itís creating this story that there could be a huge upset, which by itself is an odd idea since one of the challengers is Riki fín Choshu. Yet, the championships showed why theyíre the dominant team of NJPW when Kojima busted out an Ace Crusher on Choshu to finally slow down the challengers. The fun continued though as we now got to see both teams looking as if they could pull off the victory. A second Ace Crusher to Choshu gives the champions a nearfall. Finally, Kojima killed Makabe with a lariat to win the match and retain the titles. While the outcome was exactly what you expected it to be, the actual match was anything but predictable. *** Ĺ

    Well, I watched this show solely because I read a Wiki article and wanted to see some Team2000. I got to see some Team2000. Was this a particularly great or important show? Absolutely not. However, itís also only an hour and a half, so it was a quick watch with nothing overstaying its welcome. The main event managed to deliver something pretty good. Iím interested in seeing some more Don Frye. The Jushin Liger match was pretty solid and the post-match angle with Bald Guy felt pretty darn important. Overall, itís a random ass NJPW event from 2001 where the big appeal is seeing a young Togi Makabe, Iizuka with hair, Scott Hall during his forgotten run with NJPW between his WCW and WWE runs, and Scott ďFlashĒ Norton no sell a bitch.

  2. #2
    Mr. Victory Through Guts

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    Re: NJPW Hyper Battle 2001 Review

    Bald guy.

    That's Kazunari Murakami, who not only was awesome with one of the best matches of 2000 in NJPW (tagging with Ogawa vs. Iizuka/Hashimoto) he also had one of my favorites of the decade vs. Nagata in 2002 challenging for the world title. But in 2001 him facing Liger was super random. He had been a heavyweight his entire run to this point and was out of NJPW for awhile at that point, he just returned February against Muto and now this with Liger.

    I really don't remember much of this show and wasn't compelled by this review to go back. I will say this about Team2000. It featured one of the best entrance themes of all time with Chono's Team2000 Crash.

  3. #3

    Re: NJPW Hyper Battle 2001 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Zero View Post
    Bald guy.

    That's Kazunari Murakami, who not only was awesome with one of the best matches of 2000 in NJPW (tagging with Ogawa vs. Iizuka/Hashimoto) he also had one of my favorites of the decade vs. Nagata in 2002 challenging for the world title. But in 2001 him facing Liger was super random. He had been a heavyweight his entire run to this point and was out of NJPW for awhile at that point, he just returned February against Muto and now this with Liger.
    I know early 2000s NJPW could be really random and poorly booked, but despite what felt like a really big angle, I looked on Cagematch and it seemed as if the only match Liger and Murakami had in NJPW, which includes both singles and tag matches, was a less than 2 minute singles match the next month.

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