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Found 24 results

  1. The original JWP is painfully underexplored. This is probably it's most prolific match, and it's more interesting than a great match. You may theorize that this is Kandori, the dangerous shooter putting the pro wrestler under fire and setting the blueprints for Kandori/Hokuto... which is a good formula, but in reality it was Devil dragging a green Kandori by the nose through a long match. Kandori looks good on the mat, and not very good doing anything else. Devil is as mean as you can want a hardened veteran to be carrying this and brings the goods, downing Kandori with a huge punch, almost ripping her in half with a surfboard, dishing out clubbing blows to make up for Kandori's weak kicks and so on. The biggest problem with the match is that it's needlessly long, as the iconic moment - where they both start bleeding all over the ring - only comes about 30 minutes into the match, and before that, there's a lot of meandering. It felt a bit like Devil redoing the Chigusa match against a far lesser Chigusa with nice submissions. The actual bloodbath was kind of underwhelming too, honestly. There's always charm to watching a rookie and a veteran going along for a lengthy match and this had enough good moments and nearfalls to keep you satisfied, but I gotta say this wasn't as good as I've seen it hyped up. Also, I'll never understand what was up with that restart/overtime they did.
  2. I'm trying to put into words how much I liked this match but I don't think I'll be able to do this justice. If the match was about ten minutes shorter I think it could've rated it as a top ten match of all time. It's still an absolutely incredible match, an the crowd never really dies but after a certain point they just aren't buying the submissions as much as they did and it's more of a "clap for rope breaks/escapes/general effort" thing. This was a perfect showcase for both wrestler's abilities, the matwork was phenomenal and they managed to escape a perfect sense of one-upmanship. It is a match that manages to excel both at the little things and the big things, there's a moment where Inoki does a bridge and Fujinami tries to drive him to that and I swear Inoki did the most beautiful bridge I've ever seen, the kind of thing that could only be possible because of stuff like this: The crowd was fucking insane, you get shots of people standing up and not leaving their feet for about ten minutes just mesmerized by the drama of the match, Inoki firing up while Fujinami had him in a Figure Four was one of the greatest spots I've ever seen and Fujinami responded appropriately by pushing himself up as far as he could and trying to rip apart Inoki's leg, the struggle over everything was so well done here and the match also served as a great display for their character though I'd find it understable if people used to gigantic bumps for irish whips and WWF wrestling didn't pick it up (not actually trying to call anyone out here fwiw), Fujinami has a chip on his shoulder and while being a great athlete in his own right doesn't really possess Inoki's strength and they play it up really well, Inoki goes for an illegal Sleeper in the beginning and Fujinami sells it like a huge threat, later on Fujinami uses the same maneuver several times but never manages to damage Inoki as much as Inoki had damaged him, I think that came off really well every time Fujinami would grab a hold for a longer period of time where, he'd just come off as the most tenacious wrestler ever, and later in the match when Inoki stars slapping the shit out of him and Fujinami sells it enough so it doesn't come off as no selling (especially with his facial expression) but no sells it enough so the crowd can put his awesome facial expressions together with him refusing to go down to Inoki's strikes and it's this humongous amazing moment and everyone is losing their shit and pro wrestling fucking rules mate. I also find it amusing how Fujinami's character seems to consistent both in his on air presentation and in scummy backstage videos and stories (him slapping Kevin Nash comes to mind, also there was a video where him and Inoki just yell at each other for five minutes and Fujinami responds to Inoki's weak fifth grader bully slap by Bas Ruttening him). ****3/4
  3. Vader makes his entrance with the badass elephant helmet that spits smoke. Then Vader proceeds to just kill Fujinami, throwing him around and demolishing him with his patented shots. Pretty good way to introduce how destructive Vader can be. He was just crushing Fujinami at points, including hitting a lariat with his tree trunk sized arm that sent his opponent into spasms. Fujinami gets some of his technical wrestler comebacks - kicking at the leg, body shots, surprise backslide and submission hold etc. - I think Fujinami got a few comebacks too many and it kind of took Vader's badass destroyer vibe away. I also disliked that Fujinami couldn't get proper height for his enzuigiri. Other than that this was a nice big vs. little title match where the slower paced parts added to the match.
