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May 28, 2012




Valentine coming out to The Look makes up for the rest of the match, tbh


Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

Another fun part of those shows was young Shane doing some reffing.

May 6, 2007

In 1990 Genichiro Tenryu left All Japan to form his own company, Super World of Sports(which had a super-cool dinosaur themed logo). While this is a familiar story, the big difference this time was Tenryu found himself a money mark in the form of Japanís biggest manufacturer of eyeglasses, Megane Super. Meganes Superís relatively deep pockets allowed Tenryu to hire talent from All Japan, New Japan, and freelancers from around the world, and they even had a working relationship with the WWF. As has been mentioned by others, this led to some interesting cards and team-ups.

SWSís financial backing would run dry by mid-1992, following an overall recession in Japanís economy. Shortly after, Tenryu would form WAR, a.k.a. Wrestle And Romance, which later changed to Wrestle Association R. As is the way of things, WAR and NJPW engaged in an interpromotional feud. This one gets points for originality, as instead of the smaller company invading New Japan, the story is Shiro Koshinakaís Heisei Ishingun invaded WAR in the month prior to the next match.

Shiro Koshinaka & Kengo Kimura vs Genichiro Tenryu & Koki Kitahara
October 23, 1992. Korakuen Hall

The video starts with a wild brawl and a rabid crowd

It quickly becomes apparent that this video is not from a New Japan show, but from a WAR show. Even though they were invaders, Heisei Ishingun had a pretty good amount of support from the audience(also the first and probably last time Iíll hear a ďKen-GO!Ē chant from a crowd).

This was reminiscent of the best of the UWF matches, or the NJPW/NOAH tag match a couple years ago. Even though itís a little formulaic, this was a wild and chaotic match with a crowd that was on their feet and very vocal the whole time. Every time the match moved outside the ring it instantly turned to chaos, with members of both factions brawling into the crowd. Wild is the best word I can think of to describe this whole match. There was blood, chairs, tables, garbage getting thrown in the ring, and at one point Tenryu almost gets into a fight with Masa Saito, whoís sitting at the announcing table.

Kitaraha spent most of the match getting dismantled by Koshinaka and Kimura with Tenryu getting in occasionally to clean house. Everybody played their role well, Koshinaka and Kimura were vicious, Tenryu looked like a total badass, Kitahara put up a valiant resistance. There was a fun moment when Tenryu casually walks over to Heisei Ishingunís side of the apron to try to threaten them.

I mean, it backfired and let Ishingun double team Kitahara while the ref was distracted, but hey.

The first hot tag of the match Tenryu got so fired up he hit a lariat on Koshinaka then flew clear out of the ring.

And credit to Kengo Kimura. This is hands down the best performance Iíve seen from him since I started this project. Heís come a long way from being Fujinamiís significantly less interesting tag partner.

This may very well be the loudest and rowdiest Iíve ever heard a Korakuen Hall crowd be, especially during the end. Tenryu wins with a Powerbomb on Koshinaka. Post match has Tenryu clearing the invaders from the ring before having a verbal confrontation with Masa Saito.

This was a hell of a spectacle, and definitely worth checking out.
Wait a minute, though. Thereís something about the referee in this match...

He looks familiar but I canít quite place him.

Wait a minuteÖ.

We have our first appearance of Red Shoes!

Shiro Koshinaka, Kengo Kimura & Masahi Aoyagi vs Genichiro Tenryu, Koki Kitahara, & Keishi Ishikawa
November 23, 1992. Ryogoku Kokugikan

I would have liked this better had I not seen the previous match. It was good, but not as good as the last match. The crowd was lively and into it, but nowhere near the level of the Korakuen Hall fans, and there was no out-of-ring action at all. The first segment was pretty much dudes taking turns chopping and kicking each other, and that was cool, the middle kinda dragged with Kitahara playing the face-in-peril, though it didnít really work since he wasnít really a face in this match, and the end had some pretty good nearfalls, with Tenryu withstanding a series of double and triple team attacks from Heisei Ishingun. But as a whole it pales in comparison to the last match.

Though, there was this:

Not quite as good as Hase, but close.

BTW, Tenryu has a motherfucker of an elbow drop.

I donít know why more people donít talk about this.

Tenryu wins with Powerbomb on Kimura. Post match has Tenryu calling out Riki Choshu, who seems to accept, with Antonio Inoki mediating.

Shiro Koshinaka vs Genichiro Tenryu
December 14, 1992. Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium

I believe this is the blowoff match for the WAR/Heisei Ishingun feud.

The match starts with a bang as Koshinaka attacks Tenryu during the introductions. Koshinaka dominates during the first half of the match, having Tenryu, as they say, well scouted.

Koshinaka has an answer for nearly everything Tenryu tries in this phase of the match, even blocking a DDT bracing with his hands and knees.

I was going to say they spent too long in an arm submission, but then I looked and it went on for significantly longer than I thought it did, so I guess that means they did it well.

The momentum of the match shifts when Tenryu escapes an arm lock with a pretty brutal looking eye gouge and proceeds to start chopping and kicking the poo poo out of Koshinaka. To his credit, Koshinaka never backs down, and tries his damnedest to keep on the offensive.

But despite his best efforts

And some great reversals and nearfalls in the home stretch.

It just wasnít enough.

This was a thoroughly great match, well worth watching if you can.

The Great Muta vs Hiroshi Hase
December 14, 1992. Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium

For those what donít know, there used to be this thing called The Muta Scale. It was a comparative measurement of how egregiously someone in a match was bleeding. Itís not really used much anymore since deathmatch wrestling became so commonly seen and raised the bar for gruesome bloodloss in a performance so high that nothing short of dismemberment is truly shocking anymore, but for a good while, this was the match that all other blade jobs were compared to. For some weird reason itís not on New Japan World, but it is on YouTube. The video quality is pretty bad, so I canít take images or gifs from it, but hey, you can just go watch it yourself.

The opening moments to this match are a stark contrast from the first few minutes of their last match, with Hase being very aggressive, dropkicking Muta during his intro, slamming him into a table on the outside, and generally being quite dominant and heelish. Iím not sure if Hase is officially a heel at this point, but heís sure acting like it. Those that compare him to Eddie Guerrero have further evidence as he does Eddieís twisting-heel to the face spot, then reclines in the center of the ring as Muta composes himself on the outside. Less than 10 minutes in, and half of Mutaís face paint has been scraped off by the sole of Haseís boot. When Muta gains control of the match, he responds in similarly vicious fashion, dropping Hase knee-first on the top rope and guard rail, bulldogging him onto the exposed floor, and hitting a Space Roaring Elbow on the outside that probably looked really cool but there were too many photographers in the way for the cameras to catch it.

And then comes the spike. Muta brings a foot long metal spike into the ring, which is quickly seized by Hase. The next time the camera shows Mutaís face blood is streaming out of his forehead. Hase then goes to repeatedly bite Mutaís forehead, leaving his chin and chest a bloody mess. After a few minutes Hase is almost as blood covered as he was during his last match with Muta, only, yíknow, this time itís not his own blood.

When Hase pulls Muta out of the corner and sets him up for a piledriver, you can see Muta leave a trail of blood, that quickly turns into a puddle as Hase holds him up for the move. A little later, as heís starting to mount a comeback, Muta goes for the Moonsault, misses, and leaves a faceprint in the mat.

The last few minutes are an engaging series of desperate moves followed by even more desperate kickouts as both men give it their all, with Muta eventually finishing the job with the Moonsault. Post match sees Masahiro Chono coming out to challenge Muta for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at the Tokyo Dome.

Now, as far as blade jobs in main-ish-stream pro wrestling go, there have been worse since this match, and there were arguably worse before, but itís still pretty goddamn gruesome. Though what makes this special is how well the match is built around it. Itís not just an unfortunate accident where Muta got gigged too deeply, but was a conscientious storytelling device that was used by both men, to show Haseís savagery and Mutaís invincible spirit.

