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Takuan
May 6, 2007


Starrcade 1992
January 4, 1992. The Tokyo Dome


A landmark occasion in New Japan history. It may have been the third Tokyo Dome show, and the second NJPW/WCW Supershow, but it was the first ever January 4th Tokyo Dome show. Like the G1 Climax and Jushin Liger and no one caring about the December Tag League, itís a tradition that is still with us today.
Match1 : Black Cat vs Hiroyoshi Yamamoto
Actually not too bad for a 5 minute match between a career midcarder and a skinny geek less than a year into his career. Black Cat was alright, and Yamamoto showed some good spirit. If he puts some meat on his bones, maybe gets a cool haircut to stand out, he might be something one day.
Match 2: Kantaro Hoshino & Kengo Kimura vs Kuniyaki Kobayashi and Osamu Kido
I didnít know these guys, especially Hoshino, were still around. Hoshino looked past his prime during the UWF invasion. This match, thankfully, has the opening minutes edited out. Itís not the worst match between a bunch of old dudes Iíve ever seen, but itís not really anywhere near interesting either. Kinda interesting to compare the ages of these guys, 42, 39, 48, and 36, to the ages of Nagata, Nakinishi, Kojima, and Tenzan today, 46, 47, 50, and 49, and how much better our old men are compared to 1992ís old men.
Match 3: Michiyoshi Ohara & Shiro Koshinaka vs The Enforcers(Arn Anderson & Larry Zbyszko)
NJPW vs WCW Tag Match

My boy Shiro lookiní like heís about to drop the smoothest Adult Contemporary album of 1992.

While it was a low-key filler of a match, Larry Zbyzsko made it worth watching. And thatís something I never thought Iíd write. He was very animated and very vocal throughout the whole thing. He reminded me of an 80s-era SNLSCTV character, or something. They had what Iíll generously call an interesting tactic to add leverage to a boston crab.

Arn wins it with a standing spinebuster. Worth a watch just for Zbzyskoís performance, even when heís on the sideline.
Match 4: The Blond Outlaws(Norio Honaga, Hiro Saito, & Super Strong Machine) vs Jushin Liger, AKIRA, & Masashi Aoyagi
Another match with the opening clipped out, and another plodding filler match. It does pick up a little towards the end, and the Blond Outlaws have a pretty cool double-team move:

But even still, meh. AKIRA pins Hiro Saito with a Dragon Suplex.
Match 5: Masa Saito & Kim Duk vs Dusty & Dustin Rhodes
The quality of this match depended entirely on whether Kim Duk(AKA Tiger Chung Lee) was in the ring. When he wasnít in the ring, it was an acceptable, at times kinda fun, old-school southern style match. When Kim Duk was in the ring, it was dire.
Dustin and Duk started the match off, they tried to do an early match move-trading sprint, but Kim Duk was too old and doddering and the whole thing just looked pathetic.


And if Iím not mistaken, the exact sequence they did was the type of thing they do for training in wrestling schools.
Twice, Duk offers to tag out and Saito basically goes ďNah, man, you go ahead.Ē I found out later he was waiting for Dusty to get in so they could have a dramatic, animated standoff

Once Dusty and Saito were the ring things picked up and it actually got pretty decent after that, until the closing minutes when Duk and Dustin were back in and it turned back to crap with Dustin at least trying to have a quick pace, but Duk just physically unable to keep up. Dustin Rhodes wins it with a bulldog.
Match 6: Scott Norton vs Tony Halme
Super Power Special Match

To honor the integrity of tru Puroresu and to help preserve itís legacy, I will not review or discuss this match. It is the exact opposite of what I support and th exact reason Puro rapidly lost itís dignity and meaning as a whole. I will continue to focus on TRUE matches that maintain and continue to define the ethic and aesthetic that is Puro.
loljk.
Tony Halme would go on to be known in the west as Ludvig Borga. Even though this is the first of his matches Iím seeing, heís been in New Japan since Late 1990, competing in a series of Boxer(Halme) vs Wrestler ďshootĒ matches, including a high profile series with Shinya Hashimoto, which Hashimoto eventually won. Most recently, he was defeated by Vader in December, so it seems like heís beginning a downward slope in his New Japan run.
I appreciate that the crowd appreciated a spot where Norton had Halme in a headlock, Halme tried to push him off to the ropes, but Norton held on to the hold. Norton also appreciated the crowds appreciation of that.
Some blatant spot calling.
Norton has Halme in a headlock
Norton: Hit me.
Halme: Where do you want it?
Norton: The back.
Halme: *punches Norton in the back*
Later, Halme has Norton in a headlock, and Norton very clearly said ďPunch meĒ before Halme punched him in the face.
It was a very simple match with a lot of rest holds. Norton looked dominant throughout most of the match, no-selling most of Halmes offense while flooring him with ever lariat and tackle.
The crowd seemed to be really in to Norton. He even got a chant while he was applying a headlock. Halme got a significant amount of heat, but I couldnít tell if it was Good Heel heat or Go back to Finland Heat. I havenít seen enough of his work to get an idea of how the crowd feels about him.
Probably one of the weakest ďrope shakeĒ spots Iíve ever seen.

ďIímía just sit down carefully on the turnbuckle here.Ē
Tony Halme throws Norton off the top rope, then wins with a flying clothesline.
And on that low note, I end my coverage of the fist half of the show. I wanted to do it all in one post, but with the way Iím going, Iím worried itíll take me a month to get it all done. Hopefully the next half is better. I mean, it pretty much has to be, right? Right?

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Xerzes
May 16, 2012


Tony Halme later tried and failed at MMA, and then went into politics, joining the most racist political party in Finland. He's dead now. gently caress Tony Halme.

El Gallinero Gros
Mar 17, 2010


Didn't Halme get KTFO by Norton in the lockerrom? or was that somebody else?

Takuan
May 6, 2007


El Gallinero Gros posted:

Didn't Halme get KTFO by Norton in the lockerrom? or was that somebody else?

