KEITA YANO vs. YOSHINORI NARITA
Yano is tricky because I like him, or I want to like him, but his out put can be sketchy. Sometimes he's all over it and you think he's a few steps away from full blown awesome. Other times he's lay an egg, and you'll be left wondering where the hell that almost awesome guy went. This match, thankfully, is one of those goodies. Narita and he exchange some awesome holds and counters. Yano has some cravat work that Narita sells like he's being choked. There's a really neat counter out of one of those cravats down about midway, too. Yano doesn't do too much, which I think he's had problems with in the past. He keeps it relatively simple and mat based. There's some great strikes like Narita's foreram and that lays Yano out, and a some nasty punches to the back of the head. Yano also busts something that looks similar to Daniel Bryan's LeBell Lock but kind of worse. Nice 8 minute match and restores my faith in Keita Yano.
SANSHU TSUBAKICHI vs. TAKESHI TAKASHIMA
SLAPS TO THE FACE. This is brutal. Poor Takeshi just gets his head knocked around for 8 minutes. Slaps. Kicks. It's totally one dimensional in that way, and it kind of makes you feel bad. AS things go on Takeshi keeps answering the ten count and some members of the crowd start to get behind him. You want him to survive but he's totally outclassed. Even when he finally gets counted down, he's still climbing the ropes trying to make it. So even though it's one dimensional it gets some story across, which is nice. Poor Takeshi's face. It all kept coming on the same side too, so he started to look like Harvey Dent in the last act of Dark Knight.
TIGER SHARK & AKIFUMI SAITO vs. BAISEN TAGAI & HAYATO MASHITA
Hayato and Akifumi are both Sayama(Original Tiger Mask) Trainees. I think Tiger Shark is too, but I'm not for certain. Those three all made debuts in 2007. Apparently they watched the first match because both Mashita and Tiger Shark use that hold on each other and it's even the finish to the match. I thought that was kind of lame since I had already seen the move earlier and they both seemed capable of bringing something else. It's still not a bad match but it gets really sloppy in the finishing stretch and feels really disconjointed. I dug TAGAI's matwork with Saito and Tiger Shark looked pretty slick a couple of times with his front neck locks and kicks. I'm not for sure yet but he might be the best masked guy with Tiger in his name wrestling right now. Even though I think current Sayama is pretty fun despite being older and pretty plump. Could have been better, but I still enjoyed all the participants.
SUPER TIGER 2 vs. YUJIRO YAMAMOTO
I might be turning the corner on Super Tiger II. I've been down on him in the past. Some of the more heavily hyped Battlarts bouts have had him in it, and I've always thought he was the weak link. Even above, I mentioned Tiger Shark being a better masked Tiger wrestler. I might be wrong. Something about about what SuTigerII did in this match really connected to me. Everything was so smooth in the chain wrestling and his kicks felt on point and nasty. Yamamoto was really good to. They're just great dance partners and it made me like both of them a lot. The transition into the finash is awesome, even though it too looks familiar to the hold that's finished other matches on the card. What's up with that move anyway.
YUKI ISHIKAWA & MUNENORI SAWA vs. KATSUMI USUDA & RYUJI WALTER
This match was pretty good. Usuda and Walter work really well together and I enjoy Ishikawa, but Sawa is sometimes hit or miss for me. I think he's great in certain instances but for soome reason he didn't fit in this match for me. There's plenty of fun stuf though like Usuda and Walter kicking the beejebuss out of Ishikawa. Usuda even gets in some shots from the apron for the hell of it. I think they really work well together. The finish was okay and was something different than the last four matches.
I think this is a pretty strong 5 match card and if you're into BA then this should be a fun card to watch. If you're thinking about checking out Battlarts, this doesn't have much in the way of real blow-away matches that could turn you into a fan for life, but there's some strong performances that may get you primed to watch more. I totally recommend it. Maybe not as a "buy it" but at least give it a watch.