This was a great match, all things considered, and since itís on YouTube thereís no reason not to check it out. Hiroshi Hase is such an underrated talent from this era and he really shines in this match, even if heís bringing a level of heelishness I havenít previously seen from him.

And thatís all for 1992. 1993 is a light year in terms of NJPWorld content, though there looks to be some good and interesting stuff ahead. First up is the annual January 4th Tokyo Dome show, which is also the third and final WCW/NJPW Supershow, which on paper looks like it could be the best of the three. In no particular order, Sting vs Hiroshi Hase, The Great Muta vs Masahiro Chono in a title vs title match, The Hell Raisers vs The Steiner Brothers, and the NJPWorld debut of one of my all-time favorites, Ultimo Dragon vs Jushin Thunder Liger.

Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

I legit thought that the 10/23 card was New Japan, but sure enough it was WAR and NJ taped/broadcast it.

The fact that the match exists in that quality makes me very happy. All we had before was a pretty poor TV recording. It owns a whole lot.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

That backwards jumping Elbow Drop is pretty great, and it looks like by turning in midair there isn't really an issue with not being able to see, I wonder why it isn't really used by anyone any more? Was it more dangerous/difficult to pull off than it looked?

May 6, 2007

In other matches, it looks like more often than not he lands with the side of his body on his opponents chest, so, yeah, I can imagine that being pretty unpleasant for the person taking it if his aim is off.

May 16, 2012

Third and final supershow, you say. So does NJPW World not have Collision in Korea? WWE Network doesn't.

May 6, 2007

I'm referring to the shows specifically named "WCW/New Japan Supershow," of which the one coming up is the last of. It looks like there are 2 matches from the North Korea show, Flair vs Inoki, and a joshi match of all things. However the entire show is, for now at least, up on youtube.

Jun 2, 2014

Takuan posted:

And then comes the spike. Muta brings a foot long metal spike into the ring, which is quickly seized by Hase. The next time the camera shows Mutaís face blood is streaming out of his forehead. Hase then goes to repeatedly bite Mutaís forehead, leaving his chin and chest a bloody mess. After a few minutes Hase is almost as blood covered as he was during his last match with Muta, only, yíknow, this time itís not his own blood.

Jesus, you weren't kidding. That's crazy to see, even now

Nov 23, 2006

I joined the new sensation, the #RXT REVOLUTION~!

he knows...

i've never ever been comfortable with gory muta matches
i prefer my deathmatch violence cartoonish and bloodless, ie. people being hit on the head with cookie sheets

May 6, 2007

For the 1993 January 4 Tokyo Dome show, New Japan would once again partner with WCW. It seems as though NJPWís relationship with WCW was waning, or maybe itís just because WCW in general was at a low point, because only 5 of the 10 matches feature WCW talent. The other 5 matches feature New Japan stars taking on representatives from WAR.

Match 1: Akira Nogami, Takauyuki Iizuka & El Samurai vs Shinya Hirai, Koki Kitahara & Masao Orihara
NJPW vs WAR Opening Battle

Iím at a loss as to how this match wound up on MrLariatoís list of Ďrecommendedí matches. There nothing really noteworthy or significant about this match at all. I mean, I guess Koki Kitahara doing a moonsault off the apron was kinda impressive for the time. It didnít even have the kind of angry intensity these inter-company tag matches can sometimes have. The most interesting thing about this match is supposedly how this match full of Japanese curtain-jerkers wound up as the semi-main event on the American broadcast of the show, which Iíll get in to later.

Match 2: Heisei Ishingun vs The Blond OutlawsRaging Staff
Yeah, I think Iím gonna take a pass on this one.

Match 3: Ultimo Dragon(c) vs Jushin Thunder Liger for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship

When we last saw the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, it was around the waist of Jushin Thunder Liger. He lost the title to El Samurai over the summer(In a match I didnít get to see), who then lost it to WAR representative Ultimo Dragon in November(In another match I didnít get to see). Ultimo Dragon was one of my all-time favorites from WCW and Iím excited to finally see him in this project. My third ever internet wrestling tape purchase from Highspots was a Best of Ultimo Dragon compilation. For those wondering, my first purchase was the IWA Japan: King of the Deathmatch tape. Iíll talk about my second next year.

This match features the rare, 1-in-64 Blue Chase Variant of Jushin Liger.

This match did not disappoint. Well, OK, it disappointed a little.

Poor guy slipped on the ropes twice. But other than that, this match was extremely my poo poo. It started with a dazzling opening sprint, followed by quick and creative submission work by Liger until about the halfway point then the whole last half of the match was just awesomeness after awesomeness.

After 20 spectacular minutes, Liger regains the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship with a top-rope Frankensteiner.

Match 4: Ron Simmons vs Tony Halme
Hard pass.

Match 5: Sting vs Hiroshi Hase
The Battle of the Burning Stars

I am so disappointed. This could have been, and should have been, a much better match than what it was. This match was introduced as ďThe Battle of the Burning StarsĒ and thatís what it should have been. Somehow or another, it ended up being a plodding, basic match that went on for 5 minutes too long and wouldíve been considered mediocre as a TV main event at the time. I know Sting wasnít the best worker in the world, but he was capable of so much more than this, and itís probably the dullest performance by Hase Iíve seen so far. Compounding everything wrong with this match is that for the American Pay-Per-View audience, this was the main event.

A shame. An absolute shame.

Match 6: Masa Saito & Shinya Hashimoto vs Scott Norton & Dusty Rhodes, Jr.
Succeed To Fighting-Spirit Tag-Match

Poor Hashimoto. The other two Musketeers get a high-profile title-vs-title match, even Hase got an American Pay-Per-View Main Event against one of WCWís top stars, and Shinya Hashimoto is stuck in a dull midcard tag match with two barely mobile guys and Dustin Rhodes. The only noteworthy thing in this match was when Dustin somehow took a DDT with a back bump.

At least Hashimoto got the win in this meaningless waste time.

This week has been busier than anticipated, so Iím only doing half the show for now. Iím making an effort at trying to keep a regularish schedule. So far this show has been pretty disappointing, hopefully the next four matches, The Great Muta vs Masahiro Chono, The Hell Raisers vs The Steiner Brothers, Tatsumi Fujinami vs Takashi Ishikawa, and Riki Choshu vs Genichiro Tenryu.
For those without New Japan World, the American Version of the show is up on Youtube.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

That Liger/Ultimo Dragon match looks like the bees knees

Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

1991-1992 bonus content

Vader vs Hashimoto, 7/19/91. Context: Vader sure worked stiff.

Vader vs Mutoh, G-1 '91, handheld. Context: It is a freaking tragedy this wasn't taped, otherwise it would be super famous.

Liger vs Samurai, Super Juniors '92 final. Context: Maybe Samurai's career bout.

Hase vs Sasaki, 6/26/92. Context: Sasaki returns from injury against his long-time tag partner, and for some reason brings the HATE.

Liger & Kanemoto vs Ultimo & Orihara, 12/11/92. Lead-in to the dome match, very good stuff.

May 6, 2007

The first half of the final WCW/NJPW Super Show was pretty underwhelming, hopefully the second half will make up for it.

Match 7: The Great Muta(c) vs Masahiro Chono(c) for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

Speaking of underwhelming, thatís about the best word I can think of for this match. The first half was just kind of dull and even when they picked up the pace for the second half, they really didnít pick things up that much. I didnít really pick up on any semblance of a story and through the whole match it felt like there was a lot of downtime between spots. There was a bit fairly early on where Muta goes to the outside and pulls out what the announcers call an ice pick, but looks to me like a kind of pointy wrench. Tiger Hattori immediately takes it and throws it away. Seemed kinda pointless.

