Moore’s Tiger Mask W Anime Review: Episode 8 – Tiger’s Den Bares Fangs, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tiger Mask vs. Bullet Club for a title shot at the IWGP Tag Team Championship, GWM announces a masked wrestler tournament

By John Moore

Tiger Mask W – Episode 8
Aired November 26, 2016 on TV Asahi/Crunchyroll simulcast

This week’s Tiger Mask W episode started off with GWM (The United states Wrestling Company/WWE) making an announcement that they were going to hold an overseas tournament in Japan. The announcer said that World Champions from all over the world would be competing in the tournament…

John’s Thoughts: I’m skipping the review of episode 7 for now since it was yet another filler episode. It did give exposition to Naoto but it was totally skippable.

Naoto was back at the Takaoka shop with Kentaro Takaoka. Naoto was confused as to why there were so many brown boxes stored at the shop and in the truck. Takaoka said it was all of the Tiger Mask merch that Haruna put together. Naoto wasn’t too keen in focusing on merch sales over wrestling but Haruna shut him up by going into tsundere mode. The title card said this week’s episode was called “Tiger’s Den Bares Fangs”…

John’s Thoughts: I wonder if Haruna Takaoka is a better merch pusher than Don West? If so then TNA might consider signing a cute female wrestling fan to push their merch? Sorry, it’s force of habit to make jokes at TNA’s expense when they’ve had such a hilarious history.

Haruna was driving the merch truck with Naoto and she asked him who he always detours off to see at the hospital. Naoto said his name was Daisuke Fujii which Haruna wasn’t familliar with. Naoto mentioned how Daisuke was the guy who fought and got crippled by Yellow Devil. Haruna attributed her lack of knowlege to being a novice pro wrestling fan…

Naoto was at the hospital pushing Daisuke’s wheelchair. Daisuke was in a jaded state of mind and said that Naoto should just give up since it’s not worth fighting the GWM on his behalf. Naoto said he couldn’t forgive Yellow Devil for what they did to Daisuke and their independent pro wrestling company. Naoto said he was a proud pro wrestler and pro wrestlers are meant to fight in the ring. Daisuke grew a smile and said that Naoto grew up to be a great pro wrestler. Naoto said that may be so but he hasn’t won a championship belt yet. This caused Naoto to wonder where their Zipangu promotion belt went after the promotion got buried.

Daisuke said that jobber Mikasa is taking care of the belt which disappointed Naoto a bit. Daisuke said that promotion was the past and Naoto should go for IWGP championships now. Naoto mentioned that he was having a New Japan match at Zipangu’s old stomping grounds. Daisuke was proud of Tiger Mask. Daisuke’s nurse Ruriko summoned him to go and take a physical. Ruriko talked to Naoto about how she’s starting to get into pro wrestling by taking care of Daisuke and watching the TV. Ruriko then started to fangirl over Tiger Mask which made Naoto bashful a bit due to him being the masked wrestler.

Ruriko then started to fangirl over Naoto after Naoto said he was a pro wrestler too and said she would love to attend a live event someday. She was hitting on Naoto and told Naoto that she would love to go on a date to the next New Japan show. Naoto nervously said no since he didn’t want Ruriko to find out that he and Tiger Mask were the same person. Haruna was still in tsundere mode in the car and said that Naoto looked oddly happy just now…

John’s Thoughts: You know this is a fantasy shounen anime that’s trying to both cater to teenage boys and older wrestling males when they try to push that hot nurses are trying to ask pro wrestlers to go to New Japan shows as a date.

There was a road closure up ahead but Naoto told Haruna that there was a side road that most people don’t know about. Haruna pointed out how they were passing by the japanese trailer house ghettos. Naoto said he grew up here and it was his home town. Haruna assumed that Naoto grew up in Tokyo in a pro wrestling gym. Naoto mentioned how that was only in his teenage years and before that his small town was hit by a natural disaster which caused them to build these trailer houses. Naoto said the earthquake took his life away and all hope was lost; but then pro wrestling came and saved his life. They showed clips of Naoto watching Daisuke Fujii wrestling and him watching a live show for the first time. Daisuke cut a promo about how he wants his pro wrestling to give people hope and strength and he will try hard to give that to the people.

John’s Thoughts: Okay… I didn’t want to make two TNA reference in ths same review, but is Naoto/Tiger Mask the Japanese version of babyface Drew Galloway? He just said that watching pro wrestling saved his life! I never saw how Hulk Hogan cut promos in the AWA but I’ll assume that Daisuke’s promo was from the same cookie cutter.

