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Found 577 results

  1. Its been awhile so, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite matches. Not just my favorite Dory Funk Jr. matches...nope, these are some of my all time faves. I cannot promise a bunch of moves and stuff so, don't be mistaken. I like my action matches but, my friends, this is different. vs Jack Brisco NWA World Title (01/24/74) This is possibly one of the top 5 greatest matches that I've seen. Excellent mat wrestling for an hour with each fall being a little bit different in style and in story. I can see people not liking this but, one has to appreciate wrestling and not necessarily a load of moves. vs Horst Hoffman (12/15/75) This match is another one of those ones where you can't really rate it. It is simply a treat to watch two masters go at it. A true wrestling fan would want this match to never end. Sadly it does but it rather clever fashion. If there was more of a story to this, then I believe it would be quite phenomenal. Re-Watch: Just a slight re-watch of five minutes or so and man alive, this is a classic. Its got that same chemistry like Bockwinkel vs Robinson. These two are great and this match is a must see for a Dory Funk Jr. fan. You can just see it in his eyes. This is what a world champion looks like. vs Jumbo Tsuruta (12/18/75) The teacher and the student go head to head possibly for the first time in Japan. If this ever shows up in a complete form it may be up there in the short list of top matches of the 70's. The action is there and the story is there to back it up. Dory knows after the bell rings just how good Jumbo is. You have to know your wrestling to "get" this one but, man is this good. Great? A classic? Take your pick. vs Terry Funk - NWA International Title (04/30/81) This was a 50 minute technical wrestling match in the old style. There were plenty of long mat sections of grinding holds and attempted escapes. The only portion I thought was a bit long was the very beginning when Dory had Terry locked in a series of headlocks. The match went long so it didn't seem necessary to milk 6 minutes at the front. Also there was nothing too explosively exciting with this match like something Terry would do on his own or maybe Ric Flair or even the stuff going on in NJPW at the time. This was good old mat wrestling NWA style and if one can't appreciate the holds and the escapes then this was a good hour to do something else. They picked it up and brought it down a number of times and gave the fans their money worth. More dynamism would have been great though but I think Terry wanted to show that he could hang in there with his older brother. Also to note very few rope breaks were used on holds, which is why I mentioned all of the escapes. Those holds & escapes were the majority of the match. I also would have liked some of the stuff to be a bit smoother but that's ok. It adds to the realism. Great stuff! vs. Bruiser Brody - NWA International Title (04/21/82) It's not necessary to dwell on a match like this since it is so basic. This is the primal kind of stuff that transcends styles, moves, eras. It is how wrestling should be done. If you really watch, this type of wrestling provides the base for those 1990s classics and most every classic since. Great match! If you've never seen a Dory Funk Jr. match, I highly recommend checking at least one of these out! Thanks for reading!
  2. AWA World Heavyweight Champion Nick Bockwinkel vs Jumbo Tsuruta - AJPW Budokan 2/23/84 Special Guest Referee Terry Funk It had been almost four years since Giant Baba had won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship from Harley Race. While Jumbo had been challenging for the NWA World Title since the mid-70s, the pressure must have been mounting for him to follow in Baba's foot steps and finally win the big one. All Japan, NWA and AWA were booked in a tough position where the American promotions did not want to a Japanese wrestler representing them, but All Japan needed to prove to their fan base their ace was a legitimate world class pro wrestler. In 1984, it was high time for Jumbo Tsuruta to avoid the choker label and he did just that by pinning Nick Bockwinkel to win the AWA World Heavyweight Championship. He did Baba one better by actually finishing the tour with his reign intact and actually defending the championship in America. You see Baba spent a ton of money to cement Jumbo's status as the man by buying him this reign. In return, Verne got actually what he needed a gaijin transitional champion to go from ace heel Nick Bockwinkel to his prospective new hot babyface act, Rick Martel. Baba would use a similar model of gaijin (Hansen, Doc and Gordy) to transition titles among the natives. It was a win-win for everyone involved and of course the big winners were