Allegedly Halme sucker punched a potentially drunk Norton, knocking him out. This supposedly led to him getting jobbed out before quitting the company in 1993.

El Gallinero Gros
Mar 17, 2010


Takuan posted:

Allegedly Halme sucker punched a potentially drunk Norton, knocking him out. This supposedly led to him getting jobbed out before quitting the company in 1993.

Starting poo poo with Scott Norton seems like a monumentally lovely idea.

Do not even ask
Apr 8, 2008

I'll be busting the moves and I'll be busting the rhymes, we'll be busting up laughing 'cause it's
PARTY TIME!


only thing i care to remember about halme is that he's one of the goons who gets his face kicked off in the terrible live action fist of the north star movie

Qoey
Jun 2, 2014


Xerzes posted:

Tony Halme later tried and failed at MMA, and then went into politics, joining the most racist political party in Finland. He's dead now. gently caress Tony Halme.

Reading the guy's wikipedia page is a ride, dude.

quote:

The day after the elections, Halme referred to President Tarja Halonen as a lesbian in a radio interview. Halme stated that if a lesbian can be president of Finland and he can be a member of Parliament, anything seems possible.

That just sounds like a bad movie quote...

Takuan
May 6, 2007


Starrcade Ď92 Part Two
Match 7: Shinya Hashimoto vs Bill Kazu Meyer
NJPW vs WCW ďPesharumatchiĒ

Bill Kazmaier only wrestled for WCW for about a year, and before that had mostly wrestled for smaller companies like Stampede and Continental Championship Wrestling. His true claim to fame was as a powerlifter/strongman. A three-time Worldís Strongest Man winner, and numerous world and national powerlifting champion, heís considered to be the third strongest man that ever lived, behind Mark Henry, and éydrūnas Savickas
This is about the simplest, most basic match you can have. I heard a clip from Jim Cornetteís podcast where he mentioned the kind of match he would have brand new talent to OVW perform for their first match and it was exactly like this match. Only they did 5 minutes, Kazmaier and Hashimoto stretched it out to 10.
After a couple minutes, the hardcam lazily zoomed out and stayed there for about two minutes.

Now that I think about it, this match also seemed to be a part of the ďHashimoto vs Legit ToughguysĒ series that I havenít really been covering(because theyíve been terrible), thatís seen Hashimoto face off against Karate guys and Tony Halme in ďworked shootĒ matches.
Hashimoto wins with 2 leg lariats followed by 2 DDTs. I hope this show turns around soon, because so far this is shaping up to be the kind of terrible show I thought Iíd never have to review.
Match 8: Big Van Vader vs El Gigante
Super Heavy Special Match

It amazes me that wrestling promoters across time and location keep making the same mistake of trying to push guys that have one extreme physical attribute but no functional performative talent or skill. Yeah, they might look good on a poster or when they make their entrance, and it might compel people to pay money to see them once, but after that, once they see how fundamentally inept they are, theyíre not gonna pay to see them again.
Itís like I was a computer programming manager and I kept hiring people that had no knowledge or experience with programming, or even computers in general, and they werenít even really intelligent, but they can type really fast. And despite the fact that my projects kept turning out poorly, and the people I hired got fired or quit relatively shortly, I kept hiring people without the skillset needed or even the mental capacity to develop that skillset but you wouldnít fuckiní believe how fast they can type.
Even worse is that thereís other managers out there that have the exact same insane bias and keep hiring the guys that get fired from my company because of their fundamental incompetence and I hire the incompetent but holy poo poo look at how fast they type guys that get drummed out of their companies.
Really, the more I learn about this insane carny hustle of a sport the more Iím amazed anyone ever made a nickel off of it.
The match sucked and ended in a double-countout.
Match 9: Antonio Inoki vs Hiroshi Hase
This match was a breath of fresh air after the rest of this show. It had good, brisk technical wrestling, stiff strikes, a couple strong moves, a coherent story, a hot crowd, both men showing hot-blooded spirit, everything youíd want to see in a New Japan match. It wasnít a great epic of a match, but it was a pretty good 10 minutes.

Inoki, wily as ever, countered Haseís STF with a chinlock.

Hase rolled off of Inoki, who rolled through and applied an STF of his own. A pretty neat sequence, I think.

Iím of two minds about the finish.
Inoki kicked out after 3 Uranages, though to be fair, the crowd popped pretty strong for it, then started a comeback after a 4th Uranage. Hase submitted after two Octopus Stretchesí and a bunch of enzuigiris.
Taken on itís own, it was an entirely acceptable finish. Hase took a lot of punishment before tapping out and Inoki looked better than he has in a good while, so if you saw this match with no context the finish would be totally acceptable.
However, with the context of Hase being one of the better workers in the company, and a relatively young up-and-comer, and Inoki being drat-near 50 and only wrestling a couple times a year, thereís no sound reason for Hase losing this match.
Match 10: The Steiner Brothers vs Sting and The Great Muta
Dream Tag Match

A fantastic match. Almost every spot is something big and splashy, all four guys went hard whenever they were in the ring. Just look at this:








