A new FMW company would be created following Atsushi Onita's retirement. Atsushi Onita's FMW, Inc. which actually owed money as Atsushi Onita had borrowed a lot of money from others knowing he wouldn't have to pay it because the FMW company would be finished following retiring on May 5, 1995 anyway. Shoichi Arai would borrow $100,000 from Atsushi Onita to create a new company called Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling, Inc. which was original company that Atsushi Onita had started back in 1989. Arai then gave Onita $50,000 dollars right back to Onita by buying the FMW title belts, two buses, and photo scanner among other things. Arai would be CEO of the company as he would sale 50% of the company to Atsushi Onita's step father Mr. Matsubara to make up for all the money that he owed Atsushi Onita. The new FMW would start completely from scratch. Even though there had just been a 2.5 million dollar gate show for Atsushi Onita's Retirement Show, the new FMW saw none of that money. After the wrestlers and the building was paid for, everything else went to Atsushi Onita including $300,000 for him performing on the show.
The New Generation of FMW would start on May 17, 1995 in Saitama, with the new FMW team being Hayabusa, Katsutoshi Niiyama, Koji Nakagawa, Masato Tanaka, Battle Ranger Z, Mach Hayato, Tetsuhiro Kuroda, and Gosaku Goshogawara. The show would draw a decent crowd of 1000 to see the new FMW for its special ness with Hayabusa once again being pinned, this time by The Gladiator to set up a feud between the two as the top wrestlers in the promotion, and Hayabusa having to prove himself as the man to take over for Onita. The group of Hisakatsu Oya and Ricky Fuji that had been formed with Tarzan Goto before leaving in Lethal Weapon would add many of the former W*ING members to its group as Mr. Pogo, The Gladiator, and Horace Boulder would all join the group to form the brand new heel stable. After the first New Generation of FMW show, the shows dropped would drop under 1,000 for house shows, with the fans only coming to see Megumi Kudo out of loyalty, but leaving after her match. For Hayabusa's first tour, he was seeing only around 250 fans sticking around for his main event matches.
FMW's video distributor since the beginning of the promotion in BMG Video feeling that FMW's popularity was going to sink to the ground and hurt their tapes sale would pull out of the deal with FMW, causing FMW to sign with a smaller company in Toshiba EMI. Go Ito would continue as booker of the promotion, but instead of Atsushi Onita having the final say, it would be Shoichi Arai to make the decisions, and would decide to stir FMW in a different direction with no longer having anymore barbed wire matches and only Matsunaga and Pogo would continue to fight in death matches.
Hayabusa with Katsutoshi Niiyama and Masato Tanaka would continue their feud with Lethal Weapon as Megumi Kudo and Combat Toyoda would continue their feud against Bad Nurse Nakamura and Shark Tsuchiya with the FMW return to Korakuen Hall on May 28, 1995 under the new management and focus would manage to prove the hardcore FMW fans in the Tokyo area that followed the promotion was staying loyal to the group as the show would sell out. FMW would steer away from the hardcore matches knowing that Hayabusa, The Gladiator, and Hisakatsu Oya as their top guys did not fit hardcore death match style like Onita did, and FMW wanted to play to their strengths by letting Hayabusa show the crowd his impressive highflying moves never seen before in Japan, as he would show the crowd the moves he learned while in Mexico, like the Phoenix Splash, 450 Fire Bird Splash, and a moonsault off the top turnbuckle to the outside. Megumi Kudo actually would become the Atsushi Onita to the FMW fans, with her matches with Shark Tsuchiya and Bad Nurse Nakamura turning into brawls with Megumi Kudo spilling blood all over the mat just like Onita did. The return to Korakuen Hall would see both of FMW's aces in Hayabusa and Megumi Kudo losing in tag matches after Shark Tsuchiya would pin Megumi Kudo, and Hayabusa would be pinned after a backdrop suplex by Hisakatsu Oya. It would set up for the next Korakuen Hall show on June 27, 1995 with Hayabusa and Hisakatsu Oya facing off against each other for the first time in singles for the vacated FMW Brass Knuckles Title that Onita vacated while retiring. The match would be completely different than any other FMW main event match ever, as Hayabusa would allow Oya to carry him in a very slow, technical based match, completely different than as early as three months with Onita in the main event, and his wild barbwire main events. Hayabusa would add some of his highflying to the match, but then Oya would just manage to slow it down once again with back suplexs with Hayabusa landing directly on his head. Hayabusa would end up being the one to surprise the fans, as he would debut a new non highflying move, after delivering the Falcon Arrow to Oya to manage to score his first big win as the ace of FMW, and become the FMW Brass Knuckles Champion. After the match, while being accepted the title backstage by Shoichi Arai, Hayabusa would turn down the belt feeling he was too hurt to defend the title, and did not deserve the Onita's title after one match. Also, on the show, with the popularity of the Leatherface character in IWA, FMW would sign the original man to play Leatherface in Jim Kelly, who was Mike Corporal Kirchner in WWE, and had played Leatherface in W*ING years earlier. The W*ING who had been overlooked since losing Mr. Pogo to Lethal Weapon would bring him in, as a wild and crazy brawler who carried a chainsaw to the ring.
Megumi Kudo, who had lost two straight times to Shark Tsuchiya at Korakuen Hall, would take on Shark Tsuchiya in a singles match on July 18, 1995 at Korakuen Hall, but Kudo would take a page from Onita by coming to the ring in The Great Nita outfit to the ring, with half her face painted black. Shark Tsuchiya would have Miwa Sato and Crusher Maedomari in her corner, interfering through out the match, until Combat Toyoda would come out to back Kudo up and make sure Maedomari and Sato no longer interfered. Tsuchiya would bring a barbwire baseball in the ring, but it would be Kudo to grab it from Shark and nail her with it, and then suplexing Shark to score the revenge pinfall victory over Shark.
Hayabusa would also have success on the show by showing his heart by taking several of The Gladiator's Awesome Bombs, and still managing to get the pinfall victory against The Gladiator in a tag team match to set up their first singles match on July 30, 1995. Hayabusa would end up suffering his first neck injury in the match against The Gladiator as Hayabusa would end up messing up while performing a Shooting Star Press, and not going over the entire way, causing just his head to hit The Gladiator injuring Hayabusa's neck as well as biting his lip and causing blood to begin pouring with the mask on. Hayabusa would manage to continue the match, and even go up to the top turnbuckle once again, but The Gladiator would catch Hayabusa and deliver a Running Awesome Bomb that Hayabusa would manage to kick out of. The Gladiator would then finally finish off Hayabusa with a Kamikaze Awesome Bomb to score the victory against Hayabusa in their first singles match. Hayabusa would grab the microphone and tell The Gladiator that the next time they fight, he was going to get him. Hayabusa would then be taken to a hospital for x-rays on the injured neck to find out his condition was okay luckily due to The Gladiator's body breaking Hayabusa's fall when messing the move up. Hayabusa would not miss any action from the near fatal occurrence, and would end up being lucky this time. With FMW starting fresh and focusing on brand new young talent, they would hold a Young Lions Tournament with W*ING Kanemura, Hideki Hosaka, Hido, Masato Tanaka, Koji Nakagawa, and Tetsuhiro Kuroda in the tournament. The two wrestlers with the most points would face each other in the finals of the tournament, and be entered in the upcoming round robin FMW tournament for the Brass Knuckles Title. W*ING Kanemura and Masato Tanaka would make it to the finals of the tournament on July 30, 1995 with Tanaka winning the tournament after pinning Kanemura with the Thunder Fire Powerbomb for the victory to win the tournament, and to score his first pinfall victory over Kanemura. Kanemura would make his presence known later in the show as Mr. Pogo and Horace Boulder would fight W*ING's Mitsuhiro Matsunaga and Super Leather in a Coffin Death Match, with Mr. Pogo managing to put Matsunaga in the coffin for the Lethal Weapon victory. But Pogo would not be done with Matsunaga, as he would begin pouring the coffin with gasoline, as just as about he was to set the coffin on fire, Kanemura would rush to the ring and begin brawling with Pogo in the crowd, to give Matsunaga time to get out of the coffin before being set on fire. Although FMW was not completely hardcore wrestling without Onita and with Hayabusa as the new ace of the promotion, but it still kept its hardcore roots with Mr. Pogo and Mitsuhiro Matsunaga feuding once again on the cards.
Due to the attendance drop that FMW was suffering it would cause IWA Japan and its roster consisting of Terry Funk, Cactus Jack, and Tarzan Goto to feel that they were winning the war and were becoming the number 1 hardcore wrestling promotion in Japan. IWA Japan would decide to run a show at the home of FMW's biggest shows in Kawasaki Stadium, to prove that they were the most popular Japanese hardcore wrestling promotion, and would have a successful Stadium show, something FMW could not do without Onita. IWA Japan would end up holding a King of the Death Match Tournament with Terry Funk and Cactus Jack making it to the finals of the show. The show would draw 28,757 which would be considered a disappointing crowd. The show would also disappoint the fans in the end, as IWA Japan President Asano who only paid the wrestlers 100 dollars per match they were in, would not bother to put the money in that Onita did when running a death match, and as a result when Funk and Cactus Jack would wrestle in the only ever non FMW exploding ring match, but barely any dynamite would be set off, making for an incredible weak scene. The show would end up being IWA Japan's last ever time in a big spotlight, as the promotion would never be the same as the promotion would lose money like crazy and die several times, but would always be resurrected back into a small independent promotion. FMW had soundly defeated IWA Japan without even trying, and not even drawing well outside of Tokyo as well.
FMW's eight man round robin tournament for the FMW Brass Knuckles Title would take place with the top eight wrestlers of the promotion being announced for the chance to win the title. Hayabusa, The Gladiator, Mitsuhiro Matsunaga, Super Leather, W*ING Kanemura, Hisakatsu Oya, Katsutoshi Niiyama, and Masato Tanaka would be the eight contenders with Hayabusa and The Gladiator being the favorites of the tournament. The Gladiator and Hayabusa would start off strong by winning their first few matches, but Hayabusa's perfect streak would end on August 31, 1995 in a match with Hisakatsu Oya, that would become known as the best FMW match for its technical wrestling when the match would end being a 30 minute time limit draw. The match would give Hayabusa much more respect in the fans eyes, by not only proving to be an excellent high flyer, but that he could wrestle on the mat with someone like Hisakatsu Oya and keep pace with him for thirty minutes.
