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  1. This part is comprised more of single matches than tags & isn't as awesome as the first two but does an excellent job of showing just about every one of the main players going at it alone. There may be some spoilers ahead by the way. Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Akira Taue (All Japan 1/26/91) Misawa is such a dick here. He slaps Taue during a rope break & when they go to lock up he hits him with a stiff elbow shot. Taue gets his revenge though throwing up some mean boots, dumping a couple Samoan drops & even throwing our little superhero on a row of chairs. Misawa only get pissed and gets his comeback mojo going by countering the DDT with a northern lights suplex (never seen him do that one!) and getting a nearfall with the Tiger Driver. This is the first time I believe he's done that on the tapes, also Taue does the first chokeslam on the tapes too. Still it's not enough for Taue! Then Misawa does the unspeakable, whether it was planned or improvised, he performs the first Tiger Driver '91!!! It's still the most dangerous finisher & establishes it's reputation soundly. Taue isn't kicking out or really even moving that afterwards. Me thinks Jumbo & Taue want payback...bad. Relatively short match but all action. ****1/4 Jumbo, Taue & Fuchi vs. Misawa, Kobashi & Kikuchi (All Japan 3/23/91) This one started out a little slow & without too much intensity. Kikuchi was really being introduced as an ally of Misawa and he got whooped on. Fuchi is also in a bit in this early section & while some of his offense is dated in it's impact, his submissions are top notch. Once Misawa got the tag, this thing blew up & you really can identify with Kobashi & Kikuchi as almost brothers. That & it makes one wonder why their so rough on Kikuchi & Kobashi when Misawa & Kawada are the ones the really want. This is a little bit of a sentiment switcher since the two K's are just a couple of young guys, there's no good reason to beat them so hard. The story here's pretty good but the beginning is a bit dull but the ending really saved this & kept the heat on. I can't wait to see these guys go at it again! ****1/4 Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Toshiaki Kawada (All Japan 4/6/91) Slow starting match but it picked up with Kawada showing his toughness and his hard hitting offense. Jumbo really had to go all out here to put Dangerous K down. Very nice Champion Carnival match. **** Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Stan Hansen (All Japan 4/6/91) This one here is a lost classic or close to it. If you don't get this on a compilation, I'm sure most people would never see it. And that's the problem I have with all of these Best of the 90s AJPW lists. People should do a forgotten classic AJPW list or something like that...matches that are spectacular but don't get a fair look. This certainly is one of them. I've never seen this on any list & it really deserves to be mentioned. Incredibly stiff, there's a neat story with Hansen being tied to Misawa's progress...an indicator if he's ready to take on Jumbo man to man. I'll have to re-watch this but it was better than the Jumbo/Kawada match for sure. Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Stan Hansen (All Japan 4/16/91) This is the type of match you want to see between two of the biggest wrestlers in Japan. They were just slamming into one another & Jumbo was working Stan's arm very well. Hansen once again show's that he's a hell of smart performer by using other attacks while his arm "heals." I didn't care for the finish but since they wrestled this in more of the 80's style it was excusable & special but not really up to par with most finishes in this time period. **** Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Mitsuharu Misawa (All Japan 4/18/91) I didn't really think this match stacked up with their earlier matches & wasn't up to snuff with the Champ. Carnival matches. It really took awhile to get going and the strikes weren't as good as the previous matches. I wouldn't be surprised if someone was injured or something. Still the last five minutes were pretty damn good & I wonder if there's some parallel to the Dr. Death/Kobashi match in '93? **** Thanks for checking this out! Go see some of the great matches! I'll be back with more of my absolute favorite feud shortly