And thatís not even all the cool stuff in the match.
The finish came when Sting reversed a flippy-slam by Scott into a rollup while Rick, thinking he and Muta were the legal men, was busy trying to pin Muta. It kinda came out of nowhere, and came off kinda muddled, but it was creative, and the rest of the match was a total blast to watch.
Also: I think itís a neat bit of trivia that Sting and Rick Steiner got their start with Crockett Promotions as a tag team.
Match 11: Lex Luger(c) vs Masahiro Chono for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
Better than most of the matches on this show, but not great. My biggest problem with this match was the several minutes in the middle of the match Chono spent working Lugerís arm in various submissions that didnít amount to anything. The ending third was pretty decent, with a series of attempted rollups from both guys, and a spot where Luger put Chono in the Torture Rack on the outside until the ref counted to 10 then dumped him to the floor to try to get a countout victory(Chono just barely rolls in at 19). The finish anti-climactic, though. Chono slips out of a vertical suplex then goes for a backdrop, Luger kicks him in the groin then hits him with a second rope double-axe handle for the win.
It makes sense for Luger to go over here, heís the WCW World Champion and Chono isnít a huge star, but they couldíve at least have him go down to a legit move like the Torture Rack, or even a flying forearm(Not sure if this was before or after he had the gimmick of having a metal rod in his forearm, making it a deadly weapon).
Match 12: Tatsumi Fujinami(c) vs Riki Choshu(c) for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship and the Greatest 18 Club Championship
Man, this was kinda sad to watch. Though there were moments of fire and intensity(moreso from Fujinami than Choshu), this match was thoroughly sluggish. Though there werenít many rest spots, and no long stretch of submissions, everything they did was just kinda slow. It was a far cry from either manís best work. Even though theyíre career long rivals, I never thought they gelled that well as opponents, and now that theyíre both sliding into decline(Choshu moreso than Fujinami, I think, but still) it makes for a match thatís just kinda there. I can tell theyíre trying their best to have a good match, but they justÖ canít. Choshu wins the IWGP Heavyweight Championship after a barrage of lariats.
Even though Choshu won the championship, Inoki comes out to close the show with a promo. It kinda reminds me of Hulk Hogan making himself the focal point of the post-match celebration when Randy Savage won the WWF title.
New Japan seems to be in another transition period, with guys like Choshu and Fujinami physically declining and guys like Vader and Bam Bam focusing more on their Western careers, and guys like Muta and Chono and Hashimoto and Hase at the point where theyíre out performing the previous generation, but not at the point where Inoki wants to properly elevate them. Hopefully it wonít be too much longer until the focus is primarily on the next wave of talent.
Next time, Iíll be watching Rick Steiner & Scott Norton vs Keiji Mutoh & Hiroshi Hase, Mutoh & Hase vs Tatsumi Fujinami & Shiro Koshinaka, Jushin Liger vs Norio Honaga, Kuniyaki Kobayashi vs Akitoshi Sato, Shiro Koshinaka vs Masahi Aoyagi, and lastly, Mutoh & Hase vs Bam Bam Bigelow & Vader.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Anybody remotely interesting is mad in some way or another.


Goddamn there's nothing quite as fun as watching a catch into a German Suplex

Takuan posted:

After a couple minutes, the hardcam lazily zoomed out and stayed there for about two minutes.


NJPW are so ahead of their time they were already practicing the Rainmaker zoom-out!

Shiki Dan
Oct 27, 2010

If ya can move ya toes ya back's fine


So, uh, I guess this is kinda random and out-of-order, but I just found this match and figured this would be the place for it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHSvgWWRTyI

I'm posting it just for the idea of Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, and Iron Mike Sharpe being the most wtf 3-man team in 1984, working in New Japan against Inoki & crew of all places.

But yeah...surprised that Bret and Hogan actually teamed together before the nWo.

El Gallinero Gros
Mar 17, 2010


Shiki Dan posted:

So, uh, I guess this is kinda random and out-of-order, but I just found this match and figured this would be the place for it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHSvgWWRTyI

I'm posting it just for the idea of Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, and Iron Mike Sharpe being the most wtf 3-man team in 1984, working in New Japan against Inoki & crew of all places.

But yeah...surprised that Bret and Hogan actually teamed together before the nWo.

I'd think the simple reason was they all speak English and they all happened to be there. If you wanna see really wacky teams, look at random WAR or FMW cards from the mid 90's where you have matches like

Bob Backlund, Mil Mascaras, and Jimmy Snuka vs. The Eliminators (Saturn and Kronus) and Hector Garza

or

Horace Boulder (aka Horace Hogan), Tim Patterson, and Negro Casas vs. Atsushi Onita, Tarzan Goto, and el Hijo del Santo (which got 5 stars from Meltzer!)

Like that's some Battlebowl poo poo, but with a 6 man setting and no particular reason to do the match. Japan has interesting philosophies when it comes to gaijin, and it's not unheard of in some companies for debuting guys to get placed high on the card as a test, Jericho alluded to this in his first book.

El Gallinero Gros fucked around with this message at Jan 21, 2018 around 06:07

Takuan
May 6, 2007


Shiki Dan posted:

So, uh, I guess this is kinda random and out-of-order, but I just found this match and figured this would be the place for it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHSvgWWRTyI

I'm posting it just for the idea of Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, and Iron Mike Sharpe being the most wtf 3-man team in 1984, working in New Japan against Inoki & crew of all places.

But yeah...surprised that Bret and Hogan actually teamed together before the nWo.

Those teams are actually pretty symmetrical. Both have an icon(Hogan/Inoki), a talented young undercarder(Hart/Maeda), and a competent third man to eat the pinfall(Sharpe/Kimura). All three gaijin were working for WWF at the time, so it's no more random than, say, some of the teams we're seeing at Fantastica Mania this weekend.

Edit: Spoke too soon, Bret Hart ate the pin in that match.

Takuan fucked around with this message at Jan 21, 2018 around 16:11

Gaz-L
Jan 28, 2009


May I recommend adding Super Liger vs Kanemoto from the 1994 Dome show to the list, so you can see Jericho's first New Japan match?

unimportantguy
Dec 25, 2012

Maybe she has no parents and was raised by dogs?

Gaz-L posted:

May I recommend adding Super Liger vs Kanemoto from the 1994 Dome show to the list, so you can see Jericho's first New Japan match?

If I'm remembering Jericho's book right, this was a complete clusterfuck. Might be entertaining on those grounds, at least.

C. Everett Koop
Aug 18, 2008

by Smythe


Takuan posted:

Those teams are actually pretty symmetrical. Both have an icon(Hogan/Inoki), a talented young undercarder(Hart/Maeda), and a competent third man to eat the pinfall(Sharpe/Kimura). All three gaijin were working for WWF at the time, so it's no more random than, say, some of the teams we're seeing at Fantastica Mania this weekend.

