Fire Pro Wrestling Returns: The Briefcase Cup – Match 10

MATCH 10: “THE BRAIN” BIG G. BULL v. KEIJI “LIGHTNING” TOGASHI

IntroductionMatch 1Match 2Match 3Match 4Match 5
Match 6Match 7 – Match 8Match 9

For the first time in Briefcase Cup history, we’ll see what happens when BIG IN JAPAN meets BORN in Japan. One of America’s finest exports faces of with with a homegrown Japanese hero… TONIGHT.

BIG G. BULL

BruiserBrody

BruiserBloodyBig G. Bull is a dead-ringer for Bruiser Brody. Crazy hair? Check. Taped fingers? Check. Furry viking boots? Check. Bad attitude? Well, we’ll just have to find out. Notably, Big G. Bull employs a “King Kong Knee Drop” as his finishing maneuver. Bruiser, who sometimes competed as “King Kong” Brody, employed that same move to great success:

Big G. Bull is is listed as an “Olive Legend,” which reflects Brody’s status an all-time great in All Japan Pro Wrestling. While Bruiser knew great success all over the world, it’s arguable that he reached the apex of his fame in Japan. If you take a look this list of his accomplishments, you’ll see that Brody had quite a bit of success as a singles competitor in Japan . He held the NWA International Heavyweight Championship – which would later become part of the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship – three times. Two of those victories came at the expense of the legendary Dory Funk/Harry Texan, Jr.

HansensamuraiAs you can likely infer from the image to the right, Brody was a friend, co-samurai, and frequent tag team partner of Stan Hansen. As we’ve already discussed, Hansen was absolutely huge in Japan, and he and Brody teamed together on numerous occasions. AJPW went as far as to declare them the “world’s strongest tag team” in 1983, and “largest pair of white dudes in Kyoto” in 1985. One of those statements is a lie.

Why is Big G. Bull nicknamed “The Brain?” Probably because of the trail of grey matter that Brusier Brody left in his wake. Some people credit Brody and his longtime rival, Abdullah the Butcher, with inventing what we know today as “hardcore” wrestling. I don’t have the balls to dispute that claim; drop their names into Google, and you’ll find no shortage of disturbing imagery. Here’s a brief highlight of Brody’s legendary brutality:

Brody was a legend all over the world, but he was particularly BIG IN JAPAN; so much so, that after his unceremonious death, over 16,000 fans flooded Budokan Hall in Tokyo to pay tribute to their fallen hero. FPWR will portray Big G. Bull as nothing short a legitimate hoss. Only the sternest competition should be able to beat him.

KEIJI TOGASHI

KentaKobashi

kobashi01Keiji Togashi is more than a reasonable approximation of the legendary Kenta Kobashi. This may be, objectively, the sternest competition we could find.

Aside from the trademark orange tights, there’s plenty of other things that lead us to conclude that that Togashi is a stand-in for Kobashi:

  • Togashi’s nickname is “Lightning.” Kobashi’s nickname is “Burning.” Maybe Kobashi should take some penicillin.
  • Togashi’s organization of choice: NOVA. Kobashi finished out his career in Japan’s Pro Wrestling Noah. Those sure do sound similar!
  • Togashi’s favorite film: Hard to Kill. Kobashi’s favorite film: Out for Justice.
  • Togashi’s favorite musician:Barry Manilow. Kobashi’s favorite musician: Neil Diamond.
  • Togashi’s favorite sport: bocce. Kobashi’s favorite sport: lawn darts.

As if those similarities weren’t enough, they both use the legendary BURNING HAMMER as their finishing maneuver. The Burning Hammer is a move so devastating that Kobashi has only used it seven times:

Take my word for it: this is clearly Kenta Kobashi. Kenta Kobashi may be the greatest wrestler Japan ever produced; I couldn’t tell you why he was BIG IN JAPAN without cataloging his entire career. So let’s try doing this in reverse. In 2005, which is when FPWR was being developed, Ring of Honor broke open its piggy bank and asked Japan to send over its best wrestler to take on indie favorite, Samoa Joe. Japan sent over Kenta Kobashi. The result? The Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s 2005 match of the year. Here’s a clip of the best parts:

That bout was fought under “Marquis of No Blocking” rules, in case you were wondering. Wouldn’t want to get a pinkbelly from Kobashi, no sir. When America needed a big name wrestler during the mid-aughts, they reached out to Kenta Kobashi. He was so BIG IN JAPAN that he was also BIG IN AMERICA.

Well, he sure seems like a worthy opponent. Somebody get me a hot dog and a beer.

THISGONBGUD


LET’S WRESTLING

C’mon, Togashi! I just wrote all those nice things about you! Good God. Sometimes I wish this sport was fixed. We’d get more competitive matches. King Kong ain’t got $#it on the King Kong Knee Drop.

NEXT TIME: Nebraska’s finest takes on India’s most notorious!

Fire Pro Wrestling Returns: The Briefcase Cup – Match 9

MATCH 9: “LONE STAR” HARRY TEXAN JR. v. “CRAZY BULL” STAR BISON

IntroductionMatch 1Match 2Match 3Match 4Match 5
Match 6Match 7Match 8

After a brief hiatus, we are BACK! Tonight, it’s nothing but pure Texas terror as we head into the back half of the opening round. Subspace Briefcase has both kinds of action, country AND western, as Harry Texan, Jr. goes toe-to-hoof with Star Bison! The range is the last place you want to call “home” tonight!

HARRY TEXAN, JR.

DoryFunk

Harry Texan’s no-frills haircut and status as a “living legend” lead me to believe that he is a stand in for Dory Funk, Jr.DoryFunk

Long-billed as a resident of the “Double Cross Ranch” in Amarillo, Texas, Funk is a legend of wrestling in any part of the world, Japan or otherwise. Dory held the vaunted National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship for an astonishing 1,563 consecutive days – only the great Lou Thesz had a longer uninterrupted reign.