They did make good use of the elevated ramp.

But overall I really wasnít engaged in this match. Their G1 match I covered previously was loads better, as flawed as it was. Muta would win the match, and the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, with 2 Moonsaults in a row.

This would arguably be the last high-profile NWA Heavyweight Championship match. Muta would lose the title a month later to Barry Windham in WCW in front of a crowd 1/10th the size of the Tokyo Dome crowd, who would then lose the belt to Ric Flair in the summer. A month later WCW would end their relationship with the NWA. After that, the NWA title was so devalued, a WWF reject in a Philadelphia bingo hall didnít even want it.

Match 8: The Hellraisers(c) vs The Steiner Brothers for the IWGP World Tag Team Championship

The last time we saw the Steiners, they won the IWGP Tag belts from Bam Bam Bigelow and Vader. They held on to the belts until November, losing them to Tony Halme and Scott Norton of all people. Halme and Norton would lose the belts in their first defense against The Hellraisers.

The Hellraisers consist of Hawk, of the Road Warriors, who fled the WWF in 1992 over creative differences(that I canít wait to read about over in Rarityís WWF PPV thread) and Kensuke ďPower WarriorĒ Sasaki.

This is the best match of the show so far, but still not that great. I blame Hawk and SasakiPower Warrior. They really didnít give the Steiners much to work with.

The Steiners were great, as always.

Hawk does an innovative counter to the boston crab-Doing pushups.

The match ended in a double count out from an outside of the ring Doomsday Device.

The crowd was pretty pissed. Post match saw both teams shaking hand and generally being friendly with each other, which was kinda nice to see.

Iíve read conflicting stories about this match. Wikipedia says this match was intended to be apart of the US broadcast, but between the recording in January and the broadcast in March, the Steiners notified WCW that they would be leaving, so WCW management decided to remove this match and replace it with the NJWP vs WAR multi-man tag from earlier. However, Iíve also read that the Steiners were in WWF by December, and were still allowed to work in Japan while with the WWF, so... Į\_(ツ)_/Į

Match 9: Tatsumi Fujinami vs Takashi Ishikawa

Takashi Ishikawa was a career midcarder for All Japan who initially retired in 1988. He returned in 1990 to join Tenryu in Super World of Sports, and then WAR. I believe he was the booker for both promotions, while they were around.

Too much of this match was spent in rest holds. When they werenít in a rest hold, it was a pretty good execution of the standard dominant heel/fiery face match archetype. It started out with a bang with both guys going for dives within the two minutes.

But then there was a two minute headlock. And that was the pattern of the match, a minute of action, two minutes holds.

This part was pretty cool though:

It was mercifully short, and ended with Fujinami overcoming two powerbombs to win with the Dragon Sleeper.

Match 10: Riki Choshu vs Genichiro Tenryu
Man, I bet nobody in 1988 wouldíve predicted that 5 years later, these two would be main eventing New Japanís biggest show of the year.

This ended up being the best match on the show, and one of the overall stiffest matches Iíve ever seen. These two beat the gently caress out of each other, and it was wonderful. Iím not the biggest fan of Riki Choshu, but I feel like heís much better as a brawler than a traditional wrestler, and thatís the Choshu that was on display in this match
Choshu legit stomps Tenryuís face in.

Tenryru starts bleeding from his eyebrow and it looks like that whole side of his face is abrased and swollen.

I tried to do gifs of some of the chops and lariats, but they donít do them justice.

Looks like it caught him in the forehead. Possibly intentionally. That point at the end kinda makes me feel like that mightíve been a receipt.

This gif doesnít truly capture the amount of spit and sweat that flew up from this lariat.

Even though Choshu dominates most of the match, Tenryu wins in the end after two powerbombs. A great match, worth looking up. Afterwards the video shows Antonio Inoki get in the ring and talk for a good 5 minutes. I donít know what he said, but Tenryu shook his hand twice during the promo.

So thatís the third and final WCW/NJPW Supershow, that was really way more about NJPW and WAR than it was WCW. While it wasnít overall as bad as previous shows, it didnít have any stand-out matches other than the main event. Which is especially disappointing considering how good some of the matches could have been(Especially Sting vs Hase).

Next time, Iíll be watching All Those Matches Ditch Posted

Jun 2, 2014

Tenryu's falling-backwards elbow drop, man. Something about it is just silly and great at the same time. It's like, if Robin Williams was ever in a pro wrestling movie, that would be something he'd do.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

It looked pretty bad this time around I thought, though like Takuan said it may have been intentionally aimed at hitting him to get a receipt so didn't look as smooth as usual.

May 1, 2007

Grimey Drawer

The main thing I associate with Tenryu's backwards elbow drop is how many random people got it in the early AKI/THQ WCW games.

El Gallinero Gros
Mar 17, 2010

tzirean posted:

The main thing I associate with Tenryu's backwards elbow drop is how many random people got it in the early AKI/THQ WCW games.

It seemed to be a default move if the person didn't really possess top rope offence

Mar 6, 2007

If you're gonna do it, do it with ~*~Axefaire~*~

Qoey posted:

Tenryu's falling-backwards elbow drop, man. Something about it is just silly and great at the same time. It's like, if Robin Williams was ever in a pro wrestling movie, that would be something he'd do.

he'd probably do a hangman's neckbreaker actually

May 6, 2007

Shinya Hashimoto vs Vader
July 19, 1991. Nakajima Sports Center

I canít tell if Shinya Hashimoto is being booked poorly, or if itís just that what theyíve chosen to show on NJPWorld gives a poor picture of what he was doing at the time. I havenít often seen him in a spot where he can showcase how good he can be. While Muto and Chono are getting these great matches with great opponents, Hashimoto has been stuck either in a tag team with the barely functional Masa Saito, or in matches with either untrained or untalented ďlegitimateĒ opponents(his series of worked-shoot ďDifferent Style MatchesĒ, Tony Halme). Even ďlowerĒ guys like Hase and Koshinaka have had a better showing on New Japan World.

This match was exactly what Iíve been wanting to see of Hashimoto. He looks great both in how he can stand up and go toe-to-toe with the bigger man, but how well he exploits his opponents weakness(My memory is kinda fuzzy on the subject, but I think this was during the period when Vaderís left arm was his vulnerable spot.)

From the bell they just start smacking the poo poo out of each other and itís magical. Hashimoto has a bloody nose within the first few minutes.

Hashimoto showed off his toughness, viciousness, and submission ability as he repeatedly went after Vaderís bad arm.

There was this, though, which was pretty bad on both ends:

But other than that this was a very good match.
Vader does a hair-pull-assisted bodyslam, which Iíve never seen, and looked legit painful.

Vader wins in the end with a big splash(Though Hashimoto kicks out at 3.1).

Vader vs Keiji Mutoh
G1 Climax A-Block Match
August 10, 1991. Ryogoku Kokugikan

On a side note, I know how I said the G1 Climax Final match between Mutoh and Chono wasnít that great, but in researching this match, I found out that the night of the G1 Final, Chono also wrestled a 15 minute match with Hashimoto to determine the B-Block winner. So that helps put that match in a better context.

God bless the random crowd person who filmed this match then got it into the tape trading rotation. This was a great match and itís a shame itís not available as a proper release. I think matches filmed like this are kinda interesting to see, because it more accurately simulates the live experience of watching a wrestling show. My one criticism is that it felt like they spent a little too much time in the beginning stalling, considering how short the match was. Other than that, both guys are at their best in this match. Vader comes across as an absolute monster, and Mutoh is the embodiment of Fighting Spirit. Vader is dominant, Mutoh is indomitable. In the end, after taking a significant beating through most of the match, Mutoh wins with a crossbody reversed into a powerslam reversed into a rollup. Itís well done in that it doesnít come across as a fluke, it comes across as Mutoh being a better wrestler. After the pinfall, fans throw seat cushions into the ring in celebration. Man, I wish that still was a thing.