Edit: Spoke too soon, Bret Hart ate the pin in that match.

Considering the year and the size of Hulk/Sharpe to Bret, it's more than Hart was the young boy of the team there to eat falls.

The Cameo
Jan 20, 2005

icy chain with the watch now


Yeah, '84 was the year Vince bought Stampede, so that's literally like Bret's first year with the company. He's definitely the young boy.

Takuan
May 6, 2007


Gaz-L posted:

May I recommend adding Super Liger vs Kanemoto from the 1994 Dome show to the list, so you can see Jericho's first New Japan match?

1994 is kind of getting ahead of things, but if it's on NJPWorld(pretty sure it is), I was planning to watch it. NJPWorld has a lot of one-off matches of famous wrestlers(sometimes using not-so-famous gimmicks), and I plan on watching all of them, because they're interesting, one way or another.

Takuan
May 6, 2007


Rick Steiner and Scott Norton(c, kinda) vs Hiroshi Hase and Keiji Mutoh for the IWGP World Tag Team Championship
November 5, 1991, Nippon Budokan


Like Venomous said, this is kinda weird, because although wikipedia says Scott Norton is substituting for an injured Scott Steiner, Cagematch.net says Scott worked a WCW house show the next day. However, I did some further research and found out that Scott Steiner didnít work any matches between June 15 and Halloween Havoc a week before this match. During this time, Rick worked singles matches. My theory is that this match was either planned before Scott Steiner was cleared to wrestle, or that he couldnít get the proper clearance to travel to Japan on short notice. I dunno. Itís a really strange situation.

The match itself wasnít that great. The first half was dominated by Norton applying resthold after resthold on Hase and the second half was dominated by Rick throwing Mutoh around. Hase and Mutoh got a few moves in here and there, with a great hot tag midway through.While there were some kinda cool sequences, and each person was good(Norton looked like a beast, Hase was a great face-in-peril and hype man, Mutoh was dazzling in his offense, and Rick wasÖ well, Rick) but as a whole I just wasnít into how the match was structured.

The end sequence was pretty good, with Hase hitting a series of Uranage, ending in an Uranage+Moonsault combo for the win.



Keiji Mutoh & Hiroshi Hase vs Tatsumi Fujinami & Shiro Koshinaka
February 8, 1992. Sapporo Nakajima Sports Center


From what I can tell, even though Mutoh & Hase are the tag champions, this isnít a title match. As a fan, to some extent or another, of all four guys in this match, it didnít disappoint. Then again, it didnít reach the heights it potentially could have. Even though it was a fairly long match, it never really got out of second-gear, but for what it was, it was consistently entertaining. It had some great technical wrestling by everyone involved, a lot of leapfrog/dropdown sequences. Everyone had a chance to shine, and Hase actually spent most of the match on offense(which as far as I can tell is a rarity for him).

Indian Deathlock into, I dunno, double-chicken-wing?

A full 15 rotations!

Kinda reminds me Cesaro in this match. Couldnít tell you why.

The story of this match was that Hase and Mutoh were a proper team, using double-team attacks, frequent tags, breaking up pins, and pre-emptively cutting off the ring during submissions.

Proper tag-team tactics.

Meanwhile Fujinami and Koshinaka were very much two individuals. This lets Hase get a decisive pin with a Northern-Lights Suplex.

Even though they didnít tear the house down, I still really enjoyed it.

Jushin Liger(c) vs Norio Honaga(c) For the WCW World Light Heavyweight Championship and IWPG Junior Heavyweight Championship
February 8, 1992. Sapporo Nakajima Sports Center


Not to be confused with the more famous WCW Cruiserweight Title, the Junior Heavyweight title was created in 1991 with Brian Pillman as the inaugural champion at Halloween Havoc 1991. Liger beat Pillman for the belt in December.

This is one of the rare matches on NJPW with an entrance, and Liger gets a pretty cool balloon gimmick for his.

Later on in the match youíd see kids, and even a couple adults, hanging on to the balloons.

The match itself was pretty underwhelming, actually kind of boring. It wasnít nearly as good as their last match I saw, and had all of the slow pacing of that match plus only a fraction of the big moves and dramatic neafalls. They did some stuff that was kinda cool in the last few minutes, but it was too little, too late.

Liger wins with a top rope Frankensteiner. After this, Liger would lose the belt back to Pillman later in the month. The title would be held by such luminaries as Brad Armstrong and Scotty Flamingo before being vacated and retired by Bill Watts.


Kuniyaki Kobayashi vs Akitoshi Sato.
Different Styled Fight.
April 30, 1992. Ryugoku Kokugikan


This is a part of yet another Wrestler vs Martial Arts feud, with Masahi Aoyagi and Akitoshi Sato representing the art of Karate, and Kuniyaki Kobayashi and Shiro Koshinaka representing Pro-Wrestling. Usually these kinds of matches are pretty dire, but these two made it on to the recommended list.

This reminded me of some of the early UFC fights where someone with a dedicated striking background gets dunked on by an opponent with any degree of grappling experience. Kobayashi shrugs off most of Satoís attacks, and gets the best of him every time they clinch or go to ground. About halfway through, Kobayashi busts Sato open with a series of headbutts.



Thereís a great spot where someone in Satoís entourage tries to throw in a towel, then Aoyagi gets up on the apron and slaps the guy. Even though Sato gets a near knockout after kicking Kobayashi in the head a few times, in the end Sato submits to a keylock(I think thatís what itís called). Post-match, Kobayashi is presented with some kinda wooden sign. Not 100% of the meaning or context, but Iím sure itís something of significance to Satoís dojo.

Overall it was better than I was expecting.
Tangencial Note: I canít get a good screenshot, but I think I see a young Satoshi Kojima among the Young Lions.

