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Takuan
May 6, 2007


Ditch posted:

Match from the list I think you should watch despite not being "highly recommended": Inoki vs Murdoch from June 19, 1986. Dick Murdoch is incredible in it.


A few matches I'll suggest that aren't on the list (no idea if that's due to them not being available on NJ World, which I don't have access to):


I checked, and none of those matches are on NJPWorld, except the Liger/Sano matches, which I plan to cover. Someone posted a Dailymotion link to the August 19, 1987 match, and I covered it a few posts back.

At this point, I've watched all the matches involving Russians for the next show(still making gifs and stuff), and I gotta say, they haven't been as bad as I've heard, or feared.

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Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

Not sure if full files would be inconvenient, but...

-Andre vs Killer Khan, April 1, 1982: http://theditch.us/AndreVsKhan4-1-82.avi

-Team Inoki vs Team Choshu gauntlet match, April 19, 1984. Part 1: http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?w76ydb7468g8mf6
Part 2: http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?2biku5ca15balnb

-Choshu vs Fujiwara, June 9, 1987: http://theditch.us/ChoshuVsFujiwara6-9-87.avi

-Team Fujinami vs Team Choshu, September 12, 1988: http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?f6rgchkt5iw1cee
(backstory to that match: in a past elimination match, Fujinami was left alone with Inoki and Masa Saito, and Saito toyed with Fujinami rather than just beat him)

Takuan
May 6, 2007


I'll download those once I'm on my home computer and I think I'll watch them once I'm done with 1989 to officially wrap up the 80s.

Now, for New Japan's first Tokyo Dome Show:

In 1989 Antonio Inoki would enter in to a strange partnership with USSR amateur wrestling. He brought a group of amateur wrestlers to Japan to train in pro-wrestling, and would end the year promoting the first ever pro wrestling show in Russia.

In early April of 1989 Tatsumi Fujinami would be stripped of the IWGP Heavyweight title to put the championship up for grabs in a one-night tournament to commemorate New Japanís first ever show in the Tokyo Dome. It might seem like a dubious reason to vacate a top-level title, but all things considered, it seems like the IWGP Heavyweight Championship wasnít that highly regarded at the time. The final of the tournament is solidly in the middle of the card of this show. For the sake of perspective, Iíll be going over the entire show. Some of the matches, Iím not going to watch, just giving a brief recap.

New Japan Pro Wrestling Battle Satellite In Tokyo Dome
April 24, 1989


Match 1: Young Lion Cup 1989 Final Match
Naoki Sano vs Hiro Saito


Neither of these men are Young Lions. Sano graduated in 1984, along with Mutoh, Chono, Hashimoto and Yamada, and Saito graduated in 1978 and had been a champion by this point in both the WWF and All Japan.

Match 2: IWGP Heavyweight Championship Quarter Final Match
Big Van Vader vs Masahiro Chono

Vader squashes Chono. At times literally.


Match 3: IWGP Heavyweight Championship Quater Final Match
Tatsumi Fujinami vs Vladimir Berkovich

Vladimir Berkovich doesnít even have his own wikipedia entry. This Vladimir Berkovich doesnít even show up when you google the name. Half the entries are for a Mathematics professor at a university in Israel, the others are for a family physician in New Jersey. He may very well be the most obscure person to have a wrestling match at the Tokyo Dome.

The match actually wasnít that bad. Berkovich was kinda awkward at times, and he has the stage presence of a factory-fresh plank of wood, but other than that, it was fine for what it was. Iíve seen much worse performances out of people with much more experience. He even had a couple of pretty cool moves.

Fujinami moves on the the next round with a grounded sleeper hold.

Match 4: IWGP Heavyweight Championship Quater Final Match
Buzz Sawyer vs Victor Zangiev

I donít know much about Buzz Sawyer, other than the story about he ripped off The Undertaker. Victor Zangiev is a Soviet National Champion and World Cup Champion in amature wrestling. If the legends are to be believed, Victor Zangief from Street Fighter was named after him.

To start with, Iím very disappointed in Zangievís look. I mean, sure heís hairy, but he doesnít have a mohawk or any bear scars to speak of.

This is another short match thatís totally fine.
Zangiev throws a gorgeous belly-to-belly that causes Sawyer to nope the gently caress out until his manager and a guy in a 1988 Olympics jacket convince him to return to the ring.

The finish is kinda dumb, Sawyer gets a 2 count, thinks he got a three and celebrates, allowing Zangiev to German Suplex him for the win.

So far, this Russian Invasion hasnít been as Iíve been led to believe. Then again, the total in-ring time for both Russians has been less than 10 minutes.

Match 5: IWGP Heavyweight Championship Quater Final Match
Riki Choshu vs Shinya Hashimoto

So, Iím watching this match and I start thinking that even though I know Hashimoto becomes a big deal, and Iíve been told heís great, heís the only guy that I havenít seen the sparks of that greatness yet. Chono is already full of attitude, Mutoh and Yamada are clearly riding the wave of the future, but Hashimoto hadnít really shown me anything noteworthy.

And then he started throwing out headbutts and kicks punctuated with a DDT!

But only for 2, lowering the value of the move already.

The match ends in a shocking upset when Hashimoto reverses a Scorpion Deathlock into a small package to the disbelief of everyone, including Choshu and Hashimoto

Match 6: Japan-US Showdown
Shinya Asuka vs Benny ďThe JetĒ Urquidez

Breaking up the IWGP Title Tournament was a kickboxing match. A legitimate, shoot, for-realsies kickboxing match. I was going to skip over it until I realized Benny ďThe JetĒ Urquidez was in it.

Benny Urquidez is an accomplished and decorated fighter in a variety of martial arts. Heís probably most notable for being Jackie Chanís opponent in two of his best fight scenes, from Dragons Forever and Wheels on Meals. He also apparently did fight choreography and had bit parts in Roadhouse, Street Fighter, and Spider-Man.

I canít find any evidence of Shinya Asukaís existence outside of this match and 1 other match from 1993.

The fight ends after 5 rounds of a bunch of stuff happening, but nothing being accomplished. I should have just watched Wheels on Meals again. In fact, thatís what Iím going to link to in the match title. Enjoy.

Match 7: IWGP Heavyweight Championship Semi-Final Match
Tatsumi Fujinami vs Big Van Vader


Fujinami and Vader deliver again. Itís maybe not the best match theyíve had and doesnít really break much new ground, but thatís understandable given the circumstances. Besides, these two are just so good with each other. They make each other look fantastic. Vader finally gets a clean win over Fujinami with a splash.

This was probably my favorite bit.


Also, does anybody recognize this guy?

Heís been in Vaderís corner recently. I donít recognize him and my attempts at research arenít turning up a name.

