MATCH 12: KAZUYA v. BILL “THE RAIDER” BULLET
We GUARANTEE that someone will go to sleep in Match 12! Heads will be kicked, nuts will be slapped, and if we’re lucky, a guitar will be broken, as American wrestling royalty takes on a crown prince of Japanese grappling! It’s KAZUYA vs. Bill Bullet… TONIGHT.
I’m certain that Kazuya is the wrestler formerly known as KENTA. I haven’t capitalized his name for emphasis; that’s how he spells it. Why, you ask? Well, KENTA’s given name is Kenta Kobayashi. This, you may note, sounds quite similar to Kenta Kobashi, the Japanese wrestling legend we profiled in a piece two weeks ago. Further confounding things, Kenta Kobashi actually trained young master KENTA. As KENTA frequently teamed-up with Kenta, he did the world a favor and just capitalized the shit out of his name so we could all tell them apart. This is a great idea. America really needs to embrace typography in naming conventions. Should I ever have a son, I will name him
steve, so that nobody will be confused as to who the genuine article is.
KENTA now wrestles in WWE’s developmental territory under the name Hideo Itami, but don’t let his status as a “prospect” fool you. Your favorite American wrestlers have been borrowing from this guy for years. Kazuya, like KENTA, utilizes “Go 2 Sleep” as his finisher, a maneuver that was famously co-opted by former WWE wrestler C.M. Punk. Let’s watch it 100 times.
Kazuya is billed as a “Kick Master,” and I believe this highlight video supports FPWR‘s claim that “his fatal kicks are extremely dangerous.”
Astute viewers will also note that Daniel Bryan has also borrowed some moves from KENTA as well. So BIG IN JAPAN that the biggest names in American borrow from him. This guy should be huge!
Like his mentor, Kazuya is wrestling in SUPER NOVA, which is a stand in for Pro Wrestling NOAH. At the the time of FPWR‘s release, that was KENTA’s homebase, and if my calculations are correct, he was probably the GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion back then. The transitive law of video game simulation (the Bo Jackson Corollary) means that this should make him improbably powerful. His opponent better have some chops (woo)!
Now this is the kind of alliterative identity theft I can get behind. Bill Bullet is a dead ringer for American wrestling omnipresence Jeff Jarrett. “Double B” bears a lot of similarities to “Double J,” not the least of which is his finishing maneuver, a legsweep facebuster. Jarrett calls his version of the maneuver “The Stroke:”
Jeff Jarrett is the son of Jerry Jarrett, who has famously owned and/or operated quite a few American wrestling promotions, including the Continental Wrestling Association, the United States Wrestling Association, World Class Championship Wrestling and, most recently, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. Accordingly, Bill Bullet’s bio accurately reflects that “his father was a wrestler/promoter.”
If “wrestling memories” are a thing that you have, you probably have more than a few of Jeff Jarrett. He was the “other guy.” Remember when Hulk Hogan angrily walked out on WCW at Bash at the Beach 2000? He was the other dude in the ring. Remember when Chyna became the first woman to win the Intercontinental Championship? She beat Jeff Jarrett. Rememeber when Owen Hart was going through his last great run as the Blue Blazer? Jeff Jarrett was his partner. That blurry figure in the background of every wrestling photograph ever? Jeff Jarrett. He’s always there.
As far as I can tell, Jeff Jarrett invented the insult “Slap Nuts,” which probably qualifies him for some kind of Nobel Prize, or at least a Newbery Medal. Also, he’s famous for hitting people with gimmicked guitars:
There’s a strangely prophetic element to the “Bill Bullet” moniker. Just last year, Jeff Jarrett founded Global Force Wrestling, a wrestling company which has recently served as the U.S. pay-per-view distributor for New Japan Pro Wrestling. In connection with this business alliance, Jarrett has appeared on New Japan’s pro wrestling as a member of the faction known as…. The Bullet Club. We should have seen this coming. FOLLOW THE MONEY.
But when FPWR came out? Jeff Jarrett was no slouch, but he wasn’t BIG IN JAPAN. He was probably well into his fourth or fifth reign at whatever TNA was calling the NWA Championship at that point… but he had nothing on KENTA. This might get ugly folks.
Guess that’s why they call it “Go to Sleep.” Kazuya takes it at 12:52 as Double B bites the bullet (club)!