  4. Man Choshu is sick of doing hold for hold wrestling. Anytime he gets the chance he is stomping Inoki's ass. Inoki is not having it and... removes the turnbuckle pad? Choshu also agrees to remove 1 turnbuckle pad and this is now an Onita deathmatch with the exploding barbedwire boards replaced by exposed turnbuckles! They do some cool phone booth fighting throwing punches and trying to be the first to smash the other guy into the corner. Inoki dominates for a bit, but Choshu finally catches him and... breaks his own hand doing a backdrop. Choshu bloodies Inoki and works over him with nice punches but they are forced to do a quick finish with Inoki choking Choshu in the ropes and getting DQ'd. This was looking good until the unfortunate finish. Admittedly a bloody Inoki was really crazy looking, his face was turning very pale and he did these creepy groans and growls. When all the jumpsuit trainees jump on him and he erupts it looked like something from a 60s horror schlock movie.
  5. There's a moment in here where Tenryu irish whips Jumbo into the guardrail and Jumbo just goes completely berserk and starts beating the shit out of Tenryu that might be the beginning of Jumbo as an all time great worker for me. Tenryu really brought out the best out of him. The ending is just completely transcendent with some of the best chaotic brawling you'll ever see. As gratifying as a DQ finish can be. Still a level below their 1989 classic but man what a great match. ****1/4-****1/2
  6. A sprint! Inoki stalls to begin with, then tries a leg trip to the outside and Choshu is fighting for dear life against that damn leg trip. Earth to wrestlers: this is how you tell your audience why your moves are important – by creating STRUGGLE. Choshu immediately blitzes Inoki and just tries to run him over basically, but Inoki takes it to the ground and dominates him there for a while, also hitting some great enzuigiris and Ali kicks. Inoki seems to have the upper hand for a few exchanges, but then Choshu clocks him with a lariat out of nowhere! Inoki is seeing stars and narrowly avoids another one, but Choshu connects another to the back of the skull and that's it. Choshu does the impossible in less than 10 minutes! Ferocious stuff and the equivalent to something like Dundee/Rich. Two guys doing what they do best, sticking to their roles and putting eachother over.
  7. This match wasn't much, mostly because Terry Gordy's performance was god awful, Memphis TV undercard matches had more intensity than he did in this match. The structure was quite dull too, the foreigners pretty much took the entire match, and it just doesn't make for an interesting experience to see someone get cut off over and over and over again, especially knowing more shitty worked punches await. There were some nice moments of violence when Hansen would get it on, and Hara's comeback punches looked great (unlike his headbutts, which looked terrible, backyard level headbutting your own hand), Tenryu's role was kept to a minimum, he had a couple off stare offs with Hansen's and managed to Lariat him in a throat near the end, but he wasn't the focus off the match. Hansen going on one of his signature rampages at the end and destroying everything in sight is enough for me to call this above average but if you're itching for some 80s All Japan tag action there are better choices out there. **3/4
  8. A match where the interactions between Misawa and Kawada are the least interesting thing to happen! Seriously-it was mostly pretty forgettable workrate stuff, though there was a nice moment where Kawada avoided Misawa's body press and almost took his head off with a spin kick. Kawada looked better than Misawa here-he still has some junior offence I could live without like pulling out a handspring elbow, but he showed good fire trying to hand with Yatsu. Tenryu was just out of this world great here-acting like the world's greatest prick. His slaps, chops and Lariats all looked amazing, but he would also bust out head stomps to break up pins that looked as vicious as what he was doing 5-10 years later, but he still had theathleticism and the explosivenes that make even just him running the ropes a much stronger image. Yatsu trying to match him in violence really made the match, he really upped his striking game and hanged with Tenryu. The match ends in the standard chaotic brawling, which is really good, and is skillfully tied up into the Tenryu-Jumbo angle. Tenryu even Powerbombs Misawa on the ringside table, though as sloppily as you'd expect. ***1/2
  9. These two go at each other once again after previously going to a 30 minute draw at the Starting Over Vol.2 event. There is more of the same again - careful, deliberate, both waiting for openings and defending nicely on the mat. Nakano uses his weight brilliantly to add more pressure to Miyato when he takes the back and Miyato is light on his feet to gain some ground of his own. The little spurts where they go back and forth with kicks and slaps is great and adds a little more excitement to the bouts mixed in with the grappling. They escalate nicely as the 15 minute time lapses over, throwing in more dynamic sequences and more big throws. Miyato threw a killer spinning sole kick to the hips of Nakano, almost drawing a 10 count which Nakano then followed it up with a capture suplex once he recovered. One of my favourite moments of the match was Miyato catching Nakano with a high kick and going for a belly to bell but Nakano counted with a nasty headbutt that split Miyato wide open at the eye. Gruesome. Miyato was able to recover and cinched in a deep single leg, getting the victory. Awesome follow up to their other match. ***3/4