  2. Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Mitsuharu Misawa (All Japan 9/1/90) ****1/2+ In this match-up Misawa tries to use his elbow strikes to go toe-to-toe with Jumbo. He finds out that he's no Tenryu and gets a beatdown. It's not that Jumbo isn't really messed up by this attack but it's not enough to transition into a serious pinning predicament. Still Misawa uses his quickness & flying but not in conjunction with much other than his strikes. So Jumbo does what he can to shift momentum and work Green Jeans over. I would've liked I little more variety other than a elbow battle to make this 5 stars like some say but, still it's awesome but not like their match in June. Re-Watch: This is a pretty great match but stylistically I preferred the June match. Misawa tried to be Tenryu to Jumbo, you know to try and slug it out. Misawa had much greater effect with his flying moves but wanted to get the big shot in. In the end he got caught and flat out beat. Still I would have liked a match with more variety in offense since Misawa slung 40 elbows or so in this one. Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Toshiaki Kawada (All Japan 9/30/90) Wow! An awesome time limit draw match that was one of those matches that were so well paced that you could have watched it all day. It wasn't a sprint so there wasn't a bunch of unbelievable sequences or crazy moves although by the end things were getting quite interesting. Kawada did blow a couple kicks and he took a double arm suplex like a Tiger Driver but everyone was worn out & hurt so mistakes like these were excusable because they were insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Jumbo, Taue & Fuchi vs. Misawa, Kawada & Kobashi (All Japan 10/19/90) It took me some time to get this one started as I was having some problems getting this to play just right. Once I got it going I'd seen the first 8 minutes a couple times. This match went nearly 30 minutes and I distinctly recall saying to myself, "This is the greatest match ever." That's pretty cool considering I thought I'd seen all of the great AJPW stuff. Greatness is only a state of mind. As an aside, Fuchi is a sadist but his striking offense is weak, Kawada hasn't quite found his Dangerous K persona & moves, Taue is impressive despite the conventional notion that he didn't get good until '95, Kobashi is already the baby-face you just can't pin, and Misawa is an upstart jerk. Jumbo is the old guard, he is the elder & Misawa doesn't give him the respect he's due. It's like a youngster taking on tradition. At this point I'm rooting for Jumbo but, I like seeing Taue & Kawada go at it, and feel sorry of Kobashi, & well Masa Fuchi's there grinning while breaking your bones. That's really neat that they're telling 3 different stories at the same time. Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Toshiaki Kawada (All Japan 12/7/90) Maybe I'm just a sucker for tag-matches but this was amazing. The timing was really brilliant stuff & showing Akira Taue's toughness was a great little story here too. I wasn't sure he could take all that Misawa & Kawada were dishing out. Although this was clipped a little bit on the front end since I think it was a TV episode (complete with commercials!), it didn't effect the greatness of the match. They're building off of past confrontations or adding neat twists. Kawada really comes into his own here too. I felt that in the couple months since the last match he's got his intensity dialed up. Great stuff! Stan Hansen vs. Jumbo Tsuruta (All Japan 1/19/91) A solid Triple Crown match between two of the biggest, toughest guys around. Things got a little loose at the end with Hansen & Jumbo trying some sequences but, it came off in a way. Hansen went down to a Baba neckbreaker drop which was cool. I don't know how believable it was though ; ) ***3/4 These are some of my desert island matches. You've got to watch these!
  3. G. Badger

    AJPW Classics 173: 1988

    Episode #173 collects matches from late autumn of 1988. Shunji Takano vs Shinichi Nakano (09/15/88): I'm skeptical of the date on this because it looks like there is a different mat in the next bout. This one IIRC is an all blue mat. But that's the date that everyone has for this match so why not This is very much my type of non-cooperative wrestling. Special emphasis on "wrestling" until they start slapping memories out of each other's heads. Oh did I mention the headbutts? Oh yes, yes y'all! Plus watch for Takano's life altering elbow drops. You want to see this one. High Recomemndation. I wish these two would have stayed around for AJ in the 90's. Shunji Takano & Shinichi Nakano vs Samson Fuyuki & Toshiaki Kawada (09/15/88): AJ Classics does show the date at the start as 09/15. Animal print headbands for Footloose! Everybody cut loose indeed. All Asia Tag beltos are up as Nakano & Takano defend. This is really vicious and heated. Double teams, stiff chair shots, and jumping knee, leg, and elbow drops like they're trying to put a hole in the ring. Takano & Kawada were my favorites here. This is the 2nd time I've watched this in a few months. Loved it as much if not more than the first time. Another highly recommended bout and a must see with their 07/19/88 match. Stan Hansen vs Yoshiaki Yatsu (10/28/88): Oh hell yes! Hansen's charging the ring like a berserker. Having the audio muted and listening to Windhand only multiplies this gnarliness! Fucking Yatsu is not to be trifled with though. He's a a burly bearded badass if there ever was one! Dont't believe it? Watch this! I dare say this is better than any Jumbo/Stan match out there. This is the awesome brutal fast paced violence you're looking for. Classic match...a little over 10 minutes. Same show as the Jumbo vs Tenryu Triple Crown match. Very nice. Awesome episode! Find this, buy this, watch this.
