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Superstar Sleeze

DVDVR 80s Project
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Everything posted by Superstar Sleeze

  1. Riki Choshu vs Yoshiaki Fujiwara - NJPW 06/29/87 They had a corker of a match about 20 days prior to this. This one is just as heated but the finish is so abrupt it makes the match feel incomplete. Fujiwara comes out of the gate red hot, slapping Big Match Riki down, stomping him and throwing those Fujiwara headbutts. Fujiwara really loved choking Choshu in this match. Riki fires up and starts giving as good as he gets. You know those silly stand there and eat shots that New Japan does all the time in 2010s this is how it ought to be done. These dudes are standing & banging! The crowd is going wild! Fujiwara is the one who finally takes it to the mat with a cross-armbreaker attempt. Everything in the match feels so gritty. They have to work for every inch. Choshu has his hands so tightly clasped. Fujiwara switches to the classic armbar attempt when that doesnt work he tries slaps the shit out of Choshu. Choshu had enough of this shit and tosses him out. Love the corner collar & elbow tieup fits in so well with the grit of the match. Choshu maniac back elbows to the head in the corner while the rest of his body pins Fujiwara to the buckles was sick! Ref peels him off Fujiwara and Fujiwara applies a leglace. Never count Fujiwara out of it. Choshu slaps Fujiwara in the hold, stomps him in the ropes, chokes him. This is ferocious! Fujiwara punch combination and headbutt! Chokes Choshu! Such a great performance by both men! Fujiwara lures him in the corner but the ref forces Choshu to the middle. Fujiwara has Choshu's long locks and is using it to throw headbutts and then CHOSHU DEMOLISHES HIM WITH A LARIAT! I LOVE BIG MATCH RIKI! Choshu Saito Suplex, Block, FUJIWARA ARMBAR TAKEDOWN! Mark Out City! Crowd went wild. Choshu drags Fujiwara to the floor. Choshy does the 'ol ricochet off the railing with a Lariat on Fujiwara. Fujiwara on the apron, INCOMING RIKI CRUSHES HIM WITH A MACK TRUCK LARIAT! Countout is declared as Choshu was ready to fire off another one. Awww man it was just getting good. I felt like they were on a trajectory to be an all time classic. Thank God we have the 6/9/87 match. Watch that match first, it is the classic and then when you are hankering for a midnight snack pop this in! ***3/4
  2. Tatsumi Fujinami, Keiichi Yamada, Shiro Koshinaka, Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Kengo Kimura vs. Hiro Saito, Kuniaki Kobayashi, Super Strong Machine, Masa Saito & Riki Choshu - NJPW 9/12/88 It is Team Choshu led by Big Match Riki vs Team New Japan led by Fujinami. Choshu & Masa Saito not to be confused with Hiro Saito returned in 1987. Inoki vs Saito was the major feud of 1987 climaxing with the infamous Island Death Match which may be the first instance of Cinematic Wrestling. Saito took a backseat after that match and introduced the world to VADER! Choshu became a prominent player again in 1988 with multiple big time matches against Inoki including a clean victory with two Lariats in July. Choshu and Fujinami also had two kickass battles over the IWGP Championships earlier in the year. I am surprised Inoki is not with Fujinami, but Fujinami has his buddy Kengo Kimura again, I guess they patched things up. Fujiwara feels like a substitute for Inoki, in the eyes of some, an upgrade. As much as I love Inoki, Fujiwara is in my ten favorite wrestlers of all time, so I am happy he is here. Each squad has two juniors on their team, Fujinami has the bigger star power there with Koshinaka and Yamada. While Choshu has Kobayashi and Hiro Saito. For the purposes of this review, I will use full names. I am more familiar with Kimura because his tag team and feud with Fujinami. Perhaps I am selling Super Strong Machine short when I say there is a clear dropoff in star power there. However, Super Strong Machine has a wild tag classic in 1989 with George Takano of all people against stablemates Choshu and Masa Saito so I shouldnt sell SSM short. I am expecting a lot of slam bang action, so I am going stream of consciousness. First Elimination: Masa Saito gets under Fujinami's skin during the introductions. Fujinami throws a kick. Hiro Saito and Yamada to start off for their teams. Yamada wins as shoulder tackle. Big back drop by Hiro Saito who tags in Kobayashi. Kobayashi big running knee and vertical suplex by Kobayashi. Choshu is in and massive kneelift! Big bump by Yamada. Chinlock tags in SSM. SSM headbutt. Four members of Team Choshu in and only one from Team Fujinami. Big Difference. SSM tries to eliminate Yamada via the floor. Great scramble. Masa Saito has tagged in and all of Team Choshu has taken turns on beating on Yamada. Hiro Saito big reverse elbow and suplex on Yamada. I like how this one is starting with a dramatic heel heat segment as opposed to the workrate each performer takes a turn to shine in the Juniors version. SSM Misses an elbow drop and Yamada tags in Fujiwara. Excellent choice! Fujiwara owns SSM with clubbing rights and headbutts. Fujiwara owns Kobayashi with his patented Boston Crab reversal and an excellent leg scissors takedown before tagging out to Koshinaka. Koshinaka squanders the advantage by being too fancy. Kobayashi spin kick and a big ol slap. Koshinaka gets an Enziguiri to tags in Kimura who kits his one move, the Running Leg Lariat, which doesnt bode well for his prospects of staying in the match. Kobayashi tags out to Choshu. Choshu ties him up and he and Masa Saito hit a double suplex. Only problem is they threw him into his own corner, Kimura tags out to Yamada. YAMADA VS MASA SAITO IS ELECTRIC! Yamada bumrushes him with kicks, ROLLING KOPPOU KICK! Mark out city! He is firing off a relentless onslaught of kicks...Kobayashi tries to save but nothing will stop Yamada well that is until Masa Saito HEADBUTTS him! Saito big hiptoss out of the corner. He tags out to Hiro Saito. ROLLING KOPPOU KICK BAILS LIGER OUT! Koshinaka and Hiro Saito do a nice criss cross sequence. Tag out to Fujinami and Choshu! The first time seeing Fujinami! Here we go! Not much happened to be honest. Just some tieups. Fujinami ended getting SSM in a full nelson and backing into his own corner to tag out to Fujiwara. Fujiwara Boston Crab on SSM. SSM makes the ropes. Fujiwara growling is amazing here. Kimura in now. Bodyslam. Kimura goes for piledriver but SSM deadweight shim and powers out. Kobayashi in. SSM lariat in the corner and Kobayashi goes for the cross-armbreaker but Kimura claspes his hands, great selling from Kimura. Fujiwara bodyslam on Kobayahsi. Double Dropkick by Fujinami's juniors. Double Suplex now by them. Owen style belly to belly suplex by Yamada. Fujinami dropkick but it backfires as he dropkicks Kobayashi into Choshu who tags in. Fujinami punches Choshu! Saito Suplex on Fujinami! Choshu/Masa Saito double team on Fujinami attacking the knees. Inverted Indian Deathlock by Choshu which Fujiwara breaks up with a headbutt but Masa Saito hangs on. Fujinami scoots over and tags in Fujiwara. Fujiwara vs Masa Saito is what I need in my life! Fujiwara pelting him with overhand chops! Saito punches him into his corner. That was a letdown. SSM in and he is choking Fujiwara with his boot in the corner. HIRO SAITO EXPLODES WITH A RUNNING REVERSE ELBOW IN THE CORNER! Fujiwara clubbing shots and headbutt. Hiro Saito Throws Koshinaka DOWN! Big Ol Senton! Bodyslam by Hiro Saito. Koshinaka Superplex for two! WOW! Not many nearfalls. Koshinaka catches the dropkick into a Boston Crab for our first elimination. Hiro Saito was probably lowest on the totem pole for star power so it makes sense. Tons of action, but it is not a very sticky match. The marquee matches are letting me down. Yamada is the MVP thus far. Team Fujinami 5-4. Second Elimination: Kobayashi jumps Koshinaka, NO TIME TO GRIEVE! Spin Heel kick. Yamada in! Kick to the gut! Fisherman Suplex to Yamada! Kobayashi tries to choke Yamada out, great selling by Yamada. They roll into the ropes and Kimura tags in. Kimura powerbomb out of a piledriver position for two, Tenryu takes notes. Single Leg Crab by Kimura, Kimura wriggles free. Choshu in. He stomps on Kimura. Punt kick to face! SSM in as Choshu holds Kimura. German Suplex on Kimura. Kimura tags out to Fujinami. SSM takes Fujinami to woodshed and hits dropkick for two. SSM Snapmare and tags in Masa Saito. Msas Saito tries for a Saito suplex great block by Fujinami so Saito settles for a Russian Legsweep. Kobayashi beats on Fujinami but misses a dropkick. Robinson backbreaker by Fujinami. Tilt a whirl backbreaker by Yamada. Tomboston Piledriver. Top Rope Diving Headbutt! Yamada on fire! Tiger Suplex but too close to the ropes. ROLLING KOPPOU KICK IN CORNER! YAMADA RULES! After all that Kobayashi schoolboy rolls him up to eliminate the best wrestler in the match. BOOOOOOOO! We need Choshu, Fujiwara, Fujinami and Saito to step it up now that Yamada is out! Tied 4-4. Third Elimination: Koshinaka comes in and immediately gets beat up because he sucks. SPIKE PILEDRIVER! Koshinaka tags out to Fujiwara. Big meaty shots by SSM. Bodyslam and middle elbow by SSM. FUJIWARA ARMBAR! Pop from the crowd and me! Tap him out! He never applies it fully. Fujiwara looing for the elimination via the ropes. SSM gets a kick to the gut, to stave off elimination. Boston Crab reversal blocked by SUPER STRONG MACHINE tries to pin Fujiwara but he reverses and Fujiwara pins him! Nice little segment. Team Fujinami 4-3. Fourth Elimination. Masa Saito attacks the fallen Fujiwara. Fujiwara Armbar! Takedown, but cant get it fully in! Fujiwara goes for lunging headbutt but Saito sidesteps him and Fujiwara ends up on the apron in pain and Saito stomps out his fire for the elimination. Koshinaka is still there, but Liger and Fujiwara are gone BOOOOOOO! Tied 3-3! Fifth Elimination: Kimura attacks Saito. Team Choshu double teams him. Kimura fires off some kicks to midsection of Kobayashi. He is making in-roads. Tag in by Fujinami. We needs some leadership! Great verbal selling by Kobayashi. Choshu tags in. Scorpion Deathlock attempt by Choshu who fights through the Fujinami slaps