the Japanese faithful that were able to see their hero win the World Heavyweight Championship from Bockwinkel after being thwarted repeatedly by cheap finishes. The match starts with Bockwinkel trying to end the match early with a surprise cross body, but only gets two. Bockwinkel works an extensive arm work segment that is just awesome. Bockwinkel is wrenching Jumbo's arm in all directions, applying pressure with his head and knees (THAT IS A LEGAL KNEE TO THE HEAD, Terry Funk yells, which makes me chuckle). Jumbo is always struggling, teasing escapes, but Bock uses a multitude of nefarious tactics to keep him down. One of my favorite spots of the match was Bock's super slick double wristlock takedown into a rolling short arm scissors just really strong work there. Another fun spot was Jumbo trying to show Funk that he keeps getting pulled down by the hair only to be pulled down by the hair again. Jumbo finally is able to string some offense together in the form of an enziguiri into a high knee, but only gets one. Bock retreats and tries to go back to the arm, but Jumbo is rolling now with two piledrivers and a Thesz Press. The action is so hot and heavy that it spills to the outside. Bock unloads with heavy blows on the outside. Hey there is the 80s spot the head to head collision, but really does not lead anywhere in this match. I can't say I am a fan of that spot. Jumbo is throwing closed fists and ignoring Funk's admonishments. Jumbo will not be denied tonight and the crowd is pumped. Bockwinkel goes back to a top wristlock to get a nearfall, but Jumbo counters with a Russian Legsweep. Nice! It is bombs away from Jumbo with a variety of suplexes and he has the champion on the ropes literally as he has to use the ropes to break Jumbo's Boston Crab. The Japanese fans have seen this story before and usually it does not end well for their boy. Bockwinkel shoves Jumbo into Funk and if I was a fan I would be smelling screwjob and Bockwinkel hits two piledrivers and a bodyslam, but nothing doing. As usual, Bockwinkel chucks his opponent to the outside to buy himself some time. When it comes time to bring him in the hardway, Jumbo floats over and BACK DROP DRIVER! 1-2-3! Jumbo wins the World Title! This was an interesting story as you get the sense that Bockwinkel clearly sees Jumbo as a massive threat to his title reign. He tries to win quickly with a cross body from there he dictates the pace and tries to take Jumbo out via arm work. He is keeping Jumbo grounded and we find out why later in the match. Bockwinkel does not have a prayer in a bomb throwing match. Once Jumbo is able to break free of the arm work and establish himself, he just starts throwing everything at Bockwinkel to finally win the championship. The tease all the usual screwjob finishes (double countout, ref bump), but this time the fans get to home happy with Jumbo Tsuruta winning the AWA World Title. Jumbo's long term selling could have been better. Bockwinkel was awesome in this, cocky in control and desperate on defense. The feel good ending elevates the great work in this to a classic match in my eyes. ****1/2
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSONU1F9Uuc Ah yes, the infamous "worst Fujiwara match ever", so bad that it apparently made Phil Schneider loathe Fujiwara for years. I had a really hard time imagining a scenario where these two would have a shitty match honestly. I mean I could easily imagine it being disappointing or dull, but actively bad? No way. Let's see what he had to say about it: Ok. So: "Fujiwara no sells almost everything" "gets kicked in the head, starres at Kawada" "no sells German suplex" hey! I'm the one guy that likes Tatsuhito Takaiwa! I have a thing for wrestlers with recklessly dangerous offence. It adds to their aura I guess. "takes a ton of the match with JYD headbutts" "shitty Choshu finish" Ok. Let's break down the match now. Match starts with Fujiwara playing with the streamers. This is pretty much where I stopped buying this as a potentially bad match. They grapple a little bit. Kawada gets on top to establish dominance and they slap each other around. Re-start. More grappling. Fujiwara grabs a neat wristlock, Kawada gets out, grabs a Sleeper and Fujiwara's selling goes from his usual dismissal of the peril of the hold he is in to selling as he fails to get out of the move. Kawada hits a great looking knee drop. This is pretty good so far. Fujiwara is clearly rocked after the big knee drop. This is what is known in professional wrestling as "selling". He gets up and Kawada starts kicking his head in, Fujiwara quickly fires back with punches and great looking headbutts. Fujiwara grabs a Sleeper, Kawada pushes him back in the corner for the break. Fujiwara breaks it with a big slap and Kawada goes after Fujiwara. Fujiwara moves back to the other