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  1. ClassicsPuro1983

    [1973-10-09-AJPW] The Destroyer vs Mil Mascaras

    The Destroyer vs. Mil Mascaras - October 9, 1973. Mil Máscaras is one of the most important wrestlers in the history of Mexico. He did not reach the popularity levels of El Santo or Blue Demon, but, unlike these, Mascaras had great international success, both in the United States and in Japan. The immensity of his career can only be matched by the size of his ego. He's possibly the most self-centered guy in the industry. The Destroyer is also a masked fighter, but he is American, and a technical and tough guy. The fight is the best of three falls. In the first, we have all this wrenching, and it ends when Masks applies several of his flying heads to his rival, which are one of his main weapons. (12:25) In the second fall, we continue the same, with the same quality in the application of techniques. But the Mexican's luck is cut short when he hurts his leg after the Destroyer's attack. Masks, it must be said, sells this very well. He is very lame, and can hardly stand up. Destroyer attacks his leg, and closes a Figure four leglock. After resisting for a long time, Mil ends up giving up. (11:36) In the third fall, Mil Máscaras begins to suffer, again, in his leg, but he recovers, until he takes the initiative again. He searches endlessly for the flying headbutt, because he already wants to end this. He applies it several times, but, when he goes for the final one, The Destroyer takes advantage of his jump to project him out of the ring. Mil Máscaras fails to recover in time, and loses the fall for count-out. (4:20) The Destroyer won a very good fight, very serious. (28:21) An instant classic from the early days of All Japan. Rating: ****3/4
  2. ClassicsPuro1983

    [1972-12-19-AJPW] Giant Baba vs The Destroyer

    Giant Baba vs. The Destroyer - December 19, 1972. Another great match from the two. The Destroyer never disappoints and Giant Baba could really go at this point in his career. Destroyer controlled almost the entire first fall, with a long headlock. (the best and the most credible that I have ever seen, he was always fantastic in his expressions). However Baba got the pin after his comeback with the neckbreaker drop. (18:29). The second fall goes to The Destroyer, who achieves his goal by damaging Baba's leg prominently. He savagely attacks the company's founder and forces him to surrender from the figure four leglock. (3:43) Baba ends this fall very badly, with a lot of pain, and must be treated by the medical team before returning to the fight. Because Destroyer continues to harass his rival and search for his leg. Baba has great mobility issues in this state, but he manages to break free, letting go of his hand whenever he can. Baba throws Destroyer out of the ring as a desperate measure. This is how Destroyer loses, because one of these throws results in a very strong fall, and he cannot return to the ring until the referee's count reaches 20. (11:40) Baba wins the match. (34:32) Very great match, even if it is not as great as their match in 1969. Rating: ****1/2
  3. ClassicsPuro1983

    [1973-10-09-AJPW] Terry & Dory Funk Jr vs Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta

    Giant Baba & Tomomi Tsuruta vs. Dory Funk jr. & Terry Funk - October 9, 1973. Looking at this match, all these years later, it's easy to just see four Hall of Famer and forget the actual context of the match, which is more toward two absolute legends, Giant Baba and Dory Funk Jr. (who 4 days before lost the NWA World Title to Harley Race in Kansas City), Terry, who won regional titles wherever they traveled but was still very much in the shadow of his older brother, and Tsuruta who debuted a little more than 7 months ago and was still going by his first name Tomomi. Tsuruta is an absolute phenom, he already faced Dory back in May for the NWA World Title in a 55 minutes match less than 2 months into his career. This match is for the NWA International Tag Team Championship, which the Funks had just regained from Ciclon Negro and Killer Karl Kox in Lubbock, Texas on September 26, 1973. Anton Geesink enters the ring and shakes hands with all 4 competitors. Geesink, is probably the most important gaijin in judo history. Dory & Baba appear to be the driving forces in the match, but both have their own direction. Dory embraces the struggle for each hold and counterhold, working a measured technical style where to some extent it doesn't matter what the hold actually is, while Baba is more concerned with just breaking free so he can get a few signature moves in. Tomomi, however, is already a top worker, doing a great job of following Dory in the struggle oriented technical wrestling as well as doing more action oriented sequences with Terry. In the first fall, Tsuruta again getting the push, pinning Terry in a German suplex. (23:57) However, in the seond fall, the finish was rather unsatisfying with Tsuruta running bulldogs Terry hard into the top turnbuckle. Terry hits the rolling cradle. Tomomi is up with two shoulder blocks. He goes for another, but Terry catches him and rolls him up for the pin. (17:24) The wrestling is generally really good in the third fall, in the end, Dory and Baba exchange moves before the bell rings. (19:39) It's a draw! (61:00) Everyone shakes hands afterward. Funks retain the titles. Very good match. Rating: ****1/2
  4. ClassicsPuro1983

