Fale Dojo Exhibition #5 – Silver Lion Showdown, which took place on the 7th of December, began with a welcome from Fale Dojo General Manager/Coach Mark Tui. Tui passed on apologies from Dojo founder and Head Trainer Toks ‘Bad Luck’ Fale who was competing overseas with New Japan Pro Wrestling. Tui then introduced Head Trainer, Tony Kozina who served as the emcee for the evening.
Kozina emphasised the growth of the Dojo in pointing out its first event held outside of New Zealand. On December the 14th, Fale Dojo (in conjunction with Pro Wrestling Australia) will present ‘Liger Down Under’ from Sydney, Australia. This once in a lifetime event will feature the legendary Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger competing on his farewell tour. ‘Liger Down Under” will also include several Fale Dojo representatives in matches and of course the ‘Rogue General’ will be in tag team main event.
The Exhibition #5 double main event was announced a week beforehand featuring the four silver lions in single matches, Patrick Schischka vs. Andrew Villalobos, and Liam Fury vs. Michael Richards. The matches on the undercard was decided by the audience during the event (similar to the previous Exhibition show). Kozina went into the audience with a hat that had the names of the young lions and people were picked randomly to draw out a name. This process was repeated (the first three matches had a 10-minute time limit). Referee Lloyd Morgan was introduced as the official for the card.
Oskar Münchow (Hamburg, Germany) vs. Sam Davis (London, England):
The opening match showcased two young lions who were in different stages of their journeys. Oskar Münchow from Hamburg, Germany first came to the Dojo in the 2019 February intake and stayed the course of three classes. During which he celebrated his 21st birthday, absorbed wise counsel from Toks Fale, Tony Kozina and Mark Tui, and competed at every Exhibition show during his training. Sam Davis the native of London, England began his Fale Dojo journey in the 2019 September intake. Davis overcame great obstacles in order to relocate to Auckland. The young Londoner has already wrestled on three Exhibition shows, and while training with an injured shoulder, the courageous lion still competed, trusting in his training and his fellow lions.
Münchow and Davis engaged in an intense lock up which Münchow manoeuvred into a forceful headlock. Davis reversed the hold several times, but Münchow always took back control.
Davis eventually relieved the hold while taking Münchow’s arm and slamming it across his shoulder. Making use of the opportunity, Davis kicked away at his larger opponent. Münchow regained his bearings and smashed through Davis with a running shoulder block as he charged off against the ropes. But Davis slowed down the pace and grabbed Münchow with a front face lock. Münchow countered with a clubbing forearm across Davis’ back. Davis then challenged Münchow with his own strikes, once the Londoner had Münchow on the mat, he applied a chin lock. Referee Morgan raises Münchow’s arm twice, as he lifted the giant lion’s arm the third time, Münchow started showing life as he made his way to his feet. Münchow fended Davis off with an elbow to the stomach which allowed Davis to loosen his grip. Münchow lifted up Davis in a body slam position, however, Davis slipped behind while he was in the air and rolled up Münchow into a schoolboy roll-up, but the referee’s count couldn’t proceed because Münchow’s hand touched the rope.
A furious Davis stomped away at Münchow which enraged the big man. The two then faced off in a fierce exchange of strikes. Davis held his own as he threw a combo of forearm shots and European uppercuts. Thinking that Münchow was dazed, Davis charged against the ropes and back, only for Münchow to knock him down with a big boot. Münchow went for a three count, but Davis kicked out. Münchow then picked up Davis and delivered a massive bodyslam which excited the crowd. Münchow charged against the rope and landed a huge legdrop, however, Davis rolled out of harm’s way as Münchow landed on the mat. Davis went to apply an armbar, but as he started to grip the hold, Münchow rolled up his opponent into a schoolboy roll-up, and Lloyd Morgan counted to three giving the young lion from Hamburg the victory. The two young lions embraced as the crowd cheered both students.
Winner: Oskar Münchow
“Polynesian Panther” Mark Tui (Auckland, NZ) vs. Arthur Papali’i (South Auckland, NZ):
The next match featured two members of the Fale Dojo coaching staff Mark Tui and Arthur Papali’i. Both coaches have similar backgrounds in rugby union and amateur boxing, though Tui is versed in aikido while Papali’i competed in amateur wrestling.