Harry Texan employs a spinning toe hold as his finisher – a decidedly old-school maneuver that Dory employed to great success throughout his career. Take a look:

That sure is an accurately named move. Despite the fact that he was the champion of the “National” Wrestling Alliance, that title is a bit of a misnomer. Dory defended and fought for that title all over the world, including Japan. Got an hour to kill? Here he is challenging Jack Brisco for the title on an All Japan Pro Wrestling broadcast from 1974:

You don’t get to wrestle for an hour unless you are an OLIVE LEGEND. That being said, it’s tough to find decent video of Dory’s Japanese exploits from his heyday. Can we safely declare him BIG IN JAPAN?

By God, we can. Dory still collects a paycheck from All Japan Pro Wrestling. In fact, he currently serves as the commissioner of the Pacific Wrestling Federation, the organization’s quasi-fictitious governing body. In fact, he’s so big in Japan, HE WRESTLED THERE LAST YEAR AT THE AGE OF 73.

Dory’s such a fixture in Japan that he’s dedicated a portion of his website to TEACHING YOU JAPANESE. Clearly anybody that is still wrestling at 73 and is ballsy enough to rock frames and a starfield simulation on his webpage is tough as nails.

Dory Funk, without question, is one of the most successful pro-wrestlers to ever live. But is FPWR giving us ’70s Funk or the early aughts encore? Our next competitor will undoubtedly find an answer for us.

STAR BISON

StanHansenStanhansen↑ This here Star Bison…..

← Is that thar Stan Hansen.

You could make a very strong case for Mr. Hansen being the most successful gaijin ever to set foot in a Japanese ring. But we’ll get to that later. Let’s break down his bio.

Bison’s finishing maneuver is a “Western Lariat.” In the taxonomy of wrestling maneuvers, “lariat” is a genus of the “forearm strike” family. What separates the lariat from its cousin, the clothesline, is that during a lariat, the wrestler actually swings his or her arm forward into their opponent. A lariat becomes a member of the “western” species when it is performed by a cowboy. Lots of wrestlers haven taken on a cowboy persona over the years, but make no mistake about it, Stan Hansen is the definitive wrestling cowboy. Take a cue from Star Bison’s profile and just watch his fatal western lariat burst away:

LARIATOOOOOO! Why is he “Star Bison?” Well, Hansen played college ball for the West Texas State Buffaloes, but I’m willing to bet that’s just a coincidence; “Star Bison” just sounds cowboyish and has the same number of syllables as “Stan Hansen.” His nickname, “Crazy Bull?” Hansen was famous for swinging a bullrope over his head before his matches, but I’m willing to bet this is also just a coincidence; “Crazy Bull” is just a fill-in “western” nickname.

So yes, this is Stan Hansen, and yes, he was (and is) BIG IN JAPAN. Youtube user matsutakekun, who I take to be Japanese, posted this lovingly-crafted highlight video of Stan’s exploits on YouTube:

I could tell you tales of Stan’s amazing success. I could prattle on for hours about his numerous Japanese championships, his incredible 20-year run as one of All Japan’s most successful performers, and that time he nearly knocked out Vader’s eye – but let’s do something a little different this time. Let’s see what his Japanese fans have to say about him by Google translating the comments to matsutakekun’s highlight video:

  • Don Leo Jonathan: “But it is one of the most beloved gaijin wrestler in Japanese. It is a nice PV. It is good When the person is me look.”
  • 河野利明: “This is the way of life of Hansen! And I read this in this game after Hansen has the indescribable expression is remembered as that of Baba’s look at the red tights of Tagami, were impressed by the hustle Hansen of action! ! And was brought up the four heavenly kings also is not an exaggeration to say that Hansen! ! !”
  • kugyousou: “Left arm is aching. Why.”
  • fujiko ichigo: “Hansen strong I laugh and cute have.”
  • Piatti: “And without resorting to foul, and Uketa also in Japanese because only was game with skill. Delivered to heaven, Texas Longhorn! !”
  • ぶるーあっぷる: “We love is overflowing Ow”
  • fujita4416: “Western lariat is the best strongest skills.”

HansensamuraiLook, if the fact that the red tights of Tagami were impressed by the hustle of Hansen of action, I don’t think I should have to tell you that Hansen is a bona fide Japanese superstar. This Texas Longhorn is truly delivered to heaven. My love is overflowing Ow.

Hey, wait a second, did I see what I think I saw in that video?

Holy crap, I did! Stan Hansen slammed Giant Rozhmo…. err, Andre the Giant nearly six years before Hulk Hogan did! I’ve got a little hunch that Hansen might have taught the Hulkster a thing or two.

stanhansenandfriends

So, anyway, Star Bison is serious business, and he’d retired long before FPWR came out. We may be getting him at his absolute best. If FPWR is simulating Harry Texan anywhere near his real age, he may be in trouble.

What do you say we squish a few OLIVE LEGENDS and make ourselves a martini?


LET’S WRESTLING!

Another 5-alarm slobber-knocker! Despite a valiant effort, Harry falls to a western lariat at the 14:21 mark. Harry must have confused those western lariats with western omelettes – he just kept woofing them down. Now he’s nothing but a pile of buffalo chips.

The astute observer will note that both men implemented their finishing maneuvers multiple times – a testament to the strength and endurance of both athletes.

NEXT TIME: A legendary Bruiser tangles with an (Orange) Crusher!

Now You’re Drinking With Power

If you’ve watched any of the live streams, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that I occasionally enjoy beverages. When I am not holding my beverages, I am placing them on these – the official coasters of Subspace Briefcase:

Coasters

I purchased this fine set of three coasters at the Punk Rock Flea Market here in Philadelphia last month. I wish I could credit the fine craftsman or craftswoman that created them, but alas, I cannot locate their name. If you’re out their reading, rest assured, that I am thinking of you every time I lose a life because I have had too much to drink.