to turn him over! Choshu tags out to Saito. Saito Boston Crab on Fujinami. Not looking good for our hero. I was always more of a Big Match Riki guy honestly. Kobayashi drops the elbow on Fujinami, backslides gets two. He misses the rainbow spinning heel kick Robinson backbreaker and Dragon Sleeper and Fujinami forces Kobayashi to submit. Fujinami's team needed that. He still took an asskicking but that was a definitive strong elimination by their Captain. Team Fujinami 3-2. Sixth Elimination: Time for Koshinaka to go, methinks. Choshu is the one that takes charge. Kimura tags in and he stomps a mudhole in Choshu. Some wicked left uppercuts by Kimura who kits his running Leg Lariat, he almost knocks Choshu out the ring. He realizes it and tries desperately to kick Choshu out of the ring. He goes for it again when Choshu is on the apron but Choshu back drops him over the shoulder for the elimination. Interesting, I thought for sure they were going to do Fujinami & Kimura vs Choshu & Saito. Koshinaka makes it to the Final Four. Seventh Elimination. Koshinaka pounces on Choshu. Choshu demolishes the pipsqueak with a Saito Suplex. Saito tagged in. Saito drops him throat first on top rope. He does it again. Choshu tags in. Suplex by Choshu. Koshinaka gets a sunset lip for two. Bridging German for two. Choshu gets what he calls that the REAR VIEW! Koshinaka misses the top rope splash. MACK TRUCK LARIAT FOR TWO! ARE YOU SHITTING ME? CHOSHU DECAPITATES HIM WITH THAT ONE TO LEAVE NO DOUBT! It is Fujinami vs Choshu & Saito which was the most likely ending. Eighth Elimination: I dont like Saito chances here. Fujinami overwhelms him with strikes and then a big suplex as Saito bounces off the mat. Saito's trick knee acts up and kicks Fujinami's in the balls. Must have learned that one in America, :p Inverted Atomic Drop and tag out to Choshu. Choshu bowls Fujianmi over and Choshu holds onto the ropes as Fujinami dropkicks. Pair of Lariat as Fujinami stays on his feet. Fujinami on the apron. Can he stave off elimination? Choshu clubs him with closed fists. Fujinami HEADSCISSORS! Fujinami dropkicks Choshu off the apron to eliminate him! WOW didnt see that coming. It comes down to Fujinami vs Saito! Ninth Elimination: Choshu's corner's turnbuckles have been exposed and it backfires...Fujinami bashes Saito's head into the exposed turnbuckle. To quote the great Kal Rudman, THAT IS BLOOD! Saito gigged himself good. Fujinami is just teeing off as Saito is spewing blood mist and his body is drenched in blood. Saito tries to suplex Fujinami to the floor but gets suplexed back in which was a good highspot. Fujinami ripping into the cut with fists and kicks was awesome! Ref bump and the Robinson backbreaker gets Fujinami a visual pinfall, everyone and their mother now knows he is losing. Saito sidesteps him on a charge and Fujinami careens to the outside for the loss. I thought this was pretty great but suffered from similar issues as the Juniors Ten Man Elimination tag I just watched too much emphasis on workrate and not enough on character, narrative and build. Where this one succeeded and the other didnt was the beginning with Yamada was better here and the ending was far more memorable. I am shocked this finished #3 on the New Japan DVDVR while I thought it was great, I have definitely seen plenty better. ****1/4
  3. Akira Nogami, Tatsutoshi Goto, Keiichi Yamada, Kantaro Hoshino & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi, Hiroshi Hase, Hiro Saito, Norio Honaga & Kensuke Sasaki - NJPW 4/27/88 Elimination Match Thankfully Team Choshu are all wearing their black & gold track suits so that I know what sides are. This is a Junior Heavyweight 10-Man Elimination tag pitting Team Choshu led by Hase against Team New Japan for a lack of better term led by Koshinaka. This will be my first time seeing Yamada pre-Liger. The only person I dont think I have seen otherwise is Goto. I saw AKIRA enough that I did distinguish him from Goto. Kobayashi was a little tough without his red bellbottoms, but one you see him kick you know it is him. Saito I knew was a stocky dude and his bad bleach dye job helps. Honaga I recognized from the '91 Liger series. Then of course BABY KENSUKE~! First Elimination: Everybody gets a little time to shine. It is cool seeing Kensuke do all his standard stuff this young. He is wrenching people over his patented over the top armdrag and catching people mid-air with powerslams. Same with Yamada he is using the Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and a Mexican Surfboard. He is definitely someone that benefitted from being under a mask if you catch my drift. Otherwise only Hoshino and Kobayashi stuck out. Hoshino for his killer punch combinations and Kobayashi from his big kicks and good movement. It is a lot of workrate that doesnt really stick with you. AKIRA hits a crossbody for two for a nearfall and then Honaga hits the Baba-style neckbreaker drop for the first elimination. Going to do this the rest stream of consciousness style. Second Elimination: Koshinaka wastes no time bumrushing Honaga and hits a Saito Suplex for two. He tags in Goto who hits a cool bridging vertical suplex. Suplex struggle Honaga wins and suplexes him to heel corner and tags in Saito. Oh I forgot Hase got busted open. I think it was AKIRA who snapped in the midst of the first fall and just started beating the forehead and clawing at Hase until he bled. It was too much workrate that even that was not sticky. Goto breaks free with a dropkick. Yamada and Kobayashi tag in. Liger hits missile dropkick and sets him up top and Superplex! Yamada tags out to Koshinaka and he misses a dropkick b/c Kobayashi holds onto the ropes. Spinning Heel Kick, a beauty->Fisherman Suplex! Hoshino saves! Koshinaka calls that Rear View, muthafucka! Koshinaka tags out to Goto. Kobayashi tags out to Saito. Spinebuster by the stocky Saito. Saito suplex by Goto on Saito. Another one but Saito shifts his weight for two! Saito scores the elimination with a backslide on Goto. Team Choshu 5-3. Those were the expected first two eliminations from the Regular New Japan Squad, I am expecting Sasaki to go soon to give the babyfaces some hope. Third Elimination: Koshinaka wastes no time but Saito bullies him into the Choshu corner. Nice Sasaki powerslam into a Bostonn Crab but Kosh powers out. Honaga tags in. They beat Kosh in the Choshu corner. Hase/Kobayashi double team move on Kosh. Kobayahsi German on Kosh but Hoshino saves. Kosh hits a German Suplex bridge on Honaga for the elimination. Damn, Honaga was my next guess! Team Choshu 4-3. Fourth Elimination. Hoshino tags in and he is gonna punish the bloody Hase. Piston punches to the wound! Hoshino rules! I see why he got over because of this set! Hoshino is supe rover with the crowd. Yamada bites the cut! Yamada rakes Hase face across the ropes. This is the best part thus far! Hoshino headbutt to the cut. Things look bleak for Hase. Koshinaka throwing closed fists at Hase and Dragon Suplex! Hase collapses into the ropes! Hase Russian Legsweep tags in Hiro Saito. Saito back body drop. Dropkick by the chubbah wubbah. Tags in Hase who winds for the kick. Meat Windup Lariat! Kosh no sells and looks to throw Hase over the top, I get the distinct impression that would count as an elimination based on how the announcer and Hase' partners reacted. Hase tags out and double suplex on Koshinaka. Saito, Koshinaka Calls that the REAR VIEW~! Second rear view and Saito tries to throw him out, but he falls to the floor. Koshinaka falls too. I think that was a double elimination. I am not sure. Will update you as I learn more. Team Choshu 3-2. Sixth Elimination: Hoshino vs Hase, BABY! The best pairing thus far! Great punch drunk selling by Hase as Hoshino tees off! Hoshino back drops Hase over the top. HE TORPEDOS HIM OFF THE APRON AND HASE IS ELIMINATED! I have confirmation that Koshinaka and Saito were eliminated! Wow surprising final four of Yamada/Hoshino vs Kobayashi/Sasaki. Surprised Koshinaka and Hase already eliminated. Seventh Elimination: Hoshino vs Kobayashi has also been a great pairing. Kobayashi pins Hoshino! Flash rollup what the hell! Yamada vs Kobayashi & Sasaki! Eighth Elimination: Yamada piledrives him for two. Octopus Stretch! Nothing says New Japan like the Octopus Stretch! Tombstone by Yamada! Sasaki pushes him off the top rope which could have been an elimination. Kobayashi stomps at Yamada on the apron trying to eliminate him via the floor. Spike Piledriver on Yamada! Kensuke dropkick. Sasaki elbows Kobayashi. TWO ROLLING KOPPOU KICKS BY LIGER NAILS SASAKI! 1-2-3! It all comes down to this! First one really wiped out Sasaki. Ninth Elimination: Liger pounces with another Koppou Kick to Kobayashi! Fisherman Suplex for two! Liger pouring it on! Liger and Kobayashi tussle over a reverse waistlock of course leads to an O'Connor Roll, Liger two, but Kobayashi reverses and arches back to get three! Total workrate match! I like a more character work, narrative or stiffness/heat, but for those who love workrate and slam bang action this is for you. Hoshino, Hase, Yamada and Kobayashi make this worth watch and BABY KENSUKE~! was cool to see! ****