Match 8: IWGP Heavyweight Championship Semi-Final Match
Shinya Hashimoto vs Victor Zangiev


Itís a minor thing, I know, but Hashimotoís skin looks terrible on this show. Itís like heís having an allergic reaction to something.


This is yet another totally OK match. Hashimoto shows a bit more of the savagery Iíve been told he will one day possess and Zangiev seems like he actually has the potential to be a good pro-wrestler. I know thereís so much more to wrestling than just doing moves, but Zangiev has made every move heís done so far look great.

And while heís not anywhere in the neighborhood of Ďmarketable lookingí, he has an aggression and intensity and seeming enthusiasm for what heís doing that makes him believable. Again, heís nowhere near great, but Iíve seen much worse.

Match 9: Soviet Special Match
Hiro Saito vs Wahka Eveloev

Remember how last year Hiro Saito was in this big, months long feud with the top guy in the company? A feud that had several bloody, memorable moments that culminated in a 2 hour TV special?

Well, now heís jobbing in under 5 minutes to a Russian that seems to only have the vaguest of ideas of what heís supposed to be doing and definitely has no concept of selling. This is exactly the kind of things Iíd read about when researching these guys. Itís ugly, itís boring, and makes their established guys look completely inept.

Match 10: IWGP Heavyweight Championship Final Match
Big Van Vader vs Shinya Hashimoto
Guest Referee Lou Thesz


Did nobody tell Lou Thesz the finish? Or did he forget? Or what?

Backing up a little, this was a pretty fun to watch match. Hashimoto is impressing me more and more even though heís not getting a whole lot of offense in during his matches.

Itís too long to gif, but Vaderís pre-match ritual is a delight to watch.



I like that theyíve made Vaders arm injury from earlier in the year into his achilles heel. Hashimoto spends most of the match kicking it and locking it into various submissions and Vader sells like a champ every time.


This match in a nutshell.




For the finish, Vader hits Hashimoto with 2 lariats. You can actually see the sweat get knocked from his head during the first one. When Vader goes for the pin after the second one, Thesz gives the worst three count I think Iíve ever seen in any match for a major company. Itís inexcusable. Worse than Nick Patrick at Starrcade 97. He goes
1.
2.
<pauses with his hand-mid count for 2 full seconds I know because I re-watched it three times and counted>
3.

For gently caressís sake.
With the new IWGP Heavyweight Champion crowned at the Tokyo Dome, we still have 4 matches left on the show.

Match 11:
George Takano & Super Strong Machine vs Hiroshi Hase & Shiro Koshinaka

What Iíve read is a decent, but forgettable, tag match.

Match 12:Special Singles Match
Jushin Liger vs Kuniaki Kobayashi

In 198X, mild-mannered junior heavyweight Keiichi Yamada was bitten by a radioactive copy of Comic BomBom. From that day forward, he would be forever transformed into Beast God Liger.


I had no idea this was the original costume. Not as cool as the more well known outfit, but not bad. Had to be a bitch to breathe in, though.

Liger shows off the kind of quickness and athleticism I havenít seen since the Dynamite Kid/Tiger Mask match. Itís a stark clash of styles with Liger doing a variety of high-flying(for the time) moves in rapid sequence and Kobayashi responding with the kinds of traditional kicks and submission holds common to this era. I havenít watched a whole lot of the junior heavyweight division since Tiger Mask, but it seems like in this day and age, most juniors were stylistically identical to the average heavyweight, with rare exceptions.




Liger wins with a hooked backdrop. Afterwards they continue to fight, with Kobayashi trying to unmask Liger.

I think this is my favorite match of the show, and a great showcase for Liger.


Match 13: Soviet Special Match
Salman Hashimikov vs Bam Bam Bigelow


Salman Hashimikov is by far the most decorated of the Russian imports, winning numerous gold and silver medals in amature wrestling tournaments around the world.

Bam Bam does a loving cartwheel during his intro.

The thing that bugs me the most about this match is how you can see the potential for something great in it, but itís a 4 minute nothing of a match.

Hashimikov doesnít do a whole lot in the match, but he actually looks like he has an inkling of charisma and the theatrical sense necessary for pro wrestling. The way he sells Bam Bamís forearms to the back is a little to hammy and overblown but 1)thatís something that can be worked on easily and 2)Itís pro wrestling, so it still kinda works.

After selling for Bam Bamís punches, he lifts him onto his shoulders and carries him around in a pretty impressive feat of strength before slamming him to the mat and pinning Bam Bam for 3. In an attempt to preserve his stature and dignity, he immediately gets to his feet and acts dumbfounded.

I dunno how to feel about this. Itís such a waste of Bam Bam and with more time and training before his debut Hashimikov maybe couldíve made a better overall match, but on the other hand, for what it was it was actually kinda fun.


Match 14: WWF World Martial Arts Heavyweight Championship Match
Antonio Inoki(c) vs Shota Chochishvili


The real main event of New Japanís first Tokyo Dome show was another tiresome, proto-MMA Inokism wank session with an Olympic gold medalist Judoka who just seemed kinda bored the whole time. Chochishvili wins via knockout with a pair of weak looking throws, winning the WWF World Martial Arts Heavyweight Championship that Inoki has held consecutively for almost 11 years at this point.

Heíll win it back a month later and Chochishvili will go back to Russia afterwards.

And that wraps up the first New Japan Tokyo Dome show. It couldíve been better, but I donít think it would even rank in the top 10 of ďWorst Biggest Show Of The Year By A Major CompanyĒ list. The debut of Jushin Liger was cool, the tournament did a good job of building both Vader and Shinya Hashimoto, and the Russians, who Iíve found out would later be called The Red Bull Army, werenít as terrible as I thought they would be. Some of them seemed completely unprepared beyond their amature training, while others, Zangiev and Hashimikov, seemed like they have real potential.

The worst parts of the show were definitely the shootfighting bullshit.

Next time Iíll be covering the summer of Ď89 with Hiroshi Hase vs Jushin Liger, Big Van Vader vs Salman Hashimikov, and Jushin Liger vs Naoki Sato.

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

-Pretty sure that's Brad Rheingans, an accomplished amateur wrestler who was a jobber in-ring and did a fair amount of logistic/talent stuff outside it.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brad_Rheingans

-Zangiev was so freaking good given his lack of pro wrestling experience. Granted, they did get some training beforehand and were top amateur talents, but he was miles ahead of the other Russians as a performer.

Super No Vacancy
Jul 26, 2012

yahallo


gonna post this here because I meant to say that I've been enjoying the thread especially the fujinami appreciation

https://twitter.com/reasonjp/status/910709902426779648

Benne
Sep 2, 2011

STOP DOING HEROIN

Zangiev looks like Oney Lorcan's drunk father and I mean that in the nicest way possible. Did he ever do anything else in pro wrestling?

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Anybody remotely interesting is mad in some way or another.



rare Magic card l00k
Jan 3, 2011

Me uni a la Revolucion #RXT


el sabe ...