Hayabusa would end up catching The Gladiator back in the lead after defeating The Gladiator on September 5, 1995 at the Sapporo Nakajima Sports Center. Hayabusa would end up losing to Super Leather later in the tournament, but after defeating Mitsuhiro Matsunaga and The Gladiator defeating Super Leather on September 24, 1995, both Hayabusa and The Gladiator would face off in the finals of the tournament on September 26, 1995 at Korakuen Hall. The Gladiator would end up defeating Hayabusa after a Kamikaze Awesome Bomb to win the tournament and the FMW Brass Knuckles Title.
After Hayabusa defeated Mitsuhiro Matsunaga, a respect was shown by Matsunaga and both wrestlers would agree to team up against W*ING Kanemura and Masato Tanaka, which meant that FMW and W*ING were showing an alliance with each other. The tag match would take place on October 28, 1995 at Korakuen Hall, but would mark the first time since Onita had been out after swallowing barbwire, and Tarzan Goto was the main guy back in 1993 that FMW had failed to sell out Korakuen Hall. Hayabusa would have his mask ripped off by Kanemura and Tanaka, and cut open deeply with blood running all down his face, the first time that Hayabusa had continued to work a match without his mask in front of the audience, and Hayabusa would still manage to put away Masato Tanaka with a Falcon Arrow for the victory, with afterwards all four agreeing to team up with one another, and form one alliance with one another. The rest of W*ING would not be happy, Super Leather & Hido who would call out Kanemura and Matsunaga for turning their back on W*ING to be with the enemy FMW team. Hido would join The Lethal Weapon looking to destroy FMW for causing W*ING to lose its top two members. Eventually, Leather and Hido would get through to Matsunaga and Kanemura as Matsunaga would turn on Hayabusa in a tag match against Mr. Pogo & Super Leather on November 20, 1995 with Leather getting the victory over Hayabusa and tear off his mask and leave him a bloody mess all over the ring. Matsunaga and Kanemura would turn on FMW, as Leather and Hido would turn on Lethal Weapon to reform W*ING. This would cause FMW and Lethal Weapon to join together for revenge on W*ING.
FMW would decide to return to its roots by bringing back the barbed wire matches to show how Team FMW wanted to get revenge on W*ING and fight W*ING in its own style of match. Mitsuhiro Matsunaga, W*ING Kanemura, and Hido would team up to defeat Hayabusa, Masato Tanaka, and Koji Nakagawa in Barbwire Spider net Death Match on January 10, 1996. A ladder would be brought in for Hayabusa to use bring a new style of highflying moves into a death match, by hitting a moonsault off the top of the ladder on Kanemura. Hayabusa and Tanaka would both be thrown in the spider net barbed wire, with Hayabusa's body getting extremely cut up. Hayabusa's body already injured from the style he was working almost every day in matches, would struggle to make it back in the ring, but cuts all over his body, Hayabusa would be easily pinned by Matsunaga for the W*ING victory. For good measure, W*ING would toss Hayabusa once again in the barbwire spider net, letting Hayabusa just lay there unavailable to move in barbed wire. The cuts and previous damage to Hayabusa's body would be too much, and Hayabusa would be taken to hospital to rest his injured body. FMW's new ace would be out, making Masato Tanaka having to keep FMW going while Hayabusa rest.
Masato Tanaka would team up with Tetsuhiro Kuroda and Lethal Weapon member Ricky Fuji to face off against W*ING's Mitsuhiro Matsunaga, W*ING Kanemura, and Hido in the first ever FMW War Games Cage Match, with handcuffs on the cage, allowing wrestlers to handcuff their opponents and take them out of the match. Tanaka would up proving that FMW was still a force without Hayabusa by pinning Kanemura with a Rolling Elbow for the FMW victory. But that match would end the focus of FMW against W*ING as after the match, Victor Quinones would return to FMW for the first time since quitting FMW back in 1991 to join W*ING. Quinones who had quit IWA after not being paid and the promotion sinking would join FMW and bring in The Headhunters with him. Quinones and The Headhunters would form the Puerto Rican Army and attack FMW and W*ING, and would become the new number one heel stable in FMW. Mr. Pogo would soon leave Lethal Weapon after its FMW alliance to rejoin with Victor Quinones and the Puerto Rican Army. Super Leather would also become the new FMW Brass Knuckles Champion after defeating Hisakatsu Oya who was defending it in The Gladiator's name after Gladiator was unable to participate in the match with a injured knee. Leather would demand The Gladiator face him and The Gladiator would accept the challenge on March 15, 1996 at the Sapporo Nakajima Sports Center, but the knee would remain to injured for the show as Super Leather would once again win.
Such a big show without the promotions ace would cause FMW to announce FMW's former hero would make an appearance the first time in over ten months to help the draw for the show with just his presence. Shoji Nakamaki would return to FMW after becoming the top native wrestler IWA Japan after four years to team with Headhunter A after Headhunter B had been injured to face Masato Tanaka and Koji Nakagawa. After the match, Mr. Pogo would come out with a chain and help the Puerto Rican brutalize Tanaka and Nakagawa, with Pogo wrapping the chain around Tanaka's neck and hanging Tanaka over the top rope, and with the crowd screaming for their hero to return, and Atsushi Onita would make his return to the ring with the W*ING wrestlers by his side and would go after Pogo, and would smash a piece of a table over Pogo, Nakamaki, and Headhunter A. The Puerto Rican Army would finally leave the ring, as Onita would do his first interview to the crowd since his retirement, telling FMW that they needed to step up and challenge the Puerto Rican Army for the upcoming May 5, 1996 Kawasaki Stadium show. Onita would also announce his next appearance would be at the show in the crowd to watch the show.
With Victor Quinones back in FMW, Victor Quinones would join Go Ito as the promotions booker, and the person to bring in foreign talent. Katsutoshi Niiyama who had been demoted as Hayabusa's number one partner at the beginning of FMW's New Generation would lose his spot on the card to Masato Tanaka, and then lose his position as road manager and wrestling representative to Koji Nakagawa. Victor would also get another foreigner in his group as Super Leather & Jason the Terrible would lose the FMW Brass Knuckles Tag Team Titles to The Headhunters on March 30, 1996 at Korakuen Hall, with Super Leather turning on Jason the Terrible and W*ING to also join the Puerto Rican Army. The FMW team would come out to help out the W*ING wrestlers that the Puerto Rican Army was attacking when Hayabusa would also come to the ring and help out the FMW team, but with his injuries, he would be an easy target for the Puerto Rican Army. The Puerto Rican Army would leave the ring getting the upper hand on FMW and W*ING when Masato Tanaka would ask Ezaki to team with him and face the Puerto Rican Army on May 5, 1996 at Kawasaki Stadium. Hayabusa would accept the offer to come back from recovery from his injuries early for the Kawasaki Stadium show.
With the numerous bumps that the FMW women had taken throughout the years in their long matches every night, and incredibly brutal street fights, Combat Toyoda would announce her retirement at the age of 28 for the May 5, 1996 and would request that her final match be an Exploding Barbwire Death Match with Megumi Kudo. When Atsushi Onita would hear Combat's challenge, Onita would ask for her to change her mind, stating that the exploding barbed wire was not for the women, but Toyoda would insist that this was the way she wanted to go out.
Leading up to the Kawasaki Stadium show, which would be the first ever Kawasaki Stadium show for FMW without Onita, the plan was for the show to be packed with the top three matches all being death matches. The top three matches would be rumored to be Hayabusa and Masato Tanaka vs. Mr. Pogo and a Mystery Partner, Combat Toyoda's Retirement match, and Abdullah the Butcher vs. Mitsuhiro Matsunaga in a barbed wire death match. The Puerto Rican Army would issue that the match be made that both teams put up $100,000 dollars and the winner of the match would get the entire $200,000. Atsushi Onita would sell off the jacket that he wore to the ring for his retirement match to help the FMW team get the money. FMW with Victor Quinones' help would be able to book Cactus Jack for the show over Abdullah, although Jack had officially been contracted with WWE. WWE when hearing about the match that Cactus Jack was going to have, a Barbwire Caribbean Glass Double Hell Death Match, would also hear that his opponent, Mitsuhiro Matsunaga had been affected with the hepatitis B disease, and knowing all the blood that would be shed in the match would force FMW to get another opponent for Jack. FMW would decide to pull Matsunaga from the match, and put W*ING Kanemura in the spot just days before the show. FMW would then get in contact with Terry Funk for the spot as Mr. Pogo's mystery partner. Funk feeling that since Onita was not the one in charge, and could use his real hatred with Onita for a feud, and make even more money in Japan based off that would accept the offer.
The FMW May 5, 1996 Kawasaki Stadium show would end up being a success without Onita on the card, drawing 33,321 fans for the show. The entire day would be filled with rain Kawasaki, causing the show to start later than expected, but the skies would finally clear up, and the show would begin. Cactus Jack and W*ING Kanemura would end up taking several brutal suplex bumps into the Caribbean Barbwire and Glass outside of the ring, with Cactus Jack defeating W*ING Kanemura to retain the title of King of the Death Match, that he won in Japan in IWA.
