Here we are just a couple days past due but, finally November 1985 is ready to go. A couple of the matches were longer this week and therefore made my list a little slower to get through. It was worth it as you'll see. Let's dive in!
Riki Choshu vs Jumbo Tsuruta (11/04 aired 11/09) Long time limit draw match...in my younger days I would have watched this. Anymore, I just don't want to devote this much time to one match especially knowing that it's a draw. But I did jump around (as does the TV episode...it actually jumps to the 23 minute mark after the first commercial break). I watched the last 10 minutes all the way through and this looked pretty great. So from what I saw here and the other bits I'd have to say this is pretty good to great stuff. I hesitate to go higher of course but it does have the potential to rate even higher. This just so physical throughout and a real testament to the high level of skill it takes to do do these long matches... not just the physical endurance but the presence of mind to tell a story.
Stan Hansen/Ted Dibiase v. Dynamite Kid/Davey Boy Smith (11/23/85): The Bulldogs' muscles are nearly bursting out of their skin...holy cow boys...it's difficult to see how hard they were hitting the juice especially given the results down the road. That's all in the past now... so let's talk about the match. And what a match this was! Fast paced, all action wrestling right here. Hansen and Ted wrestle a Bulldogs match...and don't steam roll 'em either. It ends sooner than we'd all like but damn this was great. DiBiase was especially good with the lads. But Hansen going beast mode on Dynamite is noteworthy as well. Definitely put this on your watch-list
Jumbo Tsuruta/Tenyru v. Nick Bockwinkle/Curt Hennig (11/23/85): Fuck yes, mid 80's AWA Curt Hennig. Bockwinkel back in AJPW... and versus Jumbo & Tenryu. This was great stuff for sure. All the little touches from Bock made this really special in my eyes. Things got a little loose at the finish but its an early Real World Tag match so really no gripes. This delivers.
Shoehi Baba/Dory Funk Jr. v. Harley Race/Jesse Barr (11/27/85): Long match but a really good one. This was probably more paced & worked like it was 1975 at times but, after a few minutes I was digging it. You just have to get in that head space. Once you're there then, there's a lot to like here - Dory hitting hard, Baba doing big moves taking big bumps, Harley giving it his all and Jesse Barr does not look out of place either. It has been a minute since the last Baba match but this was a fine one to come back to.
Now that's a fucking fancy ring jacket! The Bob Newhart of pro wrestling is going to kick some ass.
Tiger Mask v. Dynamite Kid (11/27/85): I started out watching this and comparing it to Sayama Tiger vs Dynamite based off the first little bit. It was not a fair or warranted comparison so, I waited an hour or so and started this again. I was glad that I did. This is very much young Misawa vs Dynamite Kid. And it's a really good match! And in fact its a near great match. Unfortunately this ended just as things were really starting to cook. In fact, I think this had the potential to be better overall than many of the original TM vs DK (and I'm not a hater, go back and read my Tiger Mask blogs from a couple years ago). I just think Dynamite was a little smarter now, Misawa has a different style, etc. My guess is this was perhaps the beginning of a program between the two and it was in the middle of the RWTL so Baba didn't want to risk their injury (but you wouldn't know that from this!).
Jumbo Tsuruta/Tenyru v. Rusher Kimura/Goro Tsurumi (11/27/85): Good match with a really good final third. I'm going to put some little spoilers in here so you check it out.. at least skim through it... because they do a top rope back drop (back suplex is what I think its called in the States) and Tenryu finishes things up with a power bomb (it's not super smooth like we come to see but shit doesn't it look like it hurts... aka head bouncing off the mat potential). Anyhow both moves are super high end for '85.
Stan Hansen v. Ashura Hara (11/27/85): Shorter than I would have liked but hot damn! this is good shit. They are just beating the crap out of each other. They are laying in all of their shots. It's hard to tell but I think Hansen's eye is closing up on the way back to the locker room. If you're like me and disappointed from their match in the 70's from Hansen's AJPW Classics special (which many folks probably own or have seen) then THIS is the Ashura Hara vs Stan Hansen bout you were hoping for.
Stan Hansen/Ted Dibiase v. Harley Race/Jesse Barr (11/30/85): Fast paced and surprisingly move heavy. We open up with Race & Hansen potato-ing each other in the best way. Then DiBiase & Barr are young and want to show the crowd what they can do. Stan and Harley get in on the action and we get a really, really good match. Had the thing gone on longer, I think it would have been a great one. Jesse Barr is Art Barr's older brother and Jimmy Jack Funk in the WWF...Terry and Dory Jr.'s kayfabe brother btw.
Dynamite Kid/Davey Boy Smith v. Tiger Mask/Mighty Inoue (11/30/85): Great all action match that would be quality stuff in 1995, 2005 etc. I got serious 1988-92 AJPW all Asia tag title match vibes here. If you dig those Can Am/Footloose, Kobashi era matches, check this out this one. Again, 1985 Misawa doesn't get a lot of talk but as Tiger Mask he was pretty awesome. He's settled down from trying to do an homage to Sayama Tiger and really wrestles like you'd expect a young Mitsuharu Misawa to wrestle
Choshu/Yoshiaki Yatsu vs Jumbo Tsuruta/Genichiro Tenryu (11/30): This is from the 1985 TV episode and is joined in progress by like a minute. That makes no difference really. This is an amazing RWTL match...I was totally geeking out by the end! Maybe it's that we haven't seen a Riki & co. tag vs Jumbo & Tenryu in awhile but this near, if not at, the top of the list. Everything seemed right here. A precursor to the 01/28/86 match perhaps? More proof that Yoshiaki Yatsu is under rated for his AJPW work...excellent evidence for the Jumbo/Tenryu tag chemistry greatness, Riki Choshu is THE MAN for a hot tag-in. Yeah classic match in my book.
An excellent week of wrestling. It did make me miss guys from earlier in 1985 that we haven't seen in awhile like: Animal Hamaguchi, Kuniaki Kobayashi & Takashi Ishikawa most notably.
So we're almost done with 1985 All Japan. There's just one more post (Dec. '85) and then I'm thinking of using the rest of the year to tie up some loose blog ends...GAEA '99, a couple high end matches I skipped over earlier in the year, etc.
Thank you very much for reading!