 

Fire Pro Wrestling Returns: The Briefcase Cup – Match 8

MATCH 8: “MAD BOMBER” DYNAMIC KID v. “HOT SPICE” CURRY MASK

IntroductionMatch 1Match 2 Match 3Match 4Match 5
Match 6Match 7

Let’s not forget what the Briefcase Cup is all about: showcasing blatant knockoffs of the wrestlers who sacrifice their health, sanity, and occasionally, their lives in service of our entertainment. While we’re far from the end of the tournament, this evening, we’re presenting two of our strongest entrants from the “Were they Even Trying?” division. Tonight, THE WORLD’S GREATEST RIPOFF may just make his presence known.

DYNAMIC KID

DynamiteKid

DynamiteKidYou don’t even have to use your imagination; the developers didn’t. Dynamic Kid is the legendary Dynamite Kid, Tom Billington. Just in case you we’re having difficulty getting to “4” from “2+2,” they went ahead and made Dynamic’s nickname “Mad Bomber.” He’s pure Dynamite. Astute legal scholars will also note that Dynamic is just four days younger than Dynamite, thereby granting the developers of FPWR a flawless defense in any copyright infringement lawsuit. “But, your honor – did you see the birthday? CHECK and MATE, Mr. Billington.”

Like Dynamite, Dynamic utilizes a flying headbutt as a finisher. Technically, Dynamic utilizes a “Super Dive Headbutt,” which I can only assume is slightly more awesome. The flying headbutt is a maneuver that has fallen out of vogue in recent years, thanks to its propensity to inflict concussions on its proponents, but damned if Dynamite didn’t make like his opponents were getting the worst of it.

If any western wrestling fan remembers Dynamite, it would likely be for his time as part of the British Bulldogs with Mightyboy Edd….. errr… Davey Boy Smith. During their four year run in the WWF, Dynamite and Davey earned a cult following, capturing the tag team titles at Wrestlemania 2 (while cornered by Ozzy Osbourne, no less).

Despite his “mainstream” success, what Dynamite is most known for today is his time in Japan. If you search for video on Dynamite, you’ll find that he wrestled a gentleman named “Tiger Mask” more than a few times. Here’s a playlist of 12 of those matches:

The “Tiger Mask” that Dynamite wrestled was a legendary Japanese wrestler by the name of Satoru Sayama. If you’ve been following the Briefcase Cup diligently, you may remember him from our entry on Blood Love. Dynamite’s matches with Tiger Mask are often credited with putting the junior/cruiserweight style of wrestling on the map. This might explain why Dynamic’s profile states that he “overwhelms opponents with his small body.” It’s not the size of the charge, but the yield of the blast, huh?

Anyway, the overwhelming majority of these matches took place under the banner of New Japan Pro Wrestling. Dynamite was BIG IN JAPAN, an unqualified legend. He should do well in this tournament.

And just in case you didn’t feel like watching all 12 matches in the playlist above, here’s a highlight video:

Well hot damn. Whoever takes on our boy Dynamic had better be a serious badasss.

CURRY MASK

CurryMan

CurryManThis guy looks the part, right? As the picture to the left demonstrates, Curry Mask is clearly supposed to be Curry Man. If Curry man isn’t a badass, at bare minimum, his spicy flavor will sure leave your ass feeling bad (shut up, that’s the best I could think of after 5 minutes). Curry Mask is virtually identical to Curry Man. He even has the exact same finisher, the Spicy Drop:

ChristopherDanielsThis is blatant thievery. I can only assume that the developers hedged their bets here – it’s well-known that Curry Man is the alter-ego of independent wrestling phenomenon, Christopher Daniels, but would he be willing to testify to that in court? Well-played, FPWR. You called his bluff. Enjoy your ill-gotten yen from the infinity pool atop your secret Mt. Fuji headquarters, you bastards.

Where to even start with Curry Man? Well, I guess we’ll go with spectacular tribute video:

While Daniels was a known commodity in the states when FPWR was being developed, Curry Man had made few, if any, American appearances. In Japan, however, it appears that the shoe was on the other foot: Curry Man was really turning up the heat. Here he is beating a dude in a tiger mask. It’s not THE Tiger Mask, but hey, it’s gotta count for something, right? They can’t be giving those things out for free.

Curry Man wasn’t a superstar on Dynamite Kid’s level – he isn’t credited with inventing an entire style of wrestling – but that’s not to say he hadn’t racked up his fair share of accolades! He captured the British Commonwealth Junior Heavyweight Championship (one of the strangest titles in all of wrestling) during a stint in Michinoku Pro Wrestling, and was part of several successful tag teams. While teaming with a gentleman by the name of “Super Rice Boy,” he even managed to defeat the team of the Great Sasuke and Taka Michinoku in the finals of the 2002 Futaritabi Tag Team League! I know, right? Seriously though, that’s a tremendous accomplishment.

Hey, he even won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship with our old pal, British Azteca:

Was he BIG IN JAPAN? Yes, but not on the level of Dynamite. Perhaps, more importantly, though, he was HOT IN JAPAN. Curry Man was so hot they were afraid to serve him to American audiences. Will that be enough for Curry Mask to defuse the Mad Bomber?


LET’S WRESTLING!

GOOO! Talk about your five-star matches. Despite a slow start, Curry took advantage of the no-rules stipulation and turned the tide with several kicks to Dynamic’s cherry bombs. Curry even broke out the all time greatest wrestling taunt of all time – pointing to your head to show how smart you are – TWICE! But true to his bio, Dynamic simply overwhelmed him with his small body. I have to wonder if the fix was in; this might have worked out quite differently if Curry could have scaled the turnbuckles.

NEXT TIME: A Texan tries to take down a Bison!