  4. Tatsumi Fujinami vs Kengo Kimura - NJPW 01/14/87 SGR: Umanosuke Ueda I believe according to what I read from KinchStalker this is the No DQ Blowoff. Kinchstalker added an important note to the 01/02/87 match that Kimura won after his running leg lariat but it was discovered that he loaded his kneepad and so the match was ruled a no contest. Thats how we ended up here. Two former tag partners in a big feud. This match is ranked significantly lower than January 2nd match and I agree with the DVDVR consensus that the January match is the more memorable and more heated match. I really felt if they had Choshu either lay this out or do a similar feud with Kimura this would have felt bigger. They did a lot of great grappling early but it was not sticky and it was not heated. Fujinami tags Kimura pretty good when they both went into a stand up boxing stance. Kimura came back and fired off some wicked punches. I was like alright thats more like it. Fujinami came roaring back and then worked a cross-armbreaker then into a short arm scissors. From there Fujinami got a leg whip tries the Scorpion Deathlock settled for a toehold and Kimura took over with a cross armbreaker. Kimura took over here. Massive piledriver! More big heavy blows from the hands, more arm work, and I am pretty sure I remember he got the Scorpion Deathlock. Where I felt let down is he finally nails the running Leg Lariat. It just feels like another move. The move was the crux of the feud and just wasnt well-built. He threw some more hands afterwards and it diluted the nearfall. He threw another when Fujinami was on the top rope and they both came crashing down. Thats when the Choshu thought popped in me head. It was not the moves per se it was how they were built to that was lacking. Choshu would have taken this match elevated it. Fujinami does the spot I knew that would happen he catches the Leg Lariat and turns into a Scorpion Deathlock. When that doesnt work Boston Crab and finally a Single Leg Crab. All the crazy punches, the running Leg Lariat and the big Fujinami finish, they had all the pieces they just couldnt get to the next level. It is just bubbling under great. ***3/4
  5. Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu - NJPW 6/24/88 Vacant IWGP Championship Fujinami was the IWGP Champion going into their May match but lost match to Choshu on a referee's decision based on being hobbled with a bum wheel by Choshu's attacks. Rather than award the title to Choshu, the title was declared vacant and this is the rematch. Choshu dominated this match but did not target the leg at all. Really nice Fujinami armdrag/Choshu headscissors sequence. I always like how New Japan incorporates the headscissors into the match, there is something more manly about their execution. Fujinami escapes and establishes control with a Cravat but is met with two stiff kneelifts and then a thunderous powerslam by Big Match Riki. Choshu figure-4s the head. This is the rhythm of the match. Choshu hits some big slam bang moves and then hits a hold. Fujinami gets the Bow & Arrow out of it, a common New Japan reversal of the time. They reset on stand up looking for a test of strength Choshu CRACKS Fujinami with a slap relentless on the stomps then executes a strange cross-armbreaker with a Figure-4 around the shoulder. Fujinami makes it to the ropes and powders. Upon coming he fires up with some kicks to knot up Choshu's thigh but it is not enough as Choshu executes a Kneecrusher which naturally leads to the Scorpion Deathlock of course. Fujinami breaks free of that and Choshu clamps on a headlock which is the perfect setup for Fujinami's Robinson Backbreaker, which was the real big move executed by Fujinami. Fujinami applies his patented Dragon Sleeper the first one looked good, second one he kinda lost control of. Choshu slams him off the top and Fujinami ends up on the outside. On the apron, Choshu smokes with a Lariat and Fujinami comes up bleeding, must have the "impact of the fall". Big Match Riki is winding up for the finish. I love how Choshu really gets you pumped for the finish. A bloody Fujinami valiantly attempts a dropkick counterattack but Choshu holds onto the ropes. Fujinami closes the gap and nails the dropkick before Choshu can Lariat him. OCTOPUS STRETCH! Cant hold it! Backslde! Enziguiri! Fujinami truly Inoki's disciple! On the second small package, Fujinami wins and regains the IWGP Championship. I liked the May match better, I thought it felt bigger and more dramatic. This was still great and a joy to watch, but it felt smaller and more standard. Slam Bang Move->Hold->Escape->Slam Bang->Rinse lather repeat is a rhythm I enjoy a lot truly and Choshu has a knack for making his matches really sticky. I didnt take a single solitary note watching the match and yet the match was wicked easy to remember because of the rhythm and the very natural progression which I appreciate a lot. I think what this match was really missing to put it over the top was Choshu getting a big nearfall with a Saito Suplex or Lariat or really building the drama to the Scorpion Deathlock without that I dont think the match reaches the all--time classic level, but definitely a great match worth watching. ****
  6. IWGP Heavyweight Champion Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu - NJPW 5/27/88 How the fuck have I never seen these two wrestle? I know, I know I should have my pro wrestling fan license revoke! Better late than never! This was fucking awesome! If every match is as good or better than this then I am in for a treat. Background on the match, Inoki vacate the title due to injury (work or shoot? @KinchStalker?). Fujinami defeated Vader to win the vacant title. That match didnt make the DVDVR set nor is it on NJPW World. I will try to track it down separately. This is for the IWGP Championship. Choshu has vaulted into my top ten maybe even top five favorite wrestlers at the moment. He has everything I love...badass power moves, oodles of charisma and most importantly everything matters in a Choshu match. He is the king of weaving narrative, escalation and consequences. I have found Fujinami to be amazing at execution and technique, but he doesnt have the personality to take over a match. This is my favorite match I have seen of him in a long time because Choshu builds a match where Fujinami can really shine. At the beginning of the match is that Fujinami always has an answer for anything Choshu attempts. Running shouldertackle, eat a dropkick, Riki. Trying for a Saito Suplex, watch that textbook grapevine block and into a double wristlock takedown. God the technique has me going from six to Midnght. Oh you want a Scorpion Deathlock, Choshu let me punch you a bunch and slap on really painful Figure-4. Sublime opening sequence. Fujinami hits a Robinson backbreaker in what seems out of character for Fujinami, he exposes the turnbuckle bashes Choshu head into it and takes Choshu on a tour of all the hard metal objects he can find until he busts him open. I can only conjecture that the reason for Fujinami getting so violent is because of previous transgressions by Choshu back in their original 83-84 feud. Back in the ring, Choshu nails a last ditch Saito Suplex! He needed that desperately. He nails another one. Then he gets a massive lucky break, Fujinami hurts his knee running the ropes. I thought at first it was Fujinami playing possum but Choshu immediately stomps the knee. Fujinami's selling rivals that of Savage or Kawada which is the highest praise I can give a man. Fujinami seeks refuge on the outside. He eats a Lariat off the apron. Fujinami ends having his buddies take off his boot and wrestles the rest of the match in a sock. He ends up in a Scorpion Deathlock but mans up and makes it to the ropes. Fujinami gets one last ditch hope spot a Dragon Sleeper, but Choshu is too close to the ropes. Fujinami hobbled, collapses in his corner. The referee has to call it. Choshu is pissed. I cant speak Japanese so I dont understand the fallout. Cagematch has it listed as a No Contest. It seems like the match should be awarded to Choshu via TKO. The one thing that is certain is that IWGP Heavyweight Championship is vacated again and there will be a rematch in June between Fujinami and Choshu to determine the new IWGP Champion. Terrific match in every regard, offense, selling, narrative, psychology, character/charisma, heat/hatred. God, I am so looking forward to devouring so much Fujinami vs Choshu! ****1/2
  7. Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Don Nakaya Nielsen - NJPW 7/29/88 Different Style Fight So who the fuck is Don Nakaya Nielsen? He is an American Kickboxer/karate dude. Inoki loved bringing these dudes in. The footage from New Japan World in the 70s is littered with these odd names you have never heard of who are usually foreign kickboxers/karate/martial arts dudes that Inoki beats up. I saw on New Japan World that Maeda fought him back in 86. Checking his Cagematch he never fought Inoki, but he did fight Yamada (Liger). His real claim to fame in pro wrestling at least was being tapped in the Tokyo Dome at a PWFG show by Ken Shamrock. According to the notes, I read the match between Shamrock & Nielsen was supposedly a shoot and Shamrock's win was the impetus for Pancrase. Next question, what is a Different Style Fight? I have reviewed these type of matches for Hashimoto as he went through a bunch of Different Style Fights in the early 90s basically they are worked MMA matches. It is a round system. There are cornermen and the ropes look like boxing/MMA ropes. Usually the non-New Japan wrestler is wearing boxing gloves or a gi. Nielsen is wearing kickboxing attire. Interesting this match is on the same card as Inoki vs Vader. Watching Round 1 you would have no clue why this was rated so highly in the DVDVR 80s New Japan poll. Nielsen does some lame spin kicks and strikes. Fujiwara wraps him up in the ropes. However, when you watches Rounds 2 & 3 you get it because those rounds are electric! Round 2 Fujiwara throws one of those patented lunging Fujiwara headbutts in the ropes and Nielsen is fucking pissed he starts throwing haymakers and kicks. Good cut right above the left eye of Fujiwara. Third Round is the best round. Great shoot-style brawl. Fujiwara looks to choke him out but he gets the ropes. Nielsen is a great foreign dick heel and punches the shit out of Fujiwara head. It looked nasty. It pissed me off thats for sure. Great third round. Rounds 4 & 5 are not that entertaining in my opinion. Fujiwara who I love and who I was rooting for has been beaten to bloody pulp. Nielsen charges and attacks him in the corner, Fujiwara covers up and collapses. Rinse lather repeat. Besides a leglock early in the fifth round there is no drama and no fiery comeback. Look you cant have Nielsen job to every New Japan worker and Fujiwara is perfect to get him over but at least give me the spirited comeback and have Fujiwara come up short. Obviously a hard match to judge based on typical star rating system. Rounds 2 & 3 are good enough to warrant a watch but other three rounds are not that great. I will probably watch the Maeda match at some point down the road. ***1/4
  8. Superstar Sleeze

