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Found 115 results

  1. This match rules. Yes, it has lots of awesome action, yes the crowd heat is insane but my biggest takeaway from it was how great the transitions were. It seemed like every time there was even the slightest opening for a counter they'd take advantage of it, I could easily see this as being the greatest "learned psychology" match ever. Stars; all five of them.
  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. 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
  4. Yes I know. This goes 45 minutes and we all can't stand that! But bear with me. I love me a good 7 minute Velocity match, but I also love me a 45 minute title match, when it's good, and this is good. I know we live in a fast paced age and people can't sit down and concentrate on a piece of entertainment for 40 minutes anymore. But for me, it's basically like watching an epic movie that's about two men fighting to death. That is the strange fascination of wrestling, forever and always. With the way this is filmed and the slightly weird sound mix, it kind of feels like a movie too. They are wrestling in this bright ring surrounded by folks in colorful 70s clothes, and above them is only darkness. The action in this bout was kept extremely simple, and in a way the audience may have been the third worker in this match carrying the action, as the arena was just trembling with excitement to see Jumbo claim the title. I am not the biggest fan of either guy, and in terms of brilliant moves there wasn't much to see, as they kept the bout nice and simple, but the selling was spot on, and they painted the time in such a way that the match just flew by. Call me oldfashioned, but no amount of neck breaking suplex moves or daring stunts is as endearing to me as seeing a wrestling match that has two guys working a dozen variations on the most basic of holds. Then you watch as the match turns into this intricate struggle, with Bock making a one armed comeback by kicking the dogshit out of Jumbo's kidney as the audience gets nervous, and then Jumbo stepping forward and FEELING IT and just chopping away at Bock, and this match turns into this really intricate struggle. They were selling the moves in such a way that I felt any well placed blow at the right time could turn the tide, and Jumbo here puts on maybe his greatest performance that I've ever seen as he does this brilliant one legged comeback and then some of the best leg selling ever caught on film that you selling nazis really really got to see. Then there's of course the "travelling champ makes the local yokel look like he could take the title" trope but this wasn't that, this was Jumbo the hopeful japanese superathlete making minced meat of Bock while all the folks in the audience no matter their background will him on. Then add in a bunch of great 70s spots, awesome Cobra Twist, teasing of the Butterfly Suplex, Bock making use of the ring, epic blood, Jumbo having all these great rushes where it looks like he is kicking Bock into a smear, and outrageous finish that decides the match by a whisker, and you have yourself a classic. Beautiful beautiful bout.
  5. Lil Taue steps up and tries to take down his bigger and thicker ancestor. Actually liked this match a lot. Dug all the tight basic work. Jumbo is really fun putting over Misawas elbows, and he is also really fun selling Taues high kicks etc. The finishing run was great too with Taue busting out the desperate sumo slaps and Jumbo just waylaying him repeatedly with brutal lariats. I'm a little surprised this hasn't gotten more play because while it absolutely doesn't stand out above the metric ton of GREAT 90s AJPW MATCHES it's a really effective match and totally works.
  6. Another really fun multi man tag building towards Choshu vs. Tenryu. We get the addition of some quality players here though -- namely Yatsu and Jumbo. Again they do a perfect job by keeping the Choshu and Tenryu exchanges to a minimum here and the crowd erupts whenever they come within inches of each other. Joe Higuchi has throw the match as he loses control with a riot almost breaking out with everyone brawling on the outside and Rusher Kimura and Goro Tsurumi even getting into the mix of things.