Watch this match, especially if youíve been following along, but donít have NJPWorld and want to see Vader and Keiji Mutoh at their best.

Jushin Thunder Liger vs El Samurai
1992 Top of The Super Juniors Final
April 30, 1992. Ryogoku Kokugikan

NJPWorlds coverage of the annual Spring Junior Heavyweight tournament is kinda spotty, which is a huge shame. I mean, I understand not caring about the Winter Tag League, half the time the winners of that donít even care, but thereís no excuse not to have at least the finals of the Top/Best of the Super Juniors every year.

This video is just barely low-quality enough I canít make good gifs from it.

Earlier in the night, Liger wrestled a 15 minute match with Norio Honaga, and it shows. El Samurai quickly gains the upper hand and keeps it through the early portion of the match and Liger is practically dead on his feet. In the opening few minutes, El Samurai bludgeons Liger repeatedly with a beer bottle. Liger inexplicably has a vision of 7 years in the future.

A well-time shotei knocks El Samurai down and Liger is pissed. He starts just straight up punching Samurai in the head, suplexes him to the outside, then hits a powerbomb onto the exposed Sumo Hall floor. What sucks is, you canít see this extraordinarily dangerous move because of the swarm of photographers blocking the TV cameras. Ligers assault continues for several more minutes, with Liger seemingly throwing every high-impact move he can think of at Samurai, and even rips his mask apart. Eventually, Liger changes gears and starts trying to rip Samuraiís arm apart. El Samurai, to his credit, does a magnificent job of selling Ligerís arm submissions.

Samurai manages to shift things back into his favor after ducking a lariat and hitting a flying forearm of his own. During his turn on offence he hits what may very well be the best neckbreaker Iíve ever seen.
The closing third has both men hitting the other with the biggest moves they can think of to secure the victory. Liger wins with a top-rope Frankensteiner, though heís so exhausted he just kinda flops backwards onto El Samurai to cover him.

Meltzer gave this match the coveted 5-Stars, and I personally wouldnít rate it quite that high. It was still really good, though, and had a different vibe for most of it than the average Junior Heavyweight match.

Hiroshi Hase vs Kensuke Sasaki
June 26, 1992. Live at the Budokan

Interesting note: This was the match immediately before The Steiners vs Bam Bam/Vader match I reviewed previously. And the match before this one is El Samurai beating Jushin Liger for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title.

Ditch says Sasaki brings the hate in this one and, yeah, man, itís not just Sasaki. They really go at each other in this one, even having one of the most violent and intense opening lockups Iíve ever seen.

Something I thought was cool that I donít think Iíve ever seen, was Sasaki had Hase in a rear naked choke, and Hase was signaling to the referee that it was an actual choke, causing the referee to do a 5-count to make Sasaki let go.

I donít really have a whole lot to say about this one, other than that itís a pretty good match and if you wanna see two dudes beating the gently caress out of each other for about 15 minutes

This is the match for you.

Hase wins with the Northern Lights Suplex, then cuts an angry promo on Sasaki that I really wish I understood.

Jushin Thunder Liger & Koji Kanemoto vs Ultimo Dragon & Masao Orihara
December 11, 1992. Nagoya Rainbow Hall

There seems to be more beef between Kanemoto and Orihara than Liger and Dragon. Kanemoto refuses to shake Oriharaís hand pre-match, and the crowd has a big reaction when they both tag in. They generally behave with more animosity and disrespect toward each other while Liger and Dragon have more of a respectful rivalry going on.

As a whole, I feel this is the weakest match of the set. Up until the last 5 minutes, it was decent, but nothing particularly special. The crowd was really into it, which helped, but it still felt like just another match.
The last few minutes was a frantic series of big spots, near falls, and dramatic pin breaks with the crowd on their feet the whole time. Though I didnít feel it was spectacular enough to elevate the whole match.

There was a pretty cool sequence where Dragon is thrown out of the ring, then Kanemoto hits a plancha on him, then Orihara hits a moonsault on Kanemoto, then Liger hits a diving senton on Orihara.

Then there was this.

Thanks again to Ditch for providing these videos. I really appreciate you filling in some of the gaps in NJPWorldís archives. Next time Iíll be watching The Hell Raisers vs Masahiro Chono & Hiroshi Hase, Tatsumi Fujinami vs The Great Kabuki, and Keiji Mutoh, Shinya Hashimoto, & Akira Nogami vs Genichiro Tenryu, Ashura Hara, & Takashishi Ishikawa

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Takuan posted:

After the pinfall, fans throw seat cushions into the ring in celebration. Man, I wish that still was a thing.

A couple of years back when Suzuki-Gun was on hiatus in NOAH, apparently the fans set fire to seat cushions and were throwing them at the ring after some Suzuki-Gun interference? If I recall correctly people at the time reported that they weren't so much mad as they just thought it would be a cool throwback thing to do.

Oh Japan

Jun 2, 2014

MotU posted:

he'd probably do a hangman's neckbreaker actually

I kept trying to come up with something witty to respond to this, but every time I see your reply I just feel really sad.

Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

Liger vs Samurai definitely isn't legit 5-stars, but then I think a huge swath of Meltzer 5-star matches don't hold up. Still a good time though.

May 6, 2007

This thread isn't dead, it was just resting while New Japan World had another wave of severe archive streaming problems.

The Hell Raisers vs Masahiro Chono & Hiroshi Hase
February 5, 1993. Nakajima Sports Center

This is another match that Iím not sure how it landed on the ďrecommended listĒ because of how average it is. Itís fine, but itís not anything worth going out of your way to see.

There still seems to be some enmity between Hase and Sasaki Power Warrior, as Sasaki Power Warrior challenges him to tag in and the audience has a decent reaction when they first square off.

It was pretty cool seeing Chono thoroughly have an advantage over Hawk in mat wrestling ability. Chono actually had Hawkís number throughout the match. Towards the end, Hawk no-sold the Yakuza Kick(was it even called that at this point?) and Chono hit him with two more to bring him down. Hawk popped back up and Chono hit him with a fourth kick, staggering him. Then this happened.

The Hell Raisers win shortly afterwards with the half-assed version of the Doomsday Device they do that I canít find the official name for.

Tatsumi Fujinami vs The Great Kabuki
February 5, 1993. Nakajima Sports Center

This match wasnít as bad as I thought it was going to be, but it still wasnít anywhere near good.

Great Kabuki honestly looked better when he showed up in the New Japan Rumble a couple years ago. He was surprisingly spry in the opening few minutes, keeping pace with Fujinami, and he still had a pretty nice back kick. Other than that, this match was mostly brawling and rest holds.

The most interesting part of the match is Riki Choshu coming down to ringside before the match properly starts. He seemingly just wants a good view of the match, but as things go on, he repeatedly distracts Fujinami, allowing Kabuki to gain the advantage.

Towards the end of the match, a conflict between Choshu and others at ringside gets the referees attention, letting Kabuki deploy the Deadly Poison Mist. Deadly Poison Mist isnít enough to keep Fujinami down, though. Blinded and in immense pain, he still kicks out of every move Kabuki tries and gets the win with a Victory Roll.

Which, I found out while trying to confirm thatís what that move is called, is also the name of a 1940ís womenís hair style.

Keiji Mutoh, Shinya Hashimoto, & Akira Nogami vs Genichiro Tenryu, Ashura Hara, & Takashishi Ishikawa
February 5, 1993. Nakajima Sports Center

Tenryuís partners didnít add much to the match, and Nogami was mostly there to get beat up by the WAR guys, but when Tenryu and Hashimoto or Mutoh were in the ring, it was pretty fun. I donít see as much Shinya Hashimoto as I would like in this project, so I was delighted that this match opened with him kicking the poo poo out of Tenryu.