Benne posted:

Zangiev looks like Oney Lorcan's drunk father and I mean that in the nicest way possible. Did he ever do anything else in pro wrestling?

A little midcard stuff, but he's mostly been doing street fighting since 1991.

Takuan
May 6, 2007



This is amazing. That's one of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes strips.

According to Cagematch, Zangiev would work with New Japan until early 1990, come back in September of 1990(which is exactly when NJPWorld's coverage drops off), would work Starrcade '90 for WCW, then return to Russia until 1994 when he would come back to Japan to work for UWFi.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Anybody remotely interesting is mad in some way or another.


Ditch posted:

-Andre vs Killer Khan, April 1, 1982: http://theditch.us/AndreVsKhan4-1-82.avi

Andre drinking a beer after the match is fantastic. Mobile, relatively young Andre is also utterly terrifying.

Takuan posted:

That's one of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes strips.

It's up there with the very first Peanuts strip as one of my all time favorites

Takuan
May 6, 2007


The follow up to Battle Satellite In The Tokyo Dome, Battle Satellite In Osaka is another (mostly) full show available at NJPWorld. In the lower-mid-card of the show, Masa Saito and Bam Bam Bigelow get their wins back against the Russians. Though they faced two of the worst of the Russians, so itís not really that impressive.

Tatsumi Fujinami and Riki Choshu vs Victor Zangiev and Vladimir Berkovich
May 25, 1989. Osaka-Jo Hall


Itís the little things that make a huge difference between Zangiev and Berkovich. Both guys are clearly very limited in what they can do and when it comes to simply executing moves, both guys look great. Berkovich looks like a beast throwing Choshu in moves that I canít really capture in a gif due to weird camera work, but heís so wooden and expressionless through everything else he does, except for a brief moment about halfway through this match when he shows signs of enthusiasm.
Zangiev, on the other hand, is so much more animated and expressive.

Even in minor things like in how he moves around the ring. Plus, unlike Berkovich, he knows how to do a pro-wrestling style tieup and he actually sold his back hurting after a Scorpion Deathlock. Watching them as a team really put into contrast how much more Zangiev Ďgets ití, compared to his comrades. I kinda get the feeling that if heíd have been dedicated to the cause he couldíve been like a decade-earlier bizarro-world Kurt Angle.

Anyways Fujinami gets the win with a Dragon Sleeper on Berkovich. A short, OK match that was more interesting than entertaining. Sadly, this is the last Fujinami match Iíll see for a while as shortly after this he would injure his back and be out of action until September of next year.

Hiroshi Hase(c) vs Jushin Liger for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
May25, 1989. Osaka-Jo Hall


Hiroshi Hase has been in quite a few videos Iíve seen so far, as Choshuís corner man. This is the first time Iím watching him wrestle despite being in the New Japan midcard for a while, with this being his second turn with the Junior Heavyweight belt.

Hase starts out the match with a series of high impact moves ending with a dive from the top rope to the outside and the match doesnít really slow down much from there. Both guys are great in this but Liger looks so much quicker and fluid than anyone Iíve seen up to this point. I donít think heís spent any time in Mexico to this point, but there were a few spots in this match that looked like something out of Lucha Libre with the way the moves were chained together.

You never see these kinds of armdrags any more and thatís a shame.


Thereís a great spot where Liger does a kinda twisting cross-body and Hase catches him, then hoists him up into a bridging Samoan Drop. And then thereís this:

My favorite part of this is the girl in the sweater right behind them.
Liger wins his first IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship with a Liger Suplex(commonly known as a bridging backdrop)

This was a really good match and a great example of how Liger and other Junior Heavyweights were starting to push the envelope in terms of pace and flashiness.

Big Van Vader(c) vs Salman Hashimikov for the IWGP World Heavyweight Title
May 25, 1989. Osaka-Jo Hall


ďDoctor DeathĒ Steve Williams makes an appearance as Vaderís corner man in this match.

As a midcard match this would have been fine. But it wasnít, it was a semi-main event featuring a dominant star making his first title defense. And on those terms this sucked.

In his defense, out of all the Russians Iíve seen so far Hashimikov is the best at selling his opponent's offense, and heís got better presence than any of his comrades, other than Zangiev, but heís far, far from being able to have more than a ĎOK, I guessĒ match.

Salman defeats Vader in less than 10 minutes with a back-body drop because Inoki gonna Inoki, I guess. The finish made me think it wouldnít have been so bad if heíd have won with some kinda tricky, elaborate pinfall combination. Something putting his amatuer wrestling knowledge to use. That made me realize that I really havenít seen that much actual wrestling from these guys. Theyíve been nothing but throws and rest holds. Youíd think they would do more mat wrestling because 1)itís something they already know how to do and 2)It would both show off and put over their amatuer background.

Hashimikov would drop the title in early July to Riki Choshu in his first defense, who would then lose the title back to Vader in August. The IWGP Heavyweight Title wouldnít trade hands this many times in one year until 2004 for reasons also related to Inokiís fetish for legit fighters.

Speaking of which, the Ďrealí main event for this show was Inoki getting his win back from Shota Chochishvili


Jushin Liger(c) vs Naoki Sano for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
July 13, 1989. Ryugoku Kokugikan


Going through this project has given me a greater historical perspective on the legendary Tiger Mask/Dynamite Kid matches. Not only were they groundbreaking and raised the bar for workrate, athleticism and acrobatics in a match, I havenít seen anything like it, much less better, since then.

Until now.








Watch this match, if you can. Both guys pull out all the stops and put on a match thatís on a whole other level from anything else going on at the time. It ends in a double-KO from a dual dropckick-spinning kick, which perfectly fits the match. Iím really looking forward to seeing their next match.

In addition to Jushin Liger vs Naoki Sano, Iíll be covering Vader vs Bam Bam Bigelow and Riki Choshu vs Victor Zangiev to finish out 1989. After that, Iíll look at the matches graciously provided by Ditch to wrap up the 80s.

Edited to fix gifs.

Takuan fucked around with this message at Sep 24, 2017 around 13:36

Xerzes
May 16, 2012


You used the same gif of Liger diving off the turnbuckle to the outside for two different matches.

Takuan
May 6, 2007


Thanks for pointing that out. I was sleep deprived, and in a hurry, and imgur decided to gently caress with me and mismatch some thumbnails when I was putting together that post.

LvK
Feb 27, 2006

FIVE STARS!!


Zangiev also had the best nickname: "the Ossetian Hercules"

It kinda shows that Zangiev and Hashimikov were, iirc, the only two to have pro wrestling careers outside of this program, but not very extensive ones.

Hashimikov, though, is the only one to have the dubious honor of attempting to overthrow a government.

Venomous
Nov 7, 2011



Zangiev was probably the inspiration for Zangief in Street Fighter, right?