  7. G. Badger

    AJPW Classics 174: 1989

    AJPW CLASSICS # 174 Masa Fuchi vs Joe Malenko (01/20/89): This is for the Jr. title. I think it's the PWF Jr. title...that sounds correct. Anyhow, if you've seen either guy before and have enjoyed it then, there will be no disappointment here. This played up to both guys strengths as it wrestled in sorta a traditional title match style. Seriously, you'd be surprised if I told you this match happened in 1989. The only give away would perhaps be the last couple minutes. However 80% of the contest was on the mat. Fantastic mat grappling with 2 or 3 rope breaks total. They're working the holds and escapes, not crawling. Crawling is for babies. Look at Joe! He's a spokesman for Hair Club for Men goddammit! He's a man not a baby! Howabout Fuchi? Howabout Fuchi! Pockmarked and middle aged, he's no baby either! Babies want their bottle...the only bottle these men want is a cold golden bottle of beer. Preferably while celebrating in the locker room with the title you son of a bitch! Giant Baba & Rusher Kimura vs Abdullah the Butcher & Giant Kimala (03/08/89): I passively watched this...I did an email, played with our cats/chased them off the furniture, etc. Baba was the best, if that's an indication. It's not actively bad but, it's just filler. I get why they put these on the shows especially relatively recently after Baba passed away. It think these were aired in 2000. Great Kabuki & Kenta Kobashi vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshiaki Yatsu (09/15/89): I think the date on this might be 09/15/88 actually. I say that because I think the same Sumo wrestlers are sitting front row and center for that match in Korakuen hall. Also, it seems kinda weird that AJ Classics would be showing matches from Jan. & Mar. and then, September. Everybody goes together like peanut butter and jelly. Kobashi is pretty much brand new out of training and looks fantastic. Yatsu and Jumbo are working their butts of for the K-man. That's not to say Jumbo doesn't try to stomp the youngster's head like a empty can of High Life. Kabuki plays a great mentor/spoiler that Olympic can't quite get a handle on. We actually get a KA-BU-KI chant...how awesome! Plus the soon to be iconic KO-BA-SHI! makes an appearance as well. I really dug this match. It build up incrementally and had a really nice finish as a result. An engaging, great 89 (or 88) tag match! Edit: I checked cage match and it was 09/15/89
  8. Umanoseke Ueda theme here today! Hahaha! This dude is sleazy in the best way. Very much reminds me of IWA Japan when he's in the ring. I think his most watched match nowadays is the 03/26/86 NJ team match. Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta vs Tiger Jeet Singh & Umanoseke Ueda (12/11/80) Now this was a great brawl like Abby & the Sheik were doing in the 70's. It was really out of control but organized chaos. It was really fun stuff. ****...I maybe overrating it but, it's the best Tiger Jeet Singh match I've seen. Funk Brothers vs Umanoseke Ueda & Buck Robley (10/06/81) This was/is on the DVDVR Top 150 of the AJ 80's...whew that's a mouthful...anyhow it's likely to come in near the bottom. So, my expectations were super low which I've found is an awesome place to be in! If this is the worst on the list then I really ought to see the other stuff! The Funks were in effect as always and Ueda and Buck Robley were just great cheatin' mid-carders. Like most great Funk matches the brawl after the match was as good or better than the actual bout. Really enjoyed this one ****
  9. G. Badger

    AJPW Classics 171: 1988

    So, this is where my official massive block of AJ Classics starts. Boy, its a good start Great Kabuki & Akio Sato vs Jimmy Snuka & Tiger Mask II (09/15/88): A really enjoyable match with great offense from Jimmy & Tiger. Kabuki was really effective when inside the ropes & Sato made everyone look good. I recommend checking this out especially for Superfly & Misawa's team work. Stan Hansen & Terry Gordy vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshiaki Yatsu (07/29/88): Tag belts on the line. If Ted DiBiase was big then, Gordy is a giant. The foreign team is massive. The Bad Man from Borger's ribs are taped up and that's a target for the Japanese stars. Thing is...there's a lot of stomping & toe kicks in this early part of the match which is lame. But man, when Gordy finally gets in, hot damn! Things pick up in a big way. The Meat Loaf-esque Gordy is wrecking the shop. Hansen's recovered but is still selling the damage. Watch that finish! Ambitious but, wonderfully vicious. Aside from the slow start, this was a great match! Jumbo Tsuruta vs Abdullah the Butcher (09/09/88): This is an old feud but, this bout was just plain old. Way too one sided for too long BUT the post-match is what you're wanting too watch out for. Snuka & Tiger come out to help Jumbo. Snuka is on Abby's side and just trying to calm the Mad Man from Sudan. Good luck! He gets a spike for his troubles. Then, he and Tiger team up to take the big man down. Eventually, Jimmy goes after Abby and they're fighting in the crowd. Abby actually takes a bump from the stands to the floor. This is wild fun stuff. Honestly, there's no shame in fast-forwarding through the match to get to this. A very nice episode of wrestling!
