Weekly Pro Wrestling Magazine: Bridge Of Dreams ~ Dome Spring Full Bloom
A very rare (for the time, at least) super show featuring all of the major promotions in Japan teaming up for one gigantic show in the Tokyo Dome, presented by Weekly Pro Wrestling Magazine. It ended up being voted the show of the year for 1995 by Wrestling Observer readers. 13 different promotions would contribute to the show. The show opens with about 9 minutes of opening ceremonies where all the talent involved appear on the stage. The show itself is 6 hours long, so I don't recommend watching it in one sitting. It's been kind of hard to find online, and definitely not in one file, but I've combined all the pieces and tried to give it a little more color, as the original files were very washed out.
Candy Okutsu/Dynamite Kansai/Fusayo Nochi/Hikari Fukuoka vs Cutie Suzuki/Devil Masami/Hiromi Yagi/Mayumi Ozaki
If you're not familiar with joshi, which I admit I'm not particularly familiar with outside of a handful of performers, you might recall a couple of these women from showing up in WCW when they pretended to give a shit about having a women's division and had a couple of random tag matches near the end of 1995. Really, I don't know who is who in this. I know Cutie Suzuki, Devil, and Dynamite, but the rest are kind of hazy even though I recognize most of them from Dream Slam 1993. The poor picture quality doesn't help. But I don't really care, because from what I've seen of 6-8 lady tags of Joshi broads is that they will kill each other even if they only have 7 minutes of ring time. They'll also scream a LOT. Is normal. Dynamite manages to basically kill one of her opponents with a lariat in the first couple of minutes, so that's nice. I think it's Hiromi Yagi, who then gets the living shit kicked out of her for the next few minutes. SO MUCH SCREAMING. Oh shit, dueling giant swings! Everything Dynamite does looks so dope and mean. There's a TERRIBLE botch where one of them runs up the ropes for a moonsault or something and falls directly on her head. She just got up like nothing happened, but holy shit she's lucky she didn't break her neck. A lot of powerbombs. A lot of screams. A lot of suplexes. A lot of disgusting kicks from Dynamite. A lot of nifty moves and bumps. Even had a quadruple dive sequence that the camera crew fucked up on. Not really much in the way of a story or psychology, but a fun, nonstop action bumpfest. Dynamite pinned Devil with an avalanche splash mountain.
Shinobu Kandori vs Harley Saito Ultimate Fight Rules
I assume this is representing Ladies Legend Pro Wrestling, but it could be one of a number of promotions both were working in at the time. Women's MMA at the Tokyo Dome in 1995. Pride Never Die. Kandori immediately gets rocked with some big knees and a fucking soccer kick to the head. She gets up, tags Harley, judo throws her, and puts her in a triangle, while still pounding the shit out of her to end the fight in about a minute.
Aja Kong/Kyoko Inoue vs Blizzard Yuki/Manami Toyota
All four of these women will show up at Survivor Series 1995 for that random as hell tag. Also, holy shit, Aja's entrance theme is amazing. Also also, lettuce not forget the times Bull Nakano murdered both Aja and Manami. Of course, Inoue and Aja start the match being complete dickheads. Poor Toyota just gets destroyed for the first few minutes of the match. Lololol at the camera man freaking out and diving for cover when Toyota jumped to the top to do a crossbody. That's a hell of a vertical leap, though. One stride all the way up. Also shout out to the big Konami banner hanging up in the dome. The good ol' days of Konami, with all the dope beat em ups and before they fucked over Hideo Kojima. This is definitely a speed vs power type of match up, as Toyota in particular is pretty fucked unless she's running around or jumping off the ropes. More screams, more powerbombs, more backdrops, more harsh bumps. Poor Toyota got her face caved in with the spinning backfist, then pinned with an avalanche body drop. After the match, Akira Hokuto came out, said some words, and Aja responded, seemingly setting up a match between the two down the line.
Oh sweet, Lou Thesz is introduced to thank the Weekly Pro crew for putting this show together, then waxes poetic on Rikidozan and how big of an event this is. "Wrestling is the most colorful and interesting art form of all contact sports. I love the game. Thank you very much."
Ryuma Go vs Uchu Maijin Silver X
LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL with following Lou Thesz with a dude fighting HILLBILLY ALIENS. They're terrible looking aliens, though. Two dudes are dressed like Chainsaw Charlie with a monster mask on, one has a Lord Humongous mask with an x on it and is wearing what appears to be a sack, and the other has a painted hockey mask and a STAR OF DAVID drawn on his shirt with what looks to be a highlighter. The only one wrestling is the X guy, but I'm pretty sure the story is they're aliens. For some reason, the other 3 are allowed to use copious amounts of interference, and for some other reason, this is 15 minutes long. Eventually, Go gets the intergalactic object and lays a beating on these aliens. He wins with a falling lariat in what was a terrible...something.
There was a brief clip from what appeared to be a UWFI show to give time to set up the ring for...