May 1
Shiro Koshinaka vs Masahi Aoyagi
Different Style Fight,
May 1, 1992. Chiba Port Arena


This was much more of a deliberate, worked, storytelling match, and wasnít the kind of bloody spectacle, and lacked the disjointed, scramble feel of the previous match. It was fine, for what it was, but not quite as thrilling as the last one.

This match does a better job of selling Karate strikes as devastating, but Aoyagi is pretty much helpless in any kind of a grappling situation. Even Koshinakaís strikes are sold as not that much weaker than Aoyagi, and Koshinaka comes out the winner of the exchange when they start straight up brawling. I think itís hilarious that even in this serious battle for the glory and superiority of their fighting style, Koshinaka still uses the hip attack.


Koshinaka gets a near-knockout with a German suplex.

Before finishing the job with a Dragon Suplex.


Vader & Bam Bam Bigelow(c) vs Keiji Mutoh & Hiroshi Hase for the IWGP Tag Team Championship
May 1, 1992. Chiba Port Arena


Bam Bam & Vader won the titles from Mutoh and Hase in March, at New Japanís 20th Anniversary show and I wish I couldíve seen it because this was a hell of a match.

The opening section has great back-and-forth action between the two teams.

Hase in particular looked impressive going toe-to-toe with Vader, bringing him down twice, first with a series of slaps, then with a pair of lariats.
Then this happened:


Vader actually gets tossed around a fair amount in this match.


Hase and Mutoh seem to have the advantage until Bam Bam removes the bandage on Haseís forehead, and they reopen his wound. It gets messy pretty quick.


Vader and Bam Bam spend the next few minutes brutalizing Hase, keeping him from tagging out.
Haseís forehead leaves a mark on Vaderís arm after a lariat.

Eventually Hase manages a fiery comeback, and Mutoh and Hase regain the advantage, double-teaming Vader while keeping Bam Bam down outside. The tide shifts once again

As Bam Bam hits a double-DDT on the outside. Vader and Bam Bam press their advantage with a series of double-teams, and despite Haseís impressively resilient efforts, Vader gets the win after a chokeslam, with Mutoh only inches away from breaking up the pin.

This was a great match from start to finish, check it out if you can.

Next time Iíll be looking at El Samurai vs Jushin Liger, Pegasus Kid vs Tiger Mask, Keiji Mutoh vs Riki Choshu, and Shinya Hashimoto vs OZ The Great And Powerful.

Qoey
Jun 2, 2014


The farther along this series goes, the more I dig Hiroshi Hase. That tag match looks nuts as hell

Numero6
Oct 10, 2012


Qoey posted:

The farther along this series goes, the more I dig Hiroshi Hase. That tag match looks nuts as hell

Hase was so underrated, he was great as an underdog babyface and a sleazebag heel. He reminds me of Eddie Guerrero in that aspect.

here comes the spunk
Aug 12, 2006
Go Blue!

If I remember right, Hase was a booker for awhile and really could've made himself a huge star. Instead he kinda stayed at the top of the mid-card and put on fantastic matches

Takuan
May 6, 2007


If Mutoh, Chono, and Hashimoto are the Three Musketeers, Hase is D'Artagnan

Numero6 posted:

He reminds me of Eddie Guerrero in that aspect.

I think it's just the mustache/mullet combo making you think that.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Anybody remotely interesting is mad in some way or another.


Yeah, Hiroshi Hase is somebody I know next to nothing about but from the looks of it he was pretty great.

Plus, you know, it's possible he was just Cesaro before he lost all the hair.

remusclaw
Dec 8, 2009



Jerusalem posted:

Yeah, Hiroshi Hase is somebody I know next to nothing about but from the looks of it he was pretty great.

Plus, you know, it's possible he was just Cesaro before he lost all the hair.

Cesaro is a guy who just massively looks better less his hair than he did with it.

Takuan
May 6, 2007


Jushin Thunder Liger(c) vs El Samurai for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
May 17, 1992. Osaka-Jo Hall


El Samurai always struck me as a dumb name. Itís like if an American went to Germany and they called him ďDer CowboyĒ, then when he came back to the US, he still went by Der Cowboy.

This was a good 15 minute match stretched across nearly 30 minutes. The vast majority of the first 20 minutes of this match is nothing but dull submission work by El Samurai. Iíll give him credit, the submissions were more creative than usual, but every one just dragged on and on and it happened over and over again. When the match wasnít on the mat, it was pretty good. A lot of spots off of the top rope and/or onto the floor.



Now, the Russian Legsweep, I think we can all agree, is a dumb move. Thereís no way you can look at it and not see that the person doing the move is taking just as much impact as the person taking the move. El Samurai figured out how to make the move work by immediately transitioning into what looks like a seated octopus stretch, so the Russian Legsweep itself isnít important, itís just a means of getting his opponent into position for that submission.

The match starts to pick up steam after about the 20 minute mark, and while itís good, it doesnít make up for how boring the rest of the match is. Liger retains with a Shooting Star Press.



Pegasus Kid vs Tiger Mask
May 17, 1992. Osaka-Jo hall

This is Koji Kanemotoís first match under the Tiger Mask. At this stage, heís arguably still a Young Lion, as he hasnít been sent on excursion and finished dead last in this yearís Best of The Super Juniors, which wrapped up less than a month prior to this match.

Man, doesnít this look familiar.

Crowd is quiet at first, then come alive after Tiger Mask hits a string of Tiger Mask Signature Spots. Heís kinda clumsy doing the more acrobatic spots, but not terrible.


Though a few of the moves he executes quite well.

Heís significantly more comfortable and fluid at mat wrestling.

After a Tiger Suplex, Benoit puts his leg on the rope so subtly, I had to rewatch it to make sure he didnít forget to kick out.


Towards the end, Benoit tries to set Tiger Mask onto the top turnbuckle and he botches it worse than I thought you possibly could.

They brawl around a bit on the outside, then try again successfully. In the end Benoit wins by reversing a boston crab with a rollup.