Naoto ran backstage and told Daisuke and Mikasa that he wanted to become a pro wrestler. Jobber Mikasa tried to shoo him back but Naoto mentioned how an earthquake destroyed his home. Daisuke listened to Naoto and told Naoto that pro wrestling isn’t easy. Naoto said that seeing Daisuke fight gave him strength. Daisuke agreed to train naoto…

Cut back to modern times as Haruna and Naoto were outside of the New Japan show as Naoto was pleased as to how far he came. They went inside where Haruna set up her Tiger Mask merchandise stand. Ryu Wakamatsu was competing with her trying to sell Okada Rainmaker towels and rainmaker t-shirts. Haruna pointed out to Ryu that he was copying her selling technique. Ryu just responded by hitting on her and asking her on a date. Haruna just ignored the request…

In the locker room, Tiger Mask and Hiroshi Tanahashi were going over strategy for their upcoming tag match where they were teaming up. Tanahashi wanted to know if Tiger Mask had any special tag team moves…

1. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tiger Mask vs. Bullet Club (Tama Tonga and Bad Luck Fale). Bullet Club went for the attack before the bell but ran into stereo dropkicks from Tanahashi and Tiger. Tiger Mask hit Tonga with a tope. Tanahashi hit Fale with a High Fly Flow to knock out Fale on the outside. Guest color commentator Yuji Nagata said that Tiger and Tanahashi look like long time tag partners even though it’s their first match teaming up. Okada and Wakamatsu were joking in gorilla position and even a bit nervous that their main event tag match might not live up to Tiger and Tanahashi. Tanahashi locked Fale in a full nelson which allowed Tiger Mask to hit Tama Tonga with his bridged German Suplex finisher for the victory.

Tiger Mask and Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Tama Tonga and Bad Luck Fale via pinfall in about 1:00 of TV Time.

The play-by-play said it was amazing to see the first time tag partners defeat Bullet Club in a squash. Nagata, who’s New Japan’s head booker in the anime, said that this puts them in line for an IWGP Tag Team Title shot. Tiger Mask played to the crowd after the match which Okada and Wakamatsu thought was odd because Tiger Mask is usually very stoic. Haruna was also in gorilla position and told them that this was Tiger Mask’s hometown crowd. Haruna then backtracked because she almost forgot that they were trying to keep Naoto’s identity secret. Nagata met Tiger Mask and Tanahashi in gorilla and told them that he was granting them an IWGP Tag Title shot which Tiger Mask didn’t expect to get so soon. Haruna said that the tag belts would be great in helping her sell merchandise. Okada said he was going to use this as inspiration to put on a better main event. Wakamatsu told Okada to make it rain gold… [C]

Naoto was riding back in Haruna’s merch truck telling her that it felt a bit odd in that he trained all of his life to be a pro wrestler to avenge Daisuke and destroy Yellow Devil, yet now he’s doing pro wrestling things like having matches and going for championships. Haruna reminded Naoto of his dream to become a pro wrestler before he had revenge on the mind and that Naoto’s goal should be to become a pro wrestler while Tiger Mask should set his sights on Yellow Devil. This caused Naoto to flashback to training with Takuma Fujii. They showed clips of Takuma and Naoto becoming friends and training in Zipangu…

Inside of a random steel cage, Takuma and GWM wrestlers were treating Odin as a punching bag. One of the trainees said this was the “Tiger’s Execution” that happens to wrestlers who fail the GWM. The trainees continued to beat up on Odin for training. Odin begged Miss X to put him back on the main roster and to take him off of being the crash test dummy for all of the wrestlers. Miss X said that the only way he’s getting out of this hell is to go into the “Hell in the Hole”. Miss X grabbed a whip and whipped on Odin. Miss X, Takuma, and Kevin Anderson took a plane to japan. Takuma was nervous because he heard that the GWM Intercontinental Champion, Yellow Devil, was joining the tournament…