The Headhunters/Cactus Jack vs Leatherface/Shoji Nakamaki/Terry Funk Barbed Wire Board/Baseball Bat Bunkhouse Death Match
Well, this is certainly a diverse show. There have been joshi tags, a women's MMA fight, Lou Thesz, a guy fighting aliens, and now a deathmatch. This match starts out on the stage, with the wrestlers having to run down the ramp...or something. There was 10 count before the bell rang and I'm not sure what it was for. Obviously, this is nothing but a wild brawl with lots of blood. How weird, everyone but Cactus is wearing white. Almost like they're anticipating bleeding. Terry randomly attacks what I think was a photographer, actually no selling chair shots to beat this dude up. Jesus fuck, one of the Headhunters does a guillotine leg drop on the RAMP. The other follows it with a splash. Poor Nakamaki. After all that, dude gets sandwiched between barbed wire boards and squashed with a moonsault from a 400 pound dude. Rough way to make your pay. OH SHIT, LEATHERFACE HAS THE CHAINSAW! Lmao, he actually like...saws people. Terry throws a whole lot of F bombs on the floor before beating Cactus' ass. Omg, a Steiner bulldog TO THE FLOOR. There was almost a fire spot, but Cactus couldn't get the board lit. This is crazy. Mick casually taking a press slam from the top to the floor. Terry does a moonsault to the floor late in the match, because you might as well jump. Nak scored a roll up OUTTA NOWHERE on a Headhunter to win the match. What an insane collection of dangerous and bloody spots.
Minoru Suzuki vs Christopher DeWeaver Pancrase Rules
Wtf. Following a 20 minute bloody barbed wire deathmatch with another shoot fight. Bizarre. Also pretty weird is that this is Suzuki's last appearance on a wrestling show for almost a decade. At this point, he had completely left worked matches, forming Pancrase with Masakatsu Funaki in 1993. DeWeaver has a massive reach advantage, being that Minoru comes up to about his collar bones. This meant nothing at all to Minoru, who took DeWeaver down and made him tap to a heel hook in under 2 minutes.
Carl Greco/Don Arakawa vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara/Yuki Ishikawa
Deathmatch to shoot fight to shoot style tag. Huge shout out to the Greco/Arakawa coming out to THE THEME FROM THE GODFATHER. Baller as heck. Sam hits an early head kick that has Ishikawa rocked and in trouble. Lmao at Arakawa coming into this shoot style fight with an eye poke. Is he a comedy character? He kind of seems like it. Very goofy mannerisms and selling. Even Fujiwara gets in on the comedy when paired up with him. I mean, he digitally sexually assaulted Fujiwara. While Fujiwara was having an intense mat battle with Greco. Fucking weird. This is such a weird show. There was a dude fighting aliens earlier and this is a weirder match. Ishikawa made Greco tap to an inverted triangle.
Gran Naniwa/Super Delfin/Taka Michinoku vs SATO/Shiryu/Great Sasuke
A junior sprint tag. This show has all the flavors. Shiryu, aka Kaz Hayashi, and Gran Naniwa begin...with a pose off. That great, fast paced junior action. Then multiple indie respek stand offs in a row. Not even good ones. Really lame ones, actually. Crowd pops for the Taka/Sasuke pairing. There's a whole lot of that dumb shit of running around and randomly doing backflips off the ropes for no reason shit that I hate in junior wrestling. This is also mixed with staggeringly unfunny comedy spots, so this is not my favorite part of the show. I can't help but think this match would be much better if Kaz and Naniwa weren't in it, as that's where all of the shitty comedy is coming from. This fucking sucks. By the time the dive sequence comes, it's too late. Delfin pinned Kaz with tornado DDT and Delfin clutch. Frick Michinoku Pro.
Akira Maeda vs Chris Dolman
Shout out to Doleman's Sonic music. After the second version of the UWF died off, Maeda went on to form Fighting Network RINGS, while Takada would open UWFI. Between 1991 and 1995, RINGS was a shoot style wrestling promotion. It transitioned to a legitimate MMA company sometime in 1995, but I'm not sure if this is a a shoot or shoot style. I guess it shouldn't be too hard to figure out by watching. Since you can see Dolman clearly call spots, I'm going with this is pre-MMA Rings. It's also boring as shit. Maeda won with a heel hook in a match where nothing happened. At all. It's a 6ish minute match and at least 80% was one of the two lying on each other not even trying to work for a better position. After the match, Maeda bequeathed his robe to Dolman and presented him with a trophy. I think Dolman was retiring from active competition.
Billy Scott/Masahito Kakihara/Nobuhiko Takada vs Gary Albright/Gene Lydick/Kazuo Yamazaki
Maeda was probably steaming that Takada got 3 times the talent and time as his match. Yamazaki really wants Takada's head, and actually has to be restrained by the ref as Takada didn't start the match and was on the apron. He decides to cut through the other two instead. There's literally more action in the first 40 seconds of this than the entire Maeda match. Kakihara lays a beating on Lydick. What an unfortunate name that guy had. Anyway, Takada and Yamazaki hook it up. It's not quite as heated as you'd expect. They do land some bombs, though. Fucking LOOOOOOOOL at Takada seeing Albright tag in, squaring up, and immediately tag out. He does tag back in shortly after, though. Albright seems like someone that would be very unpleasant to work with. Bull in a china shop in human form. Poor Lydick is taking a beating. Dude has lost probably half the points for his team alone. It actually feels kind of mean spirited after a while. Takada makes him tap to an arm bar.