Noriyo "Combat" Toyoda, the FMW Independent & WWA Women's Champion would defend her titles against long time friend and rival Megumi Kudo who had entered FMW with her six years earlier. Combat would come out to Atsushi Onita's "Wild Thing" before the most brutal match in her career. The women would end up putting their best match ever, as well as their most brutal by using the exploding barbed wire as psychology in their match, with Atsushi Onita looking on. Both the young women would feel the pain on their back of being sent through the exploding barbwire as Kudo would begin bleeding from her back, and Toyoda would be sent into the exploding barbed wire twice, and finally Megumi Kudo would manage to put Combat Toyoda away with her Kudo Driver in the best FMW women's match ever, and one of the best overall for the promotion in Toyoda's last match. Kudo and Toyoda would both lay in the ring motionless as a crying Atsushi Onita after seeing the two women he brought in his small promotion to start the women's division would come in the ring and pour water on the both of them trying to revive them. Kudo would wake up, but collapse quickly after as she would be stretcher off. Onita would pick up the still motionless Toyoda and send her to the back. Combat would finally wake up in the back laying down on the floor with Kudo as both women would begin crying and holding each others hand for the war that they had just gone through, and Combat Toyoda's last in FMW. Click here for Combat Toyoda vs. Megumi Kudo 5/5/96
Hayabusa and Masato Tanaka would then team together to face Mr. Pogo and Terry Funk in the main event of the show in a Exploding Barbed wire Ring Double Hell Death Match. The show would already be over four hours long going into the main event, the crowd would still react extremely well to all of the wrestlers. Although, Hayabusa was coming back to soon from his injuries and the match almost all but eliminated his high flying maneuvers, he would still hold his own very well with Terry Funk, even delivering the Funk's trademark style punches to Funk himself, but Funk would grab Hayabusa and attempt to roll Hayabusa out of the ring, into the exploding barbwire. Hayabusa would manage to dodge being sent into the exploding barbwire outside of the ring, but Tanaka would be unable to dodge attempting a running elbow smash, and Mr. Pogo moving out of the way, sending Tanaka into the exploding barbed wire. Mr. Pogo would grab his sickle and begin carving Tanaka's back with it, until Hayabusa would be able to shake Terry Funk and help Tanaka by delivering a kick to Pogo. Hayabusa and Tanaka would then pick up Terry Funk and drop him stomach first into the exploding barbed wire. Hayabusa and Tanaka would then pick up Pogo, attempting to throw him into the exploding barbwire outside of the ring, when Terry Funk would grab his branding iron and brand Tanaka's back. This would allow Mr. Pogo to grab kerosene and put it in his mouth, and attempt to blow a fireball at Masato Tanaka. Hayabusa seeing this would jump at Pogo, causing the kerosene to spit out of Pogo's mouth, and Hayabusa and Pogo falling into the exploding barbwire outside of the ring, causing a huge fireball to be sent up in the air. Pogo would roll out of the barbed wire, as smoke would begin covering the ring, and Hayabusa making back in the ring to see Tanaka giving Terry Funk his own spinning toe hold. Hayabusa would take the opportunity to use his high flying specialty in the match by diving out of the ring onto Mr. Pogo outside. Hayabusa would bring Mr. Pogo back in the ring, and deliver a Falcon Arrow on Pogo, but Funk would break up the pinfall. With less than a minute left, Tanaka would deliver a tornado DDT off the chair on Funk, but Funk would get the upper hand and drop Tanaka into the other exploding barbwire outside of the ring, but Funk would end up falling in it as well. With seconds later, Pogo would throw Hayabusa onto the very last exploding barbwire, setting off another huge explosion, cutting Hayabusa's body all over as Mr. Pogo would get down in the middle of the ring, as the ring would explode. As the smoke would clear, Terry Funk would piledrive Hayabusa head first into a chair, then set the chair on fire and send Hayabusa head first into it. Hayabusa would still manage to kick out, as Mr. Pogo would get more kerosene and blow at Masato Tanaka to send him back outside of the ring, and then blow a double fire at the back of Hayabusa's head. A double powerbomb and Terry Funk would manage to cover Hayabusa for the victory. Pogo and Funk would not be done, as they Pogo would begin using his sickle to saw off Hayabusa's mask, and then throw the mask less Hayabusa out of the ring, and turn their attention to Atsushi Onita in the crowd. Terry Funk would call Onita a chicken for never accepting his challenge two years earlier, and yelling that he and his wrestlers did not have the heart. Onita not wanting to listen to his mentor would throw a bucket of water and his jacket towards the ring in disgust. The Puerto Rican Army had won FMW's money. Hayabusa backstage would become clearly upset, and begin crying over it being his fault at costing FMW the money. Hayabusa afterwards would be taken to the hospital and be given 111 stitches to his already injured body, just one stitch off of Atsushi Onita's record in FMW. Masato Tanaka would be given 65 stitches, but Hayabusa would select to stay out of action, and go into hiding from FMW, embarrassed for letting his promotion down.
While out of action, Hayabusa would meet with Jushin Liger, and be offered his second chance to switch promotions, as Jushin Liger would offer his friend a spot on the New Japan roster for more money, Hayabusa would end up turning down the offer, selecting to stay loyal with FMW once again. Jushin Liger would take the decline as an offer after he gone out of his way to give Hayabusa a spot for the Super J Cup tournament and come up with the Hayabusa gimmick as a slap in the face, and the two wrestlers would end their friendship as a result. Mitsuhiro Matsunaga would also give word to FMW that he was leaving the promotion, upset over both a push, and the feeling that he was not getting to fight in enough death matches, and would accept an offer from the brand new hardcore promotion Big Japan Pro Wrestling.
FMW would then finally be given word that one year after requesting a new Brass Knuckles Title for Atsushi Onita to defend in his retirement match had finally been made, and was shipped to FMW. FMW now would have two completely different FMW Brass Knuckles Titles. FMW would decide to use the title as another belt for the promotion, called the FMW Independent Title, and hold an eight man tournament with Masato Tanaka, Horace Boulder, Hido, Super Leather, Mr. Pogo, W*ING Kanemura, and Hisakatsu Oya. Masato Tanaka would manage to defeat Mr. Pogo in the first round on May 27, 1996 in Fukouka after Pogo would attempt to blow a fireball at Masato Tanaka once again, but Tanaka would deliver a rolling elbow to Pogo instead and score the pinfall victory over Pogo. A humiliated Victor Quinones would begin scowling Mr. Pogo in the ring for losing, and then slap Pogo in the face. Pogo taking the slap as a huge insult would grab Victor, but would be attacked by The Headhunters and laid out. Mr. Pogo was now no longer apart of the Puerto Rican Army. The Gladiator would end up finally defeating Super Leather after his knees had healed, and would beat Super Leather with a Kamikaze Awesome Bomb to regain the FMW Brass Knuckles Title.
Mr. Pogo would end up siding with the FMW team after helping FMW by blowing a fireball at newest Puerto Rican Army member Freddy Kruger in a match to help Tanaka get the win. Hayabusa would make his first presence known on June 28, 1996 at Korakuen Hall after the team of Masato Tanaka, Koji Nakagawa, and Tetsuhiro Kuroda would win the FMW 6 Man Street Fight Tag Titles that had been created on May 5, 1996 which Super Leather & The Headhunter capture. Hayabusa having grown out a beard, and wearing a hat would watch in the back, but would end up being spotted by Koji Nakagawa who would attack Hayabusa and have to be held off by Tanaka & Kuroda, as Nakagawa would begin screaming at Hayabusa for going into hiding after losing, and leaving FMW when they needed him most.
Koji Nakagawa would issue a challenge to Hayabusa for a match. Hayabusa would accept the offer for August 1, 1996 the earliest his body would be healthy for a match. August 1, 1996 would take place at the Shiodome, but Hayabusa's return to the ring would end up becoming an incredibly disappointing with his match against Nakagawa. Both wrestlers would end up being incredibly off for a majority of the match, end up with no heat at all during the match, and the match would go extremely long and turn out very boring before Hayabusa and Nakagawa would end up being knocked out with Go Ito counting both wrestlers down, Hayabusa would manage to make it up to his feet at the nine count just in time for the KO victory over Nakagawa in the extremely disappointing match. W*ING Kanemura and Masato Tanaka would end up fairing much better against each other, putting on an extremely well technical match between to become the first FMW Independent Champion, showing fans that both wrestlers could put on a very good match outside of the FMW death match environment, and Kanemura would end up delivering a Thunder Fire Powerbomb to Masato Tanaka to score the victory for the brand new title.
The main event would pit Terry Funk against Mr. Pogo in a Double Hell Death Match, but the match would end up being cut very shortly after Funk would blow fire at Pogo and Pogo would end up being dropped into the exploding barbwire outside of the ring, but when falling into it, the barbwire would end up pushing Pogo's chin and head back, resulting in Mr. Pogo suffering a broken neck. Terry Funk not knowing why Pogo was still down would begin blowing fire at the mobile less Mr. Pogo stuck in the barbwire, resulting the referee to end the match and reward it to Terry Funk via KO. Mr. Pogo would be able make a return to the ring, but the injury would end up causing him to be even more immobile in the ring.
Leading up to the Komazawa Olympic Gym show, Hayabusa would begin on a slump as he would end up losing a rematch to Koji Nakagawa on August 23, 1996 at Korakuen Hall show, but in a match between Masato Tanaka, Koji Nakagawa, and Tetsuhiro Kuroda against W*ING Kanemura, Hido, Hideki Hosaka on September 1, 1996 in a Exploding Barbwire Double Hell Death Match, Nakagawa would end up taking one of the most insane bumps in FMW after being dropkicked into the exploding barbwire, and then followed with a kick to the head sending him outside of the ring into the exploding barbwire outside of the ring. Hayabusa would lay there watching the match go on, with Nakagawa would begin crawling out of the barbwire, barely able to move and cut all over from the explosions. Nakagawa would finally make it back in the ring and give W*ING Kanemura some revenge by tossing Kanemura into the other double hell exploding barbwire allowing Tanaka to deliver a Thunder Fire Powerbomb on Hosaka and score the win for FMW team. Hayabusa afterwards would be the first one to help Koji Nakagawa out, and the two former friends would work out their differences. Hayabusa would then prove that his heart stayed with FMW by challenging the Puerto Rican Army in a yen on the pole match on September 15, 1996 with FMW trying to win back the amount of money that they lost at Kawasaki Stadium with Hayabusa managing to climb the pole and win back FMW's money. Also, on the show Lethal Weapon would officially end after The Gladiator and Horace Boulder would turn on Ricky after their match, and along with Hisakatsu Oya align themselves with the Puerto Rican Army bringing Ricky Fuji to tears and ending Lethal Weapon after 18 months.
Hayabusa's single match slump would continue by losing to Hisakatsu Oya on September 20, 1996 at the Sapporo Nakajima Sports Center, with Hayabusa's frustration over losing back to back singles match beginning to get to him, Michinoku Pro's Jinsei Shinzaki would appear in the ring and look at Hayabusa and shut his eyes and pray for him. A match between the two would be set up by FMW and Michinoku Pro for Michinoku Pro's October 10, 1996 show at Sumo Hall.
Hayabusa would again be apart in a losing effort by teaming up with Masato Tanaka to face Terry Funk and The Gladiator on September 24, 1996 at Korakuen Hall. Hayabusa would end up being taken out of the match after being tied and then dropped over the top rope to the outside by Funk and Gladiator. Funk would then help pick up Tanaka for The Gladiator to deliver a Kamikaze Awesome Bomb off the top rope to score the pinfall over Tanaka. After the match, The Headhunters, Hisakatsu Oya, Super Leather, and Victor Quinones would all come out with the American flag and then attacked Hayabusa and lay the American flag over Hayabusa's body while again calling out Onita. Funk would then announce the new group would be called Funk Masters of Wrestling, the real FMW.