Takaoka was debating with her daughter about ring attire. Tiger Mask turned on the TV to see that GWM was having their tournament in a newly built dome. Tanahashi was watching from NJPW HQ and said that he would love to have a match in that new dome. The announcer said that this tournament would be a masked wrestler tournament featuring European Champion Wagner, US Champion Tiger The Dark, and IC Champion Yellow Devil. It was Yellow Devil that struck a nerve with Naoto. Miss X said that this was an open tournament to all masked wrestler and the prise was $100,000 in US Money. Takaoka assumed this was GWM trying to take over the Japanese market again. Miss X announced that the first round was happening the exact same time as the NJPW Tag Team Title match. Tanahashi and Okada said this was a huge promotion war. Naoto demanded that Haruna sign him up for the tournament. Haruna said he promised Tanahashi. Naoto said he didn’t care and was on the hunt…

Yuji Nagata told his main eventers Okada and Tanahashi that New Japan will not be sending any masked wrestlers to GWM (WWE). Nagata told Tanahashi to make sure they don’t get Jushin Thunder Liger! Tanahashi asked if they should stop Captain New Japan. Nagata said Captain wouldn’t even join the match even if New Japan allowed it. Ryu Wakamatsu chimed in and said that there might be a benefit to defeating GWM on their own stage but he was shut down by Okada. Tiger Mask walked in and Nagata assumed he was joining in on the fight against GWM by not joining their tournament. Tiger Mask was their to back out of his Tag Title match and join the masked tournament. Tanahashi held Tiger by the collar and brought up the promise. Tiger said he learned the joy and depth of pro wrestling in New Japan but he was sorry. Tanahashi understood and Tiger Mask walked out of the HQ. Ryu wondered if it was about the money but Okada said it must be more. Nagata said they can’t do anything legally since Tiger Mask (Kota Ibushi in this case) is a freelancer. Tanahashi chuckled and said he must not be on the card now since he has no tag partner…

John’s Thoughts: After several weeks of filler we’re back on track with Tiger Mask’s revenge tale. It also looks like we might be getting our first real story arc. In fact we’re probably going to get the cliche anime tournament arc which is overused but really reliable in putting on some good fights/matches. This episode might have done the best so far in mixing the New Japan world with their fantasy kayfabe universe. Some things are a bit on the nose about their dislike for WWE sometimes. You had to think that them pointing out not letting Jushin Thunder Liger in the tournament is a direct reference to Liger joining NXT that one time. And GWM’s Wrestle Max is, NXT in the Tiger Mask W universe too!

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Moore’s Tiger Mask W Anime Review: Episode 8 – Tiger’s Den Bares Fangs, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tiger Mask vs. Bullet Club for a title shot at the IWGP Tag Team Championship, GWM announces a masked wrestler tournament

By John Moore

Tiger Mask W – Episode 8
Aired November 26, 2016 on TV Asahi/Crunchyroll simulcast

This week’s Tiger Mask W episode started off with GWM (The United states Wrestling Company/WWE) making an announcement that they were going to hold an overseas tournament in Japan. The announcer said that World Champions from all over the world would be competing in the tournament…

John’s Thoughts: I’m skipping the review of episode 7 for now since it was yet another filler episode. It did give exposition to Naoto but it was totally skippable.

Naoto was back at the Takaoka shop with Kentaro Takaoka. Naoto was confused as to why there were so many brown boxes stored at the shop and in the truck. Takaoka said it was all of the Tiger Mask merch that Haruna put together. Naoto wasn’t too keen in focusing on merch sales over wrestling but Haruna shut him up by going into tsundere mode. The title card said this week’s episode was called “Tiger’s Den Bares Fangs”…

John’s Thoughts: I wonder if Haruna Takaoka is a better merch pusher than Don West? If so then TNA might consider signing a cute female wrestling fan to push their merch? Sorry, it’s force of habit to make jokes at TNA’s expense when they’ve had such a hilarious history.

Haruna was driving the merch truck with Naoto and she asked him who he always detours off to see at the hospital. Naoto said his name was Daisuke Fujii which Haruna wasn’t familliar with. Naoto mentioned how Daisuke was the guy who fought and got crippled by Yellow Devil. Haruna attributed her lack of knowlege to being a novice pro wrestling fan…

Naoto was at the hospital pushing Daisuke’s wheelchair. Daisuke was in a jaded state of mind and said that Naoto should just give up since it’s not worth fighting the GWM on his behalf. Naoto said he couldn’t forgive Yellow Devil for what they did to Daisuke and their independent pro wrestling company. Naoto said he was a proud pro wrestler and pro wrestlers are meant to fight in the ring. Daisuke grew a smile and said that Naoto grew up to be a great pro wrestler. Naoto said that may be so but he hasn’t won a championship belt yet. This caused Naoto to wonder where their Zipangu promotion belt went after the promotion got buried.

