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  1. 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.
  2. Hi folks! Going through my notes and reviews while working on my year end Best Match Watched stuff and found a bunch of AJPW stuff that I never posted. Very interesting stuff. I'd normally do pictures but I think I used some of them from my last wrestling art show thing. Giant Baba vs Stan Hansen (09/08/83): PWF Title match. For a Baba match, this was pretty good. He and Hansen work well together and work with Baby's limitations. Baba also pushed himself a bit. Perhaps I have seen this before but many Baba singles matches can feel the same. Bruiser Brody vs Jumbo Tsuruta (10/14/83): International title fight. Brody surprisingly wrestled a technical match by targeting Jumbo's injured arm. We get blood from both guys and this is really good stuff. The finish or end part of the match is fantastic! Tiger Jeet Singh vs Dory Funk Jr. (12/05/83): Very good bout. You know what you're getting here but I think they worked it very well. Started hot then brought things down and closed with a donnybrook. Baba & Dory Jr. vs Hansen & Brody (12/10/83): This is a short match but the whole thing is fought like the last 10 minutes of an epic tag bout. That's to say, this was intense as hell from bell to bell. Terry is yelling at ringside which makes things even more palpable. It was all so great and felt like a fight between foes (as it is). This was classic stuff (along with the post match stuff). Ric Flair vs The Great Kabuki (12/12/83): For the NWA World Title. Started slow with Kabuki dominating but things picked and the fans really got into the possibility of their countryman winning. It's not the greatest thing ever but it was a lot of fun down the stretch. Would have benefited from being quicker in pace I think. The Jumbo vs Brody and the tag match are highly recommended. Damn I want to rewatch these now...
  3. The first fall was pretty great with them trading holds, working it slow, trying to fight over the control of one another. Mil established dominance in it. The 2nd fall was even better with it being about Jumbo's desperation, his big comeback before winning the fall was awesome. The 3rd fall the shortest of 'em, it was pretty much dominated by Mascaras, but he made one mistake & that ended up costing him the match. This was great. ****
  4. This was awesome. Hot crowd super into Jumbo, and Martel bringing it. Really intense and dramatic finishing stretch - crowd was biting on nearfalls for Jumbo's suplexes and Martel's sleeper and cross-body. Was never a huge Martel fan before this, looks like I'm going to have to buy that AWA set and get deeper into him.
  5. 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
  6. Chavo Guerrero vs Masa Fuchi (NWA Int'l Jr. Title, 08/31/83) - Great technical match and while not as crisp as what Tiger was doing in NJ with others at the time, this is the type of great stuff the NJ juniors and especially Eddie & Dean were doing 10+ years later. ----- Bruiser Brody vs Jumbo Tsuruta (Int'l Title, 08/81/83) - Slow feeling out process at the start but it was OK because it built into a bloody and dramatic title fight. Two giants of Japanese wrestling go head to head. If you don't like Brody then perhaps you won't get as much out of this as I did. Great match! Dory and Terry Funk vs Stan Hansen/Terry Gordy (08/31/83) - I was going to watch this again for like the fourth time but I've got too many other things to watch. Plus its a known classic so I'm not saying something you don't probably know already. Here's my original review from 15 years ago: This was Terry's retirement match and many have said enough about how it didn't last but, in wrestling how often do retirements last? Everyone was willing to sell for everything to keep the energy up in this brawl. Dory sold in his normal manner but it looked rather out of place with sluggers like Gordy & Hansen selling shots like they were getting hit with crowbars. Still it was a very exciting match with the fans cheering for the brothers throughout. The iconic part takes place afterwards with Terry's "Forever!" speech which is incoherent and thoroughly awesome, if you like the Funker. It's a match that one has to appreciate for what it is & enjoy. The speech is a bit of gravy. Great match. That is a fantastic night of wrestling back in '83. Check this stuff out any way you can. Thanks for reading