    [1988-05-27-NJPW] Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu

    Antonio Inoki had diabetes?!?! If he has/had it, what hope do any of us have? I think I need to do some more reading on diabetes. Was he Type I or Type II?
  9. Superstar Sleeze

    Pro Wrestling Love Is Now A PTBN Podcast Series

    Sorry I have been missing advertising these shows on here...my personal life is upheaval but thank God for wrestling! This is the Grand Finale of me & @Ricky Jackson discussing the Best of WWF 1978-1987, lots of classics discussed but some hidden gems on here too! I hope you enjoy! Let us know what you think is too high, too low and what did we snooze on completely? https://www.podbean.com/ew/pb-dtuvg-10c51a4
  10. Pro Wrestling Love Goes Audio! On the Place To Be Wrestling Feed! Thank you to JT & Scott for hosting us! My brother says you can get access to "Place To Be Wrestling Feed" on Spotify and if you have an iPhone you have the purple Podcast app you can search for "Place To Be Wrestling" Feed and it will come up. I assume Apple Music/iTunes has it. Here is the web link: https://www.podbean.com/eu/pb-5wwux-f3d63d https://placetobe.podbean.com/ The hook in my opinion of the inaugural episode is my guest who is none other than PWO stalwart @El-P! I am so glad to have a chance to have an at length conversation with Jerome on pro wrestling as it was the most fun I have had during the Pandemic. Thank you so much for joining me, Jerome! We are discussing our Top 25 Matches in TNA/Impact Wrestling History. Of course when you get two PWO fans together there was no way to house all this goodness in one episode. So the first episode is just #25-21! We will continue to do it in 5 match chunks as we countdown to the Best TNA/Impact Wrestling Match of All Time. We hope you all enjoy this and please we welcome all feedback! Agree, disagree, thought we missed a match, please let us know! It was a blast to do this and we hope you all enjoy!
  11. Jushin Liger & AKIRA Nogami vs. Naoki Sano & Kantaro Hoshino - NJPW 8/8/89 A crucial match to watch before the Liger vs Sano IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship classic two days later as this kickass tag team match sets up the arm injury. This is also three days after a very heated Hoshino vs Liger match. It was a great week for the Junior Heavyweights. Liger comes out both barrels blazing! Nail big, electric baseball slide dropkicks on both opponents, but he gets greedy trying to suplex Sano from the ring to the floor. He leaves himself vulnerable and eats a dropkick from Hoshino. Sano follows up with a wicked suicide dive. With the advantage cemented they zero in on the arm. The arm injury is a major selling point of the Junior Heavyweight Title Match and all gets set up here. Awesome selling from Liger as these two just punish the arm inside and outside the ring. When it was outside the ring, AKIRA did try to help, but to no avail. Liger slides through the legs and tags in AKIRA. AKIRA tries become an inferno but is quickly quenched by an amazing BODY PUNCH combination by Hoshino. Hoshino lights AKIRA up! This is two matches in a row where Hoshino's punch combination are amazing. AKIRA gets an advantage and tries to dive on Sano but Sano moves and AKIRA FUCKING EATS STEEL! The camera angle was from behind so it may have looked gnarlier than it was but it was very gnarly-looking. They beat AKIRA to a bloody pulp on the outside. I dont know when AKIRA started bleeding but it was definitely on the outside. Great offense again from Sano and Hoshino who would have a killer heel tag team in the South. I loved the Irish Whip into the Missile Dropkick someone should steal spot. AKIRA got a hope spot from the top, but no hot tag.. Hoshino hits one of the most unsafe piledrivers you would ever see. Sano hits a Dragon Suplex but cant properly apply the bridge so he stomps AKIRA s'more and pins him. That is two things I have never seen, NO Hot Tag and a big move followed by some stomps and still successfully getting the pin. This put Sano & Hoshino over huge! They take out Liger's arm and bloody AKIRA. Besides the short shine from Liger at the outset, this was a mugging, definitely a unique, memorable layout. ***1/2
  12. Superstar Sleeze