As the bell rung, the two Samoans circled, wary of each other’s abilities. Tui went to initiate the tie-up, but Papali’i didn’t reciprocate and chose to strike first. Tui countered Papali’i strikes which grounded the South Aucklander who then reacted swiftly and pulled himself to the ropes for Tui to disengage contact. Tui and Papali’i locked up and Papali’i drove Tui into the corner, Lloyd Morgan stepped in to administer the 5 count rule to which Papali’i released at the 4 count. Because of their identical backgrounds, styles, as well as personalities, Tui and Papali’i, locked up several times throughout the match. Their biggest conflict was figuring out how to combat the other due to them having known each other for a long time which made for an excellent encounter. This was well noted by the audience every time two wrestlers exchanged strikes
Papali’i did not utilise his amateur skills whereas he leaned towards his striking ability. Tui, aware of Papali’i’s omission, applied some mat work when he grabbed Papali’i’s leg while he lay down and delivered an elbow drop to the hamstring. This infuriated Papali’i whose rage always overwrote his pain. Several other examples of Papali’i’s incredible rage of strength were demonstrated when Tui applied an Armbar and Papali’i managed to strike away at Tui to loosen the grip. As the match was way over the halfway mark, Papali’i’s rage overwhelmed Tui as the South Aucklander applied a Boston crab. Tui fought his way to the ropes as the crowd cheered their support for the ‘Polynesian Panther’. With one minute remaining before the 10-minute expiration, a frustrated Papali’i could not think of a way to defeat Tui. The two Samoans exchange intense strikes, Tui picked up Papali’i to execute a mighty bodyslam, Referee Lloyd Morgan counted three. Mark Tui is awarded the victory with 10 seconds to spare. Morgan raised Tui’s hand before Papali’i embraced Tui. “Samoa Mo Samoa!” shouted Papali’i which translates ‘Samoa for Samoans!’ This quote signified a tight bond and a mutual admiration between the two friends.
Winner: Mark Tui
Jordan Allan-Wright (Auckland, NZ) vs. Richard Mulu (South Auckland, NZ):
Richard Mulu and Jordan Allan-Wright are close members of the Fale Dojo family, Wright also serves as Coach and was one of the first graduates of the Dojo’s professional wrestling three-month course in 2017. Mulu has been a student with the General Wrestling class since April 2018. Mulu’s next journey with Fale Dojo will begin in the new year when he joins the Dojo’s 2020 February intake. Prior to the Exhibition event, Mulu posted a photo on social media of him wearing red and blue compression skins. This was his way of remembering the families in Samoa that lost their young children to the measles outbreak.
As the match began, Wright stayed cautious and threw two stiff kicks at Mulu’s thighs. Wright went for a third kick and Mulu grabbed Wright and drove him into the corner. Thankfully, referee Morgan administered the five-count warning. Mulu viciously high fived Wright’s chest, Wright returned fire with a stiff kick and chops before Mulu dropped him with a single thudding forearm strike. Wright used the ropes in the corner to help him up, as Mulu walked towards him, Lloyd Morgan used his discretion and told Mulu to wait until Wright was ready to resume contact. Wright used the valuable short time to gather his bearings trying to find a way around combating Mulu. Wright threw a series of strikes at Mulu to which the referee Lloyd Morgan tried to stop. Wright persisted with a succession of strikes, a European uppercut and masterful knife-edge chops that only Wright knew how to deliver. But Mulu could not feel the effects of the strong strikes. Mulu retaliated with his own excruciating strikes. Mulu then mangled Jordan in the corner like a ragdoll. By this point, Jordan Allan-Wright’s body is red all over, like a red traffic light that matched his red beard. Mulu executed a massive bodyslam with ease, but only managed to get a two count pinfall. Mulu went for a second bodyslam, but Wright hopped off behind Mulu’s shoulders and pushed him from behind into the ropes. Wright swung Mulu to the ropes, but Mulu, too powerful sent Wright to the mat with a huge clothesline. Mulu sat up a groggy Wright and applied a gripping chin lock. Wright found the will to get back on his feet. He elbowed Mulu gut, but the powerful heavyweight hit Wright with a huge clubbing forearm on the back and threw in some stomps.