  10. G. Badger

    AJPW Classics 172: 1988

    AJPW Classic Selection #172 Stan Hansen & Danny Kroffat vs Robert Gibson & Ricky Morton (10/26/88): Gibson seemed like he had a bad ankle and was really only in for the key spots. Ricky therefore wrestled his butt off with Kroffat and Hansen. The story focus seemed to be on Rock n' Roll vs Hansen which helped in the drama department. I believed that they, combined, could take out the Texan. Kroffat was there as junior talent to keep up the pace and action of the match. It was very clear that he was technically superior to the Express and part of the new generation of stars much like Tiger Mask Misawa. Hmm...didn't write a recommendation or assessment at the time of viewing. Nevertheless, you'll enjoy this. Jumbo Tsuruta & Hiroshi Wajima vs Abdullah The Butcher & Jimmy Snuka (08/20/88): This takes place prior to last week's episode as Jimmy & Abby are still partners. Abby is using the recently departed Brody's chain. Anyhow, this is a match! Chaotic fighting that's very, very basic. Lotsa heat, Abby's out of control- sticking Jumbo in the eye, choking Wajima with something. Jumbo eventually starts hurling chairs and yup! There's the bell! Abby's trying to slice young boy Kobashi and Baba's even there in his short sleeve shirt. Tons of after the bell mayhem. The Butcher "asks" Jimmy to juice him since his sadistic Sudanese blood lust hasn't been met. Korakuen gets redecorated. Jumbo Tsuruta vs Stan Hansen (10/17/88): Per Quebrada.net this was a title unification fight. We're talking about making the Triple Crown folks Whoa-oh, this is a rough and tumble match worthy of that prestige. Hard hitting from the outset and neither guy let up even after the final bell. Hansen's throwing a table in the ring and is fuming mad. Highly recommend checking this one out...perhaps a great match. I'll want to rewatch this puppy soon. Nice way to close out the episode. Another solid as stone episode here. Heavy focus on Stan & Jumbo here. If you've never seen them, this would be a good place to start!
  11. G. Badger

    AJPW Classics 175: 1989

    AJPW CLASSICS # 175 I took a little bit of a break there but, I'm back in the game. And I'm going to tackle AJ Classic #175 covering early 1989. Joe Malenko vs Mighty Inoue (01/25/89): The Junior Heavyweight title is up for grabs. Remember this is WRESTLING so, there is a lot of grappling here. It's a bit dry and not as lively as I was needing at the time of viewing. Still, there is a time and place and if you're in the mood, this is a damn fine match for it. They do a good job selling the exhaustion and there are some really nice damaging looking suplexes from Joe too. Watch for the finishing move- it probably blew Joe's taint to pieces! Footloose vs Johnny Ace & The Terminator (03/08/89): I'm not a 100% on the date as I can't remember if they reverse the day and month in Japan. I think we're OK. Anyhow, this is a new Footloose match for me which is great since they are probably one of my favorite teams. The gaijin team of Terminator and Ace are rocking super mullets...holy shit that's a stupid looking haircut. In the early 2000's, making fun of mullets was like a shared cultural experience but, it grew old. I don't care...look at their damn hair! This is more of the action oriented '89 match I was looking for. Ace is super athletic and in great shape here. He does kinda shoot above his skill level by doing a clumsy skin-the-cat reverse head scissors, then a bumpy slingshot (twisting?) suplex and finally regular flying head scissors. That's one segment! This is 1989 man, you're doing shit like the Young Bucks' lost giant brother Johnny Ace Jackson ;P Another favorite Ace moment was yelling "Ask Him-Ask Him-Ask Him!!!" while he had one of Footloose in a abdominal hold. He yelled this 3 times in one breath...take it easy man! Overall this was a very good match that started out like a strong TV match and then picked up once they got into the groove. I'd highly recommend checking it out. It has some funny moments, good wrestling, and is a nice showcase for everyone. Jumbo Tsruta & Yoshiaki Yatsu vs Stan Hansen & Terry Gordy (02/02/89): This takes place in the States and I think. The ring shows AWA but, I didn't think Hansen was allowed near the AWA after the incident with the belt from '86. It could have just been the canvas of the conglomerate of the remaining regional territories. This started out a little bland for my tastes but, I sort of expect that when I see these Japanese matches-in-the-States. Nonetheless, this turned out pretty good after the Olympics worked over Stan's arm. My two favorite moments are when Hansen kicks Yatsu's head like an old pumpkin & when Gordy dump powebombs Yatsu and Jumbo breaks the pin up with a nice stomp to the skull. Otherwise, nothing tremendous but, I'd still say it was fun. Overall, I'd say this was an average AJPW Classics. Nothing outstanding and nothing terrible...It was a good way to get back in the swing of things. It'd be a nice hour long TV episode of wrestling to watch while having dinner or a couple beers.