    [1989-08-05-NJPW] Jushin Liger vs Kantaro Hoshino

    Jushin Liger vs Kantaro Hoshino - NJPW 8/5/89 Jushin Liger was the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion at this point, but I dont believe this was a title defense. This is a handheld. I do not believe I have had the pleasure of watching Hoshino yet as I have not watched any of the famous New Japan MULTI-MANs YET where he won over the hearts of the PWO/DVDVR faithful. This is also five days before one of the greatest Juniors matches of all time where Liger defends against Naoki Sano. If you ever want to hear a heel crowd watch this match! At first I thought it was just our cameraman and his section, but eventually the whole arena was chanting for Hoshino and not just during the match but after the match even though he laid down a sick heel beatdown. Jumpstart at the beginning with Hoshino attacking Liger at the bell. This is my one criticism of early Liger are these long heat segments ala babyface Lawler and babyface Savage where they get beat on and beat on but do not offer much in the way of hope spots. It is a blessing because Hoshino is great as a kickass heel on top. He beat sling Liger all around in the ring and out of the ring into railings. Great clubbering offense, nice dropkick and a wicked punch which in Japan is always a pleasant treat. I think Liger could have increased the drama/tension by peppering in the hope spots as opposed to sort of saying "Ok your turn is over, now it is my turn". The first is using Hoshino momentum against him and throwing him out of the ring. This leads to a wicked Baseball Slide and then and awesome dive through the ropes. One great thing about early Liger is how he would hurl his body with reckless abandon. As he got older, he got stockier and stronger and became more of the grounded, hard-hitting, powerful junior of the division, but early Liger was all about high-octane offense. Hoshino regain control and hits a dive off the top rope to the floor. Hoshino works the leg and eventually goes after the mask and starts in with more awesome punches. Liger goes back on offense and NAILS a wicked Koppou Kick in the corner. That was fabulous. Hoshino cuts him off before he can hit the Diving Headbutt, press slamming him off the top ala Flair. Hoshino gets two red hot nearfalls on crossbodies that the crowd wanted so bad to be the finish. He hits his Powerbomb for his big nearfall, but the crowd didnt bite as hard. Liger wins with a roll-up. I would have liked a bigger finish for the champion even if the crowd wouldnt have loved it. Hoshino beats up the ref and Liger post-match. Excellent Hoshino performance, Liger was very giving as usual, which did make some the transitions feel abrupt, but he was fantastic on offense. Looking forward to the Liger/Hoshino tag later in the month. ***1/2
  13. Riki Choshu, Jushin Liger & Kengo Kimura vs Big Van Vader, Buzz Sawyer & Manny Fernandez - NJPW 8/3/89 What you expect from the match is a strong focus on Choshu vs Vader because they are one week from their IWGP Championship. What you hope for is a strong focus on Vader vs Liger because that is a badass dream match you would have never expected to see...guess what baby it is all about Vader vs Liger! Before the bell, Liger races across the ring and dropkicks Vader in his bad arm off the apron. Vader flips the fuck out! He is screaming and hollering, writhing in pain. He grabs a chair from the audience and whips it at the opposing corner! O I think Im gonna like this. Manny was great in his role as the solid worker just like Kimura. Buzz Sawyer was very entertaining. I need to watch Buzz. He does one of the most entertaining criss cross sequences with Liger you will ever see! Amazing drop downs! He sells and bumps for Liger like a millions bucks. Once he has had enough he tags in Vader. HERE WE FUCKING GO! VADER VS LIGER~! Vader demolishes him to start heavy rights, big meaty lariats and the climax PRESS SLAM FROM THE RING TO THE FLOOR! Liger comes back in and goes full speed into a Lariat. Vader is rocking and reeling. Choshu comes in and finishes the job! LIGER DROPKICKS VADER OUT OF THE RING! Me and all of Japan are going crazy! Choshu and Vader is pretty good from what I remember which is a big Choshu clothesline. Then we get some work from the others. Manny was really solid, lots of effort and Buzz looked great too. Vader vs Choshu happens again, double clothesline. Liger tags back in. Vader puts a beating on Liger and it looks like he is gonna Press Slam him again, I think it is Kimura kicks him in the gut. Vader sells this like he has been shot. Liger kicks him in the gut. IT IS FUCKING ON! Cat & Mouse Game! Vader ends up going ass over tea kettle out of the ring while trying to give chase. Liger nails him with a baseball slide dropkick to the outside. ELECTRIC! The two Liger vs Vader segments are worth the price of admission. Manny comes in hits a couple flying Burritos. Kimura ends up hitting his running knee lariat thing he does to win. I like Kimura just fine, but it is funny he was clearly the 6th best guy in this match and he picked up the win. This is all about Vader vs Liger if you are a fan of either, you have to watch this! ***1/2
  14. Vader vs Salman Hashimikov - NJPW 7/13/89 By Inoki, I think Salman has got it! Too bad for him he is a day late and a dollar short. He dropped the IWGP Championship to Choshu the day before. If this match was the Hashimikov title victory over Vader in May I think wrestling history might have turned out a little different. He looked awesome in this match and he got over huge. The May title switch was a clunky clusterfuck. This was a Bill Watts wet dream match. It was two big uglies throwing each other around. Japanese crowd and me go crazy when about five minutes in Hashimikov DEMOLISHES Vader with a lariat. Then he whips Vader so hard the railing goes back like 8-10 feet. No lie. I have never seen the railing move so far. They were cheering him vaulting over the top rope after that. He was throwing Vader around in impressive fashion. Amazing double underhook suplex which the Japanese crowd popped for as soon as they say the underhooks. The German out of the corner was KING-SIZED! Then he hit his finish the one that won him the IWGP Championship, the hoist over shoulder drop him back. Vader says not today. Vader was FUCKING BRUTAL THIS MATCH! He hit Hashimikov so hard at one point, Hashimikov lost his footing. He was CLOCKING Hashimikov. It was insane! Vader at this point in his career didnt have the offensive arsenal he had in the 90s. It was just wild haymakers, MEATY Lariats and GIRTHY Splashes! It was glorious. It fucking decapitated Hashimikov with a lariat towards the end. There was another move I thought was the finish. Then he SQUASHED him with the biggest belly to belly suplex I have ever seen. If you love power wrestling as much as me, do yourself a favor and watch this match! ****
  15. Antonio Inoki vs Bruiser Brody - NJPW 8/1/85 It was an Inoki vs Brody match from April of 85 that reignited my love of pro wrestling a couple weeks ago! Will wonders ever cease! I was reading a review I wrote about Brody many years ago and you know what I think Brody gets a bum rap. If you think of him as Frankenstein as opposed to a Wildman Brawler I think that helps. Also, I think he is unfairly maligned in his bumping style. I think there are way too many bumps in wrestling to begin with. I have no problem with him being stingy with the bumps. As you will see when he does finally bump for the Enziguiri it gets a far bigger reaction from me and the crowd. I do agree he makes some seriously questionable selling choices and facial expressions at time which make you believe he is not selling the moment, but overall I like Brody. I dont think he is Top 100 of all time, but he is good. He has really good chemistry with Inoki. Brody is Hussin' & Fussin' about his chain and he is with his buddy, the Superfly. Was Snuka wearing lifts in the WWF? Holy shit, Brody DWARFS Snuka. Brody is a big dude. Loved the opening tussle both men have handfuls of hair, great intensity. I love how they set the tone. Inoki accidentally yanks off Brody's boot, but is left surprised, Brody snatches it back and cracks with it. Inoki powders. Brody big bodyslam in the ring and then a big chop. DIdnt love this transition, but Inoki gets a single leg/back heel trip into a Figure-4, which gets long in the tooth but at least Inoki follows up with a relentless barrage of kicks to the bad leg as Brody sells on the run well. This sets up an Inoki abdominal Stretch and then Full Nelson. Brody backs him into the corner. He Breaks free, clubbering and a Massive Legdrop. Like that from Brody. Brody hits the chinlock. Once free Inoki hits two big time Enizguiris and on the second Brody takes a BIG face first bump that pops the crowd and me. BOMBS AWAY KNEEDROP! Great nearfall! Inoki starts throwing huge bombs: Saito Suplex, Enizguiri and a Vertical Suplex. Each is given time to breathe and sink in. Brody does a great job selling these. The first after the cover he scrambles to the ropes to get himself up only BANG! Enziguiri which causes a powder out of the ring. Not as good as the April match but this is still great Clash of the Titans Pro Wrestling. Inoki goes into overdrive on the O'Connor Roll attempt and the both tumble through the middle rope to the floor, which is a pretty cool spot that I am not sure Ive seen before. Someone should crib it. Brody ends up PILEDRIVING Inoki on the exposed concrete! By the time he rolls him back in, he only gets two. King Kong Kneedrop is too close to the ropes, great Brody bombs down the stretch. They are back on the outside, Brody takes out his frustrations on a young boy giving him a big boot and then starts jabbing Inoki with the chair. The ref gets him off, BUT Inoki has the chair! Inoki clobbers him with the chair. The first shot was a little tepid but everyone after that is a sold chair shot. For the 80s, they were pretty rough. Inoki has snapped! The ref is forced to call the bell. Good post-match brawl with the chain and the tussling and pull apart. Brody has color and comes back in one more time to eat an Enziguiri to send the crowd home happy EXCEPT he runs amok in the crowd. Watching the fans flee from a stalking Brody never gets old! A cool visual! Not as good as the April match but I really liked this especially the last 10 minutes or so. Well-paced bomb-throwing match with a red hot finish! ****
  16. NWA International Tag Team Champions Jumbo Tsuruta & Genichiro Tenryu vs Riki Choshu & Killer Khan - AJPW 8/2/85 I can see why people prefer Tenryu to Jumbo during the work in this match as Tenryu is fired up from the start blitzing Choshu and Khan with chops. Whereas Jumbo takes the more scientific approach in the early going. It is only after Tenryu is being blatantly choked by Khan that Jumbo gets worked up into a lather. I think Jumbo did work hot from then with lots of slaps and emotion down the stretch. He bled for his promotion! Jumbo had an elbow pad on his arm and apparently it was injured as he is really selling after two lariats. Choshu hits a monster back suplex! BIG TIME LARIAT! Jumbo is sprawled out to the floor. Khan really adds the heel touches to this match. Bashing his bad arm to post and then attacking with ring bell. Jumbo is really cut open. Khan & Choshu beat the shit out of Jumbo. Khan is great here gnawing the cut and then attacking the bad arm. It is just an all out assault. Baba did not teach his boys lariats as Jumbo & Tenryu are nowhere as good as Choshu at the lariat. Choshu finally gets the Scoprion Deathlock but Tenryu hits a lariat. Khan makes the mistake to Irish Whip Jumbo near his corner. Tenryu SLAPS the taste out of Khan's mouth. AWESOME! Khan over hand chops. They both tag out. JUMBO HOUSE AFIRE! Pretty amazing comeback given how bloody he is. High knee, lariat and super back suplex. Didn't like transition of Choshu shooting him off into the Hotshot. Would have liked him to catch him into the move. They double team Jumbo with kneedrops from the top. Jumbo ends up outside. CHOSHU DECKS TENRYU WITH A LARIAT. Countout victory for the invading force! Putting over Choshu & Co. strong. Drawing blood on Jumbo and kicking his ass so bad he couldn't respond to a ten count. Great booking and good execution. Tenryu was fired up, Jumbo was great at selling and the blood was awesome, Khan is such a great dick and Choshu is the badass rockstar. Good installment in the series. ***3/4
  17. Antonio Inoki vs Vader - NJPW 7/29/88 Well this fucking rules! I watched this in 2017 I believe in an airport and never got around to writing a review but I remembered all the arm work, the gory bladejob and the fact that Vader sells his arm at least until April of 1989 as this is the Achilles Heel his opponent exploit for at least the next 9 months or so. It was no shock that this was fucking awesome! Vader is at his absolute best when he is doing his wounded bear selling and just hollering in pain. This match has that in spades. Oh just for some context, the win gets a crack at Tatsumi Fujinami for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Vader tries to be all intimidating early but spends too much time worshipping his steam-spewing elephant helmet and gets caught with an Enziguiri to the head. They brawl on the outside but Vader regain controls quickly against the railing. I rewound a bunch but I never saw where Vader actually hurt his arm, but back in the ring Vader is favoring his left arm. Inoki relentlessly kicks it and does the over the shoulder armbreaker. Vader try as he might to overwhelm Inoki with his girth, the splash in the corner and then the massive Vader Body Attack into an immediate pounce pin were brutal but Inoki keeps coming back. Inoki is laser-focused on that arm. Vader tries to slow things down with a Surfboard but Inoki counters that again into an over the shoulder arm breaker. Vader is one of the all-time great sellers. We talk a lot about his bumping, but Vader is a top ten seller of all time. Vader tries the bearhug, but ends up eating a dropkick, bodyslam, Bombs Away Kneedrop offensive rally that was awesome. Vader tries to hold Inoki in a sitting abdominal stretch and just mercilessly punch Inoki right in the fucking face, but nothing will stop Inoki on this night. It was disturbing watching Vader punch him right in the face unprotected. Inoki barely flinched. Insane! Crowd is going crazy for Inoki. Inoki goes right back to the over the shoulder arm breaker. Tried & true! Vader hollering is just the best. Vader slugs Inoki to get out. Inoki backdrops him over the top. Back where this all started on the floor. Vader tries to kill Inoki with his metal staff gimmick, but clangs it against the post. Inoki gets a hold of it and jabs Vader's bad arm with it and of course VADER BLADES HIS ARM! He is bleeding a gusher and selling it like his arm is paralyzed in a fucked up position. I love Vader. Vader gets in and in the ropes Inoki Enziguiris the bad arm! I LOVE Inoki! More kicks to the arm. A shitty Octopus Stretch because Vader is so big. Vader powers out but still selling his fucked up arm. Vader bodyslam and he is going up top. Inoki catches Vader into a straight armbar to get the submission victory! Bitchin' finish! There were some transitions that I would liked tightened up and some of Vader's holds dragged, but besides that this was FUCKING AWESOME! Vader selling like a wounded bear, Inoki's offense laser-focused, Vader comeback offense was brutal and awesome finish! ****3/4
  18. Superstar Sleeze