corner as Kawada is going after him (you could understand this as either him selling the threat of Kawada or as defensive positioning). Kawada kicks him a bit after which Fujiwara makes awesome "fuck you" facial expressions, grabs Kawada by the throat and shoves him into the other corner and starts rocking Kawada with punches and headbutts. First Fujiwara Armbar tease. Fujiwara transitions into a "regular" Armbar instead. Kawada gets out and start kicking Fujiwara in the back with his signature kicks. Fujiwara gets up and goes back into the corner. Kawada starts kicking him again and right as Fujiwara is about to fight back like he did earlier in the match Kawada rocks him with a big chop that Fujiwara sells the shit out of. Another big chop and Fujiwara falls down. Kawada starts stomping Fujiwara's head but Fujiwara counters it by grabbing his leg. It is a theme in Fujiwara matches (especially against kickers) that he will counter their kicks by grabbing their leg often, I remember that making the 1989 UWF match vs. Maeda especially gratifying as Maeda just shitbeat him to hell. That was also played up in the Super Tiger matches and the Hashimoto matches etc. Fujiwara stretches Kawada a little and hits him with a nasty headbutt to the back of the head. They headbutt each other for a bit and Kawada does his awesome staggering selling after headbutting Fujiwara. IDK much about JYD but these dueling headbutts are clearly making real contact. Fujiwara controls the match for a little bit but does nothing of note before Kawada takes over and slams Fujiwara's head into the ringpost. Come on, you're not going to throw "no selling" at that? That's an awesome signature Fujiwara spot, even if it is tehnically no selling. Fujiwara hits a few more headbutts but Kawada hits a huge slap to fight back (Fujiwara is "selling" again). Slap-off! Those are fun! Big Spin Kick from Kawada knocks Fujiwara down. More "selling". Stretch Plum. Ok Fujiwara is totally guilty of no selling here. He kicks-out at 1 and starts headbuttings Kawada as soon as he gets up. I don't really care for the big boot/headbutt battle BUT! They start slapping the taste out of each others mouth again! He does pop up again after the controversial German but at that point I'm fine with it as Kawada quickly cutting off Fujiwara's futile attempt to fight back fits into the narrative to the match and worked for me. Come on. That's not even top 20 for worst Choshu finishes. It's not even a bad Choshu finish. I mean surely everyone watching Fujiwara's pro style matches has grown accustomed to him doing Choshu finishes but come on. His late kick-out was pretty weak and he continued to lay on the mat after doing so. I was expecting he was going to instantly pop up and put Kawada into a Wakigatame or something. So there you have it. I don't think this was complete shit. Disappointing for a Fujiwara-Kawada match? Sure. But perfectly solid.
  4. 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.
  5. I exhumed a load of reviews from the grooveyard for this one. I'm psyched to do it though. Jun Akiyama is one of my favorites I hope you enjoy reading and you take the time to go back to good old days of 1990's AJPW! OK let's get this started! vs Al Perez, vs Ted DiBiase (1/15 & 10/23/93): Both of these are worth checking out for that fun house show type of match. Both opponents kept the action and pace going for a couple entertaining matches. Its especially cool to see DiBiase back in AJPW after his very good run back in '87. Akiyama & Takao Omori vs The Fantastics (01/29/95): This was a highlight reel match for both teams. It wasn't heavy on the drama or story but damn! it featured quick action Watch for when Jun gets some Hashimoto nose blood. Good match and fans of these guys should take the time to watch it. Toshiaki Kawada vs Jun Akiyama (Champ Carnival 03/21/95): This seemed like that match people were talking about when they were discussing Kobashi vs. Jumbo back in '91. Just an excellent match that really made Jun look like the future star and it made Kawada look tough yet beatable. Really cool match with Kawada getting really stiff at times. Great Match perhaps a Near Classic Toshiaki Kawada, Johnny Ace & Takao Omori vs Stan Hansen, Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama (04/15/95): All Japan had some of the best six-man matches that you'd think they were M-Pro in '96. But yeah AJ was doing it in the late 80's & early 90's and if you didn't know they were even doing them in 1995 too. This was a surprise for me but, I'm not going to fawn over it. 4 out of the 6 guys are bonafide greats, and Omori has got the chops and Ace knows how to hang with the group too. I mean he's got some 5 star matches to his credit, right? So, you put all of them together you're going to get something enjoyable. That's