Kintaro Ohki is wheeled out to the ring by Lou Thesz. Ohki was a disciple of Rikidozan, and had been considered to be part of the trio along with Baba and Inoki to lead the future of the JWA. After Rikidozan was killed, Ohki went back to his native Korea as a star attraction, but returned to Japan, finally becoming the JWA's top star only after Baba and Inoki left. He was clearly in poor health, and very emotional, breaking down before, during, and after his retirement speech (although he hadn't wrestled in years), and then was given a ten bell salute. WHILE STILL ALIVE. It was his last public appearance, but he didn't pass until October of 2006.
Great Nita vs Pogo Daiyo No Ropes Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match
LOLOLOLOL at following that with this. This looks to be horrible right from the start, as Onita sells mist like it knocked him out. Onita is the first to get blown up. This is horrible. Pogo grinds away with his scythe for a while before literally attempting to behead Onita. Then sticking it IN HIS MOUTH. What the fuck. This is absolutely horrendous. Onita wins. Fuck everything about this.
Akira Taue/Johnny Ace/Toshiaki Kawada vs Kenta Kobashi/Mitsuharu Misawa/Stan Hansen
Again, lololol at the layout of this show. Get yer workrate boots on. Kenta and Taue start. The audio goes out, which isn't a big deal since there isn't commentary or anything anyway. Outside of Johnny Ace, these dudes have been beating the shit out of each other in one form or another for about 6 years straight now. It's pretty weird seeing Hansen and Misawa double teaming Kawada. It's even weirder seeing Johnny Ace wrecking shop. This is a pretty standard AJPW 6 man tag, with Taue/Kobashi segments having the most hatred. Kobashi becomes the focal point for offense and does some great babyface selling. He finally makes the hot tag to Stan, who does not give a flying fuck what Kawada wants to him him with. He also gives no fucks about anything Johnny Ace. He does give a fuck about a heel kick to the jaw. As we get towards the end of the match, everyone starts throwing bombs, including an Ace Crusher OUTTA NOWHERE. Tiger drivers, powerbombs, suplexes, moonsaults, lariats, chokeslams. However, as desperate as everyone is to end the match, the time limit runs out before anyone can get pinned. 30 minute draw. Weirdly, with Misawa/Kobashi/Kawada/Hansen in this match, Taue was by far the star of it all.
Shinya Hashimoto vs Masahiro Chono
Finally, we've reached the main event of this marathon. Well, at least it starts off hot, with a whole lot of kicks and Hashimoto throwing the ref around. No pretenses, just hitting each other really hard. This then heads into Hash going after Chono's taped up shoulder, and Chono doing what he can to protect said shoulder, generally being eye rakes. Chono has an interesting DDT counter: Kicking Hashimoto in the shin/ankle. as it turns out, Hashimoto's knee is pretty taped up under his pants. That becomes Chono's focus, and this match already has more of story than about 90% of the matches on this show. Not that it's an all time great or anything, but it's something. Two dudes attacking their respective injured limbs. I believe after this show it was considered that NJ shit the bed with their match, which I guess I can kind of understand since everything else was top stars doing big spots and this is a story based match centered around chops and submissions. Hashimoto wins with a vertical drop brainbuster.
SIX HOURS. Christ. Took me three days to watch this show. It's a staggering amount of talent on one show, though. Basically all of the top women in the world besides Akira Hokuto and Bull Nakano. Kobashi, Misawa, Taue, Kawada, Hansen, Funk, Foley, Hashimoto, Chono, Takada, Maeda, Onita, Albright, Taka, Great Sasuke. The whole show is really a celebration of Japanese pro wrestling, with every promotion trying to out do the rest.
While I'm not a deathmatch dude at all, I think IWA Japan stole the show. That match was fucking crazy from bell to bell. I think it was described in Mick's first book as a "clusterfuck of spots", and that seems like a pretty accurate description. Chono/Hashimoto has a bad reputation, but it's probably the most structurally and psychologically solid match on the whole show. It seems to have been punished by virtue of not being a big spotfest to show off its company's style/stars like pretty much the rest of the card. I feel like that match at the end of a NJPW card in 1995 would have a much better reception.
Overall, it's a pretty crazy show. Not everything landed (FMW and whatever the fuck the aliens match was, plus the Michinoku Pro match in my eyes), but the majority were pretty high quality showings for their styles and promotions. This show had a bit of everything, and if there isn't something you could find to like after 6 hours of junior tags, deathmatches, joshi tags, shoot fights, shoot style fights, shoot style mixed with comedy, King's Road, Strong Style...you are probably impossible to please.