    [1988-08-08-NJPW] Tatsumi Fujinami vs Antonio Inoki

    IWGP Heavyweight Champion Tatsumi Fujinami vs Antonio Inoki - NJPW 8/8/88 Inoki defeated Vader for the right to challenge Fujinami for the IWGP Champion. Inoki was 45 years old and I think he knew this was it. He wanted to have one last 60 minute draws in true Championship style fashion against his best student, the one that most emulated traditional pro wrestling I have only watched twenty minutes thus far but this is a significant improvement over their 1985 match. The exchanges dont just have struggle within the exchange but there is an overarching struggle to win the match. The 1985 match lacked progression and felt like an exhibition of grappling. This feels like a match where each man wants to win. Also, I thought Fujinami was more offensive-minded in this match. First twenty minutes: Tremendous grappling here as expected. Everything drips with struggle quite literally as they are drenched in sweat quickly. This is a Championship match and it is wrestled as such. This is one of those rare instances that the defending champion has something to prove to the challenger. For Inoki, this is one last chance to prove he is the Greatest. He only has to be as great as he once was once. The early stages are chippy as expected even throwing in some strikes. Fujinami goes for a snapmare how many times have we seen that only for Inoki to RIP him down via horse collar. That was terrific, a microcosm of this match. The ref has to slap Fujinami awake. Fujinami is definitely alert as he blocks the Enziguiri and converts it into a Giant Swing and then into a Figure-4. The Figure-4 in the 1985 was interminable and the death of the match. Here the move seems like the most epic Figure-4 of all time. Amazing struggle by both men. The sequences focus on arms. Whether it is Fujinami's straight armbar or Inoki leg-grapevine crucifix these were intense struggles and counters to each other. They even threw in some highspots. Inoki misses another Enziguiri and Fujinami nails a dropkick. Inoki shows the old school wrestler way to counter anything is to bridge as he bridges out of a chinlock. Fujinami Figure-4s the head which is a stock Inoki spot to set up the Inoki Indian Deathlock. He snaps it back multiple times and works a Bow & Arrow. He doesnt bridge back into a chinlock which I surprised me. He goes back to the Bow & Arrow but Fujinami has it scouted and applies a Dragon Sleeper. Sublime grappling with so much struggle and intensity. Champion vs Challenger. Intergenerational Match. Big improvement over 1985. On track to be one of the best hour broadways. Let see what happens... Second Twenty Minutes: They are really progressing and fleshing out the narrative which is what needed to happen in these twenty minutes as I thought that was the one weakness of the first twenty minutes. The older Inoki becomes more and more reliant on big bombs as he is being consistently out-wrestled. Big Bombs gets it over early and he expends less energy. Fujinami has energy for days. Fujinami counters into a choke early in this segment. Inoki uses the 'ol Volk Han standby of crossing Fujinami's ankles. Fujinami looks in trouble and Inoki moves into a deep toehold. They leads to an intense criss cross sequence and a flash Fujinami roll-up for two which gets nuclear heat. Thats my one knock in this match some of the connective tissue is missing. The deep toehold into a hot criss-cross seemed out of place. Inoki feigns the over the shoulder armbreaker to nail German with bridge and then a Rolling Koppou Kick. Fujinami has to powder. Fujinami needs something and he crowds in the corner and throws a barrage of headbutts, Robinson Backbreaker and back to the Figure-4. They roll all the way to the outside intertwined to put over the hold and their wills. Fujinami sticks with the leg with some strikes, a Scorpion Deathlock and then a Indian Deathlock. Inoki breaks free and throws a missile dropkick which sells his desperation. Inoki is favoring his leg he avoids two Fujinami dropkicks, trying to convert the second into a Boston Crab. To further this desperation angle, Inoki chokes Fujinami illegally on the apron which is illegal due to it being a choke and the position. Inoki applies his Octopus Stretch and the crowd is going wild. That kid is losing his shit and I am here for it! Fujinami break and hits a Belly to Back Suplex. Fujinami steals the move but he cant hold it and Inoki seamlessly transitions to it but it is too difficult a move to maintain. Inoki is relying on bigger and bigger bombs to try to win. Fujinami has been outwrestling him and has succeeded in injuring Inoki's leg. It is anyone's ballgame in the last 20 minutes... Last Twenty Minutes: Inoki just takes over and kicks ass. I like Fujinami and think he is a great worker/mechanic, but unlike the true GOATs he doesnt have the personality/charisma/presence that just takes over a match make that match his. Inoki does. Inoki slaps the shit out of him. Fujinami's sell to no-sell transition is great. Two big Inoki blows to the chest and then the Enizguiri finally fells Fujinami again a terrific no-sell to sell transition. Loved Inoki's Kneeling Torture Rack only to demolish him with the Saito Suplex. I didnt love Fujinami coming right back with a Piledriver. There was a lot of weird things like that throughout the match that keep from being one of the best one hour Broadways I have ever seen. Inoki hits the Bombs Away Kneedrops one of his many staples. The second one is met by Fujinami they struggle over a Superplex that never materializes. Around the 50 minute mark, they have an insane grappling scramble that would have been wild in the first five minutes, at the fiftieth minute their cardio is insane! As previous posters have mentioned the match loses a little sumthin sumthin here as for the first time it becomes obvious that they are going the distance and the crowd loses a bit. There are still great moments here and there. Fujinami is busting out Dragon Sleepers and trying for the Dragon Suplex. Inoki is still trying to choke Fujinami out and win via the Octopus Stretch. They end up entangled in Octopus Stretch and Abdominal Stretch at the end. Switching in and out. Inoki drops down into a pinning combination for two and time expires. I love & respect all the work the DVDVR crew did in putting together the 80s sets but this has to be the biggest oversight/miss of that project as this match was fantastic and historic. This was Inoki's farewell to classic Championship style pro wrestling. He threw everything he had into this match. You could tell how much this match meant to him. Fujinami gave as good as he got, but this as the Inoki show. Both men are carried out on the shoulders of their peers a sign of respect for both warriors. A Broadway every wrestling fan should watch once. ****1/2
  19. Antonio Inoki & Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Akira Maeda & Osamu Kido - NJPW 12/11/86 IWGP Tag League I believe this is the 1986 IWGP Tag League Finals as these two teams wrestled the night before where Inoki got counted out after nailing the ringpost with an Enziguiri. Looking to get to bed by 10pm so lets do this stream of consciousness style: Fujiwara and Kido to start. Greco-Roman Knucklock. Fujiawara into a hammerlock and sits down into the Fujiwar armbar but Kido keeps arm at angle. The cool Fujiwara Boston Crab counter happens again! Love that spot! Kido drop toehold into a crossface. Fujiwara hiptoss. Kido tags out. Maeda vs Fujiwara! Fujiwara/Inoki conferences is badass. Inoki tags in. Here we go...Inoki vs Maeda! Maeda leg kick and Inoki shots in and Maeda gets the front chancery. Some chaining and they square off. Maeda tries to out-Inoki Inoki by kicking the shins and it works as Inoki collapses. Meada gets the straight kneebar. Inoki is not selling this well. They are just sitting in it. Inoki rolls into the ropes. Maeda big kicks. Belly to belly suplex! Maeda into cross-armbreaker! Inoki flips out and gets side control into his own cross-armbreaker but Maeda blocks. Maeda into a leg lace and tags out. Underwhelming segment. Kido loves his punt kicks and he gats caught nd back heel trip. Here comes Fujiwara to light Kido's ass up! Fujiwara is the fucking man! Body punches and head shots. Fujiwara armbar out of a reverse waistlock is always over in my house. Fujiwara works hard to get the double underhook. Nice Buttefly suplex. Kido works a tight headscissors. Fujiwara snapmare into a chinlock. Fujiwara heavy breathing is the best. Kido picks the ankle into a toehold. but he rides high and Fujiwara gets an armbar. Basic but effective stuff here as Kido tags out. Waiting for this match to kick into high gear. Maeda backs Fujiwara into a corner two nice kicks and then drags him down into a Crossface Chickenwing. Fujiwara bucks him off. Maeda's missing his two front teeth when the fuck did that happen? Anybody know? Fujiwara wrestles him into his eponymous Armbar. Maeda gets Fujiwara's back and works a hammerlock. Maeda tags out. Kido back to punt kicks. Fujiwara lures him into Inoki's corner. Inoki throws Kido to outside. Inoki is still selling his leg after the shin kicks and straight kneebar. Inoki side headlock and they work some tight chaining. Kido tags out and Inoki POUNCES ON Maeda as he enters. They grapple on the ropes as the crowd COMES ALIVE. Inoki PUNCHES Maeda! Maeda has his fist cocked. Inoki lures him in. Fujiwara comes in with BODY SHOTS AND HEADBUTTS! HELL YEAH! Maeda stomps a mudhole in the corner great Fujiwara selling. German by Maeda gets two! Kido tagged in and he tries to literally kick Fujiwara out of the ring. He pelting Fujiwara's leg with kicks as Fujiwara seeks refuge in the corner and finally he just hauls off and PUNCHES HIM. Tags out to Inoki. ENZIGUIRI! Vertical Suplex gets two! Butterfly Suplex tag out. Inoki dropkick misses! Maeda's does not! Maeda loses control PUMMELING Inoki with kicks along bottom rope. Maeda wants the Dragon Suplex BUT NO...OCTOPUS STRETCH! Kido saves! Kido Saito Suplex! 