Daisuke said that jobber Mikasa is taking care of the belt which disappointed Naoto a bit. Daisuke said that promotion was the past and Naoto should go for IWGP championships now. Naoto mentioned that he was having a New Japan match at Zipangu’s old stomping grounds. Daisuke was proud of Tiger Mask. Daisuke’s nurse Ruriko summoned him to go and take a physical. Ruriko talked to Naoto about how she’s starting to get into pro wrestling by taking care of Daisuke and watching the TV. Ruriko then started to fangirl over Tiger Mask which made Naoto bashful a bit due to him being the masked wrestler.

Ruriko then started to fangirl over Naoto after Naoto said he was a pro wrestler too and said she would love to attend a live event someday. She was hitting on Naoto and told Naoto that she would love to go on a date to the next New Japan show. Naoto nervously said no since he didn’t want Ruriko to find out that he and Tiger Mask were the same person. Haruna was still in tsundere mode in the car and said that Naoto looked oddly happy just now…

John’s Thoughts: You know this is a fantasy shounen anime that’s trying to both cater to teenage boys and older wrestling males when they try to push that hot nurses are trying to ask pro wrestlers to go to New Japan shows as a date.

There was a road closure up ahead but Naoto told Haruna that there was a side road that most people don’t know about. Haruna pointed out how they were passing by the japanese trailer house ghettos. Naoto said he grew up here and it was his home town. Haruna assumed that Naoto grew up in Tokyo in a pro wrestling gym. Naoto mentioned how that was only in his teenage years and before that his small town was hit by a natural disaster which caused them to build these trailer houses. Naoto said the earthquake took his life away and all hope was lost; but then pro wrestling came and saved his life. They showed clips of Naoto watching Daisuke Fujii wrestling and him watching a live show for the first time. Daisuke cut a promo about how he wants his pro wrestling to give people hope and strength and he will try hard to give that to the people.

John’s Thoughts: Okay… I didn’t want to make two TNA reference in ths same review, but is Naoto/Tiger Mask the Japanese version of babyface Drew Galloway? He just said that watching pro wrestling saved his life! I never saw how Hulk Hogan cut promos in the AWA but I’ll assume that Daisuke’s promo was from the same cookie cutter.

Naoto ran backstage and told Daisuke and Mikasa that he wanted to become a pro wrestler. Jobber Mikasa tried to shoo him back but Naoto mentioned how an earthquake destroyed his home. Daisuke listened to Naoto and told Naoto that pro wrestling isn’t easy. Naoto said that seeing Daisuke fight gave him strength. Daisuke agreed to train naoto…

Cut back to modern times as Haruna and Naoto were outside of the New Japan show as Naoto was pleased as to how far he came. They went inside where Haruna set up her Tiger Mask merchandise stand. Ryu Wakamatsu was competing with her trying to sell Okada Rainmaker towels and rainmaker t-shirts. Haruna pointed out to Ryu that he was copying her selling technique. Ryu just responded by hitting on her and asking her on a date. Haruna just ignored the request…

In the locker room, Tiger Mask and Hiroshi Tanahashi were going over strategy for their upcoming tag match where they were teaming up. Tanahashi wanted to know if Tiger Mask had any special tag team moves…

1. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tiger Mask vs. Bullet Club (Tama Tonga and Bad Luck Fale). Bullet Club went for the attack before the bell but ran into stereo dropkicks from Tanahashi and Tiger. Tiger Mask hit Tonga with a tope. Tanahashi hit Fale with a High Fly Flow to knock out Fale on the outside. Guest color commentator Yuji Nagata said that Tiger and Tanahashi look like long time tag partners even though it’s their first match teaming up. Okada and Wakamatsu were joking in gorilla position and even a bit nervous that their main event tag match might not live up to Tiger and Tanahashi. Tanahashi locked Fale in a full nelson which allowed Tiger Mask to hit Tama Tonga with his bridged German Suplex finisher for the victory.

Tiger Mask and Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Tama Tonga and Bad Luck Fale via pinfall in about 1:00 of TV Time.

