The final installment of my NJPW 1988 adventure! Its ending with stuff from the 09/12 show. Of course there is more out there but, I just don't own it or have easy access to it...and that's the name of my game
If you have NJ World or do file loading or wanna get DVDs, please check it out. I'm sure there's really good stuff I've missed. Anyhow, let's begin!
Big Van Vader vs Bam Bam Bigelow (09/12) I have the full version of this but, overall I was disappointed here. Bigelow didn't bring much to the table. I wanted to see them pound away at one another & its not what they did. It had a few nice moments but ended in a DQ. The best was when Vader was exiting the ring he pushed some fan in the face. OK match as their 08/08 bout is the one to see.
T. Fujinami, K. Kimura, Y. Fujiwara, S. Koshinaka & K. Yamada vs R. Choshu, M. Saito, S.S.Machine, K. Kobayashi & H. Saito (09/12): 5 on 5 elimination match that goes about 40 minutes. I have the final few minutes on DVD but, was able to find this in 3 parts on YouTube. I'm really glad that I saw this in full especially since folks have said its a classic. After watching this as well as a good chunk of '88 New Japan, I think this is a very good match especially the first 2/3rds. There was a good deal of punching and stomping in this match so, to have the final portion just be MORE of that...eh it kinda fizzled out for me. We get some good blood but, it feels like the wrong wrestler got color and I just lost what they were trying to tell/show me. Nevertheless, I had fun watching. There were some really great segments and match ups but wasn't a classic. Give it a shot though!
So, this wraps up my exploration of 1988 NJPW and it was pretty great! Everything leading up to and including the 08/08 Inoki vs Fujinami match was fantastic in one form or another. Obviously there were some classic encounters that I'm glad that I finally saw. I am a little bummed that this final installment was not the awesome send off that I was hoping for. I do feel like I've seen everything that I truly wanted to for '88 NJ though so, I can't be too letdown. Like I said above, the 5 man elimination match was very good and did have some really worthwhile action but, I think I enjoyed the 04/27 elimination more than 09/12.
The best matches to me are:
Nobuhiko Takada vs Kazuo Yamazaki (01/25)
Nobuhiko Takada vs Hiro Hase (03/11)
Akira Nogami, Tatsutoshi Goto, K. Yamada, K. Hoshino & S. Koshinaka vs Hiroshi Hase, K. Kobayashi, Kensuke Sasaki, N. Honaga & H. Saito (04/27)
Tatsumi Fujinami vs Big Van Vader (04/27)
Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (05/27)
Shiro Koshinaka vs Owen Hart (06/24)
Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (06/24)
Tatsumi Fujinami vs Big Van Vader (06/26)
Riki Choshu vs Antonio Inoki (07/22)
Shiro Koshinaka vs Kuniaki Kobayashi (8/08)
Antonio Inoki vs Tatsumi Fujinami (08/08)
And after the September matches, I'm missing the last 3 months of the year. So, clearly this isn't an end all - be all review of '88 but, I'm happy with what I've watched. Its totally lived up to my expectations and the above bouts are the matches I would truly recommend checking out!
Thanks for reading! I'm moving on to the 2011 wXw 16 Carat Gold tournament to change things up!