1-2-NO! Kido tags out! Maeda misses the Spinning Heel Kick! Inoki Octopus Stretch as Fujiwara peels around the ring to impede Maeda from saving! The first ten minutes looks like a rolling session from New Japan Dojo that is entertaining for someone like me that likes grappling but it is all execution thats interesting. It is missing progression, narrative and character work. The last five minutes starting with that INTENSE Inoki & Maeda interaction kick the match into overdrive! Fujiwara coming in like house afire with body shots only for Maeda to quash that with a barrage of kicks! Kido was a great pest. You know he didnt belong with the other three in terms of star power. He was trying to keep Maeda in it long enough so Maeda could hit the home run to win for their team but when Maeda whiffed on the Rainbow Spinning Heel Kick, you knew the end was nigh! Great finish run! A hotter beginning and this was an all-timer. ***3/4
  20. IWGP Tag Team Champions Shiro Koshinaka & Keiji Mutoh vs Akira Maeda & Nobuhiko Takada - NJPW 3/26/87 The Impossible Dream Team of Koshinaka & Mutoh upset Team UWF six days earlier after getting slaughtered for 95% of the match, but it only takes three seconds to win. Will Team UWF come out firing or will they be more cautious? Stream of consciousness style so I can get to bed quicker: Takada & Mutoh start and Takada is more tentative. They trade wild kicks to the head. They trade knucklelock takeovers. Typical New Japan start where the work is tight and crisp. Takada single leg & back heel trip into the leg lace. Here's the Takada we all know and love. At least it doesnt last long. Takada lands two nice kicks to the side. Mutoh tags out. Koshinaka in and he gets SMACKED immediately. Koshinaka plays defense well. Takada tags out. Maeda is not playing this game. Big kick to the head but Koshinaka blocks. Koshinaka SLAPS Maeada in the ropes! BALLSY! Maeda gets his receipt and here come the kicks! Koshinaka works leglocks well. Maeda single pickup into leglace and Koshinaka scrambles out. Good man! Koshinaka dropkick and wants a hiptoss. Maeda says homey dont play that and THROWS Kosh DOWN! Spikes him on his head an in crazy reverse crotch hold down. Maeda works douuble wristlock and snapmares him into the UWF corner. Takada comes in with kicks but Koshinaka leg drags him to Muto and Mutoh works a toehold. This is far more even and it is still great work but doesnt have the charm of the first match. Takada works a TIGHT headlock! The work is so good tight and crisp. I love it. Now Takada figure-4s the head, definitely a more standard match. Mutoh pops out into a Bow & Arrow. He has not stolen the Mutalock from Inoki yet. Mutoh tags out and Koshinaka applies a chinlock into headlock. Takada wriggles free into a kick. Tag out. Maeda and Takada double team him. Wicked Maeda kick to head to finish for two. Koshinaka bulls Maeda over but Maeda applies an arm bar. Mutoh Bombs Away Kneedrop to save. Big legdrop by Kosh and into chinlock. Loved the Maeda Fireman's Carry as an out! Maeda spikes him with a belly to belly throw and a wicked piledriver. Takada meaty kicks and then Tombstone Piledriver and then Belly to Belly Suplex. Back to leglace. The offense is high octance, but the eveness and more holds hurts the rhythm. Koshinaka the master of working leg holds aggravates Takada with slaps to force him to release hold. Takada misses an Enziguiri and Koshinaka works the Scorpion Deathlock a wildly popular 80s New Japan move. Everyone used it! Takada tags out in the hold. Maeda comes in kickin'! Big German by Maeda. Maeda with big Spinning Heel Kick on the incoming Mutoh. Team UWF is taking advantage of being in pro wrestling with a zillion suplexes. Takada missile dropkick and Saito Suplex. Mutoh misses the Back Handspring Elbow but Takada misses the Jumping roundhouse Kick. Backbreaker -> Moonsault! Electric! Maeda saves! Spike Piledriver! Takada kicks out because Maeda does not save....BOOOOOO! SUPER REAR VIEW! Only gets two! Maeda dropkicks Koshinaka and Takada Dragon Suplex! I think they have done every suplex possible. No Butterfly or Gutwrench. Maeda Spinning Heel Kick gets two! He misses in the corner! Mutoh tags in and gets the Boston Crab. Takada KICKS THROUGH MUTOH! Maeda Dragon Suplex on Mutoh for two! Koshinaka tagged in, BUTT BUTT! O'Connor Roll! Jacknife! Takada gets a legbar out of O'Connor Roll and Maeda dropkicks Mutoh to prevent the save and Koshinaka tags out. Team UWF's offense was awesome! That was really where the match begins and ends. I think the more even layout and more holds hurt the match. While the offense looked cool all the kicks and suplexes, it was a bit over the top. The Mutoh finish stretch was hot in the first match and it was hot here. Just didnt do it for me as much as the first match. ***3/4
  21. Akira Maeda & Nobuhiko Takada vs Shiro Koshinaka & Keiji Mutoh - NJPW 3/20/87 Vacant IWGP Tag Team Titles Dont know the full story (maybe @KinchStalker does), but Fujinami & Kimura started wrestling each other in singles in December of 1986 and it really exploded in January of 1987 with January 2nd match being one of the best of the year from New Japan. This feud resulted in Fujinami & Kimura vacating the tag team titles. Maeda & Takada are heavy, heavy favorites. This is the betting equivalent of a 17 point spread. Mutoh is basically a rookie and Koshinaka is on Takada's level. So with Maeda who is considered on the level of a Fujinami or dare I say an Inoki, this should be slaughter sides. For 15 glorious minutes, the UWF boys kick the ever loving shit out of the New Japan boys. I do quite literally mean kick. These are some of the most ferocious kicks you would have ever seen. Takada is at his best as the valiant Ace Babyface fighting from underneath or in chess matches against Fujiwara. Very rarely if ever does Takada look violent or aggressive. This is aggressive Takada. He was just rifling off kicks. He was kicking Koshinaka and Mutoh when they were in the ropes. He was throwing kicks when Mutoh was shooting for takedowns. He was on fire. This was the best possible Maeda too. Maeda was LIGHTING FOOLS UP! He was WRECKING their shit! He threw some mean suplexes along with those wild kicks. This was the best extended squash you have ever seen. Koshinaka & Mutoh were totally pros feeding and selling for them. When I say "sell" I mean they would register but keep fighting. If they sold in a traditional Southern way, it would have ruined the rhythm of the match. Their version lent a more shoot-style feel to match and got Maeda's & Takada's offense more over. Mutoh & Koshinaka got some hope spots like a Mutoh knee drop or a Maeda missed Koppou Kick in the corner, but almost immediately the UWF boys would retaliate. It is great that when Mutoh & Koshinaka did try to get their famous spots in they were quashed. Koshinaka's Rear View got countered into a German Suplex how as Naomi/Asuka never worked that spot...Mutoh misses the Back Handspring Elbow in the corner. I cant stress enough even though this was lopsided it was wicked fun. One of the most obvious tropes in Puroresu, is he who takes the majority of the match is he who takes the fall. I smelt a rat from a mile away. Koshinaka got a small package I bit and here comes Mutoh. The discombobulated Takada falls prey to the Backbreaker/Moonsault combo! Which is ELETRIC IN 1987! Maeda saves. SPIKE PILEDRIVER~! Maeda saves. Maeda comes in and demolishes Koshinaka but Kosh gets a backslide! Takada back in. Mutoh saves before the Scorpion Deathlock is applied but Takada throws him out. Maeda detains Mutoh, but Koshinaka reverses the Scorpion Deathlock into an inside cradle for the UPSET WIN OF THE DECADE! Really cool upset win, wicked fun, awesome layout, kickass action. ****1/4
  22. Superstar Sleeze