The play-by-play said it was amazing to see the first time tag partners defeat Bullet Club in a squash. Nagata, who’s New Japan’s head booker in the anime, said that this puts them in line for an IWGP Tag Team Title shot. Tiger Mask played to the crowd after the match which Okada and Wakamatsu thought was odd because Tiger Mask is usually very stoic. Haruna was also in gorilla position and told them that this was Tiger Mask’s hometown crowd. Haruna then backtracked because she almost forgot that they were trying to keep Naoto’s identity secret. Nagata met Tiger Mask and Tanahashi in gorilla and told them that he was granting them an IWGP Tag Title shot which Tiger Mask didn’t expect to get so soon. Haruna said that the tag belts would be great in helping her sell merchandise. Okada said he was going to use this as inspiration to put on a better main event. Wakamatsu told Okada to make it rain gold… [C]

Naoto was riding back in Haruna’s merch truck telling her that it felt a bit odd in that he trained all of his life to be a pro wrestler to avenge Daisuke and destroy Yellow Devil, yet now he’s doing pro wrestling things like having matches and going for championships. Haruna reminded Naoto of his dream to become a pro wrestler before he had revenge on the mind and that Naoto’s goal should be to become a pro wrestler while Tiger Mask should set his sights on Yellow Devil. This caused Naoto to flashback to training with Takuma Fujii. They showed clips of Takuma and Naoto becoming friends and training in Zipangu…

Inside of a random steel cage, Takuma and GWM wrestlers were treating Odin as a punching bag. One of the trainees said this was the “Tiger’s Execution” that happens to wrestlers who fail the GWM. The trainees continued to beat up on Odin for training. Odin begged Miss X to put him back on the main roster and to take him off of being the crash test dummy for all of the wrestlers. Miss X said that the only way he’s getting out of this hell is to go into the “Hell in the Hole”. Miss X grabbed a whip and whipped on Odin. Miss X, Takuma, and Kevin Anderson took a plane to japan. Takuma was nervous because he heard that the GWM Intercontinental Champion, Yellow Devil, was joining the tournament…

Takaoka was debating with her daughter about ring attire. Tiger Mask turned on the TV to see that GWM was having their tournament in a newly built dome. Tanahashi was watching from NJPW HQ and said that he would love to have a match in that new dome. The announcer said that this tournament would be a masked wrestler tournament featuring European Champion Wagner, US Champion Tiger The Dark, and IC Champion Yellow Devil. It was Yellow Devil that struck a nerve with Naoto. Miss X said that this was an open tournament to all masked wrestler and the prise was $100,000 in US Money. Takaoka assumed this was GWM trying to take over the Japanese market again. Miss X announced that the first round was happening the exact same time as the NJPW Tag Team Title match. Tanahashi and Okada said this was a huge promotion war. Naoto demanded that Haruna sign him up for the tournament. Haruna said he promised Tanahashi. Naoto said he didn’t care and was on the hunt…

Yuji Nagata told his main eventers Okada and Tanahashi that New Japan will not be sending any masked wrestlers to GWM (WWE). Nagata told Tanahashi to make sure they don’t get Jushin Thunder Liger! Tanahashi asked if they should stop Captain New Japan. Nagata said Captain wouldn’t even join the match even if New Japan allowed it. Ryu Wakamatsu chimed in and said that there might be a benefit to defeating GWM on their own stage but he was shut down by Okada. Tiger Mask walked in and Nagata assumed he was joining in on the fight against GWM by not joining their tournament. Tiger Mask was their to back out of his Tag Title match and join the masked tournament. Tanahashi held Tiger by the collar and brought up the promise. Tiger said he learned the joy and depth of pro wrestling in New Japan but he was sorry. Tanahashi understood and Tiger Mask walked out of the HQ. Ryu wondered if it was about the money but Okada said it must be more. Nagata said they can’t do anything legally since Tiger Mask (Kota Ibushi in this case) is a freelancer. Tanahashi chuckled and said he must not be on the card now since he has no tag partner…

John’s Thoughts: After several weeks of filler we’re back on track with Tiger Mask’s revenge tale. It also looks like we might be getting our first real story arc. In fact we’re probably going to get the cliche anime tournament arc which is overused but really reliable in putting on some good fights/matches. This episode might have done the best so far in mixing the New Japan world with their fantasy kayfabe universe. Some things are a bit on the nose about their dislike for WWE sometimes. You had to think that them pointing out not letting Jushin Thunder Liger in the tournament is a direct reference to Liger joining NXT that one time. And GWM’s Wrestle Max is, NXT in the Tiger Mask W universe too!

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