  4. 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!
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. This was long, slow and had a lot of holds, so not for the faint of the heart. However, I enjoyed this. It delivered the kind of big guy clobbering you want from a Gordy/Hansen match and was the type of hard fought bout I like. Gordy injuring his arm by trying to a elbow a charging Hansen was a nifty spot and lead to some strong limb psychology. A deseperate Gordy hammering away at Hansen was really good. Eventually Steve Williams runs in to help fix Gordy's elbow. You see, he is a doctor after all! It leads to some amusing bits where Hansen and Gordy try to catch an elbow pad, and Williams plays into the finish in a unique way. Fun match.
  9. Bruno Sammartino vs. Stan Hansen WWWF Championship - Madison Square Garden Steel Cage Match August 7, 1976 A young Stan Hansen is working an earlier variation of his Lariat gimmick here, with bright green trunks and bleached blonde hair, sans cattle rancher gear and a loaded elbow pad for added effect. Chris Hero's gimmick in 2009 was very reminiscent of this look and honestly its a good one to recycle. I couldn't find the matches leading up to this one, and essentially the story boils down to the fact that Stan Hansen broke Bruno Sammartino's neck with the loaded Lariat. Now Bruno gets his chance for vengeance in a Steel Cage Match at MSG. Bruno is hesitant to step in the cage as Hansen is already waiting inside, but Sammartino cannot ignore the cheers of the crowd as they urge him to get in. So of course Hansen does jump Bruno with a knee as he crawls inside the cage, but Bruno moves and Hansen misses an elbow drop. Crowd goes nuts as Bruno gets his shine on with big punches and smashes Hansen into the cage. He chokes Hansen on the ropes but Hansen fights back to get the upper hand. Back-and-forth gritty brawling ensues with Bruno raking the eyes sending Hansen into the cage head-first for a second time. Both guys continue to kick and punch and beat the snot out of each other. Sammartino chokes Hansen with his foot across the throat. Hansen desperately sends Bruno to the ropes to try for the Lariat but Bruno gets a huge big foot to Hansen's gut instead. Bruno chokes Hansen out with his foot again but the Bad Man from Borger comes back only to miss an elbow drop. Hansen landed on his back and Sammartino quickly goes to work and locks in a Boston crab. Bruno rakes his fingers across the eyes and then opens up with a series of right hands. Hansen kicks Sammartino in the chest and gingerly tries to escape through the door but Bruno grabs his tights and pulls him back in. Now both guys choke each other out. Hansen gets the better of the exchange and goes to climb the cage and is pulled down by Sammartino. Bruno gets tired of Hansen's running so he stomps him hard with a low blow. Bruno sends Hansen into the cage a number of times before Hansen elbows Bruno and tries to walk out of the cage again. They fight for advantage as Hansen tries to climb out from the top of the cage, but get crotched in the ropes and sent into the ring post instead. Hansen is cut open, so naturally Bruno rakes the cut and follows up with a series of right hands. Bruno has a clear advantage. Bruno pulls the loaded elbow pad from Hansen's arm and hits him with it several times! Hansen is knocked senseless again and gets his foot tied up in the ropes. Bruno continues the onslaught even as Hansen is trapped and bleeding! Bruno actually releases Hansen from the rope, only to give him one last big right hand to Hansen's bleeding skull. Bruno stands tall and walks out of the cage as the decisive winner. Post match, Hansen swings at a ref but misses and does a face-plant into the cage. Great back-and-forth brawl here. Effective use of the cage both in terms of violence and the escape tactics. Hansen stood toe-to-toe with the Champ but Bruno came ready for the fight of his life, throwing the rule book out the window and doing whatever it takes to get his revenge. It was only when he felt defeated that Hansen tried to escape. Pure desperation. In comparison, Bruno never tried to escape and stood tall. We got the ultimate payback when Bruno beat Hansen senseless with the loaded elbow pad and turned him into a bloody mess. Really enjoying these Bruno Sammartino matches and Hansen shined even at this stage in the game. ****1/4