It was a pretty decent match, but apparently the people in charge werenít impressed and Kanemoto wouldnít wear the Tiger Mask for over a year after this.

Shinya Hashimoto vs Oz The Great and Powerful

Iím gonna abstain on commenting about how dumb and ridiculous, the Oz gimmick was and about how itís things like this why WCW was pretty much doomed from itís first day. The profound stupidity behind turning The Wizard of Oz into a serious wrestling gimmick has been covered extensively elsewhere and considering this is just a one-off appearance, itís really relevant to talk about the nickel-carny chucklefucks that came up with it.




Kevin Nash, putting in effort and trying in a match. Iím shocked.
No, actually am shocked. Iím not being sarcastic. I didnít know there was any point in his career where he put this much genuine effort into an in-ring performance. The audience is actually quite impressed by Nash, and yíknow what? I am too.



Hashimoto donít give a gently caress tho, and wins with a jumping DDT.

This no poo poo may be the best Kevin Nash match Iíve ever seen. Itís not great, but itís pretty decent. Worth checking out if only for the novelty of seeing Kevin Nash put some effort into a match.

Vader vs Tony Halme
May 17, 1992. Osaka-Jo Hall


Itís always fun when Vader gets to play face in a match. Itís also a good sign the crowd just doesnít respect his opponent. Before the match starts, Vader plays to the crowd a little, getting a ďVADER!Ē chant. Halme raises his arms in a pose and is met with dead silence for a few seconds before the audience starts booing.

Itís a pretty simple brawl with a significant amount of stalling, but the audience is into it enough to make it a decent watch. The finish was pretty bad, with Halme rolling up Vader after he missed a sitout splash. It didnít fit the match at all, and made nobody look good.

Riki Choshu(c) vs Keiji Mutoh for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and I guess also the Greatest 18 Championship
May 17, 1992. Osaka-Jo Hall


Mutoh, thankfully, set the pace for this match, and even though the first 10 minutes were spent on the mat, they never dragged. Mutoh dominated most of the match, showing superior submission ability for the first stretch of the match. Choshu had a few sparks of offense, though.

The most agility Iíve ever seen out of Choshu


To begin the second phase, Choshu managed to evade the Moonsault. At this point, Mutoh started hitting Choshu with anything he could think of, dives, The Dragon Sleeper, The Octopus Stretch, even an awkward looking rana

But Choshu just wonít relent. Mutoh goes for a second Moonsault, misses Choshu completely, then goes for and hits a third, but Choshu gets his foot on the ropes.
Mutoh goes for the Space Roaring Elbow, but...

Choshu presses the advantage with a barrage of Lariats(and an ugly looking sliding DDT>, and though Mutoh tries to counter some of them, he canít withstand the onslaught, and Choshu retains the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. And the other belt too, I guess.

Just three months later, Mutoh(or more specifically, Muta) would challenge for the belt and win the IWGP Heavyweight Title, and the Greatest 18 Title, but I wonít get to see it because itís not on New Japan World. Shortly after winning the titles, Muta would abandon the Greatest 18 Title, because it was a terrible idea for a title and no one cared about it.

Next time: 序破急の蝶野!!!

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

Wait do they not have Liger vs Samurai from April 30th?! Because that's the freaking Liger vs Samurai match to see.

Takuan
May 6, 2007


Ditch posted:

Wait do they not have Liger vs Samurai from April 30th?! Because that's the freaking Liger vs Samurai match to see.

They do not have an April 30th match. The only match from April 30th they have is a Kuniaki Kobayashi vs Some Karate Guy match. There seems to be a lot of great, and significant, matches missing from NJPWorld. I think I've missed out on most of the major title changes since I've been watching.

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

In some cases, I understand. A lot of older matches that only aired on TV up to a certain point might not be in their archive anymore. But that match is pretty famous and I'm positive it has been on commercial releases.

I'll do a batch of "missing matches" for '91-'92 when you're done with the year.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Anybody remotely interesting is mad in some way or another.


Seeing Nash actually move and put in effort like that is a complete mindfuck. I don't think I've ever seen him do anything like that before

Takuan
May 6, 2007


Ditch posted:

In some cases, I understand. A lot of older matches that only aired on TV up to a certain point might not be in their archive anymore. But that match is pretty famous and I'm positive it has been on commercial releases.

I'll do a batch of "missing matches" for '91-'92 when you're done with the year.

I look forward to it.

Jerusalem posted:

Seeing Nash actually move and put in effort like that is a complete mindfuck. I don't think I've ever seen him do anything like that before

Right? It's even more jarring than seeing the high-flyin' Dice Morgan. Imagine what could've been if he'd, y'know, cared.


Vader & Bam Bam Bigelow(c) vs The Steiner Brothers for the IWGP Tag Team Championship
May 26, 1992. Live at the Budokan


This was everything I was expecting from these teams. The crowd was hype, too. More for the Steiners, but they were into Vader & Bam Bam as well.






It starts out with both teams going back and forth until Scott slips off the top rope, which lets Vader & Bam Bam take, and maintain the advantage for most of the rest of the match.

There was A fun spot where Bam Bam throws Scott out of the ring, Rick comes in, the referee is all distracted, Vader gets off the apron and goes up to Scott, and throws him back in the ring. He then poses while the crowd applauds his good sportsmanship.

The finish was mildly underwhelming, but not as bad as it could have been. Bam Bam picks up Rick for a slam and Rickís foot accidently hit the referee. Bam Bam gets a visual 5 count when he notices the ref isnít there. This distraction lets Rick hit a Belly-2-Belly Suplex for the win.

As much fun as this match was, thereís a bit of sadness to it. This is the last match with Bam Bam Bigelow on New Japan World. Shortly after this, he would leave New Japan to work for All Japan for a bit before returning to the WWF in the fall. When I started this I had no idea he worked for New Japan for so long. His large, brightly colored, unnervingly agile presence has been an unexpected, yet massively enjoyable aspect of my journey through New Japanís history.


He will be missed.


