Yup, we haven’t had too many of these in recent weeks, due to pesky real life issues clogging up my time, but I have been INSPIRED to write a new review this week. That inspiration has come from one man named Naoki Friggin Tanizaki, my absolute favourite wrestler in the history of the world (this week). Infinity 145, eminating from Hakata Star Lanes, was the Naoki show. Well actually it was the Naoki & His Daughter Show. The show centered around the Open The Brave Gate tournament to crown a new champ. We had two semi final three ways with the winners meeting in the final.
Naoki Tanizaki vs. Kzy vs. Super Shiisa
I’m not the hugest fan of three ways and triple threats anymore, but this was fun and kept nice and short. Kzy heeled it up with the help of his Real Hazard buddies at ringside (he’s really fitting into the rudo role nicely) and I think most of the crowd expected him to advance past veteran lower carder Shiisa, and the man who Kzy beat at World, Tanizaki. They were right as far as Shiisa went, as he was pinned after a mask-jacking by Kzy. However they were very wrong as far as Naoki went. He battled past the RH interference to snatch a win and move to the final. Post match he was beatdown bigtime by chair shots and a Kzy-Time (Canadian Destroyer from the corner).
KAGETORA vs. Tozawa vs. Super Shenlong
Again, same kinda deal. Short snappy three way. Shelong did some funny stuff before being booted and it came down to the two more senior members. Both KAGE and Tozawa have been kept pretty strong this year so it was anyone’s guess who’d advance. Lots of cool stuff exchanged down the stretch with Tozawa’s Germans being particularly choice. KAGE hooked him out of nowhere in his high speed cradle of doom that he’s been beating people with, and Tozawa was done.
Final – KAGETORA vs. Naoki Tanizaki
Tani is of course banged up coming in after the RH attack, and KAGE doesn’t waste any time getting control by working over the injured neck. Basically the first 7 or 8 minutes are all just KAGETORA picking him apart with innovative holds and other hurty stuff. With certain guys this could be boring, but when you have Naoki selling like he’s being water-boarded by Jack Bauer, it’s all good. Add in the bonus of young Yuki Tanizaki (who couldn’t have been more than 3 years old) in the crowd with Mom, looking completely worried for Daddy and the scene just gets that bit more dramatic. They started teasing comebacks throughout the middle of the match and then by the time they got down to the last 5/6 minutes the Lanes fans were starting to rock. Down the stretch it was just all big moves and 2.999999999 cradles. Naoki kept looking for his knee strikes out of desperation and KAGE just kept looking to deliver that one big final blow that would keep the pesky Tanizaki down. A DDT on the apron didn’t do it, an Ikkitousen didn’t do it and even Naoki’s own Beach Break being used on him didn’t do it.
Poor Yuki was in floods of tears at this point and a more humane individual than myself may feel that was not good. I thought it was pretty great. PRO WRES EMOTION~!!~!! Little kiddies SHOULD be crying. God knows I cried when Earthquake cut a promo saying he was coming to MY town. She even mouthed “Papa” at one point during her distress. Awesome. Naoki was meanwhile selling his guts off in the ring and just looking for any opening to give him even a small chance of winning. A HYOOOGE Beach Break of his own got him back in the game but he was too tired to hold the cover. Damage was done though, as KAGE was looking pretty out of it. The next big nearfall came, ingeniously, with the high speed cradle of doom and every man, woman and child in the building bought it. Such a huge pop for Naoki kicking out. A series of running knees nearly put KAGE away, but more was needed. A killer rolling sole butt to face got a 2.999, but Tanizaki FEELING THE MOMENTUM, hoisted KAGE up for a second Beach Break, this time holding the pin for the 1-2-3. The crowd erupted, Naoki collapsed with joy, Doi, Yoshino and Hulk (who were going batshit insane at ringside) hit the ring and then in maybe the wrestling moment of the year, the camera cut to Yuki looking overjoyed, raising her arm in the air, and then later cooly making a peace sign towards the camera. Naoki brought her into the ring for the post match speech and it was one of the happiest scenes I’ve ever seen in wrestling.
Gotta give credit to the man who was kind of overshadowed following the match – KAGETORA. He wrestled a hell of a match, guiding the thing from start to finish and really putting Tani over huge.
Not just the best Infinity this year, but one of my favourite ever.
Infinity 145 – 9.5/10