  12. Working on my Tanaka follow up and finishing the wXw 2010 project. Here's a good selection from the Grooveyard in the meantime. In this case they are all very good to classic matches in AJ that took place around this time of year back in that early 1990's. There are probably some spoilers in here so, if you're looking to watch these for the first time or forget the outcome and want to be surprised on a rewatch, be aware Some of these I haven't seeen in nearly a decade so, I think I might have to do a couple rewatches myself. Jumbo, Kabuki & Fuchi vs Misawa, Kobashi & Taue (All Japan 5/26/90) ***3/4 A good 6-man match but the real focus is on Fuchi & Jumbo putting the upstart team in their place. Kabuki to some extent too but Fuchi & Tsuruta are not impressed with the team of Misawa, Kobashi, & Taue...all look like Muppet Babies. It's wild. What's even more wild is that Misawa has the gall to elbow Jumbo off the apron (unprovoked) and that Kobashi isn't killed in the ring. Taue strangely supplies most of the action and is quite adroit in his execution. It really proves what a great tag-teamer & wrestler he is. He really lets Misawa/Kobashi work the story aspects by keeping the match going. This was a smart move on his part as early on it really was losing direction other than Jumbo is pissed. Still, the finishing portions were quite good, enough to build the excitement for the win. Suffice to say big old Jumbo is not pleased with the results. Jumbo Tsuruta vs Kenta Kobashi (All Japan 5/24/91) Watched this one a couple times and I really don't know how it's a MOTY candidate or could be nominated for Top 20 but, it's certainly top 50. The start is clipped to where both guys are sweating pretty good. Kobashi's offense is the highlight and he nearly gets Jumbo but, really he wasn't going to win. Still, you really feel for Kobashi & his facial expressions never seemed to get mentioned but he's one of the best. Better organized than the Kawada carny match but not as brutal & believable that the underdog could pull it off. Although Kobashi's moonsault got pretty close...No real flaws it just wasn't meant to be a MOTY & the divide between the two is far too large to have any believable drama especially since the moonsault didn't do it. I mean Misawa has only put him away once how's Kobashi gonna do it? Still Top 50 stuff that should be seen. **** Misawa & Kawada & Kobashi vs Jumbo & Akira Taue & Fuchi (05/22/92): ****3/4 Although this got a ***** by the Wrestling Observer, I can't agree. It misses the mark for two reasons. The first being the context. I haven't seen any of the great matches in the Jumbo/Misawa feud other than the 6-8-90 singles match (EDIT: No longer true so, clearly a rewatch is needed). Therefore I can only rate it as a stand alone. It still does quite well. The second reason is a little bit of a let down on the performance side of things from Kawada- there are some weak striking moments and a couple airballs which killed the momentum. In all honesty if he lived up to Dangerous K potential then I would have given this *****. Towards the end he comes in to take on Jumbo and you think it's going to be vicious but it doesn't match the intensity of the previous few minutes of Misawa/Jumbo. If he had hit Tsuruta with blistering strikes then this bout would've erupted. Everyone else impressed me though and if Taue wasn't really injured, I'd be surprised. Just too bad Kawada wasn't performing at his full potential. Still a fast paced and exciting match and Jumbo's team act as vicious heels here which was unique. A must see match even if it's not Kawada's finest hour. It and all of these great 6-man matches of the early 90s are benchmarks in wrestling history. Rewatch: Having seen the majority of The Feud, I can whole-heartedly agree with my previous statements. Kawada's lack of explosiveness is not a detriment as previous stated though. He's just not there in his development. Otherwise a great 6 man tag match! Doug Furnas & Danny Kroffat vs Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi (05/25/92): ****3/4+ The only reason this match is not 5 stars is that it lacks a larger story or psychology (that I am aware of). Everything else is perfect-pacing, intensity, stiffness, and execution. What's even more impressive than these aspects alone, is the fact that it all took place in less than 20 minutes! RE-Watch: AJPW's answer to Steiners vs. Hase/Sasaki '91 MOTY...Just full on action the whole time with state of the art moves. Just a magical era in Japanese wrestling. Additional Note: I'd put this up with the great 6/5/89 tag match. Stan Hansen vs Mitsuharu Misawa- Triple Crown (AJ 5/21/93) Whoa! Talk about a great match. This is the match Kawada should have had with Hansen (02/28/93). Real smart & meaningful armwork on Misawa who sells appropriately. This maybe the match that killed the Facelock as a finisher but Hansen takes it better than anyone & works his way out of it with conviction. This is the Bad Man from Borger that I know & love. You've also got the feeling that if he would have busted the Lariat-o!!! then Misawa would have lost but, he never got the chance. So, with the facelock killed we get the birth of the Rolling Elbow! And it's a dooozy! He damn near knocked Stan out. Great pacing, selling, seemless transitions with a great finish. ****3/4 Mitsuharu Misawa/Kenta Kobashi vs. Toshiaki Kawada/Akira Taue AJ 5/21/94 ****: Frankly I didn't get the hoopla over this match. It seemed like an unfocused attempt at a superlong spot match. I really don't get it! AJW was doing these type of matches to perfection in '92 & '93...so if the excitement is over this being the first match like this in AJ then, big shit. They didn't do it that well. I'm pretty sure the 12/93 match was more solid than this. Kawada was the only one that was of really any note. They went to the tired old hurt Kobashi's leg bit & it didn't really fly because of the amount of time spent it went nowhere with the story...I mean he couldn't cover after a moonsault but then later he could (after missing attempt #2). This made no sense to me!! That & some of the sequences looked way too obvious as planned sequences. Not a bad match overall really for 40 min. but it could have been a whole lot better. The worst moment I can remember though was when 3 or 4 guys were in the ring Misawa was just standing there waiting...(EDIT: This is one that I've been meaning to rewatch for like 8 years and never have).
