Cero Reviews Bridge Of Dreams ~ Dome Spring Full Bloom

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Cero Reviews Bridge Of Dreams ~ Dome Spring Full Bloom

Post by cero2k » Jul 16th, '21, 00:12

Bridge Of Dreams ~ Dome Spring Full Bloom
April 2nd, 1995
Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan

This is the legendary Bridge of Dreams show, organized by the Weekly Pro Wrestling magazine in Japan. They wanted to produce a show that could gather all major promotions in the country for a huge celebration of wrestling. Just the fact that they managed to convince all of these promotions to work in the same show, to have them agree on the match placing, and to pay them all a substantial amount of money, it is something worth recognition. I believe that the only major promotion not here was WAR.

Opening ceremony - Don't know many of the names out there doing speeches, but it was pretty much an intro and welcome to the show and the significance of it. Representatives from all promotions got flowers while they played a How Deep Is Your Love piano version by Bee Gees.

Candy Okutsu, Dynamite Kansai, Fusayo Nochi & Hikari Fukuoka vs. Cutie Suzuki, Devil Masami, Hiromi Yagi & Mayumi Ozaki - 8/10
I'm watching this show 26 years later, and Ozaki is not only still active, but she JUST lost the Oz Academy Openweight title on the 4.4 show to Sonoko Kato after a 721 day reign.

At the point of this match, Kansai is the Ace of JWP, she's teaming with Fukuoka, who is seen with much potential at this point, plus Candy and Nochi, who are rookies. On the other team, Devil Masami is already a veteran, she was a big star during the 80's with AJW, she's teaming with the Ozaki, who is in her prime, with ten years under her belt, and she's a big heel, and one of Kansai's rivals. Suzuki and Yagi are the newer wrestlers in the team, Suzuki was an idol wrestler.

The match was really good, and quite interesting for 1995, the style of match was surely not a common thing for this year in the US, it's was 100% a "Joshi Speed" type of match, it kinda felt like it was the birth of the Dragon Gate and PWG multi-person style of match. A match with little to no history, but completely actioned packed. Coming in to the match, all I knew was that it has a ****3/4 rating in WON, and judging with the eyes of 2021, it's hard to believe it, but putting myself in 1995, as a US fan, this would had been mind-blowing in the sense that the matches like Tiger Mask vs Dynamite Kid were. And it wasn't just the pacing and layout of the match, but the moves themselves, these were women doing Jr. Heavyweight spots.

Dynamite Kansai pinned Devil Masami with a top rope Splash Mountain Bomb.

I watched this show on a VHS rip with no commentary, it made it really hard to follow some of the spots, especially with Okutsu and Nochi, who were wearing the same gear. Early on, one of them did the Giant Swing over Yagi and it was great, I just couldn't tell who it was from the far camera. I did recognize when Masami paid her back with a Giant Swing of her own.

From Ladies Legend Pro Wrestling
Ultimate Fight Rules Match
Shinobu Kandori vs. Harley Saito - N/A
Yes! Saito came out to Cha-la head-cha-la! LLPW was the 'shoot' and serious promotion that came out of JWP. Kandori was a large fighter, LLPW's superstar after having a top rated match with Hokuta back in '93, but at this point, she hadn't been in a legit MMA match, she started later in July of '95 and ended with a 4-1 record. Saito was small fighter, technically there for the job and nothing else, as a pro wrestler, she had a successful career in LLPW and LPWA winning a couple of titles. Coincidentally, but maybe not, Saito's best match was also against Hokuto.

The match, being a 'shoot', and granted I have poor arguments to believe it wasn't, lasted less than two minutes. Saito got an early knee that dropped Kandori, who pissed off, took down Saito, locked in a triangle hold and started punching Saito until she gave up. Saito's first knee looked worked, and the referee was either incompetent for letting it go so long, or just had to milk it as much as possible.

From All Japan Women's Pro Wrestling
Aja Kong & Kyoko Inoue vs. Blizzard Yuki & Manami Toyota - 8.5/10
This show is taking place less than 10 days after Toyota took Kong's WWWA Championship, stopping Kong's 850 day title reign. As Kong makes her way to the ring, Toyota stands dead center of the ring and holds it up high so Kong can see it. These two are set for war.

Blizzard Yuki is also known as Sakie Hasegawa, Yuki being her masked gimmick, that she only used for about 2-3 years before retiring. From what I understand, this was a way to introduce her to the main event scene, but never really got there.

Because Kong is the one coming out of the big title reign and Inoue is already well established as a power house, the fans reacted to them favorably and dominated most of the match. On the other team, Yuki is not really making many waves, but Toyota's style and explosiveness does get her great reactions from the crowd.