  10. The young guns are sent out for 30 minutes to warm the crowd and set the tone. Does it go well? Quite. The pace the match in the exactly how you’d expect from a 30 minute draw. There is a lot of tentative stand-up initially with the occasional kick and shooting for the takedown for a good while. But they are always high in intensity. The holds are always snug and worked well from hold to hold. Miyato threws some wicked kicks to the head and then a low kick before trying to tap Nakano out with a head-trapped double wrist lock. I loved how Nakano began getting wise to the low kicks so began checking them more often, although Miyato’s persistence caught him out every now and again. Miyato seemed to favour the Single Leg Boston Crab heavily but Nakano fought for the ropes with all his might and somehow escaped. Nakano went he began throwing big strikes over his own like the overhand palm strike followed by kicks in the corner to a cowering Miyato. His suplexes were awesome as well. Including the one that sent him and Miyato tumbling over the top rope and onto the love which was insane. The finish wasn’t anything memorable. The referee just stopped the match for the time and that was that. It was a simple finish to a simple match. I really dug it and I don’t regret sitting through 30 minutes to two of the lesser guys in the promotion fight each other to a stalemate one bit. ***1/2
  11. This was quite the shootstyle main event. A little long and directionless at times, but the matwork was good enough and when they threw kicks, they just sliced through eachother. A seemingly gassed Yamazaki nearly kicking Maeda's head off was such a spectacular moment. Yeah I don't have much to write about this. Solid in the first 20 minutes and pretty dope violent stuff in the last.
  12. The final installment of my NJPW 1988 adventure! Its ending with stuff from the 09/12 show. Of course there is more out there but, I just don't own it or have easy access to it...and that's the name of my game If you have NJ World or do file loading or wanna get DVDs, please check it out. I'm sure there's really good stuff I've missed. Anyhow, let's begin! Big Van Vader vs Bam Bam Bigelow (09/12) I have the full version of this but, overall I was disappointed here. Bigelow didn't bring much to the table. I wanted to see them pound away at one another & its not what they did. It had a few nice moments but ended in a DQ. The best was when Vader was exiting the ring he pushed some fan in the face. OK match as their 08/08 bout is the one to see. T. Fujinami, K. Kimura, Y. Fujiwara, S. Koshinaka & K. Yamada vs R. Choshu, M. Saito, S.S.Machine, K. Kobayashi & H. Saito (09/12): 5 on 5 elimination match that goes about 40 minutes. I have the final few minutes on DVD but, was able to find this in 3 parts on YouTube. I'm really glad that I saw this in full especially since folks have said its a classic. After watching this as well as a good chunk of '88 New Japan, I think this is a very good match especially the first 2/3rds. There was a good deal of punching and stomping in this match so, to have the final portion just be MORE of that...eh it kinda fizzled out for me. We get some good blood but, it feels like the wrong wrestler got color and I just lost what they were trying to tell/show me. Nevertheless, I had fun watching. There were some really great segments and match ups but wasn't a classic. Give it a shot though! So, this wraps up my exploration of 1988 NJPW and it was pretty great! Everything leading up to and including the 08/08 Inoki vs Fujinami match was fantastic in one form or another. Obviously there were some classic encounters that I'm glad that I finally saw. I am a little bummed that this final installment was not the awesome send off that I was hoping for. I do feel like I've seen everything that I truly wanted to for '88 NJ though so, I can't be too letdown. Like I said above, the 5 man elimination match was very good and did have some really worthwhile action but, I think I enjoyed the 04/27 elimination more than 09/12. The best matches to me are: Nobuhiko Takada vs Kazuo Yamazaki (01/25) Nobuhiko Takada vs Hiro Hase (03/11) Akira Nogami, Tatsutoshi Goto, K. Yamada, K. Hoshino & S. Koshinaka vs Hiroshi Hase, K. Kobayashi, Kensuke Sasaki, N. Honaga & H. Saito (04/27) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Big Van Vader (04/27) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (05/27) Shiro Koshinaka vs Owen Hart (06/24) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu (06/24) Tatsumi Fujinami vs Big Van Vader (06/26) Riki Choshu vs Antonio Inoki (07/22) Shiro Koshinaka vs Kuniaki Kobayashi (8/08) Antonio Inoki vs Tatsumi Fujinami (08/08) And after the September matches, I'm missing the last 3 months of the year. So, clearly this isn't an end all - be all review of '88 but, I'm happy with what I've watched. Its totally lived up to my expectations and the above bouts are the matches I would truly recommend checking out! Thanks for reading! I'm moving on to the 2011 wXw 16 Carat Gold tournament to change things up!