 

Fire Pro Wrestling Returns: The Briefcase Cup – Match 7

MATCH 7: “THE BLUE SAMURAI” JORSH HORNET v. FLASH “THE HOWL BEAST” BURTON

IntroductionMatch 1Match 2Match 3Match 4Match 5
Match 6

Now that we’ve shattered gender barriers, what’s next for the Briefcase Cup? What’s that? You want us to settle the age-old debate between arm wrestlers and mixed martial artists? I thought you’d never ask! It just so happens that our next two entrants feel the same way. Get ready to go OVER THE TOP as the Blue Samurai takes on the Howl Beast in a no-rules, no-love lost death match – RIGHT NOW.

JORSH HORNET

JoshBarnett

BarnettBeltI really don’t know how they got away with this; it’s like they weren’t even trying. Personally, if I was stealing the likeness of Josh Barnett, one of the most talented mixed martial artists of all time, I would have done a little more than change his name to “Jorsh.” With that lame last name, he’s just a goatee and an eyepatch away from flat out being “bizarro” Barnett.

As Jorsh’s MMA gloves suggest, Barnett was (and is) an established mixed martial artist. In 2002, at the age of 24, Barnett became the youngest man of all time to capture the UFC Heavyweight Title. Without ever losing that title, Barnett took his talents to Japan, where he began competing in unscripted (read: legit) mixed martial arts bouts on cards promoted by New Japan Pro Wrestling. Within a year, he’d capture the Pancrase Openweight Championship, a title which he defended twice before its discontinuation. Barnett then went on to compete in Pride Fighting Championship, which, at the time, was the world’s preeminent mixed martial arts organization. This is all before FPWR was released. He’s still an active competitor to this day. He is a very bad dude.

Contemporaneously with his move to Japan, Barnett became an active competitor in “worked” matches for New Japan Pro Wrestling. While this confused the hell out of the American MMA press, it lead to some fantastic bouts, like the one with Ken Shamrock featured in the video below. If you take a look, you’ll see that Barnett’s bouts were often worked to appear as “legitimate” as possible.

Jorsh utilizes a capture suplex, which is a move you’ll see more than a few times in the highlight below. If you’ve got a knowledge of global MMA, you’ll also note that it wasn’t uncommon for wrestling promoters to pit Barnett against other MMA stars:

So he was BIG IN JAPAN; he managed the incomparable feat of maintaining simultaneous pro-wrestling and MMA careers, thriving at both. In fact, it was not uncommon for Josh to claim “Pro Wrestling” as his fighting style, a sentiment he’s echoed numerous times in recent years.

You may have noticed that both highlight videos above use Ai o Torimodose, the theme to Fist of the North Star, as background music. Josh used this as his theme in Pride.

So who will feel the sting of the Hornet? This poor sap better have some thick skin.

FLASH BURTON

ScottNorton

ScottNortonBeltOh, him? Yeah, he’ll do. This mountain of muscle is Flash Burton. I’m 99% sure he’s supposed to be Scott “Flash” Norton. The last name rhymes, and the nickname has gone Christian, but I’m pretty sure this checks out. Flash works for View Japan, FPWR’s alternate universe version of New Japan, which is precisely where Scott worked at the time of the game’s release. If that wasn’t enough, Flash’s birthday is roughly one month off from Scott’s. We’re pretty sure this is the guy.

Scott Norton got his start as an arm wrestler (a fact confirmed by this fantastic feature at WWE.com; he was even in Over the Top). The nickname “Flash,” which seems out of place for a musclebound fireplug of a pro wrestler, makes perfect sense for an arm wrestler known for finishing his opponents within the blink of an eye. While he was known for his strength in the ring (see video above), this only lends credence to FPWR‘s proclomation that Flash “possesses relentless super powers.” The “Wild Bomb Whip” that Burton uses as a finisher is variant of the power bomb, which you’ll see cataloged in the video above.

Longtime American wrestling fans may remember Scott Norton as a member of WCW’s uber-faction, the NWO. Indeed, it wasn’t hard to find Norton on your TV during the late 90s. In fact, Norton was a long-time fixture on WCW, often teaming with NWO stablemate, Buff Bagwell, as part of the tag team Vicious and Delicious. That being said, Norton got his start in New Japan Pro Wrestling, where his “relentless superpowers” strength made him a perennial favorite:

While Norton never won a tile during his tenure in WCW, fans may yet remember him walking around on Nitro with a championship belt of his own. That’s because during his time in WCW, Norton continued to wrestle in New Japan, where he captured the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. That’s right: Scott Norton was so BIG IN JAPAN that the good folks at New Japan let him cart their title all over the globe like some kind of overgrown ring prop. Norton still wrestles occasionally in Japan to this day. Here he is destroying former world champion Kensuke Sasaki in just under six minutes:

Also of note, Scott Norton may have the coolest Twitter bio ever:

World Super Heavyweight ArmWrestling Champ, Original Member, 2 time Champ, 2 time tag champ, 1 time husband.”

Loves kicking ass, loves his wife. We should all strive for such things.

During the FPWR era, Norton was working part time in New Japan as a gatekeeper of sorts. You had to get through him if you wanted to be a star. As such, Burton should be the perfect roadblock for the Hornet hype train. Hornet, I hope you ate your Wheaties; this’ll be a tough one.


LET’S WRESTLING!

Brutal! While Burton was able to rifle off just about every power move in his arsenal, it seemed like Hornet had a triangle choke waiting at the end of of every power bomb. Norton just couldn’t keep up, and Hornet was able to deliver a “Flash” KO at the 9:03 mark.

This match really showcases FPWR‘s AI. Note how Hornet fights like a reasonable approximation of an MMA fighter, neutralizing Burton’s brute force attack with low kicks, clinch work and submission attempts. It’s nothing fancy, but a little attention to detail goes a long way.

NEXT TIME: Thing get spicy as an explosive legend takes on a fallen angel!