Megumi Kudo would also on the show, after her match just four days after her 27th birthday would grab the microphone and announce to the crowd that she was planning on retiring on May 5, 1997 for Kawasaki Stadium. With Combat Toyoda having retired, the feeling was that women's division had not been the same as Megumi Kudo and Shark Tsuchiya were the only big name women wrestlers, and they had wrestled each other every night for years.
Hayabusa would end up losing to Jinsei Shinzaki on October 10, 1996 at the Sumo Hall in Michinoku Pro in a poor match, but afterwards a tag team alliance would be born between the two as after winning Shinzaki would shake Hayabusa's hand in a matter of respect. The Great Sasuke would come to the ring afterwards and challenge his very good friend Hayabusa to a match at an FMW show. Hisakatsu Oya, who had earned a shot at W*ING Kanemura's Independent Title on October 28, 1996 at Korakuen Hall for defeating Hayabusa a month earlier would not be successful again after losing to Kanemura. FMW Brass Knuckles Champion The Gladiator would lay out Kanemura for his partner after the match, and challenge W*ING Kanemura to a match belt for belt to unify the titles and make the world champion more meaningful. Mr. Pogo would come to the ring and then announce his retirement to the FMW crowd with his last match being December 11, 1996. He would meet backstage with Atsushi Onita and ask for Onita to team with him as his one last wish in wrestling, which would result in Onita grabbing Pogo backstage and slapping Pogo, telling him that he was still retired and was not going back on his word, especially for someone that he hated like Pogo before walking out.
Atsushi Onita would appear in the ring once again after Mr. Pogo, Masato Tanaka, and Koji Nakagawa would lose to Hisakatsu Oya & The Headhunters on November 26, 1996 at Korakuen Hall, and the Funk Masters of Wrestling would begin all ganging up and attacking Pogo until Atsushi Onita would come from the crowd and help his former long time enemy out and clear away Terry Funk's FMW. Onita would announce that he would come out of retirement on December 11, 1996 and team up with Mr. Pogo who would be retiring on the same show. The problem was that Mr. Pogo had no idea before Onita had made the announcement that he was suppose to be retiring and did not want to retire.
FMW would end up selling out of their first big show since Onita's retirement for Mr. Pogo's retirement and Atsushi Onita's return on December 11, 1996 at the Komazawa Olympic Gym, drawing 7,923 fans. Megumi Kudo with her retirement coming soon would look to facing women wrestlers outside of FMW, and she would face off against LLPW's Shinobu Kandori, although Kudo would end up losing the match after being knocked out cold by Kandori for the KO lost to Kudo. Kudo would not accept the lost very well, and would end up attacking Kandori backstage in the locker room before having to be held back. The Gladiator who would end up accidentally getting leg tied up after attempting a jump off the top rope to the outside, and as a result would end up getting his knee worked by Kanemura and several chair shots to the knee as a result. The Gladiator would end up coming back, and finishing off Kanemura with an Awesome Bomb to unify the FMW Brass Knuckles Championship and FMW Independent Championship, and become the first ever FMW Double Titles Champion. Hayabusa would end his slump against good friend The Great Sasuke in a match that would turn out to be a disappointment after both would mostly base the match on the mat, other than The Great Sasuke deliver a Sasuke Special to Hayabusa. Hayabusa would end up finishing The Great Sasuke using for the first time a Falcon Arrow off the top turnbuckle to score the victory over The Great Sasuke.
Atsushi Onita would return for the supposed one time only to team with Mr. Pogo, Masato Tanaka, and Tetsuhiro Kuroda to face Terry Funk, Hisakatsu Oya, and The Headhunters in the first time Onita and Funk had fought against each other since May 5, 1993 at Kawasaki. Onita would brawl with Funk all over the crowd before piledriving Funk through a table, and then Onita would grab a chair, and as Masato Tanaka would attempt suplexing Headhunter A, Onita would smash a chair over Headhunter A helping Tanaka lift the 400 pounder and allow Tanaka to score the pinfall victory over Headhunter A. Although it was Mr. Pogo's retirement match, Onita would completely steal the spotlight from Mr. Pogo with Onita's Wild Thing music playing and Onita pouring water from his water bottle all over Pogo as a show of respect, as the two former enemies from 1990 to 1995 would do Onita's signature spitting the water out to what was suppose to end Mr. Pogo's career supposedly.
Atsushi Onita would begin doing what he did best, and attempt to try and gain attention with the magazines and newspapers by declaring that by the end of 1997 that FMW would finally overtake New Japan and All Japan as the top promotion in the world, as well as announce that FMW and All Japan would partner up and Onita would hope to see a Kenta Kobashi vs. Hayabusa Triple Crown match in 1997. There would be little shot of that match happening as Kobashi would end up losing to Mitsuharu Misawa for the Triple Crown on January 22, 1997.
With the nail pretty much in the coffin for IWA Japan, Mr. Gannosuke and Flying Kid Ichihara who had been working as freelancers in Tokyo Pro, would separate themselves from Tarzan Goto. Mr. Gannosuke with help from his long time best friend Hayabusa would get him and Flying Kid Ichihara a spot back in FMW after leaving the promotion almost two years earlier to follow Tarzan Goto. Mr. Gannosuke and Flying Kid Ichihara would return to FMW on January 5, 1997 at Korakuen Hall after The Headhunters had defeated Hayabusa and Katsutoshi Niiyama. Mr. Gannosuke would call out Hayabusa, calling him an idiot and upset over the fact that his supposed friend had not left for IWA Japan with him. Gannosuke would attack the FMW fans, and Katsutoshi Niiyama would attack Gannosuke, brawling around ringside before Gannosuke and Ichihara as Hayabusa would watch on, not knowing what to do about his long time best friend.
With the addition of Mr. Gannosuke returning, FMW would also agree to begin letting the freelance group of Fuyuki-gun working matches, fighting with W*ING. Mr. Gannosuke would make his return to an FMW ring on February 18, 1997 at Korakuen Hall after joining the Funk Masters of Wrestling and teaming with Hisakatsu Oya to face Hayabusa and Ricky Fuji who had ended up aligning himself with FMW. Hayabusa would attempt to deliver an Asai Moonsault to Hisakatsu Oya to the outside, but Oya would react as Hayabusa would go up by throwing a chair at Hayabusa, catching Hayabusa's leg in between the rope and allowing Gannosuke to be able to defeat Ricky Fuji without any saves by Hayabusa and Gannosuke would pin Ricky Fuji with a Northern Lights Suplex, and afterwards brag about how he had defeated Hayabusa, and would declare the Funk Masters of Wrestling to be the real FMW, enraging Hayabusa to finally go after his long time friend, but Hayabusa would be double teamed and laid out by Gannosuke and Oya. Mr. Pogo would come back at the show to say goodbye to the FMW fans, and also grant Gosaku Goshogawara, his protégé the Mr. Pogo name and gimmick. Mr. Pogo's retirement would end up lasting a few more months as he would end up returning to the ring in July 1997 for Big Japan Pro Wrestling to become the top heel for the promotion.
Onita's word of coming back one time only would turn out to be fiction as he would team up with Masato Tanaka, Koji Nakagawa and Tetsuhiro Kuroda on March 14, 1997 at the Sapporo Nakajima Sports Center to defeat The Gladiator, Hisakatsu Oya, and The Headhunters after Nakagawa would suplex Oya for the win. Onita was back part time with FMW, and Arai would allow Onita to be the partnered with Go Ito to help book his matches. Megumi Kudo would also end up getting her revenge against Shinobu Kandori by having her type of match in a Barbwire match as Kudo would defeat Kandori after delivering a Kudo Driver to Kandori.
FMW would then be told the news that the Kawasaki Stadium show they planned on running on May 5, 1997 would not take place, after getting word that Kawasaki Stadium would not be allowed for any show as it was being renovated to make the old stadium earthquake proof. With Kawasaki no longer being able to be booked, and Megumi Kudo still on her retirement tour, FMW would book at the next biggest building they could book for the show. FMW would book the Yokohama Arena, which although could only sit 16,000 fans, the tickets for the show in the building were extremely high. It would still not come close to what a Kawasaki Stadium show featuring Megumi Kudo's retirement would do. The show would be booked for April 29, 1997 after they were unable to get the May 5th date in the building, end the tradition of four straight years of FMW wrestling at Kawasaki Stadium on May 5th. Onita though would be hesitant to allow Megumi Kudo to main event the same show he was on. Onita who had booked a tag team match once again against Terry Funk felt his match and his name would be the top draw of the show, and that a women's match had never been in the main event of an FMW show, meaning it was questionable that it could draw. Onita would eventually let his long time friend Megumi Kudo in the spot as respect to her and allow her to main event her final match against long time rival Shark Tsuchiya for the FMW Independent and WWA Women's Titles. Onita would book a street fight and team with Masato Tanaka and W*ING Kanemura to face Terry Funk, Cactus Jack, and The Gladiator in the semi main event, the first time since the beginning of FMW that Onita had not main evented a show he was on. Hayabusa would take on Mr. Gannosuke in a match where Hayabusa would put up his mask against Mr. Gannosuke's hair would also be put on the show. FMW would then book Kawasaki Stadium at the soonest possible time for September 28, 1997 after hearing that after being revamped, that Kawasaki Stadium would be able to hold up to 60,000 fans.
Megumi Kudo would wrestle her final match against Mayumi Ozaki on in a Barbed wire Double Hell Death Match on April 18, 1997 and would show why at the age of 31 she was having to retire after taking an incredible brutal bumps in the barbwire and being thrown into the double hell barbwire outside of the ring several times before finally putting away Mayumi Ozaki in a incredible match with the Kudo Driver in Megumi Kudo's final match at Korakuen Hall.
FMW would manage to easily sell out the Yokohama Arena on April 29, 1997 with 16,000 fans coming to see the final match of Megumi Kudo's career. Koji Nakagawa would face Katsutoshi Niiyama who had turned heel earlier in the year and joined the Funk Masters of Wrestling, but would not last longer after losing to Nakagawa and already with the promotion upset at Niiyama, a good match between the the two would cause Niiyama to break out of character and hug Nakagawa, causing FMW to release the former number 2 babyface behind Hayabusa.