Masahiro Chono vs Shiro Koshinaka
July 31, 1992. Nakajima Sports Center


After feuding with the Karate Invaders mentioned previously, Shiro Koshinaka and Kuniyaki Kobayashi turned on New Japan, joining Masashi Aoyagi and Akitoshi Saito to form Heisei Ishingun. Kengo Kimura and The Great Kabuki would join as well.

Chono is working more heelish in this match than Iíve previously seen him- Choking Koshinaka in the ropes, flipping off the crowd, and generally being a vicious bastard. After a headbutt to the groin, I distinctly heard the referee call Chono a son of a bitch. I donít know if this is a part of a general heel turn, or if he has a specific beef with Koshinaka at this point.

So, you know how in Japanese wrestling, a wrestler will allow his opponent to hit a move just to show how tough he is, then the opponent will let the first wrestler to that same move to prove heís just as tough, if not tougher? Chono and Koshinaka do that in this match, but with superplexes.


Koshinaka gets slammed head first into the ring post, and boy howdy is he busted open.


Chono dominated most of the match, and despite a valiant effort, Koshinaka tapped out to the STF. A pretty decent, engaging match overall, Koshinaka is a great underdog face.

Post match sees Chono continue to beat up on Koshinaka, causing a bunch of his fellow wrestlers, including Keiji Mutoh, to come in to break it up.

Masahiro Chono vs Rick Rude for the G1 Climax Final & the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
August 12, 1992. Ryogoku Kokugikan


In late 1991 when Ric Flair left WCW, the NWA World Heavyweight Championship was made vacant, though Flair took the physical belt with him to Stanford. WCW quickly minted a new belt and I believe it was a this point the WCW World Heavyweight Championship and the NWA World Heavyweight Championship were officially declared two separate titles. And while the WCW World Heavyweight Championship had been active and held by the likes of Lex Luger, Sting, and Vader, the NWA World Heavyweight Championship had lain vacant until the 1992 G1 Climax.

At least I think thatís how it went down. Itís all very confusing.

Unlike most years, the 1992 G1 Climax would be a traditional, single elimination tournament. Also competing were Super Strong Machine, Shinya Hashimoto, The Barbarian, Terry Taylor, Hiroshi Hase, Jim Neidhart, Kensuke Sasuke, Scott Norton, Bam Bam Bigelow, Tony Halme, Barry Windham, Keiji Mutoh, Steve Austin, and Arn Anderson. It actually seems like itíd be a fun tournament to watch, but NJPWorld doesnít have any of it but the finals.

Because itís Rick Rude, I feel obliged:

Canít get a good image of the front, but itís a collage of him on one leg, and a chrome robot lady licking his chrochical region.

GuRINDOH~!


Even though the first half was kinda slow, this was a tremendous match, and significantly better than last yearís G1 Final. Rick Rudeís more exaggerated, almost cartoonish selling was a great contrast to the fairly realistic offense of Chono and even though most of the first half of the match was on the mat, Chono mixed things up enough, and Rude sold well enough, to keep it decently interesting.




The story of the match is Chono has Rude completely outclassed in terms of mat wrestling and submissions while Rudeís strength gives him the advantage standing up. The only time the match really dragged was when Rude had Chono in a Camel Clutch, though it did lead to this.

So, worth it.

The closing third of the match is full of reversals and nearfalls, with the electric Sumo Hall crowd going nuts for everything.



Even though heís in control for most of the closing stretch, Rude just canít put Chono away. Chono even kicks out at 1 after a flying knee drop, which I am lead to believe was his finisher at the time.


In the end, an exhausted Chono hits a flying shoulder to become a 2-time G1 Climax winner and the NWA World Heavyweight Champion.


A minor detail about this match that I really enjoyed was that you could see Dusty Rhodes in the front row and he looked legitimately into the match and was reacting to all the nearfalls and stuff.

Masahiro Chono(c) vs Stunning Steve Austin for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
September 23, 1992. Yokohama Arena


I havenít seen any ďStunningĒ Steve Austin matches, other than real short TV ones. The transition from ďStunningĒ to ďStone ColdĒ isnít as jarring as ďDiceĒ to ďDeadmanĒ, or ďOzĒ to ďBig LazyĒ, but itís still pretty significant. Itís easy to see why he as pegged as a future star, even then.
While it may not have been a big, epic match, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a rare technical style match, with most of it spent on the mat, but relatively little of it spent in tedious, grinding submissions. Very few big spots in this match, but the technical dueling more than made up for it. There was this though.

They make a great *thwak* sound when they hit the ground
Austin follows it up a little later with a poorly filmed clothesline off the apron, which is kinda interesting to see Steve Austin do.

Now, Iíve seen a clip of The Piledriver before, and it looked like a completely senseless bump that I couldnít imagine either person could think was a good idea. However now that I see the full sequence...

I can see how Austin wouldnítíve been able to be sure Chonoís head was in a safe spot. All the clips Iíve seen only show it from when Austin already has the piledriver set up. It also doesnít seem to be as severe of an injury as I believed it was. Iíd heard it was drastic enough that Chono had to change his wrestling style after it, but just from seeing this match, you wouldnít even know anything was wrong. He finished the match, winning with the STF, and only seemed to be slightly bothered by his neck. Chono would wrestle again just a couple weeks later, keeping a full schedule until at least the end of the year. I tried doing some research on this, but couldnít find anything authoritative, other than the fact that Austin wasnít aware of it even happening until years later. If anyone knows definitively how this affected Chono, Iíd like to know.


My next update will be the closing stretch of 1992, with the beginning of the WAR invasion. Shiro Koshinaka & Kengo Kimura vs Genichiru Tenryu & Koki Kitahara,Shiro, Kengo, & Masahi Aoyagi vs Tenryu, Kitahara, & Keishi Ishikawa , Shiro Koshinaka vs Genichiru Tenryu, and finally to cap the year off, the legendary ďMuta Scale MatchĒ The Great Muta vs Hiroshi Hase

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Anybody remotely interesting is mad in some way or another.