Fire Pro Wrestling Returns: The Briefcase Cup – Match 6

MATCH 6: “THE SHOCK” DEUCY JAMES v. “THE AMAZON” RAJA DUNK

IntroductionMatch 1Match 2Match 3Match 4Match 5

Here at Subspace Briefcase, we proudly fly the banner of gender equality in gaming. Tonight, we proudly present to you a notable first: AN INTERGENDER DEATH MATCH. We’ve wrapped the Gamergate in barbed wire, and it comes crashing down into a sea of blood in this no holds (or genders) barred bout! Someone’s getting back body dropped through the glass ceiling – RIGHT. NOW.

DEUCY JAMES

PeteyWilliams

PeteyWilliamsI’ll pay you five dollars if Deucy James isn’t supposed to be Petey Williams. Take a look to your left; if you just pretend that the smudged pictograph on Deucy’s tights is a maple leaf, it’s almost a carbon copy. While his nickname is listed as “The Shock,” that nomme du guerre is entirely disclaimed by his profile, which notes that he is “known as the Canadian Destroyer.” This name is commonly used to refer to both Petey and his famous finishing maneuver:

Depending on who you ask, the Canadian Destroyer is either the most incredible or most ridiculous thing ever seen in all of sports entertainment. Regardless, within the confines of a pro wrestling ring, it’s considered one of the most devastating finishing moves of all time.

Petey Williams recently retired, but not before populating his resume with an impressive list of accomplishments. Around the time of FPWR‘s release, Petey was fresh off a run as a major player in TNA’s X Division. He was a fixture on TNA television as a member of the villainous “Team Canada,” consistently wowing audiences with his maple-flavored mixture of lucha libre and conventional North American wrestling. As you’ll see from the below, his athleticism was undeniable:

As a testament to FPWR‘s consistency, Deucy shares the same last name as Steel James. It looks like anybody with the last name “Williams” became a “James.” As for Deucy? Your guess is as good as mine. But now that I think about it… A.J. Styles, who was one of Williams’ rivals in TNA, became “the Movement” in FPWR. I seriously hope they weren’t aiming for consistency in their toilet humor.

Unfortunately, our talented staff or researchers (which is just me half drunk on a Sunday) can’t find much to support the proposition that Petey Williams was ever BIG IN JAPAN. I’m not even sure he was ever MEDIUM IN JAPAN. The fact that Deucy James is even included in FPWR clearly speaks to his talent, but his lack of a meaningful Japanese wrestling career might not bode well for him.

RAJA DUNK

AjaKong

AjaKongOnly the most devout of western wrestling fans will have any idea who Raja Dunk is supposed to be. That being said, the photo evidence doesn’t lie: this is Japanese wrestling superstar Aja Kong. Over the past few decades, Aja Kong has garnered a reputation as one of the most dominant forces in women’s pro wrestling, if not all of pro wrestling. We’ll dispense with the usual quips and get right to the highlights.

Aja Kong has won nearly every women’s title worth sneezing about. If WWE fans recognize her, it’s from her appearance at Survivor Series’ 95, where she pinned four competitors in a single bout. She was slated to be the next big thing in the WWF’s women’s division, only to have her shot at international superstardom pulled out form under her when the WWF abruptly discontinued its women’s title in 1995. She’s one of the greatest women’s wrestlers of all time, and she’s from Japan. BIG IN JAPAN? It goes without saying.

Raja Dunk’s finishing maneuver is listed as a back knuckle. Is that correct?

Yeah, it checks out. Her profile provides that you “can’t stop her once she goes berserk,” but that’s true of any woman, am I right men? Am I right? Yuk yuk.

Long story short: I don’t have very many jokes to write about Aja Kong, because I am terrified of what she would do to me if she ever read this. If you had to pick a female wrestler to take on a male wrestler, it would be Aja Kong. Deucy is in for a real challenge.


LET’S WRESTLING!

Yikes! Deucy pulled that one out, but he forfeited both his Y chromosome and several gallons of blood in the process. Hopefully Andy Spirals has a few pints he can spare for TNA compatriot. This match was pretty much even, blow-for-blow, until a bloodied Deucy pulled that Canadian Destroyer out his ass and dropped it or Raja’s head. Evidently, FPWR grants Mr. Williams’ vaunted finishing maneuver the respect it has earned in the real world. Maybe someone should have told Raja she didn’t have to go along with that forward flip.

In any event, a great match! Eat your heart out, Billie Jean King!

NEXT TIME: Once and for all, we will determine which fighting style is greatest – IT’S ARM WRESTLING v. MMA!

Fire Pro Wrestling Returns: The Briefcase Cup – Match 5

MATCH 5: “DR. CRUELTY” STEEL JAMES v. “THE MOVEMENT” ANDY SPIRALS

IntroductionMatch 1Match 2Match 3Match 4

As our cavalcade of calamitous carnage continues, will anything be able to top the brutality of Match 4? Tonight, we’ll find out, as “The Movement” receives a grueling physical exam from “Dr. Cruelty!” Get ready for some medical malpractice… TONIGHT. Or today, I guess, if you’re reading this at work.

STEEL JAMES

DrDeath

DeathOklahomaOur two loyal readers will note that “Dr. Cruelty” Steel James bears a striking resemblance to “Dr. Death” Steve Williams. As an All-American collegiate wrestler out of Oklahoma State, Dr. Death earned a reputation as a legitimate tough guy long before he ever set foot in the squared circle. A proud Oklahoma alumnus, Dr. Death was known to wrestle in the colors of this alma mater.  At times, he even wore his collegiate singlet to the ring. Visually, this is as spot on as FPWR ripoffs get.

Throughout his career, Dr. Death employed many finishers. Here, he’s using his famous Backdrop Driver, albeit under the pseudonym “Murder Backdrop.” I think you’ll agree that this false name is more than appropriate:

I mean, holy crap. I think I need spinal fusion surgery after watching that.