Takuan
May 6, 2007


LvK posted:

Hashimikov, though, is the only one to have the dubious honor of attempting to overthrow a government.

You're gonna have to provide more detail on that, 'cuz that's not something mentioned on his Wikipedia.

What I read happened with the Street Fighter character was originally he was going to be named "Vodka Gobalski." I guess they figured that was too close to Punch-Out!!!'s Vodka Drunkinski, and re-named him to Zangief, after Zangiev. Street FIghter II would have been in development around this time, so it seems pretty plausible.

LvK
Feb 27, 2006

FIVE STARS!!


SFII named several characters out of convenience - Sagat was the name of a Muay Thai champion around the time period, Dhalsim was some menu items off of a restaurant near the Capcom offices, etc. They had the ideas, and probably just took the name because, hey, Russian wrestler. So much easier than trying to come up with a legit name at the time.

As for Salman, I think it's on the Russian Wikipedia page for him. He was a council member in the secessionist Chechen government, and wasn't there for long before deciding to try and oust the leader of said government.

Feels Villeneuve
Oct 7, 2007

Kanye West - Touch the Sky


Liger/Sano is an astonishing in-ring feud.

Takuan
May 6, 2007


LvK posted:

As for Salman, I think it's on the Russian Wikipedia page for him. He was a council member in the secessionist Chechen government, and wasn't there for long before deciding to try and oust the leader of said government.
Well, good for him.


Naoki Sano(c) vs Jushin Liger for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
September 20, 1989. Osaka Jo Hall


On August 10, Jushin Liger lost the Jr Heavyweight Championship to Naoki Sano in a match unavailable on NJPWorld. This is the re-match. Itís arguably a little better, arguably a little worse, than their last encounter(well, the last one we can see). Itís a longer, slower paced match that more fits into the traditional New Japan style of fast-paced open, matwork and submissions in the middle, then bunches of big moves and nearfalls until the end. Itís not the bell-to-bell spectacle of jaw-dropping, death-defying athleticism, but it does have a better sense of building-up and progression. Once it does get going though






Thereís also a fair amount of callbacks to their previous match. Maybe there are also some to their unavailable match, who knows.
Thereís a moment about 15:00 minutes in where Liger goes for a springboard something or other, but slips and faceplants to the mat. It was kinda funny, to me, considering a famous incident thatís coming up in about 4 years.

Sano wins with a weirdly set up float-over Tiger Suplex. Canít wait to see them tangle again next year.

Speaking of street fighter




Big Vader Vader(c) vs Bam Bam Bigelow for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Special Guest Referee Antonio Inoki
September 20, 1989





There exists the potential for a truly great match between these two. Their first match was fun, but was obviously not meant to be anything of importance. This match has a bunch of fun and cool spots and moments, but it mostly revolves around Inokiís antagonism of Vader and a lot of walking around and stalling by Bam Bam. Inoki is flagrantly on Bam Bamís side, at one point kicking Vaderís hand away from the ropes when Bam Bam had a leg submission on him.







Vader wins with a lariat. Post-match, Bam Bam is mad at Inokiís more than fair three count, bodyslams him, then goes out into the crowd. Inoki chases him, talks trash, gets back into the ring, then gets mad at Vader for offering him a handshake.

Riki Choshu vs Victor Zangiev
December 31, 1989. Lenin Sports Park, Moscow


To wrap up 1989, New Japan used their relationship with the USSR to put on the first ever professional wrestling show in the USSR. The show itself, and this match specifically, is nothing special, but the existence of a pro-wrestling show in Soviet Russia by a company from a US-allied country featuring athletes from the US(Bam Bam, Manny Fernandez and former US Olympian Brad Rheingans) and the UK(Mark Rocco as Black Tiger) is a fascinating historical novelty. I wish there was more available on how this show came together, how the Russian media promoted it, and how the Russian people reacted to it. Also interesting is that the Russians, as a group, had 3 wins, 3 losses, and 1 draw. Youíd think, all things considered, the Red Bull Army would win all of their matches.

So that was 1989. Iím almost but not quite done with the 80s. To finalize the decade, Iíll be watching the matches provided by Ditch, Andre the Giant vs Killer Khan, Antonio Inoki, Kengo Kimura, Nobuhiko Takada, Tatsumi Fujinami, and Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Riki Choshu, Animal Hamiguchi, Isamu Teranishi, Kuniaki Kobiyashi, and Yokiyashi Yatsu, Riki Choshu vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara, and Riki Choshu, Super Strong Machine, Hiro Saito, Masa Saito, and Kuniaki Kobayashi vs Tatsumi Fujinami, Shiro Koshinaka, Kengo Kimura, Yoshiaki Fujuwara and Keiichi Yamada.

Takuan
May 6, 2007


Thanks to Ditch for providing these matches.

Andre the Giant vs Killer Khan
April 1, 1982. Kuramae Kokugikan, Tokyo.


I know nothing about Killer Khan, but I like how I can immediately tell heís a khan by his hat and facial hair.


This was a great match, did an excellent job of telling a story, never slowed down much. Killer Khan was pretty cool, and AndreÖ Holy gently caress Andre.

The Andre The Giant most people think of from his WWF run was more like a prop than a wrestler. He was like a puppet in a movie that really canít move or do much, but through editing and people acting around it, it gives the illusion that itís this big terrifying monster. Much like how people worked around him gave the audience the illusion that Andre was this big terrifying monster when he could barely walk. He was more of a special effect than a wrestler.

1982 Andre actually is a terrifying monster. I donít know how to accurately describe the effect of seeing Andre be able to move around and bump and sell and keep active for a whole 20-ish minutes. He was a human goddamn marvel is what he was.

The match starts with Andre not giving a gently caress.


I liked this bit:


My favorite part was how Andre proved to the ref that his headlock on Khan wasnít a choke by applying it to the ref.

Jerusalem posted:

Andre drinking a beer after the match is fantastic.

gently caress yeah it is.


Tangential rumination on Andre The Giant: My wife is a big fan of The Princess Bride, it was one of her favorite movies growing up and Fezzik, Andreís character, is her 2nd favorite character. She has no knowledge or interest in wrestling and didnít even know Andre was a wrestler until I told her. As a child she assumed he was a construction worker the producers found and then returned to construction work after the movie. ItísÖ Iím not sure what the right word is- interesting? Funny? Fascinating? That we both hold Andre in high regard, but for wildly different reasons. To her heís a gentle, lovable fairy tale character and to me heís a mythic, hard-drinking badass.

