By John Moore
Tiger Mask W
Aired October 22, 2016 on TV Asahi/Crunchyroll Simulcast
Red Death Mask just exited the limo and was hounded by the Japan and Pro Wrestling press members. Haruna contemplated what the “Red Death” meant. Ryu Wakamatsu walked in and started to hit on Haruna. He also informed Haruna and Tiger Mask that he was facing Red Death Mask. This week’s episode was titled “The Mask of Red Death”…
Miss X introduced Red Death Mask to her Tiger’s Den rookies: Kevin, Mike, and Tiger the Dark. Dark gave Death Mask a death glare as he entered the locker room. Hikari Kuruma of Pro Wrestling Monthly interviewed Tiger the Dark but didn’t get much info..
1. Red Death Mask vs. Ryu Wakamatsu. Red Death Mask had an aura of red death around him. Miss X said to make this a highlight match. Ryu tried to come in at Death Mask with an elbow but Death Mask no sold it with his red death aura. He just stood with his arms crossed.
Right when Ryu went for another elbow he was caught by the Von Erich Iron Claw. The move was called the Red Death Claw here. Tiger Mask figured that Death Mask was a master of the Iron Claw. Red Death Mask started to dig into the face of Ryu which caused him to bleed from the face. The referee went to try to call the submission but Ryu wouldn’t quit. Ryu Wakamatsu was developing a crimson mask as he was held up by Death Mask with one hand. It took a while but Ryu Wakamatsu’s eyes went to the back of his head and he passed out. The referee called the match after Ryu Wakamatsu was tossed into the ringpost. Miss X said Red Death Mask didn’t even have to use his finisher. The referee’s called for a stretcher.
Red Death Mask defeated Ryu Wakamatsu via ref stoppage at 3:18.
The crowd sold fear at the red face of Ryu. Miss X said that Tiger Mask will wear a mask of Red Death at Ryugoku. Red Death Mask said that Tiger Mask’s next ring will be his land of death as he did the Iron Claw to the camera…
Haruna feared that Tiger Mask will be covered in blood to which Tiger Mask said he was ready for it. He also said that he would continue to beat up Monopoly wrestlers. Tiger Mask said ever since the day that Yellow Devil left the ring, the other wrestlers except Odin went missing. Tiger Mask said he will defeat them all and won’t lose. Haruna wished Tiger Mask good luck in his next mask against a New Japan rookie… [C]
We’re going to assume he beat the rookie as Naoto was back at Takaoka’s motor shop where he was doing squats. Takaoka talked about training some more for the Red Death Mask match. Naoto said if the match comes down to the claw, he will crush the claw. Haruna said that Naoto has grown alot since he was shy before. They cut to a flashback with 15 year old Haruna coming back from high school (which means Haruna is currently 18). She walked to the shop to see a sad looking but shy Naoto. She assumed he was a new mechanic at the shop. Kentaro Takaoka informed his niece that they were closing the shop. Haruna was saddened by this as it was her dream to work at the motor shop and she went to sob in a corner. Naoto walked to Haruna to tell her that he wants to become a tiger. She told Naoto about her dream. Naoto said sorry. Haruna called Naoto a baka (idiot)…
Cut back to modern time, and Haruna said she finally understood that Naoto wanted to become the tiger called Tiger Mask. Takaoka gave Naoto some encouraging words as Naoto and Haruna drove off to their match…
2.Tiger the Dark vs. Kevin Anderson. We find out that Kevin’s last name is Anderson as we cut to a GWM match happening inside of a New Japan Pro Wrestling ring. Tiger the Dark was pissed off that they put him in the opening match while Tiger Mask was the lead in for the main event. He said that that’s how shady New Japan works. Dark had Anderson in a headlock but Anderson flipped out. Tiger the Dark locked in the headlock again after.
Tiger the Dark looked to the crowd and noticed that the stands were almost empty. Tiger the Dark quickly ended the match with the Darkness Driver.
Tiger the Dark defeated Kevin Anderson via pinfall in 0:51 of TV time.
Hikari Kuruma the reporter lady tried to get a word with Tiger the Dark only to be shrugged off. Tiger Mask went to the ring with a much larger crowd. Yuji Nagata joined the commentators on commentary. The lights went off and Red Death Mask teleported to the ring and started beating up on Tiger Mask before the bell.
3. Tiger Mask vs. Red Death Mask. The referee tried to stop Red Death Mask but he was pushed off. Yuji Nagata was also thrown out of the ring. Red Death Mask gave Tiger Mask the giant swing into the ringpost. The bell rang after Tiger Mask got to his feet.
John’s Thoughts: This gets on my nerves in TNA and it will here too, even though I see it as parody. Why start the match after a pre match beatdown on the babyface?
Red Death Mask put the boots to Tiger Mask in the corner and kicked him to the outside of the ring. Red Death Mask went high risk and gave him a diving knee. This beatdown disgusted the crowd members. Red Death Mask locked in the Red Death Claw and dragged Tiger Mask into the ring. Red Death Mask tossed Tiger Mask into the ring post for the second time in this match. Tiger Mask started to bleed which Miss X called the mask of red death.
Tiger Mask blocked one claw bout not the right hand to the abs. Tiger Mask reversed the move into the cross-armbreaker. Red Death Mask fell over to cause the rope break. Tiger Mask crushed Red Death’s arm with an armbar. Tiger Mask went for the dropkick but was caught midair by the Iron Claw from the left. Tiger’s Mask became red due to the blood. Red Death Mask did his finisher the “Red Death Drop” which was a mat slam from the Iron Claw. Tiger Mask kicked out at two for the really close nearfall.
Tiger Mask got up but only to be met with another Iron Claw. Red Death Mask was setting up for another Red Death Drop. Tiger Mask has a crimson mask and all he could hear was the words of Haruna crying for him. Those words inspired him to grab the wrist of Red Death Mask mid move. Tiger Mask landed and gave Red Death Mask his rolling sobat kick. Tiger Mask kicked Red Death to the ropes with an enziguri and proceeded to pummel him with kicks to the head. The ref broke up the beatdown and Miss X told Red Death that a loss would be inexcusable. This caused Red Death to go wild into a spinning kick from TIger Mask. Tiger Mask then gave Red Death Mask a Tiger Driver to lead to the pinfall victory.
Tiger Mask defeated Red Death Mask via pinfall in 5:18
Haruna and Miss X sold shock on their faces. Nagata was impressed on commentary and said the strength was real. Tiger Mask cut a promo saying “Who’s Next!” from the Monopoly. Miss X said they will find a worthy wrestler soon, but until then, goodbye…
John’s Thoughts: Okay, they still had the heel lose in one episode but at least they gave him a good squash win over Ryu Wakamatsu to set him up as deadly. Ryu is glorified enhancement talent at this point, which should be the role of the young boy. It’s funny how even though they are treating this like a sporting event they also have “bookers” like Yuji Nagata treating pro wrestling from a worked perspective. As for the Red Death Mask match, it was the best match we’ve had so far on this show with the yellow mask turning red being a legit scary moment to watch. I would say that kids shouldn’t watch this episode but in Japan they aren’t afraid to expose children to violence. But that was really sick looking! This also sets a bar for violence early in the show’s run which has me wondering as to how intense it’s going to get as we move on.