Why is he “the most feared rival in the States?” That, loyal readers, is a damn good question. Unquestionably, Dr. Death had an impressive run in the US territory system in during the ’80s, winning the NWA Mid-Atlantic Championship, the UWF World Heavyweight, and numerous other accolades. That being said, he’s much more well-known for his accomplishments outside American borders. So let’s make up a reason: Steel James is “the most feared rival in the States” because he’s from America, the most fearsome country in the world, and I can’t think of anybody scarier than him. Here’s a clip of him beating the living hell out of people set to “I Love it Loud” by Kiss:

Like Giant Borgart, Steel James is a proud member of Olive Japan Pro Wrestling. This would explain why his real life counterpart appears in All Japan Pro Wrestling’s officially licensed game. If there’s one thing we can extrapolate from exploring all of the shamelessly stolen likenesses in FPWR, it’s that having your visage officially licensed in Japan should be viewed as tremendous accomplishment.

Still not satisfied that he was BIG IN JAPAN? Okay, let’s do this:

Up until his untimely death in 2009, Steve Williams was the epitome of BIG IN JAPAN. By all rights and measures, Steel James should be a force to be reckoned with.

ANDY SPIRALS

AJStyles

Andy Spirals should be immediately recognizable as mid-aughts A.J. Styles by his borderline homophonic name. If the name alone isn’t convincing you, then his grammatically repugnant finisher, the Spirals’s Crush, should be clearly recognizable as a tribute to the infamous Styles Clash:

Mr. Spirals’ nickname, the “Movement,” seems to be a failed attempt at capturing the spirit of the “Phenomenal” prefix often affixed to A.J.’s name. FPWR‘s developers may have avoided a lawsuit, but this nickname, almost literally, is pretty crappy.

Like Andy Spirals’ profile suggests, when FPWR went gold, A.J. was routinely “wowing audiences with tricky moves” all across America. His jaw-droppiong performances in the early aughts helped established TNA Wrestling and Ring of Honor as legitimate American promotions. Let’s just take a look:

A.J. Styles may go down in history as one of the greatest American wrestlers never to appear in WWE. He’s held virtually every championship TNA has to offer, not to mention countless other titles across the American independent scene.

These days, it goes without question that A.J. Styles is BIG IN JAPAN; mere months ago, he captured one of the greatest prizes in all of Japanese wrestling, the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. But that was in 2014. The very fact that A.J. received a doppelganger in FPWR is proof that he was well-respected and well-known upon the game’s release. But compared to Dr. Death? He was downright small. Things don’t look so hot for Andy Spirals.


LET’S WRESTLING!

Oh God. Mr. Spirals? Mr. Spirals? Can you tell me what time is it Mr. Spirals? Andy, do you know where you are? Can you hear me, Mr. Spirals….? Call it nurse. Time of death: 8:21. There’s just no cure for the MURDER BACKDROP.

NEXT TIME: The Briefcase Cup gets politically correct, as we serve up a healthy dose of INTERGENDER MADNESS.

 

Fire Pro Wrestling Returns: The Briefcase Cup – Match 4

MATCH 4:
“THE MATADOR” BRITISH AZTECA v. “THE ULTIMATE BOY” MIGHTYBOY EDDY

IntroductionMatch 1Match 2Match 3

Our ornery onslaught of opening round action continues! Last time, Canadian legend, Blood Love, felled the massive Smasher Gigas, proving that it’s not how strong your pixels are programmed – it’s how you use them. Tonight, technique and power will face off again! But first…

A Note on FPWR’s Naming Conventions

There’s a Japanese wrestling organization known as Dragon Gate. Though based in Japan, Dragon Gate is often associated with Mexican wrestling, as its wrestlers are strongly influenced by the lucha libre style. After what was undoubtedly a few too many Sapporo tall boys, one of FPWRs developers concluded that the best way to include Dragon Gate in the game would be to simply change the promotion’s name to “Azteca Pit.” Azteca Pit is a completely ridiculous name for anything other than an El Paso truck stop, but it gets the point across: this is a promotion with a strong Mexican influence.

Our developer, however, seems to have been a man of principle. When he chose fake names to avoid paying for likeness rights, he went whole-hog. As such, wherever use of the word “dragon” could not otherwise be avoided in FPWR, it was replaced with “Azteca,” even where this would lead to ridiculous results. Why do I mention this now?

BRITISH AZTECA

Daniel Bryan

BryanDanielsonBecause our man, British Azteca, is just a quick dye-job away from being the spitting image “The American Dragon,” Bryan Danielson. Bryan Danielson, of course, now wrestles in the WWE as Daniel Bryan. Not too long ago, he headlined Wrestlemania 30. You might not recognize him without his trademark “wrestling Jesus” hair and beard, but trust me: it’s him.

While he’s long been known as one of the world’s premiere technical wrestlers, at the time of FPWR’s release, Bryan had not yet made a name for himself in the WWE. He was, however, well-established on the US independent circuit, having played an integral role in the early days of Ring of Honor and numerous other independent promotions. Like most famous American indy wrestlers, Bryan took more than a few trips to Japan. Here he is fighting Japanese megastar KENTA (who now wrestles in NXT as Hideo Itami):

And here he is squaring off with Naofumi Yamamoto (better known to US fans as Yoshi Tatsu):

Bryan was a well-respected competitor in Japan; he even managed to capture the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship with Christopher Daniels. He also won a one night tournament in New Japan to be declared the “Best of the American Super Juniors.” While he may be smaller than your average Briefcase Cup competitor, make no bones about it, this Super Junior was BIG IN JAPAN.

Bryan’s finisher is listed as a “leg lock suplex hold,” which is a generic name for the Regalplex. A key part of Bryan’s arsenal back in his independent days, the Regalplex was a move made famous by William Regal, a famed British wrestler. Perhaps that’s why he’s the “British” Azteca. Or maybe it’s just because “American Azteca” sounds like a coming of age story about Chicano youth. Who knows? As for his nickname, “El Matador?” Beats me. One of Bryan’s signature holds is known as “cattle mutilation.” Maybe it’s a reference to that? Matadors mutilate male cows. I guess.