Antonio Inoki, Kengo Kimura, Nobuhiko Takada, Tatsumi Fujinami, and Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Riki Choshu, Animal Hamiguchi, Isamu Teranishi, Kuniaki Kobiyashi, and Yokiyashi Yatsu
Ten-Man Gauntlet Match
April 19, 1984. Kuramae Kokugikan, Tokyo

Ok, so, I donít know who half of the people in Ishin-Gundan(Team Choshu) are.
Match 1: Tatsumi Fujinami vs Kuniyaki Kobayashi(I think. Pretty sure)
This was pretty neat Ďcuz it was like a condensed version of a New Japan Main Event Match. Fast paced opening->Series of submission holds->trading big moves and nearfalls, all in about 8 minutes. Fujinami wins with a German Suplex.

Match 2: Tatsumi Fujinami vs Iím gonna say Isamu Teranishi
Iím already liking this better than the last elimination match I saw because this one is maintaining the momentum from segment to segment. Fujinami comes out swinging in the opening moments and it keeps that pace all the way through to the end. Teranishi did everything in his power to try to break Fujinamiís wrist, but after another 7-ish frenetic minutes, submitted to a Scorpion Deathlock.

Match 3: Tatsumi Fujinami vs Yoshiaki Yatsu(I clearly hear his intro)
Fujinami tried to make short work of Yatsu, with an early Scorpion Deathlock and a Piledriver on the outside, but fell victim to dumb luck when his foot got caught between the ropes, hanging him upside down outside of the ring and the referee counted him out before he could free himself.

Match 4: Nobuhiko Takada vs Yoshiaki Yatsu
This was a great showcase for Takada, who spends most of the match on offense, including a wonderful leaping legdrop, a fantastic high-angle German Suplex, and a hell of a missile dropkick. It really is a shame he didnít stick around New Japan longer. I really would like to see more of his work.

Yatsu gets the three-count in the end with a powerslam.

Match 5: Must be Kengo Kimura vs Yoshiaki Yatsu
I feel like this is the weakest segment so far. It was OK, but it lacked the pacing, storytelling, or intensity the other matches have going for them. I guess thereís a reason there arenít any Kengo Kimura singles matches on the ďRecommendedĒ list. Kimura wins with a Jumping Kick To The Face(even though Yatsu totally kicked out at 2.9)

Match 6: Kengo Kimura vs Animal Hamaguchi
No, this is the weakest so far. I donít know much about Animal Hamaguchi, other than his post-wrestling career as a prolific trainer, but he seems very western-influenced, with his cowardly heel stalling in the beginning, and general style. Overall though, it wasnít terrible, but it wasnít at all noteworthy. Hamaguchi wins with a flying.. Sitout? Lariat thing? I donít even know.

Match 7: Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Animal Hamaguchi
That wasnít puroresu, that was rassliní, and it was pretty cool. Blatant chokes, hair pulling, headbutts, head biting, piledrivers, close-fist brawlingÖ It was more bingo hall than sumo hall, more fightiní words than fighting spirit. A fun, refreshing, and unexpected change of pace. It ended in a double-countout as Fujiwara sacrificed himself to prevent Hamaguchi from getting back into the ring, leading to

Match 8: Antonio Inoki vs Riki Choshu
Iím really out of things to say about these two. This match was exactly what I was expecting. It was good, but they didnít really do anything new or different. Inoki wins by ref stoppage when Choshu doesnít respond during an Octopus Stretch.

On the whole, this was definitely better than the other Gauntlet Match I saw. The pacing was better, the action was more interesting, it was very well booked. The only real low points were Kengo Kimuraís matches, and those were still pretty OK, and nowhere near as bad as the start-stop pacing of the other gauntlet match.

The biggest surprise out of this was Fujiwara/Hamaguchi. I was dreading that matchup when I saw it was coming up, but it turned out to be a lot of fun and wildly different than anything else in the series.

Riki Choshu vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara
June 6, 1987. I donít know where but it doesnít look like a Tokyo venue

Yeah, this really didnít change my opinion of Fujiwara. I mean, it was fine, and I loved the finish, but, I didnít really see anything I hadnít already seen out of Fujiwara, wasnít even the best Fujiwara performance Iíve seen. At this point, I feel like either Fujiwara just fundamentally doesnít appeal to me, or whatever it is that Iím missing about him Iím never gonna see.

As for the finish, it ended in a 10-count knockout, and I thought that was great. As much as 10-counts are teased in wrestling, an actual 10-count finish should be used more often.


Riki Choshu, Super Strong Machine, Hiro Saito, Masa Saito, and Kuniaki Kobayashi vs Tatsumi Fujinami, Shiro Koshinaka, Kengo Kimura, Yoshiaki Fujuwara and Keiichi Yamada
September 12, 1988. Somewhere in Japan


This was significantly better than the last elimination match I saw, which I think was almost exactly a year before this one. Most everyone added their fair share to the match. Kimura and Kobayashi I think were the least memorable. Keiichi Yamada was interesting to watch in this match because he was using a lot of moves that I hadnít seen him use before, but would go on to be signature Liger moves, like the rolling kick and tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Overall the match was pretty good, and engaging, though the finish was kinda anti-climactic.

Iíll give Fujiwara credit: this spot he likes to do is pretty cool.





Masa Saito was the first elimination, submitting to a Boston Crab from Shiro Koshinaka. As a fan of Koshinaka, I fully support this booking decision. Yamada is the eliminated by a quick rollup form Hiro Saito to even things out. Fujiwara pins Super Strong Machine after reversing Strong Machineís reversal of Fujiwaraís pin giffed above. Fujiwara is shortly after knocked out of the ring by Masa Saito. Fujinami submits Kobayashi with a Dragon Sleeper, leaving only Masa Saito and Choshu against Fujinami, Kimura, Koshinaka. Kimura is out next after Choshu dodges a cross-body attempt and Kimura tumbles over the ropes. Not long after that, Koshinaka eats 2 consecutive Choshu Lariats, leaving Fujinami alone against Saito and Choshu. Choshu is eliminated next after a clearly blown spot when Fujinami tried to do a jumping headscissors to send Choshu over the top rope, but Choshu moved far too late. They save it by Choshu clinging to the ropes, sliding back in, then getting dropkicked twice, knocking him under the bottom rope to the outside.

The last few minutes of the match largely consist of Fujinami pummeling a bloody and staggering Masa Saito(busted open by his own exposed turnbuckle), a ref bump that let Fujinami get a visual pinfall, and ended with a barely standing Saito getting the win for his team like this:


On the one hand, it flies in the face of WrestleLogic for the finish of a match, and was generally kind of anticlimactic. On the other hand it did feel very natural and realistic and was a way to give Team Choshu the win while maintaining Fujinamiís status.

And so ends the 80s. A pretty solid decade, Iíd say. I mean, yeah, there were some moments and some spectacularly dull, pointless matches. Oh, and the UWF invasion was kinda dull, for me. But on on the upside, there was Tiger Mask and Dynamite Kid, those two Andre matches, Tatsumi Fujinami in general, Vaderís rise to stardom, the beginnings of The Three Musketeers + Jushin Liger, the very beginning of the era of fantastic Junior Heavyweight wrestling, and probably some other stuff that was cool and good thatís just not coming to mind right now. Like Bam Bam. Bam Bam rules.