    [1989-02-09-NJPW] Big Van Vader vs Tatsumi Fujinami

    Big Van Vader vs Tatsumi Fujinami – 2/9/89 Fujinami is the current IWGP Champion, but this is non-title. This is about two months before the big Dome Show featuring the tournament for the IWGP Championship, which Fujinami voluntarily vacated for the tournament. Cagematch says Vader was with Brad Rheingains but it looked like Dick Slater to me? In their first match, Fujinami got the surprise victory with a backslide. Another good match between these two as Fujinami has to come up with different ways to try to fell the giant. In the previous match, it was all about quickness, in this match he went straight ahead at Vader. You see that early with the headlock. This left vulnerable to Vader’s natural strategy of inertia and power. Vader manhandled him over the ropes and just clobbered him with the big right. Is Vader the first wrestler to wear the fingerless MMA gloves? Fujinami gets in back suplex. Vader takes three slams/suplexes in this match. It goes back to the earlier point of what Vader could enable for his opponent to make them look like world-beaters because he was so athletic. Vader cements his advantage with a hotshot, which makes me drool at the prospect of Vader vs Jumbo Tsuruta around this timeframe. Vader hits those meaty lariats. I love it. I really dug how Vader charged into the feet of Fujinami and he just fought right through it. FEEL NO PAIN! Fujinami’s feet got stuck in Vader’s tights but Vader kept pressing. Fujinami got a whip into the railing and that gave him a breather. We talked about it in Vader vs Inoki III but Vader’s verbal selling is second only to Flair in how great it is. Vader caught Fujinami coming off the top into a wicked snake eyes on the top rope. Vader grabs a front facelock. Doing a great job peppering in the hope spots as Vader grinds him down. Fujinami reverses a suplex into his own! Wow! They do that spot where Fujinami crossbody blocks Vader over the top rope, a very athletic spot. Fujinami ATTACKS THE ARM! Shades of Vader vs Inoki III. He grabs the Fujiwara armbar! Vader muscles out and trips the leg. VADER BODY ATTACK! Only gets two. I love that when Vader feels threatened he immediately hits a big move and tries to pin. Fujinami slides down the back, sleeper, DRAGON SLEEPER! Another great “nearfall” for Fujinami, but Vader is just too much man! Vader hits one of those meaty lariats that knocks Fujinami out. Vader comes off the top rope with a Vader Body Attack for the first time! So impressive! Vader lariat for the win! Great buildup for the big Dome show with Vader winning in dominating fashion. They peppered in the hope spots with the Armbar & Dragon Sleeper being the biggest, but this is the Vader Show. Either he is bumping like a madman to make Fujinami look good or he is clobbering him. Vader looked great on offense big slams, stiff lariats and the big top rope move. It’s Vader Time Baby! ***1/2
  23. Superstar Sleeze

    [1988-06-26-NJPW] Big Van Vader vs Tatsumi Fujinami

    IWGP Heavyweight Champion Tatsumi Fujinami vs Vader - NJPW 6/26/88 The Vader Match Formula against a workrate opponent is pretty much bulletproof: heaping helping of clubbering, oppressive offense, sprinkle hope spots liberally and serve piping hot. Having watched him against Bam Bam Bigelow & Hashimikov, I dont think he had the formula quite down for the big men (but apparently the July Hashimikov match is better), he was already great against Fujinami here. The first great Leon White match was against Stan Hansen in AWA but this was probably the first great Vader match. Vader pummels him to start. Vader loves to give his opponents hope which I love. He ricochets off the turnbuckles on a missed charge, gets dropkicked and does a great ass first bump through the ropes. Vader was a bumping machine. I rarely think about Greatest Wrestler Ever shit when I am watching a match because I am focused on the match, but as someone who rated Vader mainly on his mid-90s American run and his late 90s All Japan, youre really missing out on Vader's candidacy if you dont watch the late 80s/early 90s New Japan work. He is even more athletic here and just as pulverizing. Vader climbs back in and immediately uses girth to regain control and chest bump his way to an advantage. He works some back-related holds that looks more painful because it is Vader. They end up on the outside and he runs the back into the post. What I love about Vader is he never lets a heat segment get long in the tooth because without the hope spots it would eventually undercut the match and him. He just beats and beats on Fujinami and ends up losing he looks like a choke, but if Fujinami gets a smattering of offense then Vader is losing to a worthy adversary. We get the surprise Fujinami suplex of Vader which is a Vader staple. Some leg kicks. The Figure-4 was great because of Vader's hollering bonus points for still selling while in the ropes. A lot of people neglect to keep selling when they are in the ropes. I really liked Fujinami following up with the Scorpion Deathlock attempt but Vader is too massive. Vader continues to do Vader things just using his mass to his advantage. Vader gets a brutal looking abdominal stretch only for Fujinami to use some enziguiris to set up an Octopus Stretch! Nice sequence. Crazy bump to the floor on the Fujinami crossbody with Vader doing the backflip over the top rope. Vader catches Fujinami coming off the top and rotates into a slam and cover for two. Vader Body Attack for two! Fujinami gets the flash backslide for two! Great David vs Goliath from Vader which he would get even better at, I prefer their April 89 match but this is still great. ****
  24. Superstar Sleeze

    [1989-02-22-NJPW] Antonio Inoki vs Riki Choshu

    Wow! I have no recollection of watching this at all. I watched three Inoki vs Choshu matches prior to this one. I didnt even remember Inoki putting over Choshu. I agree with myself almost 100%. I have noticed that I tend to agree with myself which is why I do rarely go back and watch matches if I reviewed them because my reviews are congruent with how I feel about the match. I will say one thing that the context did for me actually subtracted from this match as I enjoyed their July 88 sprint when Choshu wins by pinfall more than this. A rare instance where watching more context actually takes away from a match. The July 88 match Inoki is a bit distracted by the ref and the finish is more sudden. This one is more of a battle of will and Choshu pummels Inoki into submission. Other than that, I wouldnt describe the first five minutes as pedestrian as there was a lot of grit and struggle, I think what I should have said is that is not a narrative-building five minutes but sets a tone. The headbutts caught my eye both times. Choshu demolishes Inoki with a pair of Saito Suplexes and Inoki retaliates with a flash Fujiwara Armbar that would have been perfect if he didnt fumble Choshu's arm on the way down. I loved Inoki's use of the Enziguiri on the subsequent Test of Strength to rattle Choshu set up the double wristlock into the Short Arm Scissors, which I am surprised I didnt mention in the original review. The Choshu punch and Inoki's sell is pitch perfect and everything after that is just Strong Style Choshu Pro Wrestling done to perfection. I like the February & July 88 matches more but this is still great. I totally agree with my original rating. ****
  25. Superstar Sleeze

    [1988-10-19-NJPW] Antonio Inoki vs Riki Choshu

    You thought he broke his hand? I thought the blade got loose and slit his wrist. I was freaking the fuck out during that. @KinchStalker do you have any info on this? Antonio Inoki vs Riki Choshu - NJPW 10/19/88 Another great installment in the Inoki vs Choshu series. I really want to see the '89 match now. This more of an angle progression match where they have gone from the bomb-throwing championship style to blood feud style. Choshu beat Inoki clean as a sheet in July (ok there was a little ref distraction and then an Axe Bombah finish). Big rematch. Lots of strong close-quartered grappling. Inoki surprisingly fumbled on his signature Indian Deathlock bridge. It was so weird hearing Tony Schiavone call a Mutalock in a Penelope Ford match in 2021. Crazy shit. I think Inoki is awesome to watch if you want to see how to properly apply holds. He makes up for it with an impeccable headscissors. If you want to learn good form, watch Inoki. Inoki always one who is down to brawl decides to exposed the turnbuckle and Choshu is like I dont like to wrestle anyways I am here to fight so he exposes one. This of course leads to awesome battles over who will smash the other's head into the turnbuckles which is like my favorite thing ever. Choshu's head is of course smashed first and brutha he takes it but no blood. Kal Rudman would be pissed. Where is the blood? Choshu is able to get a deep beginnings of a Scorpion Deathlock but he cant turn it over. 80s New Japan is so great for deep, strong execution of holds. He DEMOLISHES Inoki with a Saito Suplex only his wrist starts bleeding profusely! I am freaking out! Rewinding trying to figure what happened. I am thinking the blade in his wrist tape got loose and slit his wrist. FUCKKKKKKKKK! Another reviewer thought he broke his wrist either way it is a shitty day for Choshu. I dont know if that expedited the finish but next thing you know they are outside and Choshu bashes Inoki's skull into the post and Inoki is wearing a Crimson Mask. DOUBLE JUICE! They are becoming blood brother tonight. INOKI SNAPS~! Rear Naked Choke in the ropes, Choshu slips free as the ref was trying to pull Inoki off. Back in the ring, Inoki applies the choke again and the ref has to call it and the Choshu Young Boys (including a young Kensuke Sasaki) save their mentor. Inoki looks totally crazed as his young boys which includes a very young Minoru Suzuki tries to towel him off. Inoki is the personification of middle-aged and crazy! Awesome spectacle match that took a crazy turn at Albuquerque! ****
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