always been my rating scale on all of these...how much I enjoyed them There were so many neat stories here with everyone being Champ Carny runners-up for one then you've got: Hansen beating Kawada a month earlier for the belts, Kobashi & Ace at the same show went toe-to-toe during their tag war, then you've got Kobashi against Kawada who not only went to a draw in Jan. but they went to one during the Carny, and then you've got Akiyama vs. Kawada which is always awesome and the story of him & Omori as up & comers as well as being All-Asia tag partners (either around this time or in the past.) AND you've got Hansen, the last of the old guard showing he can still go. Whew! The fact of the matter is that with all of this they didn't need to do too much to make this great but, being the best promotion of the 90's they sure as hell did AND then some. The more AJPW you watch the better the match is. Classic stuff! Mitsuharu Misawa/Jun Akiyama vs Steve Williams/Johnny Ace - (06/07/96 Tag Team Titles): A pure 20 minute plus spree of excitement and near falls. Ace has never looked better, and his chemistry with Akiyama is what made this match so great. Doc once out of the limelight really showed his strength as a brilliant tag wrestler. He and Ace were such a standout team because of this dynamic. Akiyama played his role brilliantly and Misawa was ace but also senpai. This was his role here and it was masterful as ever and touched an emotional nerve. The dynamic with Doc and Akiyama was rough in the early going but as it became more heated, one forgot this segment of the action. It was clear this match was for Ace and Akiyama to shine and they did not disappoint. A classic for sure! Kenta Kobashi, Johnny Ace & Johnny Smith vs Mitsuharu Misawa, Jun Akiyama & Satoru Asako (08/22/97): This started out pretty routine although Johnny Smith was the clear bright point. He was very adamant about making the arm work something special. It was different and helped slow down Akiyama who was the fireplug of his team. Jun wanted to take it to Ace and Kobashi but, Smith wasn’t going to be ignored. He darn near ripped the Blue boy’s arm out of the socket. That’s alright because he was pumped and gave the match a little depth. Stop the burgeoning contender! Now, that’s not to say the other guys were slouches but, no one else brought the intensity like he did. That is to be expected in a match like this. Akiyama, Smith, and Asako are the one’s with something to prove. The story was about ranking and status but, ultimately the athletic competition. This set the outcome in question and was exciting as all hell. The execution, pacing and timing was flawless from all. Great final match for a TV episode…I’d love to be a teenager again and see this at 10:30 at night before going to bed and thinking about it all the next day at school! Reminds me of ECW Hardcore TV in that way. Very good match. vs Mitsuharu Misawa (04/18/98 Champ Carnival): Whoa! Blue Bomber coming in with the game plan! This might be the birth of Akiyama - the genius. Here he is precise like a surgeon opertating on Misawa. Elbows, dropkicks, leg locks etc. but, the Emerald ace is double tough & plenty dangerous. This 20 minute match showcases excellent timing and pacing that crescendos with a badass finishing segment. A near classic match, damn might even be a classic in my book. Smart and violent wrestling in the AJ tradition. vs Kenta Kobashi (07/24/98): What a match! I really enjoyed Jun's persistant focus on slowing Kobashi down. He had a slew of surprising attacks against the Orange Crush's knee. They felt so organic. Of course, this all would be meaningless if it wasn't for Kenta's masterful selling. This is the timeless Kings Road 'blurred reality' selling where its very difficult to tell if the damage is real or imagined. I liked this match much more than than the Kawada vs Kobashi 06/12/98 bout. I feel that match-up had been done to death. Besides, I felt Kobashi never fully clicked in singles encounters with Kawada. Also, Kobashi refrained from hulking up which always has to be noted at this point in his career Anyhow, I thought this match was a classic! vs Yoshinari Ogawa (09/11/98): Two geniuses go at it in the squared circle! This is an all action bout with lightning counter moves from Ogawa with Jun keeping pace and selling just enough to keep Ogawa in the fight. Rat Boy is underrated a hell and such a breath of fresh air. I loved this match and so did the fans. Great match! Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue vs Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama (10/11/98) – This was a great little tag match. Kawada was just pissed and brutal. He was beating Akiyama, he was beating Kobashi, and he himself got beaten for good measure too! We all win! Akiyama had a spirited showing as well. Kobashi and Taue do show their wear and tear so, this wasn’t exactly everyone in their prime but, this still kicked a fair bit of ass. It’s that unpredictable appeal of very late 90’s AJPW that had me interested in this one for sure. Anyone can win in these matches and more importantly- anyone can lose. Great bout. Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue vs Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama (01/07/99) – The first few minutes (?) were clipped from this match. I’m a little bummed of that but, in all honesty I think AJPW’s clippings are superior to let’s say NJ or M-Pro’s clipping of things. They always seem to pick a nice point to pick up the action and ride it on out. Ok so, it starts with the original “Burning” picking apart Kawada’s knee. From there Taue gets in and brings the fire like it’s 1995! He must have gotten a good night’s sleep because he’s kicking with pep. The man’s throwing dropkicks like he’s a youngster. I love it! This is especially the case since Kobashi is all taped up…I think from a bout with Vader perhaps. Anyhow the Holy Demon Army go rabid over this. Akiyama’s there doing his spots and sequences and it’s nice but, Taue really brought the shit tonight! This is an all action match with bags full of energy and pep. The teams were really feeling the electricity in the air on this one. It wasn’t hall of fame stuff but, I still don’t think anyone was doing matches this exciting in 1999 Japan. Great! Burning (Kobashi & Akiyama) vs Untouchables (Misawa & Ogawa) (03/06/99 AJPW): This was a fantastic must see match. That’s not just for very late 90s AJPW either. This was surprisingly awesome. Misawa and Ogawa’s chemistry is great. Burning has come together as a team in their own right and were equally impressive. Plenty of great tag team maneuvers and teases. This was an AJPW style that went back to the early 90s in terms of surprises and timing. This was not the King’s Road pinnacle style yet, there was a glut of excitement and drama nonetheless. I could see anyone who would want to get into the 90s All Japan style to start out here. It’s got everything. It really encourages me to checkout the late 90s AJ scene more. This was a true gem. vs Takao Omori (09/04/99): If you are a fan of either guy then, damn man, you need to watch this!! Knees, lariats, armbars, attacks off the top rope, man! Why did people thing AJ sucked in '99? It has a big match feel, it has a nice early focus on grappling then, organically transitions to big moves but no MKII finishers which was refreshing. This is very similar to 2012-2015 actually Great match! Burning (Kobashi & Akiyama) vs Untouchables (Misawa & Ogawa) (10/23/99 Tag Titles): This maybe one of the greatest action style tag match ever done. Now they did edit out a portion at the beginning but, I can’t think it was too much. The combat here was hot and hard hitting throughout. Ogawa of course brought his chicanery but, worked so fast and tight that he deserved to be in a true title fight. Misawa was not a slouch either, proving he still has it with multiple dives and splashes. Kobashi was Japanese Hercules and Akiyama had finally grown into his boots. The Blue boy brought the moves and stiffness we didn’t really think he had until NOAH. Other than that I can’t say enough good things about the match. So, I will declare it’s not the same match you would expect in the heydays of 93-96 but, it is just an awesome display of grit, drama, and courage. I would seek this match out without hesitation. One of those matches I slept on for awhile but, so glad I finally got it - classic match! Burning (Kobashi/Akiyama) vs NO FEAR (Omori/Takayama) (10/30/99): I hadn’t heard too much chatter about this match until the 1999 PWO Yearbook. It’s certainly one of those matches an AJPW junkie wants to see just in case it’s an overlooked gem. Well, this is an overlooked gem for sure! Takayama is just about on par with the blonde haired bastard from the 2000s. Omori is just a beefier version of the ass kicker from 95-96 that was giving guys a run for their money. So, to give a summary- This was heated and intense. NO FEAR showed they belonged by handing Burning’s ass to them. Takayama was especially brutal. It’s as we’ve come to expect just, a few years earlier that he’s given credit for. It’s a quick match for AJ standards but, it delivers just how you want it to. Very good! Vader & Steve Williams vs AJ Tag Team Champions Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama (02/20/00 AJPW): Vader & Dr. Death are a hell of a team and Akiyama was ready to bring it. Kobashi dogged it a bit but, took some good shots and nice bumps so it didn't matter too much. This is the time and place where Vader & Dr. Death shine. Near Classic to classic match. Thank you for reading!!! Now go watch some wrestling!
