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FREE MATCH: Larry Zbyszko vs Masa Saito (02-10-90)

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Charles (Loss)

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New Japan Pro Wrestling has uploaded a match to their YouTube channel from one of the earliest Tokyo Dome shows, this one on February 10, 1990. In this match, Larry Zbyszko defended the AWA World Title against Masa Saito, who recently passed away. Here are some testimonials from the thread in PWO's Match Discussion Archive.

  • "I really love the matwork they pull off in the early stages of this and how Saito is able to get the crowd so solidly behind him while he has Larry tied up like a pretzel. Zbyszko heels it big time with a low blow on Saito right after he's pumped up the crowd in such a big way. The nearfalls in this are really good. Short match, but not a wasted moment." -- Me
     
  • "How was this match completely slept upon (to my knowledge) until now? Zbyszko kicking out of *two* Saito suplexes and then getting in another run of offense of his own gave this a downright AJPW feel. The very closing stretch had that feel too, with one suplex not putting him away but the second being enough. Also I can't say enough about Saito's little running-man dances to pump the crowd up. Worth watching just to see Saito working as a gladhanding babyface but the match holds up, too." -- PWO member Pete F3
     
  • "Fun match with both guys really knowing how to rile up the crowd and get them invested. Zbysko's timing of the low blow was magically done and Saito getting the crowd behind him was really fun. I have not seen the Saito AWA stuff yet but of what I have seen of him this was my favorite match of his." -- PWO member soup23
     
  • "This was not just a neat toss-off between two guys who have gained esteem in our little circle. It was an excellent match that built from nicely contested matwork all the way through some great near falls at the end. I loved Saito's expressiveness as a babyface, which really seemed to pull the crowd into the match. Then I got even more fired up by Zbyszko's series of punches near the end. Loss called this a short match, but it actually felt longer and more epic than I expected." -- PWO member Childs
     
  • "Felt this was going to be a flat match but they manage to turn this into a good match. Larry goes all heel with the low blow that the fans don't like. They really had me on some of the later small package pinfall attempts. Nice moment for Saito." -- PWO member Kevin Ridge
     
  • "Good, borderline great match. Zbyszko doesn't do much on offense, but like Loss said, there isn't any wasted movement either. He has almost a Jimmy Connors thing going with all the screaming and yelling he is doung, both on offense and while he is selling. Saito as a babyface is interesting, and he does a great job getting the crowd behind him. Maybe the last truly great AWA World title match?" -- PWO member Cox
     
  • "I really dug this match. Some wonderful classic wrestling matwork here which is refreshing to see considering today's trend of doing MMA style matwork. Crowd was really into this as well and Zybyszko did a good job of hitting a low blow, which isn't done too often in Japan. Nicely worked match here and one I would probably view again." -- PWO member Laney
     

Check it out and let us know what you think in the comments, or add your thoughts in the Match Discussion Archive!

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