  13. This match is infamous because of Magee's incompetence, and it tells quite the story in two minutes. He starts the match almost looking like a competent pro wrestling, his chops and knees didn't look great but they were passable, he followed that up with some clubbing blows to Wajima's back, nothing really stood out as terrible. As Wajima climbs the apron he starts doing all these stupid kicks that just look laughable, and he manages to top it when he corners Wajima and starts throwing the most ridiculous and fake looking chops and kicks man has ever seen. By that point Wajima fights back and goes over, but the sight of Tom Magee and his dreaded spinning chop shall never be forgotten.
  14. Starr comes in in his pomp. The next thing that happens is Invader angrily beating on him with a stick and having to be restrained. About 10 seconds into the match Starr is a bloody mess and Invader proceeds to make minced meat off of him. Starr does pretty fun job hanging on by a thread and making narrow cheating comebacks. Very very minimalist pro wrestling though which depends on how much you like well executed face vs. Heel stuff.
  15. This was quite the clash of the titans style match. Picture it like the scene in a western where a big gunfight breaks out and lots of stuff breaks and lots of people get shot. Takada is kind of a slug, but Maeda carries him fine on the mat, and both guys go into standing exchanges as if ready to die. Not the most pure or artful fight, but brutal and dramatic to the max.
  16. Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Koko B. Ware, Hillbilly Jim & Hercules vs Big Boss Man, Akeem, Ted DiBiase, King Haku & Red Rooster Elimination Match WWF Survivor Series November 24, 1988 Richfield, OH Availability WWF Survivor Series 1988 on PPV - November 24, 1988 WWE Hulk Still Rules DVD
  17. The second match from UWFII's first show Starting Over is as intruiguing, ambitious and entertaining as you'd hope for. The structure of the match is simple-it starts out with them simply gauging the distance with leg kicks and some simple takedowns and mat exchanges and the match gradually heats up. The way the holds are used here is hard to compare to anything else-like a weird combo of U-style and classic NWA style. Essentially, there are plenty of submission attempts where the submission isn't fully locked in, and the true pay-off is more in the transition which comes after the hold than the hold itself. They managed to convincingly display their character gradually getting frustrated and going from cheapshots to just plain brawling. Anjoh pinballed as much as he possibly could've in this setting, the novelty of the style resulted in some interesting moments like Anjoh going for a Jacknife Pin, shooting Nakano into the ropes and Nakano going for a Dragon Suplex as well as going for a pin straight off a German. The match also had a well executed shoulder injury angle, which was sold fittingly (Anjoh targeted it with his kicks and strikes and went for submission on Nakano's bad arm, Nakano sold it initially and after the match but didn't weep and go overboard). Really, had they found conclusions other than rope breaks a few more times when there was a locked in submission this would've easily been a great match. ***3/4
  18. Bigelow is a guy whose matches I have definitely watched in the past that I have absolutely no opinion or one way or the other, this wasn't a very good showcase for him. Early shine with Inoki punking Bigelow was fun but Bigelow's control segments did very little for me, mediocre strikes, slams and clotheslines as well as faux-athletic big guy moves that don't look good and serve no purpose, Inoki might as well have been facing Kane. Inoki's comeback attempts and comeback were totally badass though, you have him going fiercely going after Bigelow by throwing great punches, raking his eye and dragging him in the ring over the ropes with a Choke Sleeper which looked absolutely brutal. Inoki chokes Bigelow out but Bigelow has his foot on the ropes and they have Bigelow sell forever before getting up and throwing a tantrum at ringside. **3/4