There was a pretty awesome sequence in the middle where Tenryu ducks a spinning heel kick from Hashimoto but Mutoh follows up with a bulldog then Hashimoto gets him with the kick.
Then the New Japan team throws an elbow drop party

The last third of the match was mostly Nogami getting beat up by, then beating up Tenryuís old man friends before Tenryu put him down to allow Ashura Hara(I think) to get the pin.

Afterwards is a good old fashioned pull-apart brawl.

It took me 3 weeks to watch 2 matches thanks to New Japans terrible archive performance. Hopefully whatever the problem their streaming archives had is fixed for good and I can keep doing this in a timely manner.

Next time: Shinya Hashimoto vs Hiromichi Fuyuki, The Great Muta vs Hulk Hogan, Fujinami & Inoki vs Tenryu & Choshu, and The Great Muta vs The Great Kabuki.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Tenryu NOT being the broken down old man in the match is a bit of a head-trip nowadays.

Takuan posted:

The Great Muta vs Hulk Hogan

Oh poo poo!

May 6, 2007

New Japan finally got their archive streaming working(for the moment at least) so I can finally continue on with this thing.

Shinya Hashimoto vs Hiromichi Fuyuki
March 23, 1993. Tokyo Gymnasium

Man, I spend weeks trying to watch this match on an almost daily basis, waiting for New Japanís archives to unfuck themselves, and the match ends up being pretty bad.

Hiromichi Fuyuki was a multiple tag champion in All Japan(with Toshiaki Kawada) who followed Tenryu when he left to form SWS and at this point was WARís top heel.

There was a lot of stalling and a lot of rest holds. When Hashimoto got to Hashimoto it was OK

But other than that it was pretty bad.

In the next year or two Hiromichi Fuyuki would change his name to Kodo Fuyuki and become head booker of FMW.

Hulk Hogan vs The Great Muta
May 3, 1993. Fukuoka Dome.

After spending most of 1992 on leave from the WWF due to the legendary steroid scandal, Hulk Hogan returned in February 1993 and at Wrestlemania IX won the WWF title in one of the most bullshit, poorly received, poorly remembered finishes in Wrestlemania history. This is Hulks only singles match between winning the title at Wrestlemania and dropping the title to Yokozuna at King of the Ring.

Hereís some of them gifs you see used as evidence that Hulk Hogan is actually a good wrestler in Japan. This and a half-assed enzuigiri are the only out of the ordinary things he did all match.

After the armbar, Muta crawls out to the ramp and chills out for a bit.

The early goings of the match are a pretty even affair between Hulk and Muta. Muta rolls to the outside, flips the ring apron open, then crawls under the ring, comes out the other side, then gets back in the ring becauseÖ mind games, I guess? Itís pretty inexplicable.

Pretty soon things spill back outside with Hogan taking the advantage, including some fairly impressive suplexes and backdrops on the floor mats. Muta is almost counted out, but he rolls into the ring at 19, then immediately rolls back out. Muta then takes the bell hammer and jabs Hogan in the head with it. Iím seeing strong influences of both Naito and Taichi in this match.

This was so dumb it circled back around into being pretty cool.

This running(and running[and running]) lariat only serves to angry up Hogan(or you could say ďHulkĒ him out). Mutaís having none of it as he reverses an irish whip then hits the signature spot trifecta of the Space Roaring Elbow, Rib Breaker, and Moonsault with Hogan kicking out at 2. Muta goes for another Moonsault for another kickout at 2. Then this happens:

Muta brings Hulk back to the ring and tries to bring a chair with him. Tiger Hattori pulls the chair away giving Hogan the opportunity to hit the Axe Bomber, but to the shock of everyone(including me) Muta kicks out. Hogan goes for the chair, Muta hits the poison mist, Hogan dodges a top-rope dropkick, Big Leg Drop, Muta kicks out again! Not gonna lie, I marked out a little at this.

Hogan throws Muta to the ropes for a Big Boot, then another Axe Bomber for the win. Ah well.

From what Iíve heard, this match was supposed to be a title vs title match with Hogan winning the IWGP Title, but in the lead up to this match he referred to his WWF Title as ďa toyĒ in order to put over the IWGP Title. This made people at New Japan think he would do the same thing to their title if he won it which, knowing Hogan, he definitely would.

So hey those gifs of Hogan Ďactually wrestlingí I posted earlier. They look kinda familiar donít they?

These are from 1985(and page 1 of this very thread!)
Never let anybody fool you into thinking Hulk Hogan was good in Japan.

Antonio Inoki & Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu & Genichiro Tenryu
May 3, 1993. Fukuoka Dome

New Japanís archives have quite a few mis-dated or mis-categorized matches. Such as this match from 1987 thatís categorized as 1993.

Wait, never mind, this match actually did happen in 1993.

I wasnít looking forward to watching this one, but it was better than I expected it to be.

All the action is pretty basic, and actually looks kind of antiquated compared to many of the other starts of the time, but all four guys in this one had a ton of fire in everything they did through the whole match. Itís one of those matches that doesnít feel anywhere near as long as its almost 30 minute run time.

One of the drawbacks of this match is that itís booked around making the now graying Inoki Look Strong. He more than holds up his end of things, donít get me wrong, but Fujinami spends most of his time in this match getting beat up to make Choshu and Tenryu look good so Inoki can look even better he takes them on. That being said, as much as I, and most other modern commentators complain about how Inoki booked himself, he was very, very over with Japanese audiences. At one point, Choshu hits a running lariat on Inoki in the corner, causing Inoki to collapse. As Inoki is rolling on the mat with the referee checking on him, the crowd rouses into a loud ďInokiĒ chant.

In the end, Team New Japan wins with Dual Octopus Holds.

I enjoyed it, but canít really recommend it.

The Great Muta(c) vs The Great Kabuki for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship
June 15, 1993. Nippon Budokan

Was there any kind of kayfabe relationship between the Great Muta and the Great Kabuki? Muta is more clearly and directly imitating Kabuki than The Giant imitated Andre the Giant.

The match started with Muta spraying Kabuki with the poison mist then bashes Kabuki in the head with the title belt.

And the match goes downhill from there. Itís just a plodding, meandering, 10 minute near-squash. It did have some good visuals here and there.

But other than that, thereís nothing here worth seeing.
In the end, Kabuki turns the tables on Muta, mists Muta, mists the ref, grabs a chair(a non-folding plastic and metal chair) and starts wailing on Muta with it. Another ref comes in and rules the match a disqualification, which the crowd rightly shits all over. Afterwards, Kabuki cuts a promo(in English!) saying ďNext time, I kill you.Ē

So, hopefully the archive streams will remain stable and I can keep doing these more regularly. Maybe Iíll be able to get out two posts in the next month. Iíve been missing it. Next time Iíll finally wrap up 93 with Hiroshi Hase vs Genichiro Tenryu, Hulk Hogan & The Great Muta vs The Hellraisers, and The Great Muta vs Shinya Hashimoto.

May 6, 2007

Genichiro Tenryu vs Hiroshi Hase
Sptember 23, 1993. Yokohama Arena

The event this match is from is called ďG1 Climax SpecialĒ even though itís over a month and a half since the G1 Finals. Speaking of the G1, 1993ís G1 Climax Final was Hiroshi Hase vs Tatsumi Fujinami, and itís not on NJPWorld. What the gently caress, New Japan?

Tenryu and Hase have a pretty great dynamic in this match where Tenryu is playing the big, tough veteran and Hase, while still clearly the underdog, isnít even remotely intimidated by him. A significant portion of the early phases of the match revolve around Tenryu no-selling Haseís chops and Hase countering most of Tenryuís offense.

