Giant Baba 20th Anniversary Memorial Show 2019





Giant Baba 20th Anniversary Memorial Show 2019

By GARZA
From February 19, 2019

Giant Baba 20th Anniversary Memorial Show 2019
Show opened with a video package of some of Baba's big matches.

Antonio Inoki Promo - Inoki came out to the ramp, surrounded by a lot of guards. He said some words about Baba. Inoki did his speech from the ramp, because even after 40+ years, Inoki will never step inside an All Japan ring. He still looks in great shape given his age.

Memorial Battle Royale - 2/10


Everyone came out together with the exception of Stalker Ishikawa who had his own entrance and was eliminated third. This was mostly old timers that can't do much other than chops, so it was a lot of small spots, there was only a few things that looked ok, and most of the eliminations would happen when all the wrestlers would pin a single man, kinda protecting why someone can't kickout so soon out of 10 men pinning you. Final two were Masao Inoue and Mitsuo Momota, the son of Rikidozan. Momota won after a few minutes with a roll up. Momota is 70 years old.

Tomoaki Honma, Yuji Okabayashi, Naoya Nomura, & Ren Narita vs Daichi Hashimoto, Kazushi Miyamoto, Tomohiko Hashimoto, & Takuya Nomura - 5/10


ALl those old times and established wrestlers, and only one young lion, pretty obvious who is taking the pin, right? Well no, color me surprised, Okabayashi got the win over Takuya Nomura. The match was nothing special, a lot of tags to get all men in, Narita being the young kid did get to be the babyface in peril for a short while until he got some space to pull out his now signature dropkick. If anything else, this was old school stiff. Okabayashi looked great for what he did.

Atsushi Onita, Hideki Hosaka, Kendo Kashin, & Hideki Suzuki w/Freddy Krueger vs Great Kojika, Mitsuya Nagai, Shuji Ishikawa, & Hikaru Sato - 5/10


Freddy Krueger was indeed Onita's second, which used to be played by Doug Gilbert, I don't know who it was this time. Onita came out to his wild thing theme, beer and smoke in hand. Everything between Ishiwaka and HIdeki Suzuki was great, the rest were ok, mostly working around Onita and Kojika, who at one point took a sick looking unprotected chair shot to the head. Krueger brought a table to the ring, which Onita was first going to use on Kojika, but then he realized that Kojika may be too old for a table spot and instead used it on Sato. They also set up a barbwire board that Onita went through. Sato then broke a guitar over Onita, also really stiff looking. Finish saw Suzuki pin Hikaru Sato after putting him through what was left of the barbwire board. These old timers are stiff as fuck.

Post-match - Onita cut a promo thanking the crowd. I want Onita's jacket.

Abdullah The Butcher Retirement Ceremony - Abdullah is now wheelchair bound, they had to loosen up the ropes and carry him in to the ring. They had a ton of people, celebrities, athletes, and wrestlers come out to give him flowers. Dos Cars and Mil Mascaras got a nice entrance. Sayama came out, walking kinda funny, Abdullah almost tried standing up to greet him. Same with Kenji Mutoh and Dory Funk Jr. The Destroyer, who I'm guessing just couldn't be there, sent a written letter that they read there. Minoru Suzuki sent a video recording saying goodbye and thank you. Biggest pop probably went to Stan Hansen. At the end, Abdullah said some words, thanking the crowd, saying that he wished Baba was still there with them. He ask the kids to not put their parents in a home when they get old, which I think falls on deaf ears in Japan, maybe something to be said in American instead. He got his 10 bell salute at the end.

It be really nice if Americans did this type of retirement ceremonies and memorial shows for their legends and not just WWE circlejerking itself with their HOF. A lot of wrestlers go into obscurity and it be nice seeing them shake hands with their foes at least one last time. I've never been an Abdullah fan, but even I can appreciate these ceremonies.

Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Taichi, & TAKA Michinoku w/Miho Abe vs Masa Fuchi, Yoshiaki Fujiwara, & Yuma Aoyagi - 5/10


Fuchi's came out to 'Danger Zone' and I marked out. Fun match between super heels vs super babyfaces, sans the brawling in the crowd, this match had all the tropes of a Suzuki-Gun match. Crowd popped big for Fuchi getting tagged in and everytime Fujiwara locked in the Fujiwara Armbar. Good showing for Aoyagi and the Suzuki-Gun guys. Taichi pinned Fuchi after his usual heel tactics after a good sequence, crowd has hot for Fuchi.

BUSHI & SANADA vs Jake Lee & Koji Iwamoto vs Ayato Yoshida & Shota Umino - 6.5/10


The two younger teams jumped LIJ and got ride of them early. Most of the match was given to the young guys, so it was fast paced, lots of energy, but unfortunately, really short too. Finish saw BUSHI and SANADA finally come back to the match, BUSHI hit his mist on Iwamoto and a Tope Suicida on Yoshida, while SANADA put Lee on the Paradise Lock and hit a moonsault on Umino for the pin.