    [1973-04-24-AJPW] Giant Baba vs The Sheik

    Giant Baba vs. The Sheik - April 24, 1973. This is the first defense of Giant Baba's PWF Heavyweight title, the main belt in AJPW between 1973 and 1989. I can say that this match was entertaining, this was overall poor but Sheik's shtick was really great to watch an this was massively fun throughout. Sheik stabs Baba in the face. Sheik bites Baba, and eventually slices his head open. Baba sells, eventually makes a comeback and won by countout. (6:35) Bad finish. Rating: **1/4
  5. This Liger vs. Pegasus is an exceptional and explosive sprint. Probably the best offensive match the junior division produced in 1990, delivering an exceptional mix of brutal power with big suplexes off the ropes and spectacular flying, capped by Liger's breathtaking shooting star press. It was some of the greatest work of the year, but they didn't really develop any story, so as impressive as it was it seemed a bit empty compared to the last Liger/Sano match. Liger capture his third IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title. (****1/2)
  6. ClassicsPuro1983

    [1990-08-19-NJPW] Jushin Liger vs Pegasus Kid

    The Liger vs. Pegasus feud couldn't quite match Liger vs. Sano, but this is still a impressive feud. Benoit is young, but he's already very good, but he doesn't yet have the tough style he will have in the future. The match is split in two parts. The first part is a very interesting matwork. The second part is more a traditional Jr. highspots. The match is great even if I find that it lacks in emotion. Pegasus Kid won his only IWGP jr. heavyweight championship of his career after a guillotine legdrop. (****1/4)
  7. The opening match of the first UWFI show. This is a total war. Tamura is in his seventh match, but we can already see all his genius. His striking looked good, particularly his knees, along with the leg submission work he did on Kakihara. At the end of the match, a stiff strike exchange takes place, where Tamura takes top his cadet Kakihara who is only in his fifth match. The leg work pays off for Tamura and he eventually gets the win with it. The best thing for beginning the new company. Tamura even throws in a Samoan drop/Death Valley driver- looking thing. Rare the wrestler with only seven match put a match as good as this. (****)
  8. ClassicsPuro1983

    [1990-06-12-NJPW] Jushin Liger vs Masaji Aoyagi

    Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Masashi Aoyagi '12.06.1990 A real example of the kind of match Aoyagi does as well as anyone in wrestling history. This is like a toughman contest. They build the tension in the first two round with Aoyagi throwing kicks and Liger delivering some good amateur wrestling takedowns. In the end of the second round, Aoyagi rips Ligers mask and Liger comes out maskless in the third round. The brawl get wild, with crazed Liger and Aoyagi with a blood colored Gi. All does almost everything shockingly credibly, with the amateur wrestling, ground and pound and submissions. The match is fairly one-sided. But still a great match of the genre, and a big win for Liger in fourth round, defeating a legimiate karate master. (****)
  9. ClassicsPuro1983