Iím starting to realize Hase has one of, if not the, best belly-to-belly suplexes of all time.

Thereís a spot where Tenryu is chopping Hase in the corner and you can hear the chops echoing in the arena.

Thereís a brilliant sequence where Tenryu goes to powerbomb Hase, but Hase shifts his weight to make Tenryu fall over for a near fall. Tenryu goes for a second powebomb, but heís positioned in just such a way that when Hase tries that trick again...

This was a great match from start to finish and if I commented on every cool or interesting spot I would end up just giving a play-by-play of the whole match.

The end comes with Hase defiantly standing up against a series of enzuigiris and rolling kicks before submitting to the ďDOUBLEYOU AYE ARE SPESHAL!Ē(a seated double-chicken wing)

I really enjoyed this match, if you find yourself on NJPWorld with 20 minutes to kill before Dominion tonight, you should check this match out.

Hulk Hogan & The Great Muta vs The Hellraisers
September 23, 1993. Yokohama Arena

This was a pretty middling match. Everyone just kinda did their schtick and there was really nothing noteworthy or engaging about it. I had a hard time keeping focused on it. Nothing really struck me as cool or noteworthy to point out.

Hogan and Muta win after Muta hits Sasaki with the poison mist followed by Hogan with the Axe Bomber while Hawk made a half-hearted attempt to break up the pin.

Shinya Hashimoto(c) vs Keiji Mutoh for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.
December 10, 1993. Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium

After losing the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in September(3 days before the tag match with Hogan), Mutoh is trying to regain the championship as his normal persona.

The first 10 minutes of this match are entertaining, if unremarkable mat wrestling and Mutoh working submissions on Hashimotoís legs that Iíve been trained to understand wonít matter at all in the grand scheme of the match. During these submissions I noticed that Mutoh has a nasty scar on his arm, no idea what itís from.

The next 10 minutes are almost exclusively spent on Mutoh working Hashimotoís arm. Thereís a few moments of explosive action. But most of it is spent on the mat in submissions that just kinda drag.

Turns out, working the arm of a guy who mostly kicks isnít that helpful.

They start trading Big Moves around 22 minutes in, but by that point they were so tired there was a long pause between every spot. What could have been a really cool sequence was hamstrung by their exhaustion. Hashimoto rolled out of the way of a moonsault then went for a rolling kick that Mutoh ducked under. Then they kind of stood in place for several seconds before Mutoh went to the ropes to hit a bulldog.

The best part of the match is when Hashimoto has Mutoh hooked in a reverse headlock and Hashimoto has to fight against Mutohís resistance to hit either a DDT or a brainbuster.

He eventually succeeds with a proper brainbuster. Not one of those vertical suplexes that they call brainbusters in Japan. This was a proper brainbuster.

Two minutes, several kicks, and a big DDT later and Hashimoto retains the IWGP Heavyeight Championship.

I was really looking forward to this match and it ended up being an overlong slog.

And with that disappointment, Iím officially done with 1993. 1994 has a pretty large volume of matches on New Japan World, most of them in February and March for some reason, plus in April is an event Iíve been waiting to cover since I started this project. Next time Iíll be reviewing the January 4 Tokyo Dome show undercard, Brutus Beefcake vs Black Cat, Jushin Liger vs Tiger Mask III , Hercules Hernandes & Scott Norton vs The Hellraisers and a 10-Man tag match featuring a few noteworthy young lions.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

Takuan posted:

Then this happens:

I missed this whole post. Oh my God.

Jun 2, 2014

Okay, I'm adding Tenyu/Hase to my watchlist, that sounds rad

May 6, 2007

I've had a couple people ask me if I stopped doing this because I'm burned out.
I'm not burned out of watching classic New Japan matches, but I did get sick of dealing with NJPWorld's streaming problems... And then the G1 happened. So now that the G1 is over with, I'll give this another go. NJPWorld cooperated while I was putting together this post, so we'll see how long that lasts.

We start 1994 where else, but the Tokyo Dome!
Sekigun(Osamu Kido, El Samuai, Satoshi Kojima, Manabu Nakinishi, and Yuji Nagata) vs Heisei Ishingun(Kuniaki Kobayashi, Michiyoshi Ohara, The Great Kabuki, Shiro Koshinaka and Kengo Kimura)
January 4, 1994. The Tokyo Dome

Did yaíll know Manabu Nakinishi used to be not fat? ĎCuz I didnít until I saw this match. He actually looked really good.

Kojima is the standout of the match, showing a lot of fire throughout his time in the ring. I assume he must be a regular by this point because he gets a pop from the crowd when he first tags in.

Other than that, this was a wholly unremarkable multi-man tag match full of quick tags and pretty basic action. Except for one part where Kuniyaki Kobayashi and El Samurai go on to the ramp and do a couple spots in to and off of the ropes, like they were in the ring, but instead theyíre on the ramp. That was kinda cool.

Nagata gets a decent run in the final minutes before being the one to eat the pin after a chokeslam by Ohara.

The match was passable-at-best, but it was nice to have my first official sightings of Kojima and Nagata(And Nakinishi too, I guess.)

Brutus Beefcake vs Black Cat
January 4, 1994

Yíever stop and wonder what Ed Leslieís life would have been like if he hadnít been able to hitch his wagon to Hulkamania and ride that gravy train all around the world for the better part of 20 years? Would he ever even have made it into any of the big promotions? Would he have accidently left a bag of coke in the subway station he was working at in 1994 instead of 2004? Who would have been the 2nd member of the One Warrior Nation? Who would Juice Robinson get his inspiration for his gear from?

These are the thoughts that went through my head during this terrible match.

Jushin Thunder Liger vs Tiger Mask III
January 4, 1994

This was a pretty underwhelming match. It wasnít bad, but it was mostly unremarkable. Kanemoto seemed out of his depth both as Tiger Mask and in a match of this length. He somehow looked worse than the last time I saw him as Tiger Mask. The most interesting part of the match was this spectacular botch.

Liger would win with a Shooting Star Press. Afterwards, Kanemoto took of his mask and bowed to Liger. Doing some research after watching, I found out that this was a Mask vs Mask match, and also the last time Kanemoto would wear the Tiger Mask, which is good because it didnít seem to suit him at all.

The Jurassic Powers(Scott Norton & Hercules Hernandez)(c) vs The Hell Raisers for the IWGP Tag Team Championship
January 4, 1994

Hernandez looks dreadful in this, all bloated and haggard, his skin a dull, yet somehow radiant pink. In its own way, it was kinda fun to see how he would avoid taking full-on bumps when he could. Other than Hernandez, this match was pretty decent, all things considered. Definitely could have been a lot worse. There was a lot of no-selling, a lot of grunting, a lot of simple slamming moves.
This bit was pretty cool though.

And to his credit, Norton looked like a wrecking ball when he was in the ring(Hernandez, by comparison, looked like a broken down tractor). The Hellraisers regain the IWGP Tag Titles when SasakePower Warrior pins Hernandez after a judo throw.

This was a rough patch of matches to get through. Hopefully the second half of the 1994 dome show will be better. Hiroshi Hase & Keiji Mutoh vs The Steiners, Tatsumi Fujinami vs Hulk Hogan, Shinya Hashimoto vs Masahiro Chono and the main event in 1994, Antonio Inoki vs Genichiro Tenryu.

Jul 29, 2003

Backdrop Hunger

Nakanishi was not particularly good in the '90s, had a few good outings a year in the 2000s, then got a spinal cord injury from a German suplex in 2011 and has been a shell of himself since.