Hayabusa would face off against Mr. Gannosuke for the first time since 1993 when the two were best friends in a Mask vs. Hair match. Mr. Gannosuke would come to the ring with his hair dyed blonde and despite Victor Quinones helping Mr. Gannosuke throughout the match, Hayabusa would manage to put away Gannosuke with a Falcon Arrow. Hayabusa would get on the microphone and tell Gannosuke that he was not going to make Gannosuke shave his head, but that he wanted Gannosuke to start over, and apologize to the FMW fans for turning on them, and starting over as a team. Hayabusa would take out his hand for Gannosuke to shake, but Gannosuke instead would attack Hayabusa, and tear off his mask. Gannosuke with help from Quinones would grab kerosene and attempt to blow a fireball at Hayabusa when Jinsei Shinzaki would quickly rush to the ring and shove Gannosuke out of the way, causing the kerosene to be spit out as Gannosuke and Quinones would leave the ring, with the war between Hayabusa and Gannosuke just getting started, and Jinsei Shinzaki becoming involved. Hayabusa would be left in tears in the ring by being betrayed by his once best friend.
Atsushi Onita would team up with Masato Tanaka and W*ING Kanemura to face Terry Funk, Cactus Jack, and The Gladiator in a street fight, with Onita in trouble early as Terry Funk would bring a barbwire baseball in the ring and begin carving up Onita's back with the barbwire, and as Cactus Jack would hold Onita, Funk would attempt to spit a fireball out at Onita, but Tanaka would manage to save Onita by dropkicking Funk. Onita and Cactus would begin brawling when Terry Funk would deliver a moonsault off the top turnbuckle attempting to hit Onita, but Funk would end up overshooting Onita and end up with a concussion as a result. Tanaka and Kanemura would use their team work as Tanaka would deliver a Rolling Elbow to The Gladiator, and Kanemura would follow with a senton splash and score the pinfall victory over The Gladiator for the win against the Funk Masters of Wrestling. After the match, Onita would announce that he would be main eventing the September 28, 1997 Kawasaki Stadium show in the biggest death match of all time. Both Tanaka and Kanemura would ask for the right to challenge Onita in the match, but both would have to earn the right first.
Megumi Kudo would end up challenging for the FMW Independent and WWA Women's Titles once again, but this time in her own retirement match against long time arch rival Shark Tsuchiya in the first ever Exploding Barbed wire Double Hell Death Match. With Kudo's parents watching on, Kudo would come to the ring for the final time, and take one of the most brutal beating anyone has ever suffered during the match. Kudo would be the first one to feel the explosions of the barbed wire after Shark would reverse Kudo into it. Shark would then up grabbing Kudo and throwing her face first into the barbwire. Shark would then begin cutting Kudo's head open with her scythe, causing Kudo to bleed furiously. Kudo would make a come back, and attempt to deliver the Kudo Driver to Shark, but Shark would end up reversing and Shark would end up powerbombing Kudo in the double hell barbwire explosions neck first. Kudo's body would begin to go in shock from the pain and barely able to stand with barbed wire stuck on her leg. Kudo would still manage to kick out of every Shark pinfall attempt making Shark frustrated to the point where she would be the third person to attempt to shoot a fireball at somebody on the show, but would be the only one to successfully get it off and setting Kudo on fire with Go Ito having to put the fire out on Kudo's body with his bare hands. Kudo would manage to still barely get up, and Shark would attempt a lariat at Kudo, but as Kudo was about to be sent in the exploding barbed wire, Kudo would grab Shark with her, and although Kudo would feel a majority of the explosions, Shark would end up getting knocked down and Kudo would manage to cover Shark for the win and the victory. Megumi Kudo who felt that since Shark Tsuchiya was such a poor worker, and would be extremely difficult to get a good match out of her for her final match would take the most extreme series of explosions to her body to help the match out. Kudo would win the FMW Independent and WWA Women's Title barely being able to stand. She would be rushed to the back with the entire FMW roster trying to help the burnt body of Megumi Kudo. Onita crying from the beating that Kudo had suffered would pour buckets and buckets of water as Hayabusa and the rest of FMW roster would help her. An emotional Megumi Kudo would hand Kaori Nakayama the title belts and ask Nakayama to carry the division on for her, as Megumi Kudo would be put in the ambulance and taken to the hospital for severe third degree burns and cuts all over her body.
Megumi Kudo's Retirement Ceremony would take place at Korakuen on June 13, 1997 with the entire FMW roster around the ring in honor of Megumi Kudo as Kudo would vacated her titles and a 10 count in memory for Megumi Kudo would take place, and the fans afterwards would throw streamers to show the respect they had for Megumi Kudo. A respect she well deserved.
FMW would begin focusing on their Kawasaki Stadium show for later in the year, with a series of tag team matches pitting Masato Tanaka and his FMW team against W*ING Kanemura and his W*ING team. Atsushi Onita would team with the W*ING team in a Barbed wire match against the FMW team on May 25, 1997 for a match to determine the right to fight Onita at Kawasaki Stadium. Onita would score the pinfall victory over Tanaka with a Thunder Fire Powerbomb. Tanaka backstage would beg for another opportunity to earn a shot at Kawasaki Stadium, making both Onita and Kanemura visibly upset at Tanaka for not taking the loss like a man. Onita would decide to give Tanaka one more match, but it would be a singles match against W*ING Kanemura in a Exploding Barbed wire Death Match.
Masato Tanaka would get his one last shot against W*ING Kanemura on August 2, 1997 at the Shiodome in Tokyo, for the right to face off against Atsushi Onita at Kawasaki Stadium. Kanemura and Tanaka would end throwing each other into the explosions, but it would be Kanemura to come away with the victory with a Thunder Fire Powerbomb to finally to earn the right to fight Onita once an for all for the show.
A stipulation would be made between Onita and Kanemura to help ticket sales for the show, with Onita once again putting up his career once and for all if he were to lose, and Kanemura putting up the W*ING stable that had started feuding with Onita back in 1994. Hayabusa and Jinsei Shinzaki would team up together in a special match to showcase the relationship between FMW and All Japan as they would face off against Kenta Kobashi & Manukea Mossman. Despite losing the right to main event the show, Masato Tanaka would face off against The Gladiator for the FMW Double Titles. FMW would also bring in Aja Kong to challenge Shark Tsuchiya for the FMW Women's Titles that Megumi Kudo had vacated, and FMW would pay a lot of money to bring in Ken Shamrock and former IWGP Champion Vader to fight in a shoot match environment in a cage.
A big problem would occur weeks before the show as Kanemura would end up shattering his ankle in a match, but due to being in the biggest match of his career coming up and still advertised for matches, Kanemura would wobble to the ring for his matches. Kanemura and Hido would end up losing the FMW Brass Knuckles Tag Team Titles to Hisakatsu Oya & Mr. Gannosuke on August 21, 1997 and the Funk Masters of Wrestling would call out Kanemura many times because of his shattered ankle, but Kanemura would still try to fight back, but have to be held off by other W*ING members before getting his ankle in even worse shape, knowing that he was going to be defending W*ING's existence in the upcoming month.
FMW would end up holding their Kawasaki Stadium show on September 28, 1997 drawing 50,012 fans for the show. Although the number was higher than the year before, FMW was expecting for a sell out of 60,000 fans with Onita in the main event in the biggest death match of all time, and paying so much money for outside talent to wrestle on the undercard matches would cause the show to be a slight disappointment in a lot of peoples eyes. Terry Funk would end up defeating Kodo Fuyuki in a match where the Headhunters would help out Funk by fighting off Jado and Gedo which would allow Terry Funk to execute a moonsault to Fuyuki for the win. Kodo Fuyuki due to a pre match stipulation would be force to retire for losing the match. The stipulation would not last long as Fuyuki would travel to Amarillo, Texas a couple of weeks later and visit Funk at the Double Cross Ranch and be friend Funk into agreeing to void the retirement stipulation and let him wrestle again.
Shark Tsuchiya would manage to defeat Aja Kong in their match to win the FMW Independent and WWA Women's Titles, but after Kudo had retired, the fans and media had given up on the women's division in FMW. Shark Tsuchiya would never defend the titles, and the titles would end up being dropped from FMW.
Vader and Ken Shamrock would end up having another poor match, with Shamrock's ribs an incredible pain, Vader would end up getting the win in the very poor shoot fight match in the cage, a style of wrestle that the FMW fans had learned to be against since the beginning of the promotion.
Masato Tanaka would manage to finally defeat The Gladiator after years of punishment and powerbombs by delivering his own Awesome Bomb on The Gladiator over the top rope to the outside through a table. Tanaka would then end up brawling with the out of Gladiator and deliver a Rolling Elbow to the head and score the victory to become the second FMW Double Titles Champion, ending The Gladiator's 16 month run at FMW Brass Knuckles Champion.
Hayabusa & Jinsei Shinzaki would face off against Kenta Kobashi and Manukea Mossman in an terrific match, as all four men would meet for the first time against each other. Hayabusa and Kobashi would show the fans their talent, as Kobashi would deliver a spectacular move after another to Hayabusa, and Hayabusa would manage to kick out. Hayabusa would deliver the Phoenix Splash for the first time at Kawasaki Stadium to Kobashi, but it would not be enough to Kobashi who would end up delivering a clothesline and scoring the pinfall victory over Hayabusa in his third straight lost at Kawasaki Stadium. But due to the All Japan wrestlers having contracts with another video company, the match would never air on television.
Atsushi Onita would put up his career on the line once again to face off against W*ING Kanemura putting up the W*ING faction on the line in the main event, in a Exploding Barbed wire Cage Death Match with the Dynamite for the ring explosion being twice as big as ever before. But due to Kanemura's shattered knee, and a lack of heat for the match, it would turn out to be the poorest Kawasaki main event match ever, after being followed up by two great matches. Kanemura would struggle to move throughout the match, and would end up being the first person to ever take a face first bump into the exploding barbed wire cage. The ring explosion would end up being the biggest ever, with smoke all over the ring before Onita would finally finish off Kanemura with a Thunder Fire Powerbomb to score the victory and officially end W*ING after three years. Onita would walk backstage and sneak a peak in the locker room and see the crying Kanemura, Hido, and Hosaka not knowing what to do as they would be accepted by any other group. Onita seeing their spirit and emotion would walk past Hayabusa, Masato Tanaka, and Koji Nakagawa and begin screaming at them for the job of being in control of the FMW team and would tell them he was quitting the FMW team. Onita would then help Kanemura into the ambulance with Hosaka and Hido and be taken to the hospital to discuss things with Kanemura.