“JUST GIVE UP, MAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF!” Mulu shouted. Despite being in agony, Wright responded with weakened strikes. The referee asked Wright if he wanted to give up, but the young lion refused! Mulu put Wright into the corner and chopped him in the chest before swinging to the opposite corner of the ring. As Mulu charged into the opposite end, Wright moved out of the way letting Mulu collide into the turnbuckle pad. Wright attempted to slam Mulu, but with all of his heart, Wright was brought back down to earth. Mulu swung Wright against the ropes, Wright was able to duck Mulu and run to the opposite side. On his way back, Wright connected with a clothesline! Mulu was stunned, and Wright bounced against the ropes and hit a second clothesline, and Mulu falls to one knee! Opting not to hit a third clothesline, Wright swung Mulu against the ropes, Mulu returned to Wright with a huge shoulder block sending his much smaller opponent crashing to the mat. Wright’s body took a new shade of red described as beetroot. Mulu then picked up Wright to apply a bearhug and threw him around like a ragdoll. However, Wright showed signs of life Mulu in the face with a few elbow strikes to break the hold. Wright ran against the ropes, however, Mulu totalled Wright with an avalanche. Mulu takes down his shoulder straps, ready to finish off Wright. Mulu picked Wright on his shoulders and hit a running power slam. Referee Lloyd Morgan confirmed the time of death, 1 2 3! Richard Mulu was announced the winner and as his hand was raised, Tony Kozina and the young lions rush inside the ring to check on Wright. The crowd cheered Mulu as he left the ring, and they also show their appreciation to Jordan Allan-Wright while he was being assisted to the back.
Winner: Richard Mulu
Jordan Allan-Wright and Richard Mulu have built quite a rapport that goes back to the first Exhibition. Mulu vs. Wright could be the template to NZ wrestling’s ‘Heavyweight vs. Junior Heavyweight’ match. Furthermore, Jordan Allan-Wright has continued to show great heart throughout the Exhibition series, often taking the brunt of strikes from his larger opponents and suffering an injury. Nevertheless, Wright has remained present in showing his fighting warrior spirit.
It’s also refreshing that the New Zealand Pacific Island wrestler as depicted by Fale Dojo is naturally portrayed through the lens of Pasifika people. Throughout the Exhibition series, Mark Tui, Arthur Papali’i and Richard Mulu demonstrated their wrestling identities were uncompromised and well received. This is due to the example that Toks ‘Bad Luck’ Fale has set – in particular to cultural identity. Fale is a relevant and authentic reflection of the NZ Pacific wrestler competing at an international level, as well as the benchmark that local wrestlers (not just Pasifika) can look to in reference.
Six-Man Tag Match: Richard Mulu, Oskar Münchow and Sam Davis vs. Mark Tui, Arthur Papali’i and Jake Taylor (Melbourne, Australia):
Oskar Münchow and Jake Taylor briefly picked up from where they left off at Exhibition #3. After some mat wrestling, both lions tagged out. Davis ended up in the ring with Papali’i before he quickly tagged out to Mulu. Mulu and Papali’i exchanged strikes to see who would come out on top. Mulu broke the momentum with an eye rake. Mulu then swung Papali’i into the corner and followed up with an avalanche. Davis is tagged back in to lay some boots into Papali’i, then tagged out to Münchow who was awfully rowdy throughout the contest. Münchow and Mulu exchanged a few quick tags to further wear down Papali’i. Mulu executed a massive bodyslam and followed up with a leg drop and pinfall attempt, Tui ran in to make the save. Münchow did not appreciate Tui intervening and threw him outside the ring. Mulu, Münchow and Davis showed a very smart game plan with Mulu and Münchow monopolised the ring enough for Davis to step in and contribute some effective hits while Münchow channelled his hero Stan ‘The Lariat’ Hansen and sped in the ring to knock members of the opposition that were standing on the apron.
Papali’i finally escaped his opponent’s grasps that required him to send Mulu to the mat after hitting him with three clotheslines, an impressive feat by Papali’i. Tui received the tag and he immediately cleans house. Though the momentum didn’t last too long after Münchow went another tirade. Mulu tagged Münchow who tried to bodyslam Tui, but the ‘Polynesian Panther’ countered with a series of knee lifts and charging at the German lion with a double axe handle. Münchow made the tag to Davis, who sought Tui with a succession of strikes, but the blows did not affect Tui. Tui showed Davis how it was done, picking up the young lion from London and slammed him to the mat. Tui then tagged in the fresh Jake Taylor.