The match itself was quite good, especially towards the end when both team started trading near falls. While it was mostly dominance from Kong and Inoue, there wasn't any babyface in peril stuff, it was a lot of back and forward, with the babyfaces only getting offense to tag out and quickly get cut off again. Toyota and Yuki had some big spotty moves here and there, but just kept getting cut off. At the end, surprisingly, Kong pinned Toyota with a top rope slam, comes to show that Kong is still the bigger star and that she's going to reclaim her title.

So far, these matches have felt like big showcases of both the promotions and the women, which given the nature of the show, it's probably the biggest priority, given there are all type of fans tonight.

Post-match - Akira Hokuto came out to put the match over. After she was done, Kong claimed that she deserved a title shot.

Lou Thesz Presentation - Nice, he talked about Riki Choshu and how awesome it is to wrestle in Japan.

From Go Gundan - Alien Death Match
Ryuma Go vs. Uchu-Majin Silver X (w/minions) - 6/10
Go Gundam was in the 90's what we could now see with promotions like DDT, Kaiju Big Battel, and such. The wacky indie promotion with the weird characters and kayfabe breaking stuff that makes weirdos get angry. Uchu-Majin Silver X wasn't a character that had a lot of matches, but under the mask was "The Stray Bear" Gogo Tsurumi, a Japanese indie legend, he had a run with AJPW in the 80's, but was mostly all over the place. Think of Uchu-Majin Silver X as the Jason Voorhees version of Mecha Mummy.

Ryuma Go in the other hand, was an 80's wrestler, solid work with IWE, NJPW, and AJPW throughout his career, but never really made it big, he had a couple of NWA title reigns that are not fully accounted for and a 2 day reign for that weird WWF Jr> Heavyweight title that existed in the 70's and 80's.

This was a weird idea of a match, but for what it was it achieved what it was supposed to do. My biggest complain was that the match went about 15 minutes for what should had been a 5 minute heat segment, comeback, and win. But beyond that, the wrestling was ok, the 4-on-1 interference was annoying, but it was the whole idea of the 80's hero facing the odds. I was expecting a comedy match, and got a wrestling match.

Random Wild Brawl - We suddenly cut to a brawl, coming from the back and then they stopped in the ring for the start of the Japanese National Anthem, and then the fight eventually becomes a title match in the ring, but it's not a match in the cards nor reviews, and at least in my video, it got cut after a minute or so. I had no idea who they were.

From IWA Japan
Barbed Wire Board & Barbed Wire Baseball Bat Bunkhouse Death Match
Leatherface, Shoji Nakamaki & Terry Funk vs. The Headhunters (Headhunter A & Headhunter B) & Cactus Jack - 7/10
This had an amazing start, both teams set up in the entrance ramp with weapons, and after introductions, they just went fir the brawl, while Cactus and Shoiji raced to the ring to get their hands on the barbwire first. It wasn't a minute and Shoji was already busted open.

The match was all over the place, six big dudes doing a bunch of random weapon spots. Everyone bled towards the end, Funk and Shoji were the worst. Cactus Jack early on did the spot where he gets his head trapped between the ropes, the very same he already lost an ear to, so I don't know what he was thinking, it's actually kinda disturbing because you see him asking for help, but neither the referee or the teammates are paying attention, like walking next to him, but not paying attention. At the end, it was Shoji getting the win over one of the Headhunters with a roll up. I think for the time, this match was probably seen somewhat unique and special, hence so high ratings here and there, but at the end of the day, it's a weapons spotfest.

At one point, Leatherface brought out a freaking chainsaw and it looked great, since it threw sparks when he revved it up, so when he pretended to attack someone, it looked legit, but obviously no one got cuts, so I'm not 100% sure how I feel about it.

Christopher DeWeaver vs. Minoru Suzuki - N/A
This was a short fight before Suzuki got a kneebar on DeWeaver and got the submission win. DeWeaver was a tall man, so it looked impressive. It's a shoot fight, so there just wasn't much to say about it. Unfortunate for me that the Suzuki match only lasted less than 2 minutes.

As a side note, DeWeaver came out to Tom Jones' If I Only Knew, one of my most hated music videos. If you're not gonna walk your dog, don't have a dog!

Carl Greco & Don Arakawa vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Yuki Ishikawa - 8/10
Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi was a promotion created by Fujiwara (Yes, Fujirawa Armbar Fujiwara), it as a shoot style promotion that kinda rivaled UWF when Fujiwara left the UWF. This promotion would later in some months see an exodus of fighters that went to create BattleARTS, Greco and Ishikawa would be two of them.