I have the opposite reaction, perhaps because I knew that Chono's neck was hosed up by it before first seeing it, but it looks absolutely brutal when he hits it.

Maybe Chono would have been okay if he'd gone straight in to have it looked at, the fact he kept on fighting for the rest of the year probably completely hosed it up.

Rarity
Oct 21, 2010

PONYTAR
PONYTAR
PONYTAR




Takuan posted:

Because itís Rick Rude, I feel obliged:

Canít get a good image of the front, but itís a collage of him on one leg, and a chrome robot lady licking his chrochical region.

GuRINDOH~!

God I love this sexy, ridiculous man

frankenfreak
Feb 16, 2007

Almanya önde!
Bir başka hedef!
Sonsuz şef Löw için zafer!


Is that Bill Watts right next to Dusty?

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

Chono's neck was perma-hosed by that piledriver and his athletic ability fell off quite a bit after that. Which made what happened to Austin at Summerslam '97 a sad kind of karma. Even the surgery Austin had (which facilitated a killer 2001 for him) wasn't enough.

IceAgeComing
Jan 29, 2013

pretty fucking embarrassing to watch

Japanese Wrestling archives tend to be pretty fragmented and itís not a guarantee that the wrestling company actually owns fair chunks of their stuff. I donít know all of the specifics for New Japan but there are a few; they donít have the rights to any TNA matches that they featured in the past or anything with Lesnar in it for example. It may be that former TV partners own bits of the archive and arenít willing to give them back for an amount that NJPW would pay - this is the case for All Japan definitely who own none of their pre-2000 archive because NTV, who were their TV partner of the time, elected to keep that stuff when they elected to move along with all bar four of the All Japan roster to NOAH, one of a few things they did that made AJPWís survival pretty remarkable (they also co-owned them and technically owned broadcast rights which they refused to sell to anyone else so they were television-less for a bit for example).

That might be why they donít have some of the big matches up although I think the fact that they arenít overly interested in Classic Content especially compared to the WWE on their Network is a bigger factor - I donít think theyíve added anything historic recently.

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

A historical example (holy poo poo this one is 28 years old which makes me feel ancient) is the February 10, 1990 Dome show. The NJ vs AJ crossover matches were ultra-heated, but AJ's contract with NTV in the context of native wrestlers made a hash of the footage for those matches. Vader vs Hansen was fine because Hansen wasn't under an NTV contract. I'll be interested to see how much of the NJ vs WAR and NJ vs UWFi content will come up.

Liger vs Samurai has zero issues of that sort, is definitely on file, was a tournament final, and was famously heated. They post a feaking Akitoshi Saito match from that card but not Liger vs Samurai, smh.

IceAgeComing
Jan 29, 2013

pretty fucking embarrassing to watch

I think bits of that is around on the internet somewhere but certainly nowhere official for those reasons. Actually an interesting story there: you had significant behind the scenes issues from those shows over finishes for obvious reasons and this meant that the next time they tried the joint Tokyo Dome show thing later that year New Japan said that they'd only do it if New Japan guys weren't involved in cross-over matches. That show also had the WWF involved which caused its own difficulties (apparently Vince and Baba argued over literally everything right down to what announcers and refs they'd use for certain matches, whether they'd allow photographers at ring side and the wrestlers to be interviewed and the placement of the ring; along with working out finishes to the cross-promotion matches and the fact that Baba was really annoyed that he'd been promoting the main event between Hogan and Gordy as a WWF Title match only for them to switch the belt to Warrior without giving them prior notice, especially since it was Warrior who, well, wasn't that well regarded in Japan) and soured the two on each other killing the idea of working together in the future which was being talked about at the time.

Its one of those shows that has some... bizarre match combinations: Jimmy Snuka/Tito Santana vs Kanta Kobashi/Masanobu Fuchi and Kabuki vs Greg Valentine are the two that comes to mind. Has some interesting combinations though: you have Bret Hart vs Tiger Mask II (only months before Misawa unmasks; nowhere near as good as you'd expect which is a shame); Tenryu/Savage which I remember being fun and the Hogan/Hansen main event (funny how its also Hansen who's in this main events; in this one it was meant to be Gordy but he apparently refused to job to Hogan to Hansen agreed to take his place) is actually pretty good: Hogan always worked harder in Japan and Hansen is very good. Later on the WWF ended up linking up with the SWS/WAR (Tenryu ran them; the SWS was him being poached from All Japan by a money guy who wanted to compete with All Japan and New Japan, it failed and is a very... weird promotion; a mix of both NJPW and AJPW styles with some WWF guys mixed in, they also an agreement with Fujiwara Gumi which was a shoot style promotion while technically means that Minoru Suzuki has worked a WWF event) which also has some weird teams and mixtures of people - my favourite is the random time that they had a team of Shawn Michaels and The Bezerker which sounds like someone pressing the random button.

A little off topic from the thread but hopefully its interesting to someone...

Takuan
May 6, 2007


I don't think there's much NJPW vs WAR stuff on NJPWorld, but I haven't looked that closely. And it's strange to me how they'll be missing a historically significant match, but then have other matches from that same show available. Case in point: They don't have the infamous Muta vs Hase match, but they have a match from later in that show.

IceAgeComing posted:

Kabuki vs Greg Valentine

Man, that's sounds terrible. I kinda want to see it. And yeah, that does look like Bill Watts next to Dusty. You don't see him as much, but Inoki is also in the front row.

Ditch
Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

Kabuki vs Valentine in like 1987/1988 would have owned because both of them know how to slug you in the mouth, but they got fat and slowed waaaaaay down by 1990.

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Shiki Dan
Oct 27, 2010

If ya can move ya toes ya back's fine


Takuan posted:


Man, that's sounds terrible. I kinda want to see it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZ0vW7-0-8c

Even better, Valentine is using his Rhythm and Blues gimmick.

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