  7. Let's take the way back machine to 1983! Shoehi Baba/Jumbo Tsuruta vs Tiger Jeet Singh/Umanoseke Ueda (07/26/83): Before the introductions, Tiger was so enraged that Ueda and young boys needed to hold him back. That's really cool. I miss madman heels in wresting. This was a good match but Tiger's antics while on the ring apron were really the most memorable moments. The final portion when this spilled out to the floor was quite enjoyable but the heels dominated too much. Their offense was boring. That's all good it was still a fun time while eating lunch. ----- Dory Funk Jr. vs Stan Hansen (11/28/83): Oh man, this is a match-up I'll never get tired of. Funks vs Hansen & Brody is just timeless stuff like Tenryu vs Jumbo. Perhaps its because this stuff is the foundation of my puro watching (along with Jumbo/Tenryu and 80's AJW). But the stuff just looks so physical and natural. Its not complicated. It looks and feels like professional wrestling should. I mean this is not that far off from top flight wrestling from the 50's. Maybe you can argue that with me but this match is no different. Its just two legends in the ring putting on another great match in their series. Terry is at ringside as is Brody. Do yourself a favor and watch this match. ----- There's a few guys that I wanted to see more of from the 250 list on my AJ Classics dvds so, I definitely will be doing more of these posts. Looking to get back to AJ 2013 first though and maybe get the year done before the start of June & the mid year Best Match Watched contenders. Thanks for reading!
  8. A fun match but not an all time classic or anything, really brought down by Jumbo's lackluster performance. Interesting opening with them teasing some bigger moves and stealing each other's signature stuff, the graplling wasn't much but there were some interesting holds, the matchw was really made by them smacking the shit out of each other. I really dislike the way Jumbo sells immediate impact, it feels like something I'd see from a modern indy guy and all I can think of when he does are countless debates about limbwork on DVDVR re: Tanahashi title matches from 2009, I think it's overly expressive for japanese wrestling and don't think it enhances the match in any way. The big bombs were fun but the nearfalls on them weren't very convincing (it was too obvious they were gonna go for rope breaks). On the other hand you get awesome stuff like Tenryu pulling out a surprise Small Package and a huge German Suplex, great, dramatic counters that got great pops. There was some legwork here but Jumbo didn't sell it at all, actually he reacted to it by doing a bunch of enzuigiris which felt totally out of character for him, it was interesting when he did it in the beginning of the match to tease Tenryu but by the time he did a third one I was completely sick of them. Finish was very interesting and dramatic though I do wish they hadn't done the legwork as it felt the finish was more of an end result of accumulated and a coincidence than the legwork finally coming into play. 3+ star-ish.
  9. Jumbo Tsuruta | Great Kabuki | Isao Takagi vs Genichiro Tenryu | Toshiaki Kawada | Samson Fuyuki January 2, 1990 All Japan Pro Wrestling New Years Giant Series 7.5 Even if we concede that the Jumbo-Tenryu rivalry, which was nearing the three-year mark at this point, was getting old, there is no denying that the work in the ring is still excellent, whether it comes from Tenryu and Kabuki trading chops and uppercuts or Isao Takagi's inspired underdog babyface performance, capped off by a five-alarm blade job. The entire match builds to Takagi getting a close, believable nearfall on Tenryu. Regardless of Tenryu's imminent departure, perhaps it was a sign that the rivalry was running out of steam when coming out of this match, Tenryu programs with Kabuki and Takagi seemed more urgent than big Tenryu-Tsuruta match. Availability All Japan Pro Wrestling Special on NTV - Aired January 15, 1990
  10. Nick Bockwinkel v. Jumbo Tsuruta (AWA Title, 07/13/83): It was 30 minutes or so and was very much a match from 1983 in a technical style. Its Bockwinkel vs Jumbo but its not a classic or anything. But man is this quality stuff. Jumbo's jumping knee never looked better and Bock's pile driver was deadly. This is their first encounter that I have in my dvds. So I'm hoping that things get better and better. I would say this is ***3/4. My feeling is that it never kicked into top gear. We never got Nick at his most crafty or Jumbo at his most brutal ('83 Jumbo at least). I really think this could have been stronger in that department. Or could have had a stronger story. Its a very good match but right under being a great one. ----- Dory and Terry Funk/Baba v. Bruiser Brody/Stan Hansen/Terry Gordy (08/30/83): 6 man matches weren't as common in AJPW as they would become in the late 80's and thereafter. However that fact does not diminish the quality or excitement of this bout. A day before Terry's "retirement" match we see the heart of AJPW take on the titans of AJPW. This one is as wild as expected - stiff hits, double teams, blood and post match bedlam. My dad loves this type of wrestling and I know he would dig this match. Great action & feverish pace makes this great. ----- Thanks for reading!