    [1990-01-31-NJPW] Jushin Liger vs Naoki Sano

    Naoki Sano vs. Jushin Liger '31.01.1990 The climactic match of the greatest feud in IWGP junior heavyweight championship history. Awesome drama and great intensity, with good story and psychology. Sano controls 90% of the contest. The champion was tearing the Liger mask and made him bleed from the face. Just an awesome beatdown. Liger was fighting back some, but Sano kept throwing bombs at him. Liger managed to reverse a Saito suplex and then hit a bridging German for a nearfall. At the end, Liger hits a liger bomb and a tombstone and pulling out the most spectacular move a that time, the shooting star press. Liger wins his second IWGP jr. heavyweight title. (*****)
  10. ClassicsPuro1983

    [1989-08-10-NJPW] Jushin Liger vs Naoki Sano

    Jushin Liger vs. Naoki Sano '10.08.1989 Jushin Liger wearing football shoulder pads in order to protect his injury prone shoulder, than Hoshino & Sano destroyed in a tag match two days earlier. But Naoki Sano doesn’t care. Liger shoulder is a target. A totally different match from 7/13/89, Liger shows why he'd soon be known as the best sellers in junior history. The violence only escalated when it served a bigger purpose in the overall storyline of Liger being a stubborn bastard and wrestling 75% of the match with one arm. On paper, it’s simple. But this is wrestling. It isn't nearly as high flying as 7/13/89, it's more a traditional, with crisp technical wrestling and badass hatred spots. Incredible fight! Blood, authentic heat, and all time classic. Sano became the IWGP jr. heavyweight champion for the next 24 weeks. (****3/4)
  11. ClassicsPuro1983

    [1989-07-13-NJPW] Naoki Sano vs Jushin Liger

    Jushin Liger vs. Naoki Sano '13.07.1989 Jushin Liger & Naoki Sano kicked off their legendary feud with this futuristic aerial war for the IWGP jr. heavyweight championship. The match was way ahead of its time for highspots, athleticism, and daring. Despite the overall pace and their more flashy offensive maneuvers, Liger and Sano given an appropriate amount of credence and a good level of urgency. Their chemistry was awesome and anything that didn't hit perfectly added to the recklessness factor. The finish of the match is a double knockout finish after 13 minutes. The finish is disappointment but the match is still a classic. (****1/2)
  12. ClassicsPuro1983

    [1989-05-25-NJPW] Hiroshi Hase vs Jushin Liger

    Hiroshi Hase vs. Jushin Liger '25.05.1989 Keiichi Yamada's first challenge of the IWGP jr. heavyweight title as the Liger character against Hiroshi Hase at the Osaka Jo Hall. New Japan wanted the title on Liger as soon as possible, in a short match that Hase totally carried. Hase surprised everyone charging at the bell with a dropkick, but soon showed it was going to be his style of diverse technical match rather than a Liger aerial assualt. Hase dominates the match except when Liger would find an opening to use his speed and athleticism to counter, setting off a brief burst of flying before Hase countered back. A very good match even if Liger was sometimes scrappy. Liger won in 8 minutes to capture the first of eleven IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. The Liger era begun! (***1/2)
  13. Jushin Liger vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi '24.04.1989 Jushin Liger made his debut in the first Tokyo Dome show in NJPW history, after Go Nagai's anime began on TV Asahi. With remarkable expectations as he was expected to be incarnation of an imaginative super hero, but also the successor of the biggest star in the history of jr. heavyweight wrestling, Tiger Mask. In order to follow in Tiger's footsteps, he changed his style considerably, focusing on speed, and daring aerial manuevers. In the junior divisions UWF dominated era, kicks were a big part of his offense and flying was only one aspect of his well rounded game. Kobayashi was the choose opponent, again to make the link with Tiger Mask. This was a fun match, and it was interesting to see a much younger Liger work like a less savvy worker. Here, Liger was flying all over the place and working a million miles an hour. Regardless, the match wasn't awesome, but it was still good though. Liger won cleanly via a bridging suplex. (***1/4)