This was really weird, it was a technical 'shoot' match, but Arakawa is a comedy wrestler, and thus all he did was comedy. So you have Greco go all technical, but then Arakawa would come in and to do 'shoot' wrestling with comedy. Personally, for a match watched in a void, I thought it was incredibly entertaining, because it had the perfect mix of fucking awesome wrestling, with some great comedy here and there. Finish saw Ishikawa win with an arm and neck-scissors submission on Greco. If you like Grapplefuck matches, I would suggest you watch this for the sake of seeing a comedy version of it.

From Michinoku Pro
SATO, Shiryu & The Great Sasuke vs. Gran Naniwa, Super Delfin & TAKA Michinoku (w/Sakie “Blizzard Yuki” Hasegawa) - 8.5/10
This is 90's Michinoku Pro, so technically, it's a combination of junior heavyweight wrestling, Mexican lucha libre, comedy wrestling, and fantastic characters. Delfin alone would later on go and create Osaka Pro for instance. This match is at a great point where Sasuke is as the top of his game, and Taka is close to going to the US for ECW and WWF. SATO and Shiryu (the original Kaientai) are young Dick Togo and Kaz Hayashi respectively, who are currently still working for NJPW and GLEAT.

The match went slightly above 20 minutes and it was all action. The combination of wrestlers allowed for a dynamic match that could go from Naniwa comedy, to Delfin vs Shiryu high speed lucha, to Sasuke martial arts, to SATO's powerhouse stuff, and then cap it off with dives from everyone. This was exactly what would later become the crowd pleasing junior stuff in the US. Finish saw Super Delfin get the win with a Tornado DDT and Delfin Clutch on Shiryu.

Post-match - Naniwa interviewed Delfin for some comedy.

Fighting Network Rings Rules, Dolman Retirement Match
Akira Maeda vs. Chris Dolman - 3/10
RINGS was yet another shoot promotion that came out after UWF broke up, this was also centered around Maeda. It eventually became an actual MMA promotion before PRIDE killed it.

Chris Dolman is a Dutch MMA guy that is about 50 years old here and ready for retirement, and so they had this 'shoot' exhibition match. This lasted about 5 minutes before Maeda got a leg lock and taps Dolman out. This was more about what came up next.

Post-match - Dolman got a huge send off, about a hundred trophies and even Maeda's robe.

From UWFi
UWFi Rules Match
Gary Albright, Gene Lydick & Kazuo Yamazaki vs. Billy Scott, Masahito Kakihara & Nobuhiko Takada - 8/10
This was fucking great, 15 minutes of worked shoot grapplefuck. Albright was built as a monster destructor, he didn't getin the ring until later in the match when he came in and dominated poor Billy Scott. After several pair ups, the match came down to Takada, the ace of UWFi, submit Lydick with a cross armbreaker.

Kintaro Ohki Ceremony - Ohki was a South Korean wrestler, trained by Rikidōzan. He was in his late 60's for this ceremony, which was in a way a retirement ceremony, even if he had already unofficially retired in the early 80's, he didn't wrestle much, and so he never actually had a ceremony until today. He answered some questions and said his speech, followed by the 10 bell salute. This was Ohki's last wrestling public appearance. He would pass away in 2006 due to a heart attack at 77.

This was really nice and heartfelt, even after being inactive for so long, Ohki was moved by having a retirement ceremony, he had a couple of tears during the ten bell salute.

Lou Thesz brought him out in a wheelchair for the ceremony, but the man still made a huge effort to stand for most of the ceremony.

From FMW
No Ropes Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match
Great Nita vs. Pogo Daiyo - 3/10
The Great Nita is indeed Atsushi Onita, but doing his Great Muta gimmick that he started after coming back from his second retirement. He had been having his gimmick matches for a while and Pogo Daiyo for that matter, better known as Mr. Pogo.

The match itself was bad, even for a No Ropes Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match, and that is because for some reason, they decided to bring out a freaking Kama, they started fake stabbing each other, at one point Pogo put it in Onita's mouth, so there I am trying to believe that the explosions are real, but that they have a Kama and not stabbing themselves enough to kill each other. After a couple of explosions, Onita won with a facecrusher that pushed Pogo to another explosion and into the pin.