Next Iím going to do another retrospective post of my thoughts on the athletes Iíve seen between 1986 and now. Following that, Iíll be kicking of the 90s with Black Tiger(The British One) vs Owen Hart, Jushin THUNDER Liger vs Akira Nogami and Big Van Vader vs Masahiro Chono

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

What I loved about the match finish for the September '88 elimination was that Fujinami got his revenge, but then went too far and suffered for going to the dark side, all in one match segment. Also the way he busted Saito open hardway is so freaking gnarly. Nagata did it to Makabe in July 2007, and that was also quite the bloodbath.

Takuan
May 6, 2007


A very good point, I didn't look at it while I was watching it, but in retrospect, it makes a lot of sense. But was he busted open hardway, though? It seemed like it happened at a natural point in the match and like he was bleeding from center of the forehead like a normal blade job.

Gaz-L
Jan 28, 2009


Oooh, does the THUNDER mean this is the first time in this project we see the Liger mask we all know and love?

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

Takuan posted:

A very good point, I didn't look at it while I was watching it, but in retrospect, it makes a lot of sense. But was he busted open hardway, though? It seemed like it happened at a natural point in the match and like he was bleeding from center of the forehead like a normal blade job.
There's a thing where he slices/saws across the forehead with his elbow. Saito might have bladed as well but I'm pretty sure it's hardway, because elbows to the forehead cause cuts in MMA a crazy high % of the time they happen. Nagata did the exact same thing with the exact same result: memorable amounts of blood from guys who bleed regularly.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Anybody remotely interesting is mad in some way or another.


Takuan posted:

The match starts with Andre not giving a gently caress.


I liked this bit:


See if I was his opponent, at this point I'd just start crying and ask the ref if I could go home.

Takuan
May 6, 2007


1990 looks to be the proper beginning of a new era in NJPW, with the Three Musketeers returning full-time and Jushin Liger and others redefining lightweight wrestling, plus an increase in the involvement of foreign talent, so now seems like another good point for rumination.

Antonio Inoki Ė One of the fun things about reading/watching projects like this is seeing the authorís views and feelings shift in a condensed version of how fans of the timeís views and feelings shifted. A great example of this is with OSW Review, and how their opinion on Hulk Hogan changed as time went on. As this project has gone on, I can see my disdain for Inoki, his politics, his ego, his style of wrestling, and his fetish for shootfighters growing with every year. Heís had a few decent matches since 86, particularly his shorter singles bouts with Choshu, but for the most part heís really showing his age, both from a physical standpoint and how out-dated his style is becoming. His matches with Vader and Bam Bam are great examples of how much he can handicap a potentially great opponent by making them work his style of match and not being able to adapt to a different kind of worker.

Masa Saito Ė Heís not great, but I think his more American style helps differentiate him. He does a fantastic Ďstaggering around bloody and incoherentí, arguably the best Iíve ever seen. Fun Fact: Before he showed up in NJPW, heíd just finished serving 2 years in a Wisconsin prison for assaulting police officers in an incident that may have been a small-town conspiracy to get a judge re-elected.

Riki Choshu Ė The problem I had with Choshu the last time I did one of these was that he wrestled just like everyone else. While he was away with AJPW he evolved into more of a powerhouse brawler and it suits him and his attitude very well. I still donít think heís great, but heís pretty good.

Tatsumi Fujinami Ė Is great and wonderful in everything he does. No, seriously, heís the best worker of New Japan in the 80s by a wide margin. The best part about this project so far has been discovering Tatsumi Fujinami, and I look forward to watching many more of his matches. Iím a little more than halfway through his listed ĎRecommended Matchesí on the spreadsheet, plus non-listed matches I may find in NJPWorld.

Kengo Kimura Ė If 1980s New Japan had a video game with a create-a-character, Kengo Kimura would be the default look and moveset.

Shiro Koshinaka Ė He perfectly fits the OSW definition of a ĎBoyí. Heís not the best, or most successful, but still very likeable and entertaining to watch. A solid and respectable midcarder. Prime Boy material he is.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara Ė I donít get what people see in him, and at this point Iíve accepted that I never will.

Vader Ė He had a rough start, but everything besides his matches with Inoki have been great. They did a great job of building him as, I dunno, call it a flawed monster. Iíve never liked the traditional ĎMonsterí archetype in wrestling. Not only are most of their matches dull, it promotes the idea that size and strength are all that really matter(granted, thatís all most promoters probably see in some cases), and then once the monster finally does get beat, thereís really nothing left for them, or if theyíre beaten by an ĎUnderdogí archetype, thereís usually so much bullshit going on in the match the underdog doesnít look any better and if anything, the monster looks worse. Vader in NJPW is big, and strong, and tough, but those are treated like characteristics on the same level as the other characteristics of the other main event wrestlers. His matches with Fujinami are the best example of this: Vader looks like a beast while Fujinami looks like a champion. Iím going on longer than I wanted to, but yeah, Vader is awesome and the way heís been booked is more interesting and more engaging than guys like him are usually booked.

Bam Bam Bigelow Ė You can sum up Bam Bamís performances in New Japan with one word: Delightful.



Keiichi Yamada/Jushin Liger - Yíknow, itís weird, even for wrestling, how the gimmick of one of the most iconic, influential, and successful wrestlers of all time was based on a kids show that only lasted 1 season. Itís like if The Undertaker was based on a character from Gravedale High or something. Yeah, I got sucked into watching a playlist of obscure cartoon openings on youtube the other day, whatís it to ya? Itís also been interesting to watch his development as wrestler from just-barely-not-a-young-lion to pretty-good-young-lightweight to revolutionary-force. Itís crazy to think that heís still actively performing today. Like, literally today heís probably wrestling somewhere at a New Japan house show. His first entry on the list is in 1986 and the last is from July of this year. Thatís a hell of a run.

Naoki Sano Ė Iíd never heard of Naoki Sano before but heís been a great opponent for Jushin Liger to have his first feud with.

Akira Maeda Ė Maeda never really impressed me. He was fine, but never really showed me anything distinct or that great. I do wish the match where he shot(shooted?) on Choshu and broke his orbital bone was up on NJPWorld.

Nobuhiko Takada Ė I thought Takada was the best out of the UWF guys, and kinda wish heíd stuck around.

Keiji Mutoh Ė I really enjoyed his tag matches with Koshinaka, and heís so clearly on another level from anyone else in terms of how dynamic and flashy his moves are. It was really fun to see the early stages of his career.
Shinya Hashimoto Ė It took me a few matches to see it, but Iím starting to see why heís called a vicious panda bear. Very interested to see how he develops as he rises in prominence.
Masahiro Chono Ė Havenít really seen enough of him to get a good opinion of him. Apparently he has two good years left.