  6. All Japan World Tag Team titles on the line. A worthy successor to the classic they had in January, though not on THAT level. This one doesn't have the emotional rollercoaster vibe the first one had, and it was more about bomb throwing, which kinda makes sense because things had to escalate from their previous encounter. The roles are reversed on the first third of the match, with Strong BJ dominating this time and working over Suwama, and Shuji having to be the hot tag and the fired up one. Korakuen loves Strong BJ though, so even tough they are the invaders, they are still over and never get booed - they didn't try to get booed either though, except for like 2 times they choked Suwama,but they left it at that -, they were really into Yuji and that's awesome because that just means his Champion Carnival run is gonna be fucking amazing. Once Ishikawa does the hot tag the match becomes evenly matched and they just trade bombs and strikes until the end. There are some nice little touches, like Suwama throwing himself to the canvas to avoid Daisuke's german suplex, but him getting deadlifted anyway, a fucked up Shuji lending a hand to avoid the double german suplex, or both Sekimoto and Suwama screaming and cheering up their partners to get the job done and get the W. Still, after an amazing nearfall that I wont spoil, the match kinda fizzles to the end, it's like Korakuen didn't really want a title change, lol. This is more than worth a watch, 25 minutes of dope hoss action, not a classic, but a great match anyways.
  7. If you are looking for big bumps, high spots, fancy matwork and thigh slap happy strikes to the air, then look elsewhere. This is just to chubby, mean dudes punching each other in the mouth, elbowing each others foreheads and caving each other's heads in with nasty knee drops and stomps. Being a huge fan of wild bloody brawls, I loved this.
  8. Rewatching this after some time and it is still awesome. Disgruntled Robinson trying to take down Baba and gets increasingly frustrated as the match goes on. One minor complaint is that Baba could have sold Billy's legwork better specifically because he lost one of the falls due to a leg hold. **** 1/4
  9. Superstar Sleeze

    [1974-12-02-AJPW] Jack Brisco vs Giant Baba

    NWA World Heavyweight Champion Jack Brisco vs Giant Baba - AJPW 12/2/74 2 out of 3 Falls Giant Baba is just one freaky looking dude. i had to get it out there. Those shoulderblades are something else. Great sporting contest from these two wrestlers for the World Heavyweight Championship. It was a breath of fresh air to watch two men work so hard at surfboard taking the time to widen their base or drop to a knee to really sell the hold. I loved the opening matwork. Brisco looked world class taking the Giant down at will. He had a game plan go after the legs and he was tenacious with his drop toe holds and leg pick ups. The only thing keeping Baba in it was his natural size. When he got a hold of Brisco in that surfboard, he demonstrated how damn athletic he is being able to put a foot between Brisco's shoulderblades in a standing surfboard. I loved Brisco's reaction to the surfboard to start letting the fists fly. He was feeling vulnerable so the wrestling went out the window. Baba responded with GIANT CHOPS! Dropkick and Russian Legsweep score one for the hometown hero. Baba starts off hot, but Brisco backs him into the ropes and refuses to give him a clean break. Brisco is just wrenching a nasty chinlock. I love all the tests of strength in this match. They trade suplexes and Briscos follows his up with a figure-4 to even the match. I surprised they did not go with the quick submission, but Baba writhed in pain for a while before the ref called it. The last fall was very dramatic. It was definitely the best selling of the match with Baba playing up the knee injury and Brisco tenaciously working the leg. Baba responds with GIANT CHOPS to avoid the figure-4 and Brisco does a great job selling these. The Russian Legsweep that won the first fall is used a false finish with Brisco making the bottom rope. That was a expertly laid out spot. Baba hits a clothesline similar to Kobashi falling clothesline to win the match and the World Heavyweight Title. That makes that Kobashi move all the cooler knowing it is a tribute to Baba. I really enjoyed this match as a struggle between two opponents for the world title in a classic game of human chess. Yes, Brisco was a bit of a dick here