  19. At this point Vader has figured out some of the stuff that would later become his trademarks like the clubbing blows and the body tackles/attacks/how do you even call those things? Wiki has running body block but that's not something I've ever heard used in real life. But he also does goofy headbutts that aren't really fitting for his gimmick. What's interesting about this match is just how far Inoki goes in putting Vader over. Vader takes control of the ring positioning making Inoki retreat to corners. When Inoki throws some of his punches/slaps he usually uses to surprise his opponents early on and throw them off their game Vader easily shrugs them off. When Vader throws hands Inoki goes down. Inoki's only real moments of shine come after a sweeping leg kick (and Vader's bump made it look amazing and reminds you of what he would eventually become) and a missed shoulder tackle. The shoulder tackle Vader managed to hit Inoki sold for the remainder of the match. They did a ref bump that actually managed to look realistic enough-Vader picked up Inoki for a Bodyslam and while up in the air Inoki hit the referee in the face with his feet. After the missed tackle Inoki got in a couple of Enzuigiris and locked in the Octopus Hold only to have Vader counter by just slamming him on the ground which looked great. Vader managed to both get a visual pin in and take out Inoki after the match. The closest Inoki got to a payback or a comeback after that getting up and going after Vader while Vader was almost already backstage, and even then he quickly went back to selling the ribs. Not nearly as interesting as an Inoki/Andre match, and Vader's control segments lacked the violence and the intelligence of an Andre to positon himself as this giant threat that would have made this structure work. Inoki's burning fighting spirit however remains unbroken. Also Choshu interfered and hit Vader with a Lariat which Vader quickly got up from. There really isn't much difference in how they're putting Vader over here and how Undertaker and Kane were put over ten years later. Both worked too. ***
  20. WWF World Heavyweight Champion Randy Savage vs Ted DiBiase - WWF Wrestlefest 7/31/88 Similar to the April MSG match, but with some more bells and whistles. Savage is really unique as a babyface champion in Vince Jr's WWF as he is only one I can think of that didn't have a real go-to comeback, finish stretch. Even Bret who mixed it up a lot had the 5 moves of Doom, Sharpshooter and barrage of cradles. Savage really did not have much. Savage is distracted by Virgil approaching Liz with his #FuckMoney allowing DiBiase to get the jump on him. Savage makes a mini comeback and sends DiBiase packing. Energetic shine but not as focused or as long as the MSG match. DiBiase uses the leverage move and rams Savage's head against hard objects. I thought this heat segment made better use of hope spots liked the crossbody a lot and set up the use of the chinlock better. DiBiase bumps great off the turnbuckles, but Savage rams his knee into turnbuckle. Savage sold the knee really well throughout the rest of the match too bad they did not build around that. DiBiase goes for Spinning Toehold and ends up being kicked out of the ring. Savage's comeback, but when he goes for elbow Virgil distracts. DiBiase runs into Virgil surprisingly that's the not the finish. Virgil smashes Savage's head with a chair, but the Million Dollar Man cant get the job done and Savage wins with inside cradle. The heels put the boots to him and he rolls to outside and throws in a chair. Where's Hogan??? Oh yeah that hot dog is off filming a movie. Savage should dump that Hollywood wannabe's ass. Like I said a bit more bells and whistles, could have been interesting with more knee work, kinda lame finish. ***
  21. I don't know how interested YOU are in a giant fat guy but I had a blast watching this. Loved the spot where Murphy put on an Armlock and Haystacks just pushed him away. Murphy fought back with very good looking punches but spend most of the time bumping (quite nicely!) for Haystacks's stuff and he took a really nice bump for the finish. ***
  22. Fun hoss battle. First round wasn't much and consisted mostly of them trading basic holds. Match gets going when Murphy takes over, he carried the match nicely with his striking, he has very good cheapshots and I loved his Clothesline cut off. He put on a very strong selling performance here, loved he sold the threat of a Cobra Twist and the impact of Elijah's moves as well. Elijah looked solid but didn't do anything memorable outside of maybe the greatest Bearhug I've ever seen. ***