May 6, 2007

Hiroshi Hase & Keiji Mutoh vs The Steiners
January 4, 1994. The Tokyo Dome

Yíknow that ďHe ainít gettiní up from this one!Ē video clip? This is that match. But Iím getting ahead of myself.

So far, the Steinerís Japanese matches have been razzle-dazzle spotfests, which are awesome, donít get me wrong, but this match had a more measured start with several minutes of mat wrestling between Scott and Hase, both accomplished amature wrestlers. When Mutoh and Rick tag in, things get a little weird

The match evolves into a relatively even(for a Steiners in Japan match) back and forth between the two teams. Hase spends most of his time getting thrown around by the Steiners, but he does get a decent share of offense in, including a showy indian deathlock where he plays heavily to the crowd before locking in an STF. Mutoh also gets in his obligatory ďSuper Long Run On The Entry Ramp Clothesline,Ē but this time Hase gets one in too. In the second half of the match, the Steiners regain control, taking turns showing off moves on Hase.

Then this happens.

He does, in fact, get up after this one, by way of being dragged to his feet by Steiner. In an impressive display of toughness and fighting spirit, Hase stays on his feet through two clotheslines from Steiner, before ducking the third and hitting the Uranage.

Itís a pretty great sequence

This gives Mutoh and Hase an opening to throw every signature spot they know at Scott, but itís not enough to put him down. Once Rick is tagged back in, itís pretty much over for Hase and Mutoh. The Steiners get the victory with aÖ I dunno, DDT Device I guess

Followed by the Steinerizer.

While it wasnít as flashy and spectacular as other Steiner matches, it told a pretty compelling story, and I enjoyed the match a great deal.

Tatsumi Fujinami vs Hulk Hogan
January 4, 1994. The Tokyo Dome

There was a pretty interesting opening that showed Fujinami outclassing Hogan in terms of technical ability. Most of the first half of the match is spent with Fujinami maintaining control over Hogan with a headlock. The remainder of the first half is spent with Hogan working Fujinamiís arm, showing off the two technical wrestling tricks he knows. Both Hogan and Fujimai are skilled and dynamic enough that this is decently engaging.

The second half of the match picks up a little and becomes more of a back and forth. Hogan overpowering Fujinami with brawling, and Fujinami slowing Hogan down with submissions. In the end, Hogan slips out of the Dragon Sleeper and hits the Axe Bomber for the win.

If Iím not mistaken, this was when Hogan was between WWF and WCW, and would be the last time he would appear in a New Japan ring.

Shinya Hashimoto(c) vs Masahiro Chono for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship
January 4, 1994. The Tokyo Dome

Chono spent the vast majority of this match getting his rear end kicked by Hashimoto, which seems to be the trend in Chono matches. He spends most of the match getting beaten up, then makes a spirited, defiant comeback at the end. The problem with this is, in the matches where he doesnít win, it makes him look like a chump.

This match is basically a 30 minute showcase for Hashimoto, and he comes across like a monster. Even his restholds look vicious.

He seems like he gets a nosebleed in every match I see him in, though.

Chono does have a few moments of hope near the end, with the STF, or with a small-package, but itís not enough to stave off the inevitable.

Hashimoto retains with a Jumping DDT.

Antonio Inoki vs Genichiro Tenryu
January 4, 1994. The Tokyo Dome

And now we come to the match everyone bought a ticket to see- A 49 year old man vs 44 year old man. I say that like I wouldnít buy a ticket for to see Nagata vs Suzuki today. From what I understand, this match is the conclusion of the NJPW vs WAR invasion that started over a year ago.

It starts out as slow as you would expect from these two, a lot of patient, tenuous, lock ups punctuated by Inoki occasionally punching Tenryu in the face. After about 5 minutes Inoki locks on a sleeper, and thatís when the match goes into anÖ interesting direction.

Tenryu spends the next 4 minutes lying on the mat unconscious. Tiger Hattori, for whatever reason, doesnít count out a knockout, and tries to allow Tenryu time to recover.

Inoki is not pleased.

Inoki goes to pin the unconscious Tenryu, but because Tenryuís arm is breaking the plane of the ropes, Hattori isnít allowing it. Eventually, Tenryu rolls out of the ring and begins to recover. The next several minutes of the match are a dazed Tenryu trying to fight back against Inokiís best efforts to break his arm. Inoki locks on an rear naked choke in desperation, with an emphasis on the Ďchoke.í After recovering, Tenryu finally finds his footing and hits a series of big moves on Inoki before earning a victory with a powerbomb.

After the pinfall, Inoki immediately gets to his feet and tackles Tenryu. He cools down after the other New Japan wrestlers at ring side pull him away. Inoki and Tenryu have a handshake, share some words with each other and the crowd(Inoki does most of the talking) and the show ends with both New Japan and WAR standing in the ring side by side.

A pretty cool image to close the show with.

Iím not sure how I feel about this match. It was different, it was interesting, but I donít think I would classify it as ďgoodĒ.

And thatís it for the 1994 Tokyo Dome show. All and all it was pretty bad. It could very well be the worst so far. The Steiners/Hase/Mutoh match was by far the best match on the show, and even that wasnít amazing.

Next time Iíll be watching Shinya Hashimoto vs Genichiro Tenryu, Hiroshi Hase vs Tadao Yasuda, Shinya Hashimoto vs Jushin Liger, and The Hell Razers vs Hiroshi Hase and Riki Choshu.

May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

I'm still getting over the glut of the G1 (and Stardom's 5 Star Grand Prix has started) but please keep this up, it's really cool seeing you work your way through these.

May 6, 2007

This has been a rough month for me, with work being overwhelming, plus a hurricane to worry about. But I still managed to find the time to watch some old New Japan matches.

Shinya Hashimoto vs Genichiro Tenryu
February 17, 1994. Ryoguko Kokugikan

Hashimoto is IWGP Heavyweight Champion during this match, but the announcer calls the match a "Special Singles Match", so I don't think it's for the title.

This match told a great story. That story was-2 hard motherfuckers try to murder each other with kicks, chops, powerbombs and DDTs. Gifs don't do the physicality justice, you need to hear the thwacks and the thunks to really appreciate it.

This is I think the 3rd singles match I've seen with Tenryu, and I've very much enjoyed his performances in them and I can see why he's considered an all-time great. This is the last Tenryu singles match on New Japan World for a couple years, and I'm concerned that the next time I see him during his sporadic appearances in the late 90s he'll be starting to decline. But I guess I'll have to wait and see.

I'm finally starting to see the Hashimoto I've been waiting so see during all that time he's been stuck in worked-shoot proto-MMA bullshit. He comes across as an absolute beast(a bear, if I had to pick a specific one). I appreciate how he even applies his restholds violently.

This was a tremendous, if simple, match. I highly recommend checking it out.

Hiroshi Hase vs Tadao Yasuda
February 24, 1994. Live at the Budokan

I forget why I wanted to watch this match. It's been so long since I initially wrote out the list of matches I wanted to cover for 1994, and it's not on the Recommended Matches Spreadsheet. Maybe it's because in another 8 years Tadao would become one of the worst IWGP Champions, maybe it's because it's a singles match involving Hiroshi Hase. Tadao Yasuda is another Sumo-turned-pro-wrestler, and according to Cagematch this is his debut.

Hase is a great opponent for a high-profile rookie like Yasuda. Yasuda can look impressive and imposing throwing him around but Hase is skilled and respected enough to believably beat the larger, and legitimately skilled, debuting opponent.

And this was fine. Tadao was obviously pretty green, but held his side of the match together well enough. It was very much designed to put over Tadao's size and strength with him spending most of the match in control and Hase reacting to him. After getting beat up for most of the match, Hase hits the Uranage out of nowhere and makes Tadao tap with an arm bar. It was very much a "Put the rookie monster over, but not too over" match.