Taylor stepped through and treated Davis to another huge bodyslam. The crowd could not get enough of Taylor’s infectious presence, to which Taylor responded with another massive bodyslam to Davis. Neither Mulu nor Münchow were willing to step to Taylor which left poor Davis as a sacrifice. Taylor threw Davis to the turnbuckle and charged in with a damning clothesline causing Davis’ broken body to slide down the turnbuckle pad. Referee Morgan made the three count giving Taylor, Tui, and Papali’i the win. The Pacific Pac raised their hands in victory as the young lions at ringside tended to Davis.
Winners: Jake Taylor, Mark Tui and Arthur Papali’i
Double Main Event – Silver Lion Showdown!
Andrew Villalobos (95 Kgs, Sydney, Australia) vs. Patrick Schischka (110 Kgs, West Auckland, NZ):
The first half of the double main event featured Andrew Villalobos and Patrick Schischka, two very capable mat wrestlers engage in a competitive match up. The tension boiled when Schischka confronted Villalobos face to face before Tony Kozina could begin the ring introductions. But Lloyd Morgan instructed the silver lions back to their separate corners and to wait for his call to lock up.
As soon as the bell rang, Schischka and Villalobos briefly circled each other before engaging in a collar and elbow tie-up. Schischka the crowd favourite and amateur wrestling enthusiast pulled Villalobos into a front face lock takedown then let go to allow his opponent to get back on his feet. Villalobos was not expected to match Schischka’s wrestling ability, but Villalobos took him by surprise by outmuscling the West Aucklander into the corner until Lloyd Morgan began the 5 count warning. Schischka slapped Villalobos in the face to take him off his game, but Villalobos stayed calm and focused. The lions participated in several more lock-ups each ending with Villalobos driving Schischka up against the ropes. Schischka realising that he was outmatched in strength, changed his offence and began striking Villalobos. But Villalobos disarmed Schischka with an arm lock. Schischka switched back to his forte and managed to grip Villalobos in a headlock. While in the hold, Villalobos assessed a way to break free which he succeeded. It looked like he was about to push Schischka away, but instead out manoeuvred Schischka with a drop to hold sending Schischka falling face-first on the mat. Villalobos dove on his opponent and applied his own headlock variation which Schischka reversed into a belly to back pinfall attempt. In spite of failing to gain a pinfall from that hold, Schischka gripped Villalobos into an armbar. Villalobos gets back on his feet while the hold is still applied, bringing Schischka along with him. Villalobos loosens Schischka’s grip with a forearm strike, Schischka responded with his own strike eventuating into an exchange of hits until Schischka tricked Villalobos kicking him in the gut. Villalobos Irish whipped Schischka against the ropes, as Schischka came back he bowled Villalobos down with a shoulder block. Schischka ran the ropes again but Villalobos threw Schischka down with a Ricky Steamboat arm drag while impressively maintaining a hold of Schischka’s arm!
Schischka managed to get back onto his feet while bringing Villalobos along with him. Schischka walked to the corner turnbuckle and swung Villalobos to the opposite corner. Villalobos connected hard against the turnbuckle pad forcing him to take a few steps instead while Schischka charged like a mad bull and struck Villalobos with an intense European forearm uppercut which sent Villalobos flying back against the corner.
Schischka hit away at the dazed Villalobos with a combination of murderous strikes. Villalobos attempted to fight back but was still weak to regain some offence. Schischka had plans to set up Villalobos for a submission based victory built up to his desired finale by lifting the Australian and executing multiple backbreaker slams while holding onto his opponent’s body and using his knee as a weapon to slam into Villalobos back. Schischka then laid Villalobos spine first on top of his knee and meticulously used his arms to Villalobos back first over the knee. Villalobos screamed in great agony though he refused to submit. Schischka did further damage applying a chin lock submission and using the handy knee to drive it against Villalobos back. Fed up that his opponent wouldn’t submit, Schischka dropkicked Villalobos in the back. Villalobos’ cries turned to screams of excitement and laughter, begging Schischka to hit him harder. This made Schischka furious and put him off that Villalobos surprised him with a dropkick. As Schischka stood up groggy in the corner, a re-energised Villalobos from the opposite corner charged at his aggressor several times with clotheslines and European forearm uppercuts. Villalobos picked up Schischka off the mat to deliver another combo of strikes, the intensity drove Schischka back into the ropes which tied up his arms while Villalobos continued on.