The Russians: Even though it was an egregious example of Inokiís obsession with legitimate combat sports, the Russian Experiment wasnít as terrible as it could have been. You can point to having Hashimikov win the IWGP title as a terrible idea, and it was, in context of the time it wasnít quite as bad as youíd think because the IWGP Heavyweight Title really wasnít the high-end championship it is today. I think if theyíd had more time training and then worked their way up the card, learning and improving as they went, the whole thing would have worked out much better. As Iíve noted previously, Zangiev and Hashimikov really had potential, and could have developed into something interesting had they been more committed to a career in wrestling.

Takuan
May 6, 2007


Black Tiger vs Owen Hart
January 25, 1990. Nakajima Sports Center

When I saw this match coming up, I got excited because I thought it was Eddie Guerrero. It turns out Eddie wouldnít start working as Black Tiger until 1992. This is the original Black Tiger, Mark ĎRollerballí Rocco, who I understand was a big star in the UK in the 70s and 80s.

As for Owen Hart, I didnít start watching wrestling until 1998, and then I never watched WWF until The Invasion, so I pretty much missed all of Owenís career. Iíve only seen a small handful of matches involving him, across a variety of time periods.

Iím very disappointed. This was a poo poo match in front of a bored crowd. It was one of those matches where the heel spends 80% of the time on offense, which are bad enough as it is, compounded by Black Tiger/Rocco being a plodding, very limited, completely uninspiring worker. Owen, to his credit, tried to inject some entertainment whenever he had the chance, but it wasnít nearly enough.



Owen wins with a German Suplex. I canít imagine why this match made it on to the ĎRecommendedí list. The only recommendation this match should get is to recommend people not watch it.


Jushin THUNDER Liger vs Akira Nogami
January 25, 1990. Nakajima Sports Center


Anime Jushin Liger got an upgrade, so Real Life Jushin Liger got an upgrade as well. Now that I think of it, Iím amazed at their commitment to a gimmick to promote a children's show that apparently wasnít even popular or memorable.

But thankfully they were that committed, and the world was blessed with the iconic Jushin Thunder Liger costume we all know and love.

Akira Nogami was unimpressive in this match. Which is a shame because he ended up controlling most of it. Liger was great as always, but Nogami just couldnít hold up his end of things. The submission series that made up the middle third of the match was just painfully dull. Once Liger started making a comeback it got better, but as a whole this match was below average. There was this though:


In the end, Liger wins with the Torture Rack segment of a Torture Rack Backbreaker.

Big Van Vader vs Masahiro Chono
January 25, 1990. Nakajima Sports Center


The last time these two met was in the first round of the IWGP Heavyweight Title Tournament at the first Tokyo Dome Show. Vader literally squashed Chono. He does a fair bit better in this match, making a good comeback towards the end, and even getting a nearfall or two. Vader still wins in the end by reversing a Sunset Flip. And by Ďreversingí, I mean he just sits on Chono


An OK match, not really exceptional. Iím pretty sure I just watch 3 matches from a house show.




Naoki Sano(c) vs Jushin THUNDER Liger for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
January 31, 1990. Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium

I wasnít planning to include this match in this post, but as I was planning out how I was going to organize this yearís matches, I figured this match wouldnít really fit in the next group, and I donít really want to do a post with just one match(unless itís huge or something)

Match opens hot with Liger slapping Sano during the handshake and following it up with an E. Honda worthy flurry of palm strikes. They go back and forth with some fairly big spots for the opening minutes of a match, leading to Sano trying to rip Ligerís mask off. Liger tries to cover his face, but itís kinda hollow because I canít imagine anyone who paid attention to New Japan at this time didnít know who was under the mask. He uses the exact same signature moves as before. Sano bashes him into the corner posts and turnbuckle pads while continuing to tear at his mask, busting Liger open.


Sano continues brutalizing Liger, whoís had trouble getting back to his feet during a couple 10-counts.


Liger finally manages to reverse one of Sanoís moves and then:


Liger manages a few more moves, but before long Sano again takes control of the match.


A good callback to their previous matches.


Even though Sano is dominating, Liger keeps reversing more and more moves into nearfalls- a superplex, a backdrop. When Sano does hit something, itís not enough to keep Liger down for 3. Liger gets a nearfall with a German Suplex and finally the momentum is finally on his side. He hits a series of big moves culminating in

The Shooting Star Press for 3!

Even though heís beaten Naoki Sano and won the Junior Heavyweight Championship, Liger isnít happy. He seems enraged about his mask getting torn off. He throws the belt down, beats up some of the ring boys, then storms off.

A hell of a match. Full of drama, cool spots, intensity, emotion, great storytelling, blood, everything youíd want in a wrestling match. Go watch it.

Next Iíll be looking at matches from New Japanís return to the Tokyo Dome: Jushin Thunder Liger and Akira Nogami vs Naoki Sano and Pegasus Kid, Larry Zybysko vs Masa Saito, Vader vs Stan Hansen, Bam Bam Bigelow vs Koji Kitao and Antonio Inoki vs Seiji Sakaguchi vs Shinya Hashimoto and Masahiro Chono

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Anybody remotely interesting is mad in some way or another.


Takuan posted:

Vader vs Stan Hansen

Oh hell yes.

frankenfreak
Feb 16, 2007

Coming from the deeps of the Frankenwald to haunt you

Takuan posted:

Vader vs Stan Hansen

sean10mm
Jun 29, 2005

Dispensing unwanted fitness advice since 2005. P.S. Squat more! BEEFCAKE!!!

If that's the match I'm thinking of, it's less "wrestling" (or even "rasslin") and more "illegal experiment with large animals and rhino steroids."

Suplex Liberace
Jan 18, 2012



If that's the one where Vader's eye gets knocked out its dope AF.

Spuckuk
Aug 11, 2009

Being a bastard works



sean10mm posted:

If that's the match I'm thinking of, it's less "wrestling" (or even "rasslin") and more "illegal experiment with large animals and rhino steroids."

It's a profoundly 'Hoss' match.

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

The only PED those two ever abused was beer

Takuan
May 6, 2007



eye c wut u did there

Akira Nogami & Jushin Liger vs Pegasus Kid and Naoki Sano
February 10, 1990. The Tokyo Dome

OK, so. Letís get this out of the way. By now everyone has made up their mind of how they want to reconcile Chris Benoit the performer and Chris Benoit the person. Some people can totally seperate the performer from the person, other people canít. Both are valid and understandable. In this thread I will be exclusively discussing Chris Benoit the performer, and will not be discussing Chris Benoit the person, or what he did. I request that anyone commenting on this thread do the same.