Onita would then hold a press conference on September 30, 1997 with the former W*ING members of Yukihiro Kanemura, Hideki Hosaka, Hido, and former FMW wrestler Tetsuhiro Kuroda to publicly announce that he was leaving the FMW team to form his own faction, ZEN. Go Ito would end up deciding to make Atsushi Onita and the group a heel. This would anger Onita greatly who was taught in All Japan that you are either a babyface forever or a heel forever in your career. Onita did not like being a heel with the promotion that he started with but Go Ito's decision was that it did not make sense for Hayabusa and the FMW group to be anything other than the babyfaces and there were no more heel groups with the Funk Masters of Wrestling being phased out due to Terry Funk's run in FMW coming to an end due to Funk stepping away from wrestling for a couple of months.
ZEN would start out on a roll right away on October 14, 1997 at the Sapporo Nakajima Sports Center with Atsushi Onita, Tetsuhiro Kuroda, and Hido challenging Hayabusa, Masato Tanaka, and Koji Nakagawa for the FMW 6 Man Street Fight Tag Team Titles, in the first match that Hayabusa and Onita would be against each other in the ring since Onita's Retirement on May 5, 1995. ZEN's enthusiasm would be too much for the FMW team and Onita would manage to deliver a Thunder Fire Powerbomb to Nakagawa to score the victory and the titles. Mr. Gannosuke would earlier in the show get somewhat of a revenge on Jinsei Shinzaki in a singles match after attacking Shinzaki for the bell, and having control of Shinzaki the entire match, by choking out and busting him open. Gannosuke would get the easy victory by simply stepping over Shinzaki after just a few minutes to score the victory in their first match. Atsushi Onita and W*ING Kanemura would bring the FMW Brass Knuckles Titles to ZEN by defeating Hisakatsu Oya & Mr. Gannosuke on October 19, 1997 in Sendai after Kanemura would score the pinfall over Oya. After the match, feeling that Terry Funk had abandoned the Funk Masters of Wrestling, and that ZEN was the new hot thing in FMW, they would quit the Funk Masters of Wrestling and join ZEN.
Former Funk Masters of Wrestling members Hisakatsu Oya & Mr. Gannosuke would team up with the only current members of Funk Masters of Wrestling in The Gladiator & Super Leather on October 21, 1997 at Korakuen Hall, but the Funk Masters of Wrestling would not last much much longer as The Gladiator and Super Leather would end up accidentally clotheslining each other, causing both wrestlers to begin shoving one another, and resulting in The Gladiator delivering an Awesome Bomb Super Leather and give Oya the easy chance at scoring the pin as The Gladiator would announce that after a year, the Funk Masters were dead. ZEN would end up scoring another victory over FMW as the team of Yukihiro Kanemura, Tetsuhiro Kuroda, Hido, and Hideki Hosaka would defeat the team of Hayabusa, Jinsei Shinzaki, Masato Tanaka, and Koji Nakagawa after Kuroda would score his biggest victory ever by pinning the FMW Double Titles Champion Masato Tanaka in the match. ZEN afterwards would attack the FMW team when The Gladiator would come out to the ring and deliver an Awesome Bomb to Hayabusa as The Gladiator would become the newest member of ZEN while the group would wave the ZEN flag high in the ring as they were the new force in FMW that nobody could stop.
Hayabusa and Jinsei Shinzaki would agree to participate in the All Japan Real World Tag Team Tournament in November 1997 which would cause Hayabusa to miss a series of shows for the first time in over a year. Onita would work a non big show for the first time since coming back out of retirement for November 20, 1997 teaming with Tetsuhiro Kuroda and Hido to face the FMW team of Masato Tanaka, Ricky Fuji, and Mr. Pogo # 2 and as it seemed like Onita had everything under control by delivering a Thunder Fire to Ricky Fuji, and Mr. Pogo # 2 would attempt to make the save for Ricky by clotheslining Onita, but it would not nudge Onita and he would continue to pin Ricky until Tanaka would follow with a Rolling Elbow and knock Onita out and Masato Tanaka would score the pinfall over Onita, the first lost Onita had suffered since coming back and the first lost period since March 30, 1995.
Due to Onita's inactivity for so many of the FMW shows, Onita and Kanemura would be force to vacate the FMW Brass Knuckles Title but Kanemura would be allowed to select a partner of his choice to challenge for the titles again, and Kanemura would pick ZEN member Mr. Gannosuke to face off against Hayabusa an Masato Tanaka on November 28, 1997 at Korakuen Hall, with Kanemura and Gannosuke showing instant chemistry with each other would do an incredible well as a team and become so hated by the fans for their antics in the ring as Gannosuke would deliver a Fire Thunder to Hayabusa to score the victory and the FMW Brass Knuckles Tag Team Titles. The lost would be by Go Ito as punishment for making FMW look bad by Hayabusa recently being pinned a couple of times in the All Japan Tag Tournament, and the team in the lower rankings of the current standings in the tournament. After the show, with ZEN together, a problem would occur between Hisakatsu Oya and Hideki Hosaka as both would begin screaming at one another, as conflict for the first time would be taking part in ZEN.
Hayabusa would face off against Hisakatsu Oya on December 5, 1997, and once again the two would put on an excellent slow paced match with Hayabusa's highflying added in, and Hayabusa would once again manage to defeat Oya by deliver a Falcon Arrow, but after the match, Oya would announce that he was leaving ZEN, and that he wanted to join the FMW team which Hayabusa would accept. Hisakatsu Oya had just turned babyface for the first time after a over four year career in FMW as a heel. With the addition of a new member to the FMW team, they would end up losing a member as Koji Nakagawa had become vocally frustrated with how FMW had been treating him, and after a main event on December 13, 1997 at the Kawasaki Club Citta, Hayabusa would tell the fans that FMW was the number one group and had the number one fans, causing Koji Nakagawa to hit the ring and attack Hayabusa for praising FMW for how he was being treated by them. Nakagawa would announce that he was leaving FMW.
More conflict would take place between ZEN as Mr. Gannosuke & Yukihiro Kanemura would become vocally upset with Onita for pushing it to where his match with Masato Tanaka was the main event of the upcoming Komazawa Olympic Gym show instead of their FMW Brass Knuckles Tag Team Title defense against Hayabusa & Jinsei Shinzaki.
FMW would begin a talent exchange agreement with the ECW promotion to allow ECW wrestlers to begin working FMW shows starting on December 19, 1997 with FMW sending talent to ECW as well. ECW would bring in Tommy Dreamer, The Sandman, The Dudley Boyz, and the returning Terry Funk. With the ECW talent and Onita in the main event, FMW would run at the Komazawa Olympic Gym on December 19, 1997, the same building a year earlier that had hosted Onita's return to wrestling. Although, the show would nowhere near be the success the previous year had been by only drawing 5,200 fans for the show. Terry Funk would end up winning a ECW Three Way Dance over The Sandman and Buh Buh Ray Dudley after Dudley would eliminate the extremely over Sandman, and Funk would follow by defeating Dudley in the poor match. Mr. Gannosuke & Yukihiro Kanemura would once again shock the FMW crowd by defeating Hayabusa & Jinsei Shinzaki after the injured rib Hayabusa would come off the top rope and land directly on Kanemura's knee who would quickly take advantage and roll up Hayabusa for the win to retain the FMW Brass Knuckles Tag Team Titles. Again, the defeat of Hayabusa would be as a result of Go Ito feeling that Hayabusa & Jinsei Shinzaki only winning two out of seven tag team tournament matches had made FMW look bad. Gannosuke & Kanemura would be very eager to boast and brag about their second straight victory over Hayabusa. Atsushi Onita would follow up on the success for ZEN after Tanaka would attempt and fail to put away Onita with a Rolling Elbow, and Onita would manage to roll up Tanaka for the victory in his first singles match since turning heel. Although it would be a good evening for ZEN, the groups would still have major conflict with Mr. Gannosuke, Yukihiro Kanemura an Hido getting in a shouting match with Onita and the rest of ZEN for Onita's selfishness and ego.
The ZEN success would not continue the next night as the FMW team of Hayabusa, Masato Tanaka, and Hisakatsu Oya would defeat the ZEN team of Atsushi Onita, Tetsuhiro Kuroda, and Hido when Oya would pin Hido for the FMW 6 Man Street Fight Tag Team Titles on December 20, 1997 in only the second time that Hayabusa and Onita would square off in the ring since Onita's return from Retirement.
Sabu would make his return to FMW on December 22, 1997 at Korakuen Hall, it would be Sabu's first appearance for the promotion that got him his first big break in three years and Sabu would manage to defeat The Sandman in their match. The final blow off between FMW and ZEN would also take place in the main event as Hayabusa, Jinsei Shinzaki, and Masato Tanaka would take on Atsushi Onita, Mr. Gannosuke, and Yukihiro Kanemura in a War Games Cage Match. Hayabusa and Kanemura would start off the match, fighting over the ladder to the barbwire baseball bat held up over the cage. Kanemura would manage to get to climb the ladder for the baseball bat, but Hayabusa would kick Kanemura off the ladder and be the first to use the barbwire bat in the match. Mr. Gannosuke and Masato Tanaka would be next in the ring, and then followed with Jinsei Shinzaki and Atsushi Onita next as Onita would viciously attack Shinzaki before he would be able to get in the ring. Although Onita had a hard time getting heel heat from the fans that had grown up loving him, Gannosuke and Kanemura would just become hated by the fans and screamed and boo'd at everything they would do. Which would also include Gannosuke handcuffing Jinsei Shinzaki to the cage with the handcuffs set up on the cage to make the match in favor for ZEN. It would not last for long as Tanaka would deliver a Rolling Elbow to Gannosuke knocking Gannosuke into the waiting arms of Jinsei Shinzaki who would begin grabbing on to Gannosuke and not letting go to take Gannosuke out of the match as well. Tanaka would deliver a Death Valley Driver to Onita, and then set Onita for Hayabusa to climb the cage once again, just like he did on May 5, 1995 at Kawasaki Stadium, but this time as Hayabusa would dive and deliver the moonsault to Onita, he would nail Onita with it and scoring the pin over Onita, symbolically showing that if he were to have hit the moonsault two years earlier, he would have beat Onita in his Retirement match with it. Hayabusa had finally scored a pinfall victory over Onita, and Gannosuke and Kanemura were sick of it. Gannosuke and Kanemura would throw the FMW team out of the cage and then look at the beaten Onita and begin stomping away at him. Tetsuhiro Kuroda would come into the ring for the save, but would quickly get thrown out of the cage as well. Gannosuke and Kanemura would handcuff Onita to the ropes and begin slapping him as a show of no respect towards Onita until a man with a black jacket and hat would attack Gannosuke and Kanemura with a chair forcing them to finally leave with Hido and officially leave ZEN. The man would be revealed as Koji Nakagawa who would become the newest member of ZEN. ZEN was now officially set a babyface group with the feeling that no matter how hard they could possibly try, Onita was not going to be a heel in FMW.