Shinya Hashimoto vs Jushin Liger
February 24, 1994. Live at the Budokan

This is presented as a momentous occasion in which for the first time ever, the IWGP Heavyweight Champion faces the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. Neither title is on the line, but I guess the winner determines which belt gets to headline shows or something. If you've payed the slightest bit of attention to New Japan booking, at any point in its history, you know exactly how this match is going to go. It was still very enjoyable

Liger is wearing an outfit that is trying to show how he's a Serious Wrestleman and not Some Dumb Cartoon Junior.

Liger spent most of the first half getting his poo poo kicked in on the defensive, but when he did get some offense in, the crowd went wild.

Hashimoto showed a rare example of Actual mid-match submission psychology as Liger took the advantage early in the match with a running shotei(followed by a series of strikes and a rolling kick), so during the submission portion of the middle, Hashimoto worked Liger's Shoteiing arm, with both submissions and stomps.

Liger, for his part, spends most of his time drop-kicking Hashimoto in the knee and working leg submissions whenever he had the chance.

I've never felt so blue balled watching a wrestling match. I wanted to see Liger lift him up for the Romero Special so bad. I saw a tree stump of a woman bench press a machine this weekend*, you could've pulled this off, Liger!

There's a pretty good spot where Liger has Hashimoto in a knee lock, and Hashimoto triest to slap and headbutt his way out of it...

And Liger is having none of it.

Liger gets some nearfalls towards the end that has the Budokan crowd going crazy.

But like I said at the beginning, the outcome of this match was inevitable.

Pretty enjoyable match though, even if it was a bit too one sided for my tastes.
*I wrote this section the week after All In.

The Hell Razers(c) vs Hiroshi Hase and Riki Choshu for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships
February, 1994. Sapporo Nakajima Sports Center

This was a pretty underwhelming match. The most talented guy in it spent most of his time getting beat up, and the other three did plodding hosswork with a lot of no-selling from everyone involved(except, of course, Hase).

There was this though, that was kinda cool:

But other than that this match didn't do anything for me. I think Hawk is a bad influence on Sasaki because he seems worse now than he did when he was teaming with Hase.

I know I keep saying this, but hopefully I can get the next update out quicker. I'll be looking at Shinya Hashimoto vs Scott Norton, Manabu Nakinishi vs Satoshi Kojima, Choshu & Tenryu vs Mutoh & Chono, and Shinya Hashimoto vs Tatsumi Fujinami. After the next group of matches, I'll finally be covering the Super J Cup.

Aug 6, 2006

Wish I was there...

Thanks for continuing these. Liger STRONK That's a hell of a bump by Hash

Feb 16, 2007

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

Great to see this not dead and also a great reminder I wanted to watch more Hashimoto.

Jul 30, 2006
"Nongnongdongfongbong" is one character too long. : (

Combined with my recent re-picking up of KOC2 about 15 years since I bought it, this thread is confirming my transition into puro boomer mode.

Mar 3, 2006


oh man this was great i hope the thread is only taking a little break

May 6, 2007

This thread is almost always taking only a little break.

Shinya Hashimoto(c) vs Scott Norton for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
March 21, 1994. Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium

This is the first time I've gotten to see Scott Norton on his own, in a prolonged match and... He's pretty good. He's very limited in his offense, but what he can do he does well and in this match he did a tremendous job selling. Throughout the match, Hashimoto worked Nortons arm(his lariating arm, specifically) and Norton did a great job consistently selling the damage for the whole match.

This match was 20 minutes of two absolute beasts chipping away at each other with Hashimoto's ferocity just being too much for Norton to bear.

The finish came after Hashimoto delivered probably about a dozen jumping kicks to the back of Norton's head, followed by a jumping DDT.

A pretty good match, overall and makes me optimistic for Norton's future matches. If you've only ever seen Norton as a WCW C-list midcarder, this is worth checking out to see what WCW missed out on.

Manabu Nakinishi vs Satoshi Kojima Young Lion Cup
March 24, 1994.

This match did not need to be as long as it was. The first several minutes were standard young lion stuff, only drawn out. Almost completely killed my interest in the match. The last 5 minutes were better, but still not great. The opening half made it feel like it was much longer than a 16 minute match.

Kojima wins with an interesting move that I've never seen before and seems pretty cool.

It transitions into a kind of necklock submission hold.

Riki Choshu & Genichiro Tenryu vs Keiji Mutoh& Masahiro Chono
April 4, 1994. Hiroshima Green Arena

Match started with Choshu & Tenryu asserting their dominance by repeatedly throwing Mutoh out of the ring(and once straight into a cameraman).

Tenryu picked up a microphone from the announcers desk and started talking poo poo to Mutoh, which for some reason culminated in Mutoh loving off and heading backstage, leaving poor Chono in what was essentially a handicap match.

Chono actually did OK for himself... For a minute.
A backdrop from Choshu ends Chono's string of defiant offense and he spends the next several minutes being beaten up by the team of veterans until...


But in all seriousness, whoever put his makeup on in less than 5 minutes did an impressive job. I mean, it's visibly kinda sloppy, and there's bits of paint on his shoulders, but even still it's impressive.

Muta cleans house on the entrance ramp then tags back in to the match and continues his assault on Chosh & Tenryu. Muta tags Chono back in and while Chono is trying to finish Choshu off with the STF, Muta starts searching for something under the ring. Muta apparently can't leave Chono alone for a minute without him getting his rear end kicked as Tenryu comes in to break the STF and hit Chono with a powerbomb.

The finish of the match has Muta come back into the ring, hit his opponents with the rare Double Shot Poison Mist and...

Choshu falls over and pins Chono anyway. It's like this match was specifically engineered to make Chono look like a complete chump.

After the match Muta goes on a rampage, attacking Choshu, Tenryu and a few Young Lions with a rolled up stretcher and numerous shots of the poison mist(green and red).

Chono, apparently fed up with Muta/Mutoh's bullshit, leaves his partner in the ring to do what he's gonna do.

During all this chaos, a shirtless Inoki appears at ringside.

Muta attacks Inok, but the two are held apart before anything cool can happen.

I can't by any stretch recommend going out of your way to watch this one, but it was... interesting? I guess?

Shinya Hashimoto(c) vs Tatsumi Fujinami for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
April 4, 1994. Hiroshima Green Arena

By this point, Fujinami is well past his prime and Hashimoto is the new company Ace and this is clearly communicated in how this match goes.
Fujinami tried to outwrestle Hashimoto, and that didn't work. He tried to out-fighting-spirit Hashimoto, and that didn't work.

Eventually all Fujinami can do is try to withstand Hashimoto's fury and try to find an opening or exploit an mistake. These opportunities are few and far between as most of this match consists of Fujinami getting the poo poo kicked out of him and staggering around.

Right in the face!

At one point he's even knocked out(not for real[I think]) and Tiger Hattori allows him to recover and continue the match. Hashimoto continues to dominate, but Fujinami is, if anything, still as tough as ever and manages to hang on for dear life until...

It only takes 3 seconds to win a match.

I like that particular spot because of how improvised it seems. It looks like he's trying for an Octopus Stretch, but can't get it and decides to go for a pin instead and it pays off. Fujinami wins the IWGP Heavyweight Championship for the 5th time at the age of 41.

Enjoyable match. Hashimoto looked like an unstoppable beast and the finish was a pleasant surprise.

Next time, I'll finally cover the even I've been waiting this whole time to cover: The 1994 Super J Cup!


May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?

My first exposure to Scott Norton was as a background guy/Lieutenant in the NWO so it was a hell of an eye-opener to see his New Japan stuff (similar to Doctor Death Steve Williams).

Takuan posted:

Next time, I'll finally cover the even I've been waiting this whole time to cover: The 1994 Super J Cup!

Oh gently caress yes

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