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G. Badger


I'm just going to jump on in!

Brody & Hansen vs Terry & Dory Funk Jr. (12/08): An absolute all time classic match in my book. The sense of chaos and animosity is as high as its been in all of 1984 All Japan. Terry and Dory Jr. against Brody and Hansen finally is the culmination of one of the main themes of the year. Dory and Baba have faced the absolutely dominant monsters on a few occasions. They have hung in there but never truly were able to match the intensity and ferocity of Brody & Hansen. Terry has been ringside (or guest ref'd in Jumbo vs Bock) so he's been witness or assisted but not been a direct participant. He's not retired anymore (which would have been booked as a "long-term injury" nowadays) so he is able to go to toe with his foes. And Terry is the one guy crazy and ferocious enough to knock the giants on their asses. Watch Brody & Hansen vs Baba & Dory Jr. (08/26) as well.



The Funks vs Nick Bockwinkel & Harley Race (12/12, aired 12/22): This is a dream matchup. Unfortunately it is joined in progress about half way in but the second half is pretty great. Somewhere along the line Harley and Terry juice, Nick is selling his knee, Dory comes into the match with taped ribs or lower back...it just would have been nice to see the whole thing. Maybe it's out there now somewhere... but anyways this is just a joy to watch.

Bruiser Brody & Stan Hansen vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Genichiro Tenryu (12/12 RWTL final match, aired 12/22): This is not on my AJ Classics set but I have a compilation of the RWTL finals of the 80's but its also on Lucier's '84 TV tapes. So the thing to get is how OVER Brody and Hansen are with the fans. People are psyched to see Jumbo and Tenryu but when the music plays for the monsters, it's evident how much they love them...even as they get shoved and whipped :D So this is kinda THE moment for AJPW in 1984. The two biggest forces coming head to head. This is just as an fast paced intense fight as you'd hope for. 2 of the 4 guys are bleeding, you can hear the blows falls even over the roaring crowd, great moves & moments - it is without a doubt classic match. Its the convergence of all of the big stories of 1984 All Japan and brilliantly executed. You know... from entrances to the exits I would call it an all time classic. I don't think it edges out Funks vs Brody & Hansen in terms of intensity and an overall emotional connection from me.

So that's where I'm ending the year for 1984 All Japan. But I'm going to go back a couple matches I skipped over:

Ric Flair vs Harley Race (05/22): I skipped this as I wanted to focus on matches that featured home AJPW wrestlers as one of the two opponents. Although Race was featured more prominently I still consider this more of an exhibition match than anything. Still, I wasn't going to skip it entirely. This is one that I don't remember a lot of talk about. It looks like it was the top Harley Race match according to the DVDVR Best of AJ of the 1980's. But it barely is in the top 50...Overshadowed by the Kerry vs Jumbo match on the same night? Regardless, this is a great match! It has a nice steady pace and plenty of surprises (I'm sure folks more familiar with their work at this time might disagree). This was a very good match that I thought was going to end one way but they kept going on. That was really more than I expected and made this something great and worth your time. Very happy to see this! These appearances by Harley have been a treat!



Jumbo Tsuruta vs Kerry Von Erich (05/22): 2/3 falls match for the World Championship. The DVDVR best of the AJPW 80's list has it as the #6 match of the decade.And that's why I put if off to the end. It's reputation proceeds itself. However it's not the best match of '84 for me after watching everything. That said, it IS probably the best singles match of the year. Each fall feels unique and escalates beautifully. It is superior to the Jumbo vs Bockwinkel matches, as well as vs Brunzell & Gagne in Japan. It's a classic match. I think its closest match in singles is Dory Jr. vs Hansen on  04/26 and Baba vs Hansen. You know I think I'll rank them below. Anyway, this is something you'd want to see if you just want to see if any of this 39 year old wrestling is for you :)



I was going to try for Flair vs Kerry which is considered a great match from 05/24/84 but I ran out of time. I'll come back to it and my review as a comment and add it to the ranking if applicable.

Best Singles Matches
Jumbo Tsuruta vs Kerry Von Erich (05/22) 
Dory Funk Jr. vs Stan Hansen (04/26)
Stan Hansen vs Giant Baba (03/24) - Giant Baba vs Stan Hansen (07/31)
Ric Flair vs Harley Race (05/22)
Nick Bockwinkel vs Jumbo Tsuruta (02/23) -Nick Bockwinkel vs Jumbo Tsuruta (02/26)
Jumbo Tsuruta vs Greg Gagne (04/19) 
Jumbo Tsuruta vs Jim Brunzell (04/26) 
Honorable Mention: Tiger Mask II vs Pirata Morgan (12/08)

(I'm clumping the Baba vs Hansen and Jumbo vs Bockwinkel's matches as I can't really pick one over another.)

Best Tag Matches
Brody & Hansen vs Terry & Dory Funk Jr. (12/08)
Bruiser Brody & Stan Hansen vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Genichiro Tenryu (12/12)
Brody & Hansen vs Baba & Dory Jr. (08/26)
Jim Brunzell & Greg Gagne vs Dory Funk Jr. & Kerry Von Erich (04/24)
Bruiser Brody & Stan Hansen vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Genichiro Tenryu (04/24)
Atsushi Onita & Masa Fuchi vs Hector & Chavo Guerrero (09/03)
Jumbo & Tenryu vs Brody & Jerry Blackwell (09/03)
Honorable Mention: The Funks vs Nick Bockwinkel & Harley Race (12/12)

Top 5 Matches
Brody & Hansen vs Terry & Dory Funk Jr. (12/08)
Bruiser Brody & Stan Hansen vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Genichiro Tenryu (12/12)
Brody & Hansen vs Baba & Dory Jr. (08/26)
Jumbo Tsuruta vs Kerry Von Erich (05/22) 
Dory Funk Jr. vs Stan Hansen (04/26)

1984 has been a fantastic year for wrestling in All Japan. The beginning of the project featured American talent from the AWA and other promotions as Jumbo was AWA champion. There's some great Junior action with Guerreros taking on the best AJPW had to offer. Misawa takes on the Tiger Mask role and adds another dimension to junior action...something that does get overlooked. Brody and Hansen are causing chaos everywhere they go. Tenryu is coming into his own. Mid year and on we get more excitement as Harley Race, Ric Flair and Kerry Von Erich put on some real high quality stuff. The Tag League was an awesome way to end the year and project for me.

This has been the longest stretch of 80's AJPW that I've watched. I've been more familiar with New Japan in the 80's so this was fun to really go from January to December. The variety that is present due to the Americans cannot be understated. It is one thing I wish had stayed around during the 90's. It was something Misawa was smart to reintroduce with NOAH.

 I'm planning on watching 1985 All Japan which I'd like to try later this year (with some assistance from Roy's 1985 AJ TV regarding Riki Choshu matches). It's been a good thing for me to actually go through a good chunk of my DVD backlog and I'm want to keep it up. I've got 1 or 2 projects that are more dependent upon online videos coming soon. After that I'm going to try and get through another block of DVD's.

Thanks for reading folks!


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