Although Mr. Gannosuke was now no longer a member of ZEN, he was still the number 1 contender for the FMW Double Titles and would challenge Masato Tanaka for them on January 6, 1998 at Korakuen Hall, and in an incredible bloody match that would see both Gannosuke an Tanaka brawl all over the building and Gannosuke cut up Tanaka's elbow deep, Gannosuke would manage to score the victory after blocking a Rolling Elbow by Tanaka and rolling him into the Gannosuke Clutch to become the third FMW Double Titles Champion. Mr. Gannosuke was the champion of FMW.
ZEN would promote their first show the next day on January 7, 1998 at Korakuen Hall, with Mr. Gannosuke, Yukihiro Kanemura, and Hido teaming up to face Atsushi Onita, Koji Nakagawa and Tetsuhiro Kuroda with the crowd being a majority of the hardcore Onita followers attending the show and cheering at everything Onita would do in the ring. It would be Nakagawa to score the pinfall by using the Gannosuke Clutch on Hido for the victory, but afterwards the Fuyuki-gun group of Kodo Fuyuki and Jado would come out and help Gannosuke, Kanemura, and Hido attack Onita and ZEN as both shared a dislike ness for the ZEN group due to Fuyuki's hatred for Onita and what Onita stood for. The group of Mr. Gannosuke, Kodo Fuyuki, Yukihiro Kanemura, Jado, and Hido would band together and become Team No Respect.
Team No Respect would show what they were made of on January 16, 1998 as the team of Mr. Gannosuke, Yukihiro Kanemura, and Jado would harass FMW President Shoichi Arai before the match, tearing up the certificate to notify the upcoming match as a title match. Gannosuke, Kanemura, and Jado would end up defeating Hayabusa, Tanaka, and Oya after Jado would roll up Oya with a Gedo Clutch for the FMW 6 Man Street Fight Tag Team Titles. Afterwards, Team No Respect would pull down their pants and reveal their white boxers as show of disrespect towards FMW.
It would be announced that Hido and former FMW Women's legend Megumi Kudo were to marry up within the upcoming months, and as Team No Respect in their white underwear being called "The Brief Brothers" would be given time to do their own skit for each and every show would rag on their friend Hido by having Jado come out in a Megumi Kudo wig and calling himself Megumi Jado as The Brief Brothers would hold their own wedding for Megumi Jado and Hido. Other skits would include The Brief Brothers announcing that Hayabusa had become the newest member of the group to shock the crowd, and as Hayabusa's music played out would come Yukihiro Kanemura in Hayabusa's mask and attire. Kanemura would pull down his pants to reveal his white underwear to reveal and begin crying to mock their enemy Hayabusa.
Team No Respect would add Gedo soon afterwards, but the next member would be a surprised to everybody. Atsushi Onita, Koji Nakagawa, and Tetsuhiro Kuroda would win the FMW 6 Man Street Fight Tag Titles on February 13, 1998 from Gannosuke, Kanemura, and Jado after Nakagawa would choke out the bloody Kanemura causing referee Go Ito to call the match. Team No Respect would become extremely angry at Go Ito for making the decision to spot the match and would begin attacking Go Ito and delivering a chair shot to his knee. Onita would help his long time friend Go Ito out, but Go Ito would need crutches and would not be able to referee.
Go Ito would be assigned to ring announce instead on February 19, 1998 at Korakuen Hall for Gannosuke and Kanemura defending the FMW Brass Knuckles Tag Team Titles against Koji Nakagawa and Tetsuhiro Kuroda. Team No Respect would show their respect towards Go Ito by delivering a dropkick to his inured knee before the match would start. But as the match would go on, and Nakagawa would have Gannosuke in his advantage and begin climbing the top rope, Go Ito would jump on the apron with his crutch and smash it over Nakagawa's back revealing his ankle was not hurt. Gannosuke would smack the tag title belt across Nakagawa's face and score the pinfall victory as Team No Respect's newest member was Go Ito. Team No Respect good fortune would continue as Kodo Fuyuki would score the biggest pinfall of his career by defeating a bloody and mask less Hayabusa in a Lumberjack Match.
Masato Tanaka and W*ING Kanemura would then agree to take part in a match against each other on March 1, 1998 in Asbury Park, New Jersey for the Living Dangerously PPV, but Paul Heyman would decide before the show that he did not want to spend the money to send two wrestlers in, and since he was not very high on Kanemura, but extremely high on Tanaka he would just bring in Masato Tanaka and put him in a match against Doug Furnas that would turn out to be a huge disappointment.
FMW's direction was beginning to go in a completely different direction. Kodo Fuyuki was becoming more and more eager to have greater influence on the shows and change directions with FMW instead of being a street fight, hardcore, death match promotion that it had been known for, they should adapt more storylines and angles to their shows as it would be easier for the wrestlers body and that it was what the American promotions were doing and having great success from it. Attendance for FMW's tours had mostly been declining, Big Japan was becoming known as the crazy hardcore Death Match promotion that FMW couldn't compete with when it comes to those types of Death Match and the fact that a loaded Kawasaki Stadium on September 28, 1997 was only was 5/6th full showed even with a lot of money invested in the show and Onita in the main event it showed that interest in FMW's hardcore wrestling style had been declining Onita would be completely against switching FMW into something else, feeling that FMW was made on the hardcore environment and the bloody street fights, but Onita would have the back of very few as everybody in the FMW locker room felt that Onita was just an egomaniac, and wanted the promotion to stay the same way for him because he was only good at that style, and he was barely even on any of the shows. A political fight would begin to take place between Kodo Fuyuki and Atsushi Onita as a result battling for the direction of FMW.
FMW would end up signing a deal with the small DirecTV which was just starting out in Japan and was looking for a lost leader which FMW became. DirecTV would pay FMW around $600,000 annually to have show FMW once a month on Pay Per View as their television outlet instead of Samurai TV. They would also pay for lighting and special affects which would come up to $200,000 annually for the shows starting on April 30, 1998 at the Yokohama Bunka Gym. DirecTV told Arai that a Sports Entertainment style that FMW would have while on their network. DirecTV would hope that fans of FMW would buy DirecTV so they could watch the monthly shows, but fans did not buy them right away, causing in many FMW fans to lose their access to FMW television.
FMW would hold an eight man single elimination tournament to determine the number 1 contender for Mr. Gannosuke's FMW Double Titles. The eight men would be The Gladiator, Hayabusa, Masato Tanaka, Yukihiro Kanemura, Jado, Hisakatsu Oya, Tetsuhiro Kuroda and Koji Nakagawa. Hayabusa would go through Masato Tanaka in a incredible match, then Jado despite Mr. Gannosuke's interference, and then meet The Gladiator once again the finals of a tournament almost two and a half years later. The outcome would be different though as Hayabusa would manage to score defeat The Gladiator in their final match against each other to earn the right to face Mr. Gannosuke on April 30, 1998 at the Yokohama Bunka Gym.
Kodo Fuyuki's political influence would continue to grow as Team No Respect would continue to humiliate and destroy ZEN including Mr. Gannosuke getting the victory over a beaten Onita after Team No Respect would reveal Horace Boulder as their newest member on March 13, 1998 at the Sapporo Nakajima Sports Center, as well as Go Ito smashing a crutch over Onita, and Fuyuki interfering and delivering a charging lariat to Onita before Gannosuke would step over Onita and get the pinfall victory.
Jinsei Shinzaki who had given word to FMW that he was leaving FMW after April 30th to concentrate full time with Michinoku Pro would agree to a match against Mr. Gannosuke to end their one year feud at Korakuen Hall. Shinzaki would come out and be attacked right away by Gannosuke and Kanemura and would be busted open before the match would even be started after being powerbombed off the apron through a table, and his head smacking against the table and concrete floor hard. Gannosuke would be in control early of the match, using many of Shinzaki's mannerisms to mock Shinzaki, but Shinzaki would manage to fight back from all the tricks Gannosuke would pull as Shinzaki would pick up Gannosuke and finally deliver a Crucifix running Powerbomb to score the victory over Gannosuke and finally get revenge after one year of mocking and torment.
FMW would run their next big show at the Yokohama Bunka Gym on April 30, 1998 for their first DirecTV broadcast. The show would be seen by very few people on television as even the fans that did end up purchasing DirecTV's to watch FMW had not gotten them yet. The show would turn out to be a disappointment by only drawing 3,600 fans inside the 4,900 arena although Yokohama tickets were extremely high. Shinzaki would get revenge on Kanemura as well for being Gannosuke's partner in crime and even though Kanemura would bring a barbwire baseball bat in the ring and begin using it, and Go Ito would interfere frequently, Shinzaki would end up getting his last revenge by grabbing Go Ito and putting him in the Nirvana Choke before delivering one final Praying Powerbomb to Kanemura and scoring the pinfall victory. The newest Team No Respect members of Horace Boulder and Super Leather would defeat The Gladiator and Tetsuhiro Kuroda, but before the match Horace Boulder would sign with WCW and agree to do the show as his final date. WCW would insist though that he would get the win in the match and as a result Horace Boulder would end up pinning Tetsuhiro Kuroda before leaving FMW for almost four years.
Masato Tanaka would face off against ECW's Bam Bam Bigelow and lose to Bigelow due to Paul Heyman making sure that Bam Bam Bigelow was protected since Masato Tanaka was leaving FMW soon for the rest of the year even though it was to go to Paul Heyman's ECW.