So British Azteca was nothing but upside when FPWR came out. Strong technical pedigree and an impeccable curriculum viate. But will he be able to overcome the size and power advantage of…

MIGHTYBOY EDDY

Bulldog

DaveyboyMightyboy Eddy appears to be the doppelganger of Davey Boy Smith: the British Bulldog. So, yes, we have the British Bulldog against the American Dragon. Those are the kind of nicknames that would fit nicely on the top of any marquee. After you run them through the FPWR bizarro filter, however, you wind up with what sounds like a London taco truck taking on a Junior Olympics champion. Funny how that works.

“Mightyboy” is a reasonable aural approximation of “Davey Boy,” and it certainly pays homage to the Bulldog’s legendary strength. Mightyboy’s finisher is an “Oklahoma Stampede,” a species of running powerslam, a move the Bulldog commonly used to dispatch opponents:

And, hey, look! They also included his attire from his questionable “wrestling in jeans” phase. He’ll be wearing these in the match, that’s for sure.

Bulldog jeans bulldogjeans

Mightyboy’s profile notes that he has “moved to the heavyweight ring.” While the Bulldog was commonly known as a musclebound heavyweight, he actually cut his chops wrestling as a junior heavyweight in Japan and Canada. Together, with his tag team partner, Dynamite Kid, he wowed fans of all across Japan with his rare combination of power and technique. Here he is with Dynamite Kid taking on some of Japan’s finest well before his tenure in the WWE:

His success in Japan eventually caught the attention of the WWF. While the Bulldog would go on to great success in the West, he would periodically make trips back to Japan, where it appears that he was still loved by his fans:

Smith tragically died in 2002 – his status as a “USA Legend” in FPWR is more than appropriate. We have to assume that Mightyboy has been programmed to be as Big in Japan as he could possibly be.

So we have a genuine international legend taking on an indy hero who would become WWE champion. LET’S GET IT ON.


 LET’S WRESTLING!

You know, for two guys with such incredible pedigrees, Azteca and Mightyboy sure spent a lot of time just beating the shit out of each other and crashing into barbed wire. But hey, we’ll take it! After a ridiculous back-and-forth bloodbath, British Azteca finally puts Mightyboy away with a quick reversal into a pinning combination for the win! This one was not for the faint of heart, kids.

NEXT TIME: A phenom goes to see the doctor, as we continue to open up a briefcase full of whoop-ass!

 

Fire Pro Wrestling Returns: The Briefcase Cup – Match 3

MATCH 3:
BLOOD “VENOM” LOVE v. “THE FLYING BEAST” SMASHER GIGAS

IntroductionMatch 1Match 2 

You just experienced an amazing display of aggression from some international ambassadors of anger. Now, Subspace Briefcase is proud to present two legends of North American wrestling: It’s the technical wizardry of Blood Love vs. the stunning savagery of Smasher Gigas! We’ll find out who really… LOVES BLOOD… TONIGHT!

BLOOD LOVE

Bret Hart

BretHartThere’s no sense in dancing around it, this is supposed to be Bret Hart, widely considered to be one of the best professional wrestlers of all time, and a legitimate national hero in Canada. “The Excellence of Execution” was so revered in his home country, that late in his career, he was able to accomplish the remarkable feat of remaining a hero in Canada while portrayed as a villain everywhere else. He was also a hero to me as a Philadelphian, because he dropped this bomb on Pittsburgh:

So FPWR is correct to refer to Mr. Hart as the “Hero of Canada” (weirdly, though, he’s still a “USA Legend”). “Blood Love” is clearly playing upon his surname, “Hart.” I have an idea about where “Blood Venom” comes from, but we’ll discuss that in a later post.

Bret Hart was a five-time WWF champion, so it goes without saying, he was big in Japan. However, he may have been bigger than you realize…

Long before he became a legend in the WWF, Hart was wowing Japanese wrestling fans of the early 1980s with his technical prowess. Above, you’ll see him wrestling Satoru Sayama, or “Tiger Mask 1,” a legendary figure of Japanese pro-wrestling. This match took place in 1982, long before Bret was on any American wrestling fan’s radar. Hart cut more than a few of his teeth in Japan, and he was loved by Japanese fans for it. He was, in fact, BIG IN JAPAN.

But here’s where we run through one of the more interesting quandaries of FPWR – what era of Blood Love are we getting here? Giant Rozhmov was dead when this game was released, so we simply assume that the game is just emulating him at his all-time best. In 2007, however, Bret Hart was (and still is) alive. Technically, he had yet to wrestle his last match. Are we getting the bloodiest love that we possibly can? ONLY TIME WILL TELL.

SMASHER GIGAS

BamBamBigelow

BigelowMoonsaultAgain, we’re dealing with a ripoff so blatant that dancing around it makes absolutely no sense. “Flying Beast,” Smasher Gigas is none other than “The Beast from the East,” Bam Bam Bigelow. During his life, Bam Bam was known as one of the most agile big men on the planet. On occasion, he was known to finish his opponents off with a moonsault – an impressive feat for a man who was 6″4′ and weighed nearly 400 pounds. So yeah, you could say that he was “pretty acrobatic,” and “Flying Beast” seems an appropriate enough nickname. In Japan, he occassionally wrestled under the name “Crusher Bam Bam,” which explains at least one half of the “Smasher Gigas” mystery.

He was a walking nightmare; a big fat ass kicker that could squash you or pummel you at his choosing. Bam Bam’s tattooed head and signature flame tights made him one of the most recognizable wrestlers of the 80s and 90s. He might be most-remembered for fighting Lawrence Taylor at Wrestlemania XI (yeah, that Lawrence Taylor), but outside of the WWF, he made a habit of wowing fans of ECW and WCW with his incredible displays of power and agility.

But was he… BIG IN JAPAN? Well, here he is beating Kenta Kobashi, one of Japan’s most decorated wrestlers:

And here he is fighting Antonio Inoki, renowned Japanese wrestler, politician, and world’s most confusing Muslim:

So he was big enough. Bam Bam passed away in 2007, making FPWR one of his last appearances in any video game, unofficial, or otherwise. If Smasher Gigas is anywhere near Bam Bam in his prime, we should be in for a nice little donnybrook here.