From All Japan Pro Wrestling
Kenta Kobashi, Mitsuharu Misawa & Stan Hansen vs. Akira Taue, Johnny Ace & Toshiaki Kawada - 9.25/10
This was great, arguably the match of the night for some people, and that's coming from a show that had already given us some pretty great matches all around. I think it comes down to personal preferences between Joshi, UWF, Jr. Heavyweight, or Strong Style, to decide what you liked most tonight. While I personally have a preference for Joshi, I did think this match was better paced than the opener and the UWFi matches. It also helps that this match went for the 30 minute time limit, and so just had more time to feature more people.

This was a perfect example of the All Japan style of the time, the slow build done via striking, and the escalation for the big suplexes and slams and strikes. The match is a lot of action to recap, but at the end, all men got a chance to show off, and while I did think that Ace felt out of place at some points, him having a somewhat different style from everyone else didn't hurt the match, he just came off as a great worker. As for the rest, Kobashi was a great babyface in peril, Taue and Hansen were great hosses, Kobashi and Kawada looked great as superstar ass kickers.

When it comes to bringing your A game to a showcase show, AJPW made sure to make it count.

From New Japan Pro Wrestling
Shinya Hashimoto (w/Hiroshi Hase and Tadao Yasuda) vs. Masahiro Chono (w/Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Hiro Saito) - 5.5/10
This match is remembered for being legendary bad, not that it really was in my opinion, but when looked in the perspective of the show of showcases, following the AJPW match, the participants, and all, this most definitely was a bore and quite underwhelming.

I thought the match was Ok, it wasn't anything terrible or abysmal, surely over the ocean, some promotions were having worse things, but it was a bit of a bore. The match started with some energy between the two, but quickly on, it turned into Hashimoto working the shoulder and Chono the leg in really slow action. Not all that different from some current day NJPW matches, except that this match never hit second gear, they went 15 minutes and stayed in first until the very finish where Chono won with a Brainbuster.

Post-match - Tenzan challenged Hashimoto for the title, in what felt like a completely out of place angle.

There's no argument that this was one of the biggest and most historical shows in wrestling. It's something that it's hard to fully recreate at this level. While we see memorial shows where most promotions send their talent, it's not the same as having a Tokyo Dome sized show with the best of the best showcases of most promotions in a country.

The action in the show had a lot of ups and downs due to the nature of many of the matches, when you have all 31 flavors in the same show, some are just not going to live up to the spectator as others, but at the end, I assure you that you're going to like most of it. When you have a show with several matches coming close to 5 stars, you know it was good.

There was a story about this show on how all promotions came to agree on the order of the matches, mostly because neither Baba or Inoki wanted to not be the main event, and so they decided to go by age and give the older promotion the main event, which in itself was sexist bullshit, since AJW was older than both promotions. For that matter, all the women's promotions opened the show, but when you have a 6 hour show, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

The reason why WAR wasn't in the show was because the other Japanese wrestling magazine decided to run their own show on the same night in Korakuen Hall, with Tenryu's WAR and a Riki Choshu appearance. They packed the place and Choshu's participation in that show was one of the many reasons that people bring up when talking about NJPW and Weekly Pro Wrestling having problems later on, that eventually resulted in NJPW banning the magazine from all shows for about a year until Tarzan Yamamoto, Weekly Pro's editor, retired from the magazine. There would be other problems between NJPW and the magazine in the future that would result in other bans.

Another reason that gets brought for NJPW and Weekly Pro Wrestling's problems was NJPW's poor performance in their showcase match. They were not only upstaged by AJPW (who didn't even want to be there), but by most promotions, from the small indies, to the shoot, to the deathmatch, and the women's who got totally screwed in this 'seniority' card order BS. The bad reviews brought in some bad press and humiliation to NJPW, who ended up blocking the commercial release of this show, not only killing any chance of a better quality release of the show, but hurting the relations that Weekly Pro and NJPW had.

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Re: Cero Reviews Bridge Of Dreams ~ Dome Spring Full Bloom

Post by NWK2000 » Aug 3rd, '21, 20:28

This was a show that was on my review docket, but you did better than I ever could explaining the context.

Also, Lou Thesz giving a serious, heartwarming speech followed by an "Alien Deathmatch" is exactly why I love wrestling.
Up next on NWK Reviews
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Re: Cero Reviews Bridge Of Dreams ~ Dome Spring Full Bloom

Post by cero2k » Aug 3rd, '21, 20:59

NWK2000 wrote: Aug 3rd, '21, 20:28 This was a show that was on my review docket, but you did better than I ever could explaining the context.

Also, Lou Thesz giving a serious, heartwarming speech followed by an "Alien Deathmatch" is exactly why I love wrestling.
Thanks. truth is, between research gone into each match and actually sitting through the whole 6 hr show, it took me about 3 months from when I started until I posted it

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