All that preamble for a clipped match. I used to hate that about ordering tapes of Japanese wrestling TV shows. It looked to be a pretty standard junior midcard tag match. This bit was pretty cool.

And there were some neat dives by Nogami and Liger, but other than that, this wasnít really worth watching, even in clipped form.

And now for something completely different.

Larry Zybyszko(c) vs Masa Saito for the AWA World Heavyweight Championship
February 10, 1990. The Tokyo Dome

In 1990 the once proud American Wrestling Association was at deathís door. This was around the time of the infamous Turkey On A Pole match.

I donít know what I was thinking, or expecting, when I decided to watch this match. It was super boring and the crowd was dead for most of it. They woke up when Masa Saito started making a comeback. Masa Saito wins with a small package.

Even though that match sucked, this next one should be eye-popping.

Big Van Vader(c) vs Stan Hansen for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship
February 10, 1990. The Tokyo Dome


A brief summation of this match:



According to interviews with both Vader and Hansen, Hansen attacked Vader before he entered the ring, while he was still wearing the big gimmick helmet. This broke Vaderís nose and cracked his orbital bone, setting up the famous injury.
You really canít see it, but at some point Hansen pops Vaderís eye out with his thumb.

Thereís an sudden edit, and Vader has Hansen in an arm bar on the ground. He releases the hold, then takes off his mask.


This happened about 3 minutes into the match. Hansen was noticeably gentler afterwards. It seemed like every time they showed his eye it looked even more swollen.

Even setting aside the grotesque, potentially serious injury, this was a pretty fun brawl.


The double-countout finish was an inevitability in this cross-promotional match.

According to Vader, this incident led to Vader ditching the full mask(that he hated wearing) weíve seen him in and designing the more open leather mask that would become a part of his more iconic look. According to Jim Ross, this match led to both men getting booked in WCW.


Koji Kitao vs Bam Bam Bigelow
February 10, 1990. The Tokyo Dome


Koji Kitao is an interesting figure in the world of Japanese combat sports. He was a sumo wrestler who was promoted to yokozuna for some weird political reason even though he wasnít that successful, failed spectacularly as a yokozuna, allegedly abused some of his junior stablemates, then was expelled from sumo for striking the stable bossís wife. He would then transition to pro-wrestling, where weíre seeing him in his debut.

Kitao gets the kinda of roiling heat I havenít heard since Vaderís debut. The crowd actually starts chanting for Bam Bam before they first lock up. Itís a very basic, very slow match. A lot of posturing, a lot of pacing around. Not too many rest holds, which was nice. The most interesting part was how displeased the crowd was at Kitaoís existence. When Bam Bam DDTíd him, I wouldnít describe the audience reaction as a Ďpopí but more like Ďsatisfactioní. Not like ďYay, a big move!Ē but ďYes, he does deserve to be dropped on his head.Ē The crowd is fully opposed to everything Kitao does You can hear the crowd starting to get angrier even during a 2-count.

Kitao wins with a running legdrop, which, I dunno. I find it kinda funny for some reason.

The crowd is very angry at this.

Kitao would get fired in June for insulting Riki Choshu with an ethnic slur. In the fall he would go to Genichiro Tenryuís Super World of Sports, make an appearance at Wrestlemanai VII, on April 10 tried to shoot on John Tenta, throwing a tantrum, declaring pro-wrestling fake and that Tenta couldnít beat him at a shoot. He was fired from SWS, then joined UWF-i where Nobuhiko Takada shot on him, legitimately knocking him out with a kick to the head. Kitao pretty much chilled out after that and spent most of the 90ís in WAR. He also trained, among others, Masaak Mochizuki and TARU.

Really, I just wanted an excuse to talk about Koji Kitao.

Antonio Inoki & Seiji Sakaguchi vs Shinya Hashimoto & Masahiro Chono
February 10, 1990. The Tokyo Dome

I get a bad feeling as soon as I see that Lou Thesz is the referee and that bad feeling is proven to be correct. Inoki is well into the Ďlong past his primeí phase of his career and Sakaguchi is at the point where itís just kinda sad watching him. He looks tired from the first moment heís tagged in. Not winded mind you, just tired. So, so tired. Itís a pretty boring strike-and-rest-hold match with the old men spending most of the time on offense, and Chono spending most of his time getting beaten up. Nobody looks good in this match.


Last time I saw Lou Thesz ref, he practically ruined the finish with a ridiculously slow count. This time he has the opposite problem and delivers a too-fast count when Inoki hits Chono with an enzuigiri for the win.

Another year, another mediocre Tokyo Dome show. But hey, at least this yearís main event was an actual professional wrestling match.

Next time oddly focuses on the team of Shinya Hashimoto and Mas Saito as they take on Mutoh and Chono, Bam Bam Bigelow and ĎPunisherí Dice Morgan and finally, Koji Kitao joins them to face Vader, Bam Bam Bigelow and ĎDr Deathí Steve Williams

Takuan fucked around with this message at Oct 12, 2017 around 21:58

Feels Villeneuve
Oct 7, 2007

Kanye West - Touch the Sky


weirdly enough i've always been a fan of Saito/Larry Z but i'll watch anything with Larry Z in it so I might be biased

frankenfreak
Feb 16, 2007

Coming from the deeps of the Frankenwald to haunt you

Takuan posted:

Kitao wins with a running legdrop, which, I dunno. I find it kinda funny for some reason.

It's the yellow and red outfit and the shirt-ripping before the match, brother.

I've also watched Saito/Zbyszko since I'm getting mixed messages here. I found the first half to drag, but once Saito starts working Larry's legs around the mid-point of the match (and the crowd starts to wake up) it's entertaining and has nice energy, especially from Saito. Not super great, but it certainly didn't suck.

frankenfreak fucked around with this message at Oct 13, 2017 around 04:19

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Anybody remotely interesting is mad in some way or another.


Reporter: Wow Mr. Hansen, the way you were hitting Vader out there, you must really hate him!
Stan: That was Vader in there!?!

Takuan
May 6, 2007


Jerusalem posted:

Reporter: Wow Mr. Hansen, the way you were hitting Vader out there, you must really hate him!
Stan: That was Vader in there!?!

I've heard interviews from both guys about the incident, and it's pretty cool how chill they both are about it.

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

A couple interpromotional matches from that show aren't available on their site, including...

Tenryu & Tiger Mask (Misawa) vs Choshu & Takano: http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?5qitd9l4ymx80tx

The crowd is molten, and IIRC this is the only time Misawa and Choshu face each other.

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RealFoxy
May 11, 2011

Band-aids don't fix arrow wounds


Takuan posted:

I've heard interviews from both guys about the incident, and it's pretty cool how chill they both are about it.
Vader was always described by Cornette as "Too nice to be a wrestler" and Stan was all gimmick in the ring but apparently a real nice guy outside of it too. Both would bruise the poo poo out of you in a match though

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