Atsushi Onita would face off against Kodo Fuyuki in a Lumberjack match, with Onita putting up the ZEN name in the match and the match really showing who really had more control politically between the two. The match would turn out to be better than ever expected between Fuyuki and Onita with Team No Respect interfering through out the match and the bloody Fuyuki after several head butts and being piledriven through a table delivering a Powerbomb although almost dropping Onita during the move would finally put away Onita once and for all for Fuyuki to score once again another huge pinfall and show that Team No Respect was the main force in FMW, and Kodo Fuyuki was getting a lot of backstage power over Onita. Team No Respect would begin doing their newly created TNR Dance to Offspring's Come out and Play over Onita's body, but it would turn out to be a mistake as Onita would get up and deliver a hard clothesline to Go Ito with the rest of Team No Respect escaping as Onita would deliver a Thunder Fire Powerbomb as revenge to Go Ito.
Hayabusa would then finally get his rematch against Mr. Gannosuke as well as his shot at the FMW Double Titles for the first time since 1995 as both Hayabusa and Gannosuke would start off the match slow, but just as soon as the match would begin picking up, Hayabusa would end up coming off the top rope and delivering a dropkick to Gannosuke's knee causing Gannosuke to seriously injure his knee. Gannosuke would be in a bad situation he was become an obvious pain from the injury but would have to continue on in the main event of a big show. Gannosuke would carry on, and despite going through the entire match in incredible pain would still manage to have a great match with Hayabusa before Hayabusa would deliver a picture perfect Phoenix Splash to Mr. Gannosuke and would score the pinfall victory over Gannosuke to become the 4th FMW Double Titles Champion as Gannosuke would be helped off with his Team No Respect and taken to an ambulance as Hayabusa would hold the titles high in his grasp as he had finally proven to be the ace of FMW.
Mr. Gannosuke would get word that due to the injury to his knee he would have stay in the hospital and put a cast over it and be out of the ring for 6 months. With Team No Respect's leader out, Kodo Fuyuki would take over as the captain of the team. Hido would fill in for Gannosuke for the upcoming ZEN May 5th show.
Even though FMW could only book the Yokohama Bunka Gym for April 30th, they would make sure to book a May 5th show for Onita's ZEN group. Onita would announce that even though he lost to Kodo Fuyuki and was suppose to break the group up after that, since he was Mr. Liar and ZEN had already had a show booked for May 5th, the group would only disband if they were to lose on May 5th, as well as Onita's friend Shoichi Arai would be force to lick Go Ito's boots if they were to lose. Kodo Fuyuki, Yukihiro Kanemura, and Hido would win the FMW 6 Man Tag Team Titles after defeating Atsushi Onita, Koji Nakagawa, and Tetsuhiro Kuroda when Hido would pin the apparently injured with a shoulder problem Koji Nakagawa to win the titles and officially end ZEN. Shoichi Arai would be force to lick the boots of Go Ito, and Atsushi Onita would officially let the ZEN members know that the group was ending after 7 months. The Gladiator would become a freelancer afterwards but Onita, Nakagawa, Kuroda, and Hosaka would all still remain a group with one another.
Onita's struggles would continue by seeking revenge on Team No Respect as he would agree that if his team were to lose to Team No Respect in their matches, then Team No Respect would get to pick one wrestler from Onita to be force to join Team No Respect. Team No Respect would defeat Onita's team on May 25, 1998 in a eight man after Kanemura would pin the injured Nakagawa causing Team No Respect to force Hideki Hosaka into the group. The next night Team No Respect would win again and pick Tetsuhiro Kuroda and force him into the group. It would just be Atsushi Onita and Koji Nakagawa in the alliance that was formerly ZEN with Team No Respect getting to do whatever they want with Kuroda and Hosaka and would torture them and treat them as their slaves. Onita and Nakagawa would team up on May 31, 1998 in Ishikawa to challenge Kodo Fuyuki and Yukihiro Kanemura for their newly won FMW Brass Knuckles Tag Team Titles in a Captain Falls Match. But during the match as Onita would attempt to deliver a Thunder Fire Powerbomb to Fuyuki to win the match, Go Ito would jump on the apron with crutch, but Nakagawa would grab the crutch away from him, but just like he had been hit with one three months earlier, Koji Nakagawa would smash the crutch over Atsushi Onita's back. Koji Nakagawa would reveal that he was never really injured and had been a secret member for Team No Respect to destroy ZEN. Fuyuki, Kanemura, and Nakagawa would attack Onita and finally Fuyuki would manage to get the pin over Onita once again with the Charging Lariat Atsushi Onita would lay in his locker room floor a beaten man with no allies anymore. Go Ito would announce Koji Nakagawa as "Mr. Double cross" and the newest member of Team No Respect. He would walk away from FMW with nobody knowing whether or not he would return. Onita backstage would actually take a leave of absence from FMW feeling he wasn't being used right, by putting over somebody like Fuyuki so many times, and destroying his own group to make Fuyuki's Team No Respect unstoppable. Onita would begin to focus more on ECW and would become very eager in getting the first ever Exploding Ring Death Match in the United States so he could headline it.
Although Hayabusa's win for the FMW Double Titles had been a disappointment in the attendance for the match, the matches he would have with Masato Tanaka would become one of the best FMW matches in the history of the promotion on May 19, 1998 at Korakuen Hall, with both men kicking out at the last second for nearly fall as Hayabusa being leveled by hard blows by Tanaka including Tanaka debuting a reverse DDT off the middle turnbuckle causing Hayabusa to flip back and land on his head. Hayabusa would end up finally putting away Masato Tanaka with a Falcon Arrow in a incredible match. Masato Tanaka would continue to be jobbed out by FMW after FMW would agree to send him to ECW for the rest of the year. Masato Tanaka would be pinned by Yukihiro Kanemura in a tag match, and then be pinned by the newest member of Team No Respect Koji Nakagawa on June 1, 1998 for the Team No Respect victory for the FMW 6 Man Street Fight Titles. Masato Tanaka would wrestle his last match on June 19, 1998 at Korakuen Hall against long time friend and current rival Tetsuhiro Kuroda with Tanaka defeating Kuroda in his farewell match before going to ECW.
Now that FMW had lost Masato Tanaka and Jinsei Shinzaki in just over a month span, they would begin to work with the Battlarts promotion to bring in Daisuke Ikeda as Hayabusa's new tag team partner. Daisuke Ikeda would return to FMW on June 19, 1998 in the main event of a Korakuen Hall Pay Per View. Super Leather would also be fired by Team No Respect after losing three straight times, Super Leather would eventually turn babyface and begin teaming with FMW. As ZEN was no longer feuding with Team No Respect, the promotion would put full attention in Team FMW vs. Team No Respect. Team No Respect would defeat Team FMW on July 10, 1998 in a Single Elimination match with Kodo Fuyuki and Koji Nakagawa being the last two men for their team against Hayabusa. Fuyuki would unmask Hayabusa and Nakagawa would begin using a fork to carve Hayabusa's forehead causing blood to spill all over Ezaki's face. Just as Hayabusa would finally grab the fork from Nakagawa, he would be spat in the face with mist by Nakagawa and rolled up for the Team No Respect victory. A bloody Hayabusa would become enraged with how Team No Respect had cheated the entire match, and would announce that he would show a much darker side in his match against Nakagawa next month.
Masato Tanaka would return to ECW at the ECW Arena on June 26, 1998 in a match against Balls Mahoney and would come out to a huge ovation by the Philadelphia fans. Tanaka show his toughness to the crowd by taking an extreme amount of hard chair shots to the head by Mahoney, but would dish them back in return before putting Mahoney away with the Rolling Elbow for the win. Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman would face The Dudleyz in the main event and announced Atsushi Onita as their partner, but as "Wild Thing" would play Atsushi Onita would come out to a less of an ovation than Tanaka earlier, and end up turning on Sandman and Dreamer before leaving. It would be to set up for the exploding ring match with Onita facing The Sandman, but it would never happen and Atsushi Onita would never return to ECW. ECW would also begin using The Gladiator while FMW was off of tours and he would also get extremely over in his matches against Masato Tanaka as The Gladiator would deliver a running Awesome Bomb over the top rope sending Tanaka through a table to the outside to setup a Pay Per View match against each other. ECW would also convince FMW to send in Hayabusa and ask FMW to pull a few strings with Michinoku Pro to get Jinsei Shinzaki on the show as well. Hayabusa and Jinsei Shinzaki would return as a team to face ECW Tag Tag Champions Sabu & Rob Van Dam, but due to jet lag and just getting into Dayton, Ohio hours before the match to work out a match, the match would turn out to be a disappointment. Hayabusa had seen little ECW, but was not a fan of their kind of tamer style of extreme wrestling, but was excited about working with Sabu for the first time in four years. The match would start out good, but during the match all four wrestlers would become lost on what was to happen next in the match, and the match would just turn into a series of spots before Sabu and Rob Van Dam would send Hayabusa and Shinzaki through two tables with Sabu pinning Hayabusa. Masato Tanaka's match with The Gladiator would become be much more successful as Tanaka and The Gladiator would trade extremely hard hits to one another before Tanaka would once again, just in like Kawasaki the year before deliver a Running Awesome Bomb to The Gladiator over the top rope outside of the ring, and would end up pinning The Gladiator after a Tornado DDT. Hayabusa and Shinzaki would never return to ECW after their one shot deal.
Atsushi Onita would end up making his return to FMW on July 20, 1998 after Team No Respect would begin attacking Shoichi Arai, Onita would manage to make the save for Arai as well as preliminary wrestlers Yoshinori Sasaki and Mr. Pogo # 2 as it seemed like Onita finally had some friends to work with. Shoichi Arai would come up with the idea of a challenge to Team No Respect on August 11, 1998 at Korakuen Hall, by putting Arai's job as President of FMW for Kuroda and Hosaka to be released from Team No Respect and the torture they were receiving. Atsushi Onita, Shoichi Arai, Mr. Pogo # 2, and Yoshinori Sasaki would manage to defeat Kodo Fuyuki, Koji Nakagawa, Yukihiro Kanemura, and Go Ito after Arai would finally get his hands on Go Ito after Team No Respect had been guarding him off and attacking Arai, but as Arai would finally get to Ito, it would allow Onita to deliver a Thunder Fire Powerbomb to Ito and Arai would cover Ito for the victory to release Tetsuhiro Kuroda and Hideki Hosaka from Team No Respect as Onita Arai had finally won one over Team No Respect.
Click here for FMW History Part 3
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Click here to go to Mike Lorefice's look at Megumi Kudo's career from the Quebrada in 1997.