LET’S WRESTLING!

Blood Love must have been abusing some serious Ico Pro, because there’s no way he should have been able to deliver a piledriver to the enormous Smasher Gigas. Somehow, Love was able to kick out of three of Smasher’s finishers (the “Fire Thunder Driver,” known in America as “Greetings from Asbury Park”), and ultimately win with a fancy, technical pinning combination. In a lot of ways, this looked a lot like you’d expect a Bret Hart/Bam Bam match to play out. That’s why people love FPWR.

NEXT TIME – The opening round continues! A British bulldog takes on an American dragon in a scintillating display of skill! YES! YES! YES!

Fire Pro Wrestling Returns: The Briefcase Cup – Match 2

MATCH 2:
“THE MAD EXPRESS” GIGANT BORGART v. MASCARA EAGLE 2

IntroductionMatch 1

The pain train keeps on rolling! Last time, we brought you a giant and a butcher. Now, we deliver to your doorstep an international incident of irrational anger! THE COMBATANTS:

 GIGANT BORGART

Albert

downloadWWE fans will no doubt recognize at least one of the many personas of Gigant Borgart. Professional wrestler Matt Bloom debuted on WWE television in 1999 as “Prince Albert” –  the bodyguard and “personal piercer” of fellow wrestler Darren Drozdov. You read that correct; his ring name was a dick piercing pun. Before too long, his name was shortened to just “Albert,” and he formed a tag team with Andrew “Test” Martin: Test & Albert, or “T&A” for short. This team’s name probably had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they were managed by a little-known fitness model named Trish Stratus.

Borgart1

Albert changed his name to “A-Train” in late 2002 (which probably explains his nickname and profile data in FPWR), a moniker under which he wrestled the Undertaker at Wrestlemania XIX. A-Train was sidelined with a rotator cuff injury and ultimately released in 2004.

Mattbloom1So how do we get “Gigant Borgart?” From the screenshot above, astute readers will note that “Gigant Borgart” is listed under the “Olive” category. “Olive” is short for “Olive Japan Wrestling,” which is FPWR’s cutesy way of getting around paying All Japan Pro Wrestling any money. All Japan Pro Wrestling is precisely where A-Train showed up after his time in WWE, wrestling under the name “Giant Bernard.” So there you have it – it’s less a fake name and more straight-up Engrish.

So, what should we expect out of Borgart in this tournament? We know he was big and in Japan, but was he “Big in Japan?”

At the time this game was released in 2006,  the former Albert was in the middle of an incredible career resurgence. Upon arriving in All Japan, Bernard joined a stable with the very Japanese name of “Voodoo Murders” (probably explaining why he’s in a somewhat similar sounding team called “Budo Madness” in FPWR), and earned the opportunity to wrestle for the AJPW Triple Crown Championship in late 2005. He would continue to compete across Japan to great success, earning numerous accolades in New Japan Pro Wrestling, before returning to the states for a 2 year stint as “Tensai.” He’s now settled into a steady gig as an announcer for WWE’s developmental brand, NXT. So, yeah, he was BIG IN JAPAN. We should expect great things from Mr. Borgart.

MASCARA EAGLE 2

AlbertoDelRio

AlbertoDelRioMascara Eagle 2, which sounds like the sequel to an awesome 80s movie about a crime fighting drag queen, is none other than the wrestler we now know today as Alberto Del Rio. However, in 2007,  “Alberto Del Rio” was still wrestling in his native Mexico under the name “Dos Caras, Jr.” The son of Dos Caras, a famous luchardor, Dos Caras Jr. was a well-established superstar of Mexican wrestling when FPWR hit store shelves. Yes, his father is in the game as Mascara Eagle 1.

It’s easy to figure out where MasCARA comes from – but Eagle? I’m not so sure. I can only assume our intrepid “translators” we’re working off of the the long “e” sound in Dos Caras’ real last name, Rodriguez. Who knows.

So he was big in Mexico – but this isn’t Lucha Libre en Fuego, it’s FIRE PRO WRESTLING! Was he big in Japan?

DosCarasKinda.  While Dos Caras Jr. was undoubtedly a known commodity as  a wrestler in Japan, he was more known for his forays into the world of mixed martial arts. The future Mr. Del Rio had a background in amateur wrestling (greco roman, specifically), and put together a nice little side gig on the Japanese MMA circuit.  Dos Caras Jr. put together a nice little record of 9-5 before he seemingly hung up the gloves in 2010.  Extremely impressive for someone with an active career in pro wrestling!

Unfortunately, all anybody remembers is that he’s dude in the lucha mask that got his head kicked off.

In 2003, the powers that be decided to put Dos Caras Jr. (then with a less than impressive record of 3-2) against Mirko “CroCop” Filipovic, who was, at the time, the most feared heavyweight striker on the planet. Unfortunately, this is all anybody remembers when they talk about the MMA career of Dos Caras Jr., which is unfortunate, because he wasn’t half bad.

So was he big in Japan? Not Borgart big, but big enough that we should expect him to pull out some “legit” maneuvers in this match. Will it be enough to budge Borgart of his base?


 

LET’S WRESTLING!

Sweet fancy Moses, that wasn’t even close. Maybe there’s a reason this man had so much success once he took his mask off in the WWE – he was probably able to see all those kicks before they were crammed down his throat. Borgart takes it with a two-step kick at the 7:25 mark. I hope Mascara Eagle 2 has some Cononos handy back in the locker room

That’s it for this time, ladies and germs! Next time, it’s the third match of the most terrorizing tour de force in the history of tournaments! Canada’s hero, Blood Love, takes on New Jersey’s own Smasher Gigas! It’s Canadian Bacon vs. Jersey Tomatoes – as God as my witness, someone will be broken in half!