Referee Lloyd Morgan intervened to untie the ropes from Schischka’s arms. As Schischka was freed, Villalobos tripped him with a drop toe hold to follow up with a Boston crab. However, Schischka used his 15 kg difference to throw Villalobos with his legs. Villalobos persisted and applied the Boston crab a second time, however, Schischka crawled his way to the ropes. Villalobos and Schischka engage in an exchange of strikes which Villalobos was winning, but when he charged against the ropes, Schischka was waiting with a European forearm uppercut. Schischka then applied the Boston crab on Villalobos in the center of the ring but in spite of being in excruciating pain, Villalobos refused to submit, he used his arms to push up and push Schischka off his back while as the crowd responded in excitement and disbelief.
With 15 minutes passed, Villalobos and Schischka stand toe to toe a final time. Schischka threw a number of strikes which enraged Villalobos who responded by running back against the ropes and flooring Schischka with a flying clothesline. Villalobos re-applied the Boston crab in the middle of the ring, Schischka tapped out, and Lloyd Morgan called for the bell awarding the battle to Andrew Villalobos.
Winner: Andrew Villalobos
Tony Kozina affirmed the young lions as he addressed the crowd. Kozina spoke about the sacrifices the lions have made to train at Fale Dojo. Kozina also noted that the Dojo’s intimate setting was crucial to their training as well as to the audience’s experience while they get to hear every move and strike. Kozina added that the hope is that lion’s bodies will last so when they reach NJPW they could progress further.
Liam Fury (85 Kgs – Taupo, NZ) vs. Michael Richards (97 Kgs – Auckland, NZ):
This second half of the main event showcased two types of strikers: Liam Fury – regarded as New Zealand’s best wrestler and aspiring Junior Heavyweight with a masterful kickboxing background versus Michael Richards – an intense and explosive striker and 2019 NJPW Young Lion Cup participant.
When the bell rang, Liam Fury, the lighter of the two used his speed and striking ability to pursue Michael Richards. The experienced Richards, aware of Fury’s intentions waited for Fury to get closer so that he could use his size to ground him with his grappling. While Richards had Fury on the mat, Fury (an experienced grappler) countered Richards with a reverse head scissors lock as Richards was laying on his stomach. While Fury had the hold applied, he laid back into an immaculate neck bridge and executed a variation of the Boston crab! Richards managed to fend off the impressive hold, taking Fury over with a headlock takedown. Fury retreated to the outside to stop Richards from gaining momentum. Fury’s tactics angered Richards who screamed at Fury to get back in the ring. Fury stepped back into the ring and booted Richards in the gut and applied a headlock, but Richards reverses the hold and rag-dolled Fury with a headlock take over. The silver lions circle the ring, much like the previous match, the two were sussing each other out as both are extremely skilled. Richards and Fury engaged in a clever game of cat and mouse that eventuated very physical face to face striking. Richards had the gift of size and muscle supported by his intensity to articulate his strikes while Fury possessed a fierce combination of speed and striking ability. Fury had to dodge or take the brunt of Richards’ strikes to get close enough to hit him, whereas Richards relied on catching Fury to hit him and execute power moves.
Although Richards relied on his upper body to punish Fury’s body, Fury held the advantage of using his kickboxing strikes to weaken Richards’ upper body. This tactic decreased the velocity in Richards’ striking as the match progressed. In the end, Fury came out on top, pinning his esteemed opponent after executing the GTS, the move that also cut open Michael Richards’ eye.
Winner: Liam Fury
Tony Kozina and the young lions are joined by a medic as they tend to Michael Richards. Both Fury and Richards received a huge ovation from the crowd.
The victorious Liam Fury spoke on behalf of Fale Dojo: “This is the Fale Dojo and this is New Zealand Strong Style!” said Fury a product of the Fale Dojo and NJPW Dojo system. “Everyone you saw compete tonight is giving everything they’ve got to keep pro wrestling pure.”
“Everyone who competed tonight wants to give it their all, because this is the dream, and the goal is New Japan Pro Wrestling, and there is no better way to get there than through the Fale Dojo.”
Fury then invited the young lions into the ring to close the evening with the traditional Japanese sending.