and there, but overall, it was a relatively clean fight. It is funny, I think if all wrestling was like this, I probably would not be a fan. It is too similar to real sports in the sense that it is two talented performers executing at a high level, but it just lacked that narrative to really sink my teeth into until the closing stretch. That is a minor quibble because what they presented was awesome. If Brisco moving from the mat to strikes back to the figure-4 all the while selling Baba's chops like death. Baba worked hard in this match and was great at providing the highspots. It did not click with me on that next level, but still something I would have as a MOTYC in any year. ****1/2
  10. Superstar Sleeze

    [1974-01-30-AJPW] Jack Brisco vs Jumbo Tsuruta

    NWA World Heavyweight Champion Jack Brisco vs Jumbo Tsuruta - AJPW 1/30/74 2 out of 3 Falls Check out those sideburns on Jumbo! This is baby Jumbo Tsuruta who just debuted earlier in 1973 and was only recently dubbed "Jumbo". He does not look out of place one bit against the NWA Champ Jack Brisco. I just love these sports-feel world championship bout: great tie-ups, leg dives and struggle for every move. Basic, fundamentals-oriented layout let the rookie shine with strong holds and coming back to that hold, lose control due to an underhanded tactic, a nice hot run up to the close of the first fall before Brisco puts him away. Jumbo's home base was an armbar. Every time, there was movement Jumbo was able to wrangle it back on using some great armdrags. I loved the Brisco hiptoss into a Jumbo armdrag! Brisco was great at shining Jumbo up with verbal selling and the desperation to not get hit by the butterfly suplex. I am a big mark for tests of strength and there was some great top wristlocks coming out of the armbars. Eventually, Brisco uses the hair to bring him down into a vicious headlock. Jumbo is able to comeback into a crossface chickenwing, which Brisco uses a great drop toehold to transition into a deathlock with great strikes into the ribs. Jumbo was eventually able to catch Jack riding high into a facelock, but Brisco was in the ropes. Tsuruta sees his opening and just unloads bodyslams (not his badass body slams, but still very good), but he misses one elbow drop. Brisco gets a Robinson backbreaker to win the first fall. Brisco 1-0 Awesome, awesome second fall. Wow! Just a great barrage of Jumbo Tsuruta offense throughout the fall. Brisco works a tight headlock, but Jumbo grabs a kneecrusher and never looks back. He works a great fucking bridging toehold and Brisco sends him flying. He is hobbling and tries to meet him on apron, but Jumbo gets sunset flip into a drop toehold into a great deathlock. Brisco escapes to the floor and JUMBO IS FIRING UP! He wants Brisco in the ring, BABY! Jumbo applies the Boston Crab and is working the back. Then he just throws Brisco around with a butterly and just an incredibly overhead belly to belly that was just an incredible feat of strength. I loved that suffocating run of offense to finish the fall. Tied 1-1. Third fall was killer. Jumbo stays on the back and is jazzed. Brisco is selling it like he is absolutely done. Jumbo applies a abdominal stretch. You actually buy it as a finish given it is 1974 and Jumbo is so excited. This converted into a hold on the ground into an amazing, amazing Jumbo bridge into a bodyscissors working that back! Bearhug! I have never popped for a bearhug until today. Jumbo is fucking awesome. Brisco looks dead. Brisco is desperate and is just like fuck it. He throws a wicked closed fist. I have been disapointed by Brisco working punch, which misses by a mile, but damn that was good. Brisco throws a nasty knee to head in the corner. He hurls Jumbo in a butterful suplex, damn! Robinson backbreaker KICK OUT! JUMBO BACK DROP DRIVER!!! Head collision. Jumbo dropkick he gets up to Brisco's but kinda wiffs and then he actually misses because Brisco averts it. A reversal of O'Connor Roll with Brisco ends up on top to win. Wow! That is how you make a rookie a star in one match. Just amazing work. Jumbo ripped it up this match. He was excited and just kicking ass. He never looked out of place. Brisco was totally selfless in this match. It was a bit too lopsided to be a contender for greatest match of all time, but it was an awesome display of both talents. I have it ahead of both the Baba matches because it had more energy. ****1/2
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