Naomichi Marafuji & Jinsei Shinzaki vs Masaaki Mochizuki & Shun Skywalker - 7.5/10


A lot of people talking about Tanahashi and Miyahara, but Marafuji vs Mochizuki is right up there when it comes to dream matches today. Shinzaki looks amazing, still an awesome entrance.

This match was great. Shinzaki vs Skywalker was great, Skywalker looked super athletic, with Shinzaki not only giving him a lot, but also keeping up with the young kid. Marafuji vs Mochizuki was great, especially towards the end, but they kinda botched the finishing cradle, Mochizuki didn't roll up properly and MArafuji just kinda hanged for a bit. Good stuff.

Jun Akiyama, Taiyo Kea, & Takao Omori vs Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Koijma, & Omasu Nishimura - 6.5/10


This is all about Akiyama vs Kojima, but I think Nagata vs Omori was a lot better. The match saw the New Japan guys cut the ring in half on Omori for a while. Akiyama pinned Nishimura with an Exploder Suplex. All men looked good. Nagata was the oldest one in the ring, so no excuses.

Mil Mascaras & Dos Caras vs NOSAWA Rongai & Kaz Hayashi - 3/10


Mil Mascaras I think is the second oldest dude in the show at 76, so he wasn't that mobile, but Dos Caras (67) actually looked really good. Mil Mascaras came out to a animal print bodysuit that looked ridiculous, but it's Mil Mascaras at the end I guess. Their entrance song was awesome.

Dos Caras and Hayashi grappled a bit and it was good. Mascara and NOSAWA kinda did stuff, but Mascara was really immobile, he did his best with cross-bodies that looked more like falling gracefully. The thing all match was that the masked guys kept teasing dives and the crowd was like "no!, you don't need to!", but it all actually built to Mil Mascaras making it to the top rope, hitting a Plancha on both NOSAWA and Hayashi for the double pin. God bless NOSAWA, Hayashi, and the fans for selling for these men. Mascara and Dos Caras were the only ones that I noticed that took time to shake fans hands as they walked to the back.

Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yoshitatsu vs Kento Miyahara & Daisuke Sekimoto - 8.5/10


Miyahara came out with the old championship belts that made up the Triple Crown - PWF World Heavyweight Championship, with the NWA United National Championship and the NWA International Heavyweight Championship. This being an AJPW ring, the fans were definitely behind Miyahara, so Tanahashi, and especially Yoshitatsu worked the heel side, but there is no doubt that Tanahashi was levels above everyone when it came to stardom. Sekimoto came out with the AJPW tag title and the Zero-1 tag title, plus two more that I didn't recognize. Yoshitatsu didn't even get his own entrance. Before the introductions, Miyahara got face to face with Tanahashi and held his championship up high, if only Tanahashi hadn't lost the title days earlier, it could had been an epic face-off between two champs.

Match straight up started with Miyahara and Tanahashi grappling and ended with Tanahashi passing the Air Guitar to Kento, who played it, passed it to Sekimoto, who passed to Yoshitatsu, who broke it and threw it to the crowd. What a dick! As much as Tanahashi tried to work heel, Kento has that young Okada cockiness and kept antagonizing Tanahashi, so it came off more heelish. Sekimoto is a big teddy bear, dude was definitely the babyface.

Match saw Tanahashi's corner work over Miyahara for a while until Sekimoto came in with the hot tag. The stuff between Yoshitatsu and Sekimoto was good, as was the stuff between Tanahashi and Miyahara or Sekimoto. Last few minutes were great, but I enjoyed the one-on-one pairings more. Miyahara pinned Yoshitatsu with a Bridging German Suplex pin. Big spot of the match was probably when Sekimoto did a Centipede German on Miyahara and Tanahashi. Overall the match was great, everyone, even Yoshitatsu held their own.

Post-match - Miyahara cut a promo thanking Sekimoto and Yoshitatsu, he said he always idolized Tanahashi and now he had a chance to face him. Tanahashi and Miyahara said the catchphrases and the all celebrated together.

Shohei "Giant" Baba Ceremony - The rest of the wrestlers from the show came out for the actual Baba ceremony. Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, and Johnny Ace sent videos. The ten bell salute rand to close the show.

OVERALL THOUGHTS


This was an old timer's show, honoring two older timers, so it's not a show you come in hoping to get work rate. It was a show full of babyface good times and legends, which I recommend watching as a history lesson. Kenta Kobashi and Mutoh at one point were in the commentary booth together.

CLICK HERE to Leave Your Comments at the Discussion Board.