  13. More 1987 AJPW goodness! AJ Classics Selection #153 Takashi Ishikawa & Mighty Inoue vs Isamu Teranishi & Masanobu Kurisu (07/30/87): Well, this was a barrel full of monkeys! I loved it. All kinds of different offense or should I say 'awe'fense. Cheesy like Kraft. This took a little bit to get going in terms of direction and pace but, turned into a smile worthy Asia Tag match. Jumbo Tsuruta & Tiger Mask vs Stan Hansen & Ted DiBiase (07/11/87): PWF tag belts on the line. This was pretty good and had a nice finish. I was groggy when watching this so, probably worth a rewatch. DiBiase was very good as was Tiger. Stan Hansen & Ted DiBiase vs Yoshiaki Yatsu & Shinichi Nakano (07/17/87): A great energetic match! Hansen and DiBiase gave great performances. Yatsu and Nakano were vicious in attacking both villiains' knees. If you want working-a-limb psychology that's exciting, watch this! Remarkable selling by Ted & a great emotional performance by Stan. Tough as dirt Yatsu and gutsy Nakano taking it to the larger than life tag champs. Great match! Again, watch this! AJ Classics Selection #154 Yoshiaki Yatsu & Haru Sonada vs Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara (10/31/87): Haru looks like he's gonna suck but, does not! Revolution kill him anyways. Yatsu vs Tenryu is always good. This IS the hard hitting stuff you want! Haru is surprising the heck out of me. This was very good stuff. Recommended match Stan Hansen & Ted DiBiase vs Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara (07/23/87): PWF title is on the line. Very evenly fought match between the top 2 teams in AJPW. This looked like a really competition for the title and gave them real importance. Tenryu was really brutal with his head kicks. I know that may seem wrong but, hey it's true! Classic Hansen freakout after the bell too. Highly recommend this whole thing! Giant Baba & Tiger Mask vs Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara (07/30/87): I've come to love Tenryu vs Baba because Genny chops Baba as hard as anyone & vice versa. No one works better with old Baba than Tenryu. TM Misawa's kicks were fantastic looking. I wish he would have kept the kicks along with his elbow based on his use here. Baba took a surprising amount of punishment to the point where I believe he was legitimately hurt. I gotta recommend watching this match. It's like watching Misawa in a WAR match. Tenryu & Hara are real bruisers and generally beat the piss from the bodies of their foes- win, lose, or draw. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED couple of episodes
  14. I've recently acquired a big chunk of the AJPW Classics broadcast in 1999 & 2000. Generally speaking, I've got a good portion of 1988-early 1990 covered. There are a couple notable matches missing but, I'm more interested in finding hidden gems. I'm looking forward to seeing matches people talked about in the distant past and have since been forgotten or brushed aside for the newer slicker wrestling of today. I'm excited to be able to watch wrestling in a somewhat episodic fashion again too. Starting out I have a couple episodes from 1987 that I was interested in. AJPW Classic selection #149: Jumbo Tsuruta & Genichiro Tenryu vs Yoshiaki Yatsu & Shinichi Nakano (04/23/87): This was a very good all action bout. There wasn't a strong story or a tremendous amount of drama. That's OK since it was more centered on slapping and chopping the other team. Nakano put forth a lot of effort. He was out ranked but, never appeared out of his depth because he was busting his ass. Surprisingly, Yatsu looked strongest in terms of aggression and dictating the pace. He looked to have Jumbo's number. Watch for the powerbomb too. Fun match. Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara vs Yoshiaki Yatsu & Shinichi Nakano (06/09/87): Hara is a beast! but colored me surprised Hara is the one in peril not Nakano. Again, Yatsu really shines in this match. I'd again say he's the best wrestler in there. This was really enjoyable but, over too quick. There was never a dull moment though and features two really great spots. Recommended match The Road Warriors vs. Jumbo Tsuruta & Hiroshi Wajima (06/09/87): This was pretty good when Hawk and Jumbo were in the ring. Wajima if you've never seen him is goofy. That's the case here per usual. Animal does his press slams and such but, is really too massive to be good. The chaotic ending is fun but, comes outta nowhere. It's an OK match. Personally, I hate the Roid Warriors in AJ. Hiroshi Wajima vs. Animal Warrior (06/11/87): Well, they read my mind and gave me the worst match up of the above match...and perhaps the worst pairing for AJPW '87. I could not see this lasting more than 5 minutes since Wajima is embarrassing and Animal has little ability or personality. I had my fiance time it. Fortunately, it's around 3 minutes. Thank you! AJPW Classic selection #150: Giant Baba & John Tenta vs Rusher Kimura & Goro Tsurumi (05/01/87): Goro's afro and mustache is enviable. What an awesome look! Speaking of looks, Tenta is looking really fit & trim here in '87. As always, I'm giving Baba a pass for experience and the effort he puts forth despite his limited capabilities. This is better than the Road Warriors matches by the way. Rusher's overhand chopping Tenta in the throat. The big man looks awesome here...like a champ really. Referee Wada takes the best fucking ref bumps too. This was a fun, fun match. I wish I understood Japanese for Rusher's jokes at the end. Even Baba's laughing! Jumbo Tsuruta & John Tenta vs The Road Warriors (06/08/87): Ok, this has potential. Switch Wajima for Tenta and we've got something good. And to little surprise Tenta delivered. His stuff vs Hawk was awesome. Oh shit! It's over? That was quick...fun though. Honestly, this is probably the best use for the Warriors in AJ. Giant Baba vs Tiger Jeet Singh (06/11/87): This is what I want to follow up that short tag match. Great brawling start. Tiger's using a bucket like it's the WWF Raw game from the 90's. Yes! But from there it's more mat wrestling and less blood (if any) than I expected. Started fun but, was just OK. Jumbo Tsuruta & Tiger Mask vs Genichiro Tenryu & Ashura Hara (06/11/87): This was really a lot of fun if a little disorganized. Perhaps chaotic is a more complementary way to phrase that but, that's what held it back from being a great match. Aw screw it, this was a blast especially with Tiger Mask Misawa flying around. He was revolutionary for '87 AJPW and appeared to have Tenryu beat. This match really helped elevate him. Jumbo was a bit off tonight but, wisdom says that was purposeful. It helped Tiger's star shine brighter. Highly recommended match. I think I may re-watch this. Another couple shows from '87 for next week. DiBiase and Hansen are featured if I recall. Stoked for those as I dig DiBiase in AJ.
  15. Its always a bit of fun when you're going back to write about or watch wrestling matches and it's the date of a historically important match. Or is that just me? Today is the 32nd anniversary of the much loved Choshu & Yatsu vs Jumbo & Tenryu tag match in AJPW. It's like a holiday No celebration but, still pretty cool and a reason to be hyped for the day. Plus it's sunny out so, that's nice too! Here's my take on the match and if you have not watched it, make some time this week to give it a go! Jumbo Tsuruta/Genichiro Tenryu vs. Riki Choshu/Yoshiaki Yatsu (1/28/86 AJPW): This was a precursor of the great tag matches of the AJPW 90's. The pacing is great, it starts with great tag moves from Choshu/Yatsu but, things break open when Jumbo & Tenryu kick Riki's ribs to dust. Eventually he makes the tag & the remainder of the match is like Funk Bros. chaos. Fortunately Tiger doesn't call for the bell. Tenryu's kicking ass & Yatsu is just amazing. Great near-falls, moves that re-occur throughout the great matches in the 90's, fantastic psychology but, also what I'd consider Joshi like excitement. This is just about a perfect match to me. I was going to prattle on about some random mid-90's matches today as well but, there's no need. Today's match is so good that it really should stand alone.
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