  11. 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.
  12. 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
  13. This is the perfection of the Bruiser Brody memorial match on 8-29-88. Holy cow is this match some closed fisted, sweat swapping wrestling. People don't talk a lot about Yoshiaki Yatsu or Ashura Hara yet they are total skull crushers. Yatsu is a real top talent and is worthy of a spotlight review because I know he's a tag master! This match is just another fine example that our chubby cheeked friend will smash his elbows into your skull and eat your brain!! Maybe not so much on the second part. So, Ashura Hara is equally vicious especially his Crowbar Lariat. I can't remember where I heard it called that but, shit! Its about as stiff as one. Love it and his jehri curl. Tenryu rocks one as well and everyone loves Tenryu. I am really glad that I have this match because it is a true classic and maybe a forgotten one at that. I never hear it batted around as one of the "all time never forget this date" classic AJPW matches. I think people get confused with the finish. I have no idea why though. This bout becomes a whirlwind of legs, arms and bodies by the finish. And it ends perfectly for me. Go see the Tenryu-Jumbo singles matches, and see this match because it's just as essential as any of those:P Classic Match
  14. Just a great match with a student vs master kind of vibe. Old school NWA style is probably my least favorite style ever but these two and Terry Funk are the three guys who can make it really compelling.
  15. I felt like watching some stuff from the 80's after watching 80's wrestling commercials on YouTube. I've got tons of stuff so I went through and cherry picked a disc from my AJPW collection. Only one match actually is an AJ match which is nice since that smattering of wrestling was what I wanted. Jack and Jerry Brisco vs Bob Orton Jr/Jimmy Valiant (06/12/83 in Savannah, GA): This was a high energy tag match but there wasn't a lot to it. That and three of the guys had red trunks on! It was very good stuff but not much than I can recall. Orton does a great back breaker. Jumbo Tsuruta vs Brad Rheingans (08/30/83): This was a fantastic technical match that AJPW isn't always known for at this time. This is more like what I've seen in NJ at this time. It makes sense since both are former Greco-Roman Olympians. There were plenty of reversals and escapes and I don't recall one rope break. This is really my favorite type of stuff to watch. Great match Harley Race vs Kevin Von Erich (NWA Title on 06/17/83 in Dallas, TX): This was a great title match. I've only seen Kerry Von Erich so it was nice to finally see Kevin. This is especially true after watching the Von Erich Dark Side episode a few weeks ago and as the only living brother, I guess I feel for him. So he's a true babyface in this case if that makes any sense. He's up against Harley Race which I think is a good match up since Harley has a more deliberate orthodox style that transfers well regardless of his opponent. Kevin is more like a Ricky Steamboat heavy weight and his awesome dropkicks look devastating against the champ. Mixed with his body scissors hold (something we don't ever see anymore) and the Iron Claw, he's got Race reeling. Eventually Harley gets Kevin to the floor where he crashes into TV equipment (I think) and hurts his shoulder. There's blood in the water for the shark. The champion is a great white in his attack - ax handle smashes and viscous knee drops are the best. The ref wants to stop the fight but Kevin refuses. He still has his big weapons and won't be told to quit...not even when big brother David comes out. What a great match to introduce the Von Erich clan and a great bout overall.
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